Thursday, January 20, 2011

Monday Funday!

Prior to the Boston Food Bloggers Launch Party I spent the Monday holiday with Megan, Alicia, Michelle & Meghan. We enjoyed lunch at Sel de la Terre making good use of two Groupons that were purchased the week prior, sipped rum cocktails in front of a roaring fire at the InterContinental Hotel and befriended the staff at Union Bar and Grille, all before 6pm. Sel de la Terre is a French Brasserie serving seasonal and local cuisine inspired by the rustic country fare of Provencial and Southen France. The original location at 255 State Street sits amongst the bustling Long Wharf waterfront where their affordable and approachable "Salt of the Earth" Southern French cuisine has impressed critics and garnered high praise. Since the Long Wharf location opening ten years ago, they expanded to the suburbs of Natick and then opened a third location in the city's Back Bay neighborhood. Excited to finally pay them a visit, I entered off the frigid (but at least sunny and blue skied) streets around 12:30 where a hostess warmly greeted me and took my coat. Seated in a corner table backed by a semi circular brown leather booth, the sunlight spilled in through the windows making the girls and I feel like we had the best table in the restaurant. I immediately dug into the basket of homemade breads and ordered a glass of Chianti from the cork board wine menu. Apparently if you check in on Foursquare (Alicia took care of this. I'm still skeptical to join) you receive a complementary order of Rosemary Pomme Frites (normally $7). Don't mind if I do! I was leaning towards ordering the Duck Confit Sandwich ($10) fig compote, whole grain mustard, provolone cheese and baby arugula but when our waitress mentioned they were out (before we placed our orders) I decided on The SDLT burger ($15). A massive juicy patty cooked to an ideal medium with Vermont cheddar cheese, apple smoked bacon and a slather of spicy aioli were contained by a toasted brioche bun. The buns outer shell buttery and glistening, ever so slightly crisped at the edges, encased a perfect arch of fluffy white bread. Additionally, I appreciated that it was pre-sliced into perfectly proportioned halves, making it easy to jump right in. I welcomed even more of those extra skinny, precisely seasoned rosemary pomme frites. We scrutinized the dessert menu in all its glory until spotting the Grand Dessert for two ($20) A sampling of our desserts “en miniature”. Each and every one of the dessert menu offerings sounded amazing so we figured why not try them all? The sampling proved a worthwhile choice with more than enough bites to satisfy the three of us partaking in dessert.As the sun moved it cast shadows through the blinds which made for some awkward lighting. I did the best I could! Anyways, lets take a closer look at what sweet treats we have here:Almond chocolate mousse layer cake; coconut chocolate ice cream and toasted coconut.
Maple goat cheese mousse; hazelnut currant tartlet, mini meringue, port wine honey and mint syrup.Granny smith apple bread pudding; cider gastrique and vanilla bean ice cream.
Orange vanilla crème brûlée; fresh kiwi fruit, blood orange and a cinnamon checkerboard cookie.Chocolate molten fondant cake; white chocolate espresso ganache and raspberry sorbet.Chai Tea Panna Cotta with a sesame praline.
I'm always partial to a well made panna cotta or creme brulee, the respective chai tea and orange flavor bases proved exciting. The rich layer cakes paired with luscious ice cream or fruity sorbet were super indulgent while the green apple bread pudding would fare well if you craved a lighter dessert. The maple goat cheese mousse was as inventive as they come, perhaps the dessert I'd order if I could only pick one! The pleasant and attentive service all afternoon was topped off with complementary bags of cookies for each of us. Sel de la Terre boasts a tiny takeout counter in the vestibule where baked goods and takeout sandwiches are sold. I am already contemplating when I can return and why on earth I waited so long to visit in the first place.
Sel de la Terre on Urbanspoon

