Tuesday, March 23, 2010

stir boston

My friend Laura and I took the "Passion for Pasta" cooking class at Barbara Lynch's Stir in the South End last night. I have to say that it was truly one of the most amazing culinary experiences I've ever had! Not only did we get to learn the art of making pasta, we each received an autographed copy of Chef Lynch's cookbook, Stir, to take home. And the bonus? Chef Lynch was there that night to cook for us!

On the menu that night were four dishes: Lemon Corzetti with clams and oregano; Tomato Gnocchetini with mussels and saffron; Strozzapretti with rabbit and olives; and Orecchiette with cauliflower and anchovies.

These photos cannot even do justice for each dish - the aroma of all the freshly prepared ingredients, the delicate texture of each pasta, and the intricate little details of each plate were awesome. It was so much fun watching Chef demonstrate how to make pasta from scratch, listening to her tips and suggestions on cooking, and laughing with her and the executive sous chef, Molly Loveday.

The kitchen was warm and cozy, and the maximum number of students is ten so it's nice because you don't get lost in a big crowd. The wines that they paired with each dish were phenomenal and they were quite generous throughout the entire session. A group of women were there celebrating their friend's birthday, and there were two couples in attendance in addition to me and Laura. A gift certificate to Stir would be such a great idea for anyone you know that loves to cook, or for someone who simply appreciates a top notch dining experience. I certainly hope to be able to attend more sessions in the near future!

102 Waltham Street
Boston, MA 02118

To see more photos, click here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

restaurant week boston 2010: sibling rivalry

I had dinner at Sibling Rivalry with three of my friends last night (another Restaurant Week jaunt!) and it was awesome. I've been there a few times in the past and have never been disappointed, even if we've just stopped in for drinks at the bar. The restaurant itself boasts a warm feeling, and the food is quite delicious. I think the only thing I would hope they could improve on is their selection of wines by the glass, but the choices they give now are still nice.

Here's a run down of the dishes we ordered:

This was the warm parmesan garlic flan appetizer dish with wild mushroom, garlic confit in lemon brown butter (sorry, the lighting was rather dim so this photo doesn't do it any justice) which was to die for. I mean, I could see myself eating this every day, it was that good.

The steamed Prince Edward Island mussels in a spicy Thai ginger-coconut milk curry with cilantro and lime.

Local steamers served with a celery-lemon and herb broth with grilled bread and melted butter

Roasted baby rack of lamb with rosemary and roast pearl onions in a garlic confit-syrah sauce with Anna potatoes - these were cooked perfectly medium rare and as you can see below, were thoroughly devoured.

Seared jumbo Cape scallops with Anaheim chili relleno, black beans, tomatillo relish and salsa fresca

This was the carrot cake dessert ...

... and this was the profiterole dessert (nuts omitted due to my food allergies).

So in digging up the info for each of these dishes I've realized that the dessert options listed on the Restaurant Week website were not the ones we were able to pick from, just an FYI in case you head over there (believe me, I would've totally gone for the chocolate bombe option if I could've!). Everything we had was excellent and I think I can safely say that on behalf of my friends seeing that we all returned empty plates. I would highly recommend Sibling Rivalry for a romantic outing, an outing with a small group of friends, and definitely for Restaurant Week because they offer a lot of different things to choose from (i.e. some places only give you two or three things to pick from under each category). And if you're lucky, maybe Chef Bob will come out and say hello to your table, too! (P.S. He's so cute!)

Sibling Rivalry
525 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

restaurant week boston 2010: rocca

So I am seriously behind in posting about a lot of things that I have on a list, therefore this is going to be rather brief! Colorful because of the photos, but brief! LOL

I went to Rocca in Boston with four friends last night for Restaurant Week and we had a great time. The food was good, the atmosphere was great, and a fun time was had by all. Here's a run down of the dishes at our table that night:

The grilled shrimp appetizer with celery root, fennel, blood orange & parsley salad in a blood orange vinaigrette

The arugula & endive Salad with gorgonzola& pomegranate vinaigrette

Wild mushroom panzotti handmade pasta with parsley pesto & olive oil poached tomatoes

The grilled hanger steak entree with mashed potatoes, grilled endive (the salsa verde was omitted because of my food allergies)

The potato gnocchi with lobster, savoy cabbage & truffle vinaigrette

Salmon al Cartocchio baked in parchment with radishes, fennel, celery, carrots & cauliflower served with arugula butter & Meyer lemon

Rigatoni baked in a pot with braised veal, tomatoes & Parmigiano

The cappucino sorbet dessert

The Torta Santa Monica dessert: rich chocolate cake, layered with ganache, caramel & fleur de sel, served with vanilla gelato & almonds

My friend told me that Rocca has great outdoor seating during warmer weather, so I would love to take my husband there this summer. Would definitely recommend this place for a romantic outing, going out with a group of friends, and trying during restaurant week. Another bonus: they have their own parking lot!

