Restaurant Review: Mei Mei

Three words: scallion pancake sandwiches.

Say no more.

Boston Magazine’s “Boston’s Best Restaurants” series has become a sort of bible for me as I discover my city’s culinary stars. When I saw their entry for Mei Mei, my mouth immediately and involuntarily watered at the sight of scallion pancake sandwiches. The restaurant’s main location is on Park Dr. by the St. Mary’s T stop on the C-line. However, Mei Mei is best known as a food truck. Alton Brown was just here to try it, so I have additional proof that this place is the bomb (dot) com.

I went to Mei Mei’s Park Dr. location with a dear friend of mine for lunch. We are both Master’s students and are both in need of wholesome comfort food. Behold:

The Porco Rosso Sandwich with Sweet Corn Fritters
The Porco Rosso Sandwich with Sweet Corn Fritters

I ordered the porco rosso sandwich. A thin, yet perfectly dense scallion pancake is filled with applewood smoked ham, ginger-scallion ricotta, cranberry hoisin sauce, and fresh mixed greens. The tartness of the cranberry balances the richness of the ricotta. Add the smoky meat and the spicy kick of ginger in the ricotta, and you have yourself a one-of-a-kind combination of flavors with each bite. Be warned: the sandwich can be extremely messy while eating; but don’t worry, it is so worth it. The sandwich is light, yet filling enough to satisfy your hunger.

Now, about those sweet corn fritters. Imagine fried balls of the moistest cornbread imaginable (they use Four Star Farms cornmeal batter). Sweet yellow corn kernels are balanced by the savory flavor of the oil in which it was fried. The fritters are served with sriracha aioli and fresh chopped scallions. It’s sweet and spicy perfection.

If you are looking for an innovative twist to Chinese cuisine, look no further than Mei Mei. I will most certainly be back to taste more of their mouthwatering menu.

 

Culinary Adventures in New York City

This past weekend I took the train to New York City. Whatever your culinary craving, New York City will have it. With a local from Manhattan, I got to experience some of the best (and affordable) places to eat in NYC.

For lunch on Saturday we ate at Taim, a small, cramped mediterranean eatery that serves the most flavorful falafel I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. They offer three flavors of falafel: green, harisa, and red. I chose the green falafel with parsley, mint, and cilantro (can you tell how much I love herbs?). The falafel sits on smooth hummus and comes with tabouli salad, israeli salad, and a warm slice of pita bread. Taim is also known for their unique smoothies, and I ordered the pear, mint, and lemon smoothie. Light green in color, the smoothie was an incredibly refreshing component to my savory meal. Since the restaurant only has a few seats, my group and I sat outside on benches. While I ate, I heard almost every customer entering say, “Yeah, man, this is the place!”

The Green Falafel Platter at Taim
The Green Falafel Platter at Taim

Later in the day we ventured to Brooklyn to visit Smorgasburg. Smorgasburg is a flea market of food with local food vendors and producers.

We wanted dessert, and one of the first stands I saw was The Good Batch. They were selling ice cream sandwiches that day. I chose “The Goodwich,” an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie with sea salt sandwiched between vanilla ice cream and fudge sauce. Oh my word. The cookie was chewy and didn’t fall apart. I could really taste the vanilla in the ice cream and it didn’t melt all over my hands. The sea salt enhanced the flavor of the chocolate. Can you hear me singing with joy right now?

Mid-Bite
Mid-Bite

From here, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Homemade cocaktail mixers next to a specialty horseradish stand
Homemade cocaktail mixers next to a specialty horseradish stand

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On Sunday morning, I met my dear friend Lucy for brunch. We went to Bistro Ten 18 in Manhattan. I ordered the lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry compote. While the pancakes did harbor a satisfying lemon flavor, I wanted to taste the texture of the ricotta more. The pancakes also could have used some butter or maple syrup. If you come here for brunch, I recommend getting the savory dishes.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Compote
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

I was then introduced to a completely new culinary experience for dinner – hot pot! You each get a pot of boiling broth and order raw vegetables, meat, and fish to submerge in the “hot pot.” Once the items are cooked, you take them out of the pot and dip them into a sauce you make yourself at the sauce bar. We went to 99 Favor Taste (no, that is not a misspelling) in Chinatown. It’s an all-you-can-eat kind of menu for one static price. If you don’t make your sauces too salty, the meal is healthy and you feel quite rejuvenated afterwards. An experience worth trying!

Hot Pot at 99 Favor Taste
Hot Pot at 99 Favor Taste

Before we left the city, we had to stop by my favorite bakery, Two Little Red Hens. The place is always packed for a reason. I love the carrot cupcake spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. The carrot provides a wonderful texture accompanied with a moist cake. Add cream cheese frosting on top, and you have yourself a winner.

A carrot cupcake from Two Little Red Hens
A carrot cupcake from Two Little Red Hens

I can’t wait to visit New York City again and embark on another culinary adventure. Let me know if you’ve ever been to these places, or give me recommendations for my next visit!