I don’t know about you, but some days I have a big appetite but no desire to eat a huge entree. While a big chunk of meat and a few lack-luster sides makes sense sometimes (rustic ski-lodge dinner with Bear Grylls for example); when I want to truly enjoy my dining experience I opt for sampling a few small, more refined plates. I’m not sure if there’s a name for this dining preference. Notorious Nibbler? Tapas-Taster? Dim Sum Sampler, Hors-Deuvres Devourer, Appetizer Aficionado? You choose. Anyway, I’ve gone ahead and done you the service of trying each and every tiny meal on the peninsula & I’ve chosen the top 3 that you should call your meal tonight. Best part? I included drink pairings & these restaurants are all pretty close to each other so you won’t have to burn any calories. Let’s begin.
Miang Kum Sum-Oh At BoDa (671 Congress Street)
Boda, known for its creative, tapas-style Thai food, offers the colorful & complex flavor bomb known as Miang Kum Sum-Oh, which roughly translated means “Many delicious things wrapped in a leaf”. Ok, that’s not actually what it means, but that’s exactly what it is. Presented on 4 tasting spoons, these little “salads” are meant to be eaten in one bite. Each is comprised of an edible leaf filled with toasted coconut, a slice of pomelo, a shrimp, a bit of lime, and a few other goodies. Expect sweet, tangy, a little crunchy, and unlike anything you’ve tasted before. Once it’s in your mouth you’ll come back for more. (that’s what she said). Pair it with a classic Thai iced tea and enjoy the party in your mouth. While BoDa offers a gazillion other delectable skewers and apps, it’s easy to fill up on them, so get the Miang Kum Sum-Oh and move on to the next stop while you still have an appetite.
Deviled Eggs at LFK (188A State Street)
I could eat 50 of these and I’m happy to demonstrate if you’ll pay. Think classic, picnic style deviled eggs executed to perfection. No lumps, no frills, no colorful garnishes. If you like your deviled eggs all fancy & too pretty to eat try East Ender. For the real thing, the classic, the legend; go to LFK. The beauty of deviled eggs is how stunningly simple they are. Hard boil the egg, mash up the yolk with some mayo & spices, plop it back into the egg white, consume. No utensils needed, no napkin either unless you didn’t open your mouth wide enough. Pair it with the Surfer Rosa (summertime in a glass, aptly named for a Pixies song) and I can promise you’ll feel just like you’re at a family picnic (If you can ignore the fact that the bar’s too dark to see your hand in front of your face). Grab your flashlight and move on to your next “digestination”. Get it?
Duck Buns At Empire (575 Congress Street)
If you can pull yourself away from your neighbor’s brother impersonating Morissey VS. Your sister’s boyfriend impersonating Eddie Vedder at Clash Of The Titans, head downstairs to Empire’s classy new Dim Sum restaurant and order the Duck Buns. If you know Chinese food at all you’ve probably had Cha Sui Bao, traditional pork buns. Empire’s duck buns pair the same memory-foam-esque buns with crispy Peking duck. They don’t skimp on the perfectly sauced & crispy duck, but with only 2 per order you’d be wise to savor each bite. Pair this mouthgasm with the best drink on the menu: Dragon’s Milk, a veritable potion of jasmine infused gin, coconut milk and muddled basil. This drink is mild, sweet, and worthy of Daenarys Targaryan. Sip it slowly as you solemnly eat the last few bites of your duck buns. If you’re still hungry at this point, any of Empire’s other offerings are sure to fill you up.
There’s something extra special about a meal made up of tiny treasures like the aforementioned. You’ll be reminded that quality is more important than quality, leftovers are overrated, and dinner doesn’t have to be boring! If this style of dining appeals to you, let me know and I’ll take more of my precious time to curate another sampling of small plates, assortment of appetizers, trifecta of tapas….