Sunday, September 25, 2016

Taste Of DTX

Chef Juan Pedrosa (far left) and his team from Yvonne's. 

We headed into Boston today as a guest for the very first Taste Of DTX featuring many of the great restaurants that are filling up this once desolate area of town.  If there was any doubt that the Downtown Crossing area is on the verge of a great renaissance any worries about this burgeoning revitalization can now be put to rest. There was an impressive crowd eager to sample the foods offered, spectacular fall weather, live music and plenty of fun at this family-friendly event.

A mere fifteen dollars bought you unlimited samples of chicken, lobster, porchetta, shrimp, salads and many other dishes from about twenty restaurants in the area.  

jm Curley was there serving up a delicious Mac 'N Cheese dish which will certainly bringing us back into their restaurant for more as the cooler weather approaches.  

Chef Pedrosa and his Yvonne's team also put on the most popular cooking demonstration with his easy squid dish flash-seared in a hot pan and prepared with ingredients anyone can find at their local store.  Very nice.

In addition to the demo Yvonne's was also serving up this very flavorful Chicken And Quinoa Meatball With Chinese Garlic Sauce And Spicy Mayo And Peanuts.  

There was also a group of local artists who were invited to actually paint the event as it happened, something we'd never seen before and also very fun.  Congrats to DTX and the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District on this inaugural food event!  We'll all be on the lookout for more fun and exciting events and to visiting often.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Taste Of WGBH 2016 - Artisan Taste

Future Chefs were well-represented (here by Geral of Everett High School) at Artisan Taste. 

It's been a beautiful weekend so far for the Taste Of WGBH Food & Wine Festival 2016.  This afternoon we were invited to attend the Artisan Taste held in the backlot at WGBH Studios featuring lots of local food and drink.  It was also the chance to rub elbows with the hosts of some of our favorite WGBH cooking show hosts such as Kevin Dundon of Modern Irish Food and Mary Ann Esposito of Ciao Italia (America's longest running cooking show).

Chatting with the vendors and volunteers and saying hello to as many of the Future Chefs, who helped the chefs and restaurants and for whom we've been a longtime supporter and volunteer, occupied most of our time but we also caught a great cooking demo by Andy Husbands of The Smoke Shop.  Some of our favorite dishes were the Chicken and Chorizo Tacos from The Farmer's Daughter and the Porchetta Tartine from Commune Kitchen in Arlington.  Our favorite craft brew was the Zeppelin, a hefeweizen from Revival Brewing in Rhode Island.  Our best find of all, however, was the Hakutsuru Sake table where there was a long line of primarily young people all exclaiming their surprise at how great the sake was after trying it, many of them for the first time.  We liked the Sparkling offering but the Plum Wine was the absolute hit of the event for us.  Enjoy the photos!  The Festival continues through Sunday.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Kane's Donuts

This is a gluten-free Pumpkin Spice donut and we liked it.  We liked it very much.

Cool weather and autumnal weekends seem to call for especially indulgent treats and what is better than hand crafted, small batch donuts?  The superb quality of Kane's Donuts are renowned in these parts.  Sprinkled with real bacon, drenched in a sweet glaze or filled with custards, jellies and creams, local ingredients including eggs, flour and honey are used.  And those ever-inventive flavors!  It all makes for a luxurious weekend treat.

Kane's has a new batch of seasonal flavors and we were recently lucky enough to be invited to try a few.  While Caramel Apple and Apple Cider are both good we prefer the standard classics on indulgent Sunday mornings, those few hours devoted to nothing but rest and relaxation, actual newspaper pages falling on the rug on top of slippers, CBS Sunday Morning whispering stories on the TV.

And, when visiting the Boston location on weekends don't forget to stroll through Leventhal Park in Post Office Square, an oft overlooked gem in the heart of the financial district.  Unless you're in Boston every day it's probably been a while.  Slow down, relax and enjoy because donuts are love.

Kane's Donuts
Two International Place
90 Oliver Street
Boston, MA 02110

Telephone: 857-317-2654

In Medias Res
Twitter or Instagram:

Disclosure:  See the above phrase "we were recently lucky enough to be invited to try a few". 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

PizzaRev In Cambridge

PizzaRev is now open in Cambridge conveniently located at the Cambridgeside Galleria. Who doesn't love choosing own's own toppings for their pizza?  Well, here you can totally craft your own. First you choose the crust - thin, thick or gluten-free.  Then, the sauce, cheese, meats and veggies.  They also have standard pizzas for the less creative.

We chose to take a pizza they serve, the Mediterranean which includes a white sauce, thin crust with feta, spinach, artichoke hearts and olives to which we added a chicken topping.  It was so good that we took the rest home after tasting.

