Spring has Sprung Restaurant Style

1 04 2010

Photo by Isabelle Klein age 5 1/2 (taken for her blog borrowed by mommy)

Not only are crocuses popping up here and there, but in Boston and environs some fabulous sounding restaurants have popped up here and there.  Flour Bakery (you know the one near the children’s museum) is working hard to open their third location down by Central Bottle Wine and Provisions in Cambridge, Bergamot has opened in Somerville, and Rafiki Bistro is in the works on Mass. Ave between Harvard and Porter Sq.

Another restaurant that I have been anxiously awaiting is AKA Bistro because it is a hop, skip and a jump from our CSA and sometimes I just don’t have the time or desire to pack a picnic for dinner (although we enjoy many of those a growing season) and pizza next to the gas station is okay every once in a while, but now we have an extraordinary option….and check out this fabulous children’s menu!

There are snails (no puppy dogs tails) and instead of chicken wings how about some frog’s legs.  Wait….don’t start  to guffaw or shake your head.  This food is actually more child friendly than you might think. Read on and then I’ll explain.

Kids Menu

9 Frog legs, broccoli purée & garlic sauce

6 Ham & Cheese Sandwich

5 Grated Carrot Salad

8 Black olive tomato confit tart

9 Steak “hache”  (as in hamburger French style no bun) & french fries

8 French Mac & Cheese

7 Mashed potato and ham

9 Cod fillet, lima beans, cherry tomato confit, chorizo oil

9 *Hawaiian Poke (Marinated tuna cubes) with sweet onions, ginger & pickled mung beans

dz 9 Snails with herbs and garlic butter

For the most picky children there is the gratin of noodles and cheese (and I’m sure if necessary you can get them plain jane.) and a simple grated carrot salad is divine. As for the snails, my daughter loves garlic and butter and bread…that’s what snails are essentially with a snail hidden in there somewhere (don’t judge and your kids won’t either).  Marinated tuna cubes are great little bites of pinkiness.  Who wouldn’t want that?  Nothing fishy there and it’s the perfect finger food (even in a fancy resto).  The steak hâché should be a perfectly cooked patty with a side of fries.  Who needs a bun when the meat is good.  Mashed potato is another kid-friendly dish and who knows maybe they’ll like it with ham and then you can add a little protein in with that starch (and maybe even make your own version at home.)

I expect great things from AKA Bistro in Lincoln.  The quality should be top-notch which means the prices are perfectly fair and dare I say even reasonable.

If you get a chance to go…please share your experiences in the comment section below!


Belmont Farmer’s Market Pizza Night

9 10 2008


Fresh eggplant and spinach from the farmer's market with a little garlic makes a perfect pizza topping.

Fresh eggplant and spinach from the farmer's market with a little garlic makes a perfect pizza topping.



Tonight my husband and I had a late night dinner together.  The light was glowing, we sat with a glass of wine in hand, and a plate of fresh made pizza and a crisp salad.

Sounds romantic right?  Well in fact, an hour or so prior to this I was upstairs wrangling the children into their jammies.  One clinging to my every step because she’s afraid that a dragon lives in the front room while the other throws a full out tantrum because he doesn’t believe that now is a good time for a diaper change.  Not exactly the prelude to a romantic dinner for two.  And to be honest, the glow is from the television, the wine is more a necessity than an luxury at this point and the fresh made pizza is the only thing that lives up to its name because it’s fresh, it’s hot and it’s delicious.

Let me tell you a little about pizza night.  A new staple in our house is a ball of frozen pizza dough from either Whole Foods Market or Russo’s.  They both cost under $2 I believe.  The only forethought you need is to take the dough out either the night before or the morning of.  You can usually scrounge up things in the fridge or pantry, but if you want farm fresh you’re better off going to a nearby farmer’s market some time that day or the weekend before.  It doesn’t take long and it is so worth it for flavor, quality and price.

Today after school, I took my daughter to the Belmont Farmer’s market.  It’s a nice outing for children since they can usually help pick out the veggies, there are always some sweet treats and for my daughter anything with tents is by definition exciting.  If you’re desperate there is a Starbucks in Belmont. You can sit in a cozy chair, refuel with some coffee/tea, read a story with your child and do homework before hitting the farm stands.  The market is from 1-5 on Thursdays and it is in the back of the parking lot behind Macy’s and all the stores on Leonard St. 

Today, I had two goals.  Get veggies for tonight’s pizza and get some fruits and/or veggies for my daughter’s lunch.  I found some great eggplant (2$/pound) from the Farm School stand (Athol, MA) and across the way my daughter picked out purple peppers for her lunch at Dick’s Market Garden Farm (Lunenberg, MA).  She loves things that crunch like peppers and the purple ones are always a novelty because of their beautiful color.  I also spotted some Mutzu apples which are great, they are a bit tart, but very juicy .  They don’t brown too easily because of their tartness so they do well cut up in a lunch box.  Another tip is to slice the apple in large circles and then put the apple back together.  It will not really brown if you wrap it tightly together.

While I fixed the kids dinner, all I had to do was slice the eggplant, toss it with some olive oil, maldon sea salt, and pepper and throw it on the grill while the kids unwound from their day by playing in the sandbox on the porch.  Last night my daughter had meatballs from the freezer that I had heated up in tomato sauce.  She took some for lunch today and the leftover sauce and a meatballs were the sauce and topping for the pizza.  We had some spinach that I bought earlier in the week at Russo’s because it looked fresh and fabulous. I always have grated cheese in the drawer (nachos, kids’ snack, pizza, grilled cheese). 

Everything is prepped, I take the kids to bed.  When I come down, I preheat the oven, I pour myself a kir (4 parts white wine, 1 part creme de cassis) and my husband walks in the door.  He takes over.  The ingredients are on the counter.  All he has to do is stretch the dough onto the cookie sheet, cut up the meatballs, throw the sauce on, and add the grilled eggplant.  We like variety so we keep the meatballs on one half and the veggies on the other half.  While the pizza cooks he sautees the spinach with some garlic, adds it to the eggplant side and dinner is ready in about 10 minutes (400 degree oven).

It’s fresh, it’s cheap, it’s quick (even if your husband isn’t man enough to join in the cooking) and it’s delicious . The nice thing about pizza is you can be so creative or not for the picky eater.  You can even make a mine/your side if you need to. Crystal Brook Farm (Sterling, MA) was at the Belmont market too. I bet they would have some great goat cheese for the pizza. 

“A table!” –