Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Chef Flynn, The Movie

You may remember Chef Flynn McGarry, the wunderkind once featured in that New York Times piece that went viral.  He's the "kid chef" as most people called him.  Well, there is a new documentary about him that hit the Sundance Film Festival, opened in limited release on November 9 and will roll out across the country soon.  And if you are a foodie you may find it quite interesting.  We did when we prescreened the film this week.

The documentary "Chef Flynn" features Flynn, the boy chef, his somewhat of a "stage mother" and an interesting story of creativity that unfolds before us like a sheet of pastry dough, rife with issues and criticism, indulgences and fates, imperfections and the wonder that maybe McGarry is to food the equivalent of what Mozart was to music. 

He gains media attention due to his age and the unusual career path he followed, dropping out of public school at a very young age for home schooling which pretty much seems to have been turning his bedroom into a kitchen/food laboratory all with the blessing and extensive funding of Mommy.  Not a conventional path, indeed.  For him, of course, it was a natural thing but when he takes his first step into the limelight, the New York Times Magazine cover story, he finds that with fame there always comes stinging criticism.  He knows he did not do the fifteen years of grunt work and apprenticeship that others have done to get this.  Yes, his parents are Hollywood creative types with lots of powerful connections.  Sure, he is younger than them.  He's been lucky, indulged, well-funded but ... is not the food good?  And isn't the pang of jealousy clearly apparent, as is often the case, in the most vocal of critics? 

It's an interesting film and one I encourage you to see if, and it may not be possible, one can ignore the age of the person being profiled.  That is the challenge that seems the point of the film.

We were provided with a screening of this film at no cost and with no promise of any editorial consideration.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Brunch At Lower Mills Tavern

Lower Gin Mills:  Lion's Tail Gin, elderflower, mint, lime and house made ginger beer.  It's for those who like their daytime weekend libations more on the boozy side.
Everyone is always asking us where to go for brunch.  There are lots of options but when we were invited to Lower Mills Tavern to try out their experience we were game. 
It's not an area we visit often but the traffic was fairly light on the rainy, cold Saturday we visited and we found it warm and inviting inside with a pretty good crowd at 1PM.


Three Little Birds:  Citrónge liqueur, pomegranate juice, strawberry-blood orange shrub and prosecco.  Refreshing and lighter.


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with blackberry compote, served with home fries.
We began with a couple of cocktails, tasty indeed, as we glanced over the menu.  Everything looked good but we knew we just had to begin with the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. They did not disappoint.

Steak And Eggs Hash with mushroom, red onion, breakfast potatoes, fresh mozzarella, chive and rosemary oil.

The eggs featured in this dish were perfectly poached and runny, a classic, hearty breakfast dish.

The Home Fries at Lower Mills Tavern were really some of the best we've had, perfectly seasoned with an almost creamy texture under that outside layer of crisp.

Chicken Sandwich:  Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Vermont cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and creamy ranch dressing on a seeded brioche bun.
The Chicken Sandwich was my favorite menu item.  I always think the buttermilk helps but, really, you either nail it or fail it.  This one was great.

Avocado Toast with eggplant hummus, chili-toasted chick peas and balsamic gastrique on whole wheat bread.

How can one not try the Avocado Toast?  It's such a thing now but this one was perked up with those chickpeas offering a tinge of heat we liked.

A side of Cauliflower Mash.

We also really liked the architectural details of the restaurant design which gave things an authentic mill town feel, the exposed brick and comfy leather banquettes were inviting and casual.  It was the kind of place you can just slow down and relax in for hours.

The aftermath.
The verdict:  The next time we are asked where to head for weekend brunch south of downtown Boston we'd advise anyone to try Lower Mills Tavern. 
2269 Dorchester Avenue
Boston, MA  02124
Telephone:  857.267.4461
We were invited to attend this brunch as members of the media with no promise of any editorial consideration.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Kicking Off Boston Christmas Festival 2018

Reporter Andrew interviewing Judge Owen for NBC 10 at the Boston Christmas Festival 2018 today.

It's not often that I get to combine family and food events but it happened today at the kickoff for the Boston Christmas Festival at The Seaport Convention Center where my nephews and I joined forces as Official Judges for the Gingerbread House Competition 2018.

It was a tough choice as all of the entries were impressive.  Fortunately, they only picked off one piece of a display and ate it before Uncle intervention.

