Tag Archives: dinner

Crepes Two Ways, Recipes

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Oh mon dieu.

I decided to make crepe batter a couple of weekends ago and things got a little away from me. A batch of crepe batter apparently makes about 122 crepes so found myself trying a few new recipes as well as just “snacking” on a little crepe with lemon and sugar here and there. Thank goodness there was no nutella in the house or I would have really been in trouble.

For the batter, I used Ms Stewart’s Basic Crepe Recipe. Don’t forget to refrigerate, the batter can last up to two days (I pushed it to three).

For the first meal, breakfast, I made a galette complète, sans recipe. Although I decided not to use a recipe for this, I’d suggest you do as I made a couple mistakes (here’s a good looking one for you).crepe 1

So what I did was make the crepes as the above recipe directs. I then laid them on a cookie sheet, filled the insides with ham, gruyere, and a raw egg, leaving room to fold over the sides about an inch. I then salted and peppered that shit. Using the egg as a glue, I folded over the sides an inch and carefully attempted to pop them into an oven at about 350 degrees. Can you imagine what might have happened? Well, the cookie sheet was a bit warped and had no frigging lip on them so my eggs were making a run for it and I was twisting and turning the sheet as if I was juggling trying to keep the eggs and galettes on it. Ultimately I lost the battle they ran onto the floor in a goopy mess so I had to start over, using a sheet with a lip. In the moment it was a disaster but in retrospect I wish it had been recorded as it was hilarious. Here is the finished product. The eggs ended up being overcooked so I’ll use the stove top method next time but overall – delicious. Pretty too, right?

And now… what to do with leftover crepe batter….? THIS.

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I came across this recipe and had no idea how amazeballz it would be. I’ve thrown this into the regular rotation so you betcha you’ll be seeing more of this one. The crepe was salty and creamy and the honey sauce’s sweetness was a perfect compliment to it. I could eat it by the spoonful.

Spinach Artichoke and Brie Crepes with Sweet Honey Sauce
From Half Baked Harvest

Filling:
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
    • 1 (8-12 ounces) bag fresh spinach
    • 1 (12 ounces) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
    • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
    • 1 (8 ounce) brie wheel, sliced into slices
Sweet Honey Sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet oven medium heat and add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and garlic. Add the salt, pepper and crushed red pepper if using, cook for 2 minutes. Stir in spinach and artichokes, cooking for 5-6 minutes until spinach is fully wilted. Reduce heat to low and stir in the parmesan cheese, then turn off heat. Remove from the skillet.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil and honey. Place in a small sauce pot and warm through. Keep warm until ready to use. You can also do this in the mircowave.
  3. Wipe the skillet clean and heat over medium-low heat. Working with one crepe at time lay it flat in the skillet. Lay a few slices of brie on one quarter (basically make a triangle) of the crepe. Layer on the spinach and artichoke filling and then top with a few more slices of brie. Fold over the bottom of the crepe and then fold it over again to make a triangle. Cook for about 2-3 minutes and then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes or until the brie is all melty and gooey. Repeat with remaing crepes until the brie and filling are gone. I was able to make six crepes. Remove the honey sauce from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley. Drizzle the crepe with the warm honey sauce and dig in!

Moksa, Central Sq

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Moksa – 450 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

Oh hi! Its been a while, I know. That’s what a new, demanding job will do to you. Don’t get me wrong, I have continued to go out and eat my way through the city, take food photos, make notes, and write up drafts, but the sitting down and cleaning them up part has been something I am struggling with. Ok, enough about me, lets talk about stuffing our faces at Moksa in Central Sq.

