Tag Archives: Boston

Boston Food Finds Tour of Beacon Hill/Back Bay

16 Oct

On Columbus Day weekend, my husband and I had the pleasure to attend a Boston Food Tour of Back Bay & Beacon Hill courtesy of  Audrey at Boston Food Finds. Never heard of Boston Food Finds? Well Audrey has developed some amazing relationships with Boston area restaurants and specialty food stores to create some amazing food tours. Her tours include Beacon Hill/Back Bay, Greenway, and coming soon, Harvard Sq & Downtown (which includes Quincy Market & the North End). They are great for the tourist as well as a local!

I was excited to try the Beacon Hill/Back Bay tour. When Joe and I moved in together, our first apartment was in Beacon Hill, so the stroll to and from each place brought back some nice memories.

Our first stop was at Lydia Shire’s famed restaurant Scampo, which is located in the beautiful Liberty Hotel. I had heard so many fantastic things about Scampo so I was very eager to start our tour.

We were given a menu of what we would be sampling while we were at Scampo. My mouth was watering the second I looked at the menu! Gnocchi and pizza?!? Two of my most favorite things!

Obviously any restaurant that has it’s own slicing machine is a great place in my book.

But first! We were able to take a tour of the kitchen. It’s fairly small, but very efficient. Many of the chef’s were working on prepping for dinner service. Yum-mie.

While we waited for the food to be served, we got to munch on some tasty homemade bread sticks. These aren’t your run of the mill boring packaged bread sticks that are served at sub par restaurants. These were crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, so-good-I-ate-3-of-them-breasticks.

We were sitting at the chef’s table, so we were able to see everything as it was made. I LOVE sitting at Chef’s tables. It’s so interesting to me to see how the food comes together to become something truly amazing.

And let me tell you, our first course did NOT disappoint. Fresh arugula, fresh tomatoes, with gooey mozzarella paired along side gnocchi served with chestnuts, Parmesan cheese reduction, and a browned butter, garlic and sage sauce.

I pretty much ate this in about 5 seconds. So amazing. And I remembered to sop up all the sauce with a fourth breadstick. Don’t judge me.

Next we tried Scampo’s world famous Lobster pizza. Um, hello? Lobster AND pizza. I might just have to live at Scampo (much to my wallet’s detriment). This pizza was amazing, tender and crispy crust, juicy and big pieces of lobster. My only teensy tiny problem with the pizza was that it was a little on the oily side. But still didn’t detract from the amazingness.

This tour was obviously off to a good start.

Our next stop was at Beacon Hill Chocolates. I have to admit, I’d walked past BHC while I lived in Beacon Hill, but never went inside. For shame. For inside contained….happiness.

BHC was in full Halloween mood. But you won’t find boring candy corn here. Sweet potato pie bars. Halloween inspired candy apples. Truffles. Lots and lots of truffles.

We were able to sample a variety of chocolates. And not just boring chocolate. Milk chocolate with lime and chile oil. Dark chocolate. All of it fantastic. And we got to take home some delicious S’Mores pops and some brownie pops. And I may have bought a couple pounds additional items.

The next stop on our tour was Bacco’s wine and cheese shop. Bacco’s opened this year and it has just been flourishing. This was another place I had walked by and was curious to see what it was all about.

Cheese? Check. Pâté? Check. Craft beers? Check. Awesome wine selection? Check. Delicious and affordable meals from Pigalle restaurant? Check. Meat and Cheese BENTO boxes?!?!! CHECKITY CHECK.

Yep. Awesome.

For this stop we got to sample some amazing Dukkah from Lydia’s Handcrafted Foods, which is an Egyptian nut and spice mix. Grab some bread, dip it in some fabulous olive oil, dip it in the Dukkah, repeat 1000 times, and fall into complete bliss. Next came the most amazing almond macaroons I’ve ever had. Made by an older gentleman, St. Emilion’s macaroons have an intense almond flavor that is out of this world. You cannot just eat one of these. We also tried 2 different varieties of cheese, plus a sweet pino grigio that was pretty amazing.

