Dave’s Fresh Pasta – Somerville, MA

I should really cook more often. There are weeks when I’m good with it and head to Trader Joe’s or Kroger on Sunday night and pick up some staples that will get me through the week (chicken sausage and Israeli couscous form my two main food groups). But then there are the weeks where I just fail…and miserably at that. I get back to my apartment and find myself either ordering takeout or microwaving plain oatmeal, a choice entirely dependent on how guilty I feel about my rapidly diminishing food points. Needless to say, these weeks are bleak.

So, with it being fall break and all, I wanted some of my spare time to be spent near a stove or an oven, perhaps making something seasonal and Octoberish like pumpkin bread. I didn’t actually get to this, but isn’t the thought of warm, freshly-baked pumpkin bread so wonderful? What I did make, however, was pasta. Dave’s Fresh Pasta. It’s this awesome store in Davis Square that offers huge sandwiches and homemade pasta and sauces. Deciding that this was my opportunity to spend some quality time in the kitchen (and by quality time I mean approximately 12 minutes), I picked up a pound each of pumpkin/sage and butternut squash/toasted almond ravioli with nutmeg cream sauce to top it off.

I shudder to think what my pants size would be if I ate pasta every day.

The ravioli was good, but it definitely wasn’t what I expected. I guess the fantasy of freshly-baked pumpkin bread was far too incepted in my mind, but when I hear pumpkin or butternut squash, I’m expecting something creamy and rich. Pumpkin puree, basically. Dave’s take on pumpkin ravioli was much, much different. I have a hunch they use green pumpkins (given the color of the ravioli…I don’t have superhero heightened tastebuds), which may have a totally different consistency than their more traditionally orange cousins. Prior to the first bite, I was really looking forward to the sweetness of the pumpkin and butternut squash, but if anything, it was bitter. Still good, just not what I’d been anticipating. What I did absolutely LOVE though was just the overall freshness of the pasta itself. The dough smelled unbelievably good, even before I started cooking the ravioli.

Nine different types of ravioli…changing my attitude towards this whole “Eat Pasta Every Day” philosophy.

About to go into the pot.

Even though my first take with Dave’s wasn’t quite what I thought it would be, I was still floored by their pasta. There’s no question I’ll be back (probably many times), just to experiment with their different pastas and sauces. I’d also like to finish by saying that I’m pretty sure Dave’s helped prove to my parents that I am capable of making something other than plain oatmeal. Does this make me a responsible adult?

Oh yeah, and Dave’s legendary sandwiches will keep me coming back for more.

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City Feed and Supply – JP, Boston

Duke has an odd habit of not celebrating traditional American holidays that happen to take place on Monday (Labor Day, Columbus Day, National Kazoo Day…none of that). Maybe they don’t want to give us the 3-day weekend, maybe they’ve forgotten that everyone else in the country recognizes these holidays, or maybe they like the idea of Duke being a bit hipster and shunning Columbus Day altogether. I don’t know the exact reason, but to make up for all these Mondays spent in class, Duke gives its undergraduate student body a “Fall Break.”

Fall Break typically takes place the second weekend of October, and we get the following Monday and Tuesday (huzzah!) off of class. When scheduling classes last spring, I made sure to have Fridays off as well, so took the opportunity to fly home to Boston for a nice five day vacation in the fall foliage. I got in early at 9 AM and spent the day in Jamaica Plain. JP has an incredibly interesting history and is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Boston. It’s seen a lot of changes in the last few years alone – lot of ongoing gentrification, for better or worse depending on how you feel about ongoing gentrification – but when walking around it’s clear JP has an affinity for good food. One of these places is City Feed and Supply, a local neighborhood grocery store that’s got a cool vibe and sells quirky yet overpriced food products and craft beer (Can you believe it? Hipsters live in JP).

Oh look, quirky food products! Side note: If I had a farm, I’d absolutely name it Fat Toad Farm.

At the end of the day though, the heart of City Feed is really a sandwich/coffee shop. They’ve got a great list of options listed on a chalkboard behind the cash register, and being the sucker that I am for everything simultaneously salty and sweet, I ordered the turkey and brie panini with granny smith apple slices on focaccia bread. It was sooo good, the brie was perfectly gooey and the crispness of the apples was spot on. It immediately put me in that “Fall in New England” state of mind and made me be a bit more understanding of Duke’s oddball policy of substituting Monday holidays for Fall Break.

Ze ambiance.

Just look at the brie oozing out, oh my god.

Let’s See Just How Much I Can Fit Into One Post

Wow, long time no see everybody. It’s obviously been quite some time since I last goalie-spooned, and needless to say, much, much food has been consumed in my absence. Over the last few months I’ve been hanging out here in Durham, interning in San Francisco, and exploring Bostonian neighborhoods. Although I’d say it’s near impossible to describe each and every encounter I’ve had with blogworthy meals, I can’t help but share some of my favorite spots from across the country (and out – bonjour, Montreal) that I’ve eaten at since we last spoke.

