Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wagamama Seaport (Boston, MA)

Wagamama is a chain of restaurants serving Asian food - primarily Japanese - which started in UK. I wasn't familiar until I moved to Boston 3 years ago, and I actually only tried it for the first time recently. Wagamama had opened a new location in the Boston Seaport district and invited some bloggers and instagrammers to try them out.

We started with a plate of Chili squid (crispy fried squid, shichimi, chili cilantro dipping sauce, $9)
Wagamama
For calamari lovers, this squid dish is a great variation. It's crispy but tasted light and spiced just right. I couldn't start eating them.

We also had some dumplings, both steamed and fried. Our favorite was the fried duck gyoza ($8)
Wagamama

The drinks at Wagamama are better than I would've expected from a chain restaurant. While a lot of them tended on the sweet and fruity side, they're not overly sweet and fairly well balanced. What I like most is the fact that they use spirits from Asia as much as possible.

For example, the Wagamama Mai Tai is made with Tanduay rum which is from the Philippines. They also use Iwai Whisky from Japan
Wagamama

Monday, October 16, 2017

15 Years of Ono Hawaiian BBQ (+ Freebies on Oct 17!)

Did you know that Ono Hawaiian BBQ celebrates their 15th anniversary this year?
When you go to an Ono Hawaiian BBQ on the anniversary day (Tuesday, October 17), you can get $15 Ono Bucks after spending $15 on food and drinks. They're also giving away a free tote bag with $15 purchase while supplies last.

I remember going to Ono quite a bit during my time as a UCLA undergraduate, and I recently paid them a visit when I was in LA, because it's hard to find spam musubi in Boston!
DSC07360
Just two of these would probably make me full already, but how can I say no to spam musubi? Such a perfect snack.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Farm-to-Post Foraged and Wild Dinner at Post 390 (Back Bay, Boston, MA)

Farm to Post is the dinner series at Back Bay's Post 390 that showcases the local farmers and New England producers the restaurant works with. I attended a pork dinner last year featuring Dogpatch Farm and I had another opportunity to attend a special dinner recently. In September, Post 390 held a "Foraged and Wild" dinner featuring (you guessed it) foraged ingredients.

Each Farm to Post dinner always starts with a cocktail reception with passed hors d'oeuvres. This year's most popular appetizer was probably the fried Damariscotta oyster (from Maine) with creamed wild spinach and bacon.
Post 390 Foraging
The first cocktail is a sparkling Cocchi Americano drink with wild peppermint and sweet fern tea
Post 390 Foraging

First course: "Secret spot" mushroom vol-au-vent
Marsh greens, spiced black walnuts, blackberries, wild flower petals, Solomon's plume vinaigrette.
This was paired with Oxbow Brewing Farmhouse Pale Ale from Newcastle, ME.
Post 390 Foraging
The pastry for the vol-au-vent was perfectly flaky. The mushrooms, and other foraged items in the dinner were foraged by Nicholas Deutmeyer. The mushrooms came from his secret spot (hence the name). We had black trumpet mushrooms, lobster mushrooms, and chanterelles. The greens also featured foraged sea beans and sea arugula. Perfect start to a foraging dinner!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Brunch and DIY Irish Coffee Bar at Lansdowne Pub (Boston, MA)

Lansdowne Pub in Fenway started Irish Brunch Banger on September 17, which was Halway to St. Patrick's Day. I didn't know that was a thing, but why not - any excuse to drink Jameson and Guinness.

Lansdowne Pub is an Irish pub just steps away from Fenway stadium that offers live music and open mic nights. As a bar, live music spot, and a place to go before and after a Red Sox game, Lansdowne is quite popular, but this is the first time I'm checking out the food, which was surprisingly good.

We had a number of classic brunch dishes like the Sausage & Eggs. The grilled housemade chicken and maple sausage had a nice flavor and a touch of sweetness - I was a fan.
Lansdowne Pub
There were also some atypical items on the regular menu, like the Duck confit grilled cheese. This was a hit at the table, with tender duck confit on grilled bread. The duck is the star rather than the cheese, though.
Lansdowne Pub
My favorite item was probably the Apple Crumble Pancakes (buttermilk pancakes, sauteed apples, oatmeal cinnamon streusel, $10)
Lansdowne Pub
Usually I'm more of a waffle or french toast girl, and I was never a huge fan of apples either, but I couldn't s top eating this apple crumble pancakes! The pancakes themselves were nice and fluffy, and I loved the combination with the cinnamon streusel and the soft, slightly caramelized apples.

