Saturday, May 31, 2014

Angel and Bryan's Cambodian Wedding Processional

After a late night dinner and drinks at China Star, I was surprised to hear that the bride and her entourage managed to get up at 3:30 AM for their hair and makeup session.  There would be lots of traditional Cambodian wedding ceremonies today, starting with the groom's procession.

Spicy calamari and Canh Chua Salmon soup at Pho Dalat 2

Pho Da Lat Fried Calamari $12.95
Mực Rang Muối
Since most of the Cambodian mom and pop's shops close around 7-8 O' clock-ish, the Mo and I headed to Pho Dalat on Middlesex street for dinner.  It was quiet when we arrived past 8 PM on a Friday night.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Angel and Bryan's Praying ceremony

Get used to these faces, because you are going to be seeing them a LOT in the next couple of weeks.  I've had the honor to meet the awesome couple 10 years ago when the Mo and I first started dating.  They are so much fun and I can't be more thrilled that they are FINALLY getting hitched! I thought it was stressful planning ONE wedding, these crazy kids are planning TWO weddings.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tasty burgers, salads and smoothies at b.good in Burlington

b.good in Burlington proves that you don't have to sacrifice flavor when trying to eat on the lighter side.  Jill and I headed there today after we both packed a less than stellar lunch that was sitting in the office fridge. We'll probably get a email reminder to clean out our rotten "salad fixings" tomorrow. 

If you read my review on SlowBones, you will know that the parking lot for this strip plaza is awful so we arrived a few minutes before the noon lunch rush.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Bancroft Steakhouse on 3rd Ave. in Burlington

" The Bancroft is the Webber Restaurant Group’s take on what a modern high-end steakhouse should be."

The Bancroft Black Angus Bone-in Filet
I was so excited to hear that there was a new steakhouse coming to Burlington.  I couldn't be more thrilled that there would be another choice for fine dining in addition to the Capital Grille and Strega Prime.  The restaurant opened its doors to the public memorial day and we made reservations for the following day.  The menu wasn't posted but I was able to receive the menu via email.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tasty Vietnamese and Thai lunch buffet in downtown Lowell

Viet-Thai in downtown Lowell is one of our favorite restaurants. We love eating there for dinner and getting take out when we are lazy.  Our favorite dishes includes the Vietnamese pho noodle soup, fresh goi cuon rolls, basil fried rice and their version of the Mee Ka thung/Lhat Na wide rice noodles with thick oyster and garlic sauce gravy.

It's probably a good thing that the lunch buffet at Viet-Thai is only offered on the weekdays, otherwise, the Mo and I would probably go there all the time.  We get a chance to go for the delicious and CHEAP on holidays when we both have time off work.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

SoWa Sundays and food trucks in South Boston

The weather was finally cooperating this weekend so the Mo and I packed the dogs and headed to South Boston for the SoWa OPEN MARKET only open on Sundays from May through October.

Average Cambodian fare at Phnom Penh Restaurant

Six years ago, the Mo and I used to go to Phnom Penh Restaurant almost every week.  We lived in our old apartment then and didn't have a washer and dryer, so we hauled our dirty clothes to the nearby laundry mat. There was a discount midweek so we always went on a Tuesday to save a couple of quarters on the wash.  If I remember correctly, I think they also threw in a couple minute extra on the dryers as well. Oh the things we used to do to save money!

The restaurant is located on the busy area of Westford street congested with other grocery stores, Asian salons, legal practices and a liquor store.  Parking is bit tough on the main street but there is ample parking in the lot behind the restaurant with a back door entry for convenience.

Phnom Penh Restaurant

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Authentic Rural Cambodian food at Senmonorom in Lowell

Half a decade ago, the Mo and I would come here on the regular.  We would come here and eat family style dinners with our friends or just the two of us on a regular night.  I guess we stopped coming when we discovered Heng Lay and Simply Khmer.

Senmonorom is situated in a small plaza on Middlesex street neighboring the post office and an Indian restaurant.

