Monday, April 29, 2013

Taste of Columbus Hospitality Group

          A long time fan of the Columbus hospitality group restaurants, I was psyched to attend their tasting event earlier this week. The event for bloggers and media professionals took place in the private dining room at Mistral, and all of the group's restaurants were represented.

          Mistral featured a martini glass of tuna tartare with ginger, soy, and crisp wontons. This was one of my favorites, and I had no shame about going back for seconds!

          There were also a selection of thin crust pizzas available including Tomato, Mozzarella & Oregano, Beef Tenderloin, Mashed Potato & White Truffle oil, and White cheese, Whipped Ricotta, Hot pepper, Sea salt & Arugula. They were all delicious but the tenderloin and mashed potato blew me away!

          Mooo's sirloin sliders with steak sauce, caramelized onions, and home made rolls were delicious.

          Sorellin'as Chilled Pea Soup with lemon ricotta creama and chive blossoms was light, refreshing, and perfect for spring.

          Landana had a skewer of grilled swordfish and vegetables, charred perfectly on the outside yet tender and juicy inside.

          Teatro had a fig and prosciutto sausage in a spicy tomato brodo. Although I enjoyed all the accompaniments, I would have gladly wolfed down and entire plate of the sausage!

          In addition to all of the great food, there were desserts (mini maple and bacon ice cream cones) and cocktails to try! I loved The race with rye whiskey, mint, lemon, and prosecco.

         It was also fun chatting with fellow bloggers, and the giant screen displaying our live tweets was helped put faces to the twitter handles!

           On May 1st, all of Columbus's restaurants will donate 5% of earnings to support One Fund Boston for the marathon recovery. So go check them out, help a great cause, and enjoy a delicious meal!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Blog and Tweet Boston Event at Bar 10

         Join Blog and Tweet Boston for a fun foodie event Saturday May 4th at Noon, at Bar 10 in the Westin Copley Hotel!

          Winner of several awards including Best Hotel Bar from Boston Magazine and Best Civilized Nightcap from The Improper Bostonian, Bar 10 is the perfect place to relax and unwind in sophistication and style.

          With a full brunch menu served from 12pm - 3pm every Saturday and Sunday, you can start or end your weekend relaxing and unwinding in the cozy booths and oversized chairs at Bar 10 while enjoying a variety brunch bites and sips. Choices range from a crab cake benedict sandwich or brunch burger (with a fried egg) to a green monster omelet, and traditional items offered as well, such as Belgian waffles and a yogurt parfait. Sips include an array of bloody marys, mimosas and craft cocktails.  

This is a complimentary event for Boston bloggers.To request an invitation:
  1. Follow @BlogAndTweetBos on Twitter and DM us your email address
  1. Join our Facebook group, Blog and Tweet Boston, and be sure to leave a comment sharing your email address with us
         We hope you'll publish a blog post about the event within 2 weeks of attending. When you share your email address requesting an invitation, you are agreeing to join the Blog and Tweet Boston email list, where we'll periodically alert you of new events. Blog and Tweet Boston is a group created by @BosBachelorette and @ITakePicsOfFood to bring bloggers and tweople in Boston fun social events and social media post content, connecting them with local businesses.

Taste of the Nation 2013

         Last week I attended Boston's Taste of the Nation, my favorite food and wine event, whose proceeds go to benefit  Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.

          Just days after the Boston Marathon bombings, Share Our Strength generously offered to donate a portion of their proceeds to Boston Medical Center to support their efforts in caring for the victims. Throughout the night there was also a 26.2 second long moment of silence, and the DJ played songs like Shipping up to Boston and Sweet Caroline.

          This year's event was held in South Boston for the first time, at the Cruiseport. The layout was definitely more open and spacious than past years, and I was glad not to have to wait in lines at the tables. The VIP area was in a separate area upstairs, and there was even an area for food trucks outside! Some of my favorites included:

Shrimp toast paired with a gimlet from Blue Ginger
Deconstructed Crab Rangoon from Tremont 647
Deconstructed lobster bake from Legal Harborside
Braised pork with sesame noodles from East by Northeast
Brisket cigar by 80 Thoreau

          This year's Taste of the Nation was my favorite so far; the new location and addition of the food trucks made a great event even better! I can't wait to check it out again next year!

