The Terrace (Cody, WY)

There are a lot of places to eat in Cody, but the Terrace stands out. The food is high quality and extremely tasty. While other places may have more rustic, cowboy food, the Terrace takes those ingredients and takes them to the next level. I’ve been there twice and both times the food was excellent, and the atmosphere was lovely. (They have a nice wooden bar and a good view of the canyon.)

This time, I got the buffalo meatloaf, which was fantastic and came wrapped in bacon (always a plus) and coated with a subtle cranberry demi-glace. It was accompanied by decadent goat cheese mashed potatoes and green beans that were both perfectly seasoned and cooked to perfection. The dish cost about $15.

My meal was accompanied by a nice local beer, and then I finished off the evening by sharing the amazing flourless chocolate torte (which came with a delicious, not-too-sweet, fresh raspberry sauce).

Would definitely recommend to any traveler who’s tired of road or pub food and ready for a special meal.

ps. Also: When we were about to leave, two women came to the bar and ordered margaritas. We watched the bartender prepare them (one regular, one watermelon), and they looked fabulous. So, next time… margaritas!

Greek Corner Restaurant (Somerville, MA)

It’s been my pleasure on multiple occasions to visit the Greek Corner. My only complaint is that it’s never the seven minute walk from Porter Square that I think it is (in reality, it’s a fifteen minute walk from Porter and about a ten minute walk from Davis). But I never mind, because after the walk, the food is great.

The souvlaki sandwich with lamb is tasty—it’s got the right amount of meat and plenty of that delicious yogurt sauce. It’s $6.95 and completely filling. I also recommend the sampler plate (to share as an appetizer, or as a dinner item for one person). It has dolmathakia (stuffed grape leaves), tsatziki (that delicious yogurt sauce), a caviar-blend thing that sounds weird but tastes great (taramosalata), spinach pie, hommus, tabouleh, feta cheese, eggplant salad, and olives. Very tasty and satisfies all your varied Greek food cravings at $10.95. I’ve also had the rice pudding ($3.25), which was excellent.

All in all, a great place. Recommended for: Cheap but tasty dinners or lunches out, take-out, and groups/families.

Dumplings, Dumplings, Dumplings, oh my!

For weeks I’ve been meaning to write about this.

One day a few weeks ago, Catherine and I were meandering through Cambridge after finishing an artery-clogging-but-otherwise-heavenly brunch of fried chicken on waffles at Tupelo. As we wound our way from Inman to Harvard, Catherine suggested we duck into the Harvard Bookstore to browse. Never one to turn down a book, we did. As we were looking around, I noticed the staff recommendations. There, standing out in the middle was a book about dumplings. It was fittingly called: Dumplings: A Seasonal Guide. I browsed inside it for a few minutes while standing. Then I found a chair and started really reading it. Fifteen minutes later, Catherine was ready to go. I looked at her and clutched the book in my arms the way a small child holds a security blanket. “If it makes you that happy,” she said, “you should probably get it.”

So I did! I should say up front that I haven’t tried too many recipes yet, but that doesn’t stop me from giving the book a pretty glowing review. The book is organized by month, with recipies within it that culturally and seasonally make sense to eat during that month. January, for instance, has the German potato-based dumpling spaetzle. February has dumplings in celebration of Chinese New Year (which I know can bridge months, but for a book that couldn’t organize itself by the lunar calendar, I think February was an okay choice). Within each month, the dumplings are organized by difficulty. So you can start at the beginning (as I did with some semolina-based dumplings) and then pick up speed and skill towards the end.

The book also has a section that details all the different ingredients that can be in dumplings, as well as section on all the different ways to fold dumplings. For the book, the authors decided that a dumpling was “a portion of dough, batter, or starchy plant fare, solid or filled, that is cooked through wet heat, and is not a strand or a ribbon,” so there are lots of different kinds of dumplings. Some are technicallyone big dumpling (like English bread pudding), and some bear more resemblance to¬† pasta (like my semolina-based dumplings that I tried).

Some recipes are just the dumplings, some have soups and sauces to match. Some are sweet, some are savory. All of them look delicious. I can’t wait to try them all!

Truffle Love: Boston’s Terramia

It is my wont to spend New Year’s eve eating a ridiculously good meal at a price I normally couldn’t afford. I don’t like to really eat like that the rest of the year, but New Year’s is special. Plus, New Year’s often has so much hype that I like to plan something unflappably good. For me, an amazing, special meal is always a good experience.

This year, I chose Terramia, a small and cozy Italian restaurant in Boston’s North End that had solidly good reviews but that wasn’t exorbitant. (In my mind, any meal that costs more than $100 per person before drinks and tips is exorbitant.) They had a prix fixe menu of four courses, including prosecco and an amuse bouche.

I know some people don’t like prix fixe menus, but they appeals to me in two ways. One, I know from working in a restaurant that prix fixe meals make things a lot easier on staff, which I feel pretty good about on a holiday that everyone celebrates. Secondly, I like being surprised! There are always things on a prix fixe menu that I wouldn’t choose for myself, but I tend to like almost anything, and I like the idea that the chef has given thought to exciting combinations for me.

In the case of Terramia, many of the courses had a choice, so my date and I swore solemnly that we would not order any of the same things, so as to be able to taste as many options as possible. It made choosing the wine tricky, but the meal was phenomenal.

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Cambridge Common

Halfway between Porter Square and Harvard Square on Mass Ave, you can find the cozy yet hip Cambridge Common. With a tap list as long as your arm, great service, and tasty food, it’s a place that demands repeat visits.

The standard Spinach Artichoke dip is delicious, as to be expected. What’s surprising, though are the homemade baked pita chips along side it.
Yummy in the tummy and easy on the pocket at $5.95.

(And you’ll be licking the plate.)

Fried calamari are something I normally avoid at a bar, since they tend to be rubbery and mostly tasteless. But when a friend of mine ordered these, the look of delight on her face convinced me to try them.
Tender, juicy, and totally worth it at $7.95.

Fried pickles. Not something you normally see on a menu. After a few beers to reduce our inhibitions, we worked up the nerve to order them. Everyone laughed when we did, but sure enough, once they were on the table, everyone wanted a taste. While it’s not something I would order regularly, the combination of the dill pickles, spicy beer batter, and chipotle mayo totally rewarded our exploratory culinary efforts.
Fun at the table for $4.95.

If delicious bar food and excellent beer isn’t your thing, Cambridge Common also serves up some frilly yet deadly martinis and a nice variety of standard salads. Great for going out with friends, or even– over brunch, perhaps –a casual morning-after date. (Don’t worry, if your nerves are still getting the better of you, even in daylight, their “Uncommon Bloody Mary” should put you alright again.)

Overall: YYYY (out of five)
Prices: Cheap– less than $10 for a main course that’ll fill you up.
Atmosphere: Easy going, with a little sports mania near the (muted) TVs.
Dress code: Jeans. T-shirt. Empty stomach.
Great place to bring your… best friend.
1667 Mass Ave (about a ten-minute walk south of Porter)