Taj Update!

We’ve been busy at my job the last couple of months with Easter and Mothers Day being big brunch holidays! I’ve been lucky enough to get the chance to practice showpieces and really experiment with new flavors and designs. It’s been a lot of fun! Check out some of the work my teammates and I have been up to!

 

Restaurant Bucket List: Boston!

It’s no secret that I love food and experiencing a great restaurant or new dish. Boston has so much to offer and despite being here for two years, my list is still long! So without further adieu and in no particular order, here’s my Boston Restaurant Bucket List!

Sweet Cheeks Q

Mistral

Craigie on Main

Bistro Du Midi

Alden and Harlow

Harvest

Sarma

Oleana

L’Espalier

Cutty’s

Island Creek Oyster Bar

Toro

Central Kitchen

Fairsted Kitchen

Neptune Oyster

Bronwyn

Lumiere

The Beehive

Highly recommended:Tiger Mama
Deuxave
Ribelle
Posto
Deep Ellum
Lulu’s

I’m 100% open to suggestions to beef up my list! What kind of restaurants are your favorite? Thank you for visiting and be sure to come back on Tuesday for another post grad blog!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins!

The name might be a mouthful but I can promise you that these muffins are even better. Perfect for a special sweet treat in the morning or dessert at night. These are multi-functional muffins people! Get em while they’re hot!

I got this recipe from the Flour cookbook by Joanne Chang. I can personally attest to this recipe after having worked for Joanne for the past year. I did change just a few little things however, to make it my own! So here you have it!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
makes about 24 muffins

1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
4 T flax seed
1/2 c packed. brown sugar
1/2 c plus 2 T sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c canola oil3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 T creme fraiche or sour cream
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 bag peanut butter/chocolate chips

**For this recipe, I added flax seed, used half brown sugar half white and added chips! Without these, you can easily make plain banana bread!

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and flax seed. I used a fork to “fluff” the ingredients if you don’t have a sifter at home!

709

3.Using a stand mixer, whip the sugar and eggs on medium speed until they become light and fluffy.

710

4. On low speed, drizzle in the oil so it has time to incorporate itself into the egg mixture.

708

5. Add the bananas, creme fraiche/sour cream and vanilla and mix until the banana is broken down into fairly small pieces. This should only take about a minute or less.

6. Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture by hand.

707

Right before all of the flour is completely incorporated, add 1/2 bag of chips and mix only until combined as to not overmix.

7067. Only mix just until there aren’t any flour streaks left.

8. Portion the muffins about 3/4 full and bake until golden brown (about 15-20 minutes). You can also bake this full batch in a loaf pan but it will take much longer to bake in the oven!

7059. Wait until the muffins cool and VOILA! A delicious treat for any time of day.

704Let me know if you try this at home! Does anyone have any recipes they want to share or would like me to share? Have a good weekend and enjoy your muffins! Be sure to return on Tuesday for another blog post!

Treats and Snoozin’

I really do love brunch. It might be my favorite meal of the day. I think I’m the female version of Ron Swanson when it comes to breakfast. Gimme all the eggs, toast. bacon, sausage, cereal, pastries, grits, biscuits, fruit, etc etc etc you name it. GET. IN. MY. BELLY.

I don’t get to brunch very often, since I typically work on the days where brunch is conventionally served, but that doesn’t really stop me from seeking out some of the best brunch places near me. If you’re on the outskirts of Boston, get ready for my compiled list of best brunch places I’ve found (or am dying to try)!

Newton:

The Village Cafe–  We live fairly close to this cafe and it’s one of our favorite spots to hit up! It’s paaaacked with locals on Sundays but everything is homemade and cheap! You can get the “Village Special” or the “Hungry Man” which gets you a selection of a little of everything- my favorite!

Brighton:

Cafe NationThis place has a really cool and low-key vibe. It’s a great place to just sit and get some work done with a coffee and breakfast sandwich! It’s immediately off of the 57 bus line with plenty of shops around it for people watching!

Dash CafeI’d recommend this place if you wake up late enough to want a sandwich instead of more breakfast-y type foods. They have a killer lox bagel with cream cheese, lox, bean sprouts and more which more than fills you up!

Moogy’sThis was the first place my roommate and I went to when we moved into our apartment. The food is super cheap and the place is pretty informal where you have to sit yourself and order your food at a window. There are plenty of creative brunch options to choose from!

FuelI just discovered this place today! It is right next to Moogy’s very close to Brighton Center. They have tons of tables and different seating arrangements for casual dining, catching up with friends or even tables to get work done! Their wifi is free and easy to connect to so it made a really great place to work and write a blog post! They had some really excellent homemade pastries: muffins, scones, cookies, etc as well as a fun menu for different drinks and sandwiches. I tried the Hazelnut Nutella muffin- yum!

