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Everything’s Comin’ up Beverly

1 Mar beverly-ma-city sign

When I first moved out of the city of Boston it was to Salem, MA. The Love Muffin and I had a fantastic apartment right near the walking mall on Essex Street and The Wharf. But as time went on, we realized a house was in our future and decided to settle one town farther North in Beverly, MA. Beverly is great. It’s on the water (we have multiple beaches), there is a cute downtown, we are a stones throw from Boston (30 minute train ride into North Station) and we are still close to all of the things we fell in love with in Salem (ahem, 62 Restaurant).

beverly-ma-city sign

There is a great art scene downtown with Monserrat College of Arts, Cabot Cinema and the Larcom Theater. I know you’re thinking, Cdog, this is great and all but what does this have to do with food?? Well, I’m getting there. The food scene in Beverly has changed for the better since we moved here five years ago. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing Beverly restaurants that have been around for a long time (you hear me, Nick’s Roast Beef, Super Sub, Anmol). However, in the last two years there have been some AMAZING places open up. These aren’t just fancy shmancy sit down restaurants (although there are some of those too).

Cabot Cinema

Are you looking for a hip (really good) hot dog stand? Beverly has it. 
Looking at you, Scotty Dog. This place is a Saturday lunch must (my recommendation: CFO Dog)

Are you looking for authentic Naples-style pizza? Beverly has it. 
Prides Piccola Napoletana is more than just your run of the mill pizza place. They have a special wood-fired pizza oven. Just one of four in the world, made in Naples, Italy (this is in Beverly guys!!!).

Are you looking for barrel-aged homemade cocktails, plus local eats? Beverly has it. 
Barrel House was one of the first restaurants that was new on Cabot Street a few years ago and they continue to turn out amazing food and drinks. And don’t think you can just walk in, this place is booked almost nightly. Whether you’re having one of their barrel aged cocktails (to.die.for.) or snacking on their version of poutine or eggs and bacon, coming to Barrel House won’t disappoint.

Are you looking for Mexican food? Beverly has it.
La Victoria Taqueria is the little sister to (now closed…cries) Celito Lindo. La Victoria serves up tasty tacos, quesadillas and (the hard to find in this next of the woods) tortas. The Love Muffin and I frequent this place and Miss C loves their black beans (beans beans beans).

This is just the tip of the iceberg, folks.

We have a disgustingly great coffee roasting company, Atomic Cafe Coffee Roasters and Cafe Gusto serves up coffee, gelato and Italian pastries (yes please!).

And not for nothing, but some of Salem’s finest have found out about the hidden gem of the North Shore. Funky gift shop Roost & Company is building out their second location in Beverly, set to open in the spring. And popular Salem burger joint, A&B Burger is trying to move their operation from Salem to Beverly. By Summer 2015, our downtown scene will be even better!

Cabot Street - Beverly, MA

So long story longer, if you’re in the Boston area and haven’t visited Beverly…what are you waiting for?

See you on Cabot Street!

~Cdog

Legal Oysteria in Charlestown: Review

21 Jul wpid-20140717_180941.jpg

After Olives made its grand departure from Charlestown, we were interested to see what would become of the space. It is a great location and a place like Olives was needed in the area. We were excited to hear that Legal Sea Foods was going to be opening up an oysteria in the space and would be serving Italian seafood. After months of renovation, Legal Oysteria officially opened on Wednesday, July 16, 2014.

wpid-20140717_180941.jpgStud Muffin and I decided to check it out on Friday night for dinner. We were warmly greeted by several hostesses and we put our name in for a table. There was about a 30 minute wait, which was fine as we wanted to get a drink. Instead of getting a buzzer to tell us when our table was ready, we gave them our cell phone number and they text us when it was ready. I haven’t seen that in Boston yet, but thought that was a cool feature.

For drinks, I got a class of Sauvignon Blanc and SM got a Jack’s Abbey beer. As we waited for our table and enjoyed our drinks, we also enjoyed some people watching. We noticed that there were almost as many employees in the restaurant as there were patrons. I know it is likely because it was only the third day of being open, but it was a bit overwhelming and it just made it seem a lot more crowded than it needed to be. The bar was packed with people grabbing a drink after work and every table was full. We sat down to dinner within 20 to 25 minutes of putting in our name.

The menu has some great options for seafood lovers and those not so keen. It is broken up into Apps, Small Plates, Salads and Soups, Entrees and Sides (entrees are served a la carte). We decided to try some of the small plates including the Salt Cod Crostini (delicious, though very salty), Chickpea & Shrimp Fritters (with a spicy, bacon aoili dipping sauce – this was my favorite) & Ricotta Fritters (these were little fried balls of ricotta cheese served with a spicy honey dipping sauce. It was sinful, we saved them for dessert they were so delicious). We also shared a Sopressata pizza, which was stracciatella, banana peppers, spicy red sauce.

