Monday, May 21, 2018

Bacon Jam Recipe

Every Spring we are lucky enough to be sent a shipment of vidalia onions from from the first crop in Vidalia, Georgia.  To say these onions are incredible is an understatement.  Mild and sweet, it is one of my favorite flavor profiles.  This year we made Bacon Jam.  It was our first attempt and it came out excellent.  The recipe is simple but takes some time and needs to be watched.  You made need to adjust times and heat settings to suit your own stove.  We found it took a bit longer and a slightly higher heat setting to caramelize the onions with the brown sugar.  In the end, though, you get a burst of delicious sweet and salty flavor that's perfect just slathered on a pice of fresh bread or toast.  Enjoy!

The Best Bacon Jam


1 lb. thick cut bacon
  • 2 extra large sweet onions, quartered and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  1. 1  Cut the bacon into half-inch slices and add them to a large frying pan. Don't worry if the bacon pieces stick together, they will come apart as they cook. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the bacon is cooked but still quite chewy. A few crispy bit are ok.
  2. 2  Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings and reserve for another use.
  3. 3  Add the onions to the pan and cook for about 8-10 minutes then reduce the heat to low. Add the sugar and stir. Continue to cook until the onions have caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add the coffee, 1/2 cup of water and the reserved bacon and increase the heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring about every five minutes, until the onions are thick and jam-like, about 30 minutes.
  4. 4  Remove from heat and stir through the balsamic. Taste for seasoning and salt if necessary.
  5. 5  Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. Bring back to room temperature before serving. There will be little spots of white fat when you take it out of the fridge. As the jam comes to room temperature, these will disappear.
It is absolutely delicious.  Promise!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Dispatch From London: Tea At St. James

How fitting it is that our little blog began so inauspiciously eleven years ago today at the St. James in London, having afternoon tea.  We strolled through Windsor Castle on that trip and, yes, even through the very St. George's Chapel where Prince Harry will exchange vows with American Meghan Markle as the entire world tunes in to watch.  Whatever one's stand on the modern idea of a Monarchy might be it will never stop the avalanche of media coverage that is now happening.  Millions and millions of people the world over will be watching the ceremony, including millions of Americans who will be up before dawn to watch it live. 

We love the pomp and circumstance, the ceremonial glory and, yes, the romance.  I can tell you personally that when one stands in that dining room at that table where one hundred guests can be seated, with the glow of candles, the flowers arranged so perfectly, the glittering sterling silver centerpieces, the fine china perfectly arranged with the use of a measuring stick, it is overwhelmingly elegant and impressive.  It's not bad for the weekend getaway they mostly use it for.  Not bad at all.

And although this blog may not be getting millions of viewers today we actually have had millions over the years.  People from all over the world, many on their way to Boston and they want to know exactly what everyone else wants to know when they travel:  Where should I eat?  Where should I go?  What should I do?  They seem to enjoy it and we love doing it.  Hopefully, we'll be around for eleven more years.  And we thank you for the love and support!

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Friendly Toast

Cold, rainy weekend days in New England are just made for long, lingering brunches.  One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is:  Where to brunch?  We spent last Saturday revisiting The Friendly Toast after a long hiatus and found it to be every bit as good as we initially found.

We may not have been able to sit outside to dine alfresco but it has not lost it's charm with the funky décor, the extensive menu, the eclectic crowd and the great service. 

We began with a White Sangria, fruity and refreshing and served with a bright look on a dreary day.

Some Like It Tot:  Tater tots covered with a melted cheddar cheese, bacon, red onion, scallion and sriracha glaze.  One would fully expected the tots to be a bit soggy under all that but, surprisingly, they were not.  This clearly passed our crispy test and was a great appetizer to start with.

We are always working to give you the best food pics possible.  Lots of light helps and we were lucky enough to get a window seat.

Kiss My Grits:  homemade biscuit topped with fried chicken tenders, over easy eggs and cheddar grits, finished with a sriracha honey glaze and served with home fries.  Pretty much what one would expect a filling brunch breakfast to be.  Excellent home fries.

The Georgia Reuben:  Smoked turkey, tangy honey coleslaw, melted swiss cheese and thousand-island dressing on Anadama bread.  This was our top fave, one of the best sandwiches we've had in quite awhile.  The Anadama bread, first off, is a big contributing factor.  It shows deep New England roots in the corn and molasses ingredients.  Really good when toasted, it was the perfect foundation to a really great sandwich.  The cole slaw, also good.

