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

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Miracle Bar Pop-Up: Holiday Cheer Around the Country

When I first heard about the Miracle Bar pop-up a few years ago, created by Greg Boehm from New York's Mace, I wished I had been in NYC to experience it. The year after it also popped up in LA but I missed it again. Luckily, Miracle became so successful the pop-up keeps returning each holiday season and has expanded around the country.

Last year, they had the first Miracle Bar pop-up in the Boston area, and I gathered fellow cocktail lovers to try out the holiday drinks at the Kimpton Marlowe in Cambridge. The holiday themed bar is coming back on November 23rd to even more locations around the country this year, so I thought I'd do a recap of my experience last year.

Here are some of the drinks we had last year and an idea of what's to come this year:
Yippie Ki Yay Mother F**r (Barbados rum, cachaca, Trinidad overproof rum, purple yam coconut orgeat, pineapple)
Miracle Bar
This one's for the tiki lovers, and you have to get it just for the Santa mug, of course.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Rebel's Guild in Revere Hotel (Boston, MA)

Earlier this spring, Rebel's Guild opened in the Revere Hotel with an American revolution theme to the decor. There's the cannon in the center of the dining room and Paul Revere and history-themed murals.
Rebels Guild

If you only get one drink here, make sure to get the Maple Old Fashioned (Whistlepig 10 year rye, Whistlepig maple syrup, orange bitters - $21)
Rebels Guild
It's a bit pricy but it's easily the best drink on the menu. We tried other drinks, as well, which tended to be lighter and fruitier like the Midnight Ride (Ghost tequila, lemonade, blueberry syrup, $14)
Rebels Guild

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Forbes Under 30 Food Festival Returns to Boston on Oct 2

The Forbes 30 Under 30 Festival will be held again in Boston this year on September 30-Oct 3. It's a forum for young leaders and entrepeneurs and cover many different fields. I've had the opportunity to attend their U30 Food Festival the past couple of years, where they showcase some of the Under 30 awardees from around the world.

This year, the Under 30 Food Festival will be on October 2, and ticket holders to the Summit can attend. You can check out this year's 30 Under 30 food and drink list here, which include Mei Mei's Irene Li, Peter Yang who cofounded Pokeworks, and Aaron Caddel from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.

Last year's food event was held at the JFK Library, and here were some of my favorite bites:
Foie gras torchon on crispy Yemeni flatbread and rose tahini from Shaya Restaurant in New Orleans. This ended up winning the Judges' Choice winner for best dish of the night.
Forbes Under 30

Monday, September 3, 2018

Save the Date for Taste of WGBH (Oct 11-14, 2018)

It's almost that time of year again, time for The Taste of WGBH Food & Wine Festival. The proceeds from the festival go to support the public radio program. There are multiple events over the course of the four days - last year I wrote about the Food Fight event.

One of the best events to attend is the Chefs' Gala, which will take place on Thursday, October 11 inside the WGBH studios. The gala event showcases 21 of the top chefs around the city along with beer, wine, and cocktails.
Taste of WGBH
Here are some of my favorite bites from last year's event:
Savory egg flan with sherry, maple, and ham from Puritan & Co. This was so good we got seconds.
Taste of WGBH

Monday, August 27, 2018

Osteria Nino: A Taste of Rome in Burlington, MA

I don't know much about the restaurants in Burlington (although I know you should definitely go to Sichuan Garden / Baldwin Bar in nearby Woburn) but now I can recommend at least one place to eat. Osteria Nino near the Wegman's in Burlington is a solid osteria serving popular items from Rome and beyond.

The breading on the fried calamari is nice and light, they're served with a tangy fra diavolo sauce.
DSC03219
Since it's a Roman osteria, the signature dish is the cacio e pepe - a simple and traditional dish of spaghetti, cracked black pepper, and pecorino romano.
Osteria Nino

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Foie Gras Burger and Craft Cocktails at Best Burger Bar in Brookline (Boston, MA)

There's a burger and bar joint in Brookline that went under my radar because of the rather generic name, Best Burger Bar. However, I was invited to try the place not too long ago and was quite pleasantly surprised! The restaurant opened last summer in 2017.

