Market by Jean-Georges, Theater District, Boston

Over the years, we  have had really amazing hits at during restaurant week. Our favorites and hit list includes No.9, Sorellina, Smith and Wollensky, Toro, Abe & Louie’s, Bistro du Midi, Radius, lunch at L’Espalier and Rialto.  This restaurant week, we decided on Market by Jean-Georges for a 3 course prix fixe for $33.12 per person.

We really enjoyed our drinks and dessert night at Market (BMH’s first review) so were really looking forward to returning for drinks.

The restaurant ambiance is modern and very sleek. We love the orchids in the center of the room and table ikebana.

We started the evening with a Lychee Raspberry Bellini  with Zardetto Prosecco, Lychee, Raspberry for $12. The bellini was bubbly, lightly sweet and fun. The Ginger Margarita had Sauza ‘Hornitos’ Reposado Tequila Ginger, Lime, Ginger Salt for $13.

The salmon tartare, avocado, spicy radish and ginger dressing was some of the best tartar we have ever eaten. The ginger dressing coated the smooth and fresh salmon, creamy avocado and the bite of the thin flowery radish.

The sweet pea soup, parmesan air and sourdough croutons was a nice starter. Very smooth, fresh and the flavors of the parmesean and sourdough brought a nice saltiness to the peas. We just wish there were more.

The Slowly Cooked Salmon was perfectly prepared, soft and went well with the crisp julienne carrots and vegetables with basil vinaigrette.

The Crispy Chicken with Corn Vinaigrette, Lemongrass and Cilantro was a must get. It was an Asian inspired interpretation of Southern Fried chicken, mash and a side of summery sweet corn. The Southeast Asian flavors, both the lemongrass and cilantro went well with the super tender chicken and coating.

The Chocolate Flan Tart was perfectly chocolatey and an adult version of Mint Chip ice cream. The tart came with candied cocoa Beans, but the best aspect of the dish was the fresh mint ice cream and wished we had a whole bowl.

The Watermelon Lychee Sorbet, Melon Salad and Mint was very refreshing. Wish it had more lychee punch, but the smooth, icy sorbet was really nice with the fresh mint and melon tendrils.

Market by Jean-Georges (W Hotel) on Urbanspoon

Supermarkets: Puerto Rico

I really enjoy going to local supermarkets to get a sense of the snack food and items that seem unique to the culture of the location. In San Juan, we picked up several snacks and various local items that can not be found in the States.  I have purchased many of plantain chips at the Latin section of my supermarket, however these brand of Filler plantain chips.

Platanutures with garlic flavor are thin, crispy and really fun to snack on.

They look like banana chips, but not.

Caribas Mofongo Mix ChipsLU brand Panky Wafer cookies

Cans of Medalla beer and Medalla Light

El Morro flavored syrups for shaved ice

bimbo chip cookies

Bacalao (cod) products

The variety of Pepperidge farm freezer section cakes including German Chocolate, Orange Creme,  Devil’s Food and Key Lime and Golden.

Nestle Delicias pops and ice cream: tamarind, strawberry, mango, coconutCaramel custard

Other varieties of flan

The flan we took home to enjoy. It was creamy, custardy and sweet.

Kasalta, Condado, San Juan

Kasalta is one the most popular bakeries and cafeterias in San Juan. Kasalta’s large parking lot is a puzzle in itself. The well-managed lot is monitored by an umbrella covered attendant who ushers patrons into designated parking spots to prevent traffic issues.

Kasalta is loved by the San Juan community and they are very proud that President Obama visited. Kasalta features a large photo poster of Obama paying for his meal at the beginning of the line to order.

There is an uncanny semblance between Kasalta and North End Boston’s Mike’s Pastry. Mike’s has pictures and bragging rights that Bill Clinton visited. We joked that we should start writing a book trying all the restaurants and hotels that the current President and previous Presidents have stayed at.

Kasalta has a large deli case with a vast selection of cheeses and sliced meats.
Kasalta’s frosted cakes are decadent and topped with chocolate, oreos and strawberries.We were amused by the variety of colorful fruit and nut cakes and chocolate cake.We were impressed by the intricately molded chocolates were a rainbow of hues and designs.

