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


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

Monday, March 27, 2017

Five Movies About Food You can Watch on FiOs On Demand

I've been waiting for Verizon FiOs to come to Dorchester ever since I moved here in May, and now they're finally here (and Roxbury)!

Getting Verizon FiOs isn't only about the internet and TV service, though. Did you know you can stream TV shows and movies anywhere with FiOs On Demand? Most of the TV shows are available for free for FiOs customers, and the newer release movies can be rented or purchased.

Of course, I've been browsing what they have for streaming (you're welcome). Here are five movies about food you can watch online with FiOs On Demand:

Chef

This was a star-studded feel-good movie that will make you look for the best food trucks in your town, or anywhere that makes Cubano sandwiches.
It follows Jon Favreau as a disillusioned chef who quit his fine dining head chef job. Unsure what to do next, he heads to Miami, gets a food truck, starts driving towards Los Angeles while stopping and serving food - all the while bonding with his young son. Oh, and they get to stop and eat at Franklin's BBQ in Austin without waiting in line. JEALOUS. Not to mention all the star cameos.
Fun fact: Jon Favreau trained with LA's chef Roy Choi so he can do his own cooking in the movie.


The Hundred-Foot Journey

After their old restaurant was attacked and their mother killed, an Indian family moves to France to start a new life. They set up their Indian restaurant in front of an upscale French restaurant and get into a rivalry with the French restaurant's owner (Helen Miren). Meanwhile, the son of the Indian family wants to get into French cooking. Lots of mouthwatering food scenes in this cute movie, both Indian and French!
PS. Sadly, the sea urchin dish they were cooking in the opening scene is not a real dish. Too bad, it looked amazing.

Julie & Julia
A story about Julie Powell, who started an ambitious project of cooking each of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" - the film is intertwined with the life story of Julia Child. Meryl Streep as Julia Child is a combination of two of my favorite characters. I loved the wit and heart in the Julia Child's storyline here, and of course, the food looked great.

Ratatouille (free)
Basically the best movie ever, right, guys? Do I even have to really tell you what the movie is about? OK, fine. One of my favorite Pixar's movies (although I love pretty much all of them), Ratatouille follows Remy, a Parisian rat with an impeccable palate and can cook to boot. He befriends a garbage boy-turned-cook named Linguini and make amazing food to eventually impress the skinny food critic, Anton Ego.





Food, Inc

An outlier in the list, Food, Inc is not a light-hearted, feel-good movie. Instead, it's a look at how our food is produced. It's a documentary of the food chain in the United States and a sobering look at how large corporations are controlling the US food industry. Still, it's a well-done documentary that has been nominated for an Academy Award - and it's very important to know where our food comes from.


You can check if FiOs is now available at your address using this link: fios.verizon.com/

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Verizon Fios as part of the #BostonFiOs campaign


Friday, March 24, 2017

Brunch at Firefly's Romantic Patio (Studio City, Los Angeles, CA)

by Bryan Tsunoda (discovering-la.com)

Firefly has consistently been on the list of Top Romantic Restaurants in LA. I guess I haven’t romanced my wife enough lately because we haven’t been there. I recently attended a media tasting to sample their Sunday brunch offerings.

Customers enter into what appears to be a library lounge setting with couches and a classic bar from the past. Walking past the bar, you enter the bright patio which appears to be outdoors, but is protected from the elements by a translucent covering. 
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Along the wall are Moroccan-style cabanas that can close for privacy.
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Food Network and Cutthroat Kitchen star, chef Perry Pollaci, took over the kitchen last November. He’s a C.I.A. alum and has used his talents in New York City, Paris and Madrid restaurants. More recently he’s worked at Church and State and Kendall’s Brasserie, and has transformed The Royce into a cutting edge wood-fired steakhouse. He also volunteers his time at Slideluck LA which is dedicated to building and strengthening community through food and art. 

If you are the type that enjoys a continental breakfast, you’ll appreciate the variety of fresh baked pastries. Despite how good everything looked, I only tried a couple of them. The raspberry tart was fruit filled, flakey and quite tasty. A few of us were impressed by the sticky bun because it had a crisp exterior and wasn’t overly sweet.
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I sampled both the lobster and veggie scrambles. The eggs had a nice buttery taste and were extremely light and fluffy. 
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Naturally I veered towards the lobster scramble because they were made with truffle butter, tarragon, and topped with caviar. I would definitely order that again.

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

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