Mix It Sushi Noodle Grill – Cambridge, MA

16 Mar

IMG_0776Massachusetts Avenue between Harvard Square and Porter Square has been, in my humble opinion, lacking for years in the area of good reliable restaurants. Don’t get me wrong there are some great restaurants along those miles of Mass Ave., but the terrible ones have for too long outweighed the good ones, but now the odds are shifting. In comes, Mix It Sushi Noodle Grill.

I must admit that I was a bit hesitant at first. The name alone brings visions of too many menu items to do anything well. I will be the first to admit and proudly so that they do it and do it like no other.

The sushi is always fresh and always beautifully presented. And for you vegetarians out there they have an amazing assortment of vegetarian rolls. My personal favorite is the Veggie Combo #2, which includes an asparagus roll, veggie salad roll, and a sweet potato tempura roll.

On one of our bitter cold evenings between two snowstorms I slipped on my little boots and trudged through the six foot snow banks to get something warm to eat. Crazy I know, but this place is worth it. I ordered the Pad Thai with vegetables. Now Pad Thai has been a staple in my diet for many years and in many of my travels, but this without a doubt was one of the best Pad Thai’s I’ve ever had. Everything was cooked to perfection.

For you Cantabrigians who have not been here yet, shame on you. You won’t get this quality of food or great service in too many places around town. If you’re visiting, make the short walk from Harvard Square. Do what you have to, but pay a visit to Mix It. You won’t regret it.

My rating…5 Paws

ShatasSignature_2-5

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Felipe’s Taqueria – Cambridge, MA

21 Jan

215934_1302118.jpg.800x533_q95_crop-smart_upscaleI’ve mentioned before my lack of trust when it comes to restaurants in Harvard Square. A while back, Osushi was a wonderful surprise (click here for that review).

Unfortunately my latest food adventure in Harvard Square failed miserably, so much so that Felipe’s Taqueria isn’t even going to get a second chance with me. But before this little doggy gets down and dirty, let me preface this by saying that I was there midweek for lunch, and about 20 minutes after they opened for the day. This does not excuse them from the crap I was served, but I wanted to put it out there.

In my mind, there is nothing better than digging your paws into a plate of hot, melty, ooey, gooey nachos – nothing! As this was my first visit to Felipe’s I decided to give them a go. I knew I was in trouble with they started peeling precut slabs of white cheese and draped it over the plate of corn chips. Really? Can’t they even bother with something other than processed cheese slices?

The nachos came with guacamole. Wow, you might be saying usually that extra. I would have rather paid extra for fresh guacamole rather than the brown stuff left over from the day before. The refried beans were soggy. The grilled vegetables were hit or miss as well. Some were barely cooked and crunched in my mouth while others were so overcooked they just sort of disintegrated. After about six bites of this retched dish I had had enough. I picked up the plate and dumped it in the plastic bin. Never, ever again!

With all the other “fast food” Mexican restaurants around, you would think Felipe’s would try a bit harder. As for me? You’ll find me down the street at Chipotle or Qdoba. These little paws will never cross the door of Felipe’s again.

My rating 2 paws

ShatasSignature_2-4-2

With love from my dog bowl to yours…Happy eating!

Lucky’s Cafe – Oak Lawn, Dallas TX

24 Dec

luckysexteriorLucky’s Café is nothing short of a historical landmark for the gay neighborhood in Dallas. It is an institution that has seen stood against time and AIDS and still continues to serve some of the best home cooked diner food anywhere in the city.

One only has to look up to see the history. Above the full-length windows that curve the perimeter of the restaurant, the walls are adorned with graffiti, words of prayers, and good-byes to all of those friends and loved ones that were lost to AIDS. Lucky’s Café is a place to dine with friends, families, loved ones, and of course strangers and those you just spent the previous night with. It’s a place where everyone is welcome, and everyone who has ever been a part of this neighborhood has spent many of wonderful hours.

The food isn’t fancy. It isn’t plated for a photographic spread in Food and Wine Magazine. It’s just damn good. From Chicken Fried Chicken, to Grilled Meatloaf, from twenty southern vegetables to choose from to salads, soups, burgers and sandwiches, there is always something to satisfy every taste.

The service is among the best in the area because many of these men and women have been serving the gay community for thirty to forty years. Even if it’s your first time, they will treat you like you’ve been friends since childhood.

Seriously, if you are ever in Dallas for a day or a week, Lucky’s Café is the place to go. You’ll get great food, become an immediate member of their family, and leave feeling good about supporting and being a part of this historical landmark.

My rating…4 Paws

ShatasSignature_2-4-1

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Gloria’s Latin Cuisine – Oak Lawn Dallas TX

23 Dec

imagesYesterday’s, six-hour plane ride was one of the longest in my little doggy years. Not because of the time it took to get from Boston to Dallas, but because of the anticipation of where my little paws were going to take me the minute we landed and checked into our hotel. It’s been fifteen years since my little furry paws walked these streets on a daily basis, and a lot has changed, but thankfully one thing hasn’t, Gloria’s Latin Cuisine in Oak Lawn.

The chips arrive immediately to the table. They are warm, and lightly salted. The chips are served not only with some of the best salsa around, but also with a bowl of warm, pureed black beans. These are things doggy dreams are made of, and it’s only the beginning.

