There was only supposed to be a 30% chance of snow. When I left my house on Saturday morning and it was raining – but by the time we got to Petit Robert, it had changed to snow. I can’t think of a better way to spend a snowy morning – watching Chef Jacky Robert do a demo on cheese themed dishes. For a $20 donation to Chef Jacky’s charity, people would watch him prepare 3 courses. There was an optional lunch afterwards as well.
His good friend gave a lovely introduction. Haven’t been to Petit Robert? Don’t know much about Jacky Robert? Here’s a brief run down: Chef Jacky was born in France and began cooking at the age of 15. He worked in his uncle’s restaurant in Boston, Maison Robert, as the executive chef for a number of years. He worked in Lydia Shire’s kitchen at Locke Ober and did a brief stint down on the Cape as the culinary director at Chatham Bars Inn. Chef Jacky’s friend Martha Castaño was in attendance and they talked a bit about their charity.The first recipe is the Roquefort Souffle. While chef was preparing the dish, he told some humorous stories and threw in some tips/tricks for each recipe. Everyone at the demo was given a copy of the recipes to take with them.
The second recipe was for Chicken Cordon Blue. A good deal of this dish can be made in advance, with the last step of baking to be completed the day you’re serving. It is hard to tell, but that potato on the bottom right of the plate is carved into the shape of a shoe!
It was quite an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. Chef Jacky has a great personality and it was a pleasure to watch him cook. Check out Petit Robert’s website for additional upcoming demos.
In addition to specialty goods, Bees Knees also hosts a deli and cafe where you can order a sandwich or grab a smoothie to go. They have an extensive wine and craft beer selection along with a selection of 300 farmstead cheeses and an amazing chocolate cafe if you’re itching for something sweet.
They have a great selection of coffee, we bought this one from Bongo Java for $15 and thought we would give it a spin.
Fentimans Cherry Cola $10 definitely has an acquired taste.
Fine Cheese Company Toast for Cheese $9 is pretty tasty with soft cheese as the toast itself is quite delicate.
Cookie Monstah Oatmeal Raisin Cookies $9 – love these guys, and so glad there is a place that stocks their cookies – you know, just in case you can’t get to the truck!
Savannah Bee Company Honeycomb $20 is one of my all time favorite products. People are wowed by this, it just gives your cheese plate that extra little something.
Hammond’s PB&J chocolate bar $3.75 tasted more like peanut butter than jelly, but it was delicious.
We also picked up the Wild Ophelia Sweet Cherry Pecan chocolate bar $4.25
Vermont Pickle Snap Peas $6. I was impressed that they had this product! I had heard about this place and couldn’t wait to try the snap peas! Glad to see that they have made it to Boston, you don’t want to miss these!
Jeni’s sweet corn and blackberry ice cream $12.50 was delicious. The black raspberries were like jam swirled inside the ice cream, it did not disappoint.
I think my favorite product was the Jeni’s chocolate hazelnut macaroon ice cream sandwich. The dark chocolate ice cream was rich and went well with the salty hazelnuts. The hazelnut macaroon was like heaven, I kid you not. Jeni’s Chocolate Hazelnut macaroon $7.50
Bee’s Knees Market
12 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA
After eating so many heavy, rich dinners, we decide to go casual one night. Tomato Charlie’s is located on the main drag and serves excellent thin crust pizza. They have patio seating under umbrellas and covered seating inside the restaurant on the other side of the sidewalk.
Located at the Brickell Bay Beach Club, J.E. Irasuquin Blvd 30, Noord, Aruba
Bernard’s used to be tucked in a corner in the Chestnut Hill mall, but has since moved over to the new construction, “The Street”. We were going to head to the Shake Shack, but the line was out the door, so we decided to try out Bernard’s for the first time. We’ve heard only good things about this place. There was a good crowd here – lots of people a the bar watching the game, and a lot of large parties in the back. They found a table for us in back, next to the chain link curtain that separates a section off the larger room into a semi private area.
The Mongolian beef was excellent, the best dish of the night. The meat was well seasoned, and tender, while the rice crisps added a nice texture.
