Ode to Chicken Soup: oh how we love thee! With our new instapot, we can make pretty delicious tasting chicken soup using even store-bought broth as the base (oh, the travesty!)
Here's our round-up of our favorite chicken soups around town --- slurrrrrpppp!
BEST CHICKEN SOUP (JEWISH PENICILLIN):
New England Soup Factory (244 Needham Street, Newton): We have Marjorie Druker's cookbooks on how to make this delectable soup - probably the best you'd ever taste - but it's so complicated we'd never make it. That said, we've hoarded quarts of their chicken vegetable soup with hearty carrots and generous tasty matzo balls in our freezer. It's oh so wonderful!
Mamaleh's (1 Kendall Square, Cambridge): Did you know Mamaleh's has a free comedy show every month in their basement? Oh yes! And you can order off their menu while you're watching, so just be sure you don't snort down that hot soup. We love their matzo ball soup, and it's not too salty which is a common problem. Not as hearty as NESF, but equally delish.
BEST CHICKEN RAMEN:
Totto Ramen (Assembly Row, Somerville): Everyone loves ramen, but do you know CHICKEN RAMEN is the bomb!? It's definitely creamier than some chicken soups and very filling. Try their Chicken Paitan ($11) -- and make sure you add a soft-boiled egg.
Little Big Diner (1247 Centre Street, Newton): Their paitan chicken ramen is a hefty price ($15) but commands a huge bowl and is extremely delicious. The woodear mushrooms are a nice touch!
Wen's Yunnan Noodle & Ramen (247 Newbury Street, Boston): Do you like noodles? Well, this place has got noodles! Enjoy a hearty bowl of shu-yo chicken ramen and friendly service.
BEST CHICKEN PHO:
Pho & I (267 Huntington Avenue, Boston): We love seeing a show at the Huntington Theatre, and right across the street is this delicious pho restaurant that serves up a delicious bowl at an extreme value.
Le's (35 Dunster Street): Right in the Garage at Harvard Square, we've been known to trek into Harvard Square for late night pho from Le's. Make sure to try all their side sauces. Mmmm!
Hope 2018 brings you warm bellies and happy smiles.
Lizzie & Sam
What's our secret sauce? Well, I'd say a few things contribute to the magic: a) amazing and vibrant neighborhoods we tour in, b) absolutely delicious food from the best and friendliest partners around, and c) our tremendous guides!
Poised, knowledgeable, smart, reliable, funny, clever, interesting, personable, we could go on and on about our awesome tour guides. Katie, our first guide, has been with us the longest and is absolutely top notch. Time and time again we get comments about how great she is and how much she seems to love her job. We are lucky to have her!
Please check out our Meet Our Guides section under "About Us" on the website. Happy New Year To All, and look forward to touring you around this week and in 2018!
The Holidays Are Here!!
For today's #WednesdayWisdom we wanted to put in a last-minute plug for our Food Tour gift cards! You can purchase a gift card for any dollar amount by visiting our website homepage and clicking "buy gift cards" on the front page. Then you can enter the amount and choose to send an email to yourself or your giftee.
- Gift cards are available for any dollar amount to correspond to any of our food tours!
- If you'd like, we can make a custom gift certificate for you or your recipient. Just email us at email@example.com and specify what you'd like it to say.
- We are offering a special promotion of $5 off any gift certificate over $70, using code "GIFTCARD17"
Happy holidays from us to you,
Lizzie, Sam, and our guides Katie, Emily, Liz, and Molly
First of all, HAPPY HANUKKAH to our friends who are celebrating! May you have a fun and delicious eight nights!
This time of year, we love to give to charity, and this year that includes gifting food tours to various raffles and silent auctions around town. We wanted to put a plug in for one such occasion with the hopes that you'll visit The Cambridge School of Culinary Art's 7th Annual Bake Sale this Saturday, December 16th from 10am until 2pm. The Bake Sale and Raffle is in support of Community Cooks, a neighborhood organization that mobilizes individuals, businesses, civic, educational and faith-based groups to offer home prepared food to vulnerable neighbors seeking assistance from human service agencies, students working to improve their lives in after school programs and families struggling with food insecurity. What a cause!!
Here's more information about the event. See you on Saturday!
I love Harvard Square! I guess it's in my blood because both of my parents lived and worked there, separately and together. My dad used to work at Charette's on Brattle Street in the '70s, and he'd also gone to high school there as well. He'd regale me with stories of grabbing a hot dog at the Tasty, a pastry before class at Nornie B.'s, and perusing Out of Town News.
