Where We Ate: Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse

To celebrate Matt’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, I treated him to dinner at Jacobs & Co. The restaurant is housed in a very large and sleek space, but I personally found the atmosphere to be a bit pretentious. The drinks were also really expensive, which was expected, but there were beers we normally get for half the price elsewhere, which is ROBBERY to me!

The service, however, was impeccable. All levels of staff were attentive and knowledgeable, especially our main server. We were definitely well attended to, which made it a good experience!

What We Ate

Jacobs Jacobs

  • Oysters: We opted for a mixed selection of east coast oysters, but we liked the Lucky Limes from PEI best!
  • Jacobs Caesar Salad with White Anchovy: This was prepared (perfectly) tableside—so much fun to watch and absolutely delicious. A must!
  • Duck Fat French Fried Potatoes + Potato Gratin: The sides come in half portions, which is great because you can try a couple of things. I really wanted their Brussels sprouts, but they were out that day!
  • USDA Prime Black Angus T-Bone Steak, Dry-Aged 125 days: 25 oz. of melt-in-your-mouth goodness! The server noted that the 125-day dry-aged steaks weren’t for everyone because it has a mushroom, Parmesan-like quality to it, but we loved it! Bonus: if you want, they can carve it up for you. Makes for easy sharing!

We even had a bit of surprise at the end! In another post about Auberge, I had mentioned how the restaurant had paid attention to a note I’d added in the Special Requests box of my Open Table reservation. This time, I included a request for a table in a quieter spot (if possible) because we were celebrating my husband’s birthday. Not only was this request granted, but they also came out with a little birthday dessert at the end of our meal! Very nice touch.

The overall verdict? The steak was perfection, and the service was on point, so we’ll definitely be back again!

Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Where We Ate: Nashville Edition!

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Nashville for work, so Matt flew in a couple of days later for a mini vacation. I got a few incredulous reactions to this—and to be fair, I guess it’s not the most conventional vacay spot for 2 Asians—but why not explore a new city? And like all good trips, wherever Our Happy Jar goes, good food follows…

Where We Ate

Etch

Our experience at Etch was great. Impeccable service and really delicious food! The restaurant is also right across from the Country Music Hall of Fame 🙂

What We Ate: 

  • Butter tasting (prosciutto truffle, smoked parmesan black pepper, ginger cashew, and malt vinegar butter): It’s really just bread and butter, but the butter is amazing! Mixing them together was even more awesome!
  • Tempura catfish with watermelon and blueberries: Yummy, but the least memorable.
  • Roasted cauliflower with truffled pea pesto, almonds, and feta crema: Delish!
  • Pork chop with gnocchi, trio of mushrooms, asparagus, basil, frisee, smoked ham jus potato, and chorizo: The pork was really tender… to die for!
  • Orange creamsicle (white chocolate vanilla bean ganache, orange sorbet, white chocolate crumble, mango orange sauce, lemon macarons): This was really light and so yummy, which was a perfect way to end the meal!

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Etch on Urbanspoon

The Pharmacy Burger Parlour and Beer Garden

The Pharmacy was really out of the way for us and hard to get to without a car, but it was definitely worth the trip. I know burgers are a dime a dozen, but the burgers at this place are out of this world (the photo below doesn’t do them justice)! I would go back again just for those burgers… the large selection of beers doesn’t hurt either! It was also like eating in someone’s large backyard—plants, picnic tables, strings of lights—which I absolutely loved. What We Ate

  • Farm burger: Tennessee beef, country ham, applewood-smoked bacon, egg, and maple mustard
  • Stroganoff burger: Tennessee beef, mushroom stroganoff bechamel, sour cream, caramelized onion, and swiss cheese
  • Black bean and corn salad and hand-cut sweet potato fries

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The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden on Urbanspoon

Husk

Husk was also a little out of the way, but not too far of a walk from downtown. It was a really cute restaurant set up in a house, with a herb and veggie garden out front. What We Ate

  • Deviled eggs with pickled ramps
  • Ember “grilled” pimento cheese sandwich
  • Shrimp and grits with mushrooms, ham, and egg: This was one of the best parts of the meal!
  • Buttermilk chess pie with Georgia peaches and cream: SO good… it reminded me of the basque cake from Bar Isabel!

