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APRIL & MAY 2013

Our Next Course The City's

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SPRING FORWARD

A Peek Inside the Secret Gardens of Beacon Hill

10 Most Palatepushing, Slam-dunk Delicious Dishes Right Now

SOLE SEARCHER

Introducing Boston's 23-year-old Stiletto Savant


52 CONTENTS & DEPARTMENTS

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

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CURATED // WHITE OUT

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COUP DE GRÂCE // STAR STRUCK With a penchant for all things vibrant and an eye for detail, astronomer Kimberly Arcand brings new meaning to the idea of universal style.

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SOCIETY // THE FRONT ROW Who wore what, when, and why. And more importantly, how they made the party better for it.

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TABLE // OUR NEXT COURSE The ten most palate-pushing, slam-dunk delicious dishes in Boston right now.

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ABODE // SECRET GARDENs A peek into the private worlds of Beacon Hill.

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COUP D’ÉTAT // A HIGHER CAUSE Women’s shoe designer Thom Solo wants to look up to women. His new breakout collection of sky-high stilettos makes that a sure thing.

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Alexandra Hall Editor-in-Chief Joseph Gordon Cleveland Creative Director Austyn Ellese Mayfield Managing Editor Michael Blanding Editor-at-Large MICHAEL TrOTMAN Copy Editor CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Katherine Bowers Amanda Hark Robin Hauck Jolyon Helterman Bernard Leed Erin Byers Murray Lisa Pierpont STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Marie Wu CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Joel Benjamin Sadie Dayton Conor Doherty Tristan Govignon Christopher Huang Eric Levin Russ Mezikofsky Bob Packert Cory Stierley Matt Thoman Jessica Weiser ART & DESIGN INTERNS Caitlin Coyne Alexa Robertiello EDITORIAL INTERNS Diana Burmistrovich Basia Gordon Valeria Navarro Kelsey Prisby Heidi Rose CHERYL KAUFMAN Senior Client Manager TO ADVERTISE, CONTACT salut@coupboston.com COUPBOSTON.COM 20 Park Plaza, Suite 1105 Boston, MA 02116


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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR / COUP BOSTON / APRIL & MAY 2013

personal space We all have our own little safe spaces. Mine’s usually my sofa, where I hole up after running around in heels all day. It often involves sweatpants and an excess of Mallomars. Judge me if you must, but that’s the point of safe spaces, isn’t it? They’re wherever we feel judgment-free, can truly relax, and can be completely ourselves. But even the most reclusive among us could still stand to broaden—or at least upgrade—our sanctuaries a little. Take, for example, this issue’s peek into the “Secret Gardens of Beacon Hill” (page 52). Each is tucked discreetly out of view, behind wrought iron gates or into discreet alleyways—and serves as a respite from the traffic that blasts down Storrow Drive just blocks away. But these are no hodgepodges of botany; they’ve been painstakingly created by their owners to serve as rejuvenating little enclaves and beautiful worlds unto themselves. It’s not unlike what shoe designer/local upstart Thom Solo (page 68) has done. In May, he launches his first official collection, and with it he takes us into his own distinctive dimension—one that asks whether a shoe is merely a thing to protect a foot, or whether it’s also art and/or a sociopolitical statement. Ditto Kimberly Arcand (page 12), the unapologetically glam astronomer whose new book, Your Ticket to the Universe: A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos, rolls out a perspective on the sky that’s uniquely her own— another kind of personal space, even if in her case it happens to be all of outer space. The real trick, though, is knowing just how far to push the limits of our comfort. That’s the beauty of all the food we chose for “The 10 Most Palate-Pushing, Slam-Dunk Delicious Dishes in Boston Right Now” (page 32). Each one unquestionably expands our horizons—brings us new

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>>> The editor, recovering from a food coma after writing her story for this issue.

ingredients or flavor combinations, new techniques, and collisions of textures and temperatures. But the chefs behind them also matched that with an understanding of when to pull back and refrain from showing off simply for the sake of showing off. It’s pretty much like Emerson said: “Moderation in all things, especially moderation.” Yes, including Mallomars.

