Lynn, Lynn, the City of…Donuts

Posted: July 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Bakery, Donut City, Lynn, Sweets and Treats | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Even unintentionally, Corey Jackson inspires me to eat in Lynn. This morning I was planning to take Route 1A through Lynn when Corey posted a picture of the awful  Lynnway traffic on Facebook. Having no desire to experience it for myself, I decided to take Route 107, conveniently passing directly by Donut City, which sits at the intersection of Western Ave. and Chestnut Street.

A small, independent, family-owned shop that’s been open about a year and a half, Donut City makes donuts fresh each morning. I had been meaning to check them out, and this was the perfect opportunity.

Everything looked so good, I ended up leaving with a variety of treats to share with my colleagues. Both the raised and cake donuts (.75 each) were terrific. My all-time favorite, the chocolate frosted old-fashioned cake donut was excellent. The crunchy fried outside encased moist cake and was topped with chocolate icing that didn’t overwhelm. The raised doughnuts were heavenly—even the glazed was feather light, and the raised cinnamon was a revelation. That’s the one I’ll go back for.

Donut City offers muffins in two sizes, (.79 for small and $1.65 for large) and produces a variety of unusual flavors along with the old standbys. Who could resist a Boston Cream Pie muffin? I certainly couldn’t, and I threw in a pineapple coconut one for good measure. My colleagues were quite happy with the decision. The muffins were moist, lightly sweet, and had a nice springy crumb—the Boston Cream Pie drew raves.

I was interested to discover that aside from a myriad of sweet treats, croissants and breakfast sandwiches, the shop also offers fresh, hot, savory meat pies. The chicken and beef pastelitos (.80 each) looked so good, I opted to try the chicken then and there. A crisp pastry filled with chopped meat, onions, and sweet peppers, it was delicious. A couple of those and a coffee and you’ve got yourself a bargain lunch.

Speaking of coffee, I was excited to see that Donut City carries locally roasted fair trade coffee from Beverly’s Atomic Café.

The quality and freshness of this unassuming corner bakery blows chain store donuts out of the water, so don’t wait until the next traffic jam to stop by.

Donut City
515 Chestnut Street, Lynn
(781) 477-0766

Donut City on Urbanspoon

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Getting (Sur)Real at the PEM

Posted: July 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Salem | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

During a cooking demonstration, Chef Matt O'Neil creates a layer of chive cream for his tuna tartare

The Peabody Essex Museum is throwing several evening parties this summer. We decided to check out Thursday night’s event because one of our favorite North Shore chefs, Matt O’Neil of The Blue Ox, was doing a cooking demonstration.

Army of Broken Toys provided the evening's soundtrack

The night was dedicated to surrealism, with a special exhibit of Man Ray paintings and music by Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys.

O’Neil was serving up tuna tartare with chive cream on a potato crisp. The connection with surrealism is the surprise of combining seafood with cheese (there is mascarpone in the cream under the tuna). Surreal or not, it was an outstanding combination of texture and flavor.

Sushi grade tuna awaits dicing, adding the "special" sauce, the finished tuna tartare

The chef mixed together one part sour cream to two parts mascarpone and added a generous amount of chives. He suggested making the cream a day ahead for more “chive presence.” The cream is piped or spooned onto thick potato chips (potatoes soaked in water for one hour and then fried).

The sushi-grade tuna gets finely diced. O’Neil prefers the very-tender loin over the belly (torro) for this preparation. To the tuna, he adds the green part of the scallion, black sesame seeds, cilantro, diced cucumber, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.

The last step is the addition of his “special sauce,” which includes sriracha, soy, sesame oil, seasoned rice wine vinegar, and honey

The live chess game

Tastebuds satisfied and recipe in hand, we were ready for the final event of the evening: a live chess game, complete with outrageous costumes.

Check out upcoming events at the PEM here. The next summer party is Waterworks on August 25, featuring a cash bar, experiments with water, Andrew Sempere’s Bowl of Oceans sculpture, and Susan Fishman and Elena Kalman’s The Wave, an interactive installation in the Asian Garden.

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The Scotty Dog Brings a Taste of Chicago to Beverly

Posted: July 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Beverly, Casual/Pub Food, Diner, The Scotty Dog | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Roadside food fans rejoiced this spring when the former Rondogs hot dog stand in Beverly, which had been closed for over a year, re-opened as The Scotty Dog. We finally got a chance to stop by this week and check it out.

Situated in a small parking lot on Rantoul Street, the tiny stand features car-hop service and several picnic tables and Adirondack chairs where diners relax in the shade.

