Saturday, August 11, 2018

Cambridge Char And Bar Wars

We had a great time with about 500 new friends in Central Square recently attending the annual Char And Bar Wars hosted by the Cambridge Chamber Of Commerce.

Some of the most talented Cambridge chefs and mixologists were competing for the title of the very best burger and summer cocktail. And, of course, we didn't mind the sampling!

The moment we tasted this burger from Chef Graeham Henderson of Amuse in Cambridge we declared it our winner.  Rich, sweet, salty with both creamy and crunchy textures and a wallop of layered flavors, it was absolutely delicious. 

Then there were the drinks.  This Oh My Guava from Christopher's in Porter Square really hit the spot on a warm night.  It was fruity, fresh and not too sweet.  Clearly our favorite sip.

Needless to say both our choices were the crowd-picked winners!  Congrats to all the contenders and participants in this very fun summer event we'll be at for years to come.  The dining and sipping scene in Cambridge has never been so vibrant!


Monday, July 30, 2018

Joe's American Bar And Grill, Waterfront

The very refreshing (and strong) sangria at Joe's.

We stopped by Joe's American Bar And Grill at the waterfront on a recent weekend and had a quick lunch before heading to an event on the harbor. 

It was a late afternoon and although the entire area around Columbus Park was teeming with thousands of people, half of which seemed to be tourists based upon the languages spoken, being seated right away was not a problem.  It was admittedly more of a wait if you wanted an outside table to watch the world, and the boats, go by but time was at a premium for us.  It always is.

I had the Clam Roll.   On a soft bun and served up with great shoestring fries and fresh slaw, it was quite good.

My dining companion enjoyed the Black And Blue from the burger menu.  With cajun seasoning, smoked blue cheese and caramelized onions I was told the burger was fine and the Sweet Potato Fries were also good. 

This is casual food at a reasonable price considering the fact that this is an area heavily visited by tourists during the summer months.  The tab was about $60 for two, including the $15 sangrias.  And Joe's tends to be pretty consistent and reliable past on past experiences.

Of course there is always that very instagrammable shot of the trellis at Christopher Columbus Park that draws you in, too.  I only wish we had more time to hang out in the area!

Joe's American Bar And Grill, Waterfront
100 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02110
Telephone:  617.367.8700


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival 2018

Can you believe we are already filling up our schedule for September?  Wasn't July Fourth just the other day?  Summer is fleeting, seemingly speeding by faster than ever before.  One thing you may want to do before it catches up with you is get your tickets for the Newport Mansions Food And Wine Festival 2018 before they sell out.  And they will.  Why?  Because this year famed fashion designer Zac Posen will be in the kitchen cooking.
I have written before about the similarities between the fashion and food worlds and in this landscape of carefully designed and styled plates for all those Instagram pics that cascade over us each day like Niagara Falls it has never been more true.  Yes, even restaurants now have to be concerned about lighting.  Not for the guests but for the plates.
So, that's what we plan to ask him about.  Oh, and we also plan to check out his demo for a recipe from his cookbook.  The fun begins September 20th.  See you there!

Monday, July 16, 2018


We had a great weekend in Boston walking in and around the North End, waterfront and then for a thrilling ride on Codzilla by Boston Harbor Cruises last Saturday.  We'd never been on it before.  As we chatted with other passengers we discovered that it's a pretty close to 50/50 split between locals and tourists all looking for something unique and fun to do.

It's about a 40 minute ride reaching speeds up to 40 mph (which is REALLY moving when you are on the water) filled with sharp turns, big splashes and nosedive stops.  At times it felt like a rollercoaster.  Still, we loved it and highly recommend it for a group of friends.  Just don't wear your designer duds because even wrapped in a poncho you will get wet.  It's quite windy out there.

It's not just the need for speed that makes the ride fun, however.  There are also some stunning views of the harbor and Boston from the water.

