Sel de la Terre, Natick and Ole Mexican Grill, Cambridge

Father’s Day… a meal after father for the umpteenth said “I’m not sure if this fits my schedule!”

Both parents happen to be the type that save for rainy days. Without pressure on them to use a gift certificate they had received a few years ago. Sel de la Terre or “salt of the earth” is a nicely done French-Provencal bistro that prides itself on local and sustainable ingredients.

Assiette of Charcuterie: Duck Rillettes, Baguette, Toasted Brioche, Whole Grain Mustard, and Chutney

This starter was classic French food. Crisp warm bread topped with duck pate, a smear of my favorite kind of mustard, a sprinkle of sweet fruit chutney and a bite of tangy cornichon.

Our household grew up eating pate and baguette, so nothing reminds me more of my father than this! He’d always toast our baguettes and dole out the pate to each of us on Sundays. Flatbread Pizza: Bourbon Apples, Chicken Confit, Capers, and St. Andre Brie

Very tasty. I wasn’t expecting it to be so it was a nice surprise. The apples and brie are a classic combination. Our little brother sniffed and prodded his portion first. I think he thought we were trying to pull a fast one on him by telling him it was pizza. After the long hesitation, he ate it and proclaimed it was “not bad.” High praise indeed from a fourteen year old.
Roasted Tomato Soup with Basil Oil and Gruyere Cheese Crouton
The tomatoes were freshly roasted and there was a hint of creamy sweetness. The cheese crouton was perfectly crisp and tasted slightly like nuts and caramel with a hint of salt.
Grilled Ribeye Steak Frites, Red Wine-Shallot Reduction and Rosemary Pomme Frites
Out of eight people, there were seven orders for steak frites. The ribeye was tender and cooked a bit more than the medium-rare I requested. The pomme frites were crispy but a tad over salted.
Grilled Rainbow Trout, Eggplant Caponata, Wilted Baby Arugala, Bacon Vinagrette was ok. The trout was well cooked to tender flaky perfect but once you’ve had the trout at Rialto, it’s hard to beat.

Dark and Stormy was the aperitif choice because of the bite of ginger beer and rum. Everyone else had a nice Malbec to go with their steak frites.

We craftily led our father to believe he was paying the bill, he realized he wasn’t because the waits staff never brought him the bill, though he asked twice. Even though he grumbled, you could tell he was pleased that his daughters paid.

Ole Mexican Grill in Cambridge’s Inman Square for a “surprise” birthday dinner.  Stuffed from Sel de la Terre, we had drinks and dessert with some great warm and friendly folks.
OleGria, White Wine, Mango with Fresh Fruits and Brandy
A very good glass of white sangria with mango and apple bits.

See that aqua star above? We were looking at the dessert menu and cackling about the fried cheesecake burrito. Heart attack and heaven all at once?! Be still my arteries! We ended up splitting the two desserts below among three people. I did get a chance to also sample the warm chocolate bread pudding with vanilla-sour cream ice cream and that single bite was delicious in itself.
Crepas de Cajetas

Warm crepes on goat’s milk caramel sauce topped with candied pecans and vanilla-sour cream ice cream. It was fresh, creamy, sweet, crunchy, fruity, crispy all at once. A texture explosion for every spoonful. Very good and highly recommended.

Flan de Caramelo, Classic Egg Custard in Rich Caramel Sauce

This isn’t your typical flan. In fact, it’s nowhere near the classic French style flan I grew up eating. This is smooth creamy heaven. It’s like creme brulee that doesn’t have a crunchy sugar top.

We tried the Premium Tequila Flight: Silver, Reposada, Anejo and Tomato Juice Shooter.

“Silver” or “blanco” tequila is freshly made and has not been rested or aged. “Reposado” or “rested” tequila has a pale color and gentle taste from being rested for up to a year. “Anejo” or “aged” tequila is usually amber in color and has rested for more than a year. Usually you sip your tequila in small amounts and chase it with a sangrita, which is a potent chaser of some kind.

I would definitely come back to try more things on the Ole menu. The atmosphere radiates casual warmth and beautiful unique Mexican style decor. You can reserve tables or lounge in the small cozy bar area. I’ve got my eye on the pato con mole poblano, scallops al aljillo, crepas a la mexicana, tamales, and elote con chile to try. Ideally, it’s right near Ryles Jazz Bar, on a night out you could head over there after for some great music after dinner and drinks.

Sel de la Terre

Sel de la Terre on Urbanspoon

Olé Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

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