Anna’s Taqueria

Oh, Anna’s Taqueria. I remember first hearing about Anna’s via @BostonTweet when I first moved to Boston my freshman year of college. It was rumored to be the best burritos in Boston, which is an enormous claim! @BostonTweet was the source of authority on this though… Nobody loves Anna’s more than @BostonTweet.

 

My friends and I have debated for years, though… is it pronounced Anna as in ann-nuh or Anna as in ahh-nuh? Anyone with authority (@BostonTweet?) please feel free to let me know… I’ve heard people INSIST that it’s one way or the other.

Anyway, the burritos ARE spectacular. I started slow… the first few times I went I got a plain cheese quesadilla (BO-RING) and eventually graduated to a veggie burrito. It wasn’t until I made the leap to carnitas (braised mexican pork), which I had never had before, that I realized how amazing Anna’s really was. I tend to visit the Anna’s location in Coolidge Corner at least once a month, and I’ve kept this trend going for the past 3 years.

My favorite thing? The quesadilla (which they can turn into a burrito, so it’s kind of like a crunchy cheesy burrito) with carnitas, rice, pinto beans, salsa, guac, sour cream, and hot sauce. OH yeah.

The ONE downside: after you go, you WILL stink of burritos until you take a shower, and sometimes afterwards… but it’s always worth it.

Other advice: Try the horchata! It’s a sweet, creamy rice drink… unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.

Refuge Cafe

Do you like breakfast burritos? I do. I really can’t speak much for Refuge Cafe in any other aspect, actually… All I’ve ever gotten there is the breakfast burritos. They’re a coffee joint by nature but I don’t really drink coffee (even though I love it, my body reacts terribly to caffeine) so I just order the breakfast burrito over and over… and over.

It’s a cute little place right on the corner of Harvard and Brighton Ave right across from Blanchards in Allston. Everything’s iron and wood, it’s cute. They popped up out of nowhere last summer and have become a huge hit with hipsters in the area… they really have the “trendy cyber cafe” vibe going. Anyway, back the burritos…

They’re huge! PACKED with fluffy eggs, tons of gooey cheese, salsa, sour cream, and TONS of chorizo. I LOVE CHORIZO, and I never get to eat it unless I’m at a traditional Spanish restaurant or a Tex Mex place (or somewhere in southern California) so it’s an exciting treat for me. I tend to drop by Refuge once a week or so to indulge.

Here’s a timelapse of the consumption of an entire Refuge breakfast burrito.

Giant Skillet Cookie

I’m not exactly a dessert person. I like to tell people that I would prefer a rotisserie chicken to a birthday cake. I like dessert, sure, but I tend to tire of it after a few bites. I prefer cheese meat and cheese to sugar… what can I say?

Yesterday, Nicole and I finally decided to cook up this giant skillet cookie that has been in our panty for a few weeks now. It’s awkwardly shaped, and our pantry is a mess, so every time we opened the door it would fall out onto our feet. Fearing that we would break our toes, we decided to bake it.

It came in with the skillet (which we saved… maybe I can recreate the BBQ breakfast from Deep Ellum?) and a packet of cookie mix. The results were delicious, but it was a tad bit too cakey for my liking.

Deep Ellum

THIS POST IS LONG OVERDUE. Deep Ellum is not only one of my favorite eateries local to Boston… it’s one of my favorite eateries EVER. I’ve been there multiple times during every seasons (spring and summer are the best… outdoor seating!) to enjoy the large selection of drafts, delicious appetizers, and almost-too-good-to-be-true brunch selections. SO GOOD, PEOPLE.

For brunch enthusiasts like myself, this place is like… mecca. Brunch is served until 4pm every day of the week. SIGN ME UP! This leaves betches with the entire day to complain about how hungover you they while preparing their perfect brunching outfit.

Here is a list of things you can’t miss at this Allston eatery:

1. The bloody mary. They’re made with house made vodka AND house made mix. They even toss a spicy green bean in there… that’s my favorite part.

2. Gorgonzola fries. Picture it: crispy shoestring fries smothered in gorgonzola cheese and truffle oil. So dense, you have to eat it with a fork. Also it might give you a heart attack.

3. BBQ breakfast. Served in a skillet. It’s got a layer of cornbread, then BBQ pulled pork, then poached eggs, then mustard aioli. My single favorite breakfast of all time. Again… this might cause a heart attack.

4. Falafel. Pretty standard, but very well done. It’s served in a wrap with a tasty tzatziki sauce and pearl cous cous. Perfect for outdoor dining on a spring day. (Plus, it’s low cal!)

5. Deviled eggs. They’re pretty standard but they add liquid smoke to give the yolks a smoky flavor. They change daily to keep it exciting… I like the bacon ones. Served on a bed of greens (read: HEALTHY)

I recently dined here with a friend, who likely only joined me because I wouldn’t shut up about it. I’d say it went well…

Otto’s

Friendly pizzas, friendly atmosphere. (In my world, pizza can be friendly.) I noticed Otto’s in Coolidge Corner earlier this year and stumbled over with the boyfriend one night to have a taste. I had heard a little hype, but not much… this area is already crawling with pizza places. It was quite good, actually, aside from some problems with peanut contamination in a few of the desserts… But we came for pizza, not desserts, so alls well that ends well. Plus, we were drunk.

The decor is nice. The place used to be a Friendly’s so they definitely upscaled it a bit–Now it has exposed brick walls, iron chandeliers, and a big butcher block bar. The wait staff was friendly, too.

