Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Ramp--First Meal in San Fran

Come here for the view and the scene, especially if there is no fog. The food isn't amazing but it isn't half bad either.

Clam chowder didn't hold a candle to the chowdah we are used, but of course we have very high standards

We never had yellow beets before, and that was what attracted most to this colorful melange salad. We liked the hefty chunks of goat cheese, but one of us felt it needed a bit more salad dressing.

Beer battered Fish and Chips were definitely the popular item this morning. Every other table had ordered it, so we would have been pretty lame if we didn't as well. By far, the best item we had.

The Ramp
855 Terry Francois St
San Francisco, CA 94158-2209
(415) 621-2378

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Palateers in San Francisco

We will be dining on the delicacies of the West Coast this week. We will post pictures and summaries shortly. Keep checking in!

Friday, June 19, 2009

All Star Sandwich Bar: a rhyme

The sandwich guru brings contentment to each meal
To this restaurant alter we have journeyed to kneel

People like pilgrims come from near and far
To Inman Square's, the renowned All Star Sandwich Bar

Creative sandwiches that bewitch the imagination
Scrumptious meals that create a mouth sensation

A Cuban vegan with grilled delights piled sky high
Mushrooms, peppers and onions oh me oh my

Fresh fried onions rings always catch the attention
You could eat 50 without a smidgen of pretension

Not like Kraft but a superior mac and cheese
We devoured one plate and asked for more please

A meat lover's dream and vegetarian's nightmare
The Muffaletta sandwich is one you won't share

One bite after another and soon there is no more
Remember to swipe an Oreo on your way to the door

All Star Sandwich Bar
1245 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 868-3065

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cafe Jaffa--Falafels in short supply

Cafe Jaffa dishes up some cheap but good middle eastern food. Now, it is abundantly clear, for anyone residing in the Back Bay region that there is a lack of middle eastern restaurants in the region. Now, we believe that this problem is not unique to Back Bay, but in is endemic to the whole Boston area. In other prominent metropolitan areas, a typical falafel stand dishes out their wares at no more than 2 dollars per falafel and there are several such stands within a stones throw of each other. One can't imagine a better vegetarian bargain. It is a sad fact that there is a dearth of cheap falafel places in our beloved city.

It is in this problem that we find Cafe Jaffa's greatest asset. Reasonably priced (not Über cheap) falafel and other such Middle Eastern delights. A darkened interior opens up to a large, long airy space, belied with three rows of tables. Most of the cooking is done adjacent to the eating area on a large grill, whose aroma inhabits the entire area..We didn't come during lunch hours, but let it be known that the lunch hour specials are well worth the visit.

For our dinner, we chose a falafel platter ($9.75), a baba ganoush platter ($9.50), and a hummus platter ($9.50). All the platters came with a freshly made salads and warm pita. The falafels were large crispy balls of soft crushable chick peas (freshly fried) covered in a tangy tahini sauce. Very good, very filling and the platter was large enough to split between two people.

The Whole Kitten Kaboodle
The hummus and baba ganoush were freshly prepared and far superior then any of the junk that you get at Shaws or Trader Joes. You truly haven't lived until you tried some fresh made humus. We can also vouch for Cafe Jaffa's kababs, shawarma and grape leaves.

A special find if you want to get off the beaten path of Newbury street or if you just want to enjoy some Middle Eastern flair.

Cafe Jaffa
48 Gloucester Street
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 536-0230

Monday, June 15, 2009

Atlantic Fish Company—The Boston Fish Experience

Too often, while milling the streets of Boston, we are approached by befuddled international tourists. We know the look by now-- weary eyed, possessing an air of desperation and a slight glean of saliva on their lower lips. These are truly hungry souls and all they really want, the only reason they exist at this very moment is to fulfill one desire. Even if their broken accented English can't convey the full import of their thoughts, we instinctively know what they will ask: Where is a good seafood restaurant?

A crazy question to ask, isn't? Especially, in a city that built its initial fortune on the cod trade (read Cod). But we can't blame them for their confusion, considering the number of pubs pawning only fried fish and chips. When asked this inquiry, particularly when we are meandering the back bay area, we reply simply, the Atlantic Fish Company.

