Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bastille Kitchen - Fort Point is getting spoiled!

One of the most anticipated new restaurant openings this year was Bastille Kitchen, which was opening in the hot Fort Point area. After almost two years, the opening timed out well for us: my brother was coming to town and was interested in trying some great Boston restaurants, so I made reservations. He may live in Charlotte, but he still follows the Boston restaurant scene closely and likes to explore when he visits.

Frisee Aux Lardons - duck confit, poached egg, sherry vinaigrette, duck lardons
Bastille Kitchen's menu consists of an amazing variety of French Bistro favorites. We managed to try a whole lot with our group of four, but I am highlighting some of the favorites of that evening. Selecting appetizers proved a bit difficult with so many good options - we almost missed the bone marrow, which would have been a big mistake!

Moelle Rotie - roasted bone marrow, sherry-maple glazed sweetbreads, toasted baguette
Upstairs is a large restaurant and bar area with a variety of seating. The space is open and airy, but the textures and couch style seating provide a warmth. The dining room is really large, and while the planners could have easily packed the space with more seats, they chose to space things out a bit, giving diners a sense of privacy during their meal.

Large and Roomy Dining Room
Downstairs is a great bar known as the Chalet, which perfectly describes the space. It feels just like a vintage ski lodge. I definitely plan on spending some winter evenings there!

Beef Short Rib Wellington - foie gras, glazed carrots, pommes fondant
One of the best entrees of the evening was the Beef Short Rib Wellington. Not only was the Wellington amazing in and of itself, but the foie gras was outstanding! I am typically not a huge fan of foie gras and still found myself making it through most of my serving. If you are headed to Bastille and hungry, this is the dish for you. I really cannot recommended it enough.

Seared Diver Scallops - lobster risotto, curried cauliflower, caviar beurre blanc
The sea scollops were another great dish. The curried cauliflower was such a fun surprise. The lobster flavors didn't overpower the dish, but rather complimented the scallops nicely.  

Chocolate Creme Brûlée - with Cookies!
With so many great dishes, we all split a creme brûlée at the end of the night - a classic french dessert. It was the perfect cap to the evening.

Bastille Kitchen is such a great addition to the city. The price point is definitely on the higher end, but not crazy by any means when compared to other French classics in the city. If you haven't already been to Bastille Kitchen, I highly recommend a trip.

Fort Point is just packed with great dining options - now if only we could get a few places like this in Charlestown...

Bastille Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hosting Thanksgiving? NBD.

Nick and I are hosting Thanksgiving again this year and feel like we have things pretty well under control. Last year was our first year hosting, and we ended up doing a lot of research and planning to make sure things went smoothly. We kept things pretty simple and found this timeline from William-Sonoma super helpful in tackling not only Thanksgiving day, but also the days before. Luckily, most things that I set out to do in this blog post worked out, so we were happy to host again this year. That, and our guests actually agreed to come back!

Our Turkey!
We grocery shopped for everything on Sunday morning. The bread for our stuffing is currently sitting on our counter getting nice and stale. Our heritage turkey will be ready for pick-up on Wednesday. The rest of of the afternoon we will prep more of the food, set the table completely, and get the serving dishes out and label them (naturally!).

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Boston Chops - Untraditional Steak House

For Nick's birthday last year we got some drinks at Boston Chops prior to heading to Myers and Chang for dinner. As much as I was looking forward to that dinner, I was enjoying my cocktail and our seat at the bar, and when I saw one of Boston Chops' popovers pass by I was almost ready to forget our reservation and stay put! Ever since, I have been looking forward to making a return trip to Boston Chops to check out the food.

The Popover! so much better than sliced bread!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Skillet Mac and Cheese

With the weather turning cold again and it officially feeling like winter, I think about comfort food. Generally, the more unhealthy it is, the more I crave it. When I stumbled across this Skillet Brussels Sprout and Bacon Mac & Cheese, the recipe seemed to have everything I need and want in a winter dish AND a bit of green to make me feel a bit better about myself (Kidding. Sort of.)

Bacon Brussels Sprout Mac & Cheese!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Charlestown - Bunker Hill Monument

Time to switch from some of our recent travels to sightseeing in our own back yard!

Growing up north of Boston, I came into the city quite a bit for school field trips, shows and some shopping. Every time I came in, I could see the Bunker Hill Monument in the distrance from the highway, but somehow never actually climbed it! Back when we did out Freedom Trail Pub Crawl the Monument was closed, so I was out of luck. This summer, though, after a year of actually living with views of the Monument, I was determined to make the climb. On a sunny Saturday, Nick and I wandered over to the museum and grabbed our free tickets to make the climb.

