27 November 2010

1st Anniversary Road-trip Day 8

As you could probably tell from my last post, this series has been wearing me pretty thin. So, I've decided to give you the last two days of eating with minimalistic (for me) details thrown in so that I don't leave you completely in the dark (although that's probably where you like it, in the dark, so you can do your dirty deeds, done dirt cheap no less).

Before leaving Portland we had to score a heaping pile of those sweet almond croissants from Standard Baking Co. before we left.

Who don't love some good old goo?
They were literally right out of the oven, they hadn't even topped them with powdered sugar yet, but we didn't care, we just wanted the gushing almond gooooooooo. Goo.

Next up was a stop at The Clam Box in Ipswich, MA before making our way into Boston.

2 Way Combo with fried whole belly clams (I asked if they had the bearded variety and with a wink she told me they kept those in a closed off room in the back. Mental note: Return to The Clam Box to try their bearded clams)  and shrimp with fries (for the wife) and onion rings.

The store bough roll made the dish...
Eating animal bellies is good for the soul
Shrimping that doesn't require a 7-11 scoop straw
The whole belly clams were great, if a bit overrated.  Apart from some texture and overall more clam flavor, the whole bellies don't really add much more than what you'd get from regular old clam strips.  The shrimp on the other hand were delicious, my wife snatching most of those up as I determinedly conquered my tower of clams.  The onion rings were also some of the best I've had.  Maybe they should call it the Shrimp and Onion Rings Box.

In Boston we did our own express tour of the Freedom Trail.  We looked at it all, but didn't really stop to really soak it in.  We had less than 24 hours in Boston and knew we just wouldn't've have the time to fully appreciate it.

I was amazed that the colonists had the foresight to install a brick path!
Our "official" anniversary dinner was that night at Craigie On Main, which, unfortunately, was disappointing for the most part.

I would've appreciated this a lot more had his dishes lived up to their reputation...
I will say that the service we had here was definitely the best of the trip.  The waiter was very honest and we were waited on like royalty by a small army.  I told him I wanted a cocktail, something spicy, and after a few moments he returned and asked me if I liked ginger beer, I said yes.  He brought me without a doubt the best cocktail I've ever had.  It was called a Restaurateur, and I haven't been able to get one anywhere since.

The (blurry) Restaurateur
The food was disappointing across all fronts.  The wife and I decided to share the beef bone marrow which was fine, nothing special.  It was my first time trying it and failed to be impressed.  Fat smeared on toast and sprinkled with fleur de sel.  Yay.

Impressive presentation, unimpressive taste
For my personal appetizer I went with the Ragout of Forest Mushrooms, Chicken Wing Confit, and Country Sausage with farro risotto, farm-fresh poached egg, broccoli puree, herbs, and flowers.

Craigie's saving grace
I don't think I've ever come across a more pretentious name for a dish.  Luckily, this dish really worked.  It was my ideal breakfast in a bowl.  The poached egg was perfectly cooked and rich and runny.  I loved the sausage, but I really felt that a little freshly cracked black pepper over top really would've sent this dish through the roof.

 Mrs. Micro chose the (sigh) Salad of Hiramasa Sashimi with green tomato-red onion salsa, avocado, and lemon-caper vinaigrette.

I snagged one piece of fish and it was nicely firm and properly seasoned.  Yep, moving on to our main courses.  I was here for one reason and that was to try Craigie's highly publicized burger, which has yet another ridiculously long description on the menu.  I hope you people appreciate what I do for you... Local Grass-Fed Beef Burger with Shelburne Farm cheddar cheese, mace ketchup, house-made sesame seed bun, and crispy shoestring potatoes.  Notice they called them potatoes, not fries.  That'll be really amusing in a moment.  The Mrs. went with the thankfully short-named Maine Mussels with toasted garlic, chile caribe, miso, and herbs.  Goddamn, she orders mussels a lot.  First up, the train wreck of a burger.

It sure is pretty, I'll give them that
The beginning of the end
I should've expected this thing to be too busy when I read all of those fancy toppings.  I was thrilled that they served it on a sesame seed bun, but unfortunately the bun had no discernible sesame seed flavor whatsoever.  The patty was coursely ground which I liked, but it lacked any sear whatsoever, which is blasphemy in and of itself.  The cheddar overpowered everything else, which is why I usually prefer American cheese on my burgers.

As I started in on the second half of the burger the bottom bun had completely soggified rendering it inedible as a sandwich.  A fork and knife affair?  Yeah, fuck that.  Luckily their house-made mace ketchup was pretty awesome.  The funniest thing is, the burger wasn't the true slap in the face.  That honor was reserved for their crispy shoestring "potatoes".

While I'm generally not a fan of shoestring fries, these potatoes were an abomination to the American burger and fries tradition.  They were cut so ridiculously thin that there was no discernible potato flavor whatsoever.  They were crispy fried shoestring nothings.  This made me wonder if they staff at CoM has any idea what they're serving their clientelle because what the fuck is this pile of flavorless shit they served me!?!  To salt the wounds they didn't even ask if I wanted ketchup or mustard for them.  I joked to the Mrs. that maybe they knew very well their fries were pointless so they didn't bother with condiments.  They happily brought me cute little dishes of housemade ketchup and whole grain mustard.

And, of course, as soon as I stuck one of these brittle twigs into the mustard it instantly snapped in half.  That was the last straw, I was done with my meal.  I am being completely honest when I say that the best thing on the plate was the salad.  It was sublime!  It was perfectly dressed and had a wonderful mix of fresh bitter greens.  "Excuse me, waiter?  Can you take this burger and these fries and shove them up your ass and bring me a huge bowl of salad?  Thanks."  Happy anniversary indeed.

Their dying breath was a futile scream of pure agony
The Mrs. enjoyed her mussels, but I was also slightly insulted that they didn't provide any bread with them for soaking up the mussel broth.  Isn't that half the point of ordering them?  The mussels were extremely tiny and the broth was salty as fuck.  But I wasn't the one who was eating it so I guess if she liked it then it must've been a successful dish on some level.

We were given two house-made (I'm really getting sick of that word) sorbets on the house for our anniversary, one was nectarine and the other raspberry.

The raspberry was the better of the two of similar quality to the great sorbets I had at Havre aux Glaces in Montreal, but they had to do a lot better than that in order to save this meal.  They also provided a little chilled chocolate covered almond cluster thing (the waiter told us what it was by my POS iphone locked up and by the time I reset it I forgot what it was) which was comically one of the best bites of the meal.  If only I had ordered a bucket of these as my main course (along with my bowl of salad) this meal might not have been such a failure.

Looks like a BM I had last week
Not to worry, my shitty dinner would be soon forgotten as we made our way to Toscanini's a few doors down.

Bustling even into the wee hours of the night
As I usually like to take my time at ice cream parlors, trying multiple flavors until I settle on the best, I didn't have the luxury of doing that due to the brisk service and long line at Toscanini's.  It was like they knew their ice cream was awesome and just wanted to serve as many people as possible, confident they would all love it.

He was undressing me with his eyes... and I liked it.
This picture always cracks me up as every time I bring it up on my computer I just look at that metro dandy boy's face.  Like I said before I didn't have the option of trying six different flavors before making up my mind, (although I did manage to try their most famous flavor: burnt caramel.  Yeah, overrated.  If I wanted a mouthful of ash I'd go tongue clean my mom's fireplace.) as soon as I ran my eyes over my other choices I knew what I wanted.  Fluffernutter and bananas foster bitch!

Consider my night made.
While not the most photogenic of ice creams I will say that the bananas foster flavor was without a doubt the best ice cream I've ever had in my life.  Huge bonus points were awarded for the fact they they were blasting Cyndi Lauper's Greatest Hits.  Craigie on Main?  What's that?  Our official anniversary meal was at Toscanini's, and don't you forget it!

What you think we stopped there?  With just one round of ice cream?  I've you've been reading this series of posts you KNOW we didn't stop with just one.  Hell no.  We took a leisurely stroll across the Harvard Bridge...

...which was awesome and arrived at J.P. Licks for our second round of dessert.

I decided to keep it light this time so I went with the oatmeal cookie hard yogurt topped with peanut butter sauce and granola.  Yep, nice and light.  The pictures of my ice cream did not turn out at all, I was probably too shaky from the sugar rush to hold the camera steady, but fuck it here they are anyway:

And that concludes Day 8.  I think just by writing this post I've gained 5 lbs.  Fatty, out.

Clam Box of Ipswich on Urbanspoon
Craigie On Main on Urbanspoon
Toscanini's Ice Cream on Urbanspoon
J.P. Licks on Urbanspoon

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