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Asta

13 Mar

astaRecently nominated as a James Beard semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, there has been a lot of buzz around Asta and I wanted to see what it was all about. Located at 47 Massachusetts Avenue, it was spearheaded by Alex Crabb — Ex-Sous Chef of L’Espalier– and his girlfriend Shish Parsigian. Asta stands for Alex & Shish’s Tasting Adventure. Cute, right?

THE ATMOSPHERE

I loved the ambiance of the restaurant: every nook and cranny emanated coziness. The decor was fun, the music  jiving, the people vibing and I was oh so happy with my fur trimmed seat. To start the night off right, we were welcomed with a glass of sparkling wine. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?

asta

asta

asta

THE FOOD

When it comes to food, Asta only offers a 3, 5, or 8 course tasting menu. We decided to try the 5 course menu:

asta menu

astaYou could find your cutlery by pulling out the utensil drawer within the table for use throughout the meal. What a nice touch!

asta

Amuse-Bouche

asta

Cauliflower, Trout Roe, Mushrooms, Lemon Sauce, Fried Capers

To begin, we had cauliflower. I never thought I’d like cauliflower as much as I did, yet this flavor pairing had me at first bite.

asta

Monk Fish in Bacon Broth with Brussels Sprouts and Pickled Mustard Seed.

The Monk Fish was hands down my favorite dish of the night. It was cooked to perfection and complimented well with the Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Broth.

asta

Braised Celery, Chicken skin, Black Gnocchi.

asta

Beef with Kale and Chestnut Puree.

asta

Black Cocoa Pavlova alongside Passionfruit and Olive Oil.

To end the night, we had the Black Cocoa Pavlova. This dessert was spectacular. I loved how there was a light airiness to the passionfruit that was contrasted with a cripsy pavlova texture that had a hint of chewiness.

THOUGHTS

Next time I’m back, I want to sit at the counter to the open kitchen for a more intimate experience with the team. Maybe I could even squeeze in a few questions too!

Asta is a term that is affiliated with goodbye — (H)asta la vista, baby. But, before you say goodbye to the weekend or Boston in general, make sure you do yourself a culinary solid and stop by Asta.

ASTA

47 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 585-9575

Asta on Urbanspoon

Del Frisco’s Boston

11 Mar

Del Frisco's in Seaport

I cannot think of a better way to spend your Saturday than with 20 + bloggers and a hearty meal. Last week, I was invited to a Blog and Tweet Boston event at Del Frisco’s. It was not my first time there, but I was excited to see what was in store.

Del Frisco's SeaportWe were greeted VIP style. There was no red carpet, but there sure was that coined-name drink: The VIP – Svedka Clementine Vodka infused with fresh Hawaiian pineapple. In addition, they had their Pomegranate martini: 360 Vodka, PAMA Pomegranate liquor, splash of cranberry.

VIPPomegranate Martini

THE ATMOSPHERE

Del Frisco’s is situated in the Seaport on the harbour. The view is just picturesque.

Del Frisco's

Del Frisco's SeaportWe ate in the Harbor Room; it was the perfect backdrop for any meal AND it was surrounded by bottles of wine. I mean, can you say heaven?

Del Frisco's SeaportDel Frisco’s team sure knew us bloggers well. They served family style by table but plated each dish to portion size. That way we could get the proper pictures.

THE FOOD

Tuna Tartare[ Ahi Tuna Tartare // Family Style Portion ]

Crab Cake at Del Frisco's[Crab Cake: 4 oz Jumbo Crab Meat with Cajun Lobster Sauce]

Shanghai Style Fried Calamari[Shanghai Style Fried Calamari]

[Prime Shaved Steak Sandwich // Seared Ahi Tuna Salad // Steakhouse Salad]

Steak Medallions at Del Frisco's[ Filet Medallions // Scallion Mashed Potatoes, Thin Green Beans & Lemon Butter Sauce ]

Sole Francese at Del Frisco's[ Sole Francese ]

Harpoon Battered Onion Rings[ Harpoon Batter Onion Rings ]

Six Layer Lemon Cake[ Six Layer Lemon Cake // I want that cake, cake, cake, cake…]

RECOMMENDATIONS

I’m drooling just looking back at all my photos. My favorites of the meal included the Crab Cake because of its light airy nature mixed with a spicy cajun sauce, the Shanghai Style Fried Calamari for its sweet chili glaze, the Harpoon onion rings. How could you deny the grandeur of the six layer lemon cake? It was oh so buttery and good. I wish they had also given us a sample of the banana bread pudding!

