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L.A. Burdick

Nov. 14 and 18

Ever since Hillary moved to Harvard Square, we've been trying to go to L.A. Burdick, best known for their sumptuously rich hot chocolate that you practically have to eat with a spoon. Steph's not too into hot chocolate though, so not to worry, the cake still takes center stage on this outing! 

Our first try was on a Sunday, after a vegetarian lunch at the newly-opened Clover Food Lab in Harvard Square, introduced to us by Xing-Yin. (We agreed months ago that she introduces us to such wonderful things in life!) Though we won't get too into the lunchtime conversation, please let it be known that Steph gives great and hilarious advice about men! It was a nice, brisk stroll over to Burdick, which is nearly always crowded on chilly weekend afternoons, so we took 2 small hot chocolates and a slice of coconut chocolate cake to Hillary's apartment. After observing the crookedness of the floor (yes, Hillary lives in a crooked apartment!), we gave it a taste! 

We photographed the placard so you can read the description!

The cake was kind of dry, the way coconut cakes often are (Steph said the cake part tasted old), so this was an unfortunate disappointment. Luckily, we had the opportunity to give Burdick a second chance later that week! 

Our super-awesome friend and biggest fan Evelyne was in town later that week! Evelyne also journeyed with us to Sunset Grille, thus far still a top runner. If you've been paying attention, you'll remember that Evelyne is a vegetarian (actually, you'd know this because everyone who reads this blog is friends with us), so Shabu Zen in Chinatown was a great choice for dinner (last time, we went to the one in Allston). But before dinner, Hillary had to run home to Harvard Sq. to drop off her things, grab the camera, take an orgo exam, etc., so she picked up another chocolate cake from Burdick for dessert! This time we had the chocolate mousse cake with lingonberry jam and ganache. What a a world of improvement moisture makes! (The Steph in my head is saying, "That's what she said.") We all thought this cake was really yummy!

Check out that day's headline!

And of course, this adventure was made all the more awesome by Evelyne's presence. Evelyne, we look forward to your moving here soon! 

Blue Ginger

Oct. 15

As a 4-and-a-half-month post-commencement celebration, Steph and Hillary took Lolo to locally-famous Blue Ginger in Wellesley! We had never been while at Wellesley, and had always wanted to try their renown Asian-fusion fare. We wanted to take Lolo in May, but our poor girl was under the weather from lack of sleep. You know, the usual studying too hard for finals, working non-stop on her thesis, and maybe even something caught from having too much fun as well...

Because it's Blue Ginger, we have to share what we had for our meal! Steph loves Shiitake mushrooms, so for our appetizer, we shared the Shiitake-leek springrolls and they were amazing! We also shared our three entrees, one of which was Blue Ginger's signature sake-miso Alaskan butterfish. The butterfish lived up to its name (how can something have the word "butter" in it and not practically melt with tastiness?), it was as smooth and delicious as the arctic char we had at Mare! Everything was also nearly perfectly proportioned, so we had just the right amount of room for dessert!

We had no question about what to order for dessert- the bittersweet chocolate cake, covered in chocolate ganache and served with cardamom (a ginger spice) ice cream and a wafer. In our case, we got two wafers because we told our server that we were celebrating Lolo's birthday! (Who celebrates a graduation on a rainy October night?)

Happy Birthday, Lolo! It even comes with a birthday candle!

Despite being reminded by Evelyne to bring a camera, we forgot! So the above photo was taken on Lo's camera. The chocolate, cake and ice cream were all really good! But Steph argues that you have to take the cost of the dessert into consideration, so her overall assessment: not worth it. However, as Evelyne faithfully noted, the awesomeness of the chocolate cake correlates strongly with how much fun we have on the outing. We love Lo, and now that she's off in Hanover, NH, spending time with her, laughing over a meal and sharing chocolate cake are even more precious celebrations! So as a toast to our friendship, this chocolate cake does pretty well!

Highlight of the evening- Steph: "I would never date a pizza delivery boy because when we go out for pizza, I want him to pay for the pizza. I don't want him to high-five his bro!"

