bermuda BAHAMA come on pretty mama

Ohh thank you Beach Boys for such a catchy tune for my vacay. Sis and I returned from our trip in the Bahamas after having a great time. It was beautiful and we loved the cruise and island stay combo.

I usually felt delayed by the slow pace but at meals it was perfect! We wandered towards the shopping and restaurants after spending the day between the pools and beach. After checking out the local fare, we ended up on the porch at After Deck.
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Our waitress was adorable! She brought some warm, local, potato bread and butter to us. It may not look like anything fancy but it had great flavor!
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We shared eggplant fritters to start. They were good, but I think the eggplant was a bit too thick. As eggplant can be, they were a bit bitter. The garlic yogurt on them was amazing and counteracted the bitterness. I’ve always shredded the eggplant for fritters so it was a nice change.
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I got stuffed red snapper with fries. It felt like the perfect beachy meal. It was stuffed with crab and shrimp. I loved it. I ate all of the fish.
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Sis got the fisherman’s platter. She asked for no shrimp and to double up on anything else. It included fried conch, conch fritters, and a few other items. The conch is a very popular fish for them so she wanted to try it. I found it a bit chewy when left in big pieces like calamari can be but it was pretty comparable to a tougher scallop.
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I really loved my meal and want to cook more fish at home.
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Guest Blog: Beantown’s Italian North End from a First Time Visitor

Readers, please meet Mr. B. He was visiting Boston and wanted to share a guest post with you!

Growing up in Chicago was amazing.  The only problem was that I was spoiled by all of the amazing food Chicago has to offer.  Chief among these delectable offerings is Italian food.  I live in Houston now, and unfortunately, I cannot get really exceptional Italian food in the Lone Star State.

I started my day by going on a Freedom Trail Tour learning about the early days of the American Revolution.  At the conclusion of the tour, the guide asked if we had any questions.  I told him that I had a very serious question: where could I get the best Italian food in the North End?  He directed me to a small restaurant off of Hanover Street called Trattoria Il Panino. I sat in the “giardino” or garden room at Trattoria Il Panino.

Normally I order Fettuccine Alfredo or Chicken Parmesan at Italian restaurants, but Boston is known for its seafood, so I decided to try a special called lobster fettuccine with chopped scallops in a “Fra Diavolo” sauce.  The waiter described the dish as being a lobster-infused fettuccine with a spicy tomato-based sauce.  He further explained that “Fra Diavolo” literally means “with the devil.”
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The dish arrived, and I was surprised at the size of it.  In parts of Chicago, you get an overflowing helping of pasta.  At Trattoria Il Panino, the portion seemed small.  Halfway through the dish, it seemed like I had not made a dent in it.  When I finished the dish, I thought I had eaten all of the pasta in Boston!  The dish was very colorful and appealing.  The chef included chunks of lobster along with the chopped scallops.  He also included jalapeno peppers.  The waiter said that this was nontraditional, but the chef wanted to make sure the dish was spicy enough to do the devil justice.
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The bread was amazing as well.  That’s one of the things I really miss about Chicago Italian food.  In my opinion, the bread makes the meal, and Trattoria Il Panino offered excellent bread.  I overheard the wait staff speaking to one another in Italian, which added to the ambience.  All in all, I recommend Trattoria Il Panino for its wonderful bread, authentic ambience, and creative dishes.

While I was walking from Faneuil Hall to Trattoria Il Panino, I asked for suggestions on twitter for a place to eat in the North End.  One of my friends tweeted that I should try Regina’s Pizzeria.  I made my way there after first lunch.  For second lunch, I had a delicious slice of pepperoni pizza.  The pizza was a large slice of thin-crust pizza.  The pizza was dripping with pepperoni, cheese, and grease.  Although it wasn’t the healthiest choice, it sure was delicious. Predictably, the entire restaurant was packed with to-go orders coming in frequently and hungry patrons waiting outside for a table to open up.
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Another of my friends wrote on facebook that I should go to Mike’s Pastry for dessert.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Mike’s Pastry has two long large display cases with just about any type of pastry you could possibly want including cannolis, cupcakes, and Boston cream puffs.  They were super busy.  They had at least six employees taking and filling orders and couldn’t keep up with demand.
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I decided to go with a Boston cream puff…since I was in Boston!  The puff was very large with a Boston cream filling and a dark chocolate shell with white icing.  The amount of cream was overwhelming.  I think the puff should have been served with a spoon, so you could eat enough of the cream to make the proportion of puff and dark chocolate to cream a little more manageable.  I was able to make a complete mess of the situation with cream all over the place!

