Sunday, September 27, 2009

Le Barricou

So I am back in New York visiting the hubz, and we went to one of our favorite local joints last night, Le Barricou. A french bistro, we usually don't do dinner, but prefer either the fabulous weekend brunch, or the late night bar menu. The atmosphere is great and I love the flavors. Ry and I usually order some wine and share the beet salad and hamburger and frites.

The beet salad is one of the best I've found. The beets are shaved thin, and served with fuji apple, a small sprinkling of goat cheese, and a tart vinaigrette over greens. Huge fan of the combo!! The burger is always good, get it medium rare, and served on a brioche bun. The fires are super thin and fried just right!!

As for brunch, wow. I have never had a bad bite! Each table gets a croissant and a pain au chocolat to munch on while you wait. I love the goat cheese croissant with two eggs sunny side up. The french toast is thick and delicious, and the croque madame?? Oh man, heaven. French bread with swiss and ham, and an egg on top.

If you are in the hood, check it out!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Ryan & I decided to venture into Boston for dinner on Saturday night, and discovered this wonderful wine bar & french-inspired restaurant. We were lured there by the promising wines by the glass menu, and the promise of a to-die-for cheese plate. The location, right on Boylston street off the Common, is great for pre-theater or pre-clubbing (If either of those are your "thing"). The small bar downstairs was nice for a pre-dinner cocktail.

Ryan and I sat at the bar and sampled some champagne and sauvignon blanc, and debated trying Krug, a champagne rarely available by the glass, here offered for $20 for 2 oz or $40 for 4. Ouch. We weren't feeling like millionaires, but it was tempting... maybe next time.

We headed upstairs for dinner, and the dining room is simple but pleasant. We started off with appetizers- I had the baby squash blossoms salad, and Ryan tried the braised short rib canneloni. The squash blossoms were very lightly battered and fried, for a delicate taste, and served with a mixed green salad with pine nuts, a little pesto, and a nice citrus vinaigrette. Ryan's short rib had a great smoky flavor, and the noodle was just right, not too thick to ruin the other subtle flavors. Ryan had a glass of shiraz and I had a new zealand sauvignon blanc, both recommended by the staff, and both very nice pairings.

For my entree, I opted to have a second appetizer- the truffle oil and mushroom cavatelli. Really savory and delicious, it went down well with the suggested pinot noir. Ryan had the miso- glazed salmon with bok choy and eggplant, and a glass of riesling that we both agreed was a bit sweet for this pairing. We finished our meal with 3 cheeses, that are selected from a cart brought by the waitress. We tried a triple cream cow's milk, a harder cow's milk, and an herb-crusted goat cheese. Really good stuff!!

We enjoyed this restaurant a great deal. The food is savory and pulled off a broad range of influences. The wine pairings were great, and though the bottle list is quite expensive, the wines by the glass were fairly priced. The only thing to note is that we were the youngest couple in the restaurant, probably by about ten years, but the older crowd did not effect our evening at all!! (Translation: bring a date!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

chicken dijonnaise

Now that it is fall, it's time to break out those cool-evening classics. I love this recipe because it is very simple- with only 3 ingredients, and turns out great!

Chicken cutlets or breasts
mustard: at least 1, up to 3, dijon, honey, grainy, dusseldorf, whatever you like.
white wine
salt & pepper
heavy cream- for sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. In a lipped baking dish, cover chicken with mustard. Pour white wine around chicken, and salt and pepper.
3. Bake 30-40 minutes
4. When chicken is done, carefully pour juices and mustard into saucepan. Put chicken back in oven to stay warm. Pour some heavy cream into mixture, and a little more wine. Reduce over medium heat, salt and pepper. You will know it's good to go when it turns a darker color, and by the smell. You should be able to smell the wine cooking through the cream.
Serve the chicken and pour the sauce on top.

*goes great with wilted spinach or bok choy, and a sweet potato.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Banana Bread

Ah, "breads". I love them all- pumpkin, banana, date, nut, carrot.... There is just something really great about a warm slice of bread with butter on it..... Anyway, it is also the best way I've found to use up my bad bananas. So, banana bread it is:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
grease loaf pan

1. In a small bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp of salt.
2. In a larger bowl, mix together 3/4 stick of butter (6 tblsp), an egg, and 2/3 cup of sugar. Add in 2-3 ripe bananas. The older, mushier, and blacker, the better. Add in a tsp of mayonnaise for moisture. (no, really!)
Add in nuts, splash of vanilla, and chocolate chips if desired.
3. Beat the flour into the banana batter. Pour into the loaf pan. Bake for approx 1 hour.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Publick House

It's always tough to come to a new town and realize that you have fallen from the foodie-expert zone straight down to the..... "this looks good" mentality. But one spot we checked out merits discussion: The Publick House. This bar and restaurant is based around belgian beers, and to any beer-lovers joy, has an entire menu devoted to the concoctions of the monks. As a wino, I was pleased to discover a nice wine selection as well, which is a mark of a finer establishment! Ryan ordered the mussels in beer broth with bacon and corn, which is a heaping pile and Ryan tells me, quite delicious. I had the "obligatory" fish and chips, which I really enjoyed. The cod was really lightly beer- battered and the chips were done well. It was a rainy, damp night, so this food really warmed us up!! Check it out :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Macaroni and cheese

Ah, Mac n' cheese. This one, folks, is the real-deal family recipe. Taking the best of all worlds, I think this casserole rocks. No goopiness!

1 box Cavatappi pasta
1 block cracker barrel extra-sharp cheddar (the yellow one)
1 bag shredded mozzarella
1 can of tomatoes, I like piccante cherry tomatoes, but you pick
salt and pepper
bread crumbs

-start by boiling the pasta and preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
-drain the pasta, cut the cheddar into even square slices.
-put a layer of pasta and top with cheddar and mozzarella, pour in some of the tomatoes. salt and pepper. If desired, grate some pecorino and parmesan cheese on top, or another favorite of yours too.
-make a second and third layer to the top of the baking dish.
-fill the dish 1/4 to 1/2 way with the milk. Trust me on this one.
- bake for 40 minutes.
-Pull out of oven and place butter and bread crumbs on top and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, letting the top crisp and brown.