Thursday, October 14, 2010

Back Bay Social Club: Pork & Cocktails

As she poured me a dirty martini one hot summer evening behind the bar at Delux, Nikki spoke about her days spent in training at the Back Bay Social Club. She told me about the new Lyons group hot spot opening in the old Vinny T's space, as well she told tales of muddling fruit and days spent practicing the craft of the specialty cocktail. I was certainly intrigued and I had eagerly anticipated the opening. Meaning to stop in ever since the late summer debut, it wasn't until Citysearch invited me to attend an event that I actually made it over to the new digs at 867 Boylston St. Greeted by two friendly hostesses in perfect unison, we all laughed together about the staged, (but not really) greeting. I immediately felt welcome. The hostesses let me know I was the first to arrive. (Odd, that never happens.) All the more time to snap pictures and debate at the bar over the cocktail menu. I quickly learned they were out of the Pumpkin Trace ($12) buffalo trace bourbon, figs, vanilla, pumpkin puree & spice simple syrup. This evidently popular drink is in high demand and they can't keep up with supply, the bartender openly admitted.Instead I chose the Fall Social ($12) laird's applejack apple brandy, rye whiskey, aromatic bitters, fresh lemon juice, averna & simple syrup. The bartender sensed my disappointment in not being able to try the Pumpkin Trace, decided to substitute the fig and vanilla infused bourbon in this drink so I could experience. I admired her improvisation. It was an intense cocktail with comforting aromas and deep flavors. Our host Katherine from Citysearch joined me minutes later at the bar and as the rest of the attendees rolled in we took our seats to sample various dishes compliments of the restaurant. (Prices are listed anyways, since it's just what I do!) I happily introduced myself to new faces and am excited that I have a host of new-to-me blogs to check out! Just when you think you know all the Boston bloggers, there are a handful more to be discovered. We began with a comforting bite of House Garlic Sausages ($8).The hoppy beer mustard elevated the warm buttery pretzel encasing tender sausages. Next up was the Meat Candy ($7).This dish of slow roasted Boston Smoke House kielbasa in brandy and cloves, paired alongside brown sugar pineapple was inspired by the chef's mother. Chef used to constantly crave bites of candy in the kitchen and so his Mom concocted meat candies for him some years ago! I love charming little stories about how dishes came to be. The Cheese Board ($14) was fabulous, consisting of Morbier, Great Hill Blue, Pecorino, Capri Goat and Tupelo Honey. It was my first time trying Morbier (front left), an aromatic mild french cows milk cheese. The sticky sweet jam and luscious honey paired nicely with the various types of cheese over crispy grilled toast. The presentation over a heavy wood cutting board was tasteful and artistic. The three plates above were inventive, flavorful and all around delicious bar snacks / appetizers that I would gladly order again. We also sampled some plates not on the official menu. These happened to be my two least favorite dishes of the evening. The Country Ham Crustini with Pop's pepper relish, arugula and pine nuts didn't quite captivate me like the previous three did, though the ham was fresh and the pepper relish was tasty.
Then, I sampled for the first time some Head Cheese with mushroom terrine, arugula and a bacon dressing. Head "Cheese" is meant to be eaten spread over a crostini and topped with the arugula. It is actually not cheese but a meat jelly made with flesh from the head of typically a calf or pig. Temperature and texture wise, (cold and gelatinous) this dish just wasn't for me. The bacon dressing was bold, yet it didn't compliment the already pork heavy flavors, it only overwhelmed the palate. In the midst of this well paced tasting meal, there was quite a bit more imbibing. Michelle, who was sitting across from me ordered a beer that instantly caught my eye (large bottle, pretty packaging) so I gave the Pretty Things Jack D'Or a try. Pretty Things is a beer and ale project based out of Cambridge, MA - they fancy themselves a "Gypsy Brewery" without a permanent home. The amber colored ale was smooth and easy to sip. The table was sent a round (half portions, so we were told, but these could have easily been a full portion in our minds!) of the signature White Russian ($12) vodka, coffee liquor, milk & soda water. Not just any coffee liquor my friends, but 100 proof, homemade coffee liquor. An impressive feat made for an impressive White Russian. I happily double-fisted. We were told the chef's wife, who used to be the executive pastry chef at Radius and then Sportello, handles the desserts. Having enjoyed desserts at both of her prior employers, I knew we were in for an impressive finale. Our table was treated to one of each on the menu. I had never had a Beignet ($7) - can you believe it?! I loved them especially dipped in the chocolate fudge sauce. The Caramel Apple ($7) with a cider reduction came glistening with sugar crystals, proving a fall evening delight. The Sticky Toffe Pudding ($8) was warm, comforting and filled with raisins. And my personal favorite was the Chocolate Ganache Cake ($8).I'm sensing a PB&J dessert trend. (If you see it twice, it counts as a trend, right? I'll be on the lookout for a third.) The smooth creamy peanut butter sauce rocked. Any one of these desserts would be a solid choice to end a meal.
Many thanks to the kind and generous staff at Back Bay Social Club for their hospitality and delicious food and drink this evening. I had a blast with the Citysearch group and I look forward to our next outing!
Back Bay Social Club on Urbanspoon

