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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

My food adventures…and some other random stuff

IMG_0886I received an email on Monday about a last minute pop up event on Tuesday hosted by SoonSpoon for a rare, small grower wine tasting (with bites from Uni). Never heard of SoonSpoon? They are new to the scene, run by Travis Lowry and Conor Clary.  You can reserve last minute tables at some of the city’s hottest restaurants. Which restaurants? Farmstead Table. Puritan & Co. Journeyman. Tupelo. Stir. Menton. Clio. Uni. East by Northeast. Bergamot. l’Espalier. 51 Lincoln. Bogie’s Place. Casa B. Waban Kitchen. Beacon Hill Bistro. What is different about SoonSpoon? They hand pick these restaurants, they want you to not only have a good meal but have a great experience. Here’s the perk: they track your reservations, and if you reserve enough times, you are invited to one of their pop up dinners (which by the way look AMAZING).

IMG_0885More about this event. My friend Caroline and I head over to Bay Village to the private home of a SoonSpoon friend/adviser.

IMG_0884Scott Peterson was on hand to tell us a little more about each wine. These rare wines are grown organically and exclusively distributed by Scott.

IMG_0882We are tasting 10 wines tonight which I will outline below in more detail.

IMG_0893Jonathan Fenelon, assistant general manager and wine director at Clio was in attendance, helping set up the delicious bites from Uni chef Tony Messina. Jonathan has worked at Cragie on Main, Menton, and Ribelle. And what I small world, we knew each other 15 years ago…

IMG_0889The small bites included a delicious salmon tartare with creme fraiche…

IMG_0887Pea financiers with bacon…

IMG_0888So delicate and delicious.

IMG_0901Delicious short rib sliders on steamed buns with kimchee (our favorite dish of the night).

IMAG0117Not pictured was a white gazpacho shooter.

IMG_0898Oysters with pickled green almonds.

IMG_0895Caviar, salty but oh so good.

A really great evening – we got to try a LOT of great wines and we chatted with some really interesting people! Sign up for SoonSpoon and start reserving today! http://www.soonspoon.com/

Here are the wines that we tasted:

Rojac (Sparkling) “Royaz” Primorska (67% Refosk/33% Syrah) NV Fermentation captured in the bottle from Refosk and Syrah – with its acidity and strawberry like aromatics retained.

Channing Daughters Rosato of Franconia 2013 One of the more rare rosato from this Long Island winery (150 cases made!) Had incredible mineral and citrus components.

Spaetrot Rotgipfler Liam 2010 100% Rotgipfler from Austria’s cooler part of Thermenregion. Subtle ageing in neutral oak gives this more dimension and texture but still retains the acidity

Pithon Paille Anjou Blanc Les Treilles 2011 Top white from Pithon Paille – consists of small planting on 70% slope (100%) Chenin! Considered on of the best Loire Valley whites – by fellow domains (about 300 cases made)

Cordani Magia 2011 (Barbera 60% Croatina 40%) Frizanti red from Emiglia Romagna produced with wild yeasts This one was fizzy, it was really interesting

Eugenio Bocchino Barolo La Serra 2007 Biodynamic producer from single vineyard La Serra in La Morra with 125 case production Of the two Barolos, I liked this one the best

Scarzello Barolo 2007Small traditional style producer making beautiful handcrafted Barolo (500 cases) This had a spicy, earthy flavor with hints of cherry

L’Aietta Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2007 The top wine produced at L’Aietta – all from low yielding Sangiovese and a total of only 300 bottles created The bottles were beautiful, they were etched – bottles retail for about $125

Calluna Vineyards Estate 2010 (53% Cabernet, 20% Merlot, 17% Cab Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, 2& Malbec) Cutting edge estate in Chalk Hill showing their training and style of restrain from Bordeaux

Wing Canyon Mt. Veeder Napa Cabernet 2009 Tiny property in Mount Veeder producing artisnal mountain estate grown fruit (216 cases) 90% Cab, 4% Cab Franc, 6% Merlot

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IMG_0502Mark and Bekka are getting married in a little less than a month! They went down to Rhode Island to try some macarons and while they were there, Bekka entered the cupcake contest that Silver Spoon was hosting. Here’s her ice cream sundae cupcake: a vanilla bean cake is filled with a chewy chunk of chocolate chip cookie dough and topped with fluffy marshmallow buttercream and a mini peanut butter cup. Yum!

