Showing posts with label boston. Show all posts
Showing posts with label boston. Show all posts

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Making My Own Gin at Thirst Boston

Thirst Boston has come and gone, leaving us satiated and hungover after a liquor-fueled whirlwind of a weekend. There were parties and booze tastings, and of course, a number of educational seminars. I attended a hands-on Gin Lab where I got to make my own gin!
Gin Lab
The seminar/lab was led by William Codman from Diageo, and he started off with a history of gin. From how the British discovered Genever during the War in Holland, to various political situations and bans that led to the popularity of gin (often distilled at home back then) in England. Apparently it was so popular that it became a huge problem since people were drinking way too much. The craziness is depicted in this Gin Lane painting by William Hogarth.
Gin Lab
Well, now we mostly drink gin in moderation, thankfully ;)
We also learned about the different classifications of gin. To be called gin, the liquor has to be a neutral spirit that has juniper in it. When it's not redistilled after juniper and flavors are added, that is called "compound gin". A "distilled gin" means that the spirit has been re-distilled after the juniper and botanicals are added, but other flavorings can still be added after the redistillation.

We mostly know of London Dry Gin these days. London Gin is redistilled using traditional still, and flavorings can only be added during the distillation, not after, and they must be natural flavorings. No coloring may be added, although sugar may be added.

With this classification, we basically made a compound gin that day!

After the history lesson, we took turns "foraging" for our botanicals. OK, not really foraging, we went to the back of the room and picked out our botanicals from what they've prepared. Too bad were limited to five! But that's probably a good thing, as I might've gone crazy with the flavor combo otherwise.

Gin Lab

Friday, May 19, 2017

20th Annual Taste of Allston on June 24 + GIVEAWAY!

Allston is home to some of the best restaurants in Boston, so wouldn't it be great to be able to try a couple dozen of them at the same time? You can at Taste of Allston, which is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year! Spend Saturday afternoon on June 24 tasting food from 20 restaurants, and enjoy the summer (which is finally here!) with live music, lawn games, and other activities! More details (plus a giveaway for a pair of tickets!) are below:

They will be rolling out the list of participating restaurants over the next few weeks. Current confirmed restaurants include White Horse Tavern, Roxy's Grilled Cheese, The Avenue, Loui Loui, and more. They're also promising cool treats from FoMu, FroYo World, and LimeRed Teahouse!

Watch their Facebook and Instagram pages for more restaurant announcements in the coming weeks.

There will be free parking, bike racks, and free bike valet.
Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased here. OR ... you can try your luck and ENTER TO WIN a pair of tickets below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 12, 2017

Maya Indian Grill (Wakefield, MA)

I was recently invited to try out a new Indian restaurant in Wakefield, MA - about 12 miles north of Boston. The reviews for the restaurant all seemed really good, so I accepted and drove up to try the lunch buffet at Maya Indian Grill one weekend.

As we sat, they delivered hot, fresh naan to the table. Bonus points!
Maya Indian grill
The buffet items change daily, but there are about a dozen options - both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. They had the usual staples like chicken biryani, chicken tandoori, saag paneer, chana masala, and also a nice goat curry, which was probably my favorite of the savory dishes that afternoon.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Save the Date on May 4 for Community Servings' LifeSavor, Feed the Critically Ill

I was first introduced to Community Servings last year, when they had a cooking class at the Boston Public Market. They prepare and deliver meals to people who are homebound, critically ill, and their families. It's not just mass produced food, but they really take care to prepare meals for each patient according to their dietary needs and illnesses.

They rely on volunteers to help prepare the meal, and of course, funds from donations and fundraising activities. Their biggest fundraising event is the LifeSavor gala, a glamorous evening that takes place each year and involve many of the local restaurants. This year's LifeSavor will take place on May 4 at The Langham.
LifeSavor
LifeSavor starts with a luxurious cocktail party with silent auction and balloon pop raffle. After the reception, guests will be transported to one of 75 participating restaurants around the city for a wine-paired dinner.

