boston, Italian, Sweets, Uncategorized

Mammamaria- Boston, MA

Pasta is most likely one of the most popular dishes to make, for all ages. From macaroni and cheese to lasagna, kindergarten well into ones adulthood pasta is just universal across the board. I think we can all agree, however, that everyone cooks pasta differently. Some people prefer it to be al dente meaning a firmer bite, others like it to be soft to the point that it practically disinigrates in your mouth. No matter how you cook it though, there is a correct way to cook pasta where its firm yet is still melt in your mouth. It can be hard to tell what that should taste or feel like, but if you go to Mammamaria they’ll demonstrate how to do it perfectly. 

The North End is obviously flooded with delicious Italian restaurants, but you can feel the difference when you go into higher end restaurant like Mammamaria. The ambiance inside makes you feel like you’ve just walked into a movie scene, beautifully placed utensils and exquisite, Italian inspired design plates. Tables placed fairly close together makes it feel like a cozy trattoria. The staff are both inviting and professional, the waiters filling water glasses and clearing plates as often as they can. The beautiful decor makes for a lovely ambiance inside and hearing the room filled with laughter makes for a wonderful evening. 

The select evening menu was filled with all the delicious classic Italian dishes made with local New England products. For our antipasti, or appetizer, we selected the cheese sampler, three different cheeses with fresh colorful tomatoes and drizzle of olive oil. Local ricotta and mozzarella from Massachusetts and bufala mozzarella from Naples are all melt in your mouth on top of the fresh bread. The bufala was the best by far, so creamy and milky, bursting with flavor.

For the main course the menu was full of innovative and different combinations, but I wanted to judge Mamma’s by the classic Italian, bolognese. And Mamma Maria was this bolognese good. The meat was seasoned and cooked perfectly, the sauce delicious with a tangy taste almost and flavorful with every bite. The pasta, as discussed in the opening, was cooked as it is meant to be cooked. Not too soft, not too stiff. A good bite too it and cooked throughout, not a single strand of pasta out of line. Garnished with fresh Parmesan grated right from the block and you are beginning to feel Italian. 

Another notable menu item was the summertime squash ravioli. Filled with green and yellow squash and corn, the filling was very refreshing as well as flavorful. The ravioli pasta was done just right and you can tell delicate hands in the kitchen sculpted the tiny pillows of cheese heaven. 

Finally, a meal like this isn’t complete without a homemade, warm Italian dessert. From a list that made the decision extremely hard, this menu item was a standout. A warm puff pastry that held a mixture of delicious crisp apples and cinnamon spices topped with freshly whipped cream and chocolate and caramel drizzles. Each bite was like a new sensation of the flavors coming together in harmony, the sweet cream, tartness of the apples, and crunch of flaky pastry. 

It is the place to enjoy a spectacular Italian meal, a meal that may be as close as it gets to being in Italy. Meals like this perpetuate meaningful conversation, as you’re huddled together discussing the food as well as family conversation. One thing to point out is that a meal like this doesn’t come cheap, but its a meal few and far between. Savor, enjoy, and love meals like this. Go for it, you can figure out finances down the road, but a meal like this is worth every penny. Not just for the food, but for the memories. 

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American, boston, Burgers, Cape Cod, Italian, Seafood

Laurino’s- Brewster, MA

Home. A lot of people think of their family when they think of home. The atmosphere, the people, the food. The same goes for restaurants. Yes, you remember the food if you’ve been to a great place, but many of us also remember the experience we had. Were the waiters/waitresses nice? Did the hostess greet you cheerfully? Were you told a wait time that fit the means of a normal time frame? Those are things that can make or break a restaurant just as much as the food being good or not. Laurino’s checks off everything and does it with love. 