Friday, April 19, 2013


          The newly opened Asta in Back Bay was one of the most anticipated restaurants of 2013; Chef Alex Crabb, of L’Espalier, and his girlfriend, Shish Parsigian took over the space formerly occupied by Cafe 47 and created a simple but elegant atmosphere with a wide open kitchen and a selection of three tasting menus that change nightly.

          I made a reservation for a Wednesday night, and when we arrived we were given the choice of a table or a seat at the bar directly in front of the open kitchen. Of course we chose the bar, and enjoyed watching the dishes being prepared and plated almost as much as we enjoyed tasting them!

          As soon as I looked at the menus, I knew I wanted the eight course option but there were a few options from the five course menu that I really wanted to try. The staff was happy to accommodate my request.

          Before the first course, we were treated to a complimentary glass of champagne and tasting of vichyssoise. The Chef himself delivered many of the courses, and the potato and leek soup he explained, could be served hot or chilled. I loved the chilled preparation and the topping of shaved truffle and truffle oil.

          The first course was a razor clam and parsnip puree topped with crispy fried parsnips. This was a perfect spring dish, light, fresh, and incredibly flavorful.

          The second course "After the Storm" was one of my favorites and definitely the most creative. This included a mix of mussels, salmon roe, seaweed pasta, seaweed, and foam.

          The third course on the menu was a sheep's milk cheese with fava beans and mushrooms, but I substituted a course from the five course tasting, an Essex greens salad with a soft egg and anchovy cracker. This was like a deconstructed ceasar salad, and the combination of the broken egg yolk and bits of anchovy cracker made the dressing.

          The fourth course was a poached arctic char with ramps and cherries. The chilled, rare preparation felt like sushi, and the sake pairing worked beautifully!

           The fifth course was an equally delicious and creative dish - escargot stuffed quail with a green garlic puree and fava leaves.

          The final savory course was the beef with peas, Maine Beans, noodle rags, and tatters - cooked perfectly and fork tender!

          The next course was a bit of a palate cleanser; citrus fruits with brown butter vinaigrette, shiso, and cocoa nibs. The citrus included both orange and grapefruit, and though I don't normally enjoy the bitterness of grapefruit but the combination of the cocoa nibs made it a little more sweet. I also loved the kombucha pairing, which isn't something I've ever seen in a high end restaurant!

          The last course was my second substitution, I requested the swiss roll from the five course menu in place of the almond apricot cake. Being a chocolate lover I had to try it, and I was so glad I did! This was a gourmet version of one of my favorite childhood desserts, filled with passion fruit creme and topped with bits of tobacco.

          Although I was stuffed at this point, I was able to finish the whole thing. A perfect ending to a fantastic meal!

Asta on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Recap: Chef's for a Cure 2013

          Earlier this week I attended the Susan G. Komen Chefs for a cure event, a tasting event held to benefit the Susan G. Komen foundation: an organization dedicated to curing breast cancer. The location was spread over three floors of the residences at the W Hotel and several of the show apartments. This unique set up allowed guests to sample amazing food and have a taste of life at the W and the fabulous views from the penthouse!

          We started on the 20th and 25th floors and sampled several drinks and savory dishes. Some of my favorites included:

Joanne Chang, Myers+Chang: thai ginger chick salad with vermicelli noodles

Michael Zentner, Gaslight Brasserie au Coin: steak tartare

Brian Reyelt, Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar: chilled Duxbury oyster with cucumber gin mingonette

Peppino (Shingara Singh), Da Vinci’s: wild mushroom ravioli with white truffle sage sauce

 Richard Garcia, 606 Congress: Cape Cod clam ceviche with lime and cilantro

Alberto Cabre, Casa B: Columbian shrimp cocktail on plantain chip

Larry Kessel, CTCA: hand-dipped ricotta gnocchi with duet of spring peas, crispy pancetta, black pepper relish

         We finished with desserts in the penthouse; my favorites were the white chocolate french macaroons from Michelle DeSalvo, Johnson & Wales, and Nicole Coady's creative candy bars from Fixx Chocolates.

