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Japan Meets Spain at PAGU (Cambridge, MA)

[Translate] I have read good things about the new restaurant PAGU by chef/owner Tracy Chang (formerly of O Ya) in Cambridge’s Central Square. It’s a spacious restaurant with a variety of seating options, some of which change from a breakfast-and-lunch cafe-style configuration to a nighttime pintxos bar. There’s also a mezzanine section that overlooks the restaurant, a couple of main dining areas, and a counter surrounding the open kitchen. We opted for the a la carte menu instead of the tasting menu experience since we wanted to try a bunch of things that appealed to us. We started off with..

Union Square Donuts (Somerville, MA)

[Translate] If there’s a doughnut shop I’ve come to like a lot in the Boston area that would be Union Square Donuts in Somerville. (Union Square does have another location in Brookline but Somerville is the most accessible to where we were staying.) I have heard that this popular doughnut shop sells out early that I dragged my traveling companion out of bed early on a cold, rainy/sleet Saturday morning. The price of a little less sleep was rewarded since we have the flavors we would like to have and manage to have a table to sit at a table..

Smoke Shop BBQ (Cambridge, MA)

[Translate] One of the few late night places (as in, open past 11:00 PM) – and not many restaurants open late I’ve come to realize – in the Boston area to have good barbecue is Smoke Shop BBQ. Chef/owner Andy Husbands is a man serious about his ‘cue given the fact he’s on the competition circuit and won several accolades over the years. (more…)

Good Doughnuts at Blackbird Donuts (Boston, MA)

[Translate] I’ve recently visited Boston last weekend meeting my dearest’s friends and see the hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts (where we ended up eating and hanging out most of the time). This will start the series of posts related to this weekend trip. Artisan doughnuts is a huge trend that’s been going on the for the past few years. Boston is certainly not immune to it and have a few artisan doughnut shops springing up. One of the places we stopped by is Blackbird Doughnuts is located on Boston’s South End. It’s a small take-out shop outfitted with white brick walls,..

JW Marriott Chicago

[Translate] The JW Marriott Chicago, is an indisputably opulent outpost in Chicago. The hotel, housed in a solid and stately 1914 neo-Classical structure designed by Daniel H. Burnham, formerly the Continental & Commercial National Bank. The sweeping staircases that lead to second-floor ballrooms and the Florentine, an Italian restaurant, act as bookends to a giant that is all marble and warm colors. (more…)

Fantastic Meals at The Purple Pig (Chicago, IL)

[Translate] The Purple Pig is one of my favorite Chicago restaurants to have a casual but excellent food. (I’ve been there years ago so this isn’t like I’ve eaten there one time for this trip.) What I really adore about this place is the robust flavors and the chef isn’t afraid to serve offal. We’ve also realized after having two large lunches on this trip that the restaurant does change the menu (not its entirety but a few dishes are swapped out). We started off with an incredible house cured sardines on toast. The thick, olive oiled country bread is..

The Broken Shaker at Freehand Chicago

[Translate] Another hotel bar in Chicago’s Millennium Mile that has really great drinks is The Broken Shaker at Freehand Chicago. The atmosphere is much more casual and laid back but the drinks are a little wacky and ingenious but seriously good and balanced. There are some bar food served at this establishment but we stayed here for the drinks since we had dinner right afterwards. (more…)

Dinner at NoMI Kitchen at Park Hyatt Chicago

[Translate] Entering the sleek and modern lobby of Park Hyatt, we were whisked by the hotel staff to the seventh floor where NoMI Kitchen resides. It’s a beautiful restaurant that has a large bar/lounge area that opens up to NoMI’s sushi area that shares the semi-open space with the Western style kitchen and the dining room. If you are fortunate to have a table near the windows looking out to the stunning, open view of the Water Tower and parts of Millennium Mile. (more…)

Creative Breakfast at Mortar & Pestle (Chicago, IL)

[Translate] If you’re searching for a really creative breakfast in Chicago, I highly suggest going to Mortar & Pestle in the Lakeview neighborhood. This daytime restaurant is spacious with a cozy, rustic look. There’s a long wooden communal table in the center of the room surrounded with two tops and four tops. The menu is eclectic since it varies ranging from fried cheese curds, classic English breakfast, chicken paprikash to foie gras and eggs. As someone who’s jaded seeing and having the typical eggs benedict, waffles and pancakes for breakfast, I’m pretty stoked to see an interesting menu that crosses..