Friday, June 15, 2018

Chefs In Shorts 2018 Tickets

They'll be taking the sabre to that big bottle of champagne again this year to kick off the 21st annual Chefs In Shorts at the Seaport Hotel to benefit Future Chefs.  This is the summer kickoff party you won't want to miss and one of the very best annual warm weather traditions here in Boston.

Thirty Chefs will all be in their shorts and working the grills as mixologists work their own magic to provide you with some of the must sumptuous tastes and sips of the season.  The best part, however, is that the three hour extravaganza will all benefit our very favorite organization:  Future Chefs.  I am so proud of these kids and the many friends I have made there over the years that just the chance to work with them is another big reason that makes food-writing so rewarding. 

This is a great evening of fun and camaraderie as we all go into the busy tourist season. 

You can get your tickets here but don't wait.  The event is a total sellout every year.

Chefs In Shorts 2018
Seaport Hotel
Friday June 22, 2018 7:00 PM


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Pit Stop At Polcari's In Woburn

We were recently in the Winchester area and it was on about the early afternoon when, suddenly, we ALL had an idea at the same time:  lunch at Polcari's. 

There is something almost nostalgic about the place including the fact that they don't seem to do any social media whatsoever.  They feature, if you don't already know and it's actually pretty hard to imagine anyone that doesn't, a menu of traditional Italian-American dishes like Grandma used to make if your Grandma happened to be Italian.  But even if she wasn't, going to Polcari's is still kind of like going home. 


Of course we broke up the warm, crusty bread and sopped up the herbed olive oil served with it knowing it was going to prevent us from finishing the large portion they always serve but, hey, it's part of the tradition.  I went with the Chicken Picatta served with linguine.  It's just exactly what you would expect it to be, like home cooking, the sautéed, breaded chicken cutlets, the lemony sauce with capers, a sprinkle of parsley for color.  As satisfying as ever.

Schiaffettoni:  caramelized onions, toasted walnuts, fresh spinach and a creamy garlic sauce.  It was full of flavor and the pasta the standard requisite texture of al dente.  An easy choice for next time as I often don't think of this dish.

A very simple Chicken Florentine with the braised spinach and mozzarella was just like you'd get (or make) at home. 

Whenever you're in the Winchester/Woburn area or driving by that Montvale Exit we all see on I-93, take a stop in and relax for an hour or two.  It's like going home.

309 Montvale Avenue
Woburn, MA  01801
Telephone:  781.938.1900


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Art Bar, Cambridge

What's better than dining alfresco on these beautiful early summer nights?  Well, having a view like this!  We enjoyed the food, drinks and company of great friends recently when we all headed over to ArtBar at Royal Sonesta in Cambridge.

There was plenty of seafood on the menu including these perfectly seared scallops served with a great cream corn sauce.  This was a terrific combination of salty and briny offset by the slightly sweet taste of that sauce.

The Fire Tonic cocktail will be poured at your table for the full dramatic effect of that beautifully indigo Empress 1908 Gin.  This is going to be a trendy mix this summer.  Like a glass of flowery spring.

We also tasted the Paloma, a classic tequila cocktail, along with shrimp, sliders and copious lobster rolls.  All in all a great night and the perfect alfresco spot for dining and drinks with music provided by Rich Dimare.

40 Edwin H. Land Blvd.
At The Royal Sonesta
Cambridge, MA  02142
Telephone:  617.806.4122


We were invited to attend this event as members of the media with no promise of any editorial consideration.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Father's Day Treats

As we have written many, many times before we often receive samples of food products and kitchen gadgets we are asked to test and the great majority never make it onto the blog because, frankly, there is nothing unusual or exciting about them. 

Yet, seeing it's nearly Father's Day and you are probably looking for ideas for what to get Dad we thought we'd share these babies called Peanut Butter Wings from The Chocolate Pizza Company because we really liked them.  Chips are always a fave.  Chocolate covered chips are even better.  So why not amp it up another notch by adding peanut butter?  It may not sound great at first but, seriously, it works.

There's lots of other stuff on their website that would be ideal for stocking up the man cave, too, but we're pretty sure that you'll be reordering these once you try them.  Helpful hint:  store these in the fridge or a very cool, dark place as they do get a bit melty when exposed to anything slightly warmer than room temperature.

Happy Father's Day to all!