Thank you again Derek Barragan for a fabulous meal!

Executive Chef at Del Frisco's

DEL FRISCO’S

250 Northern Ave
Boston, MA
617.951.1368

Del Frisco’s|Facebook|@Del_Friscos

Del Frisco’s is participating in Boston Restaurant Week, from March 16-21/23-28. Out of towners, sad you can’t make it? AIN’T NO THANG — they have 9 other locations around the US.

Note: I was provided a complimentary lunch by Blog and Tweet Boston. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House on Urbanspoon

Boston Chops

8 Mar

Boston Chops South EndSoon after heading to Deuxave, I was invited to a Blogger dinner at Boston Chops, the youngest [just turned 1 year old] of all 3 of Chef Chris Coombs’s concepts.

THE RESTAURANT

Upon walking into Boston Chops, I felt really welcome. Everything from the dim lights to the dark wood and leather seats provided that warm feeling. In addition, I was graciously greeted by the staff. To the left, was a very inviting bar. This photo did not do it justice in its length and grandeur. Had I not come in for a dinner, I would’ve taken a seat and chatted up the bartender. This has become one of my favorite pastimes in going to new restaurants — they have such great and different insights to the restaurant scene.

The Bar at Boston ChopsBefore sitting down to eat, we were able to mix and mingle with fellow bloggers. I was lucky enough to pick Chris’s brain. I mentioned to him that as part of my life bucket list, I wanted to travel and dine around the world. I asked for some of the places he’d say I couldn’t miss and he said mentioned a few, including Alinea and Noma. They have definitely been added to my list!

THE ATMOSPHERE

As we headed to eat, one could not be less than stunned by the details and decoration Georgina of  Notes on Lifestyles by Georgina was able to incorporate to our lovely meal. I mean, it really had sparkle.

Boston Chops

Boston Chops

Boston Chops

Shelby & I at Boston ChopsI loved that we were randomly paired with bloggers to get to meet new ladies in the blogosphere; I couldn’t complain that my girl Shelby from Tutus and Tea happened to be at my table! Also at my table were Christine, Jaime, Lianna, and Lauren…such fabulous ladies!

THE FOOD

It’s embarrassing to say but my favorite part of dinner was the bread. In my instagram, I could only describe it as one thing: orgasmic. Upon taking first bite, the bread was light, airy, and oh so buttery. It was perfection.

Popover at Boston ChopsTo eat, Shelby and I shared the Flat Iron steak. I persuaded her to try the chimichurri butter; I use any opportunity, where appropriate to the palate, I can to have hints of latin flavor into my dinners. The parsley and garlic based butter was the perfect pair to the cut.

Flat Iron Steak with Chimichurri Butter at Boston Chops

It was tough to not order the Brussel Sprouts Au Canard, but Shelby convinced me to share the Braised Kale with her. Braising is a combination cooking method using both moist and dry heat. I had never had a braised vegetable. I was impressed with the outcome; it had a nice kick.

Braised Kale at Boston ChopsAnd if that wasn’t enough, the steak came with “generous frites”. The thought process behind the way the steak is served is actually quite genius: they serve you the fries after you get your meat dish and to the quantity you want. That way, the juices from the steak don’t make the fries soggy. As an added plus, they’ll come back even after you’ve finished. They really knew the way to my heart, as french fries are my favorite side.

Fries at Boston Chops

Yesterday marked the beginning of the late night specials at Boston Chops, showcasing the Boston Chops burger. I can’t wait to come back and try this late night menu. The price points are just incomparable to anything in the area.

