Hello, there! I know, it’s inexcusable - I haven’t shared any food tales in months. Work has been crazysauce, so my plan was to win the Powerball, quit, and talk to you everyday. Well, I am sad to report that I in fact did not win the Powerball (didn’t get a single number!).
Anyhow, last month I was lucky enough to escape the office for a couple of hours of good company and good food at Not Your Average Joe’s new fall menu tasting. (Thanks for inviting us, NYAJ!)
When Jesse and I arrived, we were immediately whisked away to a private room where we met other Boston food lovers. Wine and bread awaited us, and I was mesmerized by the bread-dipping concoction in front of me.
The dipping sauce was heavenly, and we would have lapped up the whole thing were it not for the many courses to come. It was garlicky, cheesy, and the red chili flakes don’t lie – there was a delightful little kick. The focaccia was great as well. (There's gluten-free bread available, too.)
We were soon presented with red wine poached pear and blue cheese flatbread, which was topped with candied pecans and craisins.
One thing you’ll learn about Jesse is that he hates shriveled fruit – raisins, prunes, and at the top of that list, craisins. Well wouldn’t you know, even Jesse loved the flatbread! The pears were soft, warm, with a nice hint of red wine. The flatbread’s sweet and savory combination was dead on.
Appetizer #2 was short rib pretzel bites: red wine braised short ribs over pretzel bread with spicy mustard and crispy onion rings.
As you’ll guess by the copious pictures, this was probably my favorite of the evening. The beef was super tender and flavorful, and the spicy mustard gave it just the right amount of va va voom. The crispy onions on top and sautéed onions underneath the beef was also genius. As a general rule, I like to have as many differently-cooked onions in my mouth as possible.
Then came the poached pear spinach salad. It’s basically everything that was on the flatbread over a bed of spinach, tossed with warm maple vinaigrette, and topped with onion rings. Which means, I fell more in love…
Yeah, I’m going to be dousing everything with warm maple vinaigrette for the rest of my life.
At this point I felt an overwhelming sense of doom as I realized I might be getting full. Then I told my stomach to shut up and push on. Good thing, because the pizza arrived.
Meat lovers pizza: spicy linguica, cured salami, Italian sausage, with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella. This was pretty good – not anything outstanding, but I definitely enjoyed it. Plus I had to take a picture of the pizza holder because it was adorable.
Next up was the smokehouse jambalaya: andouille sausage, ham, spicy linguica, chicken, shrimp, veggies, and rice in a Cajun-spiced tomato broth.
This was delicious with a heavy kick. And gluten-free!
Another gluten-free item followed: Vietnamese salmon over rice noodles with sugar snap peas and chopped peanuts in a lime-infused chili broth.
Not sure if I would necessarily call this dish Vietnamese (whaddya say, Han?), but it was Jesse’s favorite dish of the night. Tangy, savory, and healthy, it’s a solid entrée whether you’re doing gluten-free or not.
The evening ended with farmer’s market chicken carbonara.
It’s grilled chicken with fettucine in a white wine cream sauce, with bacon, grilled corn, grape tomatoes, asparagus, and grilled onions. I loved it – great combination of textures and flavors.
Here’s Jesse, looking happy and showing off all that we had just devoured.
Unfortunately we had to book it back to the firm after dinner, but we (and our stomachs) had such a good time, we will definitely be back soon!
501 Fellsway Station Landing
at Wellington Circle
Medford, MA 02155