Monday, October 31, 2011

Yappy Hour - Halloween Style

This summer, Nick and I took Holly to Yappy Hour at The Liberty Hotel and had a fantastic time.  Basically, the Liberty Hotel sets up a bar tables, chairs and plastic couches out in the Yard, behind Scampo, and allows pets and their owners go crazy.  Most of the dogs are running around off-leash, just having a ton of fun while the owners are hanging out with the dogs enjoying a few drinks.  For me, it is really nice to be able to head out with Holly after being away from her all day.  Yappy Hour is done every Wednesday through the summer, up until (as it turns out) Halloween.

Enjoying a drink with Holly!
The Liberty Hotel's cap to the Yappy Hour season was the Halloween Party!  I had seen an ad through Four Preppy Paws' twitter account and thought it would a fun way to spend the evening.  Even better, we got to torture Holly by dressing her up in a costume.  We were a bit late to the shopping, but were able to find a great bee costume at Fish and Bone on Newbury Street.  The costume was a little snug, so we said she was the bumble bee girl on the cover of the Blind Melon album, but doggy glasses are a little hard to come by ;).

Heading to Yappy Hour
On our way down the street, Nick asked if I was sure it was truly the costume night because he did not want Holly to be the only pup dressed up.  He knew how uncomfortable he would have been to be the ONLY one dressed up.  Even though all the dogs were dressed up, at the entrance we saw a french bulldog dressed in the exact same costume!  Oh the horror!  Turns out bumble bees were big this year.

Look of panic
The first time we were at Yappy Hour, Holly was definitely the shy girl, and this night was no different.  We found ourselves a nice little couch area, and Holly made herself right at home looking down at the other dogs - from all angles.

Asking "what is going on?!"
There was a doggy costume contest going on throughout the night, so while there were repeats, there were some real original ones as well.

Great Dane as a horse - owner was a jockey
Hooters Girl
There was also a dog dressed Hugh Hefner, complete with a captain's hat, and the owner had a bunny costume on.  Meanwhile, Holly still was hanging out on the couch with the humans.

Eventually, she decided to seek refuge on Nick's lap.

A close up on her sitting position was needed because she was literally sitting like a person would on a bench.  But she was a happy camper.

The winner of the evening!  & Holly's twin...

Blackhawk - the lit couch was killing my photo!
Finally, when we were ready to leave and I got up to pay the tab, Holly jumped down from her perch and and ran around a bit.  While it was only to see other people - not dogs - I was proud nonetheless.  Next year maybe she will branch out more.

Yappy Hour is such a fun time and a great way to have some apres-work cocktails.  If you have a dog or just like dogs, I highly recommend heading over to the Yard on Wednesday evenings next summer.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Salty Pig

Last week, after living at my place for way to long, my neighbors, L and R, and Nick and I finally went out to dinner!  It was beyond long over due.  Rather than staying local, when I suggested The Salty Pig, somewhere I was eager to try, they were more than willing to come be taste-testers as well.  The Salty Pig is in the same location as Six Burner and before that, Firefly.  I know Six Burner had some exhaust issues, but that is definitely no longer an issue.  They completely re-did the space to make way for The Salty Pig.  You enter through the patio space and walk down into the area that is dominated by the bar and kitchen with plenty of tables scattered around the area.  The space is modern but still warm, and feels like a place you want to hang out in for awhile.

After being seated, we placed some drinks orders.  The Salty Pig has a large beer menu of some good craft beers, and they are more than willing to offer up a tasting glass so you're sure of your selection.  For liquor drinks, while they do not have a full liquor license, they do have a cordial license, so they offer up a variety of fun cocktails as well as flavored vodkas, etc.  The full liquor license is not missed.

The menu at The Salty Pig can be broken into two halves, with the first being a combination of meats from the pig (obviously!), cheese and some garnishes.  The other half is your more traditional appetizer and entree section.  To begin, the four of us made a selection of meats and cheeses and a few garnishes.

Yummy platter of goodness
For meats, we went with a prosciutto, a porchetta, a soppressata and a ham.  For cheeses we ordered a pecorino, a sheep's milk, and a cheese that tasted like Cheddar but wasn't actually a Cheddar.  The names of what we got are not on the menu online, which is why I am not being very exact about this.  Also, I must say our server helped make some (most) recommendations, which were actually my favorites of the plate.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Michelle Bertstein's!

