Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blackbird Donuts, South End, Boston

I remember, rather fondly, my dad picking up donuts for breakfast after Sunday School every week.  We lived in a small town, and the donuts came from our neighborhood convenience store.   They were not fancy.  They were typical, probably a little stale, and 100% mass produced....but they were special.  They were a treat, therefore they were absolutely delicious.  

Donuts have come a long way.  Over the past few years incredible, small batch bakeries specializing in just those circular pastries have been popping up all over the country, with the latest one popping up on Tremont Street in Boston's South End.  Blackbird Donuts, opened by the masterminds behind The Gallows, is breaking the rules with their creations, and doing so without sacrificing quality.

They launched just a few weeks ago busting out of the typical donut flavor combinations and instead embracing the unusual.  Siracha Sesame Seed- lets just start there.  A glazed donut (my personal favorite) iced with a Siracha glaze packing a little heat into that sugary goodness, and then topped with hundreds of crunchy little sesame seeds.  The mix of sweet and spicy, and the added textural component with the sesame seeds created donut perfection.  Every bite
held my interest and made me crave another.  

The extreme nature of the Siracha Sesame was unique and intriguing, but didn't overshadow their other offerings.   The second on my list was the Honey Lemon Pistachio.  A bit more traditional in its sweetness factor, but with the tang of true lemon that cut the sweetness in just the right way.  The pistachios lent texture relief.  

The real story here though, isn't the flavor components, it isn't the toppings.  The story here, the true beauty of Blackbird, lies in their plain, simple unadorned donuts.  They embody decadence, their pillowy softness flavored simply with yeast and a hint of sugar.  They are fresh, they are decadent, they are perfect.

Blackbird Donuts are the new kid on the block, but aren't letting that hold them back.  They are open Thursday through Sunday- get there, and indulge.  ASAP.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Have you put those bottles of white wine away for the winter?  Have you deemed it too cold to drink a crisp white?  I'm here to urge you to pull those bottles back out, pair them with your roasts and stews and give those reds a run for their money!

A Boston Food Diary: Decanted! Winter Whites

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Grill 23, Back Bay, Boston

Some days you just have to go for it.  You throw the diets, the what ifs, the logic out the window and you just go for it.  In the world of food this happens when you're sitting for lunch at one of the reknownd steakhouses in the city.  The thoughts of "light lunch", "healthy options" and "maybe just a salad" jump out the window when there in front of you is the option for Grill 23's 100 Day Aged Prime Ribeye.

A glass of sparkling Prosecco sat in front of me, a gorgeous greens salad topped with Rawson Brook Chèvre and a red wine vinaigrette beneath my fork, but all I could think about was the 18 oz that would be delivered to my table.  Finally, the steak arrived.  Set before me, simply adorned with sautéed onions, the flourish reserved for the sides of red beets dressed with horseradish, honey and dill, truffled tater tots and, of course, roasted mushrooms with cognac and beef butter.  It was, by all measures, a feast.

Aging beef does amazing things for the end product, and Grill 23's was no exception.  Tender and with beautifully concentrated flavors, this aged ribeye had gorgeous marbling adding to its deep flavor.  To say it was cooked perfectly is almost a given.  A crisp sear to the outside yielding to a wonderful medium rare interior.  A hint of salt pulled it all together into
one of the best steaks I've had.

Now I often find that the side dishes at steakhouses are destined for mediocrity.  I've found them to often be an after thought, and not usually worth their caloric content.  Grill 23 had a long list of options to accompany their steaks, but I have to say we chose the best ones.
 The beets, bright and fresh with their acidic horseradish and dill, the fried tater tots brought into earthy depths with truffle oil, and the roasted mushrooms with sweet cognac.  Each one hit a different flavor profile and together supported the steak without playing just that limited role.  

Grill 23 is continuing to
provide quality.  Their staff is spot on, their wine list inclusive and their steaks are exactly what you want.  It's as simple as that.

Restaurant Reviews: A dead art?

Last December I declared 2023 the year I would return to food writing.  It was a bold statement (even now as I look at my last published dat...