In a celebration of one of my favorite comfort foods, I embarked to Roxy’s Grilled Cheese viewing party two Sundays ago. This viewing party held at Tavern in the Square, hilariously known around the Allston area as T.I.T.S., was held in honor of the grilled cheese truck’s appearance on Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race.”
Sadly, the viewing party was remiss of their custom-made grilled cheese, but seeing as their yellow and aluminum truck graces the Cleveland Circle area quite often I can get my fix any other time.
The party was complete with a photo booth, a party photographer, and a party videographer. The room was completely filled, a testament to the following Roxy’s Grilled Cheese has in the city of Boston. Although it was quite hard to hear the actual show over the yells of the crowd, the pride swelling in the Boston natives was incredibly apparent.
The highlights of the show included the Boston boys standing their ground when their opponents The Lime Truck tried to scoot in on their territory. This situation led to the phrase of the night “slime truck.” This very phrase was heavily tweeted following the show, and created a strong division line between Roxy fans and The Lime Truck fans.
The end of the show led to Roxy’s group being in the bottom two, and luckily pulling through to the next city.
Following the saga of Roxy’s Grilled Cheese on “The Great Food Truck Race,” this band of former rockers made a close call in Salt Lake City, being in the bottom two yet again. These close calls scared quite a few of their Boston fans, once again incredibly apparent on Twitter shortly after the show.
The following this group has picked up so rapidly is truly amazing, something I can attest to having personally visited Roxy’s Grilled Cheese truck shortly after they opened. Upon stepping up to the aluminum awning blasting a variety of music, it’s easy to see how they have gained this following so quickly. In addition to their awesome grilled cheese creations, these guys are so personable that you feel like you could have easily had the bond of kids growing up on the same street. So cheer on these Boston boys as they continue their journey on “The Great Food Truck Race” and hopefully kicking some “slime” truck butt on the way.
A little while ago, my roommate and I embarked on a journey to find the best cupcake place in Boston. This idea was born from our mutual love of cupcakes, and desire to try to find the best in our food. After eliminating a few we had been to before, we settled on four different places that we had yet to visit. The four cupcake places were: South End Buttery, Isabelle’s Curly Cakes, Lulu’s Sweet Shoppe, and Kickass Cupcakes. We rated the places on a scale of one to ten. Here are the results of our difficult, stomach filling work.
On June 9th I attended The 29th Annual Scooper Bowl, and I attended it on what might be considered the perfect day for huge amount of ice cream consumption. On this day in Boston, the high reached 92 degrees with the sun beating down on the brick filled City Hall Plaza.
As it was an incredibly hot day outside, I had to wait in a line that was longer than anything I’ve ever seen at a Baskin and Robbins’ store. It was kind of like a free for all to get to the actual ice cream at each of the booths. With little kids hopped up on sugar pushing behind me, I made my way to each booth in determination to try at least one flavor from every vendor (and upon reaching this goal I had an enormous stomach ache).
First off was Soco Creamery, in which I consumed the Espresso Cookie, a delicious blend that could only be described as the next best thing to an actual espresso.
Right after that on my journey was the HP Hood/Brigham’s booth where I got the Hood BoSox Brownie and my friend got the Brigham’s Mocha Chip. While the BoSox Brownie flavor was delicious, it was the Mocha Chip flavor that won this booth. This flavor brought back memories of the Mud Pie my mom used to make for me on the birthdays that I requested it. Mocha Chip was simply delicious.
Shortly after that we made our way to the only gelato stand there at the Scooper Bowl, Ciao Bella Gelato. At this stand I decided to try the Key Lime Graham Gelato while my friend tried the Chocolate S’mores. The Key Lime Graham Gelato, as seen in the photo below, tasted just like a gelato version of a Key Lime Pie.
