Enjoying Brunch at Beats Brasserie with Boston Brunchers

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Getting to share four great brunch entrees with 3 other wonderful Boston based bloggers is such a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon. And I had the pleasure of doing just that a few weeks ago.

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I attended a recent Boston Brunchers‘ event held at Beats Brasserie in Harvard Square in Cambridge. I was so excited to have the opportunity to enjoy brunch with a great group of local food loving bloggers.

Plus, I had heard great things about Beats Brasserie, from their food to the live music. And  there are just somethings that shouldn’t be missed.

They have a really cool, creative brunch menu. Dare I say that their space is just as cool too. The menus and decor are the perfect sort of mish mash that makes it all work together. Take an egg dish and kick it up a notch. Tile a wall but paint poetry all over it. Things like that make Beats Brasserie special.

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What better to kick off the brunch than a great Bloody Mary?!?

The Bloody Mary’s a classic brunch staple and they nailed it. It’s hard to resist getting excited when a big tall glass of boozy tomato goodness is set down in front of you. Ask for it spicy.

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There are really times when I don’t want to share meals with people but there are times when it is the best thing ever as you get the opportunity to try new things.

This brunch is the exact reason why sharing is awesome.

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I had never heard of Eggs Shakshuka ($14.5) but it sounded good and I was up to try things new with my table mates suggested it. Jackie, Dan, and Jessica are all big local foodies so when they suggest something you listen.  Like they suggested to add the Merguez Sausage (+$3) to the dish of Poached Eggs, North African Tomato Sauce, Peppers, Polenta, and Pitas. I actually didn’t have any sausage but the rest of the dish that I did try was incredible as it was a great mix of silky textures from the tomato sauce to the polenta. Plus you can’t be virbrant spices that perfume the table.

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I think that the Bowl Azteca has to be the most interesting dish on the menu. A beautifully thrown pottery bowl is filled with Spiced Quinoa, Tomatillo Salsa, Fresh Corn, Squash, Green Beans, Avocado, Baby Spinach. All of that is then topped off with a variety of offerings such as Poached Free Range Eggs ($17), All Natural Chicken ($17), and Skirt Steak ($19). We opted for the Blackened Shrimp ($18), which was a great choice as they were seasoned and cooked very well. Overall the bowl is a a complex collection of flavors, smells, and textures that work really well together.

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When I first read over the menu I was pretty sure I would order the Braised Short Rib Eggs Benedict ($15.50) as eggs benedict is the way to my heart. If you nail it, I will be your friend for life. And it ultimately came as no surprise to me that Beats Brasserie nailed it with a perfectly toasted english muffin that was generously topped off with shredded braised short ribs, nicely cooked poached eggs, and a buttery Hollandaise.

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And for our dessert we shared the Wild Flower Honey & Lemon Pancakes ($14). My heart belongs to waffles but these pancakes were awesome. They were light in texture and very flavorful. I honestly would order them again, which is saying a lot about these pancakes. It’s just that it’s hard to resist them, especially with the mixed berry compote and compound butter that tops them.

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Everything that we enjoyed for brunch was fantastic. If you want to enjoy it for yourself then head over to Beats Brasserie between Saturday & Sunday: 10:00am – 3:00pm.  And don’t forget that the Live Music starts at 10am. Go hungry!

 

Beats Brasserie

13 Brattle St

Cambridge, MA 02138

(617) 499-0001

 

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While I received this complimentary brunch in exchange for a review, all opinions expressed are my own.

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Enjoying Brunch at Boston Chops with Boston Brunchers

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I just love to go out for brunch. It’s the relaxed fit and feel of brunch that I love. I mean that I love that you can order whatever… eggs- sure, club sandwich- yep, pancakes- why not?, burger- definitely.I love that flexibility because I’m kinda horrible when it comes to making a decision to eat. More options might scare people but I like to have lots of options to at the last-minute, when the waiter is staring at me go “errr, ummm, I’llTakeTheChickenandWaffles! phew!”

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I recently felt that same sense of delightful overwhelm mixed with a great sense of relief when I ordered my incredible brunch entrée at Boston Chops. I was out with a group of Boston Brunchers so I reigned in my indecisiveness and carefully narrowed down my brunch entrée to 2 things so I could just go ‘eeny meeny miny moe’ in my head at the last-minute. (yes, I am a child).

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It’s just that they have such a great brunch menu that it was so tough to decide on what to get. Our waitress, Lindsay, was incredible as she was attentive and so well-informed that she was extremely helpful with the ordering process. Her passion for her job and food was clear as she described each element of each dish was inquired about. I couldn’t decide between the Croque Monsieur ($13-$17 w/ 2 eggs) or the Surf and Turf but from Lindsay’s descriptions of the Surf and Turf had me sold.

