Category Archives: Back Bay

Oak Long Bar and Kitchen, Back Bay

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Where: Oak Long Bar and Kitchen – 138 St James Ave, Boston, MA

One of the many benefits of my day job is that I get to work with the Fairmont Copley Plaza on our annual gala. The gala is a blast to plan and has gone off without a hitch (or at least appeared to have which is the important part) and looked beautiful the past two years. This year my contact at the Fairmont Copley suggested I meet her for lunch at the hotel restaurant, the Oak Long Bar and Kitchen, to discuss set up and the details of the event. I quickly agreed as this is so my kind of working lunch. I hadn’t been to the restaurant since it was the Oak Room and had only been for drinks so it was like trying a completely new restaurant. Well, it basically is.

Lunch was not only very productive but also very delicious. I had the Organic Mushroom Flatbread with roasted garlic, wild arugula and a fried egg. I don’t know why all pizzas / flatbreads aren’t served with a fried egg, such a good addition. It reminds me of being in France, they throw a fried egg on everything- pizzas, burgers, fries… you name it. The mushroom flatbread was an excellent choice – salty, cheesy, light, and the crust gave good bite. I’ve had a soft spot for anything mushroom since I was a little girl and, in fact, refused to eat anything other than toast and mushrooms for a good year which must have driven my parents nuts.

I didn’t think I would be able to finish my flatbread as its generously portioned but it wasn’t as heavy as I had thought it would be (or I am pretending it wasn’t so I don’t feel like such a fattie) so I did. Bravo, me.

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[Btw, no, that’s not a wine glass stem you see in the photo. I would never drink during a working lunch, that would be totally inappropriate and unprofessional. I just like drinking my ice tea in a wine glass….]

My lunch date insisted I try the whoopie pie for dessert so I, reluctantly (ha!), agreed to split it with her. It was an ice cream whoopie pie, chocolate on chocolate. You all know I love my chocolate but I am actually not a fan of chocolate ice cream for whatever reason so had wished it was vanilla (or caramel? or anything but chocolate really) but I can see how anyone else would have been drooling over this. I do love the side of milk- very cute!

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Overall, it was a lovely lunch with great service. The menu is nice and short and everything delivered on its promises of tastiness. Can we host another event at the Fairmont Copley, please?

How did Oak Long Bar and Kitchen measure up? 4 Spoons!

Oak Long Bar + Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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Lolita, Back Bay

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Where: Lolita – 271 Dartmouth Street, Boston MA 02116
When: April, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I agreed to join one of my favorite francophiles, Olivia, at the French Cultural Center for their Open House. My french has developed a little rust around the edges so we agreed to go get a drink before heading over as we all know that makes the languages flow with more ease.

We met up at Met Bar on Dartmouth which was the perfect spot for an after work drink. We both got the Gypsy cocktail which is gin, st. germain (my fav), chartreuse, and fresh lime. First thing I noticed? These cocktails are big! My french would be flowing in no time. I really liked Met Bar actually, I would definitely go back.

Our visit to the French Cultural Center went well. Olivia ended up signing up 20120329-180859.jpgfor advanced French classes while I chatted away with some of the professors. They played a little game trying to figure out where the hell they would place me if I choose to take classes as I can understand french perfectly, speak it well enough to get by, but can’t talk about the past or future. Its all about the present for me, mon amour. After some cheese, wine, and all things french we headed out to find a spot for dinner.

We headed to Lolita on Dartmouth and were promptly seated, even with no reservation. We were served complimentary granita with grapefruit and tequila as well as three salsa with chips. I could have done without the granita but the salsa was nice to nibble on as we wait for our tapas to come out.

Below are my reviews of what we ordered and how I liked them. I took some notes during dinner as I was about 3 drinks in at this point and didn’t want to forget anything.

