Sunday, November 16, 2014

Artisan Italian at the brand new Tuscan Kitchen in Burlington

Before Tuscan Kitchen opened, there wasn't much selection for Italian dining for business lunches in the Burlington area. L'Andana was only open for dinner, Macaroni Grill was more on the casual side so we were left with Papa Razzi's.  My office mates and I were stoked to hear about the highly anticipated Tuscan Kitchen opening in New England Executive Park.

We had people visiting from out of town and I picked the new venue to host our business dinner. Wendy, the Private Dining Manager was extremely helpful with helping us coordinate the event.  I liked that there were no room fees or minimum requirements although we did have to select from the pix fixe menu.

Our group started off the evening with the Salumi e Formaggi that stimulated everyone's taste buds. Each wood platter entailed perfectly cured prosciutto, sopresata, parmigiano cheese, creamy burrata and the truffle honey was the icing!  It was wonderful.

Tuscan Kitchen Salumi e Formaggi 

Monday, October 20, 2014

MIYA Sushi & Asian Cusine in Downtown Lowell

The Mo and I had plans to meet up with friends for a few drinks in Downtown Lowell.  They were running late so we decide to grab a quick dinner at a downtown eatery.  The "Grand Opening 10% discount" sign above the new MIYA restaurant caught my attention. I'm always in to try a new restaurant and definitely a fan of deals!  The new Sushi/Asian restaurant is in the location of the former Etsogo restaurant on Merrimack street.  (Etsogo moved to a new location in Dracut, MA)

We arrived  a little after 6 PM on a Friday night and the restaurant was empty.  I thought, "Oh boy this doesn't look good." (When we left, there were more diners that trickled in! I guess no one cool eats in DTL at 6 PM!)

The servers were very eager to please as we were the only diners.  The restaurant had a complete makeover and it definitely looked a new establishment.  There were no reminisce of the old Burger King, where I use to frequent circa  1998.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rancho Tipico Hispanic Cuisine Food in Lowell

For most people, their social life dwindles down in the Fall.  For us, it just keeps getting busier. Within the past week, we've celebrated 6 birthdays and an anniversary.  In additional to all that, we're also attending a baby shower tomorrow.

To kill 4 birds with one stone, my friends and I got together for a casual dinner party at the DeLorie's home.  Since she herself just had baby Liam a couple weeks ago, we thought we'd order take out to make it easier on everyone.  Typically we get the Cambodian staples from Heng Lay or Simply Khmer but we wanted to try something new and Hispanic Cuisine came up.

Chicharro de Cerdo
Fried Pork

I reached out to my friend Amsi for recommendations and she mentioned Bani, Delicias Paisas and Rancho Tipico.  Since I would be ordering for 12 people, I wanted to go check out the place and see the food beforehand.  We arrived at Bani and there wasn't much in the glass display.  I asked the man if there would be more food in the evening and he advised that he would be closing at 6 PM today. He recommended La Differencia on Middlesex St but I vaguely remember them having bad reviews.

We walked a block over to Rancho Tipico on Salem street where the vibe was quite different.  There was music playing in the restaurant and a line of people waiting to be served.  I felt like I was in Puerto Rico.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Buen Provencho Puerto Rican staples in Hamilton, NJ

The Mo and I headed down South to NJ to surprise my cousin Pam who just welcomed her 2nd baby girl Mali.  After running around for most of the weekend, we grabbed a late lunch before heading back home.  I did a Yelp search and found a place within walking distance from her house. It was literally steps away.

Buen Provencho  Restaurant & Cafe is a brand new establishment that just opened its doors in the summer.  The menu features authentic Puerto Rican staples that includes mofongo, pernil as well a handful of popular sandwiches you would find on the island itself.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mekong Restaurant in Lowell

A couple of our friends are huge fans of Mekong Restaurant on Broadway Street in Lowell.  We rarely make it over to that side of Lowell unless we need to cut through to get to DTL.  It was my aunt's 60th birthday weekend and we wanted to try a different place for Cambodian noodle soup.

The small restaurant is an older Cambodian restaurant and is still a mom & pop's type of joint.  There were only two employees working the dining room and it was obvious one of them was the owner.

