Sunday, July 14, 2013

Assembled Handmade Arts Market

          Have you heard about Assembled, the handmade arts market at Somerville's Assembly Row? Almost every Saturday this summer, local artisans will be selling handmade items including gorgeous jewelry, clothing, house wares, bath products, and more! In addition, there will be plenty of live music and food trucks including Bon Me, Frozen Hoagies, & Clover. If that doesn't sound amazing enough, check out this fun contest and giveaway!

         If you find any of the items in the pictures below at any of the tables at upcoming Assembled events, you get to keep it! Just mention it at the table, and be sure to tweet, instagram, or facebook a photo mentioning #ASSEMBLED or @AtAssemblyRow.

Here's a list of upcoming events, maybe I'll see you at one!

·        July 13th                             Pixiedust Crafts                                                                     
·        July 20th                             White Barn Heirlooms: Recycled. Reclaimed. Repurposed.
·        July 27th                             Locally Made
·        August 3rd                          Pixiedust Crafts with Pet-A-Polooza
·        August 10th                        Wicked Etsy
·        August 17th                        Locally Made
·        August 24th                        Haute Arts
·        August 31st                        Locally Made
·        September 7th                   Common Good Market
·        September 21st                 Steampunk and Riverfest

A Preview of Taberna de Haro

          Sometimes in my quest to explore as many new restaurants as possible, I don't make it back to the places I've visited and loved. Until recently, Taberna de Haro in Brookline was one of those places. Taberna de Haro was my first introduction to Spanish tapas about five years ago, when I tried it with a friend who'd lived in Spain briefly and swore it was the most authentic Spanish restaurant in Boston. The dining room was small and cosy, the wine selection excellent (and affordable) and the food delicious! I don't remember everything we tried, but the Spanish ham and bechamel croquettes and tortilla were amazing became the standard by which I compare all others. I'd always meant to go back, and was psyched to receive an invite to a special party celebrating the one year anniversary of their recent expansion (the restaurant's15th anniversary is coming up soon)!

          The event took place in the beautiful new dining room, complete with a full bar. Chef-Owner Deborah Hansen (our host for the evening) greeted each of us personally and chatted about her restaurant and food while we enjoyed a welcome cocktail from the new bartender, Devon Burroughs.

La Cola Nostra: Averna, Rhum JM, lime juice, and house-made pimento dram topped with cava

          We also sampled some passed hors d'ouvres including pinxto de gamba picante (large spicy skewered shrimp) and the croquetas de jamon (ham and bechamel croquettes). Both were delicious, and the croquettes were just as good as I remembered!

          Next we sat down for some more tapas paired with wines and sherries, and I learned that Chef Deborah trained as a sommelier in Spain and hand selects all 320 bottles of wine and 45 sherries on the restaurant's extensive wine list.We started with the bienmesabe (marinated haddock) paired with Fino Tio Pepe, a chilled dry sherry. The fish was light and flaky, and the flavor of the fresh lemon went especially well with the sherry.

          We also tried the pan tumaquet, toasted tomato bread with garlic and either jamon, or a marinated anchovy. I tried a little of each, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed the anchovy, which isn't something I'd normally order!

          Unfortunately I had another commitment the same night and wasn't able to stay for the rest of the pairings. But after everything I tried and meeting Deborah, I can't wait to go back for dinner and get the full experience! Taberna de Haro is now at the top of my list to go ASAP, so stay tuned for a more in depth review soon with even more pics!

Sunday, July 7, 2013


           M3 (Short for Meat and three sides) in Davis Square has been on my list to try since they opened over a year ago. Craving fried chicken one night, the bf and I checked out the menus of several Southern-style Boston restaurants (have I mentioned how much I LOVE this trend??) and decided M3's several different variations (fried chicken, chicken and waffles, chicken and biscuits, and chicken fried steak) sounded the most promising! We got there early, around 5:30 on a Sunday, and walked right in (although there was a wait by the time we finished).

          We started with two of the chalkboard specials as appetizers, steamed mussels in white wine broth and the house made pickles of the day. The mussels were served with a spicy chorizo, and toasted, buttery bread. The pickles were delicious, and also had a little kick to them.

          For my main course, I ordered the fried chicken with sweet potato and fluff casserole, mac and cheese, a biscuit with apple butter, and collard greens. The portion was enormous!

          The chicken was fried crisp and well seasoned, the mac and cheese was thick and creamy, and the sweet potato casserole was like candy! I also loved the flavor of the apple butter with the biscuit, although I was barely able to eat more than a bite.

          I also tried a couple of bites of the bf's chicken fried steak, which was covered in rich country gravy.

          We were way too full for dessert, but I made a mental note to return for the fried fluffernutters!

          Overall I really enjoyed the meal at M3, and though there are several new southern style restaurants in Boston, this one stood out in that there weren't a lot of fusion dishes or unsusual twists. The cuisine was simple, authentic soul food done well.

M3 on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sweet Caroline's in Fenway - More Than Just a Red Sox Bar

          With a name like Sweet Carolines and the Fenway location, you'd expect a typical sports bar with generic draft beer, burgers, and buffalo wings. While Sweet Caroline's does serve both burgers and wings, the burgers are hand crafted from fresh grass fed beef and the buffalo chicken rangoons are anything but generic. They also have an extensive drink list including craft brews and cocktails designed by one of the city's top mixologists.