Alexandra Hall Editor-in-Chief alex@coupboston.com


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APRIL & MAY 2013 / COUP BOSTON / CURATED

CURATED

What the finicky editorial COUP crew is donning, devouring, hoarding, imbibing, inhaling, and generally lusting after right now. by JOSEPH GOrDON CLEVELAND, ALEXANDrA hall and Austyn ellese mayfield

1. HONEYMOON SUITE AT THE LODGE, WHITE SANDS, NEW MEXICO Because who doesn’t want to spend at least a weekend re-creating Boys II Men’s epic “Water Runs Dry” video? String ensemble and saccharine ’90s soundtrack not included. From $270 per night at thelodgeresort.com —Joseph Gordon Cleveland, Creative Director 2. REISS DIDSBURY DRESS Wearing white may not always equal virtuousness, but it certainly has its virtues. As with this minimalist flare frock that winks at innocence but is too fitted to fully embrace it. $340 at reiss.com —ALEXANDRA HALL, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF 3. EXTRA LARGE AMBITION VASE I like a vase that’s not afraid to give the flowers a little competition. Even sans color, the glazed porcelain petals add a touch of vibrancy that promises to last longer than my interest in changing the bouquet’s water. $568 at janusetcie.com —AUSTYN ELLESE MAYFIELD, MANAGING EDITOR 4. KAI BREAD KNIFE This marks the end of artisanal breads being brutalized in my kitchen by unworthy blades. The wider serrations on this stainless steel cutlass prevent loaf crushing and even limit crumbs. $20 at williams-sonoma.com —AEM

5. PEAR CERAMIC CUPS Assemble them and they’re mini sculptures; pull up the stem and they reveal segments sized for cooking measurements. A must for pretty practicality in the kitchen. $35 at blisshome.com —AH 6. LA TOURANGELLE INFUSED WHITE TRUFFLE OIL I’m not entirely sure what it’s used for (drizzling?), but the packaging is so well done, it would make a welcome addition to my countertop collection of unused sundries. $17 at latourangelle.com —JGC 7. REED KRAKOFF ATLANTIQUE MINI TOTE BAG It’s ladylike yet functional, spacious enough to hold everything I need, but it has enough structure to prevent any chronic overstuffing. Either Krakoff is a mind reader or I’ve finally learned how to manifest my dreams into existence. $1,290 at neimanmarcus.com —AEM 8. MICHAEL KORS PASSPORT HOLDER No more fumbling for my docs at the gate. The deceptively streamlined cut on this piece is ideally sized to hold not just a passport, but also IDs (up to four) plus boarding passes. $58 at nordstrom.com —AH

9. M. STEVES ULTRA-NOURISHING BOOST A rose by any other name could very well be an amazing face-nourishing treatment. This new elixir taps the power of rose hip seed oil (derived from the seedpods left after the bloom is gone) to hydrate, firm, and even out skin’s appearance. $64 at MSteves.com —AEM 10. CHANEL LE VERNIS, #545 ATTRACTION The answer is white at your fingertips: Grab a bottle of this limited-edition, high-shine, no-streak polish, and prepare to be mesmerized by the motion of your own hands. $27 at chanel.com —AH 11. ALEXANDER WANG ALLA WEDGE An architectural wonder in faux lizard that’s sure to add some sharpness to your spring wardrobe. $715 at neimanmarcus.com —JGC 12. SIMON PEARCE ROYALTON CHARGER A statement-making piece made of blended stoneware and porcelain clay and crafted in Vermont. I’ll take a full suite, if you please. $65 at simonpearce.com —JGC 13. ACNE SUNGLASSES Officially the only acne that will make you cooler, or that you should spend money to keep. $350 at saksfifthavenue.com —AEM

