Mo’s Grill, North Beach, San Francisco

We stopped by Mo’s Grill for some bfast and waiting 30 minutes for our seats. We were told to get the famous Mo’s burgers, french toast or the old-fashioned pancakes (BMH’s Good Ol’ Fashioned Banana Pancakes), but we were in an omelette mood. Lined in the front of the grill were all the ingredients, mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce and Hass Avocados.

Mo’s has a chill environment, neon lighting and bar stools. The main dining room area was packed and is a popular weekend brunch and lunch joint.

Our omelettes took a bit, however when the Mexican omelette arrived full of  sausage, scallions, jalapeño, salsa and cheese with a side of potatoes with bits of scallion and a toasted English muffin.

The egg scramble with scallions and cheese were great with the sides of toast and potatoes.

 

Next time, we will definitely try Mo’s Bacon Cheeseburger, California Burger or Blue Cheeseburger.Mo's Grill on Urbanspoon

The Kitchen, Boulder

The Kitchen was one the highlights of our visit to Colorado. The space was open, light and beautiful. The food was quality. Yes this is weird, but visit the restroom. We learned that The Kitchen is owned by a former colleague of British Jamie Oliver, and we even loved the Pangea Organics Canadian pine and white sage bathroom soap!

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The chandelier in the enter of the dining room was eye catching and just lovely._MG_5517

We love that The Kitchen donates 20% of sales from Monday night Community Night._MG_5518

We enjoyed a glass of fresh squeezed grapefruit and organic orange half and half per our waitress’s suggestion. It was perfectly sweet and tart for $4.50.

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The highlight of our Colorado visit and the best meal we had was The Kitchen’s Lamb Burger with Colorado lamb, pepper relish, al latte bun and perfectly seasoned steak fries for $15. We got a side of mayo and those fries were some of the best steak fries we have ever eaten. The salad was lemony and lightly dressed, perfect to compliment the juicy slightly sweet burger. Bar none one of the best burgers ever eaten. Best lamb burger ever eaten hands down._MG_5527

The rest of the menu looked so good and we would certainly return to try the rest of the menu another visit.The Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Park Tavern, North Beach, San Francisco

Park Tavern is one of the best meals we have had in San Francisco and every course was spot on. We would love to hit up the bar and try other parts of the menu that we didn’t have the room or dining partners to get a taste. We deeply respect what they deem as must visits in the North Beach area and Park Tavern was named. The night was a perfect to walk around and enjoy an illuminated Washington Square.

Park Tavern was twice suggested from two extreme food enthusiasts of SF on independent conversations.

The lighting was low, ambiance buzzing and we could tell that Park Tavern was the right place to be that evening because the patio, bar and dining room was packed. Definitely get a reservation in advance. Park Tavern’s ambiance reminded us of Gramercy Tavern in New York City.

The tree motif on the entrance wall was enchanting. We really loved the gold etching and various shapes and sizes.

Despite having a reservation for Friday at 9:30pm, we waited 15 minutes  to be seated. It was worth the wait.  We had a corner table past the open kitchen,  nestled where there was only one table to our right. For a small group, this was one of the best seats in the house for groups who want less bustle and to watch the kitchen in action. It was entertaining to see the expedited Dungeness crab dip, salmon roe and yukon gold chips, Maine lobster bisque and Poulet Rouge (roast chicken). 

We loved the Parks And Recreational Drinking section and three drinks really stood out to us as unique. The Golden Gate Haamonii Shochu, Genmaicha Tea, lemon, tart cherry liqour and cherry bitters for $13. Also, the Buena Vista with St. George dry rye gin, Laird’s Applejack, apple-rosemary, bitters, Allagash White for $13 looked intriguing. Finally, we ordered the Mclaren was Hendrick’s gin, cucumber juice, lemon, ginger beer for $13. It was light, refreshing and really enjoyable to drink. Since one of us was under the weather, the brown Crueset mug with Mighty Tea Mint and a bit of Honey for $3 was comforting and hit the spot.

After we put our order with our friendly and knowledgable server, we enjoyed a nicey warmed, crusty pain d’epi (Epi baguette) with butter.

We had to order two deviled eggs, with bacon, pickled jalapeño and chive at $2 each. The deviled eggs had a creamy yolk center, but not overly dressed in mayonnaise. The crunchy, salty bacon with bits of micro chives and tang and heat of jalapeno were perfectly balanced.  These were really the best deviled eggs we have ever had. We saw pairs of deviled eggs flying out of the kitchen and we were jealous and wanted more.