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Husk on Urbanspoon

Rolf and Daughters

Another restaurant that was pretty out of the way for us (are you seeing a theme here?) Also, Rolf and Daughters has been written up extensively, so it was understandably busy. We were told that it’d be an hour wait, but fortunately, it was much shorter, and we got to hang out with drinks outside for a bit. The restaurant is located in an old warehouse, which was cool. What We Ate

  • Chicken liver pate with green tomato marmalade and cacao: YUM.
  • Dry-aged beef tartare with salsa verde and toast
  • Polenta with charred and pickled eggplant and bonito
  • Squid ink trofie,with shrimp, squid, pancetta, and lemon: Really, really good, but wasn’t quite like Joso’s squid ink pasta.
  • Mixed roast of pork with corn, squash, okra, and bay laurel: This was pretty awesome too.

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Rolf and Daughters on Urbanspoon

The Southern

Live music, oysters, and blood orange mimosas for brunch? Hell yeah! Matt’s fried chicken and waffles was pretty darn good too.

What We Ate

  • Oysters!
  • The Highway (fried chicken breast on a waffle with maple syrup): Crunchy, just the right amount of heat, and perfect with the syrup!
  • Steak & Biscuit Benedict (grilled beef tenderloin, poached eggs, and hollandaise on a blue cheese biscuit): Meh.

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The Southern Steak & Oyster on Urbanspoon

Mason Bar

Mason Bar was located in our hotel, the Loews Vanderbilt. We decided to go for happy hour (4 to 6 pm), which was awesome: $3 for all draught beers and half-priced appetizers! The bar is also really cool… all decked out in mason jars! The theme of the bar is especially cute to me because 1) so many happy jars! and 2) if Matt and I ever have a son, we want to name him Mason 🙂

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What We Ate

  • Crab corn dogs: These were surprisingly good. We expected mini corn dogs, but they were generous portions and stuffed full of crab meat! Definitely worth getting, especially at half the price.
  • Truffle fries

Mason's on Urbanspoon

Merchants

The restaurant is located in a beautiful building (which has a long history), and it’s right in the middle of Broadway, nestled among all the surrounding honky-tonks. Unfortunately, we were really full, so we only had a bunch of apps.

What We Ate

  • Duck fat tater tots with chipotle mayo, bearnaise, ketchup: So bad for you, but they are made perfectly crispy!
  • Fried green tomatoes with spicy pepper jam and house pimento cheese: This was only okay.
  • Shrimp corn chowder: Nothing special.

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Merchants Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

This is a good bang-for-your-buck place (their fried chicken plates range from $8.50 to $11.50 and are served with 2 sides), but I didn’t think the chicken was overly amazing. We waited in a long line though, so it’s obviously very popular!

What We Ate

  • Small white (breast and wing)
  • Large dark (2 thighs and 2 legs)
  • French fries, mac and cheese, southern greens, and potato salad

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Hattie B's Hot Chicken on Urbanspoon

Other Eating and Drinking

Nashville Farmers’ Market and Legato Gelato

We did a lot of walking on this trip, which was probably good because we needed to burn those calories. One of those long walks was to the Nashville Farmers’ Market, which was really fun! We obviously couldn’t buy any fresh produce, but we did get to hit up the Legato Gelato stand.

The guy there was very nice—he let us sample as much as we wanted—and the gelato was so good! We opted to try the donut gelato since that was something different, and it was surprisingly light-tasting but still sufficiently donut-y. I wish we had time to go visit their storefront location!

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The Breweries: Yazoo, Jackalope, and Tennessee Brew Works

These were all within walking distance of one another, so Matt and I decided to do a little brewery-hopping before our dinner at Etch. Yazoo had the best selection and a good sampler for us to try, I liked the picnic tables at Jackalope, and Tennessee Brew Works had a big patio, nice indoor space, and live music. Hitting up these breweries was so much fun, and I had a really nice buzz by the end!

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Phew… looks like we crammed a lot of eating and drinking in during our trip to Nashville! Our next trip is to Boston in September, so we’re looking forward to more good eats (and past favourites)… stay tuned 😉

Where We Ate: The Happy Hooker, Moo Milk Bar, Fishbar, and 416 Snack Bar

The Victoria Day long weekend + our 2nd wedding anniversary have made this weekend a downright splurge-on-food long weekend… we’ll really need to be on our best behaviour this coming week! We kicked off the weekend with dinner at Auberge du Pommier, one of our faves. Some of our other eats:

The Happy Hooker

Small space with a simple menu, but affordable and perfect for grabbing a quick bite! The lobster roll was good, but I think the hot lobster roll with butter at Neptune Oyster in Boston has set the bar really high for all the lobster rolls in our future. The fish in both the tacos were by far the highlight of our meal at The Happy Hooker.

What We Ate
  • Mahi mahi and Cali baja tacos
  • Lobster roll
  • Baja fries

The Happy Hooker
Happy Hooker on Urbanspoon

Moo Milk Bar

Not to be confused with Momofuku Milk Bar (which we still haven’t tried yet, here or in NYC), Moo Milk Bar is located in The Beaches and is a cute little bakery with fresh cookies, flavored milk, and other sweet treats. Matt and I headed there after seeing this Toronto’s Finest Instagram post on Moo Milk Bar’s ice cream sammies. Their cookies are pretty darn good, but the flavoured milk was a bit disappointing (the banana chocolate milk mostly tasted like banana).

What We Ate
  • Ice cream sandwich (red velvet cookie with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream)
  • Cookies (cookies & cream and caramel ganache)
  • Banana chocolate milk

Ice Cream Sammy!Milk and Cookies

Moo Milk Bar on Urbanspoon

Fishbar

The last time we went to Fishbar, we only had oysters and drinks because we’d already eaten dinner. This time, we got to try a few other dishes, which were really yummy! They were offering oysters at happy hour prices, which was great, but the fried smelts and mussels were our picks.

The only downsides to the meal were the slow service (which some reviews on Yelp have echoed)—some of our orders were mixed up or forgotten, and our empty water glasses were never refilled throughout the meal—and the couple next to us. The guy was clearly a person who thought he knew everything about everything and was not afraid to voice it… constantly. He also kept getting out of his seat, walking across to the other side of the table, and cuddling his date (Matt was convinced that he was doing it just to cop a feel). It was so bad that at the end of the meal, Matt practically ran out of the restaurant!

What We Ate
  • PEI mussels in a tomato chorizo sauce
  • Fried lake smelts with sea salt and lemon
  • Oysters (Malpeque and Acadian Gold)
  • Crab cakes with an apple and jalapeño slaw

Fishbar

Fishbar on Urbanspoon

416 Snack Bar

After dinner, we decided to head out for drinks. This was only our 2nd time going to 416 Snack Bar, but both times, we had the luck of sitting at the bar right where we could see the food being prepared. It’s almost mesmerizing! That and the good service, solid music, and casual vibe made it a good way to end the night!

What We Ate
  • Foie torchon with mini toasts
  • The mini Reuben sandwich
  • Korean fried chicken
  • The small board (which, this time, consisted of a lettuce wrap, battered shrimp, sausage, cheese, and taro chips)

416 Snack Bar
416 Snack Bar on Urbanspoon

 

A TON of good eats this weekend, but as I said, we’re going to have to pay for it! We don’t want to forget our commitment to being healthy, so we’re getting back on the squat challenge and trying to head outdoors again if the weather cooperates. Time to work all of this food off! ^^’

Where We Ate: Boston Edition!