The service was a little slow, but no problem–they have some nice red wines and a few good beers on tap to keep you distracted (I got Magic Hat #9). The mashed potato/bacon/scallion pizza is like, really really good. I mean you can put bacon on anything and it’s really good but this was like… #ohgodya. I’m not a huge pizza person but I was very impressed. Bonus: the prices are very reasonable.

I’ll definitely come back here–it’s a good pizza place. There’s another one on Comm ave by BU, which is WAY closer to where I live, so I hope I get the same quality there. I wish they delivered!

Scampo at the Liberty Hotel

I finally made it to this place after months of anticipation and left confused/disappointed. My boyfriend got a gift card to Scampo for Christmas and I’d been dying to go ever since. I remember driving by the location when I was a kid (you know… back when it used to be a JAIL) and being exceptionally creeped out even though there weren’t any prisoners inside anymore. I was expecting the innards of the hotel to look entirely refurbished but they actually left a lot of its original jail-like components in place, which was neat. I digress…

I made a reservation earlier in the week via Opentable and specified my boyfriend’s nut allergy as I always do. He’s allergic to most things, actually, (OK maybe that’s an exaggeration) but I usually only specify peanuts in the online reservations. Didn’t think we’d have any issues at a place this nice. I WAS WRONG. IT WAS A DISASTER. Here is what happened in chronological order:

My boyfriend mentioned the allergy as soon as we sat down to order our food. No problem. We ordered fondue to split as an app–I got lobster pasta and he got lamb pizza for the main.

The fondue arrives COVERED IN NUTS. The waiter plops it on the table and walks away without picking up on the fact that we were both staring at the fondue mouths agape

I glare in the general direction of the kitchen door until I caught the eye of our waiter (approx 1 minute later) 

He arrives at the table. “Is everything ok?” 

“No. It’s covered in nuts.”

“Oh. Uhh… Let me take care of that”

Suddenly, the management appears with two Caprese salads. They were decent, but not enough to quell our anger. They apologized, but not profusely (enough).

The nut free fondue finally arrives. It’s reasonably tasty but we’re still mad. 

The main course arrives. Also reasonably tasty. I wonder out loud if the first half of our meal is going to get comped as a result of the kitchen screw-up.

The check comes. NOTHING is comped. Not even the random Caprese salads we DIDN’T ORDER that were brought to the table in order to distract us from the waiter’s stupidity.

HONESTLY, WHAT KIND OF CUSTOMER SERVICE IS THIS? You could have KILLED a patron and gotten SERIOUSLY sued… and your management doesn’t even have the decency to comp the meal that almost killed him. Tsk tsk. 

When I was through talking to the management, I got that s**t comped. Not the whole meal, just the apps… Fair is fair right?

Moral of the story: Don’t go to Scampo unless you’re trying to die.

 

Yellowtail at the Bellagio

YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT! I was (somehow) permitted to show my face at the glitzy Bellagio casino/hotel–right in the middle of the Las Vegas strip. Who let me in there? Last week was BU’s spring break, and I was lucky enough to visit Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and of course: Las Vegas. Being a “Vegas Virgin” I had no idea what to expect… and it hit me hard. There were an absurd amount of things to see and do (and eat) but Yellowtail definitely tops that list.

I traveled with medium sized group who were all, in a word… “thrifty.” (Even though they all spent hundreds gambling… what the heck?) Now I’m no high roller, but if I’m going to spend money it’s going to damn well be on food. I was originally worried… VERY worried… that the classiest joint I’d be dining at was Denny’s (that being said, we DID eat there 3 times). My roommates, however, were also staying at a separate hotel on the strip, and they like to do it up big, no Denny’s for them. Did I mention that it was my birthday?

Anyway, after several days of hole-in-the-wall burrito shops, Burger King, and complementary cheese and crackers, my roommates whisked me away to a birthday dinner at Yellowtail. Yellowtail is an EXTREMELY upscale Japanese restaurant that needs no introduction (unless you haven’t heard of it before) and is frequented by billionaires and celebrities alike, and rightfully so.

We ate like fricken royalty. We started out with a bottle of champagne, then some edamame. THEN–my personal favorite despite the fact that I’m slightly allergic to it–ROCK SHRIMP. It was fried but it was delicate, with spicy mayo and some other flavorful sauce cascading down the sides. I wish I had taken a photo, but this isn’t the kind of place people would use flash.

A few other appetizers flew around: salads, dumplings, sashimi… and EVERYTHING was the best of its kind I’d ever had. We also had some seriously beautiful cocktails… this photo doesn’t do it justice but I ordered some sort of cucumber martini that came with a fancy tomato garnish.

cucumber martini... or something

cucumber martini… or something

After appetizers and drinks, our sushi rolls came. Mine was RIDICULOUS. It seemed normal, you know, spicy crab with avocado and cucumber… but they added POP ROCKS to it. There were pop rocks in the rice, pop rocks inside the roll, and pop rocks on the plate. You could literally hear it sizzling from the pop rocks while the waiter set it down on the table. And it was damn good, too.

We were in a bit of a rush after that so we didn’t get desert (obvi–girl on the go’s gotta make it to the club on time) but I’m sure it would have been equally glorious. Of all the restaurants I’ve ever been to, Yellowtail is definitely top 5.

post meal, feelin fat

post meal, feelin fat