Last year at this time, I was still working at Flour, and I remember trudging through 2 inches of slush at 6:15 in the morning to get to the South End location for my 7 am shift on Martin Luther King Day -- and simultaneously cursing everyone who had the day off. While I absolutely loved working at the bakery and miss the work dearly, I don't miss getting up super early and working on holidays, so this year, I took full advantage of the Monday holiday and made plans to meet Alicia, Daisy, Meghan, and Michelle for lunch at Sel de la Terre and then spend the afternoon enjoying the city.
We planned ahead and got a couple of Groupons to use at the Long Wharf location. Since the Long Wharf location is somewhat close to the Fort Point location of Flour (where I also worked), I headed out a few minutes early to lunch and stopped by Flour to say hi to old co-workers/friends. It's such a different feeling visiting on a holiday instead of working on a holiday!
I left Flour and trudged down Atlantic Avenue to meet the ladies for lunch. Michelle, Alicia, and Daisy had just gotten a table a few moments before, and Meghan had to cancel on lunch but promised to meet us after.
I ordered a glass of Malbec to help shake off the chill from outside and spent some time looking over the menu and chatting. Alicia mentioned to our waitress that she checked in on foursquare, and a few moments later, a cone of rosemary pommes frites was placed before us. The fries were so skinny and perfectly salted -- I loved them and couldn't keep my hands off them!
I had made the mistake of looking over the menu ahead of time and had my heart set on the duck confit sandwich, but before we ordered, our waitress let us know they were out of the duck sandwich. I took a few moments to revisit the other selections and ended up ordering the truffled mac and cheese, which came with a crispy bread topping and an arugula and tomato salad. I could always go for some good, old comfort food when it's so cold out.
Michelle and Daisy got The SDLT Burger and Alicia had the grilled portabella mushroom sandwich. They all seemed happy with their choices, and I enjoyed my mac and cheese.
After we finished eating, Michelle had to get back to work, and Meghan arrived to take her place a few moments later, just as Alicia, Daisy, and I were tucking into dessert.
We had a little trouble deciding on a dessert until we saw the Grand Dessert for Two: a sampling of all the desserts in miniature. Sign me up!
There was orange vanilla creme brulee with a checkerboard cookie; chocolate cake with cassis sorbet; granny smith apple bread pudding with cider gastrique and vanilla bean ice cream; an almond chocolate mousse layer cake with coconut chocolate ice cream and toasted coconut; maple goat cheese mousse with a hazelnut currant tartlet and port wine honey, a mini meringue, and mint syrup; and chai tea panna cotta with sesame praline. We were seriously in dessert heaven. We kept taking turns trying little bites of each treat.
The maple goat cheese mousse was really interesting, and I think it had ground pink peppercorns on top that added a little spice. I love panna cotta and found the chai tea flavor of this one really delightful. And of course I enjoyed both of the cakes with their chocolate components. Oh, and the orange creme brulee was tasty as well. I skipped the bread pudding but only because I'm not a fan of soggy bread.
After we paid our bill and were getting ready to leave, Jason came out of the kitchen and presented us all with bags of cookies to take home. I inhaled three oatmeal cookies when I got in from the Boston Food Bloggers launch party later that night. They were soft, chewy, and spicy -- really impressive cookies.
We left Sel with the intention of heading to the bar in the Boston Harbor Hotel, but we arrived to find it empty, and the bartender who was setting up informed us they didn't open until 5. We were 2 hours too early. So we worked our way farther down the street and stopped into the InterContinental. Just our luck -- RumBa was open. We settled into some cozy chairs surrounding a Louis Vuitton chest and flanked by a roaring fire.
I was slightly disappointed with the drink menu. Everything sounded really summery to me, and I was hoping for a heavier winter drink (I just noticed the online version of the menu has some great wintery drinks though). I considered getting wine instead of a cocktail but relented and ordered the Avenida, which has Clement Sugar Cane Rum, Mathilde Creme de Peche, whole raspberries, pineapple wedges, and sweet and sour mix. It was sweet and refreshing, and I'd definitely want to go back in the summer and sit outside and sip on it.
We spent the next hour or so sipping on cocktails, chitchatting, snapping pictures, tweeting, and just plain merrymaking. When we finished our drinks, we opted to head in the direction of the South End so we could get to The Gallows in time for the Boston Food Bloggers launch party at 6. We hopped in a cab and asked to be dropped off somewhere in the South End.
We wandered down the street and decided to pop into Union Bar and Grille. Union wasn't opening for another 5 minutes, but Justin, who we later found out tweets for Union, beckoned us in anyways, so we wouldn't have to wait in the cold.
Soon after we claimed seats at the bar, our bartender, also named Justin, appeared, ready to take our drink orders. Here the decision was pretty easy for me. I ordered the French Standard -- St. Germain, Lillet Blanc, lemon, vodka, and grapefruit bitters. Justin was a little heavy-handed with his pours, so I ended up with a drink and a half! (And that garnish is a cherry, not an olive, which I first thought.)
We chatted with both Justins for a bit, and soon enough revealed our blogger and Twitter identities. Justin recognized all of us as bloggers he had tweeted with before, and it was nice to put names and faces together. I'm sure I'll be heading back to Union for dinner sometime soon. We looked over the new menu, which had a lot of interesting dishes on it like quail with huckleberry syrup. (Quail is one of the hors d'oeuvre options for our wedding, so I am always noticing it on menus now.)
Michelle came from work and joined us at the bar as we were finishing our drinks, and we all headed over to the party at The Gallows together. I honestly haven't had such a fun, unplanned day in a long time. It was nice to just wander from place to place and hang out with each other all afternoon.
Daisy has coined days like these "adventure days." Do you ever have adventure days?