All in all, we had a good experience. The server was cheery, knowledgeable and attentive. The atmosphere was good, still as loud as Olives was, but the fist-pumping music he used to play is no longer blaring. We are glad to see a new neighborhood restaurant and we’ll definitely be back. They have valet parking available, but there is typically plenty of two-hour parking spots available around the neighborhood.

Follow Legal Sea Foods on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Cities for Pizza… Hint: Boston tops NYC.

19 Aug

Hey Fatman,

Looky here… Boston tops NYC on this list from TripAdvisor for best cities for pizza.  Chicago isn’t even listed. What do you say, is this list ludicrous or spot on?

The top 10 cities for pizza, as determined by TripAdvisor:

  1. San Diego, California
  2. Las Vegas, Nevada
  3. Boston, Massachusetts
  4. New York City, New York
  5. Seattle, Washington
  6. Austin, Texas
  7. San Francisco, California
  8. Indianapolis, Indiana
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  10. Phoenix, Arizona

If you don’t know why I am calling out Fatman, read this.

http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/08/10/and-the-top-10-cities-for-pizza-are/

 

 

Butternut Squash & Fried Sage Pizza

27 Sep

Few things signal that Fall is officially here like butternut squash. Admittedly it is one of my favorite Fall veggies – firm, sweet and goes with almost everything. I found this recipe during the summer and knew I would save it for the first cool Fall Friday. The Love Muffin and I tend to make pizza on Fridays. Let me rephrase, the Love Muffin makes the dough, sauce, toppings and I just arrange them while drinking wine or beer. It’s such a great relationship that we have 😉

Butternut Squash Pizza with Crispy Sage
Yield = one pizza

1 recipe of pizza dough or 1 pre-made ball of dough (we used wheat dough for this recipe)
1 small butternut squash (about a pound, but you will likely have leftover squash)
olive oil
kosher salt
2 cloves garlic
fresh ricotta cheese
a few sprigs thyme, leaves removed
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
10-15 sage leaves
oil for frying (we used olive oil)
Parchment paper

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Remove the skin of the squash: Halve the squash and remove the seeds. The best way to cut the squash so that it cooks well on the pizza is to cut it into thin slices. We luckly had a fairly straight (rather than bulbous) squash so this was easy. You’ll want the slices to be no larger than a 1/4 of an inch thick. The thicker, the longer they take to pre-cook.

2. Place the slices of squash on parchment paper on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with kosher salt to taste, toss to coat, redistribute onto sheet in one layer and place in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender.

3. Meanwhile, peel and mince the garlic and mix it with the ricotta cheese, set aside. After rolling out the pizza dough and placing it on a prepared baking sheet, brush dough with olive oil. Then top it with salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Spread a thin layer of fresh ricotta over the crust. Sprinkle with fresh thyme to taste. Top the ricotta with baked squash slices. Top with more grated Parmesan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, fry the sage. Heat the oil in a sauce pan on medium, high heat. You can test the oil to find out if it’s hot enough by flicking a water droplet off of your finger. If it sizzles, it’s ready. The sage leaves should take no longer than 5 seconds in hot oil to crisp up. I tossed in one leaf first to see how it would fry up but it was pretty easy to tell when it was done (it curls!). So we threw in the rest.  Let the sage cool on a plate with a paper towel.

5. Remove the pizza from the oven and top with the crispy sage. Voila! Pizza time!

Butternut squash, garlic ricotta, and fried sage pizza

This was a great pizza and it gave me a few ideas for new pizzas to make. Here’s to enjoying all of Fall’s bounty!

~cdog

This recipe is adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen.

Hummus and Grilled-Zucchini Pizza

11 Aug

Big props to Food and Wine Magazine for this little gem of a summer recipe. As I was perusing through the latest issue (yes, I’m a subscriber) I came across a recipe that piqued my interest – garlic hummus and grilled zucchini pizza. I was intrigued because of the lack of tomato and frankly, the lack of cheese so when the weekly menu planning came along we got the necessary ingredients to make this pizza.