Best Burger Bar specializes in dry aged burgers, which gives it that extra umami flavor, and they only use certified Angus beef. They also have an outdoor dining area / porch that's open throughout the summer. Get some burgers paired with a Margarita Fishbowl for two ($29.50). The fish bowl has tequila, lime, blue curacao, orange curacao, and sesame syrup.
Best Burger Bar
Their burgers start with a classic for $5.99 and go up from there depending on the ingredients. For the quality of meat they use, this is a good bang for your buck in Boston.

For the ultimate decadent burger, get the Bully Boy Royale ($13.99). It has a black truffle foie gras mousse, Bully Boy whiskey bacon cranberry jam
Best Burger Bar

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Comfort Food and Classic Drinks at Seaport's OG Lucky's Lounge (Boston, MA)

Before Fort Point was the hot spot that it is now, there was Lucky's Lounge. I have to admit since it wasn't hot and new, it wasn't really on my list to check out after moving to Boston - but I'm glad I finally did.
Known for its live music and Sinatra brunches for many years, Lucky's Lounge also has a great beer list and serves surprisingly good comfort food and variations on classic cocktails.

I was pleasantly surprised at the cocktails I had here. There were seasonal Pimms cup, classic cocktails and in general a more interesting menu than what I expected. The drink was smooth and well balanced - I can recommend this place for cocktails in the Fort Point area!
Lucky's Lounge
The food here is comfort food with a twist, like this fried buffalo brussels sprouts with blue cheese and bacon. I'd recommend this to share with a few people, it was pretty rich with all the bacon and blue cheese!
Lucky's Lounge

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Spring Cocktails, Crab Toast, and More at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen at The Fairmont Copley Plaza (Boston, MA)

A month or so ago, I finally visited OAK Long Bar + Kitchen for a proper cocktail tasting. I often neglect hotel bars, but I've heard good things about this particular one so I decided to try it.
I was given a special sneak peek of their spring cocktails, which at the time didn't even have names yet! I was waiting until "spring" to post about them, and I think it's finally here, right?

I started with one that really invokes spring, a cocktail that's now been named Home Grown. It's made with Gunpowder Irish gin, English pea syrup, lemon, honey.

DSC02405
The vegetal notes of the pea worked really well with the botanicals in the gin. But don't worry, this refreshing drink is not overly vegetal, it was tempered nicely with the honey.

The restaurant manager Will Caines did a great job pairing up the cocktails with some bites from Oak's food menu. Will was previously a bartender at Doretta Taverna.
The first drink was served alongside Avocado and crab toast (peekytoe crab, burrata, pickled jalapeno, cilantro, $18)
gourmetpigs.com

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Beyond Malbec: Argentinean Wine Tasting with Proemio Wines at Prezza (North End, Boston, MA)

Argentinean wines = Malbec. That's what most of us would think of, I think. At least I did as well, but there is so much more happening in the Argentinean wine industry beyond malbec and I recently got to taste some at a luncheon featuring Proemio Wines.

Proemio was founded in 2001 by Marcelo Bocardo, a third generation winemaker and an Italian descent. They have three vineyards in different wine regions of Mendoza and as of 2017 all the grapes are organic certified. Most of the wines we tasted came from Maipu, Mendoza where they have 148 acres of vineyard.
The wine luncheon took place at Prezza in Boston's North End with a special menu by Chef Anthony Caturano.

We started off with a glass of Proemio Chardonnay 2017. This wine was 30% aged in new French oak (the rest in stainless steel). The wine was pretty delicate. The winemaker wanted vanilla rom the oak but still wanted good acidity and freshness, hence the blend of oak and stainless steel.

For appetizers: tuna tartare crostini and crispy shrimp with cherry pepper aioli
Proemio Wine
The wine lineup:
Proemio Wine
Our first course: Grilled quail over red wine lentils and bacon. The quail was grilled perfectly.
Proemio wine
We tried each dish paired with two different ones. For the quail, we had the Proemio Terroir Blend 2017 (Petit Verdot) and the Proemio Syrah/Garnacha 2015.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Where to Drink Cocktails in Boston: Central Square

I'll be doing a series of blog posts featuring the best cocktail bars in each of Boston's neighborhoods, starting from the area where I work: Central Square!