We strolled down a chilly Atlantic Avenue, ducking next into RumBa the exclusive rum and champagne themed cocktail bar located inside the InterContinental Boston. The bar looks to pay homage to the history of rum-trade in Boston; once a prominent economic force in the 17th and 18th centuries.
A collection of vintage rums are showcased on the multi-tired shelves that hang over the pewter finished bar and signature rum-based cocktails are the heart of the menu. The girls and I opted for seats in front of the fire, where our table was fashioned from a restored Louis Vuitton trunk. Soaking in the warmth and relaxing in high backed brown leather chairs with specialty rum and champagne cocktails in hand, I couldn't think of a better way to spend an afternoon. Rumba's coktail menus even embraces the historic theme with 18th century style maps for pages. I sipped a Mai Tai ($14) (so into them lately!) made with Appleton Reserve Jamaican Rum (15 year old), Barbancourt Estate Reserve, De Kuyper Curacao, Orgeat, Rock Candy Syrup and Lime juice. The fourteen dollar price tag means cocktails at Rumba don't come cheap. But obviously the fifteen year old rum in my Mai Tai makes all the difference. Okay, maybe it was the giant fireplace. Either way, this sophisticated cocktail bar with an original theme is one I was happy to hang out at today and one I would happily return.
Rumba on Urbanspoon

Off to Union Bar and Grille at 1375 Washington Street in the South End where they don't have a fireplace but they have some of the warmest staff on the block. It was t-10 minutes to opening time (5pm) but the host and face behind the tweets, Justin, graciously welcomed us into the bar where the new bartender Justin (formerly of Rocca) crafted some fancy cocktails and proved a worthy photographer. That's two Justins, four and a half cocktails and many group photos.

I definitely sipped the half order that accompanied Megan's French Standard ($10) St. Germain, Lillet Blanc, lemon, vodka, and grapefruit bitters. This drink was a pleasant balance of sweet to sour, garnished with a black cherry. I ordered a Barbadillo Manhattan ($10) rye whiskey, dry and sweet sherry, sweet vermouth, rhubarb bitters. This was a complex martini with a striking appearance. I don't love the taste of vermouth and usually steer clear, but for rhubarb bitters (something new and exciting) I made an exception. The drinks were strong. Thank Goodness. The Gallows awaited.....
I will for sure be returning to Union Bar and Grille because a) their menu looked fabulous and b) I have a $25 gift certificate compliments of the BFB Launch Swag bag.
Union Bar and Grille on Urbanspoon
What.a.day. I wish I could incorporate Monday Fundays into my weekly routine. Who's with me?

18 comments:

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

Monday Funday needs to happen more often...and next time when I have the day off!

Oh, My Darling said...

Monday Funday -- love it!

Jen said...

That definitely does look like a fun day!

Megan said...

I would definitely go for a weekly Monday Funday! I'd even take a monthly one! This was such a fun day.. filled with such good food, drinks, and friends.

(I look like I have 3 eyes in that picture at RumBa.. ha ha)

MelissaNibbles said...

That duck burger looks delightful. WANT. I'm requesting a post on how you eat so decadantly and manage your weight. On the serious, this is something I'm working on and having trouble balancing. Any tips would be great! Thanks!

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Have been meaning to try SDLT's burger...looks like a fun way to spend a Monday!

Kelly said...

All of those cocktails look fabulous! Monday Fundays are definitely a good idea.

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

I love Monday Funday!

Lizzy said...

HAha, amazing day- although I totally dont think I could hang with you guys- that much alcohol on a Monday! Good work : )
I cant wait to try Union with the awesome giftcard!

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Looks like such a fun day! I actually just went to the Gallows last night and was curious about Union when I past it. After your review, I'll definitely be making plans to stop in!

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

fun bar crawl! haha. i have wanted to try sel de la terre.... the fries look so good.

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

Fun day indeed! Sel dela Terre is one of my favorite places, but I'm always at the one in Boylston and only been to the Long Wharf location once. I love their burgers and the porchetta sandwich!

Kara said...

love this Monday funday! so great meeting you at the Gallows! keep in touch & hope to see you again soon!

Gretchen said...

I'm dying over that dessert plate! I could seriously eat the whole thing myself. I'm hungry all the time now!

meesh said...

i could definitely incorporate some monday fundays into my routine! sounds like you guys had a blastt!

Jen said...

Whenever I see chocolate molton cake on the menu... I GET IT!!! It's my fave!

Happy Friday my Dear! xo

Tricia said...

looks like a really great day. i'm jealous you were off! i need to go eat lunch immediately now after reading this.

carlys27 said...

heaven!!!! must be missing a cousin!! this place looks/tastes/smells amazing though the computer screen...seriously...please take me to these places upon our next arrival?! love you cuzzy