Egg rolls, hot wings, noodles and more at Simply Khmer Cambodian Cuisine in Lowell

Simply Khmer is probably the most popular Cambodian restaurant in Lowell.  The restaurant has been featured on Chronicle and Travel Channel's Bizarre foods featuring Andrew Zimmerman.

Despite these TV appearances, the Mo and I have been going to the restaurant when it first opened a few years ago when it only occupied half of it's current space.  We first heard about this "new" place that offered kuy tiev rice noodle soups (Pho) for $4.95 and Cambodian rice porridge for $ 3.95 now $ 5.95 and $4.95 respectively.  I get it....inflation and the cost of food went up.

Pizza and a movie at the new Assembly Row in Somerville

The highly anticipated Assembly Row in Somerville had its grand opening this weekend.  The new neighborhood complex will feature a movie theater, outlet stores, restaurants, residential units as well as office space.  Only some of the shop were open in time for memorial day weekend so the Mo and I went to check out a movie at the AMC theater on site with some friends.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Al Fresco Patio Dining at Moonstones Chelmsford

The Mo and I haven't been to Moonstones since we had a celebratory dinner a couple years ago. Don't get me wrong, I do like the place but we just haven't had a chance to go back.  Since the both of us coincidentally ditched our evening workouts tonight and the weather was nice out, we headed to Moonstones for dinner.

Parking was a bit tough since the restaurant is located near a business hotel and there was some spillover.  There was also a special private event being held at the restaurant as well.

Monday, May 19, 2014

SlowBones Modern BBQ in Burlington

When I first started working in Burlington, there was barely any decent places to grab lunch or dinner.  I used to envy my friends that worked in Boston who tried out new restaurants on the regular.

Fast forward eight years later, there are too many new places to try and even more to look forward to. (Be on the look out for my review of Tuscan Kitchen, Del Frisco Grille, Noodles & Company and Wegmans Summer/Fall 2014)  One of the perks of being in lighting is being able to see the plans for new business, shops and restaurants before they are even built.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Backyard BBQ for Two

You would think Sunday is part of the weekend and it's a day to rest & relax but in our household, it's probably one of the busier days of the week.  We typically do a couple loads of laundry, a load of dishes, "tidy up the house", go to the gym (when we are on our routine) grocery shop and prep meals (lunches & dinner) for the week.

Prepping for dinner is so important because when we get home, we just want all the cooking, eating and cleaning done before 7 PM.  On Sundays, is when the meats get marinated and the vegetables get chopped. I've also started to make fruit salad for breakfast and lunch so the watermelon needs to get cut too. (I'm too cheap to buy pre-cut fruit)

I usually cook breakfast on Sundays but today I overslept and was extra tired and groggy....I know.. first world problems.  We grabbed dim sum at China Star instead.

Since the weather was nice this weekend, I thought I would bring out the grill.  After my counter top induction oven, it's probably my 2nd favorite cooking gadget.

To prepare for our dinner, I marinated steak tips overnight with Ken's No Sodium sesame ginger marinade.  It's so easy, just put the steak tips in a ziplock bag and pour the marinade to cover the meat.  Put it in the fridge and forget about it until the  next day.

I planned on cooking a couple of pounds and using the leftovers in salads for lunch.  Since the cut of meat is marbled and fatty, it keeps well in the fridge and doesn't dry out as much once reheated.

I sear the meat on high heat to let it crisp up a little then I reduce the heat and put the lid on the grill.  I prefer my red meat medium but the Mo likes it a little more cooked so I leave his on for a couple more minutes.  I only turn the meat ONCE.

The ribs required a little bit more effort.  I prefer my ribs to be tender and have the meat fall of the bone.  To prepare the ribs, I slow cooked in my slow cooker.  The day before, I placed the cut up ribs in my slow cooker and placed boiling water in it.  I added some BBQ seasoning that I got from my trip to Memphis, onion powder and a couple of bay leaves.  After the meat slow cooked for 3 hours on high heat, I took the ceramic insert and lid and let it cool in the fridge overnight.

