Tambo 22 Restaurant

Salmon, Chancaca Y Rocoto

Tambo 22 opened in March 2020. Staying open through the pandemic shows a tremendous amount of grit and no doubt a lot of community support.

When my friends and I went out to eat last month, we were talking about where we should eat next. One of their colleagues had mentioned Tambo 22, which is a Peruvian-inspired restaurant in Chelsea, and she was intrigued. So was her husband, who also happens to be a chef. He wanted to try the cuisine too and wanted to come with us.

We ended up being a group of seven and went to dinner there last night. If you look to the left of the restaurant sign in the picture of the exterior below, you can see the almost full moon, which I always enjoy seeing.

The restaurant is very small and there is on street parking, but it’s very limited. The restaurant’s days and hours are limited too. Wednesday through Sunday, 5pm – close. The close is different hours on different days.

Now this is just a random thing that’s personal to me. I hate driving over bridges. Coming from Quincy, I had to drive over the Tobin Bridge to get to Chelsea. It’s very tall and very long. Because of the restaurant’s hours, I also had to drive at night. I drove soooo slowy and was a nervous wreck. The same way returning home. I’m amazed that I used to drive over it almost everyday many years ago when I worked in Salem.

Anyway, I must say that as soon as I arrived, I felt very comfortable. The service is good and there is a nice ambiance. A bit loud, because it was filled with people. Everyone was enjoying themselves and there was a nice vibe with the holiday spirit in full effect.

Tambo 22 exterior and sign

By now, you’re probably wondering why I haven’t gotten to the food yet. Well, it was a mixed bag with our group.

I loved my meal, although I found the the portion to be small. I finished the whole thing and didn’t have any leftovers. That’s quite unusual for me.

With slight edits, the menu describes my meal as “Salmon, Chancaca Y Rocoto: Skin on Salmon Filet, Raw Sugar Cane Rocoto Glaze, Yuca Frita, with Pickled Cabbage.” The glaze was sweet and a little spicy. The salmon was nice and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The cabbage was great and I loved the yuca too. I just wanted a bigger helping, so I could bring some home. Others had larger portions, but thought the food was just okay. Well, every restaurant isn’t for everybody.

I was the only one who wanted dessert, so I took it to go. I cannot pass up churros! Especially with dulce de leche.
churros with dulce de leche

When I got home, they were still a bit warm, but I warmed them up even more. The portion size was good and I only ate half. The taste was enjoyable, but I didn’t love them. Will I happily eat the rest of them today, though? Absolutely, yes!

Overall, it was a nice experience and I had a lot of fun. Will I drive over the Tobin Bridge at night to go here again? No. But that’s just me.

Thanksgiving Dinner!

Thanksgiving Dinner

This was my Thanksgiving dinner. Not perfectly plated, but it was perfectly delicious! I’m so full and tired.

Thanksgiving dinner was a combined effort. My mom made the turkey and the oyster and cornbread stuffing. We cooked the macaroni and cheese together. I made the collard greens. My aunt made the candied sweet potatoes and mushroom stuffing. Then my aunt and I made the gravy together. The cranberry sauce was the traditional canned variety from Ocean Spray, which you can tell by the lines! LOL.

Thank you to those of you who read my posts faithfully and also to those of you who drop by now and again. You’re very much appreciated! Happy Thanksgiving!

Restaurant Rant: Not a Grain Bowl

Allegedly a grain bowl.

Am I insane for thinking that a grain bowl should have a decent proportion of, uh, grain?

I went out to dinner with friends on Saturday night to a Dorchester neighborhood bar and restaurant. I’m not going to name it, because I don’t like trashing places. The one time that I did, they kept contacting me to go back so they could make it up to me. I didn’t want to go back and the whole thing was very uncomfortable. Lesson learned.

But this has been sitting on my mind and bothering me for days now. The only way to get it out of my system is to write it out of me.

Looking at this dish pictured above, does this look like a grain bowl to you? It does not to me. It’s a green salad masquerading as a grain bowl. I know it’s almost Halloween, but I didn’t plan on getting tricked by my meal!

When I read the menu it seemed pretty straightforward. Here it is below from the website with slight descriptive edits.

“Grain Bowl: couscous, chickpeas, baby kale, feta cheese, cucumber, cherry tomato, Kalamata olives, pickled red onion, and tahini dressing with pan roasted salmon.”

The salmon was an extra that I added on, so the whole meal was $26.00. Not cheap, but a fairly typical price for dinner.

As someone who cooks a lot at home, I’m always very hopeful that what I have at a restaurant is way better or at least as good as what I could have prepared myself.

Based on the menu description, I expected that at the very least, a quarter to third of the dish would be grains and chickpeas. I often make this type of dish at home. I love harvest bowls! There was literally just a dusting of couscous and very few chickpeas underneath the greens. It was basically all greens.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had some not great meals at restaurants, so I haven’t written about them. But this just seemed ridiculous.

