Friday, April 23, 2010

b. good burger--All about the peoples

We totally dug our recent visit to b.good burger. Opposed to the big burger chains, we especially liked that b.good emphasizes the people that make the food. We are firm believers that Food=Love and that if the person assembling your sandwich is miserable, you will suffer as well (this is why we always get indigestion when visiting certain mega franchise burger swills). B.Good is all about the peoples and they take special care to remind you of this.

So b.good has a system for the burger eating process. First, you choose what type of burger you want from four choices: Beef, turkey, veggie and chicken breast. Kudos to b.good for sourcing local beef and house grinding both the turkey and meat and making their own veggie burgers. After choosing the base, you then needed to decide upon the style. Should we go for the El Guapo — bacon, homemade jalapeno ranch, lettuce, tomato, onion, or the seasonal special—the Guacho— chimichurri, pickled onions, provolone, lettuce, tomato?

We love structured choices like these because it makes you feel empowered without ruining your meal. Other restaurants, give you unlimited choices which is often times too overwhelming. For example, there are certain burrito places that allow you to put what ever you want inside your tortilla. What ends happening is you get a gut bursting mess of vegetables, ingredients, toppings and flavor combinations that have no right being in the same mouth as one another. It is good to have choices but too many choices can leave you with a stomachache.

For our structured choice number 1, we got the turkey burger ala the Adopted Luke— mushrooms, caramelized onions, swiss and homemade bbq ($6.29). This was seriously the best turkey burger we have ever eaten. Too bad we had to split it. While most turkey burgers are dry and overcooked, this one was moist and delightfully flavorful. When combined with fixin's of the luke, it was definitely the best choice.
Cool Hand Burger
Our segundo choice was the veggie burger—West Side style with avocado, cilantro, tomato, homemade chipotle salsa ($6.29). Although it was good, it was not the best veggie burger we have ever had and several better options sprang to mind. We heard that they recently changed their veggie burger recipe, so this may be a reason.
Not Bad Veggie Burger
The one real downside of our meal was the drink. When we saw that they had homemade mint tea, we were like, “that sounds awesome.” But it was so sweet that we threw it out. We generally feel iced tea should be served sin sugar because it is a nice alternative to sugar water (ie soda). But the meal was redeemed by the sweet potato fries, which were not fries, but baked chunks of freshly sliced Carolina sweets.
Sweet Caroline Potato Lovin'
A good Boston based burger joint will always get a Palateers seal of approval.

b.good Burger
137 Mass Ave
Boston, MA 02115-2606

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mike's City Diner—Breakfast Brawlin'

Heads recovering from a cold and spinning a bit from Nyquil, we needed some TLC and food with flavor because basically we couldn't smell anything let alone taste, food. We needed flavors that popped, something greasy, a good diner experience. We wanted to relive one of our favorites from Maine—the diner of all diners—the fat turkey of diners: Moody's. We think Mikes City Diner came reasonably close to matching our expectations.

Buried way in the South End, we found the aroma of blooming Bradford pear trees queasy and weren't sure if we would have an appetite. Like all good diners, there was a line when we arrived. We waited. And waited. It was one of those awful types of lines that doesn't ever move. We gazed intently at people who were near done, mentally willing them to remove themselves so we could snag their tables.

While waiting, two counter seats opened up, but being Bostonians, we figured that we let the people in front of us sit down, but then, charging in from no where, two gargantuan beefy people swooped right in taking the counter seats. We were like, “Hey, hold up. There is a line” And they were like, “Counter space is free for all” and we were like “Well we were kind of waiting” and we were ready to brawl for counter space on a Sunday morning, when everyone was hungover, but then two nice diners right next to us got up and offered their seats, and we were like “Oh, thanks” and all was forgotten. And that is the story of how the Palateers won the battle for breakfast.

Our waitress was wicked cool. She had an incredible six sense for empty coffee mugs that needed filling. The first thing we ordered was the hash and eggs ($7.50), because the nice people who gave us their seats said the hash was homemade. Eggs over easy and with hash browns and toast, it was indeed good homemade hash.
Our second dish was the phenomenally priced two eggs, toast and bacon ($5.05). We made the mistake of ordering the grits (against the recommendation of waitress who insisted that we should have gotten the home fries). We guess that grits are just one of those things that taste better south of the Mason Dixon line.

