Sunday, February 1, 2015

Anna's Taqueria

            Anna’s Taqueria serves some of my favorite Mexican Street food in Boston. The ingredients are high quality, fresh, and sourced locally whenever possible.

           I've stopped in before for a quick taco or burrito, but the other day I had the opportunity to go in for lunch and try a large portion of the menu.

           We started with some chips and salsa and a glass of jamaica, which is a traditional Mexican drink made from hibiscus flowers. The salsa was light and bursting with fresh flavors, and the jamaica sweet and refreshing.


          Next we were presented with a large assortment of tacos made with just about every type of filling they offer, and topped with tons of fresh avocado, salsa, and veggies.

          I tried the pork al pastor, grilled chicken, and roasted vegetable. Al pastor is always a favorite, and Anna's version was no exception. This came with rotisserie pork marinated with pineapple, and then topped with chopped red onion, cilantro, avocado, two types of hot sauce, and a side of fresh lime. I was impressed with the variety in the roasted vegetable taco, this was stuffed full of fresh corn, cauliflower, three different kinds of peppers, and egg plant. The grilled chicken was the most simple, and also very good.

           
          For dessert I tried a couple of the home made cookies including praline and sugar. They were both good, but I absolutely loved the praline. It was just a bit crispy around the edges, chewy in the middle, and tasted like rich brown sugar with bits of nuttiness and chocolate.


 
          Anna's has six locations in the Boston area including Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline. They offer breakfast in addition to the lunch / dinner menu, and delivery via several local delivery services. 

  Anna's Taqueria on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Flemings in Providence

          Flemings was my first introduction to higher end dining in Boston years ago, when I was still in high school and living in NH. I didn't eat steak at the time, so I ordered the chicken and to this day it's one of my favorite dishes (although I do enjoy the steak as well).

           Earlier this week I headed to the Providence location for a girls night out during restaurant week. Although everyone loved the food, the biggest hit of the night was definitely this cocktail (being shown beautifully by Jeannie)!  The Winter Chai Mule was seriously one of the best cocktails I've ever had, it was made with Svedka vanilla vodka, and a delicious spice blend including some vanilla and nutmeg.


          I skipped the restaurant week menu because I absolutely had to get the chicken, and it was just as good as I remembered with a white wine, mushroom, leek, and thyme sauce. I also ordered the creamed spinach, another old favorite, and was so excited to dig in I forgot to get a pic!

          Most of the group got the restaurant week menu, and they all enjoyed the steaks, caesar salads, and desserts. Restaurant week can be hit or miss, sometimes the portions are small and not representative of what you'd get on any other night. That was not the case with Flemings; the portion sizes were huge and a few people even brought food home, definitely a great value!


 
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Brunch at Papagayo

          You may have seen my post about Karaoke brunch at Papagayo; if you sing your meal is free and for the month of January all brunch entrees are 1/2 price (whether you sing or not).

          Last weekend I went to check it out with group of bloggers, and yes we did sing!


          There was a buffet that looked delicious, as well as several great menu options I would've liked to try. Since I've been trying to eat healthy, I went with the roasted turkey and avocado omelet with egg whites and extra greens. It was delicious and definitely filling!


          I tried a tiny bite of the french toast (yum)! and drooled over the eggs benedict and some of the other Mexican dishes.



 

          I did splurge on a Bloody Mary (extra spicy),  to prepare me for singing karoake! I had the traditional version with vodka, but I heard Papagayo's version with tequila was also amazing. 


          In addition to the karaoke brunch, Papagayo also has some amazing promotions coming up in February. 

  1. On Superbowl Sunday, all diners will receive their food for free if the patriots win. If they lose, meals will be half price. The only catch is you must purchase a beverage and be there at kick off. Reservations are also mandatory for operational staffing.
  2. They also have  some amazing specials on Valentine's Day for singles and couples. Check out all of the details here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Loco Taqueria and Oyster Bar

          One of Southie's most anticipated restaurants opened last night; the owners of the Lincoln opened up a taco and oyster bar just across the street. The place was completely packed on opening night, and definitely unlike anything else in Southie!

          When I first heard about the concept, I thought it sounded interesting but wondered how the tacos and raw bar would fit together. After looking at the menu, it all made sense. The raw bar included several different types of ceviche dishes (and after talking to the Chef we learned he plans to add even more), and each of the crudo dishes had a bit of a latin flare. The tacos were on the upscale side (although very affordable) and included plenty of seafood and vegetarian options.

          Instead of the traditional chips and salsa, they brought over some sliced cucumbers in a spicy vinaigrette to start. I loved these, and was glad to have a healthy alternative!


          The fiance and I shared a couple of items from the raw bar including sea bass ceviche with amarillo leche de tigre, green mango, and thai basil ice, and the tuna crudo with avocado, lime cream, and tempura flakes. I loved both of these, they were both incredibly creative with great combinations of sweet and savory flavors. I'm really excited to go back and try some of the other types of ceviche.


          The fiance ordered the queso dip with chihuahua queso and crumbled chorizo. Although I was trying to be healthy, I couldn't resist stealing a few bites! The chorizo was sweet and spicy at the same time, and the dip had bits of spicy peppers and roasted garlic.


