Kika Tapas – I came for the Sangria but stayed for the Paella

Tony and I have been on a goal to venture out beyond South End and Malden in our date night. A few weeks ago we trekked to the other side of the river…. the tough journey to Cambridge.

Kika Tapas sits in Kendall Sq among the shiny new developments and pharma tech. The name is inspired by the work of filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar and the menu includes modern Spanish tapas, traditional paellas, and Latino flavored dishes. There are always fun specials and “happy hour” (i put in quotes because everyone knows Boston doesn’t do alcohol happy hours but it can do food specials).

The inside decor is super fun and funky!

We always start with patata bravas because it’s the tell all of how the rest of the tapas will be. Trust me, you pass the patata test and you know the rest of your night will be tasty. You fail… well there’s always just more drinks! The flavoring on the potato roast was perfect, but I wouldn’t have minded some extra spicy sauce.

With our first test passed, we placed in some more tapa orders while our Sangria arrived

Next was the Palta Reina which is crab meat, mango and avocado! Never had this before, but it’s definitely a fave for the future

Our final tapa was the baby lamb Chuletillas served in apricot sauce.

We only ordered three tapas because our next stop was the Paella. It takes about 30-40 minutes to make so we had to appease the hunger for a bit.

When it comes to sharing paella with Tony, we always have to take turns, I love seafood, he um does not. This time I caved and we went for the Cazador- Duck confit, chicken thighs, super tender braised short rib and chorizo paella.  Half of ended up being an awesome lunch the next day.

And on a side note of specials, Saturdays have 50% off Paella so it’s a pretty darn good deal.

Tony’s Banana and nuts dessert (he’s bananas for bananas!) While I sipped on some whiskey to help cute my cold.

All in all, not a bad night. Check out Kika Tapas in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA.

Dining Out and Brunching at Alden & Harlow

Alden & Harlow has been on my list of WANT, no NEED to try for a while. It is located in Harvard Square and while I run through it about weekly, getting myself across the river in non-running mood seems like a chore, or maybe it’s the parking and red line situation. However, we are trying to make a better effort at going across the river and checking out the Cambridge and Somerville dining scene that is all the rage. Alden & Harlow opened in 2013 and focuses on small plate inventive American cuisine from a constantly changing menu that I need to try each time from now on.

Booked weeks in advance, Tony surprised me with a date on Valentine’s day this year We are usually a home made pizza and nap type of couple but a gal can’t complain when offered a fancy dinner.

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Our meal started with a complimentary snack of PICKLED beans topped with sesame seeds. Getting a serving of veggies and the much needed electrolytes in one chew.

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Next we got the patatas bravas which were the best I ever had! Like I’m still dreaming on these a week later. They’re spicy, with some pepper relish and and a garlic flavor like no other. GET THESE if you go. The rest of the menu is optional, but this is a MUST.

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Our next selection was the smoked duck breast! Candied walnuts and jam bounced of the flavor

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Next was the smoked trout and I think I may have reached my smoked foods limit because I have to confess I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. The roe and latkas were a nice touch but I wasn’t digging the trout as much.

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The superstar of the night (after patata bravas of course) was the Secret Burger. It’s not so secret given that it’s listed on the menu, but supposedly the quality is limited. We were dining early side of 6:30 PM. 8 oz of meats, with a house made roll and chips topped us up for the night.

But where’s the dessert? Well… we were feeling a little stuffed (maybe the secret burger did us in).  But don’t worry I got to try those as well!, A week earlier I also had a brunch with the gals (Galatine) and of course the irony of waiting 5 plus years to try Alden and Harlow is that I was invited to two reservations in one week. If course I couldn’t miss out because brunch and dinner are not the same!

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The Bloody Mary is on the menu “Spicy, Savory & Necessary” and they are not lying! A rich flavor with their famous pickled green beans that I learned is apparently their thing.

img_20190209_114542.jpgI went back and forth on what to pick, but ultimate went with them lamb belly hash and was not disappointed.  Although I wouldn’t have complained for a bigger slice of sour dough bread #gimmeallthecarbs

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The dishes are all on a slightly smaller side as the are designed for sharing or for those who are on a diet and not marathon training so I had to tag on this side of cheesey grits to hold me over until the next meal. It ended up being the perfect companion to the lamb hash.

And I probably should have stopped there but what’s a Galatine without dessert?

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Olive Oil Cake with Earl Gray whip

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Smoked chocolate bread pudding with ice cream! Hot out of the oven

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and my favorite were these simple but soooo good almond short bread biscuits and custard

There was also a cinnamon roll I had my eyes on, but the ran out by the time I tried to order! I guess I’ll need to return soon to get my non-sticky hands on one.

Checking Out Sarma in Somerville – A Dining Review

Sarma has been on my radar to scope out for a while. Constantly being praised and hyped up, it was a shocker that last minute reservations aren’t really available. So why night we decided that we need a treat ourselves dinner out so we went night by night until a dinner time slot was open (about 6 weeks out ha!)

The interior is modeled after Turkish meyhanes, Mediterranean a la gastro pub. For those of us a little less cultured in food and vocabulary, the menu has a side glossary of common terms used in the menu (and I guess so we don’t bother the server?).

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They also have a surprisingly good beer selection and I stuck with Save the Robots, a New England Style IPA.

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First step up was the seven layer hummus that will make the rest of your hummus meals feel like a bore.

