Category Archives: Brunch
Last weekend, I had a friend over who was visiting from NYC, meaning it’ll be a challenge to impress from a food perspective. She arrived on Friday late afternoon and after dropping off her things at my office, we headed to Kingston Station in downtown Boston near my office. Although more know for its bar scene, we sat down for dinner in the back and got some drinks. The bread basket was average, but the maple butter elevated the bread, which led to a second basket. We shared PEI mussels to start that came with the standard white wine, garlic broth with tomatoes. For entrees, Grace ordered the Ahi Tuna Burger and I ordered the scallops with celery root puree, English peas, and carrots. The burger disappointed as it lacked the texture of a good sear and also came with sub par fries. Scallops were much better with a nice even golden sear and tender throughout.
Afterwards we headed back to my office for a mini tour and a game of pool (I won). Before heading to The Thinking Cup for dessert (sub par cupcake, good fruit tart, good atmosphere) and then to watch The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
The next day, we went to the Friendly Toast in Kendall for brunch and ordered one savory egg and one sweet special. The eggs came with onions, tomatoes, bacon?, and some type of champagne along with home fries and toast. The pear and pomegranate french toast came smothered in a pear cream cheese and a side of sausage. Both were satisfying and unique, although Grace accused them of being overly flavorful. I thought that was suppose to be a good thing?
After brunch kayaking on the Charles was short lived as the forecast was cloudy, Grace either splashing me or herself with Charles River water, and bumpy waves so we left and headed to Newbury street so Grace could shop from the beginning to the end. This landed us with few great dining options as the more casual Back Bay dining scene is nonexistent so we ended up at Kashmir for Indian eats. We got a comp watermelon shooter, which tasted a little off as it didn’t taste like straight up watermelon juice, even though it was suppose to be along with Murg Do Piaza Khumb (pan roasted chicken with onions tomatoes, bell peppers, and spices), Gosht Korma (chunks of lamb cooked with spices and nuts in a mild cream sauce), Shahi Aloo Gobhi (cauliflower and potatoes with tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices), Garlic Naan and finished with Coconut Sorbet. Overall, the meal was average as the chicken and lamb were dry, and the naan was unevenly cooked. Mixing the sauces with the rice and the coconut sorbet were probably the highlights for me.
After getting back home and talking about Thomas Keller, Tom Haverfoods, and watching music videos we set out for some late night eats (failing to find Amy’s Cheddar Bowls at 3 locations) we sadly ended up at Tavern in the Square and had some tough as leather buffalo chicken skewers and drinks. Frozen food at Shaw’s would have been more fulfilling.
On Sunday, before heading to a doomed candlepin bowling excursion, we stopped by Anna’s Taqueria for lunch. Grace got the Mexican plate with chicken ranchero and some additional grilled veggies while I got the Carnitas Quesadilla (really a griddled burrito). Both dishes were good and very well priced. Grace even got to enjoy a non price inflated Mexican Coke (win for Boston).
We made a stop at Harard Square so that Grace could revisit from her days at pre-college, but it really just ended up being a trick to do some more shopping. We made a stop at Crema Cafe where I confirmed that I still don’t like coffee. On the way back home, Katie was able to get us two more tickets to the Yankees and Red Sox game that night so the original Oleana plans were canceled for Sunday night baseball! This of course was after I explained the value of these tickets to Grace so that the law of supply and demand made choosing easier.
At Fenway Park, we were able to get Pavilion seating with a counter service like seating and where food was brought to you. Some over priced beer and sausages later, we called it a weekend and headed home.
The NY Times article I read a few years back first put Portland, Maine on my radar as a dining destination, but back then, I already moved out of Boston and was adjusting to the more French and Southern inspired DC dining scene. When I moved back this winter, I made a goal to take a trip out with Katie and Krissie and as of this past weekend, I could cross it off my list. Sadly, we did not make it to any of the restaurants mentioned in the list, although Duckfat was by the same people who created Hugo’s.
A few weeks ago, I got to spend time with Mai, my old roommate from college. CPA studying really overtook my life. I made time for family and my best friends from Long Island. Beyond that, unfortunately many people fell to the wayside. That’s the bad thing about this test. It really puts some of your relationships to the test. It had been so long since I’d seen Mai and I was so glad we got together for a nice brunch to catch up.
Farmer’s Omelette – Leeks, Ham and Chunks of Potato with Gruyere
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Fresh Berries
Mai being the adorable girl she is, raved about the blog. I being the ridiculous person I am whipped out my Flip and had Mai give me a few words about Sarabeth’s on the Upper West Side.
Well first of all, I think I should throw it out there that…
Yes, you are now reading the words of a certified public accountant. Wahoo!!!! On the cusp of 2 years of pain and anguish, I was just about ready to throw in the towel. I cannot describe the weight that’s been lifted off my shoulders. I feel like I can start living my life again without feeling guilty for having fun. To anyone embarking on the CPA journey, don’t ever give up. I spent a few thousands of dollars on the test and study materials and lost hours of my twenties to this God awful test, but it’s all worth it. It really is. I’ve never felt so accomplished before in my life… or so free. It’s a great feeling and I wish any future CPA the best!
And now back to the blog. I dusted off my Cafe Boulud Cookbook, which really did accumulate a thick layer of dust. I’m sorry Daniel Boulud! Please forgive me. Ray and I have neglected cooking from the Boulud cookbook once we found out Ray was moving to Boston. Our mission statement is now something that’s been in the works, but as you can tell, we do reviews and cook things other than Boulud recipes. Not wanting to turn my back on Boulud completely, I decided to skip through the La Tradition section and move onto Le Potager (or vegetable pot for those non-French speakers). Pretty appropriate for Spring, no?
I settled on the Asparagus Tart recipe for some ingredients I was hankering to try — including Vidalia spring bulb onions and ramps. Off I went to my very undependable Whole Foods. I love you Whole Foods, but sometimes you really do let me down. This trip, I had to swap my ramps for garlic and porcinis for cremini mushrooms. One giant score for me for getting the bulb onions.
The tart proved to be pretty straightforward. The only real battle was the tart shell. I made a pâte brisée, which calls for flour, chilled buter, salt, and an egg. Sounds easy, but I found the texture of the dough was so crumbly that I had a hard time rolling it out without falling apart. See patch work crust below.
As you can also see, I did not have the appropriate equipment to make my tart. This is a pretty typical occurrence in my kitchen. I am very gung ho about making something without checking if I have what I need. Whoops. Nothing a little knife work couldn’t solve.
Throw that bad boy in the oven at 350 until golden brown and let cool while you prep the rest of the tart ingredients.
Next step, blanch the asparagus and garlic in salted water. At the same time, saute the spring onions, a few pinches of chopped rosemary, and the cremini mushrooms. Set aside both to cool.
Take half of the asparagus and all of the garlic and throw it in a food processor with eggs, cream, cayenne pepper, and S&P to taste.
Once the onion mix is cooled down, layer the onions and mushrooms on the bottom of the tart. Then distribute the reserved asparagus on top. Pour the custard mix into the tart. I decorated my tart with whole blanched asparagus spears in a pinwheel design and topped the tart with a handful of grated parmesan cheese.
I served the tart with a simple baby spinach and blanched asparagus salad. I took sherry vinegar, almond oil, salt, cracked black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.