Restaurant Review: Alden & Harlow

On Friday evening Teddy and I decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner out. We wanted to try a new-to-us place, so opted for Alden & Harlow. Spoiler – it was phenomenal!

The atmosphere in the restaurant is very cozy – lots of exposed brick, wood tones and metal fixtures. Very farm-to-table – yay!

We started with a light appetizer: Sunflower Toast, Three Ways, Pickled Green Tomato, Bianco Sardo. We enjoyed the Striped Bass Crudo and the stone fruit plate, and ended with Moosabec farm mussels. Of course, we had to try dessert too, so finished the evening with brown butter peanut cake. Overall, every dish was super interesting – the textures were unique and exciting, the flavors were extremely fresh and vibrant and the portions were a perfect size.

 

 

Everything on the menu is designed to share, so we ended up not getting anything with meat (Teddy at the ham garnish on one dish). I’d love to see a few more vegetarian options on the menu, but overall this was an amazing meal! Perfect for a fancy night out. I’d highly recommend a meal here, especially in the seats under the windows up front! I hear the menu changes frequently, so I’m already looking forward to our next trip here.

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Restaurant Review: 4th & Swift

What happens when you somehow get a dinner invite with a VP at your company? You go to 4th & Swift.

Upscale and with an incredible wine list, this restaurant is known for modern, farm-to-table dining. While it would generally be out of my price range, dining with company executives has it’s upsides!

 

We started with a lovely bottle of wine, but seeing as I know far too little about wine, I know it was red and I enjoyed it. For my main meal I enjoyed a seared fish with raviolis and brown butter sauce. It was out-of-this-world good! Holy smokes!

Other people that I was dining with enjoyed shaved brussel sprouts salad, steaks and pork dishes. Everyone was raving over their meals and the incredible wine list. The service was attentive throughout the meal, and we had a lovely evening.

I must admit I was a bit focused on work during the meal, but it was a special dinner and I had a lovely time. If you’re looking to treat yourself in Atlanta, 4th & Swift will do just that.

 

Restaurant Review: Bocado

A business trip brought me to Atlanta, Georgia last week. A coworker recommended Bocado for dinner, and it was a wonderful suggestion. We had a wonderful meal! The restaurant focuses on seasonal American food, and frequently rotates the menu.

The décor in the restaurant was very casual and clean – similar to many of the gentrified spaces I saw while in Atlanta. Clearly the city is undergoing big changes.

 

Unfortunately we weren’t seated on the huge patio, but I can imagine how wonderful that would be on a warm summer night.

Since we went with a large group, we shared several appetizers to start – deviled eggs, quinoa salad, a snack platter and wonderful bread. The eggs were by far my favorite, but everyone loved the quinoa salad, and many had never tried it before! Always a good sign!

For my main meal I enjoyed seared trout with caluflower and almonds. The fish was cooked wonderfully and the cauliflower went wonderfully with it. The food was fresh, light and interesting.

We had a lovely experience at Bocado, and I’d strongly recommend giving this place a try if you’re in Atlanta!

Restaurant Review: Penny Clues

As I previously mentioned, I spent last weekend in Burlington, Vermont! Luckily good eating was on the agenda and we enjoyed a lovely meal at Penny Clues. This small café specializes in breakfast and lunch, so we headed over on Sunday morning.

Though it looks unassuming from the outside, inside is a wonderfully cozy space decorated with local art and unique décor. There is often a crowd of people waiting by the steps, which is a good sign in this freezing town!

We had a seat right by the window and got to enjoy the spring sun shining down.

 

 

The coffee was super good, and for my main meal I enjoyed eggs, potatoes and biscuits with gravy. Though I’m not generally drawn towards biscuits, several people recommended them and I’m so glad they did! The gravy was loaded with herbs and the biscuits were moist and delish.

We had a lovely meal at Penny Clues, and I’d strongly recommend a brunch stop here if you’re in Burlington – if you can get a seat!

 

Restaurant Review: Catalyst

Teddy and I had the pleasure of dining at Catalyst, a modern American restaurant in Kendall Square. The verdict – wonderful!!

 

 

The atmosphere at the restaurant is amazing – really relaxed with comfortable chairs that made me feel like we were eating in a living room. Another (random) thing that I really liked – the tables were really far apart from one another. This made for a very intimate dining experience, as we didn’t feel like we were yelling to hear one another speak.

 

Another highlight of the evening was the beer list. We had thought about going to another bar later in the evening for drinks, but the list was so impressive there that we were more than happy to relax at our table! I had a bourbon barrel aged beer that I previously tried at Mead Hall – it was just as good as I remembered!

 

Now onto the food. Wow! Everything was exceptional. We started with buffalo “chicken” cauliflower. This was so exciting! As a couple that is half vegetarian, any time we both can enjoy a “fake” meat, we’re happy. I then enjoyed really amazing mushroom pasta which had a wide array of mushrooms. Finally, for dessert we had a wonderful chocolate treat. The best part for me was the rosemary caramel sauce – such an interesting and lovely treat!

