Restaurant Review: No. 9 Park!

I most recently went to an excellent restaurant in the heart of Boston called No. 9 Park! It’s located at (you guessed it…) 9 Park Street, Boston MA. You can easily take the green or red line to the park street stop and walk only minutes to their entrance. The location is one that can’t be beat- right across from Boston Commons and caddy corner to the new state house.

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As per usual, one of my friends used to work at No. 9 so we were treated to some really excellent service and a couple free appetizers. No. 9 is a restaurant on the pricier side, so the way we tackle these restaurants is to go for ‘zerts, apps and drinks. Perfect for sharing and usually leave feeling satisfied but not stuffed to the brim. And it’s friendly on your wallet as well!
The service was impeccable. It’s a smaller restaurant but the service staff was very attentive and polite as they took my coat upon arrival, walked me to the restroom when asked, refilled water glasses effortlessly and anticipated our needs at every turn. Usually with restaurant reviews, I can go pretty in depth to each dish but sometimes it’s nice to go out to eat to just enjoy the company of others. Enjoy the pictures posted below with as many descriptions as I could find!

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Prime Steak Tartare: sour cream and onion, gaufrette, pickled Cipollini

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Marinated Lamb: Gorgonzola fondue, brioche, mixed greens

802Cranberry Upsidedown Cake: lemon, olive oil, almond

801Apple Beignet: ginger, mulled cider, tuile

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Hazelnut Semi-freddo: caramel, coffee, chocolate

Overall, I had a lot of fun with friends and I loved trying new dishes to share! My top favorite of the night included the Prime Steak Tartare and Apple Beignet. This is the perfect place to go for a special celebration or purely as a culinary adventure. I’m slowly checking things off my Boston bucket list!

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Come back on Tuesday for a quick update about my life outside of the foodservice industry! Enjoy the upcoming weekend!

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Taj Boston Update!

This past holiday season has been totally crazy at work but I feel like I’ve really been making progress in my career! As much as I loved my job as a baker at Flour, I wasn’t sure where I could go from there. I needed to  learn more, faster and I found that opportunity at the Taj! I started my employment as the swing shifter which means I was slowly being trained to cover any shift needed.

In a previous post (check it out HERE), I spoke a little bit about what the PM banquet shift was like! We prep for evening events like weddings or receptions and gatherings! It could be served banquet style where guests go up to a display and pick what they’d like to eat or even make it more formal and each guest receives a plated dessert. I alternate the PM shift with the AM shift where I prep plated desserts for the cafe and bake morning pastries for the in room dining guests (aka room service) or front desk.

While one of my co-workers is on a three week vacation, I’ve taken over a new shift! I’ve been spending my time learning how to execute high tea! Every weekend, we have multiple seatings of a formal high tea service. As the last part of their meal, each group would receive a little stand of pastries! We change that menu seasonally and I was able to help implement during its first week!

Included on the tea stand for the winter menu is: pistachio macaroons, chocolate roulade, vanilla pommegranate panna cotta, passion fruit ganache tart, blood orange pate de fruit, spiced cookies and maple walnut and cocoa scones served with orange curd and devonshire cream! While I didn’t come up with the menu items, I was able to help imagine their presentations and really try step up our tea game!

An old chef of mine from school used to work at the Taj and she came to visit the hotel one night. She laughed as she told me that a display dummy cake in the lobby was one she made back in 2010! I brought this to my current chefs attention and he’s going to let me design a new cake for the display! I’m really looking forward to expanding my skill set and adding something new to my portfolio.

Lastly, we have a new dessert menu coming up for the cafe that we’re currently testing recipes for! My dessert is a Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta with a Chambord Gelee, poppyseed cake, meringue crumble and mandarin orange sorbet! I’m looking forward to putting the finishing touches on the recipes and seeing it in action.

While I don’t have any pictures yet, I’ll be sure to post them in the upcoming weeks! I feel super lucky that I’m being exposed to so many facets of the industry at this job and I can’t wait to see what’s coming up next!

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend! Be sure to check back next week- I have a couple fun posts coming up! Thanks for reading!

 

Providence Guide 3 of 4: Downtown and WIckenden Street!

Despite being so small, Rhode Island has a lot to offer- especially in Providence. In addition to my last couple posts (click here and HERE!) there are two other areas that make up the rest of the city: Downtown and Wickenden Street.

