Fettuccine Alfredo

A simple and delicious Fettuccine Alfredo is just moments away from your table. This recipe (with a few modifications of my own) comes from America’s Test Kitchen.

Tip #1: Use fresh pasta whenever possible. There are so few ingredients, the fresher they are the better.

Tip #2: Always heat your pasta bowls/plates. Cold serving bowls can ruin your dish.

 

 

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 9 ounces fresh fettuccine
  • 3/4 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

 

1. Bring 4 1/2 quarts water to rolling boil, covered, in large stockpot or Dutch oven. Using ladle or heatproof measuring cup, fill each individual serving bowl with about 1/2 cup boiling water; set bowls aside to warm.

 

2. While water comes to boil, bring 1 cup heavy cream and butter to simmer in 3- to 4-quart saucepan over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer gently until mixture reduces to 2/3 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. Off heat, stir in remaining 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

 

3. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water; cook pasta until just shy of al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta. Meanwhile, return cream mixture to simmer over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low and add pasta, Parmesan, and parsley to cream mixture. Cook over low heat, tossing pasta with tongs to combine, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is just al dente and cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in reserved pasta cooking water; sauce may look rather thin but will gradually thicken as pasta is served and eaten. Working quickly, empty serving bowls of water (quickly wipe out excess water so as not to water down sauce); divide pasta among bowls. Serve immediately.

 

Izanami – Santa Fe, NM

IMG_2493Santa Fe is one of those magical places. The beauty and connection to the landscape will never leave once you step foot onto her soil. There’s something else to celebrate there, and like the landscape you’ll never be the same after experiencing, Izanami, an Izakaya style Japanese Restaurant (small plates similar to Spanish tapas), which opened a few years ago at Ten Thousand Waves.

Izanami sits on top of one of the mountain ranges in Santa Fe with spectacular views of the valley and mountain ranges. But the view is only part and a small part of this experience. It’s the food and service that makes this place shine.

The avocado sashimi was beautiful in its simplicity. Ripe, avocados sliced and presented in a pool of soy sauce, dusted with Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese spice blend) and served with a dollop of wasabi paste. The house-made gyoza was another shining moment at the table. Perfectly cooked and seared to a golden brown perfection, these pork and vegetable pockets were a stunning contrast to the cold house-cured pickled vegetables that were to follow as the next plate.

At most Japanese restaurant when you order Tsukemono, you usually get the typical pickled cucumber. Not so at Izanami. The plate comes out with not one but six different house-cured pickled vegetables (cucumbers, cabbage, eggplant, summer squash, radish, mushrooms), and each one with its own unique flavor component. The onigiri (rice balls) were exceptional in their simple presentation and flavor, as were the vegetable tempura, which were lightly battered, deep fried without any lingering grease. And if this wasn’t enough, the star of this meal in my opinion was the wagyu beef skewers. These tender bite size pieces of beef literally melted in my mouth. They were juicy and perfectly seasoned, and to make this even more of a moment the skewers were served with green yuzu kosho. Don’t know what yuzu kosho is? You should it’s amazing. Simply put it’s a Japanese condiment sort of like chimichurri sauce and basil pesto. It’s a simple blend of yuzu fruit, green chilies, and salt. It’s addictive.

I could talk for hours about this place. The service was impeccable, the food like nothing I’ve ever had before. This place is without a doubt the best food and dining experience of my life. No joking. It’s worth a trip to Santé Fe just for Izanami. It was so good that as I was leaving, I made a reservation for lunch the next day, and that is worthy of another review.

Online at: Izanami
Take Reservations: Yes via Open table

Food Rating: 5.0 paws
Service Rating: 5.0 paws

Rating 5 Paw

Overall Rating: 5.0 paws

 

With love from my dog bowl to yours…Happy eating.
Shata

Barking News! – Cambridge, MA

IMG_2172This little doggy has just learned that 1680 Massachusetts Avenue, the former home of our beloved, West Side Lounge is under contract. I have yet to be able to confirm who or what will be taking over the space. (I don’t do gossip) In the mean time I will keep an ear turned up and a paw on the ground. Stay tuned for more developing news.

