3 Days of Eating in Boston

Boston

Boston from the Prudential Tower

Even though I had only been once, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Boston. I fell in love with all of the history and architecture and always vowed to go back. It took almost 20 years, but I finally made my triumphant return.

B and G Oyster

B&G Oysters

Fried Clams and Lobster Roll

Fried Clams and Lobster Roll

My sole goal in Boston was to eat a lobster roll. My Bostonian friends happily obliged and took me to B&G Oysters (550 Tremont St.). This hip restaurant has cute outdoor seating, a seafood bar and a few high tables scattered throughout the restaurant.

B&G Oysters Food

B&G Oysters Food

We ordered a medley of food, including raw oysters, fried oysters, fried clams, gnocchi with calamari and lobster rolls. Everything was absolutely amazing, but I had to admit that the fried oysters and clams were standouts for me. My lobster roll was served cold and mixed with a bit of mayo and chives. I was really happy that the mayo was not overwhelming and that the sweetness of the lobster flesh could really shine. I would completely recommend B&G Oysters if you’re looking for a Boston seafood experience.

Yankee Lobster: Fried Scallop and Lobster Roll

Yankee Lobster Company: Fried Scallop and Lobster Roll

When said B&G Oysters friends asked what else I wanted to eat, I simply replied: “More lobster rolls.” They recommended Yankee Lobster Company (300 Northern Ave.). Facing the water on the pier, Yankee Lobster is a casual and no-frills spot where you order your food and quickly grab a table. I completely enjoyed the casual vibe and quick service. After reading multiple reviews, I knew that I had to order the fried scallops. I would order these every day if I could. Juicy, succulent scallops in a light batter with tangy tartar sauce is definitely up there in my ranks of favorite foods (besides lobster rolls). My lobster roll also did not fail to disappoint. Served hot with a simple preparation of hot butter on a perfectly toasted bun, I liked it even more than B&G Oysters version. If you’re visiting the Institute of Contemporary Art, Yankee Lobster is a great option for a quick lunch, dinner or even afternoon snack!

Regina Fenway Park

Fenway Park

Speaking of quick meals, Boston has a plethora of pizza by the slice options. I decided to try Regina Pizzeria (multiple locations) since there was one walking distance from Fenway Park. You really can’t beat a huge slice of pizza for an affordable price. I also recommend taking a tour of Fenway Park. The guide was so enthusiastic, knowledgable and fun. Plus, how often do you get to visit America’s oldest ballpark?

The Spread at Moonshine 152

The Spread at Moonshine 152

One of the up and coming neighborhoods in Boston is South Boston aka. Southie, which is full of awesome restaurants like Moonshine 152 (152 Dorchester Ave.). Full disclosure: I grew up with the owner and chef, Asia Mei and I consider her to be like a cousin. However, it wouldn’t have clouded my judgement because Asia is a talented and fantastic chef. My friends and I went for brunch and feasted on tater tot poutine, French toast sticks, grilled avocado, a peach and fried prosciutto salad and omelette. That French toast was seriously one of the best French toasts I’ve ever had. It’s not a custard-style French toast, but little deep-fried fritters that aren’t oily or greasy. They tasted like churros with a raspberry dipping sauce and I love churros.

I really liked how Asia would throw in nods to her Asian heritage. The tater tot poutine is topped with Chinese sausage, gravy, green onions and white cheddar cheese. The grilled avocado had an Asian slaw with peanuts. She serves brunch, dinner and even late night eats. I wish I could have gone for dinner because there are even more fusion dishes. It leaves something to desire for my next trip.

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San Francisco Brunch Circuit

Tartine Manufactory | SF

Tartine Manufactory | SF

I write about brunch a lot. In San Francisco, brunch is practically a religion. While I do love a good brunch, I can’t stand waiting 2+ hours for food. I thought I’d write a quick and dirty guide of some of the best places to brunch in SF and what is and isn’t worth your time.

