Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Scavenger Hunt and Cooking Class at Taranta

          Taranta is an Italian and Peruvian fusion restaurant in the North End, and I recently tried them for the first time as part of a fun corporate event.

          My whole department came in around 4PM, where they divided us up into three teams for a scavenger hunt. We were each given a list of ingredients and clues, that we had to interpret and find in the little markets all over the north end. We had to hand over our cell phones first, but my team spotted a couple of locals who helped us find out shops in no time! Once all of our ingredients were collected, we headed back to the restaurant for a cooking class.

          My group made a caprese salad, which included making hand stretched mozzarella from the curds. It was so much simpler than I would have expected, and the incredibly fresh mozzarella made such a difference in the salad!

          When we sat down to enjoy the dinner we prepared, we started with the salad and then the red pepper stuffed ravioli made by the second group was served family style. The folks at Taranta were nice enough to also bring me an order of gluten free penne with tomato sauce and parmesan, which was delicious!

          Our main course was a roasted chicken and sausage stuffed pork loin prepared by the third group. These were served with sauteed kale and roasted potatoes. Both were excellent, it was hard to believe they were prepared by my coworkers and not the professionals!

          The only course we didn't prepare was dessert; I enjoyed the lemon sorbet and heard great things about the canolli!

          This was such a fun experience, and would be fun with friends, family or a holiday party!

Taranta Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Preview of the 2017 Boston Wine Expo

UPDATE: The winner is Jessica Derman! Please be in touch to claim your tickets!!

It's hard to believe 2016 is almost over, and that means it's almost time for The 2017 Boston Wine Expo!

Enjoy over 1,800 wines from 200+ wineries from around the world, plus seminars, cooking demos, food samples, and more! Here are some of the highlights:


The Boston Wine Expo will take place at The Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center on February 18 - 19, 2017.  The Seaport World Trade Center is located at 200 Seaport Boulevard in Boston, MA. For directions and more information, please visit their website. This event is reserved for ages 21+.

Tickets are on sale and available here; use my unique link and enter the discount code "bloggertaste17"at checkout for 10% off now through 12/30! 


The Grand Tasting area offers a global wine tasting experience from over 200 wineries and more than 1,800 wines. While the wines are the stars of the show, attendees will enjoy food samplings from some of the area’s most popular restaurants and specialty food producers, as well as the chance to indulge in purchases from the unique lifestyle brands showcasing their wares.


A Vintners’ Reserve Lounge: offers guests a range of boutique, limited edition and small batch wines, not easily found. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet with winemakers and brand ambassadors, while enjoying tastes from some of Boston’s most popular restaurants.

VIP Presented by Del Frisco's Steakhouse: Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse will play host to Boston Wine Expo’s VIP Lounge guests. VIP Lounge guests will be treated to signature dishes and toast with a sampling of Anna de Codorniu Sparkling Cava. VIP ticket holders will also enjoy their own special entrance, early access, private coat check and lounge area.

Seminars: This year’s seminar program is primed to deliver more than 35 topics ranging from food and wine pairings, “Why You Like The Wines You Like” and vertical tasting flights of the world’s most sought-after wine producers.

Now the best part, a I have a pairs of tickets to the Sunday's Grand Tasting to giveaway!

For your chance to win, leave a comment here telling me what you're most looking forward to at the Wine Expo. Winners will be selected at random one week from today 12/28/2016 and posted here. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


          A couple of weeks ago I went to Bergamot in Somerville for an amazing multi-course tasting menu. I was impressed from the beginning of the meal when I saw a selection of orange wines on the menu, and they brought over picholine olives as a gluten free alternative to bread.

          We started with an amuse of parsnip and sunflower soup garnished with fresh time and olive oil. This was a perfect, warm first bite on a cold night.

          Next was a charred broccoli salad with chicken rad na - their take on a classic Thai dish served with shredded chicken, coconut curry, papaya, and micro greens. This dish was full of flavor, and though there was a generous portion of chicken the fresh fruits and veggies were what really shined.

           This sunchoke veloute ended up being my favorite dish, and I was impressed with how they were able to modify it multiple ways to accommodate several allergies. The dish is intended to be made with sunchokes and cream, topped with mushrooms and uni butter. They made me a  gluten free / dairy free version with no cream and uni butter, and the fiance had his with no mushrooms.


