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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Milan Street Eats

Milan: cioccolati italiani gelato

Milan: Cioccolati Italiani gelato

This summer was quite busy with two trips to Italy (one for work and one for play) and so there’s plenty of delicious Milan street eats to share! Probably one of my favorite gelato shops is Cioccolati Italiani (Via San Raffaele 6), which is right behind Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The best part about this place is that you can choose a flavor of melted chocolate (white, milk or dark) to add to your cone. Talk about the best idea ever! It reminded me of being a kid and eating a Nestle Drumstick and having the last bite be filled with delectable chocolate. While they are famous for their chocolate flavors, I find them too rich (it was the first time I couldn’t finish my gelato). I definitely prefer the fruit and yogurt or fruit and fior di latte combination.

Luini Panzerotti

Luini Panzerotti

Right across the street from Cioccolati Italiani is the famous Luini Panzerotti (Via Santa Radegonda,16). Panzerotti is basically a mini calzone but with a more fluffy dough. Luini offers sweet and salty panzerotti that are either baked or fried. My friend and I ordered one fried ham and mozzarella and one ricotta and cheese. The sweet one did not do much for me because they’re baked and with a more cookie-like dough. The savory one was definitely more promising, but I almost wish they could be served hotter and fresher. With a huge line out the door, they already have them prepared and in a glass case so I can understand wanting to move the line quickly. Considering the hype, it was a little disappointing. I’d recommend saving more room in your stomach for gelato.

Spontini Pizza

Spontini Pizza

One of the best things that I ate was the deep dish pizza at Spontini (Via Santa Radegonda 11). There are quite a few of them in Milan, but the one I ate at was also close to Luini. This pizzeria is super casual and only has standing tables to eat at. They only offer three types of pizza, but it’s reasonably priced at about 3-5 EUR/piece. I loved this pizza and it’s piled high with fresh tomato sauce and LOTS of cheese.

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Shanghai: Enamored by Mercato and Chef Sandy Yoon

Mercato Shanghai

Mercato Shanghai

Mercato by Jean Georges (3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road, 6/F; 中山东一路外滩3号6楼) is one of the most talked about restaurants in Shanghai. I’ve had multiple people tell me it’s their favorite restaurant in the city. Known for its “farm chic” Italian food, Mercato is surprisingly warm and welcoming, despite being in one of the poshest buildings in Shanghai– 3 on the Bund.

On my first visit to Mercato, I was surprised just how hip the restaurant was. With low-hanging lights, plenty of dark, exposed wood and leather chairs, this is a stark contrast to Jean Georges’ signature restaurant located 2 floors directly underneath Mercato. While Jean Georges is quiet and formal, Mercato is a little bit more boisterous and comfortable.

When you first walk in, you walk pass the bar/lounge and quickly see a dedicated pizza bar (talk about my kind of restaurant). If you’re lucky enough to score a window seat, you’ll be greeted by a gorgeous view of the Bund. There are communal tables to encourage the family-style vibe as well as more private tables. I saw many couples sharing a cozy meal together over candlelight and wine.

Mercato- Top right: Warm Seafood Salad; Bottom right: Burrata Cheese

Top right: Warm Seafood Salad; Bottom right: Burrata Cheese

Perhaps my favorite dish at Mercato is the warm seafood salad with avocado. It’s a beautiful mix of perfectly-cooked octopus, calamari, shrimp, mussels and scallops drizzled with lemon juice and served with a healthy-sized chunks of avocado. Whenever I see avocado on a menu, I’m always drawn to it. Since avocados tend to be more bland, it didn’t overwhelm the natural taste of the seafood, but the creaminess added an extra complexity to the salad.

Cheese is really expensive in China, especially after living in Paris for a year. I always feel like I’m giving my first-born child up whenever I splurge on it. When I saw burrata cheese on the menu, I could have cried (yes, I am overly dramatic about my cheese). How can you really go wrong with fresh mozzarella and cream in the middle? The burrata was topped with Sorrento lemon marmalade, plenty of cracked pepper, a dash of olive oil and a sprig of basil. I honestly could have eaten the entire plate for dinner and left perfectly content afterward.