We received this product as a sample with no promise of any editorial consideration.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Suit Supply Party Pics

If you saw a few hundred sharply-dressed guys flocking down Newbury Street this week they were probably heading to Suit Supply.  We were lucky enough to be invited to the reception party celebrating the opening of this slick new spot (their 100th store) that features well-tailored men's clothing and accessories.  And what a party it was!

Elissa Garza of Style Wire was there, as was lady-about-town Joanne Choi, the very dapper Eric Twardzik of  The Food Lens and a big group of other fashion conscious folk.  I loved how the mannequins were posed in lifelike positions, showing off the style and fit as one would actually wear it and I especially loved the formal wear section.  The free-flowing champagne and lobster rolls didn't hurt either.

There are four floors of sumptuous clothing with a cool cafe on the street floor where you can sip a latte as you watch your suit being tailored through a big glass window.  

Suit Supply
240A Newbury Street
Boston, MA  02116
Telephone:  617.249.7821


Friday, June 1, 2018

Boston Harbor Brunch Cruise

All photos by Dean Igoe Photography ©2018

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is:  where to brunch?  Well, now that the warmer weather is here we'd like to suggest a brunch cruise!  Boston Harbor Cruises offers a number of fun options and the fare is terrific.  Plus you get all the great views of Boston from the water.

The ships are classic harbor cruise ships with two levels, outdoor seating and a fantastic food spread with newer menu options created by no less than famed Chef Barbara Lynch.  We did the Sunday Bingo Punch Brunch and the two hours really flew by.  The cruises depart from Long Wharf and there is plenty of parking (free on Sunday) in the area.

In addition to the great food we played "Singo" where you win points for a prize by guessing the names of familiar pop tunes.  Very fun!

We sipped sangria as we noshed on this gorgeous Watermelon, Feta And Pomegranate salad.  

The lox with pickled onions and capers is a classic topping for your bagel smeared with cream cheese.

There is even a make-your-own-eggs-benedict station where you choose all the ingredients you want to pile on a very good, artisan English Muffin.  One of the best Eggs Benedicts we have had.  Really.

And, of course there are all of those views of the City making it a great afternoon for both locals and visitors on holiday.  No question about it, we loved it.

Stay tuned for our Codzilla ride coming up later in the season.

Boston Harbor Cruises
One Long Wharf
Boston, MA  02110
Telephone:  617.227.4321 or 1.877.SEE.WHALE


We attended this event as media guests with no promise of any editorial consideration.  And loved every minute of it.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Bacon Jam Recipe

Every Spring we are lucky enough to be sent a shipment of vidalia onions from from the first crop in Vidalia, Georgia.  To say these onions are incredible is an understatement.  Mild and sweet, it is one of my favorite flavor profiles.  This year we made Bacon Jam.  It was our first attempt and it came out excellent.  The recipe is simple but takes some time and needs to be watched.  You made need to adjust times and heat settings to suit your own stove.  We found it took a bit longer and a slightly higher heat setting to caramelize the onions with the brown sugar.  In the end, though, you get a burst of delicious sweet and salty flavor that's perfect just slathered on a pice of fresh bread or toast.  Enjoy!

The Best Bacon Jam


1 lb. thick cut bacon
  • 2 extra large sweet onions, quartered and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  1. 1  Cut the bacon into half-inch slices and add them to a large frying pan. Don't worry if the bacon pieces stick together, they will come apart as they cook. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the bacon is cooked but still quite chewy. A few crispy bit are ok.
  2. 2  Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings and reserve for another use.
  3. 3  Add the onions to the pan and cook for about 8-10 minutes then reduce the heat to low. Add the sugar and stir. Continue to cook until the onions have caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add the coffee, 1/2 cup of water and the reserved bacon and increase the heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring about every five minutes, until the onions are thick and jam-like, about 30 minutes.
  4. 4  Remove from heat and stir through the balsamic. Taste for seasoning and salt if necessary.
  5. 5  Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. Bring back to room temperature before serving. There will be little spots of white fat when you take it out of the fridge. As the jam comes to room temperature, these will disappear.
It is absolutely delicious.  Promise!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Dispatch From London: Tea At St. James

How fitting it is that our little blog began so inauspiciously eleven years ago today at the St. James in London, having afternoon tea.  We strolled through Windsor Castle on that trip and, yes, even through the very St. George's Chapel where Prince Harry will exchange vows with American Meghan Markle as the entire world tunes in to watch.  Whatever one's stand on the modern idea of a Monarchy might be it will never stop the avalanche of media coverage that is now happening.  Millions and millions of people the world over will be watching the ceremony, including millions of Americans who will be up before dawn to watch it live. 

