The Beehive, South End, Boston

After we tasted The Beehive’s Chef Rebecca Newell’s homage to her grandmother, truffled peirogis with homemade smoked salmon at the Chefs for Obama fundraiser, we knew we would be back to The Cyclorama to try Newell’s menu. The Beehive oozes cool with the red and gold curtains, funky art and its cavernous space.

Since 2007, The Beehive has been a Bohemian fixture in the South End offering creative cuisine, brunch, well crafted-cocktails and of course the jazz. We have been to The Beehive week nights for happy hour and birthdays, but never for a proper meal.

On weekends, the line is out the door and sometimes a long wait. The crowd can be hit or miss and the bar area uncomfortably overcrowded.  Our other favorite jazz haunts are Regatta BarWally’s and Darryl’s Corner Bar.

We were happy to enjoy the performance  of one of the most charismatic and talented young musicians Mark Zaleski and the angelic Aubry Johnson. Our friend Mark has toured with Jethro Tull and has been performing with Aubry for years now. Mark’s saxophone and innate musicality, whether performing solo or as a guest star, with his Brooklyn-based brother Glenn Zaleski or with a band, really inspires.

We noticed the acoustics varied throughout The Beehive. Although the band’s sound was clear and audible directly in front of the stage, it was difficult to hear Aubry’s airy, yet powerful voice well in the upstairs dining area. Next time, we will plan on requesting or going early for the seats closests to the performers.

In the upstairs dining area, performance footage was projected against the white wall and the holiday lights highlights a very mysterious area behind the brick wall. Super cool.

Our friends enjoyed their Pink Flamingo (Citron Vodka, Luxardo Maraschino Liquer, White Cranberry, Pomegranate) and the Beehive Honey Brew. Although I considered the Persian Kitty cocktail with Pomegranate and ginger liquor, per my friend’s suggestion, I tried the Valentino Martini (Vodka, Blood Orange, Passion fruit) for $11. I would definitely enjoy lightly sweet, tangy and smooth cocktail again.

The Valentino cocktail reminded me of one of my favorite fashion documentaries, Valentino: The Last Emperor, which displays the luxurious world of fashion icon Valentino Garavani, his partner Giancarlo Giammetti and features his last couture collection.

I am always moved by the romantic scene of the elegant ballerinas floating in the air to a haunting opera.  I mentally cheer when Valentino responds to the comment, “There are a lot of people who say no one can replace you.” The designer cleverly states, “Après moi, le déluge.” (After me, the deluge).

When we were in our teens, both my sister and I played jazz piano in the local jazz band. Although we no longer play, we deeply appreciate jazz music and continue to integrate it in our lives.  We love soulful trumpeter Jason Palmer, vocalist Whitney James and through an opera singer friend’s insistence, we are now following vocalist Rachael Price (love her renditions of I Only Have Eyes For You and Trolley Song).

The table shared the Beehive Frites with sage & sea salt ($9), which had the perfect balance of tenderness and crispness. The frites were aromatic and had the right amount of sprinkling of salt. I would order them again and for an additional $1.50, make them into Poutine with cheese and gravy (the Poutine at The Gallows is stellar).

The sole, made gluten-free, was tender, flakey and perfectly cooked. I really enjoyed the brightness from the lemon and the additional bitterness from greens.

I would return to enjoy the jazz brunch and try the Short Rib, Farmhouse Cheddar & Fontina Grilled cheese ($15) and the Borscht Soup for $9 (BMH’s attempt of Borscht and the only other place we know serving borscht is at the Lithuanian Club in South Boston). Just because we love fried dough, we would have to try the Basket of Beignets for $9 (the best beignets are at Cafe du Monde).

The Beehive on Urbanspoon

Chefs for Obama Highlights, Cyclorama, Boston

Chefs for Obama, a group of 14 cooks, held a private cooking competition and tasting, at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts, on the evening of January 31st. The competition was judged by Governor Duval Patrick, First Lady Diane Patrick and award-winning Chef Ming Tsai (BMH Review of Blue Ginger). Each chef had an individual table set up with their food and guests were allowed to taste as much as they please.

Ryan Fleury did an amazing job organizing the event. The event raised $135,000 and the majority of it will go towards the Democratic National Party, as well as the President’s 2012 campaign.