The menu at The Friendly Toast is daunting.  There are just so many choices and they all sound very tempting.  One would think that it's just too much.  How can they execute so many choices and do it well?  Yet, they seem to do it consistently and the line waiting to get in is a testimony.  So, there is a simple solution.  Just keep going back.  And buy a loaf of that Anadama Bread to take home when you do.  They sell fresh loaves of their specialty breads at five bucks per loaf.

The Friendly Toast
One Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA 
Telephone:  617.621.1200
Other locations include Back Bay, Burlington and the original in Portsmouth, NH


Monday, May 7, 2018

Taste Of Back Bay 2018

Mariano, José and Ernestos,  all Berklee College Of Music students who performed at the recent Taste Of The Back Bay held at the Prudential Skywalk.

We braved a dreary night to climb our way up to the Prudential Skywalk for the annual Taste Of The Back Bay soiree held by The Neighborhood Association Of The Back Bay.  Eventually, the mist and clouds lifted revealing our sparkling city as we noshed on delights and sipped adult beverages from the most popular dining spots in the area.

Chef Jody Adams was there serving up Beef And Pork Meatballs from Porto.

Maraina Raimer and Jacob Glodde were pouring out those Sangria sips from Joe's American Bar And Grill.  I think it was the most popular drink of the night!

Deviled Egg and shrimp, just one of the many tastes sampled.

And, of course, live music from those Berklee students is always a big draw for this event.  Just look at the fog we were shrouded in when the evening began.

And last but not least these colorful cupcakes from Joanne Chang and Flour Bakeries.

A very fun night for all with much of the proceeds going to Women's Lunch Place, a day center for women in need where dignity is everything.  Congratulations all.


We attended this event at the invite of Back Bay Neighborhood Association as members of the media.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Cooking For A Cause 2018 For East End House

It was lots of great food and drink, new friends, live music and that sweeping view recently when we attended Cooking For A Cause 2018 to benefit East End House in Cambridge.

We tasted sumptuous plates and met all kinds of new people while atop the Royal Sonesta, at one of our favorite annual events that sort of kicks off the Spring social season for us.  Great job by everyone!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Jump Into Ireland

Fab dinner at the Four Seasons in Boston (dated but still regal) with Paula Carroll of Ashford Castle and the lovely Karen Fleming of Hayfield Family Collection.  I am totally ready to jump back into Ireland. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Taste Of The Back Bay

Looks like the weather may cooperate for a nice 360 degree view of Boston from the Prudential Skywalk this Wednesday as we stroll Taste Of The Back Bay 2018.  If not, Boston is still beautiful in the fog!  Fine Dining will be represented as well as great drinks and live music set to the background of the Boston skyline at dusk, always a spectacular view.

Tickets can be purchased through the website and will this year benefit The Women's Lunch Place.  We'll see you there!

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Medford Renaissance

I moved to Medford many years ago after discovering what a hidden gem it really is.  Quiet neighborhoods and literally a five minute drive to downtown Boston, served exceedingly well by public transportation (no less than seven bus routes through Medford Square will whisk you to the Red or Orange line in minutes and soon the Green line, too) and affordable rents.  When the opportunity came to buy it was a no-brainer even if the Square was a bit of a dead zone, commercially speaking.

Now that has changed.  The "townie" image has all but completely dissipated and the area steeped in colonial history is making a comeback.  Once the home of rum distilleries and the heart of colonial shipbuilding, a stop that Paul Revere made on his famous ride, where, I might add, many historians agree he sampled some of that Medford Rum (the first use of merchandise branding in the USA) and was, shall we say, feeling no pain when he finally arrived in Lexington.  When people make lame jokes about "Meffa" now the residents don't even know what they are talking about.  Diversity has arrived.

The stately, original Medford High School was converted to luxury condominiums years ago and today sits like a castle on Forest Street with huge, well-kept Victorians all around.  It is not your modern definition of "luxury" which includes everything from swamp views to a backyard commuter rail guaranteed to wake you up.  Here we have fourteen foot ceilings, eight foot windows, lofts and a swimming pool that's indoors and year round, perfect for blizzard parties.  And fine dining you can walk to.