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As part of the brunch we got some goodies to kick things off.

Homemade Sticky Buns! The mini buns ($7) were light and fluffy and the sticky bun sauce was sweet without giving you a toothache. I enjoyed

The table also ordered a dozen Island Creek Oysters ($29). The 2 plates of oysters were served with wedges of lemon, horseradish, cocktail sauce, and mignonette. I did not have any as I don’t like oysters but those who did have them really enjoyed them.

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Homemade Donuts ($7) reminded me more of churros. They were crisp, crunchy, and sugary. The I could have drunk that velvety chocolate sauce.

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I can never pass up an oportunity to enjoy a cocktail with bourbon, so I select the Maple Berry Smash ($11) as my brunch beverage. The mix of Bourbon, maple syrup, seasonal berries, and herbs made a lovely combination. The maple went well with the sweet and smokey nature of the Bourbon. The berries made it bright while the herbs rounded it all out to add the ‘wow’ element.

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After everyone enjoyed the starters the entrees were served. Plates ranged from the Huevos Rancheros ($15) to the Turkey Sandwich ($13) to the “Surf & Turf” ($23). I was down right giddy when my Surf and Turf arrived in front of me. It was quite a sight to be hold with its 4 ounce beef tournedo, poached egg, lobster claws, asparagus, and Hollandaise Sauce.

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The piece of beef so tender that I was able to use a butterknife to cut it. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare but I felt it could have used a bit of char to add more texture, flavor as I felt it was a bit underseasoned.

The farm fresh egg was cooked perfectly so that the white was firm and the yolk was bright and perfectly runny.

Alternating bites of the steak, egg, and lobster with the grits made for a lucious brunch.

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Lobster Grits. Be still my heart.

There was actually a goof when they brought the entrée to the table- no grits! I was thinking ‘hmm maybe the grits portion is like the sauce, really rich so there is just a spoonful hidden somewhere under the steak?’ Nope, our plates were missing them so they rushed back and brought us these lovely mini dutch ovens filled with the grits. I’m actually glad that they were served separately, as they normally would have been placed on the plate with everything else on top, because this allowed for the complex layered flavors of the grits to shine on their own and not get muddled up with the egg yolk and Hollandaise. If I ever order this again I would actually ask for it this way.

Well, be still my heart. These grits were the best grits I ever ate! Maybe it was the lobster? The butter? The cheese? Oh God! They were so rich and creamy I gobbled up the whole thing. I just knew I wouldn’t enjoy them as much reheated at home so I just dug down deep and enjoyed the last few spoonfuls of the grits before leaning back in the booth in stuffed bliss. (I did a LONG walk with the dog later!)

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This is why runny eggs and Hollandaise are my best friends. No wait, they are the devil and angel that sit on my shoulders. But who is who? I’ll never tell!

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Houston, we have a problem.

Not only am I offended that this mirror is for jolly green giants but I’m offended as a designer. But who in their right mind thought it was okay to put the bottom of the miror at 4′-6″?? I would never think that was okay when I was designing it or installing it.

But don’t worry Boston Chops, I won’t hold the greatly mislocated mirror against you! I will be back and next time I’ll get a Croque Monsieur!

Boston Chops

1375 Washington Street

Boston, MA

617-227-5011

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While I received this complimentary brunch in exchange for a review, all options expressed are my own.

True Southern Hospitality at M3 with Boston Brunchers

 

I’ve been lucky to have quite a few meals recently that afterwards have stuck with me and I have not been able to stop thinking about. One is the tacos, queso, and agua frescas that we had from TacoDeli when I was visiting Austin. Thankfully, I’ve had another much closer experience that has been really memorable. I went to M3 in Somerville with Boston Brunchers. We had a fantastic time and had to practically be rolled out of there. Check out their brunch menu and you’ll see what I’m talking about!

M3 means ‘meat and three‘ which is a play on Southern restaurants that has customers pick out a meal and 3 of the available daily sides. This place serves up your favorite Southern favorites that can’t be missed. M3 is nicely decorated with fun light fixtures, chalk board walls, and pictures of Elvis. It was a nice place that I could sit and really enjoy anothe brunch or dinner. I know the next time that I go for brunch I have to try their shrimp and grits.

One of the really cool things that M3 does is that they make their own pickles. Their pickled vegetables were featured in several of their dishes, as well as their bloody mary’s. I like that they take the time to make their own pickles.

We started with watermelon salad (7). This was a great start as it was light, fresh, and showcased some great picked fruit and vegetables. I had never had pickled watermelon before so it was nice to try something new. I liked that it had the flavors of a pickling solution but it was still pretty light incomparison to the natural sweet flavor of the watermelon.

