"..won’t satisfy everyone’s tastes and wants. It is too small to do that and too smart to try." Boston Globe

Restaurants

Zagat Names Boston Area’s 10 Hottest New Restaurants

Zagat helps our summer dining plans by identifying ten of the hottest new restaurants in the Boston area – and we thank them for compiling an interesting list (and with a few favorites)!

Cur, 1 Straight Wharf, Nantucket, MA
First Printer, 15 Dunster Street, Cambridge, MA
Gem, 42 Province Street, Boston, MA
Happy’s Bar + Kitchen, 1363 Boylston Street, Boston, MA
jm Curley, 21 Temple Place, Boston, MA
Moksa, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
Olives, 10 City Square, Charlestown, MA
Painted Burro, 219 Elm Street, Somerville, MA
Rosa Mexicano, 155 Seaport Boulevard, Boston, MA
West Bridge, 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

Happy eating!

Advertisements

A Night at Pigalle

My friend and I had been talking about a weekend in Montreal for ages, we were hoping it would happen this spring, it didn’t. So in lieu of a trip to a francophone land, we decided to have an exquisite French meal. During our tenure in Boston we had both heard amazing things about Pigalle, a small French restaurant nestled in Boston’s Theater district. The chef, James Beard nominee Marc Orfaly, is constantly lauded for his culinary creations.  I am happy to perpetuate the ‘word-of-mouth,’ for Pigalle, that “You must go there!”

The restaurant is small and intimate. The decor really suits the restaurant. Whomever did the decorating knew the integrity of the restaurant, it feels perfect.

The people at Pigalle are warm, they really took care of us. I felt like a guest as opposed to a patron, a feeling that makes the restaurant experience very memorable.

At the bar was Jack and the Friday night “pop-up oyster bar.” Pop-up Oyster Bars are a new summer trend that Pigalle hosts on Friday nights. You can sit at the bar and enjoy Jack’s oyster knowledge while he shucks some of the best bivalves.

The food is remarkable, really, I know because I have been constantly talking about it. Can I recommend an entire menu? I really wanted to peak in the kitchen and see how it was orchestrated. I consider myself a great cook, but I could not recreate any of our courses at home.

Pigalle is a gem, a setting to have memorable moments, food that you’ll dream about, and meet people that will charm you. If you’re looking for a quicker trip, they offer a generous theater and bar menu.  No matter the occasion, I recommend Pigalle.

A votre sante,

Laurie

Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas


2012 James Beard Award Winners near Hotel Veritas

On your next visit to Hotel Veritas, you can experience two of the latest recipients of the James Beard Award.

Best Chef, Northeast:  Tim Cushman, O Ya
Outstanding Wine Program: No. 9 Park

We’re getting hungry and thirsty just typing this.

 


We are very excited that some of our favorite restaurants and chefs are 2012 James Beard Award Nominees!

  • Joanne Chang (Flour Bakery + Cafe) for Outstanding Pastry Chef
  • No. 9 Park for Outstanding Wine Program
  • Jamie Bissonnette (Coppa) for Best Chef: Northeast
  • Tim Cushman (O Ya) for Best Chef: Northeast

Winners will be announced May 7th.  Fingers crossed!


Eating (and drinking) our way to and through Montreal

We escape to Montreal every so often for a change of scenery and language.  With the recent beautiful weather, we felt the City of Saints calling us.

On the way, we stopped at the incredibly charming Every Day Cafe in Contoocook, New Hampshire.  I enjoyed the “the Bup” – a roast beef and cheddar sandwich with tomato and horseradish mayo on thick white bread.  The cafe also sells many locally-made products including their branded “Tooky NH” items.

Springtime in Burlington, VT had the students flooding Church Street enjoying the warm weather.  We were happy to join them for a nice IPA at Sweetwaters.

