Archive | October, 2013

The Beat Hotel

31 Oct

The Beat Hotel

Basements seem to be the the new “it” thing. Imagine yourself transported back into the 1950s and are walking down into a completely decorated, eclectic venue covered with tie-die furnishings highlighted by select dim lighting and incorporates everything with a hint of spunk. Now open your eyes as that description details the Beat Hotel, a new restaurant in Cambridge. You would not believe that you were walking down into what once was the Tannery of Harvard Square. Following the same lower level as its sister restaurant, The Beehive, I could not wait for what was in store.

Before we had dinner, we were able to try a drink at the bar. I decided to try something out of the norm of my usual repertoire of Gin&Tonic or Pinot Grigio. I had the American Breed.

American Breed at the Beat Hotel{Maker’s Mark, St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur, Apple Cider}

 After an hour of mingling, we were directed to our tables. I was seated with Tiffany of Boston Fab and Smita of Hogger & Co. It was so lovely to meet a new blogger but also to catch up with another. The last sit-down dinner I had with Smita was way back in my Miami days when I showed her around Wynwood and we ate at Wynwood Kitchen.

Bloggers at Beat Hotel

Now let’s…

E

A

T

For appetizers, we had quite a few things. We tried the Crispy Calamari, Bohemian Platter, and Hamachi Sashimi. Everything was quite suberb.

Bohemian Platter at Beat Hotel

The calamari were very crispy, just as I like it.

Crispy Calamari at Beat Hotel

The sashimi had such a great dressing. What really added to it was the fennel that was incorporated. I would definitely order that again.

Sashimi at Beat Hotel

As an entrée I had the tandoori spiced halibut with red lentils and cucumber raita. This was hands down my favorite of the night. The mix of flavors was something I could envision but had never tried before. I would come back for many things from the night but this would be one of the biggest reasons.

Tandoori Spiced Halibut at Beat Hotel

For dessert, I had the bread pudding. It tasted slightly more like a flan as there seemed to be a heavier component of egg in it. Nevertheless, it was still delicious.

Bread Pudding at Beat Hotel

Jack Bardy, Jennifer Epstein, Bill Keravuori, and Bertil Jean-Chronberg have put together another fabulous dining experience. Not only is the food phenomenal, but who doesn’t love having some jazz in the background to set the mood for the night? The night we were at dinner, Kate McGarry was singing, accompanied by a fabulous band.

Bertil & I {Bertil & I}

More than being able to try a new dish or enjoying , blogger dinners bring a sense of community to a diverse group of people with a common love: food. To continue with that, every time I leave a blogger event or dinner, I always come out with a new perspective or tips. I feel so invigorated with a bigger sense of purpose upon talking to everyone who I come across at these outings. From now on, I’ll end my reviews with my favorite tidbits from the night.

Tidbits of the night:

1)     As much as I tell myself to control my portions for food on a daily basis, when I’m out at an event, that notion is the first thing that gets kicked out the door.

2)     Sharing appetizers is always the way to go, you get to try more.

3)     Any cocktail that is served with an umbrella is always best.

I cannot say enough good things about the Beat Hotel. They even kept my umbrella safe for three nights as I, in my food coma state, walked out without it. I tweeted them and I immediately heard from someone on the staff that they’d hold it until I came back. Talk about good service! I give it a big thumbs up.

Bertil Jean-Chronberg

Thank you to The Beat Hotel for having us in what turned to be an incredible evening in Harvard Square.

Top Travel Items for a Long Flight

17 Oct

Flying to ShanghaiConfession: I am not a good flyer.  I have flown my whole life, but in the last few years, I get very bad anxiety as the flight takes off. I wish I could fall asleep on planes. Unfortunately for me, I usually (99.9%) don’t. Thus, as my flight to Shanghai neared almost two weeks ago, I got more and more nervous. Thanks to my Dad’s frequency of flying, I was able to taste the life of the rich and famous and flew first class the whole way. Let me tell you, it’s like you’re not even on a plane (unless there is turbulence, in which case  if you’re me you order another glass of wine).   Thus, I have come up with a method for this madness: load up on a ton of books and movies to keep myself entertained. A post on these recommendations and my thoughts will come shortly!

I always take a pair of Bose headsets to cancel the noise out and hone in on my favorite beats. Lastly, if I attempt to sleep, I switch onto my ‘sleep’ playlist, and curl up with a blanket. Yes, I bring a blanket on the plane.

How do you travel?

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

3 Oct

You know you have a good friend when they are happy to cook you a fabulous meal no questions asked. ( I happen to be this kind of person, but it is always nice to have the favor returned.) My friend Courtney recently made me a delectable dinner:  Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe (a Martha Stewart recipe) paired with a green leaf salad with figs, walnuts, and a balsamic glaze. Talk about a phenom meal for a Tuesday night!

Orecchiette with broccoli rabe

Not only was the meal mouth-watering, but also we were in the most picturesque of dinning areas: her backyard. Check out the decor she so masterfully placed. It really felt like October and autumn had begun.

Orecchiette with broccoli rabeDoesn’t it look like it should be in a magazine?

Thereafter, we continued with my part of the night: baking. Every Wednesday, my team at work has a sweet treat brought to the meeting. This week was my turn and so I utilized Courtney’s kitchen to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie. You might ask yourself, “how do you know the cookie is perfect?” Well, given how fast the cookies disappeared today, I could say they were very well received. Ultimately, it is what your palette feels, but in my many kitchen experiments, this America’s Test Kitchen recipe has always won out. You can find the recipe below:

Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen Presents:
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
14 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 ¾ sticks)
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cups packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. table salt
2 tsps. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 ¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli milk chocolate)

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place the oven rack in the middle position.  Line 2 large (18×12 inch) baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl and set aside.
  • Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in 10-inch skillet (if possible, do not use nonstick) over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes.  Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl.  Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.
  • Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated.  Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds.  Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds.  Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny.
  • Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute.  Stir in chocolate chips, giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

  • Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons.  Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.  Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.
  • Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking.
  • Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip CookieVoila.

Top 5 Things of October

1 Oct

Top 5 Things of October

Holy shnikes- it’s October. I don’t even know where the summer went. Like a blink of an eye, we’ve made it to the fall. There are certainly a handful of things I’m looking forward to this month.

  1. China – My family and I are headed west to a) Shanghai and b) Hong Kong. I have never been that far away, but I am looking forward to experiencing a new part of the world and its culture.
  2. Pumpkin spice & everything nice.
  3. Fall fashion, although I’d prefer 75 -90 F any day.
  4. Start of Basketball pre-season.

Yes there are only 4 points, but I consider China to be two-fold. And what.

What are you looking forward to this month?