If it wasn't clear, I love Tartine Manufactory.

If it wasn’t clear, I love Tartine Manufactory.

One of the most exciting openings of 2016 was when renowned Tartine Bakery (600 Guerrero St.) opened a 2nd location at Tartine Manufactory (595 Alabama St.). Finally, Tartine’s bread could be available to the masses and not just at 4pm onward in the original Mission location. Tartine Manufactory is in a bigger airy space, complete with a full-service bar. While the offerings are different at Tartine Manufactory compared to the bakery, there are plenty of choices to delight your fancy.

Porchetta Sandwich at Tartine Manufactory

Porchetta Sandwich at Tartine Manufactory

It is worth the trip to Tartine Manufactory solely for the porchetta and fried egg sandwich. I kid you not. It is that good. On a beautifully toasted brioche bun, you’ll find layers of rich, thinly-sliced porchetta, a slightly runny fried egg, fresh watercress and crunchy pork rinds. The pork rinds make the sandwich by adding extra texture that complements against the runny egg yolk. This is heaven in a sandwich. If the thought of eating a porchetta sandwich is going to put you in a coma for the rest of the day, there are plenty of lighter choices. I highly recommend whatever their open-faced sandwich is for the day. I’ve had mind-blowing smoked trout on a healthy, hearty bread, as well as mascarpone, homemade apple butter and apples on their country bread. Their coddled egg is also a great alternative for a lighter brunch. It comes topped with trout roe and 3 pieces of the country bread (my favorite of all the Tartine breads) with za’atar spices.

Brunch at Plow | SF

Brunch at Plow

Plow (1299 18th St.) is the perfect place to hit during the week if you can. Weekend lines can be 2+ hours. If you are lucky enough to snag a table, you must order the buttermilk biscuit, which comes with life-changing honey butter. I also recommend their signature brunch dish, the plow. I always struggle at brunch because I usually want both savory and sweet dishes, but don’t want to order two entrees. The plow is perfect because it comes with two eggs, house made pork sausage patties, mini lemon ricotta pancakes and plow potatoes. Their sausage patties are full of flavor, without being too oily. I love anything lemon and their lemon ricotta pancakes are light, fluffy and wonderfully zesty. The corn muffin is a total pass (save your calories for the biscuit) and while the French toast is solid, I’d rather eat the pancakes.

Spread at Zazie | SF

Spread at Zazie

Zazie (941 Cole St.) is another SF brunch institution (I’m telling you… people take their brunch really seriously here). I don’t know why Zazie had never been on my radar, probably because I never go to Cole Valley. But apparently, Adele likes to brunch at Zazie so my friend and I had to try. Similar to Plow, expect long waits on the weekend, so try and come during the week if you can. What I liked most about Zazie is they let you customize the quantity of your order. For the eggs Benedict, you can order just 1 and the same goes for their pancakes. I love any restaurant that let’s me order multiple dishes (again, I’m into both savory and sweet for breakfast).

I ordered the eggs Benedict with avocado, bacon and cheese and my friend ordered a scramble. We decided to split Sarah Jane’s flight, which comes with 1 buttermilk pancake, 1 ginger pancake and 1 French toast. If you come to Zazie, you must order eggs Benedict and get the home fries (screw ordering the salad, people). Their Hollandaise sauce is absolutely perfect, creamy without being too heavy and having a wonderful citrus flavor. Zazie’s home fries are the best home fries I’ve ever had in my life. They are roasted in a way where the outside is crispy but the interior is still soft and chewy. Zazie roast their home fries with garlic, which gives their potatoes an extra layer of complexity. They are to die for. Out of the flight, the French toast and buttermilk pancake did not impress me. I would order the ginger pancake again, primarily because it’s topped with fresh lemon curd (love me some lemon) and a poached pear. It even tastes amazing cold the next day!