500 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02118

Friday, March 5, 2010

fan of lamb

I convinced my husband, my boss (Elissa), and my boss's boyfriend (Pete) to attend the lamb event at Central Bottle on 2/23. I think it took all of four words to convince them to go: lamb, wine, beer, free. :)

It was a lot of fun! Chef Jorge Lopes of The Blue Room served some really tasty lamb appetizers. Tony and Elissa were too chicken to try the tongue dish, but Pete and I actually really enjoyed it. As long as I didn't think about what I was eating, I didn't mind it so much. I think everyone's favorite was the loin that was served with a delicious olive sauce.

It got pretty crowded halfway through the event but there was plenty of food to go around. They served three different red wines to try with the food, plus two different kinds of beer.

Elissa and Pete got some bruschetta, too. We both bought a bottle of wine to take home and the lady at the register gave each of us an apron to take home in a reusable shopping bag. The aprons said, "I love lamb" and the bag had funny sayings all over it like, "I love ewe", "fan of lamb", and "nice chops". We also got to take home a book of lamb recipes and some stickers. Pretty cool! I would definitely attend another event there in the future. The staff are super friendly and helpful when it comes to selecting wine, too. The store has such a great ambiance.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

h mart in burlington, ma

Photo from the H Mart website

A couple of weekends ago, I was on the hunt for merlot colored cardstock for one of my customers' wedding invitations (which I've learned, is quite difficult to find ... so if any of you consider going into the cardstock making business, here's a suggestion for you!) so we drove up to Ink About It in Westford. And since we were way out there already, I convinced Tony to take me to the new H Mart Asian grocery store in Burlington afterwards.

First of all, let me just preface this by saying that you could call us crazy. Crazy as in "who the heck would dare go to an Asian grocery store on a weekend?!" We should've known at the moment when the police officer standing in the middle of a street was diverting traffic (us) to go around the way to get into the parking lot that we were in for some pretty intense crowdedness (is that a word?). We were quite lucky to find a parking spot, which is good because I think my husband was going to shoot me for suggesting the idea in the first place.

And then we walked in. And wow. So much to take in. A bakery on the right. A wall of rice bags. A gigantic produce section. A food court where they have Korean, Japanese, Thai food and more to choose from.

I really liked the cute little outfits the women were wearing in the bakery ... and of course, they're green!

A wall o' rice!

There was a wall of kimchee. A wall of those cool little side dishes that you get at a Korean restaurant. Tons of fresh seafood options. And lots of meat!

I know that these grocery stores are quite common in places like California, but they are few and far between aroudn here so I apologize for my over-the-top reaction. Oh and now I remember that I did have a purpose for going to H Mart (not just to annoy my husband - ha!): I needed to get the mochiko (rice flour) and matcha (green tea) in order to make Matcha Mochi cupcakes for the cupcake throwdown competition at work (another post!).

Mochiko. Check. Matcha. Check. Let's see, what else did we leave with? A container of those little soy black beans (Kongjaban) that Tony loves. Two packages of curry after trying a sample. Two packages of small rice cakes shaped like little balls. A package of thinly sliced bulgoki meat. Some really big mushrooms that I can't believe I didn't write down the name of. And more that I can't remember now.

That night, I ended up using a bag of the rice cakes to try and recreate the curry dish that Tony sampled at the store. It turned out a little too soupy for his tastes (I'll have to use less water next time). I put some cod, those forgotten mushrooms, and snap peas in it too.

And my dinner was essentially a rice cake soup that started off as boiling water that was used to cook them in, and I added an egg, a couple of anchovies (for flavor), and mushrooms. It was quite delicious actually ... I love the texture of the rice cakes.

I'm not sure that we'll go back to H Mart any time soon (errr, at least I think I'd have to go alone or without my husband for sure) but it was a pretty neat experience. I think the markets I've been to with my mom in California are a tad bit better because their "fast food" sections had things like dim sum and sushi for almost nothing. But then again, the Matcha Mochi cupcakes turned out so great so I may need to head back for more mochiko at some point (the Korean store near our apartment doesn't carry it ... such a shame!). ;)


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