Thursday, August 25, 2011

Redbones Rib Shack Grand Opening and an Earth-Shakingly Good Somerville Symphony Orkestar Gig

The Redbones Rib Shack opened in Kendall Square at 11am on 8/23/11. Joel's band played in the same courtyard from noon until 1:30pm. The earthquake hit at 1:45. Coincidence? I think not! The 50-strong line of BBQ-hungry people and the earth-shakingly good vibes from the SSO must have triggered some sort of seismic abnormality.

I'm glad to have a new lunch option near my office in Kendall. To be honest, when it comes to BBQ, I long for Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Fette Sau; Redbones and other Boston spots have never completely fulfilled my needs, but they're still generally satisfying. (I do intend to try Blue Ribbon and Black Strap before making any wide-sweeping "Boston has bad BBQ" judgments.)

Redbones knows how to do an opening. Free ribs for everyone!

I got a pulled pork sandwich with a side of cornbread. Good sustenance for the impending earthquake, all 20 lightly vibrating seconds of it.

Coincidentally, Joel's band, the Somerville Symphony Orkestar, picked up a gig right there as part of the Kendall Square lunch concert series, so I got to eat new tasty food and be a supportive groupie.

Like what you see? Check them out on Facebook for music, info about upcoming gigs, etc.

Then, I returned to my office, and quakapocalypse struck. (My co-workers and I actually did feel it on the 9th floor of our building, and the Californian in the office said, "This is when we should leave the building." So we did. Party outside!)

Have you made it to the new Redbones Rib Shack yet? What do you think?

Redbones Barbecue on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 19, 2011

Potato and Poblano Pepper Wontons

I'm on a wonton wrapper kick. These things are great. You can put just about anything in them, and there are plenty of ways you can cook them. Earlier this week, I made kale ravioli in a thyme-lemon broth and tomato and goat cheese wonton cups with balsamic glaze. Last night: potato and poblano pepper wontons.

Nearly everything going on in my kitchen lately is an attempt to plow through as many CSA vegetables as possible. I don't think we've ever been able to completely finish a week's share without letting a few things go to waste; we need to get better.

Since the earlier recipes were boiled, baked, and not actually wontons, we decided to do a simple steamed wonton with some of our CSA veggies. We'll probably try out fried wontons next!

Recipe: Potato and Poblano Pepper Wontons

  • wonton wrappers
  • potatoes (we used the Katahdin variety)
  • poblano peppers
  • soy sauce
  • dipping sauce of your choice (we used a ginger soy sauce and a store-bought spicy dumpling sauce)
  1. Finely chop potatoes and peppers into small cubes or chunks. Optional: remove pepper seeds for less heat.
  2. Pan fry potatoes and peppers to desired doneness. (Trying putting the potatoes in first and adding the peppers as the potatoes began to brown.) Include a splash of soy sauce.
  3. Place small spoonfuls of the potato and pepper mixture into the center of each wonton wrapper and fold according to the directions on the package (or get creative and do your own thing).
  4. Place the wontons into a steamer basket. Steam for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Serve with a dipping sauce or two. We used a ginger soy sauce and a store-bought spicy dumpling sauce.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fette Sau (Brooklyn, NY)

Imagine pounds and pounds and pounds of meat in a Brooklyn garage - brisket and ribs and pork belly and shoulder - barbecued and waiting to be eaten. Maybe by you, if you can stand to wait in line. It's every man for himself here at Fette Sau: buy some meat by the pound, plus a few sides, and use your giant tray to push your way through to one of the few long tables inside or picnic tables lining the outdoor alley.

We were in NYC in May for Joel's band to play a few shows over the weekend, and his brother, Dan, and Dan's girlfriend, Clara, share our love of food, so they brought us to Fette Sau for an epic barbecue feast. (I lived in Rochester for five years and was dying to revisit the BBQ glory of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, which has a location in Harlem, but that location isn't quite as outstanding as Syracuse and Rochester, and we were assured by multiple sources that Fette Sau is a whole new level of carnivorous perfection.) The line was too long the first evening - we had to be at the next venue too soon - so we sadly walked away. The following day, we arrived just as lunch began, and we had the place to ourselves.

