Friday, June 29, 2018

A Drink at Drink and Dinner at Oak + Rowan — Boston, MA — A Bar and Restaurant Recommendation

Last weekend was my and Chef Reiton's anniversary (WOOHOOOO!), so we decided to do that go-do-a-night-on-the-town thing to celebrate our six years of awesomeness. One of my besties got us a hotel room down in the Seaport district, a section of Boston that used to be SCARY but has recently made huge strides in becoming possibly the hippest neighborhood to play and live in, and with reservations to a new bar and a new restaurant to try, we hopped in an Uber and headed downtown with our overnight bag in tow.

After check-in and a cat nap, we walked over to a bar we had been wanting to try for a while called Drink. We arrived shortly after it opened for the evening and headed down the stairs to be welcomed at the bottom by the hostess. I could see it was already hopping inside, despite only having been open for half an hour—and I mean "hopping" to the point that the hostess asked if we were okay standing at the bar while we waited for a seat to open.

"Sure!" we said. "No problem," and we were led to a private little section of bar that was actually a door through the bar front and only about a foot deep. This, I realized, I liked as soon as our bartender walked up. It was personal and intimate bar service like I'd never had before.

As we waited for our drinks, I took a good look around. A bare-bones establishment of concrete, black pipe, brick and Edison bulbs, Drink's decor vibe is definitely lacking—for some. If you like to go eat or drink at restaurants just because they look pretty, Drink is not for you.


if you love a bartender that treats you like an old friend, fries that will blow your mind and cocktails created just for you and your specific taste ne sais quoi, Drink is for you.

The french fries with housemade malt vinegar aioli at Drink, a bar in Fort Point, Boston, Massachusetts

Cocktails at Drink, a bar in Fort Point, Boston, MA

I could have stayed at Drink all night, but our dinner reservation at Oak + Rowan was drawing nigh. We thanked Jackie, our bartender, for a wonderful afternoon and headed out the door and up the stairs—which were now packed with a long, long line of people that went out the door and was beginning to wend its way down the block. Note to self: visit Drink at 4:10 PM (and ask for Jackie!).

Oak + Rowan, it turns out, is another minimalist restaurant. Elegant and warm but simple and clean (with windows galore—love!), we were greeted with warmth and welcome and seated in a lovely corner booth. And the warmth and welcome continued when our server, Patrick, approached the table and began what would be an absolutely heavenly evening. Yes, it was a bit pricey. And, yes, you pay for your bread at Oak + Rowan. But you are so SO happy you did once you take your first, warm, homemade, chewy, sourdough-y, date-buttery bite.

Homemade whole wheat sourdough bread and housemade date butter at Oak and Rowan restaurant, Fort Point, Boston, MA

And then there is the butter gem lettuce salad sprinkled with flower petals and cherries. 

Butter gem lettuce salad at Oak and Rowan, a restaurant in Fort Point, Boston, MA

And the gnocchi drizzled with nettle (yes, nettle) pesto and nestled in mozzarella and the prettiest broth you ever did see.

The gnocchi at Oak and Rowan, a restaurant in Fort Point, Boston, MA

And then...the dessert. THE DESSERT. I don't remember what it was called, but ask for the deconstructed Twix bar sent from the gods, and you won't be sorry. Maybe sick with happiness at this point, but definitely not sorry.

The chocolate "Twix" dessert at Oak and Rowan, a restaurant in Fort Point, Boston, MA

As we waddled our way back to the hotel, oh, the swoons. The sighs! The evening could not have been more deliciously perfect. 

The whole weekend could not have been more perfect, actually. And we keep finding ourselves talking about the Seaport and it's lovely inhabitants and saying to each other, "Let's go back. Soon."

Friday, June 22, 2018

Toast-less Avocado Toast: The Paleo Version

Food fads both fascinate and frustrate me. Being one who loves to learn anything new in the kitchen—whether it be a new taste for something or a new technique—I'm open to most (most, mind you) anything.

And so when I hear that such-and-such is so flipping good, and I see blog posts and magazine articles singing its praises, and menu after menu offering said food, I usually will give it a try. See my post on grain bowls as an example...

What frustrates me, on the other hand, is when something in the food world just gets OVERDONE. Like, there is nothing else. I see this with ingredients, flavors, techniques.

Take the word "umami," for instance. The word "umami" was first used by Kikunae Ikeda in 1908. 1908!!! But it is used now as if it is the newest and most insanely incredible taste that has ever been discovered. If I hear or read the word "umami" one more time, I'm going to take my bottle of coconut aminos and throw it out the window! (Although I do encourage you to read the "Umami" Wikipedia article for a rather fascinating explanation of its meaning.)

So when I keep reading articles about entire restaurants being dedicated to this whole avocado toast craze??? I admit, I've been rolling my eyes. Really? All you serve is toast with avocado schmeared on top and sprinkled with random crap? I mean, come on.

And then, one day last week I had nothing to eat in the kitchen except a perfectly ripe avocado...

So, this is what happened:

Avocado sprinkled with lime juice, toasted hazelnuts, olive oil, salt and pepper

Avocado. Fresh squirt of lime juice. Sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts. Drizzle of olive oil. Salt. Pepper.

My brain's response after my first dreamy, creamy bite from my spoon: DEAR GOD, THANK YOU FOR THIS FOOD.

What was I eating? I was eating a toast-less version of avocado toast, and it was divine

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