Weekends like this past one were made for food. It’s more fun to cook when it’s not 85 degrees out (we have no a/c) and more fun to eat when you know you won’t be making a bikini appearance anytime soon. Hence, the vast amount of food-related activities over the past few days.
Friday, I had occasion to go to what has become one of my favorite spots in Boston: The Super 88 Food Court. Chicky and I have been shopping at Super 88s since we moved to Boston, but we didn’t discover the food court until recently. (We typically visit the ones in the South End or at the South Bay Center.) Chicky deserves credit for the actual discovery as she was the one to make a foray there, order and then text me saying, “The 88 food court is amazing and I want to be here all the time.”
What makes it so good? A few things. First, it is cheap. Like, I don’t know where I could find a cheaper meal in Boston. Second, I often have trouble deciding which kind of Asian cuisine I want to eat. I like pad thai, but I also love summer rolls and curries. The 88 solves this problem by putting everything in one spot. Appetizer at one place, some noodles from another, maybe some soup from a third. This is also great for groups who can’t agree on one restaurant.
By far, my absolute favorite thing to get here is the pan fried noodles with chicken and Chinese greens at Kantin. Yes, the place is hit or miss, as a lot of Yelp reviewers note. However, the pan fried noodles are awesome… crispy and soft at the same time and coated in a subtle brown sauce that is just salty enough. The chicken comes sliced thin and is always white meat, never with weird ligaments stuck in it. Chicky and I can share a $6 portion and be full, which is no small feat. We picked up two orders of this on Friday along with some so-so chicken chow foon and chowed before heading over to the Andrew Bird concert…
… where they were giving out FREE Ben & Jerry’s “Flipped Out” sundae cups! I don’t know why it took so long for people to invent these, as the idea is so simple it ought to have been obvious. Put some chocolate syrup in a cup, add ice cream and top with brownie bits and voila! instant portable ice cream sundae. Chinese noodles + free ice cream + PBR + Andrew Bird = great Friday night.
Saturday was equally good. I started the morning headed to JP to get gas and a car wash. On the way home I stopped by BMS Paper Supply, a restaurant supply store located next to Doyle’s Pub on Washington Street. My recent spate of large-volume cooking has made me aware of a few gaps in my kitchen- namely a meat cleaver and a stock pot big enough to hold a turkey or large fish. For the past several months Chicky and I have been ripping apart bird carcasses with our bare hands, or using a pair of kitchen shears when able. A heavy-duty meat cleaver seemed like a good option and after making me promise not to make any sudden movements, the friendly folks at BMS brought out a couple for me to handle. I also bought a 20 quart stock pot, which seemed really small inside the store next to the 80 and 200 quart pots, but seemed huge as soon as I got home and put it on my stove.
Chicky and I have been doing a fair amount of entertaining lately, which we love. Getting a big group of people together for a meal at home is a lot less stressful than trying to book a table for 15 at a local restaurant, not to mention cheaper. Given the economy of late, our soirées have gotten quite popular, to the point that when I invited one couple over last week, they asked if I’d mind if they brought some friends from out of town and before I knew it I had 12 people headed to my house for dinner Saturday night. Excellent.
I had a huge pork roast (6 or 8 pounds) in the freezer and a hankering for something Latin. I was thinking mojo, but at the grocery store Chicky honed in on some guava paste and we decided to do a guava barbecue glaze and then wrap the whole thing in bacon. Gallo pinto, sangria, and a tomato and avocado salad rounded out the menu.
We cooked the pork “low and slow” about 300 degrees for two hours. It came out pretty awesome, though in the future I’d like to have it go even slower, maybe 250. And I would put more bacon on it… in the oven the bacon got all crispy and soaked up the guava glaze, becoming almost candied. Lovely. We served the pork as a sort of deconstructed Cuban sandwich, in corn tortillas with cornichons, cabbage and sour cream. OK, really the only Cuban sandwich-y thing about it was the cornichons, but the thing was hit and we’ll definitely be doing guava glaze again.