Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Foodery

There a lot of meal prep services out there now designed, of course, for busy people like us who don't always have time for grocery shopping (a major excursion here), food preparation and then cooking, especially on weeknights.  Some of them will deliver the full ingredients with a recipe and you do the cooking.  We've tried them and liked them.

The Foodery delivers the meals fully prepared, however.  All you really have to do is heat them up.  What's great is that it's all made from scratch, sourced with fresh, local produce with no GMOs, hormones or antibiotics.  That, we love.  They recently asked us to try the service and give them our thoughts.  So, here goes.

We sampled two dishes.  The first as Grass-fed Beef Cottage Pie With Potato/Cauliflower Mash.  It was certainly easy to heat this in the oven, as directed, and the flavors where actually quite good, especially the sharp white cheddar with it's perfectly chewy texture.

Now, we love a homemade Cottage or Shepherd's Pie (as many know it).  When making it we use the same top quality ingredients and we just think there is nothing quite like our own.  It does take a while to make it they way we like it, though.  This could not have possibly been any easier.  We also quite liked the cauliflower addition and may just well make this a new ingredient for our own recipe.  Still, it was good.

The second dish we sampled was Agave Sweet And Sour Chicken. This meal was actually microwaveable so we did that.  Again, it could not have been any easier and this one was great.  In fact, it was really as if we had made the meal from scratch ourselves. Loved it.

Both dishes held up well for reheating the next day.  So, the verdict: two thumbs up!  The menus are constantly changing based upon what is fresh at local markets and we like that, too.  Gone, though, are the hours we can spend in the produce aisle picking everything over until we find the best quality.  Easy.  Easy.  Easy.

And who doesn't like easy options for healthy meals these days? We'll be checking the menus online (there's something for everyone) and look forward to taking a few nights off kitchen duty and becoming a full-fledged customer.

The Foodery


Update:  The Foodery has agreed to offer our TBF friends and readers an exclusive 20% discount on your first order.  Just use coupon code BostonFoodieEatWell2016 on your order! 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Oath Craft Pizza

We here at TBF tend to be pizza pie purists so when Oath Craft Pizza, a new spot in Davis Square, invited us over to check out their pizza with a new style of crust we were a bit skeptical.

First off,  upon arriving the line of people went outside the door, so we immediately figured they might be onto something.

The pizzas are prepared with a thin crust.  Nothing unusual there. They did have some topping combinations that seemed intriguing.  

The difference is that the dough is drenched in oil then run through a very hot convection oven for exactly ninety seconds.  The result is a very crispy crust that's basically flash-fried. I'd describe the texture as a cross between a fried wonton and fried dough.  I know, sounds strange, right?

So, even we were surprised when we discovered that we liked it! Actually, we loved it.  It certainly is unconventional, different and there is nothing wrong with that at all.

There is a variety of flavors you can check out on the website but our favorite was clearly the Dougie:  Mozzarella, Roasted Potato, Smoked Bacon, Ranch Drizzle and Scallion.  Top taste of the visit.

They also have dessert pizzas which also worked well, making the pies a fine pastry.

We did take a few slices home to test just how the flavors and textures hold up when reheated.  They even give you a small card with specific reheating instructions.  We followed this and, yes, the slices came out perfectly fine, as if freshly-made even.

It's also a fun place with an upscale decor for a pizza spot.  The crowd ran the gamut from hipsters (it is Somerville) to families. So, if you are looking for something new and unusual to try, we'd suggest you visit.  We will defintely be back!

Davis Square
280 Elm Street
Somerville, MA  02144
Telephone:  617.996.6395


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cuisine and Confessions: Food As Theater

(L-R) Pablo Pamparo (cast member), William, Nella Niva (cast member) and Dean Igoe.
Photo by cast member Melvin Diggs.

It was Press Night last night at the Cutler Majestic for the new show CUISINE AND CONFESSIONS, which opened Tuesday evening.  We had not been inside the Majestic in years and had forgotten just how aptly named it is, so rich and elegant, comfortable but with that traditional air of formality.