23 comments:

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

Per usual, it was great indulging and imbibing with you! There were some hits and misses but I'd give Back Bay Social Club another try!

MelissaNibbles said...

Another one place to add to my list! I want those pretzels and anything called meat candy I'm all over.

FreeFoodBoston said...

So good meeting you Daisy! What kind of camera do you use? I noticed you had a pretty compact one but by the look of your pics you'd think you had one of the bigger super fancy ones.

Megan said...

I'll be on the lookout for PB&J desserts with you! Sounds like a very nice evening. I saw the head cheese on some other blogs, and I don't think I would be brave enough to try it... I can't get behind jellied meat things like that.

Valerie said...

Wow, this place looks fabulous! I love the idea of a fall cocktail. Maybe I'll try to recreate that at home this weekend. Sounds like the perfect evening!

mr. pineapple man said...

the cheeseboard looks heavenly!

Lizzy said...

Jealous! That looks like so much fun! I gotta check that place out!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

I want the cheese board! And the head cheese :) Can't wait to see you tonight!

Corinne said...

oooo fun times. everything looks marvelous. minus the head cheese. id be bummed about the pumpkin trace tooooo, very nice of the bartender to improvise. and complimentary white russians. OKAY! :)

Jaime @ La vie...J'aime said...

I def want to try this place... the house garlic sausages look like an "upscaled" pigs in a blanket lol.

Enjoy your weekend :)

Devon said...

Beignets are pretty much my favorite thing ever. If you're ever in New Orleans, you have to get some from Cafe du Monde!

Amber Blue Bird said...

I am so hungry right now, every picture looks tasty but I think my fave is the 100 proof coffee liquor, um yeah awesome

Lisa Griffin said...

Holy moley this looks delicious, especially the cheese board bc i'm a sucker for a plethora of queso. i'm making my first adult trip to boston, since living there as a toddler, this week, so i just may stop by!
www.indramaticfashion.com

Lazaro Cooks! said...

The Pumpkin Trace and Meat Candy look like winners. Can't go wrong with head cheese either.

Tricia said...

i'm drooling over the dessert! also, i'm feeling like a nice white russian with 100 proof, homemade coffee liquor. mmmm.

Simply Life said...

oh wow! that looks like a great meal!

Samantha said...

Oh my goodness! Everything looks sooo good! And the prices are totally reasonable, especially considering the quality. I am definitely trying this place the next time I head into Boston!

-Samantha
http://sincerelysamantha.com

Ameena said...

I'm such a sucker for a good cheese plate and this one is beautiful! I am also a huge fan of beignets! I would have loved to be part of your little group!!

this free bird said...

That freaking Pumpkin Trace looks so dang good. And the Crustini?? And the cheese? And the Kielbasa (with pineapple? YUUUM!)?

I swear your posts make me sooooo hungry!!

Have a great weekend! Can't wait to see what you eat...

xoxo,
Carrie

A Thought For Food said...

Nom nom nom! That pb&j dessert rocked my world. That and the sticky toffee... I can't even think about it because my mouth starts watering. Great post and it was lovely meeting you!

Terrianne, Call me Ree said...

This really does look like a place I'd like to check out! =)

shari @ little blue deer said...

I'm still totally stuck on meat candy! XX!

Oh, My Darling said...

The Pumpkin Trace sounds so good -- you'll have to go back!