Archive for the 'Boston' Category

Union Square Donuts – Boston

Union Square Donuts - Boston

Following our stay in New York, The Astronomer, June, and I boarded a train and zoomed to Boston for high-quality family time with a side of high-quality doughnuts. For the latter part of the equation, we visited Union Square Donuts in Sommerville.  

Union Square Donuts - Boston

Heather Schmidt and Josh Danoff opened the shop three years ago. Legend has it that he had an idea and she had a recipe. The rest, as they say, is history.

Union Square Donuts - Boston

Union Square offers both sweet and yeasted rings, as well as denser cake doughnuts. Between The Astronomer, The Astronomer’s dad, and me, we ordered half a dozen doughnuts to share including a Fluffernutter, Butter Hazelnut Crunch, Sea-Salted Bourbon Caramel, Boston Cream, Apple Crisp, and Vegan Apple Spice.

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Cutty’s – Brookline

Cutty's - Brookline, MA

There’s little worse than boarding a flight on an empty stomach, so The Astronomer and I took Steph‘s advice and walked to Cutty’s for an early lunch following our tour of America’s Test Kitchen.

The gourmet sandwich shop is owned by Rachel and Charles Kelsey, Culinary Institute of America grads and Test Kitchen alums. In fact, it was inside the Test Kitchen where Rachel and Charles met, fell in love, and got married. Romance over recipes—what could be better?

Cutty's - Brookline, MA

After years of working to perfect recipes for home cooks, the couple ventured out on their own in a quest to construct the best sandwiches using the best ingredients.

At Cutty’s, meats are all-natural and roasted on-site, eggs and dairy come from small, local farms, and potato chips, salads, pickles, sauces, and sweets are made in-house. Bread is delivered daily by Iggy’s Bread of the World in Cambridge.

Cutty's - Brookline, MA

The thing to order at Cutty’s is their famous “Roast Beef 1000” with crispy shallots, Thousand Island dressing, and sharp cheddar on brioche. Sadly, both The Astronomer and I were reeling from palate fatigue at the tail end of our trip, so we passed on the beef and opted for vegetarian creations instead. Next time!

The Astronomer absolutely adored his “Greens Shallot” sandwich ($7.65) with sautéed Swiss chard, crispy shallots, and saffron yogurt on ciabatta. The deeply caramelized shallots, along with the hefty greens, packed a whole lot of oomph. The creamy saffron yogurt not only tied everything together, but kept our attention bite after bite.

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America’s Test Kitchen: Where the Magic Happens

America's Test Kitchen Tour - Brookline, MA

Before flying home to Los Angeles, The Astronomer and I made one final stop in Brookline, Massachusetts for a behind the scenes look at America’s Test Kitchen. I have been a huge fan of the Test Kitchen’s cookbooks ever since I began feeding myself after college. As a nervous home cook with little experience, I trusted these rigorously tested recipes to hold my hand as I tackled everything from roasted beets to roasted turkey. Using recipes that guaranteed a delicious end product not only kept The Astronomer and me extremely well fed, but it also served to build up my culinary confidence.

To this day, the America’s Test Kitchen’s Family Cookbook remains my kitchen bible. It is the most beaten up, abused, dogeared, and stained tome in my vast collection, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

America's Test Kitchen Tour - Brookline, MA

Bright and early on the morning following Memorial Day, The Astronomer and I met up with the Test Kitchen’s Social Media Manager Steph Yiu for an informal tour. After years of using the Test Kitchen’s recipes, it was surreal to see exactly where the magic happens. Everything from editorial to photography to recipe development takes place in this unassuming walk up in suburban Boston. Even the PBS show is taped here.

From the reception area, Steph led us to the Test Kitchen’s library and tasting table. The first step in developing a “perfect” recipe is preparing various versions that have already been published. I spied a copy of Modernist Cuisine and wondered if molecular techniques would make their way into future recipes.

America's Test Kitchen Tour - Brookline, MA

Since all photography for the cookbooks and magazines is completed in-house, a tremendous collection of props and “photo only” equipment line various shelves, nooks, and crannies throughout the building. I was excited to learn that one-hundred percent of their photos are taken using natural Bostonian light.

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Clam Box – Ipswich

The Clam Box - Ipswich, MA

After wrapping up our seaside feast at Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster, we bid farewell to South Freeport and hit the road. On the drive back to Boston, we stopped in Ipswich for a snack at the Clam Box. Located just thirty miles north of the city, this roadside restaurant is famous for its expertly fried seafood, especially locally harvested clams that are fried to order—bellies, necks, and all.

The Clam Box - Ipswich, MA

Marina “Chickie” Aggelakis has owned and operated the Clam Box with her son Dmitri for over 25 years. What sets this seafood shack apart from others in the region is her firm commitment to clean oil and fresh clams.

Every afternoon between lunch and dinner, Chickie closes the restaurant to change the oil, ensuring that every batch tastes perfect. Additionally, she only uses clams from Ipswich and Maine; frozen bivalves from distant oceans need not apply. It’s the little things that keep customers coming back each season and the line snaking out the door.

The Clam Box - Ipswich, MA

Since we were here only for a pre-dinner nibble, our party of five shared a cup of clam chowder ($4.95) and a serving of “native clams” ($16.25). The Astronomer’s brother ordered a basket of bellies just for himself. Smart boy.

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