Finally, I made my way to Gigi Gelateria for some gelato.  What’s a trip to an Italian neighborhood without some gelato?  I chose a small cup of mint chocolate because it’s my favorite.  The gelato was overwhelmingly minty.  It was even a little too minty for me, and that’s saying a lot.  Other than the mintiness, the gelato was very smooth and creamy.  The small cup was also a very healthy serving.  I was unable to finish the small cup.  The furnishings were very contemporary and did not fit into the mold of an old Italian neighborhood.  When I was inside, I could have been anywhere in the country that sells gelato, but not specifically Boston’s North End.  I think my next trip to Boston will include a search for better gelato in the North End.
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Overall, I have to say my experience in Boston’s North End was a success.  Hearing people speaking Italian as I walked through the neighborhood reminded me of some of the little Italian neighborhoods in Chicago.  The food was authentic and excellent.  I give Trattoria Il Panino, Regina’s Pizzeria, and Mike’s Pastry A pluses for their outstanding cuisine and neighborhood charm.  I give Gigi Gelateria a B- for the overpowering flavor and lack of neighborhood charm.  I am anxiously awaiting my next trip to Beantown!

Thanks Mr. B! Would you be interested in being a guest blogger? Email emily@thethreebiterule.com

Hot Hot Hot

Caliente Kitchen

We went back and forth about what to do for dinner when we were in Florida but it’s not an area where we could wander and peruse menus. We spent the day strolling a wildlife refuge peeking at gators and the rest of the day we were on the beach. For dinner we started with mojitos. I got a great blackberry mojito and Mr. J had a super refreshing cucumber mojito.
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Mr. J spotted a few menus but was undecided and I was in the same boat. I saw Caliente Kitchen which was right across the street so we ended up there.

It was such a fun dinner! We both really enjoyed it and were happy with the choice!

Ohh the chips.
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Good thing the chips weren’t bottomless because they were so good we could have kept going! They were fresh and had the greatest seasoning. I think it was chili powder and cinnamon. YUM!

I took my cue from the beautiful beaches and couldn’t get enough seafood. I chose shrimp tacos with a cilantro dressing. There was a nice zest to the sauce and I loved them. I don’t get enough fish tacos.
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Mr. J got traditional beef tacos. He thought they were good and enjoyed the whole thing.
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It was a great last vacation meal before heading back to Boston.

When on Vaca…

Some things are just fun and exciting when you don’t have them around you. Sonic and Chick-fil-A are prime examples (and 2 restaurants with artery clogging goodness) we just had to enjoy on vacation. It’s also double-y fun since I rarely get fast food. Growing up I was told McDonald’s was a restaurant for grandparents to take you to.

Sonic’s concept gets a bit lost on northerners since you can’t rollerskate outside for several snowy months of our year…thus adding to the appeal in other places. I will recognize that Massachusetts got a Sonic where cars waited lined up for hours when it first opened! Plus, who can forget the witty banter of the couple in the commercials? Loved those and I love the How-to.
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My hardest decision at Sonic was which icecreamy/slushy beverage to enjoy. I got a strawberry limeade chiller. Mr. J got a mocha java chiller. Yum and double yum.
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I went with the BLT toaster. The Texas toast makes the sandwich here. I didn’t have my hopes up for real lettuce, which I was spot-on with my assumption. The bacon was perfectly crispy and the tomato was pretty good. I’m an avid BLT-eater and I prefer it in that order: bacon; lettuce; tomato. It wasn’t in that order but although I may notice, I don’t discriminate.
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Mr. J felt like he HAD to get a burger since he’s never eaten there. He went with the Sonic bacon cheeseburger. He liked it, but said it was no Five Guys. Of course we shared some tots.
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Because I only get to love Chick-fil-A when I’m in Charlotte or Houston with work, I made sure we made a stop there too…as if we hadn’t had enough heart-stopping food.

for me: Spicy Chicken Deluxe with pepperjack on a wheat roll (note the real lettuce)
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for Mr. J: Chicken Deluxe
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We shared waffle fries and loved it. Check out the nifty ketchup!
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If you’re concerned about my heart-don’t be. I’m eating lots of veggies now that I’m back!