Happy 2014! Our Happy Jar has crossed my mind a lot, but blogging has admittedly fallen by the wayside recently. In my Thailand post, I had intended to blog about the Hong Kong portion of our recent Asia trip, but there’s so much to say about the city, my family, and my longtime friends that make it hard to fit into a single blog post. Maybe the inspiration to write my heart out will come soon…

Anyways, this past Family Day long weekend, Matt and I had planned time off to go somewhere, one of the options being a close city like Boston. As luck would have it, I had an offsite meeting at our Burlington, MA office last week, so Matt and I decided to tack on some days at the end to make it a weekend getaway.

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The weekend got off to an interesting start, with the big snow storm falling on the day that Matt was supposed to fly in. His afternoon flight was canceled, but he was fortunately able to catch an earlier one on standby. I ended up sharing a cab with a stranger who was rushing downtown to catch a train to New York. The trip from Burlington to downtown Boston took us 2 hours, but we made it! Definitely would want to visit Boston again (and Cape Cod) in the summertime; I’m sure it’s beautiful!

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Where We Ate: The Highlights

Neptune Oyster

Neptune Oyster has received a number of glowing reviews, and rightfully so—everything was delicious! The oysters were fresh and perfectly shucked, the buttermilk johnnycakes (with honey butter, smoked trout tartare, and caviar) were outstanding, and the lobster roll with hot butter was to die for.

The restaurant is incredibly small, and as promised in reviews, there was a line (even at 3pm on a weekday!). Luckily, our wait was short, and we were seated in a roomier table in the back. Definitely recommend going on a weekday during off-hours.

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Neptune Oyster on Urbanspoon

Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry

Other than Neptune Oyster, there were a LOT of places we wanted to try in the North End. We were fortunate enough to hit up two pastry shops. The cannolis at Mike’s Pastry and the giant lobster tails at Modern Pastry are AMAZING!

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Mike's Pastry on Urbanspoon Modern Pastry on Urbanspoon

Marliave

Dollar oysters and clams every day between 4–6 pm and 9–10 pm… need I say more? We arrived much earlier than our original 9pm reservation, so we ended up starting off some wine, beer, escargots, Brussels sprouts, and artisan cheeses and meats. Everything was really good, and the oysters and clams were worth the wait. They also had a variety of oysters to choose from, which is kinda great because many buck-a-shuck places often limit you to one kind.

Marliave on Urbanspoon

Shōjō Restaurant

Our hotel was right on the edge of Chinatown, which is where Shōjō was located. Matt and I are fans of tapas-style restaurants and it had good reviews, so we decided to give it a shot. We ordered the suckling pig bao with kimchi and jalapeno, duck confit dumplings with parsnip puree, almond shrimp balls with pumpkin chili puree, BBQ pork ribs, kimchi fried rice with quail egg, and the charcuterie board. I personally thought some items were hit or miss (dessert, sesame balls filled with chocolate, was definitely a big miss), but overall, it was a yummy meal. The mural in the restaurant is also really cool!

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Shojo on Urbanspoon

Boston Kitchen Pizza

Matt and I had a low-key Valentine’s Day—we generally avoid dinner at fancy restaurants like the plague. And because we had a very late lunch at Neptune Oyster, we wanted to have an inexpensive, casual dinner. After a lengthy search (and a long nap for me :P), we ended up picking up a pizza from Boston Kitchen Pizza in nearby China town and taking it back to the hotel to watch the NBA all-star rookie-sophomore game. The pizza was not bad at all!

Shojo on Urbanspoon

Atlantic Fish

We visited the Back Bay area in search of Cole Haan and Niketown. Unfortunately, Niketown Boston is closed until spring (the same thing happened to us during our first trip to Chicago Niketown!) Before our Niketown plans got cut short, we stopped off for lunch at Atlantic Fish. To me, the restaurant was a bit more old school (I also didn’t like being segregated in an area with all the other Asians, but I think that might have been a coincidence), but the food, especially the clam chowder, was really good.

Atlantic Fish Co. on Urbanspoon

The Good Kind of Muffin Tops

And last but not least, the muffin tops! SO many coffee shops seem to have these in Boston… why aren’t they more common in Toronto?

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This week it’s back to the usual grind… thank goodness for a short week!