Thursday, February 26, 2015

Coming Soon: Breakfast For Dinner

You may remember that last fall I made my very first trip to The Breakfast Club in Allston. It's pretty hard to forget those photos of pumpkin coffee cake French toast, pumpkin pecan pancakes and that strawberry Nutella dessert. If you need a refresher, click here.

On Monday night, I returned to The Breakfast Club for a preview of their upcoming event series called Breakfast for Dinner. The event was originally supposed to be the first week of February, but Mother Nature had other plans.

Upon arrival, I was most excited to see the restaurant's owner, George, who had been the absolute best host on my first visit. We immediately bonded over our shared love of Las Vegas. When he saw me come in, he shouted from behind the counter, "Hey, Molly! My Vegas girl! How are ya?"

George and I caught up and I was asking him about how the snow has affected their business. He said proudly, "We didn't close a single day. In all the years I've run this place, we only close on Christmas. None of these storms could keep us from opening." In that moment, I sincerely wished I lived walking distance from The Breakfast Club.

One all the guests had arrived, we took our seats at the counter. I normally can't get a seat at the counter because it's so packed!

Each place setting included a Breakfast Club mug (to keep!), a customer loyalty card and the menu for the evening.

We would be enjoying four courses, all part of the February special menu, which was of course, Valentine themed.

For the first course, we were delivered a bowl of vanilla yogurt, topped with fresh strawberries and shaved chocolate. I am not normally a yogurt person, but the fruit was so fresh and the strawberry/chocolate combination was so heavenly, that I just kept taking more spoonfuls.

Once I had eaten all the goodies on top, I left the rest of the yogurt behind.

Next up was a plate with two heart shaped, red velvet pancakes, stuffed with cream cheese icing and topped with whipped cream and a cherry.

Each of the two pancakes had a slight crunch on the inside, which was a nice contrast to the rich cream cheese icing. I really wanted to lick my plate, but somehow rediscovered my manners before it was too late.

The third course crossed over into the savory realm. The meat eaters in the group were being treated to eggs benedict, one with salmon and one with steak. I got a special vegetarian version of the dish, which was avocado, tomato and mushrooms, topped with poached eggs and a spicy Hollandaise sauce.

After devouring the eggs benny and the perfectly crisped home fries, I asked George what the secret is to his spicy Hollandaise. He smiled and revealed, "People think it's something complicated, but we just mix in Frank's hot sauce."

The grand finale was the "Box of Chocolates" milkshake. This sinful frozen confection was a blend of chocolate ice cream, caramel, peanuts, marshmallow swirl and of course, a cherry on top.

At first sight I fell in love with the pink straw (you know how I can't resist cute packaging) and then I took one sip and I was head over heels. You know when you first taste something incredible and your eyes roll into the back of your head? That happened.

Even though the milkshake had a strong peanut taste, you didn't taste the ground nuts in a gravely way. The flavor combination of the rich chocolate and caramel with the salty peanuts and then the sweet marshmallow topping was dessert nirvana.

On my first trip to The Breakfast Club we came for brunch, so I didn't even realize they made milkshakes. Well, now that I know, I'll be needing one with every visit.

The great news is, starting this coming Monday, March 2nd, you too can experience Breakfast for Dinner at The Breakfast Club. For the next three months, on the first Monday of each month, the Breakfast for Dinner series will return. Here's what you can look forward to:

- Monday, March 2nd - The theme is St. Patrick's Day with dishes like the Lucky Charms parfait, Bailey's French toast (!!!), corned beef hash and Irish Coffee milkshakes.

- Monday, April 6th - In honor of Easter, eggs are the star of April's dinner with menu items that include deviled eggs, an egg-white omelette, carrot cake pancakes and a marshmallow Peep milkshake.

- Monday, May 4th - Hopefully by the third dinner all the snow will have melted because the theme of this event is spring. Enjoy hummingbird pancakes (banana, coconut, pineapple), a fresh herb omelette, colorful spring hash and a vanilla lavender milkshake.

In addition to the yummy specials, each Breakfast for Dinner event will also offer mimosas and Narragansett Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout.

Save your spot at any one of these dinners (or hell, all three) on the Eventbrite page.

Thank you to George and team for a delicious night and three more just like it to look forward to!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Mindy Project: Will Power

Last night's episode of "The Mindy Project" was a Celebrity Death Match, Mindy vs. Danny, in the battle to give up their vices. In one corner, Danny, addicted to cigarettes. In the opposite corner, Mindy, addicted to junk food.

