Bar Boulud, Restaurant Review

This past week I had dinner at Bar Boulud inside the Mandarin Hotel on Boylston St. Boston. Not once, but twice because it was that amazing. Bar Boulud is a french inspired bistro by famous Chef Daniel Boulud and Chef de Cuisine Aaron Chamberswith. It has a spectacular wine bar with selections from Burgundy and the Rhône Valley.

Bar Boulud

Inside Bar Boulud

The waiter recognized that I had visited Bar Boulud the night before and to thank me, the management team presented my table with this beautiful charcuterie board.

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The sweet managing stuff presented us with this fine charcuterie, terrine, and pate plate

Bar Boulud serves classics like terrines and pâtés, burgers, in-house charcuterie, and some of the most amazing oysters I’ve ever tasted. Crisp, smooth and briny. Mmmm, now I’m hungry! With it’s delicate decor, celebrity chef and 5 star wait-staff, one would think Bar Boulud would have a pretentious air. Quite the opposite.

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Duxbury Oysters

Service was impeccable, the red velvet tufted seating and dim lighting was so relaxing. Perfect for a date or a nice solo meal.

Bar Boulud

My favorite dish was the Spaghetti au Citron with wellfleet countneck clam, bottarga
lemon, fennel.

Spaghetti au Citron

Spaghetti au Citron

To finish off my meal, I had the Chef’s version of a Boston Creme Pie -Gâteau à l’Orange, vanilla bavaroise, fresh oranges, grand marnier soup, vanilla ice cream. The presentation was gorgeous!

Gâteau à l’Orange

Gâteau à l’Orange

I highly recommend visiting Bar Boulud – It’s located at the Mandarin Oriental Boston. 776 Boylston St. (617) 535-8800

The Good Ones, Top Secret Chef Battle

Hi Friends! I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer! Despite having surgery recently, I am doing better than ever-I have so much to share with you (later this week) but let me start here.

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a Grecian themed rooftop party hosted by The Good Ones. The rooftop party was the third of their Top Secret Chef Battle series. If you haven’t heard of this dynamic group, click here and get familiar because they are taking over Boston.

The Good Ones is focused on raising awareness for great causes and brands. For this event,  Vitamin Angels was highlighted- Vitamin Angels is a group dedicated to helping at-risk populations in need with a main focus on helping pregnant women, new mothers, and children under five.

Whose Who

Carolyn Kim, Julian Sayles from Team Sayles Music and Lighting, and Jennifer Brooke are the co-founders of The Good Ones.

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R&D Jennifer Brooke, Chief Visionary Officer Carolyn Kim, Good One Kimberly Giardino

The guests were intellectual, creative and beautiful people from the Boston area. The event was so top secret…I didn’t receive the location until the night before!

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Jimmy Guzman having a good laugh (photo cred: Vincent Hohn)

Read on for more details and photos from this amazing event

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Top Secret Chef Battle

Brendan Smith of Uni Sashimi Bar, Brendan Burke of Bastille Kitchen , and Jonathan Moriera of Post 390 created Greek inspired dishes.  I will leave out the winner because honestly, each chef did an incredible job-I was blown away. Click on the links for more information on where you may try food created by the three incredibly talented chefs.

One of my favorite details about the party was their use of local vendors. For example, the fish was purchased from a local non-profit, Cape Ann Fresh Catch of Gloucester, MA-the largest community of supported fishery in the United States. You could taste the freshness in each bite.

(photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

Jonathan Moriera (photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

(photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

(photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

 Tenzin Conecho Samdo, Bartender/Mixologist from Trade-Boston, worked hard all night making delicious cocktails. My favorite cocktail was Olympian’s Collin, a mixture of clean, organic Crop vodka, sparkling matcha tea by Motto, cucumber and lime.

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Tenzin working his magic

(photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

(photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

The Good Ones

photo cred: Anastasia Sierra

Apart from the amazing food and beverages served were Grecian models and Mark Penta– artist and illustrator who worked hard illustrating live portraits of the guests.

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Mark Penta

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Additional Photos

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Taking in the view with Georgina

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The gracious host-Mark O Andrus (photo cred: Vinceny Hohn

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photo cred: Anastasia Sierra

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One of the gorgeous models (photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

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Beautiful Boston

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Caterpillar from Alice and Wonderland (photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

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The models wore custom headpieces by Jimmy Guzman & clothing designed by Candice Wu.  H&M by Kashmir from VS Salon (photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

 

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photo cred: Vincent Hohn

Are YOU a Good One? Click here for more information!