So, we got:

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Sticky spare ribs: BBQ’d pork ribs with a spicy Mexican coffee bean, chocolate, sesame and orange glaze. What I noted during dinner: “Ribs had way too much sauce. Think like tar. Couldn’t eat more than one and didn’t even like the one. Blech.” These were clearly a disappointment.
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Rib-eye tacos: sliced grilled rib-eye, tobacco onions, garlic crema. I ate more of these tacos than anything else. They were a little dry on their own but drenched in the garlic crema they were delicious. That being said, not sure if having to drench something in sauce to make it delicious is the best review I’ve ever given.
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Crispy masa oysters: lghtly fried east coast oysters dusted with red chile masa and chipotle crema. I kept calling these “Roysters” apparently (from my notes and vague memory). These roysters had way too much breading on them, you could barely taste the roysters.

Mahi mahi flautas: roasted corn, poblano and chipotle chiles, jack cheese and avocado-tomatillo salsa. I wrote: “Fluatas good but a little soggy.” These were halfway decent but they were soggy, as I mentioned. We thought maybe it was because everything came out at once which made things sit a bit longer then they should have and get cold. Bummer as they could have been good otherwise.

Overall, the food was not impressive. It wasn’t even mediocre. I wouldn’t go back for dinner although I can say that the drinks were great so I would go back for that. The atmosphere was lively but not rowdy and a bit of a younger crowd. It was pretty dark and that’s what I will blame for missing a step and spraining my ankle (not the numerous drinks) while leaving.

One last note I took, not sure its relevant but funny nonetheless: “Table next to us had a few mishaps. Dropped menu and then split drink. Guess I would be nervous too if I were a 21 yo dating a 40 yo.” Yikes.

How did Lolita measure up? 1.5 Spoons!

Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar on Urbanspoon

Tico, Back Bay

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20120205-212918.jpgWhere: Tico – 222 Berkeley Street, Boston MA 02116
When: February, 2012

Saturday night I had plans to head down to Back Bay to hear a band that I wanted to check out for our company’s annual gala. I couldn’t see them until after 10pm so what’s a girl to do to kill a couple of hours? Fortunately, my colleague and one of her friends were up for a night out!

We started at Brasserie Jo for cocktails. I haven’t been there in years so it was really nice to see the space, it looks great as does the menu. I had a hard time catching the bartenders’ eye but once I did I got an espresso martini which was delicious. I couldn’t imagine getting anything but an espresso martini at Brasserie Jo for some reason, it just seemed to fit.

After a couple of drinks we headed to Tico for dinner. I had never been but it was on my list as one of my must go to restaurants for 2012. Tico was rated by Esquire as the best 2011 new restaurant in the US so I had high hopes.

We got there at 9 with a 9pm reservation and had to wait about 15 minutes to sit which was fine but the place was so crowded we weren’t able to get to the bar for a drink. While we waited I noticed the customer flair. There was the guy at the bar with dreads but then a table of girls who looked like they walked off the set of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. I think I may have been the only one in there not wearing colored stilettos (not that I don’t want to). Eclectic. I can dig it.

We were seated close to the bar which was really loud and it was a little difficult to talk over the music.

We decided to order three small plates each to share (descriptions below photo):

Spicy Shrimp, bacon and avocado – The flavors were good and the shrimp were cooked very well. I could have used another shrimp or filler in each taco, they were a little skimpy.

Crispy Pork Belly, onion & mustard – These were amazing. To quote Carol, “If you like fat, you’ll like these”. Yes, I like fat and I like these. I loved the mustard sauce as well, just tangy enough to cut the fattiness of the pork.

Tuna Tartare Tostadas with lime, cilantro and serranos – I loved this. The tuna was really fresh and the tostadas crispy and salty. I’d get this again any day.

Crispy Fried Manchego cheese with spicy pomegranate honey sauce – I’m a Manchego fanatic so was really excited about this dish but, sadly, quickly found out that fried Manchego pretty much tastes like fried mozzarella. If there was a notable difference I’d have to say that the Manchego was drier and, dare I say, blander? There was nothing special about this dish unfortunately.

Sweet Corn with Bacon, Chiles and Thai Basil – Loved this. It was pretty spicy with the chiles but the sweetness of the corn and saltiness of the bacon balanced it out well. A keeper.

Grilled Octopus with Tiny Potatoes, Aji Amarillo and Panca – I’m drawn to octopus anytime I see it on the menu so was pretty excited about this. The octopus was cooked well and very smoky tasting which was a little different. The rest of the salad was fine but not particularly memorable.

