For a quick, aromatic and hearty stir-fry, we made chewy Five Spice Beef and cabbage. It was a really fast meal to make, flavorful and a great way to get in some ruffage.
Adapted from AllRecipes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound sliced beef
1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 small onion, cut into strips
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons five spice sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 cup vegetable broth broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch dissolved in 3 teaspoons water
Combine all ingredients for the five spice sauce. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Saute garlic for about 5 seconds, then add onion and beef. Stir-fry until beef is evenly brown. Stir in cabbage, and cook until vegetables are tender, and beef is fully cooked. Stir in sauce. Mix together cornstarch and water, and stir in. Season with pepper. Cook, stirring, until sauce has thickened and serve alone or with rice.
Water and Five Spice Teriyaki Sauce
Pre-seasoned wok with peanut oil, garlic, onion and beef
I have been wanting to go to Oishii for quite some time now. Oishii is located on Washington Street (near Myers and Chang) and there is another location in Chestnut Hill. The ambiance is very zen and upon entrance you are greeted by 4-5 staff members. There is a quiet buzz in the dining rooms and sushi bar. The chefs are true masters and suggest various local and daily catch.
We started off with a sake flight and received little sake descriptions and the brands we tasted included Junmai, Ginjo, Daiginjo, Kusu, Kaikouzu and Shonen Jidai. The sakes progressed in terms of strength and bitterness (like a cheese tasting). I really enjoyed the sakes which were lighter and sweeter than the rest. As I kept trying, I yearned for the previous sake.
The grilled black cod with sweet miso sauce was quite tender, flakey and flavorful.
We tried a great variety of maki and sushi pieces including the following (I starred favorites)
TOMOE Maki (Triple Swirl Makis with Salmon, Avocado, and Gold Tobiko)
Abalone Maki (Abalone Tempura inside with Seared Abalone covered outside)
Seared O-TORO Sashimi with Caviar and Ice Wine Topped with Gold Flake*
The Maki Covered with Toro also referred to as “The Maki” (Spicy Mayo, Asparagus, Cucumber, Bonito Flakes and Toro Torched on top with Gingery Sauce and Jalapeño) *
Named after you Maki (Cucumber, Spicy mayo, Tobiko Covered with Tuna and Whole Grain Mustard on top and Sprinkle with Aotate)
Oishii Spicy Tuna Tempura Maki (Bluefin Tuna Sashimi, Fleur De Sel, Chives, wrapped with seaweed) *
Sockeye Salmon covered Maki (Tobiko, Avocado Maki with Sockeye Salmon)
Menegi, Ponzu, and Hawaiian Rock Salt Sprinkle on Top
Oishii Sashimi Maki (Bluefin Tuna, King Salmon, Yellowtail, Mutzu wrapped in Cucumber)
White Tiger Maki (Tuna, Tobiko, Avocado and Cucumber rolled in White Seaweed with Ting San‟s Wasabi Flavored Lemony Sauce on Top)
Oishii Spicy Scallop Maki (Scallops, Black Tobiko, Cucumber, Kaiwali, and Spicy Mayo) *
We also ordered a spicy tuna and eel avocado maki to compare against other sushi places. I would say Oishii is strongest in its own specialized combinations versus the standard rolls.
The Grilled Black Peppered Black Pork Chop with Onion Sake Sauce and a side of rice was very tender and black pepper crust was very delicious, however the onion sake flavor didn’t suit my taste and was a bit too salty.
I really loved the Green Tea Tiramisu with hot green tea. The sweet cream and warm green tea was a great contrast and exceptionally elegant.
L’Espalier is a perfect place to celebrate occasions and have memorable meals. I have had special dinner at the original and romantic Gloucester Street location, a work lunch for Restaurant Week at the Mandarin Oriental location and Sunday time with some intelligent and accomplished ladies in the main dining room. Additionally, I have enjoyed Wine Mondays in the library room and a one on one presentation with an impressive sommelier and living encyclopedia of wine.
Every meal had top-notch service, the service was accommodating and the staff warm. What I enjoy most is the meticulous food and pairings. At L’Espalier you are signing on for a culinary adventure, they offer care and thought behind each component of the meal and every instance and interaction.
The Boylston Street view
Pretzel rolls, these were my favoriteCreamy risotto Sweetbreads with polentaDuck roasted to perfection, tender and crispy skin Cheese plate Honey, pecans, bread and dried apricotsAmazing and elegant dessert plate, sorbet, chocolate cake
We have eaten at the Sel at the Waterfront area for Restaurant Week before, as well as the location in Natick. The service is always impeccable and you feel well cared for. In fact, at the Waterfront, I recall seeing Governor Patrick and his wife dining in the corner.
The Sel De La Terre at the Mandarin has a very warm vibe and I really enjoyed the bicycles and twinkle lights hung from the bar ceiling. The downstairs and upstairs bar has a casual seating and a great bar menu with burgers, steak, charchuterie plates and other New England French fare.
Bicycles and twinkle lights
I had the grilled hanger steak frites with red wine-shallot reduction. The temperature was done perfectly and I really enjoy the rosemary pomme frites. In fact, everyone in my group nibbled on the fries as well. $16
Here’s another visit to Sel when we ordering at the bar. We had the SDLT burger, a grilled New England ground beef, Vermont cheddar, crispy pancetta, spicy aïoli with rosemary pommes frites $15
If beef isn’t of interest, there is a great seared tuna and salad was fresh, well cooked and light.
An assortment of cookies, macaroons, creme brulee, apple tart and cake
Forum is in the location which was formerly Vox and the restaurant/bar has maintained the same two level set up. The first level has open alfresco eating, a large bar and upstairs dining room. What I really enjoy is the fact that they serve infused alcohol and wine.
Street level bar
We had the Bella dona (rum, amaretto and finished with ginger beer) and the BOC (orange liquer, lime, Leblon Cachaca and mint). The cocktails were well mixed and had a nice balance.
Forum’s patrons included a group of women having a birthday party, couples, upper 20′s, mid 30′s aged folks.
Upstairs dining room
I will have to return to Forum for a proper meal, but Forum serves a nice mish mash of items such as salads, pasta, chicken waffles, mussels, fish tacos and steak tartare.