(Nuun electrolyte tabs)
We took a short weekend trip up to Boston last summer, and after our 6AM flight need some real breakfast. Yelp directed us to Mike & Patty’s, and luckily we found it and arrived early enough to beat the crowd. This place is tiny - maybe five seats? It’s also a challenge to find – but entirely worth it. Make sure to look for the storefront:
The orange juice isn’t fresh squeezed – it’s only marketed like it is, poured into clear plastic cups and displayed like it’s not store-bought, brand name. It’s still good, just… not necessarily worth the cost.
Everything else here was spectacular – really great sandwiches! They’re huge, but full of fresh ingredients with great flavor. The eggs are perfectly cooked, though they’re not the most photogenic.
His plate: breakfast sub – eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese
Her plate: breakfast sub – eggs, avocado, house-made chorizo, fresh salsa
Sweet Cheeks was on our Boston to-do list if it fit into our pre-baseball time, and luckily it did – this will be a staple for any future trips. One of the best barbecue places we’ve ever been – and happy to see chef Tiffani Faison doing well.
Most people around us seemed to be ordering the trays (combo of meat and side) but none of the sides on the list really interested us – we wanted to try the hush puppies, and the salt and pepper potatoes. So we ordered both, and each got a sandwich to split. They also serve their ribs individually as a side, if you want to try them – so we added that on too.
To share: pulled pork sandwich, pulled chicken sandwich, rib, hush puppies, salt and pepper potatoes
The table has several sauces on it, ranging from sweet to hot, and we enjoyed mixing and matching. The pulled pork and chicken were both great. The hush puppies are on the sweet side, but very fresh. The potatoes were the standout – roughly cut, fried, smashed, and fried again, they’re perfectly cooked. This lands on our favorite dishes ever list, without a doubt.
salt and pepper potatoes
pulled chicken sandwich
pulled pork sandwich, rib
Johnny’s has been on the “to try” list since it opened, even though the reviews have been decidedly mixed. We’re big fans of the Wolf/Foreman group of restaurants, enjoying Petit Louis and Charleston immensely. K and I went
K’s plate: house coffee; bowl of tortilla soup
R’s plate: iced coffee; two shrimp spring rolls; maple baked salmon salad over sauté of edamame, bok choy, green apple, garlic, Thai chili
We both found the coffee to be bitter. I thought mine was interestingly weak bodied, for how bitter it was, and drank barely a third of it. K finished hers, though gave it mediocre ratings.
The soup was oily, but good. Not up to Foreman/Wolf fantastic standards, but decent.
The spring rolls were small (as noted in many other reviews) and lukewarm, and the “sweet chile ginger sauce” was practically flavorless. They’re very thick wrappers, with a little bit of shrimp filling and some unidentifiable vegetable content as well.
The salmon was nicely cooked, and a large portion, but didn’t taste like maple or Thai chili – it didn’t really have much flavor at all. I would’ve loved some fresh pepper, or if I’d taken it home to eat, likely added some of Artifact Coffee’s fish pepper hot sauce. The apples were a nice addition, though their sweetness would’ve been more appreciated if there had been heat to stand up against.
Service was fine, unremarkable but not as friendly as we’re used to elsewhere at similarly-priced places (Stone Mill, Artifact, etc.). I’m not sure if we’ll go back – there are places with food that’s exciting and delicious and makes us look forward to eating it – and good coffee. We’d be more likely to do one of the following: pay a little more and go to Petit Louis, or pay a little less and go to Atwater’s, or pay the same and go to Stone Mill or Artifact.
shrimp spring rolls
inside of spring roll
maple baked salmon salad
Passing through Atlantic City, we stopped to watch some football (this past winter) and I got a bowl of noodles at one of my favorite spots there – Noodles of the World. It’s open late, on the casino floor at Borgata, and great for people-watching. Authentic, nicely priced, and fast – it’s a good stop if you like noodles.
I ordered the Vegetable Noodle Soup - thin egg noodles/chicken stock/fresh enoki mushrooms/ snow peas/ yu choy/ bean sprouts/ scallions/ fried shallots; and asked for it spicy. The noodles are fresh and perfectly cooked, the stock is well-seasoned, and the vegetables are fresh. Nothing earth-shattering – just a very nice bowl of noodles.
The pizza that drove me from hiatus to write about? (And hopefully find the breaks in the schedule to write daily?) Of course it wouldn’t be a sensational one.
There are arguments to be made for Birroteca – ample parking, promisingly varied wine/cocktail list, and newly open, of course. Unfortunately, this is another case of a restaurant that we wanted very badly to love – it’s so close to home! – but ultimately really disliked.
The service was terrible. I’ll leave it at that – maybe you’ll have a better experience if you try it. We had lots of questions about the pizza, and were sitting at the bar hoping to strike up a conversation with one of the three bartenders to find out more about how it’s cooked – but they were all busy chatting with each other, and trading cocktails with each other, too. Never mind that the bar was actually pretty full of patrons, at least a handful of which would’ve been ordering another drink if offered.
So, without any answers from conversations not had, the best that I can describe the crust texture is ‘something that you probably shouldn’t have microwaved, but you did… and now it’s too chewy.’ Are you familiar with that chewiness? The ‘hmm, is this overcooked or is there something wrong with my teeth?’ feeling?
D speculated that they may be using pre-cooked crusts, and adding toppings. I’m not sure if that’s the case, but the crust was flavorless and seemed unrisen – no nice cornicione. It was practically basted in olive oil, which added nominal flavor and lots of extra oiliness.
His plate: Prosciutto pizza – mozzarella, melted tomatoes, arugula, prosciutto
Her plate: Spicy fennel sausage pizza – fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, mushrooms, oregano
A few notes on our pies, based on what was described on the menu: D only found one “melted tomato” on his pie, but would’ve liked more. I’d be willing to bet good money that the mozzarella on mine wasn’t fresh, but was regular old shredded stuff – or was just overcooked so much that it curdled. The fennel sausage was pleasant, but not spicy – by either popular definition of the word, neither ‘hot’ or ‘flavorful’.
After eating a few slices each, we noticed a bartender prowling around looking for an extra set of red pepper / oregano / parmesan shakers – and we both got legitimately nervous that he’d come and take our flavor away. We realized that we’d been overloading the extra toppings to make up for the lackluster flavor of the pies as served.
Another pizza note – typically we try out a new place by ordering a Margherita. The table behind us had just ordered one, and I saw that it looked much more like a “plain” pizza than something showcasing fresh mozzarella and basil with a more Neapolitan crust , so we picked pies that were more topping-loaded.
The prosciutto pie was only on my menu, not the one D got – and we found a bunch of other small inconsistencies. Problematic – no. Unprepared and unpolished – yes. Definitely something that we wouldn’t have cared much about if the service had been organized and friendly, and the food had been great. As we were leaving, we walked through the dining room – half full of people, all with pizzas that were barely eaten. Lots of room for improvement here – and we’d love to hear more positive reviews in the future.
Birroteca has only been open for a month – maybe a longer time is needed to nail down this concept? For two pies, a glass of wine ($7) and a soda, $45 is a bit much.