Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chunky Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last Sunday, Z and I were planning on heading up north to go snowboarding - for my final trip of the season. Of course, we planned out our lunch before anything else, so Z got to work on another batch of tofu "chicken" salad (recipe to come), while I made dessert: Chunky Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I used this recipe for peanut butter cookies, but substituted creamy peanut butter for chunky (Teddie Natural Super Chunky Peanut Butter, to be exact), whole wheat flour for white, and added 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. I also didn't refrigerate the dough before baking it. 

These were absolutely scrumptious, if I do so say myself. The crunchy peanut butter added a great texture and stronger peanut flavor, without making the cookies themselves teeth-shattering-crispy. And the combination of chocolate and peanut butter is one of my favorite flavor combos, so that worked out well, too.

What desserts have you made recently?

Friendly reminder: There's one day left to "like" The Economical Eater on Facebook - one lucky fan will win a copy of The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches! Already "like" the page? Then you're already entered! Winner announced tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ALLocal Dinner Party at Flatbread Company

On Monday evening, Z, myself and our friend Christine attended the ALLocal Dinner Party at Flatbread Co. inside Sacco's Bowl Haven in Davis Square. Put on by the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston, the evening cost $35 for an impressive spread of salad, pizza, chocolate cake (for dessert), and candlepin bowling.

If you haven't been to the Davis Square location of Flatbread Co. - I highly suggest you go. The bowling alley was recently renovated, complete with the large, open kitchen and wood-fired pizza oven that's familiar to Flatbread. The interior boasts 10 bowling lanes and a bar that extends almost the entire length of the place. As a bonus, Flatbread also puts a heavy focus on local, sustainable ingredients - which shows in their product. Their craft beer menu is also all local - no beer is made farther than New York.

The ALLocal Dinner Party included all different kinds of Flatbread pizzas, as well as vegetarian and non-vegetarian salad...

...Which ended up being a problem. When we first filled up our plates (before going back for thirds...and fourths), the salads were not labeled as such. Since this was promoted as a vegetarian-friendly event from the get-go, we just assumed all of the salads were meatless. Well, after almost 20 years of being meat-free, Z had his first bite of bacon - and was not happy (rightfully so). When he explained the issue to the woman running the event, she was understanding and rectified the situation by labeling the salads as vegetarian when applicable. I did, however, load up my plate with the "vegetarian" salad afterwards, only to find it still contained hunks of bacon. Wicked bummer.

Despite the salad fiasco, the beer, pizza and chocolate cake (not pictured) were all very delicious. 

Mayflower Pale Ale.

The bowling was great, too!

I hit one spare the entire evening - not bad, for me! 

All in all, it was a great evening - and I highly suggest if/when you go to Flatbread, to ask for Keri (hopefully I'm spelling her name right) as your waitress. She rocked.

What's your favorite restaurant in the area that utilizes local/organic/sustainable sources? Personally, I also love Bergamot!

Flatbread Company inside Sacco's Bowl Haven on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Early Bird Cafe in South Berwick, Maine

On Friday night, Z and I drove up to Portsmouth, N.H. to have dinner and drinks with a few of my closest family members at Red Hook Brewery. Since my older sister lives 20 minutes from there - in South Berwick, Maine - we decided to spend the night at her house. The next morning, Z and I woke up before anybody (which includes my 8-month-old niece, Aubrey) so we walked down the street to grab breakfast for everyone. Within minutes of walking, we stumbled upon South Berwick's shiniest hidden gem: The Early Bird Cafe.

Owned and managed by South Berwick resident Jessica Morgan, The Early Bird is one locally-driven, quaint  cafe. Morgan's dog, Jack, greeted everyone who walked in (with a smile - not a jump/lick/bark), and her son was playing respectfully in the back corner of the restaurant. Talk about a family-run business!

Z and I loved the charm and welcoming atmosphere at The Early Bird. I felt like we were getting breakfast to-go from a friend's house!

The Early Bird had a very small, yet delicious-looking menu, with breakfast sandwiches, bagels/cream cheese, and iced and hot coffee. I opted for a large iced coffee - and so did my sister.

Z and I also ordered breakfast sandwiches, but I was apparently so famished, I ate them before I even snapped a photo. However, the sandwich I ordered - made with egg, cheddar, black beans and salsa between two halves of a wheat bagel - was incredible. Z and my sister also raved about their breakfasts. We will definitely be going back to The Early Bird next time we visit my sister!

