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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Tag Archives: outdoor seating

imag1464I met my two old friends over at Trade for dinner. We grabbed a great seat by the window and gabbed the night away.

Trade is owned by Eric Papachristos, Sean Griffing and chef Jody Adams. You may know Jody as a James Beard winning chef and the co-owner of Rialto in Cambridge. Griffing is a 15 year veteran of the Boston restaurant scene and Papachristos is a self made restaurateur. Jacki Morisi has just moved over to Trade as the new events manager – she comes from Rialto, where she was the marketing and communications manager.

We start with curry cauliflower with red onion, raisins and yogurt ($7). The presentation is lovely and the dish has a warmth to it – the yogurt was a really nice addition to complete the dish.

imag1465Chicken meatballs with smoked corn, charred tomato vinaigrette and pine nuts ($11) were a table favorite. Classic yet bold in flavors.

imag1466Fried polenta bites with chorizo aioli, cilantro and preserved lemon  ($9). These were delicious – I loved the texture of the polenta.

imag1469Baked rigatoni with spicy lamb ragu and provolone  ($22) had perfectly al dente pasta. The ragu wasn’t too game-y as sometimes lamb can be. It felt like comfort food without that heaviness that can sometimes come with it.

imag1467The chocolate decadence cake with caramel, creme fraiche and 5-spice ($8) went quickly. The cake was dense but not heavy. It paired well with caramel and the 5 spice wafer was a nice mix – sweet and spicy.

Trade

540 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA

http://trade-boston.com/

Trade on Urbanspoon

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IMG_6644I had anxiously been awaiting this years honey dinner since I missed it last year. The Intercontinental Hotel has 8 beehives up on their roof.  If you are at Miel for dinner, you can check out the observation camera by the host stand and see activity in the hive.

IMG_6645Guests were greeted with a honey infused champagne cocktail.

IMG_6648The cocktail reception started at 6pm. Servers came around with a green cleanse and a peekytoe crostini. The creaminess of the avocado paired nicely with the saltiness of the crab.

IMG_6652There was an observation hive on display for guests to view. Did you know that in the summertime bees cool down their hive and in the wintertime they heat up the hive to a constant temperature?

IMG_6654This is how the trays come out of the hive – they harvest honey twice a year at the Intercontinental.

IMG_6653The color of the honey depends on the nectar source – they plants and flowers bees visit. Honey color can vary from almost colorless to a deep brown. Generally, lighter colored honey has a milder flavor and darker honey has a bolder flavor.

IMG_6655The other appetizer was a chilled honey and lemon glazed jumbo shrimp.

IMG_6656I was pleased to see my friend Noah, of Best Bees, at the event. Noah’s company took over the care of the bees this year for the hotel. See my previous post on Best Bees here. Noah gave a a brief overview about bees – including information on the different types of bees and which cities are the most “bee friendly”.

IMG_6661The first course  was a shaved pear, fennel, zucchini salad with truffle honey dressing. A really nice way to start the meal, a little sweet with a little tang.

IMG_6663The entree was Georges Bank scallops and squab, wrapped with Maine smoked bacon with celery root gratin, vegetable tagliatelle and a honey beure blanc. The beure blanc sauce was divine – rich and flavorful. The scallops were a tad overdone, but still quite tasty. The squab, or pigeon, tastes like dark meat chicken. The bacon added a nice salty quality to the dish.

IMG_6665Dessert was a goat cheese ice cream with warmed seasonal berries and honey. This was probably my favorite part of the meal. The goat cheese ice cream was cool and light – not too goaty. To me, nothing is better than honey and fresh berries. Dinner was $65 per person and Miel will be doing more of these types of dinners in the future. They have a wine dinner coming up, a cheese dinner, a seafood dinner and a steak dinner all on the books. Check out their website and social media channels for more information.

Miel at the Intercontinental Hotel

510 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA

Visit their website here

Miel Brasserie Provencale on Urbanspoon

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imag1393My favorite time to go to the Cape is in September. The tourists are gone for the most part, the beaches are empty, the air is crisp and best of all, you can get a table as a walk in. The Pickle Jar opened in February of 2013 in the old Laureen’s space.

imag1394My friend Ziggy is opening up his own pickle business, Fox Point Pickles – don’t hate me, I swear I was just checking out the competition! Check him out though, seriously, he is insanely talented. To start, we all share the pickle jar ($7) that was an assortment of pickled veggies: cauliflower, carrots, olives, mushrooms, onions etc. Really delicious.

imag1396For lunch we had the special – the lobster hand roll ($16). Lobster tossed with fill aioli and lemon juice and rolled with lettuce, cucumbers and pea shoots in a lavash. A lighter, seemingly healthier version of a lobster roll.

