Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Food Trucks Heading to Cambridge

Will I see you at the Cambridge Food Truck Festival Next weekend?

Food Truck Festivals of New England is pleased to announce the first-ever Cambridge Food Truck Festival at Kendall Square on Saturday, June 8th. Over 20 of the area’s best food trucks will all be there serving everything from gourmet grilled cheese to lobster mac & cheese to brown sugar marinated hotdogs to spicy Asian noodles and homemade ice cream sandwiches. Cambridge will also kick-off the Food Truck Festivals of New England season, which includes 6 festivals in total, throughout the state of Massachusetts and concluding in Newport, RI in October.

The Cambridge Food Truck Festival will run from 11:00am – 5:00pm and will feature children’s activities, sampling tables and entertainment, in addition to food trucks from all over New England. Partial proceeds from the Cambridge Food Truck Festival will benefit the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts.

Participating trucks include:
  • Area 4
  • Lobsta Love
  • Baja Taco Truck
  • Mei Mei Street Kitchen
  • Bon Me
  • M&M BBQ Ribs
  • Boston Super Dog
  • Newburyport Crab Cake Company
  • Chubby Chickpea Mobile
  • Pennypackers
  • Compliments
  • Roxy’s Grilled Cheese
  • The Dining Car
  • Sweet Tomatoes
  • Frozen Hoagies
  • Fugu
  • Taco Party
  • Trolley Dogs
  • Grilled Cheese Nation
  • The Whoo(pie) Wagon
  • Kickass Cupcakes
  • The Sweet Truck by Flour Girls Baking Co.

All trucks will be serving sample portions as well as full meals. Menu items will be announced next week.

The 2013 season will also include a new, more simplified ticketing system, with wristbands for sale at a discounted price in advance online for $7, and $10 at the festival, with $1 benefiting the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts. The wristbands will serve as an entry ticket to the event and give attendees access to the trucks and the entertainment as well as special Festival Food prices at all trucks. Walk-ups are also welcome and can pay a higher “walk-up” price at the trucks.

A special VIP experience is also being offered, presented by Boston.com, which gives attendees the opportunity to skip the lines and enjoy free beverages and samples from the trucks for a 2-hour period.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Sinclair

          The Sinclair opened in Harvard Square in March 2013, and is part bar, part restaurant, part live music venue. It was the joint project of Chef Michael Schlow and Marcellus Coleman (of the Food Network show Chopped), so naturally I had to try it!

          I went with my friend Michelle for dinner and a show (Kurt Vile) over the weekend, and had a fantastic experience. The food was affordable, upscale comfort with a twist, and lots of southern influence. There was also an extensive list of creative cocktails. The atmosphere is industrial / minimalist which fits in perfectly for the neighborhood.

          I started with a cocktail, the Truant, which included strawberry basil vodka, st. germaine, and sparkling wine. This was delicious, and so creative.

          We ordered the disco fries as an appetizer, which consisted of waffle fries baked in a skillet with cheese sauce, chorizo gravy, and jalepenos. This was by far my favorite dish of the night and one of the better variations of poutine I've tried, which seems to be a trend in Boston lately.

          Next were the entrees. Michelle had been before raved about the veggie burger but they'd just run out. Instead she tried the vindaloo with grilled tofu, which she enjoyed although not as much as the burger. I tried a bite and really enjoyed the texture of the grilled tofu.

          I agonized over my decision between the burger or fried chicken, and finally settled on the chicken. It was a boneless version, with thick slices of juicy white meat, breaded and fried, and served over a mix of sweet corn and collard greens. The chicken was delicious, and I can't wait to go back for the burger!

          We also shared a couple of sides, which sounded so intriguing and unusual I simply had to try them!

          First were the fried chicken skins coated in powders flavored with ranch and chive, blue cheese, and franks red hot sauce.  My favorite was the ranch, but the franks was definitely most impressive and tasted just like a buffalo wing!

          The bone marrow was flash fried and served with a Thai peanut sauce. I loved the concept, but I decided I prefer the traditional preparation (roasted and spread over toast).

           It was an amazing meal but we were way too full for dessert, and headed over to the other half of the building for some live music. We had just as much fun at the show, check out Michelle's recap and pics here!