Our friends John Delpha and Cailin Bilodeau own the Black Cow Bistro in Essex Junction, Vermont and we’ve been craving John’s cooking since he left Boston after stints at La Campania, Sorellina, Harvest and Mistral. John has won numerous for his culinary talents – especially for his barbeque:  2009 Grand Champion and two-time category champion at the Jack Daniels World Barbeque Championship competition.  I started with Smoked Chicken Wings with House Rub and Agave Nectar Glaze and finished with a tasty pork chop which was a special for that night.  An amazing dinner and a few celebratory cocktails for Cailin’s birthday made for an exceptional evening.

The next morning, we drove to Montreal and heading straight for Rue Laurier Ouest, the perfect street for meandering, dining, and shopping. Michel Brisson is a little clothing shop which lured us in with its sleek design and window displays.  I purchased a great cotton summer jacket from wings + horns, a Canadian company which draws design influence from Japan.  We stepped into L’Emouleur to look over their stunning selection of Japanese cutlery and into La Maison d’Émilie,  a shop which sells intriguing and interesting culinary items and gifts.

After a quick “welcome to Montreal” cocktail (or two) at Rotisserie Laurier, we made the tragic mistake of going to a different restaurant for lunch.  I won’t provide the name of the restaurant, but we waited 53 minutes for our meals – afterwhich the server said we should have told him that we were in a hurry.

The Jean-Talon Market was definitely worth seeing with stall after stall of produce, seafood, meats, and flowers.  We’re accustomed to paying high prices in Boston and Cambridge for fresh produce – and wish we could have filled the car with these delectables, but the U.S. customs officers wouldn’t have been so pleased.

We then checked into one of my favorite hotels, The Gault.  This hotel has almost the exact opposite design asthetic of our little hotel in Harvard Square, Hotel Veritas.  While our rooms are small with detailed woodwork, rich textiles and iridescent wall coverings, the rooms at The Gault are large and loft style with concrete floors and smooth lines.  The concierges and servers are extremely friendly and charming.  We’ve tried a few hotels over the years in Montreal, but now we stay nowhere else but The Gault.  A few cocktails in the lounge with our friends led to us missing our afternoon nap – which we’re so accustomed to when traveling.  We pushed through somehow.

The friendly bar at L’Assommoir Bernard was great for our pre-dinner cocktails.  When we walked into the Le Comptoir, I was certain our friends had selected the right place for dinner.  The neighborhood restaurant was intimate and lively – and with the restaurant descriptive of “charcuteries et vin,” we had high expectations of the meal to come.  We weren’t disappointed.  After the house-made charcuterie plate, we enjoyed the roasted beet salad with celery “à la grecque”, goat cheese, watercress, and argon oil – then the braised beef short ribs, potatoes angnoletti, celeriac purée, and red wine glazed onion.  There was much sharing of food amongst our friends – and the wine flowed well.

For some, that would be the end of the culinary night – but not for our friends.  L’Express Restaurant was the final stop of the night and Dan and I sipped on pear martinis and vodka on the rocks – while our friends had their mid-night snack of steak frites.

We collapsed into our bed at The Gault quite sated.

Monday morning brought about our stroll around Chinatown and dim sum at Ruby Rouge.  Although Boston has an vibrant Chinatown, Dan and I tend to go more often for the pho than dim sum.  We picked up some shwarmas from Marchés Adonis for the road trip home.

All in all: a great few days of eating, drinking, and laughing with friends.

Posted by Benson Willis, General Manager of Hotel Veritas


Spontaneous night out at ImprovBoston

I just finished reading Tina Fey‘s memoir Bossypants, in which she recounts her hysterical memories of working for Chicago’s improv house: Second City. Improv was certainly on my mind last week when a group of girlfriends and I wanted to spend some time together, but had the energy to do something low-key, like a movie. In Cambridge, with so much at our disposal, I knew there had to be something a tad more eventful than seeing ‘The Vow.’ I was so excited when I reminded myself ImprovBoston is located in Central Square and receives rave reviews! My friends all light-up (or so I inferred from the ‘!!!’ in their text messages) at the idea of spending their Friday night at an improv show!

The show was hilarious, spontaneous! It was just what I needed on a Friday night; it was much better than an ever-predictable movie at the cinema. The show I attended was an ImprovBoston ‘MainStage‘ performance– a lovely cast of characters!