          I had a great time at this event, and definitely want to check out some of the restaurants I tried!

WGBH's Neighborhood Kitchen

           Are you a fan of Food TV? Before the Food Network, there was WGBH. Julia Child's The French Chef was the first of its kind, and WGBH is continuing the tradition with Neighborhood Kitchen. Here's a preview of what's in store for the upcoming season; I can't wait to check it out and learn about some great local restaurants!

From the Pan-Asian Kitchen of Myers+Chang in Boston’s South End, to the Regional Cuisines of India in Pawtucket, Rhode Island
An all-new season of WGBH’s Neighborhood Kitchens starts
 Saturday, April 13 at 4pm on WGBH 2

BOSTON, Mass. (April 10, 2013) – WGBH’s Neighborhood Kitchens serves up 13 new episodes exploring New England’s cultural diversity through food beginning Saturday, April 13 at 4pm on WGBH 2. In each episode, Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way.

Season two kicks off in Boston’s South End and the pan-Asian kitchen of Myers+Chang, where chef/owner Joanne Chang teaches Margarita how to prepare the dumplings and scallion pancakes her mother made when she was growing up. Inspired, Margarita goes to nearby Chinatown to learn more. Chef Chang, recently nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef: New England, also takes Margarita on a special tour of one of her Flour Bakery kitchens and prepares Flour’s signature lemon and ginger mousse. Part one of season two will premiere on WGBH 2 with six of the 13 episodes in April and May. The second part of season two will return in September with seven episodes, including a stop in Pawtuckett, Rhode Island. The first six episode descriptions follow:

Joanne Chang / Myers+Chang and Flour Bakery (Episode 201)
Saturday, April 13 at 4pm on WGBH 2
In the second season premiere of Neighborhood Kitchens, host Margarita Martínez visits Boston’s South End to experience pan-Asian cuisine at Myers+Chang. Chef and owner Joanne Chang teaches Margarita how to prepare the dumplings and scallion pancakes her mother made when she was growing up, and sends Margarita to check out more Chinese culture and cuisine in nearby Chinatown. Aside from her restaurant, Chef Chang also owns the local Flour Bakery empire, and takes Margarita to one of the four locations to end the day with a delicious lemon and ginger mousse.

Richard Garcia / Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel (Episode 202)

Saturday, April 20 at 4pm on WGBH 2
Host Margarita Martínez heads to Boston’s Seaport District, where she meets Richard García, executive chef at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel and well-known around the city for his emphasis on sustainability. Margarita experiences Chef García’s philosophy on responsibility and local sourcing firsthand when he takes her on a tour of the nearby Fish Pier, where they pick the freshest catch for the day’s recipes. Back in the kitchen, Chef García teaches Margarita how to make local Pollack with bacon and seaweed consommé, Taylor Bay scallops with ceviche sauce, and “trash fish” minestrone soup.

Nuran Chavushian / Sevan Bakery (Episode 203)

Saturday, April 27 at 4pm on WGBH 2
Host Margarita Martínez travels to Coolidge Square in Watertown, MA, where a close-knit Armenian American community has thrived for nearly a century. At Sevan Bakery, co-owner Nuran Chavushian gives Margarita a lesson in Armenian cooking as the two prepare feta- and dill-stuffed boreks, karniyarik with bulghur pilaf, and his family’s signature pistachio baklava. Margarita also gets a tour of Sevan’s market, sampling the olives, nuts, and dried fruits that stock the wall-to-wall shelves.

Episode 204: Marcos Sanchez / Tres Gatos (Episode 204)
Saturday, May 4 at 4pm on WGBH 2
Host Margarita Martínez ventures to Jamaica Plain. Marcos Sanchez, executive chef at Tres Gatos, shows her how to prepare a trio of Spanish-inspired tapas, or small plates: lamb bocadillos with chimichurri sauce on fresh potato rolls, chicken confit with artichoke mousse, and homemade churros with spiced chocolate sauce. Margarita also tours JP’s Latin Quarter with Alberto Vasallo, Publisher and Managing Editor of community newspaper El Mundo, who introduces her to the neighborhood’s vibrant and diverse Spanish-speaking community.

