Sunday, December 18, 2011

Visit to Harvard Common Press

Last Sunday the Boston Brunchers went on an educational excursion to Harvard Common Press. Somebody (yes, me) showed up 30 minutes early be because she forgot to read her email.... So I ended up checking out the SoWa vintage market, a gallery of strange Japanese-inspired pottery, and the SoWa market, where I bought some Swiss chard and ricotta ravioli that I am dying to still try... They are in my freezer, and last week was so busy that I can't remember if I even made dinner at home at all.[Yep, by the time I'd updated this post, I can tell you they were delicious.]

I also apologize for not having any photos of this event. I get distracted when everyone is taking pictures and think, ok, someone got a picture of that, surely I don't need to also. Oops.

When we came in to HCP's offices, they had two bowls of punch (red and green, how festive) and coffee set up. Adam and Bruce took people around the offices and let us explore. They are in an old piano factory and have wonderful woven rugs from Oaxaca on the floors (so female employees in heels won't slip on the wood). Bruce also started collecting art from Mexico, included super cool wood cared sculptures.

The staff had made breakfast for us, a spinach and cheese strata, raspberry cream cheese coffeecake, and several other goodies, and we were able to sit in bruce's wife's sunny art studio next door to eat, drink wine from Richard at the Passionate Foodie, and listen to a great presentation about bloggers and the cookbook process.

It takes an unbelievable amount of time to get from blog posts to books on shelves and virtual shelves, what a dedication! Also, bloggers have to have at least 75% new recipes for books. Definitely not in my future! (see also, forgot to take any pictures.)

HCP was also amazing and left cookbooks as centerpieces for us to each take. I snuck away with a huuuuuge tome on pies! (Pies! We all know I love pie.) and the Baker's Field Guide. Most of us also snagged a galley copy of herbivoracious, which I am so excited to use. The only downside is, the photography from that book sounds awesome - it's all photos taken by the blog-author and it's all of vegetables!

Renee did a fantastic job organizing this one!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Temple Bar with Boston Brunchers

Yesterday I had the opportunity to head to Temple Bar for brunch with the Boston Brunchers.
I was pretty happy to have an event on this side of the river (especially because the t isn't running to my neighborhood) and it was a short shuttle bus ride away.

Temple Bar gets an A++ for service and hospitality. Their bartender mixed a special cocktail for us brunchers and the wait staff was really attentive.

They were also totally open to making substitutions to the menu for the pescatarians at the table.

We started out with coffee and pastries - banana bread and chocolate muffins, arranged very geometrically.

I ordered the citrus and fennel gravlax. Unfortunately, as a non-meat eater, the brunch menu was pretty limited for me. My other option was the mascarpone stuffed French toast (I had a taste and it was yummy) but I'm really glad I didn't order it... You'll find out why in a minute. The waiter also was quick to offer a substitution of smoked salmon on the eggs Benedict for one of the other gIrls at the table. I think my brunch may have had the most photos taken of it, the presentation was quite colorful. Also, the salmon had a really great flavor, not overly fishy as some smoked salmon is and nice subtle citrus.

Then, the waiters brought out 4 different desserts for us to try. (I only got a photo of the cranberry cake, the restaurant was dark, which had several of us using the flashlight apps on our phones to light photographs.) We also had pumpkin mousse, caramel creme brûlée seasoned with cardamom, and my favorite, chocolate bread pudding with caramel sauce.... Yum. Yum.

After brunch, several of us walked to Harvard Square to check out the craft fair and independent designers market.

All in all, a great way to start Saturday - and I went for a run beforehand! I'd definitely head back to Temple Bar, but probably not for brunch, just because options for me are too limited. The service was amazing though, and who am I kidding, I've been there for drinks before!

And yes, brunch was free to us, but my opinions are my own.