Friday, September 26, 2014

Let's Talk About Food Festival Returns to Boston this Weekend

          This weekend, the third annual Let's Talk About Food Festival returns to Boston. This free, public event is sponsored by the Boston Globe and Whole Foods Market and is intended to be a forum for education and engagement around all things concerning food.

          The complete schedule is available online and includes cooking demonstrations, talks, chances to interact with Chefs and Nutritionists, author signings, and the Endless Table with the Museum of Science that will offer conversations with experts on issues such as GMO labeling, food waste, sustainable agriculture and sustainable seafood.

          All of this sounds interesting to me, but I'm especially interested in the events and booths focused on sustainable seafood. I plan to check out the Museum of Science's booth, as well as Saturday's 1PM demo: Something Fishy.

Here's the complete description:

          Intimidated by the idea of choosing sustainable seafood and cooking it at home? Chef and sustainable seafood advocate Barton Seaver will join seafood distributor Michael Dimin of Sea2Table and Chef Jeremy Sewall of Lineage Restaurant for a seafood talk and demo that will cover how to select the highest quality sustainable seafood for your family (hint: fresh doesn't always top frozen), and how to prepare it at home with simple techniques.

          The festival kicks off tonight with an opening party, and I definitely plan to be there tomorrow! Check back next week to read my recap. 

What do you want to read about seafood and or sustainability? Leave your suggestions in the comments section!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bar Boulud Boston

          Bar Boulud is the newest addition to the Back Bay dining scene, and since it's the closest thing to a Michelin starred restaurant in Boston I tried it as soon as possible! Bar Boulud is located in the Mandarin Hotel, in the space formerly occupied by Asana. The food, atmosphere, and experience were outstanding and unlike anything else in Boston.

          We started with a small charcuterie board which included an assortment of pates and cured meats from the charcuterie bar. The Chef's selection for us that evening included lamb terrine with Moroccan spices, beef cheek terrine with herbs and cornichon, pate grande mere with chicken liver, pork, and cognac, cured sausage, and sliced jambon. The entire spread was served with toast, whole grain mustard, and pickles. I honestly loved the whole thing and couldn't pick a favorite, these were some of the best pates I've ever had.

          There were so many appetizers that sounded good, we decided to order several and share one entree so that we could try more. The tuna was probably most impressive because it was some of the best tuna I've ever had, definitely on par with some of the best sushi restaurants in town. It was prepared simply with just a bit of lemon and espelette (French pepper) so as to not overpower the fresh, clean flavor of the fish and finished with bottarga caviar.

          The Maine peekytoe crab with green apple, celery root and chicory was also excellent. The crab meat was like the tuna, about as high quality as I've had, and the portion extremely generous.

           The last (but not least) of our apps was the steak tartare made with handcut ribeye, confit egg yolk, caper, cornichon, and sour dough crisps. The textures and flavors on this were perfect, especially the confit egg yolk.

          We shared the veal trio as an entrée, and with all of the apps this was more than enough food! The trio included roast loin, braised cheek, crispy sweet breads, and sides of artichoke and kale. The braised cheek was my favorite, but the loin was about as tender as I've ever had.

          Bar Boulud was one of the most anticipated restaurant openings this year, and it definitely lived up to all of the hype. This place easily has potential to become one of the most popular in Boston. The menu is designed in such a way that it's perfect for any occasion - sip wine and enjoy bites from the charcuterie and raw bar, have a burger and a beer (there are two burgers on the menu that look amazing), or go all out with a multi-course dinner like we did! I will be back very soon!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Quick Healthy Salmon Recipe

          Salmon is one of my all time favorite types of fish and has been for a long time. Wild-caught salmon is generally a good choice in terms of sustainability.  Farmed salmon has gotten a bad rep due to use of antibiotics and methods that are harmful, but there are farms certified by organizations such as the MBA Seafood Watch that can be good alternatives.

          I recently bought some wild Atlantic salmon from Whole Foods and made this super quick and easy recipe I wanted to share!