The Sinclair on Urbanspoon

Taste Trekkers Food Tourism Conference

           Do you plan your vacations around food? If so, then you should definitely check out the Taste Trekkers Food Tourism Conference coming to Providence this fall!

          The event is taking place September 20-22 and will include a cocktail reception, Mystery Dinner, informational sessions and panels with industry experts (chefs, farmers, wine makers, brewers, etc), a food truck brunch, culinary tours, and more!

          The full schedule is available here and I'm offering $15 off your ticket for the Saturday events at the Biltmore. Just enter the discount code "itakepics" when you check out, or purchase them directly here.

          I can't wait to attend and hope to see all of you foodies there!

Monday, May 20, 2013


          The recently opened Sycamore restaurant in Newton Centre is the latest project from Chef-owner David Punch, (formerly of Ten Tables Cambridge). The former butcher shop location retains its rustic feel, which is perfect for the upscale but simple French bistro style cuisine. I tried it recently with a friend and had an excellent experience.

          I started with the spring-dug parsnip soup with crispy duck confit & vadouvan (an Indian spice blend). It was drizzled with truffle oil on top, and the duck was fried into a crisp cake, that was both tender and flavorful.

          My friend ordered the equinox farm greens salad with goat cheese, hazelnuts, dried pears, and champagne vinaigrette, which looked delicious.

           Next we shared the asparagus topped with a poached egg, tiny shrimp, and chanterelle mushrooms. The egg was cooked perfectly, and the runny yolk created a nice sauce for the rest of the dish.

          For the main Course we shared the lamb board, consisting of four different lamb preparations: confit with carrots and peas, grilled leg with farro, sausage over cucumber salad, and belly roulette with tomato jam.

          I had a hard time picking a favorite, but if I had to choose it would have been a toss up between the sausage and the confit.

          We asked our server for a wine pairing. and he recommended two, one more traditional and one a little unusual. We split these into half glasses so we could each try both.

          The classic pairing was a syrah grenache blend.

          The slightly more unusual option was a French blend of cab franc and malbec.

          Both were delicious and worked well with the lamb, but we preferred the less traditional pairing.

          Although I was stuffed I had to try dessert, and went with the warm sugared beignets with house-made milk jam (dulce de leche). I didn't regret this decision at all.

          Overall my meal at Sycamore was fantastic; definitely the best I've had outside of Boston in a long time. I will definitely be back!

 Sycamore on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 13, 2013

Press Release: An Evening of Comfort Food at Porcini's in Watertown


Watertown’s Own Porcini’s Donates All Profits From May 15th Event

WHAT: On May 15th, the one month anniversary of the Boston Bombings, Porcini’s Italian Restaurant on School Street is holding a special event to support the Watertown Police Foundation.

Porcini’s will be serving a 4-course meal of comfort foods in which all profits will go to the Foundation which provides support and counseling programs for affected police officers, and affected residents of the community, including many families with young children who are struggling to return to normal in the aftermath of having their homes and neighborhoods turned into battlegrounds.

The Comfort Menu includes your choice of Chicken Marsala, Pan-Seared Salmon, Chicken Parmesan, Sirloin Steak and many other entrees along with appetizers including Eggplant Rollatini, Mussels and Grilled Calamari…a complimentary glass of wine and chef’s choice for dessert.

Also for sale that night is the official Watertown Police Strong T-Shirt ($20) benefitting the Watertown Police Foundation. Order online, or pick yours up that night.

And if you’d like to get your giving started earlier that night, stop by the bar for a pre-dinner drink! Porcini’s will have specialty cocktails for the event and as with dinner, all bar profits will go toward this worthy cause.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
WHERE: Porcinis’s Italian Restaurant

68 School Street

Watertown, MA 02472


COST: $50.00 per person

For more information on the event, please call Porcini’s at (617) 924-2221

Brunch at Bokx 109

          Last weekend I had the opportunity to try the Brunch at Bokx 109 in Newton as part of a contest I won with the Boston Brunchers. I've always enjoyed the dinner menu, and was glad to find the brunch menu was as good (if not better)!

          I started with my favorite cocktail, the Bloody Mary. This was definitely the most impressive I'd had in awhile, garnished with blue cheese stuffed olives and beef jerky.