609Allston:

The Breakfast Club: I haven’t been here yet, although I see a long line wrapped around the store every weekend on my drive to/from work! It’s right near the end of Harvard stadium and seems to be a Harvard favorite! Can’t wait to give it a go!

Bruegger’s Bagels: yes yes, I know this is a chain. But I really enjoyed a salt bagel from this location and will definitely be stopping back here to buy half a dozen to freeze for the future!

Fenway:

Eastern Standard: I haven’t technically been here for brunch yet, but I was there for drinks and appetizers. This place is really classy and right next to Fenway so it’s always packed, day or night. This seems like an excellent place for a girls fancy dress-up brunch or a place to bring parents/in-laws!

Coolidge Corner area:

RibelleI wrote a review on brunch at Ribelle that you can check out by clicking here! I can’t wait to go back for brunch another day- SO delicious.

198

Cambridge:

The Friendly Toast: Vegan/allergy friendly brunch place that is FULL of character. It has some very interesting menu choices and combinations but the decor almost gives you even more to talk about! In the summer, they also have a small area of outdoor seating!

607Flour Bakery + Cafe: Maybe I’m biased because I worked here for over a year making all of the pastries and bread, but Flour is hands-down one of the best brunch/lunch places I’ve ever been to. Everything is made in-house, fresh daily by people who are passionate and hardworking. Recommendations include: the french toast, an egg bacon sandwich, sticky buns, banana bread, breakfast pizzas, cinnamon creams, blueberry muffins and butter bretons. CALORIES DON’T COUNT IF YOU WISH HARD ENOUGH!

Downtown:

The Taj Hotel: Also perhaps another biased opinion since I work there currently, but Sunday brunch is well thought out and executed. All of the pastries are changed from week to week by the discretion of the pastry team but there’s also a hot line, a raw bar and other little samplings. Brunch is held on top of the 16th floor overlooking some of the most breath-taking views of the city. This is a perfect place to celebrate something: an engagement, graduation, baby announcement, etc. However, it does come at a price ($80 a person, eek)! Reservations need to be made in advance but it’s well worth it for a big life event.

470The Thinking Cup: I haven’t been here yet but I’ve heard nothing but good things! I can’t wait to spend a rainy morning before work here!

Any other suggestions out there?? I’m on a never-ending journey to find the best brunch in the city! Let me know what you think; I want to hear from you! Check back on Tuesday where I show you how I made a DIY succulent wall!! Eeeeeep who doesn’t like little baby succulents!? Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Twerkin’ at the Taj

So I landed a new job at the Taj Hotel in Boston! This is such a huge career move for me and I’m so happy that this landed in my lap. The Taj is a 4 star 4 diamond hotel so its SUUUUPER fancy. On my first day, a woman and her richy rich kids got off the elevator and I KID YOU NOT SAID, “Does anyone want to go to Tiffanys?” Wait wait, is that an option!? Those teeny bopper daughters just get to casually go to Tiffanys?! Oy, I grew up in a totally different world. They also have teeny tiny bottles of everything- Heinz ketchup, fancy jellies and honey’s, any type of condiments, you name it. I didn’t realize that they even made jars that small!

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces was founded in the 1800’s, the original being the Taj Mahal which almost everyone is familiar with! The Taj Boston used to be the original Ritz Carlton hotel so it’s swimming in history! The Taj only currently has three hotels in the United States (Boston, New York and San Francisco) but they have them all over the world! You could visit London, India, the Maldives, you name it! Of course, it’s at the cheap-o price of $350 a night for the cheapest room. But I get 10 days of free stay a year at the hotel! HOLLAAAA

But regardless, I’ve been having a blast at this new job. It’s a breath of fresh air and really creative. I feel like I’m actually trusted to make decisions about flavors, textures, recipes, etc. I’ve been trained thus far on the morning shift where I bake all the small pastries for continental breakfast, room service and any morning banquets or meetings. But then it’s followed by production work where I prepare the components of the plated desserts in the cafe! 458 459Every weekend, a high tea is served with a separate menu and on Sunday’s, brunch is served on the rooftop of the hotel where you can see the most beautiful view of the city I have ever seen! The Taj borders Arlington Street which overlooks the Boston Public Gardens and Boston Commons as well as Newbury Street which is like the Rodeo Drive of Boston! Such a great spot for people watching and really enjoying a great view of the city- although it comes at a cost! Typical brunch with champagne goes at $80 bucks a pop!! Plus, gratuity automatically gets added to your bill at the end of the meal so be prepared to pay a pretty penny.