Up next was Sabatino & Co. I literally felt like I was walking into a perfume store, not a specialty food store (which is why I walked right past it!). Sabatino’s definitely belongs on Newbury St., with decadent olive oils (truffle infused olive oil anyone??), to the most amazing pistachio cream I’ve ever had in my life. I may have single handedly eaten about half of the jar.

Besides the sweets, we got to sample an intense black olive tapenade, a delicious eggplant caponata, and some delicious espresso cream.

The orange and strawberry chutney was one of my favorites. One of the most interesting products they had was truffle infused honey. Alone, I didn’t really care for the taste, but after I heard some of the things it can be used for, I would totally try it. Unfortunately, most of the items at Sabatino’s were out of my price range ($26.00 for an 8oz bottle of lemon infused olive oil????? Ouch) I didn’t buy anything.

Our second to last stop was at Turner Fisheries for their legendary clam chowder. To make their chowder, they use rice flour instead of regular flour because it produced a better consistency to the chowder. They even provided us with a copy of their recipe! Yum!

Their chowder definitely had a silky feel to it which I liked. The potatoes were great, not too soft, not too hard. Was it my favorite? Probably not, as I would have like more chunks of clam, but I will definitely take their advice on the rice flour.

Our last stop of the tour was at Sweet, because obviously we need to end with dessert. I’ve never really bought into the whole cupcake craze that has taken over Boston, as most of the time the cupcakes are overpriced, overly sweet, and overly dry.

With that said, I had a hard time picking a cupcake though. Do I go with a classic chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting? Do I go more Bostonian with a Boston Cream Pie cupcake? Do I go Fall with a Pumpkin Pie cupcake with cream cheese frosting? Decision Decisions.

In the end, I went with the Caramel Apple cupcake, complete with apple compote in the middle, vanilla bean caramel frosting, and a Popsicle stick to finish it off. It was pretty much the perfect ending to an amazing tour. Joe ended up getting the Molasses cupcake with crystallized ginger frosting, but saved it for later.

Thanks so much to Audrey and Boston Food Finds for such an amazing tour! And if you haven’t checked one out yet, you totally should!

Disclaimer: My husband and I were given 2 complimentary tickets for this tour. However, as always, all opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way shape or form.

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Boston Local Food Festival 2011

3 Oct

This past weekend I attended the Boston Local Food Festival in Fort Point, in front of the Children’s Museum. It brought hundreds of vendors and people together that have a love for good, local food.

I wasn’t sure how we were going to be able to navigate through all of the delicious vendors, but we decided that if we saw something that we really liked we would go for it. Luckily, almost everything was under $5 which made stuffing your belly with delicious foods affordable.

A couple of local farms came out and were selling some of their farm fresh fruits and veggies so it was like a farmer’s market!

The first place we headed over to was Sportello, and they were giving out some amazing pork belly sandwiches on homemade focaccia bread. Let’s just say it was a great start to the afternoon.

Next up we headed over to Batch Ice Cream. Even though we had barely finished out pork belly sandwiches, the minute I saw Salted Caramel Ice Cream, I HAD to grab some. I mean, it could be sold out by the time we got back! Can’t let that happen now can we?

Our portion was HUGE! And it was packed with sweet caramel with a touch of salt. Favorite.

Next up we ventured over to Sofra. They had a ton of delicious sounding and looking delectables, but we went with the unusual sounding pastry pictured above. I can’t even begin to pronounce it, but it was a pastry filled with yogurt and spices. It was definitely not in your face sweet which I actually liked. It was certainly the most interesting item we sampled.

By this time I was veering very close to food coma, so we decided to wash the deliciousness down with some Pumpkin Soda. Yep, you heard me. It tasted like carbonated pumpkin pie. Which is alright with me. This soda was from Maine Root, and they were also selling a maple based soda that looked intriguing as well.

We sampled some other assorted dishes but sadly I didn’t take any pictures. Probably because I ate them so fast they were that good. We tried a garlic full sour pickle as well as the regular pickle from Real Pickles. We nommed on a grass fed burger from Miles Smith Farm. Juicy doesn’t even describe how amazing they are. I drank some delicious chocolate milk from High Lawn Farm. I was told that their eggnog was going to be sold at Whole Foods. Yes I will be picking one up.