I was stoked (stoked? Who am I?) when Moksa opened up in Central Sq last year. Having lived in Central Sq for years its fantastic to see all these new places popping up. We paid a visit to Moksa a couple of months after they opened and were looking forward to a few cocktails and nibbles after work. It was fairly nice out so we sat outside and kept sitting there for what seemed like forever until someone came over to take our drink order. I got the Peking Sailor which is Hendricks Gin, Campari, Elderflower Vinegar, Bubbly and Cucumber (they had me at Gin and Bubbly). The drink was ok, not sure it was my favorite thing ever (I switched to wine right after) but how it was served was hilarious. I don’t think it was meant to be ironically funny but when the waitress came out with these big glasses brimming with umbrellas and tchotchkes (thanks for the spell check, BL!) I couldn’t help but blush and look around hoping no one had seen the ridiculous cocktail I was about to drink. I mean, we are two women in their 30s in Central Sq, not at Senor Frogs on Spring Break in Cancun. I understand how many may like this sort of attention but it’s just not our thing. After much giggling we moved on to the menu and waited for our waitress again.

We decided to share a few small plates starting with the Vietnamese Spring Roll with Cilantro-Lime Sauce. This dish was delivered to the wrong table but eventually found its way to us. The Spring Rolls were pretty simple, fresh and overall pretty good, probably the best thing we ordered.

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Next we got the Thai Green Papaya and Mango Salad with Peanuts, Mint & Chili Lime dressing. Unfortunately neither of us were really a fan of this one. It was a little bland and the peanuts on the soft side which didn’t add that crunch we were hoping for. Next.

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I had the highest hopes for this next dish, the Popcorn Shrimp with Spicy Remoulade. If you know me at all you know I always lean towards shrimp dishes whether they are fried, buffaloed (yes, I am making that a verb), grilled, tossed with pasta, however you want to make them I will eat them. I’m pretty much the white nerdy version of Bubba from Forrest Gump.  Anyways, popcorn shrimp is one of my favorites and adding remoulade to any fried food makes it a baller dish, I could eat that shit by the spoonful.

The remoulade was fantastic but the shrimp were super dry. They were on a small salad that added some moisture but then they sat on top of another dry bready thing. Too much breading on the shrimp which contributed to the dryness. Pass me my recockulous cocktail to get this to go down, please.

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We wrapped up the night with the Vegetarian Fried Rice with Carrots, Onion & Sake Shoyu. Totally fine but nothing to write home about.

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After dinner we sat with empty glasses for over 20 minutes before we got up and went inside to ask them if we could pay. Can we please pay? Please? We’d like to give you money. Okthanks.

Needless to say, we weren’t fans of the service or food. I’ve heard the dance club in the back is decent and recently had a friend who got the bartender to swap shoes with her so she could go in (no flip-flops allowed) which has boosted my opinion but I think I’ll be going down the road for food in the future.

How did Moksa measure up? 2 Spoons!

Craigie on Main, Kendall / Central Sq

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Craigie on Main – 853 Main Street Cambridge, MA 02139

We’ve all heard about Craigie on Main’s famous burger but I hadn’t met anyone who had actually eaten it. Every time it came up the response was “Ohh I’ve heard it’s the best, I need to get there” or people would talk about their failed attempts. They had gone and tried to get the burger but it wasn’t on the dining room menu, they couldn’t get a seat at the bar, they were sold out, etc. These are the types of stories that usually get my hopes waaayy up ensuring that I am disappointed when the time actually comes around. But not this time, my friends.

I had somewhat randomly ended up at Craigie on Main after a few drinks (at Cuchi Cuchi) with my (now former) colleagues on a Tuesday night. As soon as Craigie was mentioned I started going on and on about their burgers and how I have heard so much about them and read articles, etc. Now they wanted to try their burger as much as I did. Excellent plan.

Miraculously, as we were entering Craigie someone was leaving, freeing up 3 seats together at the bar. BOOM. We took them, ordered 3 beers and 3 burgers rare. JLo got his au cheval, which is with a fried egg on top. Delicious but I wanted to taste the burger in its simplest form for my first time.

