Friday, June 29, 2012

South End Buttery

When you think of brunch places in Boston, one of the staples and "it" places is South End Buttery.  So when a friend who was thinking of moving to Boston came to town, we wanted to show her all the city has to offer and figured the South End was a must-see.  The Buttery seemed like a great place for brunch.  Scoring a reservation for 7 on a Saturday morning was even better!

We arrived on a rainy Saturday morning and were seated straight away.  What is deceiving is that you actually have to walk through the small cafe in the front to the restaurant area in the back.  However, the line of people leading to the back is a big tip-off on which way to go!  Thank goodness for our reservation!

Coffee
After a round of coffees were ordered, our group was chatting, catching up and looking over the menu. I quickly spotted the Buttery Bakery Basket and placed the order immediately.  With a mixture of muffins, scones, breakfast bread and butter and jam it was the perfect thing to start off brunch.  The variety of light and fluffy pastries accented with some berries was a great compliment to the morning coffee to help us settle in for the rest of brunch.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sandrine's Bistro - French Cuisine in Harvard Square

We received many generous wedding gifts - I was very excited when lots of our kitchen items got upgraded!  In addition to all that greatness, one of Nick's co-workers, knowing that we love to try lots of different restaurants, gave us a gift certificate to his favorite dining spot in the area: Sandrine's.  Sandrine's is a cozy bistro in the middle of Harvard Square with a menu filled with classical and contemporary french cuisine.

After a bit of time, Nick and I finally made reservations and crossed the river to enjoy a lovely evening out in Cambridge.  Upon walking in, we were greeted by the friendly hostess who immediately sat us at a table for 2 right next to the front window.  We had been told that the Ginger Cosmo was amazing, and after looking over the many many tempting cocktails, I decided to give the tequila-based Cosmo a shot.  Made with Jose Cuervo, Cointreau, Domaine de Canton, lime juice and a splash of cranberry, this was surprisingly tasty.  Each sip had a lot of depth with such a large combination of flavors.

Ginger Cosmo
While enjoying the cocktails and looking over the menu, we enjoyed some hearty bread, but knew we had to save some of it because the escargot appetizer was calling our name!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gourmet Dumpling House - an Evening in Chinatown

I feel like I know Boston pretty well and can give good recommendations for just about anything.  However, a place I admittedly lack knowledge of is Chinatown.  I am always on the lookout for recommendations from others on the "it" places to go because I wouldn't know the first place to go in that part of town.  When our friends G and J kept talking about the Gourmet Dumpling House, I could not wait to tag along with them so they could help us navigate the menu.

As Nick and I walked down Beach Street it would have been tough to miss the restaurant as their were plenty of people waiting on the sidewalk for a table.  Thank goodness it was warm because there is no place to wait inside - it's packed with tables of smiling people enjoying their meals.  After only about 20 minutes we were ushered to our table in the back, next to the fish tanks - yes, it's that fresh!  Shortly after sitting, our server poured us some green tea and Nick and I were given a tutorial of the menu by G and J.

Some Green Tea...
After much discussion we made some decisions.  The first thing was suggested by J, who obviously is pretty adventurous: the preserved egg and the chilled fried tofu.  When this dish came to the table I was not to sure what I was in for, but I had to try it.  The tofu was slightly odd - Nick generally likes tofu, but this wasn't pressed or prepared at all: it was literally a block of tofu right out of the package, covered in sauce and peanuts.  The preserved egg definitely had a smokey flavor and was a bit odd, but overall I am happy I tried it.  Not until after I ate it did J tell me that a preserved egg is made by leaving it in some ash, clay, salt and lime (among other options) for a few months!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lunch at Eastern Standard

Whenever anyone heads over to the Fenway area for a Sox game, the first watering hole/eatery people think of is Eastern Standard.  Even now, with the Fenway area exploding with tons of new culinary options, Eastern Standard remains a mainstay for Bostonians.  When Nick and I and our friend G ended up over in the area on a Saturday mid-afternoon, we decided to grab some brunch and explore something other than their beer offerings.

The restaurant had only a few guests upon our arrival (a bit on the later side and pre-Sox season) so we were seated straight away at one of the high-tops in the bar area.  Our server quickly brought us our drinks (simple sodas) and a lot of delicious sliced bread that we could nosh on while looking over the food options.

Bread

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ocean Views at Legal Harborside's First Floor!

Happy Birthday Fiona!!!  To see all the blogs participating in Fiona's virtual birthday check out Beantown Baker!

When I think of Fiona's blog A Boston Food Diary I think of amazing restaurant reviews, because she describes the food so vividly without using one photo.  I feel like I know what the food looks and tastes like without any help other than Fiona's amazing descriptions.  Without further ado, here is my attempt at honoring Fiona for her birthday, but I won't even attempt to do it without photos because I just am not that good ;)

When Liberty Wharf opened over a year ago, I wondered how it would fare.  Even with high-caliber restaurants that were the talk of the town, the Seaport can still be a bit of a wildcard.  I should have figured with Legal Seafoods anchoring the location it would do pretty well.  With a mixture of fine dining, a tribute to Legal's origins, and a roof deck with a retractable roof, it was bound to be a draw.  It wasn't until only this spring, however, that I ventured over to the first floor of Legal's, the space that has menu items that throw back to the restaurant's quaint beginnings in Cambridge's Inman Square.  What struck me as I walked in was how big the space was with its cavernous open ceilings!  Then, of course, my eye was immediately drawn to the amazing views of Boston Harbor.

