EATTV is on an admirable 30-day quest to eat Boston's best "ethnic" food. That descriptor is problematic, but putting that aside, EATTV is picking out some sparkling gems. Like the Scotch fare at the Haven, where EATTV's cock-a-leekie soup with "dates and house cured bacon is ambrosia." Scotch eggs are extra-large, with "deep yellow yolks," and are encased in "crusty on the outside, moist on the inside" sausage. The whole shebang is nestled in a salad of arugula, apple, blue cheese, and spiced candied walnuts. "The dish jumps off the plate served at room temperature and proves this kitchen knows how to Fryolate," concludes EATTV.
Haggis, perhaps Scotland's most notorious dish, is distinct from old-world versions: "The USDA does not allow the use of all the parts so this version is almost too good with lamb and beef hearts, livers (and no lungs) that have steeped with barley, oats, suet, spices, salt and stock. Crowned with the floral whiskey butter and a fine chiffonade of lemon zest and parsley, this haggis sits proudly on a heap of the sweet but not too sweet rutabaga clouds (neeps)."
EATTV finished it off with a deep-fried Mars bar with maple whipped cream, paired with an Alba Scots Pine Ale, brewed with pine needles and "tremendous sipped with the gooey candy bar fried and whipped deal."
A couple of days later, EATTV hit another peak at southern Brazilian joint Muqueca, where things started off with bolinho de bacalhau: salt cod, potatoes, eggs, and parsley fried into football-shaped patties. Hitting them with a dash of house-made manioc-flour hot sauce on each table was "a perfect kiss of fire extinguished with a squirt of fresh lime."
Hearts of palm salad featured fresh, not canned, palm shoots, and there were interesting juices, like cupuaçú, a relative of cacao, which tastes "primarily like pear, with a hint of banana and an alcohol finish (hic)." EATTV followed that up with the moqueca completa, a fish, squid, and shellfish stew with onions, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, and chives. The final touch was the tapioca and coconut pudding: tapioca, coconut flakes, coconut milk, brown sugar, rum, and condensed milk. Oh, yeah! Pour a couple of caipirinhas and Brazilian coffees on top of that, and they'll have to roll you home.
The Haven [Jamaica Plain]
2 Perkins Street, Boston
1008 Cambridge Street, Cambridge