Beignet Flight at Brenda's Soul Food Kitchen | SF

Beignet Flight at Brenda’s Soul Food Kitchen

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Shanghai Breakfast Eats: Egg and Taoyuan Village

Egg Spread

Look at the spread! Egg in Shanghai

Who doesn’t love a good breakfast? This is a long overdue post because Egg (12 Xiangyang Bei Lu; 襄阳北路12号) has been open for over a year and it’s probably one of my favorite cafés in Shanghai. It’s a chill place to grab a cup of coffee and do some work.

Yangmei Soda + Latte

Yang mei Soda + Latte

When I want a good cup of coffee, I can count on Egg to deliver. I’ve been disappointed multiple times on expensive places that serve coffee for 40-50 RMB (I’m looking at you, Farine). Egg is the only place that I can find cashew milk lattes and the owner, Camden, happily makes her own cashew milk. If coffee isn’t your thing, fear not as there are plenty of other libations to choose from. Camden is always serving some type of seasonal flavored soda and there’s even beer and wine. Most recently, I had a yang mei soda, which is made from fresh fruit nectar. Note: If you don’t know what the Chinese fruit yang mei is, check out my blog post where I went yang mei picking!

Egg's Hippie Bowl

Egg’s Hippie Bowl

By far, my favorite dish at Egg is the Hippie Bowl. This Instagram-worthy bowl is full of barley topped with roasted carrots, radish, kale, feta and an egg that is pickled in beet root. The vibrant dressing really brings this whole dish together. Normally, I’m a big meat eater, but this is one of the few times where I’m happy to eat vegetarian. It’s a hearty bowl and you can tell that Camden pays attention to the details because even the barley has flavor.

Egg Shanghai

When my sister and I went, we ordered the hippie bowl, cornbread waffle, breakfast taco, carrot fritters and apple pie pancakes. The cornbread waffle comes with cola-braised pork, pickled yardbeans and tomato jam (plus a fried egg). I really liked how the cornbread waffle wasn’t too dense and had nice flavor, which paired really well with the tender pork. I fell in love with the tomato jam. I want a jar of that jam to just spread on all things in my life. The carrot fritters were also really tasty and naturally very sweet. The apple pie pancakes were a special for the day and they were my 2nd favorite dish. The pancakes were thick and cake-like with amazing cinnamon sugar cooked apples. The only thing that I wasn’t a big fan of was the “taco” because there was too much sauce and it was messy to eat. Egg is open every day from 8:00am to 6:30pm.

Taoyuan Village

Taoyuan Village

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Shanghai: Bull & Claw Brunch and Al’s Diner

Bull and Claw: Lobster Eggs Benedict

Bull and Claw: Lobster Eggs Benedict

It’s hard to get excited for brunch in Shanghai. I know, total #firstworldproblem if there ever was one. Ever since Madison closed, there’s been a hole in my life because brunch just doesn’t compare elsewhere. Also, I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg just to eat brunch on the Bund. I’m really happy to report that Bull & Claw (466 Xikang Lu; 西康路466号) in Jing’an was one of the most enjoyable brunches I’ve had in ages. It was warm this past weekend and they were able to open all of the sliding doors and let in the fresh air.

Bull & Claw in Shanghai

Bull & Claw in Shanghai

Bull & Claw offers a three-course set menu: 1 course for 85 RMB, 2 courses for 145 RMB and 3 courses for 165 RMB. Considering that they had cocktails and fresh juices listed as one of the courses, it’s really easy to decide to just splurge and go for all three.

Bull and Claw Brunch

Bull & Claw Brunch

I ordered the brioche French toast and lobster eggs Benedict while my friend ordered the Turkish menemen. I have to admit that the French toast was the only lackluster part of my meal. The bread was really dry and although the salted caramel sauce was delicious, it couldn’t make up for the fact that the bread was horribly dry. I want my French toast to be a custard-like consistency after soaking in beautiful creamy batter all night. This French toast didn’t really have much taste.