Oh, who is that? Could that be Christian and Derrick from Master Chef??????? Why YES, YES IT IS. Christian obviously cleaned himself up and I REALLY wanted to go up to him and ask him if he was a real a$$hole or if he just played one on TV.

KIDDING!

Mostly.

Anyway, I had such a fantastic time eating and discovering new and local foods. If you missed out on this year’s festival, SHAME ON YOU! Can’t wait until next year!

 

 

 

 

 

Blogger Dinner At Audobon Circle

16 Sep

Last week I had the fantastic opportunity to check out Audubon Circle with a group of amazing bloggers. Audubon Circle is located in the St. Mary’s section of the Brookline/Boston line and I was very excited to try their full menu, as I had only been there one time before with Megan & Kathy and we only sampled the appetizers and beer (they do pitchers! Of GOOD beer!)

For some reason I was not in the mood for any of the beers they had (*Gasp!*) so I went with the acrb tea party – which was tea infused vodka with mint, lemonade & lime. When I get a mixed drink, I always prefer that I DON’T taste the alcohol and this one delivered. I also enjoyed the mint flavor as well.

We decided to go about the menu family style, so we ordered a bunch of appetizers and entrees and shared everything. Like good food bloggers do. I recommended the white bean dip because when I came before, I absolutely devoured this dip. It was smooth and creamy and the accompanying bread was soft and chewy. Yes please.

I’m pretty much never going to say no to a cheese plate, and when this baby landed right in front of me, it was hard to not take it and run. The red pepper jelly that they serve with their cheese plate is A-MAZING. Please, someone give me a vat of that and I am a happy girl. There were 3 cheeses that we tried, one soft, semi soft and hard cheese, which I liked.

I really enjoyed the tomato and burrata salad, served with crispy slices of cucumber, balsamic vinaigrette and some micro greens. Audubon Circle uses fresh, local and in season ingredients as the inspiration for their menu, and the heirloom tomatoes in this salad were full of juiciness and flavor. The creamy burrata was also a nice touch.

Next up was the marinated skirt steak with chimicurri and mango and corn slaw. This was a “meh” in my book. The flavors were nice, but it was a very forgettable dish.

The vegetarian dumplings were also a big hit and had such a pretty presentation. I also enjoyed the sauce that was served alongside the dumplings.

At this point it was time to switch to entrees. the pappardelle bolognese with pecorino romano and garlic toast was my favorite entree of the night. Long flat noodles coated in a delicious bolognese sauce and the garlic toast was covered with LOTS of cheese and was soft and gooey. I forgot to ask if the pasta was made in house, but it certainly tasted like it!

The BBQ shredded chicken with potato salad, house made biscuits and bread and butter pickles was probably my least favorite entree we tried. Not that it wasn’t good, because it was! The biscuits were full of delicious butter flavor, and how can I say no to bread and butter pickles? I can’t. I did not like Audubon Circle’s potato salad. The potatoes were too hard for my liking, I like the potatoes in my salad to be slightly soft, and these were not. The sauce was also not very flavorful.

We also tried the lobster roll, served with chips and slaw. The lobster roll was tasty, but it definitely had more mayo than I personally liked, but the slaw served along side made up for the roll’s shortcomings.

I love me a good ham and cheese sandwich, and Audubon Circle’s version certainly did not disappoint. Made with rosemary ham and muenster cheese, the mustard served on the side made for some nice dipping. I most certainly had seconds of this dish.

Another favorite of mine was the pork schnitzel served with arugula and pickled onion. You can’t really see it in this picture, but the schnitzel was incredibly thin with a perfect brown crust. I was instantly transported back to Germany (well, besides the arugula part). I told the husband about this dish and he was asking me when we were going to visit Audubon Circle.

Another forgettable dish in my book was the salmon served with sweet corn succotash and heirloom tomato. Maybe I’m just over salmon but this dish was pretty mediocre considering I don’t remember much of what it tasted like. I remember liking the succotash, so that’s a plus?


Audubon Circle only has one dessert on its menu, and for good reason, it’s fan-freaking-tastic. Chevre cheesecake with an oreo crumb. In case you’ve forgotten, chevre is goat cheese. And it’s amazing. I’ve never had a goat cheese based cheesecake, but I obviously need to get in the loop, because it is super creamy without being heavy. I hate heavy cheesecakes (I’m looking at YOU Cheesecake Factory!) but this was pretty much the perfect ending to a great meal.