          Sweet Caroline's opened about two years ago, but it was within the past year that Chef Joshua Smith (formerly of The Four Seasons and Tico) took over and completely revamped the menu. His farm to table philosophy and creative twists on pub fare make Sweet Caroline's more of a neighborhood bar and grill than a sports bar, although there are televisions throughout the bar so guests can watch the game.

          Blog and Tweet Boston was recently invited to sample the brunch and lunch menu, as well as several selections from the new craft cocktail list.

          We started with a Touchin' cocktail, and learned that all drinks are named for verses from the song Sweet Caroline. This take on a mimosa included Campari, Peach Absolute, Prosecco, and grapefruit juice, and was garnished with a slice of fresh grapefruit.

          We ordered a mix of breakfast and lunch items for the table to share. Some of my favorites included:

          A lobster roll prepared with fresh made in house lobster, celery, bermuda onion, coleslaw, and home made potato chips.This is not something I normally order unless the restaurant offers Connecticut style (hot with butter), but sweet Caroline's version had very little mayonnaise, and the star of the sandwich was mountain of lobster meat on a toasted buttery bun.

          Eggs Benedict with two perfectly poached (runny) eggs, ham, hollandaise, and a lightly toasted English muffin, served with fresh cut home fries.

          Buffalo chicken rangoons: a twist on the crab rangoon, filled with pulled spicy chicken, served with a side of buttermilk blue cheese dressing.

          A grassfed beef burger topped with applewood smoked bacon and American cheese, served on a toasted brioche roll with a side of fries.

           A fried oyster salad with spinach, bacon, hard boiled egg, sliced red onion, and a warm bacon vinaigrette.

          Pancakes, which were thin like crepes but still light and fluffy, topped with plenty of whipped butter and maple syrup.

          Throughout the meal we sampled even more of the new cocktails including the Where it Began margarita with simple jalepeno simple syrup and a cajun spiced rim:

          When Spring Became Summer: bully boy white whiskey with cucumber infused simple syrup, lemon, sprite and bitters:

          Angels in the Outfield: Angels Envy bourbon mixed with Harpoon IPA, and a splash of coke.

          My favorite was by far the spicy margarita, I loved the jalepeno and flavor of the cajun spiced rim!
          Although I was stuffed after all of the amazing food, somehow I found room to try a couple of bites of the warm chocolate chip cookie pie and apple crisp.

          In addition to a fantastic meal, the service was also outstanding. The entire staff was so friendly and welcoming, everyone from the owner, general manager, server, and bartender stopped by. They thoroughly explained each dish and drink, the background of the Chef and restaurant, and tipped us off on Chef Smith's upcoming project - a new deli in Waltham featuring USDA prime charcuterie, which I'll have to check out since it is right in my neighborhood!

          Blog and Tweet Boston is a group I co-founded that connects bloggers and local businesses through fun events. If you have a business and are interested in holding a blogger event, email us to get in touch.

 Sweet Caroline's on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 1, 2013

King's Hawaiian Event at Catalyst

          This weekend I attended a fun event at Catalyst Cambridge, courtesy of King's Hawaiian. Founded more than 60 years ago in Hilo, Hawaii, by Robert R. Taira, King’s Hawaiian is a family-owned business that for three generations has been dedicated to making irresistible, original recipe Hawaiian foods made with Aloha Spirit. A priority for the company is sharing the Hawaiian Way—a uniquely Hawaiian approach to hospitality based on graciousness, generosity, and a commitment to making everyone feel a part of the King's Hawaiian ohana—our extended family. Kings Hawaiian makes the #1 branded dinner roll in the United States, and operates baking facilities in Torrance, California and Oakwood, Georgia.

          I've eaten at Catalyst before and enjoyed Chef/Owner William Kovel’s modern American cuisine crafted from locally grown organic produce and sustainable farm raised meats. I was excited to see what Chef Kovel would do with the King's Hawaiian products.

          We started with mimosas and some passed hors d'oeuvres, which each incorporated the King's Hawaiian bread in some way.

          Everything was delicious, but the chicken liver mousse and seared fois gras were my favorites. I definitely indulged in seconds (and thirds)!

Chicken Liver Mousse, Pickled Onion, Whole Grain Mustard on King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Rolls
Fig and Blue Cheese King’s Hawaiian Crostini with Cassis Syrup
White Gazpacho Sips, Marcona Almond, Grape, Crispy King’s Hawaiian Garlic Chips
Seared Foie Gras, Braised Cherry, Orange on Toasted King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Bread
          We had a choice of three entrees for our main course, and I went with the Lamb Tenderloin, Baby Artichoke, Treviso, Bread Salad made with King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Round Bread. It was delicious, the lamb was cooked perfectly, and the toasted bits of King's Hawaiian added just the right amount of sweetness.

          We had an even better treat for dessert, Chef Kovel demonstrated a delicious bread pudding featuring King's Hawaiian bread, topped with vanilla and warm caramel sauce!

          The demonstration was so much fun, but the best part was when we were each presented with a our own bread pudding in a cast iron dish.

          Thanks to Catalyst and King's Hawaiian for hosting such a great event!