Danny begins his attempt to change Mindy's eating habits by offering her steel cut oatmeal for breakfast on Sunday morning. Mindy quickly retorts, "It is 9:00am on a Sunday. I need eggs, I need waffles, I need four kinds of pig's meat! I don't need no bowls of oatmeals!" Love that plural on "oatmeals."

The next morning, on her way into work, Mindy is seen barking at a newsstand guy, "Sir, I just want one doughnut for each of my fingers. It's not that hard."

In an attempt to help her with her eating, Danny provides Mindy with a sensible lunch - chicken, spinach and brown rice. Moments later, Tamra enters the room with birthday cake. Mindy goes wide eyed and says, "Oh my god. It's my favorite kind of cake. Gigantic." Cut to four seconds later when she's shoveling sheet cake into her mouth. Whoops.

Later that day, Mindy and Danny have a Skype date with Peter, down in Austin, TX. Apparently he's serving as Mindy's doctor for the pregnancy. Peter opens the call with, "How are my favorite MILF and DILF?" I seriously almost spit out my tea!

After looking through Mindy's patient chart, the conversation goes a little something like this:

Peter: You fall into a special category of pregnancy.
Mindy: What kind of special category? Hot, ethnic, power moms?
Peter: Technically you qualify as a geriatric, obese pregnancy.

Ha! I seriously lost it when Mindy started swatting at the screen.

The side story last night was about the practice needing to hire a new doctor. With Peter in Texas and Mindy leaving to start her fertility practice, they are in the lurch. Mindy tries to reel in her old medical school professor (played by the age-defying Vanessa Williams).

Meanwhile, Jeremy has rounded up a group of grumpy old men who Mindy calls "The Melvins." Beverly isn't digging them either and says, "The Melvins have already camped out in the conference room. It's very inconvenient because that's where I lock myself when I need to be racist." I should not have laughed at that, but I did.

Three other important cameos in last night's episode: Mindy's bedazzled barf bucket, her pink and white patterned pajamas in the final scene, and of course, the perfectly selected Britney Spears song, "Work Bitch."

Tell me, are you into the pregnancy storyline? I'm still on the fence.

*Image courtesy of @MindyKaling on Instagram.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Academy Awards 2015: Viewing Party

In the first week of January, I shared a list of my 15 new years resolutions for 2015. On that list, at number eleven, was "throw my best Oscar party yet."

Unfortunately, the odds were stacked against me. With the bitter cold temperatures, unrelenting snow fall and hellacious commutes we've had this month, I wasn't able to spend enough time hunting for the perfect decor for this soiree.

Adding insult to injury, in the two days before the viewing party, the guest list dwindled to less than half because my friends were anxious about being able to find parking on the street in their neighborhoods when they returned home Sunday night - a completely legitimate concern.

But, as the saying goes, the show must go on!

Despite the lack of prep time and the shrinking guest list, I still wanted to jazz up the place. After all, the Oscars only happen once a year.

I started at the front door with an oversized envelope that read "And the winner is . . ."

This faux winner's envelope is part of a set from Party City. You may remember at last year's Oscar party I had a pair of ticket stubs on the front door, those were from the same set.

In the entryway, I set up a popcorn concession stand, complete with carnival-like red and white striped boxes. The popcorn boxes are from Party City and the popcorn itself came in a Valentine's Day gift package from The Popcorn Factory. Don't get excited, the package was from my grandmother.

Just a few minutes before the guests arrived, I snipped open each of the bags and the concession stand was open for business! We had plain, buttered, cheddar and chocolate covered popcorn.

Moving into the living room, I had sprinkled the ottoman tray with star shaped gold confetti.

For each girl, there was a cork coaster, dotted or striped with gold. I cannot for the life of me remember where these are from. I want to say J. Crew.

For movie candy, we had Reese's peanut butter cups (minis), chocolate covered Oreos (the best thing sold at T.J. Maxx) and Swedish Fish.

On the living room mantel, I knew I wanted to add a touch of glamour with candles. Earlier this month, my parents sent me a Valentine's Day package that included these rose shaped candles.

I took these tiny rose candles and dropped them into red votives.

I found these on super sale at Party City. I think the set of four red votives was $4 dollars. Ding, ding, ding, jackpot!

I loved the way the candles lit up the royal purple wall.

Over in the dining room, I was trying something totally new by decorating with poufs.