Overall, the meal was good. This green salad was good. It’s just not what I ordered and not what was described on the menu. I even told our server. She asked to take it back, but I said that a side of couscous would be fine. I expected to get a fairly generous portion. Maybe a half a cup? Instead, I received about a quarter cup, if that.

I was shocked. Did they run out of couscous? Rationing chickpeas? Was it a new cook who didn’t know what a grain bowl was and didn’t see the menu description? Good lord why?!

The place had a nice ambience, our server was very attentive and friendly, so I separated my thoughts about the meal from her tip. It wasn’t her fault.

I was so looking forward to a night out with friends. And the three of us had somehow managed to arrange this dinner at the last minute. It was like a miracle! I hadn’t seen them in a while and the most important part was our gathering together. With all that’s happening in the world, the news breaks our hearts a little more everyday.

But my sadness won’t make things any better. So it’s especially important to enjoy my loved ones while I can.

In the greater scheme of life, this grain bowl fiasco could not be more trivial. But the restaurant industry takes the customers as they find them and I was looking for at least what I had seen on the menu.

Birthday Dinner at Back Bay Social on Boylston Street

Birthday cake with a candle.

This post has been a long time coming. Especially since my birthday was in September. But I wanted to make sure that I blogged this dinner and restaurant.

Two friends and one of my cousins met me after work for dinner at Back Bay Social in Boston. We had a really nice time and loved the food. A million times I passed this place and assumed it was a private club, so I ignored it.

For some reason, in my head, I added the word “club” to the end of the name. Or maybe it was there before? I have no idea. I’ve spoken to others who thought the same though, so it’s not just me.

When I was planning our dinner and I looking for places near the Prudential Center, I started looking more closely. After researching, I found that Back Bay Social is a regular restaurant and not a club. Plus, they are famous for their chicken and waffles! Who knew?

In all my years on this earth, I had never had chicken and waffles and was starting to feel it was a deficit that needed to be remedied.

My birthday dinner of chicken and waffles.

Ta da! I tried it!

Chicken and waffles do go together. The first time I heard about it, decades ago, it seemed a bit odd, but I was intrigued. This combination has lasted and only seems to become more popular with time.

I was also treated to slice of birthday cake — their orange blossom cake. Yum!

The restaurant has outdoor seating during the warm weather months and we were seated outside. It was one of those warm end of the summer nights. Celebrating with some of my favorite people. It was a really good birthday.

Dîner en Blanc Boston 2017

Dîner en Blanc Boston

Today is the last day of summer, so it seems like perfect timing to write about a big event that capped off the summer seasonDîner en Blanc , which is French for dinner in white.

I wrote about this event back in 2015, but had never attended it. If you’re not familiar with the event, it’s basically a dinner where everyone dresses in white. Plus, the location is secret until a couple of hours prior.

When the location is emailed to the attendees, they gather up everything that they need for their dinner — tables, chairs, place settings, food, etc., and quickly go to the now revealed location. Then they set up their tables and have their meals.

Dîner en Blanc started in Paris nearly 30 years ago and events are held in cities all over the world with thousands of people attending each one.

Me dressed in all white for Dîner en Blanc Boston

This year I finally attended! A friend of mine happened to mention that she was on the waiting list and wanted to go. Since I was invited to go as media, I brought her along as my guest.

We had a great time! That’s me in my new white outfit! One of the perks of going as an invited guest was that we didn’t have to bring anything with us. We got to hang out in the comfy media lounge and enjoy sandwiches and champagne courtesy of Bon Me and Taittinger.

One of the best things about this event was the diversity of the crowd.

There were many people of color and people of all ages too. The range was probably from 20s to 60s. I feel like this doesn’t happen too often. It was nice to see, especially considering all that is happening in this country right now.

The Ring Fountain lit up and steamy at Dîner en Blanc Boston.

When the dinner started, it was light out. If you can’t tell where we are, it was at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The location was perfect. The weather was perfect. It was maybe mid 70s, so it was warm enough out even as the sun set.

We were near the Rings Fountain, which lit up and spewed steam and water. With everyone dressed in white and walking around, the effect was just magical. Dreamy. Enchanting. It’s hard to describe.

There was live music playing during dinner, with singer John Everett Martin featuring Bob Christopherson and Gregory Holt. Click here for some video that I took so you can see, listen and get a feel for the ambience. It was so very nice. Smooth and jazzy. Singing one of my favorite Sinatra tunes — Witchcraft.This couple dancing it up at Ring Fountain at Dîner en Blanc Boston.

After dinner the band left, then DJ Ryan Brown got everyone up and dancing. He played music that appealed to the whole crowd and everyone really seemed to have a good time. Including me! What a night!

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Disclosure: I attended the event as invited media. My guest and I were admitted free of charge.