Tasti (Forgive The Spelling- It Wasn’t Me)

After majoring in English and Journalism in college it always annoys me when companies misspell words to be catchy. Tasti D-Lite? Yikes! Grammatical errors are the same. Toys R Us? Come on!

I put that aside and eat their ice cream none the less (Tasti’s ice cream, not Toys’). Boston got it’s first Tasti D-Lite a while ago, but I hadn’t been other than in NYC. When I saw one in Florida I knew it had my name written allll over it.

I scooped ice cream, for a living, as a summer job in high school so I sympathize when ordering ice cream especially if they have to sing, dance, or wear funky uniforms. Their staff don’t have to lean head-first into freezers so I only felt so-bad for them. Luckily my ice cream was just ice cream so there was very little explaining to do whereas they have to teach customers what it means.

I got mud pie…which wasn’t the best ever. I felt guilty asking for a sample but I probably should have gone with the Cinnamon Crunch or Toffee Crunch which I just assume I’d prefer.

Mr. J got cake batter with fudge and vanilla crumbles. I thought his was super sweet but he liked it enough even though soft serve is more my thing than his. He leans towards regular ice cream but as Mum would say he could “choke it down”.

To Tavern or Not To Tavern

All the taverns I know don’t esthetically measure up to what I think of as a tavern. Tavern on the Square…Baseball Tavern…Hill Tavern…I could go on. Anywho, this “tavern” we found, Village Tavern, was a great feast our first night in Florida.Mr. J and I went to Florida for a wedding and some much needed fun in the sun. Boston has been dreary and rainy for weeks now so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect…also because my event just happened 2 rainy weekends ago. Time to celebrate love and my return to society. We went to Boynton Beach, FL. Normally I plan vacations to the minute with choices, but this one I just went with the flow. We had a room from the wedding room-block and a flight and we were there! I didn’t even scope out restaurants in advance!
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We happened upon Village Tavern on Yelp and thought the menu had some promise. We really enjoyed it!

Mr. J doesn’t do seafood (even though he’s from Maine) BUT he will enjoy the occasional bacon wrapped scallop. They were HUGE and amazing and had a great teriyaki glaze that wasn’t too sweet. We fought over the last one and split it.
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Somebody HAD to try the house potato chips with ranch dressing…I hadn’t planned on partaking but they were just so good. Besides, I’ll never make these at home.
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I got Ten Spice Glazed Salmon and loved every bite. It was served with curried couscous, red peppers, broccoli, and roasted almonds.
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The salmon was spicy and perfectly grilled. I thought the couscous might make for too many different flavors but it didn’t. It was great! The almonds were definitely not roasted so I cast them aside. If you’re counting, that’s 2 glazes. I need to learn to make a good glaze.

Mr. J chose the 8 oz filet with salad and mashed potatoes. While his plate wasn’t as picturesque, he liked it.
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It was quite the hefty meal and we enjoyed everything. Our server was friendly and everything came out super hot. I was thoroughly impressed with how quickly everything went from the kitchen to our table. Mr. J’s mashed might have sat for a bit but everything else was piping hot! (just like the 88 degree weather)!

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!

A1 Gets an A+

A1 Diner
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Mr. J and I LOVE diners and it was always surprising to me that we hadn’t been to the famous A1 Diner in his hometown in Maine! Their website calls themselves “Maine’s Most Unique Restaurant”. I recently went to “Boston’s Friendliest Pub” so this amused me greatly.

