Sunday, October 30, 2016

State Park Cambridge

State Park in Cambridge is located in One Kendall Square, one of many excellent restaurants that can be found here. Luckily, permit parking only is suspended on Sundays otherwise parking would be impossible.

They are downstairs and have only a plastic banner on the railing to announce the place. There is outside seating and it was in use.

This is the smaller dining room next to the windows.

Big bar area and a larger dining room in the far corner.

I was going to be brave and try their Nashville HOT Fried Chicken and when I asked what parts I would get, the answer was two breasts and one thigh. I then asked if I could have all dark and the answer was "No, it's all pre-portioned." I'm not going to order chicken breasts, so back to the menu. I settled for the EGG SANDWICH (7.00). "Scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar, dijonnaise,* brioche." I also got House Pickles and Mixed Greens. I must admit that it looked more like a fried egg than scrambled but the whole thing tasted OK and the bread was very soft. The salad was tasty and nicely dressed but the pickles were too sweet.

I also ordered a side of CRISPY POTATOES (5.00) with tobacco onions, essence. I have no idea what the two last items are, except for the onions. The potatoes were cooked perfectly and nicely crisped up and well seasoned and the onions were super tasty. This was an excellent dish and I finished all of it. I guess I have to go back to WuBurger Gourmet for their Sunday special of Nashville HOT fried chicken. At least there I can get all dark.

One Kendall Square, Building 300, Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone number (617) 848-4355

State Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, October 29, 2016

TWK Winchester

The Waterfield Kitchen in Winchester is part of the Serenitee group of restaurants (about 8 currently) and opened this year in Winchester. This seems to be a terrible location since I have seen numerous restaurant perish here. I hope these guys are doing better, especially after today's delightful visit.

I had the presence of mind to sign up for their rewards program and that gets me a free appetizer and this month's special members reward was a free Maki roll from TWK. Parking in the center can be iffy and to complicate things, today was trick and treat day in Winchester, so the center was filled with all kinds of strange creatures,

The inside is very pleasant with windows seating to the right and booth seating to the left.

The lower level now contains a big bar and high tops next to the windows.

The free maki ended up being the KOBE MAKI ($21). "Shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber and crab meat, topped with lightly torched kobe beef sashimi, scallions, and house sweet & spicy sauce." It was humungous, the biggest maki I have ever seen, but was really delicious and the beef was excellent. What a treat!

I decided to go for appetizers since I knew that there would be a lot of food. The SALMON TATAKI ($16) was lightly seared, with house ponzu sauce. Top notch quality on the salmon and the sauce was excellent.

Next was the FRIED CALAMARI ($13) with shishito peppers and sambal aioli. If you think the calamari was overcooked, you were right and it was also stone cold, so back it went.

The second version was perfectly cooked and piping hot and really delicious. I love the shishito peppers, not too spicy and the aioli had a bit of a kick. It took a while for the food to arrive but overall it was a very pleasant meal. I was very pleased that they took the expensive appetizer off the bill and not the cheapest one. That's customer service. The prices are high but so is the quality of the food. I'll be back to try their burger. They only do lunch Fri-Sun.

All the artwork is from local artists and is all for sale.

14 Thompson Street, Winchester, MA 01890
Phone number (781) 729-0204

TWK The Waterfield Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Al Fresca Ristorante Tewksbury

I had a craving for some Italian food, so I set out for Al Fresca Ristorante in Tewksbury on this cold Wednesday.

I must admit that the outside wasn't very exciting. It's located in a tiny strip mall just after the Country Club on Rte 38.

The inside, on the other hand, was very pleasant with a beautiful mural in the back.

Big well-lit bar, there is some high tops to my right.

Nice furniture and plates and some warm bread with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar promptly arrived. The silverware, on the other hand, was incredibly cheap even if it was wrapped in a linen napkin.

I thought that the Haddock Francese ($13.95) with linguine was a bit on the expensive side for lunch but look at the size of that fish! The fish was perfectly cooked as was the linguine and the sauce was excellent. I know you aren't supposed to have cheese with fish, but I like cheese.

If you are still hungry, the desserts are on display and they looked good.

Address 1768 Main St, Tewksbury, MA 01876
Phone number (978) 851-3332

Al Fresca Ristorante Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Kyoto Tewksbury

I have been to Kyoto Japanese Steakhouse in Tewksbury before and I didn't recognize the inside area at all, but it was a long time ago.

Just off Rte 38 and of course there is plenty of parking.

Big bar with the Sushi counter and chef in the background. Most of their lunch business was at the bar.

The dining room and this was just about how busy they got. The menu is the standard Chinese/Japanese fare.

Miso soup and salad is standard at lunch. The miso soup was very weak but the salad had plenty of dressing, in the bottom of the bowl.

I thought that the Sashimi Lunch (11.95) were priced right. "12 pcs of assorted raw fish & sushi rice". The rice was seasoned, almost overseasoned, maybe a tad too much vinegar. The fish was surprisingly good, super fresh and tasty even if was sliced on the thinner side.

