dinner

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I wrote the below post before the horrific terrorist attacks on Paris on Friday. I have been thinking about all of those affected  by the attacks all weekend and still, like so many others, have no ability to make sense of what happened or the state our world is in. I spent much of the weekend anxious and sad.

I thought about not posting today, but ultimately, I can sit around and feel sad or I can share my love of life with blog readers, people who have, through technology, become friends over the years. I hope that continuing to share things we love and to keep an eye on one another and to connect can help us to keep the love and light in the world when there are some determined to take it away.

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I’ve mentioned it a few times, but our dining habits lately have been leaning sharply toward Dorchester. We’ve visited Tavolo, Ester, and Ashmont Grill quite frequently, and they are so good and so close that it’s hard not to  pull ourselves away.

Last week after drinks with friends we found ourselves in the Fort Point area of Boston and suddenly starving. We were parked by Bastille Kitchen, so we decided to go in and grab a couple of appetizers.

I instantly fell in love with the space and the buzz of energy and activity. The restaurant was busy but had a nice noise level and lots of smiling patrons.

Domaine Augis "La Rosée"

They had a nice by-the-glass wine selection, and I of course went with pink bubbly, Domaine Augis "La Rosée", which added to the already celebratory Friday mood.

I had started the week off with a terrible 36 hour bug and as a result hadn’t eaten much more than soup all week, but at Bastille Kitchen my appetite came back with a vengeance. Their bread basket is not just bread, but warm, buttery mini croissants, which I basically attacked. They were flaky and heavenly. If I could have a warm basket delivered every morning, I would be all set.

warm croissants

Date night always includes oysters, and we polished these off in no time. Fresh, cold, perfect – I love oysters this time of year!

oysters

Now, the plan was to share some appetizers and then to head home, but my ravenous post-illness body saw the Porterhouse for two, and that was all I could think about.

Sides It came with asparagus, potato gratin, grilled tomatoes, and sauce bordelaise, and we got a bit of horseradish on the side, and it was all simply dreamy. The meat barely needed a knife. It was so tender and flavorful, and all of the vegetables were the perfect accompaniments. We ate every bite; I definitely took the lead on this endeavor!

Porterhouse for Two It felt so good to want to eat after feeling so miserable, so we ordered dessert. Profiteroles, light, fluffy, another pastry win, were stuffed with caramel chip ice cream and had a warm hazelnut chocolate sauce for pouring.

profiteroles

The service at Bastille Kitchen was as exquisite as the food and ambiance. Our server and everyone who cared for us were so pleasant and attentive and smiling all the while. It was just a lovely experience. I can’t wait to return.

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Tags: Boston, date night, Dining out, dinner, Food, Restaurants, wine

Summer weather calls for patio dining, cold cocktails, and lots of seafood. Coastal living is at its best this time of year, and Boston chefs are certainly doing a good job showcasing the bounty of our beautiful seas.

Select Oyster Bar

From the first time I heard about Select Oyster Bar, I couldn’t wait to try it. I absolutely loved Neptune Oyster when Chef Serpa was there (worst photos in a blog post EVER) and attended a delicious Backyard Farms event where he made an amazing lobster Caprese. When two of my favorite ladies and I decided to get together for dinner, Select was at the top of our list.

We got a coveted seat on their small patio behind the restaurant and tucked into the menus, definitely having a difficult time not choosing everything. We started with a round of cocktails, mine, a classic and refreshing Hemingway Daiquiri.

cocktails

We proceeded to share a bunch of plates, each of which surprised and delighted us with unique flavors and freshness.

salmon crudo

Salmon Crudo with Pistachio Oil and Lime was tender and tart, nice and light for a warm summery evening.

lobster salad

The dressed lobster let the Maine lobster be the star of the show, with hints of lemon and herbs, a simple, luxurious dish.

Oysters

We had to have oysters at Select Oyster Bar, and we chose a selection of mostly East Coast oysters with three Kumamoto oysters thrown in for balance. Wellfleet and Island Creek oysters proved once again to be my favorite, briny, slightly creamy, the taste of summer.

octopus

The octopus was a standout for me. I love grilled octopus, and this was perfection.

squid

We were all really excited about the squid special, but it was the least favorite item of the night. It was still good, but not something we would order again, given the selection.

hamachi

Flash Seared Hamachi was another favorite. Its meatiness paired well with lime slaw and whipped avocado.

bubbly and lobster Select has a great wine list with interesting and affordable choices by the glass and bottle. We toasted with a bottle of Mercat Cava, which was great with all of the seafood dishes and fun for a Thursday night celebrating nice weather and friends.

I would return to Select Oyster Bar again and again, for oysters and cocktails and to try all of the menu items that we missed. It’s a great addition to the Boston dining scene.

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Tags: Boston, coastal living, cocktails, Dining out, dinner, oysters, Restaurants, seafood, wine

The calendar definitely says it’s fall, but the forecast feels a little bit summery here, doesn’t it? I am loving the warm days, being able to have the windows open, and like last night eating dinner outside. We even spent Saturday night, into the wee hours, hanging out around an outdoor fire. It’s a great time to be outside!

When we do have a cold spell, I am all about the comfort food, and since I have gained more weight than I would like in the last few months, I am trying to find some balance in health and comfort. I am also joining a gym tomorrow. Hold me to it.

This dish kind of randomly came together. It’s a whole wheat penne bake with a béchamel sauce, hearty mushrooms and Brussels sprouts, and a little bit of cheese to make it just that little bit decadent. I love pasta dishes that involve white sauces (like this must-try butternut squash white bean lasagna), and this one is made flavorful with a zesty Dijon mustard.

pasta ingredients

As always, this recipe was something that I eyeballed. It ended up making enough for dinner and a few lunches, the perfect Sunday supper, in my eyes. I started by bringing water to a boil for the whole wheat penne and adding plenty of salt. I think that it would be really good if the pasta was cooked in chicken stock just for a little added flavor.

While the pasta was cooking, I started my white sauce. I always start with a roux of Kerrygold butter and whole wheat flour and then slowly add in whole milk once the flour is browned and smelling nutty. I stir the sauce until it’s thick and then add some freshly ground nutmeg. Nutmeg always brings out a great flavor in a white sauce. This sauce is made extra flavorful with a big scoop of Dijon mustard.

While the pasta boiled and that white sauce thickened, I was caramelizing shallots and mixing in shredded Brussels sprouts and chopped mushrooms. The veggies alone would have been a delicious side; a little bit of butter and the combination of flavors was amazing. Rather than doing that, waited until the vegetables were slightly softened, and then I got started building my pasta dish.

caramelized shallots

I drained the pasta and layered pasta and vegetables into a casserole dish, pouring over the white sauce and then finally topping it with dollops of ricotta cheese and a fine sprinkling of mozzarella.

pasta bake

Since everything was already hot, I just cooked this for about 10 minutes and then hit it with a medium broiler until the cheese on top started to brown. Digging in was a treat, the dish hot and bubbly with a nice hint of creamy and tangy and vegetables in every bite. You could add meat to this, but we didn’t need to. It was definitely delicious and filling all on its own! I love red sauce with pasta, but my stomach is not always a fan, so dishes like this will be making repeat appearances this winter!

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Tags: comfort food, dinner, fall recipes, pasta, pasta recipe, recipe, vegetables, Vegetarian

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