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The egg salad sammie ($7) was a twist on a classic with sliced hard boiled egg, lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts with dill aioli.

imag1401The Firehouse sandwich was the star of the afternoon ($10) with house smoked chili rubbed boneless pork, wilted kale, pickled carrots, smoked cheddar and BBQ sauce on a toasty house roll. The pork was flavorful and I loved the pickled carrots on top. The sandwich was much heavier than the other two options we ordered, but it was so worth it.

The Pickle Jar

170 Main Street, Falmouth, MA

http://www.picklejarkitchen.com/

Pickle Jar Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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imag1166When we finally got up to Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont, we decided to go out for dinner. Looking for something casual, we decided on Gracie’s. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid, and that was at their old location in town. Closer to the hotel, Gracie’s is a popular casual dining spot for locals and tourists alike.

imag1172Gracie’s opened in 1991, and it was named after owners Sue and Archie’s rescue dog. They made the move to this new location in 2009. The dog theme is carried throughout the dining room – from the decor to the names of the menu items.

imag1167We started the meal off right – they brought out a wonderful bread basket with delicious chocolate chip oatmeal bread.

imag1170The quinoa salad special was more of a dinner sized plate than an appetizer! We all ordered burgers, they are all named after dogs:

The Chihuahua
Half-pound burger served with lettuce, tomato and guacamole on the side.

The Airedale
Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed peppers and onions.

The Boxer
Half-pound cheddar bacon burger.

The Husky
Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed mushrooms.

Blazing Beagle Burger
Gracie’s half-pound burger rolled in Cajun spices and grilled to juicy perfection with lettuce and tomato.
Also available as Dante’s Dalmatian-for the firedog.

The Kirby Burger
Gracie’s half pound burger topped with melted cheddar, bacon and a side of our own Memphis BBQ sauce.

Blue Tick Hound Burger
Half-pound melted blue cheese burger with lettuce and tomato.

The Rottweiler
This one’s got a good bite to it. A half-pound cheddar burger topped with lettuce and Tomato. With sour cream, garlic, horseradish sauce on the side.

The Petey Burger
Everyone’s favorite canine orphan. Spanky and Alfalfa put their minds together for this one. A great combination that only the little rascals could think of starting with a half pound of Boyden Farms ground beef topped with Vermont cheddar cheese and, bacon, onion rings and cajun spice.  A dollar of the price of each Petey Burger will be donated by Gracie’s to the North Country Animal League.

imag1174The Husky ($12.95): Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed mushrooms. Just what the dr ordered after a long car ride. The burger was flavorful and cooked perfectly medium. The service was excellent – Archie the owner was there running the host stand! I always think it’s nice to see the owners of restaurants pitching in.

Gracie’s

18 Edison Hill Road, Stowe, VT

http://www.gracies.com/

Gracie's on Urbanspoon

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imag1234My friend Jesse moved back to Boston after being away in California for 9 years. We celebrated his move back to the bean by heading over to Fairsted Kitchen. See my previous post here. Jesse was pumped about this because it’s just steps from their new home.

imag1236Of course we had the scallops, just an amazing dish – cooked perfectly!

imag1238The sweetbreads were tasty – not something I would normally order but I’m glad Jesse persuaded me to try them.

imag1240The lobster beignets were light and delicious served on top of a light corn salad.

imag1235The gnocchi was perfectly cooked as well and simply light as air.

imag1241We had the blueberry pie for dessert. I’m not generally a blueberry pie kind of gal, I like more of a crust to my pie, but this was delicious – like biting into summer, not too sweet and the graham cracker crust gave it some good texture.

imag1242I usually turn my nose up at pot de creme desserts – chocolate desserts (at restaurants in general) usually don’t have effort put into them. However, this was outstanding – and I stand corrected about chocolate desserts. This was light and flavorful – a really delicious dessert. I am pretty sure we I licked the cup clean.

