Tag Archives: boston

Why Stoddard’s Kind of Sucks but I Won’t Stop Going There

29 Jan

The short version: the service is terrible, but the cheese and booze are amazing.

Our dear friend Sara was in town this weekend, up from Martha’s Vineyard and looking to get into some big-city debauchery. If you knew Sara, you’d know that debauchery was probably the last thing she was looking for, but she was looking to have a nice dinner with friends and I’m never one to pass up the chance of a delicious meal. We decided to head to Stoddard’s on Temple Place downtown, a frequent hangout for our small group.

I’ll tell you why I love Stoddard’s: it’s pretty small, has a great prohibition era speakeasy feel to it, has amazing cocktails, and has a cheese fondu that will make you want to lick the bowl. Nearly every time I’ve been there, I’ve sat at the bar. The bartenders have always been exactly what you’d want from a bartender – friendly, attentive and great at mixing drinks.

Mmmm cheese fondue ...

Having said all that about the bartenders, it makes me feel a little bad that I have to say I think the exact opposite is true of the service in the dining room. Last night was the second time we’d ever sat at a regular table with a waiter and it was the second time that we were really annoyed that we did. As our waiter gave us dirty looks, disappeared for huge stretches of time, and forgot our orders, I thought back to the first time that we sat in the dining room. I think there were six of us eating there that night and we were seated at the table closest to the bar. As we were eating, drinking, chatting and laughing, the manager came over to our table and asked us to be quiet. In a bar. Where everyone was loud. Where no one seemed to take any notice of us besides the manager. I remember we even asked if people had been complaining about us and he said no, he just thought we were being loud. Strike one, Stoddard’s.

Tess and Ilena, smiling despite the annoying wait for more drinks.

So last night – in all fairness to Stoddard’s – I was far less offended than I was the first time we ate in the dining room. This time, no one accused us of being too loud. No one really paid any attention to us at all. And before you start thinking that we’re high maintenance girls who relish the opportunity to complain about anything and everything, nothing could be further from the truth. We weren’t in a rush, we understood that it was busy during the Saturday night dinner hour. We hadn’t seen Sara in a while and were perfectly content to sit and sip our drinks and take our time eating. But our waiter was just straight rude. He was as unsmiling as the hostess (who just blankly stared at my friend Tess when she showed up to meet us) and barely talked to us. Then he disappeared for probably 20 minutes while we were hoping to order a second round of drinks and several of the tables around us were trying to pay their bills.

I guess the bottom line is this: Stoddard’s has two things that endear it to me – fantastic cocktails and delicious melty cheese. Luckily, I can get both of those things in the bar, where I will sit every time I go back there.


Resigned to Awesomeness

5 Jun

So after some polite (and even some not so polite) encouragement from a few people whose opinions I hold in high esteem, I’ve decided to get back on the Money Bite train. It’s been almost a year since I’ve updated this blog, but I certainly haven’t stopped eating, loving food, or relishing (ha get it? food reference) my delicious experiences with my nearest and dearest.

So I’ve given in to the requests and resigned myself to doing something that I actually enjoy. Here we go:

As the summer and warm weather have finally arrived in Boston, I find myself anxiously anticipating weekends and frequently in search of bars with patios. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much everyone’s plan in this city when the sunshine arrives, so the other weekend Ilena and I found ourselves lunching next to some huge windows – an acceptable alternative to patio dining.

We sat in the lower level of The Met Back Bay on Newbury Street, under huge picture windows that not only let in the sun but allowed us to wave at a cute kid eating with his family on the patio (which, admittedly, got less cute the longer and more frequently he stared at us). With the filtered sun on our face, we needed cocktails in our hands and, as we’re known to do, picked the best drinks on the menu. A sucker for Bloody Marys, Ilena ordered one that was as spicy as she could have hoped for and packed with olives. I ordered Blueberries for Sal, Shock Top beer, blueberrry vodka and fresh lemon. It was more than amazing and perfectly refreshing for the super warm Saturday.

As tasty-delicious as our drinks were, the food was even more yum. Ilena had a chopped salad, one of her favorite things. She said it was amazing and I believed her – there was absolutely none left in the bowl about 15 minutes after our server brought it to her. I had the BBQ Pulled Pork, which came on a perfectly toasted roll with slaw and a pork rind on top, just in case you really needed a reminder that this wasn’t a low cal lunch. I wound up eating it with a knife and fork, which might be against some kind of barbecue rules, but being a rule breaker never really bothers me much.