However, the rest of the food made up for the poor French toast. While you do have pay an extra 80 kuai for the lobster eggs Benedict, it is totally worth it. The English muffins were toasted well and topped with bacon, a healthy portion of spinach, beautiful pieces of lobster, perfectly poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. I loved my dish. The lobster tasted fresh with great texture (not that weird mushy consistency). The spinach and bacon made the dish felt more substantial and the whole dish is surprisingly filling. I couldn’t even finish it (and I ate this first before trying the French toast). My friend’s Turkish menemen was absolutely delicious. Similar to a shashuka, two eggs are baked in a casserole dish with tomatoes, onions, peppers, sumac, yoghurt and spices. The menemen definitely has a little bit of kick and is spicy and flavorful. You also get two toasted pieces of bread to soak up all that liquid goodness. I can’t wait to go back to Bull & Claw soon and try more of their dishes.

Milkshake at Al's Diner

Milkshake at Al’s Diner

I was really excited to try Al’s Diner (204 Xinle Lu; 新乐路204号), which offered greasy, comfort food and homemade ice cream from Gracie’s. Gracie’s started with a small ice cream cart outside of House of Lasagna, but Al’s Diner offers a full ice cream bar with a myriad of different flavors. You can make any of her ice cream flavors into a milkshake and I decided to get the Winterberry and White Chocolate one. Considering the high quality of her ice cream, this milkshake was absolutely magical. It was bursting with berry flavor and so deeply satisfying. The only thing that could have made it better would be if it was slightly thicker and also slightly cheaper (60 RMB for a shake).

Al's Diner: Honey Sriracha Chicken Wings, Patty Melt and Kimchee Fried Rice

Al’s Diner: Honey Sriracha Chicken Wings, Patty Melt and Kimchee Fried Rice

When my friend and I met up, we were starving and quickly ordered the honey sriracha chicken wings, patty melt and kimchee fried rice. The chicken wings came in 2nd after the milkshake. They were crispy, but not too greasy, and had a nice sweet and spicy flavor. The accompanying cole slaw was really meh (needed more mayo), but that just leaves more space in your stomach for chicken.

We weren’t as pleased with our main dishes. The patty melt was two Australian beef patties with caramelized onions, mushrooms and Gouda cheese. The bread was buttered and toasted perfectly and the filling was done well, but the meat had no taste. It needed some more salt and pepper and I found myself slathering ketchup all over my melt. The side of fries were definitely good with a great crisp. While the patty melt lacked flavor, the kimchee fried rice was bursting with it. Chinese sausage and mushrooms are mixed well in this rice and I liked the fried egg topping. I just found this rice to be WAY too oily and I couldn’t have more than a couple of bites.

I would love to go back to Al’s Diner, but I would try different dishes. I’ve heard really good reviews about the lemon ricotta and blueberry pancakes that I definitely want to try. While I did enjoy my milkshake, 60 RMB is a little too steep and I’d recommend going on Mondays when they have 30 RMB milkshake specials.

Shanghai: Brunch at Table No. 1 by Jason Atherton

Table No 1- Brunch

Table No 1- Brunch

I’m always on the hunt for a good brunch in Shanghai. A few months ago, Table No. 1 (1-3 Maojiayuan Lu; 毛家园路1-3号1楼) unveiled a new brunch menu that looked absolutely delectable.

Salmon Eggs Benedict and Raisin Scones

Salmon Eggs Benedict and Raisin Scones

True to their dinner menu, the brunch menu is also very limited. There was a small selection of egg dishes with different variations of eggs benedict or poached eggs on toast. Since I felt like I could make eggs on toast at home, I opted for the Eggs Royale, two eggs poached eggs on an English muffin with smoked salmon. The eggs were cooked perfectly and I liked that the hollandaise sauce was very light with a hint of lemon.