It’s easy to forget Audubon Circle. It’s located in the middle of St. Mary’s and Kenmore, next to a bike shop, but believe me when I say, Audubon Circle is worth the visit!

Audubon Circle Restaurant Bar on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer: Dinner at Audubon Circle was provided to me free of charge. I was not asked to review Audubon Circle, so all opinions stated in this review are my own. 

Wagamama @ the Pru

13 Jul

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Rachel over at Boston Food Blogs to sample some new menu items that Wagamama was unveiling. Now, if you read this blog at all, you know that I’ve shared my experience about Wagamama, but who am I to turn down free food and a chance to mingle with some wonderful food bloggers?

This was my first time visiting the Prudential center location and I have to say, they did a good job! They have a few tables outside in the arcade which makes for some good people watching and they have bench style tables throughout plus a nice view of the open kitchen.

We started out with the chicken dumplings. I love me some chicken dumplings, and this was a great start to the meal. Lightly fried with good flavors.

Next came some chili calamari. I really liked Wagamama’s version of fried calamari and that they used long strands of calamari instead of rings. The batter was light and airy, not heavy and greasy like other fried calamari. It was served with a sweet chili, garlic and cilantro sauce that was just the right amount of spicy.

What else do I say about edamame other than I can eat an entire truck load of these in one sitting. I heart edamame.

We also got to sample some delicious drinks. I’m not really a cocktail gal (beer girl all the way) but I really enjoyed this mango sekkai which was made with freshly muddled mango, basil and lime and blended with rum. It was sweet and definitely did not taste like alcohol, which is a dangerous thing.

Glazed ribs. Fall off the bone tender. I love ordering these and I was not shy about getting seconds.

The Suribachi chicken wings were finger licking good and they packed some nice heat. Yum yum.

Before I was even half way through my first drink I was presented with this ringo martini, which is sour apple and honey boubon liqueurs with fresh squeezed apple and lime. A little too strong for my liking, but still good.

Now it was onto the main courses! First, lemongrass shrimp soba. The soba was stir fried with minced cilantro, garlic, chiles, and fresh beansprouts. The shrimps were huge! And very good.

We were told that the Chicken katsu curry is their best selling item WORLDWIDE and there’s a reason for that: it’s AMAZING. Thick curry gravy is poured over perfectly pan fried chicken cutlets. Slap on some sticky rice and you are done. Next time I come to Wagamama I know what I’m ordering.

I really liked their marinated yasai noodle salad. Chock full of yummy eggplant, mushroom and sliced zucchini, this is definitely not your run of the mill salad. The addition of crispy noodles to the top was a nice touch.

This was probably my other favorite dish, the beef cha han. The beef is marinated in shichimi (what is that? I don’t know, but it’s delicious). The stir fried rice was flavorful and filled with veggies. Approved.

I’m always a little disappointed with Wagamama’s soups, and this was no exception. The salmon was overcooked and too flaky and didn’t have any flavor at all. The broth was nice, and the noodles were passable, but it was a very forgetful dish.

You didn’t think we would leave without dessert, did you??! The coconut reika was my favorite of the 3 desserts I decided to share with Kathy, Megan & Daisy. Three scoops of coconut ice cream with a smooth mango sauce and toasted coconut, I felt like I should be on a deserted island laying in a hammock swaying in the breeze. Light and fresh.

Creme brulee cheesecake. HELLO!?!? Um, love it. Although I think they could have gotten away with torching the top a bit more. Smooth and creamy.

Chocolate cake. I mean, what is there really to say? How do you go wrong with a chocolate cake? YOU DON’T. If you do somehow make a bad chocolate cake, you should probably be thrown in prison. Fudgy and dense.

Thanks so much to Rachel and Director of Marketing Nancy Barrett for letting us sample some amazing new dishes at Wagamama. It definitely came me a new appreciation of Wagamama!

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

Cooking for a Cause 2011!

7 Apr

Last Friday I had the amazing opportunity to attend Cooking for a Cause thanks to Brian from A Thought for Food. I won his Twitter giveaway and was shocked and amazed that I won!!