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So…are you?

Happy Monday, Friends!

Xo

Lovin’ Spoonfuls & Whole Foods Market

Hey everyone! Come see me today from 11am-2pm at Whole Foods in Charles River Plaza to support Lovin’ Spoonfuls! If you can’t make it to this location, visit the Jamaica Plain, or Symphony locations. 5% of the sales will be donated to Lovin’ Spoonfuls!

Come donate to a great cause!

 Lovin Spoonfuls

“Lovin’ Spoonfuls is an organization that facilitates the recovery and distribution of healthy, perishable food that would otherwise be discarded. Lovin’ Spoonfuls works efficiently to deliver this food directly to the community organizations and resources where it can have the greatest impact. Lovin’ Spoonfuls is committed to addressing the health, environmental and economic impact that food waste has on our community. Headquartered in Boston, MA, Lovin’ Spoonfuls is a 501c3, non-profit organization”

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My New Flyer, Shameless Self Promotion

Happy Saturday, Friends!

Without A Measuring Cup Flyer

Simplify Your Life

Happy 30th Birthday, Grill 23

Last week I attended the 30th birthday & new bar revealing party at Grill 23 in Boston. It’s owned by the geniuses behind Post 390, Ken & Chris Himmel. The Grill has received a number of awards in the past 30 years. Just in the last few months The Food Network named Grill 23 one of the best place’s in America to eat steak. Chef Jamie Bissonette & Chef Ken Oringer of Toro Restaurant named Grill 23 as 1 of the 10 “…Best Food and Drink Pairings in Boston” in their Food & Wine interview. Dig Boston awarded Grill 23 2014’s Best Steakhouse in Boston! Congratulations, Grill 23, you’re definitely one of Boston’s best-in all you do!

The Party

Let me take you on a picture walk. I brought my girlfriend Susana as my plus 1 and boy, did we have a blast! Susana was an amazing date but I’m upset that she didn’t stop me from eating 4 cake pops…in a row. I.Have.No.Self.Control.

Grill 23 Party

Susana & I taking selfies ;)

Grill 23’s dim lighting and leather seats gives it an old school 50’s vibe…so much so that I swore I saw Roger Sterling from Mad Men hanging upstairs next to the bar. I kid you not, I stared at some poor stranger for a good 15 minutes until I remembered that it was 2014 and that Mad Men is fiction…why am I constantly reminding myself of this? haha

Mad Men

Roger & Don hanging out at a bar that resembles Grill 23!!

As soon as we walked in I noticed these amazing cocktail napkins- one side had the 1st floor layout and the other side had the 2nd floor layout. We headed straight to the wine bar then the raw bar, ooohhhh yahhh!

Grill 23 Napkin

How amazing is this?

Happy Birthday, Grill 23

Happy Birthday, Grill 23

Grill 23

The dim lighting is sexy but doesn’t make for good iPhone photos

Raw Bar Heaven

Raw Bar Heaven

Hardworking Oyster Shuckers

Hardworking Oyster Shucker’s

I think I consumed 3 dozen oysters and at least 4 dozen jumbo shrimp. Yah, yah, don’t judge me.

Grill 23

Beautiful Ice Display

Duval Leroy, Brut, Vertus, NV

Duval Leroy, Brut, Vertus, NV

Bubbly w/Strawberry & Peach Housemade Puree

Bubbly w/Strawberry & Peach Housemade Puree

Charcuterie

Charcuterie

Grill 23

Impressive Menu

Grill 23 Bar Snacks

The prettiest deviled eggs, you ever did see

Grill 23

Oh hay, Susana!

Dessert Menu

Dessert Menu

Dessert Table

Dessert Table

Cake, Cake, Cake!

Cake, Cake, Cake!

Red Velvet Cake Pops

I can’t resist anything that sparkles, not even cake pops!

Grill 23

Have you made a reservation at Grill 23 yet?

 

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The photo’s I took of the new bar just don’t do it justice so please head on over to Grill 23’s Facebook page or their website to see the beautiful new bar!

 Happy Birthday, Grill 23- you make 30 look spectacular!