Bunker Hill Monument

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Roatan Honduras - Perfect Diving Vacation

What seems like forever ago, Nick and I went on vacation to Roatan, Honduras. Roatan is a small island off the coast of Honduras known for being a great Scuba diving destination as it houses the second largest barrier reef in the world - second only to Australia's. I have to admit, I first heard about this vacation spot by watching House Hunters International and was intrigued. The more I learned about Roatan (outside of what HGTV offered), the more excited I got. When I realized there were easy flights from Boston through Miami to the island, Nick and I talked about scheduling a trip. It was not until we searched TripAdvisor high and low for accommodations and found Tranquilseas that we actually booked the trip.

View from our room...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Giulia - Italian in Cambridge

When you think about heading out for Italian food in the Boston area, you immediately assume a trip to the North End is in order. However, turns out amazing Italian food can be found at Giulia, between Harvard and Porter Squares in Cambridge. Giulia offers a menu loaded with delicious food that is seemingly simple, but when you take a bite, you know a whole lot more is happening on the plate. Nick and I have been making an effort to get out to more restaurants that are a bit off our beaten path, and Giulia was one of our first stops.

Bottle of Red!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Don't Call It A Come-Back! Lambert Bridge Winery

Sometimes in life you just need to take some time away. Case in point: my blog here. If you have been following me on Twitter or Instagram, you know that I haven't stopping traveling and eating everything in sight, but have taken some time off from writing about it. However, I think enough is enough and its time to get back in the saddle. While many of these posts may be older, especially those from some of our travels, I still want to share them! So, please stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as we play a bit of catch up here at In and Around Town!

Part my inspiration for getting this post up is because we are heading back to California's Wine Country this week, and I realized that I still had one more vineyard to tell you all about. Even more, I rely on many blogger friends, like Meghan, for recommendations and missed the interactions based on these posts.

We loved this winery so much we actually are going back on our next visit! Lambert Bridge was recommended to us by one of Nick's colleagues, and from the moment you turn into the driveway, you understand why they told us this was a must-visit. With its picturesque location and delicious wine, it is definitely worth a stop while you are in Healdsburg.

Lambert Bridge

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Alive and Kicking - Lobster Sandwiches

For New Englanders, lobster rolls are serious business. Boston has a few restaurants known for their lobster rolls - like the ones at Neptune Oyster - but those can get pricey and require some waiting time. When friends (from Chicago, no less) recommended Alive and Kicking as some of the best they have ever had, Nick and I knew we had to get over there.

Alive and Kicking is located in Cambridgeport, about a 10 minute walk from Central Square. On one of the first lovely, warm spring days, Nick and I walked over to a seemingly residential area where the fish market/restaurant is tucked away. Outside there are plenty of picnic tables, both out in the sunshine and covered in case of rain or cold weather.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Wonderful Wine at Truett Hurst

We're taking things back to Healdsburg today! Friends of ours were just in Northern California, and their pictures reminded me of just how outstanding that area is. Knowing that we were going to spend a day in Healdsburg on our most recent trip out there, Nick and I both asked friends familiar with the area for recommendations. When we were each separately told to go to Truett Hurst, we immediately added it to our itinerary. Meghan's recommendation and her great blog post on the winery convinced me that I needed to spend some quality time on the red adirondack chairs by the stream.

Tasting Room and Surrounding Gardens

Thursday, June 19, 2014

La Brasa

Its amazing to me how much Boston and the surrounding areas are changing. When I first moved into Beacon Hill in 2006 and didn't know much about food I stuck mainly to my neighborhood, Back Bay, and the North End when craving some delicious Italian. Slowly, the food scene started to change, first with the South End and then more so in Cambridge. In the last couple of years, though, there has been an explosion in and around Boston, and chefs are scoping out newer neighborhoods to make a name for themselves. Almost every nook and cranny of the Boston area has great dining options.

La Paloma and the Eight Line Poem - tequila and mezcal based drinks, respectively

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Homemade Scallion Pancakes

I'm not sure when it happened, but we recently became obsessed with scallion pancakes. What's not to like about crispy, flaky fried dough, mild onion flavor, and a savory dipping sauce? Every time we see them on a menu, whether served traditionally or in sandwich form, we have to order them. Nick and I finally decided to research how to make them at home, and one of Boston's favorites, Joanne Chang, has a recipe online that is not too difficult to follow - perfect!