Duyen Le / Pho Le (Episode 205)
Saturday, May 11 at 4pm on WGBH 2
Host Margarita Martínez visits Fields Corner in Dorchester, the heart of Boston’s Vietnamese community. Chef and restaurateur Duyen Le meets Margarita at his newest restaurant, Pho Le. Since moving to the United States 22 years ago, Mr. Le has been instrumental in introducing Vietnamese cuisine to the Greater Boston area. Together he and Margarita prepare Vietnamese crepes (banh xeo), green mango salad (goi xoai xanh), chicken noodle soup (pho ga), and tofu with lemongrass (dau hu xao sa ot). After wrapping up in the kitchen, Margarita explores the Vietnamese storefronts on Dorchester Avenue—“Dot Ave” as the locals call it—to take in the full breadth of the local culture.

Vittorio Ettore / Bistro 5 (Episode 206)
Saturday, May 18 at 4pm on WGBH 2
Host Margarita Martínez travels to West Medford, where she meets Chef Vittorio Ettore at his neighborhood restaurant, Bistro 5. The Tuscan-born chef teaches Margarita how to make calamari with tomato chutney, Meyer lemon risotto, and profiteroles with vanilla bean gelato and chocolate sauce, sharing with her the real essence of Italian cooking. One important part of Chef Ettore’s mission is his “Seed to Plate” program, created to build a connection between children and their food. The program is available at Winchester's Ambrose School.

Stay connected to the series by liking Neighborhood Kitchens on Facebook or following the show on Twitter at @NKitchensWGBH.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Taste of the Nation 2013

Have you heard about Taste of the Nation?

Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation has been my favorite food event for years, and I'm so excited to be attending again this year!

Taste of the Nation Boston will be held on April 18, 2013 at a new location this year, the Cruiseport Boston at Black Falcon Pier.

WHEN: Thursday April 18, 2013

6:00 VIP/7:00 General Admission - 9:30 p.m. ET

WHERE: Cruiseport Boston at Black Falcon Pier, 1 Black Falcon Avenue, Boston, MA

WHO: More than 55 of the city’s finest chefs and restaurants will participate alongside the event’s five Honorary Chef Chairs: Gordon Hamersley of Hamersley’s Bistro; Andy Husbands of Tremont 647; Jody Adams of Rialto and Trade; Tony Maws of Craigie on Main; Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery and Myers + Chang.

Attendees will also be able to sample more than 100 varietal wines, fine craft beer from the Boston’s most talented brewers and a variety of cocktails prepared by some of Boston’s premier mixologists.

DETAILS: Purchase tickets by visiting or by calling 1-877-26-TASTE. General Admission tickets are $95 in advance / $105 at the door. VIP tickets are $150 in advance / $160 at the door.

Since 1988, Taste of the Nation has raised more than $82.5 million for organizations in the United States, Canada and abroad, including more than $1.4 million in Boston alone. Area charities that will benefit from this year’s event include The Greater Boston Food Bank, Project Bread and Cooking Matter, formerly known as Operation Frontline – Massachusetts. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, which is dedicated to ending childhood hunger by making sure kids get the healthy food they need every day.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mac and Cheese Mondays at Church

          I've been to Church a few times lately and loved the upscale comfort food. When I heard about the Monday night Craft Beer and Mac and Cheese pairings I had to check it out! Jen and Jodi were also excited to try it, so we planned a foodie get together last Monday night to try the surprise preparation and pairing.

          I started with a caesar salad to help balance out the mac and cheese, and it was excellent. I loved that it included parmesan crisps and croutons!

          Next was the special mac and cheese, which Sous Chef Ben explained was a light spring version with Lamb, fontina, mushrooms, and fresh green beans. The whole thing was baked in a skillet and topped with ritz cracker crumbs. It was delicious and not too heavy or creamy. I loved the combination of the lamb and fontina, and the ritz crackers were just the right topping.

          The craft beer pairing was a can of Righteous Red from Brooklyn NY. The rye and hops were a perfect complement to the gaminess of the lamb.

          Overall the meal was  excellent, and the mac and cheese was one of the more creative preparations I've had. I can't wait to see some additional preparations over the next few weeks!