Friday, February 22, 2013

James Beard Nominees in Boston's South End!

Our historic bed and breakfast is nestled in one of Boston's best kept secrets: the South End neighborhood. While wandering through the narrow streets, walking on the centuries old cobblestone sidewalks, visitors and locals alike can find some true gems. Fabulous boutiques, art galleries and restaurants are plentiful and each as unique as its predacesor. It is never a dull day taking a stroll outside our door. While walking and working up an appetite, you and your friends will undoubtedly be arguing over which brilliant restuarant to eat at first. The James Beard Foundation has honored many Boston chefs who proudly serve their signature fare in our wonderful neighborhood. Chefs like Barbara Lynch and Ken Oringer both hold multiple awards from the foundation. They seem to be passing the torch. Two different chefs who call the South End home are now nominated: Jamie Bissonnette and Joanne Chang!

Jamie Bissonnette began his culinary career in Florida and only went up from there. He worked, ate and traveled through Europe and much of the United States before settling down in Boston in the early 2000's. In 2005, he opened one of the city's most popular restaurants, Eastern Standard. He was later recruited by Ken Oringer (name sounds familiar, doesn't it?) to work at KO Prime, a modern take on the classic steak house. The coupling of Bissonnette and Oringer is a culinary marriage made in heaven. Together, they opened Toro, another South End gem and most recently, Coppa, for which Bissonnette is nominated. Jamie is a master of head to tail cooking as well as using locally sourced products from sustainable partners. The passion and ingenuity can be seen is all of his dishes including his bone marrow wood fired pizza with beef tongue and a horseradish cream and the sun choke crostini topped with Meyer lemon, hazelnuts and mascarpone cheese! Yum!

While Jamie Bissonnette can be Boston's wild child with his sleeve tattoos, hipster glasses and multiple piercings, Joanne Change can be though of as Boston's baking sweetheart. An honors graduate from Harvard, Chang left the corpertate world to pursue her passion for baking and pastries. Her culinary career kickstarted with Lydia Shire (yet another James Beard award winner) at Boston's Biba Restaurant. She worked in Boston, Newton, MA as well as NYC before returning to Boston to open her own bakery: Flour, in 2000. Flour now has 4 locations in the greater Boston area and two cookbooks on the shelves featuring Changs delicious sweets. In 2007, Chang opened an Asian restaurant with her husband, Christopher Meyers: Meyers and Chang, also in the South End. Her baked good are unparalled. Chang appeared on Bobby Flay's "Throwdown" and beat him hands down in a sticky bun bake off. Flay should have known better than to take on a woman who competed in 15 Boston Marathons!

There are 20 nominees in the Best Chef Northeast category, 5 in Massachussets, 4 in the Boston/Cambridge area and 2 in our cozy South End. Will one of our neighborhood heroes take home the prize? Only time will tell. While we wait, lets eat!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Freedom Trail Alternatives in Boston!

As spring inches closer and Nemo's snow starts to melt, the only way to explore Boston is by walking. Warmer weather and the shining sun make for perfect walking conditions from our front door in the South End across town and beyond. Beatufiul art galleries, one of a kind shops and delicious restaurants litter the South End with limitless possibilites for strolls and explorations.

For those who wish to venture out of our neighborhood, there are many fantastic options to see the city by foot aside from The Freedom Trail. Boston By Foot is a company that offers guided tours all over the city of different neighborhhods such as Beacon Hill, Victorian Back Bay and the North End. For Boston history buffs, take part in their Dark Side tour, exploring all the unfortunate yet defning moments and places in American history. They even have a tour for the literary enthusiast. Walk by and through the homes of great American authors such as Emerson, Dickens and Longfellow! Don't feel like walking? Not a problem! Experience the same convenience of a walking tour but aboard a segway! Several companies offer segway tours all over the downtown area as well as the beautiful water front.

