Wednesday, February 22, 2017

good books part 3

My last two book posts proved to be super popular! So without further ado...

L.S. Hinton
This was for sure a shocking psychological thriller but I must convey that it was alarming, thrilling, and shocking in an enjoyably sense. It was not disturbing to me in the same way as Behind Closed Doors or Pretty Girls. Maestra follows a young art assistant Judith Rashleigh through London, Italy and France. This book was erotic, exotic, fast paced and hard to put down. The New York Post said this one makes 50 Shades look like the bible. They are not wrong. 

Jonathan Franzen
For me, Purity reads on the same level as The Goldfinch and Fates and Furies - where these authors come at you with unrivaled literary prose, bizarre plot lines and vivid characters. This novel might take you a little longer to get into but the results are worthwhile. Purity has just enough sex and murder woven in with extreme fidelity, journalism, news leaks, travel, day-to-day, and relationship dynamics to keep things really interesting.

The Trespasser
Tana French
A super interesting read that takes place among a murder detective squad in Ireland, written with a thick Irish dialect. The Trespasser follows the trials and tribulations of Antoinette Conway on her first big murder case. It reads like a really in depth CSI show with intense interrogations, fascinating witness-cop interaction and unexpected twists. 

Everything We Keep
Kerry Lonsdale
Compared to the rest of the books in my list this one was an overall uplifting and comfortable read. I won't downplay the fact that the main character Aimee is a young woman who just lost her fiancee and is dealing with crippling grief as it unfolds into a mysterious everything is not as it seems scenario, but, it's also a story of overcoming loss and finding love again. There are unexpected twists, some dark moments, combined with a good amount of tender, lighthearted, happy moments too. 

Don't You Cry
Mary Kubica
I am a big fan of Mary Kubica's masterful ways with suspense and enjoyed this sinister and gripping story almost as much as The Good Girl. This one won't disappoint!

Truly Madly Guilty
Liane Moriarty
Truly Madly Guilty might be my favorite book of Liane Moriarty's so far. The story is expertly woven as it jumps back and fourth between different characters points of view; leaving the reader with a massive cliffhanger, the eventual reveal, and the aftermath of a life changing event. 

And how exciting that Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman are starring in the HBO Mini series adaptation of a different book of hers, Big Little Lies! I am looking forward to watching that. 

Behind Closed Doors
B.A. Paris
In mentioning this book above and all the expletives I want to throw out there to describe my emotions while reading*, I'll warn you to proceed with caution. On second thought you might want to dive right in just so you know what everyone's reeling about. Behind Closed Doors depicts beyond disturbing behavior of a newlywed couple - the husband towards his wife, which is extremely unsettling to read. A true psychological thriller but it's nothing like you've read in the past.  

*I'm technically not reading this but listening to an audio book - which has turned out to be a nice change of pace on my commute and at the gym!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Oak + Rowan

The next up and comer in Fort Point neighborhood is Oak + Rowan and this restaurant is something special. For an evening out with some of my favorite ladies they took such good care of us - and it was a long night fueled by multiple bottles of bubbly and lots of terrific courses.

Choose from six cocktails listed on the menu by type of alcohol: Tequila, Ginger Cider, Bourbon, Scotch, Vodka or Gin, made table-side from a fancy bar cart! I had the Bourbon -  which is a Swedish Punch with Zucca, lemon, honey + Angostura Bitters. Zucca is an Italian liquor made from rhubarb. This cocktail was on the sweeter side and proved to be a delightful apertif. 

Definitely order a cocktail here as one shaken or stirred table-side is a really fun way to start!
We were seated in a booth underneath the exposed light-bulb BWC signage which stands for Boston Wharf Company. I love the warm ambiance created in the lofty industrial warehouse space. 
We started our meal with a bread course worthy of splurging on, the Caraway Sourdough ($6) accompanied by homemade pimento cheese and salted molasses butter. This was followed by two really solid, well executed appetizer dishes, an Arctic Char "Pastrami" ($14) (unpictured) served over oat bread with smoked egg, pickled onion and kale and Pheasant Kotschoubey ($17) (above) with brussels sprouts, bacon jam and winter truffle. We also had a beautiful Duck ($32) entree over a luscious sweet potato puree, grains, smoked pear and juniper.

