Eastern Standard ▪ Boston, MA

528 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts

We had a day and a night planned in Boston.  After quitting the Cape after breakfast (and packing our camping equipment), we checked into our hotel in South Boston in the early afternoon.  We had planned to hit a Triple D Italian 'dive' but decided to have a burger at a pub instead.  As we rested before heading out to Newbury I did some research and found this Boston Burger Blog.

Finding one of the top tens in the neighbourhood where we were heading, we decided to drop in at Eastern Standard.  There were no tables available on OpenTable, but we stopped by to find out if they accepted drop ins and they did. We were informed by the friendly hostess that even at peak hours parties of two never have to wait long.

After some retail therapy, we returned famished and did not wait for a great banquette table.  Eastern Standard is a large American bistro style restaurant. The service was excellent and the menu varied.  The burger was easily the most affordable main on the menu at 13$ but there were plenty of other choices for more discerning diners.

We started with the ceviche of the day which happened to be one of my favourites: scallops. This came with a huge side of chips (crisps not fries) and I quickly asked the waitress to change my side order to a green salad.  The ceviche was perfectly citrusy and delicious.  I would have appreciated some heat from chilis but it was very good.


The Arnold Palmer I ordered came in layers and I thought was pretty enough to include here.


And the burger... The burger was a perfect specimen, juicy and delicous.  I thought the buttery brioche made it very rich and decadent.  But it was quite good.


We finished the meal with a classic bistro dessert of crème brûlée. We both thought the sugar crust was thick enough. It was very good and studded with vanilla pod seeds.


Not far from Fenway Park, this would be the perfect eatery after an afternoon game... as long as you don't indulge too much in park dogs beforehand.

Eastern Standard on Urbanspoon


Blackfish ▪ Truro, Cape Cod, MA

17 Truro Center Road
Truro, Massachusetts

Hubby has been going to Cape Cod every summer with his family for years.  When we started dating I would join the family on this lovely tradition and we really hope to continue it with our own family some day. Three summers ago, he surprised me with a proposal on the beach at sunset.  I accepted, and we decided to have a small wedding on the Cape with close family and friends the following summer.  Needless to say it is a special place for us.


We were not able to fit in a visit last summer but made time to go this summer.  It was the first time we went by ourselves, packed the car, set up the camp site, etc.  We stayed for 3 days and planned a day and a night in Boston.


To celebrate our engagement, we had tried to go to Black Fish but it had been fully booked.  This time I called and made a reservation in advance and we were well rewarded.  The restaurant is really tucked into the brush and has no other sign other than this ironwork black fish.


The service was very attentive. We were brought delicious warm bread with a garlicky hummus.


We started with the seared scallops with Parmesan fondue. The sweet scallops were seared perfectly and paired well with the savoury Parmesan fondue sauce. The crispy tuiles added the perfect textural foil to the soft scallops and velvety sauce.


As a main, Hubby ordered the house specialty of tuna bolognese over papardelle with lemon confit mascarpone. The mascarpone was served cold and I thought it was a successful cold/hot pairing.  The bolognese was delicious but I'm not sure if it's the nest use of tuna (fresh tuna... slow simmered in sauce).  Hubby ate the lemon confit in his first few bites and thought the flavour was a bit strong and would have belonged better with a dessert.


I ordered the butter poached lobster over gnocchi with morels and fava beans in a lobster beurre monté. The dish came topped with pea greens tips that wilted perfectly in the beurre monté (sauce composed of hot butter).  The lobster was perfectly cooked and plentiful, I was sure to have at least a full lobster.  The gnocchi was soft and pillowy and all the elements came together well.  There was a rather strong garlic presence but I would just say to at least add it in the description so it's expected... and also more gnocchi please!  The portion really was perfect given the decadent nature of the dish.


We chose to share a dessert being pretty full and chose the chocolate tartlet in a pretzel crust with hazelnut custard and candied hazelnut. This dessert hit every checkmark I'd give a perfect dessert.  A dark chocolate ganache. Check.  A salty crunchy component. Check.  Toasted hazelnut. Check.  It was an A+++.


