Restaurants and Bees: Where to Get Buzzed on Dishes + Drinks with Local Honey

Blog header Trace copyBe aware: Bees are getting a lotta love these days — in restaurants! Here are some sweet spots where you can get buzzed on cocktails as well as enjoy entrees and dishes—made with honey from on-site hives. The apiary trend is nationwide, but you’ll note that in Boston, restaurants and bees are, well, a thing.

City Table, Boston, Massachusetts
The bees that buzz on the rooftop at the Lenox Hotel forage at a distance of up to three miles for flower and plant nectar, returning for turndown service each night. They get the royal treatment: Beekeeper Dean Stiglitz travels to the hotel every Monday morning in season to tend to the bees. The hotel’s City Table restaurant features several honey-inspired dishes including Avocado Toast (fried egg, sticky honey, diced avocado, and red chili flake glaze). And the hotel’s City Bar serves cocktails that use the honey — sip The Queen Bee (gin, green tea, honey and prosecco) or Colonel’s Choice (Calvados, Maker’s Mark, Combier, honey and garnished with an orange slice). Make a reservation at City Table.

Restaurants and Bees

OAK Long Bar + Kitchen, Boston, Massachusetts
OAK is housed in the Fairmont Copley Plaza, which also houses three beehives located next to the rooftop herb garden. Best Bees Co. tends to the bees, which produce 30 to 40 gallons of the sweet nectar annually. The honey is used to make the Rooftop Honey Butter, which is served with the Hearth Baked Bread and the Buttermilk Panna Cotta, among other dishes. And, wait, there’s more buzz. Wild mason bees are some of the most effective pollinators on Earth, and the hotel just debuted its new Bee Hotel, located in the hotel’s herb garden next to the honey bee apiary. OAK will offer a selection of pollinator menu items like the Avocado & Peekytoe Crab Toast (the avocado is pollinated by the bees). Make a reservation at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen.

Restaurants and Bees

Fearrington House, Pittsboro, North Carolina
This restaurant located just outside of Chapel Hill has a beehive on property that’s overseen by one of the restaurant’s sous chefs and a local beekeeper who assists in the harvesting of the honey. Dishes in which the honey plays a cameo role include the Sweet & Sour Tuna with Fresh Chickpeas, Yuzu, Cucumber, Salsify, Avocado, and Fearrington’s honey. Make a reservation at Fearrington House.

Restaurants and Bees

Japengo at Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii
“The global decline in honeybee population has also seriously affected the Hawaiian honeybee population, resulting in legislation at the state level to encourage honey production and sales throughout the islands,” says a hotel spokesperson. And so, the hotel created its own honeybee colony and a honey program called Hula Meli, meaning “Dancing Honey.” The honey that’s harvested from the apiary is used in a signature cocktail served in all of the hotel’s dining outlets, including Japengo; the Bee’s Knees cocktail combines Hendricks Gin, triple sec, and fresh lemon juice with the honey. The cocktail is shaken with crushed ice and served in a tumbler with a garnish of fresh honeycomb from the hotel’s hive. Make a reservation at Japengo.

Restaurants and Bees

Randolfi’s, University City, Missouri
James Beard semifinalist and chef-owner Mike Randolph features classic Italian here — with a twist. A unique ingredient you might not find on your nonna’s menu is chef de cuisine Tommy Andrew’s honey. The chef moonlights as a beekeeper — he has two hives in his backyard, as well as others at a separate location. The menu features the honey in several dishes including the oven-glazed vegetables, the cheese plate, and honey ice cream, as well as some of the cocktails. Make a reservation at Randolfi’s.

Restaurants and Bees

Trace, San Francisco, California
Trace is the W hotel’s signature restaurant, and the hotel has been harvesting wild honey bees for four years and is now home to 40,000 bees and 10 hives located on the hotel’s rooftop on the 32nd floor; 40 pounds of honey per hive are produced per year. The natural honeycomb is used in the restaurant’s menus, including the Roasted Beet Salad with burrata, pistachio, baby greens, and honey, and its Ginger Pork Skewers with rooftop honey and sesame seed. Make a reservation at Trace.

