Friday, November 30, 2012

Where's the Meat? :: Fogo de Chão Boston

The hottest spot in Boston for skewers of succulent steaks is none other than Fogo de Chão. Pronounced fo-go dèe shoun, the southern Brazilian steakhouse recently opened in the Back Bay space which formerly housed The Palm. I had the pleasure of stuffing my face dining on a montage of mouthwatering meats with Mr. Chat one brisk November evening.                                      

Upon entering the bar, I was greeted by an eye-catching mural depicting a gaucho (Brazilian cowboy) at a fogo de chão (campfire). The bartender informed me that the gaucho is symbolic of the original owner’s uncle in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Fogo de Chão is a creative culinary concept which offers diners endless servings of 16 different meats -- all sliced, diced and served tableside. Gaucho chefs carrying skewered beef ancho (rib eye), cordeiro (lamb), lombo (pork loin) and my all-time favorite linguica (sausage) bustle about the 320-seat space as if they are dancing to a choreographed number.

The pace of the meal is controlled by the diner. Flip a card to the green side to eat more meat or the red side to take a I quickly learned when a towering inferno of food appeared before me after a mere two minutes. The filet mignon and linguica (sausage) were among my favorites. Mr. Chat, on the other hand, could not stop raving about the alcatra (top sirloin) and fraldinha (bottom sirloin).

In addition to men armed with meat, Fogo de Chão offers an overwhelmingly amazing salad bar featuring an accoutrement of authentic side dishes. This is certainly the most robust buffet I’ve ever experienced…not to mention one of the cleanest. From mouthwatering mozzarella and roasted asparagus to a rich smoked salmon and an out-of-this-world chicken salad; this bar is not for the bashful. Even meatless patrons have a place at the table as the restaurant offers a salad bar-only option for both lunch and dinner. Just the salad bar alone is worth a visit.

Fogo de Chão is located at 200 Dartmouth Street, Boston. My meal was courtesy of Fogo de Chão. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Vegas Baby Lust List

I have been wanting to write about my HomeGoods StyleScope since the online home décor personality test was launched a few months ago. I'm a lover of chic design, traditional décor and really anything that involves an excuse to shop at HomeGoods. During Thanksgiving break, I was able to relish in the elements that speak to me and inspire the musings on Rue Le Chat: beauty, style and décor.

HomeGoods partnered with interior designer and television personality Taniya Nayak to create StyleScope. Simply choose five out of 36 featured images that represent your personality. My five choices included a diamond {girl's best friend}, red lips {fierce & in control}, a white rose {femininity}, strand of pearls {classic style}, city scene {on the go & in the know}.

According to my results, I'm Vegas Baby -- a person who blends bold colors with metallic hues. That sounds about right. I love the serenity of gray and silver, but I'm also drawn to the boldness of red, purple and turquoise. At times, though, I play it way too safe with colors, accents and accessories. I shy away from taking things to the next level with a faux fur pillow here or an ornate zebra rug there. I need more splashes of pizzazz and a few "conversation pieces" in my home.

On a recent trip to HomeGoods, I came across a few Vegas Baby-inspired items for my Christmas Lust List. What's your HomeGoods StyleScope? Take the quiz, share your results below and start building your HomeGoods Holiday Lust List.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mario Testino at the Museum of Fine Arts

Mario Testino’s visit to Boston last month was the biggest thing to hit the city’s style scene since....well...forever. The famed fashion photographer’s “In Your Face” and “British Royal Portraits” exhibits debuted October 17 at the Museum of Fine Arts and welcomed glamorous names such as Anna Wintour, Alessandra Ambrosio and Karlie Kloss to the Bay State.

My mother and I had the pleasure of viewing Testino’s iconic work last week which added some pizzaz to an already fetching mother-daughter day. Growing up, my mother's night stand was stacked with issues of Vanity Fair and Vouge. As a full-time working mom, she was always at the top of her fashion game -- mixing the fashion forward trends of her time with classic statement pieces that are still in style today. I watched, listened and learned. Now I worship at the shrine of my own glossy magazines and I'm sure one day, my daughter will do the same.