Then chicken and biscuits (7) came. We each had a chicken and biscuit to ourselves, which was great as sharing is not an option with this. The biscuit was buttery, soft, and flaky, then it was topped with a fried piece of chicken breast, and then covered in a sausage gravy. I loved everything about this. Our table felt this was a bit salty but really good. I prefered it salty but someone might not like that.

This was my first time trying scotch eggs (6). It was really good but it will probably be my last as I just don’t like hardboiled eggs. Kind of a major problem for scotch eggs as they are hardboiled eggs, just coated and fried.

And then the shared plates began with the chicken and waffles (11). This was the one dish that everyone commented on. The chicken and waffles were great but it just seemed to miss the mark, at least in what we were expecting. The waffle was fantastic but the chicken has us wasnting something more. The waffle was soft, fluffy, and sweet and served with some sour cherries. The chicken was tender and coated well but we were disapointed that it was a sweet coating. We were expecting a savory coating as it was paired with the sweet waffle- a little ying and yang action. Had the chicken had a salty coating this would have been a huge winner in my book. I would get this again, but I would just need some hot sauce on the side.

The food kept coming with blueberry pancakes (8). I don’t love pancakes so this was not for me. I felt the pancakes were a little dense but it was nice to have the blueberries and blueberry syrup on top to enjoy with them. There was a lemon flavored butter that was the highlight of the dish.

The last thing to grace our table was the cinnamon bran french toast (9). It was such a beauty. Thick cut french toast that was coated in bran and then drowned in maserated fruit and syrup. Then it was topped with some chocolate dipped bacon. Holy cow. Crazy. I could see myself going back and getting this as I loved the flavor and texture of the french toast. I feel like I need to coat all french toast in cereal now.

I managed to somehow haul myself out of my seat to head home. Then I spent the rest of the day thinking about the brunch and telling myself I could not possibly be hungry ever again. ha!

M3

382 Highland Avenue

Somerville, MA

617-718-6666

*While I did receive this complimentary brunch provided by The Farm School these opinions are entirely my own.

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Touring Boston’s Jewelers’ Exchange Building with Boston Brunchers

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of going on a tour of the Jewelers’ Exchange Building in Boston. Boston Brunchers organized the tour that put us face to face with some ah-mazing gems, sparklers, and baubles.

 

While we were gathering for an introduction from several of of the owners of the stores we would see on the tour, we were treated to some fantastic drinks and appetizers from Scholar’s. Scholar’s is a restaurant on School St, hense the school themed cocktail menu, (the Dead Poet is my favorite) that serves up fantastic food. It is about 100 steps from my office so there are have plenty of times I’ve ordered lunch or dinner from there. I was eager to try some of the appetizers so I was excited to see they brought their vegetable spring rolls and a bite sized version of their tuna tar tar as well as prosciutto wrapped asparagus and Scholars Rockefellar. The tuna tar tar and their lobster roll salad bites were my favorite. Easy to eat and the simple quality ingredients were lightly dressed showcasing the fresh seafood off.

 

 

The first store that we visited had the loveliest gentleman who showed us his store and manufacturing area. A team of 6 employees work to create custom jewelry including rings using a process of CAD drawings, molds and ends with a ring that you can treasure.

 

Did you know that some watches cost more than cars? Well if high end collectible watches  are your thing then go to Paul Duggan and he will pair you with the perfect watch for you.

We visited a wholesale semi precious stone vendor that pulled out trays and trays of various stones for us to ogle at. The one that really caught everyone’s attention was the moonstone. It is such a pretty stone and its luminescence is quite brilliant.

 

 

 

Do you have a special event to attend like a wedding and would love to wear something new but can’t splurge on a $20,000 necklace? Well you can rent it!! Visit Forever Diamond on the 5th floor to rent or purchase a variety of jewelry at all different prices.

 

 

 

At our last stop the owner pulled out a ring that he was about to finish setting. He explained to us the process of setting a ring, including the time it takes for the different settings on a ring. A ring like the one he was showing us would take about 6-8 hours. Wow!

The ring featured at the top was my hands down favorite ring of the night. I typically steer far far away from yellow gold as it looks dated to me but this brushed gold ring was such an beauty. The jeweler explained that all the diamonds were really hard to install smoothly in the concave settings. No matter what it the coolest ring from the night. Perfect right hand ring… time to start saving!!

I had assumed that the Jewelers’ Exchange Building was wholesale only so I never ventured in but in reality it is a great place to go to for jewelry repair, rentals, and shopping. And don’t think that they just sell engagement and wedding rings, as you can get anything from pearls to charm bracelets to watches. It is best to go there with a piece of jewelry and budget in mind so you can quickly find the best seller and therefore the piece that you want but no matter what you should have fun getting a little sparkle!!

