We like to try some new things behind the bar and also make sure that your favorites taste exactly how you want them to. On a hot summer day in Boston, a nice cocktail can be just what you need. Here are our favorite summer cocktails right now:
Refreshingly simplistic, the French 75 has just a bunch of happiness in one glass. It includes a quality gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Brut Champagne, chilled. Perfection.
You pop in after work for a nice cocktail with a friend on your way home. As you enter the bar, you notice it is a bit busy because apparently a lot of people had that, “I could use a cocktail” day. Sliding up to the bar, you become one of many that are anxiously trying to get the bartender’s attention for that perfect cocktail. Want to stand out amidst the crowd? Here are 5 tips:
1. Don’t scream at the bartender
While we wish this was obvious, sometimes we don’t think it is as people become impassioned about getting their cocktail quickly. Yelling at us, or anyone for that matter, typically isn’t the best way to get what you want. When we ask what you want, tell us so that we can hear you – don’t scream it so the other end of the bar knows your order.
2. Know what you want
We are willing to bet you have had a cocktail before. Maybe even two. Know what you want and tell us any particulars when you place your order. This saves questions if you want something done a certain way. Want your martini on the rocks slightly dirty – perfect, just let us know!
3. Think before you try new things
We have a phenomenal bar menu that is constantly evolving with new drinks but, if you are particular about your cocktail and not had certain flavors before, a crowded bar may not be the best time to try something new. Come in and sit with our bartenders who would love to talk about the cocktail menu and all the flavors and liquors that go into our special drinks. (more…)
Boston gay pride is coming up soon and we have a great guide for you to make sure you experience the most fun Pride yet! As always, we will be hosting our Chandler Street Block Party – a favorite event each year. It takes place on Saturday, June 13th and proceeds go to LGBT sports organizations and AIDS Action Committee. Here are some other fabulous pride-filled events:
First Ever Gala – June 5
This year, a grand gala will launch the pride festivities which are centered around the theme of #WickedProud. The event takes place at the Courtyard and tickets are still available. Grab them here.
Flag Raising – June 5
At noon, Mayor Martin J. Walsh will raise the rainbow flag over Boston City Hall. Come down and show your pride!
Pride Day at Faneuil Hall – June 6
Purchase your official pride merchandise at this event which goes all day at Faneuil Hall.
Pride Cruise – June 8
This event is organized by the GBBC on the Provincetown II. It benefits AIDS Action, Community Servings and Boston Pride.
Pride Lights – June 9
Join the BCA and GBBC as they bathe the Plaza in pink in honor of PRIDE! Grab tickets here.
Pride Night at Fenway Park – June 12
Celebrate with the Red Sox at this official pride event. This is a super fun time each year with a portion of ticket sales going to fund pride initiatives. Get tickets.
Parade – June 13
The pinnacle of the Pride celebrations filled with floats, fun, and festive performers. Rain or shine (let it shine, Mother Nature!), the parade starts at noon on June 13th.
Yay! Brunch – most people’s favorite meal. It is like breakfast only with lunch options as well. And what brunch doesn’t mean mimosas?! We have some DEL-I-CIOUS brunch options that make people come back week after week. Plus, our location is a great jumping off spot for some fun Boston activities – right on the line between Back Bay and South End.
Here are a few of our ideas for how to spend your day around the city after you brunch with us:
Pop over to BosTix and check out a show
Only a few blocks away is BosTix (near Trinity Church) which offers last minute tickets to tons of area shows. This is a great way to see something fun like Blue Man Group or one of the local shows. Here is their website!
Relax at Boston Common
Did you know that the Common is the oldest park in America? It is simply a beautiful place to read a book or enjoy a great conversation with a friend. If you have not been in a while, take a stroll over (only a few blocks away from Trophy Room!)
Browse SOWA Market
This weekly event a few blocks away in South End showcases great art and lots of fun things to do for the family. It is always different and ALWAYS worth checking out! Check out their website.
Hang out with us!
Who says you have to leave after brunch? Have a drink and a conversation with some of your new Trophy Room friends. Have you met Will yet? He’s sure to entertain you!
Take a hot air balloon ride
Why not!? For less than $300, you and a friend can see Boston from a new viewpoint. We think that sounds pretty cool (and what a great story to tell your friends!) Here is a great company that does them…
Tell us a little bit about yourself… Where are your from? Did you go to school for Culinary Arts?
Well, I am originally from a small town in Virginia called Woodbridge. There is an IKEA there… and some strip malls. But it was a great place to call home. I then moved down to Williamsburg to attend the College of the William and Mary. I actually received my Bachelors in Linguistics and Anthropology and attended Culinary School later in my career.
