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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Lend an Ear 5Last Sunday I met up with my friend Melissa at Sloane Merrill Gallery for a dinner prepared by Josh Lewin of Bread and Salt Hospitality. Lewin is the former Executive Chef of Beacon Hill Bistro, and his business partner, Katrina Jazayeri, was named by Zagat’s as one of Boston’s up and coming bartenders (Belly Wine Bar, Cuisine En Locale).

Lend an Ear 6Sloane Merrill is located on Charles Street in Beacon Hill. The multi level gallery was a great backdrop for tonight’s supper.

Lend an Ear 8Guests were greeted with a welcome drink, perfect on such a warm evening. Guests ate at tall cocktail style tables – and roamed the gallery browsing all of the great art.

Lend an Ear 4Lewin served us the famous popcorn that I was fortunate enough to have tried a few nights earlier at the SoonSpoon/Opus Affair movie night. It was seasoned with cheddar, sriracha and curry leaf ash.

Lend an Ear 3Melissa and I both loved the corn and coconut soup with shrimp and saffron. It was served cold and was so light and refreshing.

Lend an Ear 2Deviled eggs were made with corn aioli.

Lend an Ear 9The tandoori spiced squid tamale were delicious – I love a good tamale.

Lend an Ear 7Cornbread with cardamom and black pepper.

Lend an Ear 10Tacos with smoked lamb shank, corn salsa and mango bbq sauce with corn on the cob served with persian lime and sumac butter.

Lend an Ear 1The charred and raw corn salad was served with fennel lime and roasted garlic was one of the highlights of the night for me. It was light and summery, simple and yet flavorful and delicious.

Lend an Ear 11The special dessert for the evening was  a tumeric macaron with corn ganache. These were amazing, Katrina really outdid herself. They were so delicate and light, and bursting with flavor without being too overpowering.

Lend an Ear 12Lewin had a fun surprise for Garry, two special desserts and all the guests sang him happy birthday! He turned 65, but didn’t look it – sharply dressed in his searsucker and lobsters!

Sloane Merrill Gallery 75 Charles Street, Boston, MA http://sloanemerrillgallery.com/

SoonSpoon http://www.soonspoon.com/

Follow Josh Lewin on Twitter

Follow Katrina Jazayeri on Twitter

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IMAG0252If you were just walking around the North End, you would likely pass right by this dark alley.

IMAG0251At the end of the alley is Bricco  Panetteria, a small bread bakery (and a separate pasta shop).

IMAG0250Bricco Panetteria is owned by Frank DePasquale and all of the breads that are served in his restaurants (Trattoria Il Panino, Mare Oyster Bar, Umbria Prime, Bricco Ristorante and Enoteca and Quattro Ristorante Grill Pizzeria) are available for sale at the Panetteria.

IMAG0249This is a no frills bakery – the focus is on the product, not the decor. The one room set up allows customers to see how the bread they are buying is made (talk about open kitchen!).

IMAG0247The breads are works of art. Bring your cash though, they don’t accept cards.

IMAG0246The breads offered include: olive or proscuitto and parmesan ciabatta, baguettes, raisin bread, and baguettes among others.

IMAG0255_1Here’s a close up of the onion ciabatta, it was delicious – and it went fast. There’s nothing better than freshly baked bread.

Bricco Panetteria

241 Hanover Street, Boston, MA

http://www.bricco.com/panetteria/

Open daily 8am – 11pm

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IMG_4289Mark had some Level Up cash at Tossed, so we ventured over there for lunch.

IMG_4288While they are known for their salads, they also have wraps, paninis, soups and artisanal sandwiches.

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They  have a bunch of salads to choose from on the menu, but I choose to make my own. I think this is where I always get myself into trouble, as I always love the pricey add ons. This salad has iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, hard boiled egg and avocado. While sweetgreen is my “salad bar” restaurant of choice, Tossed is still a good second option.

Tossed

1 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

http://www.tossed.com

Tossed on Urbanspoon

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Good Ones Via Matta 1Some of Boston’s finest came out to Via Matta last week to mix, mingle and nosh.

Good Ones Via Matta 3Hint Water was a sponsor of the event. Hint is purified water with a splash of flavor, no diet sweeteners, no sugar, and no preservatives.

Good Ones Via Matta 4Motto was also at the event, a sparkling matcha tea made with premium matcha, apple cider vinegar, honey and organic agave, and brightened with some fresh lemon juice!

Good Ones Via Matta 2New on the scene tonight was Organic Living Superfoods, a line of plant based organic superfoods that can naturally aid in preventing disease.

Good Ones Via Matta 6The Art of Shaving is a best selling men’s brand sold in high end department stores. What started in the kitchen of the founder’s New York apartment has turned into a worldwide organization.