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APRIL & MAY 2013 / COUP BOSTON / COUP DE GRÂCE

star struck With a penchant for all things vibrant and an eye for detail, astronomer Kimberly Arcand brings new meaning to the idea of universal style. by AUSTYN ELLESE MAYFIELD photographed by JOSH CAMPBELL Getting a star ready for the public eye is no easy task. Just ask Rachel Zoe or Andrea Lieberman. But while celebrity stylists are busy plotting red carpet wardrobes, astronomer and author Kimberly Arcand is busy prepping subjects that are literally light-years beyond their reach. As media coordinator for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory headquartered in Cambridge, Arcand oversees the conversion of sterile binary data and drab black and white telescopic images from space into exhibitionworthy illustrations seen around the world. In her new book, Your Ticket to the Universe: A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos, Arcand and her co-author offer up stunning visualizations of cosmic phenomena. “It’s a little like how Brad Goreski might go about styling Minka Kelly,” she explains, referencing pop culture style icons as effortlessly as she discusses supernova remnants. “He makes his choices based on what he knows about her— her preferences, her skin tone, her hair color. We make our choices on how to present the [telescope] images based on data, as well.” Like any good stylist, Arcand harnesses the power of meticulously chosen colors to add visual interest and detailed information to her renderings (i.e., outfitting the Cat’s Eye Nebula in a smoldering pink with lavender accents [link], or swathing the Bullet Cluster in indigo flecked with gold [link]). Those same aesthetic sensibilities inform Arcand’s own wardrobe. Her closet presents a well-curated kaleidoscope of textures and hues,

including soft silk button-ups in bright fuchsias, intricate knitwear, multistrand baubles of rich turquoise, and vivid yellow trench coats. (She cites designers Kate Spade, Tracy Reese, and Tory Burch among her favorites.) It’s not at all the typical uniform for deep-space research, but Arcand makes no apologies. “I’m not shy with color by any means. When I was first starting out, I felt self-conscious about showing off my true personality. I think aging has freed me from that. I have no such selfconsciousness anymore.” Arcand also credits her blend of feminine sophistication and bohemian whimsy to her international travels. “I love street style, so experiencing it in other cultures and other locations made me feel more bold.” Her coltish approach to style has even led to a few playfully self-referential acquisitions, namely, a crepe Dolan blouse covered in a subtle lunar eclipse print. (“No one else notices it,” she adds, “but it makes me laugh.”) In many ways, Arcand’s personal and professional aesthetic leanings are an extension of each other. “When I create an image of the universe that ends up looking like my outfit, it can be hard to pinpoint which one is feeding which. But I do sense a tie between them,” she admits. “I guess at the end of the day, I figure if a star can wear it, why can’t I?” Your Ticket to the Universe: A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos by Kimberly Arcand & Megan Watzke Available now at Smithsonian Books

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APRIL & MAY 2013 / COUP BOSTON / SOCIETY

THE FRONT ROW The fashion landscape just got a welcome jolt with the arrival of Style Week Interim—a series of industry-focused shows that put local designers’ work in the spotlight for both retailers and personal buyers. It all went down at The W Hotel and was equal parts work and play, culminating with Closing Night, which saw work by the likes of Jonathan Joseph Peters and Joseph aaron segal, and an after-party that nearly rivaled the runway in style quotient. The night came on the heels of another mashup of art and schmoozing, the film screening/soiree for And After All, hosted by The Fighter co-writer Keith Dorrington.

photographed by MARIE WU


SOCIETY / COUP BOSTON / APRIL & MAY 2013

the venue

STYLE WEEK INTERIM, CLOSING NIGHT W HOTEL March 23, 2013

This page, top to bottom: ERICA ALMEIDA; RYAN DONNELLY, MARILYN RISEMAN, AND JANE CONWAY CASPE; DAVID CHUM, ROSANNA ORTIZ SINEL, JONATHAN JOSEPH PETERS, AND JONATHAN KNOX. Opposite page, clockwise from top left: A DESIGN FROM JONATHAN JOSEPH PETERS; DESIGNER JOSEPH AARON SEGAL; DESIGNER JONATHAN JOSEPH PETERS; CLOSING LOOKS FROM JOSEPH AARON SEGAL; A DESIGN FROM JONATHAN JOSEPH PETERS.