Let’s begin with San Francisco:

1) La TaqueriaMission, SF

Both the best burrito and the best taco I’ve ever eaten in my young life have been at La Taqueria. Lucky for me this hole-in-the-wall place was located three short blocks from my apartment in Mission, and I’m pretty sure the number of times I went there borderline called for an intervention. No matter what you do, you MUST order the carnitas. Oh…you’re a vegan you say? I could care less. Order the carnitas, and you will be welcomed back with open arms to the world of carnivorous, taco-eating revelry.

La Taqueria has also reached the profound revelation that rice in a burrito is simply uncalled for. At this very moment, you may be standing up and shouting, “Blasphemy!” but trust me, this is a very good thing and it saves your stomach from extending four inches over your pants an hour after your meal. Also, you must get the mango fruit drink – it is literally pureed mango and all the goodness that comes with that statement. I give full credit to this concoction for curing me of a miserable fever I came down with in my third week in SF. Finally, this place is dirt cheap, perfect for poor college kids and everyone else in San Francisco who is fiscally impaled by the absurdity of their monthly rent bill.

Oh, and one last thing I swear, order extra avocado.

The beginning of a long and potentially fatal love affair.

2) 21st Amendment SOMA, SF

I’ll keep this short and sweet – 21st Amendment brews super good beer that I eventually realized you can buy at the Durham Whole Foods Market. I highly recommend Hell or High Watermelon.

3) That’s It MarketMission, SF

On the outside, That’s It Market looks like a small, run-down liquor store. But on the inside…oh, on the inside it is a sandwich haven. Surprising, right? And it doesn’t just sell any sandwich, no, it sells a monster, feed-you-for-weeks sandwich on steroids called the Cubana. Made famous by Anthony Bourdain, the Cubana’s got everything you thought you may ever want between two slices of bread…and so much more. It’s filled with chicken, pork, sausage, ham, beef, bacon, scrambled eggs, lettuce, tomato, avocado, mayonnaise, and cheese. I ordered this twice while I was in SF and was never able to eat more than a quarter of it, yet still felt as if I may undergo cardiac arrest by day’s end.

Heart attack on a plate. Mm, yum!

4) Humphrey SlocombeMission, SF

Just look at their flavors. I’ve had ‘Secret Breakfast.’ Can anyone guess what that may be?

Bourbon and cornflakes. A winning combination if I may say so myself.

Obviously most of these places are from my ‘home’ neighborhood where I spent my eight weeks in SF: the Mission District. Mission is a really interesting place, for a complete lack of better words, and if you are ever in San Francisco, I urge you to take the BART to 16th or 24th Street and explore. Fantastic food, Dolores Park, amazing murals ’round every corner you turn…Mission’s a cool place.

Now onto Boston, from which I’ll probably just post more restaurant escapades at a later date in time:

5) GrassfedJamaica Plain, Boston

I mean, c’mon, just look at this place’s website and you know Grassfed is…hipster. Don’t let that confuse you though, this is a burger place (for the vegans who have since tried a carnitas taco). It’s just that these burgers are outfitted in super obscure toppings like oysters and aioli. Honestly, get any burger from here and I betcha it’s going to be downright delectable. For fries, order the truffle-parm and no matter what time of day it is, you better get an adult milkshake (Hint: Salted Caramel).

Finally, from my brief hiatus in Montreal:

6) CommunionOld Montreal

The online reviews for Communion are subpar, but I thought my dinner there was absolutely divine. A few friends and I came here to celebrate the end of a wonderful summer, and Communion had the perfect ambiance in which to do so (outdoor seating right at the edge of Old Montreal). Before going, you should prepare to share as you order dishes for the table, not just yourself, and everything comes in a cast-iron skillet of sorts that you then serve yourself from. The menu is constantly changing, but Communion was a congenial place to convene before a night out and enjoy soulful, hearty food with great company.

The cozy atmosphere at Communion leaves you feeling comfortable enough to do things like this…

Cutty’s Sandwiches (Boston, MA)

Welcome to Cutty’s! The sandwiches you are about to see have been rated the best in Boston in 2011.

My brother Harrison and I enjoyed this here meal together.

Feast your eyes on the Roast Beef 1000. Slow-roasted beef, crispy shallots, 1000 Island dressing and sharp cheddar on brioche. This is the restaurant’s most popular sandwich, and the one I assume Guy Fieri from The Food Network ate when he visited in May, 2012, not long ago!

The other sandwich we tried was the daily special: a beef and cheddar melt with pickled onions, panini’d to perfection. It was absolutely delicious. Coupled with tomato soup, these sandwiches were incredibly good.