Not that there isn't plenty of food to go around at the reception! Spread out over multiple rooms at The Langham, I had some delicious lamb chops ...
LifeSavor
A spread of salads, pastas, cheeses, and more.
LifeSavor

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Taste of the North End Returns to Boston on April 28, 2017

Since 1993, restaurants in the Boston's North End join forces each year for a food festival that benefit North End charities at Taste of the North End. This year's event will be held on April 28 at the DCR's Steriti Memorial Rink.

Guests will be able to taste food from smaller North End businesses that normally don't participate in food festivals.

Taste of the North End
Capt Jackson's Historic Chocolate Shop

This chef and this porchetta tower was everything ..
Taste of the North End

The porchetta was from Filippo Ristorante, and they will be participating this year as well.
Taste of the North End


Thursday, March 30, 2017

GIVEAWAY: Cochon555 BESPOKE and Heritage BBQ in Boston, April 8-9

UPDATE: first round winners have been chosen but you can still enter to win a pair of VIP tickets to the Sunday Heritage BBQ on www.facebook.com/gourmetpigs !

Cochon555 is a competition and food festival dedicated to promoting heritage pig breeds. At the main event in each city, five chefs will partner with five farms to prepare dishes, utilizing 1500 lbs of heritage breed pork! The Heritage BBQ is coming to Boston at SoWa on April 9, as part of a three-day weekend of food, art, and thought called BESPOKE.

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It starts with CREATE on Friday evening, April 7. CREATE showcases Boston's artists paired with the city's guests and bartenders. On Saturday there'll be a forum (which I'll talk about shortly), a local producers' market and chef's pantry and a charity dinner. Sunday is the main event, the Heritage BBQ, where the chefs from Townsman, La Brasa, Loyal Nine, Tapestry, and Juliet will compete head to head, or nose to tail, for the Prince (or Princess) of Porc title. I'm also giving away two VIP tickets ($400 value) to the Heritage BBQ, which you can enter via Instagram until April 4 here.

They're also incorporating a new component this year, a forum called BESPOKE: An Exploration of Taste & Thought. Taking place on Saturday, April 8 from 9AM to 2:30PM, the Bespoke forum will feature keynote speeches on the topic of Food and Landscape, and a panel on the topic of Power, Labor, and Class in the Food Industry. Beyond the food for thoughts, the day will also be interspersed with a pop-up ramen bar and tastings of German Rieslings and Glenfiddich scotch. There will also be plenty of cold brew to keep everyone going.
 

Tickets to the BESPOKE event is $70 per person and can be purchased here. Want to try your luck? I'm partnering with Cochon555 to give away one ticket to the Bespoke event! You can enter via this widget:
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Get a Taste of Iceland in Boston

For the past couple of years, Iceland Naturally has brought Icelandic culture to Boston with Taste of Iceland. This year, Taste of Iceland is coming back to Boston from March 16-20. The five-day festival brings Nordic cuisine, music, art, film, and literature.

The main draw for me, of course, is the food and drinks. This year, they are bringing in Chef Sigurdur Helgason (a.k.a. Siggi Helga) of  GrilliĆ° restaurant to create a four-course Icelandic menu at The Merchant (not to be confused with the MIT mathematician Sigurdur Helgason - not that most of you would). GrilliĆ° is located in the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel. This hotel is actually owned by the Icelandic Farmers Association and is also known as Farmers Palace. As you can imagine, the farm-to-table vision is very much alive and well at a place like this.

Siggi also represented Iceland in Bocuse d'Or in 2015. Here, he brought many of the Icelandic ingredients for the 4-day stint in Boston. The first course is a "taste of Icelandic nature", composed of three different bites.

The first: Langoustine with black garlic-herb garden
Taste of Iceland
I look forward to a bite of langoustine each year for the Taste of Iceland event. If you've never had Icelandic langoustine, what are you waiting for?

Second: Forest mushroom in volcanic croquettes
Taste of Iceland
These bites are not only inspired by the flavors in Iceland, but also the landscapes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Boston Cocktail Lovers, Don't Miss Thirst Boston (April 28-30, 2017)

Cocktail enthusiast, bartender, or just like to drink? Whichever one you are, if you enjoy cocktails, then take a look at Thirst Boston, Boston's cocktail festival that is coming on April 28-30! There will be tasting and hands-on seminars, parties, and after-parties that you'd be wise to prepare your liver for. You can now view the schedule and map out your weekend.

