Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sushi and Chinese at Yujo in Dracut

Estogo ditched its location in the former Burger King in DTL last March and found new digs along the Merrimack River at the former Lin Garden in Dracut.  The Mo and I used to go for the dim sum brunch on occasion before China Star put them out of business (my own thought) 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Party At Tuscan Kitchen in Burlington

Every year I scope out nearby venues for our annual corporate holiday party.  With so many new restaurants opening in Burlington, it was a tough choice.  Previously we've had our parties at Ristorante Fiore in the North End, the former Beacon Grille (now Strega Prime) and Seasons 52 just last year.

We had a trial run at Tuscan Kitchen  at a small business dinner and everyone thought the food was exceptional.  I decided to go ahead and book our party with Wendy Feener, the events coordinator who was helpful in choosing our banquet menu.  We booked the Sicilia room which boasted a fireplace, LCD Screen and an a separate entrance to the outdoor patio (for the warmer months.)

Sicilia Room at Tuscan Kitchen Burlington
image via Tuscanbrands
For cocktail hour, we made the other guests jealous when the servers brought out our raw bar with oysters on the half shell and colossal shrimp cocktail. We also had our own bar where the booze was flowing freely.  That's one of the best things about our parties, it's always an OPEN BAR!  I overheard someone say, "I wish I was at that party!"

Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Thai and Lao Cuisine at Lanxang Star - Dracut

Taopica Balls Appetizer
Recently celebrating their Grand Opening on December 7th, Lanxang Star has taken the place of Thai Parima on Lakeview Ave in Dracut, MA.  Similar to other Southeast Asian restaurants in the Lowell area, the extensive menu captures the essence of Thai and Laos cuisine.  Although each Southeast Asian country has it's own staple dishes, it's kind of hard to pin point the exact origin. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Business Dinner at Strega Waterfront Boston

I went here for a business dinner with a group of 10.  We started off with drinks at the bar.  All the bartenders and cocktail waitresses are beautiful and friendly.  Their uniform consisted of heels and black mini skirts.  Throughout the bar area, there were complimentary passed Hors d'oeuvres that included shrimp cocktail, scallops and bruschetta.  All were very good.

We were promptly seated for our reservation.  There were a few other parties going on at the restaurant and space is tight.  The coat check was located in an odd area in a makeshift rack by the bathrooms. It was a bit difficult maneuvering through the patrons of the party that spilled out from their private room into the main dining area.

Service was great!  We knew our server from another steakhouse as well as Fiore in the north end.  He was wonderful and eager to please.  The wine kept flowing and he made sure not one wine glass was every empty.  I loved it!

The fried seafood and balsamic appetizer was great.  I didn't see any scallops but the calamari and baby shrimp was plentiful.  The burrata  (fresh buffalo mozzarella) was creamy and delicious.  Everyone was a fan of the Rosetta's famous meatballs.  Each meatball was HUGE and could be cut up into 5-6 pieces to share.  It was tender and moist.  The rollantini di nico was also very good.  I was disappointed that we only got one order for a table of 10 but the morsel I had was great!

Veal "Salmtimbocca" $32.00

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Weekday Dim Sum Brunch at Hei La Moon Boston

We had an early flight back from vacation into Logan airport and wanted to find an affordable place for breakfast on a Tuesday morning.  There was street metered parking in Chinatown and we walked across the street Hei La Moon for dim sum.  

The restaurant was very clean and the servers were not pushy at all (no pun intended).  Food was average.  Since it was still so early (9:30 AM) they didn't have some of my favorite dim sum specialties like calamari, crab claw balls or clams in black bean sauce.  
Steam pork wrapped in bean curd, steamed pork spareribs and chicken feet

Monday, December 1, 2014

Barrachina - the Original Birthplace of the Pina-Colada

"If you like Pina Coladas, getting caught in the rain"

That pretty much sums up our time in Puerto Rico. Drinks and the occasional downpour. Lucky for us, the rain were mere sprinkles and the sun was still shining.

Typically, we like to find places to eat through recommendations by the locals or places we find on our own.  We TRY to stay away from tourist places but I really wanted to check out Barrachina, the self proclaimed "Original Birthplace of the Pina Colada." Who doesn't love Pina colodas? In fact, I think I drank one everyday on the Celebrity Cruise (thank god we had the booze package.)

We were sick of shelling out the $20.00-25.00 cab fare from Isla Verde to Old San Juan so we decided to save money and take public transportation.  We were told the buses were not reliable but we took the risk anyway.  We waited at a bus stop for a good 30 minutes before the right bus came along.  When we got on, I thought, "Finally, AC, this won't be so bad." To my surprise, their was a crazy "possessed" guy on the bus yelling vulgar profanity for the whole 45 minute ride.  It was really awkward and uncomfortable.

The morning was spent souvenir shopping in Old San Juan.  There were lingering "Black Friday" deals going on, even though it was Monday.  Most of the designer stores in the area (Coach, Dooney & Burke, Guess, etc) had 50% off entire store in addition to an extra 15-40% off.  I scored some bags and sunglasses from Coach for less than $30.00.  (On a different note, I parted way with my favorite pair of Coach sunglasses a few days before at the beach at La Concha from being thrown around in the ocean by massive waves)

We arrived to Barrachina a little past noon and seated in the beautiful courtyard.  It was so cool to see poinsettias in a hot climate.  I usually associate the red holiday plants with Christmas in New England.

Barrachina Old San Juan Courtyard