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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Tag Archives: french

IMG_3258Gaslight, Brasserie du Coin, literally Brasserie on the corner is part of the Aquitane Group who bring you restaurants such as Aquitane, Cinquecento, Union Bar and Grille and Metropolis Cafe.

IMG_3259Gaslight is run by Executive Chef Seth Woods and Michael Zentner, his Chef de Cuisine.

IMG_3261The decor is that of a traditional French Brasseie, from the white subway tiles and dark booths to the reclaimed wood floors.

img_20140713_093916We planned on heading over to the SOWA market today, so we came to Gaslight to fuel up (that and they offer free parking!!) We start with a Cafe American ($2.95).

imag1057Meredith raves about the raspberry croissants ($3.25), which were good, but a little on the well done side.

IMG_3265The French toast ($10.50) was good, but very sweet. With such large slices, it was hard to finish the whole dish.

IMG_3263The Pork Hache ($15.50) was outstanding: Confit pork, crispy potatoes, chili sauce verte & fried eggs. It was a stick to your ribs kind of meal with the perfect balance of saltiness. I would definitely come back for this again. Service was excellent, our waiter took good care of us.

 

Gaslight

560 Harrison Street, Boston, MA

http://www.gaslight560.com/

Gaslight Brasserie du Coin on Urbanspoon

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IMG_2606After our food demo at Petit Robert, we head over to the InterContinental for lunch. With the weather getting worse, we figured that we would rather be at our next destination instead of risking lunch at Petit Robert and missing our spa appointments.

IMG_2608It’s well past lunch time, so we have the restaurant almost to ourselves. As far as hotel restaurants, I find Miel charming. I love the charm (minus the vinyl seat cushions) of this place, and each table comes with a spring of lavender that you can sprinkle on any of your dishes.

IMG_2607Miel is French for honey, and it is the city’s first Provence-themed brasserie.

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They have an amazing olive oil room where you can host dinner parties or they will even host an olive oil tasting for you and (up to 14 of) your guests at it’s chef’s table made from a 1,000 year old olive tree. You can’t quite tell in this picture, but the chandelier in the photo is made up of little bottles of olive oil.

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We start with the naan bread ($3) that comes in a cast iron skillet. It is drizzled with honey from the hotel’s own hives and sprinkled with rosemary. The hotel has 2 hives, and chef Cyrille Couet is also the beekeeper. In the fall (last year’s dinner was at the end of September), Miel hosts a honey harvest dinner featuring dishes and drinks that showcase their honey (and you get to take a vial home!) See last year’s menu here.

IMG_2611The Rockland Peekytoe Crab Salad – Honey Crisp Apples, Kikko Corn, Fresh Corn, Avocado, Pecans ($19)

IMG_2614At first glance I thought that the salad had Parmesan cheese on it, upon closer inspection, it was really shredded crab. While the dish was nothing as I imagined, and while the individual ingredients were tasty, as a whole, this salad was confusing to me. I loved the sweetness from the apples and the crunch of the pecans. To be honest, the kikko corn was a little odd for me in this salad and I ate around them.

IMG_2613Our waiter suggested we also get a side of fries, so we order the Thyme Truffle Pomme Frites $7, which are delicious – light, salty, crisp and well seasoned.

IMG_2615During the warmer months, they open up the patio with tables and chairs – looking forward to some after work drinks and meals here!

Miel Brasserie Provencale

Inside the InterContinental Hotel, 510 Atlantic Avenue, Boston

Miel Brasserie Provencale on Urbanspoon

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IMG_2129We had a lovely dinner with old friends at L’Espalier. Located on Boylston Street, if you aren’t specifically looking for the restaurant, you might walk right by it. The restaurant was originally located on Boylston when in opened in 1978, it moved to a townhouse in the Back Bay in  1982, only to return to Boylston in 2008.

IMG_2138A host greets us at the door and we take an elevator up to the main dining room. There is a good smattering of people in the restaurant, and we are all grouped mainly in the Crystal room. From the minute you walk into the front door, the service is impeccable.

IMG_2116When we are seated, we are presented with a few amuse bouches.

IMG_2117The presentation is lovely – simple, precise, and delicate.

IMG_2119The scallop tartare.

IMG_2122We were going to do the tasting menu, but we had just had a rich meal on Friday, so we opted for the a la carte instead. Our server brings out each course and announces in detail what is on our plates. I had the Georges Bank scallops with crispy sweetbreads, hay roasted cauliflower, green cabbage and caper vinaigrette. The plating here is like a work of art. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the mustard seed added a sharp bite to the dish.

IMG_2121We also had the Apple Street Farm Autumn greens with walnut and fennel, Satsuma oranges in young ginger, faux yogurt gnocchi, and orange blossom sherbet. This was a great salad with bright flavors – I loved the play on the dish with the faux yogurt gnocchi.

IMG_2123Grilled Maine lobster in the style of Brandade provençal, littleneck clams, parsley root and artichoke. This dish reminds me of the one we had at Seasons. This dish was a close second. The dish has been plated beautifully and the lobster meat is tender and sweet.

IMG_2124Maine beef tenderloin with beef heart, confit potato, Côtes du Rhône-shallot relish and onion- bone marrow powder. There is a lot going on on this plate. The dish was delicious, the meat was tender and all of the components on the plate blended well with each other.

IMG_2125I love the playful desserts from Chef Jared Bacheller. “Cowboys and Indians”: Warm Indian pudding with chocolate barley bullets and bourbon ice cream.