The Teppanyaki room is open for lunch but remained empty. A pleasant lunch and the service was friendly.

Address: 1487 Main Street Tewksbury, MA 01876
Phone: 978-863-9889

Kyoto Japanese Steak House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Real Italian Gusto Medford

Real Italian Gusto in Medford opened a year ago and to celebrate, the owners Matteo and Francesca Ronzio, had invited us to a Boston's Food Writer and Taste Maker's Dinner. Everything is made fresh and they import much of their ingredients from Italy. Both Matteo and Francesca are native to Italy, Matteo from Florence and Francesca from Naples. Medford has fallen off my radar after they introduced their infernal parking meters. Parking is free after 6:00 PM. They should take a hint from Waltham where the mayor removed all the parking meters and I'm much more inclined to visit Waltham now.

The foyer was filled with beautiful people when I arrived. I thought I knew most of the bloggers in Boston, but I only recognized two other writers. There were Bellinis and Mimosas to be had at the small bar up front.

The interior is very sleek and modern and the dining room is simply beautiful.

Of course, they have a gas fired pizza oven imported from Italy that cooks the pizza in seconds. Well, almost. Our fresh pasta was waiting.

The dining room was filled with charming touches like the wine racks and the clock you can see here.

We started with some antipasti. A nice salad and the TAGLIERE SALUMI "tasting of a mix of cold cuts" was of the highest quality.

The O'CUOPPO "Mozzarella sticks, arancini small croquette, fried polenta, fried vegetables and fried dough" looked really good and I only tried the arancini and it was excellent with the rice cooked just right.

Two of several pizzas that was available. The MARGHERITA (left) "Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Basil, Parmiggiano" is a classic and was very good. The MEZZALUNA (right) "Mozzarella, ricotta, salami, tomato sauce, prosciutto, arugula, parmigiano" was seriously delicious. The crust was very light and thin and Matteo said it was very low on calories. Excellent pizzas.

Pasta time. To the left, we have Rigatoni Pesto, the pesto was well balanced and, of course, the pasta was perfectly cooked. To the right, we have Pappardelle Alla Bolognese. The pasta was thin and super silky and the bolognese was very palatable. The best pasta I have had in a long time.

Sausage with Polenta. The sausage was very good as was the sauce. I'm sure the polenta was excellent, everyone around the table seemed happy with it, but I have never liked polenta and I don't think I will, regardless how well it's made. I did eat some with the sausage and sauce but it's not for me.

Time for dessert and it was Cannolis all over the place. Crispy shells with super smooth ricotta cheese inside. What's wrong with pizza for dessert? Calzone Alla Nutella was delicious. What a pleasant meal this was. I must say that everything was top notch from the interior to the flatware and silverware to the hospitality. Just look at those beautiful plates we had. They are open for dinner six days a week (closed Mondays) and serve lunch on Fridays and Saturdays. I usually grumble when fellow bloggers don't have business cards, so of course, I promptly ran out of mine.

Disclaimer: I was invited to this event but all opinions are my own.

Address 24 High Street Medford, MA 02155 
Phone Number 781-396-1656

Real Italian Gusto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Smoke Shop Cambridge

The Smoke Shop Cambridge was opened by Andy Husband, a well-known Boston Restaurateur. Formerly, he worked with Chris Schlesinger at the legendary East Coast Grill. But even more significantly, he is one of the founding members of IQUE, the first New England team to ever win the Jack Daniel's World Championship BBQ Invitational in 2009. They are located in One Kendall Square, not to be confused with 1 Kendall Square that is a completely different location.

Nice looking with a glassed in bar area overlooking the square. They also serve outside on the small patio.

It was bright and sunny in the bar that had a number of high-tops next to the windows.

The dining area in the back with an open kitchen.

I decided to go with the Pit Boss ($26) "Choice of Three Meats & Three Sides." I went with wings, ribs and brisket. For the sides, I picked Bacon Collards "blackstrap molasses," Crispy Brussel Sprouts "hazelnuts, lemon" and Pit Beans. Did I mention that I hated Brussel sprouts growing up? The beans were very tasty but on the sweet side, not as sweet as Boston baked beans and a good dose of the Gold sauce helped out a bit. The Collards had a good consistency with a good amount of bacon. Again a tad sweet, were is the vinegar? The Brussel sprouts were, to my amazement, pretty good and I kept on eating them. The wings were pretty tasty with a nice rub on the outside. The brisket was tender and smokey and done really well. The (small) ribs were the best of the bunch. Tender, smokey with a good bark and NOT falling off the bone tender. Overall a really good meal even if it was on the pricier side.

You get your own BBQ Sauces on the table. The Hot wasn't very hot but the Gold had some heat and was pretty delicious. All my leftovers were nicely packaged.  Kendall Square in the backroom with The Blue Room to the left and The State Park across and down.

One Kendall Sq, Boston, MA 02118 
Phone number (617) 577-7427

Smoke Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato