Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sumiao Brings Hunanese Cuisine to Kendall Square (Cambridge, Boston, MA)

Boston honestly doesn't have too much regional Chinese cuisine, but this is changing with the arrival of Sumiao in Kendall Square. Sumiao brings Hunanese cuisine, which is hard to find in most places, and combines it with a chich decor and solid cocktails.

The regular menu already has a number of authentic Hunanese dishes, but on weekends they add even more authentic recipes as specials. I got to try the Homemade La Rou with Mushrooms ($28)
La rou is like Hunanese bacon - it is pork belly that's been smoked then hang-dried. This is one of the quintessential Hunanese food. In Hunan, they like to smoke their meats, which is then stir fried with some chili and vegetables (because Hunanese also love their chilies!). They also have la rou with a different preparation on their lunch menu for $13, and I encourage you to try it.

Hunan tofu pot, pork belly, green chili, black bean chili sauce, $18)
As I mentioned, Hunanese love their chilies. Chairman Mao hailed from Hunan and reportedly once said "you can't be a revolutionary if you don't eat chilies!" The Hunan tofu pot was one of the spicier dishes. The spice isn't too bad but it does build up (but if you want more, you can ask for "authentic spicy"). This was one of our favorites that day, with the nicely fried tofu and the flavorful pork belly.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Discover Classes with CourseHorse: Wine Tasting Class at Dave's Fresh Pasta (Somerville, MA)

CourseHorse is a portal to discover local classes, varying from tech classes, languages, life skills, and of course cooking and wine tasting classes. Even fitness classes are listed. I was invited to experience one of CourseHorse's openings, so naturally I looked for the food-related ones. Browsing through the selection I found numerous cooking classes, a cocktail making class at No. 9 Park, and a number of wine tastings. You can look through the current culinary offerings in Boston here.

I decided to take one of the wine tastings offered at Dave's Fresh Pasta in Somerville. Dave's Fresh Pasta is a gourmet food and wine store, but they also hold events like this wine tasting on a few Thursdays 7:30-9PM each season. The wine tastings at Dave's Fresh Pasta is typically $55 per person. I was there for their Local Cheese and Spring Wines tasting with Vineyard Road, a wine distributor based in Framingham. We tasted five different wines paired with food.

We started with 2015 Murgo Lapilli from Sicily, Italy ($11.95). This wine is 60% Chardonnay and 40% Sauvignon Blanc, which are typical grapes of Italy.
The wine's apple notes pair well with the Hudson Valley Camembert cheese, apple butter, and apple slices on cracker.

2016 Domaine Lelievre from Cotes de Toul, Lorraine, France ($16.95). This rose wine is a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir.
Lorraine is in the northern center France. This region used to make a lot of wines in the 1500s but a lot of disease had diminished the planted area.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Spending Bastille Day at Taix French Restaurant (Los Angeles, CA)

by guest blogger Bryan Tsunoda (discovering LA)

I look forward to eating out on the holidays of other countries because it is an opportunity to experience something new. For that reason, I enjoy eating out on the French National holiday of Bastille Day.
I was happy to learn that Taix was featuring bouillabaisse as their special that day. Given a choice or proteins, I veer towards seafood and within that food group, I prefer shellfish. Therefore, bouillabaisse satisfies that craving.

Visiting Taix is like taking a trip backwards in time. Driving into their lot, you are warmly greeted by a valet. Entering the restaurant, you walk down a dimly lit hallway. To your right is the bar and straight ahead is the maitre d' station. Inside the dining room are large comfy booths and frosted glass for privacy.

On Bastille Day, the male employees wore red felt berets. My server, however, was female and she wore a ribbon with the French national colors around her neck.

The Tour de France was taking place in France and Taix featured specials each race day. Even the highlighted wines were from areas near each stop on the tour. Also taking place through Friday is Dine LA and Taix is one of the participating restaurants.