SOCIETY / COUP BOSTON / APRIL & MAY 2013

the venue

AND AFTER ALL Screening nix mate’s at the hilton boston March 15, 2013 Photographs by Justin Bernard, La Lutte Continue This page, top to bottom: LAUREN ALVITI & JESSIE GOLD; TOMMY AGRIODIMAS & LAURA DUBOIS; REBECCA SCANNELL & JAX CRERAR. Opposite page, clockwise from top left: RICK DORRINGTON & JIM D'AGOSTINO; CANdace musante & Friend; A suite of stylish guests; JULIAN UNGANO & JINEL SMITH; Lillian barrett, JOSHUA JANSON, madison maushart, & john snyder.


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THE Most Palate-Pushing, Slam-Dunk Delicious Dishes IN Boston Right Now by Alexandra Hall photographed by MATT THOMAN

There are two kinds of people in the world: The kind who are silly enough to believe there are only two kinds of people in the world, and the kind who know it’s far more complicated than that.* Great food is pretty much the same. There are two kinds: The kind that sticks to the status quo (and yes, there are many superlative classic dishes in town doing just that), and the kind that always reaches for something new. In other words, the complicated kind. The latter type, thanks to its ever-changing and always-evolving nature, is a moving target. Palates change. Trends get stale. Chefs’ whims evolve, ingredients go out of season, and new techniques and flavor/texture combinations get invented to replace the current ones. Just when you think you’ve got your favorite new craving pinned down, it wiggles out from under you. It’s a Sisyphean quest, admittedly. But for those of us who crave what we find (and eat) along the journey, we don’t mind one bit. On the other hand, who knows? Today’s newfangled riff could easily be tomorrow’s classic. The following ten** inventive dishes are each cooked up with true innovation and guts but also exhibit the integrity of thoughtful restraint. Such a balance equals staying power. That said, right at this moment, I can only guarantee they’ll be around till current menus cycle into something else. Hey, like I said: It’s complicated. Thankfully, your task is simple: Go eat them right now, while you can. *I pilfered this thought from one of my heroes, author Tom Robbins. **Listed in no particular order.


APRIL & MAY 2013 / COUP BOSTON / TABLE

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Homemade egg noodles with monkfish liver sauce, carrot and kohlrabi slaw Phillip Tang, East By Northeast

It’s been speculated that fishermen first started eating monkfish liver because they couldn’t afford to throw away any part of their catch— particularly something like these L.O.U.S. (Livers of Unusual Size). Whatever the initial impulse, the times they have a-changed: The rich-yet-delicate liver is these days referred to as the “foie gras of the sea” and has earned itself delicacy status. So Phillip Tang was being no dummy when he decided to build a pasta dish around it—something that raised eyebrows at tables at first but is actually more akin to full-on comfort food. “It sounds weirder than it is,” says Tang. “When it comes down to it, it’s a mild, creamy dish. There are no assertive flavors.” Which is why he focused so intently on perfecting the textures: the silken chewiness of the egg noodles; the lustrous, buttery purée of the liver with ginger and miso; the sweet crunch of splintered raw carrot and kohlrabi to offset all that smoothness. The painstakingly balanced synthesis bears almost no resemblance to fishermen’s catches of yore. Except this: You won’t be sending any of it back. eastbynortheast.com


APRIL & MAY 2013 / COUP BOSTON / TABLE

Grilled prime rib knuckles with Bayley Hazen crema, black garlic, and walnut butter Michael Scelfo, Russell House Tavern