Mercato-- Top left: Asparagus wrapped in proscututo with fontina cheese; Bottom right: Endive salad

Top left: Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto with fontina cheese; Bottom right: Endive salad

On my second trip to Mercato, I got to meet head chef, Sandy Yoon. Sandy is one of the most buzzed about chefs– a Korean-American who started as a line cook at one of Jean Georges’ restaurants in New York and then was hand-picked to run Mercato. Although our meeting was brief, she was incredibly friendly and so humble. Also, she humored my parents who took about 5 photos of us together.

Sandy chose our menu and gave us a sampling of her dishes. We started the meal with the endive salad, warm seafood salad, octopus salad and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. The endive salad was light, refreshing and a great palate opener. The octopus was grilled and served with a lovely mix of roasted potatoes, green olives and fennel. My two favorites of the starters were definitely the warm seafood salad and the asparagus. The addition of fontina cheese to the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus took a seemingly simple dish and made it much more decadent and rich.

Top left: Pizza with sausage and kale; Top right: Octopus salad; Bottom left: Eggplant Parmesan; Bottom right: Fried Seabass

Top left: Pizza with sausage and kale; Top right: Octopus salad; Bottom left: Eggplant Parmesan; Bottom right: Fried Sea bass

For our main dishes, we had the sausage pizza, eggplant parmesan and fried sea bass. The pizza was topped with spicy pork, kale and fresh cheese. When I bit into my slice, I immediately felt all the delicious cheese ooze out and melt in my mouth. Normally, I’m not the biggest fan of kale. I know it’s a super food, but I find it too bitter. However, the cheese was so abundant that I couldn’t even taste the kale, which I was perfectly OK with because I can tell myself I got some “nutrients” while indulging in pizza. You definitely need to eat the pizza while it’s hot and the bottom is still slightly crispy.

My picture does not do the eggplant parmesan justice. I’m a huge fan of eggplant parmesan and tend to always order it at Italian restaurants. Most of the time, I’m sorely disappointed in the execution of the dish, but my love for eggplant parm transcends all else. Hence, I find myself ordering it whenever I see it on the menu. Mercato’s eggplant parmesan is absolutely worth ordering. The eggplant is lightly breaded with panko and so the batter isn’t too thick. Within the layers of eggplant is fresh tomato sauce and plenty of cheese. Eating Sandy’s version is the reason why I continue to order eggplant parmesan at every Italian restaurant. Because when it’s done right, eggplant parm is so good (I like it even better than lasagna).

The sea bass reminded me of high-end fish and chips (minus the chips). It was battered and deep-fried; it was a nicely cooked piece of fish. However, it was the accoutrements that really tied everything together. The fish was served on a bed of spring peas and a soft boiled egg gribiche. The gribiche was like super fancy tartar sauce and the peas had wonderful sweet hint to them. When you ate all of it together with the fish, it formed a beautiful combination of textures and flavors– sweet, creamy, crispy and savory at the same time. The gribiche made the fried sea bass outstanding.

I would definitely recommend Mercato to any of my friends, especially if you wanted to celebrate a special occasion. You get the benefits of dining at 3 on the Bund at a Jean Georges restaurant but at a much more reasonable price. You don’t have to break the bank to eat at Mercato. However, be warned. You may be tempted to order everything off the menu. Your wallet may not thank me, but your stomach will.

SF Birthday Extravaganza I: Flour + Water and Bi-Rite Ice Cream

I’ve been majorly behind on updating my blog and it’s because I’ve really been too busy eating! I’ve had a lot of fantastic meals over the past week because of my birthday. One of my closest and dearest friends, Peter, was in town for one day and I suggested flour + water in the Mission. It’s been on my must-try list FOREVER, but I’m not willing to wait 2 hours for a table and they seriously have limited reservations (like 2-3 months out).

I got to F+W at 5:30pm on a Thursday (it opens at 5:30pm) and there was already a line. Seriously?! People, do you not have to work? Peter didn’t get to the restaurant until around 6pm (they only seat complete parties), but luckily, it was still early and they sat us at a communal table.

Flour and Water Pizza

Salsicca Pizza

Flour and Water squid ink pasta

Squid Ink Pasta with Uni

Flour and Water Sage Pasta

Sage Pasta with Pork (drool)

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