While I wish there are more craft cocktail spots here (for all those after-work "happy hours"), there are enough solid spots for the discerning drinkers to hit up for different occasions. Here are where you should be drinking cocktails in Central Square:

Craigie on Main
Craigie on Main

Craigie on Main's bar is always a great spot to grab a drink after work solo or with a close co-worker/friend. The cocktail menu is concise but covers a range of palates. Whether you want a classic champagne cocktail or a Penicillin, or one of bartender Eric Books' latest creations (spicy gin drink, perhaps?), Craigie on Main is a good bet any day. 

A4cade
A4cade

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Happy Hour with a Sunset View at Mission on the Bay (Swampscott, MA)

Not too long ago I made the trek up to Swampscott in the North Shore with my mom so we can have dinner and drinks with a bay view at sunset. We arrived at Mission on the Bay right at sunset, and managed to take some great photos and videos from our table by the window.
Mission on the Bay
I don't explore North Shore much, and I was pleasantly surprised by the cocktail I had here. The cocktail menu is seasonal, and I had the Go Figure with black mission fig infused bourbon, Cardamaro, and allspice dram. I ordered this because I'm a big fan of figs. The drink was well balanced and complex.

Mission on the Bay
Mission on the Bay also has a great happy hour menu for food (because Massachusetts doesn't allow happy hour alcohol pricing). From 3-7pm on Sunday to Thursday, the bar food menu is half off! You can get more bang for your buck with appetizers like this short rib empanada served with aji amarillo and salsa criolla. The app is normally $12, so during happy hour it's $6.
Mission on the Bay

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

U.S. vs France Pinot Noir Wine Dinner at Bistro du Midi (Boston, MA)

Bistro du Midi is an old-school French restaurant in Boston's Back Bay and about once a month they hold a special wine dinner for a small group in their private room, curated by head sommelier Ray Osborne. I attended their last wine dinner on November 29, which was a U.S. vs France Pinot Noir dinner. Ray explained each wine and pairing, as well as other tidbits about wines and pinot noirs. He told us that dark, less opaque colored wine is the mark of cooler climate wines.

We started the dinner with Beet-cured salmon, caper, creme fraiche
Bistro du Midi
This was paired with a 2014 WillaKenzie "Giselle" from Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Bistro du Midi
WillaKenzie Estate is a big name in Willamette Valley, started by Burgundian Bernard Lacroute. The name WillaKenzie refers to the soil, which is near Willamette River and MacKenzie River.
This was a great pairing, the wine tasted much smoother with the fatty salmon and sweet, earthy beet puree.

Spanish octopus, sunchoke, golden delicious, smoked almonds
Bistro du Midi
Paired with 2016 Louis Latour from Gevrey-Chambertin
Burgundy is particularly sensitive to vintages, and 2016 is a classic vintage. Louis Latour is an 11th generation winemaker since 18th century. Wines from Gevrey-Chambertin is known to be irony, earthy, mineral.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Visit the Chef's Playground with Leo's Lab at Tico (Boston, MA)

The best meals are created when chefs get to play around and innovate with their ingredients. Chef Leo Asaro at Tico Restaurant in Boston's Back Bay gets to do every once in a while with a special dinner called Leo's Lab, which happen every 2-3 weeks.

Leo's Lab
For Leo's Lab, guests are seated at the lab kitchen counter, so you can see all the action of Chef Leo Asaro preparing everything. There are only eight seats and only one seating for the night, so it's quite an exclusive experience.

Each Leo's Lab dinner comes with five savory courses, a dessert, and a chef's special cocktail - plus a welcome glass of prosecco for $75. Instead of a server, chef Asaro serves and explains each dish to the guests.

I attended the last dinner, which started with some Bay scallops with autumn berry, pine, and smoked oil
Leo's Lab
It was near the end of the season for Nantucket bay scallops, and we savored it paired with tart autumn berry sauce.

"Wrapper's Delight" - vegetables wrapped with jamon serrano and mole
Leo's Lab
The mole took chef Asaro 2-3 days to make and was very rich in flavors. The wrap filling was also accentuated with some rau ram (culantro).


Hearts of Palm "Carbonara", uni and oyster crema, pancetta, pink peppercorn
Leo's Lab

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Crepe Making with Saltbox Farm at The KITCHEN at Boston Public Market

If you live in Boston, I'm sure you've visited the Boston Public Market, but did you know about The KITCHEN at Boston Public Market at the back of the market? The KITCHEN is managed by The Trustees, one of the largest owners and steward of agricultural land in Massachusetts and a founding member of Boston Public Market. The KITCHEN frequently holds hands-on cooking classes and educational experiences that highlight New England farmers, artisans, and chefs.
I recently got to attend a crepe making class with Saltbox Farm and the chefs from Saltbox Kitchen, their farm cafe in Concord, MA.
Kitchen at BPM
Since my mom was visiting me from Indonesia I took her along for the class.
Kitchen at BPM
Each table can fit four people and equipped with our own cutting boards, one induction stove per table, and the ingredients for our menu. The ingredients for The KITCHEN's cooking classes all come from the Boston Public Market, including some gorgeous oyster mushrooms for our crepes.
Kitchen at BPM

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

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!

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.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Earl's Kitchen + Bar Heats Up the Prudential Center

Earls Kitchen + Bar is a Canadian-based restaurant chain that has made its way to a number of US cities. I haven't had the chance to check any of them out before, but I was recently invited to the opening party of the new location at The Prudential Location.

What I was surprised to see, and one of the coolest part of Earls at The Pru is the Cocktail Lab downstairs, where they will feature guest bartenders from all around the city.
Earls Prudential
The Goddess Manhattan, created by one of the restaurant's regular bartenders, was one of the bloggers' favorites of the night.
Earls Prudential
Other rotating bartenders who was also behind the bar that night were Will Isaza and Melinda Johnson-Maddox. I'm definitely excited about coming back to check out the Cocktail Lab and see who's behind the bar!                                                                                                                               
Earls Prudential
We also tried some bites off the menu during the party, including the Spicy Tuna Sushi Press (spicy soy marinated tuna, chives, nori, avocado, pickled ginger pressed on sushi rice, topped with sriracha mayo)
Earls Prudential
The tuna was served aburi-style, a.k.a. seared.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Seafood and Absinthe Go Swimmingly Good at Waypoint (Harvard Square, Cambridge)

Waypoint is the seafood-focused restaurant from Chef Michael Scelfo from Alden & Harlow. Tucked between Central Square and Harvard Square, it has become one of my favorite restaurants to go to for seafood.

One time, I went for the chef's counter tasting menu using a Gilt City voucher (seriously, Boston's Gilt City has some great restaurant deals listed from time to time).

For the tasting menu, we started with some oysters with pickled fennel mignonette, and fish pepper cocktail sauce
Waypoint
this was paired with Ca Di Rajo's Le Moss Pet Nat
Waypoint
We loved the wine. Le Moss is an unfiltered sparkling Glera Pet-nat (Petillant Naturel). Unlike champagne, these wines are bottled before fully completing its first fermentation.

The second course was the steak tartare, 3 minute egg, smoked trout roe, toast
Waypoint
This was one of the better steak tartare in the city, in my opinion. The flavor and texture of the meat was spot on, and the slightly runny egg yolk added a nice touch.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Food on Sticks at WGBH Food Fight and The Taste of WGBH

The Taste of WGBH, their annual multi-event food and wine festival held by Boston's public radio station WGBH is coming soon on October 5-8. There will be four different events that weekend, from a red-carpet Chef's Gala to three fun tasting events.

Last year I attended Food Fight, one of their events that pitted Boston restaurants in a competition for the best food-on-a-stick.
WGBH Food Fight
The winner of last year's food fight is Kaki Lima, the Indonesian pop-up that's currently doing a residency at Wink and Nod. They served their sate lilit, a Balinese spiced chicken satay served with turmeric rice.
WGBH Food Fight
I also got seconds of the lobster corn dog from Lincoln, because lobster!
WGBH Food Fight

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