f4 :: joanne chang’s new flour bakery (back bay)

There’s a new Flour Bakery location that recently opened up in the Back Bay, lovingly nicknamed F4 like its three predecessors.  It’s on the corner of Clarendon and Stanhope, and it’s where the old Hard Rock Cafe used to be.  If you go on a Saturday around noon like we did, your hopes of finding a table for lunch will probably be diminished (we just weren’t thinking — the opening weekend and you think there’d be space for two plus a baby?! what planet are you from?!), but the wait in line is worth it for pastries and dessert treats to enjoy later.


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tatte bakery and cafe (cambridge)

There’s a new bakery in Kendall Square called Tatte Bakery and Cafe.  My friend and I went to check it out last week and were blown away by so many aspects of this place.  Not only was it a lot more spacious inside than I had expected, but we just loved the ambiance, decor, and of course the food.

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ohlin’s bakery (belmont)

A lot of people have asked me if I’ve had any specific cravings during pregnancy and honestly, not really.  I mean, from time to time I’ve craved something specific but I certainly wouldn’t consider myself one of those ladies with a craving so bad that I had to send my husband to the grocery store at midnight in order to satiate it.  A couple of times I’ve had an inkling for things like calamari, ice cream, and bacon – which my husband has lovingly obliged to – but luckily no peanut butter and pickles for me.

On this particular morning, I rolled over in bed and said, “I want a doughnut.”  Passed out for another hour, and woke up still wanting that doughnut.  It probably was partially from reading about Ohlin’s Bakery in Belmont in the most recent issue of the Improper.  And also after our hunt for a doughnut shop a couple of months ago (okay, so I stand slightly corrected – I did make my husband search the area for a doughnut shop based on a craving that day) which resulted in a shop in Allston and me angering a Korean man when he asked me if I wanted cream and sugar in my coffee.

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hi-rise bakery in harvard square (cambridge)

Speaking of sunny weather … I was going through some recently taken photos on our computer hard drive and came across this one I snapped of my lunch last month on one of those oddly warm days.  Seeing it again reminds me of those warm days where eating lunch outside makes it so difficult to want to return to the office.

quiche lorraine and fresh lemonade

On this particular day, I was in Cambridge on campus helping a candidate get from interview to interview (he was from out of town) and I realized I’d have a few minutes in between enough to get a bite to eat.  It was abnormally warm that day and I stupidly had worn my long-johns under my pants (yes, I’m one of those winter wimps … I am always cold!) and I had my long black jacket with me, so you know I was sweating as I hustled around the square.  I remembered that Hi-Rise has a small bakery/cafe so I stopped by to see what they had available.  I got a slice of their quiche Lorraine (mmm … bacon!) and a nice big cup of fresh squeezed lemonade.  It certainly hit the spot!  They had their patio furniture set up outside but it was full so I sat upstairs where it’s nice and quiet. The quiche was so deliciously rich but it all washed down nicely with the ice-cold lemonade.

Suddenly mid-bite, I looked down at my cell phone to check the time and realized that I had forgotten about the car parked at a one-hour limit meter!  Mortified by the thought of my husband’s reaction to me getting a parking ticket (notice, I didn’t care about actually getting the parking ticket …) I gulped the rest of the quiche down and practically ran — in the heat! in my stupid long-johns!! — through the square back to the museum and luckily beat the meter cop in time to move the car up one spot.  Whew.

The moral of this post kids is that the next time you’re in Harvard Square and it’s nice outside, go check out Hi-Rise (just a tiny bit down Brattle Street past Burdick’s on the left) and enjoy your lunch outside in their patio area.  They have sandwiches, salads, quiche, and pastries as well as coffee available.  And make sure you park your car at a two-hour meter, or at least remember when you need to go back and feed the meter.

Hi-Rise Bread Company
56 Brattle Street
Harvard Square
Cambridge, MA

chocolate cake … why not?

Sometime last week, one of my coworkers stopped by my desk to report a complaint: there is no cake in this office.  “[insert coworker who should not be named here] and I agree that there should be a steady supply of cake in this office,” (or something to that effect).  So I thought, why not?  I’ll bake a cake tonight.  I like cake too.  And then I remembered the honkin’ huge bottle of Disaronno that our friend Jim gave us a couple of weeks ago, so I started to Google recipes for amaretto cake but to no avail.  Most of them were just cake recipes where you poked holes in the cake after it was baked and then doused it with liqueur.  So instead I opted to make this simple chocolate bundt cake recipe by Gale Gand that I found on the Food Network, and then made a separate Disarrono glaze on the side in case some people don’t like amaretto flavor.