We love the pomp and circumstance, the ceremonial glory and, yes, the romance.  I can tell you personally that when one stands in that dining room at that table where one hundred guests can be seated, with the glow of candles, the flowers arranged so perfectly, the glittering sterling silver centerpieces, the fine china perfectly arranged with the use of a measuring stick, it is overwhelmingly elegant and impressive.  It's not bad for the weekend getaway they mostly use it for.  Not bad at all.

And although this blog may not be getting millions of viewers today we actually have had millions over the years.  People from all over the world, many on their way to Boston and they want to know exactly what everyone else wants to know when they travel:  Where should I eat?  Where should I go?  What should I do?  They seem to enjoy it and we love doing it.  Hopefully, we'll be around for eleven more years.  And we thank you for the love and support!

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Friendly Toast

Cold, rainy weekend days in New England are just made for long, lingering brunches.  One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is:  Where to brunch?  We spent last Saturday revisiting The Friendly Toast after a long hiatus and found it to be every bit as good as we initially found.

We may not have been able to sit outside to dine alfresco but it has not lost it's charm with the funky décor, the extensive menu, the eclectic crowd and the great service. 

We began with a White Sangria, fruity and refreshing and served with a bright look on a dreary day.

Some Like It Tot:  Tater tots covered with a melted cheddar cheese, bacon, red onion, scallion and sriracha glaze.  One would fully expected the tots to be a bit soggy under all that but, surprisingly, they were not.  This clearly passed our crispy test and was a great appetizer to start with.

We are always working to give you the best food pics possible.  Lots of light helps and we were lucky enough to get a window seat.

Kiss My Grits:  homemade biscuit topped with fried chicken tenders, over easy eggs and cheddar grits, finished with a sriracha honey glaze and served with home fries.  Pretty much what one would expect a filling brunch breakfast to be.  Excellent home fries.

The Georgia Reuben:  Smoked turkey, tangy honey coleslaw, melted swiss cheese and thousand-island dressing on Anadama bread.  This was our top fave, one of the best sandwiches we've had in quite awhile.  The Anadama bread, first off, is a big contributing factor.  It shows deep New England roots in the corn and molasses ingredients.  Really good when toasted, it was the perfect foundation to a really great sandwich.  The cole slaw, also good.

The menu at The Friendly Toast is daunting.  There are just so many choices and they all sound very tempting.  One would think that it's just too much.  How can they execute so many choices and do it well?  Yet, they seem to do it consistently and the line waiting to get in is a testimony.  So, there is a simple solution.  Just keep going back.  And buy a loaf of that Anadama Bread to take home when you do.  They sell fresh loaves of their specialty breads at five bucks per loaf.

The Friendly Toast
One Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA 
Telephone:  617.621.1200
Other locations include Back Bay, Burlington and the original in Portsmouth, NH


Monday, May 7, 2018

Taste Of Back Bay 2018

Mariano, José and Ernestos,  all Berklee College Of Music students who performed at the recent Taste Of The Back Bay held at the Prudential Skywalk.

We braved a dreary night to climb our way up to the Prudential Skywalk for the annual Taste Of The Back Bay soiree held by The Neighborhood Association Of The Back Bay.  Eventually, the mist and clouds lifted revealing our sparkling city as we noshed on delights and sipped adult beverages from the most popular dining spots in the area.

Chef Jody Adams was there serving up Beef And Pork Meatballs from Porto.

Maraina Raimer and Jacob Glodde were pouring out those Sangria sips from Joe's American Bar And Grill.  I think it was the most popular drink of the night!

Deviled Egg and shrimp, just one of the many tastes sampled.

And, of course, live music from those Berklee students is always a big draw for this event.  Just look at the fog we were shrouded in when the evening began.

And last but not least these colorful cupcakes from Joanne Chang and Flour Bakeries.

A very fun night for all with much of the proceeds going to Women's Lunch Place, a day center for women in need where dignity is everything.  Congratulations all.


We attended this event at the invite of Back Bay Neighborhood Association as members of the media.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Cooking For A Cause 2018 For East End House

It was lots of great food and drink, new friends, live music and that sweeping view recently when we attended Cooking For A Cause 2018 to benefit East End House in Cambridge.

We tasted sumptuous plates and met all kinds of new people while atop the Royal Sonesta, at one of our favorite annual events that sort of kicks off the Spring social season for us.  Great job by everyone!