Cafe Artscience | Cambridge, MA Kendall Square/MIT Boston

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cafe artscience is one of the most anticipated openings this fall. like the name says, it’s supposed to be an art/science inspired restaurant. it’s connected to Le Laborataire in paris which is a unique “art and design center for creativity, invention and boundless learning … dedicated to igniting fundamental change in education, culture, industry and society through its three pillars: cutting-edge exhibitions, dynamic public programming, and immersive food and drink experiences.”

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in addition to the founder of Le Laborataire, david edwards, the team also includes patrick campbell from eastern standard as executive chef, chris cordeiro from clio as sous chef, renae connolly from marea as pastry chef.

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they sell some wikipearl products at the restaurant.

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instead of seating in the bright and comfortable looking main dining room, we got seated in the dark, cheap looking foldable chairs back room. i asked if we could seat in the main room because it looked like there were plenty of empty seats. the host just gave us a lame reason and didnt even try to accommodate us.

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what i love the most about a new restaurant are the new shining silverware and glasses. November 08, 2014-IMG_3543

stephen c – mezcal, lime juice, simple syrup
altho im a huge mezcal fan, i was hesitant to get this drink because i was looking for something cooler, but the waiter told me it’s actually a cool drink so i just went with it. he said the ice was flavored and froze at a lower temperature so it takes longer to melt. in the end, i didnt like this drink at all. it was super sour almost takes like vinegar.
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whiskey – pork belly enjoyed it.
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Marinated Oyster
Ginger Gold Apple, Burgundy Truffle, Perilla
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House Smoked Salmon Mille-Feuille – Whipped Cream Cheese, American Caviar
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Spanish Octopus
Fingerling Potato, Late Season Romesco, Castelveltrano Olive
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Berkshire Pork Belly
Sweet Potato Agnolotti, Burgundian Escargot, Persliadde
delicate crispy skin with melt in your mouth fat
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Veal Loin en Crepeniette
Pancetta, Gnocchi Parisienne, Grilled Cabbage
veal was really tender and flavorful, good texture of the gnocchi
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potato crusted tautog – celeriac brown butter, brussels sprouts, lardo
again, super tender and had a good flavor.
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from what i read about the restaurant, we were expecting something more adventurous and playful like molecular gastronomy, the Apple Store of food, a sensorial experience, but what we experienced was totally the opposite: very traditional well executed french cooking. Although cafe artscience was a little pretentious for my taste, i have to admit all the dishes were very well executed and some of the best i had recently. we enjoyed all the dishes. the veal and the pork belly being the highlights of all, i also really liked the tautog. menu items were rather limited, but i would def come back again when they bring new items to the menu.

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Cafe ArtScience
650 E kendall St
Cambridge, MA 02142
East Cambridge, Kendall Square/MIT

http://www.cafeartscience.com/

Cafe ArtScience on Urbanspoon

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Tabata Ramen | New York City, NY

Another Porkbelly post. Something about Ramen and NYC seems so right, especially during the colder months. I wanted to check out Tabata Ramen because they won the 2012 NY Street Ramen Contest awhile back. They triumphed over the competition with their incredibly complex “Dark Men” Ramen, a black sesame based broth. Here is a picture to remind everyone what that looked like.

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This day I went to Tabata Ramen to see what else they have to offer. Sorry for the iPhone Photos!

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Tabata Ramen is located near Port Authority, not too far from the hotel I usually stay in NYC.
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Once you enter, you are greeted by the Bar, or a larger dinning area in the back

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From the bar you can catch a glimpse of some Wok-Action
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Like many Ramen shops in the area, you can see where they roast their pork bones
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I was watching this guy all night stir frying beansprouts and making fried rice
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I’m all about the Calpico Soda……
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Chicken Wings (チキンウィング) Spicy:
For starters I ordered their Spicy Chicken Wings
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It was super hot, I almost burned my Tongue, they were fried to perfection.