For a short video of just how fast one moves and a real feel of the ride hit here for a video.  H2whoa!!!!

We were invited by Boston Harbor Cruises on this experience as members of the media.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Assembly Row Bar Stars Competition 2018

We headed over to the rooftops at Assembly Row this week for the 2018 edition of the Bar Stars competition featuring bites and, more importantly, sips from some of the best places to eat and drink there.  

The crowd was much larger than we expected, perhaps due to the absolutely perfect weather, the drinks inventive and the food terrific.  The People's Choice winner was America's Fresh Brewhouse and the Judges Award went to The Smoke Shop BBQ.  Those Ribs And Cornbread from Andy Husbands' new outlet were clearly our fave taste of the night.  Overall great food and drink and a very fun event.  It was a perfect way to kick off the big birthday bash weekend.  Congrats to all!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Boston Pizza Festival 2018

We spent a very fun, beautiful summer afternoon in the city with some very fun people enjoying lots of very good pizza.  It was the 2nd annual Boston Pizza Festival.  Held on Boston City Hall Plaza, the brick ovens (amazingly one for each vendor) were stoked and ready to quickly turn out hundreds of pies every minute to the thousands of visitors.  

Some of the lines were long but they moved quickly.  We sampled about 15 (the sampling is unlimited) slices with some very interesting flavor combinations.  The Pistachio Mozzarella slice from Antico Forno was a fave as well as the slices served up by Oath Pizza.  Many of the people we spoke to preferred Mast'.  

There was also some excellent gelato from Gelarto, cold beer, wine, entertainment and games for the kids.  The Festival runs through Sunday, July 8, ending at 8PM.  Enjoy!

We attended this event as members of the media with no promise of any editorial consideration.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Stoneacre Brasserie, Newport

Stoneacre Brasserie is a newer venue in Newport, RI and one of our favorite discoveries during our recent week spent there.  It has all of the makings of a classic French brasserie:  great quality food with a modern twist, a long bar where one can spend hours sipping drinks and talking with friends, an impressive attention to detail including presentation, a sense of the whimsical and even an in-house bakery and cheese shop.  It's also open from 7AM until midnight, the typical hours of an authentic Parisian brasserie.

The design is bright, airy and clean.  There is a long bar, as mentioned, high top tables and a more formal seating area which looks out into the street.  And for summer there will also be seating outdoors.  It's hard to equate the cultural and social importance of the brasserie in France as we really don't have anything exactly comparable here in the States.  In Ireland it would be the pub.  Here it might be the local diner.  Yet, not quite.  It IS an extension of one's own kitchen yet, unlike the other two, the food is elevated to that of an experienced palate and it's certainly not just a drinking place.

You may be offered Gazpacho Shots as an amuse bouche.  It's that level of hospitality, standard in France, the kind of thing that makes you want to come back before you have even begun.

Another taste we enjoyed was the Beet Salad With Pistachios And Pistachio Butter.  Beautifully served, pistachio butter was a new one on us and we loved the combo.

Eggs are always a popular item on the menu at a brasserie and this version of Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs was a new twist on a true classic.  These were a highlight of our visit.


The house-made Peanut Brittle served up after food to everyone that day was just another example of the delight and surprise service here.

After a snack and a glass of wine or a full dinner you can stop at and see what looks good in the bread and cheese section.  Cocktails, drafts and wine are typically priced in the $6-$14 range, appetizers $9-$18 and Mains $18-$26.   A full breakfast and brunch menu is also served ranging from $4-$16 for Buttermilk Biscuits And Seasonal Jam to a fuller Truffled Egg Toast,  With Mushrooms, Arugula And Parmesan. 

This is a good example of what we mean by attention to detail.  How often, if ever, does one see actual hand towels (NOT paper towels) in the restrooms?
Stoneacre Brasserie.  Oh yes, we'll be back.
28 Washington Square
Newport, RI  02840
Telephone:  401.619.7810