Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How to Distract a 44 Year Old Foodie

Today I was talking to someone who got me very upset,. I had already had a horrible start to my day- I was up at 3AM just because it seemed like a lovely time to be wide awake, my car would not start because the battery had run dry again, and I was going to have to deal with the tow truck/jump/car to shop/ take wife to work drama.

My parental judgment was questioned. Being a giant narcissist, I was immediately injured instead of considering the moment, looking at all the angles, and deciding how much, if any was true.

My face must have been red because in an instant, she started to talk restaurants with me. I swear, within three minutes- perhaps only two- I was back in the room, and babbling about food.

Wait… I said. You just used food to distract me.

Yes, I did, she smiled.

And for her, for her knowing me that well, I would like to respond and give a couple of my most favorite restaurants in Boston.

Radius- 8 high street Boston 617 426 1234- Interesting, thoughtful and edgy cuisine. The first place I ever was bold enough to try tripe. (Didn’t like it but it wasn’t bad) It is incredibly elegant, stunning presentations and whatever they made that day is what to get. Lots of business people, so don’t be surprised to be next to a table of suits ordering expensive wine. You may get a little lost if the servers are star struck.

Since Biba’s is gone, (yes, I’m still mourning years later), I would call this the best restaurant in the city.

Some main courses are (but remember, they change seasonally)

Slow-roasted Scottish Salmon
- apple puree, brussels sprouts, guanciale, horseradish and long pepper

Berkshire Pork Chop
- matsutake mushrooms, chinese sausage, broccolini and cantaloupe sauce

Seared Day Boat Scallops
- delicata squash, roasted cauliflower, autumn olive sauce and szechuan peppercorn

Herb-Basted Giannone Chicken
- shrimp farce, curry tarbais, collards and lemongrass consomme

Mediterranean Sea Bass
- garlic-parsley sauce, braised mushrooms and cippolini, escargots, swiss chard and port reduction

No. 9 Park- 9 Park Street, right across from the State House 617 742 9991. Okay, maybe this is the best place. It has the best wine list, in my opinion, because each bottle they offer is really about the food. Not price. Not notority, but the food. Barbara Lynch is the chef and scratching up through the food business as a woman is no easy task. She’s an artist with pasta. Her Prune Stuffed Gnocchi seared foie gras, Vin Santo glaze is her signature dish but she has a great touch with duck, too. Again, a gorgeous room, looking out over the Boston Garden and the gilded dome. The staff knows their food and wine. I understand Ms. Lynch is kind of a well-known perfectionist in the industry and she does not accept anything less than perfect.

I’m glad. They are also one of the few restaurants who take their cheese plates and cheese cart offerings very seriously.

Roasted Scottish Salmon
~ parsley root, grapefruit, black olives, bok choy

Day Boat Scallops
~ warm clam salad, La Ratte fingerlings, chervil broth

Wild Striped Bass
~ salsify, maitake mushrooms, truffle jus

Roasted Poussin
~ spaghetti squash, Burgundian escargots, Brussels sprouts, lardons

Duet of Pekin Duck
~barley, black trumpets, cipollini, oyster jus

Berkshire Pork Loin
~ caramelized apples, potato puree, housemade boudin noir

Loin of Colorado Lamb
~ polenta, artichoke, Greek yogurt

Painted Hill Farms Ribeye
~ potato galette, short rib, Swiss chard, bone marrow

Lumiere- across from West Newton Cinema, 617 244 9199. Let us not forget my own backyard. Michael Levinton is the next incarnation of Alice Waters. I do not say that lightly. I have a small shrine to Alice, with the words, FRESH and LOCAL on it. Having eaten at Chez Panisse, I can only remember sitting there and thinking, this is like Michael’s food… Lumiere is about time, effort and ingredients. Think sauces that are reductions of reductions. Where hours are put into an accent on the dish. And the fish… the fish is always perfect. Don’t even bother with anything else- not that it isn’t fabulous but the way he cooks the fish and the composition of the dishes … oh my.

He sometimes has bouillabaisse as a special- get it. It’s light, brothy, and the seafood is never over done. If you don’t order it, you will be missing out on a dish I still dream about from time to time.

Wild Maryland Striped Bass
Exotic Mushrooms, Sesame & Ginger, Soy-Sherry Sauce*

Gloucester Skate
Roasted Cauliflower Grenobloise and Mustard Vinaigrette*

Almond Crusted Gloucester Cod
Braised Cipollini Onions, Mushrooms & Marcona Almonds
Orange-Shallot Gremolata & Sherry Brown Butter*

Long Island Duck Breast
Purée Jaune, Chestnuts, Pearl Onions & Thyme, Duck Jus*

Braised Humanely Raised Veal Shoulder
White Bean Ragoût, Roasted Tomatoes, Black Olives & Gremolata

Northeast Family Farms Hanger Steak
Exotic Mushrooms, French Fries and Beef Jus*

I’m sure my friend and I will figure out our differences when we next get together. Perhaps by then I will be over my hurt pride.

If not? She can always ask me about food again…

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Blogger Are You My Mothers said...

Yum. Globe just reviewed an anytime of day or night dim sum place in Allston. Check that out too for more distraction.
And to further distract you I hereby tag you, i.e., invite you to pen a 6-word memoir on your post, acknowledge moi your tagger, and tag 5 more bloggers, letting them know with a quick post. My apologies if you've already been tagged, but that would give you 12 words with which to write your life. Myself, I used only three words.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

oh, man, I could just go on and on...

dim sum? sandwich places? comfort food? steak?

fun? elegant? great for kids?

JP? Brookline? Boston? Cambridge?

I was asked for the five "top" restaurants. I could go on and on and on...

but thank you for the tag. will do.

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you consider your friend helpful in distracting you? Or, shouldn't she have noticed that you were hurt and talked about it?

8:40 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

well, I think it was clear, anon, that I was GONE.

once back in the room, we did talk about it.

9:28 AM  

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