Wickenden Street has a really low key and cool vibe. It’s a bit on the smaller side so there isn’t a ton to do if there isn’t an event going on nearby. You can grab coffee at Coffee Exchange and then take a walk up the street to visit some of the kitchsy consignment and junk shops. If you’re into thrifting or antiquing, you can find some pretty interesting stuff here! Or if you’re into old time erotica (I don’t know your life…), there’s a shop along this street too!

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Two of my favorite restaurants on Wickenden Street is Brickway on Wickenden and the Duck and Bunny which I highlighted in my post last week! After grabbing your coffee or mini cupcakes from the Duck and Bunny, head over to India Point Park for a beautiful view of the Narragansett Bay as it looks towards the town of Cranston. Every year, the 4th of July fireworks are held there with a bunch of lively festivities (aka drunkards being drunk) and music! I’ve also been to an event called Providence HONK! where crazy brass bands marched in a parade and then held activities in the park. So much fun!

387 397 398Downtown is obviously where the most hustle and bustle is. There is ALWAYS some type of event happening downtown on the weekends! Right in the city center (and right next to the JWU campus!) is the Providence Performing Arts Center or PPAC as we fondly call it. They host concerts, off Broadway plays and musicals, and even speeches with people like Alton Brown! Parking always gets a bit crazy on those nights so bring your money for a spot in a lot although meters are free after 6pm if you can find one!

There is, of course, a myriad of restaurants and bars (which I’ll be reviewing on Thursday so stay tuned) but one of the most special summer events is called WaterFire. It’s completely volunteer run and was imagined by a local college kid as a way to create revenue over the summer months. Providence is basically a college town so the summer is slower comparatively. When it’s a WaterFire weekend however, all the hotels book up and thousands of people come for the tourist event! Food trucks and vendors line up, all the restaurants have hundreds of reservations and outdoor entertainment is abundant.

390Basically they use the water canal that runs through Providence and light fire pits in the middle of the canal. People can then buy boat or gondola rides and experience the ambiance together. It’s super romantical so I’m waiting for the day when OKCupid or life actually pulls through and I can take a date there!

391 393Downtown Providence also has Westminster Street which is lined with strings of lights. Over the summer, TAZA (on the corner of Westminster) hosts movies on the block each week where you can bring a blanket and watch a movie projected on the side of a building. A local radio station also hosts free summer concert series at the ampitheater by WaterFire where a bunch of up and coming artists play.

During the winter months, there’s an ice skating rink near Kennedy Plaza (the bus station) that also turns into a skate park over the summer. They host events there occasionally- a tree lighting ceremony in the winter for example! Cake Boss even came once to hand out free cakes as a promotion for their tour! A short walk from Kennedy Plaza is the Providence Place Mall filled with a ton of stores as well as a movie theater and Dave and Busters.

394 395Providence always has something to do whether its a Cinco de Mayo block party, a RISD art gallery showing or even a historic walking ghost tour in the fall! Providence is one of my favorite cities in the United States and it’ll forever be my home away from home. It’s even super close to Newport- you can watch sailing competitions, take tours of the mansions or even take part in the Cliff Walk. There’s something for everyone!

Check back on Thursday for my last post about Providence highlighting its bar scene! Drinkdrankdruuuuuuuuuuuuuuunk!

Providence Guide 2 of 4: Restaurant Scene!

Being that I went to school for baking and pastry, I thought it was extremely important that I was surrounded with really excellent food and drink. While I was living there, Providence was named #1 in the country for food destinations! Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that it’s teeeeny tiiiiiny and there’s more restaurants than any other area per capita, or perhaps it has to do with the fact that it’s surrounded by people who are passionate about the craft whether it’s production or consumption!

That being said, here is my compiled list of recommended restaurants while visiting the city!

Downtown

Luxe– AW YEAH GOOD BURGERS YEAH! This place is SO excellent. Whether you’re going to have a beer and watch a game at the bar, play trivia or just have dinner, the food is super quality. They have a BYOB (Build Your Own Burger) menu where you just check off the type of meat, burger buns, toppings, sides, dressings, etc and then the waiter reads it back to you. An average burger with a side is only about $9! Then for dessert, I recommend getting the Smores hard shake. They use Godiva liquor and it’s suuuuper good.

