restaurants

Belated Birthday in Beacon Hill

At this point, my birthday was over a week ago… 10 days to be exact!  On the day itself, I celebrated by going to dinner with my family.  This weekend, my friend’s threw me a little birthday brunch to ring in my next year.  It snowed heavily in Boston on Saturday morning, and by the time we left the streets were slick with slush.  Still, I shuffled through Beacon Hill with a belly full of brunch, bag full of gifts, and heart full of thanks. Here’s my belated birthday recap! IMG_6919 [1] My brother got me a record player for my birthday! [2] He got my Taylor Swift’s 1989 as my first record. This is also the year I was born!  [3] My friend Julia got me this adorable iphone case featuring a dachshund drinking Starbucks and a nautical monogram wine tumbler! [4] My dear friend Stacie sent me these adorable dachshund magnets!  Are you sensing a theme? [5] My first selfie of age 26.  Eep. [6] Beacon Hill Bistro where I dined with my sweet friends Carissa, Kelsey, Chelsea, Sarah, and Elaina. [7] Poached eggs with hollandaise is my absolute favorite! [8] Carissa made me a cross-stitch Piplup! [9] Kelsey bought me these awesome Edward Gorey Tarot cards while we browsed the paper shops on Charles St.  My friends just get me. A sincere thank you to everyone who made me feel so special as I entered the latter half of my twenties.  It was a wonderful birthday and I sure hope that sets the precedent for the year!  And happy birthday to my fellow Capricorns!

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November or Nah?

Well, it’s December!  In this month’s edition of Photo Finish, we say goodbye to the month of November.  I admit, I was a bit off my instagrind this past month, but I’ll do better!

Here’s what I did capture:

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[1] Beautiful golden autumn in the South End for Stephanie Cmar’s last donut pop-up of the year. [2] Alex & Ani’s Providence Collection made a great addition to my enormous A&A collection.  The matching skeleton key earrings are on my Christmas list! [3] I attended my first little event as a blogger!  Did you read my post on Loretta’s Last Call? [4] I attended my second midnight release at Game Stop and this one was a big deal!  I picked up Super Smash Bros. for WiiU, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire & Omega Ruby! [5] I finally got my hair done!  Blonde for the holidays, please and thank you. [6] I decorated my Christmas tree early… again!  It’s full of dachshunds, obviously. [7] I play A LOT of Pokémon.  I redeemed my download codes for Gengar and Diancie on this exciting Saturday night pictured. [8] I spent Thanksgiving at my parents’ house.  I swear, my mom’s decorating could be in a magazine! [9] Leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast.  Yes.

 

Is everyone ready for the holiday season?

Follow along for more instagram adventures, and expect lots of sparkle this month on the blog!

Hell’s Kitchen Recap: 13 Chefs Compete

Last week’s episode was in classic Hell’s Kitchen format.  Girls of the Phi Mu sorority come out for the challenge.  Hell’s Kitchen is hosting a dinner to celebrate the 160th anniversary of their sorority.  The party planning committee came forward to vote on the dishes they wanted for their menu.  Since Phi Mu was founded in Georgia, the ladies requested Southern cooking.  Chef Ramsay had each team prepare a chicken dish, a seafood dish, and a beef dish.  The winning dishes make it to the next night’s menu.

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Phi Mu sister Kayla picks her favorite dishes

Chicken:

  • Red presents fried chicken with mac and cheese and collard greens
  • Blue presents twice-battered fried chicken with a mushroom sauce

Blue wins the point.

Seafood:

  • Red presents shrimp with grits
  • Blue presents blackened catfish with green beans and grits

Red wins the point.

Beef:

  • Red presents a ribeye with sautéed string beans
  • Blue presents a ribeye with candied yams and collard greens

Red wins the final point!

