Tag Archives: Event

Eating for Monkeys

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IMG_2299This past weekend, I was lucky enough to represent my job at a benefit for Helping Hands, a wonderful organization that pairs the paralyzed with a Capuchin monkey to help them with tasks and provide companionship throughout their lives.

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The cause is incredible, and I really wish the monkeys could have been there (although we were given stuffed ones at the end).  There was a lot of great food, awesome people, and music to keep the night alive. The space itself looked beautiful:

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I definitely strutted around the room looking for the best food I could find at the event, and I found it.

Firstly, we served an awesome shrimp ceviche with a homemade chip. It was light but had some healthy heat, and people were coming back for seconds and thirds at our table.

and the dish was bright and beautiful

and the dish was bright and beautiful

There were some other delicious ceviches out there as well, like the one from Trade with harissa, lime, and dukkah, which is kinds of like a spice and nit mixture from the Middle East. It added a nice crunch and the fish couldn’t be fresher.

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Zocalo’s ceviche was also really nice, with mango and cilantro, which made it very refreshing and a good reminder of my days trying traditional ceviche in Peru.

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I really liked the red wine poached pear from Cinquecento, although the crostini was a little hard.  The pairing with the blue cheese was perfect, however and I’m pretty sure I came back for seconds.

IMG_2278There was a ricotta bruschetta from L’Andana topped with figs, which I’m really into right now (along with a lot of other chefs, looks like). The cheese was creamy while the fig was perfectly sweet.

and very pretty

and very pretty

There was an excellent  tuna tartare from Sorellina, which is one of my favorite spots I can’t afford in Boston (except for restaurant week of course). Another great seafood dish.  I was pleasantly surprised how much seafood there was, and how expertly prepared it all was (thank god).

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The sliders from Moo… were also wonderful, the meat cooked beautifully, and lots of caramelized onions played off the meat really nicely.

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Beyond all that wonderful food, I had some real favorites, dishes I fell in love with and I’m still thinking about. Firstly, the duck confit risotto topped with shaved truffles from another favorite spot that I can’t really afford but I dream about, Mistral.  Before even trying it, I knew I would love it because it includes duck and truffles, which are some of my favorite things.  I was not disappointed.  It was rich and luscious and felt like a meal instead of a small preparation.

I died with happiness.

I died with happiness.

Finally, to tie it all up, I had the vanilla panna cotta from Teatro.  It was SO creamy and had so many fresh vanilla beans (the black specs in vanilla ice cream are a great sign). It was topped with candied nuts and a salted caramel.  Now, since I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate, this was a great dessert for me.  I had two, and I’m not ashamed.

I should have had more.

I should have had more.

This was a great event, guys.  Lots of wonderful food and great people, all for an unique and wonderful cause.  It was a great way to spend a Saturday, even if I was technically working. It didn’t feel like work.  I wish every Saturday could be this fun.

-L

 

 

 

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Battle of the Burger a.k.a. my first Sous Chef experience

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So as I mentioned yesterday, the Executive Chef at my job asked me to be one of his Sous Chefs for the Battle of the Burger, hosted by Boston Magazine.  Eighteen of the city’s best burgers under one roof, with 1,000 attendees to judge and vote for the winner.  Can I cook for it without any restaurant experience? I figured this would be a great way to find out if I could ever really work in a restaurant, or if I should maybe hone my skills and take a cooking class or two in hopes of maybe opening my own place one day.

I started my day by helping prep. I figured I might as well look the part:

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Then it was time to get to work. I started prepping olives while Chuy, the other Sous, chopped some parsley and made burgers (not gonna lie, he did most of the prepping.  Being a home chef means I don’t normally move too fast in the kitchen, but the guys were understanding and helpful).

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I really did to a lot of olives though.

Or at least, a decent amount.

Or at least, a decent amount.

After we prepped, we headed to the venue, the BlackFalcon Pier in South Boston. We set up our station:

which had a nice board explaining the burger to attendees

which had a nice board explaining the burger to attendees

I set up my mise en place

it was so pretty before the chaos began

it was so pretty before the chaos began

and then we got to work.  We made about 600 burgers. My job was to top the burgers with a greek style salad and the Tzatziki sauce (see description below).

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That's me, putting the salad on top of the lamb burger, and Chef Antonio, looking somewhat happy with my job

That’s me, putting the salad on top of the lamb burger, and Chef Antonio, looking somewhat happy with my job

I have to say, the hours melted by.  I had a blast! It was a rush, and at the time I was feeling pretty sweaty while plating those salads on the burgers, but I was incredibly focused on getting every burger done and looking great.  I felt like I was on Top Chef, guys.  We all know that’s my dream.

