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Making Changes

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Hi folks! Just a heads up…Eateries & Observations is going on hiatus and a new blog is taking over. For more musings from me (and the bf too!) visit Her Handsome Mustache. We hope you’ll like what you find!

5 Favorite Cheeses

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I love cheese, do you?? I can’t get enough of it! Unfortunately, it is a little fatty and should only be consumed in moderation, but I’ll typically pick up a block each week and plow right through it. Trader Joe’s has a fairly decent selection for affordable prices. My 5 favorite cheeses I’ve found there are:

  1. Cotswold: I first tried Cotswold when I was working at Google. They had a large cheese/nut plate available at a cafe for lunch one day. I fell in love immediately. It’s an English pub cheese that’s essentially a really sharp cheddar with chunks of chives in it. Great on french baguette or even grated on top of a veggie scramble. It’s strong, but good!
  2. Brie: who doesn’t love brie? At this point, it seems like a cheese staple, but I had to put it on here because, well, I love it! It has a creamy center with a semi-hard rind. Delicious in stuffed fillo or on sliced apples.
  3. Goat/chevre: mmmm, goat cheese. Goat cheese is flaky and creamy all at the same time with a mild tang. It’s also an excellent cooking ingredient. You can add to almost anything because it’s so mild. Trader Joe’s has an awesome selection…plain, herbed, even wild blueberry and vanilla! We have a delicious salad at work that uses plain goat cheese: mixed greens, asparagus, goat cheese and honey. Forget it. It’s so good.
  4. Gouda: “gouda is so gouda” my dad always says. Especially smoked gouda. It just has that really nice smoky/oaky taste. Eat it with crackers or melt slices of it into a wrap if you need a mobile lunch (my bf lives off these).
  5. Stilton with Apricots: Yup. It’s damn good. It’s like a mild white cheese with chunks of dried apricot. A really nice dessert cheese. Perfect for cleansing the palette and giving you a nice finish to your meal. It’s quite rich, so eat with caution.

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I’m always on the prowl for more cheese…have any suggestions?? Try some of these and let me know what you think. Would love to hear your feedback. :)

Daily Specials

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As a customer, it’s nice to have some daily specials to choose from that are different from the basic menu. As a server, the specials are also great because they provide the opportunity to up-sell you tables. Seems like a win-win. While this is true, the daily specials are also a major source of stress…at least for me. The table talk is always a mouthful and as the restaurant gets busier, it becomes even more difficult to explain the specials to your tables in a limited amount of time. Not to mention, it’s almost a guarantee there will be follow up questions that, more often than not, I need to bull shit because there’s no way I would know the answers.

How it Works

At the beginning of each shift, all the servers have a meeting to discuss basic housekeeping as well as the nightly specials. Chef comes out and gives us the table talk (how you explain the dish to your table) and we ask any questions we might have. Generally these dishes are expensive so we don’t typically see them before they go out. Essentially, all we know about the dish is what Chef tells us. The table talk is usually a mouthful of information. Once I even told a table to “get comfortable” before giving them the specials because it was going to be a while.

Typically we always have an appetizer (sometimes two), an entrée, the Plat du Jour and oysters. On top of that, we also have to let them know if anything has been 86′d (if we’re out of it). So on an average night the table talk is something like this:

  • Appetizer: A flaky pastry tart stuffed with Boucheron cheese topped with a dollop of fig jelly and honey drizzle
  • Entrée: Braised beef brisket on a bed of pommes puree with sautéed brussel sprouts and beach mushrooms finished in a sauce braisage
  • PDJ: Seafood bouillabaisse in a mild saffron broth loaded with seafood including clams, calamari, Maine hake, shrimp and mussels
  • Oysters: Island Creeks from Duxbury and Misty Points from Prince Edward Islands
This is a shit ton of information to memorize in just the 15 minutes before service starts. So it’s always stressful, especially with the first table, because you usually trip all over your words. Plus, most of the wording is rather pretentious so follow up questions are common.
There’s no way to avoid specials, but it would be nice if Chef could “trim the fat”…pun intended.

Thanksgiving Preparations

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Not my favorite holiday, but I’m always grateful for a long weekend and time with family and friends. Since California is too far and too expensive for just a four-day weekend, the bf and I decided to stay in town this year. Boston is like a ghost town during the holidays since all the students go home. However, it’s kind of nice to have that quiet. Tomorrow we will be going to Tavern in the Square in Allston to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the poor (because I just can’t get enough waitressing)…but I do love that it’s for a really great cause. Afterward, we’ll be venturing out to the South End to have Thanksgiving dinner with my friend Ari and her brother who are sweet enough to host all the “orphan” kids with no family in the area. I have some champagne chilling and also made some Crab Stuffed Mushrooms to take as appies. These things are the bomb!! Not vegetarian, but they are pescetarian. Follow the link for the recipe.

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

These are the perfect appetizer. Low cal, not too filling and always a big hit! Will also be taking these to Christmas dinner with the fam in California as well as some chocolate dipped macaroons (will keep you posted on those).

What’s everyone doing to celebrate Thanksgiving?? Making anything out of the ordinary?? Let me know…I’m always looking to expand my cookbook.

Happy Thanksgiving!

