Sunday, March 29, 2015

Honey Baked Ham: An Easy Easter Idea

          Hosting Easter this year? Honey Baked Ham makes the perfect meal; it's easy to order and prepare and bound to impress all of your guests! I had the opportunity to try it for the first time recently, and can't believe how easy and delicious it was.

          I placed my order for a mini bone in ham online the night before, and it was ready for me to pick up in store the next day. They even gave me my choice of a couple of sizes and let me look at the ham before I left with it. While I was there, I also grabbed some sides of mashed potatoes and corned bread stuffing. Everything was fully prepared in advance, so all I needed to do was heat and serve according to the instructions.

          I heated the ham in the oven, which took about 45 minutes and while it was warming I prepared the sides in the microwave. Everything came out perfectly! The ham had a delicious sweet crust and the cornbread stuffing was amazing.

          The mini ham was more than enough for dinner for two! I had leftovers for breakfast and lunch the next day. The leftover ham is great for frying with some eggs or serving sliced on a sandwich. I would definitely consider Honey Baked Ham next time I host an event or holiday dinner!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dinner Lab

          Have you heard about the cool new dining club that just launched in Boston? Dinner Lab feels like a secret society for food lovers in the know... you sign up for an annual membership, which gets you access to their event list. Events are hosted by up and coming chefs, and are held pop up style in secret warehouse and gallery spaces (you find out the location a day or two in advance). Event tickets are generally $50-$95 per person, and include a multi-course meal, beer, wine, and signature cocktails, and all tax and gratuity.

          I had the chance to try on of their recent events, From Sand and Sea with Private Chef Geoff Lukas (formerly of Oleana and Sofra in Cambridge). The event was in a really cool gallery space in Fort Point, with several long tables set up family style and a couple of seatings throughout the evening. Everything was delicious and I was impressed by the creativity of the dishes, as well as the very generous portion sizes. 

          The first course was the Malauch, a runny egg with pan fried bread and spicy tomato matbucha. This was my favorite dish of the evening, the bread was perfect dipped in the egg and tomato sauce.

          Next was the Hamour mahshi; baked sea bream with pinenut stuffing, wilted greens, and preserved lemon. The fish was light and flaky, and the lemon and greens an excellent pairing.  

          The third course was the Yemenite Soup with chicken thigh, fermented lime hilbeh, and confit potato. This was a great take on a classic chicken soup, it was rich and hearty like a traditional homemade soup, with some more unusual eastern flavors which added depth.

          The smoked & braised lamb shoulder was another favorite. The lamb was incredibly tender and flavorful, and served with jeweled rice, roasted brussels sprouts, spiced lamb jus, and pomegranate molasses.

           The Rutab mu'assal for dessert was amazing; this consisted of a honey-stewed date and almond with semolina pudding. It was light and not too sweet, which was perfect after the meal we'd just had.

          After dinner, Chef Lukas spoke briefly about the meal and answered questions from the diners. It was great to see how passionate and excited he was about his food.

          Membership to Dinner Lab is $175 per year, and gives you access to all of these exclusive events. For more information or to join visit their website.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Internal Matter

          Internal Matter is the newest restaurant to open in Fort Point. It's a really innovative concept; coffee shop and breakfast counter by day and wine bar by night!

          It was a soft opening, so the full menu is still in the works but for dinner they offer a selection of small plates, charcuterie and few nightly entree specials.

          They have a great selection of wines by the glass, so the fiance and I went in for some wine and shared the cheese and charcuterie platter.

          This was a great value! It was only $16 and included a delicious assortment of cured meats, cheeses, and pates.

          We had a pork and pistachio pate, country pate with pork and chicken liver, two different kinds of salame, aged gouda, maytag blue, fiddle head tomme, and piave cheeses. It was all served with toasted bread, cornichons, orange marmalade, and my favorite - bacon jam!

          I definitely plan to stop in again soon and try the full menu, but of course I'll start with the charcuterie platter!

Internal Matter Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cocktails and Hors d'oeuvres at Ostra

          Ostra is one of my favorite places for seafood in Boston (you can read more about dinner here) but I recently learned it's also a great place to host an event. They have a beautiful lounge and private dining area, and a great selection of passed hors d'oeuvres.

          I recently attended a cocktail reception and enjoyed some live piano music, delicious sparkling rose, and a selection of hors d'oeuvres including:
  • Hamachi Crudo, Citrus, Aji Aïoli, Cilantro
  • Crispy Lobster Ravioli, Carrot Ginger Beurre Monte
  • Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Chicken Sate Chimichurri
  • Bomba Rice “Arancini” Saffron, Garlic
  • Bruschetta of Roast Asparagus with Parmesan 

          I would definitely consider Ostra for a private event, and hope to dine with them again soon!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Island Creek Oyster Bar

          Island Creek Oyster is an oyster bar and seafood restaurant in the Hotel Commonwealth. It's been a favorite of mine for years, and I'm obsessed with the lobster roe noodles (lobster roe infused fettuccine with chunks of braised short rib, grilled lobster, mushrooms, and cheese) - if you haven't tried this go there now! For some inexplicable reason, I didn't try them for brunch until this past weekend.

          The shellfish tower was so good and impressive that even my non-food blogger friend had to Instagram it! It came with oysters, little necks, fluke ceviche, chilled lobster, and giant shrimp cocktail. The menu says this is for four, but three of us had no trouble finishing!

           The lobster omelet was just as good, although I don't think I would've been able to eat this without substituting egg whites. This was literally overflowing with lobster and served with home fries, and some of the thickest toast I've ever seen.

          The brunch at Island Creek is just as good, if not better than the dinner. I can definitely see this becoming a regular spot!

Island Creek Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

Moonshine 152

          Moonshine 152 recently opened in Southie in the space previously occupied by The Franklin. Chef owner Asia Mei was once a Chef at Franklin, and has returned to the space with her own concept - an eclectic mix of bar food with California, Latin, and Asian influences. There are also some dishes reminiscent of the old Franklin Southie, like the popular Korean short rib tacos from the menu when Chef Mei had worked there before. Naturally I had to try these!

          The short ribs were incredibly tender, the meat just melts in your mouth. The spicy kimchi and green onion toppings were perfect for an Asian / Latin fusion dish.

          Although there were several dishes on the menu that sounded delicious and a bit more interesting I was really in the mood for a burger and decided to try Moonshine's special preparation for the day.

           This was definitely one of the best and most impressive burgers I've had in awhile! It came with cheese, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, and a pepper aioli. It was cooked to a perfect medium, and the aioli gave it a great spicy kick.

          I can't wait to come back and try some of the other dishes, including the brunch menu - but I may have a hard time ordering anything but the burger next time!

Moonshine 152 on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 14, 2015

My Diner

          I've lived in Southie for about a year now, and I've only recently started exploring some of the great breakfast spots in the area. I always say if you want brunch go somewhere in town, but for the best breakfast check out local places in neighborhoods like Southie.

          My Diner is a tiny hole in the wall place that's extremely popular; if you come after 8AM it will be packed. But even if there is a wait, they turn the tables pretty quickly. Here's a pic from a recent visit, when they were all decked out for St. Patrick's Day!

          I absolutely love the eggs benedict, and there are several different variations available on weekends and holidays only. My favorite is this turkey hash benedict, and even though it's huge with three eggs and english muffin halves, I still need to get my side of bacon!

          The turkey hash is available all week, so if the eggs benedict aren't available you can still get eggs and hash. It's made from scratch and one of my favorite breakfast dishes in the city. I'm pretty sure they also serve lunch, but since they offer breakfast all day I've never tried it!

 My Diner on Urbanspoon