[yiddish] To eat like an animal, i.e., quickly, noisily, and in great quantity.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Boston Trip: Seafood and French Food

For breakfast on our second day of traveling in Boston, I wanted something well balanced and nutritious to start my day... clam chowder. I walked down the waterfront to James Hook & Company. Their clam chowder was completely loaded with clams, no excessive filler here, this was the real deal. We also took back some delicious lobster salad for a snack later on. This is the perfect little seafood shack with the freshest seafood to eat on the spot or take home to cook up. Eight pound lobsters maybe?

15-17 Northern Ave
Boston, MA 02228

Later we took shelter from the rain at Ye Olde Union Oyster House, a place we have frequented before on visits.
We shared more clam chowder which was very flavorful but not as clam-filled as James Hook. The seafood chowder here did not have as much flavor, much better off sticking with the clam version. We enjoyed a side of baked beans. I was very pleased with my order of steamers, fresh with the right amount of briny taste. Besides the fish chowder, I would recommend all the dishes we tried. Service can be mixed here, on this visit our waitress was a big grump, but I do remember have pleasant waitresses on past trips.

41 Union Street
Boston, MA 02108

For a change of pace we went to Brasserie Jo for dinner located in the Colonnade Hotel. (Warning: the valet parking costs a fortune!) Marinated carrots were served at the table and refilled. Our Senegalese waiter was utterly charming. For an appetizer we ordered the sizzling hot and tender escargot, served traditionally with loads of garlic.

I loved my duck confit, the skin was crisp and the flesh was succulent; the dish was completed with came lentils and salad. The massive braised lamb shank, delicate but satisfying salad nicoise, and the decadent strip steak with bearnaise sauce also impressed us. Unfortunately the restaurant was out of the fish special of the day, despite this we loved our choices. We gobbled the fluffy "floating island" dessert, the lightest meringue with almonds and a vanilla creme sauce. Besides that pesky extra parking fee, the prices of the main dishes were reasonable. We were pleasantly surprised by this French brasserie.

120 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02116

And before I left I made Tracey take me to have some J.P. Licks ice cream! They have such a creative selection. Yummy!

Boston Trip: The Achilles/Persephone Project

For our first dinner on our family trip to Boston we chose Persephone, a trendy restaurant in the less trafficed area of Fort Point, which happened to be walking distance from our hotel. We were hesitant to enter, thinking we were in the wrong place, because the entrance is a clothing boutique. But thats all part of the gimmick. As the owner of this year old establishment explained, the idea behind the "project" is that everyone has an Achilles tendon weakness, whether it be shopping, eating or drinking and this allows for all to be stimulated? Did I get that right? And something about Persephone being a symbol of spring and springtime ingredients being a major element of the food... ok something like that. The restaurant displays local art on the wall, and there was a captivating series displayed at the time of our visit.

The menu is divided into categories based on size: small, medium, large, extra large. The menu highlights ingredients that are local, seasonal, sustainable, etc., if you are into that. We didn't bother with the "small" menu, figuring the portions would be way to tiny to share. We
went with a scallops with mushrooms in a light soy vinaigrette from the medium dishes. For 2 scallops, it cost $17.... yea a little much, me thinks. They tasted lovely, but that barely matters.

We were more dis appointed with the squid salad, the squid being mushy and not adding
anything and
the salad consisting of parsley. Thankfully, things got much better from here. I ordered an Arnie P drink that was made with lavender lemonade vodka, vermouth, st germain, mint, tea, and lemon- quite a take on an Arnold Palmer, it was an amazing well balanced refreshing drink, thought I could have handled a bit more of an alcoholic taste, but thats just the boozer in me speaking. Persephone offers a Bin wine list on a chalkboard in the back with wines they are phasing either out or into their menu for only $24, a great bargain, and the only real bargain in this place. The choices are all oddball choices that are not mainstream whatsoever and I cannot for the life of me remember which one we selected, but I do know we liked it. A highlight of the meal came when a bread plate was offered, which we quickly rejected due to it being Passover. (so what we eat
shellfish but not chamatz, don't judge)
The bread dude looked at us uncertainly and asked in a Boston accent "matzah?" YES please. A very thoughtful gesture, we really appreciated it and took advantage of the nice butter. I split the goat "large" dish. I was hesitant to chose it because I do not love an overwhelming gamey taste, but luckily this was not the case. The goat was braised and very tender and the tomato sauce was balanced nicely by preserved lemons and olives. The whole roasted fluke for 2 was expertly prepared and filleted at our table. It was very fresh tasting and light and the portion size was generous. It came with a side of delicious roasted carrots and golden beets. Somehow we managed room for dessert and split the clementine sorbet with sweet cream, the intense dairy flavor worked well with the citrus. They brought the check out with pomegranate truffles that rocked. I would recommend this place for a date you want to impress or a girl's night out, but even for a family night it worked for us.

283 Summer St