Just off Route 6A sits Laurino’s, a humble and welcoming establishment on Cape Cod. We came here as a second choice actually, after our first choice treated us less than spectacular. We learned our lesson and know to make Laurino’s our first choice. From being greeted with a smile, to delicious food, to seeing hardworking people work together, you feel better knowing your money is going towards a restaurant like that than one with snotty hosts. 

The vibe at Laurino’s is that of home, with fun posters and pictures all around and a community feeling. They welcome all, seeing that we’ve taken my autistic sister here and seeing an autistic boy the night we went. Our waitress was bubbly and happy, exuding vibrant colors that made us feel cheerful and happy to be there. She made our experience amazing and we noticed all the waitstaff helping each other, from running plates to cleaning and turning over tables. True teamwork.

The food, on top of everything else, was superb. The SOB Burger was juicy and delicious, all the ingredients cooked perfectly. The specials that evening made it difficult to decide what to get, but one special that night screamed incredible. Scallops with tortellini in a red pesto sauce was just too good not to get. The tortellini had to have been homemade, with ample filling and tasty pasta. The scallops cooked to perfection, complimenting the tortellini in a delicious sauce that popped with flavor and spice (and everything nice).

From now on Laurino’s is the place, where everyone is welcome to enjoy drinks, food, and company. Ultimately that’s what matters when you go out to eat, not necessarily where everyone else goes, but the place that leaves you feeling bright and your tummy full. 

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American, Barbecue, Beef, Fort Worth, Uncategorized

Heim Barbecue- Fort Worth, TX

Well it’s that time of the year, Texas Monthly released their Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas list and this carnivore certainly didn’t miss the chance to read through it. They had a good list comprised, but in my opinion forgot some places too (particularly Black’s in Lockhart and even The Longoria’s in Everman…Angelo’s is one of my favorites, but it’s been some time since it’s made the list). However, barbecue is growing and expanding and the millennials are taking a crack at it…and succeeding. One young couple is doing just that and was named the top BBQ joint in Fort Worth, Heim BBQ.

The story basically starts with Travis Heim who started smoking meat young, learning from his grandparents, and the BBQ fire was lit. He and his now wife, Emma, started off local and small, grew to a food truck, and then met the right people to start their own place on W Magnolia in the Fort. It’s a great story of growing your business and going after your dream, never giving up. And it has obviously paid off.

The Magnolia area is a perfect fit for Heim, like I said the Heim’s being a younger couple have sort of aimed for the millennial generation as their customers and making BBQ ‘hipster cool’, which is precisely what Magnolia is sort of known for. Don’t get me wrong you see the older couples in there too, just my opinion and overall feeling I got.

They do have daily hours, but when they sell out they sell out. We went on a Friday and it was still hopping around 7:30, but if you check their Facebook they update it and it’s usually around then that they sell out, just a heads up. The space is nice, some outdoor picnic tables, full bar area, and decent amount of seating inside. Long tables take up the center part of the joint which adds a community feel to it, and isn’t that what barbecue is all about? 

Overall the food was good, I can see why it made the top 50 list. However, I wouldn’t say my mind was blown by the food. Let’s get into detail here:

The sauce- tangy, some smoky flavor, but definitely a sweet taste to it. There was a good mix of spices that I could taste, I’d certainly take a bottle of it home.

Coleslaw- I’m not personally a fan of heavy mayo or super creamy coleslaw and Heim’s was far from that. They actually use red cabbage only with shredded carrots, which made it bright and pop off the plate. However there wasn’t much seasoning to it, just a lot of pepper. Could’ve used a little more of a creaminess to balance it more.

The mac and cheese- good flavor, but don’t expect any chile flavor from this ‘green chile’ mac. It was very cheesy though!

Beans- huge tomato flavor that pops, good heat and cooked perfectly. Probably one of my favorite sides. 

Potato Salad- Wow, amazing. The cheese mixed in added a creaminess to the mashed potatoes. There isn’t a lot of seasoning, but I didn’t feel the need to add any. It was very refreshing to have compared to the other sides. My other favorite!

