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. 

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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. 

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American, Beef, boston, lobster, Seafood, Uncategorized

Rapscallion- Acton, MA

My one and only request to my parents when I came home for the holidays was to go to Acton. Not to Lexington, not Concord, Acton. Why you may ask? We’re going back to Table and Tap.

For those of you who may not have seen my previous post about Rapscallion should go read it now. It will help you better understand why this place is so incredible. Aside from the fact that the restaurant is housed in a farmhouse from the 1700s and that they make and serve their own beer, the food is out of this world and the staff is like family. 

The hospitality level at Rapscallion is truly amazing. They take care of you and make your dining experience special. They don’t just take your order and go on with their day, they talk to you and engage in conversation. They always make sure you have a drink and check in to make sure you’re enjoying your time, and not just by your one waiter/waitress. Several people, including  co-owner Peter Daniel, took the time to make sure our dining experience was memorable. This is one of the many reasons we go back to Rapscallion and recommend it to everyone. Peter and all of the wait staff are passionate about what they do and what they represent, that’s what sets Rapscallion above everywhere else. 

Along with the amazing service is the food! Everything coming from farm to table, from local farms, makes it much more special. I say we dive right in, I’ve got my crisp, light flagship Honey ale in front of me and ready to devour all the deliciousness. 

Now in my previous post I talked about the poutine, and it’s still a family favorite of ours, but we also decided to try the Fried Brussel Sprouts. Let me just say tasty. The brussel sprouts were cooked perfectly and the fry was spot on, it wasn’t heavy at all. It came with a maple cranberry aioli that only enhanced the vegetable. It was such a great combination of flavors and it didn’t take long for them to disappear. 

Now onto the main courses. Grab an Acton Ale and sit down because we have a Mac and cheese battle tonight readers! Lobster vs. Beef. 

First on judges table is the Pulled Beef Mac and cheese. What we have is Rapscallion’s Honey Ale BBQ beef, smoked white cheddar and  yellow cheddar with scallions and jalapeños topped with buttery breadcrumbs. I know, try to control yourself. It really was insane. The beef is on the sweeter side, due to their Honey ale braise, but this sweetness combined with the smoky savory cheeses was harmonious. The waitress had asked if I wanted extra jalapeños or the dish as it’s served and I should have asked for extra. There wasn’t a lot, which from a chefs perspective is smart because you don’t want to overpower the dish or the customers mouth. So, if you like spicy and are adventurous ask for extra jalapeños. The beef was tender and with the yellow and white cheddars the flavor combinations were delectable. 

Second up is the Lobster Mac and cheese. They are quite clever at Rapscallion, they took their lobster grilled cheese (love, read about it in my previous post!) and turned it into a more hearty choice. A great move because the reason we were first drawn here from the start was because of that menu item! I almost started crying again. Thanks to Table and Tap fontina and lobster is my new favorite combo. With that being said, this item has lobster cream as its base and herbed cream cheese in there too, and of course topped with breadcrumbs. They must have made their own lobster stock because the lobster cream enhanced the lobster flavor and it came across when you tasted the cream by itself. The cheese blend was out of this world and there were chunks of lobster throughout. I couldn’t stop eating it, it was like the grilled cheese, “I never wanted the taste to leave my mouth.”

Shall I reveal my favorite Mac and cheese now? Let’s keep reading to find out because we had to have dessert too! Rapscallion is probably the only restaurant I’ll get dessert from because I know it’s that good. Just like their dinner menu, the desserts are all homemade. We had trouble deciding what to get so we asked our sweet waitress her opinion, “chocolate mousse hands down” she said. “It’s a recipe that was left from the previous restaurant and we’re happy they left it with us.” Chocolate mousse it was then. And oh my gosh if you could take fudge and make it into a soft mousse this is it. It didn’t seem possible, it was so chocolatey and rich like fudge, but it wasn’t dense, it was light! Thank goodness for the previous restaurant and for chef Ian Michaud and sous chef Ryan Flisher for perfecting it.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten while my mouth’s been watering. It’s time to reveal my favorite Mac and cheese! I’m sure you could guess, but hands down Lobster wins. Trust me you should get both and share with the family, but it was creamier and just that much more flavorful. 

At the end of the meal Peter Daniel came by again to thank us and talk to us, he seemed to recognize my parents from the many times they’ve been. Even if he didn’t he was incredibly gracious and eager to share his passion for Rapscallion Brewery (located in Sturbridge, MA) and Table and Tap. Once I came up with the courage to tell him about my extracurricular activity of blogging, he was curious and wanted to know more about it! He said the staff loves hearing good feedback and I know from day job it’s the best feeling, too. It was really cool, me being a quiet blogger, to have an owner curious about my blog and getting the opportunity to talk about food with him! 