Back in 1983, when I was 2 years old (full disclosure: that’s a lie), the movie Superman III featured Richard Pryor discovering that his employer was paying everyone fractions of a cent less than promised. So he tracked down the sum of all those extra pennies and stole it for himself. Chef Michael Scelfo has pulled the equivalent of that genius move (minus the illegal part) with this dish. “I looked at all the pre-portioned rib eye I get for the restaurant, and noticed there’s always that top piece missing,” he explains. “So I called my supplier and said, ‘When you clean it, where does that all go? It’s the best part of the steak—right near the bone. And you’re throwing them all out?’” Negotiations ensued, and within a few weeks he was serving enough of those pieces to make them a menu staple, and the current incarnation is arguably his most finessed yet. He serves it grilled rare with a hard sear, set against an inky smear of puréed black garlic and walnuts that lends an almost balsamic quality to the meat. It rests in a pool of thick cream of buttermilk-cut blue cheese—the prized Bayley Hazen from Vermont’s Jasper Hill. And as unquestionably exquisite as the whole shebang certainly is, it’s also a paragon of all Scelfo’s work at Russell House Tavern. “I love the idea of taking one of the best cheeses in the country right now and using it to highlight something no one wanted to use,” he says. So do his diners, apparently, given the number of them ordering it nightly—as anything but an afterthought. russellhousecambridge.com


Foie gras with beignets, pistachio, rose, and stout reduction Rachel Klein, Asana

It all started at a swimming pool in Pennsylvania. (Just like every iconic dish, no?) Rachel Klein was a wee tyke on vacation, and nearby stood a brewery. “I remember smelling the hops roasting, and it was overwhelming,” she says. “It reminded me of the smell of roses.” Time-warp to today: Klein has revisited those two unlikely bedfellows, fusing roses and stout together in a collision of unapologetic richness: a terrine of foie gras pâté layered with seared lobes, served cold and set against puffy and cooked-to-order doughnuts so hot they billow steam when broken. She dips them in rose-infused simple syrup and then showers them in chopped pistachios. Then, the finale: a reduction of rose water, stout, and sugar, crowned with crystallized rose petals. Maybe it’s the temperature war between the chilled meat and hot beignet. Or the sweetness of the candied flowers, and the rush of the beer’s earthiness cutting through it. Actually, it’s the sum of all of the above. And yes, it tastes pretty much like being on vacation. mandarinoriental.com/boston/ fine-dining/asana/


APRIL & MAY 2013 / COUP BOSTON / TABLE

Kampachi, amberjack, black sesame, choya, goji, and pickled oranges Tony Messina, Uni

Someone forgot to tell Tony Messina that raw fish shouldn’t be treated with sparring flavors. And that it wouldn’t be even better if it tasted a little more like dessert. Or maybe they did tell him, but he didn’t care. So he went ahead and set to composing this elegant mosaic that zigzags between savory and sweet, ethereal and rich, light and dark. First up came the toasted black sesame seeds turned into a tahini redolent of chocolate. And then? “I love chocolate and orange together,” says Messina. So he matched it with a tart kishu (a potent mandarin) vinegar and pickled yuzu, then enlisted plum wine and goji berries to the cause. “They’re different from other berries in that they’re very ornate, with these tiny seed packets inside,” he adds. Those get poached in a liquid that ultimately becomes a fluid gel, and the whole lot of it gets artfully plated with micro-red shiso and baby pea tendrils in an ensemble that’s as sublime to stare at as it is to wolf down. Thus proving that willful ignorance (his) truly can be bliss (ours). unisashimibar.com


Fried Maine lobster caramel David Nevins, Local 149

I’m by no means the first food scribe to stumble onto the triumphs of this oddball concoction (snaps go to Devra First for that), but I’m probably one of the few cardcarrying Hardcore Lobster Purists out there to back it. (Anything other than lemon and butter on it annoys me.) But whatever possessed David Nevins to push together a surreal jumble of crustacean, caramel, and Cheddar (a Dr. Seuss–inspired dream, maybe?), it inarguably works. “Years ago, I was playing around with it as rock shrimp with some baked beans,” says Nevins, who was cooking at now-erstwhile Osetra in Connecticut. “I tried lobster too, which has a more robust flavor and could better stand up to something rich. Then I started thinking about Cantonese glazed lobster and tried a caramel sauce.” A savory version, that is: To cream and butter he tosses in caramelized sugar, green scallions, and dried chilies. The lobster gets shelled, cut up, and fried in buttermilk batter. And then the sharpness of the Cheddar jumps in to bind all the flavors. “People think of lobster as light, but its ocean aroma can be very powerful if you coax it out right.” Nevins now serves the dish every Monday night at Local 149. “Someone at a table will usually order it almost as a dare,” he laughs. “And then once they’ve tasted it, the rest of the table’s bummed they weren’t brave enough to get it.” Converts, add me to your ranks; I stand happily corrected. local149.com