And, for cuteness sake, here's a shot of my niece - the other hidden gem of South Berwick:

What "hidden gems" have you come across lately?

Giveaway Alert! I'll be giving one lucky fan of The EE a copy of The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches this Friday, April 1st! All you have to do is "like" The EE's Facebook page to enter. Already "like" it? Then you're already entered! 

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches + a Giveaway (Coming Soon!)

"Too few people understand a really good sandwich." -James Beard.

I could easily eat nothing but sandwiches until the day I die. I am a carb-crazed psychopath, so anything involving at least two pieces of bread is A-OK in my book. With that being said, when the publishing company Quirk Books got in touch with me a few weeks ago to see if I'd review The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches, I happily obliged.

The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches is written by Susan Russo, who writes for NPR's Kitchen Window, and is also the blogger behind the popular food blog, Food Blogga. Russo's Encyclopedia of Sandwiches includes everything from recipes to history to trivia for "everything between sliced bread."

The book contains loads of recipes for simple staples, such as Grilled Cheese, Lobster Roll and even the Spamwich, but more adventurous palates will be pleased with recipes such as the Croque-Monsieur, Banana Split Sandwich and Fried Green Tomato B.L.T. There are a number of vegetarian-friendly sandwiches in the book (i.e. Falafel Pita and Ice Cream Sandwich), but this is definitely more of a meat-heavy book.

The original price for this book is $18.95, and I think it is worth every penny for fellow sandwich lovers. It's a great resource to have on hand, especially for a quick dinner or work week lunch, or even leisurely weekend brunches and lunches.

What's the best part about all of this? Starting Monday of next week, I will be giving away a copy of The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches on The EE's Facebook page. All you have to do is "like" the page, and you're entered! Already "like" it? Then you're already entered.

What is your all-time favorite sandwich? Mine is definitely any variation of a grilled cheese!

Disclaimer: The folks at Quirk Books were generous enough to send me a copy of The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches free of charge. Despite their generosity, the opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How to Make Homemade Pasta

On Saturday afternoon, I attended a cooking class with Z, his family and some family friends at The Cambridge Center for Adult Education in Harvard Sqaure. On the menu: Homemade pasta. And lots of it.

Holly was our instructor, and she had us break off into teams of two to tackle the recipes she chose for our class. Z and I decided to take on the pasta, while the rest of our group made the various sauces that were going to dress our noodles. The sauces included were arugula pesto, puttanesca, marinara, and a fresh sauce of grape tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. The egg pasta dough that Z and I made was eventually turned into linguine and fettuccine, and we also made a sweet potato gnocchi.

Now, everything we made on Saturday was good - even the wine we drank while cooking and eating was delicious - but the sweet potato gnocchi was by far my favorite. We served the gnocchi with the arugula pesto, and the dish was wonderfully vibrant and flavorful - and surprisingly easy to make. Here's the recipe Holly shared with us:

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
-1 russet potato
-1 sweet potato
-1 large egg
-1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
-1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
-1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
-1 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. pepper

1.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.) Pierce russet and sweet potatoes in several places with a fork, then bake in a 4-sided sheet plan until just tender, about 45 minutes to one hour.
3.) Cool potatoes slightly, then peel and force through ricer into sheet pan (we just shred the potatoes with a fork (leaving the skin behind), since there was no ricer), spreading in an even layer. Cool potatoes completely.
4.) Lightly flour 2 or 3 large baking sheets, or line with parchment paper.
5.) Beat together egg, nutmeg, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a small bowl.
6.) Gather potatoes in a mount in sheet pan, and form a well in the center. Pour egg mixture into well, then knead into potatoes. Knead in cheese and 1 1/2 cups flour, then knead, adding more flour as necessary, until mixture forms a smooth but slightly sticky dough. Dust top lightly with some of flour.
7.) Cut dough into 6 pieces. Form 1 piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rope on a lightly floured surface. Cut rop into 1/2-inch pieces. Gentle roll each piece into a ball and lightly dust with flour. Repeat with remaining 5 pieces of dough.
8.) Turn a fork over and hold at a 45-degree angle, with tips of tines touching work surface. Working with one at a time, roll gnocchi down fork lines, pressing with your thumb, to make ridges on one side. Transfer gnocchi as formed to baking sheets.