As a reward, the ladies head off to Las Vegas!  Their reward includes a $500 shopping spree at the Caesar’s Palace shops, dinner cooked by Chef Ramsay’s mentor Guy Savoy, and a pep talk from past Hell’s Kitchen winner Christina Wilson.  Blue gets the pleasure of setting up the dining room for Phi Mu, including glittering their letters for the event.

The next night’s dinner service is a bit rocky… both teams struggle with chicken!   Kashia keeps saying “flustrated,” an accidental portmanteau of “flustered” and “frustrated.”  She said this in a past episode and I let it go, but she says it so many times in last week’s episode that it’s entirely clear that she does not know what the word is.

The night’s dinner service was all about team work, but the kitchens lacked the sisterhood and brotherhood that Chef Ramsay was hoping to achieve.  He declares Blue the winners and has Red make nominations.  When Kashia mentions that she wants to put Jessica up for elimination, Jessica throws a hissy fit.  How old is this chick?  It’s a show on which people get eliminated… did you not see this coming?  Now, I do think Jessica is a strong chef, but she did not keep it together with the chicken!

Red nominates: Bev, who couldn’t keep it together on garnish & Jessica, who starts pouting again immediately

Rightfully, Chef Ramsay eliminates Bev.  She complains about the red team being a bunch of cry babies as she exits.  She’s right, to an extent, but at least they can cook.  Bev’s been lagging for weeks.

Do you think Chef Ramsay made the right choice?

With the teams now even, who do you think will be the next to go?

Dinner at Highland Kitchen

This winter has been a rough one.  I hadn’t really seen any of my friends since my birthday last month… we’ve all been hibernating a little.  Last Friday, we finally got out of our apartments for a good meal.  My friend Sarah chose Highland Kitchen in Somerville.  The cuisine, described as “Seasonal American Comfort Food,” was absolutely perfect for the rainy night.

We had a party of four, and we were all starving after our work days.  We heard the wait could be pretty intense, so we got there early, around 6:30.  We got seated immediately!  Within 15 minutes of being seated, the restaurant was packed and we were glad we got there when we did.

Everything that came out of the kitchen looked so, so good.  The cocktail menu was pretty overwhelming.  The winner was the elderflower margarita that Chelsea ordered, which was perfectly sweet and tangy!

We went ahead and ordered the buffalo fried brussel sprouts for an appetizer.  Man, these were delicious!  I’m a big fan of buffalo anything.  I make buffalo cauliflower at home fairly often, and would like to try to replicate a version of this sometime.

I ordered the pan roasted chicken which came with an herb gravy, sweet potato hash, and broccolini.  The chicken was super moist and cut like butter.  The sweet potato hash was the perfect side.

Sarah, the resident vegetarian, ordered a veggie burger and was over the moon about it.  She said it tasted like meat and thought it could be the best veggie burger she’s ever eaten.  Kelsey ordered the gumbo, which I had the opportunity to sample– its spiciness was perfect!

clockwise: ambiance @ Highland Kitchen, elderflower margarita, buffalo brussel sprouts, & my delicious pan roasted chicken!

clockwise: ambiance @ Highland Kitchen, elderflower margarita, buffalo brussel sprouts, & my delicious pan roasted chicken!

Finally, after reading rave reviews about the banana bread pudding, we decided to order it for dessert to share.  I usually only eat chocolate desserts, but I’m a huge fan of bananas foster and that’s exactly what this tasted like!

my favorite part of the meal-- dessert!

my favorite part of the meal– dessert!

This bread pudding was super light and airy, drenched in warm caramel and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Chelsea confessed she doesn’t even like bananas but loved the dessert.  The wait staff was nice and let us stay and chat without pressuring us to move on.  We all left extremely full and extremely happy!

I’d love to go back to Highland Kitchen– there’s a lot more on the menu I want to try!  I definitely suggest checking this place out!

My friends and I are looking forward to nicer weather so we can get out to more new spots.  We typically need them to be vegetarian-friendly– suggestions always appreciated!

{photos via iphone5 // all opinions are my own}