Over the last couple of years, I’ve been writing a collection of my Good Eats where I share some some of the great foods I’ve enjoyed but were previously undocumented. I ate plenty of delicious things in June. This latest installment includes a kind of pasta that I never thought I would like, a few gourmet chocolate bars, healthy snacks, and a couple of local dishes.
If you can guess from the photo above, that beautiful dish is fresh beet pasta, which I tend to shy away from. I’ve confessed before that I don’t really like beets – I’m a little wary of it tasting too earthy (like dirt) and I don’t like the texture. The only beet dish I like is the beet tatziki at Sofra Bakery (the hot pink hue lured me in). But now I can say I actually like beet pasta! Especially beet pasta with swiss chard, goat cheese, and walnuts. Mmm-mmm.
I wouldn’t have thought to combine those flavors, and I guess I didn’t really have to think about it – because the idea and the ingredients came courtesy of Blue Apron, a delivery service for fresh, pre-portioned ingredients. The ingredients arrived in my doorstep in a carefully-packed refrigerated box, and it contained everything I needed to prepare some healthy meals, along with easy-to-follow printed recipe cards. By everything, I really mean everything – from the olive oil to the protein, salad greens, condiments, garnishes. And they were all pre-measured! It’s essentially a box of mise en place, and for organized cooks like me, that’s a dream come true.
The box that I received contained all the ingredients for maple and ginger glazed salmon, a watercress salad with orange and parsnip, the fresh beet pasta, and Korean-style scallion pancakes. My family was still here when the box arrived and my parents were actually the ones who cooked most of it. I could tell they really enjoyed it, and so do I. I definitely recommend Blue Apron – it’s so convenient, everything is fresh, and the recipes are pretty good (each complete meal is 500-700 calories per serving, and the cost would come out to be $10 per person per meal). They’ll plan the meal for you, take care of the ingredients, measure everything, and deliver right to your door. All you have to do is cook.
And speaking of deliveries to my doorstep, this box from Chuao Chocolatier was a very welcome sight. Chuao Chocolatier (pronounced chew-WOW) is the first Venezuelan chocolatier based in the US. I really like the creative flavor combinations and the smooth, creamy chocolate. It was hard to choose a favorite from all the bars I tried (tough life) but if I had to, I liked the Pretzel Toffee Twirl the most – crunchy mini pretzels and buttery toffee in dark chocolate. So good, I thought about hiding it in the back of my fridge so I didn’t have to share… But I didn’t. Instead I just placed it straight in my mouth.
More mini pretzels! Greek yogurt-covered pretzels from the CVS Gold Emblem brand are pretty addicting. I like transferring the entire pack to a mason jar and keeping it chilled in the fridge, them just grabbing a handful (or four) when I want a small snack. I have to admit that I used to only go for yogurt-covered pretzels when chocolate-covered pretzels are not available (or better yet, plain pretzels dipped in Nutella…) But this gives the chocolate versions a run for the money. It has a slight tang from the Greek yogurt but the coating is still sweet and creamy, which pairs well with the salty little pretzels. CVS generously sends me products for sampling so I got this bag for free, but as soon as I finished it I went right across the street to my trusty neighborhood CVS to buy another bag and keep my mason jar filled.
I also received this giant supply of snacks from KIND – the bars have been a staple in my cupboard, office drawer, gym bag, and everyday purses ever since I discovered this brand. I absolutely love the bars – not only are they very healthy and made with all natural whole nuts, fruits, and whole grains, but they taste sooooo good. My favorite flavor is Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew – I’ve had it countless times for a quick breakfast or a snack (perfect for pre- or post-workout). KINDSnacks recently came out with new flavors and products, and they sent me some bars and bags of granola. A lot of the the flavors are very dessert-like, which you can all guess made me very happy. And I really like the philosophy of the company: do the kind thing for your body, your tastebuds, and the world. How can you not love that?
This is just one of the dumpling plates that I tried at Patty Chen’s Dumpling Room in Central Square. I believe these were the pan-fried mini pork bao dumpling, filled with pork and cabbage. All the dumplings are hand-made from scratch everyday, and I have to say that they are all pretty tasty and a far cry from the other mass-produced ones I’ve had. I liked the spicy kimchi dumplings the most, so much so that I didn’t even have time to take a picture because I just dove right in.
And last but not least, this is the Double Awesome from Mei Mei Street Kitchen, my number one favorite food truck in Boston. I have a very special history with Mei Mei because (ahem) I named one of their best-selling salads. I went to their new restaurant near Fenway with Dan and we had a late lunch of the Double Awesome (a scallion pancake sandwich with local greens pesto, Vermont cheddar and two slow-poached then fried eggs), washed down with the Woodsman’s Refresher (a ridiculously good drink made with whole milk and maple syrup). Is there a better word for awesome? Because they deserve it.
We went to Mei Mei right before catching the movie Chef, which I also really enjoyed. Have you guys seen it? Jon Favreau was great (and I only wish that Robert Downey Jr. had more screen time). If you haven’t seen it yet, be prepared to get hungry while watching the movie. And if you have seen it, do you remember that garlicky pasta dish that Jon Favreau prepared?? My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I really want to recreate it but right now I can’t imagine slicing up that much garlic. If any of you would like to make that for me, I will come over and bring chocolate and wine. (Or maybe Blue Apron can put that on their menu?)
I’d love to hear about your latest Good Eats!