Beer and stamped paper placemats
Upon seating and reviewing the menu I immediately went for a smooth and easy beer while waiting for the famously delicious Legal's rolls that are consistently warm and soft and just amazing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Green Street Grill, Central Square Cambridge

It had been far too long since G and I had met up, and there was much to much to catch up on.  As always, G inspires me to cross the river and check out places that might otherwise take me a while to get to.  Among her suggestions was Green Street Grill in Central Square.  When I saw that one I jumped on it because it had just popped up on Food and Wine's best burgers in the US, a list my brother had just sent me (of course!).  This was a decision made easy - perfect!

Green Street Grill is tucked away in a small brick building behind the main drag of Central Square.  I was a bit late for our Thursday reservation, but they still were able to seat us.  When we first walked into the bar area I thought the place was small (and busy), however they brought us upstairs to a whole other level with plenty of seating.

We were sat at a table for two, and due to the weeks we were both having we immediately started to peruse the cocktail list.  With plenty of yummy combinations to choose from we finally decided upon the Division Bell and the Skipaway for a first round.  While the Skipaway was not the strongest of drinks, the Division Bell was delicious with a complex depth to each sip.

Division Bell
Skipaway

Monday, June 11, 2012

Frozen Banana Goodness

Like most everyone these days, I have a bit of a Pinterest obsession.  There are so many great ideas for food and everything else under the sun!  Most recently, one of the "pins" that inspired me was for Banana Ice Cream, a really healthy dessert that looked almost too good to be true.  I had to put it to the test and figured if it even came close it would be a perfect summertime snack or dessert.

The Necessities...

  • Loads of Bananas!!  (we used about 6 for 3 or 4 servings)
Bananas

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mellow Mushroom - Fun Pizza!

When we travel I don't always plan on blogging the restaurants we go to.  Sometimes, though, it's just too hard to resist when the food comes to the table!  This was exactly the case when we hit Mellow Mushroom for our Saturday night dinner in Charlotte.  My brother sold it as a pizza place that had a good bar nearby.  When we walked in, it felt like Woodstock in the 60's, complete with the tie-dye decor and atmosphere, but when I looked at the pizza menu I got excited!

My eye was immediately drawn to the Magical Mystery Tour pizza with its pesto base, button and portobello mushrooms, Mozzarella, spinach and feta, all topped off with jalapeƱos.  Before I even spoke up my brother recommended this pizza, so I was sold.

Magical Mystery Tour Pizza

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pinky's Westside Grill - Ding Dong Style!

On Sunday, following a big day of boating and night of drinking, Nick, Reed and I were a little worse for wear.  After some coffee and lounging by the pool, food was (very) necessary.  The day before, Reed was telling tales of a restaurant that served a sandwich ding dong style.  That name had us convinced, and we knew we had to go.  Pinky's Westside Grill is housed in what used to be an automotive repair store, which has maintained the auto body shop feel while making it eclectic and funky.  We sat in the indoor/outdoor area in what used to be the car bay area, garage doors intact!

Upon sitting and looking over the menu we could tell straight away that this food was going to be fun and adventurous.  When I eyed the Crab Puppies on the menu, I knew they would have to be ordered - hush puppies are a must when in the south.  The crab took them to a whole other level.  The outside was a perfect golden crispy brown that had just the right amount of bite to them.  Even from the picture, you can tell these were also overflowing with crabmeat - there was some in each mouthful.  Served with a cool, creamy tartar sauce, these were an amazing start to our meal.

Crab Puppies with sweet crabmeat folded into golden fried hush puppies 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

e2 Emeril's Eatery in Charlotte (Who Knew?!)

When you think of Charlotte, you may primarily think of the banking industry that is a major employer there.  However, over the last 5 years the city has really exploded, and visiting my brother has given me a first hand view of all the changes.  With the expansion of the city came a lot of restaurants, including ones you would expect to find in a much bigger city.  Most recently Emeril Lagasse opened up a new eatery - e2 Emeril's Eatery.  Like most people, I have heard a lot about Emeril but never actually had eaten at one of his restaurants, so when I was told we had reservations there on the Friday night of our arrival I was excited!

Next to the new Theatre in the Uptown area of Charlotte, e2 is sleek but comforting, with its huge open kitchen where you can watch the staff cooking up your meal.  We were sat straight away and immediately perused the cocktail menu.  With some fun combinations, Nick and I couldn't resist trying one.  Both were tasty without being overly sweet.  Could you imagine getting a moonshine cocktail up here in Boston?!

Prickly Moon - Local Moonshine, prickly pear juice, hibiscus syrup, lime juice and maraschino  liquor

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Silvertone Bar and Grill!

Hidden in between the top of the Boston Common and the Financial District, and down beneath street level lies the unique, delicious and cheap (!) Silvertone Bar & Grill.  I cannot recall the first time I actually found Silvertone - I believe I followed a friend there (when visiting the city before I lived here) and felt like we found the promised land.  It was late night, we ordered a grilled cheese, and for years afterwards I remember it being the best grilled cheese ever!  I have gone back plenty of times to confirm, that, yes it really is one of the BEST grilled cheeses.

After I moved to the city, it definitely became a great destination.  However, it being pretty small you have to get there early because the wait time can build up quickly (although the tables turn over quickly.)  This is my destination before heading down the street to the movies or when in need of a delicious after-work drink.  When I walk through the door, I am already thinking "grilled cheese or mac and cheese?" because both are so delicious!

Sorry for the dark photo of the grilled cheese!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy (Almost) Weekend!

Things have been busy here at In and Around Town headquarters.  You would think that after the wedding and honeymoon things would have calmed down, but that is definitely not the case!

Most recently we went to Game 7 of the Celtics-Sixers series (back when they were winning!).  Hopefully they can get back a little of that magic when they come back to Boston to face off against the Heat!

At the game!
This weekend we are off to Charlotte to visit my brother.  We are definitely planning on a good time hanging out in the sun on Lake Norman and causing a bit of a ruckus in the city.  We can count on him to show us a good time...

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