 

Boston Strong

Boston Strong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farm To Post, Post 390

When grocery shopping, I try to buy seasonal produce and seafood that has never been frozen. But since we have such long brutal winters here in New England, most of my produce staples are grown outside of Massachusetts. I’m human-if I see cherries on sale, I’m buying them-even if they were grown in Kuwait but with that said, when dining out, I look to restaurants that locally source their products, and maintain a sense of community-with their staff and their guests.

This is where Chris Himmel, of the famed Himmel Hospitality Group, comes along. Growing up in Boston I had heard about Grill 23 and Post 390– but I didn’t know much about either restaurant then one day on Facebook I came across this photo of cured meats and it immediately caught my attention.

Cured Meats from Mercat St. Josep Boqueria off Calle de La Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain

Cured Meats from Mercat St. Josep Boqueria off Calle de La Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain

Oh and then this photo showed up on my News Feed:

Artisan Cured Meets from La Quercia

Artisan Cured Meets from La Quercia

I did some research and found out more about Chris and his is team. They pay very close attention to the origins of the ingredients used at their 3 restaurants Post390, Grill 23 in Boston, and Harvest in Cambridge.

Chris doesn’t call in a large distributor to deliver the goods for the week- he goes out with his team and hand selects the freshest sustainable ingredients for his restaurants. And by “hand select” I mean he can be found in the ocean with his team just chilling on a tiny boat, in the wee hours of the morning, in frigid temperatures, oyster digging like it aint no thang!

Don’t believe me? Check out the Post390 Facebook page and take a look at the albums and videos. They show true dedication to their customers, suppliers, and staff.

Up until Wednesday, March 26th, I had yet to meet Chris in person but as I mentioned, I had been following him on Facebook since last summer. His videos show the time, energy, and passion that goes into finding the finest ingredients for his restaurants and I just loved seeing his dedication.

Farm To Post

Farm To Post

I knew I had to meet Chris so I followed him on multiple social media platforms until I got his attention haha!! It worked! Chris invited me to attend February’s Farm To Post dinner in February but I was out of town so when he invited me to March’s Farm To Post Dinner honoring Herb and Kathy of Eckhouse of La Quercia Handcrafted Cured Meats, I RSVP’d immediately.

Herb & Kathy Eckhouse of La Quercia Handcrafted Cured Meats in Norwalk, Iowa

Herb & Kathy Eckhouse of La Quercia Handcrafted Cured Meats in Norwalk, Iowa

 

The evening started with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and was followed by a 5 course meal prepared by Chef Eric Brennan. Chef Brennan incorporated as much of La Quercia’s products in each of the 5 courses.
During the cocktail hour, Chris and I chatted about all things ham and poof! like magic, a server came around with a wooden block covered in handcrafted American prosciutto…did I die and go to heaven? Oh and it gets better- no utensils! We had to grab the prosciutto with our hands, in typical Spanish and Italian style!

Chris Himmel

Chris Himmel & I

You guys know how much I love tapas, and sharing food- especially finger foods. Ah. The prosciutto melted in my mouth-it had the perfect amount of fat and dare I say, I like it more than my beloved Serrano Ham (ssssh! Don’t tell my Spanish friends!)

Overall, the evening couldn’t have been more perfect. Take a look at the pictures below and see for yourself.

Where does your bacon come from?

Where does your bacon come from?

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Incredible! Thank you Chris for allowing me to be part of this special event.

For More Information:
Post 390
Grill 23
Harvest
La Quercia

Read This

It’s my birthday so I’m going to use that as an excuse to say whatever the heck I please. So bow down or close this window.

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I have never been a fan of going out on New Years Eve and I think NYE resolutions are silly. I have a lifetime resolution-be a damn good person. This means loving and respecting myself and others. I constantly reflect on what’s going on in my life, what made me happy, sad, etc. and I try to improve and fix the negatives. How do you feel about NYE resolutions?

I’m tired of hearing people talk about their resolutions when we all know that Bobby Joe will “forget” to renew her gym membership come February. The following article really resonats with me. New Years Resolutions: 14 F***’s I Refuse to Give in 2014

PREACH! I LOVE this article. (Many thanks to my girlfriend Erica for sharing the article on Facebook.) Kudos to the author for keeping it real and for letting people know that it is OKAY to be yourself and if someone doesn’t like it, that is their issue not yours.

