Basho-Japanese sushi for Lunch

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Basho Japanese Brasserie
1338 Boylston Street

Boston, Massachusetts 02215
(617) 262-1338



Basho, sister restaurant of Douzo, is located in Fenway. Personally, I'm a fan of the Douzo-Basho establishment for the fresh, creative sushi but it's not for you if you're on a budget. Prices can rocket sky-high if you're not careful, with specialty rolls etc at about $11-16 bucks a pop. Even with my buywithme voucher ($20 for $40 worth of food), our bill came up to over $60 for lunch. 
I enjoyed the miso cod and yellowtail the most.

Yellowtail Usuzukuri 
with yuzu sauce-the sake (?) gelee added a nice burst of freshness.
Miso Black Cod 
caramelized with sweet miso-fish was tender and grilled well.
Steamed Bun Sandwich  
with Kurobuta pork and pickled cucumber- I thought this was good but not great.
Basho Roll- fried snow crab, lettuce, shiitake, asparagus, pickles with jalapeno aioli wrapped with cucumber and soy paper--This was interesting and I've never had maki wrapped in soy paper until now. Chilli and crab's a tried and true combination.
Omakase Special-A really good value for lunch

Throwing a Mustache Party! Cake, candy and facial hair. Lots of it!

Friday, July 22, 2011

My 18 inch chocolate moustache cake (cupcakes in background)

Remember the film, La Moustache? The protagonist spots one for the longest time and suddenly shaves it, setting off a drastic chain of baffling events. Towards the end, even as he grows a moustache again, life is inadvertently changed...Although dramatic, this lead-in is somewhat related to my post!

Having amassed a lot of furry stick-on moustaches for a while now I've always wanted to throw a moustache party but didn't because of reasons like my studio's size constraints or 
lackluster response. But this year, the stars are aligned because my friend Lou offered to host at his huge apartment and my sporty group of friends actually share my enthusiasm! For the support, I was intent on creating something special and did some research.

Inspired by PaisleyJade's mustache cake for her own dad's birthday party (genius), I recreated her chocolate cake, using Valrhona cocoa from France. The cake was soft but firm, holding up to its shape, although the 4" thickness of the cake suggested that I maybe I should have inserted a layer of icing in between to increase its moistness. Overall, pretty good!

Chocolate Cake Recipe (from here)
Preheat oven to 350 degF or 180 degC

1 2/3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups trim milk
100g melted butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients and pour into a greased an 18" springform (lined with parchment paper).  Bake for at 45 minutes or when a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

250g icing sugar
100g butter (7 tb)
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
milk to mix
Place butter and dry ingredients in bowl and mix to combine, then add a dash of milk and mix again. Continue until you achieve a soft spreadable icing, then add vanilla.
Refrigerate to firm up the frosting.

To make the moustache shape, I cut an "S" shape or yin-yang sign into the circular cake and flipped half over. I also followed PaisleyJade's directions on placing parchment paper under the cake during icing and removing the papers after. 

Iced and plated on a wooden chopping board before allowing the icing to harden in the fridge.
I made tiny mini-muffins: lemon poppyseed and blueberry
Then iced with vanilla icing (1 stick butter, 3 cups confectioner's sugar, pinch of salt and vanilla) and decorated with black icing for Dali-inspired 'staches.
Guess what the tootsie rolls are for?
... tootsie 'staches of course. I tooke a midgee tootsie roll, cut it in the middle and joined it back together, shaping the ends before plopping it onto a toothpick. Refridgerate it if it gets too soft and droopy.

White Sangria or "The Dali" by Cecilia (photocredit: Lou)
Joyce's cute cupcakes that resembled the Pringle's man (according to Brian)

This is a clue as to what my outfit was. Modified Boston Red Sox cap with a cotton pad sewn on. Thanks, 

I'm Super Mario girl! To my right, Cecilia was in green, so she's the closest I have to Luigi at the party.

Our moustache station with cotton balls and rubbing alcohol to make the adhesive of the 'staches stick better. (Alc removes the oil on skin)
 Awesome stick 'staches made by Jenna. My favorite was the red one with the tassels, aptly named "The Curtains".
 Best-dressed: Jess's dress!
 And shoes!
My dapper co-host, Lou.
And capping the night with my entourage of stick 'stached boys.

2 Brunches at M. Wells & Tom's Restaurant, Brooklyn, Nyc

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Quebeco-American cuisine" in an old chrome diner at M. Wells.
Menu at M. Wells. Thank god I took a pic of it cos it's not available on their website etc.

M. Wells Diner
21-17 49th Ave

Long Island CityNY 11101

(718) 425-6917

Food: 4.1/5.0
Service: 4.5/5.0--> Yes I'm easy when people send over free dessert.

It was a sweaty trek to the diner but my experience made it worth the while. The menu was an updated version of regular diner food--interesting and satisfying, without an overload of grease for flavor. What was kind of a bummer was that most of the dessert menu was sold out, so we didn't get a chance to try all the desserts we wanted...but they sent over plates of complimentary desserts (not pictured cos I kinda forgot)! Service was uber friendly and attentive too. Given the opportunity, I would love to return to sample the rest of the scrumptious menu!

Egg and Potato Hash with smoked cod-flaky smoked cod, hash and crunchy onions + silky eggs perfectly cooked and runny, made for great texture. Yummers!

Cubano Sandwich, roasted pork, pickles, mortadella, Gruyere-Never met a Cubano I didn't like. Crispy, buttery bread, meats in the right proportions... Nom!