After you've exhausted yourself by walking from one Boston landmark to another, come back to our bed and breakfast to put your feet up and enjoy a nice glass of wine on our roof deck! The views of the city and neighborhood will relax you into a perfect mellow state. And if the view isn't enough, then the jets in our hot tub surely will!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Girl Power! Great Female Chefs in Boston

Our boutique bed and breakfast is nestled in Boston's lovely South End neighborhood. Here you will find fabulous cobblestone sidewalks leading you into a maze of delicious restaurants and one of a kind shops and specialty stores. While Ken Oringer and Jaime Bissonette may be some of the South End's most popular chefs with Toro and Coppa, lets not forget Barbara Lynch and her two fantastic South End eateries: B&G Oysters and The Butcher Shop.

Barbara Lynch owns and operates six restaurants, a demonstration kitchen and cookbook store and a catering company here in Boston: No.9 Park, Drink, Sportello, The Butcher Shop, B&G Oysters, Menton, Stir, and 9 At Home. This South Boston native has received several awards from Bon App├ętit, Food and Wine, The James Beard Association, Esquire and countless other publications and associations. She is a force to be reckoned with in the restaurant industry. All of her properties have received national attention and acclaim. Menton recently received the honor of being a Relais and Chateaux property, making her the only female Grand Chef Relais and Chateaux in the country. Menton also holds five stars from Forbes Travel. Barbara Lynch's greatness extends far beyond the walls of her delicious kitchens. She is an active philanthropist and sits on many boards promoting women in business.

Lydia Shire
While Barbara Lynch certainly has captured Boston's love and affection for delicious food, Lydia Shire is another favorite among Boston foodies. From and early age in Brookline, MA, Shire developed a love for food and cooking. She eventually made her way across the pond and was classically trained at Le Cordon Bleu in London. Upon returning to Boston, it took her only three years to become the executive chef at Maison Robert. It was only up from this point on. She spent time at Parker's in the Parker House Hotel, Harvest, and the Plaza Cafe at the Copley Plaza Hotel. She later became the first female executive chef for the Four Seasons in the US at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills. But the warm weather and glowing California sunshine did not stop her from returning once again to Boston and open her first restaurant, Biba. Since opening Biba, Shire has rejuvenated Locke-Ober and also opened several other locations like Towne Stove and Spirits. Shire joins Lynch in many awards and accolades from the James Beard Association, Food and Wine, Gourmet Magazine and many more. It is difficult to find women with such tenacity and dedication to excellence. But maybe those qualities are the result of growing up in a tough and old school city like Boston!

There is no question as to whether you will enjoy your meal at one of the restaurants forged by these powerful female forces. The love and care they put into their dishes and spaces set the standard for excellent dining in New England and beyond. Begin your culinary tour right in our back yard on Tremont Street!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Revolutionary War Heros at The Granary Burial Ground

Boston's South End is full of historic brownstones with walls that could tell amazing tales. Our own bed and breakfast finds its home in a brownstone from the late 1800's on a street lined with wrought iron gates and cobblestone sidewalks. Can't get enough of old time Boston? Head to the Boston Commons and wander through the maze of famous gravesites inside the Granary Burial Ground!

The Granary Burying Ground was once part of the Common's itself. The Park Street Church was built where the old grain house once stood, separating the cemetary from the rest of the park. A beautiful iron gate now encloses the site and visitors can explore and decipher the grave markers to find many historic figures like John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and the victims of the Boston Massacre. Paul Revere is one of the most famous Bostonians. His historic midnight ride during the Revolutionary War is told countless times to children of all ages learning the history of our independance. Revere was employed as a messenger in 1774 and 1775. On one fateful night, he was instructed to warn commrades Samuel Adams and John Hancock if the British were to come by land or sea. Revere rode from Charlestown to Lexington, warning every house along the way of the impending arrival of the dreaded Red Coats. Later that evening, Revere was joined by two more riders, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott. All three were captured by the British in Concord, MA where the Sons of Liberty were holding guns and munition. All three eventually escaped and were able to help their fellow soldiers at the battle on the Lexington Green. These historic figures and many others lay at rest in the Granary Burial Ground and can be visited all year round.

