Rehearsal Dinner Feast

I’m back from my honeymoon with Mr. J. We loved Spain & Italy and had a completely perfect time. I can’t believe it is already over! I have lots to blog about so you’ll hear about it…all in good time.The rehearsal dinner got the wedding weekend really started. I didn’t really need practice eating dinner. I’ve pretty much got that down but it was so nice to relax all together after a stressful start to the rehearsal getting everyone there! We went to Sky which was right next to our hotel. Mr. Js parents hosted a really lovely evening for everyone.

Look at our chocolate puppy Mrs. S made! He looks just like Windsor! Loved it!
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We had a 3 course meal choice in a great size room to ourselves. The table was one huge table for the bridal party, parents, grandparents, significant others, and of course one bride-to-be, and one groom-to-be.

To start we had the choice of a Cesar salad or a wedge. I went with the wedge but forgot to get a shot of the Cesar…oops! The wedge had crumbled bacon, beefsteak tomatoes, and crisp onions. I thought it was great.
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Next I chose lobster mac & cheese. Ohh. My. Goodness. So sweet and buttery with consistently sizeable chunks of lobster. Yum.
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Mr. J had the NY Strip steak with beautiful grill marks. It came with roasted yukon potatoes and asparagus.
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The third choice was a Parmesan encrusted chicken with risotto and green beans.
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The chocolate dog wasn’t the only treat there…for dessert I had the vanilla creme brule and thought it was the perfect sweet treat to end the meal. I love creme brulee and know it isn’t something I could make at home.
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Mr. J had the Boston cream pie which was a modern construction. It was almost biscuit-like.

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Everything was great and we loved it. It was nice to be able to stroll back to the hotel before the big day!

Much Needed Scutra for Dinner

Before we return from our honeymoon, I needed to share a drool-worthy meal we had before the wedding.During major wedding planning crunch time we were lacking groceries, we were in need of a date night, and we definitely needed a fun distraction while racking our brains for creative table themes. The wedding wasn’t a DIY affair, but Mr. J designed everything and the table blurbs in frames was our only project. Luckily we had a gift certificate to Scutra in Arlington that was burning a hole in our pockets!
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It was such a blissful and relaxing evening. We got dressed up, kissed the pup goodbye, and headed to our reservation. Of course I scoured the website menu before going and honestly I’m sure I would have enjoyed everything on the menu. Love Mediterranean food!
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I started with the garlic baked muscles. Garlic butter and feta? YES PLEASE! They were beautiful and thought the feta was great for a touch of saltiness.
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Mr. J had the roasted tomato soup with Parmesan encrusted scallops. He just recently started to enjoy scallops and I think the Parmesan crunchy exterior was a perfect contrast in texture for him.
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These aps were awesome and got us really excited for the main dish. Each was a perfect size to leave us adequate room to keep eating!

I got seafood crusted salmon. Oh. My. Goodness. My perfectly pink salmon was topped with crab and lobster. It doesn’t get any better than that. It was served with an asparagus risotto and a pesto drizzle. This was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. It was hot and flavorful. Such a great combination of flavors that didn’t overpower one another.
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Mr. J got a special, and boy was it special. He had 14oz sirloin steak with a butter and raspberry beer sauce over mashed potatoes. Mr. J heard it listed with the specials and was hooked. He loved it and finished every bite.
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I had a crisp chardonnay knowing I’d have seafood for dinner and Mr. J had a final Sam Adam’s summer ale. I enjoyed every bite. This was such a wonderful dinner. Mr. J was happy with his choices and we definitely got dinners we couldn’t/wouldn’t make at home. There was no room for dessert.

The reviews seemed mixed regarding the service and atmosphere. We thought it had a really nice atmosphere, our server was friendly, and I’d be happy to go back anytime. I liked that it was classy and well decorated, allowing us to dress up a bit for a really special meal.

Have you had a meal recently that you just thoroughly enjoyed AND appreciated happening right when you needed it? This was one for me. I’ll be back next week with LOTS of tastes to relay from my trip to Spain & Italy! Stay tuned!

