Tupelo – Modern Southern

1193 Cambridge St. Cambridge, MA 02139

www.tupelo02139.com (617) 868.0004

*In Inman Sq. in Cambridge at the intersection of Cambridge and Tremont St

Seth & Ren, +3 guests

  • –Drinks–
  • Cote du Rhone
  • Abita Amber
  • Monk’s Blood
  • Ommegang
  • Peak Organic x2
  • Abita Turbodog
  • zombie killer
  • Mulled Red Wine
  • –Plates–
  • Fried Oysters w/ Tabasco aioli and house pickles
  • Pork Belly Corn Dog(!!!) *Night Special*
  • Triple-Fried Chicken wings *Night Special*
  • Deep fried Crispy Grits squares
  • Small Cajun Gumbo w/ pulled chicken, fresh okra and smoked andouille sausage
  • Southern Fried Chicken w/ hominy mashed potatoes, collard greens and pickled red cabbage
  • Crawfish Chowder *Night Special*
  • BBQ Pulled Pork w/ collard greens and hominy mashed potatoes
  • The King’s Favorite Meatloaf w/ jalapeño mac&cheese, collard greens and pan gravy
  • Texas Style Beef Chili w/ cheddar cheese, sour cream and pickled jalapeño peppers
  • –Dessert–
  • Apple-Pear-Cranberry Pie
  • Mississippi Mud Pie
  • $211.86 w/tax ($65 in Drinks)

Average Price/Person: $20-30 w/ Drinks: $30-45

Seth: Back out to Cambridge we went to check out some Southern food this week. Our search had put us to this location as well as a spot on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. We had a reservation and arrived a little late but was promptly sat. Our server was energetic and excited about our dinner. We decided on splitting four appetizers and got our first round of drinks. I had Peaks organic first and was especially excited about the Pork Belly Corn Dog(!!!). When it came it was delicious but the pork wasn’t as tender as I was hoping for. The oysters and wings were really good and I liked the originality of the deep-fried grits squares. For my entrée I decided on the meatloaf. It had good flavor and was tender enough. The accompanying collard greens were perfect and the mac & cheese was good though reminiscent of Velveeta. Bites of the Southern fried chicken highlighted the tasty crust and the Chili was good spicy, nice and hearty and flavorful. Ren’s BBQ pulled pork was cooked well and with one of the pickles proved an enjoyable mouthful. I had a another beer as I finished off my dinner and once again, though quite full, we decided on splitting a couple of desserts. I really liked the pie, which had a fantastic crumble on top. The Mississippi mud pie was decadence and too much for me after a couple small bites. My favorite thing: Either the pulled pork or those fried oysters

Ren: The smell of BBQ and the yearn for grits brought us over to Tupelo in Inman Square. Southern style comfort food is just what we needed to warm our bellies and incite conversation. I started the meal with a delicious Saison. For appetizers we split a pork belly corn dog, deep-fried grits, triple fried wings, and fried oysters. Everything was incredibly delicious, succulent and paired with excellent sauces. For my entrée I chose the bbq pulled pork with collard greens and hominy mashed potatoes paired with a cherry mead. The collard greens were the best I have ever had and the rest was pretty good. Everyone else’s dish was very good especially John’s craw fish chowder with Gruyère biscuits. We ended the meal with a slice of cranberry apple pie and a slice of mud pie. Both were a little sweet for me but definitely tasty so I ordered a glass of mulled wine to finish my meal. Tupelo is definitely worth a visit for anyone looking for delicious southern food. My favorite thing: the wonderful crawfish chowder

Food: Seth 8.5 Ren 8.5 Food Average:  8.5 *Certified Dericious* Delicious appetizers, great concepts of the food, some Southern classics and some modern updates. Execution on a few dishes fell a little short, but awesome overall

Service: Seth 8.5 Ren 8.5 Our server was friendly, original and gave us as much advice and recommendations as we asked for, plus some. The service was timely and he worked with our requests for timing and bill splitting

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 7.5 Ren 8.5 A cute little place in Inman Sq. Good place for a date. I’m glad they took reservations as the place was pretty filled up. Decor on the walls was well done

Total Average: 8.333 Really good food, fantastic service and another great Date Night spot

One bad thing: A couple of food execution errors. The Southern Fried Chicken was a little over done and the Chowder may not have been seasoned as well as it could have been

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Highland Kitchen – Southern Twist