Kale Caesar Salad with Salmon

6 ounces salmon
2 cups chopped kale
2 tablespoons low fat caesar dressing
1 tablespoon shredded parmesan

Bake salmon at 350 degrees for ~15 minutes or until it flakes
While salmon is cooking, toss kale, dressing and parmesan until well mixed
Top salad with salmon

Approximately 350-400 calories

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Chef at Tomasso Trattoria

          If you've been reading this blog regularly, you know that Tomasso Trattoria in Southboro is one of my all time favorite restaurants. I've been over 125 times, which is probably the most I've ever eaten at a single restaurant.

          They've recently brought a new Executive Chef on board, Daniele Baliani who has worked at at Le Cirque in New York, Pignoli in Boston and il Casale in Belmont.  I went with in with the fiancé on one of chef's first nights to check out the new menu.

          Upon walking in and chatting with the owners and staff, we learned that the Bolognese recipe had been updated. Tomasso's original Bolognese sauce was one of the dishes I tried when I first visited the restaurant 7-8 years ago, and it was one of the dishes that always kept me coming back. With a few changes in chefs over the years the sauce gradually evolved over time, but there were never any major changes until now. As much as I loved the old, I was excited to try the new version!

          Since they were  still transitioning, there was some of the old sauce available and we had the opportunity to try both side by side and compare. I liked the new sauce better! The major differences are that it uses red wine instead of white, no cream, and includes chicken liver which is hard to detect but adds a richness to the sauce. 

Old Bolognese
New Bolognese
           Trying and comparing the two bolognese dishes was the highlight for me since it was the most fun, but the rest of the meal was excellent as always! Here are some of my favorites:

Amuse Bouche: Seared scallop with citrus
Bruschetta with fresh ricotta, peas, basil, and pancetta
Grilled swordfish, eggplant caponata, grilled Verrill Farm squashes
          We heard there will be even more changes over the next few weeks as the new Chef gets settled in, and plan to try Tomasso again sometime soon to see what he has in store!

Tomasso Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Taste Trekkers Food & Travel Expo Giveaway

The second annual Taste Trekkers Food and Travel Expo is returning to Providence in just a few weeks and I'm giving away two free tickets! The winner will receive two tickets to Saturday's expo and Sunday's scavenger hunt (details and entry form below, winner must be 18 or older).

Taste Trekkers is the nation’s premiere website dedicated to food tourism, and produces the nation’s only Food & Travel Expo. Taste Trekkers also hosts the Find Dining Podcast featuring James Beard Award-winning chefs and writers; and is home to a Food & Travel site featuring contributions by authors throughout the country. You can check them out here.

The expo is a chance for passionate foodies how to explore the world through cuisine by bringing together chefs, farmers, wineries, brewers, food tour operators, and other artisanal food producers from different regions. Sample foods from different places, learn the culinary history of different regions, and gain practical tips for planning your own foodie vacation.

The three day expo kicks off with industry day on Friday 10/3, which includes ten minute talks, panel discussions, and a cocktail reception.

Saturday is Foodie Day, which takes place at the Biltmore Hotel and is open to the public. The day starts with series of ten-minute talks led by culinary experts, focusing on cuisines from around the world. Next are the edible sessions, which are 45 minutes each and dive deeper into dishes from specific regions. Each attendee will participate in three sessions where they'll sample and learn about the history and traditions of the dishes. The finale is the Hope and Main Tasting Pavilion, where guests can wander the room and sample food and drink from dozens of local restaurants and artisanal food producers.

On Sunday, October 5th the expo concludes with a scavenger hunt throughout downtown Providence. Enter by yourself or with a team of friends and compete for hundreds of dollars worth of prizes. The hunt starts at 12:00 noon at the Providence Arcade (65 Weybosset St, Providence, RI) and the winner will be announced at the conclusion of the showing of Farm-City, State.