          The Chef treated us to an amuse of mascarpone sacchetti, which was delicious and possibly my favorite course we tried.

          Next was the BLT salad which included bits of sugar cane cured pork belly, a fried sous vide egg, tarragon and bacon vinaigrette, and oil cured tomatoes. I loved the creativity and combination of flavors in this dish!

          My bf tried and really enjoyed the smoked salmon, which also looked amazing.

          Always a fan of the Bokx 109 steaks, the filet and eggs was an easy decision for my main course. This was served benedict-style with two sous vide eggs over grilled brioche and topped with borderlaise (I requested mine on the side, which they gladly accommodated). Both the steak and eggs were cooked perfectly, and I loved the hint of truffle in the sauce.

          My bf tried another variation of eggs benedict: the green eggs and ham with proscuitto and pesto sauce.

          Thanks to Boston Brunchers and Bokx 109 for such a great meal! It's definitely one of the best brunches I've had without going into the city, and could see myself coming back here regularly!

BOKX 109 on Urbanspoon

Brunch at Bar 10

          Our latest Blog and Tweet Boston event was a brunch at Bar 10 in the Westin hotel at Copley. Both the restaurant and the menu were recently revamped, and we had the opportunity to experience both. While we looked over the menu, they surprised us with a sample from the cocktail menu: a Raspberry Limosa made with Limoncello champagne, chambord, and fresh raspberries.

          I enjoyed the Limosa but had to try Bar 10's Bloody Mary, my favorite brunch cocktail. This one did not disappoint.

           There were quite a few options on the menu I wanted to order, but settled on the crab cake benedict: a generous portion lump crab, poached egg, hollandaise, and asparagus, all served over a grilled English muffin. I was happy with my selection; the crab wasn't breaded or fried and the egg was slightly runny, both just how I like them.

          The Chef surprised us with some additional items to share, the steak and eggs and burger. I was psyched because they were both dishes I'd considered ordering! Both were delicious and I would definitely order them again.

          He also brought samples of the hash browns, which were more like a giant potato pancake!

          It was Jane's birthday, and they treated her to a Boston cream pie shooter with a candle. I may have stolen a bite...

          I had a great meal and would definitely go back (especially for the burger or crab cake). 

          Our next blog and tweet Boston event will be an Ultimate Bootcamp class. Check out my fitness and lifestyle blog for more info. Blog and tweet Boston is a group I co-founded with Jen to connect bloggers with local businesses through fun events. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for more info!
Bar 10 on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kitchen Surfing

           Love to host parties but hate to cook? check out Kitchen Surfing, the fun new service for foodies that just launched in Boston. Kitchen Surfing brings gourmet and home chefs to you, to create the perfect menu for your party, corporate event, or just prepare your meals for the week. They even bring their own equipment and ingredients so you don't have to.

          I recently had the opportunity to attend a launch party at Chef Jens house, where I had a taste of a Kitchen Surfing event and the chance to meet some awesome local foodies!

          We started with some wine from Urban Grape, who partners with Kitchen Surfing for a discount (your wine bill from Urban Grape is applied to your Kitchen Surfing purchase).

          We snacked on some delicious and unique gourmet popcorn. Chef Jen prepared two flavors; bacon / truffle and chile/lime. Both were excellent, but I loved the bacon/truffle which combined two of my favorite ingredients.

          We also sampled some passed Hors' D'Oeuvres including:

 Fig and Tallegio Crostini, Blackberry Sapa Glaze

Seared Scallop, Potato Chip, Minted Pea Puree, Balsamic Reduction

Hoisen Grilled Chicken Brochettes, Cilantro Dipping Sauce

Lemon Barley Spring Rolls, Fresh Herb Drizzle

          Next were the main courses: Beef Short Ribs and Spring Vegetable Pad Thai. The short ribs served with carrot puree and fresh vegetables was my favorite, but I also enjoyed the Pad Thai which was slightly spicy and surprisingly light.

          For dessert we had mini vanilla bean milk shakes and strawberry short cake cupcakes, the perfect ending to a great meal!

          Based on this experience, I would definitely consider a Kitchen Surfing Chef for an event or party. The food was amazing, and I love the concept!