Monday, October 1, 2007

A Quick, Cheap Meal

In college students don't have a lot of time to cook large tasty meals so they have to learn to improvise especially if they are not on a food plan. One product that I like in particular are Bertolli's Complete Skillet Meals for Two. They are often on sale in Shaws supermarket for $5.99 a piece. My favorite meal combination that they offer is Shrimp Scampi and Linguine which consists of pasta and shrimp with roasted peppers in a garlic sauce. Simply, put the contents of the bag into a skillet and cover and cook for about ten minutes. I usually cook a chicken breast in another frying pan first, slice it up, and then throw it into the other skillet when the pasta is almost cooked. The chicken adds a little bit more volume and protein to the meal. Buy yourself a nice bottle of white wine and have a glass with dinner. This usually lasts me two meals. It's quick, easy, and tasty.

Stay Away From The North Street Grille

From the title of this post I'm sure you've already guessed my opinion of this restaurant is negative to say the least. I have had such an urge to write about the North Street Grille ever since my friends and I stumbled upon it a few weeks ago. We had a horrible experience there and I feel it is necessary to warn others to stay away from this snobby overpriced establishment. Of all the places that I have eaten at in Boston this is probably the worst yet. Let me begin my story by explaining that it does not pay to travel off the beaten path in the North End and there are reasons why some restaurants have lines out the door while others do not.

The restaurants on the two main streets in the North End were all crowded when we went to get dinner one Friday night, so we decided to stray away from the main scene. After about a half hour we came across the North Street Grille and decided to eat there because the menu posted outside looked decent and the cost was within our price range. I was especially excited about the cob salad which was a creative combination of vegetables, sliced eggs, and various meats. However, once we were seated inside we discovered, much to our displeasure, that the menu was completely different than the one posted outside. After speaking with the waitress we learned that the chef likes to be creative and changes the menu every week. Although I commend the chef for trying to spice things up I thought the least the restaurant could do was change the menu outside especially if this is something they do every week. After all, it was a Friday night, typically the busiest night for restaurants. Nevertheless, we decided to stay and my friend and I both ordered a grilled chicken dish that sounded good. And then the wait started. Let me point out that this is a small restaurant and when we arrived there were only two other people seated. We chatted together for a while and waited. And then we waited some more. Finally about an hour and a half later our food finally arrived. I can tolerate waiting for food for a long time especially if the chef is making a special dish but the food that was put before us was anything but special. On a large white plate lay one small piece of chicken surrounded by three slices of tomato and three half slices of mozzarella balls. A vinaigrette dressing was lightly drizzled over the plate. I was able to manage about three bites of chicken before I hit the bone. Needless to say I was still hungry after I had finished. There was nothing special about the chicken either. I could have just as easily have gone to Shaws bought myself a chicken breast and thrown it in the oven and it would have tasted better. By the time I had paid tax and tip the meal came up to $19. When my friend and I told the waitress that we didn't like our meal she looked offended said she would inform the chief. It is my belief that if a customer doesn't like what you have served them you should offer them something else.

The only thing that is good about this restaurant is that the portions are so small that you don't have to count your calories. Still if anyone decides that they absolutely must try the North Street Grille for themselves I would suggest making plans to go to a second restaurant afterwards because you will still be hungry.

Frank Avruch: Boston's Man About Town

Here is a website that I found that gives reviews to some "classier" restaurants that my college budget often can't afford. Avruch provides commentary on restaurants all over Boston proper as well as the areas surrounding the city. His writing is crisp, clear, and to the point. I am hoping to be able to visit some of these places soon myself!

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Since I just went to Kashmir's this weekend for my birthday I thought I would start with a review of this restaurant. I had initially chosen Vinny T's, an excellent Italian restaurant on Boylston, as the location of my party, however the weekend before my birthday I happened to go to Kashmir and I thought it would be nice to have a change of pace.

Kashmir is an upscale Indian restaurant located at 279 Newbury Street. The first time I went to Kashmir with my friends I was actually looking for a place to smoke hookah and my friend mentioned that she knew of an Indian restaurant where they allowed you to smoke. If I may interrupt myself for a moment, since this blog is open to the public I feel that I must add that hookah is completely legal and it is possible to smoke it without becoming addicted. I'm not suggesting that hookah is healthy since it is not because the smoker inhales flavored tobacco through a large water pipe. For anyone who is unfamiliar with hookah here is a website that will explain the process:

When we arrived at the restaurant we were seated outside in a little patio area because smoking is not allowed inside. Kashmir offered a lot of hookah flavors to choose from but we eventually decided on the more traditional strawberry flavoring. We also ordered some tea and vegetable samosas as appetizers. A samosa is a triangular shaped fried bread stuffed with potatoes and peas covered in spices. The resturant had reasonable prices considering its location on Newbury Street. The average meal cost about $15. The food was delicious and it was at that point that I decided that I wanted to celebrate my birthday at Kashmir.

The first night I went to the restaurant I sat with two other people outside and for my birthday I had a group of about twelve people and we sat inside. After these two experiences I would recommend going to the restaurant with a small group because it is more enjoyable. Although the food and hookah is of high quality and the atmosphere of the restaurant is nice whether you are sitting inside or outside the service is definitely under par. You have to constantly call the waiters over if you want anything because once they have served you the food their part is pretty much done. During my birthday they didn't even come around to refill our water glasses or check to see if we needed anything. The huge tip was included in the bill so it didn't give the waiters much incentive to provide quality service.

Overall, if you enjoy Indian food and don't mind poor service I would recommend Kashmir as a nice restaurant to kick back and relax with a couple of friends on a Friday night. Here is a link to the restaurant so you can check it out for yourself.

An Introduction to My Blog

After my first attempt to create a blog about blood diamonds I have decided to switch to a much lighter topic and write about food venues around Boston. I love food and I especially enjoy going out to eat. I thought this would be the perfect topic to write about while I am in living in Boston because this city has a lot of great restaurants to choose from. Then again, there are also some not-so-great places in the city that I would like to warn people about. The thing that I love most about eating out in a metropolitan city like Boston, is that the diverse population is reflected in the restaurants and food venues around the city. Whether you are craving Chinese, Indian, or Italian food, Boston has it covered. I have been living in the city for a little over two years now so I feel confident that I am familiar enough with the restaurant scene to provide commentary on it. Plus, I will eat pretty much anything from any culture. I'm not a vegetarian so I'm not limited to commentary on just the veggies. Actually I would call myself more of a carnivore if I were to ever label my eating habits. That is not to say that I don't love my fruits and vegestables.

I will also be expanding this blog to talk about quick meals that college students can make. I'm not much of a chef and I often don't have a lot of time to make lavish meals for myself but I have discovered how to make some quick and tasty meals that I would like to share with others.