It may seem like a lot of steps, but trust me when I tell you, this was one shockingly simple dish to make. Once I live in a place with more counter space, I am making more gnocchi!

The cooking class itself was also a lot of fun, and it was great to spend some quality time with Z's family. Cooking classes aren't cheap (usually), but what you learn and the fun you have while cooking is definitely worth the cost.

Have you ever made your own pasta before? 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vegetarian Ventures: Quinoa and 'Sausage' Stuffed Peppers

Last week, Lightlife was generous enough to send me some samples of their vegetarian-friendly products. Included in the package were Italian-style Smart "Sausages," made with water, soy, dried vegetables, and other meat-free, recognizable ingredients.

Stumped on ideas for what to make with these, I asked my fellow tweeters what recipe I should incorporate these in. One follower suggested stuffed peppers - and dinner was born. 

Quinoa and "Sausage" Stuffed Peppers
Yields: 2 servings
-1/4 cup chopped white onion
-2 tbsp. olive oil
-1 tbsp. minced garlic
-Pinch of crushed red pepper
-1 tsp. dried oregano
-1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup shredded cheese, divided (Jack or cheddar work well)
-1 veggie sausage link, diced
-1/4 cup marinara sauce (I added a little extra)
-Salt and black pepper, to taste
-One large red bell pepper, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

1.) Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook for five minutes, or until soft. Add crushed red pepper and garlic, and saute for one minute.
2.) Stir in quinoa and water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Stir in sausage and marinara sauce, followed by 1/4 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
3.) Fill each bell pepper half with a heaping spoonful of the quinoa mixture, and place in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle a little extra black pepper onto each pepper. Cover with foil, and bake for one hour. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with the remaining cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand for five minutes.

If you miss the meat in this dish, your taste buds are dead. The veggie sausage was incredibly flavorful, and the texture was exactly like its carnivorous counterpart. This was also a very protein-packed meal due to the quinoa and the 13 grams of protein in the sausage link. 

This was an all-around comforting, satisfying and surprisingly healthy dinner.

*I am a protein fiend. I worry about not getting enough protein all of the time. So my question today is: Do you worry about your protein intake? Why or why not? 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tandy's Top Shelf in Concord, New Hampshire

Whew! I don't know about you, but I am coming down from one crazy awesome/busy weekend. It all started when Z and I drove down to Connecticut Friday night to see some of my closest friends from college, followed by a mad dash back to Cambridge Saturday afternoon to attend a cooking class (more to come on that later this week). Finally, on Sunday, we went up to Loon Mountain for a day of snowboarding in the sunshine. It was a fantastic, albeit very packed, weekend.

With that being said, on our way home from snowboarding yesterday, Z and I were both famished and exhausted. We Googled a few restaurants on the way home, and finally decided to check out Penuche's Ale House in Concord, N.H. After walking around downtown Concord only to find Penuche's looked a little too sketchy for our liking, we (thankfully) stumbled upon Tandy's Top Shelf.

I didn't have my camera on me, but this place is definitely worth a mention. When we got there, we realized all drinks and appetizers were half off (until 7 p.m.), and spent just over $10 for two beers and an appetizer. We both enjoyed a Red Hook Mudslinger - which, despite it's delicious description, is a pretty flat-flavored brew - as well as Tandy's appetizer sampler. For the sampler, you can choose any three appetizers to share, so we opted for the Red Pepper and Artichoke Dip, Onion Rings, and Mozzarella Sticks. Nothing very healthy about this meal, but everything was tasty and well seasoned - and surprisingly, not overly greasy. The onion rings also came with a creamy horseradish dipping sauce, which I thought was a unique (and successful) accompaniment to the onion rings.

I'd love to go back to Tandy's to try their Veggie Wrap (served with an avocado ranch sauce) and Veggie Burger. After trying just a few of their appetizers, it's clear these guys know how to make some good, nothing-fancy pub grub.

Did you try any new restaurants this weekend?

Tandy's Top Shelf on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 18, 2011

Guinness Dark Chocolate Brownies

Some things just belong together.