With love from my dog bowl to yours…happy eating

Shata

 

Café Rustica – Somerville, MA

IMG_2423First a question. Where have you been all my life? No need to respond, I know the answer to my question. It wasn’t your fault. Our disconnect was my fault, and mine alone. I walked by you for years without ever realizing what I was missing, well no more. You and I will have a long relationship together. Of course, I’m talking about my recent love affair with Café Rustica.

This unassuming café in Somerville has been a dream come true for me. I went once out of curiosity and I’ve been coming back two or three times a week for the past several weeks. One reason is the guys behind the counter. They are friendly, and treat you like family. You may come in a stranger, but you will leave feeling like your family was just extended.

The coffee is simply some of the best in the area. They have a wonderful assortment of breakfast sandwiches on the menu, along with daily soups, sandwiches and salads, all made behind the counter and made when you order it. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is perfect for getting in a few hours of writing, or reading your favorite book. And best of all, they don’t mind. On my last visit I ordered a large iced tea (amazing by the way) and after forty-five minutes I got up to order a salad and they were thrilled that I wasn’t getting it to go.

Honestly, I could go on and on about this place. I love it here, and will became a permanent fixture. I have finally found my café to write, and write I will. Thank you guys for making me feel so welcome.

Online at: Cafe Rustica
Take Reservations: No

Food Rating: 5.0 paw
Service Rating: 5.0 paw

Rating 5 Paw

Overall Rating: 5.0 paws

With love from my dog bowl to yours…Happy eating.
Shata

Cambridge Common, Cambridge MA

This is a difficult blog to write. I want to like Cambridge Common, I really do. It’s close to home and I like the feel of the place. The menu is varied and looks amazing. I have tried and tried again over the last six to eight months to like this place, but to be honest, I can’t and here’s why.

It’s a loud, and obnoxious place to dine. The staff are too busy to pay attention to any of their customers, they try (and I really believe they do), but they are just machines delivering food and drinks. No matter how often I go there, I will just be a number, a strange face in the crowd. No one has time to chat, or get to know their customers and that’s a shame. All this basically relates to poor and/or slow service, water not being refilled, drinks not being reordered. It takes forever to get someone’s attention. Now onto the real issue I have with this place.

The food is mediocre at best. The salads are not fresh, the lettuce often wilted and overpowered by poorly made dressings with out of balance flavors. The Burgers are never done to the customer’s satisfaction. I don’t think the kitchen staff knows the difference between rare, medium well, and well done. Every time I’ve order a burger no matter how I specify it, it comes on way – rare. I don’t like my meat bleeding, so I have to send it back, and of course this means (because of the impossibly slow service) the people I’m with are done with their meal before mine ever returns from the kitchen. The fries are horrible. They taste freezer burnt. The regular fries are always soft, and mushy with grease, and the curly fries are brittle and dry throughout. And I’m not talking on one occasion. Every time I get fries they are like this. Their fresh mozzarella sandwich might be good, but there is so much garlic in the basil pesto, you can’t taste any of the other ingredients. And I can’t even begin to describe how greasy their grilled cheese sandwich is – I just can’t go there.

This is a no win situation for me, and despite its proximity to me, and their decent cocktails I will have to resign myself to finding another neighborhood restaurant to frequent. This place just won’t do.

The only reason I’m giving them 2 paws instead of 1 is because perhaps there is something on the menu I haven’t tried, which is edible. I just can’t keep going back and being disappointed, so with that my friends I’m giving them an extra paw and a prayer.

Online at: Cambridge Common
Take Reservations: No

Food Rating: 2.0 paw
Service Rating: 2.0 paw

ShatasSignature_2-4-2

Overall Rating: 2.0 paws

With love from my dog bowl to yours…Happy eating.
Shata

35 North Coffee – Santa Fe, NM

IMG_2468Picture it, I’m running through the Santa Fe Plaza Arcade with the wonderful smell of coffee tempting my nose, like a carrot being dangled in front of a rabbit. After a few failed attempts at locating the source of my afternoon craving, I finally found it. A coffee oasis in Santa Fe – 35° North Coffee.

