Monday, September 26, 2016


I'm confident that the food and cocktails at SRV are going to blow you away. One of my favorite meals in Boston this year and an exemplary choice for a special occasion; we celebrated my Mom's 60th birthday and they made us feel special from beginning to end. SRVs radical approach to cicchette + piatti (Italian small plates) and homemade pastas is nothing short of impressive. 

SRV stands for Serene Republic of Venice and proudly distinguishes themselves as Boston's first Venetian Bacaro + Wine Bar. Our table decided to go for the Arsenale ($45pp) chefs tasting at the encouragement of our waitress. We all agreed that each and every ciccette sounded wonderful, plus it's exciting to be surprised and to let the chefs send out what they think is the best of the menu. 
But first - drinks! The wine list is exclusively Italian and the cocktails showcase a heavy Italian influence. Between five of us we had a solid apertitvi sampling, which was perfect because I would have ordered any one of them. I love spotting new-to-me ingredients and different types of vermouth, amaro, spirits etc. So from the SRV Negroni ($12) with bully boy estate gin, cocchi vermouth di torino + campari to the Innocents Abroad ($12) with fighting cock bourbon, amaro nonino, gran classico + kina l'aero, SRVs bar staff delivers. The (Streaking in Italian) ($9) - pueblo viejo añejo tequila, contratto aperitif, cardamaro + lemon was another solid choice. The cocktails go on to feature one with grappa and another with cachaca. I'm super impressed!

~~~ And now presenting the Arsenale ~~~
 Fresh Goat Cheese - tomato brodo, herb blossoms, cucumber. A stimulating, creamy, fruity first bite!
 Stuffed Piquillo Pepper - Asiago cheese, herbed bread crumbs. Our meal continues in impressive fashion with perhaps my favorite of SRVs chiccetti.
 Baccala Mantecato - salt cod, black bread, herbs, garlic. The black bread is squid ink, a creative vessel for a bracing bite of salt cod. 
 Mozzarella in Carrozza - preserved tomato, bonito. Those whimsical bonito flakes that move on their own and this melty mozarella is a winning bite.
 Beef Tartare - off menu and i forget what came in this besides sunflower seeds and other nuts adding a playful texture contrast. We all loved it. 
Smoked Sea Trout - salsa bastarda, lentils, turnip brovada, lemon hollandaise. The trout was reminiscent of an arctic char or salmon and ever so slightly seared yielding a delicate piece of fish with smokey flavor.
Lamb Belly - this was everyones first time having lamb belly, and wow is it rich and fatty. Crispy on one side, tender on the other, it was reminiscent of both bacon and pork belly of course, but definitely has a distinct flavor. The carrot in pinzimonio, saffron yogurt and stone fruit helped cut the richness of the belly.
Strozzapreti - spicy lamb sausage, ricotta salata, kale
Creste de Gallo -  smokey tomato, pesto, pine nuts. Both handmade pastas are terrific. Works of art in fact. We take votes and the table is divided on which is the winner. No matter what, I want more pasta dishes from SRV, that's for sure.
 Biscotti Misti - venetian cookies & confections
Tiramisu - mascarpone, savoiardi, cocoa nibs / Caffé Corretto - espresso with a touch of grappa / Affogato - espresso, hazelnut gelato, gianduja
The only disappointment of the Arsenale tasting is the dolci, as it comes with a forgettable biscotti misti. We ordered the Tiramusi and Affogato on our own and loved both. All three desserts are $8, so swap the affogatto in for the biscotti and the Arsenale is one of the best prix fix menus around.

The space is tasteful and uniquely designed - antique decanters turned light fixtures meet heavy barn doors and there's a dreamy patio out back. Also, the bathrooms!!

569 Columbus Avenue
Boston, MA 02118
SRV Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, September 19, 2016

Newton, Lately

Blue Ribbon BBQ | West Newton
This plate was actually from the Lexington Battle Green BBQ Festival. We were biking along the Minuteman Trail and out of nowhere live music and smokin' ribs, pulled pork, beans, coleslaw, mac n cheese, cornbread, the works!! 