Restaurant Week Luncheon

Boston’s Restaurant Week now happens several times a year, thus making it not-that-special if you miss it. I don’t always love it because I feel like it’s usually a group outing where we’re trying to accommodate everyone in the groups tastes.Some of the menus are really dumb-downed, the waitstaff hates it, and it feels like the B team in the kitchen. Now it is 2 weeks long so it’s not “a cool find”; it’s something you can’t miss. Long gone are the days where the restaurants pulled out all the stops trying to woo new customers. Let me just get off this soap box now…

Maybe it was the restaurant choice (Marliave), maybe because it was at lunch, maybe it was the menu, maybe they just have good waitstaff, I don’t know what it was but they restored my faith in restaurant week!
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My colleagues and I joined our sister-office for a restaurant week lunch outing at Marliave. I couldn’t get over the menu. It has stayed up on the website for awhile so take a peek! Literally something for anyone. I have just a selection of our choices for a glimpse of the meal.

I started with the mac & cheese. I mean, are you surprised? It was probably the best I’ve ever had…and I’ve had a lot. They use house cut ziti which makes all the difference. The black truffle doesn’t hurt either. It is served in a small caraf that couldn’t be cuter.
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Ms. M had the caprese. Seems like a slightly less filling choice. It had aged balsamic and fresh balsamic. She said she could absolutely tell that it was Italian mozzarella. She lived in Italy as a child. She’s also vegetarian so I totally trust her on this.
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The second course was troublesome for me. So many choices! I ended up with fish & chips which is kind of random for me. I wanted the risotto but knew that wouldn’t pair well with the mac & cheese.
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Ms. M got the mushroom risotto. Apparently if you don’t like mushrooms, this dish still won’t turn you to the other side.
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I really wanted the rarebits, but would be on cheese overload. I also had been eyeing the muscles appetizer. I should have just asked if I could have 2 first courses.

Peeking down the table the trout looked lovely and the portabello would have been good too. I suppose nothing could follow the mac & cheese anyway. I also didn’t eat much of it anyway so choosing something that reheated well was probably wise.
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Dessert just made me want to roll on out of there. I was seriously so full and getting antsy that I couldn’t eat dessert. I chose the box of truffles and brought them back to the office. I really enjoyed them the next day.
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Ms. M had the chunky brownie sundae. It was delicious. She graciously offered me a bite. We all had commented on the butterscotch pudding. I tasted it and really couldn’t get over how creamy but light it was. Yum.
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Based on the size portion of the glorious mac & cheese, I wish our server offered to wrap the massive amount remaining. Also, It took way too long for a weekday lunch that close to the financial district. Our reservation was for noon when it wasn’t busy at all and we had to really push to get the check once dessert. Empty plates showed we were done but we still waited quite awhile.

The mac & cheese was worth the $20.11 (plus tip) alone. They won me over and I’ll definitely have to hit up Marliave again…especially when cocktails are appropriate.

Walk Like an Elephant

I finally got a chance to try Elephant Walk! I’ve been wanting to but just haven’t thought of it when it was actually time to go out! I’ve lived near several locations now so it was about time.
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After a beachy day and before a night on the town, a wonderful gaggle of girls and I ate here for a bachelorette party. I really loved my meal and was totally intrigued by all the other meals! I should confess I had no idea what Cambodians ate…apparently quite similar to their neighbors in Thailand. Lots ‘o rice and meat with veggies.We had our own table in a great little niche downstairs. It was so great to be able to ‘do our own thing’ (read as: be as chatty and loud as we wanted).
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I started with a sweet & pear flavored cocktail. I don’t remember exactly what was in it…wish they posted a cocktail menu online since this would be a fun one to recreate.

We shared some rouleaux and some vegetarian rouleaux.  These spring rolls were fried & crispy like a Chinese egg roll. They came with tuk trey a sweet & spicy sauce for dipping. The rouleaux were great for sharing and came with plenty to go around.
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I chose a shrimp curry dish called Curry de Crevettes…how creative. It came with asparagus, bok choy, snow peas and a mound of rice. I forgot to ask for brown rice though. I like that it’s more flavorful and nutty than white rice. The health benefits don’t hurt either.
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It was a sizeable portion and I ate the shrimp out once I started getting full since I knew I wouldn’t take it with me.

