Monthly Archives: April 2012

Compare Contrast

It’s around this time of year when I fondly remember all the reasons that I came to fall in love with Boston. The beautiful weather accompanied by the colors of Spring when all the flowers are blooming, the trees are finally green with new leaves and the City is full of people who want to spend every second outdoors. Of course, let’s not forget one of Boston’s favorite things about this time of year, baseball season.

This year is very special for the Red Sox, as Fenway Park celebrates its 100 year. The Boston Globe compiled a wonderful slide show of pictures that showcase the celebration itself (which was on Friday, April 20).

Contrast that with a fantastic time to be in Texas – bluebonnet season. Sure, baseball is also underway in Texas, but it’s the bluebonnets that seem to have me missing home more and more these days. If you haven’t gotten a chance to see the bluebonnets, I would absolutely recommend it. The great part about seeing bluebonnets is that they are everywhere. Just drive around the Hill Country and you’ll see them off the highway.

CNN actually put photos of the bluebonnets on their website (which was surprising to me) but a great look at these wonderful flowers. If you want a really fantastic photo essay on the flower, check out the April edition of Texas Monthly.

While Spring is winding down in Texas, it’s only just begun here in Boston. Despite the differences of Spring in each place, it certainly is a season to get people out and about again. Maybe that’s why it’s my favorite…but you never know. It could be all about baseball.

HIMYS Breaks into Spring!

Once again, I was scooped up into a crazy whirlwind of traveling and mayhem (well, maybe the mayhem part isn’t quite accurate). In any event, the blog has been seriously lacking in content. I am back to report on many fun items from my travels. The first of which was Restaurant Week!

Technically, I’m not a food blog, but writing about new restaurants is so easy to do in Boston. They are everywhere! So forgive me now if you’re not looking for another food post…cause that’s what this is!

Boston holds Restaurant Week twice a year – and so the great experiment begins! This season, I was able to try three different places, and have given a summary of each below. I really love Restaurant Week for the opportunity it brings. If you don’t already know, area restaurants serve a fixed price menu for around $33 (which doesn’t include drinks). Some restaurants are always going to be pricier by nature. Which is fine. However, I have a hard time justifying the money on one meal if I don’t already know it’s good. Therefore, the fixed price makes it a perfect chance to try these places without feeling guilty or eating ramen for weeks.

With that in mind, I selected these restaurants based on recommendations but it’s important to note that these places tend to be in the mid-to-upper price range. I don’t actually know the names of all of these dishes, so forgive me for some of my crude descriptions.

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City Table 

Inside the Lenox Hotel, this restaurant claims to be a local neighborhood spot but in the higher end sense, of course. It’s a cute space, with a very modern feel – it juxtaposes nice with the classic vibe of the hotel. To me, the space felt a bit divided though and sometimes cramped.

For restaurant week, I started with an artichoke and leek arancini which was lightly battered and fried. It was a good idea but it seem to be a little dry and the artichoke was not distributed equally among the filling, so it just tasted like rice and batter at points. As my main dish, I tried the salmon with brussel sprouts in a cream and sliced potatoes. It wasn’t bad but it just seemed to lack seasoning and the fish was a little overdone. Dessert was a cheesecake with blackberry sauce, which was again, was just ok. It tasted like cheesecake you could buy at the grocery story.

Overall, my experience was not wonderful – and the food was just ok overall. For the price, I’ll skip this restaurant unless a friend selects it for a special occasion. I’ve been told it’s pretty good from a few friends, so maybe it was a Restaurant Week thing.

Blue, Inc.

In the aquarium area, I’m told Blue’s head chef is a former FOX Hell Kitchen contestant. I don’t think Gordon Ramsay would be upset by this place! The restaurant is very small but quaint. Lots of fun décor, and obviously a lot of blue, even the tables and chairs were different than the standard restaurant. It was refreshing to walk into.

For dinner, I started with a Tuna tartare. Let me tell you – I could have licked the plate when I was done. It was incredible. It was marinated in soy sauce, so I was told it’s not a technical tartare but, wow. It definitely got me excited about the rest of my food. For my main course, I went with a mussels fritte. Unfortunately, I wasn’t wowed. The sauce and fries were good, and there was a chipotle aioli dip that was incredible. I was, however, disappointed with the mussels. It tasted like they could have used another few minutes in the pot. They were just a bit too fishy for me – which is tough, because I love fish. Moving to dessert, I went with the carrot cake. It was just a little on the dry side.

Overall, I would absolutely visit again and give the main dish another shot. The mussels were not one of the dishes that the waiter recommended, so part of that is my fault. I was told the duck confit or the swordfish were the top choices.

Market by Jean-Georges

While I had never heard of Market before my Restaurant Week experience, I knew it was an incredibly nice place when I heard that it was 1) in the W Hotel and 2) there was a business casual dress code. If you don’t like either of those things, don’t go to Market. However, I was ready to give it a shot, so I put on my Sunday’s best and hit the town.

To start, I tried the split pea soup. Pea soup generally has a automatic “yuck” reaction for a lot of people I know. However, it was delightful. The flavors were amazing, it’s hard to describe unless you try it for yourself. I just know that from now on, I want my soup poured in my bowl table side. Yum! For my main course, I had a Sriracha cod with bok choy. Delicious!! I love Sriracha anyways – but throw in some perfectly cooked fish with some wonderfully steamed bok choy, and you’ve made a fan out of me. For dessert, I had a salted caramel ice cream with caramel popcorn on top and chocolate sauce (peanuts were an option but I don’t eat those). It was delightful.

Overall, as you can probably already tell, I loved Market. The service was fantastic, the food was outstanding and the atmosphere was great. You might not be allowed to wear jeans but personally, I never felt like people are condescending or snooty.

Visiting three places for Restaurant Week definitely made me feel like a little kid on Christmas. I really enjoy trying new things, and I don’t regret going to any of these places. I do, however, get a little annoyed when restaurants don’t give you the real experience during Restaurant Week that you would get on an everyday visit. It seems like Restaurant Week is an affordable way to become a regular. Why not take advantage of that?

There are definitely a bunch of other restaurants that I have on my list for the summer edition but I won’t spoil anything too soon! Hello Spring!