Good Ones Via Matta 7Via Matta is a Michael Schlow, Christoper Myers restaurant (the talent behind the now closed Radius). Known for it’s Italian cuisine and house made pasta, this was a great space for a Good Ones event. Pictured above is the restaurant’s bar area.

Good Ones Via Matta 8Light bites were provided.

Good Ones Via Matta 9Look at how beautiful the colors are here.

Good Ones Via Matta 11Via Matta offers appetizers on their regular menu such as Tuna Crudo with black olive crumble, celery, limoncello gelee; Spicy Calamari with garlic, milled tomatoes, black olives, capers; Grilled Octopus with cucumber, olive oil poached potatoes, harrisa aioli, smoked peanuts and Homemade Ricotta with sage, olive oil, chili flakes, crostini.

Good Ones Via Matta 13Entrees on their menu include: Butternut Squash Agnolotti with braised chicken, hazelnut pesto, grated lemo; Tagliatelle with alla Bolognese; and my favorite, the simple yet delicious Spaghetti with aglio e olio con pomodoro.

Good Ones Via Matta 10Tonight’s event featured a very special guest. Mia, a nine week old mixed breed puppy available for adoption. For more information on how to adopt Mia, please contact Great Dog Rescue.

Good Ones Via Matta 12A 9 week old puppy is the ultimate accessory!

Good Ones Via Matta 18Co-founder of the Good Ones, Jennifer Brooke and Founder of the New Chivalry Movement, James Michael Sama.

Good Ones Via Matta 20Mia fell asleep in James’ arms!

Good Ones Via Matta 5The talented, beautiful, Social Experience Producer at the Good Ones, Kimberly Giardino.

Good Ones Via Matta 19Some of tonight’s guests included Culinary Food Personality, Saba Wahid, Partner at True Capital, Matthew Goldstein, and Mass Port Authority’s Manager of Strategic Partners, Michelle Lampa.

Good Ones Via Matta 24The theme tonight was “Whites and Watches”. It’s always fun to see how people interpret the theme.

Good Ones Via Matta 23Tau Zaman, Good Ones; Janet Wu, Anchor on Channel 7; Mia; Pamela Paquin, Founder of Petite Mort; Carolyn Kim, Co-Founder of The Good Ones.

Via Matta

79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA

http://www.viamattarestaurant.com

Via Matta on Urbanspoon

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LAH and ChristofleLast week, I was invited to a Christofle dinner at Liquid Art House. Not familiar with Christofle? They are a high end, luxury silver company specializing in flatware, home decor and even jewelry.

LAH9Guests included Chris Haynes of CBH Communications (pictured above with Chef Rachel Klein), octogenarian Doris Yaffe, architect Dartagnan Brown, “This Old House” designer Christine Tuttle, James Beard Foundation columnist Saba Wahid,  event producer AJ Williams and Herald columnist Erica Corsano.

LAH20Guests sipped on champagne for an hour before sitting down to a four course dinner prepared by Rachel Klein.

LAH2Napkins are best set on the dinner plate or to the left of the flatware, not under the flatware.

LAH1The table was set in a casual but elegant way, simply dressed with low flowers to keep conversations going across the table.

LAH5The distance between the end of your thumb and the first knuckle is an inch, on everyone. Flatware should be placed an inch in from the end of the table.

LAH4I was surprised to hear that Christofle has a store in Boston. Their door is a bit hidden from the main street, but you can find them at 296 Boylston Street.

LAH13This amazing arrangement was provided by Mark Hall Design, the best part…it’s completely edible!

LAH11Tonight’s flatware was from the Jardin d’eden collection. The 110 piece setting, including 12 of each Dinner Fork, Dinner Knife, Table Spoon, Coffee Spoon, Dessert Fork , Dessert Spoon, Dessert Knife, Fish Fork, and Fish Knife, and one of each of Serving Spoon and Serving Fork retails for over $40,000.

LAH14Justin Trabert, Miami based Pavillion Manager at Christofle walked us through the art of hosting a dinner party. Topics covered ranged from how to set the perfect to table to which utensil to use with each course.

LAH15The pretzel rolls made by Liquid Art House master bread maker Maurizio Odermatt were delicious.

LAH16The first course was chilled coconut soup with cilantro oil, carrots, raisins, and buckwheat granola. Servers poured the soup tableside.

LAH16Second course: Faroe Island Salmon with baby potatoes, quail eggs, dill oil, pickles, salmon roe, and sour cream.

LAH17Third course: Young greens with a sherry vinaigrette, herbs and shallot.

LAH18Dessert course: Thai young coconut semifreddo with tres leches, lemon verbena ice cream, chartreuse, coconut lime snow and anise hyssop.