Fairsted Kitchen

1704 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA

http://fairstedkitchen.com/

Fairsted Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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IMG_6489Thursday night, September 4th, Buick hosted an evening at Sweet Cheeks Q. To follow the conversations check out the hashtag #summerencore and #bosdistrict along with the twitter handle @districtdrive. It was the perfect summer evening, we had the whole patio to ourselves and they pulled up the canopy so that we could eat under the stars.

IMG_6485Guests included Rachel from Eater Boston, Eric from Urban Daddy Boston, Erik from Thrillist and Tom, aka Boston Tweet. There were two signature drinks for the evening, a “Regal Buick” and a “Palmer Encore”. So here’s what you’re thinking: what does Buick have to do with BBQ? From time to time they do these events to get out in front of their audience. People buy cars every 8-10 years, you don’t want to wait that long to have a conversation with them. The evening was relaxed and casual – it was about the company and the food, talking about a new car was a bonus. Buying a car can be pretty stressful, trust me, I bought one a little over a year ago – from a 25 year old girl who looked like she just came from a club – it was so awkward I didn’t know where to look.

IMG_6486I love how creative they got with the seating. Guests were sent home with a Buick wine stopper and the opportunity to take a Buick vehicle out for a full week for a test drive. Conor, co-founder of SoonSpoon joined me for the evening and we had a blast! He’s from Texas, so this was right up his alley.

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The cocktail hour featured small canapes: summer tomato with whipped pimento cheese and charred scallion; maple crisped southern “Johnny cake” with bluefush pate (above); smashed cucumber with North Carolina tahini and dill; and crispy oysters with lettuce and corn salsa.

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First course was plated: pork belly and grits with smashed tomato sauce and shrimpy sauce. How can one go wrong with pork belly?

imag1407The second course was served family style: a fried chicken and shrimp boil poured out right onto the table. How amazing is this? The fried chicken was PERFECT, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. You should have seen the size of those shrimps! Tiffani came out and chatted with us over the course of the meal – we talked Top Chef, opening your own restaurant, and where the other best places in the city are to get fried chicken. We met briefly at a Good Ones party months ago, but this was a nice chance to get to know her a little better. Let me tell you, she couldn’t be nicer or more down to earth.

imag1409Don’t for get the sides: biscuits with honey butter, mac and cheese, collard greens, fried okra and broccoli casserole. The best part about Sweet Cheeks are the biscuits – not only are they enormous but they still manage to feel light – and that honey butter? Forget about it – I dream about that stuff.

imag1412Dessert was a gigantic nutter butter with garnishes. One word: AMAZING! On the regular menu, it’s just the nutter butter, so this one was kicked into overdrive. We couldn’t finish it all! Thanks to Buick and Tiffani for a wonderful evening. Can’t wait to pick out a car and take it for a spin!

Disclaimer: Buick invited me to attend this event as their guest – all opinions are my own.

Sweet Cheeks Q

1381 Boylston Street, Boston, MA

http://www.sweetcheeksq.com/

Sweet Cheeks Q on Urbanspoon

 

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IMG_6445The Friday before Labor Day I was hoping to already be out of town – escape the students and dreaded September 1 move in (No Allston Christmas for this gal). Since I was still here, I decided to head over to Charles River Park and check out the Jugos pop up location. Ron Marco, owner of Jugos in the Back Bay, opened a second pop up location at the outdoor pool at Charles River Park for the summer – you know the place – the signs that say, “If you lived here, you would be home now”.

IMG_6453The private party was a farewell to summer party of sorts. They had great live reggae music as well as samples of some of their delicious menu items.

IMG_6456While it was an unusually cool night for the summer, the music certainly heated things up.

IMG_6464Strawberry lemonade was a nice treat – not too sweet.

IMG_6446I’m a huge fan of Jugos – our old office was right around the corner from Back Bay Station and I was there at least twice a week, getting my figawi fix.

IMG_6463While the Back Bay location only has juices and smoothies with a few pre-made items like chia pudin, salads and sandwiches, this location has an expanded menu. The tostones were warm and salty – and not too sweet.

IMG_6460I forgot my floss at home, so no corn on the cob for this gal, but it looked and smelled delicious!

