Tag Archives: Cheese

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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Corn Pesto Pasta

29 Aug

So as I write this we are currently in the midst of the beginnings of Hurricane Irene. Hopefully by the time this post goes live, everything will be back to normal with not too much damage. One can hope at least!

But let’s not talk about such things as measly hurricane’s (you here my Irene?!? I AIN’T SCARED OF YOU) and let’s instead talk about this amazing corn pesto. Oh, you’ve never HEARD of corn pesto? Yeah, I didn’t either, until I saw Joanne post about it. We have been consistently getting beautiful and delicious and sweet corn from our CSA for the past couple of weeks and when I saw her post, I immediately knew what I was making for dinner.

As the pest whirred away in my food processor, I snuck a taste just before adding the beautiful concoction to my pasta. I’m pretty sure it took all my being to not consume the entire bowl. It was creamy, it was sweet, it was cheesy, it was AMAZING.

You pretty much need to go to your nearest farmer’s market, buy some fresh corn, and immediately make this dish. You will not be sorry. I promise. Scout’s honor (not that I’ve even been a scout, but you get the idea)

Corn Pesto Pasta
Adapted from Eats Well with Others, originally from Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 6 ears of corn)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (I used a 3 cheese blend of Parmesan, Asiago & Romano cheese)
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 4 tbsp
  • 1 package of your favorite pasta, cooked according to directions (I used brown rice shells)
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
Directions
 – In a medium saute pan on medium high heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil to pan. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes, until the garlic starts to brown. Add corn, salt, and pepper (to suit your tastes) and stir until the corn is tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan and put all but half a cup of the corn mixture into your food processor.

 – Add the cheese and pine nuts to the processor and turn on. While the food processor is going, slowly add in the olive oil until the pesto is smooth. Turn off the food processor and add in the remaining kernels. Using a spatula, mix everything together and set aside.

 – In the same saute pan add 2 tbsp olive oil to pan and then add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add the arugula and stir to combine. Cook until arugula is slightly wilted, about 2 minutes more.

 – Once your pasta is cooked, drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water. Return pasta to pot and add the corn pesto, arugula & onion mixture, and chopped tomatoes and stir to combine. Thin the pasta to your liking with the reserved pasta water. Sprinkle more cheese on top if you like your plate extra cheesy.

Fly Away to San Francisco: Part 4

13 Mar

Friday was one of my favorite days in San Francisco. Why?!

We got to visit the Ferry Building!! You have to no idea how excited I was to go here. And how INCREDIBLY jealous I am of all San Franciscoians that get to go to this place EVERY.DAY. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Pig Parts?!?! Sign me up!

Meat in a cup. GENIUS!

Hanging salami and other delectables

A store dedicated to mushrooms?!

Delicious, delicious mushrooms

Where's a meat store without a cheese store?

Crabs? Yes please

I had a VERY hard time picking a place to go for breakfast. We definitely wanted to go a bit on the lighter side so we decided to head to Frog Hollow Farm.

I really loved this place! Their coffee was amazing and they had homemade jam. Hubby wouldn’t let me get any which made me sad.

I had one of the best mocha lattes I’ve ever had EVER.

We also had a delicious yogurt, granola and fruit parfait. All the fruit came from Frog Hollow Farm and it included some blood oranges that were fantastic!

We also shared a gigantic slice of apple crisp. It basically cancelled out the healthy parfait we had. It was good. It was buttery. It was flaky. And it tasted of fresh apples.

I wanted to stay at the Ferry Building ALL.DAY. But Joe wouldn’t let me 😦 We ended up getting some delicious salami and cheese from one of the stores and had that along with the bread we bought at Boudin Bakery for a delicious snack while in Lake Tahoe!

You can’t come to San Francisco WITHOUT coming to the Ferry Building. We missed out on the HUGE farmer’s market they have, but if you can make it on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday then I would HIGHLY recommend it!

 

Frog Hollow Farm on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Cheeseboy

20 Jan

UPDATE: So I had NO idea when I wrote this that today is National Cheese Day! So it is quite fitting that I decided to write about CHEESE. Have a Happy National Cheese Day and make sure to get in your serving of CHEESE!

I believe truer words have never been said. Just add bacon to that equation and I’m a happy camper.

Cheeseboy opened up in South Station October 2010 and when I saw the huge poster with grilled cheese on it, well, I knew I was going to have a problem.

I would just like to point out that this place gets BUSY. Like, busy from 11:30-2PM there is always a line. People appreciate a good grilled cheese sandwich.

A few of my coworkers didn’t understand the appeal of Cheeseboy. They thought it was too much money for something you can make at home. Yes, you are correct, I said, you can make them at home. But you CAN’T make them at work. That’s the whole point!! ::sigh:: Some people just don’t get it

The menu at Cheeseboy is pretty simple. You can go for a classic, a healthy version, or anything in between. You can add meat, veggies, even change up the cheese. And they have tomato soup. Because what’s grilled cheese without tomato soup?

After they make your grill cheese they pack them in a cute little to-go box. It’s like a mini pizza box. Whenever I go I always get the combo, which includes a sandwich, small soup and a small drink. I love the classic sandwich, and I usually add bacon and tomato to it, because that’s just how I roll.

This time around I actually did order my sandwich with bacon but they forgot to add it. It’s ok, they didn’t charge me extra. The presses that they use create the perfect sandwich. Crispy on the outside, gooey and melty on the inside. It’s pretty remarkable.

Add to that the tomato soup? Foggetaboutit. I like to dunk my sandwich into the soup and leave it there for about 30 seconds so it can sop up all the deliciousness of the soup.

All in all a lunch like this costs roughly $6.00, a little more if you add more stuff to your sandwich. This is easily the best eatery in all of South Station and obviously the hoards of people that wait in line agree. Why go to McDonalds for rubbery questionable meat when you can have a delicious and FRESH grilled cheese sandwich? That’s what I thought.

Cheeseboy on Urbanspoon

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