There is nothing quite like live theater, especially in a world of Netflix and online gaming (no names mentioned) and we embraced all of the old world charms with open arms.  And there is nothing traditional about this show that defies description but is a delightful night of entertainment and laughter.  Part circus, part drama, breathtaking acrobatics, beautiful choreography, a diverse, international cast and all, believe it or not, with a full working kitchen (sink and stove included) where they actually produce food that will be served to the audience at the end of the performance.  We know this because we helped grate the cheese.  Fantastic!

That's right, they not only juggle the oversize whisks, pots and pans but they also use them to mix the ingredients.  And it's fun, too.  The characters draw you in with the stories of food that define their lives be it a joyous, content or sad tale.  The audience is even encouraged to participate by using their mobile devices (in a theater, no less) to help build to the climax.  I won't give away how.  The performance is eighty-five minutes, not a single one of them dull.

All in all, it's a lively night that's perfect for families or couples or a major coup as a surprise event for a second date.  Win.  Win.  Win.  Just go see it before this colorful troupe leaves town on August 8th.  Until then, we'll be looking forward to dining with the cast at restaurants all over town.

Cuisine And Confessions
Presented by The 7 Fingers Circus
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theater
219 Tremont Street
Boston, MA  02116
Now through August 7


Disclosure:  Although we find it extremely difficult to believe that a single one of our readers does not understand what "Press Night" means, here goes:  It's the night when the Press and Media are invited to attend. For free.  Without paying.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Brunch At Strip By Strega

The sleek design is there.  The undulating leather banquettes with fresh cala lillies that match the color.  The curved ceiling.  The shiny bar.

Strip By Strega feels different during the day, though.  The glittering night scene with drinks freely flowing, the occasional pro sports star spotted in the crowd of beautiful people, a DJ and music that pumps loud separate it into a different affair on a quiet Sunday.  It's still signature Nick Varano:  great service, the old-school glamor feel of the place, great design elements, a staff that instantly makes one feel like an old friend and the food.  Yes, the food.

Yet, it still has that private club feel and as the minutes tick by a crowd trickles in for the Sunday brunch.  We are among them, at the invite of the restaurant.  We start with, of course, Mimosas.  Here, there is not just a Bloody Mary bar where one can mix but also a Mimosa bar. 

It's no surprise that I order the Smoked Salmon Benedict With Asparagus, Hollandaise, Lemon Zest and Dill.  The sauce is lemony rich, the eggs perfectly turned out in bright yellow, runny drips.

My dining companion goes for the Bacon and Cheese Omelette with Spinach, Feta and Caramelized Onions.  It arrives looking like a comfy pillow.

It is fluffy and light on the tongue and the inside packed with flavor, with juices just waiting to be sopped up by the whole grain slice of toast served with it.

The Truffle Frites are about as good as it gets, crispy with a good potato taste and hint of truffle.

We had to, of course, try at least one dessert so we went with the White Chocolate Cake With Raspberry Jelly and Raspberry Sorbetto.  Served on a slate tray, it is a beautiful combination and even better with the frothy cup of cappuccino ordered with it.
The brunch service here is fairly new but they are clearly at the top of their game on the food.  That's always the case at any Nick Varano spot we have visited.  The only thing missing was the full cast of colorful characters that also accompany any time spent here.  Not to worry.  It's only a matter of time.
This would be a great spot for a nicer, even dressier brunch with a quality of food that is pretty much guaranteed in a sea of places where it's just average.
64 Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02116
Telephone:  617.456.5300

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Foodie Finds: True North Snacks

What do days at the beach, road trips and summer travels all have in common?  Snacks, of course.  Right?

It's very rare that we feature most of the products we are provided with as samples to taste but we are totally enamored with the snacks sent to us by True North.  We've been raving about them for days now.

Vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and with zero trans fat, they also taste incredibly good.  Our favorite is the cashew crunch.  They come in waterproof bags perfect for throwing in your picnic hamper or beach bag.  We promise you that you will not be disappointed.  They can be found pretty much anywhere and when our supply runs out we will definitely be buying more!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Lunch At Ocean Prime

You know them.  You love them.  They are a favorite party food but I'm betting you never enjoyed Deviled Eggs with white truffle and caviar.

What better way to celebrate the summer season than with a leisurely lunch in the Seaport District?  So, we headed on over to Ocean Prime at the restaurant's invitation to sample the lunch menu.  The Seaport is really bustling in the warm weather and alfresco dining choices abound, including outdoor seating here. 

