This was my first event with Boston Bloggers, and I have to admit I was a little nervous, like first day of school nervous. But good thing I had my spirits expert Mark with me! We both have always wanted to learn a little more about whiskey. The other bloggers at the event couldn’t have been nicer and more supportive of each other. And who doesn’t like to swap stories about favorite places to eat and drink? The whiskey tasting was held at Saloon, the second venture for David Flanagan and Ken Kelly (owners of Foundry on Elm – also in Davis Square).
Beverage Director Manny Gonzales takes us through the whiskeys – we are blind tasting and he reveals the brands after we have talked about each drink. He encourages everyone to participate, people call out what flavors and smells they are experiencing.
Thank goodness there are some delicious snacks on the table while we are doing the tasting! They had this amazing bread, challah like in texture, with some sea salt sprinkled on top that was absolutely delicious. Above is a really nice meat board with crispy baguettes, mustard, pickles and pickled onion.
So starting at the top left, we later found out that it was Willett, a Kentucky bourbon, barrel #7674. Bourbon is an American whiskey, made primarily of corn (at least 51%). Bourbon is aged in oak barrels with a heavy char inside, they call the char “alligator skin”. The toasting of the wood gives brings out the wood flavor in the barrels, giving the alcohol an earthy quality. This particular bourbon is 72% corn and 13% rye. It was medium in color – Manny suggested that we keep the bourbon on our tongue for some time to get all the flavor notes. The alcohol was “sweet” (not girly drink sweet, ’cause it still burned on the way down) and had caramel and vanilla notes.
The second drink we tried was High West whiskey, a rye whiskey. Rye whiskey is at least 51% rye. This brand was a blend of a 2 year old whiskey and a 16 year old whiskey and made from 53% rye, 37% corn and 10% barley. This had a dry flavor, with notes of cocoa, cinnamon and licorice (a lot of spice – a characteristic of Rye) and was sweeter than the Willett.
On the bottom right, we have the Highland Park, a single malt Scotch whisky. Scotch must be aged for at least 3 years, this one has been aged for 12. A single malt whisky is made with malt from one distillery. This Scotch has an almost medicinal quality to it, with tangerine notes, pear and honeysuckle. It was fruity and earthy with a smoky flavor. To be honest, all I got was the smoke, thank goodness I had Mark there with me.
Bottom left was the Irish Whiskey, the lightest in coloring. Irish whiskey is made in…Ireland. It must be aged at least 3 years and is usually distilled 3 times (as opposed to Scotch that is usually distilled twice). This was the sweetest of all, with a smoother finish than the Scotch whisky. There are currently only 9 distilleries in Ireland.
Overall, it was a really great night. I learned a TON about whiskey and met some great people. Looking forward to more Boston Blogger events in the future!
*This event was complimentary, but all opinions are my own.
255 Elm Street, Somerville, MA
What do you get for someone that has everything? Ice cream. Graeter’s (if you haven’t heard about them) is an ice cream company out of Cincinnati, OH. Order a 6 pack for $60 or a 12 pack for $120, you can mix and match your flavors. Graeter’s creates its ice cream 2 gallons at a time, it’s hand swirled and then hand packed into pints. They make nearly 20,000 pints a day!
Chocolate peanut butter chocolate chip. Their chocolate ice cream that has been fortified with creamy peanut butter flavor and loaded with peanut butter cookie dough pieces and our signature chocolate chips.
Just like the Buckeye Candy, this has a chocolate-peanut butter base with peanut butter cookie dough pieces and dark chocolate chips.
Check out Grater’s here: http://www.graeters.com/
Tags: ice cream
Bagelsaurus is a twice-a-week micro-bagel-bakery that is located inside Cutty’s sandwich shop. They are open Friday and Saturdays at 8am and go until they sell out. Mary Ting Hyatt hand forms these babies!
Check out my Favecase video: http://favecast.com/24CDfjQUWB
Bagelsaurus at Cutty’s
284 Washington Street, Brookline, MA
Freshii is tying to change the way we think about food, offering fresh lunch options that fill you up – think slow burning carbs, filled with fiber and lean protein. They are a green restaurant, eliminating traditional industry staples: excess packaging, heavy energy consumption, and greasy processed meals.