The third booth attended was Baskin-Robbins, one of the most swamped booths at the entire Scooper Bowl. It was as if the little kids knew the flavors there were catered to them. After fighting for a place at the front, I grabbed two flavors from Baskin-Robbins: S’more the Merrier and Oreo Gold Rush. S’more the Merrier was a good blend of chocolate, marshmallow, and graham. However, Oreo Gold Rush rose above the rest of the flavors. A blend of the golden Oreo cookie pieces and lemon pudding flavored ice cream made this ice cream taste like a lemony flavored dream. This flavor was by far one of my favorites of the day, surpassing all the flavors tried that day.
After hitting up all of the vendors on one side of the Scooper Bowl, I then ventured over to the other side. For some reason, this side’s crowd consisted of significantly less children and more professionals in business attire sneaking out on their lunch break for a few scoops of ice cream. On this side of the event there were the booths from Ben & Jerry’s, Edy’s, and Friendly’s.
The first thing that I noticed was that Friendly’s had their routine for this event down pat. There was no line in front of their booth and I quickly realized it was because they had servers go out into the crowds with their flavors instead of just having all the patrons line up in front of their booth. This was an incredibly smart move, which eliminated blockages of traffic to their booth. The flavor I consumed there was Hunka Chunka. Hunka Chunka was a delicious mix of caramel, nuts, caramel and chocolate cups, and sweet ice cream.
After Friendly’s I wandered over to Edy’s booth and got a flavor I rarely ever get, Orange Sherbert. This flavor was so delightful I claim it as my second favorite of the day. It tasted like the Creamsicles that I used to buy off of the neighborhood ice cream truck. Edy’s Orange Sherbert is a flavor I could see eating a whole bowl of without feeling too full after.
The final booth that was attended on that fateful Scooper Bowl day was Ben & Jerry’s. Although Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is one of my favorite brands, by this time in the ice cream quest my stomach was starting to yell at me for eating too much. I grabbed Late Night Snack and Bonnaroo Buzz. Both flavors were grabbed for very specific reasons: Late Night Snack because I had tried it the week before and fell in love, and Bonnaroo Buzz was chosen because a group of my close friends were there at the time. Late Night Snack is a delicious blend of vanilla ice cream, fudge covered potato chips, and caramel. Bonnaroo Buzz is a blend of malt and coffee flavored ice cream, caramel and whiskey swirl, and toffee chunks. When I tried my first spoonful of Bonnaroo Buzz I just thought how appropriate that it had alcohol flavoring in it given the name.
Shortly after the 3 spoonfuls of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, I waved my white flag in defeat and let the ice cream win for the day. A battle to be continued on another day when I felt less of a stomach ache.
Although I have been in school for two years, I officially became a college student this summer when I took the caffeinated plunge and discovered my love of coffee. Up until May, I always felt rather left out when people would suggest meeting for coffee, where I would inevitably be stuck sipping on a hot chocolate or a glass of water.
With my addiction well underway, I recently went to Espresso Royale Caffe on Commonwealth Avenue (see below for their other locations in Boston). Although I have had been there many times before, this was the first time I could participate in the whole “Espresso” part of the equation.
For starters, Espresso Royale’s ambiance is charming to say the least. Filled with artwork from locals, oversized chairs, and calming music, spending an afternoon there is like being in a rustic, homey kitchen-and with the hustle and bustle of the city, I am not against finding a place to escape, sit and relax.
Espresso Royale’s coffee menu is expansive, offering a wide range of choices from a spicy Spanish Latte to the classic Iced Mocha. I got a Vanilla Latte, which came in a large white mug and was the perfect drink for a cool afternoon. If good coffee isn’t enough of a draw, or you were like me several months ago and have yet to acquire a taste for it, they also have breakfast and deli-meat sandwiches, as well as bagels from Bagel Rising, a bagel shop in nearby Allston (my personal favorite is the Whole Wheat Everything bagel).
As the fall weather begins to roll in, I have a feeling that the idea of sitting inside with a hot drink will become increasingly more appealing. With three locations in Boston, Espresso Royale is a great place to get your coffee fix, grab a newspaper, and take in a laid back atmosphere.