IMG_6440There were a variety of empanadas that went in the blink of an eye.

IMG_6438All of the food was delicious, there wasn’t one thing there that I didn’t like. And it just kept coming…more food after more food.

img_20140829_185227Some of the food I had never tried before, like these plantains stuffed with cheese. Bold flavors that really worked well with each other.

imag1381The fruita en chile had a surprising kick to it, fresh fruit with chile lime salt.

imag1377The chia pudin had chia seeds, homemade cashew milk, sea salt and vanilla cinnamon.

imag1379And the fruta bomba was a delicious blend of papaya, strawberry, mango, tumeric, banana and coconut water.

Jugos Pool Club

10 Whittier Place, Boston, MA

www.visitjugos.com/jugospoolclub

Jugos on Urbanspoon

Check out their Back Bay Location: 145 Dartmouth Street, Boston, MA

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IMG_5340Monday night I attended a tequila dinner at Waban Kitchen, owned and operated by Chef Jeff Fournier. Fournier previously worked at the Linwood Grill, Locke Ober, Excelsior, The Metropolitan Club, and Sophia’s. In 1996 he opened up his first restaurant, 51 Lincoln which has won numerous awards over the years.

IMG_5347Waban Kitchen is located right next to my favorite shoe repair guy that I have been going to for years – little did I know that this gem was just a few doors down. Waban Kitchen in conveniently located just steps away from the Waban stop on the green line.

IMG_5344Not only is Fournier a talented chef, but he is also an artist. Many of his pieces are displayed at Waban Kitchen. He has a website that has not been formally launched yet, but there are a few pieces up for sale: www.jeffreyfournier.com I asked him when he sleeps, and he just laughs.

IMG_5349A great table with seats between the bar and the open kitchen. Waban Kitchen has these types of pairing dinners once a month – check out their website to see what is on tap next.

IMG_5351Guests can see the chefs work in the kitchen from the dining room.

IMG_5362Chef Fournier comes out and thanks everyone for coming – he explains each dish in detail as the dishes are presented.

IMG_5353The bartenders squeezing fresh lime juice for the welcome cocktail.

IMG_5369We start with a tequila cabeza silver margarita. The flavor is smooth and clean, not too sweet with just the right amount of salt.

IMG_5363All the tequilas tonight are made with 100% blue agave – other tequilas, “mixto”, are when 51% of the sugar comes from agave and the rest is made with sugar from another source. Silver tequila is aged up to 59 days as opposed to anejo that has been aged up to a year in small oak barrels or extra anejo that has been aged 3 years + in oak barrels. Tim Murphy is on hand to school us on the tequila choices.

IMG_5370The margarita is paired with a three citrus shrimp and squid ceviche with cilantro, chili, tomato, cucumber and plantain chips. Ceviche is a dish made up of raw seafood that is cured in citrus juices. This dish was made with lemon, lime and orange juice. It was really tasty – bright and acidic with clean and fresh flavors.

IMG_5381The Pierde Almas Mezcal was served straight up. Mezcal generally has a smoky flavor and this is no exception.

IMG_5376The mezcal is paired with traditional chicharrones,  a hearts of palm salad with carrot, red cabbage, jicama, toasted coriander and Mexicana crema. Chicharrones are traditionally made by marinating the pork belly skin on and then frying it. The resulting texture is usually quite tough. Fournier’s version is quite the opposite. They braised the pork belly and fried it with a saison mix. The salad was tart and acidic, really nicely balancing the saltiness and the crisp texture of the pork belly. The Mexicana Crema, similar to sour cream, added a nice creamy texture to the dish.

IMG_5385Next pairing featured the Corzo tequila silver, a really delightful flavor and it was quite smooth.

IMG_5383This was paired with the chicken sancocho, potatoes, tomato, cumin, fried yuca and cilantro. Sancocho is a broth based dish that Fournier also likes to cook for family meals in the kitchen.There was a very generous portion of chicken in the dish which balanced out the salty tomato based soup.

IMG_5390The final dish was paired with the herradura tequila resposado. Resposados have been aged a minimum of 2 months, but less than a year.

