Butter me up

Lobster roll at Neptune Oyster

“Hot with butter or cold with mayo?” asked the waitress as she took my order. Oh, that all of life’s decisions could be so win-win.

Alas, they rarely are but for at least one night, when I ordered the lobster roll at Neptune Oyster in Boston’s North End, that’s precisely what they were.

While I don’t doubt that the cold-with-mayo option would have been delicious— the creamy tangyness of the mayo playing off the sweet, juicy lobster meat— it was a cold and blustery night and that called for hot. With butter.

What came from the kitchen and was placed before me didn’t just warm me with its temperature but with the fuzzy feeling of gluttonous happiness it spread inside of me. The soft toasted roll was practically an open faced sandwich, with fat chunks of tender lobster meat piled high and spilling out over sides, glistening under a golden coat of warm, melted butter. Each bite was rich and buttery, sweet and savory in the way that lobster always is.

I ate lots of good stuff in Boston but the lobster roll might have been the best. A great dish at a great restaurant. Win- win.



Bargain brunching in Boston

Everything in New York, from the tiny apartment I live in, to the subway rides I take, to the groceries I occasionally try to stock my mini-fridge with, is exorbitantly expensive. But believe it or not, there’s actually something good about that, and it’s that almost everywhere I go outside of the city, everything seems outrageously cheap to me.

But I realize that it’s not that everything is super cheap, but just that everything in New York is so  ridiculously overpriced. But still, it’s nice to think I’m getting a deal. And sometimes, like during a recent brunch in Boston, things really are that cheap and I really am getting a deal.

Sweet plantain empanadas with cinammon cream cheese

Masa, a southwest style restaurant in Boston’s South End, would have been great even with New York prices, but with a Saturday brunch special for $8.95?? Including an appetizer/small plate and an entree aaaand coffee or tea? God, that just makes my mouth water.

And it wasn’t some Denny’s Grand Slam kind of deal either. No cold, rubbery eggs or greasy little sausage links. This was good food. Food that in New York would’ve cost at least double.

From the small plates/starters I went with the sweet plantain empanada with Mexican cinammon cream cheese, a delicious combination of two things I love. The doughy shell was full of sweet, caramelized plantains, just like the kind I grew up eating with almost every meal, and the sweet, soft cream cheese was the perfect touch to make a good thing better.

Santa Fe Style Eggs Benedict

The entree, a turn to savory after the dessert-like starter, was also delicious. I had a hard time choosing between all the amazing sounding menu items, but finally went with the Santa Fe style eggs Benedict, which came on top of soft, fluffy biscuits, buttery chunks of avocado, home fries and green chile hollandaise.

I love getting out of the city and eating in new places, and even more than that, I like being reminded that doing it doesn’t always have to be ridiculously expensive.

Boston/ Cambridge hospitality

Friends in other cities who welcome you into their home for the weekend and even let you sleep in their bed while they take the couch are awesome. Even more awesome, however, are friends who welcome you into their home and have roommates who decide to have dinner parties where they make delicious homemade seafood paella. Now that’s hospitality.

Homemade paella

Last weekend, Flaneur and I went to Boston and stayed with my friend Holly in Cambridge, where she lives with her lovely, paella making extraordinaire roommate, Tania. She made a huge pan full of delicious paella, brimming with clams and juicy pink shrimp. And because of Flaneur’s shelfish allergies, she even set aside a special shrimpless portion for him.

Holly and Tania, if you’re reading this, thanks again for a great weekend and for being the bests hosts. If you want to visit the Big Apple any time, come on over! I’ll even take the couch.  

To puff or not to puff? That is NOT the question

Boston Cream Puff

I’m not really sure how authentic Boston cream puffs are or if they’re even a very “Boston” thing to eat or if Mike’s Pastry, in the city’s North End (i.e. Little Italy), is more than just another touristy place to go for sweets like cream puffs and cannoli. But you know what? I don’t really care!

When a soft, doughy pastry is filled with custard and covered in chocolate, what else do you need to know aside from when can I have one?

During my recent and first-time visit to Boston, I made a stop at Mike’s Pastry and decided that a Boston cream puff in Boston just felt like the right thing to do. And you know what? I was right. That cream puff, whether it was traditional or not, touristy or local, was plain ol’ simple delicious. The pastry-custard-chocolate combo is always an easy choice for me, and at least for one afternoon, that’s all I needed to know.