As a kid, I remember eating at Dolphin Seafood, then walking down towards Harvard Square where we'd see a funny lady in a wedding gown painted white pretending to be a statue, lots of goths and punks in the "Pit" which inspired me to buy green hair extensions, Urban Outfitters which was like a mecca for the best clothes and accessories, and a bead store on Church Street with endless possibilities.
During my undergrad years, I'd stumble off the Senate bus to "stoop sit" on Harvard Yard with cute Harvard co-eds, attend a party at AePi, and indulge in a massive slice of chocolate cake at the Greenhouse which I still miss a lot and wish was still there.
Right out of college, I got a job in economic consulting. with my own office looking out onto the alleyway on Mass. Ave. where Qdoba is now. I commuted from home, so I used to park my car on a rented space on Ellery Street -- most of my paycheck going into the commuting and parking fees. Since they worked me over 80 hours most weeks, I would ask my dad, "Is it safe to walk down the street here at 1am?" Be vigilant, he'd say, but yes - there are people out at all hours and you'll be fine.
Walking home from work, I'd gaze longingly at the apartments left and right until I saved up enough money to take over the rent from a chain-smoking chef on Mass. Ave. and lived there twelve years as the rent more than doubled and my apartment's condition declined.
For years, I walked the cobblestone streets, creating memories. I waited in line for Berryline to finally open. I'd smell the sweet smells of Zinneken's waffles waft over to the line by the new Oberon theater. I'd usher at A.R.T. and meet a date at nearby Bertucci's. A friend and I would giggle as we tried every flavor of froyo at Yogurtland after buying a candy stash at Hidden Sweets. I'd run into Cafe Algiers after a late work event at Harvest. I celebrated Valentine's Day watching Casablanca at the Brattle; I fixed my first record player at Audio Lab in the Garage. Lunch breaks were made up of sandwiches from Darwin's I could hardly afford, cheap eats at Felipe's, and sometimes just a chocolate chip bagel at Finagle. Then there was late night pho from Le's and clandestine meetings at Finale Desserterie, indulgent take-out runs from Spice Thai, free cone days at Ben & Jerry's, and a rendezvous or two at Cafe Pamplona.
Each memory is vivid and alive; Harvard Square's magic truly lives within me, and I am excited to share some of the Square's stories and teach about chocolate as well on our upcoming Harvard Square chocolate tour.
Buy tickets today! Use code "ILOVECHOCOLATE" for $5 off (next ten guests) one of our Harvard Square Chocolate Tours, which starts January 26th, 2018.
Have you ever tried taking a cooking class? Although we do a lot of cooking in our home, it is often fun to refresh our skills and become inspired by learning from an expert!
Yesterday evening, Sam and I were lucky enough to try our hand at Somali Home Cooking through the Nibble Cooking Series with The Somerville Arts Council. We had a lot of fun and greatly enjoyed the menu of pita bread and hummus, salad el swit (Sudanese black salad with smoked yogurt sauce), Maraq caad iyo bariis (White chicken soup & rice), and various chutneys. Definitely check out the series if you have a chance!
Here is a recipe inspired by one of the dishes from last night (be careful when trying at home!):
Charred Eggplant with Smoked Greek Yogurt
Char the Eggplant:
Slice and roast 1 whole eggplant over a stovetop or grill, or in an oven at 500 degrees for 20 minutes until it's blackened. Set aside to cool.
Smoke the Yogurt:
Place 1 cup of greek yogurt (4 or 5% milkfat) into the bottom of a pot with a lid. You can add salt and seasonings such as ground cumin or chopped green onion if you desire.
Chop an onion in half and scoop out the inside layers so only the outside layer remains without skin. Rub olive oil into the onion, about a tablespoon or so (not too much).
Take a small charcoal "puck" that you can purchase at an Asian grocery store or online and heat it over a flame or grill with tongs until smoking hot.
Place the onion skin into the center of the yogurt at the bottom of the pot, drop the charcoal into the onion skin, and quickly close the lid. Smoke will develop, and the aroma is amazing! You can eat the yogurt after 5 minutes or leave it like that in the fridge overnight. You may also be able to create the same effect with liquid smoke more safely at home by adding a few drops to the yogurt.
Assemble the Salad:
You can leave the yogurt as it is or mix it with sesame tahini. Assemble the charred eggplant on top of the smoked yogurt mixture and serve. Great with pita or as a side.
The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts also offers some amazing cooking classes. Sam and I are excited to try their couples cooking events this winter. If you take our food tour, we offer a discount on their classes, so sign up today! Happy Eating.