The burgers came out pretty great, also.  Fresh ground lamb sliders topped with homemade Tzatziki and a salad of shredded romaine, tomatoes, feta, olives, onion and parsley on top.  Yes, that was hard to get that salad to stay put on the burger, but I think we pulled it off.

Look how pretty these burgers turned out

Look how pretty these burgers turned out

Chef Antonio said he was happy with my work as well, and would be willing to give me some more pointers around the kitchen.  Score.

I totally deserved one of the beers given to us by the Amstel Light sponsors

I totally deserved one of the beers given to us by the Amstel Light sponsors

Since this was a competition, however, I totally had The Russian running around trying out the burgers for me while I worked.  When there was a bit of a lull, he brought me around to the stalls he liked the best so I could try some of the best burgers at the battle.

Here were some of our faves (other than the lamb burger, of course):

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The Trade burger from Trade.  Nice pickle, guys, and the burger was really well cooked.  Simple and tasty.  They also had burger shaped macaroons. Clever.

and very cute.

and very cute.

The Vermonster from Boston Burger Company.  The apple slaw and bacon brought it home.

sweet, but not overpowering

sweet, but not overpowering

I was excited that I got to try Shake Shack’s burger also.  It was really awesome, just a perfect simple burger made well.

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The BBQ burger from Joe’s American Bar & Grill  was also really nice, and they put pork belly on their burger.  Pork belly.  Way to think it through, guys.  They were a popular choice, and placed in the top three of the competition.

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The Russian also loved the burger from Tommy Doyle’s, and I liked the blue cheese on the burger and the slice spice from the jalepeno.

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I also loved that it was called the corky pig

So, overall, I had a kickass time last night, and I hope this is the start of my culinary experience on the restaurant side of things.  Top Chef, here I come.

-L

 

 

Marathon Patriot Gala Nomfest

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Last night, I was lucky enough to get to check out the Marathon Patriot Gala hosted by the Newbury Street League. Once again, people coming together to help others by eating. My kind of event for the food, but I missed the memo on the fancy level.

I’m decidedly causal pretty much all the time, while people at this event were wearing ballgowns (I congratulate myself when I make it more than an hour in heels).  Whoops.

Then again, it was at the Mandarin Oriental.  I probably should have known.

Then again, it was at the Mandarin Oriental. I probably should have known.

There was even a live band.  They were really classy too.

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Either way, the way I was dressed certainly didn’t affect the food.  And it was glorious.

Some favorites were the oxtail tacos with spicy crema, baby cilantro, and pickled shallots from Met Bar:

I got too excited to eat to remember to take a photo, so he's a half–eaten taco instead.

I got too excited to eat to remember to take a photo, so he’s a half–eaten taco instead. So delicious and flavorful.

It was a flavor explosion.

I also liked the cornmeal–crusted cod with eggplant capenade from Papa Razzi. The fish was perfectly cooked and flaky.

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it also looked classier than I did

I thought the yellowtail sashimi from Forum was super fresh, and didn’t even need the citrus sauce it came with (the sauce was delicious though):

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Speaking of fish, I have to represent Cafeteria Boston, which served rock shrimp ceviche.  Super bright and fresh with the veggies with a hint of spice, and of course the tortilla chips are addicting.

And they were pretty

And they were pretty

Then there were the ribs from Joe’s American Bar and Grill.  I love sweet BBQ, and the sauce really hit the nail on the head for me.  newbury13

I forgot all about looking nice pretty quickly after taking my first bite.

clearly

clearly

Other honorable mentions included the Greeen Goat pizza from The Proper Slice with pesto, fresh tomatoes and goat cheese:

newbury7The paella from Tapeo; while super tasty, the paella I had in Spain ruined all others for me (I’m a paella snob though).

it was chock full of meat and seafood and plenty of rich saffron.

it was chock full of meat and seafood and plenty of rich saffron.

The seasonal sangria from Forum was also very tasty, but Spain still kinda ruined it for me.

Although I would have no problem downing a carafe full of these

Although I would have no problem downing a carafe full of these

Overall, most things were really tasty.  The only thing I wasn’t really about were the samosas from Kashmir: They were a bit dry for my linking, but the flavor was still good.

