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Archive for the ‘Restaurant Companion’ Category

 

sausage_sandwich

Being a food writer(ish) comes with its privileges. My darling, thoughtful, and generous friend, Dez, got me a pass for Taste of the Nation in Boston a couple of weeks ago. The irony of this event is that attendees glut themselves to an extreme rarely seen outside of a Roman vomitorium in an effort to bring awareness to and alleviate childhood hunger.

 

Irony (and attending guilt) aside, it was a flawlessly executed event, with over 100 Boston restaurants, wineries, and food purveyors offering their fare for attendees to nibble (read: gorge) on. And, the best part is the proceeds go to Share Our Strength and combat childhood hunger.

 

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I don’t want to bore you to death with details of our wonderful trip to Spain, but a web log of some of the more interesting dining experiences does seem warranted, or will at least allow me to justify the 10 pounds I packed on there.

 

I had studied in Spain a number of years ago, and, while excited to return, speak the language (i.e. show-off in front of PT), and re-visit a number of my favorite sites and cities, I was apprehensive about the gastronomic experience. As a poor student, I had subsisted on low-quality, hastily prepared chicken croquetas (essentially, chicken fingers with cream of chicken, instead of whole meat), tortilla espanola, and ooey-gooey pastries. The last two were quite good, but not exactly a well-rounded diet for 10 days.

 

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A brief guide to getting a great value when dining out.

A brief guide to getting a great value when dining out.

 

 

Bostonians have an odd sense of fiscal responsibility. It’s a schizophrenic sort of frugality, where we ruthlessly seek out bargains for the mundane, but spend lavishly on those items deemed worthy.

 

For example, my dear friend LN will think nothing of topping off a delicious Sunday brunch with a new Milly dress, yet she still tries to use her student ID (from 2004) to get $1 off at her yoga studio, and is indignant if her attempts are thwarted.

 

In other words, as individuals we determine which items are a worthy luxury and spend freely on them, and everything else is subject to relentless bargain-hunting.


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Culinary prowess aside, Iceland is a pretty spectacular country to visit.

Culinary prowess aside, Iceland is a pretty spectacular country to visit.

 

I’ve been doing a bit of globe-trotting recently and thought that I would mention a few of the culinary highlights and lowlights here on Besotted.

 

I recently went to Iceland for a long weekend, and, while my expectations for the trip itself were high, my expectations for the cuisine were fairly moderate. Imagine my surprise to find that Reykjavik’s tiny town-center boasts a string of noteworthy restaurants that masterfully capitalize on the local fare.

 

I am forever preaching the importance of eating locally, seasonally, and according to a region’s or restaurant’s best ability – it is probably the most no-fail prescription for good eating. However, this directive is a bit more difficult to oblige when you find yourself in a strange land and facing the choice of eating an American hamburger (at a restaurant called American Style, no less) or deciphering a menu filled with local flavors and questionable translations, as I did in Iceland.

 

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Pho

It’s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself.

 

Lester Burnham said this in American Beauty with a boyish grin on his face, and the reason for his revelry is that we are so rarely surprised. Pleased? Yes. Delighted? Sometimes. But, surprised? It’s a rare treasure.

 

Now, it’s not going to come as a surprise that these ruminations will somehow find themselves related to gastronomy. However, what may surprise you, dear reader, and certainly surprised me, is that this post – on being surprised and delighted by a new culinary find – has its source in a dinner dining experience that cost a total of $17 for two people (including tax and tip)!

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