150 Highland Ave. Somerville, MA 02143

http://highlandkitchen.com/ (617) 625-1131

*At the intersection of Highland Ave and Central St, few blocks from Porter Sq

Seth & Ren, +2 guests

  • –Drinks–
  •  Mai Tai Dragon x5
  • Seelbach (Makers Mark cocktail)
  • Highland Fling (Gin cocktail)
  • BBC Coffeehouse Porter
  • Coffee x2
  • –Plates–
  • Pork Belly duck confit with hoisen sauce (!!!)
  • Smoked Bluefish cakes
  • Ricotta & Mozzarella Fritters
  • Handmade Potato Gnocchi w/ shortrib ragout and parmesan
  • Mussels (Returned and removed from the bill)
  • Spicy Jambalaya w/ duck confit, shrimp, andouille sausage, tasso ham and cornbread
  • English Style Beer Battered Fish & Chips
  • Fried Chicken w/ mash and collard greens (Monday Special)
  • –Dessert–
  • Warm Banana Bread Pudding
  • Beignets (a french donut of sorts) w/ cinnamon and sugar (FREE)
  • $171.05 w/ tax ($63.00 in Drinks)

Ave Price/Person: $18-25 w/ Drinks: $25-45

Seth: I’ve been here a few times before and have always loved it. A friend introduced me to this place a few years ago and when another spot we were going to wasn’t going to work this week, this was the next place on my mind. The wait was about twenty minutes but some bar seats opened as we walked in, so we sat for a pre-dinner round of drinks. I knew from before that the Dragon Mai Tai was the way to go. After sharing a sip of mine, everyone else’s second round of drinks were the Mai Tai. We were sat pretty quickly after that. For appetizers, we started with the Pork belly duck confit, smoked bluefish cakes and the ricotta & mozzarella fritters. The pork belly was smoky and amazing with the hoisen sauce. As you may be beginning to learn, pork belly is one of my favorite appetizers EVER! The bluefish cakes were really nicely done and came with an interesting sweet & sour sauce. The fritters were really light, crispy and tasty. For my entrée I got the Monday special: the Fried chicken! The chicken was moist and the batter light and crisp with a slight heat to it. The collard greens were done just right and accompanied nicely with the mashed potatoes and gravy. I had bites of everyone else’s dishes as well. The fried fish was done just right without too much breading. I really like the coleslaw that came with it too. The jambalaya was full of meat, from scrumptious duck confit to nicely cooked shrimp. I had a couple bites of the potato gnocchi and wish I could have had more! It was soft and tasty and the short-rib ragout was awesome. I loved my chicken choice but was a little jealous of Ren’s gnocchi. We also ordered the mussels but unfortunately it was a bad batch and we had to send them back. The waitress and manager were very accompanying with us though. We demolished the food in short order. Which is a little change; we often have a few leftovers. We decided to close out with a dessert and a couple of coffees. We often order bread pudding if a place has it and this one had a banana bread version that was sweet and divine. A couple of minutes into dessert and the manager came back with a free dessert! A french beignets with cinnamon and sugar. Maybe it’s that free is always more tasty but they were really good. Our stomachs quite full, we left sated and satisfied. My favorite thing: The pork belly confit w/ hoisen sauce.

Ren: I’m adding to our dining tails a story mixed with utter bliss and just a pinch of woe by recalling our experience at Highland Kitchen. We were here just one time prior to starting our blog and our previous experience left us excited to return. Even on a Monday night we were told that our wait would be about 25 minutes so we headed over to the bar for pre dinner cocktails. I chose a variation on Highland Fling which was quite refreshing and prepared my palate for the tastes to follow. After a minute of near excitable discussion we were finally able to narrow our appetizers down pork belly, ricotta & mozzarella fritters, and bluefish cakes. The pork belly was succulent with a touch of crisp which was a nice surprise and twist on a dish that is usually described as juicy and tender. The other two apps were simple exquisite delights both flavorful and tender with the perfect amount of breading and cooking time. I ordered the gnocchi with short rib ragout and mussels for my entrée. Unfortunately the mussels had long past reached their prime and I alerted my server who was quick to take it away. A short minute later the manager eagerly rushed to my table to rescue the situation. In short: I had no time to be frustrated and was very pleased by how attentively they dealt with the situation that could have turned ugly. I was very satisfied with my very tender gnocchi and filled the cracks in my stomach with  bites from all my cohorts flavorful dishes. We finished the meal with superb bread pudding, a cup of coffee, and complimentary beignets which tasted a bit like mini fried dough. My favorite thing: The pork belly!

Food: Seth 8.5 Ren 8.5 Food Ave: 8.5 *Certified Dericious* Such good food, all with a hint of southern flair. Nice local food joint with Daily Specials

Service: Seth 8.5 Ren 9  Great service. When the mussels were bad, the manager came over to apologize, took them off the bill and later gave us a free dessert! Our server was good and attentive as well

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 8 Ren 7.5  Cute place with really neat light fixtures. A blend of old school, a little southern and some hipster for good measure

Total Average: 8.333 Great food, great drinks, great service. With this comes a wait at dinner time, but it’s worth it.