After a day at the Commons and getting acqainted with some of our founding fathers, head back to the South End and have a cup of tea with your innkeepers at our bed and breakfast. Share your new found education. Continue your day of exploration and discovery by taking a stroll down Tremont Street, also known as Restaurant Row, and enjoy a delicious meal at one of the neighborhood's many eateries.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Where to Find the Best Boston Lobster

Classic Boston architecture doesn't get any more traditional than the South End neighborhood, including our own 1860's brownstone bed and breakfast. While staying here at our inn, channel your inner old school Bostonian and venture out for a great lobster meal! There are many great pubs, bistros and fine dining restaurants serving up delicious crustaceans. One of our favorite spots is Anthony's Pier 4.

Baked Stuffed Lobster a la Hawthorne
Anthony's Pier 4 will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. After a few short years, following its opening in 1963, Anthony's became an instant hit in Boston and around the world. The seafood staple became the highest grossing restaurant in America and still remains one of the country's most famous eateries. Presidents, heads of state, religious leaders and countless celebrities have all dined on dilectable dishes. The menu at Anthony's features seven different lobster dishes including lobster bisque, baked stuffed lobster a la Hawthorne and the infamous Anthony's Pier 4 Clambake Special. This dish comes with it all: lobster, shrimp, clams and mussels all swimming is a dreamy butter and clam broth sauce. What could be better? To add to the delcious flavors and timeless atmosphere, Anthony's remains a local favorite because of the inspiration it gives to many people trying to accomplish the American Dream. Anthony Athanas imigrated to America at the young age of five with his parents from Albania in 1915. He worked his way through restaurants, hotels and every place in between gathering knowlege and skills that transformed him into a restaurant deity. A trip to Boston would not be complete without a trip to this landmark restaurant.

  • After gorging yourself on lobster and other tasty seafood specialties, take a stroll in Boston's South End and walk it off! Cute boutiques, unique specialty shops and small galleries are perfect for window shopping. End your evening with a relaxing soak in our luxury suite's two person tub or atop our roof in the hot tub!

    Friday, February 1, 2013

    Where to Find Great Hot Chocolate This Winter

    While our Boston bed and breakfast is warm, welcoming, and homey inside, Boston can be quite the opposite outside. Temperatures drop, snow falls, and people seem to turn into giant puffs underneath sweaters, jackets, coats, hats, gloves and scarves. What better way to warm up with a delicious cup of hot chocolate? Sit in a big comfy chair by a fireplace or look out the window at all the poor souls walking by.

    L.A Burdick
    The Frog Pond isn't the only thing frozen in the Boston Commons. Thaw yourself after ice skating inside The Thinking Cup. Just steps from the park rests this wonderful coffee shop featuring award winning Stumptown Coffee. Also on the menu is the 64% Tainori Valhrona Drinking Chocolate and French Hot Chocolate. Sip your sweet treat with a pastry freshly baked in house. Another fabulous location for sinfully delicious cup of cocoa is L.A Burdick. This confectionary has locations in Harvard Square and the Back Bay. Stop in a pick up chocolaty confections to go, or eat them in their cafe with a cup of one of their many hot chocolates. With nearly ten different hot chocolates to choose from, everyone will certainly find a cup that warms them to the core. Have a cup of traditional hot chocolate with either white, dark or milk chocolate. For the more adventurous, savor a mug of their Ecuadorian hot chocolate. This drink has hints of mint, spices, and almost has a roasted taste.

    After you've stuffed yourself silly with scrumptious treats, walk off your snack in the South End! Clarendon Square is steps from cute boutiques, galleries and unique shops. Now that you've had your fill of chocolate, try Formaggio and pick up a few artisinal cheeses to devour tomorrow. But of course, if you still haven't warmed up yet, our roof top hut tub is surely the best solution!