Yesterday was Tom's birthday! I love birthdays so try to make them at least a little special. I had a plan to start off the morning with a serious indulgence. Tom loves dessert so these cake batter pancakes seemed perfect for him. Here's all the ingredients laid out:
1.5 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup of funfetti cake mix
1 tbs sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
about 1.5-2 cups vanilla almond milk
I topped the pancakes with a vanilla glaze made with:
1 cup powdered sugar
about a 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
|The final product!|
The pancakes were great, but definitely too sweet for me! I ended up having to whip up some scrambled eggs to even further counter the sweetness. Cake batter pancakes are most definitely a birthday treat.
A couple of hours later we snacked on some of the jerky that Tom's mom sent from the Polish butcher. YUM.
I had made a special surprise dinner reservation for us at Bondir in Cambridge, and we headed over around 6:30. Tom mentioned last year that he really wanted to go to Bondir so I've had it up there on my list for a while. I made reservations way in advance because the restaurant only has 9 tables and fills up super fast.
The place was SO cute when we walked in. It was extremely homey, and had a big fireplace right at the entrance. I loved the atmosphere -- it was so cozy and the music selection/volume was just perfect.
So a little about Bondir. Chef Jason Bond created a new menu every single day depending on what local ingredients are available that day. One of the things I liked most about Bondir is that all of the entrees are offered as half or full portions, so you have the option of essentially creating your own tasting menu. Of course, we decided to go with a few half portions so we could try lots of different things! We ended up ordering 5 in total.
We started with a bottle of wine and some house-made bread.
|birthday boy :)|
We were then given a little taste of the soup of the night, Roasted Root Cellar Vegetable Soup: soy roasted hazelnuts, crisp garlic.
It was SO creamy and good. Almost made me wish I had gotten a big bowl full.
Our first entrees to come out were:
The Roasted Winter Luxury Pumpkin: belted galloway bresaola, plum creme fraiche, nigella seed lavash, dahlia bulb, pickled ramp, oilive oil poached sunchoke.
And the Smoked Haddock Brandade: mussels, hakurei turnips with ginger, preserved tomato, cubed berry syrup, caviar coquillage.
The pumpkin was a total surprise. I was not at all expecting a dish that looked how it did. Besides the pumpkin, I didn't recognize one ingredient on the plate! At first I went through and tried all of the individual items. I was actually a little nervous because I didn't love all of the ingredients. Eventually I built myself a bite with all of the ingredients included and LOVED it. I was so surprised by the different flavors and how all of the ingredients melded together to one amazing taste.
The haddock was also delicious. The fish was presented as little cakes and all of the ingredients were spectacular (especially the plump, juicy mussels and the caviar)! This was the one dish that I preferred the ingredients eaten separately than together.
Our next course was the star of the night: Fresh Perigord Black Truffle Carbonara: spaghetti, farm egg, mangalitsa bacon, cardoons, chicories, breadcrumbs, smoked vacherin mont d' or.
The waitress brought over the dish and then grated some fresh truffle over the top. Before she started grating she let us smell it, and it was the first time I'd seen (or smelled) a whole fresh truffle. It was pretty exciting knowing how hard to come by fresh truffles are. According to Wikipedia, "the flavor of black truffles is far less pungent and more refined than that of white truffles. It has a strong flavor often described as syrupy sweet." I'm not sure if that's how I'd describe the taste, but it was certainly very unique and intense. This dish was by far my favorite and worth every extra penny for it. The combination of pasta, runny egg yolk, bacon, vacherin and of course, the truffles, was just exquisite. The dish was incredibly rich and I'm honestly not sure how much I could have eaten of it on my own, so this portion was a good size.
Our final course brought out our last two dishes:
North Atlantic Halibut: roasted leeks and wild mushrooms, macomber turnip aigre-doux, olive oil jelly, smoked salt froth.
And Concord Rabbit Ragu: mint rigatoni, butternut squash, roasted treviso, long pepper, cream ricotta.
I enjoyed the halibut but out of all of the fantastic dishes it was my least favorite. The fish was the one thing we tasted of the night that we thought was a bit under seasoned. However, for me spreading the olive oil jelly (the little greenish cube in the picture above) over the fish definitely helped with the flavor. I loved the mushrooms and the turnip in the dish, but wasn't AS blown away with this one like I was with the others.
The rabbit on the other hand was a clear second favorite for me. I think it actually evoked the most "mmms" for me out of all of the dishes. I'm not typically a fan of rabbit, but this was tender and delicious. The rigatoni was fantastic and the combination of the rabbit, squash, ricotta and pasta was perfection.
We decided to pass on dessert and pick up some ice cream on the way home. With the check came a final little treat: some sort of in-house made leather and a very flavorful tart.
When we got home we watched some Top Chef and dug into the best ice cream in Southie.
Tom, hope you had a wonderful birthday!!