Monday, December 29, 2008

Now, the fall '08 photo rundown

places I ate and pictures I took (that will hopefully improve, thanks to those photography books I got for Christmas...)

Blue Ginger (Wellesley). Ming Tsai's (didn't anyone watch East meets West in the 90s?) restaurant. Tasty, though carb-heavy, entrees, and a long trip. Above: the Filipino-style pulled pork sandwich.

Rialto (Cambridge). Touted on all the student email listservs around Restaurant Week as "the best restaurant in Cambridge." I took advantage of a 15% student discount I had, and went...we were easily the youngest people in the restaurant. Service was wonderful (possibly because it wasn't Restaurant Week), Jody Adams came out to talk to us - and not just about food, she's super nice - and recommended the honey ricotta cheesecake that most people get on their first time. That's not pictured here, but the second course of truffle pasta, and third courses of pork tenderloin with fig and seared sea scallop with stuffed butternut squash pasta are, respectively. The latter two courses are still on the December menu.

Incidentally, this meal marked the start of the weekend where I gained - and lost - six pounds.
Two reasons: a harrowing midterm and Columbus Day weekend, when some family visited. Meal number 2 that weekend: Harvard Faculty Club (Cambridge). Having dealt with Rialto the previous night, I wasn't as impressed as I could have been (the seared beef-blueberry vinagrette salad was a winner, though), and the entrees, per a faculty club, seemed a little overpriced. Below, a picture of the beef medallion:

Yankee Seafood (Boston). We indulged next day with some seafood - the fried kind. Enter Yankee Seafood, next to Bank of America Pavilion, which we found on Yelp. Best fried scallops ever. Also, during lunch, it was pointed out that good seafood places have bad fries. This proved to be no exception.

Minsok (Brookline) was our dinner that night. We struggled through the amount of Korean food we ordered but were delighted at the seafood pancake and the stir-fried seafood. This, however, is a picture of the japchae - sweet potato noodles. And that concludes my food-intensive weekend for the semester.

Fireplace (Brookline). A repeat visit for brunch over the semester. My first time, I ordered the challah french toast, which although rich and pretty to look at, made my stomach hurt afterward. The fried duck hash was the unanimous favorite, though - especially slathered with the yolk from the accompanying fried eggs. Later, I would try eating the fried goat cheese and walnut salad, but it elicited the same physiological response I had from the challah.
I also confirmed my findings that salad was not meant to be one of the food groups of brunch.

Giacomo's (Back Bay and North End). Remained the place to bring out-of-town friends for food. Secret: don't wait at North End - they don't take reservations - go to Back Bay. The quantity of the small fried calamari place (at $7) was huge, and the best entree remained their specialty seafood pasta - whose quantity was also enough for two (though I opt for the fra diavolo over the overly-rich eponymous lobster based sauce).

Cheesecake Factory (Cambridge, Boston). Surprisingly, a repeat visit this semester - if only for the cheesecake. Among my classmates, it has become "the place where we go out somewhere nice for dinner" - despite the fact that there are so many good places near Harvard Square to eat. Rather, I think Cheesecake Factory has attained the dubious award of "restaurant where we can escape." In any case, if you look past the overly-rich (again) and possibly overpriced Asian-fusion pasta (though pretty good - and definitely more reasonably priced than California Pizza Kitchen's Kung Pao Spaghetti), it's actually okay, and a good place to find steaks. Also, it's called Cheesecake Factory for a reason. Below, the pumpkin cheesecake:

Shabu-Zen (Chinatown and Allston) might be the restaurant I most frequently visit, by way of my sister's influence on my taste (she goes there about five times as often as I do).

Finale took a smaller hit (or should I say drain?) on my wallet on this year. The blocking group's Finale fund (let's pay for the birthday girl's preferred Finale dessert) was still in effect, and yes, I like the tiramisu, but as I've previously said, ov-er-rat-ed. I've taken advantage of our walking distance from two Whole Foods though, and I am now requesting this beast of a cake:

Note that it also contains berries, something difficult to find in the Harvard dining halls. And now that I've definitely gone over my usual photo quota, go forth and eat.

No comments: