It was a fruitful and pioneering few days for my niece, who heads off to college near NYC with some new seeds of adventurousness. A few highlights:
Steamed pork bun (XLB) at Shanghai Gate. Our server did not hide her annoyance that we were only ordering one dish.
Man doo gook at Korea Garden. One of her favorites. Much delight at the banchan, especially the one of tiny dried silvery fish.
Pad ka pow moo krob at S&I Thai. Another favorite (and one of mine here, as featured in my Phoenix review from early last year). I did not point out that the crispy layer of the three-layer pork was pork rind, though I did mention it was the same cut of pork that is called chicharron in Latin American cuisines.
BBQ beef banh mi (spicy) at Pho Viet. Still great here. The Super 88 market itself is sadly shrunken, perhaps 10% stocked. A transfer of ownership cannot come soon enough.
Seafood & beef shabu-shabu with udon, plain beef broth, and kimchi broth at Shabu-Zen. An awful lot of fun for twenty bucks.
Clear salt ramen at Ken's Ramen. Sitting at the counter was a wise choice: it's really fun to watch Ken work. Later that evening, we watched my DVD of Tampopo.
Whole sea raven in ginger/scallion/soy sauce at Peach Farm.
An assortment of salumi (highlight: Calabrese-style soppressata) and Italian cheeses from Salumeria Italiana.
Gelati of lemon and coconut from Gelateria (good, but a bit of a swindle).
Amaretti (with and without pignoli) from the Modern. Weird to see eight or nine staffers behind the counter: they were clearly gearing up for Fisherman's Feast crowds.
Chocolate mousse and malted vanilla ice creams from Christina's.
Toddy-method iced coffee from 1369 Coffee House in Inman Square.
Vietnamese iced coffee from Xinh Xinh. This was such a huge hit that we next went to Eagle Kitchen Supply to buy Vietnamese steel coffee filters. We started our subsequent mornings with homemade Vietnamese iced coffees, though I suggested that daily Vietnamese iced coffees at college could account for her own personal Freshman 15.
A tour of Chinatown groceries to examine produce and other cooking basics, though the only supplies bought were a bag of bamboo chopsticks (her technique visibly improved throughout the week), Cafe du Monde, and cans of sweetened condensed milk.
Roasted bone marrow and pimientos de padron at Toro.
Chicken cemita, a variety of tacos (notably pollock, steak and chorizo), and agua frescas of watermelon and jamaica at Dorado.
Home cookout: grilled Neapolitan-style pizza margherita (works surprisingly well on a propane gas grill), elotes of local corn from our visit to the JP farmer's market (where we also found some amazing Vermont honey), and a caprese salad of tomatoes from my own garden and good mozzarella di buffala (also from Salumeria).
Frog's legs, crispy pork-belly crouton, olive oil poached chicken flatbread pizza, and tater tots at Garden at the Cellar.
Pre-Sox-game burgers at Audubon Circle; a Fenway Frank at Fenway. That new Kayem dog isn't Speed's, exactly, but it is miles better than the old one.
My only regret is that we didn't have time to tour Eastie: next trip for sure. Thanks one and all for the great suggestions!