Last Half Mile Bar Crawl
Plans are tentatively scheduled (pending the opening of businesses on Boylston Street) to host a huge bar crawl the last half mile of the Boston Marathon. You are encouraged to wear their Bruins, Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, Revolution, Huskies, Eagles, Terriers, Crimson, whatever colors you have to represent Boston. Tentative plan (assuming locations are open):
10am: Pour House
7pm: Cactus Club
10pm: back to whichever you prefer
Since it is unclear if these bars will be allowed / able to open for business, check back to the event’s Facebook page, here.
Although I’m still saddened by the senseless nature of Monday’s tragedy, it is a new day and I have to place my faith in the work our government will do to trace who did this and hope for the best for those injured.
This photo of Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood was circulating on Twitter on Monday, and while I don’t intend to forget what happened, I’d like to start to focus on the beauty of my home rather than the horror of those memories.
Apologies – I can’t seem to find who captured this beautiful image.
Last Friday Boston was bombarded with what I hope was the last snow storm of the winter. Spring officially starts next week, but you wouldn’t know it considering the plummeting temperatures here in Boston. Thanks for this pretty photo of Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay, snapped by OnlyInBos.
The Boston Globe reported earlier this week that Restoration Hardware is opening its RH Historic Gallery on March 7 in the Back Bay space formerly occupied by Louis Boston.
The 40,000-square-foot landmark building has been completely restored and will feature the home furnishing chain’s largest full-line design gallery. This new flagship store will focus on selling luxury home goods, but more importantly will bring life to a building that has stood empty since Louis Boston moved to the Seaport District in 2010.
Last week a business dinner with my team allowed me the opportunity to have my first dinner at the newly remodeled Oak Long Bar + Kitchen. This was the space formerly occupied by the iconic Oak Bar and Restaurant in the Fairmont Copley.
The dark wood paneling associated with the former restaurant is now gone and replaced with a brighter interior that also includes one of the largest bars (with some of the most comfortable seats you’ll find) in the Back Bay. The opening of the new restaurant has coincided with the completion of a $20 Million renovation project for the entire property.
Dinner started with a delicious chopped shrimp cocktail – $16, served on a slate platter which includes a dash of horseradish on top, chili cocktail sauce, cucumber, red onion and charred lemon.
The highlight of my dinner was the main course, which was suggested to me by Adam, blogger for Adam’s Hospitality and Tourism blog. I would certainly recommend the Tagliatelle dinner – $28, which comes with thick chunks of Maine lobster, braised short ribs, diced zucchini and cheese. Nearly everyone at the table agreed this was the winning plate both in terms of flavor and surprise (who would’ve thought of pairing lobster and short ribs?).
Because I was out with colleagues we shared a few desserts. Although there was a lot of loving terms associated with the cheesecake ordered, I ended up loving the fruit crumble topped with vanilla ice cream.
Overall the dining experience lived up to the hype and expectations. Main plates range from $19 (burger) to $39 (bone out ribeye). If that will break your budget, plan on coming for a cocktail and a few appetizers or flatbread which have a lower price point and are also very satisfying. The Oak Long Bar + Kitchen is located in The Fairmont Copley Plaza in the Back Bay.
Left: Justin Ito-Adler, Manager Clio / Uni
Right: Ken Oringer, Chef and Restaurant Owner
I don’t often write about personnel changes in the Boston restaurant scene mostly because it would be a full-time job and there are already several sites that do a great job at following these changes.
However, earlier this week I learned that Justin will be leaving the South End after working here for nearly four years; first at Rocca Boston and more recently the Aquitaine Group’s, Union Bar & Grille.
Starting this week, Justin Ito-Adler joins Ken Oringer’s management team at his flagship restaurant Clio / Uni, which recently underwent a significant makeover. No doubt Justin’s enthusiasm and youth will help this culinary gem, which in recent years had seemed a bit stuffy.
Best of luck Justin. We will miss having you so near us.
One of Boston’s prettiest neighborhoods is Back Bay. It is a testament to the city of Boston and residents that such an important commercial center so full of businesses and restaurants also remains one of the best preserved examples of 19th century urban design filled with beautiful rows of Victorian brownstones to live in and call home.
You don’t need to be a fan of architecture to appreciate the design and buildings. Modern examples like I.M. Pei’s famous John Hancock Tower literally reflecting the city laid out before it. Below I’ve included photos of a few buildings you might see if you were to stroll through Back Bay or dine out al fresco at one of the hundreds of restaurants located in this downtown neighborhood. Will you be coming to Boston for work or pleasure anytime soon?
It is rare for me to review a hotel in Boston but work required me to be on-site for three days this past week, while we hosted a program at the Westin Copley Place so I thought I’d share my impressions.
This Starwood property has a four diamond award from AAA and is fairly large by Boston standards with more than 800 rooms. However its best feature is the fact that it is in the heart of Back Bay. The property was renovated recently and both the rooms and meeting space are much the better for it. Below are photos of my room.
If you are a Starwood preferred member, internet access is free at this property as is the complimentary bottled water in the bathroom.
No need to pack your work out clothes. This property has a deal with New Balance and for $5 they will give you everything you need (including sneakers) to rent for the day.
The best rooms for a view of Back Bay end in the following numbers: 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14; note that 12 and 13 are much larger.
Westin Copley Place is at 10 Huntington Ave (617) 262-9600
Looking for something fun to do tonight? Are you aware of tonight’s event hosted by Opus Affair? They will be hosting their monthly cocktails reception at Back Bay’s Speakeasy / Nightclub, Storyville, located in the space previously occupied by Saint at 90 Exeter Street.
Who is Opus Affair?