IMG_5391The resposado has been pared with the vaca frita, refried pinto beans, rice and salsa verde. The beans have been prepared by Stephen Hoddinott, Chef de Cuisine at Waban Kitchen. He and Chef Fournier have been working together for years now – they are a great pair and work really well together. Vaca Frita is traditionally a fried skirt steak or other tough piece of meat. This dish was tenderized top round marinated with raw garlic, tomato and dredged in oil and then a mixture of corn starch and semolina. At this point, I was stuffed to the gills. I wanted to power through this, but had to take half of it home!

IMG_5397 And finally, for dessert, a tres leches cake with grilled pineapple and smoked pepita salt. This was paired with a herradura tequila anejo. A really wonderful dessert traditionally made by whipping egg whites and folding in the yolks and flour. The condensed milk and cream are poured over the cake while it is still warm to retain the moisture in the cake. It was the perfect dessert – light, creamy, a little sweet mixed with a little salt and smoke (from the grilled pineapple).

The service was excellent, the servers paid attention to detail and were very personable. The meal had a good flow to it and everything went smoothly.

Disclaimer: My dinner was provided compliments of Waban Kitchen, all opinions are my own.

Waban Kitchen

1649 Beacon Street, Waban, MA

http://www.wabankitchen.com

Waban Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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IMG_1445Last Wednesday, May 21st, the Langham Hotel debuted their new lobster pop up on their patio – kicking the season off with a lobster roll eating competition. The weather could not have been more perfect.
IMG_1444Local celebrities were in attendance along with Radio BDC, who was broadcasting the event live.

IMG_1446Guests at the event were served mini versions of the lobster rolls.

IMG_1447The menu for the patio at lunchtime has three items: Creamy clam chowder, lobster rolls on a New England style bun, and strawberry shortcake. You can stop by Monday – Friday from 11:30am – 2:30 pm.

IMG_1443Our local celebrities competing today were: Planitz Collide – co captain of the Nutcrackers and a Boston Derby Dame, Henry Santoro of Radio BDC and Jenny Johnson from NESN’s Dining Playbook.  They faced off against two contest winners from Radio BDC.

IMG_1454Their mission, to eat as many lobster rolls as they could in 5 minutes. Each lobster roll had the meat from a 1lb of lobster!

IMG_1476The Langham’s Executive Chef, Mark Sapienza was in attendance to judge the competition.

IMG_1471Planitz killed it, she had it down to a system! She came in a bite shy at the end of 5 minutes, with 3 lobster rolls under her belt! They crowned Radio BDC personality Henry Santoro the winner of the competition! Congrats to all! Check out the video on Instagram.

The patio will also be open after work as well, Monday – Friday 4:30-pm – 8:30pm and will offer the same menu as lunch in addition to dishes like lobster guacamole, chilled colossal shrimp and Mediterranean olive misto.

The Terrace at the Langham Hotel

250 Franklin Street, Boston, MA

http://boston.langhamhotels.com/restaurants/langham-boston-terrace.htm

Terrace at the Langham Hotel on Urbanspoon

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IMG_3293We got stuck in Vegas for an extra night due to a snowstorm cancelling our flight. The one good thing about having to stay another night is getting to try another great restaurant. This time we picked YellowTail in the Bellagio.

IMG_3294The crowd is a the see and be seen type. Inside gets a bit noisy, so we were glad to have a seat outside on the heated patio.

Water show at the Bellagio

We had a great front row seat to the water show all night.

IMG_3299Edamame ($9) two ways, traditional and chili.

IMG_3303We had two rolls, the shrimp tempura ($16) and spicy tuna ($15). Both classic and tasty.

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The rock shrimp ($23) was crunchy and  had a little kick to it, from the Korean chili aioli. It was just the right amount of food, we were full but not stuffed – plus we saved room for dessert.

IMG_3307Cheesecake ($14) with lemon ice cream and blackberry crumble. You would never know that this dish is made with 60% tofu (unless your waiter told you 😉 ). The cheesecake was light as air and really delicious, I loved the ice cream.

IMG_3309Chocolate Cup ($14) this would have been my second choice, but I’m not a banana girl. It comes with nutella, banana foam, and vanilla bean ice cream. Just wait until you get to the bottom of this dessert, it’s amazing. The service was excellent, we had a great experience.

YellowTail in the Bellagio

3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South Las Vegas

http://yellowtaillasvegas.com/

Yellowtail on Urbanspoon

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