Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Roche Bros. Tasting Counter

The opening of Roche Bros. over a year and a half ago was a game changer for those of us who work or live in Downtown Crossing. I have hugely appreciated having them close by my office for lunch + snack options during the day and for quality grocery shopping trips after work. Their selection of sushi and maki rolls, artisanal baguette sandwiches and fresh out the oven chocolate chip cookies have been my go-tos.

Now, even more of game changer is their recently unveiled renovation: an impeccable 10,000 square foot space extending into the base of the Millennium Tower. This includes a tremendous selection of beer, wine, sake, alcohol, AND, a sleek new tasting bar offering fantastic lunch options!! Their well appointed tasting counter serves seasonal dishes prepared with fresh, locally sourced products that are sold in store.

I was super impressed with everything from the Seasonal Handcrafted Soda expertly flavored with thirst quenching mango + passionfruit, to the exquisite, fine dining caliber Yellowtail Poke, to the incredibly comforting Harpoon IPA FondueFrom their dessert counter a few aisles over, mini sweet treats are also a win, and I loved the thoughtful touch of red and green holiday flare on the plate! 

Counter service here is personable, knowledgeable and efficient. Bonus points for for presentation and aesthetic: that fire engine red mini cast iron staub! Stainless steel drinking straws! Sturdy plates made of recycled materials. Mini forks for fondue. Chopsticks for the poke. Eating lunch here was fun and enjoyable - this grocery store tasting counter simply did not miss a beat. 

Prices and descriptions below:

Yellowtail Poke ($14) local radish, cucumber, enoki mushrooms, yuzu + sesame dressing

Charcuterie Board ($11) - prosciutto, speck, pickled vegetables: snap peas, carrots and hearts of palm

Local Cheese and Harpoon IPA Fondue ($10) artisianal baguette + charred broccoli

Crispy Flatbread ($11) onion + tomato confit, charred broccoli, crumbled local feta

Mini Dessert Trio ($8) key lime tart, hazelnut cake, chocolate ganache cake. 
We also enjoyed a Cappuccino ($3.50) with dessert.

Right now, the tasting counter feels like an insider secret - but you should not hesitate to make it a destination!

P.S. Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!!!

Roche Bros. @ Millennium Tower
8 Summer Street
Boston, MA 02110

*this meal was complimentary, all opinions are my own*

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Chef Michael Scelfo has done it again. Get yourself to his new restaurant Waypoint and without a doubt order the Uni Bucatini and the King Crab. There are some dishes that manage to get an entire city buzzing, and these are two of them

In an unassuming, sort of hidden subterranean industrial space on Mass Ave between Harvard and Central squares, Waypoint lures fans of Alden + Harlow with contemporary seafood focused plates and an absinthe centric bar menu. There's so much more than two of us could try in one visit - like crudo and caviar and clam pizza. It is an experience much like the Choose Your Own Adventure Books that the checks come delivered in; no matter which way the menu inspires you to tailor your order, you won't be disappointed

The interior is warmly lit by a distinctive neon green fish sign and a parade of hand blown glass lamps. Large and small booths tuck perfectly into cozy spaces, while communal high tops front the area between the bar and the open kitchen. Creamy marble table tops and gorgeous herringbone inlaid walls catch my eye. It is a space that is both buzzing and soothing all at once.

As far as the aforementioned dishes go - the intensely comforting Uni Bucatini ($18) offers thrilling heaps of sweet uni, a runny smoked egg yolk, pecorino crumbles and bottarga shavings among hollow strands of the al dente pasta. Plump and fresh King Crab ($22) is piled atop a heavenly chili garlic oil, a creamy brown butter aoili and toasty black rice; lending playful, contrasting textures and harmonizing flavors

Meanwhile, our other two dishes are not to be overlooked: Grilled Monkfish Cheeks with squid inked eggplant and kohlrabi salsa verde, along with a Squid Ink Gemelli ($17) featuring benton's ham, swordfish lardo, smoked pignola + pecorino crumble prove all of Waypoint's alluring coastal cuisine dishes shine. 

Being on a mezcal kick I passed up the tales of absinthe section and went with a house original called Portside ($12) with mezcal, manzanilla sherry, pickled cherry pepper, honey + lime. It was smokey yet balanced with a little fiery kick. Later on, a really funky, seafood-friendly wine appropriate for fans of sour beer, the Denavolo "Dinavolino" ($15) from Emilia-Romagna, Italy is a delicious, unexpected discovery. 

1030 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

Friday, December 16, 2016

Cancun + Riviera Maya

Behold some images from a dreamy, tropical, party filled Mexican getaway to the Yucatan Peninsula's Cancun and Riviera Maya for the wedding of dear friends! From Mexico City we flew to Cancun and spent two restful nights and a relaxing day at the Casa Magna Marriot (first five photos, above) before continuing south to the all-inclusive Generations Riviera Maya resort for four nights. (All the other photos, below).

This was my first time at an all inclusive resort. We lived it up; especially in that sparkling teal blue pool and along the beach on their plush cabanas. Tim and Erin's wedding celebrations were romantic, beautiful, breezy, stunning and unforgettable. Yes, they had a donkey at their welcome party and yes, they had tequila shots as place cards!! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Pujol | Polanco | Mexico City

Pujol is a restaurant located in the Polanco District of Mexico City that consistently achieves a spot on the list of best restaurants in the world. Chef Enrique Olivera takes inspiration from Mexican street food and elevates it to haute cuisine. Indeed I recognized ingredients and dishes we had on our street food crawl show up on this outstanding tasting menu. It was pretty cool to draw the parallels and at the end of the day to have had both sets of experiences in one incredible city!
The must try dish at Pujol is the signature mole madre, mole nuevo, where fresh mole sauce is encased in an outer layer of mole that has been aged for – at the count when we were in: 1112 days. The flavor profile of the two moles absolutely blew me away. The entire tasting menu was enchanting, I especially enjoyed the prelude of bontanas and the fanfare of sweet treats at the end. To drink - mezcal, of course, with a glass of fresh orange rimmed with worm salt. 

I. Street Snacks - Bontanas
Gordita de chicharron, chile de catarino, pice de gallo, erizo (uni)
Chileatole de calbacita milpera (type of squash), chile mulato
Tostada de chia, pure de aguacate (chia and avocado chicharron)
Elote con mayonesa de hormiga chictana, cafe, chile costeno (baby corn, chicanta ant, coffee.)

II. Escamoles (ant larve), macadamia nut, piel de pollo (chicken skin)

III. Tartar de tasajo, limon en conserva, rabano, berro, aguacate
(Dry beef tartar, preserved lemon, radish, watercress, avocado)

IV. Tostada de camaron (shrimp tostada), recado blanco, mayonesa de chipoltle

 V. Pesca del dia, mantequilla avellanada, papa, mayonesa de limon en conserva, apio (Fish of the day, beurre noisette, potato, lemon mayonnaise, celery)

VI. Mole madre, mole nuevo 1112 dias

VII. Final Feliz - Happy Ending - avocado ice cream, sweet cocoa drink, a spiral of churros!

From the street food stalls to the sophisticated dining room here at Pujol, the food in Mexico City is something very special. And now, we are departing DF and onto Riviera Maya!

Calle Francisco Petrarca 254
Miguel Hidalgo, Polanco
11570 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

[Restaurant images credit | Araceli Paz]