What made you want to be a chef? Who/what is your culinary inspiration?
I have been in the restaurant business since I was 14. I have always loved everything about the dining experience. It was only while working in the corporate world that reinvigorated my passion for culinary. I was working part-time in restaurants while working my 9-5 and decided I wanted to go back to school. Since everybody eats, and I knew I had a passion for culinary, it seemed like a great way to spend my time and gain some skills I would be able to use for life. I never anticipated being a Chef full time, but after delving into the business, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I have already decided that once Anthony Bourdain steps down, I will be there ready and waiting.
What is your cuisine and why did you decide that Trophy Room would be a good fit for you and your vision?
I created the cuisine for Trophy Room in hopes that we could make an accessible, comfortable, and relatively inexpensive dining experience for the community and the neighborhood. The South End is pretty well known for higher prices and unique, but sometime inaccessible, cuisine. As for the Southern touches, who doesn’t like a little spice every now and again? I also wanted to make sure that the bar is truly for everyone. I try to keep a number of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options on the menu so everyone can enjoy themselves.
How does it feel to have an open kitchen? Is it hard for you to keep cool under the pressure of a busy night knowing that all eyes are on you?
I insisted on an open kitchen. It’s the only way I would ever be able to see any of my friends. Also, it is important for me to get direct feedback from our guests to ensure that everyone feels important, involved and cared for. It’s sometimes a bit difficult to muffle the obscenities that result from the occasional burn. Everyone on my back-of-house staff has had to adjust to a very unique position. Essentially, my chefs must have the skills of a cook and the temperament and patience of a bartender or server.
What’s the strangest request you’ve had while working on the line?
I once had a guest walk into the kitchen and ask to order dinner from me. Having an open kitchen can be a bit confusing for those guests who aren’t used to it. Otherwise, I try not to view requests as “strange”, simply because I want every diner to feel comfortable asking questions. I can’t guarantee that I can fulfill every request, but I will certainly do everything I can to make sure the guest leaves happy.
If you weren’t a chef, what profession would you have pursued?
An underwear model. Or a lion tamer. Obviously.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten (that’s not your own)?
I will give credit where credit is due. In my opinion, O Ya is one of the most incredible restaurants in Boston. It costs a pretty penny to dine there, but it was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. The fusion, creativity, and plating are unmatchable. I did a chef’s tasting with sake pairings. I left full, happy, and a little less than sober.
Over my years as a bartender, I’ve frequently fielded questions regarding the difference between an “aperitif” and a “digestif”.There are so many different styles and brands that it can be overwhelming for many bar patrons.Our current cocktail list features these products on a few of our drinks so I thought it might be helpful to explain some basics.
Vermouth, as we know it today, dates back to the mid-18th century where it was produced in Italy as an “aperitif” which stimulates the appetite.While every brand is different, it takes a pretty discerning pallet to distinguish what brand is used in your Manhattan, but side-by-side the contrast between a lower priced vermouth like Martini and Rossi will pale in comparison to a higher quality version like Carpano Antica.Vermouth is made with a neutral wine grape as the base and spirits are added along with dry products like aromatic spices, roots, and bark.After the wine is fortified, it is then sweetened with caramelized or cane sugar.Most vermouth contain 16-18% ABV.
Amaro, like Ramazzotti, Fernet, Montenegro, and Averna, refer to Italian herbal liqueurs made from macerated roots, herbs, flowers, and citrus rinds.The term “Amaro” refers only to these liqueurs produced in Italy although other countries such as Germany have comparable counterparts.Amaro is classified as a “digestif” and is often enjoyed after dinner served either “neat” or with tonic water.
While vermouth by itself can taste bitter, syrupy, and heavy, Amaro, in my opinion, is much more palatable and contains more notes of citrus and anise.Amaro is commonly higher in alcohol content as well (16-40% ABV).Traditionally we consume vermouth in our well-crafted Manhattan and take shots of Amaro after a long shift, but as we bartenders challenge each other (and ourselves) we see these products used with a wide range of other spirits in craft cocktail lists around the city.
We all know first dates can be nerve wracking, tedious, and possibly even painful. For those of us who have subjected ourselves to these experiences, we know that one of the easiest ways to cope with the awkwardness is to wet our whistles with a few libations. This can result in success or failure based primarily upon what and how much you decide to consume. You want to see fun and relaxed, but you don’t want to come across as a sloppy mess. Think Jennifer Aniston, not Tara Reid.