If you order off the menu, step right up to the line. If you are making your own creation, grab a clipboard and a pencil and start checking off your choices!
I choose the Asian noodle bowl ($7.99): rice noodles, roasted chicken, cucumbers, carrots, edamame, crispy wontons and warm peanut sauce. The portions are generous here, and I can’t even come close to finishing this thing! The cucumbers were a little weird for me in this dish, but it was tasty. The dish was light and yet filling at the same time (mission accomplished?). The line moves quickly – like most lunch spots in the area. Freshii has a good variety of salads, wraps, burritos, bowls and soups (built fresh to order).
100 High St #100, Boston, MA 02110
You’ve heard me say many times before that you can judge how good your dinner will be by the breadbasket you receive. This one was exceptional. A French baguette, pretzel rolls and my favorite, the bacon and cheese rolls cooked in muffin tins. I could have eaten these for days!
We start with the King Crab Soup ($16). It was hard to taste the old bay that was supposed to be there, and to be honest, I thought that this was going to be a creamy soup. Either way, it was delicious and the “puff pastry crouton” on top was lovely.
I had the Scallops ($38) English pea risotto, pea vines, black truffle sauce. I almost had no room after the bread, but this dish was delicious – the scallops were perfectly cooked, a well executed dish. An excellent choice if you are not in the mood for steak.
SW does offer a vegan menu for those in your party that may not eat meat. The food was delicious, but the service was excellent – some of the best that I’ve had. Mark was our server and I feel like I just had to think that I needed something and he was right there at the table. He was knowledgeable about the menu, confident in his recommendations, personable, and on top of everything that we needed. It was the service that really put SW over the top for us. Next time we are in Vegas, we will certainly be back!
SW Steakhouse at the Wynn
3131 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV
There has to be good for at the Super 88 market, every time you drive/walk by, there is a line to get into the parking lot and the food court is packed. We recently got take out from Pikaichi, which took over the space formerly occupied by Ken’s Ramen House. Ken closed his doors in 2011 to move back to Japan While no one’s ramen can compare to Ken’s, who imported noodles from Japan, Pikaichi does offer some delicious dishes . Pikaichi boasts that they serve 6oz of ramen in their dishes, where the industry standard is 5oz.
The portions here are generous – with the additional ramen and the thin slices of pork. The broth is salty and allows the other flavors in the dish to shine through. Overall, we were very satisfied with this meal.
1 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA
Check out “The King candy bar” from Liddabit Sweets. Never heard of Liddabit? They are a small company based out of Brooklyn, and the HAND MAKE everything! The company is founded by two friends, Liz Gutman and Jen King who recently finished writing a cookbook.
From their website, they tell you what goes into making a King Bar:
- Butter is browned, and used to make the cookie dough base. The dough is rolled out, cut to size, baked off in sheet pans, and set aside to cool.
- Peanut butter nougat is made by cooking sugar syrup to a certain temperature, pouring it over whipping egg whites, and folding in smooth peanut butter at just the right time. The warm nougat is spread over the cooled cookie base.
- Fresh bananas are puréed and mixed with white chocolate and cream to form a ganache. The ganache is spread over the cooled nougat, and the whole slab has to set up.
- Milk chocolate is tempered. The slab is turned out of the sheet pan and chocolate is spread over the cookie base. Once the chocolate sets, the slab is cut by hand into 1” x 4” bars.
- More milk chocolate is tempered. The bars are dipped by hand and allowed to set up; any holes or “bald spots” are fixed up afterwards with a small metal spatula and some more tempered chocolate.
- The bars are hand-packaged in cello wrapping and heat-sealed. Boxes are hand-stamped with the “best before” date and folded, and the bars are nestled inside. Finally, the label is wrapped around the box (you guessed it – by hand).
The King bar is soft peanut butter nougat is sandwiched between a brown sugar-brown butter cookie and a layer of fresh banana ganache, and dipped in milk chocolate. After eating one of these candy bars, you can never go back to a Milky Way or a Snickers…the banana flavor in the bar is pretty subtle which I liked…these candy bars are out of this world. Check out their website for other flavors like: PB&J, S’mores, beer and pretzel caramels, fig ricotta caramels and tally ho’s.