My Top 3 Pizza Places in Boston

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Moving from California to Boston, the amount of pizza places in this city is staggering. I mean, you can’t walk 10 feet without stumbling on a pizza joint. This proliferation of pizza places combined with a need for late night munching – not to mention my bf’s OBSESSION with pizza – has enabled me to try …well, A LOT of pizza. Albeit, I have many other places to try, but below are my favorite three pizza places in Boston thus far (in no particular order):

1. NYP

New York Pizza out off Boylston in the theater district has to be some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. That ish is so GOOD. I don’t know what they do to it, but the sauce, cheese and crust are always perfect. They typically have a bunch of pizzas ready to order by the slice (note: the sizes are ENORMOUS), but you can also order custom pizzas. They’re open late and they deliver.

2. Upper Crust

Upper Crust is pretty popular in this town so it’s no surprise it made the list. Their pizzas are more gourmet style so they tend to be a bit more pricey. They use fresh ingredients in innovative ways. You can really taste the quality of the ingredients. Plus, when you order a large, they actually give you a large ass pizza…unlike other places that charge you for a large and give you a medium (I’m pretty sure Natalie’s does this).

3. Ducali

Ducali in the North End is awesome because not only do they have great pizza, they have pizza nachos. That’s right, pizza nachos. They’re like pieces of pizza that have been torn apart and are served with a ramekin of marinara sauce for dipping. They are KILLER.

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If you’re thinking about pizza but you don’t know which kind to get…or maybe you’re bored with all the standard pizzas out there, try the Hellapeno. It’s the pizza my bf and I concocted and it’s our go-to every time. Ready? It’s cheese pizza with pineapple, olives, mushrooms and jalapenos. So good!! Try it sometime and let me know what you think!

What pizza places did I miss?? Please let me know as I’d love to try more!

Another Brunch…

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Ugh!! I apologize in advance as this post will be more of  a rant.

Yesterday at brunch I had this HORRENDOUS woman come in with her husband. My manager sat them at their table then came to me and told me they’re both super sweet and they’re regulars so to take good care of them. Great, nice people who are regulars, no problem. I go over with a coffee shuttle in hand to greet them and they start ordering right away…with the shuttle in my hand and before I could even offer them the special for the day. I had to nestle the shuttle under my armpit as I struggled to take their damn order. Annoying but nothing too serious.

I leave to put in their order and since this woman was barking at me I forgot to put her oysters in first. However, I did remember soon after so I went back to the kitchen and told them to hold her food and to send out the oysters first. Crisis averted. She ordered six oysters which are easily slopped down so I didn’t think she would take more than 10 minutes to eat them. PLUS, brunch is much quicker as people don’t typically want to spend their entire day there. So I fired her omelette which came out soon thereafter. She had one oyster left and was PISSED that her omelette came out before she was done with her oysters. Like…PISSED. So I got a nice lashing when I went over to do a quality check. Now, bear in mind this couple was archaic. The blue hairs are usually hard to wait on because they’re typically always disgruntled about something. Anyway, I apologized through my teeth then left to tend to other tables. I stopped by to do a coffee check and got a look like I was so rude for interrupting their conversation. At this point, I wanted nothing to do with them. I just wanted them gone.

I told my manager the situation and she comped the oysters off entirely. That’s nearly $14 of food during brunch,which is pretty significant. So after their plates had been cleared I went to drop the checked. I asked if there was anything else I could grab for them and this awful woman said “well we’ve barely seen you so I guess not.” At this point, I really had to bite my tongue. This woman was such a bitch. I pointed out the comped items and she refused to accept them, stating that my manager was really nice and she didn’t want to do that. Look, if you’re going to have a shit-fit about something and you don’t want to accept a gesture of apology then just shut the F up. I couldn’t get these people out of there fast enough.

I think ultimately I was so irritated with this woman because not only was she just plain rude, she had a shit-fit over something so petty. People like this kill me because they have no grip on reality. They have no sense of anything else besides them. No perspective. She acted as though her food coming out before she finished her oysters was the most horrendous and offensive thing she’d ever experienced. Shit, maybe it was. If so, that’s really sad.

Apologies for the rant, I just had to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening! :)

Bread Bread Bread Bread Bread

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So my bestie, Alex, and I have this ongoing joke that we think is absolutely hilarious but drives everyone else nuts. We are OBSESSED with bread. “Bread bread bread bread bread” we always say. Bread is so good!

This all started when we were driving down Sunset Blvd in sunny LA and Al turned to me and asked, “Do you like bread?” My eyes lit up and I fervently replied, “I LOVE bread!” It erupted into this hilarious conversation about how much we love bread. Years later we still think it’s hilarious, and we still love bread. In fact, for his birthday last year I ordered him a bread basket from Joan’s on Third and had it delivered to his office. The perfect gift.

We talk about all the different kinds of bread we like, which ones are our favorite and all the accoutrements we enjoy. The following are my personal favorites (in no particular order):

  1. Dutch Crunch (it’s a California thing – super crunchy on top and soft in the middle)
  2. Classic sourdough baguette (with salted butter, olive oil/vinegar or any kind of cheese)
  3. Olive and rosemary bread
  4. Banana bread (my mom makes a killer recipe)
  5. Croissant
  6. Rosemary focaccia (only for dipping in olive oil…I don’t think this belongs on a sammy)
  7. Cheesy garlic bread
  8. Naan (Indian bread…absolutely incredible)
  9. Bagels (spinach/parmesan, everything bagel)
  10. French bread (with brie, fig jam and olives)

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My mouth is watering just thinking about all this bread! Tell me, do you feel the same way about bread? Some people do and others could take it or leave it. If you do love it, what’s your favorite kind??

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