Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dok Bua: Thai food, from the exemplary to the fickle

I'll admit it: I'm confused.

Dok Bua Thai Kitchen, nestled in on Harvard Street, has the feel of a roadside Thai joint—plain wooden tables and chairs, with the kitchen enclosed in a wooden hut.  It’s one of those much-lauded local favorites, proclaimed a "hidden jewel" with great value, and the 2011 Best of Boston winner for best Thai restaurant.  

If you're familiar with good Thai food, you'll know that it balances four core flavors: salty, sour, sweet, and spicy. This balancing act is key to the complexity in such famous Thai dishes as, say, a bowl of Tom Yum soup, or Som Tum, that remarkable papaya salad, crunchy and soft and sweet and spicy all at once.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

butternut squash ravioli with brown butter sage sauce

I know that everyone pounces upon butternut squash when they first arrive, in September or so, great bins of them in the markets reminding me of giant bins of apricot-colored legos.  But for me, this is the time for real butternut squash-ing.  January is the time when I want my oven on, sometimes for the whole day, filling the kitchen with precious heat and with the weighty aromas of a dinner that will warm my bones.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jerusalem Pita: Where Eggplant Steals the Show

As a rule, I’m not given to superlatives—with the written word, it’s too easy to fall into a hole I can’t climb out of.  But folks, the truth is that I’ve found the best eggplant dish in Brookline.  

It’s at Jerusalem Pita, just off of Coolidge Corner, selected at random from a menu endearingly full of spelling errors.  The Eggplant Rolls are somewhat doleful-looking bits of cold eggplant, perhaps inviting a bit of ‘order remorse’ when you see them on the plate, weeping olive oil and spooned over with a green relish of raw garlic, parsley, dill (the dill most of all, that marvelous, underappreciated herb).  But take one bite of this little appetizer and you’ll rhapsodize for hours about these long-marinated, ultra-tender morsels, about their perfect blend of garlic and seasonings, about the keen, zesty taste of the dill and parsley.