Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Middle East Meets North East

I just discovered a new restaurant that I love in Boston. I was introduced to Cafe Jaffa by a colleague who lives just outside the city, but loves to head in with her husband on days off and explore. So their explorations turned into my find!

Cafe Jaffa is in the Back Bay area of downtown(easy to get to on the Metro if you're not staying in that area.) Back Bay is full of little shops and restaurants and also houses the Prudential Building and shopping mall, so it's a terrific area to just kick around in before you head to Cafe Jaffa for a meal of traditional Middle Eastern fare such as gyros, houmus, baba ghanoush, kabobs and falafel. But it's the ambience of this small restaurant that I loved most of all. Exposed brick walls, open kitchen and a long row of tables give the place a warm, cozy atmosphere that was particularly welcome on the chilly, rainy day that my colleague and I made it over for a late lunch waiting to head to the airport for a flight after finishing some work earlier than expected. It just made the yummy food all that much better - I'll definitely be back!

Menu: Traditional Middle Eastern (and some American) fare
My Faves: Falafel (crispy outside, tender inside), chicken schwarma salad w/pita bread

48 Gloucester Street (between Newbury and Boylston)
Boston, MA 02115

Trois Beignet - S'il Vous Plait

New Orleans is well known for it's fantastic food. Traditional dishes such as jambalya, red beans and rice, muffalettas, and gumbo are something that I look forward to every time I'm in NO for work and I promise that in upcoming blogs I'll get to some of my favorite spots for those - However, this blog is an "Ode to the Beignet" Delicious fried, sweet, hot, and crispy these little doughy bites are a favorite treat of mine when I visit the Crescent City.
Most people head to Cafe Du Monde for their version of the beignet and cafe au lait - but I find the cafe a bit too touristy (although still good) and prefer the Cafe Beignet not too far from there where you wait while they fry up your beignets fresh and deliver them to you hot and greasy in a bag filled with powdered sugar. They come in an order of three and the last time I was there I promised myself that I was going to be good and only eat one.... Oh well,it was a good thought.

Locations: There are two Cafe Beignets in NO
311 Bourbon Street and 334-B Royal Street
Menu: Breakfast Served-All-Day as well as traditional cajun and fried fish
My Faves: The hot, crispy, fresh, powdered sugar coated beignets


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Calling Clam Chowder Lovers

I was in Boston recently on a business trip with no required dinners with clients or colleagues - just me, all by myself - I loved it!! And I was on a mission... to get to the Black Rose, to get a bowl of clam chowder so thick your spoon pretty much stands straight up in the bowl. The Black Rose is an Irish pub located in the Faneuil Hall-Quincy Market area (a great location to also do a little shopping before or after dinner.) I don't even know what else is on the menu - the first time I ever went in and sat at the bar, I ordered the soup and it's the only thing I've ever ordered there since - it's the reason I go. I'm going back to Boston next week - I'm hoping that I'll have time to sneak out and get over there for a bowl of that thick, delicious chowder!
If you love New England style clam chowder, next time you're in Boston, try it and let me know what you think.

The Black Rose
160 State Street
Boston, MA

My Faves: (Do I need to tell you?) It's the award winning clam chowder!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ferry Building Marketplace

When I get to go to San Francisco for business I always wish that I could just stay a few extra days because I love the city!
The last time I was there for work, I found myself with a couple of hours before I was to meet colleagues for dinner and I decided to head over to the Ferry Building Marketplace.
The Ferry Building Marketplace used to be (you guessed it) a ferry building - However, it's now been transformed into a gourmet shopping mecca for foodies and it's fabulous! Upscale shops with specialty cheeses, breads, chocolates and even one shop dedicated to mushrooms stand side by side. There's also a wine shop that offers tastings and some retail shops for browsing (Sur La Table for one), along with several restaurants and cafes. The building is located along the Embarcadero at the end of Market Street and because it's right on the bay, the views are fantastic. You can even join a free guided walking tour of the building that coincides with the Farmer's Market if you find yourself with free time on a Tuesday or Saturday (noon).
If you decide to check it out you can take one of the historic trollies (Line F) for just $2.00 (exact fare required.) The trollies run a six mile route back and forth along Market Street and up to Fisherman's Wharf and one of the stops is right at the front door of the Ferry Building (note: these are the electric trollies not the street cars.) It's actually also walkable from many Union Square and convention center area hotels.

Location: The Ferry Building Market
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA

Hours: 10am - 6pm Monday - Friday
9am - 6pm Saturday
11am - 5pm Sunday
(Note: Some shops have their own hours and are varied)

Trolley Information/Routes: www.streetcar.org/fline-riding.html

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Circle The Block

I love the Dupont Circle neighborhood in Washington DC - If you're not staying in the area, it's very easy to get to on the Metro (as is everywhere in DC). Once you step out of the station you find that Dupont Circle is truly a circle with several "spokes" leading down different streets (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and 19th) You can wander down any one of them (Embassy Row runs down Massachusetts Avenue - with the bulk of embassies found between Scott Circle and Wisconsin Avenue) or you can just hang on the outside of the circle and make the "loop" If you do this, you'll come upon Kramerbooks and Afterwards Cafe as you pass the NE corner of Connecticut. Kramerbooks is a small, independent bookstore with lots of charm and while they may not have the inventory that larger chains have, they carry some titles that you wouldn't find anywhere esle. The cafe is homey and a great place to grab a bite or cup of coffee or even have a cocktail after you've finished browsing the shelves. They even have live music Wednesday - Saturday evenings. Kramerbooks is a self-proclaimed DC institution and is just a great spot to spend a "found" hour or two when you're in DC for work.

What's your favorite bookstore?

Kramerbooks and Afterwards Cafe
1517 Conn. Avenue NW
Washington, DC
202.387.1400 (bookstore)

Hours: 7:30am - 1:00am Daily
Open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday
Outdoor seating available at the cafe

FYI: There is a $10.00 minimum for lunch and $12.00 minimum for dinner and brunch per person in the cafe. (No charge to wander aimlessly through the bookshelves though ;)