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, 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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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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Italian

Caffè Paradiso- Boston, MA

Boston is known for its rich history, full of historical landmarks and sites wherever you walk, someone as famous as Paul Revere or John Adams may have walked there too. Along with that history, however, is the heart of where Paul Revere lived, The North End. Think colonial Little Italy full of brick buildings, cobblestone streets, and family owned local eateries. Located just across the Charles River from Charlestown, The North End is full of local Bostonians and Italians. The tourists, however, flock to the northern tip of Boston to enjoy the history including The Old North Church and the food. Italian bakers thrive on perfecting one single baked good- the cannoli.

A cannoli, from the singular cannolo meaning “little tube”, is an Italian pastry in the form of hard tubular shells filled with sweetened ricotta cheese and can contain or be topped with nuts or chocolate chips. There are three well known pastry shops all along the main drag of Hanover Street. Modern Pastry, Caffè Paradiso and Mike’s Pastry.

I have been fortunate to taste all three cannoli’s and all three are very different. Modern Pastry was rather sneaky, slipping into the back perhaps perfectly timing how long it takes to freshly pipe a cannoli. The shell was rather thick and almost cake like, not what you would prefer for a cannoli.
Mike’s is probably the most famous of all three. In the summer a swarm of sweaty, rude tourists flock in the front of the store. You see each pre piped cannoli sitting in a case as you approach the counter. The people are always efficient, trying to serve people as quickly as possible. Although the shell is better than Modern, a pre piped cannoli that has been sitting in a case doesn’t taste as fresh as you wish it could be. But do not worry, I too was fooled by this and admire Mike’s and still enjoy an excellent cannoli from them! There are other treats available, but the array of cannoli’s is simply extravagant. The cannoli’s pictured below:

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On my most recent trip home, my parents introduced me to Caffè Paradiso. As soon as you walk in you are transported to Italy, walking into a small cafe where you meet with local friends. They too have a small array of different treats including the favorite tiramisu. But directly in the front and the middle are un piped, perfectly golden cannoli shells. As you sit and wait for your cannoli you see freshly piped ricotta slipping into each end of the shell. Your first bite is exquisite, the fresh sweet ricotta hitting your tongue bursting with memories of home. The shell breaking so delicately the crisp crunch is a sound you will never forget. This cannoli changed my mind, this cannoli became my favorite. The size of the cannoli is important too, Mike’s are so huge you have to eat half and save the rest tomorrow when it’s not as good. Caffè Paradiso’s is just the right size and amount for a perfect little sweet treat. If you end up in Boston be sure to grab the T to the North End and walk up Hanover and test out cannoli’s yourself. This is only my opinion, right?

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Caffè Paradiso cannoli

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