We couldn’t help stare at the Brazo Gitano jelly rolls and large flans (BMH’s flan). These two desserts would be the ones we would be willing to  indulge in.

The carne and pollo (beef and chicken) empanadas looked super flakey and were very popular amongst the locals.

Similar to an Italian pastry store, there were slices of strawberry and chocolate mousse slices and other individually sliced cream cakes.One of our favorite breads are the Mallorca bread. Buttery, soft and dusted in powdered sugar. Amazing when melted cheese is in the center for a salty and sweet mix.Kasalta sells two of Puerto Rico’s favorite local rums, Don Q and Ron del Barralito Rum (not Bacardi).

We enjoyed the concentrated coffee flavor of the Cafe con Leche and a Frita Cubana ($7.50) sandwich. The chorizo burger with fried shoe string potatoes, onion and a special sauce had great flavor and dripped some lightly red chorizo juice onto the crispy potatoes. We enjoyed a similar sandwich in Little Havana, Miami at El Rey de Las Fritas. Kasalta’s was even better.
My favorite Latin sandwich is chorizo a la plancha con queso ($9.95). The grilled chorizo and melted swiss cheese is perfect as a sandwich. Although we have  tried making them at home (BMH chori pan), Kasalta’s pressed sandwich, melted swiss and lightly charred chorizo was bar none the best ever eaten.

The Coca de Sardinas is an Easter pie which is filled with sardines, pepper and a pizza-like crust. The coca itself was very colorful. II am a fair weather sardine fan and although I thought the pie was good, but not my preference.

I really enjoyed the flavor and soft texture of lightly fried Ham Croquettes. 

Noche, South End, Boston Revisited

Noche is located in the former defunct Icarus and right next to the South End hot spot and favorite frozen bellini bar, 28 Degrees. Noche has a fantastic bar area as well and even an enclosed glass space perfect for private dining or a party of 12.

We were hesitant to go for dinner based on my sister’s previous visit and review of Noche, but certainly we were glad we visited. We made reservations in advance, since Friday’s are quite busy. Upon our arrival, we were immediately greeted and seated. Throughout our service the staff were very attentive and warm.

The restaurant is laid back, has modern design and the dining room is filled with mirrors and funky lighting.

There were many group tables, which increased the volume of the room with jovial banter. We can envision Noche does a great job accommodating large parties.

At the start of our meal, we were brought out a cone full of complimentary plantain chips and aioli.

The chips themselves were crispy and were enhanced by the flavor of the spicy aioli.

The Tuna Crudo was tasty, but there was something missing. The slices of fresh ahi tuna went well with the mango, plaintain crumbs, lime and sriracha air, however we felt there were missing element of heat and acid ($14).

The Arepa con huevo with tender brisket, farmer’s cheese and egg yolk. The arepa was filled with warmed cheese and we really enjoyed the texture of the spicy slaw and crema. The appetizer could easily serve as an entree for $11. Some of the best arepas we have eaten were at Caracas Arepa Bar, East Village, New York.

We really enjoyed the flavor of the Pan Roasted Red Snapper. The harmony between the cilantro puree, silky and lightly sweet coconut rice and refreshing cucumber mango relish was a great combination ($26). We wish the snapper itself was cooked a little bit less, but the dish was really unique.

Noche’s Filet Mignon is noteworthy. We would return for this dish. The perfectly medium rare poblano demi-glaced filet was super tender and paired well with the swiss chard and manchego mashed potatoes ($32). The manchego potatoes were really special and a nice compliment to the entire dish.

The Molten chocolate cake had a nice intensity, however could have been warmer than it was presented. The center was room temperature. The cake came with a scoop of ice cream and raspberry puree ($9).

We would return for Noche’s brown sugar and cinnamon dusted churros. The three churros had a crispy exterior, but creamy and tender interior. Usually churros are over fried or too thick, but these were amazing and may even beat Toro’s churros, which we sampled twice (first at brunch and then at a dinner visit). The thin dulce de leche added a nice caramel flavor to the churros, however the churros were lovely as a lone reed ($9).

