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

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer Cookout at Element Boston Seaport Hotel

I recently had a staycation at the Element Boston Seaport hotel and had a summer cookout with friends. No, really, the Element hotel rooms are equipped with a kitchen and their patio has a grill that guests are welcome to use, as well, making it easy for both short or longer-term guests to "eat in" while they're staying here.

Element Seaport
Yes, we cooked this at a hotel
First off, the Element is a new hotel that opened up in Seaport last year, just across the street from Lawn on D.
Element Seaport
Element has rooms and suites, both of which are equipped with kitchenettes.
Element Seaport

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.
Sumiao

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)
Sumiao
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)
Sumiao
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.
Untitled
The wine's apple notes pair well with the Hudson Valley Camembert cheese, apple butter, and apple slices on cracker.
Untitled

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.
Untitled

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.
DSC03233
Uni Bocadillo (pressed uni sandwich, miso butter, pickled mustard seeds)
DSC03235
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)
DSC03237
While this wasn't what I had in mind when I wanted a "pork" dish, I enjoyed the toast regardless.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Thompson Island, a Private Event Venue that Educates Public School Students

Summer is eventually coming to Boston, and when it does, it's time for harbor cruises and visits to the Boston Harbor Islands. Thompson Island is also gearing up for the season. Thompson Island is open for one of two purposes: 1) a private event on the island, or 2) Outward Bound, an experiential education program for students.

The two are connected, and I recently visited the island on their Open House to learn more about both and the great cause the island is supporting! While the education center provides educational programs for students of all ages (corporate team building included), the private events that are booked on the island provide the funds needed for Outward Bound to offer FREE summer programs to Boston public school students!
Thompson Island
The wonderful cause isn't the only draw for having your event on this island, though. Let's take a look at what they offer. The island is a mile off of downtown Boston and takes about 30 minutes with the Boston Harbor Cruises ship.
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It was nice to get off the boat and head to our own private island - at least for the evening.
Thompson Island

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

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