Posted tagged ‘Beer’

Scholars Bistro in Boston has good food and service

May 2, 2011

At least that was my experience on Saturday evening with a bunch of friends. Scholars American Bistro and Cocktail Lounge just recently opened at 25 School St. in Boston near the Park Street T stop. Their wine is a little pricey (you can’t get a glass for less than $7), but I suppose that’s often the case in downtown Boston.

They have some unusual items on their menu, which I appreciated. Those dishes include rabbit fritters, braised beef tongue sliders, lasagna cupcakes, apple cider pork belly, and prosciutto pizza. I didn’t have the biggest appetite, so I just went with the mussels appetizer.

My mussels

From my experience, it’s kinda hard to screw mussels up. But the smoked salt, tarragon, and roasted tomato sauce made the meal tastier than your average mussels plate. Plus, they provide plenty of bread to dip in the sauce. My fiance had Tuscan flatbread pizza, which included sun-dried tomato, pesto, goat cheese, and red sauce.

My fiance's Tuscan flatbread pizza

He was quite a fan. Another friend of ours, who adores hummus, ordered the Za’atar flatbread pizza. That one’s made up of pine nuts, goats cheese, hummus, and labneh (Middle Eastern yogurt cheese). For an appetizer, another friend ordered some raw oysters. She let me have one, which is always a ton of fun.

Me slurping down the oyster

While staff didn’t seem 100 percent sure of the menu (that’s understandable as the restaurant just opened), they were nonetheless attentive. At one point, there were three waitresses serving us drinks and asking how things were going. When we first arrived (around 6 p.m.), we were practically the only diners in the whole place. But around 8 p.m. or so, things started picking up.

I think this would be a neat place to go for an after-dinner drink or two. Upstairs there’s a billiards room, comfy chairs, and dim lighting. It’s the perfect environment for enjoying one of their many creative cocktails. Beer fans will be glad to know they have 15-plus brews on tap. I will surely return to this awesome restaurant/bistro/lounge!

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Small-town bars

March 5, 2011


When I was living in a country town in upstate New York, there were many of those bars where everyone knows your name. You walk into the establishment, and nearly everyone looks straight up and says “Hey Christine!” (or whatever your name may be).

You walk around, saying “hi” to everyone; hoping you’ll avoid that one guy who gives you a hard time each time you come in (you know, he tries to hug you when you don’t want a hug or asks why you don’t want to go hunting with him). You buy a drink for an incredibly cheap price (or someone buys it for you), and then shoot the breeze with the regulars.

In my upstate New York town, there were a couple of these establishments I’d frequent more than others. I remember going to the first one; being marked by the frequency with which country music was played. Single men in their 40s and 50s would be listening to a sad country tune about an unrequited love while practically crying into their Bud or Michelob lights.

I made the mistake of playing a techno song on the jukebox one evening. “What the H#@& is this?!?!?” several Carhartt-clad men shouted in unison. I looked up, realizing the error of my ways. This was NOT the place to get my techno music fix. We let the song play, however, as several regulars lined up to play their next sappy country ballad.

One night at this bar I had some especially great conversations. I don’t remember what was said exactly, but I do remember one boat salesman saying he had to play me a couple of his favorite songs. This first one will always remind me of my time in this insular yet charmingly simple country town.

I remember that whenever the chorus played, this guy would close his eyes, groove his head to the beat, and belt out the words. He’d passionately utter:

I wake up and tear drops
They fall down like rain
I put on that old song we danced to and then
I head off to my job
Guess not much has changed

Punch the clock
Head for home
Check the phone, just in case
Go to bed
Dream of you
That’s what I’m doing these days

The other song was a little gentler/more meaningful in my opinion. I’m unable to post the YouTube video to this page, so I’ll just link to it. I remember thinking it was nice that this rustic outdoorsman enjoyed such a sweet song (it’s about a love between a father and son).

At the other bar, you’d run into all sort of important people in town: police officers, lawyers, town board members, etc. Initially they knew you (well me and some of my friends at least) as the journalists who interviewed them from time to time. But then, after seeing them there a few times, you were more like a friend. Eventually you barely talked about what you did for a career. Instead, you’d join them in cheering for the Green Bay Packers, playing some darts, or discussing the upcoming dairy parade.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/3841713630

The Foundry in Somerville (Davis Square): Good food, packed-together customers

October 26, 2010

My leftover half chicken, fingerling potatoes and kale from the Foundry

My boyfriend and I checked out this new joint on Sunday evening. He was happy because they have about 25 beers on tap. I was happy because Sunday’s special is a “$5 glass of wine.” I ordered the roasted half chicken with local fingerlings (potatoes) and kale, and he asked for the steak frites (French fries) with shallots and garlic herb butter.

As we waited for our meals to arrive, we took in the jovial environment around us. The large restaurant was packed with people smiling, enjoying their drinks and dinner, and engaged in spirited conversation. This was nice. We especially liked observing a horseshoe-shaped table in the middle of the restaurant. The large family was clearly relishing their meals and awesome location.

Unfortunately, we were crammed in between two other tables of two. I normally wouldn’t mind this, but the guys right next to us were pretty loud. As they dramatically gushed about the girls they thought were attractive, their simple-minded families back home, and the politics associated with their Tufts PhD program, I wished we had been placed elsewhere. But we had to deal with the cards we were dealt (I guess I shouldn’t complain too much– in the end we got to eat like a king and queen).

We sympathized with our waitress, who said she was on the last leg of her double shift. But we were impressed with her enthusiasm and dedication to serving us well. She brought me a steak knife for my chicken in case I needed it. That was a thoughtful touch (maybe she accidentally brought out two steak knives for our table, but I’ll interpret her gesture as a kind action on her behalf).

Our meals, if you could not already surmise, were fantastic. I actually slightly preferred my boyfriend’s steak to my chicken. The menu said it was a “flatiron” steak, which my Internet research indicates has a rich chuck flavor. Apparently it’s also second only to filet mignon in tenderness. I definitely found that the steak was both richly flavored and tender. It went quite well with the shallots and garlic herb butter. My chicken was good (not amazing), but the potatoes and kale were extremely tasty. Luckily, there was so much food I got to take leftovers home. I enjoyed them for lunch the next day.

I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a good meal. The food is a little pricey (my meal was $18 and my boyfriend’s meal was $19), but if you don’t get appetizers, desserts, or alcohol, you can certainly limit the cost somewhat. Oh yeah, I forgot to add that country-style French bread with butter was given to us while we waited for our meals. And at the end of our dinner we had Lavazza coffee, which never disappoint.

Checked out Conley’s in Belmont last night

June 7, 2010
conleys

Conley's

I had been wanting to go there for a little while, as it is right down the street. It was pretty crowded due to the Celtics/Lakers game being on TV.

I got a good seat, and had some yummy Stella Artois beer. The chicken fingers (for an appetizer) were amazing, and so were the french fries.

But my chicken sandwich (yeah, I was really into chicken last night) was way too big. Basically they stuffed three large pieces of grilled chicken into a bun.  I was really overwhelmed and couldn’t go ahead with eating it.

I got the sandwich to go and will work on eating it piece by piece this week.

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Looking for something to do? Why not make some beer?

February 2, 2010

A few weekends ago some friends and I went to Barleycorn’s Craft Brew in Natick to make beer for my boyfriend’s birthday. He’s a big beer fan, so it made perfect sense.

I would recommend the experience to anyone who enjoys beer and is looking for something fun to do. Also, of course, you have to make sure that you and those you’re with have enough money for the activity.

Seventy-two 12-ounce bottles of beer and custom labels for your beer bottles cost between $150 and $200 to make/buy. You either have to pay extra to buy beer bottles from Barleycorn’s Craft Brew or supply your own bottles.

You can choose from over 130 different types of beers. Making the beer takes several hours. You add the necessary ingredients, stir the mixture while it boils, and then let it cool. (more…)

Two awesome restaurants: one in Saugus and one in Framingham

January 18, 2010

I checked out two new restaurants this past weekend: The Pushcart in Saugus and the British Beer Company in Framingham. The Pushcart is actually a new restaurant, while the British Beer Company is just new to me.

Both had excellent food. At The Pushcart I ordered veal and eggplant Parmesan, and also sampled fried cheese, and ravioli in a sun-dried tomato sauce. At the British Beer Company I had haddock in a cracker crust, fingerling potatoes and a squash and zucchini medley.

I also had a Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale with my fish. Delish!

The cool thing about The Pushcart is it was originally located in the North End, and is named after the pushcarts poor restaurateurs used to sell their food from.

That location closed years ago, and it just opened back up in Saugus.

What I love about the British Beer Company is the restaurant’s British feel. It has dark brown wood, a giant rectangular bar that seats 35 guests, and italicized quotes around the ceiling.

Here’s one of the best quotes: “Bessie Braddock: ‘Sir, you are drunk.’ Churchill: ‘Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.'”

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