Ribelle, Beat Hotel, and Other Good Eats
It’s time for another edition of my Good Eats Series, where I share some of the great foods I’ve enjoyed but were previously undocumented. This installment is all about food, food, food. Plus two winter-appropriate drinks.
Before we get into all the deliciousness though, I want to address something: some of you have noticed that I’ve slowed down a little bit in my posting schedule over the last few weeks. Thanks for the emails and concern, but my schedule has just been pretty crazy lately! I may have bitten off more than I can chew with all of my commitments. So I had to relax and chew more slowly. But don’t worry – after the holidays, things are going to ramp up again! And in fact I have some exciting things planned for 2014…
For now, let’s focus on these good eats.
First, Ribelle. Brookline’s hottest new restaurant is headed by chef (and owner) Tim Maslow, who was recently crowned Eater Boston’s Chef of the Year. Ribelle has been getting some good reviews – the Boston Globe gave it four stars (extraordinary), with Devra First saying it’s “food that goes POW! in your mouth.” I couldn’t agree more. I liked the food there so much, I went back twice in 3 days! Think: rigatoni with octopus, fennel, and smoked tomato; agnolotti with short rib, smoked bone marrow, brussels sprouts; swordfish with peanut romesco and gigante beans. And these were the dishes that I didn’t even get to take pictures of, because my Supper Club friends and I couldn’t wait to dig in. I did, however, manage to sneak in a few iPhone pics:
The Dickens – Jamaican run, hot cider, amaro whip
Carrots – with hazelnuts, berry jam, mustard seeds
Truffle Egg Toast – semolina bread, shishito peppers, egg
Pappardelle – with bolognese, kale, and pork skin (yes, chicharron!); Cabbage – with brisket, beluga lentils, egg, and caviar
Olive oil ice cream with chocolate shell and sea salt
We tried other desserts, too, but the olive oil ice cream was the best. It was so creamy with an almost aggressive saltiness. Highly recommended!
Now let’s talk about Beat Hotel. This brasserie, bar, and live music venue is the latest addition to Harvard Square’s scene. Beat Hotel is owned by the same people as The Beehive in the South End; there’s daily live music, no cover charge, great cocktails, and a seasonal menu. I was invited to a media dinner a few weeks ago, but have already been back multiple times and has not been disappointed. I love the fun, hippie vibe, the spacious area, and the location right near the center of the square (it is in the former space of The Tannery in Harvard Square, right below the Gap). And the food is really good.
Butcher’s Platter – pates, smoked meats, cheese, pickles, olives
Braised Beef Brisket – with sweet potatoes and petite Brussels sprouts
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake (blurred in the background is the Bread Pudding – also amazing)
Another place that I’ve been to multiple times, especially this year because I work nearby, is Papagayo in the Fort Point area. I’ve always liked Papagayo, especially the spicy guacamole prepared tableside, but at a recent lunch with my co-workers I discovered a new gem from the menu:
Tacos de Atun (Tuna Tacos) – minced fresh tuna, wonton tortillas, chipotle cream, and cabbage slaw
These adorable Asian-style tacos were delightful. Sure, they’re little (the tacos are fried wonton wrappers), but you’re probably going to fill up on chips, salsa, and guacamole, right?
One more thing from a restaurant and then we’ll move on…
This is the Angry Orchard hard cider from Sweet Cheeks, one of my very favorite restaurants in Boston. If you like BBQ and meat, please, get thee Sweet Cheeks. You’ll eat the best biscuits EVER, and don’t ignore the desserts and drinks. Lately I’ve been opting for cider and cider-based cocktails (see cocktail from Ribelle above). Angry Orchard Crisp Apple is on top of my list!
As for other good eats that I’ve been enjoying in the comfort of my apartment:
I recently became part of the Kerrygold Blogger Network, and they sent me this party nibble pack of Dubliner Cracker Cut Cheese, crackers, red wine, and marcona almonds. They said it was a “party pack” but most of it became “instant dinner.” I love kicking back with a little cheese plate for myself – I put together cheese, crackers, fruit, wine, and chocolate. Paired with a good movie, a hoodie, and sweatpants, and I’m a happy camper. I especially love the convenient, cracker-size slices of creamy, crumbly Dubliner. If you haven’t tried Dubliner cheese yet, I suggest looking for it on your next grocery trip – it’s so good! It tastes like a cross between sweet cheddar, nutty Swiss, and salty Parmsesan. Great for snacking.
More snacks: CVS Gold Emblem pomegranate dark chocolate bites is a nice option when I’m craving something chocolate-y (and yes, it pairs well with my cheese plate for one).
And I fell in love with this little tin of Nudo extra virgin olive oil with cocoa nibs. (Holiday tip: for those who are looking to buy gifts for foodies, this festive gold tin would make a great stocking stuffer!)
I received both as samples, but will gladly buy both for myself. Especially the chocolate olive oil. It’s a unique way to add chocolate-y richness to desserts, and I can imagine it would be delicious on savory dishes as well. I drizzled a little bit on some pound cake slices and it made the cakes taste even more luscious.
Last but not least, several weeks ago I attended the Annual Taste of Perkins event:
lobster grilled cheese bites
salted caramel fudge brownies on a stick
Long time readers know that the Perkins School for the Blind has a special place in my heart and that I try to go to this wonderful event (please read my review and you’ll understand!) every year. This year’s event was bigger and better than ever, with blindfolded taste tests, silent auctions, a cocktail reception, food stations. But more than the food, I love how this event bring awareness, discovery, and greater appreciation for our senses. It’s always emotional for me because I have a personal connection to the school, but I am 100% sure that each and every person who attended that event was touched and came out feeling more grateful. And that’s the best kind of event there is.
Stay tuned next week for a holiday dessert recipe that will make homemade gifting easier and sweeter. And in the meantime, I’d love to hear about YOUR latest Good Eats!