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Kookoo Cafe – Brookline, MA

October 1st, 2012 · No Comments

Kookoo Cafe - Brookline, MA Kookoo Cafe - Brookline, MA

Good coffee so far seems a bit hard to find in Boston. It’s easy to find coffee, but there doesn’t (yet) seem to be the kind of coffee culture that you see in Portland or Seattle here.

So a friend who knows food suggested we meet for a quick coffee here. Good news: Kookoo does very nice coffee. It was probably the first time in Boston that I’ve seen a multi-group semiautomatic espresso machine, which was a great sign to start with. The decor is very comfortable; warm colors, wooden tables, the kind of place you and a friend could get caught up in, never feeling the urge to leave or be rushed out the door.

I had a latte, which was very good. If you want to really know about a place’s coffee, don’t have a latte; have a ristretto if they can make one, or just a shot of their espresso. I’ve had a million lattes, and they’re either one of two things: good or bad. Kookoo’s latte was good, and on this basis, I’d definitely come back to have an espresso any time.

Apparently the food here (lots of baked goods for sale) is good too, which I’ll have to try when I go back.

Kookoo isn’t at all off the beaten track or hard to get to – it’s in Brookline village, just across from the T stop. Definitely take some time out of your day, drop in, have a coffee drink, linger a bit, and be happy you’ve found a coffee oasis in a bit of a desert.

Kookoo Cafe
7 Station Street
Brookline, MA 02445
Tel: (617) 730-5525

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Kookoo Cafe on Urbanspoon

→ No CommentsTags: Baked Goods · Boston · Cafe · Coffee

The Lobster Pot – Provincetown, MA

September 17th, 2012 · 1 Comment

After the relatively long drive out to Provincetown, and a brief stop at the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor’s Center, we decided to head into town for a bite to eat.

Yes, we had researched it, yes we read the mixed comments on all the review websites, but still, we wanted to try it. As someone who grew up in a seaside town, places like the Lobster Pot are pretty darn familiar to me; lots of white and green paint, lots of dark wood, some brass fixtures, maybe some fish nets, a wooden ship’s wheel, it goes on and on. But for these places to stay in business so long, they have to have something good about them – either a special food dish, or the right price, or just an amazing location/view.
The Lobster Pot - Provincetown, MA
So we all went in, and at 2:00pm were sat very quickly, ordered chowder and lobster salad rolls, and thoroughly enjoyed our meal. Everything was good, the service was super-friendly, the restaurant was very kid-friendly, and the restaurant was full of light, and very clean.
The Lobster Pot - Provincetown, MA
I have to admit I’m a little mystified by the phenomenon of the lobster roll; I’ve had at least 3 (maybe 4, I can’t remember) since coming to New England, and I’m generally a little underwhelmed every time. I love lobster, but after you’ve taken it, and put it on a buttered bun, maybe with some lettuce, it seems to lose something. Lobster is a magical food when fresh out of the pot and dipped in butter, but while the bun/lettuce/lobster/butter combo of the lobster roll is a good one, I’m not quite sure it deserves such a vaunted place in the national/regional sandwich Pantheon along with the Philly steak sandwich, the Toronto veal, Bánh mì, Kelly’s Roast Beef, the list goes on. Well, maybe it does deserve a place next to the philly steak, but nowhere near the same tier as the Toronto Veal or Bánh mì (yes, I realize how contentious sandwiches are and that this may ignite a flame war somewhere).
The Lobster Pot - Provincetown, MA
But this is about the Lobster Pot, not a podium from which to pontificate about sandwich philosophy. How was the Lobster Pot’s lobster roll? I’d say very good. At least as good as every other one I’ve had, that is to say, I find them all about the same. So it was tasty, and at $19, not unreasonable for a generous portion of lobster, and a side of salad. Although, they describe it as a ‘panini’ and putting white bread in a sandwich press does not a panini make, although I digress.

The clam chowder was very good – nicely salty, creamy, buttery, with lots of clam flavour – and lots of clams. I know that chowder is just as religious a debate as sandwiches, so I’m not going to get into it; but it was good, and I’d order it again. I can’t praise it much more than that, which at least in my book, is extremely high praise.