One bad thing: The mussels

Sweet Cheeks Q – Upscale BBQ

1381 Boylston St. Boston, MA 02215

www.sweetcheeksq.com (617) 266-1300

*In the Fenway area, a block from the intersections of Boylston St and Brookline Ave

Seth & Ren, + 3 guests

  • –Drinks–
  • Wolavers Brown Ale
  • Rogue Dead Guy
  • Peak Organic IPA
  • Rocky Top
  • –Plates–
  • Bucket of Biscuits w/ an extra
  • Hush Puppies (Fried batter)
  • Fat Cheeks Tray w/ Brisket, Pork Ribs and Pulled Pork
  • Pulled Chicken Tray
  • Brisket Tray
  • Pulled Pork Tray
  • $134.39 w/ tax ($30 in Drinks) 

Ave Price/Person: $18-25 w/ Drinks: $25-35

Seth: For something new we looked to do a BBQ place this week. We had been to Red Bones in Somerville before and thought to try something new. (In hindsight, we should have stuck with what we knew) Ren had a friend that worked here so in we came. It’s a nice looking restaurant and I like the long picnic-like tables. The options for food mostly were different tray options, with one, two or three meat choices, accompanied with two sides, tasty bread & butter pickles and a couple of slices of white bread. We started with the Bucket of biscuits and hush puppies. The biscuits were huge, tasty and came with this excellent honey butter. The hush puppies were the best I’ve had though I’ve only had these at two other places. I ordered the tray with one meat option choosing the pulled pork. I wanted the pork belly, but unfortunately, they were all out after a busier than expected lunch. I ordered the broccoli cheese casserole and coleslaw as sides. The pulled pork was moist and had a good smoky flavor to it. I tried it in a couple of their sauces which were quite good. The sides weren’t quite as nice. The casserole seemed to have been sitting too long and the flavors were far to lost in each other. I’m normally quite the coleslaw fan but was again disappointed. I’m not sure where they went wrong but they did. As far as our friends food it was a mixed bad as well. The Mac and cheese was enjoyed, as was the pork ribs and pulled chicken. Most everything else fell far short. The Brisket was almost inedible it was so dry and even their sauces couldn’t save it. The potato salad also missed the mark. One redeeming quality: A good whiskey and beer selection. As there a number of other BBQ places in the Boston area, ones cheaper and better, we will probably not be returning. Random famous person sighting: John Henry, the principal owner of the Red Sox, came in a few minutes before we left. My favorite thing: The biscuits with that scrumptious butter honey.

Ren: This week we headed over to former Top Chef star Tiffani Faison’s new BBQ hub: Sweet Cheeks Q. This joint also employs a friend of mine and as we hadn’t reviewed a BBQ place as of then we thought it would be a good option. With mixed emotions, just one word describes my experience: disappointed. While there were definitely items that teased my tasted buds there were several other that were inexcusably flavorless. The biscuits with honey butter and hush puppy appetizers were probably the most delicious items I tasted. In fact I would go so far as to say the hush puppies were probably the best I ever had. The beverage I selected was also a highlight of my evening, it was a delicious apple cider flavored drink garnished with a dried apple ring. For my entrée I ended up splitting the Fat Cheeks tray which contained a choice of three meats and two sides. We chose the pulled pork, brisket, and ribs (though pork belly would have been our first choice) with a side of mac&cheese and potato salad. The ribs, pulled pork, and mac&cheese were decent but not extremely flavorful. The brisket was dry and flavorless, (I have never had worse; which I know seems harsh but all my previous brisket experiences have been out of this world delectable) the potato salad was quite bland and the potatoes were too big. Perhaps these differentials in flavors is due to the fact that they recently opened their doors; in that light I may return in the far future to see if they’ve managed to work out the kinks. My favorite thing: The redeeming hush puppies.

Food: Seth 7 Ren 6 Food Ave: 6.5 There were some bright spots with the pulled pork, biscuits and the hush puppies, but for the price this food is not good enough.

Service: Seth 8 Ren 8 The waitress was attentive and had a few recommendations. Even as the place was busy she was around enough. Though the were out of pork belly, she checked for us when there would be more

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 8 Ren 7.5 Nicely done space with a touch of industrial look to it. The tables where kind of like large benches, giving it a little bit of a picnic like feel; complete with water in Mason jars and BBQ sauce containers being homey like.

Total Average: 7.416 Nice looking place but the food is just not worth the money.

One bad thing: The Brisket was criminally dry