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Andrea Baptiste and comedian Kelly MacFarland – from the 1st season on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” – having a laugh at Tommy’s Comedy Lounge.

Andrea Baptiste and comedian Kelly MacFarland – from the 1st season on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” – having a laugh at Tommy’s Comedy Lounge.

Andrea Baptiste and comedian Kelly MacFarland – from the 1st season on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” – having a laugh at Tommy’s Comedy Lounge.

Andrea Baptiste and comedian Kelly MacFarland – from the 1st season on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” – having a laugh at Tommy’s Comedy Lounge.

Happy New Year everyone! I’m so happy to finally usher in 2010!

Well, it’s been a wondrous culinary adventure for the past two weeks while catching up with friends in restaurants and cafes in and around Jamaica Plain and in the South End.

My journey started off with lunch at JP Seafood Café which features an array of Korean-Japanese food from sushi and tempura to noodles and more.  All these years that I’ve lived and shopped in JP, I didn’t realize that this café offered great and inexpensive fare. I’m ashamed to say, but I thought it was a seafood market. Sometimes, I’m a little slow on the uptake, if you know what I mean. But, since my friend hipped me to this place, I’ve brought friends to eat there and have been spreading the  word about this hidden gem.

New Year’s Eve

I kicked off the New Year at Vinalia in Downtown Crossing with a mix of Top 40, Pop and Hip Hop. As the stroke of midnight approached, we all gathered in front of the flat screen and Dick Clark’s ‘Rockin’ Eve’ for the countdown.  As soon as the clock struck twelve, champagne glasses clinked and there were hugs and kisses for everyone!

Tommy’s Comedy Lounge/Jerne

I wanted to start the year off with some laughter, so Andrea Baptiste and I went to see comedian Kelly MacFarland, who was headlining Tommy’s Comedy Lounge.  (Both Andrea and Kelly became good friends during the first season of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.”) Tommy’s is an intimate comedy club featuring both local and up-and-coming comics from Boston and New York.  It’s located on Warrenton Street right in the heart of the Theatre District.  I hadn’t seen Kelly Mac in quite some time and she never fails to make me laugh. She has gotten so good, that’s it’s only a matter of time before she’s scooped up by one of the networks to star in her own TV show. She’s just straight up funny with a sharp edge (and a slight bit of insanity) that surfaces throughout her stand-up, despite her angelic demeanor and expressions. 

Afterwards, Kelly, Andrea and I headed over to Jerne at the Ritz Carlton to catch up, have some wine and a bite to eat. Jerne is a very comfortable and surprisingly cozy restaurant. You can eat, drink or just chill at the bar if you want to be “in the mix” (pun intended) or you can have some privacy at one of the more intimate tables situated throughout the restaurant. By the way, I recommend the sliders with the homemade potato chips for late-night apps and a glass of the Malbec from Chile to round out your meal. It was oh, so decadent!

Stella Restaurant

As you can tell, the theme as of late has been meeting up with friends and just being around great people, so, what better way to do that then by breaking bread? One of the many restaurants on my list to try out was Stella Restaurant on Washington Street in the South End.  So, I braved the snow and wind to meet another good friend for dinner. Good thing we made our reservations through Open Table because the restaurant was packed and we probably would have had to wait. This is the South End by the way.  It was a Saturday night and I guess most would consider that a date night, hence the full restaurant, but in the middle of a snowstorm? Once we sat down, I really had the chance to enjoy the feel of Stella.  The decor is warm and inviting with soft lighting emitted by the low-hanging lamps and RandB music pumped throughout the restaurant. Loved the ambience and bonded with Ren, one of the hosts, over Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”.   The food was good, the wine scrumptious and the pecan pie divine! 

Gaslight Brasserie du Coin

As I continued on my gastronomic tour of the South End, I realized I was craving one of my favorite salads, which is a shaved Beet Root Salad (yes, I crave beets) with toasted walnuts, watercress, red onion, dijon, and créme fraiche from Gaslight, Brassiere du Coin (literally brassiere on the corner) on Harrison Avenue.  Next up was the entrée.  We split the croque-monsieur, a traditional Parisian sandwich, made with ham, gruyere, béchamel (a flavorful dressing) and accompanied by french fries or as the French would say, pomme frites. Gaslight is a classic neighborhood Parisian brasserie set in an informal, old world setting with a hand crafted zinc bar, reclaimed wood floors, mosaic tiles, beamed wood ceilings and antique mirrors.  The seating is an eclectic mix of bar, café tables, communal tables, booths and banquets.  And, one of the best things about the restaurant is the free parking adjacent to it.  Definitely, a rarity in the South End.

A bientot!

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