So what’s the verdict on the Lobster Pot? If you want high-end, you should go somewhere else; but the neon sign outside (which I love, coming from a place that knows its neon), should have told you that to begin with. The friendly service, relaxed atmosphere, reasonable prices, and good food are what we were looking for, and were what we got. It’s in a convenient location and keep your expectations reasonable, and you’ll enjoy it.

The Lobster Pot
321 Commercial Street
Provincetown, MA 02657
Tel: (508) 487-0842

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→ 1 CommentTags: Provincetown · Seafood · Western Food

PB Boulangerie Bistro – Wellfleet, MA

September 17th, 2012 · No Comments

Stopped by here today on the way to Provincetown. Definitely worth a trip; so far in New England we’ve visited lots of bakeries, but nothing that is really a boulangerie. This place is most definitely a boulangerie. For the uninitiated: Flour, in Boston, is a bakery. Great, delicious, soft, sweet, cake-y goods. Thomas Haas, in Vancouver, or Pierre Hermé in Paris, produce the traditional French products of a boulangerie (and yes, both produce much, much more, but try their pain au chocolat and tell me they’re not a boulangerie). The pain au chocolat was very good; the outside was crispy, the inside soft and with a nice, buttery flavour, and sweet, tasty chocolate inside. No complaints whatsoever. The croissant was beautiful to look at, and delicious to eat; a multilayered, delicate, very crispy outer crust with lots of soft, butter, balanced flavour on the inside.

And – they have a great breakfast deal – $2.80 for a coffee, a piece of fruit (e.g. an orange), and a croissant.

PB Boulangerie - Wellfleet, MA PB Boulangerie - Wellfleet, MA
PB Boulangerie - Wellfleet, MA

So with good food, at the right price – this place gets a huge thumbs up in the price/quality (i.e. ‘value’) category. We didn’t stay and have a meal at the bistro – we’ll have to save that for another trip.

PB Boulangerie Bistro
15 Lecount Hollow Road
South Wellfleet, MA 02663
Tel: (508) 349-1600

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→ No CommentsTags: Baked Goods · French · Western Food

Bridgehead Coffee – Ottawa, ON

October 16th, 2010 · No Comments

Bridgehead Coffee - Ottawa, ON Bridgehead Coffee - Ottawa, ON Bridgehead Coffee - Ottawa, ON
While in town for a course, I had to seek out good coffee – Ottawa doesn’t have much of a reputation as an amazing food town, but come on – with as many office workers as it has downtown – there absolutely has to be good coffee. And it turns out, there is.

Bridgehead is a chain of coffee stores – with at least 11 locations in Ottawa, I was fortunate that there was a location just around the corner from where my course was. I dropped in, ordered an americano, and asked the barista what he’d recommend from the pastry collection – he suggested the pain au chocolat, my favourite – and so that was breakfast.

How was it? The coffee was great – rich, dark – far, far better than anything I’ve had at Starbuck’s, the Second Cup, or Tim Hortons (the Ontario trifecta of common coffee places) – in fact, this was entirely decent coffee, worthy of being served in Seattle or Vancouver. As for the pain au chocolat – I’ll pass next time. While Bridgehead has the coffee right, whoever supplies their pastries – at least based on my one try – needs to step it up a little.

But when you’re in Ottawa, caught in the maze of brutalist concrete that is the downtown, you’ll find a soft spot at Bridgehead, knowing that you’ll get a great espresso, americano, or latte.

Bridgehead Coffee
Multiple locations throughout Ottawa
96 Sparks St. (at Metcalfe)
Ottawa, ON K1P 5B6
Tel (613) 232-4936
Monday to Friday 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

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Bridgehead on Urbanspoon

→ No CommentsTags: Cafe · Coffee · Ottawa

Caffe Ladro (Pine St) – Seattle, WA

October 8th, 2010 · No Comments

While Seattle is probably best known for Starbucks, at least on the West Coast it is known for its great coffee scene. We’ve looked around before but haven’t committed to a city-wide coffee search. At least this trip we got a bit of a better idea what’s going on by searching out some of Seattle’s better-known coffee spots.

Caffe Ladro has multiple locations throughout Seattle, and we went to the downtown location on Pine St during our Saturday am food tour. Located in an architecturally-distinct tower from the 1960’s (I’m guessing), the ground floor location has a very distinct look but gets lots of light and has a very peaceful feel inside.