This photo really doesn’t do it justice (guess I will have to go back and retake it?) but this was a damn good burger. Damn good. You can taste the quality of the ingredients, especially the meat. The cheese was sharp, the bread a perfect combination of soft and toasted (and buttered, obvi). The burger is simple and flavorful. I get it now. You don’t find a taste like that in your average $8 burger (hence the $14 price tag -well worth it, btw).

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Overall, I liked the atmosphere of Craigie with the open kitchen and friendly staff. The bartenders were whipping up some awesome creations too, which I’ll have to get back for some time. I think we got lucky with finding seats so quickly as there were people waiting once we sat down so be prepared for that.  I’ve never eaten in the dining room and, honestly, probably never will as I’ll be wiggling my way up to the bar for a burger the next time I go in there.

How did Craigie on Main measure up? 4.75 Spoons!

Oak Long Bar and Kitchen, Back Bay

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Where: Oak Long Bar and Kitchen – 138 St James Ave, Boston, MA

One of the many benefits of my day job is that I get to work with the Fairmont Copley Plaza on our annual gala. The gala is a blast to plan and has gone off without a hitch (or at least appeared to have which is the important part) and looked beautiful the past two years. This year my contact at the Fairmont Copley suggested I meet her for lunch at the hotel restaurant, the Oak Long Bar and Kitchen, to discuss set up and the details of the event. I quickly agreed as this is so my kind of working lunch. I hadn’t been to the restaurant since it was the Oak Room and had only been for drinks so it was like trying a completely new restaurant. Well, it basically is.

Lunch was not only very productive but also very delicious. I had the Organic Mushroom Flatbread with roasted garlic, wild arugula and a fried egg. I don’t know why all pizzas / flatbreads aren’t served with a fried egg, such a good addition. It reminds me of being in France, they throw a fried egg on everything- pizzas, burgers, fries… you name it. The mushroom flatbread was an excellent choice – salty, cheesy, light, and the crust gave good bite. I’ve had a soft spot for anything mushroom since I was a little girl and, in fact, refused to eat anything other than toast and mushrooms for a good year which must have driven my parents nuts.

I didn’t think I would be able to finish my flatbread as its generously portioned but it wasn’t as heavy as I had thought it would be (or I am pretending it wasn’t so I don’t feel like such a fattie) so I did. Bravo, me.

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[Btw, no, that's not a wine glass stem you see in the photo. I would never drink during a working lunch, that would be totally inappropriate and unprofessional. I just like drinking my ice tea in a wine glass....]

My lunch date insisted I try the whoopie pie for dessert so I, reluctantly (ha!), agreed to split it with her. It was an ice cream whoopie pie, chocolate on chocolate. You all know I love my chocolate but I am actually not a fan of chocolate ice cream for whatever reason so had wished it was vanilla (or caramel? or anything but chocolate really) but I can see how anyone else would have been drooling over this. I do love the side of milk- very cute!

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Overall, it was a lovely lunch with great service. The menu is nice and short and everything delivered on its promises of tastiness. Can we host another event at the Fairmont Copley, please?

How did Oak Long Bar and Kitchen measure up? 4 Spoons!

Oak Long Bar + Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Giulia, Harvard / Porter Sq

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Where: Giulia- 1682 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

After reading about Giulia on one of those “hot new restaurant” lists, I quickly made a reservation to go with OZT. Excellent. I had a week to pine over the menu and figure out a tactic to convince her to share a few different items with me, which it turned out was just waiting for her to make the suggestion. Great minds think alike.

Giulia is conveniently (for me) located between Porter and Harvard Squares in the old space where Rafiki briefly lived. The layout is similar but with an additional built up seating area (watch your step), open kitchen, large pasta / dining table at the back and more rustic charm. Our server told us that if you walk by Giulia during the day around 3:30 you can peek in and see the chef making all the pasta from scratch on this big table. Not sure I could resist joining if I ever caught that.