Apotheker’s is a small family run company founded by Russell and Shari Apotheker. Their dark chocolate is sweetened by honey from third generation beekeepers. They come in great flavors like Cashew Sea Salt, Cherry Almond, and Spicy Triple Pepper. They will be doing a pop up at Olives and Grace this weekend. The event is 12pm-3pm on Saturday (3/29), and they will be debuting their newest product!!
Sweet Lydia’s is a Lowell, MA based company specializing in s’mores. Other flavors include: white chocolate, raspberry, caramel and peppermint bark. See their website for additional flavors and to view their hand made candy bars.
A friend of mine and I took a calligraphy class in the leather district and decided to grab a bite just around the corner at Sorriso. In January, Sorriso, and it’s sister restaurant, Les Zygomates, were bought by Anthony Botta. Botta teamed up with his brother in law, Mark Tosi, and they are planning on giving both restaurants an interior facelift.
We were there about 2 weeks after the sale. It was late at night, and we were given a quiet table in the back – perfect for catching up! Even though there is a facelift in the works, I do think there is something charming about this place.
I had the braised beef short rib ravioli ($21) with white truffle oil and shaved Parmesan. The pasta was light as was the sauce. Short ribs can sometimes overwhelm a dish with their strong flavor, but this dish was excellent – filling but not heavy. Service was good, although being all the way in the back, we felt that sometimes we were easily out of sight, out of mind. I will be curious to go back and see what changes they have in store for the menu.
107 South Street, Boston
The next Good Ones party was at Stella in the South End. Theme: “Elegant Aquarium” – wear your most tropical, underwater inspired colors. Come casual or fancy – just have fun, bring your own sense of style, and prepare to brighten the room with your presence.
The party was located in the back room at the restaurant – a very different vibe at this party. The scene: lighhearted fun, a guy in a scuba outfit (tank and all!), a mermaid, dudes dressed in their finest Nantucket reds, a balloon extraordinaire outfitting guests, free flowing drinks and lots of laughter.
Music and lighting by Team Sayles, meet Julian!
The talented Mark Penta – back at his caricatures!
Taza chocolate was a sponsor of the event – love their chocolate!
The charity component: Ticket sales go directly towards the costs of event operation and to raising awareness for Vitamin Angels 501(c)(3). For 20 years, Vitamin Angels has been helping at-risk populations in need (specifically pregnant women, new mothers, and children under five), gain access to lifesaving and life changing vitamins and minerals.
Balloons Extraordinaire at work!
Bacon popcorn by Corn and Co.
Rice flour, sweet potato, turnip, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, rye flour, apples, pancetta, eggs and chestnuts
Newton Native, and Paris-Trained Chef Ensan Wong of Liquid Art House (opening soon) worked with the ingredient selection of Executive Chef Karen Akunowicz of Myers and Chang (oooh! Did you catch her on Beat Bobby Flay?!?!):
Lamb, shiitake mushrooms, black vinegar, sunchoke, rice flour, quail eggs, harissa, opal basil, cumin, almonds and mint
Ensan and Kylee’s dumpling.
Simple but elegant plating.
Kayla Harrity from NESN’s Wicked Bites.
Another great party – The Good Ones never disappoint! Can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
1525 Washington Street, Boston, MA
As soon as we are seated, before we even get a menu, we are greeted with a wedge of Parmesan cheese and a plate of fried zucchini. Rather than it feel like a special amuse bouche, it feels like a drop and run. Either way, our zucchini is cold. There was also a garlic bread basket that was a bit soggy.
We are also given a piece of bruschetta and one mussel along with a plate of thinly sliced meat (which I thought was just plated in an odd way). Our “captain” comes over and recites a long list of specials.
For dessert, the cheesecake ($14). It was light and just melted in your mouth, definitely one of the top desserts I had while in Vegas. Note that when you get the bill, there is a space to tip the captain and a space to tip the team. The service didn’t miss a step, there was always someone around clearing your plate or fold your napkin. We could have done without the complimentary appetizers (they almost took away from how good I thought the meal was) – but the food itself (the main course and dessert) was delicious, we would certainly go back.
3500 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV