Monday, November 29, 2010

I finally made it to Paramount!

You must know what it is like to have a goal which, for some reason or other, seems unattainable.  This is how I felt for a while with The Paramount, a restaurant on Beacon Hill which friends and strangers alike had been raving about for pretty much the entire time I have been in Boston.
I had however, had no luck in getting to experience this place for my self and it wasn't lack of trying! Any time I had tried to go I was met with an unattractive wait time - granted, I somehow always showed up at peak times. 
This past Monday, the last day of my dad's visit, I set my sights on The Paramount for breakfast.  I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to walk around Beacon Hill and Charles street with my dad while making it out to the restaurant for their famous brunch, without the weekenders milling about.
And guess what!? It worked!
One of the funs things about The Paramount is that you go in, order your food and then take a seat. It is set up in diner style, nothing too fancy and not at all intimidating.   (However they do spruce it up a bit for dinner which is a nice touch.)
So up we went and as I like to do, we ordered an egg dish and a sweet dish.  For the former, we got a bacon and egg omelette with sweet potatoe fries as a substitute for homefries and for the sweet dish, we got their special: french toast with bananas, walnuts and caramel sauce.
Both dishes, were absolutely fantastic. The french toast was made with just the right amount of moisture, the bananas were the perfect ripeness for such a dish and the walnuts were toasted to a divine sweetness and crunch. 

The omelette was fluffly and the sweet potatoe fries, although perhaps not as good as those from the Friendly Toast, were rustic and a nice compliment to the salty bacon.
Suffice it to say that there were no left overs, every last bit of caramel sauce was scrapped up, every last frie was eaten - it was a paramount meal!
I will be going back for their dinner, hopefully I can find an opportunity to go when their won't be a mad rush of people, but even if there is, a gander around Beacon Hill is not the worst thing while you wait.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy (belated) Turkey Day!

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving, filled with fun, family, friends and! Leading up to this holiday, I was told by quite a few people that this is their favorite day of the year, you get together with some of your favorite people and are surrounded by some of your favorite dishes - and there is no pressure of getting gifts!  Of course, at some point throughout the day you may throw a thought or two to the pilgrims and Native Americans of US history...but mostly, you just enjoy being with loved ones and having the day off of work. I think Thanksgiving is really a wonderful time of year.  For me, it means Nutcracker is about to open and that Christmas is just around the corner.  In fact, this year, we will be doing 40 shows of our traditional  production of The Nutcracker, and it all opens tonight! (For tickets and information, visit:
As a dancer, Thanksgiving really represents the start of the Christmas spirit, festivities and atmosphere.  Yes, it is really difficult sometimes to see three holidays snuffed out by one production (this year we go right up until New Year's Eve!) but honestly, I couldn't imagine this time of year without it!
I hope you manage to come and check out the Nutcracker this year, now that you are all well nourished and feeling thankful, merry-up and come check out the performance!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Buttery Biscuit...major downsize

I always like to think of The South End Buttery as a charming little neighborhood spot where you can go for great coffee and other such treats.  Although this is indeed what it is, this lovely idea sometimes get disturbed when I go in with a mind to stock up on a good stodgy breakfast and instead come out feeling quite unsatisfied. 
Their Buttery Biscuit is usually known for its quite large portion and relatively small price.  A big and buttery biscuit cut in half and encompassing scrambled eggs, cheese and bacon, all for 5.95.  It is a great breakfast and in the past, I would have said it was a breakfast of champions! But alas, this visit seemed to prove my thoughts and expectations otherwise for when our order of two buttery biscuits came up (yes I love them so much I recommended them to my dad), they were the tiniest little things...I was quite shocked.  I have noticed that this tends to happen occasionally at the Buttery. You will rave on and on about some item they carry and then you go back to get and find it has downsized by about a half. I noticed the same had happened to its muffins about a year ago and their butterscotch scones (another favorite) seemed to have befallen the same sad fate...
The Buttery Biscuit still tasted great, but there is always an added element of joy when you get more for you dollar and this time, the size factor was missing...
Let's just hope this was just a bad day for the ovens, maybe the cook left out a bit of baking soda...either way, hopefully this sight does not reach my eyes upon my next visit to the Buttery! ( I mean really, look at the one on the left!!!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Once again, saved by the Pops!

It is often quite challenging to find a restaurant that is still serving food in the South End once a show gets out.  This is what most dancers have to deal with post-performance, especially when the performance is an epic three hours and begins at 8 oclock...
When my father came in for a visit, he met me after the show and the stage door and we began walking towards the South End while deliberating the options. I figured Picco was a safe bet, as it was a Saturday night and it was only 11 20 p.m. I believe that during their summer hours, this would have been alright, however apparently they made the switch back to winter hours without my knowledge and I found myself walking up to an unwelcoming looking Picco.
Luckily, my disappointment was short lived, because I knew Pops would be open until midnight and in we walked to be seated at a nice table with food menus awaiting our review.
I was in the need of some real food, so instead of going straight for a dessert, I ordered their tuna ceviche (which I intended to compare with that of Zocalo's the other night) and my dad got their beet salad, upon my suggestion.
Now, I am always fairly confident in the quality of food I will receive from Pops, they have always been consistent and I am always satisfied with what I order.  This time was no different, the beet salad was as beautiful and fresh as I had expected, the tuna ceviche, although not made right in front of me as at Zocalo, was fresh with nice chunks of raw ahi-tuna, just the right amount of avocado and cashews zested with lime and topped with come crispy rice. Very satisfying and just what I needed.