We were quickly seated and greeted by our server. He poured over the menu describing half of the menu items in great detail while we stifled our giggles at explanations of fairly well known items like “lardo”.

I still don’t understand this trend in restaurants to have the server describe each item on the menu in flowery detail. One or two items to point out fine, but if you don’t want me to read the menu for myself don’t give me one! I could have taken a nap in the time he took to finish!” – OZT.

After we were left to look over the menu, he came back and told us that he “didn’t want to previously tell us about this other item but is now ready to…”. Um, why didn’t he want to tell us before?! Did he think we weren’t worthy of knowing? Was he watching us to make sure we were sophisticated enough? Why was it some big secret?

We started with the Bruschetta with tuscan kale with house made ricotta and chilies. The bruschetta looked gorgeous with the deep green kale and bright white ricotta with little specks of chili oil. Sadly, the Bruschetta didn’t taste as vibrant as it looked – it was pretty bland. We couldn’t taste any heat, zing, or seasoning from the chilies. Nada. Salt helped a little but the Bruschetta were definitely missing something.

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We then shared two pasta plates – the lobster agnolotti (umbrian truffles, chives and lobster brodetto) and pappardelle with wild boar (black trumpet, juniper and aged parmigiano), the latter being highly recommended by our server.

The lobster agnolotti, which were like little tortellinis, came out in a delicate broth and looked divine. I couldn’t wait to get in there so I started with this one before we did the midway swap. I was pretty disappointed to find that the lobster flavor was very, very mild. I likely wouldn’t have been able to distinguish the lobster in the pasta at all had it not been for the small pieces (2) of shell I came across.

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We did the midway swap, and as soon my OZT took a bite of the lobster agnolotti she said that what she had started with, the pappardelle with wild boar, was definitely better. I couldn’t agree more. The pappardelle with wild boar was phenomenal. The pasta was perfect, the sauce rich but not heavy and boar salty and a touch gamey. Delicious. I would like another whole plate of that, please. I polished that off and then dug into the bread to get the rest of the sauce off the plate. This dish made up for the first two.

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I wasn’t too bothered with getting dessert but why not? Boy am I glad we did. We split the Panna Cotta with madagascar vanilla bean, and poached quince and it was well worth the calories. The panna cotta was nice and firm and the vanilla tickled my senses before I could even take a bite. The quince, which I realize I know far too little about, was light and a perfect contrast to the dessert.

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Overall, I’d go back to Giulia for a drink at the bar but I don’t think I would go back for dinner, at least not until they settle in and for a few months and work out a few of their kinks. Half of our meal was fantastic but the other half was lacking in flavor. The wait staff were a little too attentive which may just be growing pains, but you really don’t have to reach in front of us mid conversation to fill up our water glasses after each sip. I really wanted to love you, Giulia, but you didn’t give me much of a chance.

How did Giulia measure up? 2.5 Spoons

West Bridge, Kendall Sq

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Where: West Bridge – 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

I haven’t spooned anyone in so long! Actually, that’s not true, I have been spooning like its going out of style but just haven’t polished up any drafts to a postable state in a while.

You know its been too long when you are writing about a menu item that no longer exist, as the case here at West Bridge in Kendall Sq. A colleague and I headed across the street from our office to West Bridge for lunch on one of those fall days where the sun was no where to be seen and the chill of the rain goes through you right to the bone. Obviously I got soup. And a glass of prosecco on tap. Just kidding, I would never do that during the work day…

I started with the Sunflower Chowder featuring a Woodbury clam as an ode to the traditional clam chowder. I had emailed Jared at West Bridge who told me that Chef Matthew Gaudet blends sunflowers into a familiar cream-based broth and finishes it with smoked pork shoulder. This chowder was… simply amazing. It was creamy and salty but not heavy. It was so damn good I regretted ordering a meal on top of this as I wanted another bowl. I don’t think a rainy day goes by that I don’t think about this dish. They also feature a larger portion for dinner, thank god.

