Au Bon Pain, Copley Place, Back Bay, Boston

It has sometime since we had a proper sandwich at Au Bon Pain. We love the egg white and cheddar breakfast sandwiches, the perfect starter for the day. For years a large tomato soup was a staple for lunch, and the brie, fruit and cracker Portions as a great snack.

The Copley Place Au Bon Pain is spacious and has lovely lighting. We really like the outdoor space overlooking the Back Bay area and the last hour before closing hour baked goods sale.

Au Bon Pain has had a new cafe menu with new sandwiches, wraps and salads introduced, and even more appreciated, their calories listed. Initially, we were going to order a Boston favorite, the Grilled Chicken Avocado sandwich on a toasted baguette or the Chicken Cobb Salad, however  we noticed the New Lobster Salad BLT on brioche and had to try.

We were mesmerized by the sandwich making process. The staff are so quick and happy to accommodate special requests like extra avocado, make a sandwich into a wrap or anything one could dream of to customize their meal.

The Lobster Salad BLT looked quite appetizing and was $12.99. The salad is made with 100% claw & knuckle meat, lite mayo, mesclun and sliced tomatoes topped with diced Applewood Smoked Bacon served on toasted Brioche.

The balance of creamy mayo, leafy mesclun, sliced medallions of red tomato and crispy bacon with the lobster salad was perfect. The only two adjustments we hoped for was a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for an additional summery brightness and acidity, and instead of a brioche, we would have loved a warm toasted and buttered baguette for additional texture.

We have made a lobster roll at home (BMH’s Lobster Rolls), cracking the lobster shells, warming the buttered hot dog bun, and those additions would make this sandwich worth the destination.

Disclaimer: We received our meal courtesy of Au Bon Pain, however our opinions and views expressed are our own.

Hey!…You Gonna Eat or What? and Laird Market, Soco, Austin

Hey!…You Gonna Eat or What? food trailer’s tag line is “distinctive food with a bad attitude.” They opened in October of 2011.

Several mantras of Hey!…You Gonna Eat or What? include: “The customer is very often wrong and needs to admit it.”  and “Also, If you give a person fantastic food at a tremendous value, you will make a friend… But if you also insult that person, they will come back time and time again.”

The husband and wife team run the trailer and are far from rude and insulting. They are super friendly people (Liz is originally from New Bedford, Mass).

Each sandwich comes with a drink and russet potato chips, hand-made to order and dusted with freshly ground sea salt for $7. These chips was some of the best.

The Lone Star BLT has Applewood smoked bacon, Fried green tomatoes and Poblano pepper aioli. This was the best BLT I have ever eaten.

We also bought from Laird Market a Peach cider for $3.00, which went so well with the saltiness of the bacon and homemade potato chips. The peach cider had a nice sweet flavor and was refreshing in the 60 degree weather.

Hey!... You Gonna Eat Or What? on Urbanspoon

Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe, South End, Boston

February is National Hot Breakfast Month and is the perfect time to discuss Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe. Founded in 1927, this sandwich institution has attracted a legion of loyal diners, jazz musicians and celebrity visitors. Charlie’s has deep roots in Boston and won a James Beard Foundation Award for Southern Wine & Spirits of NY America’s Classics.

We have tried to go to Charlie’s on several whims, however each time they were closed. Charlie’s hours are Monday through Friday from 6 am to 2:30 pm and Saturday 7:30 am to 1:00 pm. This time, we arrived around noon on Saturday and did not have to wait in any line (which can be long).

Charlie’s menu has a great selection of American breakfast items from breakfast sandwiches, omelettes and muffin tops, as well as burgers, classic lunch sandwiches including corn beef and entrees such as meatloaf, franks and beans and fried fish and chips. The portions are generous and prices very reasonable. You feel at home at Charlie’s. Everyone is friendly, there is a neighborhood feel and you will be well fed.

Some restrictions to be aware of is Charlie’s is cash only, there is a $3.75 minimum per person at a table and there is a 25 minute limit after food arrives. Water is self-service, at the back of the restaurant.

Ancillary provisions for breakfast include a cup of coffee, syrup, cream, pats of butter and a small bottle of Frank’s Red Hot.