As it starts to get cooler here in Boston, it is hard to believe I was complaining about the super hot and humid weather in Florida a month ago!  On our last day in Florida, before we needed to be at the airport, Nick's mother suggested getting brunch at Michelle Bernstein's restaurant at the Omphoy.  Chef Michelle Bernstein  is one of the guest judges on Top Chef that the contestants always fawn over so I could not wait. Although, I must admit it took seeing a picture of her before I remembered who she was.  They do bring in a lot of talent on that show!

The View!
The other reason that this was a good pick is because of the location.  The Omphoy is a sleek and modern boutique hotel on Palm Beach island, and the restaurant has a patio that is right on the beach looking out directly on the water.  Unfortunately, when we arrived it was a downpour, so we opted to sit inside in the terrace room, but we still had incredible views.  There was a great contrast between the dark wooden tables, chairs and floors and the beautiful blue cushions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fruit Crisp!

When Nick moved in last year,  Ina Garten also moved into our condo.  He brought along a bunch of her cookbooks and set up the DVR to record her show.  However, she has proven to be a great resource on many occasions.  Even better, her show has taught me a lot of good basics (that I probably should have already known!).  So when I needed a good basic recipe for a crisp, I looked no further than at Ina!

Ina Garten
In our CSA for two weeks we got a ton of plums, ground cherries and apples.  Having already made the Plum Clafoutis and the Ground Cherry Pie, I was looking for something different.  I figured a crisp was a great way to combine a lot of these fresh fruits.  Even better, we had a friend's house to go to that evening with plenty of hungry mouths to feed.

Fruit Crisp

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Rustic Potato and Onion Tartlet

Like I said, we have been getting tons of potatoes in our CSA, and rather than just making mashed potatoes over and over again (even though they are so good!) we have been trying to be creative.  When Nick said he found a recipe for a Rustic Potato and Caramelized Onion Tart I was completely sold and could not wait for dinner!

Dinner is served!
This recipe had a lot of moving parts going on...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Neiman Marcus $250 Cookies

Before I even moved out on my own, I knew I wanted to have my own recipe box just like my Mom's.  Even more, I wanted all of the delicious recipes I had grown up with, made with loving care (among other things) by my mother.  So, for about a week I sorted and copied loads of recipes to give my recipe box a good start.  My mom actually gave me some of the recipe cards written by both of my grandmothers, as well as one of my great grandmother (who I never met!).  There's plenty of nostalgia every time I go searching for something to make.

One of the recipes I copied was the Neiman Marcus Cookie.  This was not something we happened to make often at all, but I always loved the ingredients.  I think we never made them due to the number of the ingredients - we were always missing something.  Because Nick and I have been doing some cookie testing for our wedding, I figured it was a good time to bring this recipe back into the rotation.  The name comes from the actual Neiman Marcus department store.  Turns out this is their signature chocolate chip cookie that people always ask and rave about.  Having never heard about it from anywhere other than my mother's recipe box, I will take their word for it!  There is a story on the internet that says the reason this recipe got out was because the store over-charged ($250 rather than the $2.50) for a single cookie, but many claim that its false.  Regardless of how the recipe got out - I am just happy its out there because these are some delicious cookies!

Neiman Marcus Cookies

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Corn and Potato Chowder

For a while in our CSA we were getting more corn and potatoes than we knew what to do with!  I know I shouldn't complain, but when you have 8 ears of corn and 15 potatoes and only 2 people, something needs to be done.  So turning to Gojee, I plugged in the vegetables I had on hand and stumbled upon this corn and potato chowder that looked relatively light and pretty simple to make.

Potato and Corn Chowder
I set out all of ingredients and hoped it would all turn out OK.  While it was not too difficult, there were quite a few ingredients involved.

The Ingredients

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The same week we got our crazy ground cherries, we also got something a bit more traditional: tomatillos.  We took the obvious approach and decided on making a tomatillo sauce (salsa verde) as part of a little taco bar for dinner.  Lucky for me, Nick decided to take this on!  Turning to Google for some inspiration and a way to deal with the crazy husk and other surprises, Nick found a good starting recipe, whipping up some salsa verde.


Monday, October 17, 2011

FOUR Burger - Boylston Street Burgers on the Common!

Back when I was diligent about working out, waking up at 5:30 AM, and heading out to bootcamp, I would longingly run by FOUR burger during the "warm-up" run.  Then, during the rest of the hour I wondered about their food - was it tasty?  With only catching a glimpse of the inside on each run, I saw some red booths, but really had no idea.  Was it fancy or casual?  Needless to say, Four Burger was way better to ponder than how much pain I was in!