We reserved in advance and I am glad we did as the popular venue is intimate and seating is limited. They serve beer and wine at the box office. They have shows every night but Monday, with multiple shows a night Wednesday to Sunday.

Check them out today, laugh well, and stop by Brick & Mortar for a small plate and great drink!

Cheers,

Laurie

Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas


A Few of my Favorite Things: Spring/Summer Edition

There is nothing I welcome more eagerly and excitedly than warm weather.  It is just that-warm.  As in not cold.  I hate the cold.  I’m from Georgia, can you blame me?  I was sun bathing in February two years ago.  But I love my transplant city, and here are just a few things I enjoy most!

Outdoor Farmer’s Markets!  Making their return come May! Sure, every city has them these days, but I’m in awe of how many Boston has and how accessible they are!  Every neighborhood has one or more, including the downtown areas, and there is at least one market every single day.  Talk about convenient!  I simply adore delicious, home grown produce as opposed to petri dish tomatoes, and love the community feel of being at the market and talking with all the vendors and neighbors!  There’s even a market in Harvard Square walking distance from our hotel.  Check out the link for all the dates and times. http://www.massfarmersmarkets.org/

Lobstah Rolls! Seriously, who doesn’t love these!  Lobster meat, hot dog roll, done.  My best kept local’s secret is Belle Isle Seafood.  It’s a bit inconvenient to get to, impossible without a car, but it is the best.  It’s $20 (same as Legal Seafood) for a pound of meat.  Meat, not a one pound lobster, but one pound of meat.  That’s like six lobsters, or something.  Last time I was eating there, so was Mayor Menino!

New England Aquarium!  You’re supposed to go outside when it’s warm, but I can’t think of anything more fitting than marine wildlife and water for a summer outing!  And when you’re done admiring the tanks of exotic fishies, or the hands on Shark and Sting Ray Touch Tank, you can always head outside for the Seal Show!  It’s also really convenient to get to with public transportation and very kid friendly-duh.  I recently got some tickets for the aquarium and cannot wait to use them!

Dining Al Fresco!  Ohmygoodness there are so many options!  Everybody tries to accommodate outdoor diners in the summer, so take your pick!  A couple of the more popular ones are Stephanie’s on Newbury (massively popular, difficult to get a table), Legal Seafood HarborsideDaedalus (roof deck seating!), Cafe Pamplona.  Just to name a few!

Sailing!  Ok, let me be honest.  I get incredibly sea sick and am terrified of water (don’t ask how number 6 below is a favorite of mine.)  In the two years I’ve lived here, I’ve had a membership at Community Boating on the Charles River.  I’ve gotten on a sailboat there once.  And I didn’t even leave the dock.  I rigged the boat, got a high five for passing my “rigging” test, and then left.  So perhaps I’m more in love with the IDEA of sailing.  It seems so elegant and relaxing and exhilarating.  Free on the open water.  Ok, it sounds more like terrifying, but for those who don’t have a irrational fear of sea monsters (how much do we really know about what lives in the water?), it’s a wonderful way to spend the afternoon!  There are tons of places you can set up a charter or rent a boat and lots of places to sail-maybe a trip to the Harbor Islands?  Just ask one of us concierges to help you out!

The Beach!  Who doesn’t love the New England coast in the summer?  It’s perfection!  I feel like when I’m at a New England beach, I’m living in a picture.  My favorite?  Wingaersheek Beach.  It’s on Cape Ann, across from the more widely known Good Harbor Beach, which in my opinion doesn’t even compare.  Wingaersheek is less populated, and when it is crowded, it is more locals than tourists gathering there, and has a wonderfully clean and pristine coastline and beaching area.  The best part?  The amazing rock formations that are a BLAST to climb and jump on at high tide.  It’s a built in water park, courtesy of, nature.  (The pets in the photo are not mine, but the beach is pet friendly only at certain times, such as early in the season or after dusk.)