First on our agenda: “British Royal Portraits” in the Herb Ritts Gallery. Testino’s lens provided an intimate look into the lives of Britain's highly publicized and endlessly scrutinized royal family. Without a doubt, my favorite piece was the Marlon Brando-inspired shot of Prince Harry leaning over a motorcycle. It was a humanizing portrayal of the proper, yet often edgy prince. There were no candid shots from Las Vegas in this collection. My mother was captivated by the single black and white photograph of the late Princess Diana -- one of her icons.

Next, we headed to the Ann and Graham Gund Gallery for “In Your Face”, a collection of 122 high fashion photographs. With big and breathtaking images at every turn, the exhibit packed a punch of celebrities in stunning stances that was literally in my face. Some pieces, such as the sultry, signature shot of Kate Moss enveloped by mirrors, measured upwards of 5 feet by 9 feet. A more subdued, yet captivating black and white shot of a man and woman embraced in a kiss left me breathless -- a rare glimpse of raw passion captured on print. 

There's no doubt that Testino’s eye envies Gisele Bündchen, Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga as their faces favored the collection. And honestly, my mother and I were disappointed that Angelina Jolie’s striking silhouette was only featured in a tiny black and white photo. There were so many other favorites including Kate Winslet channeling Elizabeth Taylor, V Magazine, 2011; Kristen Dunst channeling Greta Garbo, V Magazine, 2010; and Sienna Miller, Vogue, 2007.

"In Your Face" runs through February 3, 2013 and "British Royal Portraits" runs through June 16, 2013.

Untitled, Rio de Janeiro, 1998 

Tom Brady, New York, 2012

The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, London, 2010 

HRH The Prince of Wales, HRH Prince William & HRH Prince Henry, London, 2004 

Carmen Kass, Los Angeles, 2009

My attendance was courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts Press Office. 

{images via Museum of Fine Arts Press Office}

Monday, November 5, 2012

An Evening at La Galleria 33

Only the brave would subject their business to the scrutiny of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares for the entire world to see. I have to applaud Rita and Lisa DiPietrantonio, owners of La Galleria 33 in Boston's North End, for putting their flaws on television in hopes of transforming their business for the better.

I'm the product of a small business owner so I understand the lifestyle -- long hours, fierce competition, angry customers, unreliable staff. I could write a book. It's not a glamours lifestyle (as some may think) and at times it's not as lucrative as one had hoped. My father lived and loved this life. Blood, sweat and tears.

La Galleria 33 is a quaint, Italian eatery hidden from the hustle and bustle of the North End's touristy main street -- a huge draw for me as some of the best food in the neighborhood can be found on the narrow streets frequented by locals.

I had never been to La Galleria 33 before the Kitchen Nightmares viewing party, so I was a little skeptical. Had Gordon Ramsay succeeded in revamping the restaurant and reinvigorating its struggling staff? Before the celebrity chef waved his magic wand, the food was bland, boring and some of it even frozen. Eek! The dinning room's decor was in rough shape too. Think nude cherubs on the wall. 

With a new chef reigning the range, the evening's robust buffet did not disappoint. Two types of sliders were featured: braised pork with chipotle lime slaw and beef burger with tomato bacon jam -- both delicious, but the braised pork was truly mouthwatering. A thin crust pizza topped with pear, gorgonzola, caramelized onion and arugula scored an A+ in my dinning diary. And no Italian feast would be complete without homemade meatballs (not frozen this time), clams casino and savory veal arancini stuffed with peas. For the record, I'm still dreaming about the arancini. Guests also indulged in olive oil cake topped with a signature sauce for dessert and an abundance of wine and prosecco. 

Rita and Lisa are a bold and beautiful duo passionate about food and family. With help from Gordon Ramsay, the sassy sisters have not only worked tirelessly to transcend the menu and surround themselves with a stellar staff, but they've also exchanged the nude cherubs for a modern, brick-exposed facade. La Galleria 33     is located at 125 Salem Street and serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

Rita & Lisa DiPietrantonio

The Boston Foodie & Rue Le Chat