APRIL & MAY 2013 / COUP BOSTON / TABLE

Steak tartare, peanuts, molasses, and Brambly Farm egg Louis DiBiccari, Tavern Road

With all due respect to the eggon-practically-everything trend, this gem isn’t about the egg. Yes, there’s one on it. (And this time it actually belongs there, per Historic Tartare Regulation.) But this permutation is almost all about the peanuts. “Tartare needs salt and texture,” says its inventor, chef Louis DiBiccari. “So I thought, salt-roasted peanuts. That would also give it some crunchiness.” Conveniently, those minuscule bits woven throughout also introduce the element of fat—a.k.a. the world’s best flavor delivery system. That ingredient marriage winds up as a subtextual nod to beef satay (“I do eat out in Chinatown a lot,” he concedes). But that’s where all gastronomic reductionism stops. Because the entire affair veers off on its own course once the rich flavor of molasses takes over. It imbues everything with a subtle but deep sweetness and behaves like a brilliant glaze. So between that and the peanuts, every last atom of the meat’s flavor is brought out to a full shine. Quite literally. tavernroad.com


Swordfish pastrami with pumpernickel, pickles, and mustard Will Gilson, Puritan & Co.

At first, it sounds like the definitive fish-out-of-water story: Seafood can’t handle the full force of spices like coriander, black pepper, and mustard seed like meat can, right? Nonsense. It can when it’s swordfish belly that’s been cured in salt and sugar for 24 hours before getting spiced, then cold-smoked, cooked in a sous vide, and ultimately transformed into something extraordinarily close to velvet in texture. But then comes the next chapter of our tale. “On its own, swordfish is a peppery-smoked fatty fish,” says Will Gilson, who’s been experimenting with different forms of fish charcuterie for going on several years. “It needs elements that push and pull.” And that’s where the plot thickens, thanks to other mitigating elements—all of them tweaks on a classic pastrami tableau: a pumpernickel purée (the rye lends depth and just enough heft), pickled veggies (sauerkraut’s far kinder cousin), and finally the foil to all those intensities—a soothing quenelle of mustard gelato. “Straight mustard would overpower it,” says Gilson, whereas the gelato’s cool creaminess is more subtle. It’s a surprise ending, to be sure. “[Diners] either love it,” he says, “or hate it.” Anyone with even a quasi-adventurous palate will count themselves in the first camp. End of story. puritancambridge.com


APRIL & MAY 2013 / COUP BOSTON / TABLE

Machaca-braised beef cheeks Christopher Coombs, Boston Chops

Traditionally an almost jerky-like Mexican preparation for dried and shredded beef or pork, machaca is more the stuff of burrito joints and taco stands than high-concept steakhouses. Chris Coombs, however, wasn’t content to leave it at that. Instead he went in for the kill with a revised braise, and rather than use the standard meat cuts, set his sights on the silken tenderness of beef cheeks. “I wanted to concentrate the flavor into a very small amount of liquid,” he says. “So I used coffee, red wine, and a bit of tomato juice.” Something powerful had to square off, though, with such flavors and the hearty beef. So he and Adrienne Wright (chef de cuisine at Boston Chops’s sister restaurant, Deuxave) started pickling vegetables in lime—the jalapeño on its own, lest it obliterate the other veggies’ flavors. Lastly, he added tortilla chips to make the dish, as he puts it, “a little more fun, approachable, and shareable.” Assuming, that is, there’s any left to share. bostonchops.com


Nettle risotto with foraged mushrooms, garlic, thyme, preserved lemon, and Parmesan Jody Adams, Rialto