Boston Chops

BOSTON CHOPS IN SOUTH END

1375 Washington St
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 227-5011

Website / Facebook / @BostonChops

Boston Chops on Urbanspoon

Deuxave

5 Mar

Deuxave504 is the number of days it took me to get to Deuxave. It is also the number of my apartment building. Coincidence? I think not; however, I am happy the starts aligned and I was finally able to have my first experience with one of Chef Chris Coomb’s restaurants.

THE RESTAURANT

Deuxave is in one word: magnificent. Tucked on the corner of Massachusetts and Commonwealth Avenues, it is a hidden gem of Boston’s Back Bay. Upon entering, you are graciously greeted by the manager and can either sit at the bar, which is elegant and chic or in the dining room area. The dining room evokes more of a trendy, romantic vibe.

THE FOOD

This girl loves bread, especially when I’m hungry.  I even asked for a second sourdough roll before the food came out. Two thumbs up. While I do not eat butter, the Echire artisinal butter’s, from Western France, presentation was top notch.Bread at Deuxave To start, I began with the special of the night, the heart of palm Jonah crab salad with orange.  In more ways than one, this plate transported me back to Miami.

Jonah Crab AppetizerIf you’ve followed my blog, you know that I have no control whatsoever when bolognaise is on the menu. While I wanted to try a different dish for the first time there, I could not.

Bolognaise at DeuxaveI am happy that I ordered it, as it was one of the best — if not the best– I’ve had in Boston. I was too full to order dessert. Knowing I had a big day the next morning, the staff was kind enough to bring me out a sweet treats. It’s the moments like this and the impeccable service that truly make your experience special and memorable.

Overall, everything about Deuxave was incredible. From beginning to end, everything was thought out really well; Chris Coombs gets me. I’ll be back…I mean, how could I not when I am only 2 blocks away?

DEUXAVE IN BACK BAY
371 Commonwealth Ave,
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
(617) 517-5915

Website / Facebook / @Deuxave

Deuxave on Urbanspoon

Cronut Recipe

10 Feb

The Cronut

So did my last post get you salivating or what? If you’re interested in trying out how to make the cronut yourself, please find the recipe below!

Traditional Cronuts

Ingredients

  • 3 package active dry yeast
  • 1.5 cup warm water
  • 3 t salt
  • 7.5 T white sugar
  • 1.5 cup milk
  • 6 T butter, melted
  • 1T vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ pie spice
  • 10-12 cups or 3 pound flour
  • 4.5 sticks butter, room temperature

Directions

1. Place yeast and warm water in stand mixer. Stand until creamy and foamy, 5 min. Add salt, sugar, milk, melted butter, vanilla, egg and spice. Whisk. Pour on flour. Switch to dough hook. Mix.

2. Knead in mixer until ball forms and it becomes soft and sticky. It should pull away from bowl. Transfer to floured work surface. Knead a few times, shape into ball. Wrap loosely in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes to let gluten relax.

3. Remove from refrig, unwrap, dust with flour.  Divide in thirds. Roll out into 9 x 18 rectangles for each slab. Spread 12 T of butter on right 2/3 of the slab. Fold over left 1/3 onto center. Fold right 1/3 over that, so it is layered, dough, butter, dough, butter, dough. And looks like the front of an envelope.

4. Transfer to sheet pan, cover with wrap and kitchen towl. Refrig 30 minutes until butter is firm. Flour again and place on work surface and pat into 8 x 12 inch rectangles and about ¾ inch thick. Fold into thirds again. Roll back into 8 x 12 inch rectangle, keeping outside as even as possible.  Fold in thirds again (third time) Cover in refrigerator for two hours.

5. Roll dough to 5/8 inch thick, only one at a time. Use 3 inch rings to cut out donut shapes. Use 1 inch circle to cut out holes. Place all on baking sheets over parchment and sprinkle with flour. Let rise one hour until doubled in size. Fry.

Taking on the Trend : Cronut 101

8 Feb

BCAE Boston

When I found out that there was a Cronut class at the Boston Center for Adult Education, I knew I had to be there. With all the hype around the cronut in 2013, I made it a resolution to taste it in 2014. Since the actual cronut was too far to pick up any morning — wish it would be a hop, skip and jump to NYC — this seemed like the perfect solution. And let’s be real, I would never wake up at 3 or 4 am for a $5 baked good. I don’t care how good it is. This girl needs her beauty sleep, especially after a week of work.

