Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Carnivorous Birthday Dinner at Bazaar Meat (Las Vegas, NV)

I spent my birthday weekend last December eating and drinking my way through Las Vegas with some friends from LA. We had some pretty stellar food throughout the weekend, including a meat-centric birthday blowout at Jose Andres' Bazaar Meat!

One of the hardest decisions you'll have to make during a dinner at Bazaar Meat is which cow you want your steak that night to come from. One of the most special meats they have is the Vaca Vieja, which means "old cow". This is 8-10 year old Holstein dairy cow (cattle for beef is typically slaughtered starting from 18 months and dairy cows from 4 years), and vaca vieja is typical meat found in Basque Country. Because of the age, there's actually more flavors to the vaca vieja meat, but the server warned that it could be an acquired taste.

Since we wanted to try as many things as possible, and the steak tartare is made with vaca vieja, we decided to try that particular meat as a tartare, and try a different one for our steak!

The components of the steak tartare was beautifully plated and then later mixed tableside. We ordered the Classic Tartare ($32)
Bazaar Meat
See the dark color of the vaca vieja? It's very distinct from other beef at the restaurant.
Bazaar Meat
The tartare was a sirloin cut, prepared tableside with Savora mustard, egg yolk, HP sauce, and anchovy.

Bazaar Meat

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, May 1, 2017

2nd Annual Masters of Taste Takes Over Pasadena's Rose Bowl on May 7

Summer is the season is food festivals. Up next on the calendar: Masters of Taste will be back for its second annual event on May 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Guests will get to stroll the Rose Bowl's 50-yard line while sampling bites and cocktails from 45 of LA's top restaurants and bars.
Masters of Taste
This year's restaurant lineup includes Miro, The Raymond 1886, Nerano, Alexander's Steakhouse, Hamasaku, Little Beast, Kato, and Redbird.
Masters of Taste
There will be plenty to drink including cocktails, beers, and wines. Participating bars include Bar Mattachine, Birds and Bees, and 1886. You can find beers and spirits from Indie Brewing Company, Kikori Whiskey, Mezcal El Silencio, as well as various wineries.
Masters of Taste
They didn't forget about desserts. You can cool down with ice creams from Choctal and Magpies Softserve, or much on treats from Street Churros, Spirnkles, and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

General admission tickets are $105 per person which provides festival admission at 4pm and unlimited food and beverage tastings. VIP admission tickets are $185 per person and include early admission at 3pm, access to VIP lounges and seating, and special access to limited release tastings. 100% of the proceeds will go to benefit Union Station Homeless Services. The organization works to identify causes that led to each individual or family’s homeless and provide the resources they need to end their cycle of homelessness. Purchase tickets here and get 15% off with code GPIGS.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Travel Tips: Apps to Kill Time on a Long-Haul Flight

Wow AirLong-haul flights are when I catch up on my movies, TV, and books. Good airlines now have a nice entertainment options, but sometimes you might get stuck with a budget airline that doesn't have any entertainment system or onboard wifi. If you have one of those flights coming up, there's no need to fret, as there are so many apps nowadays that you can use to keep you entertained.


1. FiOs Mobile App
This app is perhaps not one that might come to mind with other options like Netflix or Hulu, but did you know that the FiOs app lets you watch live TV from up to 140 channels, and also stream TV shows and movies on demand? If you are a FiOs subscriber, this is certainly a handy app to get before your flight! They even have offline viewing options for some content, so you can download some shows before you go off the grid aboard the flight.
Plus, if you're both a FiOs TV and Verizon Wireless customer, you can stream shows from the FiOs app data-free. Makes your live streaming those sports games or TV shows more guilt-free, right?

2. Netflix
The day Netflix introduced downloads and offline streaming was the day Netflix became a great app to have for traveling! Not all TV shows or movies can be downloaded at the moment, but there enough options and they make it easy to browse the ones that are. On your app menu, there is an "Available for Download" category with popular shows like Breaking Bad, Stranger Things, and more.
You can also use Netflix while you're in another country, although they have different content. I was able to catch up on Orphan Black when I was in the UK because they had newer seasons available there.

3. Amazon Prime Video and Audible
Amazon has really upped their prime membership perks with the addition of Audible Channels. I am putting these two together because they both come with Prime membership, although they are separate apps. Amazon Prime Video app has allowed downloads and offline viewing way before Netflix did, and their exclusive content also include some binge-worthy shows. Now the membership also includes access to Audible Channels and Prime Exclusive Audiobooks.

4. Podcasts
Technically not an app, but I love listening to podcasts and audiobooks while traveling. You get to rest your eyes while still being engaged by the story. Plus, some podcasts are so addictive that they're better to listen to in one sitting (like Serial and S-Town!), so they're perfect for a long-haul flight.
Got any podcast that you love? Let me know, I'd love to get ideas for my next flight!

5. Games
The key, of course, is to download games that can be played offline. Some offline games that can be addictive are Two Dots and 1010. Some games can still be played offline with limited features, like SimCity BuildIt.


Do you have any other apps you use while traveling long distance? If you do, please share below!


This post was created in partnership with Verizon FiOs, which is now rolling out in Boston, starting from Dorchester, Roxbury, and Roslindale.

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


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