Take Out Olympics

Sometimes I’m sure I have the most fun meals ever. Don’t be jealous, make this party happen!

Take Out Olympics are like a take-out potluck. Each guest spends the agreed upon amount on take out and everyone shares! It’s a fun way to get to know food in a new neighborhood, to try something new in the area, or for the host not to spend forever cooking! To make it Olympics you can add the requirement that it be international cuisine and vote on winners for categories of your choosing. You know how much I love to vote on food!

We did a relaxed version for lunch at the office. SO FUN! You can consider it olympic pre-trials if you wish. There was so much great food from all different places! We went with $10 for any cuisine you wanted.

I went to Boston Kebab House and went to the Meze Bar and got some fried zucchini fritters and some tortellini salad. There were so many great ones to choose and I spent $9.13. It came with my choice of wheat or plain pita. Now that it’s nicer out I’ll definitely stop here for lunch items.

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Ms. J got Mmmac & Cheese in Faneuil Hall. We sampled traditional and a beef one.

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Ms. M got chips and guac from Andale which I wasn’t aware is Zolcalo on the go! Unfortch the guacamole didn’t compete with somebody else’s guacamole. Our next Ms. K provided chips and quac from Boloco. Theirs won out because it was richer and they didn’t stretch the avocados too thin.

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Ms. K got us cheese quesidillas with chips and salsa from somewhere nearby, but we didn’t catch the name. Maybe they should remain nameless since they put the salsa onto the chips making them soggy.

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Mr. K went to Thai’s Bistro to get drunken noodles. They were deliciously spicy which I loved and now I know a good spot nearby.

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Not-my-Mr. J went to one of my local favorites, Sultan’s Kitchen. He got a chicken and rice dish with tomatoes.

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Mrs. A had a brilliant thought and got grilled cheeses from CheeseBoy! We had the classic and a tomato basil. Both were as good as I imagined though it seems tough to justify walking 15 minutes to get grilled cheese but I guess the cheapskate in me is OK with it since they’re less than $4.

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Ms. S spent her $10 the most creatively. She went to McDonald’s and got 10 $1 fry packets.

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Ms. C got us dessert at Bailey & Sage. She got strawberry fozen yogurt with oreos and coffee yogurt with heath bars. Amazeballs as she would say.

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It was really fun and actually an ideal amount of food. We were rudely interrupted by a fire alarm but it was wicked fun and a great introduction to some alternative restaurants right around us.

Quality Ingredients Make a Quality Lunch

Since I rarely order lunch it always seems like a big occasion when I buy it. Lately I’ve just been working non-stop and the week prior to my event I didn’t have the energy to grocery shop, pack lunch, or make anything.
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When my office moved I knew I’d miss my favorite Thai and favorite Indian restaurants but that’s about all that prior location had going for it. Now, there’s a plethora of options!As an avid watcher of Phantom Gourmet I’d seen Al’s State Street Cafe featured on there. They feature a $6.25 special for small sub, chips, and a soda.
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I got the State Street Cafe Special with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and prosciutto with balsamic vinegar on warm fresh bread.

These quality and fresh ingredients made this sandwich delectable. The bread was warm and soft. The experience is half of the fascination. They work the line and keep. it. moving.
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Stop by, but don’t linger at the menu board or it’ll be a no-sandwich-for-you situation.

I’m off to Florida for a long weekend, wedding, and hopefully some Chick-fil-A. Stay tuned!

What to Munch for Lunch

I was lacking on groceries (as well as energy, time, and creativity) but I really wanted to relax and whip up something for lunch for a few days. I found a zucchini that was nearing the end of it’s life in the fridge. I let that be my muse since I also wanted to put my new mandolin to use!
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Ingredients

1 sheet puff pastry
4 tbs pesto
1 cup grated gruyere
1 zucchini, sliced thin

Directions

Lay puff pastry out on a cookie sheet.
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Spread pesto to cover entire pastry sheet
Sprinkle cheese to cover entire pastry sheet
Carefully lay zucchini slices, overlapping slightly
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Bake 15-20 minutes at 350

This was just what I wanted. It was easy, had some great flavors, and packed well for lunch! I was meticulous about the rows of zucchini but I should have pushed the rows closer together. Budget for the puff factor.

I cooked it for about 15 minutes, knowing that I would put it in the toaster oven at work so I aired on the under-cooked side.

Although I haven’t made interesting just-for-lunch recipes lately this reminded me how just a few high quality ingredients make for a tasty dish. Any cheese would have worked well. Even other prepared sauces would work too.

What else should be some quick lunch fixes?

Not-Your-Average-Sandwich

Mr. J and I had lunch with my parents at their house and were lucky enough to join while they recreated a restaurant favorite. They ride bikes on a trail in Bristol, Rhode Island and pass an unassuming sub shop called Ricotti’s. One sandwich has captivated them. Our lunch was a recreation at home.
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Turkey, bacon, cranberry, tomatoes, and melty cheese are the highlights in this. Mum made one big sandwich and we all dug in.

Ingredients

oversized loaf of white bread, uncut
turkey breast, cut in thick slices
3 slices bacon
3 slices cheddar
jellied cranberry sauce
1 tomato sliced
lettuce

Directions

Hollow out the bread by slicing off the top and scooping out some inner bread.
Layer slices of turkey, cheddar, and bacon.
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Replace the top and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes just to melt the cheese and warm everything through.
After removing from the heat, layer tomato and lettuce before replacing the bread top.
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Slice and enjoy!

They were right, it was a really good flavor combo. Mum thought baking it mid-way through layering the fillings was key. This meant the sandwich was warm and melty but still had the crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes.

I liked the cranberry but since I love tart cranberries so much, I would have liked whole-berry cranberry sauce. Mum and Dad like a marinated turkey breast that they had for dinner and used some leftovers for this lunch!

Everyone liked it…definitely a crowd pleaser. It was a fun lunch and Mum even whipped up dessert. Stay tuned for that!

Flour

Flour Bakery & CafeI’ve enjoyed all different foods at Flour and I will miss working right near the new Central Square location when my office moves. This one bakery/restaurant shines above all the others and I’m so glad they took a chance on Central Square Cambridge.

Everything is good. Everything is unique. Everything tastes like they made it just for you. Some of my favorite sandwiches there I COULD make myself, but they do it better.

I recently had a great tomato, mozerella, pesto sandwich and one of the homemade oreos. The sandwich is so great because instead of basil leaves, they smear pesto on and you can smell the freshness even before taking a bite.

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Another fantastic choice is the smoked turkey, vermont cheddar, and cranberry chutney. You can get any of the sandwiches pressed which brings out the love in this one. The roasted lamb, goat cheese, and tomato chutney is good, but might have too much goat cheese.Bakery items are to die for…you can’t go wrong! I had the oreo for the first time recently and thought it was great! I expected it to be more spongy, like a whoopie pie. It was perfectly crisp and delightful.

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I look forward to more of Flour’s goodies.Likes: oreos, cookies, and sandwiches
Dislikes: pricey