Priced how we like it—cheap—and good American size portions, with a lot of New England character, Mike's City Diner was the medicine we needed to cure our colds.

Mike's City Diner
1714 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118-3307
(617) 267-9393

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Columbos Cafe--Big City Italian down on Main Street Hyannis

Something is brewin’ down on the cape. Some us of Palateers remember the day when the food selection down on Main Street Hyannis wasn’t as uppity as the big wig Bostonians. Must be what nstar is puttin’ in the water, which is making everyone act a little crazy. Either way, we were surprised to find Columbo’s chillin’ down not far from where the old Spiritus pizza used to be. What caught our attention is that Columbo’s seems like a place more fittin’ for the big city, but it was surprisingly busy when we showed up on Saturday. So we guess, they must be doing something right.

When we arrived, we beelined it for the dessert display. Wowzers, we were two tiramisu, one chocolate mouse and a jumbo lobster tail away from ruining our dinner. But we refrained, making solemn promises to save our indulgence for the finale.

We were seated and soon had epileptic flashes from the flat screen television right behind us, reflecting all forms of madness off the menu before us. Maybe it was meant to distract us from the pricey entrees. Before ordering, we did have reservations about the price; however, our doubts were unfounded.

The quality of the meal far surpassed our expectations. Our salads were top of the line good. Some of them were a meal unto themselves. You should have seen our eyes pop when they presented us with the Antipasto Salad ($14.95). A heaping pile of different salami, rolled up cheeses, grilled and fresh veggies, olives, hot peppers, on a beautiful bed of lettuce. It was a good way to start the meal.
With roasted red peppers, gorgonzola, candied pecans and cranberries, the spinach salad was equally delish (8.95).
Spinach Salad
Then came the pizzas. We especially enjoyed the grilled vegetable pizza (12.95). Just like the antipasto it was overfilled with a medley of peppers, garlic and onions. With mounds of basil, pesto and goat cheese, it was simply enjoyable. The margarita pizza was also top notch (13.95).
Veggie Goat Cheese

At the end of the meal, we were so stuffed we broke our solemn vow and had to skip dessert, but don’t worry, we promised to return.

Colombo's Cafe & Pastries
544 Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601-5408
(508) 790-5700

Friday, April 2, 2010

Blue Shirt--Veggie friendly vibe and smoothies to boot

Seems that Dave’s Fresh Pasta has some competition in Davis Square. Before we thought Dave's was the only joint to get a sandwich in Davis, but Blue Shirt blew us away. Starving after a long Sunday walk basking in the first warm rays of spring sunshine, the Palateers were ready to get their sandwich eating on. Right off the main strip of Davis Square, Blue Shirt has been a staple of the Davis/Tufts community for as long as we Palateers can remember. After ordering, we considered eating in the spacious seating area, but the sun beckoned us after months of dismal rain, snow, and cold.

Blue Shirt met our trifecta policy for a happening lunch spot: Healthy options galore, creative combinations and smoothies. We indulged in all. We were very indecisive about what to order, and spent at least 15 minutes debating the options, despite our imminent hunger pains. We decided that due to Blue Shirt’s veggie-friendly, granola-crunching, hemp-clothing vibe, that we would go strictly veg.

Our first sandwich was the Lili’s Lunch ($5.95). A warm toasted, stuffed to the brim, falling out of the sourdough bread onto our jeans, Panini. The avocado really won us over, but the flavors of the swiss, cucumbers, tomato, lettuce, sprouts, sun dried tomato spread melded together into a gooey, wonderful, fill me up, thank you sir I’ll have another, Panini happiness.

Yea for Avocado
Our second sandwich exceeded the first on the official Palateer yummer scale. The Little Italy (5.95) was a perfect balance of balsamic vinaigrette, basil, tomato, provolone, and red peppers served on focaccia. It was wonderfully large, and had to be separately wrapped in two aluminum foil packages to go.
Little Italy--Our favorite
To top it all off, we indulged in a smoothie. Although we considered, the sending our taste buds to cloud nine Peanut Butter Delight, we decided to stick to the healthy and enjoy a Hawaiian song smoothie ($4). It did not disappoint and we felt effervescent after slurping back the mango, pineapple, bananas, strawberry-guava juice, and sorbet.
Smoothie--Half drunk of course
Blue Shirt - well worth a day of walking from Boston to Somerville in the sun.

Blue Shirt Cafe
424 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 629-7641