We also tried another standard, the Barbeque Pulled Pork with a flavorful BBQ sauce, mozzarella (made with buffalo milk), pork, of course, crispy onions and jalapeno peppers for some heat.  Also good.

We then went for the Dessert Pizza which just wasn't our cup of tea. The honey, powered sugar, cinnamon and crumbled Oreos was just too cloyingly sweet for us but, then again, to each his own.  If we could suggest another it would be with cheese, maybe ricotta or mascarpone, nutella and maybe some strawberries or another fruit. Everything else was great.

We hadn't been to this part of Cambridge for a while and forgot about what a nice location it is.  In fact, Cambridgeside is offering free concerts featuring local bands called Rockin' By The River on Wednesday evenings this Fall.  Nice way to relax and enjoy the cooler evenings outdoors!

100 Cambridgeside Plaza
Cambridgeside Galleria
Cambridge, MA  02141
Telephone:  857.829.3135


And don't forget us in Instagram:

Yes, we were guests of PizzaRev for this visit but we WILL be back!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Newport Mansions Wine And Food Festival 2016

It's really not that far away and I guarantee you that it will sell out.  What am I talking about?  The Newport Mansions Wine And Food Festival 2016, of course.  This is the most refined and polished wine event of all held in the Northeast.  With the opulent elegance of the mansions as your backdrop on one side and the breathtaking views of the water on the other, you'll enjoy hours of great wine and food with lots of fun people.

We'll begin on Friday night with the Wine And Rosecliff event, a stellar evening soiree on the grounds of the mansion where The Great Gatsby was filmed.  Many wine vendors will be available to talk about their wines on a more intimate level.  Dozens of great chefs (many from Boston) will be serving up innovative fare to pair with your wine.  And, again, the crowd at this event has more fun than any other.  Last year we were even asked to photograph a wedding proposal at the fountain gracing the rolling lawn!  There will be music and dancing, as well.

The following day, Saturday, we'll be off to Marble House for the day.  Again, there will be loads of impressive architecture, interesting wines, delicious food samples and lots of other food vendors.  The one and only Jacques Pépin will be providing all with an afternoon cooking demonstration.  You'll meet people from literally all over the world.  Last year we sat down and had a café au lait with a gentleman who flew his Cessna in from Canada for the event! 

Don't miss it.  Yes, it's a bit of a splurge but you deserve it.  And I guarantee that you will never, ever regret coming to this event.  My advice is also to book your hotel room as soon as possible if you plan to stay overnight as everything will be totally booked within the next week or so. 

Hope to see you there in your Gatsby best!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wine Of The Week

In 1497 two noble Venetian families joined in marriage and began producing wine.  The family tradition continues today with this Barone Fini Valdadige Pino Grigio.  Delicate lemon and fuller fruit flavors are noted - melon, apple.  A bright acidity creates a lingering, crisp finish making it the perfect summer wine.  

As the season wanes and we enjoy those last few dinners, or just appetizers before heading out to dinner, with friends on the patio we've been enjoying this wine and it's been very popular so we thought we'd share it with you.  It's great with pasta, seafood and chicken but really it pairs well with everything including dishes with bolder flavors.  We also brought a bottle to a recent Buon Ferragosto dinner.  A hit!  Maybe because it's Italian.

Sip slowly and enjoy the last few weeks of summer!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

TBF At Red Bull Flugtag Boston 2016

It was a stunning day In Boston today for the Red Bull Flugtag competition, the very first time it was held in our city.  It was also incredibly popular with crowd estimates close to 30,000.  We thought it might be well-attended so we arrived quite early to find lines snaking down Storrow Drive past Mass. General Hospital.

We had enough time to hang out and chat with some of the participants who were cleary embracing their roles as each of the 30 teams competing had a strong theme.  "Flugtag" is a German word, we learned, that translates to "Flight Day" and this is a serious competitive sport all over the world. 

As luck would have it we were able to tuck ourselves in right beside the Judges Tent, probably the best view at the event.

The pier right in front of us was filled with media including underwater and swimming cameramen meaning that whenever the judges held up their cards the cameras swept over us, too.

Of course, we would have loved being high atop the ramp with our cameras for a while.  Then again, it wouldn't have been the best view when all those contraptions headed directly into the drink.

The opening began with Rene Rancourt (who else?) singing the National Anthem as a hush fell over the crowd.

Then, out of the sky, two Red Bull parachutists spiraled over the Charles River, falling at the rate of 60 mph at one point, as we've seen them do at other Red Bull events we've attended. They are military-trained ex-servicemen, the first making a stunning landing right onto the ramp hitting his target perfectly.  

Most participants were pushed off the ramp only to see their flying machines completely fall apart or freefall right into the water.