Scallion Pancakes

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Row 34

When word got out that the folks behind Island Creek Oyster Bar were opening a new restaurant in the Fort Point area, we definitely paid attention. Upon opening, Row 34 was consistently packed, and getting reservations were a bit difficult to come by. So, on a random Tuesday night, Nick and I went over for an early dinner.

The space is nice and open, with lofted ceilings and an industrial mix of wood and metal. I decided to start the evening with a glass of bubbly - it turns out that the wine buyer is big into sparkling wines, so Row 34 has a great collection with plenty of options by the glass and bottle. Nick went with one of the draft brews from the extensive beer list.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

State Park - A Total Throwback

It's no secret that Kendall Square has become a major food destination in the last couple of years. With all the fantastic new restaurants over there, I find myself drawn to it more and more. Most recently, Nick and I decided to have a classic date night - dinner and a movie, but in reverse order. After enjoying a film at the Kendall Square Cinema, we wandered over to State Park, the new restaurant from the group behind one of my favorites, Hungry Mother. Where Hungry Mother is classic Southern Food in a refined atmosphere, State Park is like walking into your best friend's basement in 1984, complete with the pine paneled walls and decor pulled directly from your childhood - it's a total throwback!


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mei Mei - Double Awesome!

Since I work over in Brookline Village I don't get to experience the local food trucks too often. So, when we found out that a Boston favorite, Mei Mei Street Kitchen, was going brick-and-mortar nearby my coworkers and I immediately scheduled a lunch meeting to check it out!

All the of the food at Mei Mei is locally sourced, so many pieces of the menu change daily, though you usually can count on a few items. Going in, our group knew that we wanted to sample the dumplings AND the fritters because we just couldn't choose between the two.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Its no secret here that I am a fan of Columbus Hospitality Group restaurants, having had not only amazing meals but great overall experiences at L'AndanaMistral, and Sorellina. When I heard they were opening a new restaurant, Ostra, in the Back Bay I had high expectations for the final product. After the initial reviews were positive, Nick and I decided to suck up the higher price point and celebrate nothing in particular on a Saturday night date night out in the city.

Wonderful foccacia bread
Our reservations were at 8:30 and after the hostess checked us in (we barely made it at 8:29) she said they were running a bit behind, so we grabbed some drinks at the bar. Even with our reservations we had to wait about a half hour to be seated - turns out they somewhat ambitiously schedule their evenings, but the menu doesn't necessarily fit well will turning the tables over quickly. Fortunately we had no where to be, and they had a pink sparkling wine served by the glass for me to enjoy and a yummy cocktail for Nick, so we were happy to relax at the bar.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hasselback Potatoes

If you are anything like me, you read a LOT of food blogs and notice that certain foods start trending, e.g. bacon bourbon brownies. Lately, one of the more popular items I have been seeing is hasselback potatoes. I was totally intrigued by these, not only because they looked delicious with their crispy tops, but also because the presentation is dynamite!

After doing a little internet searching on how to make those cuts and realizing it was actually doable, I sorted through some recipes and went for it! Surprisingly, these are pretty straightforward and taste terrific.

Hasselback Potatoes

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Raymond and Buena Vista Vineyards

It's time to return to wine country (at least on the blog). On our second day, the same day we did a barrel tasting at Westwood, we visited two of Jean-Charles Boisset's family vineyards. From what we saw, this guy must be quite a character! Our first stop was Raymond Vineyards, which we were excited to visit since we had a couple of their table Cabs at home and enjoyed them.

Biodynamic Farming at Raymond

Thursday, April 3, 2014

J.T. Farnham's Fried Clams and a Day at the Beach

Another year, another last-minute realization that the time when dogs are allowed at Crane Beach was coming to an end! Since we had such a great time the last two years, we schedule a trip and hoped that it wouldn't be TOO cold or windy. Somehow we lucked out with blue skies and temps in the 30's, which was practically a heat wave given the winter we've had!

Nick the dog whisperer

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ward 8 - Not Just a Cocktail Anymore

When Nebo announced they were leaving their space in the outskirts of the North End for Atlantic Wharf I was curious to see what would ultimately move into the space. For those of us living in Charlestown, this location is an easy stop on the bus line, and for everyone and going to the TD Garden, it's a nice alternative to what's on Canal Street. When news spread that Ward 8 was moving in and it was from the family behind other loval favorites like Ducali, I was optimistic. Rather than serving Italian food though, Ward 8 draws inspiration from its craft cocktail namesake with a creative cocktail list and an interesting menu of bistro foods.

Moscow Mule

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Westwood Barrel Tasting and Crush!

With all this cold weather I keep thinking about warm sunny days. Every time we open a bottle of a big red wine I think about our trip to California's wine country and start planning our return trip in my head! As you may recall, on our first trip to Napa we stopped off in Sonoma Square and visited the Westwood Winery tasting room at our friends' recommendation (they are wine club members). When our friends added Westwood to the Google Doc for our return trip I was excited to head back, having thoroughly enjoyed their Pinot Noirs on the first go-around.

Where the Magic Happens!

Monday, March 10, 2014

M.C. Spiedo Grand Opening Party

I was recently invited to the grand opening of M.C. Spiedo, the new restaurant in the Renaissance Hotel in the Seaport District. Chefs and co-owners Mark Gaier and Clark Fraiser are known primarily as pioneers of the farm-to-table ideals at their restaurant, Arrows in Ogunquit Maine. M.C. Spiedo is a unique concept based on the supper clubs in Florence, Italy that began in the 1400's, where modern food originated.The food selections found on the menu draws on inspirations of the Italian Renaissance and continues to re-imagine contemporary food.

Modern Renaissance Decor With Catherine de'Medici

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mango Avocado Salsa - What Tomatoes Are Meant For

It is still freezing cold out, so I need to think summery thoughts! I love winter and snow, but I have had enough this year!

One thing I have started to make a lot is homemade salsa. I'm not a big fan of tomatoes in general, so I was looking for something to do with all the tomatoes we were getting in our CSA. After looking at Megan's mango guacamole last summer I got inspired and made many variations of this recipe, finding it to be the perfect party and deck-time food!

The Ingredients

Monday, March 3, 2014


Turns out my slight break from blogging lasted two months - whoops! Nothing crazy going on, just life in general keeping me occupied. That doesn't mean I still haven't been cooking and eating up a storm, though! To prove the point, some of these posts may turn back the clocks a bit.  This particular post actually takes us back to Christmas time...

Each year at the holidays my mother likes to celebrate by taking our family to a restaurant that is a bit special. In years past we have done restaurants like Clio, Menton and Market. This year I thought Ribelle would be a great choice, not only because of the stellar reviews, but also (selfishly) because my mom would be driving out to Brookline, thus saving us a long ride on the T! Ribelle is the brain child of Tim Maslow, who worked under David Chang in New York for five years before coming back to the Boston area to take over his father's restaurant, Strip-T's in Watertown. After transforming the nighttime menu and making Strip-T's a go-to destination, Maslow found restaurant space in Brookline for his own project - Ribelle.

I must admit, I was a bad blogger because I did not get photos of the menu! So I am doing my best to describe what we ate that night, but it's hard to remember a meal from 2+ months ago! All you really need to know is that the food was spectacular - very creative with layers of flavor.

Carrots with Hazelnuts, jam and mustard seeds

Monday, January 13, 2014

Carrie Nation and Highball Lounge - New on Beacon Hill

The weekend before Christmas, it just so happened that a number of Nick's college friends were in town visiting family. Since they are otherwise scattered across the U.S., we took the opportunity to get together for some dinner and drinks. Finding a table for a group of 9 on relatively short notice was a bit difficult, but luckily, new kid on the block Carrie Nation had availability for our group. Ironically named for an extreme prohibition activist who was actually known for taking her hatchet into bars and threatening the patrons, Carrie Nation (the establishment) has a great cocktail list and certain areas exude the speakeasy feel.

Archer's Evening Law: Cold River Blueberry Vodka, basil and House Lemon Cordial

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Little Holiday Review

I hope everyone had an amazing holiday season - it's hard to believe the 2013 holiday season is over! From getting ready for Thanksgiving, to hosting Christmas and celebrating New Year's Eve (which is actually Nick and my anniversary), it's been a bit of a whirlwind! With only four weeks between the major holidays, we only had a day of relaxing before it was time to get the house ready for Christmas. In no time we had the stage set for the next holiday.

Christmas Tree Decorated
It's always fun decorating the tree because we have collected so many ornaments from our travels that we get to re-live those trips as we decorate. I have to say, Arthur had some trouble with the tree and seemed to enjoy the taste of our sentimental ornaments a bit too much and gobbled them up! While some of them cannot be replaced, the one from our honeymoon is being replaced by the resort after we sent a desperate email!  Phew!

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