As lords of the food chain (well, at the moment, anyway), humans love to exercise our prerogative to get revenge on other beings’ power to harm us by eating them. Enter the stinging nettle—which is far friendlier after it’s taken a good blanching. Actually, in Jody Adams’s hands, it’s downright comforting. In her latest run-in with it, she turns it into a pesto, laced with a smidge of basil to boost its grassy flavor. “It’s kind of like a more interesting spinach,” she explains. “And when we add preserved lemons to it, it takes on a brinier character and brightens right up.” Its counterpoint? A ragout of the freshest foraged mushrooms available that day (chanterelles, black trumpets, what have you), and a soul-warming, ultrabuttery vegetable stock-andParmesan risotto. The whole ensemble sings of spring’s most verdant fields. And that’s hardly an accident. “This is the time of year when we’re craving green things,” says Adams. “And this tastes like it just came directly from the earth.” Long live the food chain. rialto-restaurant.com


APRIL & MAY 2013 / COUP BOSTON / TABLE

Duck-fat antelope tacos with chilies and Chihuahua cheese Brian Poe, Poe’s Kitchen at The Rattlesnake

If Brian Poe were a car dealer, he’d sell Honda Civics. But every last one would be spray-painted in day-glow swirls and contain a transplanted Lamborghini V10, 1,220-horsepower engine. That’s pretty much exactly how Poe cooks all of his so-called bar food—with a love of what’s dependable and unpretentious, a penchant for playful spins, all wrapped around a powerful drive toward the unexpected. Case in point: his current take on the everyday taco. After he started to serve wild game at his new spot, The Tip Tap Room, he then migrated antelope over to his menu at Poe’s Kitchen. “It’s got this unusually earthy, sweet veal-like flavor,” says Poe, who dials up its heat and texture factors with rendered duck fat and fiery Fresno chilies. At the end, just before it hits the tortilla, it gets a smattering of salsa fresca and lacy, mozzarella-like Chihuahua cheese, plus yet more chilies—uncooked this time—for an additional, crisper thwack of heat. And precisely right there is where Poe eases on the brakes. “I’m the type who’s always happy to dream up more to put on,” he says. “But the hardest thing a cook can learn is restraint.” rattlesnakebar.com


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THE Worlds Beyond the Walls by JOSEPH GORDON CLEVELAND photographed by THOMAS LINGNER & PETER VANDERWARKER

Beacon Hill.

The very name of Boston’s most historic neighborhood is a study in elegance; two simple words that resonate with the enclave’s enduring role as the birthplace of revolutionaries, poets, artists, and social influencers. The phrase recalls the neighborhood’s distinctly Bostonian charm, too: the cobbled streets gently worn with time, the gas lamps casting their glow against the windowpanes in the early evening, the tidy rows of Federalist, Greek Revival, and Colonial Revival façades, arranged as if standing at perfect attention. But that isn’t the whole story, of course. Beyond the walls of Beacon Hill lies a world of sumptuous gardens—a collection of spaces that are generous in spirit and creativity, if not always in scale. And their gilded gates are being opened as the subject of a new release, Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill: Creating Green Spaces in Urban Places, from the Beacon Hill Garden Club. The book brims with arresting images of gardens as thoughtfully devised as they are beautifully designed. What’s more, proceeds from the book benefit the BHGC’s 85-year-old charitable mission: to endow the enjoyment of beautiful gardens and encourage urban horticulture through generous grants, in Beacon Hill and far beyond. The following pages offer a sneak peek not only at the book, available May 2013 via BeaconHillGardenClub.org, but also into the glorious spaces that it’s dedicated to celebrating and preserving.


très Sleek A pair of sculptural chairs offers a modern counterpoint to this traditional garden on Mount Vernon Street. Photograph by Thomas Lingner.

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APRIL & MAY 2013 / COUP BOSTON / ABODE

VINE FESTIVAL A collection of classical objets punctuates this exquisitely overgrown garden on Pinckney Street. Photograph by Peter Vanderwarker.