On Wednesday night, I knew I wanted to make something delicious - and "special" - for St. Patrick's Day, but I also didn't have a ton of time to do so. Z had a bunch of our friends over to celebrate the holiday, and there was one item that everyone was expecting: Guinness. I searched online for some dessert recipes involving the brew, but only came across some made-from-scratch varieties. I finally decided to take matters into my own hands, and made things simple.

Here is the easiest recipe ever for some of the most decadent brownies you will ever try: Buy a mix of Betty Crocker's Dark Chocolate brownies, and substitute the 1/4 cup water for 1/2 cup Guinness. Add a 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, and bake according to directions on the package.

Once the brownies have cooled, spoon a little bit more Guinness over the top to make them extra moist (I hate that word...but "wet" just won't work here).

Just beware: These suckers are rich. And fabulous, if I do say so myself.

How did you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Another Excuse to Get Naked

When there's passion behind food, you can taste it.

Earlier this week, I had the honor of visiting Naked Pizza in Brighton. Myself and a few other local bloggers had the pleasure of meeting with Tim and Jeff, the owners/managers of the place, while also trying some of their pies and getting a tour of their kitchen.

Tim and Jeff talked to us about their food, driving home the fact that Naked's pies - and food in general - only use some of the best, all-natural ingredients. Case in point: their pepperonis are not pumped with nitrite like most of the varieties we're used to. Nitrite gives pepperonis their red color - Naked's pepperonis are red thanks to the paprika they add to them. 

Their meat is also grain-fed, and their crust is made with ten grains - including quinoa. Most pizza crusts out there are made with only one grain, and are typically filled with white flour and even have sugar added to them. 

Naked's ordering system is easy and wildly affordable, too. You simply pick a size (10-inch, 12-inch, or 14-inch), and then pick your toppings for a make-it-yourself pie. Or, you can order one of Naked's specialty pies, in the same sizes. The specialty pies range from $12.99 to $16.99, and the do-it-yourselfers range from $6.99 to $8.99, not including toppings (which cost under $2 a pop). You also have your choice of thick or thin crust for any pizza.

After hearing all about Naked's natural, healthy approach to pizza, I could not wait to get my hands on a slice.  Tim and Jeff were generous enough to have us bloggers try quite a few pies, but I must say my favorite was the Pima (made with thin crust), topped with black beans, jalapenos and cheddar, and served with chilled pico de gallo on the side. 

I also tried the Greenhouse pizza, made with mushroom, tomato, onion, bell pepper and black olive, as well as a slice of thick crust cheese (not pictured).

Naked Pizza has another location in Brookline - as well as a few other locations across the U.S., and even one in Dubai. Due to their passion for quality food, use of natural ingredients, and dedication to customer service, I highly suggest you give them a try.

Have you been to Naked Pizza before? What's your review?

Naked Pizza on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quinoa Veggie 'Meatballs' & Ina's Herbed Ricotta Bruschettas

It's recipes like this that make me wonder why I didn't become a vegetarian years ago.

A few weeks ago, Katie from The Small Boston Kitchen posted her recipe for Quinoa Veggie "Meatballs" - and I immediately knew I had to make them in my own kitchen. The only things I changed in Katie's original recipe is that I used chopped slivered almonds instead of pine nuts (at Trader Joe's, the almonds were under $3, while the pine nuts were just over $7). I also cooked the quinoa in veggie stock, added 1 tsp. minced garlic to the recipe, and used frozen spinach, since frozen will last longer in my house without going bad.

The end result: completely and utterly delicious and satisfying. These "meatballs" were wonderfully crispy, chocked full of great texture - and nutrition! - and incredibly flavorful. Meat eaters: I promise you won't miss the meat in this dish. 

On the side of my "meatballs," I had some whole wheat penne (all topped with garlic marinara sauce), and I also made some of Ina Garten's Herbed Ricotta Bruschettas, out of her most recent cookbook, How Easy is That? The only things I changed in Garten's recipe was that I omitted the scallions and garlic, just to save a little extra money. I also cut the original recipe in half, and used dried herbs I already had in my kitchen, versus fresh. 

Herbed Ricotta Bruschettas (revised)
Yields: 2-3 servings
-1 cup ricotta
-1 tbsp. dried dill
-1/2 tbsp. dried chives
-Salt and black pepper, to taste
-4-5 thick slices round sourdough bread
Olive oil

1.) Combine the ricotta, dill, chives, salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
2.) Brush the bread with olive oil and "grill" on each size for 1 1/2-2 minutes in a frying pan (until lightly browned on each side). 
3.) Remove bread from the pan and sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper. Spread a generous amount of the ricotta mixture on each slice.
4.) Serve 2 warm slices per person. 