Other brunch dishes we tried was the Crab Cake Benedict ($13)
Lansdowne Pub

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Dine Out at LA Restaurant Oct 7-14 to Help Puerto Rico with LA Loves Puerto Rico

I think we all know by now how devastating Hurricane Maria had been for the island (and US territory!) of Puerto Rico and how much more help they still need.
Most of the people in Puerto Rico don't have access to clean water, shelter, and power.

If you're unsure of how to help, there are plenty of ways. In fact, there's a very easy way. Just go out and do what you normally do - go out to eat and drink at 100s of LA restaurants next week, from October 7-14. Just be sure to order certain special dishes, where these LA restaurants and bars and their great chefs and mixologists have pledged 100% of the proceeds from those items to Unidos por Puerto Rico for a campaign called LA Loves PR.

Unidos Por Puerto Rico / United for Puerto Rico is an initiative brought forth by the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló, in collaboration with the private sector, with the purpose of providing aid and support to those affected in Puerto Rico by the passage of the hurricanes.

There are more than 85 establishments participating and offering great special dishes and drinks - because our LA peeps are awesome. You can find the full list here.

As an example: the coconut rice pudding with mango passionfruit sorbet at Woodley Proper.
Photo credit: Jakob Lyaman
Other participating restaurants include Georgie, Miro, Lucques, Sotto, Rossoblu, The Bazaar by Jose Andres, and many more. Seriously, just take a look.

There are some nice cocktails on the list, too, like this Pearl Diver from Accomplice Bar made with Puerto Rican rum, guava, and Gaby's secret Gardenia Mix.
photo credit: Accomplice Bar
You'll find cocktail specials at Commerson, Cana Rum Bar, Barcito, Harvard and Stone, and others.

I urge you, Angelenos, and anyone visiting the city next week. Eat and drink every day, as much as you can, and order these dishes/ drinks. It's for a good - and much needed - cause.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit Food Festival Returns Tomorrow (Oct 3, 2017)

The Forbes Under 30 Summit in Boston has been underway since this weekend. The summit gathers 7000 "young leaders" and present motivation panels, pitch contests, as well as music and food festivals. Tomorrow (October 3) will be this year's food festival. The food festival features young notable chefs from the 30 Under 30 list and they will compete for the title of America's Best Young Chef (there are two categories: the Judges' Choice and Audience Choice).

I attended last year's Forbes Under 30 Food Festival, which again featured some great young chefs from all over the world. Here are some of my favorite bites from the Forbes 30 Under 30 Food Festival last year:

This beef and truffle donut - probably my favorite of the night - from Henry Herbert of Hobbs House Bakery a.k.a. The Fabulous Baker Brothers in United Kingdom
Forbes Under 30 2016

Seaweed pie from Toni Toivanen of the Scandinavian pop-up restaurant Sandladan. While they ran out of the seaweed tartlets, I still loved the custard - made of fermented egg yolk and lobster brains (yes), topped with poached lobster and ants.
Forbes Under 30 2016

Eel kabayaki with black puffed rice from La Cime in Osaka, Japan
Forbes Under 30 2016

This year's Forbes 30 Under 30 honorees competing in the food festival / cook-off include:
 Andrew Chmielewski (Dave’s Sweet Tooth, Ferndale, MI), Alexandra Clark, (Bon Bon Bon, Detroit), Simon Davies (Chef de Cuisine at Alinea, Chicago), Zachary Engel (Chef de Cuisine at Shaya Restaurant, New Orleans), Kelvin Fernandez (Executive Chef at La Marina, New York) – defending 2016 “America’s Best Young Chef – Audience Choice” winner, Christian Pettersen (Head Chef at Mondo, Norway), Kwame Onwuachi (Chef & Owner at The Shaw Bijou, Washington, DC), Henry Herbert (TV Personality from The Fabulous Baker Brothers, United Kingdom) – defending 2016 “America’s Best Young Chef – Judge’s Choice” winner, and more.

The food festival will be held tomorrow, Oct 3, 2017 from 6-10 pm at JFK Library in Boston. The food festival is open only to holders of VIP and all-access passes to the 2017 Forbes Under 30 Summit.

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