          Next was the kobucha squash with mole, cranberry, avocado, and house made hominee. This was rich and hearty, with a bit of a kick.

          The cauliflower three ways was creative and also delicious. I enjoyed the contrast of the crispy fried bites with the puree the most.

           The fish course was a Monkfish with sunchoke purée and mushrooms, which paired very well together. The vegetables made it feel earthy, but didn't overwhelm the delicate monkfish.

          The final savory course was a skirt steak with turnip, crimini mushroom (for me), onion, and veal jus. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare, and incredibly tender.

          We had an orange sorbet between our final savory course and the dessert course, which was light and refreshing - a perfect palate cleanser.

           We finished with a rice pudding with rum raisins for me, and a house made swiss cake roll for the fiance. Both were excellent, and I always appreciate when my gluten free / dairy free dessert is creative and seems just as well thought out as the other dishes.


          Overall the meal at Bergamot was excellent, there wasn't a course I didn't enjoy and with the very generous portions I was stuffed! I will definitely be back. 

Bergamot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2016 Holiday Gift Guide

It's hard to believe Christmas is less than two weeks away! Don't stress if you still have holiday shopping to do; there are still plenty of options for the foodies in your life including my top picks.

Top five holiday gifts for 2016:

Boston Wine Expo Tickets:

The Boston Wine Expo is my favorite local food and wine event, and the largest event of its kind open to both industry and non-industry professionals. I've been every year for the past several years, and always have a great time as well as learn and experience something new. Tickets are available here, so grab them now for any last minute gifts you still need to buy!
 Restaurant GCs:

Who doesn't love a steakhouse? Several of the big name steakhouses in Boston are offering bonuses when you buy gift cards, so you can buy gifts for others and get something for yourself! Here are a few specials I've seen:
  • Del Frisco's $75 for every $500 or $10 for every $100 purchased here.
  • Ocean Prime: $25 for every $100 purchased here.
  • Flemings: $20 for every $100 purchased here.
  • Abe & Louie's $20 for every $100 purchased here.
  • Capital Grille: A Gift Card worth 10% of your purchase and a knife set when you purchase $500 or more here.  


This has been on my personal wish list for years, and is the perfect gift for the serious cook / food lover in your life. This is the highest rated blender I've ever seen for it's versatility, ease of use, seven year warranty, and overall quality.

Phillips Air Fryer:
An air fryer is another item on my personal wish list; they're perfect for the health conscious cook / food lover because they allow you to create delicious dishes that are fried without the fat. As a bonus, no oil also means no (or very little) mess!


Gilt City Restaurant Deals:

For the frugal foodie, Gilt City has some amazing deals right now including some of my local favorites like The Maiden and Forage. If you've never used Gilt before, use my referral link for $25 off your first order.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Brunch at Loco

          Loco has been one of my favorite local spots in Southie ever since I first tried them on opening night almost two years ago. The dinner menu includes an amazing raw bar (think oysters and ceviches with tequila infused ice) as well as creative tacos and upscale Mexican dishes. Nearly the entire menu is gluten free, which I didn't realize at first but appreciate since having had to go gluten free earlier this year.  

          This weekend I tried them for brunch for the first time, and it was just as good as dinner! The brunch menu includes several classic dishes with a twist, as well as classic Mexican style dishes. I tried the duck enchiladas in a spicy red chili sauce topped with a sunny side up egg. The braised duck was tender and flavorful, and the egg perfectly cooked. The sauce was thick and creamy, and added spice without overpowering the dish.

          The fiance enjoyed Loco's take on eggs benedict served on portugese sweet bread with chorizo, spicy hollandaise, and patatas bravas on the side.

          Of course we shared a side of bacon, which was crispy just how we like it.

          Just like dinner, this place is packed for brunch so I suggest going early (before 11 AM)!

Loco Taqueria and Oyster Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, December 3, 2016


           Solea in Waltham is an old favorite that I've been going to for years, but for some reason never got around to writing about. It's a Spanish tapas restaurant owned by the same group that owns Tapeo and Kika Tapas in Boston and Cambridge. They have all of the classic dishes you'd want at a tapas restaurant (tortilla, garlic shrimp, etc.) in addition to some creative selections. They also have a separate gluten free menu, with plenty of options.