Attached are my opinions of the three best and worst libations for a first date.Please feel free to comment, add, subtract, and share your experiences with me. Cheers! —William
1). The Drink: Trophy Wife (Cold River vodka, St. Germain, sparkling passion fruit lemonade)
What it says:
“I’m classy, but play your cards right and I might go home with you”
This person took the time to read the cocktail list and try something new based on ingredients they know they like.They’re probably adventurous and interesting.Hopefully.
2). The Drink: Perfect Manhattan (Whisky or Bourbon, equal parts sweet and dry vermouth, angostura bitters)
What it says:
“I’m refined, I can hold my liquor, and I like to take it slow”
This is a person who knows what they like.They’ve been around the block and have a refined pallet.They’re likely loyal, intelligent, and passionate.
3). The Drink: Tequila Cosmo on the rocks (Milagro Silver tequila, Cointreau, lime, cranberry juice)
What is says:
“I’m a mother f****** party in a bottle and I WILL go home with you tonight”
Tequila is the only liquor considered a stimulant and not a depressant, so if they can handle more than two of these, they’re pretty badass.Just watch what tequila they order… if the choose “well” tequila, they might be a little too focused on the end game and not the process.
1). The Drink: Jagermeister
What it says:
“I’m immature and have no taste”
This person is probably the one at the bar wearing a ratty band t-shirt and smells like they live in the alley behind the bar.
2). The Drink: Long Island Iced Tea (well vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triplesec, sour mix, coke)
What it says:
“I’m going to get as shitfaced as possible while spending the least amount of money I can”
This person is either really nervous and is trying to take the edge off or just came off of a breakup and is trying to drink their feelings.Either way, you’ll probably be stuck paying the tab.
3). The Drink: White Russian (vodka, Kahlua, milk or cream)
What it says:
“I had this drink in high school and I never looked back”
If this is someone’s go-to drink it might mean that they tend to not branch out or challenge themselves by trying new things.Plus White Russians are like a million calories.
Meet your favorite Boston Chef, Evan Campbell, as he answers a few questions for us. Find out what this studly gourmand thinks about current cooking trends and his favorite condiment to put on french fries. Pop into Trophy Room and say hi to Evan and he dazzles you with his culinary delights!
Tell us when you first knew you wanted to be a chef.
It’s funny. The thought had never crossed my mind until much later in my career. I have been in the restaurant business since I was 14. My first job was flipping hot dogs and hamburgers at a baseball stadium back in my hometown in Virginia. It was fun and fast-paced but by the time I got to college, I knew it wasn’t going to pay the bills. So I spent most of the time learning and working the Front of House. Server, bartender, manager, expo, I did it all. After college, I figured I needed to use my degree (because those suckers are not cheap). It didn’t take me long to realize my heart is in the restaurant business. So I went to culinary school to hone my skills; which previously were from the best cook I know–Mom–and from working in a variety of different restaurants. So I guess the answer is part of me always knew, but I didn’t fully commit until I was sure I would no longer miss my sanity.
If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That’s a hard one because I love all thing copiously. But I could live on bread and cheese alone. As a Chef, most of my meals are consumed during my workday–tasting, testing, and scarfing down food before or after service. My refrigerator at home is usually super sad. But it always has three staples, bread, cheese, and a few bottles of wine.
Bacon. Who doesn’t love it. Give us your favorite thing to do with it.
Well my favorite thing to do with bacon is eat it. But I assume you mean culinarily. For me, I like bacon as an accent. Fried super crispy and added to just about anything that needs some richness and some…well…bacon. Oh, also, adding the bacon grease into clarified butter for hollandaise makes for a super-rich, awesome touch for Benedicts.
What would you say is the most misunderstood cuisine to the public?
I think the most misunderstood cuisine is Southern food. Having grown up below the Mason-Dixon line and having done a good bit of culinary training in New Orleans, I don’t understand why it get’s shunned. Especially here in New England people assume that Southern cuisine is unhealthy because of the heavy use of butter and salt. But everyone knows butter contains no fat or calories… right?
What do you think the most avoidable mistake is when cooking at home?
For me the biggest issue is not even culinary technique, it’s planning ahead. Most people don’t cook because they think ahead to the giant pile of dishes, pans, bowls, and pots that they will have to clean once they are done preparing a meal. But the best policy is to clean-as-you-go. That way you aren’t overwhelmed at the end and you can actually enjoy your hard work. That or make your lover do it.
French fries. What cut? Ketchup, Mayo, or Vinegar?
I am a traditionalist. I like classic hand-cut fries but also appreciate super crispy shoe-string fries. Skip the ketchup, mayo and vinegar. I will go to town on some Ranch dressing.