Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thanksgiving Is Just Around the Corner

With Thanksgiving coming up in a few weeks I wanted to find a good website with recipes for Thanksgiving dinner. Then I found the site "Holidays on the Net" which gives a complete list of recipes for every holiday occasion including Thanksgiving. Their Thanksgiving menu includes the usual turkey dinner and pumpkin pie but I thought the Pueblo Pie and the Green Onion and Cornbread Stuffing were more creative. They also provide recipes for what to do with the leftovers, which are useful recipes because I know that three days after Thanksgiving I am sick to death of the same old food. Check the site out and use it for all your holiday plans.
Here's a link to the site:

A Different Side of Roxbury

I found this second article in the Boston Globe while I was looking over yesterdays paper and I found it interesting because I typically don't think of Roxbury as being an agricultural center. However Nadine Nelson proves me wrong. Take a tour of the culinary richness of Roxbury with Nelson, the owner and chief of Discerning Taste.

The Boston Globe
October 31, 2007
Eating Locally
The Street Where You Live

By Genevieve Rajewski, Globe Correspondent

"A short walk from Nadine Nelson's home is a small farm where tuft-headed hens cluck contentedly and grape vines twine the latticework in the late autumn sun. "Look as these! They're just perfect," says Nelson, stooping to pluck a handful of ripe red, yellow, and orange heirloom tomatoes.
Most Bostonians don't think of Roxbury as a center of agricultural bounty, but crops and cuisines flourish there - so much so that Nelson, a chef, now offers a culinary tour and cooking class in partnership with the nonprofit group Discover Roxbury.
Nelson loves exploring the neighborhood. "Roxbury is like Harlem in that it's the black mecca of Boston," she says. "It's the convocation of cuisines of African descent. And there are more food gardens than there are in Jamaica Plain and the South End."
Next month, Nelson's tour starts not far from her home in Fort Hill, with a discussion of the neighborhood's current cultural influences. "The population here is primarily African, Caribbean, Latin American, and African-American," she says. Those cuisines all make use of stewing and hot flavors as well as okra and other greens, she says."

Continue reading at the Boston Globe's website:

Pumpkin Gingerbread Recipe

I know today is technically November 1st but I still think Pumpkin Gingerbread applies in November, after all there is Thanksgiving to celebrate. I found this recipe off of The Boston Globe's food section on October 31st and I wanted to share it with all of you in case you didn't happen to get the Globe yesterday. It sounds yummy! I'm going to try it out for myself soon.

October 31, 2007
The Boston Globe
Pumpkin Gingerbread
Makes on 10 inch cake

Butter (for the pan)
Flour (for the pan)
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans, lightly toasted and cooled
3/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can (15 ounces) plain, solid-pack 100 percent pumpkin

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a 10-inch tube pan. Brush it with butter. Line the bottom with a circle of waxed paper cut to fit it and butter the paper. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
3. In a small bowl, toss the pecans and ginger with 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture.
4. In an electric mixer, cream the unsalted butter on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in the granulated sugar in 2 additions, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Add the light brown sugar and beat for 1 minute more. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Blend in the molasses and vanilla.
5. With the mixer set on low speed, blend in the pumpkin until combined. The mixture will look slightly curdled at this point. That's OK.
6. On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions. Scrape down the bowl often with a rubber spatula. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. With a large spoon, stir in the pecan mixture. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
7. Bake the cake for 1 hour, or until set and a toothpick inserted into the center is clean or has a few moist crumbs attached when withdrawn. The cake will pull away slightly from the sides of the pan.
8. Set the cake on a rack to cool for 15 minutes. Place a cooling rack on top, carefully invert the cake, lift away the pan, discard the waxed paper, then invert the cake to sit right side up on the rack. Leave to cool completely. The cake may be made a day in advance up to this point. Store in an airtight keeper.

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1. In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar and ginger.
2. Sift the sugar mixture through a small strainer onto the cake. Use a serrated knife to cut the cake into slices. - Lisa Yockelson

Vinny T's of Boston

Although most college students in the Boston area have probably already discovered the wonders of Vinny T's on Boylston Street, I thought I would put up this post for all the freshmen out there that are new to the city. Vinny T's is known for its heaping portions of tasty Italian food sold at cheap prices. You can order the standard Italian fare such as chicken parmigiana and chicken Marsala or be more adventurous and try their Cavatapi Con Pollo or Salmone alla Griglia. Vinny T's is a chain restaurant and has locations in the Back Bay area, in Brookline, as well as numerous other towns surrounding the Boston metropolis. The service is fast and the staff is friendly as they are used to serving college students. It is a big restaurant with an upstairs and downstairs level so there is no need to make a reservation if you are only going with a few people. However, as with most restaurants if you are coming with a large group during busy hours make sure to make a reservation ahead of time. More importantly, call them again to confirm the reservation. I tried to reserve a table for me and fourteen of my friends for my twenty first birthday and then discovered another restaurant I wanted to go to. However, when I call Vinny T's to cancel my "reservation" they had no reservations booked in their system. I don't know if they typically make these kind of mistakes, but it is always good to double check on reservations with any restaurant. I guess I'm just lucky I decided to go to another place!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


This is an authentic Japanese restaurant with a location in both Boston and Brookline. The inside of the restaurant has a traditional Japanese decor with simple wood beam structures arched over many of the tables. When you step inside Ginza you feel as if you have traveled to the eastern edges of the world and entered the fascinating country of Japan. All the waiters serve you wearing brightly colored kimonos which adds to the cultural atmosphere.