Incidentally, I love high-fiving my girls :)

Legal Sea Foods

Sep. 24

Back when we were still coming up with places to visit for this odyssey, Steph had lunch at Legal Sea Foods with Mama Teresa and came back raving about their warm chocolate pudding cake! You may not think of chocolate pudding cake (with sides of vanilla ice cream and a coconut cookie) as being among the menu items worth raving about at Legal, but Steph insisted that we try it, so on the list it went (by the way, at this point, our list consisted of Bar Lola and Legal Sea Foods)!

Return to present last-Friday: Hillary and Steph hadn't seen each other since our rendezvous at Mare for restaurant week and tiramisu panna cotta! With our non-overlapping (underlapping?) out-of-town trips and hectic life schedules, making time for chocolate fell sadly to the wayside. Then Steph called Hillary on a Friday spent at a conference in Copley Square, and Hillary hopped on the T to meet her!

We weren't quite in the mood for dinner, as Steph still had a business dinner scheduled that evening and Hillary--let's face it--eats throughout the day at work. So Steph came up with the perfect compromise: raw oysters from Legal's seafood bar. Now we feel that our assessment of the oysters is just as important as our quest for the best chocolate cake, not least because many of our friends love oysters! Steph had the clever idea of trying one each of the four types. We judged the Kumamoto oyster, all the way from the island of Kyushu, Japan, to be the tastiest one! Whichever one came from Cape Cod was also really good. Though all delicious, we differed in our opinions of the final two; Steph enjoyed the meatiness of the oyster from New Jersey/ New York, while Hillary liked the sweeter flavor of the Canadian oyster. Also, Steph loves horseradish--when we came back from Memorial Day weekend on the Cape (P-town!), she bought a jar of it at the grocery store. Seriously, I've never seen anyone love horseradish so fanatically!

On to dessert: without even having to consult a menu, Steph requested the warm chocolate pudding cake. This ooey-gooey mound of molten goodness didn't possess the density of the cakes we normally prefer, but it is, after all, chocolate pudding. The chocolate itself was delectable, and the texture was the perfect balance between liquid hot chocolate and flourless cake! Steph insisted that it was even better warm (judging by the degree of melting of the vanilla ice cream, our server had most likely forgotten that  our divine dessert was waiting to find a home in our tummies!). But this definitely goes on the list of possible bests!

I love spontaneous get-togethers!

 We forgot to bring a camera again


Aug. 24

For our first Restaurant Week, we chose a rainy weeknight to dine at tiny but trendy-looking Mare in the North End! Hillary had passed this restaurant many times in the past and wanted to try it, so at Steph's insistence on joining the Boston foodie community at this year's Restaurant Week, we went! We were joined by Xing-Yin, and one of the highlights of the evening was the discovery that she and Steph may be the only two people left in our age group who still watch "Grey's Anatomy."

"Mare" is Italian for "sea," which is perfect because we both love good seafood! For appetizers, Steph had tuna mezzo crudo, which is seared raw tuna, and Hillary had pizzetta di mare, which is a mini-pizza with seafood, namely calamari, shrimp and scallops (I knew taking Italian in college would be useful one day!). Xing-Yin had the grilled octopus, which was so delightfully presented that she took a photo of it, shared below! Steph and Hillary both followed this up with poached arctic char, a salmon-like fish that was deliciously served with local beans and farro, which are both really healthy, so they essentially negate the olive oil in which the fish was drenched (we hope). (Fun fact about arctic char: The Monterey Bay Aquarium "Seafood Watch" program names arctic char one of the Best Choices for environmentally sustainable seafood!) The meal was incredible, and the laughter filling our dining table did wonders in helping us forget the gloomy and persistent rain outside!

On to dessert: the only part of the meal that was not beyond reproach was that Mare's restaurant week menu does not feature a chocolate cake! Instead, Steph and Xing-Yin enjoyed the tiramisu panna cotta ("cooked cream" similar in consistency to flan), while Hillary had the vanilla bread pudding for variety. Not only were these desserts beautiful, they were delicious! Steph wasn't entirely crazy about her panna cotta, so Hillary essentially had a dessert and a half. It was a good end to a rich meal, but wasn't chocolate cake! Despite this minor blemish, we've included Mare in our adventure log because the evening fits the bill of good food and good friends!

Vanilla bread pudding. The tiramisu panna cotta came out too blurry!