Cutty’s gets everything they make their sandwiches with from very specific places. Most of them are local, but some ingredients come as far as the Netharlands and Italy.

If you’re rolling through the Boston area, this is hands down the place to go for a world class sandwich.

Yours always,

Goalie Spoon

Hot & Cold (Nashville, TN)

After four long yet amazing days in Manchester, TN where I attended the annual Bonnaroo music festival, I stayed with a friend in Nashville, TN before my journey back to Massachusetts. Check out this delicious “Hot & Cold,” the famous dish which shares the name of this lovely Café.

Two shots of expresso poured over one scoop of vanilla bean ice cream make for a perfect Hot & Cold dish. If you’re looking for ice cream next time you roll through Nashville, Hot & Cold is definitely the place to go. They offer a great menu of tea and coffee drinks as well as many decadent ice cream flavors.

Love,

Goalie Spoon

Foodie Adventures in Wrightsville Beach

On weekends off, sometimes members of the team like to hit the road and head to Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, NC. It’s just about two hours away and aside from clean, beautiful beaches, it offers amazing food, too.

Lauren Martin and I dined on this incredible sushi from Bento Box. This restaurant came highly recommended from our coach, who frequents the place in the summer. (Thanks, Ker!)

Chef Lee Creations

Our coach instructed us to find Chef Lee, the head chef at Bento Box. We introduced ourselves and within a matter of minutes, the amazing creations you see above were proudly presented to us. We’re not exactly sure what came in these rolls, but we know salmon, eel, tuna and shrimp were all involved. Oh, and spicy mayo, of course.

Oh, did I almost forget about dessert? Just some casual chocolate-peanut butter pot stickers with caramel dipping sauce… yeah. Did I mention they were on the house? You go, Chef Lee.

If you’ve been to Wrightsville Beach, you’ve definitely seen The Oceanic Restaurant at some point. Here’s a reminder of that restaurant you saw with the outdoor seating on the pier.

Kait and I headed over to The Oceanic after a long morning of Kayaking. We started off with this incredible appetizer creation– Shrimp, crab meat and avocado all mashed into one, served with tortilla chips. It’s oh so Pinnable.

After that delightful dish, we split these fish tacos. YUM

Get out to the beach and hit up these quality establishments! What are you waiting for?

Yours,

Goalie Spoon

Jesse’s Steaks, Seafood and Tavern (Hanover, NH)

In the beautiful but extremely rural Hanover, Hew Hampshire, our team stopped for a much needed and much deserved dinner. After a 6:00a.m. departure for the first of our two flights to Manchester, NH, a 1.5 hour bus ride to Hanover, and an hour long practice, we needed something good.

As we walked into the restaurant, we knew we weren’t in Durham anymore. It looked like an upscale log cabin with an amazing salad bar, which Jesse’s is famous for. Everything we could have ever wanted in a salad was there including every vegetable imaginable (even beats), egg, avocado, shrimp, nuts and a selection of fruit. The house dressing was delicious, although I went with balsamic vinaigrette—my go to.

After I decided to have the Shrimp Scampi, I took some time to look around the seating area. It was completely adorned with moose heads (hooves included), antique pots and pans, huge snowshoes, boxes of gunpowder and all kinds of other miscellaneous northeastern knick-knacks.

The Shrimp Scampi came with no pasta, which was surprising, but aside from the lack of pasta, the shrimp, vegetables, and baked potato were delicious. My other teammates ordered either steak with vegetables and a baked potato or salmon with the same sides. Everyone seemed to enjoy their meals—either that or we were all too ready for a shower and 10:00pm “lights out” to think or comment on it.

Last but not least, a rich and delectable serving of chocolate mousse was brought out to each of us as we watched our men’s team beat UNC via iPad. Unfortunately, despite a delicious pre-game meal, we suffered a heart-breaking double overtime loss to Dartmouth. Hopefully the memories we make during times like meals on away trips will stick with us longer than the losses we endure on the field. Goalie Spoon will certainly never forget this authentic, New England dining experience.

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Salt Creek Grille (Princeton, NJ)

After a long day of traveling to play the Princeton Tigers, the team was ready to settle down for a good meal. Luckily, one of our Princeton natives, Mie, picked out Salt Creek Crille for an evening of fine dining for Duke Women’s Lacrosse. Salt Creek Grille offered a luxurious and relaxing atmosphere. We made our way through a regal establishment with high ceilings, romantic lighting, an abundance of dark wood and a very large bar area. Our waiter welcomed us and brought us into a banquet room in the back of the restaurant. Here is a slideshow of the incredible buffet of food that greeted us there.

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Ideally, I would try to describe the highlights of a big meal like this but honestly, every dish was a highlight! We started off with two salads — The house salad and the tomato mozzarella salad with red onion. Each were great but the consensus seemed to really enjoy the house salad with mesclun greens, apples, walnuts, tomatoes and balsamic dressing.

