Saturday, September 4, 2010

Upstairs on the Square: A Tomato Feast

I love attending food blogger events, but I also love hanging out with my foodie & blogger friends away from a presentation or sales pitch.  I was so excited to have not one, but two, foodie dates in the same week.  It was a welcome change to be run-of-the-mill diners, and just enjoy our food and the company of one another....

Well, as run of the mill as you can be while taking notes and snapping pictures!!

After my trip to Sportello, my second meal of the week was a dinner at Upstairs on the Square.

Megan of Delicious Dishing had spotted a special menu at the restaurant called "The Perfect Summer Repast: A Tomato Feast" - a 4 course meal featuring the beloved summer tomato.  She immediately alerted Michelle, Meghan, Kristen and I.   Since we are all fans of all things tomato, we simply could not miss it!

I met Michelle after work, and we took the T to Harvard Square to meet Megan, Meghan, and Kristen.  Upon arriving we were immediately seated.  Our tasting menus were in front of us.  

Our server informed us that  for an extra fee, we could choose to have wine pairings with each course.  Wine pairings?  Yup! We all agreed immediately.

The first course was an amuse bouche.  
I really appreciated the artistic plating of our spoons full of tomato gazpacho.

When I make gazpacho, its usually kind of a homogenous mixture.  I really like the texture of the veggies in the spoon.  The little croutons added some crunch!

Our second course was a tomato salad with goat cheese, raspberries, and raspberry vinaigrette.  I loved the contrast of sweet and savory.  And the Thai basil was a wonderful compliment to both the berries and the tomatoes. favorite.  I LOVE yellow tomatoes.  The pairing for this and the gazpacho was a glass of 2008 Ca' del Solo Albarino from Monterey County.  It was light and refreshing.  It was also Vegan, but not sure what makes it vegan?  Any thoughts?

The next course was the fish course.  We were served an herb crusted Hake.  The wine pairing: French bourgogne - 2007 Domaine Caillot Les Herbeux.  It was a white burgundy, and much deeper in flavor than the first wine.  It was a bit oaky, which is usually a turn-off for me, but I really enjoyed the complexity of this particular white.  
The hake was beautiful.  The herbs on top were delicious, and the fish was perfectly cooked and tender.  My favorite part however, was the sauce enveloping the smashed yukon golds: lemongrass tomato water.  It was amazingly aromatic.  I polished off my fish and used some bread to sop up the remaining tomato water....YUM.

As our meal went on the sun set and the restaurant got progressively darker, so I apologize for the flash in these photos!  Next up was the beef course: Sirloin and a Provencal tomato.  The wine pairing was a  2006 Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.  I loved this rich, juicy red.

The beef was just so-so in my opinion.  The flavor was terrific, but my piece was a little tough.  No worries on that though, because the stuffed tomato was the star of this plate.  The stuffing was delicious but did not overpower the flavors of the tomato, only enhanced with subtle herbs, and the breadcrumbs provided a perfect contrast in texture.

I think all of us can agree that dessert was the best part of the entire meal.  Tomato sorbet, olive oil ice cream, candied pine nuts, and a lemon thyme shortbread.  The table went quiet.  We were all taking small bites, studying the flavors.  Then we errupted into discussion....It was such an inventive dessert....something I never would have conceived, but I absolutely loved it.

I loved having dinner with these ladies.  It was so wonderful to enjoy and evening with 4 women who are all smart, opinionated and happen to LOVE food.  It was great to be able to talk about the flavors of our meals but without the need to discuss a brand, or be interrupted by a sales pitch.  It was terrific to have more opportunity to learn about each other's personal lives. I'm starting to think I need to drop 'foodie' or 'blogger' from their title, and just start calling them friends.

I hope we get together again soon.....In fact....we have a little trip planned in the near future....
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  1. Aw. I definitely consider you a friend! So glad you came to dinner. It is really nice to just be able to go out and talk to each other as friends. Can we go back for more dessert? Hope you're having a good weekend!

  2. The dinner sounds fabulous! The dessert is definitely different, but sounds delicious :)

  3. I'm glad that we're more than just blogger acquaintances but real friends :-) We need to catch up soon!

  4. I am behind on blog reading, so to relive this event 2 weeks later was so much fun! Can't wait for VT!