We would return to Noche to enjoy the bar area and try the Flower Blossom has ultimate vodka, lemon juice, peach liqueur, sparkling wine served in a flute with a hibiscus flower blossom, as well as the Sparkling Sangria white wine, peach & orange liqueurs, seasonal fruit, topped with sparkling wine, glass both for $10.

We also would love to try our server’s other suggestions of the Diablo Chicken with corn bread stuffing, sherry chicken jus, sweet potato puree ($20) and the Braised short ribs chipotle cherry glaze, cornbread puree and arugula salad ($26).

Flan Revisited

The first attempt at flan went so well, we knew we would make individual sized servings shortly thereafter. Goya offers individual packets of three flan for a few dollars, but it is much more satisfying to make flan at home.

The simplicity of ingredients, egg, condensed milk, evaporated milk and caramel yields a lightly sweet custard. This time we used a bit less sugar for the caramel and omitted vanilla and the individual flans turned out just as creamy and luscious.

Adapted from AllRecipes

  • 1 and 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk and evaporated milk until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake in preheated oven 45 (for ramekins) and 60 minutes (for large flan). Let cool completely.
  5. To serve, carefully invert on serving plate with edges when completely cool.

Spanish Flan

Our mother would make a silky flan with a dark caramel. She would pour the caramel into a pie glass, then add the custard and after it baked, she would invert the flan. A sweet, caramel would flow over the plate.

I am surprised how quick and easy making a flan is. As a child, I wished mom would add more caramel sauce because it is just so sweet and complementary to the custard.  In my first flan attempt, I pumped up the amount of caramel for extra flavor and sauce.

Although you can individualize the flans and divide them into ramekins, I prefer the slices of larger custard. The slices remind me of mom.

Adapted from AllRecipes

  • 2 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake in preheated oven 60 minutes. Let cool completely.
  5. To serve, carefully invert on serving plate with edges when completely cool.

Evaporated milk, condensed milk, and eggs

Lady M Cake Boutique, Upper East Side, New York

I love impromptu visits to bakeries or desserteries for cupcakes and decadent slices of cake. Before a viewing of Calder’s Circus and Real/Surreal at the Whitney, we popped into the Lady M Cake Boutique, the all-white dreamlike dessert and cake store.

Lady M was full when we arrived, so we put our name on the list and looked at our decadent options. They do have sandwiches and light fare, however we could not divert our line of vision from the sweets.

Crystal lighting

Croissants in the silver basket, next to very feminine decor.

Checkers chocolate and vanilla sponge cake woven into a checker board with a thin layer of fresh cream and iced with a delicate dark chocolate ganache.

Chocolate eclairs

Very Berry fruit tarts 

Gâteau Au Chocolat, a pure chocolate sponge dotted with roasted walnuts, covered with a rich chocolate ganache, topped with a fresh reflective ganache and a splash of gold dust, looked absolutely luxurious.

Strawberry Mille Feuille, paper thin puff pastry layered with sponge, cream custard and strawberries

Our cappuchino came with sugar in the raw rock candy. I plan on making my own turbinado sugar rock candy at home.

We tried the Flan Aux Pommes, a shortbread crust with a hint of almond paste layered with a velvety vanilla bean flan and sautéed seasonal apples.

Flan aux pommes is only available October – March and is the marriage of two desserts in one. The silky sweet flan with apple pie had multi-tiers of flavors of almond, vanilla and sweet apples.

The long eclair had a nice layer of chocolate, a light cream filling in the pate choux.

Lady M Mille Crêpes cake has 20 paper-thin, hand-made crêpes layered with light and creamy custard was so unique and unbelievable. Each bite our of mille crepes slice had the thin, spongy crepes encased in cream.

A small (6″) Mille Crêpes cake costs $40.00  and the large (9″) is $75.00. Lady M When we were enjoying our crepe cake, there was a delivery van full of dozens of boxed cakes pre-ordered for pickup.

Mille Crêpes offers seasonal crêpe cakes throughout the year including chocolate, chestnut, coconut, coffee and green tea. I look forward to trying each of the flavors in the future.

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