LAH10Fluxus is the newest exhibit on display at Liquid Art House, now until September 16th.

LAH3Fluxus is a group show featuring works by Lithuanian artist Vytas Sakalas, Boston-based artists Giovanni DeCunto, Resa Blatman and Rhode Island-based artist Dana Woulfe.

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LAH8Liquid Art House

100 Arlington Street, Boston, MA

http://www.liquidarthouse.com/

Liquid Art House on Urbanspoon

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SoonSpoon1After work on Friday night, guests came out to WorkBar in Central Square for movie night. Workbar is a shared, coworking space home to start ups, entrepreneurs, and independent professionals.

SoonSpoon2Even though we are here after regular business hours, we can tell that the folks at Workbar like to have fun! Just check out their chalkboard.

SoonSpoon13SoonSpoon, a last minute reservation company, teamed up with Opus Affair for tonight’s event. (L-R) Graham Wright, Founder, Opus Affair; Conor Clary and Travis Lowry, Co-Founders, SoonSpoon.

SoonSpoon3 Grillo’s pickles started in 2008 with a family recipe. In 2009, Travis Grillo was selling pickled out of  a wooden cart in Boston Common. Today, Grillo’s has grown by leaps and bounds and can be found in Whole Foods, Wegman’s and other major retailers (as well as SOWA and other farmers markets).

SoonSpoon4Grillo’s Pickles also has a brick and mortar location at 1075 Cambridge Street in Cambridge.

SS20PhaDe Food labs is a collaboration between Jose Ordovas (L) and Chris Borges (R), PhD students by day – chefs by night.

SoonSpoon5PHaDe food labs provided savory chicken nachos that were a big hit! They were charred baharat spiced chicken with house pickled Siena Farms squash and radish, manchego and Spaniard made sauce romesco. Follow PhaDe on Twitter here.

SoonSpoon11Check Chris out in action!

SoonSpoon12…and close up.

SoonSpoon6The extremely talented Josh Lewin, formerly of Beacon Hill Bistro, was at the event with his gourmet popcorn. Lewin is now focusing on his new venture, Bread and Salt Hospitality, with his business partner Katrina Jazayeri.

SoonSpoon15Lewin made popcorn in delicious flavors like clothbound cheddar, sriracha and curry leaf ash. Follow Lewin on Twitter here and Bread and Salt here.

SoonSpoon7I was most looking forward to Kate Holowchik’s home made sodas! Kate is the pastry chef at jm Curley,  see previous post here. Follow Kate on Twitter here.

SoonSpoon8(L-R) Homemade cola with cherry shrub (fancy cherry coke), Watermelon basil spritzer, and orange carrot ginger crush. I had the cola on Kate’s recommendation, and is was delicious!

SoonSpoon18NESN’s  Kayla Harrity of Wicked Bites was in the house interviewing all the chefs.

SoonSpoon16Harpoon Brewery provided the beers for the evening.

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SoonSpoon17Taza Chocolate was at the event, sampling chocolate and each guest got one full size bar to snack on.

SoonSpoon9Flavors included Toffee Almond & Sea Salt, Cacao Nib Crunch, Sea Salt & Almond, Raspberry Nib Crunch and Coconut.

SoonSpoon14Devin Thomas (top right), of the popular Twitter handle Only in BOS, was in the house. Follow him on Twitter for all the latest news.

SoonSpoon19After an hour or so of eating and chatting, guests sat down to watch George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.

Workbar 45 Prospect Street, Cambridge, MA

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AlexAni9On a rainy July 16th, fashionable guests made their way out to Alex and Ani on Newbury Street for a night of shopping, beauty, bites and summer cocktails.

AlexAni1Guests sipped on Double Cross vodka cocktails, beer from Mystic Brewery and wine from Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard.

AlexAni8BeStyled Blowdry Lounge was downstairs treating guests to beach waves.

AlexAni2BeStyled has locations in Chestnut Hill, Wellesley and Lynnfield.

AlexAni3Small bites were provided by Tony Naser of Crush Pizza, located on State Street in Boston. Tomato, basil, mozzarella and balsamic on toast.

AlexAni7Crush also had their amazing gelato on hand in two flavors. See my previous post here.

AlexAni6Check out the fashionable employees from Alex and Ani!

AlexAni5Thanks to Boston Magazine Events for a great night!

AlexAni4Alex and Ani 115 Newbury Street, Boston, MA http://www.alexandani.com/

Crush Pizza 107 State Street, Boston, MA http://www.crushpizza.com/

 

 

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IMAG0481I met my friend Julia after her golf lesson at Fairsted Kitchen. My friends had been raving about it, and I knew it was time to get in and try it for myself.