           The fiance and I went in for dinner recently for a few of our favorites including garlic shrimp, 
Brazilian cheese bread (these are gluten free, made with tapioca flour!), grilled chorizo, goat cheese stuffed prunes,  pork tenderloin in blue cheese sauce, and lam chops in apricot sauce.

          The food was excellent as always, and worth the drive to Waltham. The space at Solea make it perfect for a date night, or for hosting a large group or party (they have several private rooms and spaces in the back).

Solea Restaurant and Tapas Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Brunch at Abe & Louie's

           I've always enjoyed dinner at Abe & Louie's, but until recently had never tried the brunch menu. I went in this past weekend, and it may be my new favorite brunch spot in Boston!

          We were served warm, fresh rolls dusted with cinnamon almost as soon as we were seated. The fiance had to send them away before he ate the entire basket, so he would have room for brunch!

          I ordered the trio of eggs benedict, modified slightly to be gluten free. The three preparations included a sirloin steak with truffle hollandaise, lobster, and lump crab (usually a crab cake). I enjoyed all three, but the lobster was definitely my favorite. It was a generous portion served warm, with plenty of sweet claw meat.

          I always order a side of bacon with brunch, and I love bacon but it's normally pretty standard. This was some of the best bacon I've ever had: a huge portion with perfectly crisp edges and a great smoky flavor.

           The fiance enjoyed his traditional eggs benedict and a side of blueberry pancakes.


          I can't believe it took me this long to try Abe & Louie's for brunch, but now that I have it will definitely be a regular spot!

Abe & Louie's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, November 25, 2016

Real Italian Gusto

          Real Italian Gusto is an Italian restaurant in Medford, and one of a handful of restaurants in Boston to feature a Valoriani pizza oven. These wood fired ovens are imported from Italy, and are able to cook an authentic Neopolitan style pizza in minutes. The pizzas are lighter than and have fewer calories than most. 

          I was recently invited to an influencer event where we were able to sample a large portion of the menu. We enjoyed some mimosas and bellinis with a beautiful spread of meats and cheeses.

          The menu included several pizza and pasta dishes, as well as traditional Italian entrees. I tried the Italian sausage with polenta and tomato sauce; it was a generous portion with perfectly creamy polenta and light fresh sauce.

          Overall it was a fun night, and I enjoyed my meal and the opportunity to explore a neighborhood I rarely visit. Thanks to Real Italian Gusto for hosting.

Real Italian Gusto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Sheherazad Food Truck

          Sheherazad is a food truck that serves authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, including wraps, salads, and plates all meant to feel like a traditional Iraqi lunch. I tried the Dijaj Ahmer  (Iraqi red chicken) a dish made with roasted spiced chicken, cooked in thick tomato sauce and served over white rice. I was impressed by the quality and fresh flavors; and this dish was filling without being too heavy.

          I've heard this truck is hard to catch, but they're in Watertown every Wednesday so definitely check them out if you're in the area!

Sheherazad Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


          If you follow this blog, you may know about my Michelin obsession and can understand my excitement when I heard that Chef Michael Mina was coming to Boston. I was even more excited when I heard it was a sushi restaurant, and waited for almost a year in anticipation. I was thrilled to receive an invite to the opening party, and it was everything I hoped it would be!

          The space in the new Millennium Tower was beautiful with a large bar area and tons of open space. We headed straight back to the sushi bar and sampled several rolls including the spicy roll, Ken's roll (a house specialty avocado, and spicy tuna), and rainbow roll. They were all done very well; the incredibly fresh fish elevated the simple, classic dishes.

          One of the signature apps was on display, and I might have gone back for 4-5 of these: The Happy Spoon Oyster topped with uni, tobiko, ponzu, and creme fraiche. Each spoon was a bite of pure decadence.

           We enjoyed several passed hors d'oeuvres including the edamame, crispy shishito peppers, and teriyaki skewers.

           My favorite part of the night was when they brought out this massive tuna and filleted it in the dining room; it was definitely freshest toro I've ever had!

          I'm so excited to check out Pabu for dinner on my birthday in just a few weeks; made my reservation already!

PABU Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato