Saturday, September 26, 2009

Stuff to Eat in the Suburbs: Saugus - Angela's Coal Fired Pizza

We’d heard some interesting things about Angela’s Coal Fired Pizza in Saugus, but frankly, this Bostonist hasn’t really sat down for just pizza and wings since she was in college (except of course for the occasional trip to Regina’s in the North End). So last week when we were out in the Saugus area we decided to check it out. Now a sit down restaurant that only serves pizza and wings seemed a little limited and frankly we were expecting a greasy hole-in-the-wall kind of place. But we were pleasantly surprised from the moment we walked in the door.

Angela’s high ceilings, spacious seating, and comfortable modern furnishings gives it both a trendy and family friendly feel. The open kitchen at the front of the restaurant makes it so that a perpetual aroma of coal-fired pizza wafts over diners as they await their delicious meal; making the anticipation even sweeter. Each table has a funky black pizza stand in the center to remind you what’s important. The outdoor patio is decorated with modern bar-height tables and chairs and small circular stands, just big enough to put your drink on, have been attached to a row of trees that give diners shelter from the building next door. The area feels secret and secluded even though it is right off Route 1.

The pizza is simply spectacular, as one would expect it to be in a sit down restaurant that has decided to specialize. But this pizza was particularly impressive. The pizza has just the right amount of cheese. Not too much, not too little, and the cheese runs throughout each piece of pizza both on top of and underneath the toppings. The thing that struck us in particular was how wonderfully melty and gooey it was. The toppings were generous on each piece but not overcrowded, and the crust was incredibly crisp on the bottom and provided a nice firm support for the toppings and cheese. The sauce is the perfect finisher for this fantastic pizza; salty and just a little bit spicy but not too chunky or runny.

The wings were another amazing surprise. No buffalo, crispy, hot, or sweet and sour here. You are only given two options: small or large. These wings are incredible. The meat simply falls off the bone and each bite is infused with lemon, garlic, rosemary, and who knows what other wonderful ingredients. The wings are served atop a tasty piece of focaccia and have sweet delicious onions heaped on top.

The wings and pizza aren’t the only things on the menu, there is also an extensive and very tasty looking wine and beer menu. Honestly, this may now be this Bostonist’s favorite pizza in the greater metropolitan area. Even though it is seriously out of the way, we will definitely be headed back out to Saugus soon to partake of this awesome new find.

Anglea’s is located on Route 1 in Saugus, they also have a location in Tyngsboro. You can check out their menu their website.

This post originally appeared on the Bostonist.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stuff to Eat in the Suburbs: Waltham—Joe Sent Me

The first time this Bostonist saw Joe Sent Me it was winter. It looked like just another bar from the outside, pubby and cave-like in the winter snow. At the time we were worried about being cold and were doing much of our drinking inside our own house to avoid having to interact too heavily with outside’s frigid temperatures and piles of snow. However, a couple of weeks ago Joe Sent Me located on Main Street in Waltham got another look. Always on the lookout for any restaurant with outdoor seating to take advantage of the brief months of lovely Boston weather, we noticed a chalk board outside of Joe Sent Me proclaiming in bright red letters Patio Open. Immediately intrigued we vowed to try it before the climate turned south again. Well, we did just that last week with a friend for a late lunch.

The patio is open, airy, and pleasantly decorated, a little gem hidden in the back of this fine Waltham pub. You wouldn’t even know it was there if you didn’t notice the sliver of sunlight peeking through the back of the pub.

Joe Sent Me is your typical pub, benches and barstools abound on the inside and it’s a great place for trivia or an after-work drink with co-workers or friends. Their beer selection is varied and they even have Magner’s on tap for those of us who prefer their bubbles with a little apple flavor. Their mixed drinks are also quite tasty and well balanced. Not too much mixer or alcohol so you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth while sipping at something that doesn’t taste like jet fuel. The real surprise here was the delicious food menu.

We ordered a burger with bacon and caramelized onions and a pressed chicken sandwich with red peppers, cheese, and ranch dressing. The burger was juicy and perfectly cooked. And the saltiness of the bacon and the sweetness of the onions really complimented the juicy umami of the burger. The pressed chicken was a solidly put together sandwich with bread that was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The chicken was sliced, white breast-meat, well trimmed and juice with a lot of flavor. The red peppers, cheese and ranch dressing balanced each other out to create a truly deliciouscombination of flavors. None of the flavors were particularly overpowering by themselves but together they created a sandwich that was truly hard to put down.

Each sandwich came with a delightfully sour dill pickle wedge, the accompanying fries were appropriately crispy and salty, and we were pleasantly surprised when offered a set of condiments that included malt vinegar for the fries. Prices are reasonable and the food and drinks make Joe Sent Me a great place to hang out for an evening, in the winter or summer.

Joe Sent Me also has a location in Cambridge. You can find directions to either location and a menu on their website.

This Post first appeared on the Bostonist

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stuff to Eat in the Suburbs, Needham: Blue on Highland

This Bostonist hasn’t spent a lot of time in Needham. After the fantastic experience we had at a little restaurant there called Blue on Highland, though, this suburb is definitely on our map. We picked this restaurant on a whim, wanting something nice, nearby, and not too expensive. The menu at Blue on Highland is simple but contains a little bit of everything. From burgers and pizzas to filet mignon and chicken scaloppini, there is a delicious option for everyone.

One wall of the restaurant is covered with a tall multi-panel painting done entirely in blues and blacks, presumably to reinforce the name of the restaurant. The facing wall contains some fun abstract art. These pieces give the place the feel of a hip gallery and restaurant all rolled up in one.

The first thing that really caught our attention was the specialty martini menu, which contained items like a raspberry lime rickey and a pomegranate cosmopolitan. The raspberry lime rickey was amazing, with just enough raspberry flavor to have you smacking your lips but not so much that the drink became cloying or overpowering. The fresh lime juice did a great job of cutting the raspberry and orange liquors and the champagne added a tiny bit of bubbly that made it really taste like a raspberry lime rickey.

The night we visited we tried the crab cake with Cajun remoulade and arugula. This huge crab cake somehow managed to be more meat than breading, while still holding its shape. The remoulade was tangy and just a little bit spicy which perfectly accented the salty richness of the crab cake and the sharp bitterness of the arugula was a refreshing addition to the plate.
For entrees, we tried the steak frites and a swordfish special. These were both unexpectedly exceptional. The steak was tender, perfectly cooked, and the red wine demi glaze was so savory and well balanced that each bite had to be stirred around in the extra sauce. The fries were crispy and not greasy at all with just the right amount of salt, and our waitress automatically brought tiny sides of ketchup without us needing to ask. The real surprise on the plate was the perfectly crispy and flavorful sugar snap peas. This Bostonist has never had cooked snap peas that tasted so good!

The swordfish special was simply amazing. The balsamic glaze was so tangy and sweet that after one bite our mouths were watering for more. And the meaty steak of swordfish was perfectly paired with the light bitterness of fresh arugula and a salty base of white beans combined with fresh fall vegetables. We really hope this becomes a regular menu item!

This meal made such an impression that we immediately went out and recommended the restaurant to friends looking for a nice night out. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations for fewer than five people, and the booths are a little small if you have tall men in the party. But the awesome food, open atmosphere and friendly and knowledgeable wait staff more than makes up for these little shortcomings. You can find the menu and directions on the website.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Great Galette Experiment of Aught Nine - take 1

So here is a picture of my first try at a galette. I had just been blackberry picking with some friends and all I had was nectarines in the house. So instead of raspberry and peach for my first try I made blackberry and nectarine. I know not the same thing, but I was using what I had at hand.

First I went in search of a tart dough. I ended up (as I so often do lately) turning to my America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. I found a recipe for Rustic free form tart dough. Perfect! exactly what I was looking for. And it was easy. Combine ingredients in the cuisinart and then form a ball and refrigerate. With the America's Test Kitchen instructions it was also wasy to roll out between two pieces of parchment paper. Hooray!

As I was flipping through the book I found a recipe for a free form apple tart. Better and better I thought, I'll just adapt this for stone fruit and berries. Then I looked to the side of the apple tart recipe and there was a stone fruit and berries variant.

Oh America's Test Kitchen sometimes you way overcomplicate things sometimes but how I love you anyway.

Suprisingly, I managed to mess up the fruit in this tart worse than the tart dough. I forgot to add the sugar until the fruit was already on the crust, and I didn't have any corn starch so the runnyness had begun way before the tart even started cooking.

The result of my first galette ever was a soggy bottomed, slightly too tart tart with crust that was a little too salty. I also rolled out the crust too thick so the crust to fruit ratio felt a little unbalanced. Perhaps two smaller galettes next time.

Upon tasting it my husband was quick to inform me that the dough wasn't sweet enough and why hadn't I put more sugar on top of the crust like they did in the bakery?

I informed him that beggars can't be choosers and to eat his galette before I took it away from him. He did and I promised to try again later on in the week.

Here is the original recipe that I used: It should be interesting to see how this changes over the coming weeks!

Free Form Summer Fruit Tart ( adapted slightly from the Cooks Illustrated Website and the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book)


1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces), plus additional for work surface

1/2 teaspoon table salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 - 6 tablespoons water (ice cold)

Fruit Filling

1 pound peaches, nectarines, apricots, or plums

1 cup berries (about 1/2 dry pint)

½ cup tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons corn starch


1. Note: The amount of water that the dough will require depends on the ambient humidity; in a dry environment, it may need more water, in a humid environment, less. The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight or tightly wrapped in two sheets of plastic wrap and frozen for up to one week. If at any point the dough becomes soft, sticky, and dificult to work with during rolling, chill it until it becomes workable.

2. For the dough: In food processor, pulse flour and salt to combine, about three 1-second pulses. Scatter butter pieces over flour, then pulse until texture resembles coarse bread crumbs and butter pieces about the size of small peas remain, ten to twelve 1-second pulses. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over mixture and process 1 second; repeat until dough begins to form small curds and holds together when pinched with fingers. Empty dough onto work surface; dough will be crumbly (if dough has large dry areas, sprinkle additional 2 teaspoons water over dry areas and incorporate by gently fluffing entire amount of dough with fingers). Using bench scraper, gather dough into rough mound about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide (mound should be perpendicular to edge of counter). Beginning from farthest end, use heel of a hand to smear about one sixth of dough against work surface away from you. Repeat until all dough has been worked. Using bench scraper, gather dough again and repeat. Dough should now be cohesive. Form dough into 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until cold and firm but malleable, about 1 hour.

3. For the filling: During last 30 minutes of chilling, prepare fruit. Halve and pit stone fruit and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Gently wash and dry berries. Combine fruit in medium bowl (you should have about 3 cups); set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.

4. To assemble and bake: (If dough has chilled longer than 1 hour and is cold and hard, let stand at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before proceeding.) On large sheet of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll dough to 12-inch round about 3/16 inch thick, dusting with flour as needed. (If dough sticks to parchment, gently loosen and lift sticky area with bench scraper and dust parchment with additional flour.) Slide parchment and dough onto baking sheet and refrigerate until cool and firm yet pliant, 15 to 30 minutes (if refrigerated longer and dough is hard and brittle, let stand at room temperature until pliant).

5. Toss the fruit with sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and corn starch.

6. Remove baking sheet with dough from refrigerator. Mound fruit in center of dough, leaving 2 1/2-inch border around edge. Carefully grasp one edge of dough and fold up outer 2 inches over fruit, leaving 1/2-inch area of dough just inside of fold free of fruit. Repeat around circumference of tart, overlapping dough every 2 to 3 inches; gently pinch pleated dough to secure, but do not press dough into fruit. Working quickly, brush dough with water and sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake until crust is deep golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool tart on baking sheet on wire rack 10 minutes. Using offset or wide metal spatula, loosen tart from parchment and carefully slide tart off parchment onto wire rack; cool until warm, about 30 minutes, or to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cut into wedges and serve.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Beginning of an idea.