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Next up was the biscuit pork belly with jalapeño-whipped feta

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And because Tony can’t pass an opportunity to test out a new take on nachos, we got the lentil nachos with spicy feta fondue, radish tzatziki, cabbage, sprouts

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Next came the monk fish grape leaves, my favorite dish of the night. It is served in a miso avgolemono, maitake, yuzu, puffed rice

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Next came the Brisket Shawarma that looks like tacos with apple hilbeh, fenugreek, barley, everything bagel

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We wrapped up the final course with feta cheese gnocchi in a saucey loukaniko, rabe, red pepper, olive crumb.

Overall, with our hungry eyes we ended up ordering 6 small plates, a bit ambitious for the two of us. I recommend starting with 2 per person and adding on one at a time as they do come out very fast! The menu changes often with seasonally so can’t wait to return!

Sarma – 249 Pearl St. Somerville, MA  – street parking was relatively easy

Ferry Street Food & Drink – Malden Date Night

Tony and I like to try to keep up with all the new dining options that are opening up in Malden. It used to be easy, since quite frankly, there were little to none options. It’s pizza or pizza. However, it seems that now amazing restaurants are opening up all over the place in our own backyard. Last night we decided to check out Ferry Street Food & Drink.

We heard there’s free bar snacks from 5-7. Since the MBTA has been awful lately, I decided that I’ll have better luck running home. So runmute it was! It’s about 7.3 miles to my house and I like to end on a round mileage, 8.1 miles in under 64 minutes, proceeded by the fastest shower know to women kind.

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From the office to a dress in under 70 minutes! Take that orange line, I know you can’t beat me. Don’t worry, I didn’t run in Toms haha.

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When we got to Ferry street, we had the option of sitting at the Bar or table. We decided that since it was fairly slow and it was just me and Tony that we would grab a seat at the bar. The place was going for a gastropub type of vibe with exposed beautiful woodwork and license plates from the owner’s grandfather’s house.

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The restaurant was opened by a husband and wife team that graduated from Johnson & Wales and wanted to create an establishment that felt like they were entertaining guests in their own home. When we got there at 6:50, the place was a bit empty, but definitely picked up by 7:30.

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Our bartender/waitress was a delight! She was friendly and patient with all my beer questions. They had a ton of draft, can and bottle options ranging from local to the region, to domestic and I think a few international. Tony and I started with some free bar snacks that reminded me of Granada and free tapas back in Spain.

Tony got a Mystic Saison Renaud and I got Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union as we split some olives and house pate. 

The one thing about the menu was that there was no light options or vegetable sides. So Tony and I decided to split an appetizer and entrée.

We started with the meatballs glazed with Texas style BBQ over cheddar grits. OMG, why has this never been done on the east coast before?

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It was absolutely delicious and I probably would have eaten the whole portion on my own if I didn’t have to share.

The dinner menu is short, but all of the options looked good. I think it’s seasonal and will probably change, but right now you could get a burger, braised rabbit, roasted chicken, pork sandwich, fish of the day and steak. For our entree with chose that fish of the day which was fried trout.

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The steak fries were made fresh of course and had a nice little kick to it. The trout was fried up. Unfortunately the pickles were sweet and I prefer kosher dills only but the coleslaw more than made up for the pickle disappointment.

There was a dessert menu, but we were stuffed enough that I couldn’t imagine eating any more.

Overall, we had a great time at Ferry Street. I do wish they had a vegetarian option because as much as I love my fried food, I like to try to get some nutrients on the side. However, we’ll definitely be returning there for the meatballs and grits app! Or maybe just some beers and dessert next time.

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Can you keep up with all the local restaurants in your area? Try any place new recently?

Dining Out on Raw Food

It’s sad that for every real visit I get (Hi!!!!!) on this blog, I get hit with 10 spam comments. B These spambots are worse thanB NigerianB scam emails!

None the less its been an easy week. B Knee is feeling better and the new shoes have arrived along with some other goodies from the Running Warehouse.

Monday – 10.5 miles on the elliptical – 55 Minutes

Tuesday – 6 mile run – 3 incline – 51 Minutes

I was going to go for a second run (12 miles) but I had other priorities. B My Gilt voucher to Organic Garden CafeB was expiring Wednesday. B The cafe was closed Monday so instead we made the 20 mile trek to Beverley today. B Per Tony “just because you run 20 miles doesn’t mean its close!” B Thank you Tony for driving!

Organic Garden Cafe is a raw/vegan resturant; something that’s a rarity in the Boston area. B We started out with a raw falafal ball and some cheesey kale chips with a frosty beverage. B If you’re ever there, those are not to be missed!

Those Kale chips are seasoned with crack! B I know it, I want it, MORE!

Tony ordered the “Nut Butter bSquashb Ravioli” B Heated raviolis in red beet bshellsb with rosemary walnuts, and cashew alfredo. B I also think alfredo is just a secret word for crack because I might have dipped my finger on his plate to eat the extra sauce. B JK! B ::Wipes hands in shame::B

I went with the Macro Bowl -B Wilted kale, brown rice, dulse, sauerkraut, carrot, and scallionB with toasted sesame ginger sauc

However, I think our server thought I needed to go on a diet because mine was clearly lacking the brown rice and now I have a carb deprevation headache. B None the less I consumed it all in minutes.

Everything was delicious but I had a fairly light lunch (one of those leanB cuisineB type meals) and this raw meal did not satisfyB my hunger. B So I ordered half of a “live onion poppy bagel” to go with me in the car ride back home. B It was made with a sunflower, sprouted buckwheat, and sesame seed bagel dough, dehydratedB with a touch of agave, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt and consumed before there was enough light to take a photo. B Dessert was chocolate covered matzoB courtesyB of when my parents visited. B SuddenlyB my lack of carbs headache was gone.