The Brussels sprout chips for $7 were nicely crisp, had lightly singed edges and were well seasoned with a brightness of lime. We finished the entire bowl.  We hope to make these ourselves since we have attempted roasted brussel sprouts before.

We split a Young leek & broccoli soup, house cured lardons, black pepper and parmesan crisp for $13 and it was a nice gesture for the kitchen to split the portions. The soup was not overly creamy, very aromatic and very enjoyable to sip. The parmesean crisp with lardon added a nice salty element which was appreciate after a few spoonfuls. Really tasty.

We had to order the “Marlowe” burger with caramelized onion, cheddar, bacon, horseradish aïoli and fries for $14. The fries were nicely seasoned, especially with the creamy bite from the horseradish sauce.

The star was the Marlowe burger. It was really special. The pattie was perfectly juicy, nicely seasoned, had a nice crunch from the fresh, shredded lettuce, crispy bacon, melty cheddar and we loved the sweetness of the caramelized onion. So good. We would have this again hands down.

We would return to the bar area (with the comfy, tavern flair and moouse antlers to sample other items on the menu. We really wish we had room for dessert and the Creme brulee peaked our interest, as well as October’s Birthday citrus sponge cake with tangerine buttercream.

Park Tavern is a well oiled machine, especially with the volume of patrons. We were impressed. The food was comforting and exceptionally executed. Overall, our service is stellar.

The only pause in our experience was having to wait to get part of our meal to take home. The bus boy bused our table and offered to wrap up leftovers to go. After we grabbed our check and paid, we reminded our server for our take home box. She was trying to get the last order of the evening from a large group into the kitchen at 11pm, so we ended up waiting an additional 10 minutes for her to attend to the large group first before returning to be reminded. Other than the small pauses in waiting, we were more than content and happy to sing praises.

Park Tavern on Urbanspoon

Sam’s, North Beach, San Francisco

Sam’s has been on the list and we were glad we stopped by the 618 Broadway at Grant Ave Pizza and hamburgers joint. The restaurant is opened until 3AM every day and is in the perfect spot for late night munchies. There are rambunctious patrons and shenanigans.

The Sam’s Special includes a hamburger with fries and a coke for $8.99. It looked pretty tempting, but we wanted MORE.

The menu features burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, fried items, rings, fries and pizza. Cash is preferred and patrons must pay immediately after one orders.

We went for a Bourdain Special which included a domestic beer, double cheeseburger and a side of fries for $14.99. The toppings, bacon and cheese were an additional surcharge, bringing the bill up to $17 or $18 bucks. Avocado is an additional $1.25. The fries were really nicely seasoned and had garlic flavor. We would have been happy with the fries and a beer.

How was the burger? According Bourdain “That’s a good mother***ing burger, Top Three in the World!!!” The burger patties were nice and juicy, and greasy. The bacon was nicely fried and the acidity of the tomato and freshness of the veg brought layered texture. The burger reminded me of a quality Burger King Whopper.  Was it top three in the world for the price tag?  If you were a bit under the influence, sure. If not, it should be a few bucks cheaper.

Sam's on Urbanspoon

Artisan Bistro, Ritz-Carlton, Chinatown, Boston

We were at the Boston Common for a movie and was looking for a quick dinner. We popped into the Ritz Carlton and went to the Artisan Bistro formerly Jer-ne. The bar restaurant was closed for renovations and reopened last September. 

We enjoyed the low lighting, open space and atmosphere. The servers and host were more than accommodating, thoughtful and best in breed.

The bar area is relaxed and perfect for an after work drink or date.

We sampled a Grilled Pineapple margarita Patron Resposado muddled grilled pineapple, grilled limes Artisan housemade margarita mix. The flavor of the pineapple was fresh and clean. Very enjoyable. The Cured cocktail Crop cucumber vodka, sweet balsamic vinegar, blue cheese & Serrano stuffed olives was very unique. The Serrano and olives had a really nice flavor and was a nice combination of salty and tangy.

At BMH, bread is a key factor in our dining experience. A fresh loaf of warmed bread with a tender interior and crisp crust is so important and served with soft, well seasoned butter or oil. Artisan Bistro delivered just that and we were happy.

