Tag Archives: food

Burger and Beer Day: The Mayflower Brewery and KKatie’s Burger Bar Review

15 Apr

There are many food matches in heaven: Spaghetti and meatballs, bacon and eggs and my personal favorite burgers and beer.

I had a Plymouth adventure this weekend with my good friend, Donnie and his lovely sister Lindsay.  Saturday was a gorgeous day for getting up a little on the earlier side and popping down to the commuter rail heading toward Kingston. I was astonished to find that from my stop, it was only $6 for a round trip to Kingston and a half an hour or so later I had arrived with Donnie eagerly greeting me. Off we went to his sister’s house to pick her up and then to the Mayflower Brewery. When I mentioned to Donnie that I wanted to tour this place, he had no idea what I was talking about.  Apparently, he had driven by this micro-brewery millions of times without realizing what it was.

Located at 12 Resnik road in Plymouth, the brewery is nestled in a little strip mall–that could easily be overlooked. Upon entering, we were not at first sure we were in the right place. It seemed to small! As you enter, you find yourself in a small, stand-up bar area. To the right is a small fridge where they sold bottled beers beside a small sales counter and to the left the well-polished wood bar top greeted us. Aside from two other patrons quietly sipping beer at the bar and two staff members–the place was empty. We were immediately greeted by the male staff member asking if we were here for a tour or free samples, to which we of course replied that both would be required. The female bartender was quick to provide us each with a small glass from the tap, explaining each brew as it was poured and tasted. The male staff member soon identified himself as a volunteer–who just simply liked talking about beer. The staff was informative and personable, making us feel right at home very quickly as we chatted from topics ranging from the beers themselves to places nearby that would be nice to visit on such a gorgeous day.

Soon, it was time for the tour, and the bartender quickly became our tour guide as well.  To my pleasant surprise, we were allowed to travel with our beer tastes in hand, (and the barkeep did as well) as we were led around in an informative but not impersonal tour of the tiny brewery contained behind the bar. Questions were readily accepted (and I eagerly provided them–as I can’t contain my curiosity for long) and I was very impressed with the way in which the tour was given. It was explained in a way that made it clear all of the staff members were well informed and passionate about what they participated in. Once the tour was done, we returned to the bar top and finished our tasting session. It was here that Lindsay and one of the staff members began to talk about a Burger Bar nearby called, K Katie’s.

“Yes,” the male staffer said “They have a burger that uses two grilled cheeses as buns.”

I was sold.

So not long after purchasing a growler full of fresh beer (only$11! and everything else had been free) we were heading down the road to K Katie’s Burger Bar. We took our time wandering over the graveyard, checking out older graves in the beautiful sunshine and breathing deeply the air that smelled of a mix of seawater and local eateries. KKatie’s looks like any other typical hole-in0the-wall bar but has an exceptional menu that doesn’t seem to fit the atmosphere.

Situated on 38 Main Street in Plymouth, you enter K Katie’s and find dark wood paneled walls and lit neon signs advertising various beers on the walls. It is a seat yourself establishment, and was fairly empty due to how early in the day it was when we arrived. As we sat, the waitress was already swooping upon us with bright green laminated menus, and a smile.  She patiently tended to our picky beer needs as Lindsay ran through several beers they didn’t have on tap currently–but the bartender (who was easily within earshot from our table due to the small size of the establishment.) was eager to send over tastes of beer that might suit her pallet before she made her decision. At first glance, the menu is a-typical bar food–but with a twist. Their burgers are all gourmet and full of different varieties and uniqueness that I had never seen before. (None of them were waistline friendly–but I was okay with that for the day.) I ended up with what was called “The Juicy Lucy” which was a burger topped with pickles and onion and rather then having the cheese on top–has it melted in the middle. Taking my first bite, most of the cheese dribbled out the back end–but then became a fun dipping tool. Their sweet potato fries were the best that I have ever had, and they also offered “green fries” which were essentially crispy green beans with a ranch dipping sauce.  Not up for a burger? That was fine too as KKaties also offered other menu options. But for sure–this is my new favorite burger joint.

Donnie then insisted that we visit a place nearby called Cupcake Charlies which sold, you guessed it, cupcakes of all sorts. At this point, I was so full I felt ready to pop–but I managed to squeeze in a taste of their Funfetti cupcake. (To be honest, the cake was far superior to the frosting from what I tasted. )

All and all, a fun time had. Foodies rejoice!