No matter what anyone tells you, those poufs are hard to make! They come very tightly pressed in an accordion shape and you have to fluff each sheet of tissue paper individually to get them to appear so light and airy. Never again.

Every time I entertain, I like to have fresh flowers in the mix. Sadly, the selection at my grocery store was pitiful. It was a challenge to even cherry pick these three individual stems.

Even though the floral choices were slim, this trio of roses actually wound up feeling quite elegant.

For our snacks, I put out these gold Kate Spade confetti napkins and a set of square plates, also from Party City. I like the unexpected surprise of a square plate.

I knew I wanted this fiesta to have a special libation. This drink was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest.

I am so Type A that before taking this picture I turned each and every rock candy stick so it was leaning against the flute in exactly the same direction. Yup, it's a sickness.

A word to the wise: when you pour the Prosecco over the rock candy garnish, pour slowly. I was a bit overzealous and when the Prosecco hit the candy, a chemical reaction occurred that caused the glass to completely overflow.

The drink became this gorgeous pinkish/redish hue. This photo really doesn't do it justice. Also, careful of those wooden sticks. Mine kept poking me in the eye!

In case we needed to warm up, I put out a can of David's Tea in a flavor called Movie Night. I picked up this mug on one of my Los Angeles trips at the famous Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

With most of the rooms in the house ready to go, there was only one spot left to decorate - the bathroom. You may recall me saying this in the past, but I learned from my party planning friend Dustin that every room in your home should get a makeover for a special event, even the bathroom.

I'm obsessed with these fancy napkins. The pattern is identical to lace.

Toilets are jokingly called "thrones" and with these fireworks, how could you not feel like royalty?

With the house transformed, at 6:00pm the ladies arrived and we were ready for some red carpet judging!

While we watched, my amazingly talented friend Stephanie cooked us dinner. I put out some appetizers to tide us over, but the main event was her truffle mac and cheese.

The combination of cheeses, mixed with truffle butter and mushrooms, and topped with Panko bread crumbs was sheer culinary perfection. I might have moaned.

If you'd like to prepare Chef Steph's mac and cheese, you can find the recipe here.

Now, every single year I always feel terrible when the end of the night rolls around and I want to send people home with food, but I have no Tupperware. Not this time, people! While at the grocery store earlier in the month, I spotted these Tupperware containers that were the ideal size for leftovers and had red lids!

After experiencing Stephanie's mind blowing mac, of course we all wanted to keep some. I was thrilled to finally be prepared with enough Tupperware for everyone.

All the girls headed home around 9:00pm and I stayed up to watch the end of the show. I have to say, I was really disappointed in Neil Patrick Harris' performance. I didn't find him funny or entertaining at all. Even his opening number felt flat. In fact, I think Jack Black was the star of that number.

I was also sad that "Boyhood" didn't win Best Picture, though I could tell they'd lost it once "Birdman" won for Director and Screenplay. I knew Best Picture couldn't be far behind.

With all the trophies handed out and Neil back home shaking his head, it's officially the end of the 2015 award season. Since this never-ending winter forces us to find things to look forward to, I'm now formally counting down to the premiere of "Pitch Perfect 2" on May 15th.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Academy Awards 2015: Best And Worst Dressed

Other than my birthday, Oscar night is my favorite occasion all year. We've had warm ups with the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Grammys, but this is the real deal. The big kahuna.

Even more than the awards show itself, the part I love the most is the red carpet fashion. This year there were some incredible stunners and some equally disastrous flops.

Let's get right to it, shall we?

BEST DRESSED 

1) Lupita Nyong'o - Last year, while Lupita Nyong'o was making the rounds as a nominee for "12 Years A Slave" she wowed us in one gorgeous ensemble after another. First that memorable red Ralph Lauren caped dress, then that aqua floral number by Gucci. Last night she turned heads in an all white, pearl-adorned gown by Calvin Klein. The dress had over 6,000 pearls sewn to it, though she claimed it was comfortable. Someone gives this girl's stylist a raise. This was a perfect ten.

2) Anna Kendrick - This peach Thakoon confection had all the right elements - a warm hue, an expertly placed cut out and just the right amount of frosting.

3) Margot Robbie - Margot Robbie is not on this list for her Saint Laurent ensemble which Kelly Osbourne called, "Practically a robe," but for her gorgeous hair, brows and makeup. This is how it's done, ladies and gentlemen.