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OMG red velvet! event

My husband and I are not big fans of going out on the actual night of Valentine’s day because (as I’ve griped about before) restaurants tend to only offer prix fixe menus and/or jacked up pricing.  So this year we decided to celebrate last Tuesday night by having dinner at Sportello (one of our fave restaurants for Italian food – a separate post tomorrow) and an after dinner drink at Drink.  For dessert, we attended the OMG Red Velvet! event and got to see some of the best chefs and sweetsmakers in Boston and their awesomely original red velvet concoctions at Flour Bakery at Fort Point Channel.  Continue reading

danish pastry house (medford)

It’s pretty typical for my husband and me to go for coffee on Sunday mornings.  It’s kind of a nice break from making French pressed coffee every morning, plus we get to enjoy some sort of delicious pastry item.  And it’s also a nice way to end the weekend, especially when we support the local cafes and bakeries. Continue reading

F3 (cambridge)

The new Flour bakery is here!!

Joanne Chang‘s newest Flour location — F3 — is located at 190 Mass Avenue in Central Square, right next to Central Bottle. We stopped by Saturday morning (the day after it opened) to check out the new digs and get our favorite pastries.

I really like what they did with the decor. It’s a little bit more modern than the other two locations, and it has a nice flow to it.

Oh yum!! The wonderful pastries are all freshly baked. Of course, we went with the usual suspects: brioche au sucre and a maple scone. So good!

The “quote of the week” board. I love how they utilize the chalkboard theme for their menus in all three locations.

We got there at a good time because the line was pretty long soon afterward.

We did kind of think that the seating area would be a little larger than this, but it’s still a good space. Love the large windows and natural sunlight.

It’s going to be so nice having a Flour much closer to Somerville. I think they picked a great location because it’s really close to the MIT campus and many of the bio-tech company buildings in the Kendall Square area. Can’t wait to stop by there for lunch later this week!

Flour Bakery
190 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

flour bakery

Ahhh, it’s been a while since we’ve been to Flour (the one in Fort Point Channel), so when I mentioned the idea of going on Sunday to the husband on Friday we were both giddy with anticipation. So much so that we both had a hard time falling asleep on Saturday night just thinking of all the wonderful things we’d get to see (and taste!) the next morning. Sigh.

And after finding a parking spot (thank you, parking angel!) we walked into the typically chaotically busy (chaos = customers which included lots of little kids and babies, never the staff!) and filled bakery with hungry bellies. Boy oh boy, we certainly were not disappointed by what we saw (click to see larger images … lots of yummy details!):

Surprisingly, there was a fresh batch of Joanne’s sticky buns on the pastry counter. I say “surprisingly” because we got there shortly before 12 noon and these usually completely disappear right out of the oven, and I think we’ve only seen them once before in the ten other times we’ve been there.

Mmmm … homemade Oreo cookies. Coconut macaroons (to die for!!). Chocolate cupcakes.

Ahh … Brioche au sucre … my typical Flour breakfast item. So good each time.

They’ve started a new thing on Sundays … donut specials. Today’s flavor was chocolate cream. They looked so yummy!! Also featured in this shot are the maple oatmeal scones that Tony loves.

More yummy goodness in this photo. Look at the cream just peeking out of the donuts! Check out the thickness of those brownies!

As you can see, the place was packed (typical for the weekends).

Hey, how’d that Oreo cookie sneak into our basket like that??!! 😉

I’m ready to dig in! Look at that full latte cup. Yum-o!

The only disappointing part about our visit was that we couldn’t take home our usual box of blueberry muffin tops, macaroons, and peanut butter cups because we were going to be driving around the rest of they day. If it weren’t so dang hot and if we had put a cooler in the trunk, we wouldn’t have worried about it. So that just means that we’ll have to head back soon to enjoy more of their delicious pastries. No argument there! 🙂

{P.S. Joanne Chang is working on a Flour cookbook! You can read all about it here. I can’t wait for this to come out!!}

happy sunday morning

So you know, I can’t cook all the time. In those rare instances, we like to go out and sample local places for good eats. 🙂 This morning, we drove out to Boston and went to the Fort Point Channel location of Flour Bakery. It’s the larger version of Joanne Chang’s bakeries – the one that was on the Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” sticky bun challenge (where she kicked his ass might I mention!).

Anytime we go to a bakery, it never fails: Tony gets something sweet, and I get something savory. It’s just how our taste buds work I guess. So today, it was no different. He indulged in a yummy maple oat nut scone while I savored a cheddar and scallion scone.

Flour is more known for Joanne’s sticky buns. Unfortunately, we’ve never gotten to the bakery in time to try one yet. Plus, they have nuts in them so I’d either have to just take Tony’s word, or keep a stock of Prednisone in my pocket while I take a bite. (God, I hope my allergist is not reading this.)

Anyway, I think we both liked this location better than the one in South Boston, even though it was jam packed with loud little babies and kids (the Boston Children’s Museum is nearby). It just smells so darn good in there (they do yummy sandwiches too) and the space is very lofty yet cozy. Afterwards, we checked out these condos around the corner and dreamed about being able to come early enough one day to try one of the sticky buns.

Definitely want to bring our parents here the next time any of them are in town for a visit.