I Don’t Smoke…

…but I love matches too.  I don’t collect them, though — mine actually get used up.  Right now, I’ve got an old teacup of Keith’s grandmother in the living room, and that’s where I keep the matchbooks.  At the moment, there’s only a small assortment in there:

Lunch at Eastern Standard.

I think this is funny, and maybe (hopefully?) you’ll agree: I keep on going to Eastern Standard in the company of French men. First it was Guillaume, and now it is Kelly. Don’t ask me how or why it turned out to be this way, because I’ve no answers for you. It just is what it is.

The past few times I’d been to the Kenmore Square brasserie, I had eyed the frisée aux lardons ($11.00) but ultimately had chosen another option instead.  This time, I decided ahead of time that I would be ordering the salad with hazelnuts and sweetbreads — nothing was going to stop me.

In retrospect, I kind of wish that something or someone had… because I sort of choked on the first bite.  It was so overladen with vinegary dressing, which then simultaneously shot straight up my nose and directly dripped down my throat.  Keith, Kelly and Jonah all looked at me with alarmed expressions on their faces as I tried to get my breath back.  After that, I had a hard time enjoying the salad… especially when I did the same exact thing a few forkfuls later.

Aside from the vinegary dressing, most of which I avoided the best I could, the salad itself was all right; for some reason I had expected more of the sweetbreads and less of the bacon fat, which I thought was a bit too chewy.  I will say that the egg was quite nice though, and that I wished I had another one to pierce with the tines of my fork.  What really got me, however, was the presentation — I don’t mind stacks of food or cylindrical tubes of food, but it seemed so very out of place with a salad.

In the end, I suppose I could say I was a little disappointed but, in all honesty, I wasn’t really thinking about it.  After all, the only way to find out if you like something is to try, and just because you feel affection for a certain ingredient doesn’t mean you’ll love it in everything.  And besides, my dining companions were delicious enough to make up for it.  (Aw.)

Eastern Standard
528 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02215

Eastern Standard on Urbanspoon

Dinner at Eastern Standard.

My friend Alyssa and I have been talking for ages about getting together one night with our partners, and last night it all finally worked out. I suggested meeting for dinner at Kenmore Square’s Eastern Standard, not knowing that there was a Yankees/Red Sox game finishing up down the street at Fenway. I can get a bit anxious about things like post-game crowds, parking and being late; Keith and I left home with plenty of time, arriving half an hour early. Luckily there is a great (and great-looking) bar at ES, so we were able to get a drink while we waited.

The four of us decided to split two appetizers: baked Raclette cheese, and escargots poached in garlic and butter. It is difficult to go amiss with melty cheese, and it’s even harder when it comes to anything swimming in herb-infused butter — these two were fantastic. Thinly-sliced pieces of apple were suspended in the cheese, adding a truly surprising sweetness to the rich dish. Mixed in with the escargots’ butter were herbs, garlic, and something whose flavor I couldn’t quite place my finger on. Were they leeks? Were they shallots? But honestly, did it even matter? They were delicious.

While I was very much tempted by the hanger steak frites, with marrow-thyme butter and blue cheese, I chose something a little less rich: a crab cake sandwich and a green salad. I was thoroughly in the wrong, by thinking I was ordering a lighter entrée; as I lifted the sandwich, I smelled the wonderful aroma of butter. Neither the crab cake nor the bread tasted overly buttery; it was almost as if the two were enveloped in a sort of butter essence. Each time I brought the sandwich to my mouth, I breathed in its smell, and I have to tell you, I loved it. Next time, though, I’m ordering the frites.

Eastern Standard
528 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, Masschusetts 02215

Eastern Standard on Urbanspoon

Food Diary, Day Two.

9.40 am: Orange juice, while I decide if I want coffee, cereal, both or neither.

10.50 am: Apparently what I want are two more Tylenols.

12.19 pm: Piece of mozzarella, while I wait for the oven to heat up. Suddenly, I am starving.

12.50 – 1.10 pm: Two lamejuns from Eastern Lamejun with lemon juice drizzled over them, and a Diet Coke. I love lamejun, but they can be very dangerous — it is all but impossible to eat just one.

2.00 – 2.10 pm: Still hungry… Bowl of Special K Red Berries with organic skim milk. My taste in cereal is pretty cyclical; I’ll eat one type for months on end, and then I won’t want to eat it again for ages and ages. For years it was Kashi GoLean Crunch! Honey Almond Flax but only with soy milk, then it was assorted Cheerios (regular, Honey Nut, MultiGrain) and Rice Krispies before I settled on Special K. In the beginning I ate the Vanilla Almond, but found it overly sweet; I knew my friend Lexi liked the Red Berries, and though the dehydrated strawberries freaked me out at first, I actually kind of love it now, and buy it in bulk.

5.55 pm: Baking apple cinnamon muffins, even though I don’t particularly like apple cinnamon muffins. They smell amazing though. The batter tastes a bit too sweet for me, but I know Keith will like them.

7.14 – 7.30 pm: Snack of feta, oregano and grape tomatoes with bread, and Diet Coke Number Two.

9.30 pm: Harpoon UFO at the bar at Eastern Standard. What I really want is one of my beloved Kir Royales, but the bar is very crowded and noisy that I don’t think the bartender will hear me. It’s easier to point at the Hefeweizen.

10.00 pm – 12.30 am: Dinner at Eastern Standard with Keith, Alyssa and Guillaume. Shared appetizers of baked Raclette — one of my favorite cheeses — and butter-poached escargots, followed by an entrée of a crab cake sandwich.