IMG_4277The Cinnamon Sugar: Sweet Mexican cinnamon and vanilla filling. Pretty darn delicious, love the spice!

IMG_4280 The lavender with vanilla frosting didn’t make it home in one piece, they’re so delicate! Looking forward to see which flavors they chose for their wedding!

Silver Spoon Bakery

58 Main Street, East Greenwich, Rhode Island

http://silverspoonbakery.com

Silver Spoon Bakery on Urbanspoon

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IMGA good friend of mine, my most craft-tastic friend, asked me if I wanted to take a calligraphy class. Always up for anything once, I said sure, why not? She sends me the link to the class schedule and low and behold, I know the woman running the class. We met a few years ago when she addressed some envelopes for me. And when we met back then, another small world – she went to high school with one of my good friends. I love Liz, she is super talented and is fun to boot! We sign up for her beginners class – prices are $75 per person for a two hour class or $130 when you and an friend register at the same time. Here’s the beginner’s class description from her website:

Beginners Class Description
A small group workshop (max 8 students) designed for beginning enthusiasts, to get people inspired about the joy of
calligraphy in a relaxed, comfortable studio setting. I teach the basics of the traditional technique of dipping a steel
nibbed pen into a bottle of liquid acrylic ink, introducing you to my favorite beginner’s lettering style “Elegant” – my version of
the classic Italic alphabet…with a modern twist!  I focus the instruction on recommendations & suggested goals for personal
practice & study following the workshop, dozens of cool ideas for using your calligraphy skills,  interactive instruction &
some 1-on-1 guidance.

Calligraphy pen, nibs, ink, worksheets/guidelines & take-home practice materials are all provided – no need to bring anything.

Each class is held in our lovely design studio, a short walk from SOUTH STATION (NOTE: we have moved from our North End
storefront of many years as of 5.31& are now on South Street in The Leather District)
.  Tons of sample work on display.

Coffee/tea/water will be offered.

We start off by familiarizing ourselves with the pen and nib. We practice our thick and thin lines. If you look at the above sheet, we follow step by step instructions and write our own letters underneath. The B’s and the D’s were killing me.

IMG_0002Once we get the muscle memory going, we are on our own to practice letters. I think my B’s get worse as you go down the column!  The class goes by way to quickly – we are having so much fun! We end the class working with different colored inks and different patterns/textures of paper. Check out Liz’s website and sign up for a class with a friend – it’s a fun and different way to spend a few hours!

Lettering by Liz

Located in the Leather District

http://www.calligraphyboston.com/

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IMG_2736This tiny place is jam packed crowded. Good thing we called in our order. We wait near the tables, next to a space heater and a fish tank with these creepy looking fish inside…

IMG_2735There are a few tables here, but it is certainly tight, most people are getting takeout.

IMG_2737I have the crispy chicken ($8.95), marinated chicken deep-fried until crispy brown with pineapple chunks, tomato, red & green peppers in Thai sweet and sour sauce. A little heavy on the sweet and sour sauce but a good dish over all.

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The spring rolls ($5.95), crispy Thai-style vegetarian rolls, served with a delicious sweet and sour sauce, were a little underwhelming. I wished that they were more flavorful. Overall the food was ok, not very authentic tasting, but that may be because of the choices that we made.

Lanta Asian Cuisine
38 Batterymarch Street, Boston, MA

www.lantacuisine.com

Lanta Asian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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IMG_0865I had the pleasure of meeting Derek and Kristin Wilson this weekend at their pop up at Olives and Grace. The Wilson’s are the minds and talent behind Broma Brownie Co. (formerly Boston Brownie Co.) Between the two of them, Derek and Kristin have almost 50 years of restaurant experience (Kristin is the pastry chef over at Legal Harborside). How cute are these two? Saturday was a great day to be outside, warm and sunny with a breeze.

IMG_4461They have so many great flavors, it’s hard to choose. Some are infused with spirits: Bully Boy Boston Rum Raisin, Tequila Caramel Sea Salt, Moonshine Strawberry, Johnny Walker Blue Bacon Brittle, and Jefferson’s Bourbon and Bing Cherry. Don’t worry, they have classic flavors as well: like peanut butter, superchunk, caramel pecan, and the original. When asked about the flavors, Derek said chocolate has natural inherent flavor profiles, so they try to play off of them with the use of ingredients like Bourbon & Cherries, Amber Rum & Raisins, Spices and Citrus. Goo news, they also offer gluten free brownies!!

