Monday, July 29, 2013

july outtakes


Just a few shots from July. minus the beach time because my camera and beers and sand and waves don't always mix. I loved this month. 

nighttime balcony views | pasta salad, grilled steaktips, watermelon and feta, asparagus | fish tacos with pickled onions, corn, tomato and jalapeno | kitchen views | purple flowers on the RKG | herb garden | fish stew and fried scallops | daytime balcony view

Friday, July 26, 2013

Union Bar & Grille


Last week I paid a visit to the South End's Union Bar & Grille to check out their summer BBQ Prix Fix menu and enjoy some cocktails. The renovated warehouse space on Washington Street is inviting as it strikes a balance between simplicity and sophistication, incorporating a neutral color theme where glossy black tufted booths juxtapose exposed wood beams and clean plank floors. Handsomely designed cork-board menus are placed before us and shortly after cocktails are ordered - I started with the refreshing meets spicy Mexicali Muddler made with el capo tequila, cucumber, lime, thai chili bauchant and a mezcal rinse.
The BBQ prix fix is a fantastic deal - $30 for three courses, plus their signature warm cornbread skillet alongside salted butter and a glass of red or white sangria. Appetizers were a nice, light precursor to a heavier main course; the blistered shishito peppers with parmesan and a ranch dipping sauce were remarkable, easily my favorite bite consumed this evening! The radish and baby turnip crudite with soft herb butter was a lovely presentation of fresh vegetables. 
Main courses up - there was a  grilled swordfish sandwich with smoked tomato remoulade and heirloom tomato on a brioche bun, and princeton family farms pulled pork with a slice of white bread. Tasty sides chosen included brown sugar and bourbon sweet potato, cole slaw, and summer beans with bacon and onion. There was some well made (fruity and not to sweet) sangria, too.
They do a fantastic job in the sweets department at Union, unpictured was the chocolate decadence cake with vanilla mascarpone, cocoa nib and hazelnut. Pictured, twice for good measure, because it was so gorgeous, the frozen meyer lemon soufle with vanilla infused blueberries and pistachio mint. Those blueberries were something else, and an exceptional pairing with the meyer lemon. I drank a glass of ruby port alongside. Dessert is always better with dessert wine. 

Having previously only been in for drinks at the bar, it was really nice to finally have dinner here. The service was spot on and the polished atmosphere with a warm neighborhood vibe makes it a place you can easily relax and linger over good food and drink.

*This meal was complimentary. All opinions are my own

 Union Bar and Grille on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 22, 2013

Milwaukee

In late June, I took a trip with friends to visit friends who live in Milwaukee. After having spent time last year in the state's capitol of Madison, I was so glad to return and experience more of the lovely state that is Wisconsin.
Milwaukee, nicknamed Brew City and overlooking the vast Lake Michigan, is home to Miller Park where we took in a Brewers vs. Cubs game, and to Summerfest, a two week long music festival where we saw Fun. one night and Tom Petty another. (Both incredible shows! Tom Petty though, wow.)
We went on a brewery and bar crawl along the Riverwalk and the next day we explored the public market and art museum. We ate some really good meals and drank a lot of good beer.

Here's the run down of restaurants, all of which I would highly recommend should you ever find yourself in Wisconsin's largest city... 
Seafood dinner at the chic and classy Harbor House overlooking the lake 
Mexican and plenty of tequila shooters at BelAir Cantina 
Lunch in the Historic Third Ward on Wicked Hop's sidewalk 
Cheese curds, pulled pork, tater tots and craft canned beers outside at Hooligans
Cashew chicken salad and delish beer at Milwaukee Ale House 
Breakfast on the sun drenched Alterra patio
Tapas, (omg those patatas bravas!) local cheese plates and fancy drinks at Allium 
A leisurely brunch, and perhaps my favorite meal of the trip (friend chicken and waffles, beermosas, incredible bloody marys!) on the Cafe Benelux roof deck

Our bar crawl where each and every spot proved to be lively and fun, with friendly bartenders, delicious beer and good crowds: 
Milwaukee Ale House | it began with beer samplers and lunch on the river
Mo's Irish Pub | here we discovered the vine video app! and I taught my gfs how to use twitter, hours of entertainment ensues
Rock Bottom Brewery | yes it's a chain but their wraparound outdoor bar and terrace, on the river, awesome
The Harp | gritty Irish pub w/ a sun drenched deck overlooking the river (pictured above)
Water Street Brewery | things got rowdy
Stubby's | really cool gastropub, all kinds of entertaining bar games like giant jenga and shuffleboard
BelAir Cantina  | a very tipsy and delicious Mexican dinner
Balzac | a trendy wine bar to end the festivities

Cheers, Milwaukee. Thanks for being such a blast. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Apothic Wine Dinner | Tavern Road

Last Tuesday, Apothic Wines and winemaker Boyd Morrison hosted a tasting dinner at the high energy meets industrial and artsy Tavern Road, newly opened on Congress Street in Fort Point. Apothic offers three distinct varietals from California grapes, a red, white and newly released rose. The unique blends which create bold, full bodied and captivating wines were expertly paired with our three course meal prepared by Chef Louis DiBaccari.

We began with the Apothic Rose, a zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon blend with a gorgeous crimson hue and big luscious flavors of strawberry and watermelon. The first course presented a choice of chilled yellow watermelon soup with grilled haloumi, hazelnut and mint or a  grilled octopus salad with foccacia croutons drizzled in a cured meat viniagrette. Both were excellent starters which paired nicely with the Rose.
The Apothic Red is a merlot, zinfandel, syrah and cabernet sauvignon blend, revealing intense fruit flavors of rhubarb and black cherry, with hints of mocha, chocolate and spice. It complimented both entree choices; a flavorful and tender harissa rubbed lamb steak with romesco, ramps and hazelnuts, and a teriffic olive oil poached chatham bluefish with fava beans, english peas and littlenecks. The table also enjoyed some fantastic side dishes - bok choy with green beans, shallots and almonds, roasted cauliflower with dates, baby beets and horseradish, and potato gnocchi with dandelion and aged balsamic. 
The vibrant Apothic White which combines chardonnay, riesling and moscato capped off our meal alongside dessert - a fresh baked, piping hot and chewy cookie and two scoops of a Mexican hot chocolate ice cream. I'm a big fan of Mexican hot chocolate, this ice cream truly captured it's essence with smooth cocoa and cinnamon flavors and an intense spiciness. 

It was quite an impressive spread, matched by awesome wines, in a fun setting heralded by a spacious open kitchen, a lively bar scene and the chef's personal soundtrack choice - all 80's music! Many thanks to Boyd for introducing us to his wines and all who made this dinner such a great event!