Our server disclosed that he believed the burgers at Aritsan are some of the best. We went for the Bbq Burger with bacon jam, fried onion ring, lettuce, tomato and fries. The fries were nicely seasoned and perfectly tender and crisp. We really appreciated that our server brought dijon, tabasco, mayo and ketchup without need for prompt.

We loved every bite of the juicy burger, sweet tangy and salty bacon jam and the texture and flavor of the onion ring.

The truffled mushroom, mozzarella and onion flatbread was super thin, crisp, perfectly cheesy and delicious. The various mushrooms and truffle flavor was satisfying.

We were really pleased with our first Artisan Bistro visit. Our cocktails, service, food and experience was solid all around. Next time, come back for another burger and maybe sample the Croque monsieur.

Artisan Bistro (Ritz-Carlton) on Urbanspoon

Strip T’s, Watertown

After our older sister and her close friend’s glowing views about their visit to Maslow’s Strip T‘s in Watertown, we were just waiting for the right opportunity to go. With pedigree from French Culinary Institute and David Chang’s Momofuku Ssäm Bar (BMH’s visit to Momofuku Milk Bar), expectations were high, and Strip T’s team delivers. Overall, our party and our bellies went home happy and that is all that matters.

Every item has an intensity of flavor from tangy, umami to porky. A majority of items displays Maslow’s homage to Asian cuisine and techniques and his groundings with David Chang. From buttermilk fried chicken with the chicken’s claw left in tact (Chinatown style), to miso flavored mayonnaise to spicy Vietnamese sandwiches, we appreciate Maslow’s creative edge, infusion of cultures and constant element of surprise.

The chill vibe, dinning area, low key atmosphere is worth the off the beaten track journey. The chalkboard made us reflect on the concept of eating locally and listed the various relationships with farms where the ingredients from the menu came from.

We appreciated the wood paneling, mirrors, chalkboard, art on the wall and the peak into the kitchen. Our server was straight forward and all about business, responding to questions and explaining the menu.

The menu has changed since my sister’s visit so she was temporarily disappointed that the cauliflower with chorizo with chorizo, cojita, pickled red onion ($8) and the caramel chocolate pots were no longer on the menu. I believe the fleeting nature of an ever-changing menu makes one savor and appreciate the dishes once had. It also means, time to try something new.

There were many sides and items on the makeshift cardboard clipboard which we had considered and decided to wait for next time (sparrow arugula salad with green goddess salad and the mushroom man mix). Love the logo of the siloin strip steak dancing.

Several folks had a glass of reisling, beers and we had considered the non-alcoholic root beers, orange sodas from local soda makers. 

We started with the roasted fairytale eggplant with almonds and pomegranate molasses for $7. The less seedy petite eggplants were nicely melty, soft and had a nice skin. The combination of the rich nuts with the vegetables and the tang from the pomegranate molasses sauce was really enjoyable and a nice beginning. Just don’t eat the stems.

The Japanese eggplant banh mi with crispy tofu, pickles, cilantro for $9 was one of the best items we sampled and would love if this banh mi rendition was served here within Boston. At first I was confused. Was this sandwich heavy on the salt or is this just intense flavor? After I wrapped my mind around the level of seasoning and idea of extreme notes of flavor. The crunch baguette was perfectly warmed, the super fried tofu has a bit of a greasy feel, but the soft, tender tofu creamy interior went well with the eggplant’s flavor.

The thinly sliced pickled carrots, sprigs of green cilantro and a kick of heat was typical Vietnamese banh mi, but had another level of intensity brought together the sandwich harmoniously.  We all sampled the banh mi and LOVED it. Another please? And Just for myself!

The grilled skirt steak was perfectly medium rare and pink on the interior and nicely charred for $18. The dish was a clever interpretation of a Latin classic with another Asian hint of tempura fried maitake mushrooms, the bright chimichurri and the watercress, pickled peppers and fried parsnips. Loved the tempura maitake and nuggets of fried parsnips. The tang of the peppers went really well with the entire dish. It was light, flavorful and a pleasure.

The generously sized buttermilk fried chicken had super tender meat, with really nice lightly seasoned crust for $18. According to Boston’s Eater, this is Boston’s #1 most iconic dishes. We would love this drumstick and wingless (they must use the parts for the moxie wings) buttermilk fried chicken any day, especially since it is half a chicken. The chicken came with the chicken claw, which one of us gnawed off the batterless skin. If only the claw was battered and seasoned too. The pickle locked nicely grilled. The dish came with Anson mills dirty rice had little bits, corn and we think there was liver or an ingredient which made the dirty rice really creamy and on the heavier side. We just wished there was Latin dirty rice and beans, butter grits, potato mash or some parsnip puree.