I was able to mark this off the bucket list a few weeks ago. When I walked in for my first cooking class ever, I was greeted by Dustin Rennells. What a spectacular man who truly knows his stuff in the kitchen. He coined me with the nickname Stripes from the get go.

Teach Me How to Cronut at the BCAEIn Taking on the Trend: Cronut 101, we experimented with various alternatives to the cronut dough before getting into the real thangggg. Everything was cooked in oil. Deep fried. NOM. My weight was not happy with me post class, but my stomach was certainly satisfied.

What We Made:

We began the class with Pillsbury Grands biscuits. We used blueberry and honey butter as our doughs to create our first donuts.

Pillsbury GrandsWe used a cocktail shaker to make the biscuits donut like. Neat right?

Dustin was full of fabulous tips. For one, DON’T STIR a sauce or anything for that matter with a wooden spoon. Apparently wooden spoons trap in all flavors from day 1 of usage. Yuck. Nevertheless, it does work as a good indicator for when your oil (use vegetable oil, olive oil burns) is ready. To test, place the wooden spoon in. When the oil begins to bubble like a nice champagne (see below photo), you know the oil is ready!

Trick of the Trade: Testing the OilRemember how we used a cocktail shaker for creating donuts? No dough left behind..we made little donut hotels too!

Donut Holes at Cronut 101 ClassNext up, we dabbled with Pillsbury Crescent as well as Pastry Puff dough. It’s amazing to see what you can do with store bought items!

The crescent rolls were rolled in sugar:

Crescent Rolls

We dipped the pastry puffs in chocolate ganache:

Pastry Puff Dough Donuts

And finally, the infamous CRONUT. It was as easy as 1, 2, 3:

Cronut Dough at BCAEYou need lots and lots of butter. Butter on butter on butter. Fold it up and you’re all set to go!

Cronut Dough BCAE

Cronut at BCAE

Sprinkle Cronut at BCAEIf you’re not salivating yet, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. This class was absolutely fantastic. Not only was it a great day of learning tips and tricks in the kitchen [thank you Dustin!!] but we got to try out how to make the mystified cronut.

I left with a big helping of the different items that we made. I think I overdid it a bit..

Goodies to go BCAE

What I Thought

My first experience with the Boston Center for Adult Education was a huge success. I could not believe how innovative and fun Dustin made the class. Sure, I had thought of neat ways to use dough before, but a lot of these delectable treats were so easy and had never come to mind!  I am definitely coming back for more classes soon! The BCAE is really the perfect place to do something different in Boston and try out a new skill or improve an old one!

BCAE
BCAE Website/@BCAE/
122 Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02116
BCAE is a short walk from the Arlington T stop.

Note: I was provided complimentary admission to Cupcakes & Cocktails by the BCAE. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Island Creek Oyster Bar Brunch

29 Dec

I walk past Island Creek Oyster Bar every day on my way to work. I love the other venues within the Hotel Commonwealth: Hawthorne and Eastern Standard. When my friend Courtney asked if I wanted to get brunch one Sunday, I was happy she suggested Island Creek. It is so close to my apartment and has been on my list since I moved back to Boston a year and a half ago.

Island Creek Oyster Bar

Island Creek Oyster Bar

Island Creek Oyster Bar

Island Creek Oyster Bar

Oysters at Island Creek Oyster Bar

We started off with a Crispy Oyster slider on brioche roll with lime chile aïoli. This was my first oyster experience and I was left wanting more. The pairing of this slider in itself was oh so delectable.

Crispy Oyster Slider at Island Creek Oyster Bar

Turn off salty and switch to sweet, I had the Challah French toast with bourbon caramel and banana. This portion was way too big, but so yummy. I love when this dish incorporates challah bread.

Challah French Toast at Island Creek Oyster Bar

I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced brunch was. An oyster slider and incredible French Toast for all of $14. Don’t mind if I do.

Island Creek Oyster Bar

500 Commonwealth Avenue

Boston, MA 02215

617-532-5300

You can make a reservation via Open Table.

Island Creek Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon