Friday, April 12, 2013

Lick Your Chops :: Boston Chops Grand Opening

Chef Christopher Coombs assists vampire vixens on stage

The grand opening of Boston Chops was quite a sight for sore eyes. As beautiful urbanites sipped craft cocktails, savored succulent oysters and sampled the likes of sliced beef tongue, scantily clad cowboys combed the crowds and vampire vixens brought venom to the scene.

“We wanted to make a statement with the opening party,” Chef Christopher Coombs said in a recent interview. With a cheerful bartender chained to the ceiling, the extraordinary was far from ordinary even for the South End.

On a regular night, Boston Chops avoids the avant-garde; allowing the ambiance and plentiful provisions to speak for themselves. The dinning room's decor joins rich wood with exposed brick and has an industrial meets metropolitan feel. Ornate lighting hangs from an exposed beam ceiling and mimics the fixtures found in Clos de Vougeot in Burgundy, France.

Boston Chops is the latest collaboration between Coombs and business partner, Brian Piccini. The dynamic duo is also responsible for dbar in Dorchester and Deuxave in the Back Bay. The restaurateurs have built a serious steak selection to include cuts of hanger, flat iron, skirt, filet mignon, rib eye and New York strip. The beef is all-natural, free-range steer hailing from Nebraska and all are served with sauces made from scratch. 

Keeping quality and community at top of mind, Coombs works with small farmers and neighborhood co-ops to ensure freshness and a family feel. “When you walk in the door, you know you’re coming to a Chris Coombs steakhouse. [Boston Chops] has a local connection and a chef driven concept,” Coombs added. 

The meatless masses can also enjoy a meal at the urban steak bistro. From wild mushroom cavatelli with arugula to seared scallops with braised leeks, there’s a dish for every desire. Even patrons pining for poutine have hit a hot spot with their twice baked, gravy-infused potato side dish.

Boston Chops is located at 1375 Washington Street in Boston's South End.

{photos are a mix of my own images and shots courtesy of 451 Marketing}

Friday, April 5, 2013

Clarins Double Serum Launch at Bloomingdales

Back in February when the New England wind was whipping the air, the Boston snow was saturating the streets and the raw elements of winter were literally eating away at my delicate 30-something-year-old skin, I was convinced that spring and my once supple skin were nowhere in sight.

Lucky for me, as I applied yet another layer of moisturizer to my cracking crow’s feet and parched laugh lines, I was rescued by an invitation to the fountain of youth. Joining other beauty conscious Bostonians one evening, I headed to Clarins at Bloomingdales to dabble in something different; something refined; something known as Double Serum.

The new anti-aging treatment is a blend of 20 pure plant extracts and potent high-tech molecules that has been in the works for nearly 27 years. Double Serum joins hydric (water-based) and lipidic (oil-based) components in a dual chamber, one pump system to deliver an electrifying elixir that smoothes and tones skin while diminishing the appearance of fine lines. 

According to Clarins, this revolutionary concentrate is the only product on the market designed to reactivate skin’s five vital functions: hydration, nutrition, oxygenation, protection and regeneration. Natural ingredients including macadamia, kiwi and avocado make the miracle good enough to eat.

Jean Fayard, a beauty expert with the luxury cosmetics line, conducted skincare and makeup tutorials for the beauty-obsessed bunch. Fayard explained that one pump of Double Serum applied to the face is all that's needed to achieve lasting results. She stressed the importance of lightly patting the serum to the face rather than using a curricular motion which can cause harm to the skin's surface. 

For the last four weeks, I have incorporated Double Serum into my nightly skin regime and have been faithfully applying the formula to my face and neck. I have noticed a moderate difference in the appearance of my pesky fine lines (so far), but have witnessed a dramatic difference in my skin's overall texture. The oil-water ratio in Double Serum has served as a nice balance to my combination skin; adding moisture to my cheekbones and keeping my oily T-zone under control. 

Along with a dose of Double Serum to sample, Clarins' generous goodie bag included an array of lip colors from their Rouge Eclat collection and BB Skin Perfecting Creams. I have been enjoying my first experience using a BB cream and have found that the product's mix of moisture, protection and coverage is perfect for casual daywear. 

Do something special for your skin this weekend and visit Clarins to sample something new for spring.

Products were courtesy of Clarins.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Boston Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty

Boston Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty captivates the soul, ignites the imagination and leaves one breathless. Growing up as an only child, my vivid imagination and tenacious creative spirit often provoked these senses and left me dreaming about gleaming garments, lavish banquets and charming princes. Practicing ballet was my window into the dazzling world of fantasy.

Don’t expect the animated Walt Disney version of Sleeping Beauty at Boston Ballet. This legendary rendition was based on La Belle au Bois Dormant, a fairytale written by French author Charles Perrault. 
Choreographed by Marius Petipa and first performed in 1890 to the score of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the classic tale involves a beautiful princess, handsome prince and the enchantment of sleep.

Veteran Boston Ballet dancer, Misa Kuranaga, plays the alluring Princess Aurora; a role she danced once before in 2005. In a recent interview, Kuranaga told me she relishes in the dynamics of the dance. Aurora is known as the most technically demanding role for a ballerina,” she said. In the first act entrance, Aurora is a sixteen-year-old girl with her future ahead of her. When I come onstage, I leave Misa behind and become a teenager again." Kuranaga added, “It is one of the most enjoyable roles I have ever danced.”

The set design is an elaborate masterpiece of opulent colors, grandiose garlands and elaborate detail. Costumes hail from the imagination of David Walker and range from period pieces to museum-worthy works of art. “There is a unique costume for each principal character and beautiful matching tunics and tutus for the men and women of the corps de ballet,” Kuranaga explained.

Princess Aurora’s wardrobe consists of vintage wear made in the early 1970s by the acclaimed costumier. Kuranaga opens the first act in a stunning pink tutu which lends a youthful look. Later in the third act, as Aurora prepares to wed Prince DesirĂ©, the ballerina is adorned in white and gold.

The Sleeping Beauty welcomes surprise guests from other fables written by Perrault including Little Red Riding Hood and Puss in Boots. Many of the tales were rewritten by the Brothers Grimm and have been adapted to opera, theatre and ballet. Naturally, I fell in love with the endearing and playful banter between Puss in Boot and the White Cat.

Boston Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty serves as a true lesson in life. The synthesis of right against wrong and love opposite hate is a central theme that audiences of all ages can appreciate. Performances run through April 7 at the Boston Opera House. Click here to purchase tickets.

{photos courtesy of Rosalie O'Connor}

My attendance was courtesy of Boston Ballet.