PERSONAL GROWTH (THIS PAGE) A faux passage adds visual interest to this verdant garden on Chestnut Street. Photograph by Thomas Lingner. (OPPOSITE PAGE) The repetition of sweeping curves lends this long, narrow garden on Chestnut Street an illusion of grand space. Photograph by Thomas Lingner.


APRIL & MAY 2013 / COUP BOSTON / ABODE


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APRIL & MAY 2013 / COUP BOSTON / ABODE

GREEN PARTY Classical symmetry and an ever-changing array of annuals render this Pinckney Street garden perfect for entertaining. Photograph by Peter Vanderwarker.


NICHE APPEAL (THIS PAGE) Diminutive classical objets and a pair of gently curved arches give the granite retaining wall—circa 1811—of this Walnut Street garden an inviting air. Photograph by Peter Vanderwarker. (OPPOSITE PAGE) Traditional lattice partitions and wrought iron furnishings recall Beacon Hill's more formal traditions in this elegant Louisburg Square garden. Photograph by Thomas Lingner.


EXTERIOR MOTIVES Grand curves and filigreed mouldings accent the marriage of interior and exterior entertaining space in this Mount Vernon Street garden. Photograph by Thomas Lingner.


APRIL & MAY 2013 / COUP BOSTON / ABODE

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a higher cause Women’s shoe designer Thom Solo wants to look up to women. His new breakout collection of sky-high stilettos makes that a sure thing. by ALEXANDRA HALL photographed by JOEL BENJAMIN

Some men make a habit of putting women up on a pedestal. Shoe designer Thom Solo is one of them—in more ways than one. “My biggest problem with culture today,” says the Chestnut Hill native whose designs invariably teeter at five inches high and above, “is that you often see superhero female characters, but they’re also always these seductresses, too. But women deserve to be able to just kick ass, without having to worry about seducing anybody. I think of high heels as a higher platform for a woman to rule on.” Pop cult feminist theory isn’t exactly the first thing you’d expect to roll off the tongue of a 23-year-old, doe-eyed stiletto maestro like Solo. But that’s not only his vernacular of choice, it’s also the inspiration for his Giger collection—a beautifully outrageous composition of alienesque (H. R. Giger is the Swiss artist behind the original creepy creature of the Alien movies) forms rendered in satin, leather, and black lacquer. “I’ve always been inspired by the idea of the femme fatale,” he continues. “This collection is all about strong, powerful women. And it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.” Launching in May, Giger is Solo’s first official launch. But it’s far from his first foray into the industry. That came back in 2008, as a student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. After entering as a photography major, he decided he wanted to create something more hands-on. (“A photo can say a million words,” he says, “but I wanted more tangibility.”) He started thinking about shoes as a form of sculpture, became enamored of iconic specimens like Alexander McQueen’s Armadillo heel, and began carving his own designs out of wax in class, pouring fiberglass and resin in them to test textures. Widespread attention wasn’t far behind. When Candy magazine jumped on one of his designs, including it in an issue that featured James Franco in drag on the cover, more editorial with the publication followed. Soon Vogue Germany called and requested five pairs of shoes within 48 hours. (Solo and three friends pulled three all-nighters in a row to meet that deadline, curing

resin at 350 degrees in his mom’s basement.) Since then, his masterpieces have been found on the feet of Carly Rae Jepsen, Neon Hitch, and Daphne Guinness. Soles this daring are, of course, not for every closet. And Solo knows as much. “Some designs are definitely more marketable than others,” he concedes. “You walk into a room in them, and you’re starting a conversation. You have to be OK with the attention.” But as much as the aesthetic itself is a statement, to Solo, so is the place in history it represents. “In the Mad Men era, if a woman went to work in a flat, she was sent home,” he says. “Now it’s a woman who decides to wear what she wants, and how high. It’s no longer about pleasing other people. It’s about how she wants to see herself.”

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COUP BOSTON APRIL & MAY 2013  

The Food & Home Issue

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