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Chocolate peanut butter soufflé, fig fluff and concord grape ice cream. The souffle was so decadent!

L’Espalier

774 Boylston Street, Boston, MA

http://www.lespalier.com/

L'Espalier on Urbanspoon

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IMG_2605There 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.

IMG_2584His 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.IMGThe 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.

IMG_2595Look at that souffle, isn’t is perfect?

IMG_2599A close of up of the souffle, a little deflated by the time I had a chance to snap a photo.

IMG_0001The 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!

IMG_2598The dish should be served hot as the cheese will be melted and delicious.

IMG_2603The demo was being taped, you will soon be able to see the recording on YouTube.

IMG_0002The brie cheese puff was inspired by gougeres. Chef Jacky mixed everything by hand, but the ingredients would mix together just as well with a Kitchen Aid mixer.

IMG_2604It 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.

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My mother and I spent an overnight in Boston-enjoying what this great city has to offer. First stop, check into the Elliot Hotel located at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue. A really great hotel-boutique, before it was ‘in’, with lots of charm. The lobby area is small and sparse, but every room is suite style.

The lobby.

There are 4 chairs in the small lobby-two on each side.

The beds were comfortable and stylish.

The bedroom had a tv in front of the French doors that led out to the sitting area.

A small hallway off the sitting area. To the left was the bar area and to the right the hallway to the bathroom.

The bar.

The bathroom was a bit small with very little counter space. There was no fan in the bathroom so it got steamy when you took a shower.

A pretty great feature was this touch screen computer in the room. You could make restaurant reservations, find the best places to shop, even find a good route for your morning run.

We left the hotel and made our way to the Mandarin Oriental for a day at the spa. The service was impeccable. The lobby of the spa had a relaxing water feature (not shown) and a shop to buy all your spa products. Here you begin by taking off your shoes, a symbol of leaving the outside world behind, and then complete the welcome ritual with a hot towel and a cup of tea.

Everything is sleek and  modern. We are here early in the morning, and there aren’t many other people here. The locker rooms feature a wonderful eucalyptus steam room, with a shaved ice machine outside, overhead rain showers, a wading pool and luxurious beds to lounge on while you wait for your appointment.

I had a wonderful aroma stone massage-an hour and twenty minutes of pure bliss! They have hydraulic massage tables that I especially liked. I also had a one hour and twenty minute facial-which included a mini massage. I would say don’t do both back to back-if you are like me…I get antsy and can’t sit still that long 🙂

Be aware that the spa at the Mandarin offers weekday prices and weekend prices and an 18% gratuity is automatically added to your bill.

After a morning of pure relaxation, we head over to Stephanie’s for lunch. See review here.

We head over the Newbury Street, the Prudential mall and the Copley mall to walk off our lunch before retuning to our hotel to get ready for dinner at Clio.

It’s hard to see what this room looks like because it was so dim. Clio and Uni are in the same space. Uni, the sushi bar, is located in a small space-down a few steps from Clio. Clio is a relatively small restaurant and the place was packed. Both restaurants are Ken Oringer’s-Clio’s menu changes nightly so see the website for a sample menu.

I started with a really wonderful appetizer-green and white asparagus with en egg. The asparagus was cooked perfectly and the creamy texture of the egg blended really nicely with the saltiness of the ham.

For the main course I had the lobster. Two large portions that were the perfect texture and wonderfully sweet. Such a simple dish, but done so well.

I can’t remember the name of this dessert, but it was a little too gummy for me. It tasted like chocolate pudding but was more of the consistency of jello….Really good meal over all-I expect nothing less from Ken Oringer..the service was good-very attentive. We called it a night after dinner.

We went back to Clio for breakfast-they offer a buffet option, with cereal, yogurt, and pastries. We opted for the a la carte menu. I had the waffles with fresh berries and raspberry coulis. Beautifully presented, and tasted just as good.

My mom had the French toast-again, nice presentation and tasty. This was the end of our overnight in the city-over all, a really great day!

Clio on Urbanspoon

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Located in the Colonnade hotel, Brasserie Jo is Jean Joho’s authentic french bistro. We come here every year on New Year’s Day for brunch. This year however, it was breakfast not brunch (because we went before noon).

A new feature this year was the make your own bloody mary bar by the front door. The restaurant is divided into a main dining area, the winter garden which looks out onto Huntington Avenue and the French bar. Brasserie Jo is popular with the pre/post theater crowd-come in and grab a Hopla, a draft beer from Alsace (the restaurant features dishes from Alsace) or sit at one of the cafe tables and have some profiteroles (which are excellent). Brasserie Jo also has two private dining rooms available for larger parties.

The place hasn’t changed much in the last 10 years-they have a pretty consistent menu and the decor is classic. We sit at one of the larger tables in the back. The service was just ok, our waiter was hard to find at times and our coffee cups were empty much of the time. The coffee here is excellent-really strong!

I have seen a bunch of celebrities here: Tracy Morgan, the late Julia Child, Val Kilmer, and a bunch professional athletes.

Usually, the food and service are excellent, but I have to admit that this year, both fell a little short. Most of us ordered omelettes with toast ($8.95). The toast was cold and the omelette was a lot of egg and not a lot of filling. On a side note, I do like the pancakes here as well as the French Toast with fruit. So, until next year Brasserie Jo, and I hope that when we meet again, the food and service will be better.

 

Brasserie Jo

The Colonnade Hotel
120 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02116

http://brasseriejo.com/

Brasserie Jo at the Colonnade Hotel on Urbanspoon

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