Here are the 14 F***’s I Refuse to Give for 2014:

  1. Saying Sorry-Oh boo! You did something to hurt my feelings yet I feel the need to apologize? NO MORE. I tend to put other people’s feelings far ahead of mine…this is something I really need to stop doing. Because guess what? When life hands your a 3rd degree burn and a horrible break-up? Those idiots that were there before are no longer anywhere to be found. Adios!
  2. Quitting Vices- everything in moderation. Don’t be a quitter. I will continue to wake up in the middle of the night and eat snacks in bed. I will drink one glass of wine or perhaps I’ll drink a bottle, just like Salt N’ Pepa said, It’s None Of Your Business!
  3. Standards- I’m not going to lower them just because I’m slowly approaching 30. I look fabulous and I don’t have any wrinkles (thank you, Nana.)  So, gentlemen, listen up:
    1. If you don’t have shined shoes, a pressed shirt, and bottoms, and if you don’t make eye-contact while talking to me then I’m all set. Bye.
    2. OH, and if you ask if you can kiss me? The answer is NO
    3. If you ask if we can move our chairs closer to each other? The answer is NO
    4. If you don’t order the fried calamari because you’ve been working on your abs (and admit to this), bye, boy, bye
    5. If you don’t think this is funny, it probably won’t work out.
  4. Laundry- I will continue to use a wash & fold service even if I’m poor and living in my car. I do my own laundry once every 5 months. It’s a sickness, I just can’t. Mr. WAMC used to wash & fold my laundry my laundry w Let’s not talk about this anymore
  5. Maintenance- I won’t stop taking care of myself. Call it what you want, but I get my hair done weekly, my nails every month, oh and I get reflexology massages on the regular. This does not make me high maintenance. This makes me happy
  6. Swearing. I say the F word a lot (when I’m not around children or the elderly,) and I refuse to apologize for it. Sorry, not sorry, Mom.
  7. To be continued…(whenever I darn please) 😛

I think you guys should join me and make your own list. Leave a comment and tell me, what’s one f*** you refuse to give this year?

Moving on to something unrelated…musicals!

I LOVE theater. I hope to see Once, The Musical, this week. Have you seen the musical? How about the movie? I have yet to see either but I just could not stop myself from downloading the soundtrack. I have been listening to the soundtrack, over and over again.

Once the Musical

Once the Musical

It has been messing with my emotions for the last few days. I cry, then I smirk, then I cry again…this ladies and gentleman, is the result of a damn good musical! I cannot wait to see it live. Listen to “The Hills” and “Say It To Me Now” and just try to maintain your composure for 20 seconds. Just try. I, 7th grade I thought “Kissing You” on the soundtrack for Romeo & Juliet (the Leonardo version) was everything, but I was wrong. This entire soundtrack-is IT! What’s your favorite soundtrack?

I have to go get ready to celebrate this momentous day. Thank you all for the lovely birthday wishes.

Xo V

C-A-N-E-S CANES! <3 you Erica

MIAMI CANCES

 

 

Gordon Hamersley of Hamersley’s Bistro

A few weeks ago I told you guys about my connection to Hamersley’s Bistro. Well, as I mentioned, Mr. Hamersley was kind enough to answer a number of questions via email…I wanted to learn as much as I could about the award winning chef before spending the day in his kitchen.

He’s cooked for the President of the United States and has won a James Beard award, ladies & gentleman, Gordon Hamersley. (Am I dreaming?)

Gordon Hamersley

 Q & A

Has the recipe for your legendary roasted chicken changed in the last 26 years?

GH: The chicken has surely changed over the years but I’ve never changed it on purpose. We try to change the cook so that it stays fresh and thus many cooks have prepared it over the years. Remember, there are a certain number of people who come to Hamersley’s and never order anything but the chicken so we really have to be consistent with the dish. It’s actually fun to do one thing over and over the same way. It has tradition, a story, and people know when it’s not quite right.”
Hamersley’s Bistro received a Best of Boston award just after its’ first year in business. How has HB maintained it’s notability in one of the toughest industries?

GH: For me…I feel that having one restaurant that I work at everyday is what has kept us focused and good at what we do. That said, I am never content and I’m always workong either to teach and maintain our standards or make things fresh and new and better than before

Was there ever a time you felt you were losing momentum?