A four course Pasta Tasting ($49) is offered on Thursday night only (fate!) so we had to order one for the table. Our waitress nicely paced the handmade pastas throughout our meal. The first three were unique and creative, while the fourth was a classic, and all were comforting, flavorful, thoughtfully prepared and delicious.

First Course: Passatelli | Brodo, Parmesan, Chive
Second Course: Garganelli | Braised Pheasant, Egg Yolk 
Third Course: Tortelli | Polenta Cheese Filling, Hazlenuts, Grape Must
Fourth Course: Lasagne | Smoked Bacon + Beef Bolognese, Arugula

The kitchen sent out a cheese course with compliments. I am so glad they did because as it turns out the cheese plates are impeccably done and not to be missed. We had Brillat Savarin Custard ($11) which is a Triple Cream from France w. honey + celerac and Bailey Hazen Blue ($9) a Blue Cheese from Vermont w. bacon jam, sourdough + port gastrique.  

Speaking of not to be missed, most of the desserts also fall into the realm of being special and alluring. One I would pass on is the Winter Citrus ($12) with grapefruit sorbet, granola, cara cara and lemongrass. Those ingredients didn't mesh so well for me. The next two were winners, though! Chocolate + Cashew ($12) offers a rich Taza Chocolate log with a quinelle of cashew mouse, mascarpone and topped with a brioche ribbon. The Yogurt Panna Cotta ($12) felt playful yet elegant with sweet and tart cherries, hibiscus sorbet, honey, pear, and a very pretty candied ice decoration that looked like a snowflake.

321 A Street
Boston, MA 02210

Monday, February 6, 2017

Park City, Utah

In January we traveled out west to PARK CITY, Utah! I fell in love with this chic mountain town and surrounding ski slopes when my Dad brought my sister and I over 10 years ago. For Christmas Bob gave me a ski travel bag and much to my surprise the card hidden inside it revealed this trip! A bunch of friends were on board too. With easy direct flights from BOS to SLC, a couple rental cars, a gorgeous four bedroom house situated in between the Park City Town lift and Main Street, plus Utah's Wasatch Mountain Range offering plenty of snow - we had an absolute blast. Would you expect anything less?! Here's a look at where to play in Park City, Deer Valley and in Little Cottonwood Canyon at Alta.

On PISTE: Don't miss Lookout Cabin at The Canyons @ PCMR and Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley

Lookout Cabin is located at the top of Short Cut Lift and off the Orange Bubble Express mid-station. They offer table service, a full bar, and gorgeous views of the Wasatch Range. After an incredible morning that saw us up early for first corduroy tracks, navigating from Park City Town Lift to the Canyon slopes via Quicksilver Gondola, and skiing runs at pretty much every peak area including Nintey-Nine 90, Sun Peak and Murdock Peak, we were ready to relax. We shared a Jalapeno Poutine appetizer, I drank a glass of Sparking Rosé and enjoyed a cauldron of creamy Mac n Cheese.