Service was friendly and fast. I had a latte – and it was certainly very good. Probably if I want to be a purist, I should be ordering ristrettos and offering tasting notes – but my palate isn’t that refined, and so all I’m looking for is a good place to read a book, get a tasty latte, and relax. Caffe Ladro is just fine for all 3 – drop by any time.

Cafe Ladro‎
801 Pine St # 101
Seattle, WA 98101-1852, United States
Tel: (206) 405-1950‎

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Caffe Ladro on Urbanspoon

→ No CommentsTags: Cafe · Coffee · Seattle

Nørrebro Bryghus (Brewhouse) – Copenhagen, Denmark

October 6th, 2010 · No Comments

Nørrebro Bryghus - Copenhagen, Denmark Nørrebro Bryghus - Copenhagen, Denmark
I had read about this place in the Wallpaper Guide for Copenhagen, and as I knew we were going to try Mikkeller Bar, I figured we should make sure that we also check out the competition at Nørrebro Bryghus.

I have so far tried out their Pacific Summer Ale (very delicious), Stuykman Wit (delicious), and Çeske Böhmer (somewhat delicious). I am sure that all of their beers are worth trying, and the three that I tried, were all relatively light, with both floral and fruit on the nose. None were harsh, and all had unique character.

Their selection of beer is sold in at least one grocery store chain (Irma – like the Danish Whole Foods) in Copenhagen, so it’s certainly easy to get.

We stopped by their restaurant/cafe in the Nørrebro neighborhood of Copenhagen, and had a pleasant beer on the patio. A nice place, on a sunny day, or good for a beer after work. Easily the kind of place that ‘a beer’ could turn into ‘ten beer’ with a stumble back to the hotel/apartment.

Definitely a place to try when you’re in town.

Nørrebro Bryghus
Ryesgade 3
2200 Copenhagen N
Tel: (+45) 3530 0530

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→ No CommentsTags: Beer · Copenhagen

DØP Sausage Cart – Copenhagen, Denmark

October 5th, 2010 · 1 Comment

DOP Sausage Cart - Copenhagen, Denmark DOP Sausage Cart - Copenhagen, Denmark
I have no idea where we read about this place. Talk about a random – but very good find.

DØP is an acronym for ‘Den Økologiske Pølsemand’ – i.e. ‘the organic sausage man’ – and while every city has its street food, and Denmark’s seems to be dyed-red hotdogs, you’ll be getting a special treat at the DØP cart. I didn’t read up on the certification of this place, but they bill themselves as being organic, and that’s good enough for me.

The sausage/bun combo is delicious. The bun is whole wheat – you can see the flax seeds in the picture above, and the hot dog (with everything) comes topped with mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, fried onions, fresh onions, and pickles. I don’t even like pickles, but I liked these pickles. The sausage is tasty – hot dogs are usually never that tasty – but this one is indeed good. And the total effect of the whole wheat bun, organic dog, and great toppings is a street food that just works.

Finding the place is a bit tricky though. First, head to the ‘rundetaarn’ – i.e. ’round tower’ in the pedestrian mall area downtown – and on the southeast corner, you’ll find DØP – hopefully open, ready, and waiting to serve you a delicious dog.

Nearest address:
Købmagergade 52A, 1150 København, Denmark
www.dø – NB: the web address has to have the ‘ø’ character in it, otherwise you won’t get to the right webpage

The map below is an approximation of the location – like I note above – try the southeast corner of the round tower:

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→ 1 CommentTags: Copenhagen · Western Food

Summerbird Chocolatier – Copenhagen, Denmark

October 4th, 2010 · No Comments

Summerbird Chocolaterie - Copenhagen, Denmark Summerbird Chocolaterie - Copenhagen, Denmark Summerbird Chocolaterie - Copenhagen, Denmark

We were sitting at Aamans, and started chatting with the very nice couple next to us, who we started exchanging food recommendation with, and an email or two later, M had recommended Summerbird to us for their flødeboller – ‘cream puffs’. Did you ever eat Viva Puffs (in Canada, at least) when you were a kid – those marshmallow-filled, chocolate-coated delicious cookies that would just all-too-easily disappear?

If so, then flødeboller is for you. This is like a giant viva puff, except made with good chocolate, good marshmallow, and a bottom crust like marzipan or something.