736 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston - (617) 277-8737
286 Newbury Street, Boston - (617) 859-9515
4 Gainsborough Street, Boston - (617) 859-7080
Food trucks are all the rage in LA, Portland, and NYC; Chicago is also making a strong presence. Clover Food Lab has two trucks in the Boston area: one in Kendall Square near MIT and another in Dewey Square near South Station. The Clover trucks make fresh, seasonal foods on the cheap. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available; specials are announced via Twitter, but unlike other cities, the trucks stay in one location…no need to chase the trucks down the street!
I visited the Clover truck at Dewey Square. Arriving a bit after the lunch crowd, the special sandwich of the day, the basil sandwich, was sold-out. I decided to try the Chickpea Sandwich, Rosemary Fries, and a Tarragon Lemonade. This meal cost $10 and worth every cent. The sandwich had a homemade wheat pita, pickled carrots/red onion/red cabbage, cucumber, tomato, chickpea fritters, and homemade tahini sauce. Delicious, fresh, crunchy, and filling. The fries were freshly cut potatoes with a heavy sprinkling of rosemary. The tarragon lemonade was refreshing albeit the anise flavor — it might not be a flavor that all customers might like, but I would order it again.
Clover “brews” coffee to order in single serve drip filters and uses beans roasted in the New England area. Be sure to check out the trucks the next time you want a quick, affordable, and tasty meal.
Clover Food Lab
@cloverDWY (truck near South Station)
@cloverswa (SOWA market on Sundays)
@cloverfoodtruck (truck in Cambridge/MIT)
On a warm Saturday afternoon, what is better than enjoying a late lunch of a burger and a beer? Boston Burger Company offers about 22 flavorful burger concoctions along with chicken sandwiches, 11 kinds of fries with various toppings (think nacho cheese, sweet potato, or garlic), wings, and salads. The friendly service, air conditioning, and the zero wait for a table were welcomed as a large art fair was in mid-swing just outside the restaurant’s door in Davis Square. The beer list is fairly standard with a mix of bottled imports & domestic brands.
Two burgers were ordered. First up was the Black & Bleu with a Cajun spice rub and bleu cheese. I liked the simplicity of the beef, bun, spice, and cheese. No extra toppings, like lettuce and tomato, to get in the way. The potato chips made for excellent delivery vehicles for the extra cheese that dripped off the burger. Salty and tangy are two descriptors that I like.
The Waikiki Beach Burger has grilled pineapple, ham, bacon, and teriyaki sauce. The fried egg is an optional add-on. This one had a great combination of sweetness from the pineapple and saltiness from the ham and bacon. Both burgers came with a side of cole slaw that looked soup-y and tasted watery. Not exactly an accompaniment I would rave about.
A non-food note to point out is the steep stairs to the restrooms – step carefully!
Boston Burger Company is worth checking especially for an easy going meal.
Boston Burger Company
37 Davis Square
Walking distance from the Davis T (Red Line)
Tucked into the residential neighborhood of South End, a cafe and coffee shop called South End Buttery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. I visited the cafe on two separate occasions: once for an afternoon snack and another morning for breakfast. South End Buttery uses organic and locally produced ingredients as well as implementing environmentally focused processes (i.e. recycling, Dyson hand dryers, biodegradable packaging/paper products).
For my afternoon visit, I ordered a latte and cranberry orange scone. While a pretty standard order, I was impressed with the freshness of the scone and the creamy-ness of the latte. I sat at the marble counter which faces the large windows and got to people watch while enjoying these treats.
Wanting to return to try breakfast, I pondered all the choices: oatmeal, breakfast burrito, frittata, baked goods, bagels … but I decided on the country biscuit with scrambled eggs and aged cheddar cheese. I picked tomatoes instead of bacon (another option). As you can see in the picture, the biscuit was huge, but it was buttery and delicious. I would have liked the tomato slices to have been a little thinner, too. A little awkward to eat like a typical sandwich, I needed a knife and fork. None of these details really mattered because I made the right decision to eat this to kick start my day.
On another trip to Boston, I hope to check out South End Buttery’s dinner menu.