BBQ pulled pork with Blueberries for Sal in the background.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that this won’t be my last trip to the Met. Apparently they have a ham and cheese bar (we walked passed it on the way to our booth), and frankly pretending I can tell the difference between ham that’s been expertly smoked for three weeks and what comes in the Hillshire Farm deli pack sounds awesome.

Spoiler alert!

3 Jun

Get excited. We’re coming back.

Aaaaaand We’re Back

16 Dec

So I just finished grad school (certified Master of Public Relations, right here) and, of course, the first thing I do is nerdishly run to my computer to start up my blog again. That’s right – the blog I had to start for school, the school that I officially no longer attend.

But you know what? I got my grade for this little gem today, and I’m pretty proud to say that I got a 94. So at least one person who matters finds it readable. So fueled by a good review and grad school withdrawal that I wasn’t expecting, I’m pleased to present to you The Money Bite: What You’ve Missed.

On the official last day of class last Thursday, we made a little trip to the Regal Beagle in Coolidge Corner. As a celebration of a semester not quite finished, Ilena, Maria and I did some early afternoon boozing and a little lunch. Due to all the project completing and studying and paper writing that’s been going on in my life for the past three weeks, this is the first meal that I can actually remember and, to be honest, that’s mostly just because I took pictures that I sent as a photo essay to Shaun who, sadly, couldn’t make the party.

Regal Beagle menu. Cute, huh?

So, we sit down at the Beagle and immediately make friends with the bartender, Alex. Super sweet and I’d venture to say almost saintly for putting up with us for two hours. He suggested the Girl Next Door (Absolut Ruby Red, orange liqueur, fresh squeezed grapefruit & sparkling wine) and we graciously accepted quite a few of them. It’s been a long semester and while this particular party might have been a little premature, it was certainly welcome and deserved. Alex served ’em up and we knocked ’em down and they were pretty amazing.

Two Girls Next Door

Lunch was kind of a hodgepodge of emotions – food wise and conversation wise (is drunk an emotion?). Maria and her man-friend, Andrew, got the empanadas for an appetizer and they were in love. I have to say that they smelled pretty good but I was saving room for more Girls Next Door to go with my forthcoming sandwich (more on that disappointment later). According to Maria, the empanadas were perfectly crispy and the filling was perfectly rich and yum. I think Ilena had one too, but she loves everything so I’m not sure her opinion counts that much.

By the time appetizers were done, I was done with two cocktails so I’m kind of hazarding a guess as to what everyone ate. As I remember however, Ilena had the Regal Burger which she said was delish and cooked to perfection, Maria had … Ok, I have no idea what Maria and Andrew had, but I know they were satisfied. I, on the other hand , had a sandwich that doesn’t appear on their online menu – something about pork. From the title, I was expecting like a pulled pork type thing. Nope. Ham sandwich with weird veggies on it. The bread was really good, but the rest was boring, not super tasty and an overall let down for such an awesome place. The big redeeming factor from my lunch was the sweet potato “fries.” They’re totally different than any fry I’ve ever had – kind of like mashed up sweet potato deep fried in a bread batter. Pretty fantastic.

Weird ham sandwich, delicious sweet potato fries

Despite the bummer my sandwich turned out to be, I’m still totally going back there. We had a ton of fun, the people were super nice, and the food was excellent with one exception – I’d say that’s a pretty solid A-.

That Thursday really just opened the flood gates of a weekend of being happy to be mostly done with school. I think the picture below pretty accurately sums up my weekend in that you can’t really tell what’s going on except for the fact that it looks inappropriate and you can tell that I’m probably in a bar. So that was Friday.

Me with Maria's scarf stuffed into my sweater. We enjoyed a few High Life's that night - it's the champagne of beers.

On Saturday, Maria and I headed to Cambridge to a party at Ilena’s apartment. We celebrated both Ilena’s and Maria’s birthday (as evidenced below in the “16 Candles” reenactment photo) because we weren’t able to party on either of their actual birthdays. Maria and I also headed to Lir to celebrate my friend Joe’s birthday. Also a blast.

Happy Birthday, Maria and Ilena!

We're gonna go ahead and forgive the misspelling of Ilena's name.

Here’s my problem with Lir tho – they close at 1. Seriously? Moderately disappointing/annoying. Mostly because it’s cold outside now and we had to walk to a different bar (albeit it was next door, but still). Anyway, the awesomeness of that evening came shining through in my famous Awesome Hat. I don’t know what else to call it. Everyone loves it, everyone tries it on. Below is kind of a poor quality pic of my friend Murph trying it on and his wonderful girlfriend Caitlin being wonderful.

Murph and Caitlin. Classic.

So yeah, those are the things that I remember from the past few weeks. And now that this blog is my full time job, check in often.