Highs and Lows

It has been exactly one year since my last trip to Boston. I'm not sure what it is about MLK weekend but apparently I like going to New England when it is the coldest. Thankfully, these visits are punctuated by good company and great food. This particular trip, I got to visit the Somerville Winter Farmer's Market and Highland Kitchen, both of which made me realize one thing: I'm going to need more trips to Boston.

Staying with friends has its perks. It's not just a roof over your head but a chance to see the true daily life of a Bostonian, which includes an excursion to the indoor farmer's market. Held in the Somerville Armory, this market has a lot going for it. Tons of space, a cafe, and a healthy mix of vegetables, meats, breads and the occasional donut/ice cream/pickle/roasted nut stand. I sampled a wonderfully over sized orange, cardamom and poppy donut from Union Square Donuts that was unbelievably light and orange-y. So light in fact, I had trouble convincing myself I even ate it. 

I also used this excursion to pick up some of my favorite roasted nuts at Q's Nuts. Each trip I buy a few more packages and share with a few more friends, which means I'm shelling out cash faster than they're shelling almonds. They have a brick and mortar location in Davis Square but this stand had everything I needed and more. There's such a mix of flavors; from the simple sea salt and rosemary, to the exotic ginger and lime, and the sweet banana foster, you're taste buds will never be bored. I saw they had a Coquito (Puerto Rican coconut rum beverage) flavor that I had never tried and I promptly demolished a small bag in under five minutes. Fortunately, these can be ordered online if I'm having a serious craving. 

After a day dawdling in Harvard we deliberated on dinner (say that three times fast) and agreed that Highland Kitchen, only two blocks away, was the best choice. The notorious wait had us a bit apprehensive but, mercifully, it was only ten minutes (it can be over an hour). Eclectic is the overarching theme here. The stuffed animal heads on the wall and intricate metal light fixtures had me feeling a little mid-Western but the fantastic staff had me thinking Brooklyn. You could get a Po'boy,  a burger, pappardelle Bolognese, or their famous spicy coconut curry goat stew all on the same menu. If you like deviled eggs order the small plate. They have something pickled or briny in them that I couldn't place and the server couldn't divulge but I'm still thinking about them.

My stomach wasn't up to any good, probably the eggs mixing with the earlier sugar binge, but I did try the spicy goat stew and I absolutely get why they sell one hundred dishes a night. First of all, it doesn't taste like goat. Secondly, it has plantains and any dish with plantains is good enough for me. Thirdly, the coconut curry and jasmine rice round off this exotic flavor pairing so well you may as well be at the Creole place down the street. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely spicy but the authenticity of the dish will make you forget about that in forkful.

If friends weren't enough, these establishments definitely encourage (and require) a prompt return trip...but perhaps in warmer weather.  Until the next dish, ciao!