I got even more excited when Megan won tickets as well and brought Ashley along.

Cooking for a Cause benefits the East End House which is a:

not-for-profit, multi-service community center and social service agency with an on-going commitment to a diverse population, providing programs and services to strengthen family and community. East End House is the center of community life, a safe haven welcoming, linking, and collaborating with individuals of all ages, their families, businesses, and community institutions to create innovative programs in pursuit of excellence on a sound fiscal basis. (Taken straight from the website)

This is definitely a great great cause so I was happy to be a part of it!

The lineup of restaurants that participated are staggering. Craigie on Main. East Coast Grill. Rialto. Gargoyles on the Square. Chez Henri. EVOO. I could go on for days! It was a little overwhelming when I walked in. Just where do I start?!?!

I swear I should have taken notes because I can hardly remember everything I ate and where it was from. But believe me, it was delicious!

And now, THE FOOD!

Buckwheat noodles with duck confit with cracklings from Craigie on Main. I think I just died and went to heaven.

Perfectly marinated steak with an amazing pork dumpling and slaw from K.O. Prime. I wanted to eat 8 of these.

Taza Chocolate. I ate approximately 10 pieces of chocolate. LOVE.

Lamb burgers with a tzatziki like sauce. Don’t ask me to remember which restaurant it was from. I know, bad blogger! But WHOEVER YOU ARE, it was delicious. (Edit: Just found out that these babies were from Chef Paul Turano from Tryst! Loved them!)

Light as air gnocchi with bacon from Aura.

A hard boiled egg wrapped in chorizo!?!?!? Oh Garden at the Cellar, I love you.

Mini cupcakes from Kickass Cupcakes. I had a smores cupcake. Usually I’m not really a big fan of Kickass, but these were good.

Country pate with rosemary infused concord grape jelly, bread and butter pickles, whole grain mustard, on a baguette from EVOO. I think this was literally my favorite dish. Every single item on that plate I loved. LOVED IT!

Gargoyles on the Square came in a close second. Soft boiled egg with bacon on top and and olive oil basil thing that was amazing. And creamy.

There were some other amazing food as well. Spicy tacos from East Coast Grill. Melt in your mouth pork meatballs from Dante. So light it should probably be illegal gnocchi from Rialto. Decadent brownies from Dancing Deer Company (I had two).

PLUS, Billy Costa was the master of ceremonies for the live auction. And man, if I didn’t owe thousands upon thousands of dollars to Sallie Mae, I totally would have bid on some of the items. AMAZING!

An amazing event overall and I was so happy to be able to attend and support this amazing cause!

Guest Post w/ Fiona of A Boston Food Diary

3 Mar

I discovered Fiona of A Boston Food Diary when I stumbled upon a post about her love of Pho. I knew immediately that we were destined to be friends. When we met at the Signpost Launch Party we immediately hit it off discussing our mutual love of Pho. I still need to take her out to my favorite Pho places in the city! But for now, please enjoy some of her favorite restaurants in the city!

____

I met Amanda some months ago and we immediately bonded over a common love- Pho. Amanda is a dedicated connoisseur of the fantastic Vietnamese soup, while I am just starting my exploration of it’s delicious qualities. Amanda has been incredibly generous though in sharing her list of favorites, and I have pledged to hit them all.

I think that that is one of my favorite things about Boston. As many times as people say that diversity lacks within this city, I have to beg to differ. Boston is a city that served as the home for wave after wave of immigrants from parts of the world, and now our culinary landscape is rich. Through my blog, A Boston Food Diary, I try to experience as much as I possibly can from every different cuisine. I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce you, the readers of Tales from a Kitchen Misfit, to my favorite culturally diverse
restaurants in Boston.

Pho Pasteur (http://abostonfooddiary.blogspot.com/2011/02/pho-pasteur-chinatown-boston.html ) – Lets dive right in ok? Obviously this one may change in the coming months as I continue my quest in trying other spots for the tasty soup in Boston. Right now, this clean broth, loaded with rare steak, cilantro, onions and rice noodles hits the spot.