Chorizo Risotto with pasilla chiles, scallion and parmigiano – Great risotto, nice and creamy with just the right amount of bite to it. But where was the chorizo!? The pieces were so small It was easy to forget it even came with chorizo. Get some big chunks in there.

Crispy honey-cayenne chicken wings – The chicken wings were sticky, sweet, spicy, succulent, and messy – just as wings should be.

Lobster Croquet with Aji Amarillo Sauce – I think I have mentioned this before but I’ll say it again – I love croquettes. They are fried and crispy and all soft and gooey in the center. This, essentially, was all that but sadly was not memorable in a good way. All I could really taste was what tasted like velveeta cheese. I couldn’t have been velveeta (is that stuff even still legal?) and I have no idea way it was but it was not tasty. Very disappointing.

Overall, the things I did love – the pork belly, tuna tartare, sweet corn, and risotto – were all amazingly delicious and I’d love to have them again but I’m not sure I’ll be making a trip back. It was really loud and half the dishes we got were just “ok”, if that. I’d like to know what the guys from Esquire got!

How did Tico measure up? 2.5 Spoons!

Tico on Urbanspoon

The Salty Pig, Back Bay

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Where: The Salty Pig – 130 Dartmouth Street Boston MA 02116
When: December, 2011

Kudos to twitter as that was how I first heard about this restaurant a couple of weeks ago. Since then I saw that a friend on Facebook went there with her husband as did my officemate (or my roomie as I have been known to call her). When I asked Dan where he wanted to go for his birthday he told me to pick a place that was meaty. With pig being right in the name, and my favorite animal to eat, this was my first suggestion and he took it.

I had stalked the menu before going and knew I absolutely had to get the saucisson sec. My family on my mother’s side, who all live in Paris, own a meat distribution company that provides meat to local restaurants, saucisson sec being one of them. This means all my aunts, uncles, cousins, ect have a bounty of saucisson sec in their kitchens for me to nosh on when I am visiting. These two words strung together alone remind me of long leisurely summer lunches in my grandparents’ garden, family vacations in Spain, and barbeques at my cousins’.

For those new to “saucisson sec”, it is (thank you, Wiki): “a variety of thick, dry cured sausage that originates in France. Typically made of pork, or a mixture of pork and other meats, saucisson are a type of charcuterie similar to salami or summer sausage”. Its delicious.

We started off with a bottle of Domaine la Guintrandy Cotes du Rhone (where is that little house above the o key?!) which went really well with all the meat and cheese we were able to partake in. To start we got the Saucisson Sec, as mentioned above, and asked for a recommendation for a cheese similar to Manchego that would go well with honey as that’s my latest obsession. Nick, our server, suggested the Mil Ovejas which is a firm sheeps milk cheese. Good choice, Nick. It was excellent.

While we nibbled we looked through the entrees and wondered what kind of meat the Salty Pig pizza might have on it as it just noted “Today’s Salty Pig Parts”. After a few minutes of grossing each other out suggesting the most disgusting pig parts we decided to ask Nick. Today’s pig parts were: Prosciutto Galloni (Traditional 1 Year Aged Ham), Coppa Piccante (Spicy Dry Cured Pork Shoulder), and Hot Soppressata (Old World Style Dry Cured Sausage). You had me at Prosciutto.

The pig parts came on a really thin crispy pizza crust with Parmigiano oil and a pale ale vinaigrette. I was thrilled about the crust as it snapped really easily between my falsy tooth (no chewy crusts for me for a while). The pizza was definitely salty, not for those who don’t like salt. It had some sort of seasoning salt on it which with the salty pig was crazy salty. Personally I love salty foods and the red wine cut through it very nicely so I had no complaints but I can see why there were a couple Yelp reviews saying it was a little much. Don’t forget your wine or something to cut through it, people.

The check is presented in a book where you can leave a note to draw a little something so when Dan exclaimed “we are going to draw you like a pig” to Nick we just had to. Not my best work really and apparently the wing ruined it but its all I’ve got. Hope Nick wasn’t offended by it.

How did The Salty Pig measure up? 4.25 Spoons!

Salty Pig on Urbanspoon