tommy’s three: The best things I ate – week of July 10, 2016

I ate a lot of great food over the past week so trying to pick just the top three is pretty tough.  I started the week making barbecue chicken thighs that turned out delicious.  On Monday, I went to Kirkland Tap and Trotter for their Celebrity “Top Dog” Series to eat a hot dog created by Susan Regis.  Chef Regis runs one of my favorite restaurants in Boston (actually in Cambridge for local readers), Shepard. I also got to Moody’s Backroom on Thursday and Guilia on Saturday, two restaurants on Boston’s Eater 38 list.  Just missing the top three was a interesting striped bass collar crostini and a heavenly almond torta, both from Guilia.  In a normal week, the chicken, ham, and jalapeño pizza I ate for dinner on Friday might have topped the list, but this week it would have just barely cracked the top ten.  I hope I eat as well next week, but it’s going to be hard to match.

3. Yellowtail Jalapeños Maki from Blue Taleh
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This was a big surprise.  I wasn’t thinking too hard I just wanted some sushi and I thought sure I like yellowtail, I like jalapeño, give it a shot.  Throw in a little bit of “crunch” – yes that is the ingredient according to the menu – and a drop of hot sauce and this is just plain amazing.  The bites are a little inconsistent, which normally would be a bad thing, but every other bite you get more jalapeño seeds and the kick that comes with it. Probably not quite worth a drive to Lowell, but if you are near by, this is a dish worth trying and one I will have again for sure.

2.  Crispy-Fried Pork Ribs from Kirkland Tap and Trotter
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Fifty-one weeks out of the year this would be the best thing I ate, but like I said this was a good food week.  These fried ribs that are both crispy and tender are fall-of-the-bone delicious, but still retain a meaty texture. They are served with cucumber, an ancho chile bbq sauce, and plenty of cilantro.  I went there for hot dog night, and while the hot dog was fantastic and the peanut butter mousse pie for dessert was so rich and decadent that I can’t believe anyone could finish a slice on their own, these ribs stole the show.  Eating them with a glass of Downeast Cider, even better

1.  Smoked Beef Belly from Moody’s Backroom
IMG_8874This dish has to be in the running for best thing I ate all year. Smoked beef belly.  I didn’t even know that was a thing.  In fact, if you go on their website menu, you will see smoked pork belly.  I know what that is.  I expect that.  Beef belly, that’s new to me and if I ever see it again, I will order it.  The best way to describe it is to imagine some great combination of brisket and bacon.  Really the best of the two are combined in one piece of meat.  Add some great heirloom beans and a few onions, tie it all together with some romesco sauce, and you have a championship dish.  I’m not sure how long this will be on the menu, so if you want it, hurry up. It’s worth it!

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