The staff or perhaps the owners/managers were incredibly friendly. I was ready to order a large house blend coffee, when what do my little eyes see written in big bold white chalked letters? Beignets. Oh my little paws were trembling with joy. I had to have an order with my coffee.

The coffee was fresh and wonderfully roasted, but the star of this visit were the beignets. These are the real deal. I closed my eyes and felt as if I was sitting in the French Quarter in New Orleans. Yeah, that’s how good these bad boys are.

This place is large so you don’t have to worry about coming in and not finding a table. Along with an assortment of pastries, and beignets, they have a nice variety of lunch items including sandwiches and salads, all made fresh to order. None of this premade crap you get from…well I won’t name the big chain coffee place down the street. You all are smart enough to figure it out.

If you’re in the Plaza and needing a coffee fix, or even a quick and simple lunch, pass by the other place and get yourself over to 35° North Coffee. You won’t be disappointed. This place rocks!

Online at: 35° North Coffee
Take Reservations: No

Food Rating: 5.0 paws
Service Rating: 5.0 paws

Overall Rating: 5.0 paws

With love from my dog bowl to yours…Happy eating.

Shata

So Zap – Ogunquit, ME

IMG_2349I’ve been going to Ogunquit one and off for the past eight years. The food scene there has never been what’s drawn me. It’s the rocky cliffs along the Atlantic Ocean and the beautiful beach that calls me back. A few years ago, So Zap opened up, a small urban Thai kitchen as they call it. It’s only open during the tourist season so if you want to try it you’ll have to face the summer crowds.

The service is better than most place in Ogunquit. Friendly, fast, and you’re treated well. The food while always fresh, and well make has a few drawbacks that are worth mentioning. For those with sensitivity to spiciness, be careful and make sure you ask. They have a heat rating of 1 to 5. 1 being (what they consider) not spicy, to 5 being lip burning, tear producing heat. The problem is that some of the recipes start at a 3 and according to them can’t be altered lower, only higher.

I ordered the drunken noodles, one of my all-time favorite Thai dishes. It’s always made a bit spicy, so when I was told this was a heat 3 dish I thought nothing of it. After the second bite my taste buds were burnt, the fur around my face matted to my skin from sweat and a constant flow of tears. If this is a 3, I would hate to experience level 5.

My dining partner, played it safe and ordered Pad Thai. He thankfully let me cool my palate and taste his dinner. The Pad Thai (made as a 1) was perfectly seasoned, and absolutely delicious.

So if you find yourself in Ogunquit during the summer months and are looking for a Thai restaurant, check out So Zap. It’s worth the trip, just be careful what you order, the menu is very small so there are not a lot of choices. If you’re sensitive to heat, ask if the spice level can be lowered. You’ve been warned.

Online at: SoZap
Take Reservations: No

Food Rating: 3.0 paws
Service Rating: 4.0 paws

ShatasSignature_3.5

Overall Rating: 3.5 paws

With love from my dog bowl to yours…Happy eating.

Shata

Harry’s Roadhouse – Santa Fe, NM

IMG_2432There is something magical about Santa Fe, New Mexico. Perhaps it’s the movement of the clouds against the stationary mountains or a mixture of the fresh air and the beauty of the landscape. So many things make this place unique, including the food, and Harry’s Roadhouse is one of my new favorite places.

The menu is as varied as the New Mexican landscape, but one thing this little doggy can attest to, it’s all delicious. It was about one in the afternoon, and the place was packed, but with the large seating area, beautiful patio, and spacious garden dining area, we didn’t have to wait. It had been a long day of traveling so I ordered their house margarita. The cocktail came to me in the shaker, and I got 2 drinks out it. This alone is enough to win me over, but let me get to the food.

Picture it, a smothered burrito. But not just any burrito. This baby was enough to knock my socks off (if I wore socks). A large flour tortilla stuffed with either grilled chicken or Mexican style ground beef (I’m on vacation, so I did the beef) then it’s smothered in cheese and your choice of green or red chile sauce (I’m a snob it’s only green for this puppy). And it’s all served with sour cream and guacamole. The first bite to the last my paws were trembling with excitement and my taste buds were humming.