• Friday, October 3rd: Industry Day
• 1:30 pm: Ten Minute Talks
• 3:30 pm: Panel Discussion moderated by Gail Ciampa
• 5:00 pm: Cocktail Reception
• Saturday, October 4th: Foodie Day
• 10:00 am: Ten Minute Talks
• 11:00 am: Edible Sessions
• 2:00 pm: Hope & Main Tasting Pavilion
• Sunday, October 5th: Scavenger Hunt
• 12:00 am: Eat & Run Scavenger Hunt
• 4:00 pm: New England Premiere of Farm-City, State at the Cable Car Cinema
• Friday: Yena Center at Johnson & Wales University (111 Dorrance St., Providence, RI)
• Friday Cocktail Reception: The Dorrance (60 Dorrance St. Providence, RI)
• Saturday: Providence Biltmore (11 Dorrance St., Providence, RI)
• Sunday Scavenger Hunt: Starts at the Providence Arcade (65 Weybosset Street., Providence, RI)
• Sunday Film: Cable Car Cinema (204 South Main St., Providence, RI)

Here's how to enter, and if you don't win you can always buy your tickets here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 12, 2014

Basics of Purchasing Wild Seafood Responsibly

          Last month I posted about how to shop for farmed seafood responsibly, so it seemed only fitting to do a similar post on wild seafood. Here are some of the basics.

What species are over fished?

           You can find more comprehensive lists using many of the links in the resources section, but here are some species you should generally avoid (or at least pay attention to where and how they are caught): Atlantic Halibut, Albacore Tuna, Blue Fin Tuna (certain regions / methods), Black Fin Tuna, Chilean Seabass, Grouper, Monkfish, Shark, Sturgeon.

Fishing Methods:

Good: trolling / hook and line, using a pot (for crabs and shrimp), and small scale purse seining

Bad: dredging / trawling and long lining

What Resources are Available to Learn More?

Like aquaculture, there are plenty of resources available for learning about how to shop responsibly. Many of those included in my original post also apply to wild seafood. Here are a few to get you started:

The Marine Stewardship Council has tons of information readily available on their website. You can look up "MSC certified fish to eat" along with recipes, track a fishery, look for retailers, restaurants, and more. The website also includes a plethora of articles and educational tools as well as an up to date collection of relevant news and events. They even have an app you can download on your smart phone and look up any of this information on the go!

MBA Seafood Watch: The Monteray Bay Aquarium’s Seafood watch program has plenty of free resources available including downloadable pocket guides by region and a mobile app. Use the guide as a quick pocket reference or search for a type of fish in the app (like bass) for example and you’ll get a list of good choices (ex: US or Vietnamese farmed Barramundi) vs. those to avoid.

Good Fish: is a cookbook with recipes using sustainable seafood and tons of great information on how to buy responsibly. I reviewed this book on 8/1/14, you can read my full review here.

My fellow SSBA Member Richard recently put together a list of some of the third party certifications that currently exist for both wild fisheries and seafood farms.

Your Grocery Store or Local Fish Market: When I did my post on where to buy sustainable seafood, I found that stores with robust sustainability programs had lots of information available on their websites.

Up Next Week: All about salmon and an easy recipe

What do you want to read about seafood and / or sustainability? Leave your topic suggestions in the comments section!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Upcoming Events in Boston and How to go for Free (or a Discount)!

WGBH Food and Wine Fest
This Thursday September 11th kicks off the WBGH Food and Wine fest, with an opening gala! The three day festival includes tons of great events like chef demos, the artisan taste where you can sample food from some of Boston's best restaurants, a farmer's market, and Sunday brunch!

You can read all about my experience at a prior event here. To buy tickets at a 20% discount use my code FOOD BLOG when you place your order online.

East Somerville Foodie Crawl
On Tuesday September 16th (rain date September 17th), come take a cultural crawl through the East Somerville restaurant corridor and discover Somerville’s best kept culinary secrets. With just one ticket, you’ll get one bracelet that allows you to sample the authentic foods of some of East Somerville’s best restaurants. Walk down Broadway and explore each stop on the crawl at your leisure; the authentic foods will take you straight to the sights and smells of Ethiopia, the tastes of El Salvador and the colors of Haiti.

I went a few years ago and it's a lot of fun. The tickets are a great value at $20 but there is also a giveaway for a pair of free tickets here on Little Miss Runshine's Blog, you have three more days to enter!

Blog and Tweet Boston Event at Chocolate Therapy (for Bloggers 21+ only)
This is a free event for Boston Bloggers! Join Blog and Tweet Boston September 25th for a chocolate and wine tasting at Chocolate Therapy in Framingham!

I went to Chocolate Therapy about a year ago with the Boston Brunchers before they were able to serve wine, and it was a lot of fun! You can read all about that event here. Get the complete details and request an invite for the Blog and Tweet Boston event here.

Irish Fest Boston
The first ever Irish Fest is coming to Boston September 26th-28th, and will feature Irish inspired cuisine from some of Boston best chefs, plus drinks, dancing, live music, and tons of great exhibits!

You have 5 more days to enter giveaway on my blog for a pair of free tickets to Sunday's festivities!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Irish Fest Coming to Boston and a Giveaway!

          The ultimate Irish party is coming to Boston! Immerse Yourself in Irish Cuisine, Culture and Creativity at iFest this September at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston!

          This three day event will feature food and chef demonstrations from amazing local chefs like Barbara Lynch, Ana Sortun, and Lydia Shire, live music and dancing, and the chance to experience Ireland's culture through literary exhibits, RTE screenings, and more!

           This event is coming to Boston 9/26-9/28 for the first time and you will not want to miss it! You can check out the full schedule here.

The best part is, I'm giving away two tickets to the Sunday 9/28 afternoon session! Here's how to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Jean George's

           If you've been reading you know that I recently went to NYC for a long weekend and got engaged! You can read more about it here. That was the first night of our trip. We spent the whole next day celebrating, and ended with an amazing dinner at Jean George's!

          Before I get to the food, here's a quick pic of the two new bags I bought before dinner (since it was a celebratory weekend, I had to.) The new bags are the Never Full (largest in the back) and the matching wristlet to snap inside. The rest are the bags I'd planned to bring with me because I definitely needed three for three days... I wore the white one to Jean George' back to dinner!

          I'd been to Jean George for dinner once several years ago. It was one of the first Michelin starred restaurants I've ever tried, and I still remember the egg caviar. It's one of my favorite dishes of all time, so when we decided to go to Jean George I naturally checked the menu to see if it was something they still had. I was excited to learn that the egg is a classic dish that always stays on the menu(s). Jean George's offers three menus, a prixe fix, a seasonal tasting menu, and a classic tasting menu. The whole table has to order the same number of courses, but doesn't need to order the same menu. I ordered the classic menu, and the fiancé ordered the classic tasting menu.

          We both started with three small bites, and it was recommended that we try them in this order. It was perfect because the sweet raspberry and cool tomato was just the right ending after the spicy watermelon.

          My egg caviar was the first course, and it was just as amazing as I remembered! A soft scrambled egg served in the shell, with vodka infused whipped cream and caviar. This is still one of my all time favorite dishes, and possibly the most decadent.

          The fiancé also started with caviar; his came with Meyer Lemon Gelée and Crème Fraîche and he enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed mine.

          We each had a scallop dish for the second course, his was a carpaccio with anise and lime and mine was seared with Caramelized Cauliflower and Caper-Raisin Emulsion, toasted cauliflower and a hint of curry. Both were beautiful in presentation and flawlessly executed. The two dishes together were a really fun and interesting contrast.

          Next we each had a soup course, again two perfect representations of fresh summer flavors and Classic French cuisine. Mine was a young garlic soup (chicken broth based) served with crispy frogs legs. Our server explained that the frogs legs were meant to be eaten with your hands and dipped in the soup. This was another dish I'd had the first time eating at Jean George's and again it was just as good as I remembered. These were the first frog legs I've ever tried, and still my favorite preparation (although I've had them a few times since).