An absolute must for an appetizer are the Deviled Eggs pictured above.  It's a signature dish on the menu and the subtle flavor of white truffle and caviar really amp it up.  A favorite.

As most readers know, I am a huge fan of salmon and regularly enjoy it at least two to three times a week.  The Teriyaki Salmon With Shitake Sticky Rice And Soy Butter Sauce was excellent here. A beautifully crispy caramelization gave way to a very flavorful salmon fillet and the sticky rice was perfectly executed.  I highly recommend this dish for any seafood lover.

Shellfish Cobb Salad.  A bounty of shrimp, lobster, bacon and bleu cheese was drizzled with the house gourmet dressing.  

For dessert it was the Raspberry Sorbet.  Served with an almond cookie, it finished us off with a sweet treat.

What, no drinks?  Yes.  This day we chose not to imbibe.  All the more reason to head back soon to discover what looks like an extensive cocktail menu!

As one can imagine the restaurant is large and comfortable and on this day seemed to be pretty much populated with corporate types power lunching and friends or families enjoying a special afternoon out.  I am sure that the cocktail and dinner hour continue with a buzz as the offices empty out.  So, reservations are recommended.

140 Seaport Boulevard
Boston, MA  02210
Telephone:  617.670.1345


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Happy First Anniversary Committee

The food was beautiful.  The drinks were beautiful.  And the people were, well, beautiful.  That's how it was last Sunday at Committee Boston, the Greek meze restaurant, one year anniversary party for friends and family.  Committee has became a favorite spot and likely to be the place we recommend to young visitors to Boston who not only want to go out to dinner but also have fun while doing so.  Committee is just that, a place we go because we love the food and the drinks but the atmosphere, the crowd and the people are half the fun.

The afternoon is sunny and bright with a cool ocean breeze.  The place is full of brunchsters as we take our seats on the patio, the music vibrant, the drinks being poured as platters of spanakopita are set out.  Those arriving grow increasingly well-dressed as time goes by.

We settle in on a comfy couch with a glass of Frosé:  rosé, elderflower Liqueur, Rosewater and Citrus.  It's a delicious adult version of a Slurpee.  I am not a fan of floral flavors in my food but this is light and airy and unusual.

The Avocado Hummus and Lamb Skewers are excellent but, then again, they always are.  This afternoon they are abundant, unlike many restaurant celebrations, the platters just keep coming out until everyone is as stuffed as the grape leaves.

We LOVED the retro look of these cups holding our favorite drink, the We Can't Elope:  Soul Cachaca (a sugar cane distillation if you've never had it), Cucumber-Cantaloupe Syrup and Fresh Lime Juice.  Very refreshing and different.  We reach to lift the Styrofoam cup reminiscent of Greek cafes and coffee shops.  Surprise!  It is actually made of a fine ceramic.

The crowd continues to pour in as the place (strangely) takes on a nightclub feel in the bright, early afternoon, music pumping, drinks flowing and young singles outnumbering everyone else.  It could be South Beach. This is apropos, half the fun of Committee is the lively crowd and one of the reasons we point people in this direction.
Congratulations Committee and may there be many more days and nights like this.

50 Northern Avenue
Seaport District
Boston, MA  02210
Telephone:  617.737.5051


Disclosure:  We really don't believe that people are unable to figure out that this was a party for select patrons and friends of the restaurant owners and therefore there was no cost to attendees.  Because it was an anniversary party.  A celebration, for which there is customarily no charge.  The FTC doesn't believe you are intelligent enough to understand that, though.  So, that's why we are making it clear. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Dining Alfresco At Bar Boulud Boston

It's that time of year.  The cool evening breezes and gorgeous sunsets draw us out of the house for alfresco dining.  Bar Boulud recently invited us to preview their Alfresco Summer Menu and it was, in a word, glorious.  The weather was perfect, the conversation lively and the people-watching, as always, fun.

We began with the Grilled Chicken Panzanella.  Sourdough, fennel, arugula, oregano and lemon accompanied moist, tender chunks of excellent chicken thighs.  I love chicken thighs, meaty, flavorful and often overlooked as they are actually a more affordable cut than the oft-used breast.  I have never thought of using them in a salad, however, and it worked beautifully.

The dish was served with Domaine Vincent Careme Vouvray Chenin Blanc, 2014, France. Perfect pairing.

For my main course I selected the Sweet Corn Risotto.  Grilled corn, mascarpone, thyme gremolata, risotto was the base with a healthy dose of Maine lobster atop.  The sweetness of the corn mixed perfectly with the creamy, slightly toothiness of the risotto and nothing detracted from that subtle lobster flavor.  Without question, a hit.  Delicious.

This course was served with an Au Bon Climat Chardonnay, 2013, Los Alamos Vineyard. Again, perfect.

The other main course choice was this Veal Schnitzel, which I did try.  The breaded, fried veal was traditionally prepared.  Gold bar squash, zucchini, pickled red pearl onion, basil and natural jus flavored it up.  While very good, I often find veal to be a rather bland taste but the others seemed to enjoy it.

We finished with a double tasting of summer desserts.  First up was a Blueberry-Pistachio Coupe.  The flavors were vibrant and rich. The blueberry sauce was perhaps THE most amplified blueberry taste I've experienced and the pistachio cake was not far behind.

Last up was this Peach Napoleon.  Simple in design and, again, amped on the flavor.  Just incredible.

Our dessert wine was a 2012 Domaine de Durban, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, Rhone, France, delicately sweet.

Although the cuisine at Bar Boulud is the utmost in quality, as is the service, the place has a very casual ambiance and dining on the patio on a cool summer evening made it all the more relaxing and reminded us what a great idea it was for a surprise summer splurge.

776 Boylston Street (at the Mandarin Oriental)
Boston, MA  02199
Telephone:  617.535.8800


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Chefs In Shorts 2016

(L to R) Carolyn Grimes, Program Director, Michelle Callahan, Director Of Communications and Will Barclay, Operations Coordinator of Future Chefs.

Seriously, who has a better-looking staff than Future Chefs?  It was all hands on deck last night at the Seaport Hotel for the 19th annual Chefs In Shorts event with beautiful weather, the largest crowd ever and dozens of well-known local Chefs, all in shorts. They were grilling and serving up delicious dishes and drinks to over 1,000 attendees, all to benefit the great work that Future Chefs does for disadvantaged, urban students with an avid interest in food and the culinary arts.

The always-gracious Chef Chris Coombs of Deuxave and his crew were there to lend support and feed the crowd at the sold-out event.

Chef's signature dish for the evening was Sumac Pavlova:  Grilled Corn, Candied Lime, Blackberry and Corn Ice Cream, subtle, sweet and superb.  Never had corn ice cream?  It's more like an corn ice dream!  Head on over to Deuxave.

Public Relations star Nicole Kanner and Chef Suzi Maitland of Trina's Starlite Lounge were there, always big supporters of Future Chefs.

Grilled octopus was on the menu at Serafina's serving table.

The Charred Octopus was served with a Yellow Watermelon Gazpacho, Fennel and Pickled Blackberries.  This was one of our top tastes.  Fruity and delicate, the octopus was incredibly tender and that watermelon gazpacho will definitely be on our summer dining-at-home menu.

Pat Keegan and her crew were there, a longtime supporter and Board Member of Future Chefs.  

The annual group photo gathered all of the participating Chefs and the full Future Chefs team.  Look at those smiles!  It also gave way to my new motto:  "You're not living unless you're giving." 

The ladies of Bombay Sapphire proved to be the most popular sip with long lines of guests queuing up for a generous pour.  

And last, but never least, were Future Chefs alumni, and now cooks at Foundry On Elm, Flaviana and Sandro.  As a proud Ambassador and volunteer for Future Chefs words cannot express how gratifying it is to see our family of teens who with the proper guidance, mentoring and apprenticeships, grow into their roles as Chefs and Cooks in so many of Boston's most popular and successful restaurants.  They are the future.  

Thanks to Toni Elka, Executive Director of Future Chefs, The Seaport Hotel and ALL of the participants and people who attended for their support and for enjoying Boston's best kickoff of the summer grilling season. 

For more information on this non-profit organization and the stories of people involved with it please visit the Future Chefs website. You will want to be a part of it.