Upstairs on the Square

Five Boston food bloggers, a four course heirloom tomato dinner, and three wine pairings makes for a fabulous Wednesday night!

It didn’t start out as such. I made my way over to Harvard Square in the rain, received some disappointing news, and since it was the one year anniversary of Ted Kennedy’s death, decided to walk down by the river and through JFK Park in Cambridge for a little bit of thinking (ahem, crying) time.

John F. Kennedy Park

Due to a hot summer and days of rain, everything was lush, green, and beautiful. The park was empty and peaceful, just what I needed for a little alone time after work.

JFK Park Harvard JFK Park, Harvard

I liked this quote from then President-elect Kennedy in 1961:

“The enduring qualities of Massachusetts–the common threads woven by the Pilgrim and the Puritan, the fisherman and the farmer, the Yankee and the immigrant–will not be and could not be forgotten in this nation’s executive mansion.” Yay Massachusetts!

JFK Park

After I was sufficiently rained on, I wandered back toward Harvard Square where I browsed boots, books, and clothes, and ended up at Cardullo’s ogling gourmet food products.

Cardullo's Cambridge

They have giant jars of Branston pickle, an Irish/English relish that is incredible on cheese sandwiches.

Cardullo's Cambridge

In addition to tons of coffee, chocolate, tea, cheese, crackers, biscuits, sauces, candy, juices, sodas, you name it, from around the world. Le sigh.

Soon enough it was time to head to dinner at Upstairs on the Square. Along the way I met two of my dining companions, Alicia and Michelle.

Upstairs on the Square

And once inside, we found Megan, looking like the queen of the castle on the high-backed purple chair.

image Delicious Dishings blogger Megan

Upstairs on the Square

Soon after we were joined by the lovely Daisy, and all decided on having the wine pairing with Upstairs on the Square’s “The Perfect August Repast; A Tomato Feast!”

We started with an amuse bouche, a shooter of summer gazpacho, served with a Ca’ del Solo Albarino from Bonny Doon Vineyard.  Bonny Doon’s wines always impress me, and this Albarino was no different. Refreshing, bright, and citrusy, it went exceedingly well with both the gazpacho and our next course, the Classic Native Heirloom Tomato Salad with Fresh Market Raspberry Vinegar, Vermont Goat Cheese, and Thai Basil.

gazpacho

The Albarino had great citrus – but not acidic- flavors that paired very well with the slight acidity of the tomatoes. Creamy goat cheese and sweet raspberries brought it all together.

goat cheese tomato salad

The next course was a Parsley & Lemon Crusted Hake with Lightly Crushed Yukon Golds & Lemongrass Tomato Water. Hearty and light at the same time with a delicious kiss of lemon flavor, this was my favorite savory course. With our hake, we sipped a Domaine Caillot Mersault from Burgundy. It had a delightful oaky flavor that really brought out the lemon flavor in the fish but also went well with the potatoes. I discovered that potatoes and wine with a hint of woodiness go well together!

hake

The next course was a beef course, Wood-Grilled New York Strip Steak with a Tomato a la Provencale and Slow Roasted Garlic. While I am not a beef eater, I still loved this course for the fresh stuffed tomato seasoned with garlic and what I think were tarragon and fennel, paired with a spectacular 2006 Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap. The nose of the wine was pure Napa Valley, some nice dark fruits, a bit of dark chocolate, and that earthy, woody smell that just immediately transfers me across the country to the place I would to be most. :)

NY Strip Steak

The final course, our dessert, was simply spectacular, delicious, unique, creative, magnifique! Sweet Tomato Sorbet Coupe with Olive Oil Ice Cream, Candied Pine Nuts and Lemon Thyme Shortbread. I can’t even put into words the layers of flavors and textures. The sorbet truly tasted like tomatoes, but in a sweet, light sort of way. The olive oil ice cream was creamy, rich, decadent, and the pine nuts were crunchy, sweet, and light. Top top it off, buttery, lemony shortbread with a savory hint of thyme.

Sweet Tomato Sorbet

We spent the evening eating, drinking, and catching up. It is so much fun to be with such a smart, funny group of women with the same interests AND people who not only understand the need to photograph every morsel, but join you in doing it! We were probably quite the sight, but we had a great time and I can’t wait to get together again.

