Hi gang–isn’t this the most amazing time of year, when you can just tell that early autumn is so tantalizingly close… in moments, you can catch nature just starting to soften her blow, beginning to apologize for the extreme heat she’s dished our way in the last 2 months. This is going to be a good fall, I can’t wait.
But in the meantime, S & I spent part of our week in beautiful Boston–I’m lucky enough to have a job that takes me there frequently, and we enjoyed a chance to have a few beautiful meals out. This is always a good thing, especially in Boston, but this (and next) week is Restaurant Week, and that makes it doubly delightful. Restaurant Week is a big, huge deal–it seems like virtually every interesting restaurant in the city participates. We ate four tremendous dinners, each at a different spot chosen either for our being in the neighborhood or that we heard about it from some friends… and each of the four happened to be participating. So good!
I know this isn’t a Boston food blog, but it is my week in food, so I’ll just leave you with a few “postcards” from our delicious week:
We started our dining adventures in a place called Clink, part of the Liberty Hotel in Beacon Hill, near the hospital. The whole hotel used to be the Charles Street Jail, which played a big role at various times in the 19th century including the birth of the NAACP. They’ve renovated the whole place, and it’s stunning to look at–wow! The restaurant is jail-themed in a way that’s more cute than dumb, thank goodness. We had a tremendous three-course restaurant week meal, priced (as they all are) at an attractive $33.11. This is the first course, a snap pea and arugula salad with a lightly-fried egg on top. Beautiful collection of textures and flavors, and a beautiful way to start an excellent meal. (What followed were amazing braised pork cheeks, and a delectable peach and blueberry tartlet. Yum.)
Night Two was at a cool little jazz and oyster bar called Les Zygomates, in a neighborhood called the Leather District, near Chinatown and the downtown financial district. It was a place with a very nice neighborhood vibe and some good jazz played by the night’s house band. We drank excellent wine, and had some excellent raw bar selections.
We each had a pair of east coast oysters which were simply fantastic, alongside a local ocean prawn in cocktail sauce. Folks, this is where it is at. Some of the best raw bar I’ve ever had, so good. It was followed by some escargots (toothsome but just a touch bland), a tremendous bluefish filet and a fine chocolate mousse. French + raw bar + live music = a place I would like to be.
Night Three was at a little lounge in South Boston called Lucky’s, and while I didn’t take any pictures (too dark)–I must say that they serve a mean calamari (among the best ever, perfectly prepared) and steak tips. Oh, and the house band knows how to blow! And Night Four was at a very nice Italian place in the Financial District called Umbria Prime–they make their own pastas in-house, and I was adventurous enough to go for the wild boar pappardelle. I say adventurous because this is easily my favorite dish at Nicolas here in Cincinnati. And this was really good, but it wasn’t the same, mostly because Nicolas prepares theirs as part of a bolognese sauce, and Umbria’s sauce is not bolognese and is a little more brothy. While I’d probably take the bolognese ina fight, this preparation was considerably lighter and allowed me to enjoy the flavor of the boar and fresh mushrooms even more.
Saturday morning meant brunch, and we went to a super little place in the South End called Aquitaine which by night appears to be a French bistro. But by weekend morning, it’s prix fixe brunch–AMAZING homemade cinnamon rolls, an egg dish of your choice, orange juice, bottomless coffee, and breakfast potatoes, for $9.95. Wow! And that’s not for restaurant week–it’s every week. The cinnamon roll was divine, and the omelet was fluffy delicious. So good! And lest you think I am done…
We had about an hour to kill at the airport and were delighted to find we sat across from Logan’s Legal Test Kitchen, the “experimental” offshoot of the Legal Sea Foods enterprise. While S noshed on her favorite ever clam chowder, I had to get a few last jumbo shrimp. A delightful way to end a delicious week!