This blog is too short to debate the merits of Atlantic Fish Co. compared to the ubiquitous but also admittedly good Legal Sea Food, but simply put, the Palateers were won over to the Atlantic Fish Co. faction.

The real shine and glimmer of Atlantic Fish Co. is its service. This is a restaurant that truly appreciates it clientèle and it makes for an ever so better eating experience. Our friendly server was also refreshingly honest in our dish selection and preparation. Should I get the sea scallops or tuna steak? No brainer, go for the scallops, she coolly replied. Blackened or baked salmon? Blackened.

Of course, the food was delicious. The broiled sea scallops ($26) were precious large dollops of heaven that sweetly melt in your mouth. The virtues of this dish can not be extolled enough. Whether served straight up or on top of pesto linguine pumped with big chunks of artichoke, you will feel warmly content after these dishes.

Dollops of Heaven
The blacken salmon ($24) is the way to go, if you are thinking fish. We also ordered grilled salmon, but the blackened was far and away the better route. The crispy salty spicy crust melds with the tender pink flesh of the fish.

Blackened is the righ path
Meat lovers can also rejoice. The same people who own Atlantic Fish Co. also run Abe and Lou's (right next door) and clearly the chefs of both restaurants have some collaboration because the New York Strip Steak ($25) was a worthy alternative for anyone not feeling very fishy.

Meat Lovers rejoice
Make reservations, especially if in large groups and don't fill up on the bread and crackers, you will definitely feel as though you had your New England fish experience after Atlantic Fish Co.

Atlantic Fish Co.
761 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
617) 267-4000

Friday, June 12, 2009

Upper Crust Pizza--Craving 'Pie Society'

Feeling a bit saucy, the Palateers had a hankering for a better slice of life. So we sought out the upper echelons of 'pie' society. We discovered that when you are the upper crust, you eat well.

Upper Crust Pizza is a paradigm for man's own plight in the western capitalist system. You are presented with unlimited exotic topping options; however, you are hindered, daresay oppressed by the additional cost. Is this not the same as coveting thy neighbors property. Desiring that newest ipod? Needing a new pair of designer shoes? It is not enough to simply enjoy a slice of cheese in our society. One taste is never enough. An individual is demanded to upgrade, to chase after that artichoke, shrimp, prosciutto and asiago cheese pizza pie in the sky. But the question is, even after you take that last bite, are you really ever satisfied?

A fresh Greek Salad
Getting beyond its high society status, Upper Crust Pizza, at its core has some really tasty pizza, albeit expensive. Thin crust and crispy, with a sauce that has just so much tang, you can get to the core of societal satisfaction just by enjoying a 18 inch pie. One of us had the slice of the day, a chorizo sausage, pepper and onion. While the more frugal Palateer decided for a straight up cheese.

The Frugal Cheese
Slice of the Day
We finished our pizza quickly and once again were left wanting more. Isn't this our sad plight?

Upper Crust Pizza
20 Charles St
Boston (Multiple Locations)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ess-A-Bagel--New York Delicious

As adventurers in the quest for that perfect Boston bagel, the Palateers believe we have some expertise when it comes to bagels. That being said, we were blown away by the quality and selection of the Ess-A-Bagel.

Expecting a small bagel shop, we sauntered into Ess-A-Bagel, and quickly realized we weren’t in Boston anymore. Joining a line that snaked around the store beneath chandeliers identical to those in Grandma’s apartment, we waited for our turn to select our bagels. But wait, should we try the vegetable cream cheese on pumpernickel, or the 9-grain with lox and cream cheese, or a whole wheat everything with lox spread, or dare for an onion with tuna? Usually decisive in our food selections, we found ourselves unable to make a decision. And the line inched forward.

Forced to choose as we finally reached the bustling lunch counter, we selected a simple nine-grain bagel with veggie cream cheese, and a plain bagel with tuna spread. And two iced coffees of course. We maneuvered past the regulars slowly sipping their coffees, the young professionals arguing about a business decision, and the families rocking strollers back and forth, to find a small seat in the back of the store.

With the first munch, we knew we had hit gold. Ess-A-Bagel is everything one would expect in a New York bagel – thick bread, smothered in cream cheese, perfectly shaped, with a burst of flavor. It made us long to find that perfect bagel in Boston…and we haven’t given up…The iced coffees were no Au Bon Pain, but rest assured that you can find whatever breakfast treat your heart desires at Ess-A-Bagel in Manhattan.

