A few weeks ago, my friend Jon (the guy who created those awesome Converse sneakers), ate dinner at Sweet Cheeks, an American BBQ restaurant near Fenway. He absolutely loved it, so he immediately texted Mal and me to tell us that we all needed to have dinner there soon. Jon knows good food, so we made a date to get together.
Sweet Cheeks is owned by Tiffani Faison, who was one of two finalists on the first season of Top Chef. Cool, right? She actually came out of the kitchen at the end of the night, and I almost snapped a creeper photo of her, but I stopped myself. It was neat to know that my food was probably cooked by her!
Apparently, Sweet Cheeks is a happening place because our group of five waited 1.5 hours for a table. The time flew by thanks to the drink service along the back bar and catching up with friends.
When we sat down at our table, the waitress introduced us to the special sauces on our table: Sweet Cheek’s own barbeque sauce, hot sauce made with Ghost Peppers, and a vinegar-based barbeque sauce. I tried the hot sauce thinking it would kick my butt, but it wasn’t all that spicy.
Our waitress also told us that all of the meats at Sweet Cheeks are responsibly sourced. She referred to the beef as “Never Ever,” meaning it’s all sustainably-raised and NEVER EVER treated with hormones, antibiotics, or chemical additives. Much of it comes from small New England farms.
After perusing the menu, I was all about the side dishes (aka “hot scoops” and “cold scoops”). Thankfully, the menu offered “Trays” that included the best of both worlds: your choice of meat + 1 hot scoop +1 cold scoop with white bread, pickles, and onions. Sign me up.
To start, we shared an order of Hush Puppies among the table. They were good (I’d give them a B+), but they were no Mandarin Oriental hush puppies. I will never forget those babies for as long as I live.
I ordered the Berkshire Pulled Pork with a sides of mac & cheese and a farm salad.
The farm salad was made with arugula, Brussels sprouts, red grapes, hazelnuts, and Pecorino Romano cheese. The farm salad was amazing””so fresh, so flavorful, so delicious. I highly recommend it if you visit. The mac & cheese was pretty awesome, too.
All of the meat at Sweet Cheeks is dry-rubbed, so it’s not doused in barbeque sauce, which I liked a lot. The pulled pork was tender and very flavorful. The portion was HUGE, so I took home lots of leftovers.
I wasn’t sure what the white bread served with our meals was all about, but the guys seemed to like it!
At the end of the meal, I whipped out my phone to try a new app called Serve from American Express to pay our bill. I love fun new apps and know you guys do too, so I was more than happy to give it a whirl and blog about it. As part of Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a stipend to try it out, but, of course, I will always give you my honest opinion about my experience.
I’m sure you can agree that when the bill comes at the end of a nice dinner, you don’t want to waste time figuring out who owes what. Typically with my friends, everyone throws down a credit card and pays what they owe or we all have twenty-dollar bills and need the waitress to bring us change. With Serve you can settle up the bill quickly by sending and receiving money on your cell phone.
Mal paid for dinner with his debit card and my friend Jon and I planned to pay him back for our portion of the bill using the Serve app. Unfortunately, I had trouble getting Serve to work on my iPhone at the restaurant, but Mal and Jon had no issues downloading it and signing up. They have iPhones too, so I’m not sure what was up with mine. I ended up transferring my portion of the bill to Mal’s Serve account when I got home from my computer with no problems.
In theory, I think the Serve app is pretty cool, and I can see how paying your bill at dinner and transferring money between parties would be really simple via your cell phone. (You just need to make sure everyone has a Serve account to do it.)
If you’re interested in signing up for a Serve account, you can get $10 for FREE for just opening one. Free money rules.
*** Edited to add (12/18/11): I got the Serve app on my phone to work just fine today. I tested it out by transferring an extra $10 to Mal. All I needed to do was enter his email address and my security pin in the app, and then he instantly received the money. Just like that. Easy as can be.
As we pulled into the driveway of our house after dinner, look who was waiting for us! Murphy is a big fan of his “perch” on the back of the couch.
He must have heard our car driving down the road and went to see if it was us. Seeing his adorable pug face made me so happy and excited to see him.
Yesterday, I decided to participate in the Jingle Bell 5K, so I woke bright and early to blog and eat breakfast this morning. Sadly, we’re out of bananas and peanut butter, so I wasn’t able to have my usual pre-race breakfast. Instead I made a toasted whole wheat Sandwich Thin with sunflower butter and dried cranberries on top. I hope it makes me run fast! Although, I’m super sore from CrossFit, so I’m not sure how speedy I’m going to be today.
Off to the Jingle Bell! Wish me luck!