The General Tso’s chicken ($15.95) was good – a little sweet and a little spicy. Service here was spotty at times, but good overall. We would certainly go back for another meal here.
55 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA
While the pictures look like Franklin Southie was empty, when we arrived at 1:30, it was buzzing. It’s usually crowded but we’ve never had a problem getting a seat. There’s a cool vibe here, but very different than the South End location. Franklin South opened in 2008 and has a bright, open, modern vibe.
We both had the mascarpone stuffed french toast, banana jam, Nutella ($10). I have to be honest, if presentation is everything, and you eat with your eyes…the banana jam on the top of this dish looks unappetizing. The dish was really tasty, but for me, the presentation could use some tweaking. The French toast was covered in corn flakes, but I think mine was missing the mascarpone “stuffing”. It did however come with some orange zest in between the two slices. The dish was sweet and decadent without feeling heavy, and at $10, the price is right! The service was good, our waitress brought our food out quickly and let us sit and chat after we were done without making us feel like we were bring rushed out. They have a lot of great options on their brunch menu, it was hard to make a decision on what to get, but on my next visit, I’ll be sure to try the Korean fried chicken with kimchi rice and a fried egg ($7), the smoked eggplant dip with homemade naan ($5) and the ricotta pancakes with blueberry jam and maple butter ($9).
152 Dorchester Ave, Boston
The Old Man and the Sea is located quite a distance from the high rise hotels (it is past the airport). To attract more patrons, they provide a one way ride to the restaurant from your hotel and you pay the taxi driver on the way home (around $30). We have a great taxi driver who tells us that they are planning on building a Hard Rock Hotel where the old Bushiri hotel used to be, and then they are putting a freeze on building more hotels.
How amazing is this? Next door is the Flying Fishbone restaurant, which we definitely want to try on our next trip.
It’s pretty dark so the pictures aren’t very good. We start with the pear and walnut salad: Mixed greens served with pear, feta cheese crumbles, candied walnuts, bacon pieces accompanied with a raspberry vinaigrette.We both had seafood dishes, neither were memorable enough to blow us away.
We ended the night with a non traditional tiramisu that was light and delicious. A great way to end a meal.Certainly worth a trip here just for the amazing views.
The Old Man and the Sea
Savaneta 356-A, Savaneta, Aruba
Brasserie Jo for New Year’s is a tradition for our family. Located in the Colonnade hotel, Brasserie Jo has been around for the last 15 years. Our waiter Nelson, has been here from the beginning. The restaurant was one of the city’s first brasseries, and under the direction of Chef Jean Joho, the restaurant features many dishes from Alsace. I haven’t had it in years, but back in the day, Brasserie Jo served up THE best steak tartare in the city.
We were away last year, so it’s been a while since we’ve been here. They now have jazz musicians by the bar in front and they opened up their private rooms in the back in order to set up a buffet – no more a la carte breakfast for New Year’s day.
Brasserie Jo in the Colonnade Hotel
120 Huntington Ave., Boston
After dinner at Ventanas del Mar, we went back to the hotel area and grabbed a gelato at Gelatissimo. Pay first at the back counter and then bring your receipt up to the gelato bar to place your order. The place feels more like a night club than a gelato store, grab some seats at the high top tables and get some great people watching in!
J.E Yrausquin Blvd. 345, 00000 Palm Beach, Aruba
Check out their Facebook page
After we read Setting the Table for book club, I had to check out Union Square Cafe to see if Danny Meyer was all talk, or if he practiced what he preached. We were running a few minutes late, so I called the restaurant to let them know. When we arrived, it wasn’t busy yet, so it wasn’t a big deal that we were late. But the hostess said, “thanks so much for calling and telling us you were going to be a bit late, we really appreciate it.” Nice.
The cookie and biscotti plate ($9.50) was just the right thing to go with a cup of coffee, a really nice way to end the meal. We really enjoyed our experience at Union Square Cafe. And it really was that, an experience. It was more than just the food, although that part was great, it was about good service and the feelings guests leave with, ultimately wooing them to com back. Needless to say, we can’t wait to go back, and look forward to trying Meyer’s other restaurants.
Union Square Cafe
21 East 16th Street, New York, NY