They also have a wide range of meals to choose from. If you dare to be adventurous I would recommend trying their sushi or makimono. The Crazy Maki is especially good. Otherwise there are many meals with cooked meat and fish to pick from. My friend first introduced me to the restaurant in Brookline last fall and I fell in love with it immediately. I lived in NYC this summer and went to several Japanese restaurants, but was unable to find one that I liked as much as Ginza. I found that many of the Japanese restaurants in NYC tried to be trendy and hip by playing American music and using flashy modern decorations thus losing the Japanese cultural experience that is so essential to enjoying authentic Japanese food.

I have only been to Ginza for lunch so if you choose to go for lunch as well, I would recommend going much earlier than their closing time of 2:30 p.m. One time my friends and I went there after class for lunch and the waiters were rushing us to eat our food and get out of the restaurant. However, far more traumatic was the many excruciating hours of stomach pain that I endured due to eating bad sushi. The first time I went to Ginza I did not have this problem, so it may be that the fish was sitting out on the counter too long because it was near their afternoon closing time and they probably could not keep the sushi until the evening hours. So the moral to this story is to get to the restaurant in Brookline at 11:30 a.m. when they open, for fresh sushi. Since sushi is raw fish there is always the chance that this could happen at any restaurant. And after getting sick I still think the benefits far outweigh the risks and dangers. Another little interesting fact that I just learned about Ginza is that on Friday and Saturdays the restaurants in both Boston and Brookline stay open into the early morning hours. This is pretty unusual in a city that completely shuts down by 2 a.m. But then again considering the information I just gave you, it might be advisable to refrain from eating at least the uncooked foods during those late or should I say early hours.

If you want to visit this restaurant I would suggest checking out their website which is amazing in itself, because it offers a 360 degree view of both restaurants in Boston and Brookline. The website is extremely interactive, colorful, and easy to use

All in all Ginza is a great restaurant and I encourage everyone to check it out for themselves.

Brown Sugar Cafe

This is a cute little Thai food place that has two locations, with one restaurant in the Fenway area and the other on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. After checking out their website I just learned that there is a third restaurant owned by the same people in Cambridge except it is called The Similans. I personally have only been to the Brown Sugar Cafe in the Fenway but I am sure they are all equally good. The restaurant is a small freestanding brown building that for some reason reminds me of a beach side shack. Inside the environment is warm and inviting with decorations covering the walls and flowers on each table. I typically stick to the curry dishes which are delicious but there are a plenty of appetizing meals on their menu to choose from. This is also a good place for vegetarians to visit to get a curry dish because you can choose not to add meat. My health conscious roommate is a vegetarian and ordered a curry dish there with eggplant and she loved it. The price range for dinner runs anywhere from $12 to $18 or $19 for seafood dishes.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bangkok City Restaurant

Yet again, here is another gem located near Northeastern University and The Berkley School of Music at 167 Massachusetts Avenue. This is a rather large restaurant for Boston's standards and sports a nice spacious selection of seating inside. Customers can choose to sit at a table like in a typical restaurant or they can sit on cushions on the floor in a more traditional Thai style. As the name of the restaurant reveals, the food is based around a wide variety of Thai food. There are two sections of the menu- one that caters more to American tastes and the second section of the menu offers traditional Thai dishes. I have brought my friends here multiple times and I have yet to have a bad experience. For first timers, I would recommend trying the Green Curry dish with chicken and brown rice if you are health conscious or white rice if just don't care.

Betty's Wok and Noodle Diner

Don't let the exterior of this diner fool you into thinking it is a grease joint. In fact I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a nice restaurant with amazing food when I first visited it last January. The restaurant serves a unique fusion of Asian and Latino food that I have never seen anywhere else in Boston. And the music is always hopping with a blend of Latino, Asian, and American classics. The atmosphere is fun and cheerful and in the evenings you can expect to eat at a candle lit table. The extra icing on the cake however, is the staff. Often in Boston restaurants I find that you have to sacrifice good service for excellent food or vice versa, but this place has it all. The waiters are extremely nice and attentive. All the waiters make sure to greet you and say goodbye to you at the end of your meal even if they were not personally serving your table. There's something about this added effort that makes for a pleasant night or lunch out. Although the prearranged meals on the menu are tasty, I find that if you are going to Betty's you should mix it up a little and design your own dish which Betty's is known for. As their website explains,

Choose a noodle or rice dish and then add either beef, shrimp, chicken, or vegetables--or some combination of those. Then one of the Lucky 7 sauces--like Cuban Chipotle-Citrus or Fiery Kung Pao--will take your selection wherever you want it to go.

This is a great place for Northeastern students to go to because it is conveniently located at 250 Huntington Avenue near the corner of Huntington Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue across from Symphony Hall. The prices are fairly reasonable with most meals averaging around $15 or $16. Get your friends together for a night out and enjoy this unique Asian-Latino food experience.