Sunset Grille (Sunset Cantina)

Aug. 5

We love reunions! Our friend Evelyne came to visit from Minnesota, so we met up with her and a couple other college friends for dinner at Shabu Zen in Allston. Steph is obsessed with this place! She has been talking about it longer than Hillary had been talking about the chocolate cake at Bar Lola. This was Hillary's (and Evelyne's!) first time at Shabu Zen, and not only was the company terrific, the food was great too! The vegetarian option was delicious, which was good because Evelyne and Hillary are vegetarians (actually, Hillary is a pescetarian, which means she still eats fish). Let's definitely go back!

After dinner we had the boldness to go for frozen yogurt! There was a place on the same block that charges by weight, but the frozen yogurt was a disappointment, so we only ate our toppings. Hillary and Evelyne had tart frozen yogurt at Berry Line the day before, so they weren't frozen yogurt-deficient!

Last item on the menu of events that evening: we strolled down to Sunset Grille on Brighton Ave, sister to Sunset Cantina on Commonwealth Ave. While we were planning to sit around, have a few beers, and enjoy Evelyne's company for the remainder of her visit, we didn't neglect to check the dessert menu! Sunset Grille doesn't have a traditional chocolate cake, so we tried their baked chocolate cobbler! This gooey, chocolate confection was basically a brownie with a side of ice cream and malted cream. Everyone around the table had a bite—it was delicious, and even more so when shared amongst friends! We decided that of the three chocolate cakes we've tried on this quest so far, this was by far the best! So Sunset Grille's baked chocolate cobbler is in the running to be the best chocolate cake in Boston! Unfortunately, we again forgot to bring a camera, and I don't remember how it looks, so this entry is without a picture.


Aug. 1

After a month’s hiatus (during which Hillary went to New York, then Steph went to New York, then Steph went to Brazil!), we finally re-embarked on our quest by eating at Flour, a South End favorite! Hillary had been hearing great things about Flour for a while now—that not only do they have delicious baked goods, but their sandwiches are yummy as well! We had brunch there (Steph had a really good caprese sandwich with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese, while Hillary had some ridiculous vegan sandwich of tofu, red peppers and olives, which turned out also to be very good!), followed by triple chocolate cake! While this cake was delicious, it was not at all what we require the best chocolate cake to be. Instead of being delectably dense, it was a light, whipped chocolate mousse. To make up for this disappointment, we treated ourselves to one of Flour's famous sticky buns! Now that was an excellent dessert!

We forgot to bring a camera, but the above drawings approximate the baked goods we enjoyed that morning. Steph's overall rating: take 2, bitches (we're going to give Flour another shot). The day was followed by strolling around the South End, sitting around the Public Garden near the lagoon, and gelato at our favorite gelato place by the Christian Science Center! After gelato, Steph went to Boston Market, where she requested a container of a bunch of different sides. What a fat kid!

Bar Lola

We start off our chocolate cake adventure with a bang! We celebrated a friend's birthday 2 years ago at Bar Lola, where the cake was so flourless and dense, it was the closest thing to solid chocolate a cake could get! We chose Bar Lola as our first stop because Hillary has been talking about this cake for over 2 years, and we had still not gone back! That all changed on Friday, June 25, 2010, when we commenced our quest!

Something else that changed, unfortunately, was the cake, and it wasn't just the delicious memory of the flourless chocolate cake past. This chocolate cake was dripping with raspberry sauce and had a layer of white chocolate on top! And while the variety may seem like a good idea, we prefer our chocolate unadulterated! In fact, we mostly only ate the bottom (the chocolate part), which Hillary thought was still great because, come on, it's chocolate cake! Steph thought that the fruit was the best part (healthy, too!). Her overall rating: not a fan. That takes Bar Lola out of the running to be the best in Boston!

Other highlights of the weekend:

-We went out with Steph's coworker on Saturday night, and one of his friends thought we were a couple! We would make an awesome couple, because love of chocolate cake is only one our many compatibilties!

-We visited Lolo in Connecticut! She made us lunch, which was amazing of her, and we got to meet her sister and dog, who Steph decided to christen Baloo! It was decided among us that the highest rating achievable by a chocolate cake would be "bangin'." Lolo also treated us to Dr. Mike's ice cream, where Hillary had—what else?—rich chocolate with hot fudge.