If you’re ever in Santa Fe, this place is an absolutely must.

Online at: Harry’s Roadhouse
Take Reservations: No

Food Rating: 5.0 paws
Service Rating: 5.0 paws

Rating 5 Paw

Overall Rating: 5.0 paws

 

With love from my dog bowl to yours…Happy eating.

Shata

Changsho – Cambridge, MA

Qr5UxFn6-3fndR7aXrltrJXv1VX3iqVy40zKGV7GING1Dezrfo3ZwBjTMaQScHMwNhqWKg=s168This post is long overdue, and a review that is entirely different than the one I would have written a couple of years ago (2014) when I first visited Changsho. That first experience was not a good one, and I’ve not been back.

Fast forward to May 2016. I decide it was time to swallow my little stubborn pride and cross my paws over the threshold of Changsho once more. Instead of dinner, I did their lunch buffet, and while I don’t think everything on the buffet was great Chinese, for the most part, it was an enjoyable experience. The service was what one would expect from a buffet service, the food hot and fresh and the best part is it was only $13.00. Not bad considering what you get these days in Cambridge.

The hot and sour soup was, in my opinion, one of the best I’ve ever had anywhere – paws down. It was spicy, and tart, and smoky, and everything you expect of hot and sour, plus the flavors were perfectly balanced. I only wish the soup was on the all-you-can-eat buffet because that would have been it for me. Next time I’ll just buy the entire pot of soup and call it a day.

The vegetable tempura was deep fried to a light crunch and didn’t hold any of the grease you sometimes get with fried food. The kung pao chicken was cooked to perfection with tender slices of chicken in a delicious brown sauce, and the best part…it wasn’t so spicy that you couldn’t taste the ingredients. My only complaint was that the dish was a bit on the greasy side. The vegetable fried rice and lo-mein noodles were well prepared and packed full of tender vegetables, but again left you with a slight greasy feeling. My least favorite item was the pot stickers. I was hoping for vegetable or even pork, but no it was a big chunk of tough beef inside the perfectly seared wonton wrapper. I’ll pass on that next time.

Overall, my experience with Changsho was a vast improvement over my first impression two years ago. Will I be back? Absolutely. Changsho is not a fancy place, and it may not be the most authentic Chinese food, but for Cambridge, it’s pretty good.

Online at: Changsho
Accepts Reservations: No

Food Rating: 3.5 paws
Service Rating: 3.5 paws

ShatasSignature_3.5

Overall Rating: 3.5 paws

With love from my dog bowl to yours…Happy eating.
Shata

Evergood Super Market, Cambridge MA

168sCambridge has a lot going for it, but one of things I’ve always enjoyed here are the little corner markets, or around here called Spas. Why Spas? I’ve never really understood, but that’s okay. You don’t have to understand the Boston lingo, to enjoy one of the truly wonderful things in the city.

Evergood Super Market is on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. It’s a small grocery store, but it’s always well stocked. You need rose water for some obscure recipe, yeah, they’ve got it. (And one of the only stores in town that does). You need a can of collard greens? Yep, they’ve got you covered. They have packaged deli meats and cheeses, chicken, ground beef, well you get the picture. You need it, chances are you’ll find it in this store.

Their breads are brought in every morning from Iggy’s bakery, their produce also comes from local suppliers. The selections are small, but no matter what I’ve needed, I’ve always found it at Evergoods.

Some people complain that the items are overpriced. Look, it’s Cambridge, the rents are astronomical and for a small independent store to remain in business, they need to have higher prices. Frankly, I’d rather give a local mom and pop shop a few extra dollars every week, then to give it to Whole Foods, or worse yet, Star Market.

If you live in Cambridge and are ever in need of a quick trip to the store, go to Evergood Super Market. They treat you like family, not like a paycheck. It’s worth it, and it might make you feel good knowing you’re supporting a small independent family run business. A win-win for everyone!

Overall Rating: 5.0 paws

With love from my dog bowl to yours…Happy eating.

Shata