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I then got the GLT, which is the item no longer on their menu. The GLT stands for Guanciale (an Italian style of unsmoked bacon), Lettuce and Tomato. Its a glorified BLT, which is probably one of my favorite sandwiches. It came served with thinly sliced fried chips and some pickled veggies. I loved the flavors of this sandwich but the Guanciale was a wee bit too fatty for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love fat, but this was Fatty with a capital F. Even putting aside my concerns about having a heart attack on the spot, I couldn’t eat more than half of it as it was just too much for me. I ended up wrapping up the other half and eating it later on a flight. It did travel well.

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Overall, the chowder was phenomenal, the service was great, loved the clean simple design of the restaurant, and they have prosecco on tap (so I hear). The sandwich was good but I don’t think I could get it again (and I don’t have a choice as they don’t have it on the menu anymore anyways) as it was just too fatty for me. I’m happy to have West Bridge just around the corner for many more lunches, dinners, and after work libations.

How did West Bridge measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

Amelias Trattoria, Kendall Sq

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Amelia’s Trattoria – 111 Harvard Street ,  Cambridge, MA

Girls night!! I had really been looking forward to this particular girls night out with some of my favorite women in development and was excited to try Amelia’s Trattoria, which happened to be just a couple blocks from my new office. Perfect.

Amelia’s is tucked away on Harvard Street near Kendall Sq just behind Tech Sq. Its unlikely that you would find it just wandering around which is what contributes to the fact that you can actually get a table easily. We made a reservation and trickled in slowly just after. We were promptly seated and had had a very patient waiter as we mulled over the menu while waiting for our party to arrive. The chef even agreed to make us bruschetta even though it wasn’t on the dinner menu.

So we started with the Bruschetta -Grilled foccacia bread, marinated tomatoes, fresh basil & red onion. Personally, I didn’t love this dish. I thought the bread was a little hard and a little too big (hence making it messy). The marinated tomatoes were delicious though, I could eat that right off the plate – who needs bread anyways?

We then split two dishes to get more variety for our buck. We started with the Baby Spinach Salad – Baby spinach, caramelized balsamic shallots, crispy pancetta & Vermont goat cheese. Re-read that. I mean, can it get any better than that combination? This salad was delicious – salty, crispy, tart, and creamy.

We then shared a Lobster Ravioli dish which was one of Amelia’s daily specials that night. If I can give Amelia’s one piece of unsolicited advice it would be to get this item on the menu permanently. It was delicious. The raviolis were tender and meaty and the sauce creamy and bursting with flavor. I loved how saucy it was as there was just enough leftover for me to mop up with some bread. Its a keeper.

Overall, I was impressed with the ravioli and salad dishes but a little let down by our starter. Service was great and I would recommend Amelia’s for lunch, dinner, groups, or a date. The restaurant is small, giving it a cozy feel, and I can imagine sitting by the window watching snow fall with a big hot plate of pasta. I’ll be back.

How did Amelia’s Trattoria measure up? 3.25 Spoons!

 

Amelia's Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Cambridge Common, Harvard Sq

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Where: Cambridge Common- 1667 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138
When: September 2012

I used to be a brunch person going almost every weekend -t was my Sunday equivalent of church. I would roll out of bed, put on my Sunday worst (sweatshirt, sneaks, ponytail) and head down to Sound Bites around the corner for something delicious and typically greasy. This would usually be followed by a few hours on the sofa watching mind numbing tv as I was too full to do anything else. Why did I stop, right?

Well, I moved to a different part of town but I still jump at the chance to go out for brunch so was thrilled when a friend was in town at the last minute and suggested meeting up on Sunday morning. In shorts, tees and ponytails we headed to Cambridge Common to check out their brunch menu. We sat outside in the sunshine which was just perfect. They had me at Breakfast B.L.T.