I unfortuanately cannot award the same praise to the service.  For some reason, the service at Pops always leaves something to be desired.  Occasionally I will have no problems, but most often, the waiters are un-informative (granted, I do ask a lot of questions...) and always far too slow with the bread.  I had to ask twice before I saw a basket of bread materialise in front of me.
I understand that it may have been 11:30 at night, but I honestly don't care, it's your job to be fresh and attentive throughout your shift.  I have no sympathy for moody waiters.
On the whole, my dad and I were satisfied, and quite appreciative of good ol' Pops being open just late enough to feed some starving artists.  We finished the meal off with their house made hazelnut gelato, despite the waiters look of frustration when I asked them to top it with whipped cream (god forbid!), it was quite tasty albeit a bit on the small size.

I do however truly appreciate this place, and the many times I have had to fall upon it as a second plan...perhaps, if the service were to improve, it might be my first plan a little more often!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Introducing a new rating system!

I have been slowly revamping my blog, little tweaks here and there, largely guided by a very kind, experienced and patient food blogger -
I am proud to announce the most recent addition to this blog...a rating system!
I believe it is time for my restaurant reviews to be slightly more visual, so along with the photos which I will now be taking more time and care with, I will be including at the bottom of each review, a 1 to 5 rating system (1 being abysmal, and five being fantastic on all fronts) which will let you know what I thought of the overall experience.
I thought it would be nice to use a little graphic of a picture I found of myself as a young ballerina, aged 4 years old.  So you can now look out for these mini me's at the bottom of every review I write!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Planning ahead

As a frugal foodista, I spend quite a bit of time planning which meals I will be eating out and where the best place to eat them will be.
As a general rule, this planning usually looks to the weekend for inspiration, so I's Wednesday night, why not start thinking about where I should go out for dinner this weekend? Lucky for me, my dad is visiting, so I have even more of an excuse to go out and explore some of the recent culinary spots I have had my eye on.
I am thinking that Saturday, for dinner, we should go to Vapiano at City Place in the Theatre District. I feel like an italian restaurant, where you can go around and pick your own pasta/pizza or salad would be a perfect way to get my dad back on his two feet after his flight, while preparing me for the evening's performance of La Bayadère. (for information on the Boston Ballet's current season, visit:
 Of course, we will have to go somewhere sweet afterwards and as per usual, my heart tends to veer towards homemade ice cream at Picco, but I won't rule out another place.
I think Sunday will be a bit up for grabs, social obligations may take up some of the meal times...but I have my hopes set high for Monday morning...we will venture out to Paramount on Charles street for their famous breakfast.  This should be a perfect opportunity to beat the usual weekenders and get great food without the usual brunch bustle.
The only problem with planning things ahead is that sometimes you realise just how much you want to be there already, right as you realise just how much you have to get through before those great rewards can be the very least, I know I have something to look forward to! As do you dad :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Heat up with some Mexican dining

I think the weather has made it pretty clear that we have made the shift towards colder days...I don't know about you, but I am not ready....I feel like I am falling down a hill with too much momentum and I can't stop myself!! It's like being in a dream, only this is no dream!
Luckily, there are some things I know I can grab onto as we plunge into the depths of is the reassuring warmth and glow of Mexican fare.
I went and checked out one such spot in the Back Bay area a few days ago. Just relocated from Brighton, Zocalo has reopened right across from Back Bay station where Bertucci's used to be not too long ago.  A nice little spot tucked away from the bustle of clarendon street, it is a great place to go for an after dinner drink or a full blown meal. 
They have a wonderful drink menu complete with sangria flights and mean looking margaritas and their appetizers are cunning to say the least.  With guacamole and ceviches made right in front of you and other delicious shareable treats it makes for a fabulous social setting.
My friend and I came with appetites, and a list of stories to catch up on so we started the night with a pitcher of their original sangria.  It was a little watery to begin with, but once I sent it back it was nice and fruity, perhaps not to rival the sangria I had in Spain...but what can you do.
We then got the tuna ceviche which came in a large martini glass and a basket of house made and (key word) - warm - tortilla chips. We also got their Botana Mexicana, or their sampler appetizer platter, which came with griddled corn on the cob, plantains stuffed with pulled pork, crème fraîche, avocado and pickled onions, chicken taquitos and tamales (steamed corn meal stuffed with shredded chicken, pork or vegetables wrapped in a banana leaf). Everything was delicious, my favorite were the plantains, the combination of sweet and savory really hit the spot.
We also split their fish tacos which were very well done. They had a special sauce and some slaw to top their breaded haddock, light and fresh tasting.
The whole meal went down a treat and there were no left overs...we had to fight over the remains of the tuna ceviche, which was a major attraction.
The greatest thing about this place is that it is good for any occasion, just some drinks, just some appetizers, or the whole shebang. I will be going back soon with more friends, after all,what good is the knowledge of a great place when you can't share it?
Check things out for yourself at their website: