Figs by Todd English

It’s hard to believe that it is almost summer again.  Don’t get me wrong, I am THRILLED that the weather is warming up, the plants are budding, and the windows are open but it seems like just yesterday that we were in the middle of football season…the heart of the fall.  On one particular weekend last fall, Ryan and I were lucky enough to cross paths in Boston for a quick date afternoon & evening.  I was there for work…and so was he!  Our trips overlapped for just a day.  With both of us jet-setting here and there, it was nice to catch up…even if just for a few hours.  🙂

During our time in Boston, we stayed at the Liberty Hotel.

If you’ve never been, I would highly recommend it.  I am including a description below…but in brief, it was originally a prison…now transformed into a hotel.  The interior is so cool…and the story intriguing!

“Completed in 1851, the original building was a collaboration between architect Gridley James Fox Bryant, widely considered Boston’s most accomplished architect of the time, and Rev. Louis Dwight, a prominent Yale-educated penologist whose travels shaped his interest in and advocacy for prison reform.  In 1973, after 120 years of housing some of Boston’s most notorious criminals, prisoners revolted because of poor living conditions and the jail was declared unfit and in violation of the inmates’ constitutional rights. On Memorial Day weekend 1990, the last prisoners were moved to the new Suffolk County Jail. 

The transformation of the site into a hotel is the work of a team of designers and architects collaborating with historians and conservationists from the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Boston Landmarks Commission, the National Park Service and the Boston Redevelopment Authority to ensure that the end result is a careful balance between preservation and dynamic new use.

Apart from a new addition, the jail’s granite exterior and expansive, light-filled interiors remain largely unchanged. Soaring 90 feet, the jail’s central atrium was beautifully preserved and forms the core of the hotel. It features the building’s trademark windows and historic catwalks. The preserved jail cells within the hotel restaurant and wrought-iron work on the windows are just two examples of preservation. The jail’s former exercise yard is now a private, beautifully landscaped courtyard that is destined to take its place among the beloved “hidden gardens” of the Beacon Hill neighborhood.”

When we weren’t enjoying relaxation at the hotel, we were out and about exploring all of the history around us…


And indulging in a delicious lunch at Figs…an excellent Todd English restaurant.


Having never eaten in a Todd English restaurant previously, we weren’t sure what to expect but with rave reviews from our friends Greg & Lisa, we knew we had to give it a try!  So.Glad.We.Did.

Simple artisan breads and olive dipping oil to start the meal…


An elegant Boston Apple Salad…fresh and flavorful…

APPLE SALAD:  Baby argula, shaved red onions, roasted pecan, goat cheese crema, & apple cider glaze.

And a His & Hers pizza to share!  Bianco on His Half…and Sweet Sausage with Braised Fennel on Hers!

I was able to find Figs’ Bianco recipe online…feel free to check it out and try at home!


by Todd English

Makes 2 pizzas
Ingredients:2 pizza rounds
Cornmeal for sprinkling
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 pinches kosher salt
2 pinches black pepper
3 cups arugula (2 to 3 bunches), well washed and torn apart
4 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 slices mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Caramelized Onions
Instructions:• One hour prior to cooking, place a baking stone in the oven and preheat it to 500 degrees.
Roll out 1 pizza dough as thinly as possible. Place it on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover the surface with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic, and 1 pinch each salt and pepper. Be sure to leave an outer lip of 1 inch all the way around.• Place the arugula, tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, and 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese in a bowl and toss to combine. Set aside.• Evenly distribute 3 slices of mozzarella cheese on the pizza. It is not necessary to cover the bottom completely Top with 1/4 cup Caramelized Onions and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese.• Shake the paddle lightly and slide the pizza onto the baking stone. Bake until browned, about 6 to 7 minutes. Evenly distribute half the reserved arugula salad on the pizza, transfer to a firm surface, and cut into slices.• Serve immediately.• Repeat with the remaining dough.

Sweet Sausage & Braised Fennel
(sweet Italian sausage, tomato sauce, fontina cheese & roasted garlic)

Since our visit to Boston and our lunch date at Figs, I have been yearning to find another Todd English restaurant.  I mean, come on, did you see those pizzas?!  Unfortunately, finding one in the Midwest is proving a little more difficult.  So the next time you pass one on your travels, stop in!  You won’t regret it. 

In the meantime, we will replicate this meal at home!

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

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