Anyway, there’s not much more to say. If you’re going to eat one of these though, have a drink handy, as it’s a giant sugar bomb and you’ll want something to wash the sweetness away when you’re all done.

The lady at Summerbird (I almost wrote Sugarbird, which they may want to consider changing their name to) did mention that they’re one of (if not the) last chocolate manufacturer in Denmark.

So come, visit, find out what the folks making viva puffs are trying to re-create, and enjoy. Summerbird makes many other delicious things as well (we tried the raspberry-flavoured chocolate almonds) so don’t hesitate to try more than just the flødeboller.

Two locations in Copenhagen:
Ny Østergade 9, 1101 København, Denmark
Tel (+45) 33 13 19 02

Kronprinsensgade 11, 1114 København, Denmark
Tel (+45) 33 93 80 40

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→ No CommentsTags: Copenhagen · dessert

Emmerys – Copenhagen, Denmark

October 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

Emmerys - Copenhagen, Denmark Emmerys - Copenhagen, Denmark Emmerys - Copenhagen, Denmark
Always searching out delicious baked goods, we read about Emmerys somewhere or other and as it was literally around the corner from our apartment in Copenhagen, we decided to give it a try – and yes, it totally worked out.

Emmerys is a beautiful food store, with multiple locations in Copenhagen, but with a very large, and very nice store in Nyhavn. Inside is brightly lit, with nice places to stay and eat breakfast and read the paper, and a very wide selection of gourmet food items. Apparently the bread is very good, but we just had the breakfast pastries – and they were so good that we came back two more times as well.

Our favourite was the chocolate cinnamon roll – very moist, not too heavy on the cinnamon with a delicious blob of chocolate – there was something about this one that just worked. The other pastries we tried were the chocolate croissant and a honey-flavoured pastry (I think) coated in miniature sesame seeds (I think). Both were decent enough – Pierre Herme doesn’t have to worry, but they quite a ways better than the ones that I had from Reinh van Hauen.

An additional note – I had a great latte from here (get the double-shot) – definitely not disappointing.

So – when in town, definitely drop by, browse, read the paper, have a coffee and a chocolate cinnamon bun, and dream a little.

Numerous locations in Copenhagen
Store Strandstræde 21
1255 Copenhagen, Denmark
Tel: (+45) 33 93 01 33

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→ No CommentsTags: Baked Goods · Cafe · Copenhagen · Western Food

Reinh van Hauen Bakery – Copenhagen, Denmark

October 2nd, 2010 · No Comments

Reinh van Hauen Bakery - Copenhagen, Denmark Reinh van Hauen Bakery - Copenhagen, Denmark Reinh van Hauen Bakery - Copenhagen, Denmark Reinh van Hauen Bakery - Copenhagen, Denmark
This bakery was mentioned in a couple of articles that we found – apparently it is a favourite of Claus Meyer, chef of Noma, according to an article in the latest edition of the Monocle. We thought we’d try it out – we went to the sandwich shop at the department store Magasin and we went to their bakery shop on Store Kongensgade to try it again.

Copenhagen has no shortage of very good bakeries – see Lagkagehuset and Bo Bech. And you can add Reinh van Hauen to the list – at least for their sandwiches and bread.

At the sandwich store in Magasin, we had a great tuna sandwich – I think that bread is perhaps the most important component to a sandwich, and this was great bread. Crispy crust, soft filling, with great sandwich fillings. D had the mueslibread, which was comparable to the mueslibread we had at Lagkagehuset. Good all around.

But then I went to another one of their bakeries to try out some of the breakfast foods, and I have to say I was very disappointed. I had a blackberry muffin that was oily and too short on the blackberries. This was a muffin I would expect to eat in a hospital cafeteria.

I also had a chocolate croissant – it was doughy and had a measly small strip of chocolate in the middle. Overall, a poor showing on the breakfast foods – I really can’t recommend it for this, unless you’re looking for generic breakfast goods that you could get in any coffee shop in North America (and if you’re reading this blog, chances are that’s not what you’re looking for).

But the sandwich? The sandwich was great.

Reinh van Hauen Bakery
Numerous locations throughout Copenhagen

→ No CommentsTags: Baked Goods · Copenhagen · Western Food