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Tabata Ramen(タバタラーメン)
Soybean Powder & Coconut Flavored Noodle Soup
(Spicy Chicken,Red Onions, Flavored Eggs, Cilantro):
I went with the Tabata ramen.
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Since I tried their DarkMen already, I thought I should try their house Ramen. I wasn’t a big fan at all, it tasted more like a Thai soup than Ramen due to the coconut broth.
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The Noodles also made it seem like a Thai soup since it has the consistency of rice noodles……
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Overall, Tabata Ramen is a real hit or miss restaurant. The Darkmen Ramen I had was awesome, but their Tabata Ramen really disappointed me. When I want to eat Ramen, I want Ramen, not something that resembles a South-Asian Soup, especially something that has their restaurant’s name on. The appetizer was good, but who can really fuck up fried chicken? On the bright side, if you are near the Port Authority, this is probably the best thing around….

Tabata Ramen
540 9th Ave, New York, NY 10018
Tabata Noodle on Urbanspoon

Seoul Soondae (서울순대)| Annandale, VA, DC

Porkbelly here. Some friends took me to Seoul Soondae in Annandale Virginia. Annandale in Northern Virginia has a good amount of Korean Restaurants, not K-town levels as in LA, but I would consider it some of the best along the East coast, yes that is NYC/NJ included. Seoul Soondae is a restaurant known for their Korean Blood Sausages.

Tucked away in Seoul Plaza is Seoul Soondae

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Their logo is a pig…. It’s seen throughout the restaurant

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The decor of the restaurant reminds me of Gom Tang E in Centreville, perhaps they hired the same designer?

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The Pig logo is everywhere

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It’s a no frills Korean place. The waitresses don’t really speak English that well, but they are friendly and polite. But who cares, it’s all about the food.

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The usual Panchan of Kimchi, Daikon, Beansprouts everything was on point.
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This is what we came here for, the Soondae, It’s a Blood sausage stuff with noodles inside, it’s absolutely delicious. The Sausage just melts in your mouth. It also comes with pork belly, liver, stomach, tongue.

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I noticed a lot of Korean Restaurants have this bean in their rice.
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Dukboki (떡볶이) – Spicy Rice cakes, this was also on point.
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Kimbap – Korean Rice roll with Beef. It tasted like Kimbap…..
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Bibim Gook Soo, Cold Spicy Noodle with Vegetables, kind of like the noodle cousin of the more popular Bi Bim Bap. Bi bim means to mix, so you mix everything up. This dish was refreshing.

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Gam Ja Tang – Spicy Pork Rib Stew with Potato. This is what I got, the soup base is red from the hot red peppers, the black peppers give it a extra kick, the broth is cooked to perfection with the right amount of savoriness, and the Potato really completes the dish. It comes with some pork on the side that is super tender and tears right off the bone.

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The pork…..

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Overall this Seoul Soondae is pretty decent. For the normal fare Korean food, the Dukboki, Kimbap, it’s all pretty standard. I would come here for their Gam Ja Tang and Soon Dae. I think this place would be awesome for a cold winters day.

Seoul Soondae Restaurant
4231 Markham St, Annandale, VA 22003
Seoul Soondae on Urbanspoon

Costa Rica 2014 Day 2 Part 2 Arenal – Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort | Tips on Shooting Waterfalls

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after all that hiking in Tenorio Volcano National Park and along the Rio Celeste River we were exhausted and def ready for the hot spring at our hotel, Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort. hot spring is a must if you are visiting costa rica.

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the resort is beautifullllll. if you didnt stay at the hotel, a day pass to the hot spring is around $60 per person. it is free for people that do stay at the hotel. i think i only paid $200 a night for the hotel room. it’s a much better deal to stay at the hotel. this is def the best hot spring resort in the area according to my research.
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a quick tip on shooting waterfalls:

take a look of these two pix, which one looks better?