          The fiancé is very picky about tomatoes, he only likes them when they're extremely fresh and in season. He loved the tomato gazpacho which was full of bright, fresh flavors. 

           This was a towel they brought me to wash my hands after the frogs legs. It was dehydrated and they poured warm water over it to make it like a real warm towel!

           The two fish courses were next, and I absolutely loved my butter poached turbot with Château Chalon Sauce. Our server told us this sauce was one of Jean George's most famous, and I can see why. It was rich and full of flavors of white wine and butter. The fiance also enjoyed his roasted hake with basil, crushed tomatoes and olive oil.

           The lobster courses were next, and they were both delicious. I had the lobster tartine with lemongrass and fenugreek broth, while the fiance had butter poached lobster with gnocchi and smoked butter kale.

          The tasting menus each included two final savory courses; lamb with yogurt cucumber sauce and broiled squab with onion compote, corn pancake and seared foie gras.

          We decided to add a bonus course before dessert, because we just weren't ready for the meal to end. We had planned to share the two preparations of foie gras, but each enjoyed the dish in front of us so much that we finished them without sharing.

          I love seared foie gras and figs, so naturally I loved this dish! I liked the twist of serving it with some crumbled pastry-like topping rather than the traditional brioche.

           Although I didn't try the fiancé's -a foie gras torchon with strawberry granola, aged balsamic, and sorrel, it hands down wins the award for prettiest dish of the night! He said it tasted just as good as it looked! 

          The foie gras dishes were incredibly rich, and the perfect transition to the dessert courses... and there were several starting with this mini trio of sorbets! 

          I had the chocolate dessert which was a sampler of several mini desserts including white chocolate ice cream with yuzu sorbet, milk chocolate custard with piedmont hazelnuts, smoked salt meringue and candied orange, bitter sweet chocolate tart with fudge, and red wine sorbet, and a warm chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream.

          The fiance had the strawberry dessert with strawberry red wine sorbet with vanilla crumble chantilly cream and shiso syrup, sponge cake with caramelized balsamic meringue, and warm pâte à choux with strawberry jam.

          Our server brought over an extra dessert course, with an adorable congrats note! It came with sparkling plum soda with riesling and raspberries, frozen apricot parfait with candied corn, orange sponge cake and currants, stone fruit gelee with almond crunch ice cream, honey whole wheat cake and warm pain perdu with blueberry jam and lemon thyme roasted peaches.

          Just when we thought we couldn't possibly eat any more, they brought out even more desserts! This time, house made chocolate truffles, macaroons, and marshmallows. Somehow I managed to eat one of the chocolates, and it was amazing!

          The meal at Jean George's was outstanding, and the perfect way to end our celebratory weekend. 

Jean-Georges on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fun Free event at Pier 6 in Charlestown!

           Looking for something fun and free to do next Friday night? Pier 6 in Charlestown is celebrating it's one year anniversary with an amazing outdoor beer garden for most of September! They're kicking off the first night with a free opening party on 9/12, all you have to do is sign up!

Here is the complete release with all of the details:

A Garden, a Party & Pan-International Gaylord?
Pier 6 Celebrates One Year Anniversary with Garden Installation, Exclusive Pier 6 Brew by Harpoon and Special Event

WHAT:            Beginning on Friday, September 12th, 2014 and continuing until Tuesday, September 30th, 2014, Pier 6, Charlestown, MA’s most scenic dining destination, invites guests in to join them in extending summer with the creation of a true beer garden, in every sense of the word.

The restaurant will be working with partners Party by Design and Harpoon Brewery to design a garden installation on their outdoor deck creating a lush atmosphere of greenery, surrounding guests with live plants and flowers and using lanterns to illuminate the space by night. “Our goal was to transform our outdoor deck into a true green space emulating a backyard garden and hopefully extending the sense of summer as long as possible. We’re essentially taking the beer garden concept figuratively and literally,” said Sal Boscarino, Managing Partner of Pier 6.

