Monday, September 16, 2019

On The Road To Newport Mansions

Yes, we are gearing up this week for the 14th annual Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival next weekend.  This photo sort of sums up the whole weekend for us.  It's a bit of glamour, learning, tasting, sipping, relaxing by the water in beautiful surroundings, meeting lots of interesting people, having wonderful conversations about wine (and beer and spirits) and lots of laughter and fun.  We have always described the event as sophisticated but not snobby.  Whether you are arriving by private jet or there mostly for the instagram potential it is one, big happy affair for all.

The weekend is full of all kinds of events with something for everyone.  It begins on Thursday night with the Maritime Wine Dinner at Forty 1 North and the Burgundy Grand Cru Dinner at The Elms.  Friday night features the very elegant Wine and Rosecliff Gala, a stunning social event with food, special wines and live music for dancing in the Gatsbyesque surroundings.  There are still a few tickets left for all of these events.

Saturday is the first day of the Grand Tasting at Marble House.  It is completely sold out but tickets are still available for Sunday.  There are also tickets still available for an after party, brunch and more serious seminars for those eager to learn.  Check out the website before all is sold out.  

The weather prediction for the weekend is near perfect.  In addition to Rosecliff and the Grand Tasting on Saturday we will be at Karma Pizza after the gala on Friday for some delicious late night pizza and après-ski.  Feel free to contact or join us.  For breakfast on Saturday we'll be at Stoneacre Brasserie and our dinner on Saturday after the event will be at Jo's American Bistro.  In between we'll be all over town hitting up as many foodie finds as we can squeeze in.  Hope to see you there and we'll have full reviews of everything starting next week.

Follow us on social media leading up to, during and after the events:

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Foodie Films: Constructing Albert

I have been lucky enough to have met the world famous chef Ferran Adria of the late El Bulli, considered to have been the greatest restaurant of all time.  Like most, I'm guessing, I had no idea that he had a younger brother Albert who was just as passionate about food and worked right alongside him.

I am also a huge fan of documentaries, particularly of the biographical sort.  Well this one is a gem.  It takes us behind-the-scenes for a pic into what it's really like to open a world class restaurant of the highest level.  From the design, tableware and tailored uniforms of the servers to the development of an exquisite menu that provides a unique experience unlike anywhere else you will be fascinated to see all of the hard work and heartache that it takes.  I don't know how anyone survives it, really.

So, if your looking for a very entertaining and eye-opening foodie type movie this is it.  Now available on DVD and streaming:  Constructing Albert.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Our Visit To Encore Boston Harbor

The Oyster Bar at Encore Boston Harbor.

We waited until all of the hoopla was over to visit Encore Boston Harbor. There was no rush as I'm not a gambler and the farthest thing from a Vegas type you'll ever find.  So, let's begin the story.

The shuttle bus seats were quite comfy and had that newly-fresh car scent.  They are free and run about every 10 minutes or so from both Wellington Station and Malden Center on the Orange Line.  Hey, you might even get a new train, too!  Seriously, doing this saves one an instant $20-40 in parking fees.  There is also a water shuttle from the Seaport District.  The cost for that is $14 per person round trip.

You will definitely want to walk around and get the lay of the land before you do anything.  There are some interesting sights to see.  It is over the top ornate with lots of shiny marble and brass.  I've only been to Mohegan Sun as a comparison but this was much more Vegas-style glitzy, so it seems.

The Jeff Koons Popeye statue cost a reportedly cool $28.2 million dollars.  I have my doubts and some might say there is a sucker born every minute (at a casino? never) but is IS quite the attraction.

The grounds, from this angle, are beautiful.  The landscaping is quite nice and it's a fine stroll on a warm, sunny day.  I'm not so sure how this will play out under four feet of snow but for now it's great.  From a different angle the view is of industrial buildings and, yes, that huge turbine.

They were setting up an outdoor beer garden on the afternoon we visited which seemed like a fun idea for that evening but we were not there for the night life.  We'll be going back for that.