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i hope you think the pic on the right looks better. the water flows a lot more smoothly than the one on the left. to achieve this effect, you need longer shutter speed. i use 11 to 15 shutter speed to shoot waterfalls. its slow enough the capture the water flow, but still fast enough for me to hold still with a tripod so my pictures dont turn out blurry.

some pix i took in water with my gopro.
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eating and drinking in hot spring? life is too good.
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more pix of the rest of the resort

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i highly recommend staying at this hotel is you are visiting Arenal. not only the natural hot spring is one of the best in the world, the staff also was extremely nice and helpful. everything was perfect except for booking tours through the hotel was more expensive than online prices. i’d book ahead of time online to save 10-20 per tour per person.
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13 Km Noreste de Centro de la Fortuna de San Carlos, Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica
(877) 277-8291

http://www.tabacon.com/

read about the rest of my trip:

Costa Rica 2014 Day 1 San Jose – Poas Volcano – Arenal – Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

Costa Rica 2014 Day 2 Part 1 Rio Celeste River | Tenorio Volcano National Park

Costa Rica 2014 Day 2 Part 1 Rio Celeste River | Tenorio Volcano National Park

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its day 2 in costa rica. we signed up a tour last night through our hotel to go to rio celeste river. i believe its $20 cheaper if you booked online, but since we booked it last min, i thought it was easier jus to do through hotel.

celeste river is a river in the rainforest of tenorio volcano national park of costa rica. it is known for its distinctive turquoise coloration caused by a chemical reaction between sulfur and calcium carbonate.

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the tour guy picked us up in the morning. it was just us and a girl from argentina so it felt like a private tour.

volcano arenal was all cloudy the entire time when we stayed there. the local told us only 30% of chance seeing the volcano. mostly cloudy all year round.

rio celeste is about an hour away from our hotel in arenal.
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on the way there we saw a white face monkey and a sloth.

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one of the benefits of having a tour guy is he can spot wild animals so well. i had a hard time find the animal even when he pointed out for me. they are really blended in with nature or maybe im just blind.
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my 1st time seeing a sloth in person. so happy
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we finally arrived to Tenorio Volcano National Park
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there is where two rivers join together becomes one and where the chemical reaction between sulfur and calcium carbonate so the water turn blue.
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it was some intense hiking. the trail was almost nonexistent; you pretty much walking in mud the entire time. i pretty much hike everywhere with flip flops but wouldve not made it with this one. i did in toms tho but only because it didnt rain. i wouldve been fucked if it started raining. hiking shoes are actually necessary if you come on a rainy day.
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ok after the hike, we were so ready for lunch. this soda/restaurant is the only restaurant near the parking lot.
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my friend got a veg plate which was delicious according to her.
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i LOVED my fish filet. it was SUPER tender and flavorful. i wish all fish filet tastes like this.
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i like how their currency has animals on it instead of humans
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we headed back to our hotel after rio celeste. we were pretty tired and so ready for dipping in the hot spring.
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Backyard Farms at NeBo | Boston MA

Hi all,

Porkbelly here. I had the great opportunity to eat at NeBo in Boston to try out the new fall menu featuring the delicious locally grown tomatoes from Backyard Farms. Backyard farms is a year round Tomato producer in Madison Maine, you heard that right, year round in Maine! They produce the freshest Tomatoes and they happen to be right in our Backyard (pun intended). I am excited to announce that Backyard farms is releasing a new beefsteak tomato, the Somerset Pink in the up and coming weeks. They are the very first large tomato producer to bring this beefsteak tomato to the market! The tomato will be available only in Maine, New Hampshire, and on the new NeBo fall menu. The tomato is like nothing I’ve ever had, it has a very rich flavor (and light in color), almost a うま味 (Unami) flavor, like a deep savory taste, it is like nothing I’ve ever had in a tomato before!

Nebo Boston is located off of Atlantic Ave next to the Intercontinental Hotel. I took an extended lunch break today to attend their new fall menu tasting luncheon featuring the tomatoes from Backyard Farms. Nebo was founded by two sisters the Chef/owners Carla Pallotta & Christine Pallotta, utilizing the receipts inherited from their mother, inspired by their travels to Italy and Italian upbringing. Nebo stands for North End Boston, They originally opened in Boston’s North end, they have since moved to a larger location near Boston’s Financial district.