sycamore | Newton Centre

Tempura of soft-shell crab with green sriracha. Polenta fries. Unique homemade pasta dishes. Exquisite fish entrees, like bluefish with rabe pesto, chickpeas and sweet pepper jam. Strawberry rhubarb angel food cake with hibiscus sorbet. Beignets with salted caramel sauce. The menu is always changing and no matter what, it is always exceptional. If you ask me for a restaurant recommendation in Boston, I'll ask if you don't mind venturing slightly outside the city because sycamore is consistently at the top of my list. With an easily accessible location in Newton Centre on the Green (D) line, sycamore really is a must if you're looking for somewhere new to impress!
Sycamore Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Max and Leo's | Newton Corner
 This isn't Max and Leo's first shout out! Places I love deserve to get mentioned again and again! Their coal fired pizza and cozy Newton Corner digs are the BEST. Start with a nice glass of red wine and a Fire-Roasted Stuffed Red Pepper with rice, chicken, vegetables + drizzled with a balsamic glaze; then go half and half with their creative pies. For tomato sauce based, half Dante / meatballs, house-made mozzarella, roasted red pepper + basil with half Jero’s Pineapple / house-made mozzarella, bacon, pineapple, + jalapeño is a winning combo. And if you're in a white olive oil base kinda mood the L’Umina with sliced pears, caramelized onions, basil, ricotta cheese, fresh-sliced Prosciutto + drizzle of organic wildflower honey with half L’Oscar / Italian sausage, caramelized onions, wild mushrooms, mascarpone + mozzarella cheese will really do the trick.
Max and Leo's Artisan Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Shake Shack | Chestnut Hill
Love indulging in a Shake Shack Burger and their golden crinkle cut fries. SO GOOD. 
P.S. Their 100th Location just opened in the Seaport!!

Where have you been eating in your city or neighborhood lately?!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cocktails, Lately

Trade / 540 Atlantic Avenue / Financial District
Beets by Trade / Bully Boy vodka, beet + cucumber simple syrup, lime, pineapple 

Waxy's / 1032 Beacon St / Brookline
Shake Rattle + Rum / Three Olives coconut water vodka, The Real McCoy 5 year rum, pineapple, ginger, angostura bitters 

Il Molo / 326 Commercial Street / North End

Sidecar / Cognac, Contreau, lemon juice, orange slice + demerarra sugared glass

Three destination worthy drinks! 
 Where have you had a great cocktail lately?!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Down Island | Martha's Vineyard

Here's my latest guide for where to eat and drink in the island towns of Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. 

We had a brief stop in Vineyard Haven (between catching buses out to Menemsha) and decided on an early lunch at The Black Dog Tavern (21 Beach Street Extension). They close from 11am -12 and we had just missed the last seating. Since we had all our bags in tow we decided to put our names in and wait it out on the harbor beach above. It was worth the wait for an overflowing mug of seriously good Quahog Chowder ($6) with housemade croutons alongside a crisp, refreshing, cheers-to-our-first-day-on-island Bloody Mary followed up with a Blackened Swordfish Sandwich ($17). The Black Dog is synonymous with the Vineyard and while I hadn't been since I was a kid and often thought of it as being super touristy - the food, service and atmosphere all stack up. 

Fast forward post Menemsha and Aquinnah days to Oak Bluffs where we stayed at our favorite harborfront hotel The Dockside. (You can read my review here.)I'll go ahead and say the chicken wings at Coup de Ville (12 Circut Ave Extension) are not to be missed when in Oak Bluffs. We started our evening at the casual open air waterfront shack with a couple beers - they have an extensive selection on draft - and ended up devouring a basket of their "World Famous Wings" (Single / $12) on a whim. There are a ton of sauces to choose from: the usual suspects to ones like dragon fire, suicide, Jamaican Jerk, Cajun, New Orleans Voodoo and Maryland. 

We wandered the lively streets and happened upon a new whiskey bar 20byNine (16 Kennebec Ave) where we mingled with locals over cocktails and small plates. We loved the Smoked Bluefish Mason Jar ($10) with bacon jam and blistered tomatoes and enjoyed a unique take on Tuna Tartare as it meshed with bites of watermelon. Both dishes come served on handsome slate boards. Unfortunately, the Johnny Cakes ($10) with strawberry rhubarb prove rather bland and insubstantial. 

The bartender shakes up exquisite cocktails; from a perfect Old Fashioned to creations like the Down Island ($12) with rye, lillet rouge, lillet blanc, maraschino liqueur + rhubarb bitters and the Paper Plane ($12) - bourbon, citrus, amaro nonino, aperol + hopped grapefruit. 

The next day: South Beach (Katama) with a six pack of Rolling Rock. 
The next night: Dinner in Edgartown at Rockfish (11 Water Street). We really like both The Port Hunter and Alchemy but wanted to try somewhere new-to-us. Our hotel's virtual concierge named Loomis (you text him, he's a real person who lives on island) recommended Rockfish and he did not steer us wrong. We started with terrific barrel aged whiskey cocktails - a Boulevardier for her and a Manhattan for him. 

The Wood Oven Charred Brussels Sprouts appetizer was on another level. I know, when are charred brussels sprouts not lust worthy? But - this dish has applewood smoked bacon, mashed potatoes and a ROQUEFORT FONDU. As far as entrees go, the Linguine alle Vongole and the Roasted Half Chicken were delicious.

Our final day was gloomy and rainy. We went for a run around Oak Bluffs Harbor and by all the whimsical, colorful gingerbread houses and throughout their respective little neighborhoods before the downpour. 

After checking out of The Dockside we put our name in for a coveted table at Biscuits (26 Lake Avenue). This is the only place in Oak Bluffs that does a sit down breakfast on weekdays and their food is worth the wait. We had the Biscuits Benedict ($9.25), the South Beach Scramble ($7.25) and a side of Biscuits and Gravy ($3.25). Next on the list was a visit to Bad Martha Brewery which turned into an all out Edgartown / Oak Bluffs bar crawl. 

If you encounter a rainy day while down island and happen to be in a similar drinking mood, here's a look at all the fun: --bus from Oak Bluffs to the stop just before Edgartown Post Office -->
Bad Martha Farmers Brewery (270 Upper Main Street) for beer flights followed by mason jars of your favorite brew; their flagship Martha's Vineyard Ale happens to be mine. 
Sharky's Cantina (266 Upper Main Street) - just next door from the brewery for a thirst quenching Sharkarita! Add a fruit puree to any marg - from watermelon, mango and strawberry, to ginger and pineapple-mint.
The Wharf (3 Main Street) - meander by picturesque and historic houses on a 10-15 minute stroll into the main section of town to this cozy pub. 
Atlantic Fish & Chop House (2 Main Street) - just across the cobblestone street for their signature barside bacon and a big glass of Rosé. The sun is starting to peek out and a stroll around the wharf is in order. 
--> bus from Edgartown Post Office back to Oak Bluffs -->
Sand Bar & Grille (6 Circuit Avenue Extension) - It's full on gorgeous sunshine at this point so Painkillers on the dock front sand bar it is! 
The Lookout (8 Seaview Ave) - Sushi time! We scored two seats at the tiny sushi bar nestled among this rowdy tavern. Special thanks to our waitress for not judging us at this point in our crawl ;) But we're still going strong with cute little jars of cold Gekkeikan Sake. Soon its time to grab our bags and catch the last Friday evening ferry home to the mainland.

Thank you for making it through this long, selfie filled post! I hope these recaps can serve as a solid guide if you visit Martha's Vineyard. And if you've been, let me know if you have a favorite spot that I missed!