23 January, 2010

North End Treats

Caution, this review only covers the desert selections from North End Treats.

Famous for offering authentic North End fare outside of Boston, North End Treats holds to a prestigious tradition. It's located right off of the Massachusetts Turnpike, an unassuming location with wonderful access for all of New England. Does the ugly duckling have a heart of gold?

Yes. The deserts were perfect. We first tried their canolis, stuffed with a less-than-traditional chocolate filling. Everything about it was perfect, golden pasty, perfectly sugared, and a filling that made me believe in love again. I would not turn down a box of these delights.

Next, we tried their chocolate cupcake. The ganache was a bit sugary, however the cake itself held a wonderfully deep cocoa-flavor. It created a nice balance when consumed together. The nonpareils on top just made for a fun eating experience.

Finally, we tried their medium Whoopie pie. We were served something the size of a cheeseburger. The cake, similar to that in the cupcake, blended perfectly with the fresh whipped cream. The whipped cream, by itself, was a tad sweet. Combined with the cake, the Whoopie pie put all others to shame.

North End Treats has a full bakery and a deli with a brick oven pizzeria. They have a full website.

North End Treats on Urbanspoon

Rating: A

22 January, 2010

Sichuan Gourmet

When one wants delicious Chinese food, often it can be hard to scratch the itch. Sometimes the food is too greasy, other times it is not very flavorful. The nice flavors often found in good Chinese food can often be difficult to locate.

Framingham hosts a quiet little Chinese restaurant off of route 9 named Sichuan Gourmet. It overlooks the crowded route, yet hosts delicious food from the Sichuan region. Translation; it's spicy!

This is a warning, because from the very beginning your taste buds will have to battle with the heat. They placed down at the beginning of the meal some nice ice water, oolong tea, and a small bowl of cured vegetables. The carrot pieces and broccoli stems looked tasty in their spicy oil. It was delicious, but dangerous. The Epicurean's throat was ripped apart from the intense heat. This sounds like a bad thing, but it wasn't.

The tradition continued with their Wonton soup, which held an influence of the spicy peppercorn. Wilted inside, leaves of spinach decorated the family-size bowl. My wife also ordered a bowl of their egg drop soup, something to which she proclaimed was one of the best servings she had ever experienced. The egg drop soup was not flavored with the spicy peppercorns, giving it a rich flavor.

The entree, chicken lo mein, was perfect. When we walked in we spotted several women manufacturing homemade egg noodles, so we decided we had to try them. It was well worth it. The lo mein (a Vietnamese dish, though this noddle entree tasty very Chinese) featured tender chicken and perfectly cooked julienned vegetables. Everything served tasted wonderful.

We only found out after we could have ordered the food not so spicy, but the heat did not detract from the flavor. Sichuan Gourmet has two locations, we visited the one in Framingham. They have a full website with all their information.

Sichuan Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Rating: A-

Quebrada Baking Company

The Quebrada Baking Company is situated on Route 16 n Wellesley. Located within a very crowded plaza, the bakery and cafe welcomes the participants with a warm atmosphere and a busy counter. The interior is nothing special, with the bakery cases oddly arranged without showing the full selection of products to those entering.

Me and my wife ordered a small snack to test their baking skills and how they handle the cafe aspect. We each had a mini-cupcake. My wife ordered a double chocolate cupcake (topped with a Hersey's kiss) and I ordered the cappuccino cupcake. The cupcakes each had a tasty topping; the chocolate a tasty ganache and the cappuccino a espresso-flavored butter cream. Each fit the rich chocolate cupcake base and offered a different and pleasant experience.

Unfortunately, the hot chocolate we ordered with the meal did not feature the same rich taste. It was watery and not very chocolaty, instead tasting like a cocoa-flavored steamed milk. It did not compliment the baked goods, instead ruining an otherwise delicious snack. It did not inspire me to try their coffee.

Quebrada is situated in historic Wellesley. They have a full website with all the bakery's information.

Quebrada Baking Co on Urbanspoon

Rating: B

12 January, 2010

Caffe Dolce Vita

Caffe Dolce Vita remains a mainstay in Federal Hill's De Pasquale plaza. The caffe, attached to the Hotel Dolce Vita. Recently, the caffe offers price fixed lunches and dinners. Me and my wife decided to try out the caffe one cold January morning.

My meal consisted of the fruit salad (part 1 of a 3 course meal), which was simple with melon, pineapple and an orange imperial. Not too bad, but rather plain. I then enjoyed the lunch-serving of their pasta primavera (longing for spring). It was quite delicious. They cooked the penne perfectly, expertly sauteed the vegetables and brought it together in a lovely butter and wine sauce. Even my wife, who normally hates pasta primavera, picked the penne up for delicious consumption. I then finished with a desert course, but more on that later.

My wife enjoyed the salad, a selection of greens, tomatoes, and thinly sliced onions tossed in a delicious balsamic vinaigrette. Much better than the fruit salad. She then enjoyed their 'Philly Cheese Steak'. The waiter served a fresh Italian roll packed with perfectly cooked rib eye and American cheese. She finished with the same desert I did, chocolate gelato.

Caffe Dolce Vita served a perfect gelato in a plastic martini glass. While it was served with a plain and generic whipped cream (other locations serve only fresh whipped cream), the gelato held a rich cocoa flavor that made fudsicles cry at their inadequacy.

Everything tasted wonderful, with the 'bad parts' still being delicious. Visit caffe Dolce Vita on Federal Hill if you want to try a delicious meal.

Caffe Dolce Vita on Urbanspoon

Rating: A

08 January, 2010


Nestled in downtown Cranston, Athena's stands out with the egg as part of the logo. Sometimes patrons are afraid of breakfast joints located in stripmalls. This should not be one of those times. When looking for a good breakfast, those places produce the best food. Athena's continued that tradition.

Farm fresh eggs, savory and crispy hashbrowns, and delicious bacon made the meal. Crispy Italian bread toast complimented the big three with a meal that was fit for a goddess. The food came out quick and everything was perfect. Me and my wife wanted to order a delicious looking fruit cup (spotted at another table), but our stomachs would not allow it. The best part? The bacon. I normally hate bacon, yet Athena's serves the best bacon I have ever tasted.

The interior was clean, though it looked a bit rough. The service was excellent with easy parking. Everything fit perfectly and created a memorable breakfast. We will return to try some other dishes, including a tasty looking pancake dish served with nutella spread and chopped, roasted hazel nuts. We also still want that fruit salad.

Athena's on Urbanspoon

Rating: A+

About Me

Rhode Island, United States
I am a lover of Food. I review restaurants, markets, snacks, wine, beer, and spirits. Life is too short to eat bad food.