So to everyone and the Daniel brothers at Rapscallion thank you, you’ve done it again. I can’t wait for March when I’ll be back in New England again, because Rapscallion Table and Tap will be the first thing on my to do list. I hope some readers take my advice and head up to Acton to experience the wonderful hospitality of the Rapscallion family.

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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. 

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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.

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American, Burgers, Fort Worth, Uncategorized

Brewed- Fort Worth, TX

Brewed has quickly become one of the best restaurants in Fort Worth, best known for their brunch. I’ve had brunch plenty of times (see previous Brewed post), but they recently introduced a new dinner menu. Intrigued, a friend and I decided to try it out, featuring dishes with a twist and popular classics. 

Knowing how crazy Brewed can be, I called thirty minutes ahead to get my name on the list. Although it was a Tuesday night, at night Brewed is a gastropub featuring Texas on Tap, local Texan beers, so who would have guessed it would end up being a serene evening! We walked in and it was a glorious sight, calm and peaceful. It was refreshing to see the popular restaurant without a line out the door. 


I’ve always loved the atmosphere of Brewed. Hipster and chic, the decor is something of a British flat almost. Fun posters with local information and comfy sofas and chairs make an ambiance of tranquility. 


With their notable Texas on Tap, I ordered the Austin Eastciders Pineapple Cider from Austin, TX. When it came it certainly had a bright color to it and I was expecting a pineapple taste, but it didn’t come! It was a refreshing cider that had a hint of pineapple, but nothing strong. From the photo it looks quite fizzy too, but it wasn’t. It was cool and refreshing and tasted of fall. 


Now on to the food! We started with The Play on Wings, fried cauliflower bites served with housemade buffalo sauce, blue cheese dressing, celery and carrot sticks. The buffalo sauce certainly tasted homemade and it had quite a kick to it! With the dressing it was a great combination with the cauliflower bites. The dressing must have had a ranch base, it didn’t have an overly strong blue cheese taste which was great, it was very delicious. The cauliflower was amazing, I think the best thing I’ve had at Brewed, period. They were fried almost like a Chinese wonton or Korean fried. The cauliflower was cooked perfectly, soft but not chewy. They were a great texture and the fry was spot on. I could have the appetizer as my meal and be completely satisfied. 

As my entree I chose the fan favorite Brewed burger. Everyone always seems to talk about their burgers whenever I ask someone who has been for dinner, so it was time to weigh in. Wow, it’s certainly an amazing burger. With Veldhuizen Farm cheddar, house pickles, and mustard cream on a sweet challah bun, it’s hard not to go wrong. The burger was cooked perfectly, the pickles were extraordinary and tasted homemade, and the mustard cream was delectable. My only complaint would be that the bun was a little too burnt for my taste. I really like the idea of a bit of a charred bun, but it was just a tad too much. A smidgen less time and it would’ve been fantastic, giving extra flavor to each bite. 

Served with the burger is your choice of the duck fat fries or sweet potato fries. I love judging different restaurants sweet potato fries, I find they are always different when it comes to seasonings and the way they are cooked. These sweet potato fries were awesome. They were soft, which I love a good crispy fry, but the softness was suitable and still scrumptious. I don’t know what they did to the salt topped on them, but it didn’t seem to taste like regular salt, it was so much better. Perhaps it’s smoked salt, or seasoned a second way to bring an extra flavoring to them, I honestly couldn’t put my finger on it, but they were delicious and make my list of favorite sweet potato fries. 

Unfortunately I cannot comment on dessert (with Melt down the street it was hard to resist their comeback flavor Cheater, Cheater Pumpkin Eater) , but I know from word of mouth the Ricotta Fritters are a big fan favorite! 

Overall, the dinner experience at Brewed was lovely, which was a pleasant surprise. Not because the service is bad or the food isn’t good, but because it’s usually flooded with people anxious to enjoy the atmosphere and amazing food. The updated menu is fantastic, full of delicious choices for everyone. If you need a pick me up after a long Tuesday, Brewed would make a great place to meet up with friends or catch up on work. The coffee is still delicious and the staff is always friendly. Brewed will always be on my list of go to restaurants in Fort Worth, be sure to add it to your list, too!

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American, Baking Recipes, Savory, Uncategorized

Tomato Basil Artichoke Baked Chicken

As my followers have probably gathered by now, I do a lot of baking and dessert recipes. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy cooking savory dishes, though! I made this over the weekend and already a few people have asked me for the recipe. It’s super easy and super yummy! I salted the chicken before baking them those initial 15 minutes and I kind of wish I didn’t. The artichokes added some saltiness and having the Parmesan in the mixture lended to not really needing any salt. I baked the whole dish for 17 minutes and then broiled it for 3 minutes. I think the chicken came out cooked perfectly and it was plenty moist and juicy. Broiling it at the end helped gave the mozzarella that bake on the top as you see in the photos. This is certainly a keeper and such a great dish to make for family and friends! Happy Cooking! 

Tomato Basil Artichoke Baked Chicken

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