Jody Adams, Rialto and Trade served spiced chicken ravioli, figs and orange. Freshly made pasta surrounding tender chicken and greens were bathed in a light orange cream sauce and dressed with grated cheese and fig. Suprisingly the pieces of dried fig were not too sweet, but semi-tart.

Jamie Bissonnette, Toro and Coppa (BMH Review of Toro) served oysters escabeche using moonshell oysters from the Cape with cava and vinegar. The oyster were chilled, fresh and had a nice mouth feel from the cava.

Chris Coombs, Deuxave and DBar served seared Maine diver scallops over black quinoa, delicata squash and maple aioli. Underneath you found  a sliver of roasted pork belly and tart apple. On top, there were thin slivers of crispy lardons. The scallop was executed well and the aioli and quinoa and a great texture. This dish was aesthetically pleasing and complex with multiple layers of flavors and textures.

Evan DeLuty, Stella served slices of a quattro funghi whole wheat pizza. There were shiitake, oyster and crimini mushrooms, drizzled with white truffle oil. The various flavors from the three types of mushrooms and truffle oil were delicious.

Tiffani Faison, Sweet Cheeks (BMH review of Sweet Cheeks) served a farm salad of brussel and farro. It is similar to a dish she currently serves at her barbeque restaurant.There was raw and roasted brussel sprouts, candied chestnuts, hazelnuts, and farro. This would make a great starter.

Will Gilson, The Herb Lyceum served parsnip hummus, fried chickpeas, and crispy parsley. It was a healthy twist on a great appetizer using produce from local farms.

Gordon Hamersley, Hamersley’s Bistro was very warm and charismatic and served a fresh duck salad with wheat berries. The texture of the grain was fantastic, the duck was juicy and a classic Hamersley-style dish.

Barbara Lynch, No. 9 ParkB&G OystersStirThe Butcher ShopDrink and Sportello (BMH Review of SportelloDrinkNo. 9 Park) poured spicy tomato soup topped with a crispy grilled cheese. The soup had a nice spicy bite and the grilled cheese added a lovely crunch.

Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother served a fresh catfish taco with a collard green kimchi. The collard green kimchi was something unique we had never had before and paired wonderfully with the lightly sauteed catfish.

Seth Morrison, The Gallows (BMH Review of The Gallows) served a vegetarian delight of mushroom bordalaise on top of roasted spaghetti. It was served in a bamboo spoon. This was a comfort food type of dish that was perfect for the winter evening.

Rebecca Newell, The Beehive paid homage to her beloved grandmother by serving potato and cheese pierogies with truffled creme fraiche and housemade salmon. The pierogies were filled with the truffle scented cream, however a bit limp, but the homemade salmon was fresh and had a great flavor.

Marc Orfaly, Pigalle and Marco plated dishes of healthy mac’n’cheese made with roasted butternut squash, whole wheat pasta, gruyere cheese, greek yogurt and herbed panko breadcrumbs. The mac and cheese was quite tasty and light.

Brian Reyelt, Franklin CafeThe Citizen and Tasty Burger (BMH Review of Tasty Burger) served up a homemade s’more. The graham cracker and marshmallow were homemade and tasted wonderful drizzled with chocolate sauce. The soft marshmallow was the best part of the dessert.

Oishii (BMH Review of Oishii) served 3 pieces of sushi, Kobe beef with spinach, salmon topped with a slice of strawberry and tuna. Our favorite was the melt-in-your-mouth kobe beef. Chef Ting Wen was greeting attendees and helping add soy sauce to plates.

The participating chefs  created a cookbook featuring original recipes titled “Massachusetts Chefs for Obama.”

The winner was Chef Evan DeLuty of Stella, who will have the opportunity to meet with Mrs. Obama. Judge Ming Tsai announced the rankings were as follows:

1st: Evan DeLuty from Stella

2nd: Jody Adams from Rialto

3rd: Ting Wen from Oishii

Our tastes did not follow the judges’ exactly. We thought Chris Coombs from Deuxave, Gordon Hamersley from Hamersley’s Bistro and Ting Wen from Oishii had some of the best dishes of the night.

All leftover food from the campaign event was donated to Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a Boston-based food recovery program. The Lovin’ Spoonfuls’s team are very passionate about their work and partners with supermarkets such as Trader Joe’s to feeds about 40,000 people a day at crisis centers.

Please note we received complimentary tickets for BakingMeHungry. All opinions are our own.