First, the parties. There will be two night-time parties filled with cocktails. Saturday night is State Lines. This Thirst Boston tradition brings distillers, brewers, and winemakers from around New England along with bartenders from across the region. There will also be carnival games. Drunken carnie games!
Thirst Boston

Sunday night will be another Thirst Boston tradition, the Blender Bender. Teams of bartenders will be competing to make the best - you guessed it - blended drinks to win a fancy new Vitamix blender.
Thirst Boston
This year's twist is that it will be a Gender Bender Blender Bender, so the teams of bartenders will cross-dressing.
Thirst Boston

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

by CHLOE Brings Vegan Comforts to Boston Seaport

by CHLOE, a New York-based casual vegan restaurant, finally opened a location in Boston. The first Boston location is in the Seaport district while a second store in Fenway is on the way. I attended their opening preview, sampling a lot of vegan dishes and desserts. I am surprised to say, I really enjoyed these vegan dishes! And you should all know I'm a carnivore by now.

They have pastas and salads, of course, but also other classic comfort food items that somehow tasted really good even as a vegan version.
by CHLOE
For example, the "mac n cheese". The "cheese" is a sweet potato cashew vegan cheese, and the mac n cheese was topped with crispy shiitake "bacon"
by CHLOE
The Guac Burger is quite popular, and I can see. It's made with a black bean-quinoa-sweet potato patty and topped with corn salsa, guacamole, onion, tortilla strips, chipotle aioli on a whole grain bun. It was very flavorful!
by CHLOE
by CHLOE location in Seaport also has Boston-only specials, like the "lobster roll".

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Drink 1800 Wines at Boston Wine Expo (Feb 18-19)

This weekend is a good weekend for wine lovers in Boston, thanks to the Boston Wine Expo bringing 1800 wines from 200 producers to the World Trade Center.

Some well-known wineries will be there, including Duckhorn, Louis Latour, Martian Ranch & Vineyard, and Bonny Doon Vineyard.

This is also a great chance to try some unusual (for America) wines, including Georgian wines (which I fell in love with during a recent tasting), Lebanese wines, Romanian wines, and even one closer to home from Brooklyn.

In addition to more wines than you can taste, the Expo will also feature some fortified wines (think Vermouth and Sandeman Port) and spirits such as BarSol Pisco, Junipero Gin, and Glenrothes scotch. Some food vendors will also be there, so you can pair your wines with cheeses (like ones from Finland). Or cinnamon rolls, because why not? Local restaurants participating including Davio's, Del Frisco's, Doretta Taverna and Wine Bar, Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca, El Pelon Taqueria, and more.

Tickets are $110 for the Saturday Grand Tasting ($160 for VIP) and $100 for Sunday ($150 for VIP). Seminars are priced and ticketed individually. Get tickets here.

If you need some guidance on which wines to taste / which booths to visit, fellow blogger Passionate Foodie has gathered a nice list to start you off with here.

Friday, January 20, 2017

City Tap House Opens in Boston's Fort Point with 60 Beers on Tap

Boston's Fort Point neighborhood just got another new spot for beer lovers. City Tap House is now open for dinner and brunch (weekday lunches start next week!) with sixty beers on tap.
City Tap
The beer list was divided by styles and they carry a lot of great beers, both local and beyond. Among the beers I tried during the opening party were Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose and Clown Shoes Chocolate Sombrero,
City Tap
If 60 beers aren't enough options for you, they also have bottled/canned beers as well as a selection of cocktails.
City Tap

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Brook Kitchen and Tap Brings Good Food and Beers to Holbrook, MA

When I got invited to try out the new The Brook Kitchen and Tap in Boston's South Shore (Holbrook, MA), I have to say I wasn't sure what to expect since I hadn't explored the South Shore much, but I was pleasantly surprised when I got there! The Brook Kitchen and Tap offers some great food at a value and a nice craft beer list to boot.