GH: I hope not! We try to create momentum by changing things all the time. We do 4-6 new menus per year and this creates an inner sense of movement forward. When I can’t come up with new ideas (given the style and context of how I cook in general) then it might get stale…but I can feel that very fast and I work at change again. The team at Hamersley’s has stayed very consistent over the years and so we are always aware that we need to stay fresh…the inner core of people inspire each other to be creative.

Did you create a special menu for President Obama’s visit?

GH: For President Obama, we had the entire menu available to him plus a tenderloin of beef, alaskan salmon and a burger. I was told he had very conservative tastes and was pretty sure he wasn’t going to order say…the rabbit with persian spices…he ended up having the grass fed beef with local asparagus, potatoes, and a french style red wine sauce. No dessert. He eats desserts only on Saturdays!

Thoughts on the current trend: Pop Up restaurants?

GH: I like all the new trends…pop up sure…I love the food trucks! Fiona and I actually almost did one back in 1987 instead of the restaurant…I just wanted to drive around and cook wherever it looked like a good crowd. (Little did I know you can’t do that!!) but I do have a whole little business plan for a truck a la 1987.

If you weren’t a chef, you’d be…

GH: Hmm, many things. I like to train my hunting dogs…music, if I could play! I always thought I’d be a good photo journalist. I like telling stories. So if I could write I would…all these are similar to cooking in restaurants in many ways really.

Where does your inspiration come from?

GH: I usually ask myself, “What do I feel like eating tonight?” when thinking about new menu stuff. I do have a style of cooking which does not change much but sometimes I come up with a truly new idea for me and other times I do a variation on themes. I often try to think like a country French housewife…what would she cook for her family? Then I make it work for Hamersley’s.

Two ingredients you couldn’t live without?

GH: Garlic and salt…I kinda like butter too…

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If you’re in the Boston area, make sure to stop by Hamersley’s Bistro for an unforgettable experience. Seriously, you won’t be disappointed.

Stay tuned for my post about my day in the kitchen with GH & his staff!

Disclosure: I did not receive anything for this post…just bragging rights 😉

 

 

Winter Storm Nemo

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Saturday, February 9th, 2013 I laid in bed sick with a cold, staring out my bedroom window. I welcomed Winter Storm Nemo with open arms as I laid in bed watching episodes of Downton Abbey. With the state issued driving ban in place, I had the perfect excuse to cancel on my Match.com date that evening. It also gave me the perfect excuse to text back and forth all day with a cute guy who called himself “BeaconHillFunGuy” aka Mr. WAMC

After endless hours of texting throughout the weekend, BeaconHillFunGuy & I decided we were going to brave the storm and go out on our first date Monday, February 11th. The streets of Boston were covered in snow but after several days off being snowed in, restaurants decided to open for business. Seriously, can anyone say cabin fever?! By Sunday afternoon I felt like writing REDRUM on my roommates bathroom mirror…just to stir things up a bit 😉

Anyway, since BeaconHillFunGuy and I are both lovers of food, we decided we would try a restaurant with great reviews, that neither of us had been to, Hamersley’s Bistro. Dinner went extremely well, I fell in love with Mr. WAMC’s argyle sweater and even deeper in love when he ordered the foie gras. He likes fat liver too? A man after my own heart <3

Dinner was lovely. At the end of our meal, a tall gentlemen wearing a chefs jacket & a Red Sox hat went around to everyone’s table and asked how their meals were. Not only was I falling for my date, I was also falling in love with Hamersley’s Bistro. It is very rare for a chef to take the time to go around the restaurant and personally greet each guests!

One Week Later

BeaconHillFunGuy’s membership on Match.com was cancelled…as was mine…I’m still waiting for Match to contact us to appear in a commercial

Two Months Later

I was online messing around with Twitter and realized that the gentleman that came and shook our hands after dinner was in fact, THE Mr. Hamersley of Hamersley’s Bistro. *Mind Blown* I immediately sent Mr. WAMC a text to tell him that just a month ago, we met and shook hands with the famed chef and we didn’t even know it.

Three to Four Months Later

I got in contact with Mr. Hamersley who agreed to let me interview him and spend an entire day in his restaurant, behind the line! I couldn’t believe it!

I’ll be spending this Thursday, June 27th, at Hamerlsey’s Bistro. I cannot wait to share my experience with you all. If you’re not familiar with this world-renowed chef, check out this article.

In the meantime, look out for a fabulous Q&A blog posts between Me and  Mr. Hamersley.

Xo

Vanessa