Coppa (http://abostonfooddiary.blogspot.com/2009/12/coppa-south-end-boston.html )-There is Italian food, and then there is Italian food. I love Chicken Parmesan as much as the next guy, but I know that there is more to Italian cuisine than chicken cutlets covered in sauce and cheese. Coppa opens the mind with hand made rigatoni dishes (heavy on the wine enhancements), exotic meats in approachable formats (calves brain ravioli?)
and by house curing their own meats (duck prosciutto is a must). This isn’t your average Italian food- it is far, far better!

Rami’s (http://abostonfooddiary.blogspot.com/2010/11/ramis-coolidge-corner-brookline.html )- Good Kosher food isn’t something that is readily found, but the guys over at Rami’s have it down pat. Freshly made hummus, perfectly fried falafel, kebab to die for…Rami’s is the place to go

Villa Mexico (http://abostonfooddiary.blogspot.com/2008/07/villa-mexico.html )- Boston does not do Mexican food well. We just don’t. I’m not sure what it is exactly that keeps us from it, but most spots serve pretty terrible Mexican food. Not Villa Mexico. Hidden away in a gas station in Beacon Hill, this little jewel serves up made to order burritos, tacos and a variety of “plates” all perfectly seasoned and delicious. Be sure to order the
salsa when you’re there- full of fire roasted veggies, the black color is odd, but the flavor amazing!

Uni Sashimi (http://abostonfooddiary.blogspot.com/2011/01/uni-sashimi-bar-back-bay-boston.html )- Expensive for sure, but Uni Sashimi brings true Japanese flavor to their Sushi. Seafood indigenous to Japan, presented as art, with flavor accompaniments that are beyond creative. Every dish served is a masterpiece to the eye, as well as to the palate with varying textures and flavors.

Dok Bua- Another frustration point for me in Boston is when restaurants “dial back” their spice. Dok Bua stays true to their dishes, adding spice as liberally as they feel, and keeping everything as authentic as possible. To me, their Beef Basil is an absolute treat!

Boston Food Bloggers Launch Party

19 Jan

When I first started this blog I never thought I would meet such fabulous people. I feel even luckier to know so many fabulous Boston Bloggers whether I have met them in person, tweeted with them on Twitter or read their blog religiously.

So needless to say I was psyched to be invited to the Boston Food Bloggers Launch Party which was hosted by Rachel over at Fork It Over, Boston! Rachel runs Boston Food Bloggers, which is a cacophony of the Boston Food Blogger scene and I am a happy member.

Held at the Gallows over in the South End, I was greeted by the lovely Rachel and handed an enormous goodie bag that I surprisingly waited to open until I got home. I can’t even believe how fantastic the goodie bag is, or how I’m going to use all the restaurant gift cards. SO AMAZING.

Now, I am used to going to events that have free food and booze, but I was REALLY impressed with the food selection here. BACON CARAMEL CORN!?! It’s a good thing I didn’t know there was bacon in it until later on in the night otherwise I would had to have been rolled home.

Cheeseburgers. Delicious cheeseburgers. Again, it took a lot of will power to not eat 5 of these.

POUTINE. Oh.My.God, the POUTINE. Amazing. I made sure I had every single morsel that was in those cups. Oh man.

And what’s a party without dessert? Berkshire company SoCo Creamery had some ice cream on hand. I had the Dirty Chocolate, which didn’t tasted dirty at all, but tasted like pure, unadulterated chocolate.

And the best part of the night? Meeting and reacquainting myself with some fabulous Boston Bloggers. And I didn’t even get to meet everyone I wanted to! But I did get to meet Janel from Eat Well with Janel, Liz from Eating Places, Megan from Cooking Whims, Kathy at Kathy Can Cook, Renee at Eat.Live.Blog and Boston Brunchers, Ashley of Cooking for 1, Katie at The Small Boston Kitchen, and Ashleigh over at Ashleigh’s Slice of Life.

It was also nice to get reacquainted with some of my favs like Meesh and Jacqui of Just Add Cheese, Nicole of iamahoneybee, Fiona at A Boston Food Diary, Jen at Beantown Baker, and Tania at The Musing Bouche.

There’s a good change I forgot to mention some people, just TOO MANY fabulous bloggers. I’m really just so proud to be part of this wonderful community!

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