The bride-to-be got a veggie curry entree which looked really good. We made a stop back to her apt before going out so she was smart to take the rest wtih her.
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I thought the presentation on this pork special was great. I usually hate when meat is sliced for me but they made this look good! The crisp greens on top made me very intrigued.
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The beef tips (Loc Lac) seemed like the most simple dish on the menu. They are grilled with black pepper, garlic, & soy. There was a lime dipping sauce I would have liked to try…especially given my love for lime dressing.
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With such a big menu I loved that the French influence made it easy for me to scan quickly to get to chicken or fish! There were tons of vegetarian options (like tofu not just meatless options) and lots of gluten free choices. I liked the sauces a lot and thought everything seemed really fresh and flavorful.

I was really impressed. The food was really good and our servers were great. All of our meals came out at the same time and there were probably 10-12 of us! Like our friend Arnold might say, I’ll be back.

Four Leaf Clover

I’m lucky to work in the heart of downtown Boston with more lunch restaurants around than I know what to do with. I rarely take advantage of them. One hot hot hot day my office had plants to rendez-vous with our sister office at the Dewey Square Farmer’s Market for lunch.

It was so hot hot hot that I’m surprised I could remember what I ate (or how good it was)! Clover was a welcome relief from the mind-numbing heat. They worked the crowed and kept it moving. I was so impressed with the ordering process via iphone and the options. Check out how many of them there were working inside the truck! Wow!
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I didn’t check out twitter that morning to see what they were serving but was pleasantly surprised and was too hot to ponder. I quickly chose the chickpea fritter sandwich.
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It was really good, though I’m not sure what made it different than falafel. It had great flavor. The chickpea fritters were soft with a light crunch on the outside and a surprisingly fluffy center. The sandwich was on an oversized pita with carrot and cabbage slaw.
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Somebody got rosemary fries. It was such a lovely flavor added to really great quality fries.
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Their food is so good and I really need to eat at Clover more often. Do you watch Great American Food Truck Race? It’s awesome and a truck from Boston, called Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, is on!

Mediterranean Bliss

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love Mediterranean food? It’s definitely my favorite. I never get sick of it. I love all the dip-able things….and all the olive oil…and all the feta…and all the marinades. I just can’t get enough. I recently enjoyed a Mediterranean meal with some of the most wonderful ladies in my life during my bachelorette weekend.

We went to an amazing winery earlier in the day, more on that later, but our dinner was at Temple in Providence, RI! We started with a few cocktails, in our own room within the restaurant with a less-than-enthused waiter, and the appetizer sampler to share. The Temple Mezze Platter was delicious and perfect for sharing. It had tzatziki, baba ghanoush (the best I’ve ever had, btw), hummus, dolmas, spanakopita, moroccan carrots & warm pita. Loved it! We ordered 2 platters to serve 4 each. It was plenty with some leftover.

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I got a mango lime cocktail. It was sweet but tart and I loved it. temple_drink_200_290
They brought out an assorted bread basket and roasted garlic. So good! temple_garlic_290_200

The menu seemed to have plenty of options for everyone. We ordered from every section of the menu! I got the Maine Lobster Flatbread. It had leeks and St. Andre cheese…also a fav. I’ve loved this buttery cheese but I’ve never melted it. Duh! I’m embarassed to say that I didn’t take a photo of my meal. Gasp!  It was really good but I was full quickly. I ended up eating the lobster off the remaining pieces once I just couldn’t eat anymore. I’d never let lobster go to waste. One Ms. L got the lobster flatbread too but I didn’t bug her to get a photo since I had the same.

Ms. L got Spring Vegetable Fusilli. It was full of all different veggies. The server didn’t think she’d put too much of a dent in it…there just was so much!