This was one satisfying meal, but it was also surprisingly light. Garten's ricotta mixture was also a fantastic complement to the crusty sourdough bread, and dipped in the marinara sauce? Forget it. Thank god for leftovers. 

What blogger recipes have inspired dinner in your house recently?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Birthday Dinner at The Common Man

On Friday night, I drove up to New Hampshire to celebrate my mother's birthday. One of her favorite restaurants is The Common Man, so me, my mom, my dad and my brother all went to their Merrimack location for her celebratory dinner.

There was about a 20 to 25 minute wait for a table, so we opted to wait upstairs in The C-Man's lounge and have a pre-dinner cocktail. My mom and I both ordered a glass of dry Pinot Grigio.

I love the rustic, cottage-like atmosphere of The Common Man. The Merrimack location is even set inside the former home of Hannah Jack Thornton (wife of Matthew Thornton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence), which is fascinating to me. It was really nice catching up with my family while sipping a nice glass of wine, and taking in the history of the place. However, after about 40 minutes, I walked downstairs to to see what the extra wait was for. The hostess admitted - very apologetically - that she gave our table of four to another party. Thankfully, she quickly fixed the situation, and we sat down for dinner.

I have to admit, I didn't think The Common Man had many vegetarian-friendly dinner options. But, after perusing the menu, I was pleasantly surprised - there were quite a few meatless options, including Stuffed Acorn Squash and Butternut Ravioli (both seasonal dishes). After some consideration, I finally decided on the ravioli.

The ravioli is normally an appetizer, but the waitress doubled the order for me - so I ended up with 10 well-stuffed raviolis. The filling was silky smooth and wasn't overly sweetened, as some similar varieties can be. The sauce, which was a sage brown butter sauce, was also very flavorful, albeit a bit too oily for my liking.

Our meal, per usual, came with complimentary crackers with cheese and/or dip, as well as freshly made date nut bread and Italian bread. My mother had a great birthday dinner overall, and I was so happy to have been there celebrating with her. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

Facebook is an amazing tool. I recently reconnected with an old high school friend via the social networking site, and discovered she has been a vegetarian for many, many years. I asked her if she'd be willing to share some of her favorite veg-friendly recipes, and she happily (and generously) obliged. When I was perusing her recipe list, this recipe for Mexican Lasagna immediately caught my eye.

I only changed a few things from her original recipe, based off of what I already had in my kitchen. I also accidentally added 2 tablespoons of cumin versus 2 1/2 teaspoons...which, for me, ended up being a beautiful mistake. But if you're not a fan of intense spicy/smoky flavors, then stick with the 2 1/2 teaspoons.

Mexican Lasagna
Yields: 4-5 servings
-2 tsp olive oil
-11/4 cups diced white onion
-2 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
-1 cup salsa (I used Trader Joe's Fire-Roasted Tomato)
-1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 jalapeno, diced and seeded
-1 tbsp. dried cilantro
-Lemon juice
-Tabasco sauce
-Salt and black pepper, to taste
-4 (8-in.) whole-wheat flour tortillas
-11⁄4 cups shredded cheese (I used Stop and Shop Mexican Three-Cheese blend)
Garnish: reduced-fat sour cream

1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Spray a square casserole dish with nonstick spray.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and jalapenos; season with cumin, salt and black pepper. Add a few dashes each of the Tabasco sauce and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, and stir in cilantro.
3. Put 1 tortilla in baking dish. Top with 11⁄2 cups bean mixture; sprinkle with 1⁄4 cup cheese. Repeat layers 4 times (I did only 3 more layers).
4. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly around edges and cheese is melted. Remove foil and cook for 5 minutes more. Let lasagna cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream, if desired.

Z makes a mean Mexican Lasagna, and nothing can beat it. But this version was definitely fantastic, in its own way. I loved the texture from the chunky salsa and black beans, and the copious amounts of cumin were a surprisingly nice touch to the dish. This was one flavor-packed lasagna that was also surprisingly light, and nutritious to boot.