Now for the brisket- I have to start with that it was good, but it wasn’t mind blowing like some people have talked about it being. The meat pulled apart nicely and had a good, promising, smoke ring. There wasn’t really any smoky flavor to it unless you took a bite of meat with the bark. The piece of meat was very fatty, I like some fat, but almost the whole piece was fat. It was tender outside of that though, but again not much flavor which was disappointing.

To make up for the meat was the highly suggested bacon bits. The meat was delicious, I mean bacon, and the rub gave the bits almost a pork flavor. It was very sweet for a rub, but it was amazing.

Overall Heim had a cool feel to it, trying to get the younger generation into barbecue from the location to the hipster kind of vibe it has. The Heim’s have certainly paved their way and worked hard, but their meat was fatty and everything was very sweet rather than smoky. I would go back for that potato salad and other sides though! I recommend it so all y’all can experience and say you’ve been to Heim, but there are plenty of other great barbecue joints that deserve a spot on that list. 

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American, Beef, Burgers, Uncategorized

Mighty Fine Burgers- Austin, TX 

I’ve done quite a lot of posts on burgers on here, and rightfully so, because a really good burger is food for the soul. Most of my burger posts are more “complex” or “fancier” with add ons and specials. Well this post is about a good, solid, greasy, basic burger. And what a Mighty Fine Burger it is.

It’s your classic burger place, picnic like tables inside with white and red checkered tablecloths. The location we actually went to was in Round Rock, just outside of Austin. However, this burger joint got its start in Austin and they are proud of it. The Round Rock location has a really lovely outdoor space with a little play area for the kiddos, which is appealing for all the shoppers in close proximity. 

The staff was just lovely, asking how our day was and exuding a joyfulness that leads you to believe they enjoy their job. 

Another notable and unique part of Mighty Fine is the hand washing system. Technically you’re supposed to wash your arms up to your elbows and so at Mighty Fine they have a “spa for your hands”, a machine that when you put your arms into it are sprayed with soap and water and bristles brush around your arms and hands. They even include stickers so you can let everyone know of your clean arms.

Now the food! This burger really is classic, no fancy stuff just good fresh ingredients and delicious beef. A warm soft bun to encompass the deliciousness and you’re golden. Speaking of golden, the fries! Nice and crispy with a soft center and fun crinkle to it. I suggest adding their seasoned salt for some extra flavoring.

It’s voted the best burger in Austin and I have to say this was one good burger. A classic, an American staple, and they’re Mighty Fine.

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American, Italian, Uncategorized

Paramour- San Antonio, TX

When you think San Antonio you most likely think of Hispanic and Mexican inspired foods. Tacos, Tex mex, etc. It is true, San Antonio knows how to do Mexican, but there is growth in the city with bars and sophisticated foods popping up. One good example of this is Paramour.

Located right on the River Walk just north of the Alamo sits this rooftop bar. After climbing about four flights of stairs you enter into a different world with pops of color, couches with pillows of pin up stars, and a scenic view. The outdoor space is beautiful, with couches and chairs sectioned off with lovely green plants. Perfect for a bachelorette party or celebrating a fun group event!

When we went it was in between the morning crowd and evening crowd. They were able to serve us their charcuterie board, so we ordered that for a nice light lunch. If you’re a frequent follower, you know I spend a good amount of my time home in Boston where you can get fresh meats and cheeses from salumerias, so I have high standards when it comes to these smorgasbords. Paramour succeeded and impressed me and my taste buds. I don’t know where or how the chef gets these meats and cheeses, but one things for sure they know the difference between salami and soppressatta. The meats were delicious, the goat cheese with honey was delectable, buffala mozzarella, and, what tasted to be, homemade pesto. We devoured the boards when they came out and rightly so. The display was gorgeous, so inviting. I was quite impressed. 