452

470However, the brunch menu is unlimited! Every week, we prepare a dessert buffet that’s differs from the last! Nothing ever stays the same! And of course, there’s a raw bar, garde manager items and a hot bar with all you can eat. YUMMMMMM. The dessert bar always has some type of cheesecake, cookies, shot glass item and martini glass items as well as anything else we dream up in the pastry kitchen! I figured I’d post some pictures of our desserts thus far below so be prepared to drool! Note: Not everything was made entirely by me but the pastry team! So excited to be a part of something great!

453

Opera Cake!

Opera Cake!

Brown Butter Blackberry Tarts!

Brown Butter Blackberry Tarts!

456

Burnt Honey Cheesecake with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Honey Gelee

Burnt Honey Cheesecake with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Honey Gelee

Keylime Torte

Keylime Torte

Midnight Chocolate Torte!

Midnight Chocolate Torte!

Cherry Chocolate Torte

Cherry Chocolate Torte

Oreo Cheesecake with Cookie Crust and Oreo filling on top!

Oreo Cheesecake with Cookie Crust and Oreo filling on top!

Cookies for VIP's:- from L to R: thyme sable with lemon curd, almond thumprints, orange sable, chocolate cookies with Dulcey chocolate drizzle

Cookies for VIP’s:- from L to R: thyme sable with lemon curd, almond thumprints, orange sable, chocolate cookies with Dulcey chocolate drizzle

Orange Mousseline with caramelized white chocolate crumble

Orange Mousseline with caramelized white chocolate crumble

Check back on Tuesday for another Post Grad blog about how I’m slowly but surely becoming a bad ass. ….Kinda. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Restaurant Review- Ribelle!

I somehow lucked into having a Sunday off so of course, what’s the first thing I think of? BRUUUUUNCH.

I’ve been dying to try this restaurant in Brookline called Ribelle. They have this fantastic brunch menu so I couldn’t wait to go and try it out! I ended up showing up for a 12:30 reservation but my friend was running late so that gave me plenty of time to observe and chat up the staff. So, with it being brunch and all, I got a screwdriver while I was waiting to help the time pass, duh.

Then I commenced people watching! The bartender kept making old fashioned’s for these two guys, the waiters and hostess were all super friendly and attentive to their guests and there was also an open kitchen towards the back where a couple guys were plating up many of the hot dishes. I also perused the menu a bit and planned out what I wanted to try since everything sounded so good!

194199
So lets dive into the food cause my mouth is watering just thinking about it. We sort of started our meal backwards by first ordering the cinnamon bun and polenta. We ate the polenta first because I knew I had to do savory before sweet. It was polenta with miso sweet potato preserves and prosciutto cotto!

197The prosciutto was with maple syrup with complemented the polenta really well! The miso sweet potato preserves added a more savory component to the polenta but still had a bite to it from the miso! Next up was the CINNAMON BUNNNNNNNN

198Apple butter on the bottom, cream cheese frosting melting on the top, a cinnamon bun as big as my face- YES PLEASE. This was definitely the best part of my meal! I definitely preferred the apple butter to the cream cheese frosting but my friend felt the opposite so it was a great compromise! UGH I WANT ANOTHER ONE RIGHT THIS INSTANCE!

Then I was in a food coma but there’s no way I was stopping until the button burst off of my pants. Luckily we spaced some of the courses out by only ordering two at a time, so we had time to digest a bit. We also ordered the sesame rolls, which was probably something I wouldn’t have chosen to order because it came with a calibrian chile mayo and I’m such a BABY with spice and heat. I can’t handle itttttttt. But I figured I only do brunch every once in a blue moon so whyyyy the heck not!

196Sesame buns with panelle. calibrian chile mayo and arugala! While the mayo definitely packed a punch, I still really enjoyed the sesame buns. And the panelle was pretty bomb dig too! Also, I didn’t really know what panelle was until I asked- its a chickpea fritter. I couldn’t eat my whole bun because my mouth was ON FIYAHHHH but I was looking forward to the last and final dish.

195Bagel with smoked fish, tobiko cream cheese and radish. Just googled what tobiko was too (straight up, I thought they were some sort of poppy seeds when I was eating it) and they’re fish eggs. It was super mild though and I really appreciated the cream cheese after my mouth was practically melting off my face. I could only eat a couple bites since I couldn’t fit into my pants anymore. SUCH A GREAT EXPERIENCE!

We spent about two hours eating and lemme tell you, those two hours were bliss. Maybe I was brunch drunk love but I really had such a good time at Ribelle! I’d recommend it! And I look forward to going back for a different meal. I’ll just have to pinch my pennies in the meantime!

Does anyone else know of good places to eat in Boston? Or recommend anywhere I should add to my food bucket list?? I LOVE FOOOOOOOOOOD.

Adios amigos!