Table No 1- Scones

Table No 1- Scones

My mother really loves scones and I think that passion has been passed on to me. Whenever I see them on the menu, I always feel the need to order them. I was very pleased with the raisin scones at Table No. 1. Too often with scones, they are way too dense and disappointing. These were lighter and not too sweet. Proper British scones should be served with clotted cream (not butter) and these scones came with a lovely jar of clotted cream and jam. I was a happy camper.

Blueberry Pancakes with Poached Apricots

Blueberry Pancakes with Poached Apricots

I unintentionally ordered a lot of sweet dishes with the blueberry pancakes and homemade yogurt. The blueberry pancakes weren’t your classic American pancakes. It didn’t have that rich buttermilk taste. Instead of coming with maple syrup, these pancakes came with poached apricots and whipped cream. For an extra 30 kuai, you could top the pancakes with pan seared foie gras. I have had the foie gras at dinner before and I think it would have been the perfect complement to these pancakes. The foie would have added some nice extra fat to the pancakes and given it an interesting sweet and savory combination.

Table No 1- Yogurt

Table No 1- Yogurt

I really enjoy homemade yogurt and do like it sour. Table No. 1’s version was just a little too sour for me. While there’s some fruit topped on it, I felt like it needed just a bit more honey to help sweeten it up a bit.

Overall, brunch was pleasant, but it’s not my top recommendation in Shanghai. Table No. 1 is also a little far since it’s out by the Cool Docks. I don’t know if I would make a special trip to go there again. However, if you’re looking for a solid brunch and are in the neighborhood, Table No. 1 is a good option for you.

Shanghai: Brunch at Liquid Laundry and Cambio Coffee

Liquid Laundry

Liquid Laundry

I’ve already talked about dinner at Liquid Laundry (1028 Huaihai Zhong Lu; 淮海中路1028号), but I think I discovered one of my favorite brunch spots. I’m not the only one who must share this opinion because it was nearly impossible to make brunch reservations.

Green Eggs & Ham and a Bacon Flight

Green Eggs & Ham and a Bacon Flight

I literally wanted to order everything on the menu, but my friend and I settled on green eggs and ham, a bacon flight and Korean fried chicken sandwich. My green eggs and ham was seed toast topped with poached eggs, avocado, ham, spinach, and Goddess dressing. I could not believe how big the portion was. The toast was a thick slice of bread with two perfectly poached eggs and a healthy dose of avocado. I really enjoyed the combination of everything on my plate and was happy to share it because I couldn’t even finish. Our bacon flight came with three flavors: sweet maple, spicy habanero and coffee cured. The bacon is delicious, but the spicy habanero is not for the faint of heart. It was SO spicy, but the type of spicy that creeps up on you and feels like is burning a hole in your mouth.

Liquid Laundry Fried Chicken Sandwich

Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich

I loved this fried chicken sandwich. The bun was soft and fluffy, the chicken was crispy and moist, and the Sriracha aioli with coleslaw had the perfect kick. I think the best surprise was the fact that they add bits of ramen noodles for that extra crunch (seriously genius). I can’t wait to go back and eat that sandwich again. I appreciate that Liquid Laundry serves American-sized portions and it’s the perfect place to go with a group of friends so you can share a bunch of dishes.

Cambio Coffee

Cambio Coffee

Shanghai is finally starting to get a little bit warmer and it begs for catching up with friends over a nice cup of coffee. I’ve been on the hunt for new cafés and came across Cambio Coffee (861 Jiangning Lu; 江宁路861号). It’s a small place with a few indoor and outdoor seats.

Drinks at Cambio Coffee

Drinks at Cambio Coffee

I had a cappuccino and while it wasn’t life-changing, it was a solid cup of coffee. I liked that it was a little bit quieter than Sumerian, which is always packed on the weekends and rarely has free tables. The only downside to Cambio is that it’s not really close to any metro stops. While it’s a great place to grab a cup of coffee if you’re in the neighborhood, I don’t think I’d go out of my way just to get coffee there.