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Boston Chefs Pick Their Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 Faves

Want to check out a new restaurant or squeeze in some al fresco dining in the waning days of summer? Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 — August 14-19 and 21-26 — is the perfect opportunity to keep you and your wallet full with two-course lunches for $20 and three-course dinners starting at just $28. Here are some menu highlights courtesy of some of the city’s top chefs.

Bastille Kitchen
Though the Innovation District may be called such because it’s the epicenter for many of the city’s tech companies, the neighborhood also is home to some of Boston’s most creative restaurants — including Bastille Kitchen. Chef Adam Kube gives diners something to cool off with this August with seasonally appropriate avocado gazpacho and also serves up some special Dine Out fare, such as oat and quinoa-crusted chicken breast with a refreshing asparagus and grapefruit salad. “I wanted to offer guests dishes that are delicious and satisfying, but also bring a sense of lightness and freshness and aren’t too heavy,” Kube said. “I also wanted to offer guests the opportunity to try a few signature dishes that have been top sellers since day one, including our tea-smoked mussels marinière — our homage to the Boston Tea Party — and prime skirt steak frites, our interpretation of this classic French dish, which flies out of the kitchen every night.” Top it off with such Dine Out desserts as black forest torte with port wine and cherry reduction and vanilla crème brûlée with a pistachio butter cookie. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Bastille Kitchen.

Dine Out Boston Summer 2016

STRIP by Strega
With a new multimillion-dollar facelift that’s transformed an aging grande dame into one of the city’s coolest hotels, it’s only appropriate that the Park Plaza’s restaurants would serve as the historic property’s sexy accessories. STRIP by Strega offers up a modern feel with dark colors and sensual artistic touches, along with full steakhouse fare and a new jamming DJ brunch on Sundays. Executive chef Farouk Bazoune offers up both lunch and dinner options, focusing on sourcing seasonally and locally. “Due to the availability of so many fresh, local ingredients, summer is the perfect time to dine at local restaurants. Dine Out Boston is just one more reason to give a new restaurant a try,” he says. Look for the perfect combination of savory and sweet on the dinner menu with a melon and prosciutto appetizer. “It hits all the taste buds with light, crisp flavors coming from the lime, mint and melon that are balanced by creamy notes from the brie cheese, and sweet and savory notes from the aged balsamic and prosciutto. And personally, I love our chilled corn and crab soup, which is perfect for a hot summer day.” Meat lovers can enjoy a juicy strip twin filet with a light green bean salad and salsa verde on the dinner menu. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at STRIP by Strega.

Dine Out Boston Summer 2016

Serafina
Serafina may be known for its thin-crust pizzas, but executive chef Brendan Burke sees Dine Out as an opportunity to welcome fans of myriad main dishes into the fold. “We actually offer an extensive menu packed with plenty of salads, meat, seafood and homemade pastas, so I wanted to use Dine Out to highlight a few signature dishes and seasonal items are perfect for enjoying during warm weather,” he explained. “Guests can expect plenty of summery ingredients like watermelon, Maine lobster, and grilled organic chicken and grilled salmon. Seasonality is something we take seriously and we’re always finding new, fresh ingredients to incorporate into the menu.” Watermelon makes its way into tomato gazpacho with red pepper flakes on the Dine Out menu and there’s a “lobster salad salad” with burrata cheese, avocado, fried green tomato, and pesto aioli. For some of that homemade pasta, check out cavatelli with duck confit, too. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Serafina.