© Con Poulos Courtesy of FoodandWine.com

Adapted slightly from the original recipe at Food and Wine:

  1. One 7-ounce container of roasted-garlic hummus (I prefer Sabra)
  2. Extra-virgin olive oil
  3. Salt
  4. Freshly ground pepper
  5. 1 medium zucchini, sliced on the diagonal 1/4 inch thick
  6. 1 ball pizza dough with extra flour in case of stickiness
  7. Parmesan Cheese
  8. Pastry brush & rubber spatula
  9. 11×13 inch baking pan

The Love Muffin makes his own dough, but you can buy pre-made dough. I’d lie and say it’s just as good as ours, but in reality it’s not. Mooooooving on. The original recipe calls for using a pizza stone, but we usually don’t. It also calls for cooking the zucchini before placing it on the pizza. I prefer zucchini less cooked so we just let it cook on the pizza. Here are the adapted directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 500° . Remove the hummus packaging and stir in the garlic that sits on top. Let it sit while you prep the dough and veggie.
  2. Slice the zucchini in 1/4 inch slices on the diagonal and set aside.
  3. Flour the bottom of an 11×13 inch baking pan. Flatten out the dough to your desired thickness.
  4. Once you have the dough to your liking, drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil. (We use a pastry brush to spread the oil across the dough).
  5. Sprinkle the dough with salt, fresh-cracked pepper, and grated Parmesan.
  6. Using a spatula, spread the hummus and top it with the sliced zucchini. Add more grated Parmesan on top of the zucchini and slide her in the oven.
  7. Cook for about 10 minutes. The crust should be slightly brown with the vegetables slightly wrinkly and the cheese on top browning. Remove from the oven and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. I know, I know, it’s not easy.

This was honestly one of the best homemade pizzas we’ve made. The garlicy hummus adds so much flavor and now you have another use for all of the zucchini from the garden.

Enjoy!

~cdog

Review: Kernel Seasons

20 May

What’s better than staying in on a Friday night, popping a bag of Act II popcorn and curling up on the couch with your honey to watch a movie? You’re right, not much… So you can imagine my excitement when The Eats asked to review Kernel Seasons in three different favors… buffalo, bacon cheddar ( did someone say bacon?) and pizza!

Step 1: pop popcorn…

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Step 2: apply one of these flavors…

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Step 3: enjoy…
When I first tried the buffalo flavor, I won’t lie, I went into a coughing fit and couldn’t stop until i drank some water and Hunkles did the same. We both tried again but the same thing happened.

However, the bacon cheddar and pizza flavors weren’t as bad. We may try those on some veggies or something else soon. But I have to say that the popcorn flavoring experiment was not a success.

But thanks to Kernel Seasons for the complimentary seasonings. We look forward to trying the others on some veggies!

Check out Kernel Seasons other flavors and what they are all about on their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter!

– kteb

Olives is Back!

4 May

Soon after I moved to Charlestown, Todd English’s Olives suffered from a grease fire and was closed for more than a year. My sis and bro-in-law loved the place and were devastated when they heard it may not re-open. However, after several months of construction, Olives is back!

Thanks to Eater Boston for the image

We stopped by on Wednesday night to check it out and we were surprised and thrilled to find out that they were still in the “soft opening” phase, which meant free food. We only had to pay for the booze. And booze we did, I had a nice malbec and wish I paid attention to the brand because it was really good. Stud Muffin had Ommegang, which he discovered last year at the Life is Good Festival and anytime he sees it on the beer list, he gets it. On the topic of booze, the bar is huge and probably seats about 40, maybe more, people. My favorite part, they have gold fish aquariums built into the bar (don’t worry, they don’t serve sushi).

As for the food, there was no menu, the kitchen just made dishes and pushed them out to the tables. We received six dishes – ranging from flatbreads to appetizers to main courses and then dessert. They were sample sizes of menu items, and we only saw about a 1/4 of the menu. Below is a rundown of the dishes we tried:

Pizza flatbread – roma tomatoes, mozzarella cheese served on focaccia bread

Beef carpaccio served over mixed greens with chive aioli

Fried mussels

Filet mignon over truffle sweet potato fries

Fresh carrot risotto with goat cheese and peas

Truffle oil mac and cheese with peas

Mini cupcakes – chocolate with a salted-maple frosting and a vanilla cupcake with a chocolate mousse frosting

All of the dishes were pretty darn good and I can see why my sis and bro-in-law were so upset when Olives was closed. Mr. English himself was there in the kitchen working hard to make sure every dish was perfect.

We are very excited to see that Olives is back and that there is another great dining option in Charlestown. Since there was no menu, I can’t say what the regular prices will look like, but from the old menu, which I was told about 50 percent of it will be new, it looks to be in the $20-$30 range for entrees.

We are looking forward to going back and experiencing the full menu. Seeing as it is only about 200 yards from my house, I have a feeling it will be a pretty regular spot for us.

AND if you decide to go, I better get a phone call letting me know you are in the area.

-kteb

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