Another gorgeous bluebird day was spent cruising the slopes at Deer Valley. We lunched at Stein Eriksen Lodge's Giltretind inside next to a crackling fire. (Although the outdoor dining with tables surrounding fire pits looked equally as inviting!) Timing wise our food service left much to be desired - our appetizers and meals came out together and took for-ev-er. We shared Green Deviled Avocado Eggs & Ham ($15), I drank a local Wasatch Brewing GhostRider White IPA, plus a glass of Rosé, and had an outstanding sandwich - Iberico Pork, Serrano Ham & Egg ($21) layered with grilled shoulder, shaved ham, herbs and pickled mustard seed on ciabatta with an arugula pesto and pumpkin seed quinoa salad. 
In town: High West Distillery & Saloon is a must - located at the bottom of Quittin' Time ski run - they're the only ski-in gastro distillery in the world! High West encompasses a rowdy, sprawling saloon as well as intimate drinking and dining spaces. We settled in a back room on some comfy leather couches to sample their award winning whiskey via flights and impressive cocktails before heading to dinner across the street at Zoom. I wouldn't hesitate to make dinner reservations at High West next time around - the plates of alpine inspired Western fare passing by looked really good. Below I'm drinking You're a Daisy If You Do ($13) - stirred and strong with Campfire, Ron Zacapa 23, Carpano Antica + Ramazzoti. I also sampled the whiskeys in Bob's flight - High West 101 ($13) - the Campfire is sweet, spicy and smokey.

Zoom is Robert Redford's restaurant located on Main Street inside a restored train depot. Pictured is my entree of Smoked Chicken ($28) accompanied by cheddar grits, chicory lettuces + puffed farro. I was a big fan of all the appetizers we shared like Hamachi Crudo ($16) with citrus, pear, kimchee chips + a cilantro emulsion, the Fried Brussels Sprouts ($9) with dates, almonds + a fennel - hatch chili mostarda, and Grilled Meatballs ($12) made with wagyu, roasted chicken, stewed chickpeas + peanuts. Zoom was a crowd pleasing and noteworthy meal.

Continuing with the Park City town recommends:

Shabu - an intimate subterranean sushi spot ideal for date night. With two seats at the raw bar we watched ski movies playing overhead and noshed on specialty maki rolls like the Coco Loco ($18) with albacore tuna, cucumber and thai basil topped with maguro tuna, salmon and tobbiko, served with a sweet wasabi coconut aioli and the Nitro Roll ($19) with tempura shrimp, avocado and pineapple, topped with maguro, tempura flakes and eel sauce. We washed down our sushi with fun Sake Flights
Riverhorse on Main Friends dined here for their date night and were raving. I didn't eat here this trip but remember loving my meal last time I was here. Riverhorse is actually one of the oldest and most distinguished restaurants on Park City's Main Street and continues to set the standard for fine dining in Utah.
Rock n Reilly's - more of a warning and not a solid recommend. With a divey alpine ambiance it worked just fine to watch the Patriots playoff game but the food was supbar. Wings came out cold, they were out of about half the menu, and the meals they did have were drab and disappointing. If you do end up here - skip the food.
O'Shucks - Dive, cheap beers, shuffleboard, pool and pinball. They also have a nice selection of hot beverages - I'm drinking a Hot Buttered Rum!
No Name Saloon - I love this place! In fact, adding this one to my list of best ski town/après bars. (Alongside Chambre Neuf in Chamonix, France and Merlin's at Whistler Blackomb, BC.)

The photos below are from Alta and surrounding mountain views in Little Cottonwood Canyon which is about an hour drive from Park City. This was my first time skiing Alta and it was beyond impressive, unlike anywhere I've ever skied. (I've skied Alta's adjoining neighbor, Snowbird, amazing in its own right.) 

I'll leave you with this article as it describes what truly skiing Alta is all about.  

"In fact, some of the most fun and challenging terrain at Alta isn’t off the high-speed quad, it’s off a double and triple chair, Wildcat and Supreme respectively. On top of that, Alta makes you work for it."
Final Tips: Goldminer's Daughter at Alta is a sprawling saloon with floor to ceiling window views of the slopes, cozy fireside seating, and really, really good loaded chicken nachos. After a beer to two there head next door for one more at The Peruvian. The cozy locals bar on the second floor of this hotel has live music, boxed wine, and ever (legit ski boots, eight of them, that clip into adorable little bindings.) It was a fun spot to end the trip before catching a red eye home.