Jewelers’ Exchange Building

333 Washington St

Boston, MA 02108

The Farm School Brunch with Boston Brunchers

I recently attended a brunch provided The Farm School of Athol with a group Boston Brunchers. Since Athol is nearly 2 hours away from Boston, the brunch was hosted by one of their supporters in Cambridge. It was so nice of the family to welcome the group of us into their lovely home.

While brunch was being prepared we got to hear about The Farm school including their farming, animal husbandry, CSA,  and the programs they offer on their 130 acres, which is made of about 40 acres of open land and 90 acres of woods,

The Farm School has programs for visiting schools that allows them to hosts over 1,500 students every year. During their 3-day stays the students are “fully integrated into the farm operations, rising early for milking, tending to the garden, fields and forests, and helping to cook meals with the food they have harvested.” This allows them to learn about agriculture, sustainability, and themselves. Kids can also experience more through their  camp program by attending week long sessions throughout the summer.

As well as the short term programs, they have their own onsite school for middle school aged children called the Chicken Coop School. The total class is 10-14 students and has 2 teachers, which helps the kids excel with extra attention and a curriculum that allows for hands on learning with an emphasis on critical thinking.

I was starting to feel a little discouraged about all these great programs for school aged children. How can I go there? Well I soon found out that they offer year long Learn to Farm program for adults who hope to have their own farm one day. During the year you learn about everything ranging from marketing, farm animals, forestry, and homesteading. One of the courses is about beekeeping… sign me up!! 🙂

 

Aside from learning all about The Farm School, I carefully watched them prepare our brunch. They provide daily meals for hundreds of students and staff so preparing brunch of us must have been a piece of cake.

When brunch was ready to be served we each took a seat at a lovely decorated series of tables. The tables were covered in canvas table clothes and there was a runner that ran the entire way. Mason jars filled with stalks of yellow forsythia made the table beautiful, as well as filling the room with a light floral scent. Each place setting was marked with a flyer and a handmade napkin. We each we able to take the napkins. Such a cute gift!

 

Our first course plates were fresh cut tree trunks. This provided a rustic look to brunch as well as sustainable place setting. Also served on the tree trunk plates were breads provided from Iggy’s Bread.

We started with 2 versions of bacon. I only ate the strip of maple bacon. The maple syrup  glaze gave the piece of bacon a lovely sweet flavor. The baked on glaze also made the bacon extra crunchy, which I enjoyed since I don’t like very soft bacon. I gave my piece of thicker pork belly bacon to Price. While I am sure it was very good (he said it was) I knew I would not enjoy the texture of it (see above).

The main course was a poached egg on sliced pork schnitzel cutlets with sides of  spinach and potato hash. The eggs are farm fresh and their flavor and color were very intense. I had never seen such a yellow egg before! Besides my million photos I took before diving in, I had to tweet a photo as well since I was so impressed. I loved the poached egg on the pork schnitzel. The egg was covered in a silky Hollandaise sauce (my favorite thing ever!). The pork was very lean, seasoned well, and cooked perfectly. The cooked spinach was so sweet and tender. I wish all spinach was like that. I didn’t love the Adirondack potato hash because I think it was a little plain but the color was fun.

 

Throughout the brunch we were able to sip on coffee, iced tea, and peach bellinis. To sweeten the iced tea we could use ice cubes that had a bit of maple syrup in them. I didn’t notice much maple flavor in my tea but I thought it was a very creative to try it. I loved the peach bellini because the fruit puree was so fresh. I know I will have to try this at home one day!

To round out the brunch, we were served a maple bread pudding made from Iggy’s bread and the maple syrup tapped on the farm’s property. The bread pudding was naturally sweet and very moist. I am always in awe of a bread pudding that achieves the balance of golden brown crunchy top, cooked middle, and soft consistent texture.

Their 2012 veggie CSA has just begun to take sign ups. The 21-week program runs from June to October and offers different options and pick up locations in Cambridge, Watertown, and Orange. And if a weekend CSA is not for you then check them out at the Belmont Farmers’ Market. The weekly market is on Thursdays from 1-7 at the Belmont Center Parking Lot. There you can pick up there in-season produce as well as all-natural meats, free-range eggs, and flowers.

I enjoyed the food so much that I know I will make a point of stopping by their farmer’s market one day after work. I huge thank you to the staff that prepared the meal and our lovely hosts that welcomed us into their home.

*While I did receive this complimentary brunch provided by The Farm School these opinions are entirely my own.

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Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive.