31 Days of New

It’s crazy how comfortable we are in our everyday norm. The simple two-week changeup from my work/gym/dinner routine (peppered by a three-day cleanse and bout of the flu, mind you) has left me asking myself in earnest – do I really have to try something new today? Can’t I just cuddle up at home and watch a new TV show?

So I’ve consoled myself: trying something new doesn’t have to mean scaling a mountain, blindfolded (you know, since that was totally on my “try something new every day in January” list…). It can be as simple as wearing a bold new lipstick. Or sating flu symptoms with a first attempt at home-brewed loose-leaf tea. Or setting my alarm an hour early to see the sunrise on my walk to work. (Check, check, and check.)

Below, peep some highs – and lows – from Week Two:

Sea Urchin. Mixed with heirloom egg at Inman’s new (and totally worth visiting) Puritan & Co., this unusual little sea creature honestly didn’t taste like much of anything. It tasted runny. It tasted like texture. But it looked like a trip to the Maldives – right down to the driftwood serving board.

Coffee Detox. I said no to coffee – for three days. Actually, I did a “smoothie cleanse,” three days of drinking concoctions of kale, flax, cayenne, spinach, berries, and the like – all whipped up and primed to banish supposed toxins (read: bloody Marys) in the system of yours truly. Overall impression: drinking only smoothies for three days? Easy. Giving up coffee? So. Expletive. Hard.

Brow Threading.
 Using simple cotton thread and an age-old technique, my stalwart Newbury Street thread master cleaned my brows up in under five minutes. The fleeting feeling of a bajillion imaginary pinpricks aside, they’ve seriously never looked better.

Bone Marrow. On a random Sunday evening at Back Bay’s The Salty Pig, I did the unthinkable – I asked the waiter to bring me absolutely anything weird, chef’s choice. The surprise? Tiny melt-in-your-mouth nuggets of deep-fried bone marrow. (Bonus: they were gratis!)

High Tea. High Tea at BOND in The Langham hotel – a three-course affair of crustless sandwiches, sweets, and, of course, tea – was so much less Samantha the American Girl than I’d hoped. Where are the petits fours? Flowery china teacups? Next overindulgent girls’ afternoon, I vote brunch.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor 

Have a suggestion for something new I should try in January? Share it in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala

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January 16, 2013

Eastern Standard – just steps from Boston’s Fenway Park – is the main eatery of the luxe Hotel Commonwealth. Serving up French-American fare for close to a decade, this Kenmore Square staple (helmed by Chef Matt Audette and Bar Manager Kevin Martin) tends to sports fans and foodies alike, every day between 7AM and 2AM (holy smokes). Below, take an insider’s look at two recipes from the four-star kitchen and bar – then replicate to your heart’s content at home.


First up, the Tuxedo Cocktail, invented in 1931 at the Waldorf in New York City. For his own interpretation, Martin uses Eastern Standard’s private barrel of Bols Genever as a substitute for dry gin.

Tuxedo Cocktail #3

1 1/2 ounces Bols Genever (gin)
3/4 ounce dry vermouth
3/4 ounce Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
1 barspoon maraschino liqueur
1 dash Reagans Orange Bitters

Mount ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice, and stir until until properly diluted. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Next, Moules Provencal, a classic Eastern Standard dish. The citrusy flavors in the Tuxedo Cocktail complement the light, fresh, and oh-so-flavorful white wine butter sauce in the mussels. Don’t forget extra baguettes for dipping.

Moules Provencal
(Mussels with Tomatoes, Herbs, and Garlic)

1 pound PEI mussels, cleaned
2 tablespoons canola oil
Continue reading “Recipes from a Four-Star Eatery” »

January 15, 2013