 

Overall this was one of my favorite restaurants we’ve eaten at in the Boston area – maybe a tie with Oleana. I loved the atmosphere, the food and the drinks list. Everything you need for a great evening!

Restaurant Review: Ten Tables Cambridge

On Friday evening Teddy and I had the pleasure of dining at Ten Tables in Cambridge. I live quite close by so we’ve been taking about going for a while. I’m glad we finally did – we will certainly be back!

The restaurant is farm to table style – very local ingredients and a small, frequently-changing menu. They pride themselves being a neighborhood restaurant, and we certainly found this to be true. We were quickly seated and both felt that the atmosphere was very cozy and warm.

We decided to forgo appetizers as neither of us was starving, so we started with some wonderful crusty bread and some white wine. We chose the house white, and both felt that it was a great accompaniment to our meal. I enjoyed a lovely salmon dish cooked with a red pepper sauce, cabbage, and ricotta ravioli. The entire dish was exceptionally wonderful. The salmon was flakey and moist and the sauce paired wonderfully. Teddy had a stake which he was incredibly excited about, and it was cooked to perfection.

For dessert, I enjoyed cinnamon churros with a basil creme fresh. Teddy had a candied bacon pound cake treat that he has been eye on their menu for months. Both far surpassed our expectations! The churros were still warm and light on the inside while the outside was covered with yummy cinnamon sugar. Teddy’s cake was dense but not too sweet.

Overall, we had a fantastic time at Ten Tables, and are looking forward to the opportunity to return. The service was exceptionally attentive, the food was very memorable and unique, and the atmosphere was perfect for a romantic evening meal. Add this place to your must-eat-at list!

A long weekend in upstate New York

This weekend I headed out to Ithaca, NY to visit my sister! She and her boyfriend, Collin, live in a great house in a tiny town called Newfiled, just outside of Ithaca. Teddy and I left work a bit early on Friday to make the 6ish hour drive. By the time we landed I was very ready for bed! After a quick cup of tea and a chat, we headed to sleep.

Saturday

Anne and Collin are known for their fantastic breakfasts, so Teddy and I woke up ready to dig in! Unsurprisingly, they didn’t disappoint. To get things started, we made lattes. Yep, Anne and Collin have a super fancy bean grinder, an espresso maker, and even a milk frother. They take their coffee very seriously!

The lattes held us over nicely while we made the rest of our feast: fresh squeezed orange juice (yes, they have a juicer), fried eggs, gourmet sausage for the non-veggies, bananas, and more fresh coffee. Like I said, they’re basically pros. It was an awesome way to start the day!

Our next adventure took us to a local mountain, Greek Peak Resort. They have an awesome Nordic Center where we spent quite a few hours enjoying the beautiful weather and exploring the area on cross country skis. I used to go cross country skiing quite a bit when I was younger, but haven’t been for years, and Teddy had never been. Luckily the trails were pretty friendly and Anne and Collin are great teachers. We had a blast gliding around for a few hours and enjoying the sunshine before heading back home.

After we cleaned up a bit, we headed to downtown Ithaca to try a new restaurant. Coltivare is associated with a local culinary school so it’s run by the students. I feel great about supporting such a wonderful mission, and the food was outstanding! We started with a surprisingly tasty grilled lettuce appetizer, I enjoyed a risotto with saffron and mushrooms which really hit the spot after a cold day outside. We all shared a lovely bottle of wine, and to finish the meal I enjoyed a fresh sugar doughnut with coffee gelatto. It was all phenomenal! I could have rolled home I was so full, but man it was amazing.

On Saturday we played the first of what became many games of Settlers of Catan. Do you know this game? It was really easy to learn and we quickly got really sucked in!

Sunday

On Sunday morning we headed out for a lovely brunch at the Carriage House – known for having the best brunch in Ithaca! After enjoying one of the best omelets I’ve had in recent memory, we wandered around the shops downtown. Anne knows them all really well, so while the guys grabbed some groceries and explored the ice shelf (very exciting stuff…) we dropped by a few stores. Unfortunately my favorite used craft supply store wasn’t open, but we poked into a great sewing store that I loved! Very inspiring.

Our afternoon consisted of a few more games of Settlers of Catan before making another lovely feast for dinner. This time we did mashed cauliflower, excellent grilled tuna (yes, Collin grills year-round even though we were in upstate New York – he is dedicated), a huge salad and roasted green beans. Phew! It was another huge and extremely lovely meal, all topped off with a few bottles of fancy beer that Teddy and I brought to share. We watched Garden State while we ate, and all agreed it was a thoroughly confusing movie, but the soundtrack was great!

On Monday after one more great breakfast Teddy and I hit the road again to head back to Massachusetts. Unfortunately it was a fast visit, but Anne and Collin always show us a great time when we head out! Hopefully we’ll be able to head out sometime in the spring!