Among the things to get here are the Mango Habanero dry wings - they have a number of wet and dry sauces/rubs for the wings, but these were the ones the chef recommended for us.
The Brook Kitchen Tap
We were pretty obsessed with these wings. The mango habanero rub was superb! It packed some heat, and the sweetness and tartness added a really nice layer of flavors. We would definitely return for these!

In general the food at The Brook was not only good, but a great value as well given the price and the large portions. Take, for example, this appetizer of Crispy brussel sprouts with sriracha ranch ($8)
The Brook Kitchen Tap
Not only were the they crispy and delicious, this is perhaps the largest portion I've seen for $8!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Exploring Senegalese Cuisine at Teranga (Boston, MA)

Tucked in Boston's South End is an OG Senegalese restaurant called Teranga. Teranga means hospitality in wolof, a Senegalese language. The restaurant first opened in 2009 and closed down temporarily but reopened in December. I've only had Senegalese food once before and didn't remember much, since it was a long time ago, so I welcomed the chance to give it another try at Teranga.

We started with some Fataya. These are similar to samosas, or pastels, basically a fried dough pie filled with minced meat and vegetables. The ones at Teranga are served with a sriracha aioli.
Teranga
The fatayas are common street food in Senegal, and it is thanks to a big Lebanese presence and influence!

Next, we had some nems. Yes, these are Vietnamese fried spring rolls. What am I doing eating Vietnamese food in a Senegalese restaurant?
Teranga
As it turns out, there's a big Vietnamese influence in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, due to all the expat laborers there! Nems (sometimes also called rouleau de printemps - literally, "spring rolls") are very common there. Who knew!

Next, we had some attieke, which is a couscous made of cassava root. This was prepared simply with onion, mint, tomato, and served with lime. Simple yet perfect!
Teranga

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Daily Guide to $1 Oysters in Boston

Do you love oysters but can't afford to eat a dozen at the usual $2.50-$3.50 price per pop? Fret not, because there are plenty of places and times to eat oysters for just $1 in Boston! Here is a guide to where to get $ oysters in Boston. I'll try to keep this list as updated as possible, but please check with the restaurant before going :)

Of course, do let me know if you know one that is missing from this list!
Sterling's

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Revisiting Loretta's Last Call with New Menu Items (Boston, MA)

At the beginning of this year, I wrote about Loretta's Last Call, a Southern restaurant and live music venue near Fenway. They've recently revamped their menu, reimagining some dishes and adding new items on the menu, so I went back to try out some of these menu items!

The hush puppies had been recreated; now they serve Serrano and roasted corn hush puppies with honey cayenne butter ($8)
Lorettas
It's not that spicy but it has a nice kick, especially with the honey cayenne butter!

Another new appetizer was the Crispy pork belly with wild mushroom grit cakes & a cider reduction ($12)
Lorettas
My favorite part was actually the mushroom grit cakes, but the pork belly had a nice sweet glaze to it, as well - I just wish it was crispier considering the name of the dish!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Being a Tourist in Boston with Go City Card: From Duck Tours to Museums

Traveling can get expensive, that's a fact. Never mind the flight and the hotels, once you get to your destination, it can cost a lot of money to visit the all the attractions you want to see. Thankfully, you can save money with multi-attraction packages like Go City Card from Smart Destinations.

They recently gave A Traveling Life5 Things to Eat, and me a 3-attraction Explorer Pass to try out. It was our chance to do all the touristy Boston stuff that we haven't done!
Our first attraction was the Boston Duck Tour. We got on the tour at the Science Museum.
DSC07894
The bus goes to Boston Common area and continues on to Back Bay to Copley Square.
DSC07920
It then heads back to Cambridge and near the Science Museum and enters the Charles River from there. The best part is getting in the water!
DSC07960

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Michael Mina and Ken Tominaga's PABU Opens in Downtown Boston

PABU Boston at Millennium Tower from Chefs Michael Mina and Ken Tominaga officially opens today, November 1! PABU is located on the second floor of the Millennium Tower in downtown Boston, right by the Downtown Crossing T station. The restaurant will be serving sushi, izakaya-style dishes, robata, hot pot, and plenty of cocktails and sake.
PABU
Chef Michael Mina was a fan of Chef Ken Tominaga's original restaurant, Hana, in Sonoma County, which opened more than 2 dozen years ago. They finally partnered for the opening of PABU in San Francisco, and the partnership continues since.

