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Roxbury has many food places but the majority are fast-food…you know steak and cheese bombs, Italian subs and pepperoni calzones which are all cool things to eat but not my idea of a good lunch. Here are some lunch places that never fail to please.

1. Walking in feels like a Caribbean getaway. Bright colored walls, Diego Rivera artwork, music genres such as reggaeton, salsa and merengue playing. People chattering and laughing, its 2pm on a weekday and both business professionals and diners are eating fine Dominican cuisine. Set in the heart of Roxbury on Blue Hill Ave and Julian street is Merengue resturant http://www.merenguerestaurant.com/. If your looking for a traditional Dominican meal, look no further. Bring an empty stomach, the portions are huge. Each dish is rich in spice, texture and taste. My favorite is the rice and beans, sweet plantains and the fried chicken chunks. Pair that up with a Chinola (passion fruit) shake and I’m in foodie heaven. Besides chicken, there is a great variety of pork, beef, and fresh seafood; each dish has its own signature sauce. Each time that I’ve been to Merengue, the food is equally good, the service is quick and friendly and the bill is just right.  Not to mention Merengue has a great environment for different diner needs; kid-friendly, good setting for a relaxed business meeting, and a vibrant social venue. With Merengue, you get so much bang for your buck which is just right during these hard economic times.

 merengue

2. In the middle of Dudley Square on Dade st sits the Haley House http://www.haleyhouse.org/.   A mix of bohemian chic and an urban funk atmosphere, this cafe is energetic bringing people together from all walks of life. Organic options give the Haley House an edge . Organic pastries, teas, coffee, vegetables, fruit (I could go on and on)…definitely a hearty alternative to everything else in the area. Its so refreshing to get a good salad, soup or entree that is healthy and your not feeling guilty after the meal. My favorite (and sadly no longer on the menu) was the Madison Park Salad. Grapes, feta cheese, chicken, balsamic vinegarette, lettuce, carrots and tomatoes..all in the salad, I had it everyday for the summer months. Try the soup of the day or the fish special on Friday’s. And for dessert buy a brownie…sometimes they are filled with chocolate chips. With great organic meals..a healthy alternative for lunch not to mention an inspiring mission for the community; Haley House is a gem in the Roxbury neighborhood.

 Haley_house

3. Not too far from Roxbury sits a bakery/sandwich cafe. Flour http://www.flourbakery.com/is on Washington st in the South End(its in the same building as South End Community Health Center). This cute cafe has mouth-watering pastries and sandwich combinations that make you say “mmm good”. Try the carrot cake, although it took me two days to eat it, it was one of the best cakes I’ve had. Or have the sandwich filled with tomato, pesto and  mozzarella cheese; for cheese lovers, this is a great sandwich. Sitting inside or outside of the cafe with any sandwich or tasty pastry will give you a piece of mind during a hectic day of work.

Yes I know there may be other places in the area to choose from. If they compare to any of these above, please let me know.

Volvo Race 058 

Ahhh. The Waterfront on a nice day. Hair blowing in the breeze. Sunglasses on. People cheering  and clapping. Beer and oysters overflowing. The Volvo Ocean Race has come to visit Boston. A quite interesting race comprised of intricate boats that are sponsored by huge companies such as Puma, Telefonica, Ericsson and others. The race makes 11 stops across the world and yes Boston is the only stop in North America.

Arriving at the fan pier on Saturday was pretty easy, free street parking , no fuss. Its a FREE event and the boats are docked till May 16.

The fan pier was buzzing with adults and children,a great balance of activities for both populations. Volvo had a museum with electric cars, simulated rides and other cool technology.  Puma had a make-shift store constructed of shipping crates.   Of course I had to buy something…lol  Grey Goose  and Legal’s Seafood were sponsors as well. Need I say more…oysters and a Blood Mary later , we cheered as the boats docked.

After the event, we headed to the Barking Crab, hoping for a good bite of seafood. With an 1.5 hour waiting period there was no way I was waiting. So we headed to El Triunfo (East Berkley st, South End) a hole in the wall restaurant. A Mexican infused take-out restaurant, great for lunch and fast dinners. A cheap eat with good burritos, quesadillas and torta’s. Colorful interior not to mention the restaurant’s history on the ceiling.  Mixed with fast and friendly service, El Triunfo is a good neighborhood eat.

Usually with Mexican food, I like a cold Corona with a lime but I went to Brix Wine Shop (Washington St, South End). I bought a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand named  Kim Crawford Marlborough for $19.99. The store had great service and the sales associate was very patient as I rattled off what I wanted in a wine. While purchasing the wine, I was able to taste different wines and meet a dog the size of a miniature pony who was quite friendly.  When I got home and actually tasted my wine, it was exactly like the Brix employee said; fruity, sweet  and very tasty.

I’m a huge fan of good times…so go to the Volvo Ocean Race at the Fan Pier right on the Waterfront

I’m a huge fan of good quick service especially when it comes to take out…so visit El Triunfo 

I’m a huge fan of  stores that  listen to people’s needs, give good advice especially wine advice…so go to Brix Wine Shop

Volvo Race

Trying to figure out a good restaurant for a significant other’s birthday is always hard for me. Men are so hard to surprise and purchase gifts for especially on birthday’s, I mean who wants another tie or some socks for a gift? So for my significant other’s  birthday in late March, I decided to take him to o yahttp://www.oyarestaurantboston.com/ a Japanese restaurant in the financial district.  

Hands down, best restaurant I’ve been to. Just look at the New York Times article who named it “Best Restaurant in the Country”  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/19/dining/19one.html?ref=dining

Now, your best bet is to make a reservation, actually I don’t even think you can go to the restaurant without a reservation. If you want actual seating away from the bar, call in a reservation. I recommend that you bring your wallets and have no reservations about price.

With a little Bob Marley playing softly and dim lights, the ambiance was perfect for the occasion. The interior design was very modern, sleek but simply classic. I can safely say that this was the first time that both of us had a true dining experience. Our waitress was very attentive and suggested the chef’s course selection.

 We had 16 course, Chef’s Course Offering over a 3 hour time period. At the end of the dinner, the owner came over, greeted us and made sure our dinner experience was worthwhile.  

 Sake (Japanese wine) set the tone for sushi courses that were seared, torched, raw, and cooked. Each course was an art piece designed for the eye and mouth. Filled with sugars, spices, fruit, and vegetables…all had a specific taste and  aroma. Our favorite entree of the night was Kumamato Oysters. The taste of watermelon pearls, cucumber and oyster was sensational.

Although the dinner was pricey, I would do it again in a heartbeat. The food, ambiance, service, conversation and Sake were spectacular and worth every penny.

Overall, my grade for o ya is an A+

OK OK OK…I have now jumped into the blogging ring, but with good reasoning.

I wanted to write about my experiences of being a young professional in Boston MA. A young professional who is serious about food, wine, restaurants, classy bars and good entertainment. I’m not trying to be a food critic or a connoisseur by any means, but I do want to give a good solid perspective of the good, bad and ugly in Boston MA.

Yes, I do dine out quite often. Yes I do like a good glass of wine. Yes I love a classy place.

Each week I will blog about a different place. No reservations about it: the service, ambiance, food, wine/drinks, conversation, seating, music, and of course the bill.

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