831 3rd Ave # 1
New York, NY 10022
(212) 980-1010

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cafe Mogador--Chew Chew Yum

We really wish we had been starving when we arrived to Cafe Mogador but alas we were still full from Vleska. We arrived at the peak eating hour, but were still promptly seated. We dig that about a restaurant.

Mogador serves up authentic tasty Moroccan food. It also has a very open trendy vibe. Nursing a pair of sore throats, our first order was for a large pot of honey green mint tea. It arrived in an antiquated silver pot, almost like a genie's lamp (see picture below). The sweet tea, soothed our aching trachea.

Mint Tea
Both of our appetizers came with warm fresh pita. The baba gounoush housed a puddle of olive oil, enrich with fine paprika. We ate straight the entire pool straight from the plate. The roasted beet salad was red and sweet, just like you would expect.

Roaasted Beets
For the main course, the grilled lamb was cooked exactly to the specified medium- rare. The tender pink piece of meat were gobbled up rapidly. It was served on a fluffy bed of rice and a Mediterranean salad.

Grilled Lamb
The Bastilla, a fluffy crepe filled with chicken and vegetables (think, chicken pot pie without the gravy), could have either gone terribly wrong or wonderfully right. But this train kept on the tracks to Flavorville. Chew Chew Yum.

On threat of being reproved, repudiated and discarded by a loyal customer and avid reader, we have no choice but to grant a hearty seal of approval to Mogador. Thank you specifically to Boomerater for recommending this restaurant.

Cafe Mogador
101 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009
(212) 677-2226

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Veselka Cafe--Just like in old country

In old Ukraine, friends gather around table, drink and eat perogies until become bloated like fat pig. At Veselka Cafe, Palateers relived tradition. Just like life in old country. Weary tired from traveling from west village to east village, Palateers needed nourishment to continue journey. At Veselka Cafe, were welcomed by bubbe with open arms and fake eyelashes. Bubbe advised eat Perogies, six different types she explained, while holding up six old fingers--potato, meat, sauerkraut, spinach and cheese, sweet potato and cheese. Bubbe liked perogies. But you must eat with sour cream and apple sauce, just like in old country, she added.

Delicious, crispy and multiple varieties
Bubbie no liar. Perogies arrive and delicious, yes delicious. Crispy hot...sour cream good. Apple sauce on shirt. Bubbie gives us a hug, Come back soon bubbala, she says.

Veselka Cafe
144 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-9682

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cornelia Street Cafe--Brunch in the Big City

Our day of New York City feasting started at Cornelia Street Cafe, and if the beginning is any indication of the rest of the day, then we were in very good shape. We dined with friends at this french bistro side street find (quite confusingly located in the West Village). It was surprisingly uncrowded for the Saturday morning brunch, but there was no shortage of busy activity behind the bar as waiters served up fresh mimosas and bloody marys. We chose to sit inside, even though the pleasant and sunny side walk seating seemed appealing.

Egg Balancing Act
The service was quick and unintrusive, which was fine by us. The eggs florentine ($10) were a perfect consistency—balanced on top of cooked spinach and buttery English muffins, drizzled with a light and flavorful hollandaise sauce. The french toast ($10) was scrumptious and adorned with fresh strawberries, apples and oranges. The omlette of day ($10)—filled with cheddar cheese, onions, red peppers, mushrooms and zucchini-- was good despite it tasting like the cooks used eggbeater instead of real eggs—therefore it is highly recommended that you order it only with egg whites. We were only disappointed with the measly portion of rosemary roasted potatoes, but alas that is supposedly what you get in NYC.

Egg whites are certainly preferable
We were satiated and excited for a full day of eating as Cornelia Street Cafe offered a jump start for our New York dining blitz.

Cornelia Street Cafe
29 Cornelia St (between 4th St & Bleecker St)
New York, NY 10014
(212) 989-9319

Monday, June 1, 2009

Palateers in New York

This week, expect to see a selection of New York City restaurants as the Palateers decide to switch up their scenery for a few days. Enjoy!