Dine Out Boston Summer 2016

Besito-Chestnut Hill
Just right for a hot day given its origins closer to the Equator, Mexican food is prime for summer diners — especially when they’re given choices says Besito Chestnut Hill chef Sebastian Navarrete. For just $28 (at both that location and the other in Boston’s suburban Burlington neighborhood), the Dine Out offerings includes three courses from the full menu. “The culinary team stays true to [the restaurant’s] Mexican roots and incorporates only the finest, authentic chili peppers and spices to complement its carefully sourced selection of ocean-fresh seafood, marinated prime meats, and garden-fresh veggies.” Think chicken tacos with fresh-made salsas, roasted salmon Manchamanteles with mole sauce, a crispy banana slide, and pineapple salsa, or indulgent queso fundido. All lunch and dinner Dine Out specials come with tres leches cake. Enjoy a slice while relaxing on Chestnut Hill’s redesigned outdoor patio with wrought-iron lanterns and a brick fireplace. Make a reservation at Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Besito-Chestnut Hill.

Dine Out Boston Summer 2016

Legal Oysteria
New to the Dine Out scene, chef Ryan Landry wanted to offer some of the restaurant’s signature dishes for guests in the historic Boston neighborhood of Charlestown. “Charlestown is beautiful in the summer … There’s no better time to visit,” he said of the space overlooking City Square Park on the Freedom Trail. Among the hits on the lunch and dinner menus are a white-clam pizza, Ligurian fish stew with monkfish, shrimp, squid and clams, and brick-oven braised cod. Seafood always pairs well with lemon, so expect a ricotta pie with candied lemon for dessert at dinner, and on the lunch menu, ricotta also makes an appearance in fritter form, served with spicy honey. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Legal Oysteria.

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August 2016 Restaurant Weeks: Summer Savings Ahead

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At home or on the road, you can enjoy discounts on meals this month at cities across the nation, thanks to August 2016 Restaurant Weeks.

* Dine Out Downtown Delray Restaurant Week brings you the best for less with $20 lunches + $20-$40 dinners through August 7. Make a reservation.

* Baltimore County Restaurant Week will charm you with $15-$25 lunches and dinners, through August 20. Make a reservation.

* New Orleans COOLinary offers lunches for $20 or less + $39 or less through August 31 in NOLA. Make a reservation.

* Houston Restaurant Weeks make for a most delicious month. Book $20 brunches + lunches and $25, $35, and $45 dinners through September 5. Make a reservation.

* Miami Spice delivers two months of nice. Take advantage of $23 lunches + $39 dinners through September 30. Make a reservation.

* Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week has three ways to save with $25, $35, and $45 dinners, August 8-14. Make a reservation.

* DFW Restaurant Week Preview is your chance to get a sneak peek of all the dining fun to come. Snag a seat for $20 lunches and $30 or $45 dinners, August 12-14. Make a reservation.

* Bethesda Magazine Restaurant Week showcases the tastiest of Maryland with $16 two-course lunches + $36 three-course dinners, August 12-21. Make a reservation.

* San Antonio Restaurant Week features $10 + $15 lunches and $25 + $35 dinners with heart, August 13-27. Make a reservation.

* Dine Out Boston is coming soon. Book now for $15, $20+ $25 lunches and $28, $33 + $38 dinners, August 14-26. Make a reservation.Continue Reading

Afternoon Delight: Top High Tea Restaurants

Whether it’s the iconic three-tiered silver tray with canapés and white-glove service or something fresh like al fresco iced brews and a “TeaJ” in lieu of a harp, afternoon tea is getting pinkies and thumbs up. Boston Public Library has even gone so far as to cancel its lunch service to make space for sippers all week long, and dads can get in on the game with boozy brews and heavier snacks like s’mores with maple-smoked bacon at another seaside hotel in that historic city. Blame it on an urge to celebrate British traditions with all of this Brexit talk — the union of savory and sweet in the afternoon will always win on this side of the pond at one of these top high tea restaurants.