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My Goal and My Bane–Irish Green Pants (You are Beautiful)

30 Jan

As a woman (Or perhaps as anyone with this problem) I find there is nothing more disappointing in life than taking out a pair of old jeans or pants and finding that you are unable to put them on. Worse if you can’t even pull them past your theigh.For a while, I too faced this seemingly cruel problem of Jeans-fighting. The terror of finding a new crinkle in your skin, or  some flab around your lower back that looks like handles, but you do not Love as some maniac inaptly named them. The breaking point was ultimately when my doctor told me that I could either lose weight–or get Diabetes. As I love cake and all that is sugary (which is part of my whole problem) I decided it was time.

Lately, I’ve been sucked into the whole dieting fad that is Weight Watchers–and find myself 15 pounds thinner but still unable to fit into that one particular pair of pants. For me–the pants are Italian. Two (or was it three?) years ago, I spent a semester abroad in Florence, Italy. It was the best six months of my life and I would never do it over. Though–I would take back drinking from the water fountains in Rome as it ultimately led to my contracting Mono while I was there on my 21st birthday. (Seriously, am I the only one who can appreciate the irony of that?) They are soft, stretchy (but clearly not stretchy enough) torn in the knees as is fashionable now, and bright Irish green.They are both beautiful and bizarre, my goal and the bane of my waistline’s existence.

My Goal and the Bane of my existance

These are the dreaded Irish Green Pants..My Beauties and my Bane..

Now mind you, I am small to begin with. And having lost 15 (probably more) pounds since Thanksgiving is nothing to sneeze at. But these pants–taunt me.  I have gone from a size 10 to a size 4 in such a little amount of time–that it feel somewhat mind-boggling. Yet still the Pants do not fit. They are Italian pants in every way–small and somewhat catty. I still cannot get them past my knee.

I never thought of myself as having been heavy–nor do I think I was really–but these pants sometimes take me to a dark place in my mind where the overly weight obsessive female in me screams in agony at the sight of them. Yet, when I was size 8 or 10–I never felt fat. I still insist that I never was. I suppose that is in part thanks to my ever supportive boyfriend. A day doesn’t go by that he doesn’t surprise me with new ways to express how beautiful he thinks I am. Him along with my own (probably overly inflated) sense of self-worth has always made me feel that I was a beautiful person, no matter my size or shape. He is by far the more beautiful one in our relationship, inside and out.  This I put to you too, Reader, whoever you are. Always remember that you are beautiful–no matter how you look. Had it not been for the possibility of a cookie and cakeless existence, I would still be happily and pleasantly plumper.

Now, I battle the Green Pants with some vague but constant desire for things that cost far too many weight watchers points.

 

Another Delicious Review: Nubar and The Kinsale

16 Jan

Today I find myself inflicted once more–this time with a head cold of some sort. It’s pretty angry. I’ve only had it for about a day and a half, and already my nose hurts from blowing it and I’m tired of sneezing. Something about working in an office feels equivalent to working in a day care sometimes. (No, I don’t have to change any diapers..thank god…) If one of us gets sick–all of us get sick due to the close proximity in which we work together. That–plus the recycled air we all breath for 8 plus hours a day.

Anyway, as my last restaurant  reviews seemed to go over so well–I decided to rally up a few more for anyone wanting more delicious reading material. My boyfriend reminded me of one particularly unpleasant time we had in October last year at a place called Nubar, and I thought to myself–the people must know of this travesty. I suppose my first red flag should have been that such a ritzy-looking restaurant had a Groupon deal. (Though–this is not always true! I’ve found some great deals on Groupon when it comes to dining for less!)  In this case, it happened to be a terrible foreshadowing.

Looking for something different to do on date night brought me to find Nubar, which is tucked inside the Sheraton Commander Hotel on 16 Gardner Street in Cambridge. I had no clue that this was the case when I booked the reservation, and ultimately after stepping off at Harvard station, my boyfriend and I were immediately lost. Pulling  for the kindness and knowledge of the restaurant’s staff, I phoned them from my cell in hopes of being directed. Unfortunately, I had no such luck. The hostess who picked up seemed pleasant enough, but was entirely clueless when it came to helping us find where she worked. Ultimately, her lame attempts to direct us got us more lost and frustrated than we had been before calling and as she was of no help I hung up. Luckily, my boyfriend happened to plug in the directions to his Iphone and managed to steer us back onto the right course. (For once–I celebrated his addiction to overly priced electronics.) Flustered, cold and hungry we finally arrived at our destination.

