Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stephanie's on Newbury—A Valentines Special

Yes, Valentines Day is a made up holiday. We all know it, but we all play along. Isn't it a bit ridiculous to have an entire holiday devoted to love, where one is expected to buy chocolates, roses, sappy cards and the occasional adult fun toy? Not to mention, the holiday completely ignores all the Platonic notions of eros and instead focuses exclusively on the happy meal packaged convenient product for couples. But don't think for a second that because we are cynical about this card company contrived spectacle that we can ignore our dutiful responsibilities.

Anyways, it was a Sunday night on a long weekend, and we were planning to go out to eat anyways. V-Day just meant we had to make a reservation weeks in advance. Our destination por amor, was Stephanie's on Newbury and baby, it was Valentines Day epicenter.

We entered the comfortably warm, well lit yet dimmed, restaurant to find droves of couples - by our estimates, over 90% of the restaurant - fulfilling their Aphroditic rights. We sank into large comfortable squishy chairs and found a veritable expanse of white table cloth between us. We were really far apart, and although we found this disconcerting, there were assuredly awkward adjacent couples who found the divide comforting. It was amusing to look at the rows upon rows of couples facing each other in varying levels of rapport. Many were engaged in pleasant well worn banter, practiced over several years of domiciliary. Others were young mismatched love birds, spending this night together to stave off the possibility of being alone.

Good thing there was a good bread basket, otherwise some might not have anything to talk about. Stephanie's has one of the best bread baskets we have ever seen. A lovely hodgepodge of pumpernickel and sourdough rolls, raisin scones and crackers. Although our friendly server tried to guide us towards several expensive fixe meal V-day specials, we decided to forgo pomp and circumstance in favor of more modestly priced fare.

The menu had a trove of interesting options. Aromatic tempting appetizers such as the baked brie, artichoke dipping sauce and buffalo wings. As well as hearty entrees such as thanksgiving sandwiches, mac n' cheese and shepard's pie. Stephanie's provides the types of classy comfort foods that bring you right back to mom's Sunday night dinners.

Ordinarily priding ourselves on adventurous dining, we turned this night to the classic chicken pot pie. Our first response was: man! this is a puny pie, but then we took a bite and realized it was heavier than a Metallica concert. Creamy, with big chunks of chicken, peas, carrots and potatoes. That magnificent aforementioned bread bowl helped to soup up every last bite.

One Heavy Pie
Trying to balance our passion with practicality and health concerns, we opted for a goat cheese beet salad as a counterweight. A gloriously large array of beets, goat cheese, asparagus, chickpeas, walnuts, caramelized onions, tomatoes, spinach and drizzled with an unnoticeable dressing--as if it even needed dressing. We couldn't even finish this gargantuan salad.
Gargantuan Salad
Romance in the air and the sweet tinge of cheap perfume taunting our nostrils, we retreated into the bitter Boston night with warm hearts and full bellies.

Stephanie's on Newbury
190 Newbury St
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 236-0990‎

Monday, February 15, 2010

Zoe's Restaurant--Where the Palateers go marching in?

Roll out of bed ye sleepy heads, tis sunday, when the dieties feast. Time for brunch, time to munch on greasy spoon specials: three egg omelets, thick frappes and burgers. All good. But where will we stagger to devour such delights? We march to Cambridge while singing breakfast ballads and meal melodies. Can you hear it hungry reader?Join us for a wild morning of debrunchery.

Hark thee angels to thy destination of Zoe's Restaurant. Where snacking saints and munching monks find theirs alms, with payment of course. Note the subterranean hall, with colorful pews. The restaurant is Greek and American. If you choose Greek, you can eat moussaka. If you choose American, you can eat a burger. We ate moussaka and a burger.

We also ordered the buffalo chicken sandwich. It had some nice zing.The spicy sauce went well with the crispy chicken strips. It came as a wrap with crisp lettuce and chunks of fresh tomato. Instead of regular fries, we of course had the sweet potato.

Spicy Chicken Wrap
We also ordered the Zoe's burger. It was interesting. The egg wasn't yoky, which is how we wished it was. That part was disappointing. But the burger was still very good – rye bread, no pastrami, spinach, feta, tomato and onions and a burger. It was big, large and filling.

Big burger, but no runny yoke
We really wanted to explore the unknown so we went for the moussaka. What's a moussaka, you ask, inquisitive reader? A moussaka is layers of eggplant and ground beef topped with a rich béchamel cream sauce. Served with rice and green beans. It will sock you to the floor. It was savory.


Zoes restaurant in Cambridge – where the Palateers go marching in.

Zoe's Restaurant
1105 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138-5220
(617) 495-0055
Cambridge Restaurant Review