The Burger
After the entire summer, Nick and I finally decided (remembered) that Four Burger was right around the corner and a perfect stop before heading to the movies to see Drive (a little Ryan Gosling goes a long way).  Upon a little review, turns out that Four Burger is basically a fast-food restaurant that is turned up a few notches - perfect for a good quick bite.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Buccan - Tapas, West Palm Style

On our first night in the Palm Beach area, Nick's mother made reservations for the three of us at Buccan, a really fun small-plates restaurant in Palm Beach.  When you walk in you are immediately struck by the relaxed white-washed style with a contemporary flair.  We had looked at the menu before we even left Massachusetts and knew we were in for a treat.  However, before we even got started on the food we ordered some cocktails - they were too delicious looking to resist.  Nick's mom ordered the watermelon martini which was garnished with real watermelon.  That is how you know that you are in Florida!
Watermelon Martini
I went immediately for the Rose, St. Germain and a lemon garnish!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Delicata Squash, Chick Peas and Toasted Gnocchi

I have to admit I actually learned something of value watching Chopped on the Food Network!  Not one week after watching an episode that involved Delicata Squash, we got some (and by some I mean loads) in our CSA.  Even though we had seen the show, the squash still looked like the gourds you use for decoration at Thanksgiving, to the point where we actually asked if that's what they were!  Luckily using Gojee, I found a recipe that uses a whole lot of the squash.

The Ingredients...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ground Cherry Pie

In our CSA we have gotten a wide variety of foods, and one of the strangest things has to be ground cherries.  Also known as husk tomatoes, they basically look like mini tomatillos.  The farm stand attendant said he just ate these raw, but I wanted to try something a bit different with them.  There are not many ground cherry recipes out there, but I found a simple pie recipe and figured it would be a good start.
Ground Cherry Pie
To be honest, I was actually nervous to eat a ground cherry because it looked like my worst enemy - the tomato.  Once Nick tried one, I went four it and it really was sugary sweet with a bit of a crunch to it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CHUCK - best burgers in Palm Beach!

Nick and I went to visit his mother recently in South Florida.  Last year we went to Florida in December and had a great time enjoying some sunshine and comfortable temperatures.  This time however, it was September and humid and HOT and rainy, but we still had a good time!  For lunch one afternoon we headed across the street to Chuck, a new "burger joint," within walking distance from Nick's mom's house.  Good thing we don't live there permanently because I might be over at Chuck at least once a week!

Double Burger!
When you walk into Chuck, you are welcomed by an open dining area with concrete floors and beamed ceilings - not your typical "burger" style decor.  The menu is small, consisting of burgers, fries and hot dogs, but it really doesn't need more because the burgers are delicious!  I ordered a single and Nick went with a double burger, and we got a side of fries to share.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dinner at Sorellina

OK, so this post will show how much of a back log I have been working through - there are worse things for a blogger, I guess!  This post is actually about my trip to Sorellina during Restaurant Week - yes I know Restaurant Week was in August, but these pictures got a bit lost on my camera.  I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Restaurant Week.  Some places seem to be just "over it" and it comes across in the service and the food, so I am skeptical when making reservations during this time.  But it always seems like such a good deal that I have to try at least one place.  This time around our plan was to make a reservation at one of the higher-end places on our ever expanding restaurant list, which brought us to Sorellina.

Nick and I were a bit early for our reservation and while waiting for our table and Nick's sister, A, we grabbed a seat and a drink at the bar.  Seeing Prosecco by the glass on menu (Fantinel Prosecco Extra Brut, Friuli, Italy NV) I decided to indulge.  When our table was ready we walked over and looked over the menu.

Love the plates!
A ordered a drink that had rave reviews online: the White Pearl, which had pineapple juice, Malibu rum and ginger beer.  This drink did not disappoint and A loved every sip.

Monday, October 3, 2011


The city has been crazy recently with concerts, fairs and people just trying to enjoy the last bits of summer before the crisp fall weather settles in for the long haul. While this is fun for all of us city dwellers, when you actually need to get out of Boston, it presents a few problems. When Nick and I were supposed to head to the South Shore recently, we had his sister pick us up down by the Rose Kennedy Greenway rather than on Charles because the Esplanade and the Common were bustling.

Nick and I left with enough time to stop and pick up some food in Fanuiel Hall somewhere, but we had no destination in mind. After crossing over the top of the hill we caught a glimpse of Dore Creperie in the little stand-alone building in between City Hall Plaza and Downtown Crossing on Cambridge Street. The building has housed a number of restaurants, most recently Pressed, but now it is home to this pop-up Creperie. Since Nick and I no longer work downtown, if a restaurant is not open on weekends we are generally out of luck. However, we happened to catch Dore on it's first open Saturday - perfect!

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