Upon entering Nubar you are greeted with a very chic, very pricey looking establishment. Warm yet calming colors adorn the walls, lit softly by dimmed IKEA-esq rounded lights that hang down from the ceiling at even intervals.Though the space is small; it is nicely broken up to make the most of the space.  When you enter you can see the bar to your left: the shelves behind the bartender are lined with clear or opaque bottles which are lit from behind.Plush-looking chairs line the bar, awaiting eager customers. Seating varied from table to table; couches, straight-backed chairs and rounded (almost reminiscent of my office chair) seating all in beige are scattered throughout the room but somehow manage to look nice rather than eclectic. The only problem with this set up I found is that when people begin to pile up at the bar–the space becomes stiflingly loud. I was no farther than an arm’s length from my date, yet we found ourselves shouting at each other to be heard, before giving up on talking completely. However, prior to the late night rush–the space is calm and relaxing and we enjoyed talking and sipping our drinks before the meal came. If after you read this little review you still decide to venture here–I recommend you arrive long before the dinner rush to best enjoy your time. Our waiter took his time arriving to our table to take our order, and once our orders were taken–we barely saw him. Had the restaurant been bustling, I might have understood his being so noticeably absent–but I was acutely aware of  several vacant tables around us and only a fair-sized drinking crowd at the bar. There was a point in our meal when dessert arrived and while placing the plate on the table, my fork fell to the floor. He hurried away so quickly, I didn’t have a chance to ask for a new one. My boyfriend, being the gentleman he is, gave me his fork and ingeniously used his knife to eat and share our dessert. Eventually, the waiter did come back with a clean fork–but it was too little too late.

By this time, we had been ignored by him as he scurried away to do–whatever it was he was doing–multiple times and we were both irritated by it. The food was decent and pretty on the plate–but generally forgettable. And more importantly, the food was definitely not worth the bill we were presented with in the end. Especially not with the gratuity that they INCLUDED in the bill. After the terrible service we received, the gratuity they included was outrageously high. Now, I’m no stingy tipper if I’m given half-decent service. But If I get cruddy service–I want the opportunity to express my dissatisfaction. Not only that–but even after calling and informing them ahead of time that I had a Groupon there was a whole to-do when we presented them with it. They treated us as if we were criminals of some sort as they scurried around with the slip of paper I had printed as if it were venomous. It took about half an hour for them to finally present the remainder of the bill to us. I wouldn’t recommend Nubar to anyone who is hoping for a memorable meal or attentive service. Overpriced and under-helpful, this place is probably more for people looking for a drink or two in a chic environment than a fancy night out for two.

If it’s a good meal for a fair price you’re looking for–I’d like to end off on a positive note and recommend  The Kinsale. This Irish pub and restaurant is a top choice for my friends and it and has been for a few years now. Just across the street from  the Government Center t stop, the Kinsale is a classic example of a comfortable Irish pub. Upon entering you are greeted by the hostesses and the bar which takes up the center of the room. The bar is a circle of dark wood, and false-marble pillars that surround the bartender as he bustles the usually sports-loving crowd. Televisions hang from the ceiling around the bar. The walls are intricately decorated with large brightly colored murals depicting what I’ve always imagined to be Gaelic folk tales, and around the bar area are tables made to look like they’re barrels surrounded by stools for when the bar top gets too full. The hostess escorts you to the left around bench seat tables, which are surrounded by polished wood and rough-looking stone in a way that is both charming and interesting to look at.

Once in the back,  you will notice the high ceilings with polished wooden planks  and more brightly-colored murals. This room is filled with high backed, green-cushioned benches, polished dark-wood tables, and stained glass windows. Rarely do I face any inattentiveness from the waitstaff here, in fact they tend to be very personable and eager to help when asked. Often I end up choosing meals based on what the waiter or waitress has convinced me is their favorite on the menu, and I have yet to get a drink there that I didn’t enjoy. Meals here are generally comforting and heavy. This is not a place for the food-fearful. Stews, meat-pies and bangers and mash are just a few of the leading roles on this menu. This place is also especially Silliac friendly and the staff tend to be fairly knowledgable about items on the menu that are best for people who can’t eat Gluten. Kinsale is the sort of place where you never feel rushed through your meal; the perfect place to take your time to relax and enjoy the meal while listening to (of course) Irish folk music in the back round along with the lilt and laughter of the other patrons. The Kinsale is perfect for casual nights out with friends, even large groups or a comfortable night out with that special someone. It helps that the prices are within reason–even affordable for the hungry college-goer.

As the last entry, if you want to check these places out for yourself you can find their websites below. Please send me ideas for new dining places–I’m always eager for a good meal. Happy snacking!

http://nubarcambridge.com/

http://www.classicirish.com/kinsale-home.php

Learning the Hard Way and To Eat or Not to Eat in Downtown Boston

15 Jan

This post was going to be completely positive–I had it all set in my mind to be pleasant and non-whiny and fun until I discovered that I overdrew on my bank account paying off my loans last week and I am now negative 105 in my account. Now, I’m in an awful mood about it. Mostly upset with myself for not following my own banking rule: one loan a week. I was trying to be sneaky and get them all out of the way at once with some extra Christmas money that I had managed to squirrel away. As you can see–that did not go over well at all. Another lesson learned the hard way.