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This Mrs. E got Greek Style Chicken in a lemon, garlic, & oregano marinade. Ms. M got this as well.
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Check. Out. This. Flatbread. How amazing does that look?! One Mrs. E and one Ms. L got this sausage and argula flatbread and liked it. Ms. L wasn’t overly into the argula on top. temple_sausage_290_200
Another Ms. L got the Temple Burger. It’s lamb with black olive tapenade and tzatziki. I was eyeing that one. temple_burg_200_290
Ms. A got Greek Salad and Portuguese-Style Caldo Verde. It was leek and potato soup with chorizo. temple_soup_290_200
I loved everything about this weekend and everything about this meal. I was so pleasantly stuffed. Then, just when I thought the meal was over, they bring out these guys: temple_cupcakes_290_200 These are the best cupcakes I’ve ever had. The cake part was so good! Normally I’m just into the frosting on cupcakes from bakeries but these were different. We also amused ourselves trying to identify them. I ate the one that looks like s’mores (bottom left). They were specially delivered by Ms. L’s sis from Nancy’s Fancies. Seriously unlike any other bakery cupcake. What a nice touch to finish the meal with?! I have the greatest friends ever.

Perfect Sauce at Sauce

 

As often as I travel for work, I rarely blog about my eatings during those trips. Seriously. I worked four cities this year so far and this is the first one you’re hearing about. San Fran deserves it though. I simply adore the city and I always know there will be unexpectedly amazing meals coordinated by the local staff. Did you see this other treat in San Fran?
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For the past two years we’ve eaten at Sauce, an unassuming little restaurant & bar in the Hayes Valley area. The menu features comfort food in a classy and sophisticated atmosphere. The food is not pretentious…it’s just all done really well.Feeding our large group, in a timely fashion, on a serious budget is no small feat. That’s why I greatly appreciate how generous and accommodating Sauce is.

Probably 90% of the group visited the bar before dinner. There were fantastic cocktails. I had my eye on a lemon-looking one garnished with a sugared lemon slice!

They started us off with the lincoln logs of portabello mushroom fries and fat boy ranch dipping sauce. AMAZING. These are so lightly battered and make you want to play Jenga when you see the tower. Ms. K who doesn’t even like mushrooms was impressed. We also got the meal going with some bruschetta. I loved it and could have enjoyed the appetizers as my whole meal.
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Dinner was family style with salad, buttery carrot coins, brussels sprouts, veggie lasagna, and a side of meatballs.

I’m not a huge fan of carrots but these were so delicious. They were thin and warm with the littlest bit of pepper made them this memorable.

The lasagna was so good. It was cheesy and the sauce made it bright and really flavorful without being too acidic. The crispy edges made me swoon.
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They served a really delicious chilled red wine. I knew it was coming so I hadn’t hit up the bar. The owner explained it and assured us it was meant to be chilled. Needless to say our table of 6 finished every last drop.

We even got dessert. I also knew this was coming from years past so I kept room. It was delightful cinnamon sugared donut bites with a vanilla burbon dipping sauce. Ooo that sauce! These were the perfect bites to finish the meal.
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I love this place and thought we were so well taken care of. The extras like appetizers, wine, and dessert were greatly appreciated. I loved every sauce we ate. The owner introduced himself and told us how happy he was to have us given his connection to the cause as well.

 

 

When on Vaca…

Some things are just fun and exciting when you don’t have them around you. Sonic and Chick-fil-A are prime examples (and 2 restaurants with artery clogging goodness) we just had to enjoy on vacation. It’s also double-y fun since I rarely get fast food. Growing up I was told McDonald’s was a restaurant for grandparents to take you to.