          I ordered the lobster tacos with griddle onions, warm pickled corn and butter relish for my main course and the fiance ordered the carne asada. Each order came with two tacos, which was the perfect size after all of the apps.


          I was impressed with how excellent both the food and service were on opening night, especially given how busy it was. I can see Loco definitely becoming a new hot spot in the neighborhood!

 Loco Taqueria and Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Top 5 iPhone Apps for Foodies and Bloggers in 2015

          I've always been fairly tech savvy, but blogging has taken it to a whole new level especially when it comes to social media and mobile apps. There are so many out there, I've compiled a list of my favorite restaurant, food, and blogging related apps by category.


City Guide and Review Apps:

 

HeyLets (currently iPhone only)

 

HeyLets app is probably the newest on this list, they launched in 2014 and I'm convinced it's going to be the next big thing. HeyLets is a social city guide, powered by locals and built on positivity. I use HeyLets to find new restaurants, salons, spas, fitness classes, parks, and more. You can even create a wish list of places you want to try and follow your favorite local influencers. I love that there are no negative reviews, because it's the same idea behind my blog. I share places I love and generally don't post about a place at all if I don't have something good to say. You can download it from the itunes store and try it here.

Open Table

 

Open Table is a little different than the other apps in this category because it's used for making restaurant reservations as well as looking up restaurants and reviews. Some of my favorite features include the ability to search for nearby restaurants with reservations based on your GPS location, collect points to redeem toward gift cards, read and post reviews, and make lists of your favorite restaurants.

Urban Spoon (recently sold to Zomato)

 

Urban Spoon is another of my favorites for reviews, and I've found it to be more credible than some sites and apps because it's so popular with bloggers. I also love Urban Spoon because of their blogger program. If you sign up as a blogger, you can embed a spoon back link into your blog posts with a simple HTML tag. This automatically creates a post on Urban Spoon linking back to your blog. It takes almost no time at all, and I've found it generates a lot of traffic. I also browse the recent blog posts on the site to find out about the newest restaurants. You can view the Boston Blogger Leader Board here.

Social Media Apps: 

 

Twitter


Twitter is a great source for finding and sharing content, as well as connecting with other bloggers and social media influencers. Make sure to use hashtags so that people searching for a particular topic will find your posts, and participate in twitter chats to gain more exposure.

 

 Instagram 

 

I love Instagram for many of the same reasons as twitter, it's a great resource for connecting with other bloggers and influencers, and getting your content out there. It can be a little harder to redirect people to your blog because of the inability to include links in posts, but there are ways around that including: sharing on twitter and facebook where the link will post and directing people the link in your profile. Hashtags are even more popular on instagram and can help generate followers and more likes on your posts. Some of the most popular include #instagood, #picoftheday, #tagforlikes, #follow, and #igers


          What are your favorite apps and tips and tricks for using them successfully? Let me know in the comments section!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Loretta's Last Call

          Always a procrastinator, I started my diet on January 2nd this year (and I'm already down 5.3 lbs, yay)! Loretta's Last Call is a place I've been wanting to try since they opened - they have four different kinds of fried chicken on the menu plus tons of yummy sounding Southern influenced dishes. Since I knew I wouldn't be eating like this again for awhile, the fiance and I met up with some family who were in town and had an early dinner on New Year's day.

          I started with the Hibiscus Kiss, a cocktail with vodka, ginger-hibiscus syrup, elderflower liqueur, ginger ale and lemon peel served in this cute mason jar with a fun straw.


          We all shared an order of frito nachos for the table, which came smothered with cheese sauce and chili. The plate may not look big enough for seven people to share, but it was so indulgent that just a taste was plenty!



           The BBQ chicken wings were also very good, I loved the smoky flavor in the sauce. 



          I ordered the chicken and sausage gumbo for my main course, which was served over rice with some crusty bread for dipping. This was a little spicy and defnitely tasted like authentic southern soul food. I couldn't even make it through half the dish, it was so filling!



          The fiance ordered beef brisket with house made biscuits and slaw, which he enjoyed. I stole a few bites of the biscuit and it was delicious!



          I really enjoyed both the food and atmosphere at Loretta's and definitely plan to come back to try the fried chicken and check out the live music!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Easy Tuna Nicoise Salad

I've mentioned before how much I love the tuna from sushi at home, and I recently used it to make this easy and healthy tuna nicoise recipe. The whole dish is delicious and filling, and each salad is only about 250 calories.

Ingredients (for two salads):   
  • Two eggs
  • Two 6 ounces tuna steaks
  • Salad greens (with any of your favorite veggies and toppings)
  • Three tablespoons of lemon juice
  • One teaspoon of soy sauce
  • Salt, pepper, and sesame seeds
Directions:

1. Boil eggs for 10 minutes, let cool and slice into quarters
2. Mix two tablespoons of lemon juice with one teaspoon of soy sauce and dip the tuna steaks in the mixture on all sides
3.  Coat the tuna with sesame seeds, fresh cracked pepper, and salt
4. Sear for 1 minute on each side
5. Toss salad greens with remaining lemon juice, salt and pepper
6. Slice tuna and serve with egg on top of the salad

 

          This is perfect for a quick weeknight meal after work, since you can do everything in the 10 minutes while the egg cooks.