 

Now that that self-loathing is out of the way, let’s get on with what I actually wanted to share today: food.

My extremely supportive boyfriend has often made the suggestion to me to write about food. It’s always been one of my passions along with eating and cooking– which all essentially boils down to food. I sort of dismissed him originally, because frankly: we don’t get out a lot. As such, we often get into a restaurant rut and wind up going off to places that we’ve been to at least a dozen times before because we know the food isn’t going to disappoint us. This weekend has been different, however, so now I find myself with actual information to share with the rest of the food-loving universe. (If they feel like taking a simple pony-crazed foodie’s advice that is.)

I’m from the Boston area (generally speaking more toward the suburbs in the south.) and my boyfriend lives in the East Boston area. As such, we usually end up around the downtown Boston area, trying to find someplace not too far away from our favorite movie theater on the Commons. Our favorite place as of late or as we like to reefer to it, “The place”, so as not to jinx it, is Max & Dylan’s. Located on 15 West Street in the downtown area of Boston–it’s situated fairly close to the theater district and nestled beside an old bookstore that I tend to frequent. Despite having a large white and green flag sign proclaiming “Max & Dylan’s” you might never think twice about this restaurant. I personally had walked by it over and over again visiting Brattle’s Bookshop and had never even realized that this establishment was there. The door is somewhat pushed back, and a thin window in the front is so reminiscent of the old brownstone homes that I used to resist peeking in, for fear I’d be intruding into somebody’s living room window. When you first enter Max & Dylan’s, you are immediately greeted by the long bar top and the pleasant hosts and hostesses. It seems, at first glance, like your typical Boston Bar, complete with two of three televisions behind liquor lined bar, a jute box  and dim lighting. But once the hostess leads you inside, you see there is a bit more to it than that. There is a bar on the first floor, along with a few nestled tabletop seats for two and low tabled huddled together in corners.

Then there is the second floor (which honestly seems more like a rather large stair landing) which contains more tables, each decorated a little less sparsely than the floor below. On this floor, you can look up and admire the skylight as well as polished wooden beams that again make me think this place used to be someone’s home. The second floor, is my personal favorite for when I enjoy time here. One more floor up, there is a second, smaller bar top back lit by blue and gold lights. An after work, sort of place that seems like a classy idea for a night out with friends. Yet more tabletops can be found on the third floor with the bar, pressed against the rough brick walls. There are paintings strewn throughout the restaurant, but the casual intimacy of the space always leaves me feeling very much focused on whomever I am enjoying my meal with, and of course, enjoying the meal itself.

-knocks on wood for what will come next-

I have yet to be disappointed by any of the food which I have ordered at Max & Dylan’s. The portion sizes never seem too overbearing as often times these days food serving establishments fight to give you more for your money.  Meat never seems to be over or under cooked, but lovingly and patiently grilled, friend and broiled. On top of the taste, the food is fairly priced and depending on how much you have to drink you can leave there having an appetizer, entree, drinks and desserts for two for under $60. (Though, I do not recommend the Prosecco here as they seem to only order a rather cheap tasting brand.) The staff is also generally very attentive and pleasant. Which I feel, in some cases, makes the dining experience that much more pleasant. The staff are easy to talk to, and seem to genuinely care if you’re enjoying yourself or not. I highly recommend this place for people who are looking for a nice date night excursion. Also, for first date material that is both impressive and comfortable. Then again, I also take my friends here when we want to catch up and enjoy ourselves in an environment that is welcoming and relaxed. My boyfriend and I just last night took our friend there with us for a gathering and a good time was had by all.

It was in this same gathering that our friend introduced us to a bar nearby that I also enjoyed. Once our meal was done and paid for, we agreed that more time was needed to chat. Our friend recommended a bar and Indian food restaurant nearby called, Mantra. (I was later informed that this place also seconds as a nightclub on certain evenings, but not last night while we were there.) Located at 53 Temple Place, not far from Windor Buttons, Mantra is a visually impressive place.