Tom's Restaurant
782 Washington Ave.
BrooklynNY 11238 
at Sterling Pl.

Food: 3.4/5.0
Service: 3.8/5.0

Tom's diner is said to be an institution, having been in business for about 70 years. Upon entering, I felt somewhat nostalgic in it's dark and homey decor, complete with ancient, sputtering a/c. I settled in at the bar as I came alone, and pored over the menu. Since their menu said that they were known for their egg creams, I promptly ordered one to start. I wish I had known that egg creams don't actually contain eggs, cream, nor ice-cream but syrup, milk, and soda water :/

Having heard good things about the diner, I am guilty of raising my expectations, which obviously clouded my judgement a little. I found the eggs benedict mediocre, with the crispy fries being the highlight of the plate. If a regular greasy spoon diner is what you're looking for then Tom's the place. My ny brunch exploration continues elsewhere.

Vanilla Egg Cream-tasted bland. I'd rather have a real milk-shake.
Great fries, over-crisp and dry sausages (ordered on the side), ham was a little plastic-ky, and hollandaise sauce seemed a little artificial, definitely had better.

Brooklyn Grub Crawl Summer 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tiff and I are a 2-girl grub crawl duo who (partially) ate our way through 2 Brooklyn fleas. Not pictured in this entry is our additional dinner at Buttermilk Channel later that night...I feel full thinking of it still. For more Nyc grub crawls check out my posts from last year-> Day 1, Day 2, Day 3.

Starting the day at the Brooklyn Flea Fort Green: 176 Lafayette Ave. (btw. Clermont + Vanderbilt Ave.) Saturday 10am-5pm, Rain or Shine, Bishop Loughlin memorial high school. There was a heat wave that persisted well into the night.
Pork and loroco pupusas-yummers! loved the crunchy peppers and pickled veggies that went along with it. I skipped the sour cream.
The Good Fork Oyster Po' Boy sliders-delicious and bite-sized. Oysters were breaded well, perfectly cooked and offered a nice silky texture beneath the crunch. 
Porchetta! Nom nom nom!
Closeup-porchetta bun included the crispy skins too.
People's Pops-I am not a fan. Besides being horribly expensive, it really didn't taste that fantastic. Tiff's bartlett pear shaved ice ($2.50) was dilute and bland and my apricot-salted caramel tasted better in theory than on tongue ($3.50).
Picking up some rhubarb for a summery pie. Another back view of Tiff, as seen here from last year.
Despite having our fill at Fort Green, I had to check out the new Brooklyn Flea SmorgasbordSaturday 9am-5pm, Rain or Shine, East River Waterfront (btw. North 6 + 7 St.)
tents and tents of food
Beer-making Kit
Coulhaus icecream. The ice-cream flavors and cookie options were cool but flavors were not intense or outstanding. My favorite is still Van Leeuwen.
balsamic fig and mascapone between a brioche sugar cookie-Could not taste the balsamic fig very well
brown butter and candied bacon ice-cream between pistachio cookies-Meh, the bacon was overpowered by the cream and the brown butter flavor was not distinct either.

Dinner at Char No. 4, Brooklyn, NYC!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Pickleback. I requested for 1 shot of whiskey and 2 shots of pickle juice.
Char No. 4
196 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201-6409
(718) 643-2106

Food: 4.0/5.0
Service: 4.2/5.0

While waiting for our friends to arrive, we polished off 5 drinks between the 3 of us. I finally got a chance to sample a pickleback! Boston bartenders look at me weird whenever I request for one, and then return to tell me that they don't have picklejuice (when they serve pickles on their burgers). Anyhoo, pickle juice does makes a regular whiskey taste extra special! The brininess adds an additional layer of complexity and at the same time, tempers the burn of fiery whiskey (even if all I do is take small sips). Someone told me that this combination originated in the South-> To minimize the diuretic properties of alcohol, truck drivers chase whiskey with pickle brine, which cause them to retain water. Genius!

Back to the food at Char No. 4, I thought that the appetizers, entrees and even dessert were all done well. The service was also prompt, attentive and friendly. They also gave me more pickle juice at no charge when requested! Comments to follow.

Crispy cheddar curds with spicy pimento sauce-crispy shell, tender, chewy curds went well with the piquant sauce. Ordered this twice cos people snapped it up too quickly.

Smoked & fried pork nuggets with Char No. 4 hot sauce-we ordered this twice too!
Chicken liver mousse with rhubarb-bourbon mostarda & grilled sourdough-Dressing was nice and smoky; liver mousse smooth and refreshing.
Chicken-fried smoked pork loin with roasted turnips, carrots, peas & mustard-molasses sauce-Could be a tad rarer. Nom-worthy all the same. 
Bacon-JalapeƱo Cornbread-Yummers! Bacon anything is great.
Cornflake crusted crab cake with lemon bay leaf sauce-no complaints here :)
Shrimp & Grits-neutral on this dish.  
Smoked Half Chicken with olive oil crushed potatoes & preserved lemon-tarragon sauce-In terms of entrees I liked this the most--tender meat and soft potatoes mopped up all that lemony sauce. Mmmmm
S'mores Pie with caramelized marshmellow-WOW! In general I'm not a fan of smores because I don't fancy the plasticky taste of Hershey's but this dessert was just spectacular from the crust to the filling to the burnt marshmellow topping. Not gonna lie. I was pleasantly surprised.
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