The restaurant has not gained traction as its other competitors in the highlands that attracts a younger, high tech, "social media" savvy crowd.  There are only a few Yelp photos and those belong to an employee of the restaurant.

We went there on a Saturday morning and there was only one single diner at the establishment.

We started off with a couple of apps and ordered the Cambodian eggrolls as well as huy keung.  The eggrolls came sans garnish.

Mekong Cambodian Eggrolls with taro

Monday, September 22, 2014

Walrus + Carpenter Gastropub

A few of my coworkers and I attended a manufacturing training for one of the lines we rep.  Located in Milford, CT, Q-tran produces low voltage power supplies and transformers for our lighting application requirements.  We arrived on a Sunday evening and the VP of sales, Gean,  graciously invited us to dinner at Walrus + Carpenter in Black Rock, CT.  I had no idea where we were going so I didn't have time to do a Yelp preview on the venue.

Upon arrival, we were greeted to a sign with pig logo and as well as a silhouette of a pig on the side of the building.  My first impression was that it was one of those fancy "Farm to table" restaurants that served locally grown and produced foods, similar to Gibbet Hill.

Image via
We entered the restaurant and it had a rustic, trendy vibe. I felt like I was at a hipster eatery in Brooklyn, NYC.  We were seated in a corner "picnic-style" booth with one side being just a bench. I joked with the group and said I thought I was going to have a "Britney Spears" moment every time I had to get up.

The ambiance of the restaurant was a relaxed, chill-out kinda mood with dim lighting.  All that was missing was the hanging Edison pendant light bulbs with the displayed filaments.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hub on Wheels - Boston, Ma

My friend, Sophea got the Mo and I to sign up for a "leisure" bike ride in Boston called Hub on Wheels.    For one day of the year, the city closes down the entire 10 miles of Storrow Drive for the event.  Participants start and finish at the City Hall Plaza in government center and riders can opt for a 10 mile bike ride, a 30 minute bike ride or even a 50 mile bike ride.  The charity event supports Boston Bikes, Special Olympics and Boston Parks & Recreation.

Best Cambodian Yow Hon Hot Pot in Lowell

After concluding our 30 mile bike ride at Hub on Wheels in Boston, Bubba, Fifi and I wanted to replenish the 2000+ calories that we burned.  The original plan was to go to Hot Pot Buffet in Chinatown but I had a business trip that night and needed to be back in Lowell in time for my ride.

I suggest the next Best hot pot I could thing of, the Cambodian Yow Hon Hot pot at Heng Lay Restaurant in Lowell. The Mo and I have eaten almost everything on the menu, in fact, I've posted the most pictures on the Yelp website.

Most of my friends can agree that Heng Lay has the best Yow Hon broth in Lowell.  It's sweet and sour and the consistency is always rich.

I pre-ordered the Cambodian specialty meal ahead of time and advised the restaurant that we would arrive within 30 minutes.  We also got spicy calamari as an appetizer to share.

Heng Lay Spicy Calamari

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Phantom Gourmet Food Festival by Fenway

Almost every weekend, the Mo and I drool over the dishes we see featured on the Phantom Gourmet TV show.  As many times as they hosted the event, I've never had the opportunity to attend.  This year, I tried to get a group together for a discounted rate of $30.00 versus paying $40.00.  I was unsuccessful and threw in the towel.

I received a text from my brother the night before the event asking if I wanted to go to the Phantom Gourmet Food Festival, VIP status.  How could I say "No" to that? The comp tickets were provided by one of the even't sponsors, Dadgar Insurance.

We arrived at Fenway close to 11:00 AM and there was already a line across the bridge.  I forgot to dress the part and wear purple.

Phantom Gourmet Food Festival Line

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Setha and Lee's Grand Wedding in Poughkeepsie

I have to admit, when the "Save the Date" arrived in the mail, I thought to myself, "Really Setha... a Thursday wedding????" Once we stepped foot on the grounds of The Grandview , we could see why the couple wanted to have their dream wedding there.

The waterfront venue had a picturesque panoramic view of the Hudson River and bridge.  Now I understood why the wait for a weekend wedding was more than a year.