The cold plates section includes the "Happy Spoon Oyster", of which we got a whole tower of during the opening party.

PABU

Happy Spoon oyster (uni, ikura, tobiko, ponzu creme fraiche, $9)
PABU
Among the hot dishes, you'll find okonomiyaki, chawanmushi, seared foie gras and more. We tried the Chicken karaage (ginger-soy marinade, spicy mayo, $12)
PABU
During the party, we also had the lucky chance to see chef Ken Tominaga in action, breaking down a 240-lb blue fin tuna for our consumption (we didn't eat the whole thing, don't worry).
PABU

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

From Lunch to Jazz, Beat Brasserie is a Crowd Please Any Time of Day

Beat Brasserie was already a popular spot in Harvard Square, known for its live jazz music and drinks, accompanied by some great food. But recently, Beat Brasserie also opened its doors for lunch on weekdays, adding another great option for nearby workers and students to grab a bite during the day.
Beat Brasserie
The restaurant is much quieter during weekday lunches than during live jazz sessions, of course, which means it would be good for a working lunch as well.

I recently tried the lunch and started with an appetizer of Fried Rhode Island calamari, vegetable frito misto, green goddess dressing ($13.50)
Beat Brasserie
Instead of the traditional heavy calamari plate, I liked that this was more like a salad.

For lunch entrees they have some overlap with the dinner menu, like the bowls and burgers, but they also have a quiche of the day, tuna nicoise salad, and others. The day I dined there for lunch, they had a rabbit pasta on the menu.
Beat Brasserie
The pasta was delicious and it was a good lighter option for lunch as well.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Event Recap: Taste of the Fenway 2016

Most people, even those not from Boston, would know the name Fenway, but how many really know the Fenway neighbhorhood beyond the baseball stadium? Fenway is actually home to many wonderful restaurants and bars, from the casual to the high end. Recently, the Fenway Community Development Corporation held Taste of the Fenway to showcase the diverse food options the neighborhood has to offer. Here are some of my favorite bites from Taste of the Fenway:

Tuna poke from Hojoko, the fun and hopping izakaya inside The Verb Hotel.
Taste of the Fenway
Top Chef alum Tiffani Faison actually has two restaurants in Fenway, and she brought both to the festival. I love when the chef is personally on hand to cook at these festivals, it shows their dedication!
Taste of the Fenway
She did a Singaporean Street Noodle to showcase her Southeast Asian spot, Tiger Mama.
Taste of the Fenway

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Boston: Dine at a Discount with GoPapaya App

Whether you're a student or someone with a "real job", everyone loves saving money, right?
Well, Bostonians can now have more opportunities to save money while dining out with this new mobile app startup called GoPapaya.

The idea of GoPapaya is like HotelTonight: they work with restaurants to fill tables during the restaurants' down time by offering discounts to customers, usually between 10-30%. On top of that, since they are new and promoting their app, you can sign up with my referral code "pigs10" and they will send you a $10 Amazon gift card after you complete your first reservation!

The restaurant will set a discount on the app in real time, and you'll have 30 minutes to arrive at the restaurant once you make your reservation. When you open the app, it will show you what discounts are available and for how much, sorted by the distance.
Untitled
Once you reserve the table, they will hold it for 30 minutes. During this hold and when you're checked in, you can't reserve another table unless you cancel the current one. Here's when I made one for lunch at Patty Chen's Dumpling Room in Central Square.
Go Papaya
To use it, you'd turn on your bluetooth, and the app will automatically detect when you get to the restaurant and check you in. You don't need to purchase anything from the app so there's no upfront cost like Groupons.

When I got to Patty Chen's Dumpling Room, I just told them I made a reservation with GoPapaya, and they knew what I was talking about.

Patty Chen
Pork Dumpling "Ramen" at PC Dumpling Room


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