Saturday, February 23, 2013

Blue Dragon

          This week I tried one of Boston's most anticipated and talked about new restaurant's, Chef Ming Tsai's Blue Dragon! Just a week after it opened, Boston Bachelorette, Boston Attitude and I braved the nearly two hour wait (no reservations for parties of less than 10) to taste nearly everything on the creative tapas meets Asian fusion meets gastro pub menu.

          We walked in shortly after 7pm on a Thursday night and ordered some drinks at the bar while we waited. I tried the Loong, a delicious cocktail named for the legendary dragon made with dark rum, lime, falernum, and cinnamon. My friends ordered beer and wine, and commented that the wine list was short, but very well selected. The pinot noir was by far the group favorite!

          Once the crowd thinned out a little, we were able to take note of the atmosphere and decorum. It had a very industrial look, but felt upscale at the same time - perfect for the Fort Point neighborhood. We all agreed that if Blue Dragon takes reservations in the future, we're coming back and requesting the table with the waterfall!

          At about the halfway point during our wait for a table, we were able to score a spot at a bar table with standing room! We ordered a few apps while we waited including:

 Braised Shortrib and Chinese Celery Potstickers
 Whipped Hummus with Spiced Pita Chips
 Soy Pickled Deviled Egg with Taro Nest
          As a huge fan of shortribs the potstickers were my favorite, but I really enjoyed all of these dishes (even the deviled eggs, which aren't something I'd normally order)!

          After being seated we ordered several more dishes to share, including some of the larger plates and sides on the menu.

House Pickled Vegetables
Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs
 Escargot with Thai Compound Butter and Brioche Toast
Black Pepper Duck Liver Mousse with Cranberry Jam and Crostini
Hamachi Carpaccio with Avocado Puree and Crostini
 Kale Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Winter Squash
 Korean Chicken Wings with Fresh Kimchee and Soy Glaze
Shrimp Shumai
Salt and Pepper Shrimp

          Everything we tried was fantastic! My favorite dish was the salt and pepper shrimp - jumbo shrimp grilled in the shell with a spicy salted crust, served with red peppers and greens. Close seconds were the creamy duck liver mousse with cranberry, spicy shrimp shumai, and falling off the bone pork short ribs. 

          We debated ordering dessert; we were full but ultimately decided if there was only one on the menu it had to be worth trying! It was the biggest cookie I've ever seen, served in a cast iron skillet with vanilla ice cream, caramel, and chocolate. We did not regret our decision at all!

Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Served Warm and Topped with Ice Cream and Soy Caramel Sauce

          On our way out, the General Manager Sarah, impressed by the sheer volume of our order made sure to introduce us to the Chef. He was incredibly passionate about his food, and gracious enough to pose for a picture!

          Overall my meal at Blue Dragon was outstanding, I have no complaints about anything I tried. It was worth the wait, and I will definitely be back!

Blue Dragon on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Brunch at Ball Square Cafe

          This month's Blog and Tweet Boston Event is a combined event with the Boston Brunchers! We'll be heading to Somerville 3/2 to check out the brunch at Ball Square Cafe. Bloggers interested in attending, visit the Boston Brunchers website for details on how to win a spot.

          In addition to the brunch, our Pure Barre class (postponed due to Nemo) was rescheduled to the afternoon of 3/2. Visit my fitness and lifestyle blog Urban Guide to Life to request an invite.

        I'm really looking forward to both events! Join us for brunch, then head over to Pure Barre to burn off the calories!

Monday, February 18, 2013

The 2013 Boston Wine Expo

          I've never attended the Boston Wine Expo before, so I was extremely excited not only to attend this year, but to blog about it. As a blogger I got to attend an amazing preview event, host a fantastic giveaway, and attend the expo with access to exclusive pours in the bloggers lounge and more!

          There was so much food and wine, I couldn't possibly try every booth. But, I made my best effort and hit up as many as possible! Some highlights included:

          Rib Shack Red, perfect for a summer BBQ, and an excellent pairing with the pulled pork sliders from Kings.

          Some great value wines from Mionetto USA including:

  • Henkell: a German sparkling wine at less than $8 per bottle
  • Re Midas Soave: a crisp white, great with seafood and salad, winner of several awards including extreme value and best value from wine spectator, less than $10 per bottle
  • Il spritz: Like a Campari cocktail in a bottle, with flavors of blood orange and ginger, only 100 calories per serving, $12.99 per bottle
  • Pertanaci Langhe Nebbiolo: Made from the same grapes as Barolo and aged six months n French oak, only 19.99 per bottle
          Marques de Caceres 2008 Crianza, one of my favorite Spanish Reds, and 90 points from Robert Parker.

          A whole table of selections from Ribera Del Duaro (region of another of my favorite Spanish reds):

          In addition to the wine, there were lots of delicious food samples from local restaurants and artisans. I especially enjoyed:

          Chocolate and wine pairings from Brix chocolate. My favorite was the milk chocolate, although the three variations of dark chocolate were excellent and perfectly paired.

          McCreas Caramels (loved the rosemary and black lava seasalt flavors)!

          High End, Beef Jerky

          Humanely produced fois gras three ways: torchon, mousse, and seared. This was so good I went back for seconds (ahem, thirds)!

           There were also tons of demonstrations, private tastings, and VIP events, but the main expo kept me so busy I didn't even make it to any of the extras! I can't wait to check out the wine expo again next year, and see what fun new additions they have in store!