When you sit down in one of their plush booths, you receive fresh sourdough bread and crudité. I ordered Claudia’s beet salad from the Dine LA menu and the special that day, bouillabaisse.
The beet salad was nicely plated. I like that the ingredients were chilled, the butter lettuce was crisp, the oranges were juicy, and the garlic vinaigrette complemented the beet salad.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Tapas Tasting at Toro, a Boston Mainstay

I have long wanted to try Toro. This tapas bar from duo Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette has been around for many years (since 2005), but there's still always a long wait every night since they don't take reservations, even after they've opened other locations in New York and Bangkok. I finally went to try it when I saw a Gilt City voucher for it. The voucher for a tasting menu wasn't cheap at $100 but it was 8 courses including wine pairing, but the best part is that it allows you to make a reservation! If you've never used Gilt City, you can save $25 off your first order with my invite link.

The tapas tasting started with a Tortilla Espanola (egg, onion, potato, nettle, aioli). A nice rendition of the traditional Spanish dish. The ratio between egg and potato is just right.
Uni Bocadillo (pressed uni sandwich, miso butter, pickled mustard seeds)
This is similar to the uni sandwich at Coppa. Of course, I'm always happy to get uni on a tasting menu.

Since my friend is kosher, we got different third courses - I wanted at least one porky dish. I got the Jamon Blanco (Toast with lardo, marinated Jonah crab, black garlic, crispy shallots and avocado)
While this wasn't what I had in mind when I wanted a "pork" dish, I enjoyed the toast regardless.

Friday, July 14, 2017

5 TV Shows That Are Suprisingly Filled with Food Porn

You don't have to watch food reality TV or food shows to be enticed by food porn on the screen. In fact, there are quite a few TV series that don't revolve around food yet is surprisingly filled with some amazing scenes foodies would gawk at and salivate over. A lot of these shows are available for free or on demand to stream if you have Verizon Fios account (even if they're not, you'll still want Fios' near-gigabit internet speed so you can stream seamlessly!). Now that summer is here, it's a great time to check out theses shows, if you haven't yet. Just be sure your fridge is stocked when you do.


OK, so this show has beautifully shot and amazing looking food scenes, thanks to the supervising of Chef Jose Andres. Hannibal is a food connoisseur and a great cook, but of course, each food scene is a bit unnerving, especially when Hannibal is cooking a meat dish. Could it be human meat? Knowing Hannibal, probably! That's why Gillian Anderson's character will only eat oysters - though I think lobster would be fine too ;) Still, even with the underlying unease, the cooking and dining scenes in this show are some of the best out there.

Master of None
credit: Popsugar
Aziz Ansari's character Dev takes an impromptu weekend trip to Nashville and was late catching his flight home to go get BBQ. He lies to his parents and skips out on prayers to go binge out on more BBQ at Smorgasburg. He's basically just eating around Italy in the beginning of the second season, because "eating in Italy is my favorite thing!" Hats off to Aziz for somehow getting a dinner at Osteria Francescana in the show and making it a business expense.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

WaterFire Lighting in Providence, RI

WaterFire has become one of the top attractions in Providence, Rhode Island in the summer. WaterFire is a sculpture/art installation by Barnaby Evans on the three rivers in downtown Providence, creating a line of bonfires on the water.
Over the years, the installation has been expanded to 100 braziers, and there are multiple lighting events throughout the summer, taking place at sunset (mainly on the weekends).
Most of the lighting activities take place in the basin at Waterplace Park, surrounded by the Providence Place mall and the visitor center. During the lighting, boats with firewood receives fire from a mime, and the braziers are lit one by one as fire acrobats perform on the boats and music is piped all long the river.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Pangea Nutrition, the Mediterranean Diet Meal Kit Delivery

I recently tried a new meal kit service called Pangea Nutrition. Pangea Nutrition is started by two Boston-based doctors. Dr. Christos Mantzoros (Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, as well as Director of the Human Nutrition Unit of the Division of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) and Dr. Jason Paruthi, who completed his residency at Harvard Medical School as well as entrepeneurship courses at MIT Sloan School of Management. They combined their medical and nutrition knowledge with the entrepreneurial streak in Pangea Nutrition.
Pangea Nutrition
Pangea Nutrition abides by the Mediterranean diet to make it easier for people to adopt this healthier lifestyle.

Different from other meal kit services, Pangea Nutrition actually utilizes Amazon Fresh for their deliveries, while the recipe cards come separately in the mail. This means you can get Pangea Nutrition if there's Amazon Fresh service in your area.

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