When the steak tips was almost done, I removed the ribs from the fridge and water and grilled it for the meat to crisp up.  In a separate mixing bowl, I added Sweet Ray's BBQ sauce with sriracha hot sauce.  Once the ribs were heated and crisp, I brushed the BBQ hot sauce mixture onto the ribs.  It is important to wait until the ribs are ready so the BBQ sauce doesn't burn on the grill and ribs and leave you with inedible meat.

To save time with cooking the corn on the grill, I parboiled the corn in boiling water on the stove for 8 minutes then finished it off on the grill on high heat for a couple more minutes.  Add salt and pepper after it's done.  Butter optional.

For a side salad, I prepared an easy field greens salad with fresh cut strawberries. I didn't have any goat cheese so I sprinkled some Parmesan cheese instead and served it with balsamic vinaigrette.

Since I already prepped watermelon for lunch, I portioned some out for dinner and added feta cheese and a few sprigs of spear mint for a cool watermelon salad.  Some people even add balsamic vinegar but I prefer not to.

I was such a fan of Sage General Store's home made ginger and mint green tea that I decided to imitate it. I made a batch of green tea using 2 bags the day before.  Once it cooled to room temperature, I added some sliced ginger and green mint and put it in the fridge to cool and let the tea infuse overnight.  I added a packet of Splenda and it was perfect.

We sat outside on our picnic table and enjoyed our meals as Chewie and Odie patiently waited for us to drop something.  Lucky for them, they both got a few bites of sirloin steak tips.

Burmese Cuisine at Yoma Myanmar Tea Cafe

Our friend Syn invited us to a Burmese dinner this past Saturday.  (You may remember him from our wedding for his unforgettable best man speech...which there is a video somewhere out there.) 

Syn is planning a 5 week backpacking trip across Southeast Asia next year. In the meantime, he has been planning his itinerary for the adventure and plans to include Burma on the list.

What exactly is Burmese food? I couldn't come up with ONE staple Burmese dish.   I've never had Burmese food before nor did I have any Burmese friends, maybe the exception of just one acquaintance.  I assumed it would be similar to Indonesian food; a cuisine with influence from Indian, Thai, Laos and China with lots of curries and noodles.

China Star Dim Sum in Lowell

It's been a little over a year since I shared my review  about the Grand Opening of China Star Dim Sum in Lowell.

Since then, the blog post about the Chinese small plates grew to be my #1 most popular post on reaching close to 7,000 hits.  I wanted to celebrate the restaurant's 1 year anniversary with a follow up post from a trip to the popular Chinese restaurant this weekend.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Affordable Steakhouse lunch at Strega Prime Woburn

Situated on Rte. 95 where the former Beacon Grille was located, Strega Prime brings city-quality steakhouse to Woburn.  My friend Rula and I met for lunch at this hot spot located in an office building in Cummings Park a short 4 minutes from my office.

Weekend Indian Brunch Buffet at the Pongal in Billerica

After speaking so highly of The Pongal Indian restaurant on 3A, I finally got a group of friends together to try the weekend buffet.  I'm pretty much a regular there and can occasionally be found dining alone during the weekday lunch buffet while catching up on my Facebook updates.  I even celebrated my birthday last year with 10 friends over some of my favorite dishes: Gobi Manchurian, dosas, tikki masala and the Malai Kofta dumplings.

Light lunch at Seasons 52

One of our new favorite business lunch spots in Burlington is Seasons 52  at Wayside Commons.    We love their flat breads and host many business luncheons in the Chef's tasting table with distributors and factory reps.  We've even had our company's holiday party at the finer establishment.