TV Diner Gala

          This weekend I attended the TV Diner Gala at the Seaport World Trade Center. Although it was the fifth annual event, this was my first time attending. There was a ton of great food and drinks as well as live music, and a high end charity auction. It was a lot of fun and a great prelude to the Boston wine expo, which I also attended later in the weekend.

          I went with a group of friends, and when we arrived we decided to scope it out, grab some drinks at the open bar and make note of dishes we absolutely had to try so we could hit them up first before getting too full!

            Highlights included braised quail from Temezcal, chicken and waffles from Local 149, gnocchi Bolognese from Davios, a whole cheeseburger from Tasty Burger, sea scallops from Haru, many variations of tuna tartar, and of course lots of desserts!

          Overall it was a lot fun, I loved the food, the wine, and the chance to get all dressed up and mingle with other local foodies!

Friday, February 15, 2013


          This Wednesday, the bf and I decided to check out Giulia, award winning Chef Michael Pagliarini's first restaurant (the former chef of Via Matta). We were there for an early Valentine's Day celebration, and the warm cozy atmosphere was perfect. Upon walking in, I noticed a large table in back directly in front of the kitchen. I later learned this table can be reserved for larger groups, and doubles as a pasta making table during the day where the Chef rolls out fresh pasta by hand. As we perused the menu, several items caught our eye but we decided to go with the tasting menu; a five course "Chef's whim” for $65. Of course, we also opted for the additional wine pairings for $35. We mentioned to our sever (who as a side note was outstanding) that we had been hoping to try the carne cruda and braised veal ravioli. He conveyed this to the Chef, who gladly obliged and even through in a couple of extras so we ended up with eight dishes total.

          We started with the antipasto plate, which included semolina cakes, warm olives and almonds, and crostini with white beans and braised radicchio. The semolina cakes were my favorite, and tasted very similar to polenta. I also loved the warm almonds, and the sweet flavor of the radicchio.

          The second course was a burrata topped with capers and served with two accompaniments - squash and parsnip and apple and celery. I loved the texture of the burrata, smooth but not too creamy and my favorite pairing was the squash and parsnip.

          The next two dishes (Carne Cruda and Whole Shrimp) came out together, and both were slightly outside my comfort zone. I hadn't realized until it was served that the ‘carne cruda’ was a steak tartare with crostini, served with pickled, roasted, and fresh onions. I've never tried steak tartare before; I just couldn't get past the idea of raw beef. We'd had a fantastic experience up until this point, and I decided if I was going to try it anywhere this would definitely be the place! I tried a tiny bit on the crostini with lots of onions, and was surprised that I didn't mind the texture. Then I tried a second more generous scoop and actually enjoyed it! The whole shrimp were served in the shell with blood orange and fennel. I also really enjoyed these, but decided I'd been brave enough for one night and didn't eat any of the heads!

          The next course was the one I was most excited to try, and it definitely lived up to my expectations. I was surprised the sweetbreads were inside the ravioli, but the combination with the braised veal was excellent and really unique!

          Next were our two main courses, cornish game hen with lentils and house made lamb sausage with broccoli rate, pepperonata, and gigante beans. The hen was cooked perfectly, with crisp skin and juicy white meat. The lentils were a perfect complement and added a bit of saltiness. The sausage, peppers, and broccoli rabe was reminiscent of the classic sausage and pepper dish, but lamb rather than pork gave it a little bit of character. When we commented on how delicious it was, our sever let us know it had been stuffed just hours before!

          Dessert was an affogato - a dish of vanilla gelato with bits crunchy chocolate, then topped with espresso that was poured table side. I loved the flavors and presentation!

          The entire meal was fantastic, and I wouldn't have changed a thing. The wine pairings selected and poured by Trevor, the General Manager were spot on and he was extremely knowledgeable about both the food and wine. I will definitely be back.

  Giulia on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Third Annual Burrito Bowl at Poe's Kitchen

          I confess, I didn’t watch the super bowl this year. Not even a little bit. However, I did go to the burrito bowl at Poe’s that weekend, and tasted some amazing and creative burritos! The event was football themed; seven local chefs were assigned a team and prepared a dish fitting for that team’s city. The line up included:

          Poe’s Kitchen / Buffalo: Beef on wheck, a twist on a classic Buffalo sandwich, which included roast beef in a burrito wrapper with caraway seeds, horseradish, and au jus. I've never tried the origianl, but I loved Poe's version!

          Estelle’s / New Orleans: A crisp burrito with pork and a spicy salsa with corn and black-eyed peas. I really enjoyed the authentic southern flavor.

          Tremont 647 / Seattle: Fried guacamole with braised beef and salsa verde. This was one of my favorites, and won the people’s choice award. The fried guacamole was unlike anything I've ever tried.

          Church / Philadelphia: This was a take on a cheese steak, with braised beef cheek, cheese whizz, pickled jalepenos, and potato sticks.

          Lolita / Oakland: This was another of of my favorites, and definitely earned points for most creative. The pork wrapped pork was served over polenta and agave “pigs blood” with bugles for devil’s horns.

          Boloco / San Diego: This was the most traditional burrito, served in a corn tortilla with sweet corn cream, carnitas, pan fried queso blanco and chipotle sour cream. Boloco also served a smoothie with milk, avocado, agave, and pickled serrano peppers. This was the dish I ended up casting my vote for, and it won the judges award.

          Taranta / Miami: This was an authentic Peruvian style arroz con pollo topped with onions and yellow pepper aioli.

          The burrito bowl was a lot of fun; I enjoyed trying each restaurant's interpretation and was impressed by the variety and creativity. I definitely added a few places to my list to try!