Hannah Grace Photography

If this is any indication of the service and standards of the drinks and other menu items, then I suggest you make your way to Paramour the next time you see yourself in San Antonio. 

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American, Breakfast, Brunch, Fort Worth, Mexican, Uncategorized

Mash’d- Fort Worth, TX

Hello readers! Sorry I’ve been missing in action, but I hope this post makes up for it because it’s a very delicious one! Yes, this is my second post on Mash’d, however, we’re entering new culinary territory at this popular restaurant. Brunch, or to quote the website, ‘badass brunch’.

Let’s start with the fact that they have two dollar mimosas. Two dollars. Granted, they are a little small, but if you’re not drinking to get drunk like me go for it! It’s probably cheaper than other places and it’s just as delicious. 

I’ve already done a post on Mash’d, but I still love the atmosphere and the West 7th area. The restaurant certainly wasn’t as roudy as it can get in the evenings, it was actually quite pleasant seeing families and groups of friends getting together. It has become a hotspot for brunch in Fort Worth, from the great outdoor patio space to the clever morning newspaper menu.

Now the food! I ordered the Mash’d Tator Eggsplosion. An eggsplosion it was, an iron skillet with “mash’d tators” (mashed potatoes essentially), with cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs, chopped bacon and a sour cream drizzle. All the components of this dish not only worked harmoniously, individually they each tasted delicious. The eggs were so delicately folded and the melted cheese was simply incredible. The potatoes had a great taste to them, I could definitely just eat a hot cast iron skillet of those potatoes. The seasoning of the potatoes was very yummy, but some more salt and pepper would be my only critique, just a little bit more seasoning!

I think brunch at Mash’d could easily become a regular thing for me. The food was amazing, drinks a great price, all you have to do is add the company and your Saturday or Sunday will be off to a great start! I suggest making a reservation, which they accept via phone or Open Table online! Why not ensure getting that delicious brunch and making it a date! Highly recommend you hit up Mash’d! Happy eating! 

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American, Beef, Burgers, Uncategorized

Twisted Root Burger Co- Waco, TX

If you’re a fan of Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives” then you may have seen this Dallas based burger joint on tv. That’s right, this burger place is so good America got to see a chef chow down on one of their burgers, and so did I. This is Twisted Root Burger Co

Originating in Dallas, chefs Jason and Quincy expanded to build nine other stores in just over seven years. There’s no question they know their stuff and know good food. The store in Waco has a cool vibe to it, very high ceilings where they could easily build a second story for more seating. With projections of music videos, a big bar in the center of the restaurant you can tell this Waco store is a hotspot for the college town. With so many burger options, many being similar to each other with small changes, a solid Texan burger was just calling to me, so Big Tex it was. Cheddar cheese, guacamole, fried onion strips and chipotle sauce makes for one pretty amazing burger. Another really cool thing about Twisted Root, which reminded me of Tim Love’s “Woodshed”, is they offer different game, from buffalo to elk to duck. Now don’t get your hopes up, I didn’t try any of them, but having those options makes for a wide demographic of people who do enjoy game. 

Back to the burger: The beef was cooked nicely, spices enveloping your taste buds. The cheese and guacamole worked together harmoniously, the onion strings a nice addition. The fries were delicious, they weren’t particularly crispy if you’re a crispy fry kind of guy or gal, but they were seasoned nicely and tasted delicious. Also at Twisted Root they have a pickle bar, different variations of pickles from classic dill to ranch. They are free, amazing, and free. How could you pass that up? I highly recommended getting a shake as well, especially the peanut butter brownie. Wow. From creamy ice cream to brownie chunks it was mouthwatering. Do it, just do it and get that shake. 

Twisted Root is a really great place to catch up with friends, grab an amazing bite to eat, and enjoy the Waco evening. It’s super easy to get to, right off I-35, and certainly would make for a special lunch on the way to Austin. Pull over and grab a great burger and shake from Twisted Root Burger Co. 

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