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Haven Bros– One of the oldest stationary food trucks in Rhode Island! Best place to get drunken mozzarella sticks after a night out! (Or at least I thought they were at the time…)

Birch– One of the most gastronomically inclined restaurants in Providence. You can order a la carte but my recommendation is to bite the 70 or 80 bucks a person and get 4 courses. The food is SO good and full of flavor. Even if you think you won’t like something, you will. Still one of the best meals I’ve had to date!

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Wickenden Street Area

Al Fornos– Talk about typical Italian food! It’s really well prepared there and everything comes in decent portions. There are two levels for seating inside, but when the weather is nice you have to sit outside! It’s right along the water too so the views are beautiful. Al Forno’s is also known for their wood fired pizzas making it a must have appetizer to share!

OV’s – Is trashy hangover breakfast your style? This place is the PERFECT hangover food. The omelettes are great and come with a side of hashbrowns for super cheap.

Seaplane Diner– Seaplane is the other choice when OV’s is too busy. This place is a little nicer and dare I say it, cleaner? But I think I’d still recommend OV’s over Seaplane any day.

Olga’s Cup and Saucer– This place is actually run by a chef that teaches at JWU. It’s the perfect place to bring your mom for brunch! Really cutesy and sweet; for example some of the seating inside looks like patio furniture and on warm days they keep the windows open that look into the garden. There’s a pretty big focus on bread there too!

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Brickway on Wickenden– Oh wait, you want another great brunch place? This restaurant is FULL of character. The walls are painted like crazy and it gives you plenty to look at and talk about. Pancakes are excellent here and if you want to walk around afterwards, you can hit up India Point Park or a bunch of coffee shops to walk off your food baby!
Duck and Bunny– It’s claim to fame is calling it a “snuggery”. This used to be a house that was then converted into a restaurant. You can choose to sit in any room of the house, each room with different character, or even sit in the backyard garden on warm days! They’re known for their crepes, truffle fries and teeny tiny cupcakes! Worth it for the experience!
West Side/Federal Hill

North– Asian American fusion restaurant with a serious twist on textural and flavor manipulation! They use a ton of fresh ingredients and go to a local farm each week to stock up. All of their plates are handmade too which the foodie geek in me thinks is pretty cool. Menu can change whenever based on what they have in house and they often have guest cooks too! This place is really small though so you might have to put in your reservation and walk across the street to grab a drink at The Avery!

Kitchen– With seating for less than 20 people, this brunch place is a must. They have an open kitchen and really cutesy seating for only up to 4 people. The croissant French toast is TO DIE FOR.

Harry’s Burger Bar– This place comes second to Luxe Burger Bar to me, but is also a great burger place! Their burgers come as sliders and are pretty cheap- YUM!

Julians– Sooo I’ve never been here unfortunately BUT I’ve heard that this place is AMAZING. A friend of mine is actually their pastry chef! When I visit, I’m adding this to my list!

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Nicks on Broadway– Nick’s has an open kitchen and is packed for brunch week after week. I love being able to watch my food being made for me so A+ on atmosphere! I don’t even know what it was, but their pancakes are like no other! They’re thin and sugary and so so good. Doesn’t even need maple syrup!

Mediterraneo– Classic Italian! Well-made and flavorful pasta dishes and you’ll get enough food for two days. It’s a bit on the pricier side but a good choice for a graduation dinner or some type of celebration!

Thayer Street

Shanghai– So I’m not a sushi eater, but this was the place where I tried sushi for the first time. Everything is really fresh and clean and my friends think their Chinese food is killer! If you sit in the restaurant, grab a seat by the window because it directly overlooks Thayer Street and is great for people watching!

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Nice Slice– This place is pretty hipster as far as pizza goes. Super good pizza and they also offer a lot of options for vegan/vegetarian/dietary restrictions!

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Antonios– Only reason I’m mentioning Antonios is because they do Dollar Slice Night on Thursdays! Best drunken pizza ever. I may or may not have instagramed about said pizza before… I LOVE PIZZA OKAY GUYS

Thanks for reading and I hope this might help finding good eats on a visit to Providence! Check back next week for another great area to visit and again on Thursday for my Providence bar suggestions!