IMG_4464The brownies are 100% preservative free and  they utilize locally sourced organic ingredients from New England. The brownies are made with Tcho chocolate, the best chocolate you can buy, that is 100% fair trade organic. Ok, that’s all good, but how do they TASTE??!? One word. Amazing. I tried the tequila caramel and the peanut butter flavors. The brownies are super fresh, moist, fudge-y, and oh so rich. After trying a Broma brownie, you’ll never look at another brownie in quite the same way.

Broma Brownie Company

Buy online: http://www.shop.eatmorebrownies.com

Find them on Facebook and Twitter

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IMG_2681A cute spot right on State Street that you might miss with all the construction going on along the sidewalk. The service is quick and the portions are enormous. Chef-owner Özcan Ozan, uses his 40 years of cooking experience to serve up Turkish cuisine to the Financial District.

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The chicken shish kebab plate comes with an enormous pita, rice pilaf, feta cheese and Sultan’s salata. There are some really great flavors in this dish and the veggies are fresh super fresh. You could certainly make two meals out of this dish, all for under $10.

Sultan’s Kitchen

116 State Street, Boston, MA

http://www.sultans-kitchen.com/

Sultan's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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IMAG0058Pop ups are HUGE these days, I think that it is great exposure for chefs and bakers who are just starting out. There has been a lot of buzz these days about Stephanie Cmar, the former No. 9 Park alum and Top Chef contestant. Cmar has held pop ups at Commonwealth, the Butcher Shop, Fairstead Kitchen and the Salty Pig to name a few.
IMAG0059Cmar has recently paired up with Trademark Tarts for the pop up events. Anxiously awaiting the pop up last Sunday (after having Mei Mei the night before at a private party) I was up early and in line at around 9:30am for the 10am opening. I would say that I was about 20th in line, and when the doors finally opened, the line was wrapped all the way around the block. It had started to drizzle a bit, and there was no cover, but I was committed to stay. While we were patiently waiting outside, Alex, the manager at Mei Mei came out with complimentary donut holes to sample. Mark, Bekka and their friend Mike were supposed to meet us there, but when I called at 9:45, they hadn’t even hopped on the T yet. By the time they would have arrived, the donuts would have been sold out! (They ended up selling out in under 30 minutes!!)
IMAG0063The line moved fairly quickly once the doors opened. People were busy deciding which ones they wanted…but how could you not get one of each?
IMAG0069Justin Burke-Samson is the brains behind Trademark Tarts. He was offering two flavors last week – above is the cherry limeade. Wasn’t sure what to think about it when I heard the flavor name, but one bite and I was in heaven. The crust was so flaky and light and the filling was sweet and delicious.
IMAG0070The birthday cake pop tart was also delicious, not sure which of the two I liked better…good thing I don’t have to choose ;)
IMAG0072The blueberry donut was as lovely to look at as it was to eat. It was super light and fluffy with a light blueberry glaze.
IMAG0073Our green tea donut was kissed by the blueberry donut in the bag, but maybe that made it even better. It was light and sweet, with a not to bold green tea icing that reminded us of a honey glazed donut.
IMAG0074The cookies and cream felt a bit naughty to be having for breakfast, but dip anything in crushed oreos and I’m in.

Follow Stacked Donuts and Trademark Tarts to see where they will pop up next!

https://twitter.com/trademarktarts

https://twitter.com/StackedDonuts

Stacked Donuts on Urbanspoon

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IMG_2157This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for some time now. I met up with my old intern and she brought me this cute little sampler pack from Cocoanuts (that’s how they first came onto my radar). Check out all the things inside below.

IMG_2158A tasty fruit and nut bar.

IMG_2159Taza, a local Somerville chocolate company, makes stone ground chocolate. Founder Alex Whitmore had his first bite of stone ground chocolate in Mexico and loved it so much he decided to open up a factory in Somerville. Taza maintains direct relationships with cacao farmers and pays a premium above the Fair Trade price for their cacao.