During a quick visit a few weeks ago we stopped in right at the cusp of breakfast and lunch. We decided on breakfast and I loved every minute of it.
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I got an Orange Poppyseed Waffle. It was amazing. I never see orange and poppy seed as a combo but it was great! I liked the fluffyness of the waffle and the citrus flavor. It was a good deviation from my usual bfast choices since I tend to go savory rather than sweet.
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Mr. J got an egg, bacon, toast, combo which is his standard. Use your imagination since I deemed it not quite picture worthy, much to his dismay.

Mrs. C got an Orange Pecan or Orange Walnut waffle and real maple syrup. I forget which nut but how cool to put nuts in there?!
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They had some interesting dinner meals/specials that make me want to go back. I’m sure the grilled sandwiches and burgers are only as diners can make them.
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Their website has some recipes so maybe I’ll have to whip one of those up sometime. I’d like the Hungarian Mushroom Soup, but I don’t have tons of mushroom eaters in my life. Or crabcakes, or pistachio lime salad, or lemon sauce for dessert.

Just as The Terminator would say: I’ll be back.

My Anthem

Anthem Kitchen and BarAfter work I had plans to meet up with my friend Miss L for a drink and a bite at Anthem. I tried SO hard to get there ontime (seeing how I work practically next door). I was about 5 minutes late.
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We sat at the bar and soaked in the ambiance while sipping our beers. I loved finding and trying out this new spot.

I had my eye on a few different appetizers. I ended up settling on a flatbread with prosciutto, poached figs, tomato slices, and arugula. I loved it. The figs made it feel really special and I love arugula on pizza so I was sold. The prosciutto was dropped on after it was grilled, keeping it soft and salty!
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Miss L went with the award winning chowder. Anthem won chowderfest 2010! She also got a roasted beet salad with goat cheese.
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I was throughly impressed with the menu. “Twist on American cuisine” is something I see and hear all the time but there were fish tacos, cuban sliders, mac and cheese, and roasted chicken. It sounds eclectic but it works! Everything goes!

I think the prices were right on target. My flatbread was $13 and that seemed appropriate.

I should have peeked upstairs since we sat at the bar but I loved it and I know I’ll go back again.

Hope everyone has an enjoyable Easter! I’ll be coming up with an appetizer and reporting back!

Yak & Yeti: I probably couldn’t correctly identify either one

My favorite eaters of Indian food no longer work with me so I’m left on my own for Indian food since Mr. J doesn’t go for it. The one perk of working in Central Square Cambridge used to be all the Indian restaurants! I miss running to the buffet or smelling all their delicious dishes when somebody else got it. I’ll have to work that out…This post is super delayed so let’s start with some background, shall we? It was a FRIGID day for a work event outside. I wore the hood of my sweatshirt tied under my chin like a 3-year-old all day with lots of layers, and mittens. That’s right, from 7:30 AM until I got home around 3:30 PM I was cold. Layered and layered, but cold.

I was tired and it’s safe to say I was grumpy when I got home since I didn’t have lunch either. I tried to be a grown up and held off dinner until a early-bird special time of 5 PM instead of 3:30.

I ordered from Yak & Yeti around the corner from me and hoped for the best. With a name like that how could it not brighten my spirits?! (It sure did).
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Their menu can take a while to poke through with both Indian and Nepali sections. I got Chicken Palak for $11.95. It came with Basmati rice and chutney. I also ordered garlic naan and was SO glad I did! I had plenty for 2 meals.

The Chicken Palak is cooked in chopped spinach and curry sauce. It was so good. I liked the spice and the spinach without any flavor overpowering another. The garlic Naan was amazing. There was a ton of garlic and it was lightly cooked leaving the garlic with that zing it gets before it mellows when roasting.
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I’m not sure what the crispy and spicey one was that came with the meal. I was shocked how spicy it was…like a less eggy dosa. 5 points to anyone who can tell me what it’s called.  The chutney was ehhh. Ok, nothing remarkable. I thought there was a bit too much onion. I really love mint chutney.
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I’ll definitely go back and I’m glad to have it around the corner from home. Next time I’ll have to try Nepali cuisine. I am interested in some of the fish curries too! I read some yelp reviews about the spice level but I’m game as long as I have some naan to sink into and forget my chills of the day.