To further enhance the beer garden installation, Harpoon Brewery will be providing an exclusive brew only available to Pier 6, the “Pan-International Gaylord” beer. With a 7.6% ABV, Harpoon describes the beer with the following language:

*Note from the Harpoon brewers: You can call it summer, you can call it a kitchen sink beer, you can call it caramel colored malt bomb if you want, but you should also call it delicious. 19 malts, 3 hops:  We cleaned out our grain storage box, "The Gaylord", hence the name.  Golden amber color from the caramel malts, which ranged from 10 to 150 on the Lovibond scale.  To let the malt shine through, we left the hopping light, but used a blend of traditional American hops with some of our more esoteric hops: Southern Cross for bittering, Centennial for flavor, and Wakatu (a New Zealand hop) for aroma.

                        The Pan-International Gaylord beer will be available exclusively at Pier 6’s Garden installation until the reserves are gone. In addition, Pier 6 will be hosting 10 drafts and 20 bottled beers with a focus on small batch local breweries.

The Pier 6 Garden Installation will kick off with a special anniversary event on Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 8:00PM which will be open to the general public with an RSVP to: Pier 6 will be shucking a variety of fresh local oysters for sampling and guests can enjoy tastes from a chowder station showcasing Pier 6’s three fall chowders: lobster, clam and a vegetarian. In addition, Pier 6 will be serving refreshing desserts from local dessert company Cold Fusion Gelato. As this night of summer commences guests can make their way over to the “green carpet” photo area where they can document the festivities and memories.

WHEN:            Beer Garden Installation: on Friday, September 12th, 2014 and continuing until Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Opening Event: Friday, September 12th, 2014; 8:00PM.

WHERE:           Pier 6 | One 8th Street | Charlestown, MA | 02129        

COST:              No charge for entrance, RSVP required for event. Event is cash bar.

About Pier 6:
Pier 6 is one of Boston’s most-sought after restaurants for fresh seafood and waterfront dining. Opening in 2013, the newly renovated restaurant located on Pier 6 in Charlestown, MA has breathtaking views of the historic Navy Yard and USS Constitution, and is just minutes from Boston’s historic North End. Executive Chef Adriano Silva brings a creative, exciting approach to the menu featuring unique takes on classic New England cuisine. Pier 6 serves dinner and lunch daily as well as Saturday and Sunday brunch, and its robust bar programs serves wine, beer and signature cocktails at its two bars until 1:00AM. During the warmer weather, diners can escape to the award-winning patio for an al fresco dining experience. Just as the sea plays an important role in the dining concept, the restaurant and bar features many nautical design elements, three levels of dining including a roof deck, private dining room, mahogany bar, and floor to ceiling glass sliding doors with stunning waterfront views. Pier 6 is located at 1 8TH Street, Charlestown, MA 02129. For more information please call Pier 6 at 617.337.0054 or visit

Roasted Halibut with Green Olive Relish

          Halibut is a flat fish, and when cooked is white and meaty with a mild texture and flavor that makes it extremely versatile. I recently purchased wild pacific halibut from Whole Foods, which is a much better alternative than Atlantic halibut because Atlantic halibut is over fished.

          Halibut is one of my favorite types of fish, and I've eaten it many different ways (it would be delicious with the mango salsa recipe I posted a few weeks ago). This week I decided to try out something new, and since I loved how it turned out I wanted to share the recipe! I served it with an easy side of sauteed spinach for a quick, healthy, and delicious weeknight meal.

Roasted Halibut with Green Olive Relish (modified from one found in Paleo Magazine)


2 halibut fillets (about 1/2 lb each)
1 cup pitted and halved green olives
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon capers, drained
3 tablespoons of orange juice
3 tablespoons and one teaspoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

  • Rub halibut with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Roast at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes when you cut into it with a knife
  • While fish is cooking, add remaining ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend / pulse until the texture is slightly chunky and looks like relish
  • Top the fish with relish when it is done roasting

What do you want to read about seafood and / or sustainability? Leave your topic suggestions in the comments section!