Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I guess I should consider myself lucky to have avoided the bug all these years. Although I've spent plenty of time feeding other people NyQuill and tea, I'd forgotten how wretched it feels to actually have the flu myself. Fortunately, before the high fever, chills and muscle aches set in, I managed to enjoy one last decadent meal at the new L'Espalier location.

We arrived bedraggled with umbrellas turned inside out, and were greeted with the same pleasant-not-TOO-pretentious attitude of the old L'Espalier restaurant. After some confusion over tables we were ushered into a glass elevator complete with two comfy chairs to recline upon the entire three floors up. We were seated in the ultra modern open dining room by the large windows facing the street from which we watched drenched afternoon shoppers make their way along the windy sidewalks. $%&#s to be them!

For lunch I had the L’Espalier’s “B.L.T,” a delectable lobster salad with green tomato, smoked bacon and avocado butter on top of a toasted buttery brioche style bread and served with homemade paprika potato chips, followed by the L’Espalier’s artisanal cheese plate. All DELISH. Despite my better judgment, I also opted for a wild orchid and lychee martini. I couldn't resist. It was, in fact, very delicious - well-balanced, smooth with just the right amount of lychee sweetness and a wafting of fresh orchid from the infused vodka. It was also the last thing I remember tasting before the fever rapidly descended.

Hopefully the worst of the flu is over by now and I can soon go back to every day life - even if it's mostly on the outside looking in.


p.s. Kudos to the one who picked out all those crazy glass chandeliers for the L'Espalier dining room!

774 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199
(617) 262-3023

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Can't help it, but I do like Ugg boots. When the weather is cold and yucky out, it feels really nice to slip into a pair of soft and fluffy sheep skin lined boots. They are so light it feels like you are wearing slippers! I'll be the first to admit, the classic Uggs are pretty ugg-ly. However, the Ugg brand has come up with a couple of styles that are not too hideous.

I am particularly obsessed about this pair:

If only I wasn't stuck on a graduate student budget!


Image lifted from zappos.com

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bar-le-Duc Red Currant Preserve

Bar-le-Duc Red Currant Preserve

The origin of this expensive preserve dates from the 14th century, when jars were offered as gifts to princes, dukes and ladies-of-the-court who traveled via Bar-le-Duc. Even today, the process has not changed. Seeded by hand with a goose quill, the delicate currant berries are thrown into hot syrup, a method which allows the fruit to keep its flavor and bright color.

A jam fit for a queen or just an overpriced jar of jelly? You decide.


Image lifted from www.finefoodnow.com

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Eye candy

A deliciously delectable photo caught my eye this morning:

Cake on the Brain made these gorgeous macaroons, inspired by the flavors of an Oreo cookie, yet girlie and decadent with a pink white chocolate buttercream filling and crushed cocoa nibs on the dark chocolate cookie shells.

If only I could reach across my computer screen and grab one for real!


Image lifted from cakeonthebrain.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Easy soup recipes

The weather is getting colder, and for some reason, time seems less easy to come by these days. Recently I've started getting into soups, of the easy-to-make-saute-and-blend variety. Here are a couple of favorites:

easy black bean soup

1 16-ounce package (about 2 1/2 cups) dried black beans (or canned)
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped carrots
5 cups veggie (or chicken) broth
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 jalapeño chili, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander

3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup (packed) chopped fresh cilantro

Place beans in large bowl. Add enough water to cover by 3 inches. Let stand overnight. Drain well. Simmer the beans in water until tender, stirring occasionally, about two hours (slow-cooker recommended.)

Sauté celery, onion, and carrots until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, beans, broth, jalapeño, vinegar, cumin and coriander. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer soup, 10-20 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer soup to blender and process until slightly chunky puree forms. Return soup to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Blend sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice and 1/2 cup cilantro in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Place dollop of sour cream mixture atop soup. Garnish with additional chopped cilantro and chopped tomato.

easy cauliflower soup

1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups 1-inch pieces cauliflower (cut from 1 large head)
3 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt veggie (or chicken) broth
1 3/4-inch cube Pecorino Romano cheese plus additional cheese shavings for serving

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
White or black truffle oil (for drizzling)

Sauté onion, celery, and garlic. Cover and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add cauliflower, 3 1/2 cups broth, and cheese cube. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in processor. Return to same pan. Add cream and bring soup to simmer. Thin with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if desired. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with drizzles of truffle oil and fried sage leaves.

Bon appetit!


Images lifted from www.senseicorp.com and winepairings.blogspot.com

Thursday, September 11, 2008


My newest favorite cafe is the much-anticipated Sofra Bakery. Run by the chefs and owners of Oleana, Sofra (from the Arabic word for dining table, picnic or kilim; and also a symbol for generosity and hospitality) offers a stunning array of modern Eastern Mediterranean food with a twist. After drooling over the menu for days, we finally made the trip. While I had planned on opting only for the delicious-sounding Turkish Breakfast and an iced latte, I ended up spending over $40 in gorgeous pastries. Despite the best-intentions, I walked away with a box filled to the brim with all sorts of goodies:

lebanese croissant with za’atar
sicilian ricotta, orange & chocolate croissant
perfect sugar
hazelnutter butters
sesame cashew
coconut macaroon
chocolate hazelnut baklava with cocoa honey
umm-ali—egyptian bread & butter pudding
crick-cracks with nigella seeds
and homemade string cheese

The Turkish Breakfast alone was fantastic. It included a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg covered in crispy strings of something-or-other, fresh cucumber, tomato, salt-cured black olives, feta, and delicious fresh figs in Greek-style yogurt with honey or spoon sweets on top.

If you haven't been yet, you MUST GO.


One Belmont Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 661-3161

Image lifted from www.boston.com