We did gamble a bit because we signed up the red card program that offered an initial credit.  Believe it or not, we took home about $200 on the slots.  Some of the gaming areas are strictly for high rollers, which Encore seems to cater to.  

Our overall first reaction is that the place is very nice.  All of the shops are very high end designer goods.  I suppose if some people win big they will want to start spending right away.  When we perused the clothing shops we were pretty much the only customers, or browsers, there.  On the other hand, the clothes and products ARE both great quality and gorgeous.  Everywhere we went the staff was both extremely polite, helpful and courteous.  It will be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next few years and we have already heard they want to expand even more by adding a concert venue and then a golf course.

We did not dine anywhere on this visit but will certainly be back to try at least a few of the restaurants.  We looked at some menus and it is expensive.  At Sinatra, for example, with an appetizer, entree and glass of wine plan on spending $175 per person or more.  So, this was just a curiosity tour for us.  Stay tuned for more.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Brunch At Friendly Toast

Breakfast Quesadilla at The Friendly Toast, Cambridge.

Brunch.  Where to go?  What to get?  How long is the wait?  We get asked these questions all the time.  Well, one of the places we often revisit is The Friendly Toast.  The main reason for that is the plethora of menu items, some of which will always be new, the always great service and the consistency of the quality.

The Tiki Flight.

We love the flight drink specials, allowing friends to share a sip of each of the exotic drinks.  I can guarantee that you will love each taste of these Tiki drinks and want to go for the full thing the next time you visit.

The Monte Christo Sandwich.

This time around we tried the Monte Christo Sandwich, basically thick slabs of French toast filled with ham, eggs and cheese.  Sweet and savory, this is a classic southern dish which they have adapted well by adding in an excellent condiment:  Strawberry Jalapeno Jam.

The Barbacoa Benny.

The Eggs Benedict menu is rife with several options including this Barbacoa Benny pictured above.  A fresh biscuit is layered with braised beef, two perfectly runny poached eggs, hollandaise and barbecue sauces and then topped with crispy onion straws.  Some might call this the perfect hangover meal.  We call it rich and satisfying.

The colorful Margherita Flight at Friendly Toast.

While there we also sampled the Chicken And Waffles.  Sweet potatoes, bacon and fried thighs are all included and quite the standout plate.

Strawberry Waffles.

The Strawberry Waffles ( a special limited time only item on the menu) is divine inspiration.  It's not only fresh strawberries, waffles, whipped cream, ice cream but also, are you ready, strawberry cheesecake!  We have no question that it will be making it on to the permanent menu soon.

1 Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA  02139
Telephone:  617.621.1200


We were invited to this restaurant as members of the press/media with no promise of any editorial consideration.  We call 'em and we see 'em.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

It's National Waffle Day On Saturday

It's National Waffle Day on Saturday, August 24, 2019.  What are you going to do about that?  We'd suggest that you head to Friendly Toast, our current favorite brunch spot, for these cheesecake-filled, vanilla ice cream dolloped, fresh strawberry piled, whipped cream crowned and confectioners sugar dusted masterpiece.

Although it's just on the specials menu for now we are told that it's in serious contention to be added to the regular menu.  It's a perfect excuse, with perfect weather predicted, for a brunch date.  So don't miss out, on the menu or the chance to ask her or him out.

Friendly Toast
One Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA  02139
Telephone:  617.621.1200
And many other locations

Socials:  @thebostonfoodie

We were invited to taste this waffle masterpiece as members of the press/media with no promise of any editorial consideration.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Having Fun At Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival

A lot of people steer clear of wine festivals and events because, I think, they are under the impression that they are snobby with elitest wine know-it-alls who just want to impress you with their knowledge.  What fun is that, right?  This may be true at some events but not all.

Don't let the luxurious, gilded age backdrop fool you at Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival.  Yes, it was known as a place of immense wealth and formality but today it's more fun than anything.  It's an opportunity to learn more about wine if one wants to, see some great chef demonstrations and enjoy food samples and tastings, meet new people from all over the country or just relax at a beautiful spot on the water.