The Scotty Dog is a Vienna Beef stand, so all of its dogs are Vienna products and its touted menu item is the Chicago Style dog. (For the record, if you are a Vienna Beef fan looking for a fix while traveling, there’s an app for that.)

Despite our epic investigation of North Shore hot dogs two summers ago, this was our first taste of a Chicago Style. For those unfamiliar, this mean it’s served on a poppy-seed roll with mustard, onions,relish, tomatoes, sport peppers, a pickle spear, and a sprinkling of celery salt (small$3.70, large $4.90). Under no circumstances is ketchup allowed to mar this carefully prepared combination.

Clearly not experts on the matter, we can’t say whether the wiener we had was up to Chicago standards, but it was certainly enjoyable. The sport peppers give the whole thing a kick, and we loved the addition of the pickle. The bizarre neon green relish wasn’t to our liking, and the bun was a bit bland and squishy, but that’s likely because we’re die-hard New Englanders and prefer a grilled frankfurter roll.

The Scotty Dog has plenty of toppings available for a build-your-own experience and offers a variety of specialty dogs. We’re thinking next time we may have to try the Juracy Dog, which features corn, potato sticks, and mayo.

We also tried one of the “steak burgers” which come in Toy, (single patty, $2.50) Standard, (double patty, $3.50) and Mastiff (triple patty, $4.50) We opted for the Scotty Patty, which came with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and special sauce. The burger was quite good— it tasted very fresh and had a nice hand ground texture and grilled flavor to it. Our only “beef” (sorry, it’s the heat) was that the server didn’t ask how we wanted it done, and it came out slightly more rare than we would have liked. We suggest making sure you specify doneness when placing your order.

The french fries ($1.75 for small, $2.25 for large) were thin and crisp, and we appreciated the generous shake of black pepper along with the salt, giving them extra zing.

The owners are still finding their groove with the ordering and serving procedure, but everyone was cheerful and helpful, and we love the car hop service, which makes The Scotty Dog a perfect choice when you’re on the way back from a day at the beach with a car full of kids of any age.

The Scotty Dog
437 Rantoul St., Beverly
(978) 969-3487
www.thescottydog.com

The Scotty Dog on Urbanspoon

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Weekend Picks, July 15-17

Posted: July 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 5 Corners Kitchen, Event, Gloucester, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

I’m sure you’ve noticed a lull in the action around here lately, but these things happen when summer (and numerous family events) hit town.  We’re back in action now and have a few quick  ideas to supplement your summer fun this weekend.

Looking to start the thing off right? Head over to Pamplemousse in Salem this evening from 5 -7 pm to help them celebrate 9 years in business. They’ll have cupcakes, wine and treats as well as Magic Hat’s #9 Not So Pale Ale.

If a bit respite from the sun sounds good on Saturday afternoon, Kappy’s in Peabody will be hosting their Taste of New England, which features locally produced spirits, beer and wine. It’ll be a nice opportunity to taste the wares of one of our favorite distilleries, Gloucester’s Ryan & Wood, as well as the brand new Privateer Rum out of Ipswich, MA.

Saturday evening the place to be is Gloucester, for their 2011 Downtown Block Party. Not only will there be live entertainment, street performers and general carousing, many of the local restaurants will be running deals for the evening.Yyou might want to stop in Cape Ann Brewing, where the guys are throwing a pig roast with live music, starting at 6pm.

Did you know that Hawthorne Hotel Chef de Cuisine Jennifer Normant is a contestant on this season’s Hell’s Kitchen? To celebrate, The hotel will be hosting a viewing party in their Grand Ballroom on Monday night at 7pm. Meet the chef, watch the show, and partake of cocktail and hors d’oeuvres special on offer that night.

On a sad note, we were devastated to see that an electrical fire caused severe smoke damage to both 5 Corners Kitchen and Terry’s Ice Cream in Marblehead Wednesday afternoon. Both eateries are closed until further notice for clean up. We wish them a speedy recovery and hope they’ll be open again as soon as possible. If you’re in Marblehead this weekend, show Terry’s your support by stopping by their brand new ice cream truck, which will be parked across the street from the building. We love the idea of one Facebook poster, who suggested that Chef Barry of 5 Corners open an adjacent “pommes frites” truck so local could get their fix of his addictive fries during the clean up. We’d certainly be in line.

And here are a couple of ideas from our pals in the North Shore Bloggers Consortium

Seth is all about what’s happing in Lynn in Lynn Happens.

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