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. 

Standard
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. 

Standard
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. 

Standard
American, Baking Recipes, Italian, Savory, Uncategorized

Creamy Mozzarella Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Spinach Tortellini 

Well that is certainly a mouthful. And it’s a delicious mouthful. Pinterest has done it again, bringing up amazing and beautiful looking recipes from bloggers like Julia’s Album. The vibrant warm colors are what initially drew me in to click on the link for this recipe and once I read the post in its entirety I knew I had to make this dish. 

Being Italian, it’s hard to not want to cook Italian…I mean they do know what they’re doing when it comes to food. This recipe is no different, the creaminess of the base mixed with the sharp cheeses of tortellini and the acidity of sun-dried tomatoes is harmonious. 

I didn’t have paprika like the recipe calls for, but add a dash of chili powder and you’ll get the same effect and taste paprika would have given it. It was a nice addition, kudos to Julia. 

It’s an easy recipe and certainly one the whole family will enjoy, so get your pot of water boiling and pan sizzling and have Italian night in your home. 

Standard
American, boston, Italian, Uncategorized

Monument- Charlestown, MA

If you’re from Boston then you know all the buzz about Monument in Charlestown. Charlestown is on the map, millennials are taking over, moving outside of Boston across the river to once rough Charlestown. Monument is only feeding into that with a vibe similar to Brewers Fork on the other side of town. Having only been open for a week, I got the chance to check out the new place.

Some people don’t know this, but there is a history here. Remember that adorable, lovely neighborhood trattoria Paolo’s? Monument replaced it. Same owner, but they decided to change it up. To be fair Paolo’s was never full, but it was great food and perfect for a date night or for families. The staff was family and to the owners credit they rehired all the Paolo’s staff, but I miss our little trattoria. Monument has the opposite feel to it, which is good and bad! Monument is definitely a gastropub, basically meaning a fancy pub. We went on the busiest night and they are still figuring out kinks, but the bar was loud and full as well as tables. They expanded the space, so looking over to the Paolo’s side you can only miss it. Talking to a waitress from those days whom we’re friendly with only agreed, but is excited for this next chapter. I think us regulars can agree.

Upon looking at the menu it’s different and interesting, really great ingredients and combinations. And they kept the pizza oven so we only assumed the pizza would be Paolo’s pizza. Although front of the house was maybe flustered, telling us a thirty minute wait that would only turn into an hour, the kitchen was firing food and getting it out at a good speed…especially since it was so busy. The staff was doing their best though and once we did get seated our waitress was bubbly.

We started with two appetizers, short rib poutine and calamari. Both were great, the poutine had a nice gravy and I liked how they used mozzarella curds. The meat was a little cold, but it was tender and had nice flavor. The calamari was really good, the fry was perfect and cooked nicely. The pairing of it with the pickled cucumbers and feta was delicious and the tzatziki sauce brought it all together. 
Now onto the entrees, let’s start with the pizza. Imagining that they wouldn’t try to fix something that isn’t broke, I assumed the pizzas would be that of the Paolo days, but when we order the soppressatta pizza our waitress told us that it’s a different dough from before. I got a little nervous, but was optimistic. When it came I knew immediately it wasn’t going to be great. The crust was huge and doughy and when I bit into it it had a sweetness to it that my tastebuds weren’t prepared for. And you’d think with the North End right there a restaurant would get soppressatta super easy, especially since Paolo’s had a really delicious one. This stuff was pepperoni and it may have been the saltiest pepperoni I’ve ever had. It was not soppressatta, I kept saying to my parents “it’s like having a pizza in Fort Worth”. The cheese made up for it all though, a nice bake and taste to it.

Even though the pizza was a little disappointing, the main entrees were superb. First we got the baked gnocchi that was cooked perfectly with a pink vodka sauce sausage bolongnese and taleggio cheese. It came to the table in an iron skillet, the aroma of melted cheese and sausage filling the air. The sausage was seasoned very well and this dish is what is going to bring me back here.

The other entree we got was the seared scallops with sweet potato purée and assorted vegetables, including snap peas and carrots, in a lemon beurre blanc (which translates to “white butter”) and topped with crumbled bacon. This entree was perfection with the scallops cooked and seared beautifully. The vegetables and sauce complimented each other harmoniously. It wasn’t overly salty and all the flavors came together, and obviously bacon. This scallop entree is another reason I would go back to Monument. 

Overall Charlestown is going to have a different feel to it as the new restaurant draws people from all over Boston, full of young singles and couples making the trek north to check out the new hot spot. It’ll be good for Charlestown to reach that demographic, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to miss our little trattoria. Lots of memories have happened at Paolo’s and I’m sure new ones will happen at Monument…once they work out the kinks, like any new restaurant. 