IMAG0480They have a great little bar where they mix up inventive cocktails. The dining room is cozy and the ambiance makes you feel a little nostalgic. We are lucky enough to be served by Steve Bowman, one of the co-owners. The way that Steve talks about food is wonderful – his descriptions are so vivid, you can tell how passionate Steve is about the food by the way he talks about it. The service was impeccable.

IMAG0476We decide to start with some cocktails – all of the drinks on the list have great names. This is the Giuseppe’s Lady ($12) made with Terroir Gin, Cynar, Pomegranate, and Lime. I love gin drinks, and this one was perfect – sweet, but not sickingly sweet like some can be, it was clean and crisp and I love the glass.

IMAG0469All the dishes come out on miscellaneous china plates – so charming! The menu is divided into snacks and bites, small plates and large plates. Above is the spaetzle, a small plate.

IMAG0470Next we have the potato gnocchi with peas, fava, fiddleheads and maitake ($13). I love this dish, and don’t even mind the veggies (usually I just eat around them) but the fiddleheads are just so delicious.

IMAG0472Next up is the seared sea scallop with charred leek,  butternut and cashew ($13). The scallops are enormous and perfectly cooked, one of the best dishes of the evening.

IMAG0477The cauliflower with eggplant, raisin, caper and red pepper ($17) was good, but by the time we got to it, we were pretty full.

IMAG0479The strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert was delicious, light and sweet, a perfect way to end a meal.

Fairsted Kitchen

1704 Beacon Street

Brookline, MA

www.fairstedkitchen.com

Fairsted Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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IMAG0482After a late meeting, we headed over to Commonwealth for a bite to eat. Commonwealth is owned and operated by Chef Nookie Postal, former executive chef at Fenway Park.

IMAG0483We start off with a cheese plate – they have two of my favorites: Ascutney Mountain ($7) and  Landaff ($7). The jam is housemade and delicious – and they sell it in the attached market, so you can continue to enjoy the condiment at home.

IMAG0486The Parker House rolls are delicious, light as air and almost melt in your mouth.

IMAG0488Pat’s clam chowder ($11) comes with littleneck clams and housemade crackers. I’m loving the presentation of the dish and the chowder is really flavorful. The chowder has just the right amount of creaminess and the bacon adds that bold flavor to the dish that you will crave for days.

IMAG0489I order the mac n cheese ($9) as my “meal” even though it is really a side. The portion is generous and it is really quite filling, we take half of it home.

IMAG0491The skirt steak ($25) was delicious, even if the plating left something to be desired.

IMAG0490The duck fat fries ($9) were huge wedges of perfectly cooked potatoes.

IMAG0492And how can you pass up dessert? Even though I was stuffed, I made room for the strawberry ice cream with a warm white chocolate blondie ($8). Two very classic flavors that made my night.

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We also had the pistachio ice cream on top of french toast bread pudding ($8) which was equally delicious.

Commonwealth

11 Broad Canal Way

Cambridge, MA

http://commonwealthcambridge.com

Validated parking at the Kendall Square Garage
$1 for 3 hours: Monday – Friday after 4pm
Weekends all day

Commonwealth on Urbanspoon

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IMAG0603
The final stop, number 8, on our burger research tour for Taste Trekkers lands us at the Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons. (See Trade, LAH, jm Curley, Gibbet Hill Grill, Back Bay Social Club, The Gallows, Craigie on Main)

IMG_1997We had been here a few years ago, see previous post, and had the Bristol burger ($23). I remember it being one of the better burgers I’ve had, so we went to refresh my memory. An interesting crowd on a Tuesday night: A young couple celebrating with champagne….and their screaming baby, two women having dinner – one of them wearing a side ponytail and a scrunchie, and a couple in their late 40′s, early 50′s celebrating their anniversary, the woman clearly thought she was using her “inside” voice, but was in reality shouting…needless the say, the people watching was quite a show. Back to the burger – still good, but it didn’t make my top 5 for the Taste Trekers guest blog post. Bristol Burger – House Made Pickles, Aged Vermont Cheddar, Brioche Bun, Truffle-parm Fries. The fries were a bit soggy, but edible.

IMG_2000Short Rib Cannelloni ($34)  Leeks, Morels, Creamy Pomodoro. The pasta was good, but the $34 price tag seemed a bit steep for what it was. The presentation of the dish was lovely.

IMAG0602Apple tarte tatin ($12) Crème Fraiche Ice Cream, Rosemary Laced Tuile.

What’s your favorite dish at the Bistol Lounge?

Bristol Lounge at the Four Season

200 Boylston Street

Boston, MA

http://www.fourseasons.com/boston/dining/restaurant/the_bristol_lounge/

Bristol Lounge on Urbanspoon

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