Thursday, March 26, 2009

Boston, Advertising, Consumers, and Eats

So I'm here for work, and there hasn't been a lot of time to eat out, since watching consumers until 10PM doesn't leave time for much else, but of course, I fit it in where I could.

First, some of the best lines of the study where we were exposing possible advertising ideas:
  • In serious deadpan, a consumer said, "I don't think people are drawn to mimes."
  • Exasperated after consumers continued to pick on things he continually told them not to, the moderator said, "Look, those details aren't going to matter. I'm NOT going to say it again!"
  • A woman started looking at her cell phone, so the moderator says, "No texting please." She looks up and says, "I was just quickly looking to see what the message was." He says, "Yeah, that's what I mean."
  • A guy who was attempting to make the ad better said, "I think there needs to be more humor. Like, can't you have something shooting out of the t-shirt cannon and hitting a guy in the balls, and he rolls around in pain? Like, that would be funny!"

Okay, now on to two restaurants that are great finds. The beauty is that I happened upon the city during Restaurant Week! Sweet!

First, The Elephant Walk - French/Cambodian. Really great food. There's one in Cambridge, Boston, and Waltham. I opted for the three-course dinner for $30. Started with the Chilled Citrus Avocado Soup. Great flavor, with sweet from orange juice, tart from the lime. The avocado lent some texture, and it was really a good one. But not as good as my friend's tuna tartare dish, with avocado and other spices - that thing rocked. Next was Lac Loc - tender, marinated cubed beef was grilled and had a delicate sweetness to it. Place that along with rice noodles that are dipped in some fish sauce and wrapped in lettuce leaves, it's like the Chinese lettuce wraps with a Southeast Asian twist, and it was really delicious. Last, the grilled pork tenderloin in a brown savory sauce infused with coconut milk, served with lime wild rice and seared eggplant. I have to admit, I found the sauce a bit too sweet, but it didn't stop me from MMM-ing all the way down to the bottom of the plate. That thing was awesome. My friend had the braised short ribs with Shanghai noodles. Tender and savorific!

Second, B&G Oysters. It's in the South End of Boston, across the alley from The Butcher Shoppe and across the street from Hammersly's. David lives two doors down from it all, and I can only say I'm envious that he's got this trifecta of great cuisine right outside his door! Of the three, I like B&G and the Shoppe the best. They're down to earth and you can let your hair down. Hammersly's is a little too fancy-schmancy and overdone for my taste, but if you're on expense account, it's a good place to go. B&G Oysters is a great joint for seafood. I had the raw oysters, which were fine - the Little Wing from the west coast was my favorite, and Blue Point is a good ol' standby. I still say it is hard to evaluate oysters because if you're not in London's famous Food Market getting a freshly shucked oyster from one of the stands there, you haven't truly had a great oyster. Yes, they're freshly shucked here, but it's not as plump, not as large, not as briny-bnalanced, just not the same. The Chorizo Risotto-stuffed Calamari was the star of the night. Calamari is stuffed and pan-fried, set on a bed of arugula and vinaigrette-marinated peppers with some golden raisins. DELICIOUS. Get this if you're there. Lastly, the Lobster Cassoulet was good, but I have to say, lobster isn't my favorite, and neither are beans. So for me to actually have liked it, it must be a dream for folks who do like the combination.

Off to Estragon tonight. Stay tuned...

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