IMG_2160McCrea’s candy was founded by Jason McCrea, a man on mission to make the best caramel. The caramels come in a variety of different flavors: black lava sea salt, tapped maple, ginger fusion, dark roasted mocha, rosemary truffle sea salt, mad vanilla, deep chocolate caramel, highland scotch, basil cayenne, and cape cod saltworks. The caramels are all handmade in small batches with premium, all natural ingredients. They only use locally sourced cream, milk, and butter.

IMG_2161Tcho chocolate is based out of San Francisco, so not local, but it is some of the best chocolate around.

Sencha Naturals green tea mints are naturally sugar free. The Moroccan mint flavor has a clean crisp peppermint flavor. The company was founded by David Kerdoon, who developed the world’s first green tea mints. Green tea had long been limited to beverages, Kerdoon worked to infuse green tea into edibles, as many Asian merchants were doing.

Stop by Cocoanuts and pick up a customized gift today.

Cocoanuts

28 Parmenter Street, Boston, MA

http://cocoanutsboston.com/

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IMG_0754Were you at Pax East this past weekend? I wasn’t, but I attended the IC launch party at Guilt nightclub.

IMG_0755No idea what Pax East is? It started in 2004, it’s consumer show, where people come, listen to music, beta test games, play next gen and classic video games, and check out unreleased hardware. Have a favorite developer? He or she might be speaking on a panel at the event.

IMG_0757Check out these fun drinks, pictured is the Atlanis Gambit: Rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, cranberry juice and lime.

IMG_0758Mei Mei provided the snacks for the evening! I had the kung pao braised beef nachos that were quite delicious!  Good thing we got there early, people were lining up to try Mei Mei’s food!

IMG_0763Here are the sweet and spicy candied peanuts. Yum!

Pax East

http://east.paxsite.com/

Mei Mei Street Kitchen

http://meimeiboston.com/

 

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IMAG0099Every month until they publish their cookbook in April 2015, Chef Richard Chudy, and Chef Samuel Monsour will host pop up burger nights all around town. Chudy is the creator of Boston Burger Blog and co-owner of the Skinny Beet, a personal chef and catering service. Monsour is the former Executive Chef at JM Curley and you may have heard about his “The Future of Junk Food” series of pop up dinners. The Super Burger Bros. event on Thursday night was at Boston Chops in the South End.

IMAG0089The event started at 10pm and went ’til 1am. When I made reservations, they had over 100 people already booked. We arrived a few minutes before 10 and the place was packed.

IMAG0086Mark and his fiance joined us for dinner. I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it, dinner at 10pm is late for this girl – it was a school night after all.

IMG_20140417_221800The two burgers we didn’t try were: Oktoburger by Chris Coombs/Ryan Marcoux: House sauerkraut, monkey first mustard, smoked beef tongue pastrami ($10) and the Boston Chops Signature Late Night burger: Government cheese, lettuce, tomato, bacon, caramelized onions, pickles, and secret BC sauce ($6). While they all sounded delicious, we were all basically on the same page.

IMAG0091The pop up started with a hot dog amuse bouche!

IMAG0093Even after grabbing drinks at the Gallows ahead of time, I decided to have a “pick me up boozy milkshake” with coffee ice cream, Jameson, Van Gogh vodka and chocolate liqueur ($8).

IMAG0096Pops Double Stack by Samuel Monsour: shaved vidalia’s, yellow mustard, NY state dog sauce, and homemade American cheese ($10) with a side of fries ($2). This burger had classic nostalgic flavors. A bit messy to eat, but oh so good.

IMAG0094Canadian Steakhouse by Richard Chudy: Montreal spiced onion ring “poutine” Canadian Club and maple gravy, fresh curds ($9). My personal favorite. Fresh curds, say no more. The burger was delicious, sweet and salty, and well seasoned. The bun stayed in tact until the last bite – which is pretty important for a good burger.

 

IMAG0098And instead of fries, I decided to grab the duck fat fingerlings with lardons from the regular Boston Chops menu($10). Love everything about this side dish.

The service was what your would expect for a busy Thursday evening. The music was loud, but I loved the old school jams they picked out to be the soundtrack for the night. Can’t wait to see what these guys think of next!

Boston Chops

1375 Washington Street, Boston, MA

https://bostonchops.com/

 
Boston Chops on Urbanspoon

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