A majority of our table tried the Strip T’s burger and one diner substituted an paid an additional few dollars for the Fried japanese sweet potato wedges and miso mayo for $6. We love miso mayo, first fried at Mei Mei Street Kitchen (BMH’s visit to Mei Mei Street Kitchen).
The well seasoned orange potato wedges were previously in chicken fat before they were fried. How awesome is that? The combo of the sweet and the creamy flavor of the miso mayonnaise was just perfect. Must get these.

The Strip T’s burger was so good. The burger has a Iggy’s bun slathered with smoked white miso butter, lemon aioli, pickled onion, well seasoned hand cut fries was $15. The regular fries were perfectly salty, tender on the inside and had a nice skin and crisp. These didn’t need miso mayonnaise.

We ordered the burgers medium rare and our server explained that the burger would not be pink inside, but is measured for the exact medium rare temperature. The meat color is brown throughout because of the in-house burger meat mix and process. Initially, we had to rethink if it was medium rare, but the burger pattie was juicy and very flavorful. This burger definition of ultra umami. The flavor of the meat was very strong and very bacony and porky.


A little pink friend came out with a belly fully of tabasco. Loved the idea so much.

Although we were nearly tempted by the Goat’s milk panna cotta raspberry, coconut cake and the Fried brioche donut with blueberry pastry cream, lemon frosting, both for $8, we were stuffed. We were greeted by our little pig ramekin filled with cool homemade berry marshmallows. They were pillowy, chilled and the perfect sweet ending for us.

This whimscal nature of the Strip T’s dining experience was wildly appreciated. Maslow demonstrates reinterpretations of classics can be executed with a cerebral touch and humorous flair. We will have to back to enjoy the clubhouse like restroom again and try the Grilled romaine witb oxtail, poached egg, chili vin for $12.

Strip-T's on Urbanspoon

Carroll’s Restaurant, Medford Square, Medford

Carroll’s is located in Medford Square and recently opened a few months ago. Maury Carroll was checking in and greeting with the patrons to ensure their experience was positive.

The owners used to own Carroll’s Diner before it burned down and now Carroll’s Restaurant has become a popular spot for the locals.

Carroll’s menu features American pub fare, burgers, sandwiches, tips and has a great bar.

We enjoyed very generous pours of Chardonnay, Silver Palm (North Coast) $8 with aromas of apple blossom and pear with white peach, Gravenstein apple and meyer lemon, Sauvignon, Blanc, Kim Crawford (Marborough, NZ) $10 and Pinot Grigio, Murphy-Goode (California) $9 with spice pear, grapefruit, white peach flavors.

We were brought out a small basket of buttered bread. We definitely enjoyed the fluffy center and buttered exterior.

The House Chopped Salad was one of the best salads we have eaten. The salad came with iceberg and romaine lettuce, chopped hard boiled egg, bacon, red onion, diced tomatoes, cut green beans, avocado, and crumbled bleu cheese tossed in a creamy house dressing. The star of the salad was indeed the house dressing. The combination of mayo, sour cream, cottage cheese and herbs was really special and coated the components perfectly $7.50.

The Fried Calamari was nicely fried and even after we squeezed a bit of lemon, there was something missing, a bit of seasoning or spice for $9.95.

The combination of Marinated Sirloin, Pork Tips and Turkey Tips Sampler Platter was really tender and well marinated for $16.95. The juicy grilled tips came with a side of rice pilaf and nicely prepared asparagus.

The Irish Cheddar Burger was suggested by my friend. I asked for double fries versus the coleslaw, however got the dish as described. The burger came medium rare as requested and super tender. The Irish cheddar was nicely melted on the burger and toppings were super fresh for $9.95.

The Grilled Portabella sandwich was super juicy and flavorful. Previously, the sandwich came in a burger bun, however from a friend’s suggestion the bread optoin was changed into a Ciabata roll for $9.50. Ironically, the ciabatta makes it more difficult to eat because of the thickness. The burger bun would cushion the portabella.

If we are back in the Medford area again, we would highly suggest Carroll’s for cocktails and solid American fare.
Carroll's Bar and Grille on Urbanspoon