Pretty snazzy for a garage! Each day, six meats are available, all smoked in-house and served with a classic potato roll, plus whichever sides you order. There are a few desserts available - not like you'll have room - plus specialty sodas and beers.

As we tore into our giant chunks of various meats, sunlight poured in through the open garage door, setting the scene for an impromptu photo shoot:

Q: What are Clara and Dan laughing at?
A: Their very first viewing of the Shake Weight commercial.

Joel will always cooperate for one - or maybe two - photos with me before things devolve into silliness...

I'm being tickled. The safety word is banana.

What can really be said about the food? If you love meat, you will love Fette Sau. Get the pork belly if it's available. Go with an empty stomach and prepare to get a little primal.

Unsurprisingly, the meat coma came on quickly:

Fette Sau
354 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY  11211

For more epic Brooklyn eats, check out Pies 'n' Thighs.

Fette Sau on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Photos from Saus: Boston's First Belgian Street Food Cafe

Specializing in Belgian-style fries, waffles, and frikandel sandwiches, Saus is poised to claim the stomachs of Government Center-area workers, late night hoards of drunks, and many more. My two visits to Saus have been complimentary blogger tastings, so I'll refrain from reviewing it until I've returned several times under normal circumstances, but as I don't make it to the neighborhood often, I just wanted to share some photos with you for now.

Does Belgium really taste this good? If so, I want to go!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kale Ravioli in Thyme-Lemon Broth

Today's relentless drizzle and moody grey sky signaled the quickly coming autumn, but I think we still have a little bit of summer sun left to enjoy. Tonight's dinner was the perfect bridge between the seasons: soup for warmth, but a light and lemony soup filled with flavors of the warmer months.

As usual, I'm trying to burn through the impossible amount of vegetables I've received in my CSA, so I decided to throw together this week's curly kale with some wonton wrappers I already had (from last week's tomato and goat cheese wonton cups). When the idea first came to mind a few days ago, I was thinking of a basic pasta dish with a tomato-based sauce, but yesterday, I found myself at Christina's Spice and Specialty Foods, where I picked up a jar of preserved lemons on a whim, quickly realizing that kale and lemons were a good match.

Wonton wrappers have so many uses! There were a million in the pack that I bought, so they'll probably be making appearances in a few more posts in the near future. For the kale, I just sauteed it in olive oil with some salt and crushed red pepper, and then I blanched it to keep it nice and green while I got everything else ready.

I had hoped to tie little knots of thyme around the tops of the raviolis, but this proved to be way too much work, so I just speared a few of them to add some color and flavor.

The fried garlic garnish was inspired by a Cambodian lime soup that I absolutely love - a sweet and sour broth with pineapple, shrimp, and some other tasty ingredients, including fried garlic. I also used a few thin slices of a preserved lemon as garnish. I'd never had these before; they added a subtly salty flavor along with the tartness, and the jar gave off an intoxicating scent when I opened it.

I accompanied the meal with some biscuits (the type made from store-bought dough), which I topped with Himalayan pink salt, another random purchase at the spice shop over the weekend.

Recipe: Kale Ravioli in Thyme-Lemon Broth
serves 2


  • Wonton wrappers (I used 18) 
  • Fresh thyme (a few sprigs)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 head curly kale
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 3 cans broth (I used low sodium chicken broth)
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 preserved lemon (optional)
  1. Combine three cans of broth and the juice of one lemon in a large pot. Add some thyme. Bring to a boil and then let simmer until everything else is ready.
  2. Wash the kale and tear into small pieces. Saute with olive oil, salt, and crushed red peppers (optional). Blanch.
  3. Spread out wonton wrappers on a clean, dry surface. Put a small spoonful of sauteed kale in the center of each.
  4. Wetting the edges of each wrapper, fold raviolis. Follow the directions on the wonton wrapper package or do your own thing. Work quickly; the wrappers get harder to manipulate the longer they've been sitting out on the table.
  5. Get some water boiling. In the meantime, prepare the garnish: slice up the preserved lemon and fry some minced garlic.
  6. Cook the ravioli for about three minutes in the boiling water. Drain and combine with the broth. Garnish with preserved lemon slices and fried garlic.

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