Been There, Ate That...
My husband and I have been living the life of road warriors for the past couple of weeks. We've gone to Boston, Las Vegas, and Syracuse, NY all in a 2 week span for business trips between the 2 of us.
We love to travel though, and we love to squeeze a little fun into our business trips, making them not only about business, but also about trying new foods.
I have written before about being a mindful eater and enjoying new food experiences is part of that. When you are a mindful eater, you truly enjoy food-you eat it slowly, without distractions, and enjoy every aspect from the presentation to the pairings.
I have found that the more new foods I try, and the more I cook myself, the more I have come to respect good, quality food, and I have become a more mindful eater in the process.
Our recent travels definitely turned into "food trips" as well, so I thought I would share some of the things we got to taste along the way.
Our first stop during our 2 weeks of travel was Boston, MA. Being from landlocked Tennessee, we were excited to eat fresh seafood in Boston! As I mentioned in my blog last week, one of my favorite seafood dishes I had in Boston was the warm lobster roll at Neptune Oyster!
Also in Boston, we went to the famed Omni Parker House, known for their Parker House Rolls and for being the creators of the original Boston Cream Pie in the 1850's! The Boston Cream Pie definitely stole the show. The funny thing is that it is not really a pie at all, but actually a moist and delicious sponge cake filled with a vanilla custard and topped off with chocolate ganache. The Parker House presented this single-serving round cake with whipped cream and a chocolate covered strawberry (see below). My husband and I shared it, and because it was made with such high quality ingredients, a few bites each is all we needed to satisfy our sweet teeth! It was rich and delicious!
One of our other dining picks in Boston was Rialto in Cambridge Square near Harvard. This fine restuarant inside the Charles Hotel had a wonderful Prix Fixe 3 course menu with reasonable-sized portions of seasonal foods.
Joe had a salad of hearty greens, pickled apple, Bailey Hazen blue cheese, and curried pumpkin seeds as his first course and I had roasted chestnut mushroom soup with pear, parmesan, and celery to start. For our entrees, Joe enjoyed a roasted chicken breast and braised thigh served with squash crespelle, pancetta, and mascarpone, while I had a vegeterian dish of Squash tortelli served with kale, fontina, and pecans.
For dessert we both enjoyed the delicious quince pear crostata with maple cinnamon ice cream, balsamic caramel, and pomegranate, which we both agreed was our favorite course. We were pleased with Chef Jody Adams take on fresh, seasonal foods.
It was the first time for both Joe and I to visit Las Vegas, and it was a bit overwhelming, but we both agreed that the shows that we saw-Cirque du Soliel Ka and the Phantom of the Opera- and the food we ate was to die for.
One of the first places we dined at in Vegas was Sea Blue in the MGM Grand, where Michael Mina is the chef. It is a unique Mediterranean restaurant, where we ate some of our most interesting dishes. Bread service there was one of my favorite things! Grilled Naan bread was served with homemade hummus, roasted red pepper dip, and a feta cheese spread. We liked all 3!
We started with one of his signature dishes, a tasting of 3 appetizers: Lobster Corn Dogs with Whole-Grain Mustard Creme Fraiche, Chicken & Chorizo Empenada with Saffron, Garlic, and Crab-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Smoked Jalapeño Aioli. I followed that with a "create your own salad" where you get to pick from a list of about 50 different salad ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, asian pears, anchovies, and candied cashews to create your own delicious and unique combination. For entrees, Joe had the Sea Blue paella in a tagine, which is a clay pot that Morraccans use to cook in. It was a traditional rice-based paella, but included an array of seasonal shellfish, chorizo, grilled quail, and rabbit, which made for a very adventurous and tasty dish. I concluded with the Sweet Corn Chowder with Roasted Jalapeno. This may sound like a simple soup, but it was bursting with flavor!
We also enjoyed Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in Caesar's Palace so much that we ate there twice for lunch! This Southwestern-inspired grill had lots of great choices, but Joe being the burger fan that he is got the Mesa Burger both times, which is the most popular menu item there. I opted for the Yucatan Chicken Tacos where the chicken is grilled and served satay style with grilled red onions and a peanut-smoked chile barbecue sauce. The second time we dined there, I had the Ancho-Chile Honey Glazed Salmon that came highly recommended by our waiter. It was an explosion of flavors served with a spicy black bean sauce and roasted jalapeno crema served on top of a bed of sauteed spinach-a healthy meal full of nutrients and flavor!
Our last night in Las Vegas we ate at Toa, an Asian Bistro, in The Venetian. It was one of our favorite places, and very reasonably priced. Joe enjoyed a traditional orange chicken dish, while I had Miso-Glazed Sea Bass with Wok Veggies that melted in my mouth!
Our last stop of our travels was in Syracuse, New York. We had recently seen an episode of "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on Food Network, where Adam Gertler recommends Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse, New York, so we were already thinking about checking it out. When we heard the locals rave about it as well, we hopped in our rental car and went that night. When we walked in the doors of this honky-tonk-type BBQ joint, we felt like we were back in Tennessee. And being from Tennessee and Mississippi, we have both had some pretty good BBQ. But Dinosaur lived up to the hype and we enjoyed the very large plate of chicken, pulled pork, and ribs with cornbread, beans, and slaw that we split-and still couldn't finish!
If you are ever in one of these 3 cities, I highly recommend these restaurants. But wherever your travels take you, I hope you savor each moment and expand your horizons by trying new foods!