The Courtyard Restaurant at the Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts
Tea is just as much a feast for the eyes as the stomach at Boston Public Library, where the historic McKim Building, circa 1895, was declared a U.S. national historic landmark in 1986. The Courtyard Restaurant overlooks an open-air Italianate courtyard with a vaulted ceiling and ornate chandelier originally installed over a grand staircase in the 1950s, and the aesthetic was completed with the installation of a marble floor in the nineties. “Enjoying tea in the restaurant is transportive,” says manager Akiko Yamagata. “Sitting in the serene dining room in a historic building, one’s imagination takes hold, into a different time and its customs — just like reading a captivating novel.” The extensive menu — which changes several times a year — is just as captivating and features blends from Massachusetts-based outfit MEM Tea Imports, including the popular Wedding Blend, a fruity, flowery, and herbaceous green. Make a reservation at The Courtyard Restaurant at the Boston Public Library.

High Tea Restaurants

 Pavilion at The Langham, Chicago, Illinois
Pavilion at the Langham in Chicago, truly brings a tradition from across the pond to the shores of Lake Michigan with its Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood — which first debuted at the Langham in London in 1865. Sweet and savory bites like artichoke and melted leek quiche, a grilled asparagus sandwich with petite lettuce salad, pickled mustard seeds, and fresh ricotta, lemon-cherry scones with grapefruit marmalade and blackberry jam, and chocolate verrine with dark chocolate brownie and milk chocolate mousse are served much the same way they were more than a century ago. The Pavilion serves up 25 blends including five blends exclusive to the Langham, including a fruity rhubarb for kids. Make a reservation at Pavilion at The Langham.

High Tea Restaurants

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia
It’s no surprise that being in British Columbia the folks at Butchart Gardens would honor the British tradition of teatime — but what is unique is the way in which they incorporate West Coast flair. Both executive chef Travis Hansen and pastry chef Keith Tran — both of whom have worked at the Gardens for more than 25 years each — pride themselves on signature items such as locally smoked wild salmon, curried Cowichan Valley chicken salad, and candied ginger scones from an old family recipe. Summer is an especially ideal time to visit the Gardens for another reason, says sommelier and dining room manager Dave Lane, who notes that the Backyard Flight program is a “must-try. We’re extremely fortunate to be surrounded by wineries and orchards that provide us with world-class wines, spirits, and liquors, and every year we pick the best to pair with our teas to showcase the terroir and character of the growing conditions. It’s a unique experience not found anywhere else.” Make a reservation at Butchart Gardens.

High Tea Restaurants

Modern Tea, Chicago, Illinois
A tradition gets a makeover at Modern Tea in Chicago, where the Radisson’s swanky lobby with couches and a gold-plated mirror puts a new spin on live music from a jazz or string quartet with a “TeaJ.” There are eight Rishi teas from which to choose (available over ice when the mercury climbs) and outside seating for al fresco dining featuring sweets from the hotel’s new pastry chef Caroline Kolaja. One of her specialties is a basil passion tart, though she also admits to having a penchant for cake batter ice cream — her first industry job was as a Ben & Jerry’s scooper in high school. Make a reservation at Modern Tea.

High Tea Restaurants

Pembroke Room, New York, New York
Good things come in threes at the Pembroke Room, which features three styles of service: the classic, the Pembroke Royal, and the Lowell Imperial. Each includes a selection of more than 20 Dammann Frères fine French tea varieties, classic finger sandwiches (curry chicken, cucumber and watercress, lobster roll) a dill, egg, and cornichon salad, caviar blinis with goat cheese, scones, petit fours, and more. But the latter two options give you a chance to enhance your experience with a glass of rosé, port, or sherry as part of the Pembroke, and Champagne and caviar with the Lowell Imperial. Look for further enhancements starting in September, when the space will get a spruce-up with new furnishings, carpet, window treatments, and design elements meant to keep the spirit of the room while maintaining the tradition of classic elegance that’s been the setting for generations of bridal bashes and baby showers. Make a reservation at the Pembroke Room.

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