So at the beginning of August my husband and I went to California for a variety of reasons.
1. To visit his extended family
2. To celebrate the engagement of my brother in law to a wonderful woman
3. To celebrate my cousin in law's engagement to another lovey gal
4. To visit our friends Brett and Cicely in San Francisco
5. For me to visit my friend April in LA

Now this is a lot to accomplish in one trip and the trip was a long one. I was out of town for 11 days and I traveled to Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Gilroy before finally returning home. I hope I can avoid living out of bags like that for a little while, unless of course someone wants to send me to Italy, in which case, bring on the bags.

But anyway, the trip to Cali wasn't much of a food journey or I would tell you all about it. Mostly I ate a lot of breakfast and had few real foods of note. There was one dinner at a little french restaurant in San Fran that was fantastic and made me want to experiment with cooking rabbit and cassoulet, more on those as winter approaches.

But the real stand out food from that trip was a peach and raspberry galette that we had at a little bakery down the street from our friend Brett's house called Destination Baking Company. Before I say more, a note about my husband. I love him dearly but he honestly doesn't care about food. No desserts or dinners really thrill him and for him to even comment on something means that it really impressed him. For him to gush about something has only happened a handfull of times in the 11 years that we have been together.

He loved this galette, and he hates peaches. He was simply blown away by the goodness of this dessert.

So of course I had to try and recreate it when I got home.

Unfortunately pies and tarts are not my forte. give me chocolate and I will make you something fantastic, but my expertise is a little lacking when it comes to tarts and pies.

So this was going to be a challange for me. I will leave you with a picture of the amazing galette I will be attempting to recreate over the coming month and promise more updates on this experiment in the near future. In fact, I think I will go try my hand at some tart dough now...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Julie and Julia inspired bruschetta.

Before I went to see Julie and Julia I prepared. I knew I was going to come away from the movie craving good food. So I marinated a flank steak and bought all of the ingredients for rosemary garlic roasted potatoes and green beans with caramelized shallots and sliced almonds to accompany the tender steak. However, what I did not prepare was an appetizer.

If you asked what struck me about the movie I will go on about Meryl Streep's delightful portrayal of Julia Child. And how I connect to this movie because my Mom used to watch Julia Child all the time. She had all of her shows on tape and she would watch them over and over again on her kitchen television while making dinner. I have the infamous Mastering the Art of French Cooking and to this day I find it ridiculously intimidating because it seems like my mom made all of her complex and interesting dishes straight from Julia's book.

Now, if you ask me what struck me about the food in the movie I will go on ad nauseaum about how I want to de-bone a duck and stuff it with meat and cover it with pastry and then cook it. I really want to give this one a try (though honestly I worry about my ability to de-bone a duck and I have informed my friends that I will require a support staff to help me when I finally decide to make this ridiculously awesome dish).

The other food that caught my eye for immediate re-creation was the bruschetta. We talked about the bruschetta all the way home. And how good it looked. So when my foodie friends and I got home we took one look at the enormous bounty of yellow tomatoes in my garden and decided that we should go ahead and make some ourselves. So, one trip to the grocery store later and we were in my kitchen. One person toasting the bread in a skillet while the others chopped tomatoes, basil, onions, garlic and fresh mozzarella and tossing them with olive oil balsamic vinegar salt and pepper.

This is a fantastic appetizer and while the toasting the bread in the pan is a little more complicated than my normal method of shoving it in the toaster oven with some butter on it, the pan toasting with olive oil is MUCH better than the other version. I may never be able to make easy bruschetta again.

Colorful Summer Bruschetta
8 yellow pear tomatoes diced
2 medium red herloom tomatoes diced
10 basil leaves sliced very thinly in a chiffonade
4T Balsamic vinegar
4T Extra Virgin Olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup very small balls of fresh mozz
1 clove garlic minced very tiny

9 slices of nice bread (sourdough, rustic, baguette, something crusty)
4T Extra virgin olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and toast the pieces of bread. Set aside

Place all of the ingredients for the tomato topping in a large bowl and mix them together until everything seems sufficiently coated in vinegar.
Spoon the topping over the toast and serve immediately (the toast will get soggy if it sits too long).