Yet it is this, the Chevalier Theatre, that is drawing thousands of people to Medford each week and causing a major surge in popularity.  Back in the day John F. Kennedy spoke here and Frank Sinatra sang for thousands of bobbysocked fans in the venue attached to the High School.  It was an Art Deco gem for decades but after the sale of the High School it sat empty and covered in dust.  Then federal money became available for a preservation and the interior was restored to it's former glory.

The place plugged along, home to community theater productions, dance recitals and those non-denominational Sunday fellowship meetings.  Then, a few months back, the same management company that runs The Wilbur in Boston stepped in and took over the box office and show bookings.  Joe Biden packed them in for a speech and book tour event.  Frankie Valli last week.  Wanda Sykes tonight.  Gladys Knight up next.  The lines to get in are down the street and around the block.

And when you are bringing thousands of new people into town every week they all have to eat, or have a cocktail, somewhere, right?  Those lucky enough to have secured a lease a few years back are in restaurant heaven right now, a tenfold increase in business.  "It's phenomenal," says a source at Salvatore's on High Street, just a block away and adjacent to a large public parking lot.

You want sushi?  You have your choice.  Mexican?  No problem.  Italian?  Family style or sophisticated high end, it's there.  With more on the way.  Fresh, on-site roasted coffee beans at the café?  Pakistani cuisine? The winner of top donuts in Boston?  ALL within one hundred feet of each other.

I have often heard it said that when restaurants begin to move into a neighborhood is the time to buy.  I have often said myself that I would never live in a place where I cannot walk to an ice cream shop within five minutes.  It seems like Medford has arrived.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Lucky Strike Social Is Open

Lucky Strike Social at Assembly Row is now open with two floors of fun-filled entertainment, dining and cocktails.

We sort of beat the crowd to check the place out at a VIP Preview last week and although I am not always a fan of these entertainment emporiums that offer bowling, video, etc., games I have to admit that it was a very fun few hours well-spent.

I was pretty content at the shooting gallery where I discovered I am somewhat of a marksman.  Guests are fully encouraged to check their politics at the door shall we say.  I could definitely see myself heading back here with the boys from work on a Friday night after a long week.  There is enough going on here to have something for everyone.

Lucky Strike Social
325 Revolution Drive
Somerville, MA  02145
Telephone:  857.997.8000


We were invited to this event as media guests without promise of any editorial consideration.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Cooking For A Cause 2018

Head on over to the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge this Friday, April 20 to taste dishes and sip drinks from a whole bunch of the area's best chefs and mixologists and all for a good cause.  It's Cooking For A Cause to benefit the East End House.  It's also a great way to kick off the Spring social season with a sweeping view of the Boston skyline as your backdrop.  We will see you there!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Roosters On Charles Opens

Men's grooming emporium Roosters opened up a brand new spot on Charles Street and Beacon Hill turned out to welcome them in full force.  The space has an old school ambiance and fits right in with the neighborhood feel.


A classic shop featuring Master Barbers for quality shaves, cuts and a temporary " Camo Color" to reduce the grays (I can personally attest to this) and take ten years off your look, this location is open 7 days a week.

Roosters Men's Grooming Center
121 Charles Street
Boston, MA
Telephone:  857.239.9560


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Friendly Toast

One of our favorite places to take out-of-town visitors for breakfast or brunch on weekends is The Friendly Toast.  So, when we were recently invited to stop by the Back Bay location recently and test drive the new summer menu items, we were more than happy to.

Peachy Keen Sangria:  Sweet Herbal Tea, Peach Liqueur, Mangoes, Strawberry, Rosé

What says summer (if it ever gets here) more than a sangria?  This one was particularly refreshing with lots of fruit flavor.

Coconut/Lime Cheesecake French Toast
Another one of the new menu items is this decadent Cheesecake French Toast.  Not overly sweet but rich enough to satisfy.  There are also lots of new savory flavors to try and also the incredible fresh bread baked onsite daily and sold still warm to keep the breakfast interest going all week. 

With the funky décor, fun atmosphere, multiple locations and reasonable prices it's the perfect spot for a getaway at any time, not just weekends.


We were invited to sample bites of new menu items as members of the media with no remuneration or promise of any editorial consideration.