Before I forget, the winner of the CSN Stores giveaway is. . . Kristy! Kristy, please email me with your contact info so I can get your gift card to you!

Tomorrow I am planning a special local food/farmers’ market blog post, but I DO need foodies to feature in the coming weeks, so let me know if you would like to be featured!

Random question of the day: What is the nicest thing someone has said to you recently?

A very old friend who I haven’t seen in over 12 years left a very kind comment on my Facebook page the other day and made my day, and I would love to hear what people are saying to make you happy!

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Tags: bloggers, Boston, cambridge, Food, heirloom tomatoes, tomato dinner, Upstairs on the Square, wine

  1. Melissa’s avatar

    I love this post; your whole meal looks delicious especially that dessert! I’ve never been to Upstairs on the Square but I m looking forward to trying it. I like your compliment question too. I’ve been getting some really nice comments on my blog and it makes me so happy! And a few weeks ago I borrowed a pair of shorts from my best friend and then found out she gave me her favorite pair – sounds small but I thought it was so nice! She could’ve given me any other pair!

    Reply

  2. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

    That is one of my favorite places in the square. I don’t get there as often as I’d like. The strip steak looks delicious!

    Reply

  3. 5 Star Foodie’s avatar

    A terrific meal – the sweet tomato sorbet dessert sounds fantastic!

    Reply

    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      It was amazing and so unexpected!

      Reply

    2. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic’s avatar

      I love those 3 places in Harvard Square. The JFK Park is beautiful in the mornings too. Recently, someone told me that I am “full of life” and that made me really happy!

      Reply

    3. Justin’s avatar

      Great photos. Looks like a delicious meal.

      Reply

    4. Emily’s avatar

      Looks like a delicious meal … with photos of some very familiar places. I work in Harvard Square and love taking a break to wander around Cardullos or hang out in JFK park!

      Reply

    5. Michelle’s avatar

      I had such a wonderful time last night and I hope our meal cheered you up just a little bit. The photos are great and I hope you will consider posting some on Foodgawker – great way to get some hits on your blog! Although the food shots are great, I think that the one of Megan is seriously adorable!

      Reply

    6. Corinne’s avatar

      ooooo i am loving the colorful decor! everything looks so wonderful and prepared with extra tlc (especially that dessert!) glad you ladies had a nice night.

      Reply

    7. Shanna @ Shanna Like Banana’s avatar

      I would love to go to Upstairs on the Square..so cute! And that dessert is so up my alley.

      Someone said I was beautiful. I dont’ hear it often so it made me feel warm and fuzzy ;)

      Reply

    8. Megan’s avatar

      I’m so glad you came to dinner, and I hope you’re feeling better. I definitely can’t wait to do it again.

      Lately, a lot of people have been telling me how much they’re going to miss me and how much they appreciated everything I did. It makes me sad and happy at the same time.

      Reply

    9. Daisy’s avatar

      I’m loving all these comments re: your question. So some guy at the LQ store just complimented my choice in beer (2 different six packs) and it sparked some nice conversation. Why is the nicest thing someone said to me about my choice in beer? I have no idea, but it just came to me!

      That is a really powerful quote. I need to incorporate it somewhere in my life. It is so perfect for MA and your walk. I love how you took a special moment for the late senator.

      Seriously great pictures. Especially of the interior which I took none of! But now after seeing your shots, think I did pretty OK describing! such a cute shot of Megan too.

      Reply

    10. Kristy’s avatar

      Looks like you had a great meal! Wish I could get into the city more ofter, it’s beautiful! I remember Ted Kennedy’s death like it was yesterday! :( I was at Disney World and my poor family had to peel me away from the tv. Thanks for sharing your day! Great pics! :)

      Reply

    11. Belinda @zomppa’s avatar

      Yay to Boston! There is something so special about that place. Just came back from Cambridge visiting the fam. Upstairs is a fabulous place…. Something nice? That I don’t follow rules. =)

      Reply

    12. Debbie’s avatar

      love Boston, love Harvard Square – love, love,

      Reply

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