June 22-23, 2013: Food Reviews (Boston Edition)

From June 22-24, I went to Boston to visit my boyfriend. I was able to try some restaurants there! Dates and food pair up great. Get to try out a new restaurant and plus you can share dishes to try the other one! It’s also cute if you try to feed the other. And sometimes… he might pay for you. But don’t count on it. Once in a blue moon occasion.

1. Muqueca Restaurant (1008 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02141)

We found this place on Yelp because it was close to his apartment and was not Asian. I wanted to try something different but every time I said that, he would joke and say: “So you want Korean?” No. When walking there, we passed the restaurant Koreana, which he was obviously eyeing but no, we are going to try somewhere new. I can get better Asian food in New York City.

The decor was really cute. I don’t remember the exact details but it was cute.

We were seated at a 2-person table by the window. Looking through the menu, I didn’t know what to order. While sifting through the menu, a man sitting a table across walked over to give suggestions. He was also talking to the two tables beside him. I found it kind of awkward, but the fact he did that showed how much he loved this restaurant! He even checked afterwards if we enjoyed what we ordered.

Of course we would order the muqueca, since the restaurant is named after it. It was also the most expensive, so naturally I was unsure. I need to be more free with my cash if I want to enjoy higher quality items.

Muqueca, or Moqueca, is a Brazilian seafood stew. This dish has been prepared for at least 300 years. Apparently, no water is added! I guess the stew must come from the water in the ingredients. After all, it is seafood and the sea is full of water! Har har… Am I the only one laughing? (Source: Wikipedia)

We decided to order the Moqueca Completa with fish, shrimp and mussels. We also ordered from the appetizers Fried Yucca with Dried Beef. I didn’t know what yucca was but when looking on Yelp, a reviewer recommended that diners order the fried yucca. It tasted just like french fries. It was good when it was really hot when it first arrived. I personally like my food so hot that it almost feels like it is burning. I feel all warm inside when that happens. The beef was indeed very dry. It came with a sauce that was white. It had a sour taste, which made me wonder if it was made from yogurt. It was similar to the white sauce served in Halal trucks in NYC. The yucca didn’t seem worth it to me since it tasted just like french fries. But if I hadn’t ordered it, I wouldn’t have known.

Fried Yucca with Dried Beef (picture taken from Muqueca Restaurant's menu)

Fried Yucca with Dried Beef: “Mandioca com carne de sol” (picture taken from Muqueca Restaurant’s menu)

The Moqueca Completa was amazing. It came in a medium sized pot with fish gravy and rice for both me and my date. The waitress said that when 2 people eat it, they tend to order the the 1.5 serving. We decided to stick with 1. Boy, was that enough! Before I get to that…

The fish was so delicious. It was so chunky. I tend to not eat fish and didn’t even want to order the Muqueca with fish after my memories of being served steam fish, with head and eye attached, with oyster sauce at home. I don’t like the fishy taste or my food staring at me. But this fish was different. So chunky and didn’t have that nasty fish taste. It worked so well with all the other seafood ingredients. The fish gravy (left of picture) was also amazing. I would serve myself some of the moqueca over the rice and spoon some fish gravy over it all. Then I would mix it around and eat it. The fish gravy was so hot and, like I said, I love when my food is hot, temperature-wise. Also, the shrimp was so tender. It had an interesting butterfly cut from the mid-section to the tail or from mid-section to head. Either way, I wish there was more because I was eyeing them as I was eating. The angel told me to make sure my boyfriend and I got equal amounts. The devil told me to swoop in and take them all for me. Of course I succumbed to the angel.

"Fish, shrimp & Mussels... Moqueca de peixe com camarão e sururu"

Moqueca Completa: “Fish, shrimp & Mussels… Moqueca de peixe com camarão e sururu”

All in all, I would definitely come back here if I have the chance. However, since I haven’t been to Boston many times, I probably would be trying other restaurants. Next time, I would just order the Moqueca in the 1 serving size with no appetizers. After all that food, I was thrown into a food coma and wasn’t hungry till midnight. By then, I was already heading to bed anyways. The pot may look small but it packs a punch. I don’t know how, but it filled me up to the brim! Full and content.