Of course I can never be caught taking pictures when we're hosting so I had an opportunity this week when it was just a casual luncheon with my coworkers and I.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sushi lunch at Maki Maki in Woburn

My coworkers, Jenn, Jill and I went to Maki Maki in Woburn for a sushi lunch.  The restaurant offers an "All you can eat" option for $ 14.99 a person for lunch.  The downside is that everyone at the table has to get that choice or no one can.  We arrive a little past noon and the restaurant was almost empty with the exception of a couple tables in the dining room.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Easy Thai red curry recipe

This is a "No Brain-er" red curry recipe.  Sure you can make the curry paste from scratch but with the busy lives we all have, who has time for that?  Do yourself a favor and pick up a can of red curry paste.  Only the true foodies or Thai's can tell the difference.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Spring Sangria for Mother's Day

The sun is out and it's expected to reach 77 degrees later today! What better way to welcome warm Spring weather than with a batch of white sangria to share with mom for mother's day (or just to drink on your own and feel a little fancy!)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Spicy original creations at Sichuan Gourmet

courtesy of Simon
Located on a strip mall in Billerica center, Sichuan Gourmet appears to be just another Chinese establishment serving typical Chinese fare. My coworkers and I accidentally found this place last year when we were in the area and thought we could just get a quick Chinese combination plate for lunch and be on our way.

While we were seated, the restaurant was jammed pack for lunch as the servers brought out interesting meals served in clay pots and metal pans as the spicy aroma filled the air.  I nixed my original plans and felt adventurous to try one of the original sichuan delicacies, the old sichuan chicken.  The balls of chicken was lightly coated with a sweet batter and tossed with chili peppers.  This is the moment when I became hooked.  Since then, we've tried almost everything on the menu from the Ma Po tofu with pork to the Smoky Hot shredded chicken.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bacon Brownies and more at Sage General Store

In my book... the best ending to a great a great meal with good company; we sure had both over an amazing bacon loaded brunch at Sage General Store  in Long Island City.

The birthday girl, Christine, found the old fashion eatery from the "Funky Finds" episode of Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives.  Conveniently for us, the restaurant was only a short 2 minute drive from where we stayed at Z Hotel NYC.  We found ample street parking on the main road and closed our eyes as we darted across the street helping each other jump over the dividers.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Z Hotel New York in Long Island City

I was in New York (sans the Mo) for one of my dearest friends birthday...Christine was celebrating her Sweet Dirty 30!  She and I met at Quinnipiac on "Move-In" Day freshman year and remained friends since then.   We share many fond memories of peeing in public, using fake ID's in New Haven clubs, me calling her "not so nice" names and her telling me that my fashion sucks (as it still does!)

To try to stick with a budget in NYC, we wanted to keep within a price range for our accommodations.  We actually found the  Z Hotel NY after a long painful search for a decent room in Manhattan.  We couldn't find anything nice in our price range and stumbled upon the boutique hotel on a travel blog.  The room was booked through Expedia and we were able to use the mobile app to receive an additional $ 25.00 off.

There was an opening season, Cinco de Mayo rooftop party as we arrived.  Ladies wore gladiator sandals and dresses and had their full makeup and hair done.  I arrived in an old Bruins tee (Go Bruins!) and leggings with holes in my thigh area and felt like a sore thumb.  The exterior of the hotel was very chic and modern.  There was a cool old car facade mounted to the front of the entrance canopy.

Cinco de Mayo at Garcia Brogan's in Lowell

In Mexico, the locals celebrate Cinco de Mayo to commemorate the freedom and democracy that resulted from the French Invasion.

In America, many do not know the significance of Cinco de Mayo only that it's another excuse to dress up in ponchos, sombreros and drink margaritas all night long.

The Mo and I always like to venture out on Cinco de Mayo for a good time.  We usually do Border's Cafe in Burlington but being that the holiday landed on a Monday this year, we decided to stay local and headed to Garcia Brogan's in Lowell.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Lunch Specials at New Jang Su BBQ Korean Restaurant

My niece is obsessed with KPOP and for her birthday she wanted Korean food. I ordered some take out from New Jang Su Korean BBQ in Burlington.  I rarely go there but I thought I'd grab a few dishes for us to share in addition to our homemade Korean BBQ that we would have that night.

My niece loves her bim  bim bap so I also ordered a couple lunch orders. The Korean dish came with all the vegetables and meats separated in sections, topped with a sunny side egg and shredded seaweed  with rice on the side.  The vegetables consisted of lettuce, bean sprouts, carrots, and spinach.

New Jang Su Bim Bim Bap Lunch Size $ 7.50 ish