It's also a chance to get all dressed-up and dance the night away at some of the more elegant evening events.  We will be there again this year as we always consider the weekend (September 20-22) to be both the kickoff for and the highlight of the Fall social season.  We are absolutely confident that if you make either a day or a weekend of it you will not be disappointed.  Tickets can be purchased here.  Saturday typically sells out first.  See you there!  

Friday, August 16, 2019

Happy National Rum Day

Happy National Rum Day!  How lucky are we that it occurs on a Friday.  So, this weekend we'll be heading over to The Friendly Toast to enjoy this Tiki Flight which features all sorts of festive rum happiness.

The Tiki Flight is offered all summer long and features FOUR specialty tiki cocktails:  The Shandy’s Painkiller (Flor de Cana silver rum, Rumhaven coconut water rum, crème de coconut, pineapple, OJ), the Singapore Zing (New Amsterdam gin, cherry & orange liqueurs, passionfruit puree, pineapple, grenadine, bitters, fresh lime) as well as an original Mai Tai (Silver & dark rums, amaretto, pineapple, OJ, fresh lime) and the beautiful Mermaid’s Tail (Rumhaven coconut, water rum, spiced rum, blue curacao, pineapple, fresh lime).

Come and join us on the patio.  The alfresco dining season will be over before you know it and, as always, when you go tell them that The Boston Foodie sent you.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Carthage Co Stoneware

Dadasi Soup Bowl in Adriatic from Carthage.Co Stoneware

When hosting a dinner for friends, or even for every day, a delicious meal is often elevated to really memorable by the way it is served.  Quality is indeed in the details.  I'll never forget many of the very best suppers enjoyed in Europe began with the exclamation:  "Look at that beautiful stoneware." 

Well, America is catching up and not just with more educated palates than we have ever had before but also with these beautiful things imported from Tunisia.  Yes, many still believe that quantity is more important than quality and complain about "portion sizes" when dining out but increasingly the food experience is seen to be something that takes place on many levels.   It should look good, too.  Thank you Carthage.Co.

This bowl was provided by Carthage.Co with no promise of any editorial consideration.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

111 East

We enjoyed the spectacular summer weather last weekend by spending some time in the Seaport District which was crowded with many people having the same idea.  We stopped in to 111 East, a new restaurant on Fan Pier for a few appetizers and a delicious Hot Pot dinner.

The Duck Egg Rolls, Soy Duck with Cilantro Lime Aioli, pictured above were excellent and described by my dining companion as the best egg rolls he has ever had.

The Rosé sangria, made with sake, passion fruit and strawberry, was not too bad either!  

The Crab Salad with King Crab, Crab Stick, Jicama, Jalapeño, Scallion, Wonton Chips, Spicy Aioli.  Also excellent.

Then, of course, was the Hot Pot.  We chose the Miso and Sczechuan broths.  It comes with a great selection of vegetables and we took the scallops and shrimp for proteins.

Extremely fresh scallops boiled in a few moments to perfection.  The shrimp was just as good.

Tiny bowls of Udon and Egg Noodles rounded out the dinner.  The broths, the condiemts and all of the ingredients were excellent quality.  Just superb.

The decor is artsy in this comfortable space with a crowd that ran the gamut from preppies and upper crust millenials to tourists and couples out on the town.   The Seaport District really does have a New York City kind of vibe.  Overall a great experience that we can't wait to try again.

111 East
11 Fan Pier Boulevard
Boston, MA  02210
Telephone:  617.443.4111


We were guests of the restaurant for this dinner with no promise of any editorial consideration.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Lunch At Mamaleh's

It was my birthday week and friends kept asking me:  "Where does one take a food writer for dinner?"  Well, there was really only one thing I had been craving for months and that was good, old-fashioned deli food.

Mamaleh's in Cambridge did not disappoint.  There was not one iota of fat on that extra lean pastrami sandwich, mine served on a super fresh challah roll with a thick slice of Swiss cheese, mustard on the side and a beautifully brined pickle.

For sides, I went with the potato salad, a classic with chopped egg that reminded me of my many satisfying lunches at Lieb's Deli in Belmont and then Langley Deli in Newton Centre, both long-closed (and us still mourning) now.  Quality all the way.  My dining companion had the cole slaw, also excellent and what, of course, is the best accompaniment than a root beer float?  Absolute heaven.