What a perfect celebratory meal.

Blackfish on Urbanspoon


Five Guys ▪ Brossard

8840 Boulevard Leduc
Brossard (Dix30)

As a big fan of burger's, hubby and I had heard a lot about Five Guys and have pretty curious since they started opening shop in Québec.  We love In-n-Out and found the menu and decor very reminiscent of the California chain.  We opted out of the fries due to recent over-indulgences and according to Graceful Glutton's review, they were not worth it.


To be noted, their regular burgers have two patties and the small size has a single patty.  The prices are pretty steep and there are no combos; everything is à la carte.  That said, they offer a lot of free toppings.  The all-dressed combination is pretty good.  The burger was very good and you could definitely tell the ingredients were better than the usual fast food joints.

As we were leaving, we heard a family of four grumbling about prices and leaving to go to Mickey D's.  If you buy four burgers, four fries and four drinks, your bill would be close to 40$.  It is worth mentioning that according to my friend E, the regular size fries (smallest) are quite large and sharable and drinks seem to be bottomless.

We were quite happy with our burgers and would go back.  It's not as fast as Mickey D's but it's worth the little wait for a tailor-made burger...  with real meat.

 Five Guys Burgers and Fries (Brossard) on Urbanspoon


Chocolate Pavlova

I had Elle and her husband D over for dinner at my condo. We had lobster ravioli's (homemade and frozen), and I had to think of an easy dessert. With pints of fresh raspberries in my fridge, I thought a pavlova was the perfect idea. Elle had mentioned having a chocolate pavlova, and  I thought I would try my hand at it since I have gainfully mastered pavlova's in the past.

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Chocolate Pavlova.

Chocolate Pavlova (Serves 3-4)
I halved this recipe and adjusted the baking time accordingly.
From Joy of Baking.

* 3 egg whites, room temperature
* ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
* ½ cup sugar
* ½ tsp white vinegar
* ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
* ½ tsp cornstarch
* 1-½ Tbsp Dutch processed cocoa powder
* 1 ounce semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 6 inch circle on the parchment paper.
With electric egg beaters or by hand, beat the egg whites until foamy. (The trick here is that the eggs should be at room temperature. Warm the eggs up in a bowl of hot water if you're getting them straight from the fridge. Also, make sure absolutely no yolk has tainted the egg whites. Break the eggs one at a time, transferring successfully separated egg whites to a separate bowl.)
Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks.
Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds stiff peaks. (Test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers).
Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the vinegar and vanilla extract.
In a small strainer, sift the cocoa powder and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with the rubber spatula, fold in.
Lastly, fold in the chopped chocolate. (I chopped it fine but would leave bigger chunks next time to created gooey pieces of chocolate within the pavlova.)
Spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges. (I find what works best to get a nice circle is to put a large spoonful in the middle and work your way out.)
Bake for about 1 hour or until the outside is dry. (The outside of the meringues will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed. There will be cracks and you will see that the inside is soft and moist.)
Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven.
The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container, for a few days.
Just before serving gently place the meringue on a serving plate.

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Making the pavlova.

* ½ cup heavy whipping cream
* 1 Tbsp granulated white sugar
* fresh fruit of your choice - raspberries are lovely with chocolate
* powdered sugar

Whip the cream until soft peaks form. (The trick here is that the cream should be cold and ideally, the bowl too. You can whip the cream over a second bowl of ice water to help.)
Sweeten with the sugar and spread the whipped cream over the meringue.
Arrange the fruit on top of the cream.
Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold and once you add the cream and fruit the meringue will start to break down.
Dust fruit with powdered sugar.

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We grabbed 3 spoons and dug into the pavlova without cutting it. It was amazing. The pavlova was crunchy on the outside, but still chewy on the inside. With the whipped cream and the fresh raspberries, it was a heavenly combination! Great results for minimal effort!