Sonic’s concept gets a bit lost on northerners since you can’t rollerskate outside for several snowy months of our year…thus adding to the appeal in other places. I will recognize that Massachusetts got a Sonic where cars waited lined up for hours when it first opened! Plus, who can forget the witty banter of the couple in the commercials? Loved those and I love the How-to.
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My hardest decision at Sonic was which icecreamy/slushy beverage to enjoy. I got a strawberry limeade chiller. Mr. J got a mocha java chiller. Yum and double yum.
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I went with the BLT toaster. The Texas toast makes the sandwich here. I didn’t have my hopes up for real lettuce, which I was spot-on with my assumption. The bacon was perfectly crispy and the tomato was pretty good. I’m an avid BLT-eater and I prefer it in that order: bacon; lettuce; tomato. It wasn’t in that order but although I may notice, I don’t discriminate.
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Mr. J felt like he HAD to get a burger since he’s never eaten there. He went with the Sonic bacon cheeseburger. He liked it, but said it was no Five Guys. Of course we shared some tots.
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Because I only get to love Chick-fil-A when I’m in Charlotte or Houston with work, I made sure we made a stop there too…as if we hadn’t had enough heart-stopping food.

for me: Spicy Chicken Deluxe with pepperjack on a wheat roll (note the real lettuce)
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for Mr. J: Chicken Deluxe
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We shared waffle fries and loved it. Check out the nifty ketchup!
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If you’re concerned about my heart-don’t be. I’m eating lots of veggies now that I’m back!

Tasti (Forgive The Spelling- It Wasn’t Me)

After majoring in English and Journalism in college it always annoys me when companies misspell words to be catchy. Tasti D-Lite? Yikes! Grammatical errors are the same. Toys R Us? Come on!

I put that aside and eat their ice cream none the less (Tasti’s ice cream, not Toys’). Boston got it’s first Tasti D-Lite a while ago, but I hadn’t been other than in NYC. When I saw one in Florida I knew it had my name written allll over it.

I scooped ice cream, for a living, as a summer job in high school so I sympathize when ordering ice cream especially if they have to sing, dance, or wear funky uniforms. Their staff don’t have to lean head-first into freezers so I only felt so-bad for them. Luckily my ice cream was just ice cream so there was very little explaining to do whereas they have to teach customers what it means.

I got mud pie…which wasn’t the best ever. I felt guilty asking for a sample but I probably should have gone with the Cinnamon Crunch or Toffee Crunch which I just assume I’d prefer.

Mr. J got cake batter with fudge and vanilla crumbles. I thought his was super sweet but he liked it enough even though soft serve is more my thing than his. He leans towards regular ice cream but as Mum would say he could “choke it down”.

To Tavern or Not To Tavern

All the taverns I know don’t esthetically measure up to what I think of as a tavern. Tavern on the Square…Baseball Tavern…Hill Tavern…I could go on. Anywho, this “tavern” we found, Village Tavern, was a great feast our first night in Florida.Mr. J and I went to Florida for a wedding and some much needed fun in the sun. Boston has been dreary and rainy for weeks now so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect…also because my event just happened 2 rainy weekends ago. Time to celebrate love and my return to society. We went to Boynton Beach, FL. Normally I plan vacations to the minute with choices, but this one I just went with the flow. We had a room from the wedding room-block and a flight and we were there! I didn’t even scope out restaurants in advance!
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We happened upon Village Tavern on Yelp and thought the menu had some promise. We really enjoyed it!

Mr. J doesn’t do seafood (even though he’s from Maine) BUT he will enjoy the occasional bacon wrapped scallop. They were HUGE and amazing and had a great teriyaki glaze that wasn’t too sweet. We fought over the last one and split it.
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Somebody HAD to try the house potato chips with ranch dressing…I hadn’t planned on partaking but they were just so good. Besides, I’ll never make these at home.
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I got Ten Spice Glazed Salmon and loved every bite. It was served with curried couscous, red peppers, broccoli, and roasted almonds.
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The salmon was spicy and perfectly grilled. I thought the couscous might make for too many different flavors but it didn’t. It was great! The almonds were definitely not roasted so I cast them aside. If you’re counting, that’s 2 glazes. I need to learn to make a good glaze.

Mr. J chose the 8 oz filet with salad and mashed potatoes. While his plate wasn’t as picturesque, he liked it.
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It was quite the hefty meal and we enjoyed everything. Our server was friendly and everything came out super hot. I was thoroughly impressed with how quickly everything went from the kitchen to our table. Mr. J’s mashed might have sat for a bit but everything else was piping hot! (just like the 88 degree weather)!