For years, I have always had enchiladas. To me they are the ultimate comfort food and are always amazing here. But for some reason I decided to go off in a different direction and ordered one of the Salvadorian Combination plates. I may never go back after eating their chile relleno platter.

The meal arrives beautifully plated with all of those delicious Latin flavors rising up in the steam of the freshly prepared food. White rice perfectly cooked with peas, corn, and carrots alongside a soft velvety bath of warm refried black beans. The relleno was stuffed with cheese and drizzled in a spicy red sauce. As this was a combination platter the relleno was served with an enchilada. The ground beef enchilada was covered with the most delicious chile con queso.

If you find yourself in the Oak Lawn neighborhood and are craving Mexican/Salvadorian food, there is no place else to consider. Get yourself to Gloria’s. Oh and the margaritas…well just get there and experience it in person. There’s no other way to describe it.

My rating…5 Paws

ShatasSignature_2-5

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Osushi – Harvard Square

15 Dec

OsushiSo here’s a tidbit that I normally don’t share. This little doggie is not a big fan of the restaurants in the immediate Harvard Square area. Let’s face it, these restaurants are for the tens of thousands of tourists, and students that live and visit our fine city. Food is turned out rather quickly, and while some restaurants handle the hustle better than others, there is just a general lack of quality in the food, not to mention the service. There are a few exceptions in my book, and the one this review is about is, Osushi.

Now let me set the story. I’ve been here a few times over the years, and while my first few visits were not particularly awe inspiring I have continued to go back. I know this goes against my second rule, which is restaurants have only 2 chances to win me over. But there is something special about this place, and my visit last night sealed the deal with me.

From the moment I walked in, the service was top-notch. Our waiter was friendly, personable, always around without bring intrusive or annoying, and he had a great sense of humor and personality, something seriously lacking in the restaurant world of late.

The vegetarian gyoza (pan-fried) were done to absolute perfection. They were soft and tender on top, golden and caramelized on the bottom. For my entrée, I ordered Yaki Soba a warm and flavorful dish of stir-fried ramen noodles with vegetables, ginger, and soy sauce. Everything about this dish was perfection with every chopstick portion giving off wonderful aromas and tantalizing flavors. This is a must have on their menu.

So if you find yourself in Harvard Square and wanting something other than quick serve, assembly line type food, consider getting your little paws over to Osushi. You won’t be disappointed.

My rating…4 Paws

ShatasSignature_2-4-1

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Brickyard Coffee – San Diego

24 Nov

brickyard-cafeI was wandering around on my first day of vacation in San Diego and came across Brickyard Coffee. I loved the look of it. It’s sort of funky, rustic vibe felt cozy and they have a great patio. It was mid to late morning on a Friday so I decided to stop in for a coffee and bagel.

Stepping up to the counter was when things went downhill fast for this little dog. The staff was, less than friendly as if my presence there was somehow unwanted. I had what I thought was a simple order, a sesame bagel toasted with cream cheese and a latte; a no brainer for a coffee shop right? Well not this place.

They took my money and gave me a number sign. No thank you we’ll bring it out to the table, nothing. So I went out on the patio, found a table and waited…and waited…finally 10 minutes later my bagel arrives. I mentioned that I had ordered a latte thinking the order should come out together. The guy shrugged his shoulders and walked away. The bagel was cold, and unappetizing, I nibbled waiting for the latte. I saw the guy delivering someone else’s coffee and asked about my latte. His response…”It’s coming.” So after more waiting, the tasteless bagel gone, I finally get my latte. I think I’d rather have scooped out muddy water from the street. Their coffee is terrible.

Long story short, don’t make a special trip to come here. If you happen to be walking by and want a coffee, wait, don’t bother because with their terrible food and customer service, they don’t want you.

My rating 1 paw

Shata's Signature

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating…or not!

Don Chido’s – Gaslamp District San Diego

22 Nov

UnknownMexican cuisine has always been my downfall. I could eat good Mexican food three meals a day, seven days a week and still I’d want more. As a dog with ancient roots in China, I’m not sure where my love of Mexican food came from, but it’s with places like Don Chido’s that keeps me wanting more.

Picture it, a beautiful sunny day in mid-November. Temps are in the upper 60’s; you’re sitting at a table surrounded by open windows sipping a delicately sweet yet tantalizingly tart icy margarita. Could it get any better? Oh, it does because the food hasn’t even arrived yet.

In comes my taco platter, which consists of three street tacos, a side of refried beans and Mexican rice. What I really like was the fact that you, the guest, got to choose your three tacos all for the same lunch price of $11.00. The refried beans were smoky, creamy, and delicious and the red rice dotted with small green peas was cooked perfectly. The carne asada taco was spicy, and grilled to perfection. The fish taco, which was mahi-mahi today, was delicate and light with the crunch of cabbage and a green sauce that was out of this world, and even though these two were top notch, my favorite was the rajas poblano taco. The smokiness of the peppers, corn, and mushrooms was something to be savored.

This is not your high-end Mexican restaurant on the contrary; this is solid Mexican food without the attitude but with loads of flavor.

My rating

ShatasSignature_2-4-1

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating!

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