Posted by Annie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas

Miami takes a week-long vacation in Boston: part three

On Friday I had the day off and wanted to do a Spring-cleaning of my car. The interior needed a professional shampoo and vacuum, so I dropped it off at the CambridgeSide Galleria, and had about FOUR whole hours to kill. Four hours of shopping in the mall did not sound appealing on a gorgeous day, so I worked on my tan on the patio of the Cheesecake Factory and enjoyed one of their enormous salads that the chain is known for.  (I may or may not have indulged in a Well-Mannered Dirty Martini with blue cheese-stuffed olives.) After chatting for a bit with the lovely waitress – she and I discovered we have a few friends in common. She was kind enough to let me take an extremely leisurely lunch. I made sure to tip accordingly. Next I perused the three floors of shops in the Galleria Mall. I absolutely felt like I was on vacation.

A friend of mine at the Hotel Marlowe was kind enough to invite me to the Kathy Griffin show for that evening.  Newbury Street was a convenient place for us to grab dinner before the show, so we met at Stephanie’s On Newbury. It’s been a favorite of tourists and Bostonians for years now. We were able to score immediate seats on their patio (they don’t take outdoor reservations, and the wait is often 45 minutes or longer). I wanted a meal on the lighter side because the evening would conclude with dancing! So, I had Stephanie’s Classic Chunky Chicken Salad, which was just as good as I remembered it. If you’re in the South End, try their cozier, yet sophisticated sister restaurant, Stephi’s on Tremont.

Kathy Griffin performed at the Wilbur Theatre. She was just as outrageously inappropriate and funny as always. Afterwards, Guilt Nightclub was extremely fun – great music to dance to. What a fun-filled three days!

Posted by Jack, Concierge at Hotel Veritas

 


Miami takes a week-long vacation in Boston: part two

Thursday evening I headed to the Harbor/Seaport area and stopped into Temazcal: Tequila Cantina for a large, strong, and delicious margarita (on the rocks, salted rim, please). The restaurant and bar area are beautiful; the crowd was fun and vibrant. I, like some of the other patrons, seized the opportunity to wear fun, colorful attire in thin fabrics and materials. The restaurant had removed all of the retractable doors in honor of the balmy weather.

Next, we went next door to Legal Harborside’s third floor bar/lounge to share a small pitcher of white sangria. The roofdeck’s glass walls were retracted here as well. We were not the only ones who thought this would be a perfect spot on a beautiful “summer” night – the place was packed! Dine on the first floor for a delicious seafood meal in a fish market-type atmosphere. For a special occasion, try the the fine-dining second floor.

Posted by Jack, Concierge at Hotel Veritas


Miami takes a week-long vacation in Boston: part one

Last week we had “unheard of” warm weather in Boston. It really felt like a tropical climate transplanted itself here for a week. Most days were in the 70s, and the temperature reached into the 80s once or twice. For me, this was heaven because I love the warm weather and almost everything associated with it. Even though I have always lived in New England, if I could eradicate the cold weather I would do so in a heartbeat (sans any catastrophic earth/environment implications, of course.)

I was able to leave work a bit early on Wednesday afternoon, and raced home to my apartment in South Boston. I immediately changed into flip flops and shorts – grabbed my iPod, headphones, and “up for anything” terrier, and together we walked 8 minutes to Carson Beach. I wouldn’t consider this a “destination beach,” but it’s so close. I think Rory and I were grinning the entire time. Couples, joggers, families, walkers, dog owners – everyone seemed to be taking advantage of the weather.

A few hours later I met a friend for dinner at Stella, one of my absolute favorite restaurants in the South End. They have a great cocktail list, good service, and unique décor for Boston (lots of white and stainless steel, similar to a place you would expect to see in Miami. The trendy lounge music adds to this idea). All of the food is quite good, but there are three absolutely delicious items I keep going back to: For an antipasto: Spicy Safron Mussels (pre-shelled, served with roasted red peppers and a toasted brioche on the side). For grilled pizze: Quattro Funghi (with truffle oil and fresh arugula). For le paste: the tagliatelle Bolognese.  My friend and I were able to dine alfresco. Try a glass of Italian white wine with these items, or a basil-lime gimlet. I’m already ready to go back.

Posted by Jack, Concierge at Hotel Veritas