Standard
American, boston, Italian, Uncategorized

Galleria Umberto- Boston, MA

It’s the holiday season which means this blogger is home in Boston. And that means lots of delicious foods, from Italian to seafood. Naturally anyone’s first day in Boston should consist of espresso, cannoli, and pizza from the North End. Today we’re diving into arancini at Galleria Umberto.

Arancini is an Italian rice ball that consists of meat, cheese, and peas. It is covered with breadcrumbs and deep fried. Galleria Umberto makes these classic arancini as well as other Italian staples. 

You walk in to this old school restaurant, a cash only counter and hot case greet you straight ahead. Posters of famous Italian cities dress one wall, the opposite a mural of the homeland Italia. You know it’s good when you hear locals speaking Italian, and typically the line is out the door. 


The food is just incredible, a Sicilian influence is apparent in the pizza. All that really means is that it has a bit of a thicker crust rather than thin, although don’t be thinking you’re having deep dish or anything! It’s still got a nice thin crust. Grandma must be in that kitchen because it tastes homemade, like Sunday after church and grandma is rapidly cooking for the familia. The crust of the pizza isn’t amazing, a little doughy, but the cheese makes up for it. Whatever blend they use it’s delectable. Pockets of bubbles and crispy tops are heaven to your taste buds. 

The arancini lives up to its expectations of being one of the best. The rice is cooked and fried perfectly with the meat and cheese oozing out as you cut into it. It’s full of flavor and heart, a true Italian obviously cooked these.


It becomes more and more clear that it’s hard to get a bad meal in the North End, but now it’s all about eating with the locals at the best of the best. Galleria Umberto is on that list. Be sure to try and pick up some Italian or Boston gossip while waiting in line. And it’s definitely worth the long wait when there is one because once you see the case of food, bite into pizza and arancini, you’ll be going back again and again with your familia. 

Standard
American, Fort Worth, Italian

Olivella’s- Fort Worth, TX

Let me be perfectly clear: I am extremely picky when it comes to Italian food. Having been to Italy before, I take pride in the ingredients and how pasta and pizza should be cooked. Considering I live part time in Boston, with the North End a hop skip and jump away, I am especially picky about eating Italian food where it isn’t well known, particularly a state that is much better at Tex Mex and barbecue. With that being said, I have found at least two Italian restaurants in Fort Worth with decent Italian food, and since the opening of Olivella’s, I have found a third. 

I had heard great things about Olivella’s through the grapevine. Pretty authentic, very thin crust pizza with their own homemade mozzarella. I knew I had to give it a try and a review. Located in a small strip mall on Camp Bowie Blvd, you see a bright neon sign that reads the restaurants name, certainly eye catching and intriguing from the busy street. 

Upon entering you immediately get the essence of a small Italian trattoria. Several small tables that lead to a wine nook that continues into a large and home like atmosphere. A fire going in one corner and strings of lights hanging makes the restaurant feel magical. You can see how they would be very accommodating to larger groups. 

It was a quiet Monday night, with families coming in for a special dinner with the kiddos. Our waitress was very personable, giving us her opinions on dishes when asked, telling us about the restaurant. She made the evening extremely enjoyable, something I’m sure that is apparent in all of the staff. 

Now onto the food: we started with a classic Italian antipasti, bruschetta. Toasted bread drizzled with bright green olive oil, garlic tomatoes, and homemade mozzarella. How could you resist that? Olivella’s representation of the classic antipasti was very delicious, certainly looked and tasted Italian. Their homemade mozzarella, both in this dish and the pizza below, tasted homemade and was delectable. I can’t say it was “Italy standard” mozzarella, but the fact they make it homemade is a testament to the chef. 

Now onto the pizza. I always judge firstly on the crust, and being from the New York Metropolitan area I only eat thin crust (perhaps this is an exaggeration, but most likely not). Olivella’s offers two different crusts, their Neopolitan and Metro. The neopolitan is described as their regular crust, the metro as being extra thin. To judge their normal crust, we ordered the neopolitan crust of the Soppresatta and Sausage pizza. Soppressatta is a dry Italian salami, with pork being the traditional meat used. Think prosciutto meets pepperoni. When the pizza arrived, it was a nice thin crust, although it did have a decent rise to it. However, it looked beautiful with rich red colors bursting off the pan. It was cooked well, the mozzarella was still their homemade cheese, the meats were seasoned well and paired nicely with the red sauce used. In my opinion the soppressatta used was not true soppressatta, more of a pepperoni. I would be curious to try their listed pepperoni pizza to compare, nevertheless this hot soppressatta/pepperoni had a lovely flavor to it and complimented all the elements of the pizza.

Overall, Olivella’s was a spectacular experience, from the food to the atmosphere to the staff. It was all delicious, and even being in Texas, had hints of Italy. I would most certainly return to Olivella’s, whether it be for a take away pizza or a huge group dinner. No matter how or where, Olivella’s will bring joy and warmth to anyone, just as the Italians do.

Standard