4) Eddie Redmayne - It is well documented here on Pop.Bop.Shop. that Eddie is my celebrity crush. Last night he looked dapper in a navy Alexander McQueen suit with black lapels and a black bow tie. His reaction to his win for Best Actor was simultaneously joyous and profoundly humble. It would be impossible for me to love him any more than I already do.

5) Miles Teller - "Whiplash" star Miles Teller looked dashing in his Prada tuxedo. Unfortunately, he shared his walk on the red carpet with his rather dim witted girlfriend.

6) Rosamund Pike - You may not know this, but "Gone Girl" star Rosamund Pike has a two month old baby. Yes, people, she rocked this fitted, red Givenchy dress just weeks after giving birth. Bow down.

7) Naomi Watts - I am giving Naomi Watts on a spot on this list for creativity. Her Armani Prive dress was not like anything else on the red carpet. Perhaps because no one else was brave enough to wear a dress with a built-in sequin tube top?

8) Ethan Hawke - I've had a crush on Ethan Hawke since "Gattaca." He's that kind of devilish handsome that woos women everywhere. Last night he chose Prada.

9) Anna Faris - When Robin Roberts interviewed Anna Faris and Chris Pratt on the red carpet, I just wanted to be friends with them. I also wanted Anna's silver, glittering Zuhair Murad dress. Though I loved the gown, she needed a touch more makeup, particularly a brighter lipstick.

10) Cate Blanchett - Cate Blanchett always brings it. The woman can dress. Last night she stole the show with her turquoise statement necklace paired with a black dress by John Galiano for Maison Margiela.

Now, for those of you who love to hate, I present my Worst Dressed list.

WORST DRESSED

1) David Oyelowo - David Oyelowo is the star of the film "Selma" and last night he chose this red Dolce & Gabbana get up. What was he thinking?

Though I must say, I wanted to jump into the TV and hug him when he cried during John Legend and Common's performance of "Glory." Good thing Oprah was right there to give him a squeeze.

2) Marion Cotillard - For a woman who is so naturally beautiful, Marion Cotillard selected a horrible Dior Couture gown. The dress barely had any shape and what was that black stripe of fabric doing just below her butt? No, no, no.

3) Emma Stone - It kills me to have to put her on this list after her amazing choices at the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards, but Emma's gold Elie Saab gown was a total miss. Had the sparkling, backless dress been another color, it could have been great, but this yellowish hue was all kinds of wrong.

4) Chrissy Teigen - Chrissy, Chrissy, Chrissy. I think we can all admit, we want to be Chrissy and John Legend. They are madly in love and total goofballs. All season they've dressed impeccably, but tonight, Chrissy's Zuhair Murad dress was a dud. The cut made her chest look extra wide and her girls look saggy. The waistline gave the illusion of a pooch (which she definitely doesn't have). Her lipstick was also way too dark.

5) Zoe Saldana - Much like Rosamund Pike, Zoe Saldana is back on the red carpet after becoming a mama. Zoe recently gave birth to twins, not that you'd be able to tell from her form fitting Atelier Versace dress. The cut of this dress was off. The E! fashion police couldn't quite put their fingers on it, but agreed this was a poor choice.

6) Octavia Spencer - Poor, Octavia. First she picks an unflattering Todashi Shoji dress and then Neil Patrick Harris zeroes in on her for his worst running joke of the night. I was surprised by Octavia's dress misstep, as she wears almost exclusively Todashi Shoji and normally looks great.

7) Gwyneth Paltrow - I didn't see Gwyneth walk the red carpet, so when she came on stage to present, my jaw dropped when I saw her atrocious Ralph & Russo Couture dress. What is that rose?

8) J.K. Simmons - I screamed and clapped when J.K. Simmons won Best Supporting Actor for his role as the tyrannical teacher in "Whiplash." But I also gasped in horror when I saw him walking the carpet in this hat!

9) Jessica Chastain - It's a very trendy thing to be a red head in Hollywood right now - Julianne Moore, Emma Stone and of course, Jessica Chastain. I only wish she had chosen a better dress! This navy Givenchy number made her look far too top heavy, and quite honestly, aged her.

10) Scarlett Johansson - The thing about this look from ScarJo is that it could have been so good. Had that awful necklace been removed, that Versace dress was actually quite flattering. This was a case of bold accessories totally overshadowing an otherwise great look.

And there you have it! My list of the best and worst dressed at the Oscars.

Tell me, who did you love? Who was a hot mess?

Can we also discuss that I am in total denial that the 2015 awards season is over? Wahhhh.

*All images courtesy of JustJared.com.
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