Along the wall features a plethora of photographs with famous signatures, there was also a letter dated from 1946.

Charlie’s is a small establishment with red stools for counter seating and several tables. We were guided through our seating options and shared a table with two sets of diners.

Charlie’s is synonymous with unbelievable turkey hash. We had to have the award-winning turkey hash, two fried eggs with butter-soaked toast.

The turkey hash has a nice crusty exterior and a fluffy center filled with potatoes and bits of turkey. We noticed each turkey hash patron had their own system of eating. Some covered their eggs completely with ketchup, others ate their eggs and hash separately. Or like my sister, sprinkles it with a bit of sugar and salt before digging in.

After we split the eggs, the runny yolks seeped into the hash patty and created an additional layer of richness to the turkey hash bites. The two slices of buttery toast offered a nice salt component to the meal.

The three large Blueberry Griddle Cakes with bacon were some of the best pancakes ever eaten. The freshly made griddle cakes were super fluffy and dotted with plump blueberries throughout. The saltiness of the crispy bacon was a perfect addition to the sweetness of the syrup and blueberries.

We would definitely be back for exactly what we ordered today, hash and blueberry griddle cakes.

The diners next to us ordered the Turkey Club with bacon, lettuce & tomato, a sausage breakfast sandwich and some tasty looking home fries. The lunch items look really solid, on my next visit, I would love to order the Fried Chicken with coleslaw and fries for $8.95 or a BLT.

BMH will be featured in Where Hash Rules, an e-book written by George Aaron Cuddy and photographed by Brooke T. Wolin on the history of Charlie’s. There will be featured recipes from local chefs and bloggers. It will soon be available at the iTunes Store. We are looking forward to trying the other recipes in the e-book and continuing our appreciation of the rich history of Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe.

Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe on Urbanspoon

2011 Reflection: Readers vs BMH, Recipes and Restaurants

It is always intriguing to compare what BMH readers view and discover which restaurants and recipes are the most clicked versus our favorites.

In 2011, readers gravitated towards the No Bake Mascarpone CheesecakeShiritaki Fettucine Alfredo and proteins Chinese Bourbon ChickenBeef Lasagna with Cottage Cheese and Crispy Pan-Fried Pork Chop. The impetus for the No Bake Mascarpone Cheesecake was out of sheer laziness. The protein dishes were in search for comfort food and the Shiritaki Fettucine Alfredo was a recipe to slow down on the carbohydrate in take.

Crispy Pan-Fried Pork Chop

The recipes BMH enjoyed last year were Crab Cakes and Remoulade Sauce, Spicy Mayo BLT and Banana Foster Bread. Both the crab cakes and bread were influenced by food travels in New Orleans and we  enjoyed almost once every other month a Weeknight Roast Chicken. After perpetually ordering kheer for dessert, it was only time before we tried to attempt it ourselves.

Weeknight Roast Chicken

Kheer Rice Pudding

Our reader’s most clicked restaurants reviews included Winsor Dim Sum Cafe (for the crispy spring roll), Lithuanian Kitchen (for the cepelinai) and the following:

41 Degrees (for the the Iberian ham air baguette)

Flour Bakery (for the sticky buns)

Momofuku Milk Bar (for the salted pistachio soft serve)

Some of our personal restaurant favorites include American tapas, The Brahmin (for the truffled mac and cheese), The Gallows (for the poutine and burgers) and the following:

Tapacs 24 (for the huevos estrellados)

Island Creek Oyster Bar (for the lobster roll)

Angelo Brocato (for the peach gelato)

Xoco (for the churros and empanadas)

Cheers to 2011, the New Year and may it bring good health, happiness and many pleasant food memories. -The BMH sisters

Spicy Mayo BLT

Everything is better with bacon right? What about with spicy mayo? Here’s the adult version of the BLT with spicy mayo (both whole wheat and white bread variations).

The heat of the Rooster Sauce (Sriracha) contrasts the smoothness of the mayo and saltiness of the crispy bacon. Sriracha originates from Thailand, but was popularized in the States by a Vietnamese businessman. I loved NPR’s Ode to Sriracha.

Toast up some bread and with the broil setting of the toaster oven, slices of bacon crisp up quickly.  The ratio between Sriracha and mayo is entirely up to the user!