2. Pasta Beach (30 Rowe’s Wharf, Boston, MA 02110)

We came to this place after a day at the New England Aquarium, which was really small. After walking through the main building and then outside to see the penguins in their temporary home, we returned back into the main building. I was surprised that that was it! However, it did provide the air conditioning oasis we very much needed since it was sweltering outside. I remember being disgruntled over the fact we would have to return to his apartment later, which had no air conditioning! It was unfortunate that the aquarium was still undergoing renovation so we weren’t able to see the penguins, which are pretty much the unofficial mascot for my boyfriend and me after I gifted him with penguin toy that I stuffed. I can’t wait to visit him at his college and actually walk with penguins in a nearby zoo during the winter! To be among our mascot…

Pasta Beach was a restaurant suggested by my boyfriend’s co-workers. Apparently, he trusted Italians with Italian food suggestions — seems plausible. We arrived at the restaurant, sweating and equipped with a list of recommendations. We decided to order the Spaghetti Pescatora and Bianca Pesto e Gamberi. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos. I guess we were too hungry and just dug in.

The Spaghetti Pescatora was really good. The sauce had a slight spiciness which I liked. My boyfriend is insane with spicy food. I probably should challenge him to drink a shot of Sriracha Sauce or Tabasco Sauce. Maybe even have him sample a ghost chili?

Or maybe… have him try the Bricklane Curry House Challenge, which is a curry made of really hot chillies. On Man v. Food, the chef had to wear a gas mask when making it since the fumes were so irritating! Next time… Maybe there will even be a review. I’ll have him write it.

I liked all the seafood. There were some clams and mussels that were shut closed. We had to set them aside because I remembered being told that you shouldn’t eat them if they do not open after being cooked. It means they were dead even before being cooked and had something wrong with them?

The pizza… Let’s just say it sucked. It was supposed to be a crisp white pizza. I just wanted to try something besides pasta. Probably should have listened to the recommendations. I also was scared by the pasta’s prices and the pizza seemed safer. The waitress recommended this pizza. What was she thinking? Pizza was not at all crispy but instead mushy. I wonder if the dough was cooked thoroughly or if it was just the cheese, since the crust was crispy.

This made me think of Amy’s Baking Company from Kitchen Nightmares, when guests would send back dishes, such as a pizza that was undercooked. I would have done that but it just felt so awkward. Guess I like to avoid confrontation. My boyfriend actually asked. I felt so… weird. Guess it’s good that he’s fine with bringing up criticisms.

P.S. If you do watch the entire episode, I suggest you watch this hilarious cartoon parody of it!

Then, came desserts! Richard’s friends also recommended a dessert, which was the tartufo. I don’t have the exact name since the dessert menu isn’t on Pasta Beach’s webste. But it was a chocolate truffle with chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream center. My boyfriend ordered “something with cherries.” The tartfuo was amazing. It seems so simple but I remember wishing there was more.

Tartufo: Chocolate truffle with chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream center

Tartufo: Chocolate truffle with chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream center

Boyfriend's Cherry Dessert

Boyfriend’s Cherry Dessert

All in all, I probably would not return. Maybe we should have listened to suggestions and may have fallen in love with the restaurant. After all, it’s called Pasta Beach. Pizza probably wasn’t their forte. But compared to Muqueca Restaurant, I would rather go there again. It filled me up and was more affordable. Maybe I would return for another tartufo or just find tartufo elsewhere. I think I just like ice cream.

(What’s a Bostonian catchy end-phrase? I’ll try a word that my freshman college roommate always said and she was from outside of Boston. Close enough. Shout-out to her if she sees this!)

Classic.

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