Owen takes over the reporting responsibilities for NECN.

There were also some delicious cookies to taste and believe me they took this part of the competition most seriously.

Ally Donnelly of NBC 10 was also on hand t cover this traditional annual event.

Even little Gavin was there to provide unlimited cuddles.

(l to r) Miranda Allan, Ed Cameron, CEO, and Patty Kelly, Associate Director, of Housing Families were on hand to remind us that not all families are lucky enough to have a warm and comfy home for the holidays.  Please visit their site to show how grateful you are and make a donation towards their excellent work.

And the winners were ... stay tuned!


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Kafé Kahlúa Popup On Newbury

We popped in to the Kafé Kahlua popup last week, a fun spot to visit and hang out for a bit on a Friday night before pursuing the night's social activities. 

The pop-up featured snacks and cocktails such as this Espresso Martini featuring cold brew coffee with proceeds to benefit the Rethink Food Group.

We attended this event as members of the media with no promise of any editorial consideration but we do wonder why we have to disclose that and TV shows and magazines don't.  Can you explain that, FTC?

Monday, October 29, 2018

Halloween Cake Decorating At Magnolia Bakery

We donned the rain gear and headed on over to Faneuil Hall last week at the invitation of Magnolia Bakery for their Halloween Cake Decorating Class.

As a former professional baker who never really specialized in cake decorating at all it was a chance to update my skills and to be reminded that with just a few simple tricks and tips (and the right tools) anyone can produce quality results.

We created all sorts of ghosts and ghouls and even just frosted some in bright colors with the standard drop, smooth and dip technique that Magnolia uses on all their cakes.  The frosting is also real buttercream frosting not the cheapo shortening stuff that sticks on your tongue like a layer of lard - which it is.

All in all a very fun night and a chance to meet some new, local bloggers.  Happy Halloween, everybody!


We were invited to attend this event as members of the press/media without promise of any editorial consideration.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

WGBH Food And Wine Festival 2018

As we previously mentioned, the food and festival event social calendar is in full swing this Fall and it's been a whirlwind.  That's why we recently attended the WGBH Food And Wine Festival 2018.

Our favorite taste at this event was this Yellowtail Amberjack with Daikon, Fermented Broth and Spruce Oil.  A very different taste brought to us by Chef Peter Ungar of Tasting Counter in Somerville, it was both complex and simple with very distinct but subtle layers of flavor.  An unusual delight.

The event also provided live music, cooking demonstrations and interviews with interesting foodies.

And for those who purchased a full day ticket that day ended with a pig roast!  Not a bad way to end a cool afternoon.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Local Craft Spirits Festival

Willie's Superbrew featured Sparkling Pomegranate and Ginger Lemon brews.

The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts recently hosted a festival featuring many of the local spirits and brews throughout New England and we were pleasantly surprised that there is so much going on in this community. Willie's Superbrew was a new one for us.  Light, slightly fizzy and refreshing this went down as more of a soda rather than a beer and would be ideal for a hot summer's day.

Havoc Mead of Vermont was pouring Root Of All Evil, Psychopomp and Hop Swarm Meads.
One of our favorite sips of the night were the meads from Havoc Mead.  This is not the mulled wine that brings to mind goblets held by princes in medieval castles.  The flavors were very light and went down smooth.  Mead is one of the up and coming new brews that cannot be quite classified as a beer or a wine.

There was also a mixology competition featuring some of the products offered for sampling.

The Mexican Street corn was not bad either although our only lament of the night was the event needed more food.  After a few samples of hard liquor there were lots of college lads stumbling around but all in all a fun, informative night.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Chickenstock 2018 In Medford

The Chicken And Rice Guys hosted an event called Chickenstock recently so, of course, we just had to go check it out as their Medford outpost is just around the corner in this burgeoning restaurant locale due mostly to the big crowds queued up outside Chevalier Theater. 

It was free lunch and live music on a beautiful Autumn afternoon along the banks of the Mystic in Medford.  And although we couldn't stay very long for the music or eating contest we would have liked to.  There are just so many things to do this time of year!  Thanks to the Chicken And Rice Guys for hosting this event and giving back to the community!


This food and music event was free and open to the public.  You, too, could have attended and brought along all your friends if only you read our blog or followed us on social media.