The Breakfast B.L.T. comes with applewood smoked bacon, fried egg, avocado, baby spinach, and tomato with chipotle mayo on multi-grain toast and is served with home fries and fresh fruit. The combination of the salty bacon and egg with the buttery avocado and spicy mayo is out of this world. It’s a good sized sandwich but doesn’t leave you feeling like you just ate a whole cow. The home fries were good as well – nice and crispy.

Overall, service was good and we got plenty of coffee refills (perhaps too many even). We were happy to able to sit outside as its a little dark indoors (great for nighttime though). Food was crave worthy. I’ll be back, as I always am.

How did Cambridge Common measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

India Castle, Central Sq

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Where: India Castle – 928 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
When: June 2012

With the foot still broken (seriously?) its time to try Indian food delivery. There is a place near me that I had ordered from before, pre-Five Spoons, that I did not like at all so made sure to avoid it. I was thrilled to find that India Castle, which I used to go to all the time when I lived on Harvard Street in Central Sq, delivers to my neighborhood. Let the ordering begin!

We got an order of Meat Samosas (homemade turnovers stuffed with lightly tempered and fresh minced lamb with peas) to share and then I got the Malai Kofta, my favorite Indian dish ever, which is balls of minced vegetables cooked with mild Indian spices in a tomato cream sauce. Doesn’t that sound delicious? Well, it was.

The Samosas were good but I didn’t find them to be above and beyond Samosas from a lot of other places – pretty standard but you can’t go wrong with them. The Malai Kofta, on the other hand, was amazing. The sauce was rich, with a touch of spice and cream. The vegetable balls were soft but firm bursting with Indian spices and flavors. Nice and saucy to slather on naan or polish off with rice. My only complaint would be that I want double the amount of vegetable balls but no one ever seems to give you more than two per order anyways.

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Overall, India Castle delivered hot, flavorful dinner pretty quickly considering they are a little ways away from me. The Samosas were good but the Malai Kofta was delicious, definitely better than any other place I have discovered near me. I haven’t been into the restaurant in years but I remember it being nice, service good and everything all around authentic. I’ll definitely be ordering from here again, broken foot or not.

How did India Castle measure up? 4 Spoons!

India Castle on Urbanspoon

Olecito, Inman Sq

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Where: Olecito - 12 Springfield Street, Cambridge MA
When: June, 2012

I’m a big fan of Ole in Inman Square and, before I started this blog as an excuse to eat out as much as possible, I would come up with excuses to get people to go there with me. “I’m celebrating growing my hair out!”, “I found the perfect nail polish color!”, “I perfected my cursive Gs!”… You get the point. I love Ole.

Because of my immobility (are you sick of hearing about my broken foot yet?) a good friend offered to come over with dinner from Olecito, Ole’s little brother who only does take-away, across the street. I clearly win the competition for world’s greatest friends.

I had picked up dinner from Olecito once before and had gotten the Arrachera Tacos which come with marinated steak, pinto bean spread, jack cheese, lettuce, and avocado sauce per a friend’s recommendation. Although very, very good (its still my friend’s go-to dish from there) it was a little heavy for me so this time I went for the Baja Tacos which come with battered fish (or shrimp), pickled cabbage, chipotle mayo, and cilantro pesto. Oh My My! Now this is what I am talking about.

The Baja Tacos were light, zesty, creamy, crisp, and just exploded in your mouth with flavor. I got two of them but likely could have eaten another two if they had been put in front of me. We also got some chips and guacamole which were delicious, as you can see by the empty guacamole container in front of me in the photo.

Overall, Olecito has a small menu and no seating but if you are looking for a quick, delicious dinner to go – this place is for you.  I’ve never tried anything but the tacos and likely never will as these own my heart.

Ole and Olecito are up there with The Painted Burro and East Coast Grill for my favorite shrimp / fish taco places in the greater Boston area. Olé!

How did Olecito measure up? 4.5 Spoons!

Olecito on Urbanspoon