What new recipes have you made lately?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Memorable Irish Meals

On occasion, I still do some freelance writing for my hometown newspaper, The Nashua Telegraph. I recently wrapped up an article for their upcoming St. Patrick's Day issue regarding local people who make or cherish traditional Irish recipes - that have their own, unique twist to them.

Writing this story and speaking with several different people in the area really made me think about my own upbringing in an Irish/English/Scottish household. Every Sunday, my mother would make a big meal - that would provide plenty of leftovers throughout the week - and nine times out of 10, this Sunday dinner was chocked full of Irish fare.

This morning, I'd like to take a little walk down memory lane to give you some insight into my family's Irish dinners/recipes growing up.

Shepherd's Pie: My mother made Shepherd's Pie a lot. I still crave that comforting flavor of warm mashed potatoes, although now I'm looking for the perfect vegetarian-friendly version. My mom's version was very budget-friendly. Her Shepherd's Pie was made with instant mashed potatoes, cream-style corn and scrambled beef with jarred tomato sauce. Growing up, it was delicious.

Pot Roast with Boiled Potatoes and Cabbage: A Sunday dinner staple in my house growing up. I remember the house always smelt so amazing on Sundays.

Irish Coffee: Every Thanksgiving - once I got older, and to this day - we have our own version of "Irish coffee." Our Irish coffee is made with Amaretto instead of whiskey. And it's delicious (and, when my mother makes it, very strong).

What are some childhood food memories you cherish?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Thai Tapas at Ronnarong

Last week, Z and I used an Eversave we had at Ronnarong in Union Square. We were both really excited to try out this place, not only because it's a restaurant we'd never been to before in Somerville, but also because the eatery serves up Thai tapas - and I can never turn down tapas.

For a Thai restaurant, Ronnarong also had a very impressive beer list, with a handful of solid, local craft brews. To start the meal, I enjoyed a Stone Levitation Ale, which was slightly dark and hoppy, but still smooth and refreshing.

I can't remember what beer Z ordered (because I'm the best girlfriend and blogger ever), but he clearly enjoyed his brew, too.

For our meal, we split a few tapas as well as an entree. To start, we had the Tofu Satay ($6).

The Tofu Satay was served with thick-cut, grilled zucchini and a slightly spicy sauce. The presentation was vibrant and immensely appetizing, and the dish as a whole was wonderfully light while still packed with flavor.

The second tapas we shared was the Thai Roll ($6), which came with your choice of chicken or veggie filling. Obviously, we opted for the veggie.

These crispy, flaky gems tasted marvelous dipped in the sweet-and-tangy sauce that accompanied them. Although these rolls were simple in flavors, they were addicting and fried to a crisp perfection.

The entree Z and I shared was the Green Curry ($12), which normally comes with roast duck - but, thankfully, Ronnarong is widely open to substitutions, so we got our Green Curry with tofu. 

Our Green Curry was served with sticky white rice (although we also had the choice of brown), and the spicy, borderline creamy sauce paired beautifully with the large chunks of tofu and slew of veggies (which included mushrooms and bamboo shoots). Z and I did discover a nice, long, black hair in the middle of our entree - but when a meal's this good, a simply - albeit unfortunate - mistake like that can easily be forgotten quickly. 

What's your favorite Thai restaurant in the Boston area?

Ronnarong on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 7, 2011

'The Book of Mormon' and NYC

I traveled to New York City this past weekend with Z and his family to see the Broadway show "The Book of Mormon." The musical, albeit insanely offensive, was incredibly hilarious. Trey Parker (one of the creators of the show), Tom Hanks and Phil Donahue were even in the audience. It was a fantastic, star-studded evening. The show is allegedly sold out through September - but if you can get tickets, and if you have a sense of humor, I highly recommend you see this musical.

In addition to the show, some other highlights from our weekend included a Crumbs Bake Shop sighting...

Day drinking in Midtown, complete with fried food and Yuengling on tap...

As well as an amazing dinner at The National, craft brews at The Stag's Head, and eating New York pizza at 3 a.m. The weekend wasn't very economical, but it was a fantastic weekend regardless, and Z's family was generous enough to treat us to many meals, the show itself, and a night stay at the W. I am one lucky lady, and thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. The best part? I got to spend solid quality time with family and friends.

How was your weekend?