Wednesday, November 20, 2013

So much butter!

The next morning we rose surprisingly early as the guys the previous night had promised to take us to the best restaurant in town that served lobster benedict. A minute before one of them was supposed to pick us up we got the text message that they weren't coming. Some friends. We wrote them off and decided to take the tram and get there ourselves.

Halfway there though, the T line had such massive delays that we decided to change plans and go to one of the other brunch places we were more interested in: Oishii. Oishii is a Japanese restaurant that serves Japanese style tapas at a set price for lunch everyday. Yes and yes.

We arrived ten minutes before the restaurant even opened. YES, first in line. The choices were astounding.

There were four lunch specials to choose from. One of them was ramen, which is what I went with, two of them were tapas-style selections (the biggest one Rhinda went with), and another choice that no one got but still looked interesting.

Here is a brief overview of what Rhinda's menu looked like:

And what her food actually looked like after it was served:

She and I decided to go halvsies to try the maximum amount of food possible.

It was incredible. The flavors were intense and bright and the textures were to die for. Our favorite by far was the grilled miso black cod, which was interesting because it didn't look like anything special.

All of the fish was incredibly fresh and the flavors great. Surprisingly the most uninteresting dish was the lobster wild mushroom risotto. We all agreed that somehow it wasn't like risotto but more like undercooked rice. The lobster itself was good though.

And then there was my ramen. It was great; not too salty, and filled with pieces of completely marinated-to-perfection pork belly. With the normal delicious gooey egg and some cabbage. Wonderful and exactly what I was looking for.

We were absolutely stuffed after this meal, despite everything looking so small and dainty. Beautiful food with incredible flavors. Just the way I love it.

So naturally the next thing we did was the Sam Adams brewery tour. Because when you're full the only thing to do is fill your belly with more of all things.

The tour itself was actually pretty good. It was just long enough to tell you all the informative things you'd want to know (ingredients, brew process, tour of the very small grounds, since this site is really the place where R&D happens and they do all of the experimenting, not the major manufacturing), and then the majority of the time is in the tasting room where they give you three different tastings (basically as much as you'd really want to drink) while telling you about those beers and giving you a free tasting glass as well as selling you on other glasses and telling you where you can get another glass for free. It's a pretty sweet deal for a free brewery tour.

Obviously after the tour was done and we'd toured the gift shop...we went to the other bar where we could get the free glass and sat down for a pint of Sam Adams. Rhinda and I both got the Nitro, only sold at that one bar and exclusive to Boston. I had several types of beer that were exclusive to Boston on that trip. Hello beer...goodbye wine (at least for this trip). I had forgotten how refreshing beer could be.

It was about this time that happy hour was once again starting, and Rhinda had just bought (that very morning) a Livingsocial deal for a German restaurant we'd been scoping out called Jacob Wirth's. We were also to meet one of Linda's Bostonian friends there (someone who lives in Boston but who went to UCSD with us) and another girl arriving was to meet us there. So much coordination!

So we split up on the T line - half of us were going to Jacob Wirth's, the other half were going to Neptune to put us in the queue there for dinner. The wait at Neptune is notorious, since they take no reservations and the restaurant is incredibly small. You literally go there, put in your name, and then wait for two hours until they call it. You're allowed to wander away, but only in that general neighborhood. Apparently those girls went for several cups of coffee and some touristy shopping.

We on the other hand...had more food and beer...

I ordered an amazing grapefruit beer (really, it smelled and tasted like was so refreshing I can't even describe), and we ordered a plethora of appetizers to share. Sauerkraut balls with ale honey mustard, veal schnitzel with jaeger sauce on spaetzel, and the Jake's nibbler platter with two types of brat with red cabbage, potato salad, and sauerkraut. Fantastic, all of it, delicious.

We had fun talking before walking back to the hotel where Rhinda's fiance had surprised her with an edible arrangement. An entire bouquet of fruit made into shapes of flowers - pineapples, cantaloupes, grapes, strawberries, and chocolate covered strawberries. We ate the entire thing for two days. Given all the other food we ate it was pretty impressive.

At this time our table at Neptune was ready so we met with the rest of our party, including two others, one of which was another one of Rhinda's Bostonian friends (though who she met through her study abroad in France).

Neptune is known for its oysters, lobster rolls, and johnnycakes, so that's exactly what I ordered to share with Rhinda. By now I wasn't hungry; I was eating for experience and taste only. My god, there was so much butter:

The oysters here were incredible. There was a printed out list, describing in exact detail the oysters they had on half-shell with their flavors and where they were from. They were individually priced. I ordered three different ones with worlds like "has a buttery finish," "light notes of citrus" etc. It was like choosing a wine. And the descriptions were completely spot on. They were definitely some of the freshest and best oysters I've ever had in my life. In. My. Life.

Oh, I also ordered a crab claw with my fresh seafood that was just very meh. It was good, don't get me wrong, and it was even precracked for me, but it was just alright. I guess when you have this amount of amazing fresh seafood, when something is just "good" instead of "incredible" it starts to feel mediocre. I'm sure in real life that crab claw would have been out of the park.

The lobster roll and johnnycake. The lobster roll, per reviews recommendation, was ordered hot and with butter. Though the lobster in it was exceptional, I didn't particularly like it this way. I had a cold one (with mayo) later on the trip that I enjoyed much more, despite its lobster quality being a little less good. I think perhaps I'm just too much of a mayo ho to like lobster being so plain. Even though it was covered in butter.

The johnnycake though...ho, it was delicious. I wasn't expecting to like this particular thing, since it was described to me as "a pancake with some sort of savory topping." I'm not a huge fan of pancakes since they're part of the bready family which I usually find little interest in, but well, when in Rome...

This was totally different than people had described. First, it was thicker and more buttery than anyone had described. Its flavors were more intense and it was just...better, than any pancake I'd ever had. Definitely denser as well. And the savory topping? Albacore with caviar. Yes, I understand that this is not a normal person topping, but god was it good. Incredible. I would eat this any day, any time. On any thing. I wish they would sell that in a jar because I would eat it by itself. It was that good. Yes, yes and yes.

By now I was starting to sway with food coma, jet lag, and just general lack of sleep. The complicated billing structure didn't help so I called it a night after we were done. There were mumblings of going out somewhere but I hightailed it back to the hotel and crashed soon after. It appeared that everyone else agreed with me because they all crashed as well. I guess this is what happens when you get older and don't get your nap.

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