The menu looks very promising!

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First up is the Backyard Farms Somerset Pink Tomato with Burrata, Saba, and EVOO (Extra Vigin Olive Oil). The Burratta complimented the Somerset Pink Tomato very well, the Burratta tasted extremely fresh, and the Somerset Pink tomato gives it further depth.  The olive oil is excellent, I believe it was imported from Italy.

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The Executive Vice President of Sales of Backyard Farms Tim Cunniff passed around some of the cherry tomatoes from Backyard Farms, they are extremely fragrant and taste just a good.
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Speaking of Tim, here is he next to Carla Pallotta Chef/Owner of NeBo.
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The bread is delicious, I like dipping the break into the sauce of the clams (more on that later)
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We received a gift bag from Backyard Farms, we’ll reveal what we received further below!

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Another busy day at NeBo
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This bread is called Mama, it is a potato based bread, the potato is cooked, broken down and incorporated into the dough. The starter for this bread is over 100 years old, the reason why it is called Mama is because when they would feed the dough, they would sing the song Italian song Mama, it is a starchy potato based bread that goes very well with the tomato jam. When the owners moved restaurants they had a 5 month period between locations, they had to keep the dough alive, originally they didn’t know how they would keep it alive, they researched and researched, and through perseverance the dough is here with us now. Once the bread hit the table, I could tell it was something special, the aroma of the bread is intoxicating.

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Backyard Farms Vine Ripe Tomato Jam….

The Bread matched very well with the sweetness of the tomato jam. It is quite addictive. I think I helped myself to 4th or 5ths.

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Salumi Misti – Prosciutto Di Parma, Mortadella, Finocchiona Salami, Coppa, Speck, and Asiago cheese. Standard Italian fare, very delicious, everything went will with each other. The bread, jam, salumi, and cheese it was like they were made for each other.
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The restaurant was packed during lunch

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As I said, the jam is very addicting…… the Backyard farms tomatoes were very fresh.

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Handmade Pasta – Spaghettini, Backyard Farms Cocktail Tomato, Capers, Olives, and EVOO. The pasta was delicious, at BunnyandPorkBelly, we love hand made noodles. Nothing can compete with that Chewy texture. Everything paired well together, the tomatoes are sweet and flavorful without being mushy, and the capers are delicious, I believe they are imported from Italy. The pasta was perfect, I don’t believe I’ve have had handmade pasta in Boston before…..

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Veraci In Brodo – Baby clams, Finicchiona Salami, Ceci, Backyard Farms Cocktail Tomato + Bruschetta with spicy Aioli…. The clams were like nothing I’ve had here, they were imported from Italy, they have a nice sweet succulent flavor. The Finicchiona Salami is a nice addition, the bread is great for dipping into the sauce, and of course the Tomato gives it a nice sweet hint. An overall well executed dish with the best ingredients.
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Finally we get to the Pizza Blanco – Backyard Farms Beefsteak Tomato, Prosciutto Cotto, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Arugula, Parmigiano.

I love Ricotta on a Pizza, it adds a unique texture and taste. All of the ingredients tasted extremely fresh, especially the Somerset Pink Tomato, which added to the savory pallet of the pizza. The Arugula gave it a nice balance.

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Finally, we can find out what was in the gift bag…..

Some delicious Tomatoes, Somerset Pink and Cocktail, a cutting board, Knife, and a USB stick. Thank you Backyard Farms, I can’t wait to enjoy this.

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Money shot of the Cocktail Tomatoes
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Thank you Nebo for inviting us, and Thank You Backyard Farms for supplying the delicious Tomatoes! If you have a chance, try the new Fall Menu with the Tomatoes! Overall everything extremely fresh, NeBo uses the highest quality ingredients, most of it imported from Italy. The Tomatoes taste spectacular, I can’t believe it in grown year-round in a greenhouse in Maine. Everyone has to try this!

Nebo
520 Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02210
Nebo on Urbanspoon

Backyard Farms
131 River Road
Madison, ME 04950
tel: 207-696-5300

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