Opus Affair is an informal social group mostly comprised of artists and art enthusiasts / patrons in their 20s and 30s. It is a very social and friendly group who have made me (a 40-something) feel very welcome when I’ve attended in the past.
Monday 6-9PM Storyville at 90 Exeter Street
Tonight’s program at Storyville is one part social and one part fundraiser. Opus Affair asks that you RSVP (no cost) and encourages you to vote ($10 per vote) for one of three charities. One of these three charities names will be drawn during the social and receive the amount raised by votes for tonight’s event. There is more information about these charities and to RSVP here.
Listed below are a few photographs I’ve pulled from the web that were taken last night after two transformers in the Back Bay neighborhood caught fire and knocked power out in one of the most densely populated parts of Boston.
The Back Bay, aside from being a large, affluent downtown neighborhood with tens of thousands of residents is second only to the financial district in terms of numbers of businesses and is the largest retail and restaurant district so the loss of power and damage to property is significant.
View from Cambridge looking across the Charles River
Source: WBUR.org Photo by, Bianca Vazquez Toness
View from South End
Source: Live.Boston.com Photo by: Dmattbrothers
View of Newbury Street and Mass Avenue
The South End recently welcomed a new independent cafe to the neighborhood. The Orange Corner Cafe is located at 374 Mass Ave, providing a cozy atmosphere where you can grab a coffee. The menu also includes baked goods, sandwiches, paninis and soups.
Although there are 8 coffee shops within a 4 block radius of my apartment in the South End, the Orange Corner Cafe, tucked near the Back Bay and South End line is a great location that is under served. Check out this new business and let me know what you think.
Hint: coupons are available for download if you visit their website.
Que Ligao! Fogo de Chao is an authentic Brazilian steakhouse, which first opened in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The successful steakhouse has grown and now has nearly 20 locations in the US alone.
According to Adam over at Adam’s Hospitality and Tourism blog, the restaurant will soon be adding Boston as their newest location. Fogo de Chao will go into the space previously occupied by The Palm in Copley Square, which recently closed.
Look for an August / September opening.
Last September Restoration Hardware said it would open a high end furniture and home decor store in the space previously occupied by LouisBoston on Newbury Street.
In December, blogger George Whalin wrote about these new stores. According to Wahlin, the first of these newly designed stores opened in San Francisco, followed by Los Angeles and Houston, and all the properties appear to have a much broader selection of furniture, high-quality linens, bath fixtures, accessories, chandeliers, and lamps than are found in the company’s traditional stores.
With the L.A. and Houston storefronts at 24,000 and 25,000 square feet respectively, it seems unlikely the Boston location would use all of the space available to them. According to the real estate listing the building can accommodate 40,000 square feet. Does this mean the part of the building which was reserved for restaurant space will remain? Let’s hope so.
Check out the beautiful San Francisco “Design Gallery” from Restoration Hardware to get an idea of what you can expect when the store opens.
City Table is a popular eatery in the Lenox Hotel, conveniently located in the heart of the Back Bay. I’d only heard positive things about City Table, but I had not set foot in the place since it was Azure. At first glance City Table lives up to its description as a “casually elegant neighborhood eatery.” Unfortunately, that’s where the description on the web and our experience part ways. Perhaps we tried City Table on an off night, but both the service and food was lacking.
In lieu of a dinner we opted for wine and to share several appetizers. This was an opportunity to get caught up with friends. All told we shared a bottle of Cote du Rhone ($34) and four appetizers.
The first appetizer Burrata on grilled baguette with speck ham, and poblano tomato jam ($13). The cheese was as creamy as you would hope and the ham and tomato added great flavoring but the bread which should have been crispy to offer a nice crunch was soft and slightly stale. I ended up skipping the bread and eating the cheese.
The second appetizer Tuna Tartare ($14) was my favorite and one I’d order it again. The chef added papaya (a flavor none of us could place) but which nicely flavored the tuna and went surprisingly well with the citrus soy dressing and avocado. Adding to the appeal was that it was also beautifully presented.
The third appetizer duck confit spring rolls with mint peanut sauce ($10) was also dissatisfying. The duck was dry and there was far too much egg roll. We actually didn’t finish this appetizer. Oddly the waiter never inquired why several pieces remained, and with the appetizers now 1 for 3 I didn’t want to make a negative comment so we all took a big sip of wine and waited for the fourth plate.
The fourth appetizer was the leek and artichoke arancini ($12). Again all three of us agreed that this was too dry and crumbly lacking flavor considering the ingredients used. Thank goodness the wine was still available as we all needed to take a decent gulp to help swallow the bland appetizer.
Main dishes are mostly in the range of $25 – $30 with a couple of more affordable and more expensive options. The restaurant also has several sandwiches which range from $11-$15. If you think you’d like to try City Table, you can view the full dinner menu here.
City Table is located in the Lenox Hotel at the corner of Boylston and Exeter St.
Reservations are strongly recommended. Tel: (617) 933-4800
The weather in Boston was in the low 40s and windy when the 12th Annual Santa Speedo Run started. This annual tradition, brings hundreds of men and women into Back Bay to run in a variety of speedos and boxers, raising money for a local charity.
This year’s run was a bit more chaotic than in past years with the Boston Police Dept. showing up late to the party. Without a police presence, crowds lining the streets forced the normally busy Boylston Street to one lane and Newbury Street was jammed resulting in less time for runners to pose and play both before and after the run. However, I hope you enjoy this year’s video. I was down one photographer as Sergio decided to participate. Do you see him?
Today’s run will raise approximately $250,000 which will go to benefit the Play Ball Foundation. To learn more about this year’s charity and the Santa Speedo Run, visit their website ssrunners.org.