Precious coffee is expertly brewed and measured at Voltage Coffee, which pours custom blends and premium chocolate concoctions into the cups of thirsty customers. The tasteful menu demonstrates the breadth of the store’s sippables, a roster that includes exotic creations such as the paper plane latte, which, like most actual planes, is powered by cardamom, rose water, and honey ($4 for 12 oz.). Three single-origin hot-chocolate drinks provided with tasting notes will please cocoaholics ($4 for 12 oz.).
At the end of March in 2013, chef Barry Maiden won his third-straight Madness title. This wasn’t March Madness, though; it was Munch Madness, a Boston.com competition that pitted 64 local restaurants against each other to find the city’s favorite. It seems that Bostonians have an unwavering dedication to Maiden’s restaurant, Hungry Mother, which serves up hearty, southern-style dinner fare. One glance at the menu and it's easy to see why. Smoked-cheddar pimiento cheese dip and sea-salt sprinkled boiled Virginia peanuts ready palates for hearty plates of crawfish and grits, cast-iron chicken, and catfish and shrimp served with scallion hushpuppies. The after-dinner menu is just as thoughtfully curated––bartenders mix a quartet of after-dinner drinks meant to end things on a sweet note, similar to Beethoven’s intentions when he replaced all of his piano keys with Fun Dip sticks. Of course, there’s traditional dessert, too, including a decidedly southern buttermilk chess pie topped with blueberry-mint preserves and whipped crème fraiche.
Chocolates are just chocolates – until they’re of the rich and creamy kind, like the ones offered up by Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland. Located on bustling Newbury Street in the Back Bay, this upscale chocolatier gives creamy milk chocolate new meaning, with its decadent selection of champagne truffles, fruit and nut collections and bars of rich handmade Swiss chocolate. Behind the glass cases in the cozy subterranean store, rows upon rows of pricey truffles offer up unique flavors like pink pepper and almond paste, as well as traditional chocolates that come in the form of hazelnut, dark chocolate and praline. There is always a nice selection of seasonal and holiday specialties available at this ritzy storefront as well.
The upscale shops and restaurants of the Back Bay provide a picturesque backdrop for afternoon tea at London Cafe, nestled inside the brownstone façade of Royalton Suites. The lobby's hanging chandelier beckons visitors inside the boutique hotel, where they can assemble in the tearoom to sample classic English teas, sandwiches, and pastries shaped like their favorite Beatle.
Chef Chris Coombs has been recognized for both his talent in the kitchen and his youthful age; he was under 30 when he opened his third restaurant, Boston Chops, in the South End, and has also appeared on the Food Network’s Chopped. Coombs initially earned some recognition working alongside Brian Piccini at dbar in Dorchester, before the pair successfully opened the Back Bay’s Deuxave, which plates up technique-driven combos of French and American classics. New England favorites feature prominently at this dark, brooding space, where stone walls, tall windows and hanging chandeliers lend a modern almost Gothic feel. Dishes like Scituate lobster with gnocchi and pan seared local scallops, or seared Hudson Valley foie gras, crispy skinned black bass and spiced Long Island duck breast each add to the overall elegance of this decidedly upscale destination.
French-Asian Fusion | James Beard Award | Acclaimed Chefs | Creative Mixology | Celeb Sightings
Awards and Accolades
While You're Waiting
Inside Tip: Although the 7-, 10-, and 14-course tasting menus take diners on bite-by-bite journeys through Chef Oringer’s latest innovations, the plates tend to be rather small—even by tasting-menu standards. Stick to the regular menu for fuller (but by no means generous) portions.
Mignonette: a sauce usually made of shallots, cracked pepper, and vinegar and served over raw oysters.
Reindeer moss: a moss that resembles reindeer antlers; it must be cooked for extended periods of time before it’s edible for humans.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Grab a latté and browse the tomes at Trident Booksellers and Cafe (338 Newbury Street).
After: Catch a live folk or jazz concert at the Berklee Performance Center (136 Massachusetts Avenue).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Since opening Clio in 1997, Chef Oringer has been on a restaurant-launching spree across Boston, but you needn’t travel far to try one of his other acclaimed ventures: Uni, a sushi and noodle bar, is located in Clio’s lounge.