The side dishes were delicious additions to the meat and pasta headliners. The asparagus was cooked perfectly and the roasted potatoes were tantalizing my table as they were brought out to the buffet. My table seemed to love the penne with vodka sauce the most out of the two pasta dishes. The wild mushroom ravioli wasn’t too shabby, either. The sauce was especially delicious.

The marinated flank steak was fantastically tender. The succulent marinade had to be in the teriyaki family and it took the steak to the next level. The salmon was served in a bed of delicious lemon beurre risotto which made the fish look great on our plates. Although both dished were good, the steak was definitely the favorite over the salmon tonight.

A very satisfied Goalie Spoon was delighted to dine at Salt Creek Grille tonight. Duke lax gives it two thumbs up, overall.

Carini Italian and Sweet-Frog Froyo (Richmond, VA)

After winning an action packed game against the Richmond Spiders, we settled in at Carini Italian Restaurant. Since we’re playing the “No. 1” team in the nation on Sunday, we were in need of some replenishing carbohydrates and a solid dose of protein for the days ahead. The restaurant was extremely authentic.

I also can’t forget to mention that the service was great. Our two servers put on an A+ performance, serving 37 people salad, dinner and drinks with ease and all while wearing a smile. They even made it fun to receive our meals, serving whomever raised their hand first when the name of their particular dish was called out.

Here’s some of the art we found in the banquet room- can you name all of the characters in the mural? There was some controversy over who all was who:

Banquet Room Art

Banquet Room Art... "Kiss my ring"

We all started off with a classic Italian salad (correct me if I’m wrong, Italian readers) and most of us chose the “homemade Italian” dressing when presented with a few different options.

Salad

Italian Salad

The bread came out crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, still warm from the oven. We had to stop ourselves from devouring all of it before our meals were served.

Italian Bread

Italian Bread

The main dishes ranged from manicotti to chicken linguine to the classic chicken parmigiana. I stuck with the classic. They were pretty generous with the cheese — most of our entree’s looked the same under their marinara-cheese blankets.

Chicken Parmigiana

We were told not to say a word about dessert after this particular dinner (we usually attempt to demand dessert by chanting for it on the bus). Little did we know we were on the way to Sweet-Frog, a frozen yogurt place in Richmond! Our team is accustomed to eating froyo from Local Yogurt (LoYo), The Yogurt Pump (YoPump) and Tutti-Frutti so we were ready to get crackin’ on our froyo creations upon arrival.

The topping choices were lovely. I was a little bit lost without golden grahams on my caramel froyo, but I made due by crushing up some graham crackers and was pleasantly surprised by mini rolos. The classic fruit toppings along with mochi balls and popping bobas were all present, along with all of their usual chocolatey counterparts.

Here’s how my final creation shaped up. Cake batter and caramel froyo, Reese’s Pieces, Rolos, whipped cream and graham crackers drizzled with chocolate sauce.

This glorious meal should have done us all some good — a definite carbo-load and a sweet treat to top it off. We never forget how lucky we are to have coaches and support staff that do everything to always ensure both our health and happiness- especially in terms of food.

Good Morning Y’all – The Gazebo (Wiliamsburg, VA)

20120211-113715.jpgI am a self-proclaimed pancake fanatic. To paint more of a picture for you of my profound love for pancakes, let me say this – the “Breakfast for Dinner” menu at Elmo’s Diner was a major turning point in my college decision process. The sad part is, I’m honestly not kidding.

I remember the moment so well. “Breakfast…for dinner?!” I asked, “…And they have sweet potato pancakes too?!” With that first bite, I committed to Duke. Then again, the awesome people I was eating with only helped to further affirm this decision of mine.

So, now that you have a deeper insight into who I am and what drives my appetite, it will come as no surprise as to why I love Williamsburg, VA. Every other storefront there seems like it’s either a pancake or waffle house…so in other words, it’s heaven. Every time we travel to play William & Mary, we eat our pre-game breakfast at The Gazebo, aptly named since there is an actual gazebo inside the place.

The Gazebo has two menu items that seem to be made especially for me: a stack of pecan pancakes and a $3 bottomless pit of coffee. The pancakes were everything I could hope for…scrumptious and hearty enough to practically keep me full for the rest of the day (Author’s note: That last statement is clearly an exaggeration. My stomach is more of a bottomless pit than The Gazebo’s extensive caffeine options).

20120211-113833.jpg

Our next stop on the road to Stony Brook could be described as the Mecca of all food destinations: Nashville, TE. All of us here are greatly anticipating the award-winning sandwiches of Bread & Company and what’s sure to be an an equally awesome dinner at the airport. The airport may not necessarily seem like the most exciting dinner venue in the world, but last time we were in town, Casey Beyel and I had a bit of an adventure searching for southern biscuits…so who knows what memories this trip will bring?