314 Shawmut Avenue
Boston, MA 02118
When in Rome ..err…Boston, fish should be eaten. I knew that I had to satisfy my craving for a fried fish sandwich and had Post 390 marked on my list of restaurants to check out. Post 390 is modern bar serving upscale American classics for lunch, dinner, and brunch on Sunday. Opened in October of 2009, the restaurant can be found in the Back Bay area directly across the street from the Prudential Center and nearby hotels. There are two levels marked by a pretty staircase: the main floor with the bar and seating area with floor to ceiling windows and a second floor for private events.
I arrived at Post 390 between lunch and dinner to find a limited bar menu. Having reviewed the menu online prior to my visit, I knew that my hope of a fish sandwich would be fulfilled. A fried haddock on brioche with Rhode Island tartar sauce and crispy fries was an effortless decision — I really liked the spear of peppers, black olive, and pickle. The haddock was fresh, crispy, and flaky on a toasted brioche bun. The fries were fairly standard, so I perked them put a bit with a squeeze of lemon that accompanied the fish.
I would definitely return to Post 390 for another meal to experience more of the menu.
Boston, MA, 02116
Being a bit of a food snob, I try to steer clear of big restaurant chains. But on my most recent trip to Boston, I found that some of the higher-end chains are nothing short of amazing for those who follow a gluten-free lifestyle. The three that come to mind that have completely separate GF menus are Legal Seafood, PF Changs and Uno Chicago Grill.
Seafood obviously lends itself to GF dishes. If you grill fish simply and pair it with rice or potatoes, you’re right on the money. So what does it take for a restaurant to carve out their own menu for those with the allergy? Probably nothing. But Legal even goes the extra mile with GF bread and some of their delicious soups made without flour. I’d highly recommend trying the lite New England clam chowder and everything tuna complete with jasmine rice.
Want to put Asian food back in your life? Then stop by PF Changs the next time you get the chance. You wouldn’t think that Asian food has a full GF menu, but it does. Sadly, it doesn’t attempt a GF dumpling, but try the chicken lettuce wraps and some friend rice instead. As for entrees, the restaurant takes on one of their signature dishes, lemon chicken. If you blind fold one of you’re gluten-eating friends, ask them if they could tell the difference.
The last stop on the chain restaurant tour should be to Uno’s. They have a menu filled with GF pizza items like pepperoni, veggie and cheese and tomato. Each location has a separate GF menu with other items like steaks, salads and desserts. Can’t hurt to check them out. I find myself feeling deprived of some of the great culinary classics, but if I have the hankering for seafood, pizza or Asian cuisine, I know where I’m making my weekend reservations.
Newbury Street is synonymous with upscale and trendy restaurants and bistros, but Trident Booksellers and Cafe is a small, fairly priced cafe/bookstore in one that has held its own at its Newbury Street location since 1984.
Given that Trident is also a bustling bookstore, I didn’t think that a ton of attention would be given to the food. Alas, my expectations were blown out of the water. For starters, the menu is very extensive, and has everything from homemade hummus with pita chips and seafood gumbo to chicken or steak fajitas and meatloaf. If that is not enough to get your mouth watering, my favorite feature of Trident is that they serve breakfast all day. Breakfast is my favorite meal, so this is THE spot to go if I am craving eggs or a thick slab of challah bread french toast. In addition, Trident also has a daily special soup and entree. But save room for dessert- they have some original creations including deep fried s’mores.
Second to the food, one of the highlights of Trident is the atmosphere. The cafe portion of the store is not immense, giving it an intimate feel. When you eat at Trident, it feels like you are sitting down at your kitchen to a meal prepared by mom, and the servers are as friendly as your own family members. Another big hit at Trident is its weekly Trivia Night, where groups of friends come to chow down and test one another’s knowledge.
When you are done with your meal, be sure to check out the other side of the restaurant for an expansive array of both classics and bestsellers, and perhaps buy a good book to read on the couch when you are nursing that inevitable food hangover.
For more information, check out Trident’s website.