To be honest, I wasn't sure how this was going to go.  I've had some incredible deli food over the years and it would be hard to hit that mark.  It did, however, exceed all my expectations.  Yes, it's not cheap (almost $70 for lunch) but as I have always said - you get what you pay for.  We'll be back.  And again.  And again.

1 Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA  02139
Telephone:  617.958.DELI


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Dinner At Home With Azuluna

Azuluna is not just your average meal kit service.  In fact, it's not a meal kit at all.  There is no mixing and chopping and all that and what's even better is that all of the ingredients are from local sources.  A TV dinner, basically, made with whole foods and even some gluten-free dishes offered and fresh, fresh, fresh ingredients sounds almost too good to be true, right?

My favorite was the Glazed Salmon and the Roast Chicken but the Chicken Pot Pie was also good.  It was all very easy and the portion sizes were just perfect for someone like me who is not an overeater.  We tested two samples of each of those three and found the quality consistent across the board.  Plus, there are many other dishes to choose from.

So, for all that what do you think you'd have to pay?  How does $15.00 per meal sound?  Yeah, I know.  Impressive.  We absolutely loved these meals and the service.

Check out more about Azuluna here.  You will not be disappointed.


We were invited to sample this service as members of the press/media with no promise of any editorial consideration.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Sailing On The Adirondack III

Despite the oppressive heat it was a beautiful day for a cruise aboard the Adirondack III, The Classic Harbor Line's 80 foot schooner out of Rowe's Wharf.  

It was the Saturday morning Mimosa Cruise.  We joined about a dozen or so other guests, mostly young professionals, to enjoy the cool breeze, sunny skies, great views of the Boston Harbor and ice cold mimosas or whatever drink one wants.

We've been on other cruises where drinking was basically the name of the game.  This one is more the classy one.  Maybe it's the wooden schooner or the hoisting of sails, the lack of a dance floor and disco ball but everyone here was just relaxing, sipping, chatting and laughing, a perfect venue for a birthday celebration, a special weekend or a nice surprise before lunch reservations.

So, yes, we give a two thumbs up, way up, if you've graduated from the standard booze cruise and are looking for a great morning with friends or family.  You can't go wrong.

Classic Harbor Line
60 Rowes Wharf
Boston, MA  02110
Telephone:  617.951.2460


We were invited on this cruise as members of the press/media with no promise of any editorial consideration.  

Friday, July 12, 2019

Karma Pizza Company In Newport

Another one of our favorite stops on the Newport Foodies Stroll was Karma Pizza Company on Thames.  Formerly Crazy Doughs, the place has been totally revamped and the menu now features some great thin crust offerings.  What was funny was that we had actually visited the place a few days earlier for a quick, delicious slice of the Balsamic And Ricotta which we highly recommend.  It's also a great late night stop when one has the munchies after a long day on the boat or at the beach.  They are open until 2:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Owner Paul Duffy (a Charlestown native) was there to greet us and could not have been more thrilled that I happened to be sporting my Karma Club hoodie that I picked up in Galway.

446 Thames Street
Newport, RI  02840
Telephone:  401.619.3343


We were invited on this food tour as members of the media with no promise of any editorial consideration.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Winner Winner In Newport

Next up on our Newport Foodies Stroll was Winner Winner.  Let's just say right at the outstart that this new spot in town is a TOTAL winner.  Even before this post we already had friends visiting here and raving about it.  Thank you, Dawn!  Our tour guides also informed us of several Newport resident Jay Leno sightings here.  

The Fried Chicken is incredible and so are those biscuits.  We also sampled the Mac 'N Cheese and a very good cole slaw.  If you're in Newport and love fried chicken, white or dark meat, you absolutely cannot go wrong at Winner Winner.

Winner Winner
677 Thames Street
Newport, RI  02840
Telephone:  401.848.CHIX


We were invited on this food tour as members of the media with no promise of any editorial consideration.