 

You walk through the large heavy doors and find yourself immediately greeted by walls and tabletops covered with multiple flickering candles. Unlike many Boston bars these days, Mantra still takes the risk of using actual fire instead of the plastic flickering tea lights for ambience. The walls, bar top and tables are all smooth black and white checked granite, and the place feels open yet intimate. Heavy fabrics are placed in bright colors softened by the dim lighting strategically around the room, while soft gossamer curtains partition dinners in the back into more private seating. A large wooden structure that resembled a giant slatted garlic clove (as pointed out by my friend) sticks out in the back of the room. I supposed it to be a VIP section of the restaurant. In the center of all this sits the stairs, and a large golden Buddah statue, looking placid and mysterious in the romantic lighting. I was told the place had once been a bank, and down the steps along with the bathrooms, the nightclub was located in what used to be the vault. Servers were formal but pleasant and though we chose only to have drinks last night–the smells wafting temptingly through the air made me decide that another visit at a different time for food will be required.

It was quiet there last night, probably due to the Patriot’s game hat aired last night, and service was quick. The martini list at Mantra is both expansive and delicious. Prices were a bit high, but the drinks themselves were made with no lacking strength and seemed ultimately worth the extra cost. Also, at no charge, we were brought a small espresso-sized cup of soup–which we mainly dubbed as a mystery because the server who presented them to us seemed to mumble as we inquired about it. We heard “mumble-mumble Gumbo Soup” before he quickly skittishly ambled away to help other diners. The soup smelled buttery and almost fishy as it warmly sat aside our martinis. Both my boyfriend and our friend pushed the cups aside without so much as a taste–but being ever food-curious, I took two tentative sips. Despite the odd smell, the soup was creamy and pleasant to the palette, it almost reminded me of cream of mushroom soup with a more rich flavor. Plus, I appreciated that even though we only came in for drinks, the hospitality of the staff allowed them to provide us with something (small as it was) for just sitting down for drinks. I will definitely return there again for a more food-based adventure to Mantra.

I know by now you must be growing bored of all of these glowing reviews of local restaurants–so I’m serving you up the last restaurant rant for the day.

After doing date night again and again at the same place, I eventually get bored and run a quick little Google search for new places to try out. This week I came across the bar and restaurant, Scholars.  Not far from where the looming vacant space where Border’s used to be in Downtown Crossing, Scholars is at 35 School Street. Clever. Though the ambiance of this establishment is immediately impressive, my boyfriend and I noticed right away that there was also a bizarre lingering sense of awkward arrogance that seemed to come along with it. The hostesses greeted us right away, eyeing us in our somewhat casual attire, they took us to the back of the restaurant, past the extraordinarily lengthy bar, past darkened lounge seating around polished dark-wood tables, and leather couches to small tabletops arranged in an open space. The music bobbed loudly enough that talking to whoever was with you at the table felt private, because no one around you would be able to listen in, but you weren’t forced to shout over it either. Mirrors lined the back wall, and a staircase lead up toward pool tables to the left of our seats. High backed partitioning segregated diners from the bar area. Our waitress was quick to arrive to our table, giving off that same awkward aura that the hostesses seemed to present before she asked for our order. She seemed almost uncomfortable when speaking to us, and fidgeted like she wanted to be away from us as quickly as possible. The bread they presented to our table was warmed and slightly crusty on the outside. It had that sort of texture to it that made it known that it wasn’t fresh, but that they had taken the time to warm it up for us to it would taste better all the same. Oil was also given to us to dip the bread in–though significantly later than the bread. By the time our waitress had arrived with the oil, we had each already eaten one piece out of the three given pieces of bread because we thought that was all that was coming. The first item I ordered for dinner was the Veal–but I was quickly told that they were out of it. Not a good start–as it was barely 5:30 pm. I then decided on the fish as a second choice, while my date had the steak. The food seemed to come fairly quickly, but my boyfriend’s order came out incorrectly. He likes his steak nearly burned to death, which he requested, but it came out barely medium, and both of our orders on the menu had stated mixed vegetables would be included with our meals–instead we both found largely sliced, overly buttered carrots in their place on our plates. Had we been warned of this we would have asked for something else. But no warning of the carrots only was given. Our waitress occasionally came to check on us, but was overly intrusive when she did so.

All and all, we probably won’t be going back to Scholars for dinner again. The service was unwelcoming and generally unfocused. The kitchen seemed unprepared for dinners, and didn’t pay attention to detail while preparing the food. The drinks, however, were good. I WILL recommend the Prosecco here as it had no hint of flatness and bubbled pleasantly with each sip. If you’re looking for a nice drink, a place to play pool and show off your little black cocktail dress, head to Scholars–but eat before you go.

 

If you’re interested in checking out any of the restaurants I mentioned here today they each have an easily accessible website for you to check out.  I’d be interested to know if your experiences match up with mine. Happy snacking!

 

http://www.maxanddylans.com/

 

http://mantrarestaurant.com/

 

http://www.scholarsbostonbistro.com/