This Swanboat team received what was probably the loudest applause as their design swan-dived into the cold water.  The visual, however, was beautiful!

Each team selected three members who had to jump off the ramp into the water to assist the boat teams who swooped in to pick up the pieces.  In some cases there were a LOT of pieces.

We had high hopes for the Flying Bananas, the team of M. I. T. nerds who spent two months working out the physics and engineering of their design.

Yeah, the genius team proved their reputation.  The crowd roared as their design broke in half in one half of one second after leaving the ramp.  (Do the math: If Johnny is traveling at ... okay forget it).

And, YES, some of them actually flew!  It was a great day, great weather and great fun ranking right up there with our airship flight over Boston last summer.  Who needs Indy cars and Olympics, anyway?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Eat Drink Lucky

Eat Drink Lucky reached out to us at TBF a few weeks back because, well, we seemed to have similar values:  Food, drink and fun.  All in an easy format.

What they do is send you a trim (not a lot of words) email each morning with three ideas for fun things to or places to eat or drink. It's the exact opposite of those endless columns from people who seem like they attended the Frasier Crane school of restaurant criticism.  

We're featured today on their site.  Hope you sign up like we did and enjoy!


Monday, August 15, 2016

San Francisco Salt Co.

Salt is just salt, right?  To some home cooks it is but there are many types of salt.  Perhaps best known is Maldon salt, the flaky, stronger salt used by many Chefs for the extra zing of flavor and crispy texture.  As my palate has become more educated over the years I've used a variety of salts.  From Himalaya to Hawaii, there are pink salts, gray salts and even black salts.  

I was recently sent this sample of Whiskey Smoked Irish Sea Salt from the San Francisco Salt Co.  I like it.  It has a very fine texture and a slight smokiness to it that's different. Neither I nor any of the TBF friends I had sample it could detect any whiskey flavor which is fine by me but we all agreed we liked it.  I like it so much, in fact, that I will probably check out some of the other flavors on their website.  Sometimes the smallest things will make a big difference in the flavor of your dishes.  We suggest you try it and we'd love to hear from you if you do.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dinner At Top Catch

It was a beautiful summer night in Boston when I made my way from the Navy Yard to the North End waterfront for a bloggers only dinner at Top Catch, a new restaurant room atop Joe's American Bar & Grill on the fringe of Christopher Columbus Park.  

The story was interesting.  Joe's had a top floor function room with a spectacular view that was being underutilized.  So, they changed it into a new brand, a separate restaurant with a focus on fresh seafood.

And the view is, without a doubt, great, especially as the sun sets over the city.  

We began with this basket of Cheddar Biscuits with Tangerine Butter, which they hope will become a signature starter and constantly baked up fresh.  Very nice and I predict that they will, indeed, be a hit with the public.

My White Sangria seemed the perfect choice for a bright and airy evening.  Of course they also have Red and Rosé.  I loved the Rosé, too, and highly recommend you try one.

The Mussels are from Maine.  In fact a special note was made that they do not use P. E. I. mussels, a favorite with many local Chefs. Although I have always liked P. E. I. mussels, I found these to be as good as any I have had.

The Tuna Tartare, served with crispy crackers was also very good.

I asked to sample the Lobster Bisque and found it be much lighter than others I have tried with loads of lobster meat in a brothier base.  Sometimes a Bisque can be too heavy on the cream and butter.  I liked this version.

My main course was the Grilled Scallops With Pea Sauce.  This was excellent, light but with the unmistakable taste of the sea and the delicate sweetness of the fresh peas.  Nice job.

Although I didn't sample it on this visit the Lobster Roll looked very good with loads of meat, obviously a mayonnaise version.  I'll try that next time.

And, of course, what would a blogger dinner be without photos?  I was glad to be the only male blogger at the event.  The conversation was lively and interesting.

Then there was Chocolate Cake.  This is a phenomenal dessert and not to be missed.  I was most taken with the texture, perfectly cakey but also as if there was a ribbon of pudding mixed in without being overly dense.  Remarkable.

For great views, good seafood and professional service we'd definitely visit again.  The crowd was very diverse, all ages, and seemed a 50/50 mix of locals and travelers visiting Boston in this somewhat touristy area of the city, a stone's throw from Faneuil Hall.  It did make me wonder why I don't get to this beautiful part of the city more often.  A great spot for everyone, dates, friends and family.

Top Catch
100 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA  02110
Telephone:  617.367.8700


So here we go, again, with the disclosure that this was a media dinner and not for the public. As such, as most people will understand, there was no cost to the food writers and/or reporters, kinda like all those TV segments you see only the F. T. C. doesn't seem to mind that they don't disclose that.  Our views are in no way influenced by that, however.  We call 'em as we see 'em, folks.