 

and they were super cute

and they were super cute

I’m always excited to go to events, and this time was no different. I had a lot of fun, and will try to remember to check the dress code next time I go somewhere.

-L

 

Boston Bites Back, Part 2

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_DSC0394Just wanted to share some photos of the incredibly talented Peter Szigeti, a friend of mine and Hungarian import to our shores.  He’s studying photography and took some wonderful photos of The Boston Bites Back event on Wednesday.

_DSC0438 _DSC0448 _DSC0450He took some great photos of the Cafeteria Staff, myself included _DSC0461

_DSC0458 _DSC0456 _DSC0474When The Russian came, he took some photos of us as well.

_DSC0488 _DSC0490 _DSC0489If you want to see more of his work (and you do) He has a Facebook page and his website should be up at the end of the month.  Enjoy the weekend!

-L

The Boston Food event to end all events

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Fenway Park was the beautiful backdrop for Boston Bites Back, an awesome fundraiser headed by Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger and Ken Oringer of Toro (among others).  Both incredible Boston chefs (and totally intimidating–more on that later) running an amazing event for The One Fund one month after the horrible bombings that shook our city.  The energy was incredible that night, as organizers invited 1,500 first responders and 38 survivors (the source of my information is the grapevine so the numbers might be off).  There’s nothing I love more than people getting together and eating for a good cause, so I was on cloud nine the entire event.

I actually went to the event as a representative for Cafeteria Boston, where I work. Had a great time promoting our yummy shrimp ceviche and talking to the crowd.

This was gone in about two hours– had to send The Russian to Newbury street to retrieve more food

This was gone in about two hours– had to send The Russian to Newbury street to retrieve more food

There was so much food, it was overwhelming.  There’s no way I ate everything offered– but I certainly tried (and honestly, I think I only missed a few tables).

A sampling of my favorite foods:

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The spicy shrimp salad from AKA bistro was crunchy and flavorful,

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The lobster hash with quail egg from Seaport Hotel had a rich gravy and crisp veggies , and who doesn’t love yolk?

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The lobster rolls from Aramark were summery and buttery, a rival to the ones I had in Newport.

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Lamb Schnitzel with a shaved asparagus and arugula salad from Bravo and Water Cafe ;

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Lonza with pickeled ramps and pecorino cheese from Babbo, which hasn’t even opened in Boston yet (but I do love thinly sliced meats).

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The steak taretare from one of my favorite spots, Mistral.  They even had homemade macaroons in blue and yellow.

Finally there was a dish that blew me away.  The rabbit loin with black olive aioli and tomato crackling from Blue Inc.  

Already planning my visit there. So yummy.

I die

I die

Finally finished up with a vanilla cupcake from Sweet. Good decision.
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Did I mention I met Ken Oringer, Ming Tsai, Jody Adams of Rialto, and Micheal Schlow of Radius? I was a total goon when I met all of them, but I get a little starstruck. Sorry guys.

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Overall, an incredible evening.  One of the best I’ve had in Boston.  It’s comforting to know that in the face of peril, there are those that will come together in favor of helping others and being gluttons.

-L

You can’t always get what you want

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Sorry for the delay in posts, it’s been a busy week with work and all.  Life happens.

Last week, The Russian and I went to Bacon and Beer Fest art show hosted by Eat Boston.  I was super excited as The Russian and I both love bacon and beer, but, for the first time, we were disappointed.

Firstly, the space was packed.

took us 20 min just to get a drink

took us 20 min just to get a drink

We were given a drink ticket good for one Bloody Mary made with bacon vodka, but as one party goer said, he couldn’t taste the bacon.  Also there was no beer un less it was bought, and no beer-flavored food.

Speaking of food, the entire time we were there we only saw two plates of food.  Bacon–wrapped asparagus and bacon–wrapped scallops.  Both were good, but there was not enough food or everyone and The Russian and I had to share a scallop.

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The artwork, however, was super awesome.

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Notice the portrait of Tyrion. Awesome.

Notice the portrait of Tyrion. Awesome.

I’ve been to other Eat events and just loved them, so I’ll chalk this time up to a fluke. The next event I’m attending is tomorrow, the Boston Bites Back event, and I couldn’t be more excited.  The event has been hyped so much, it’s sure to deliver. More to come on that very soon!

-L

A Taste of the Good life with Columbus hospitality Group

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Always start with a good drink, this one has vodka, rhubarb, and thyme.

Always start with a good drink, this one has vodka, rhubarb, and thyme.

This week, I was invited to Taste of Columbus Hospitality Group, a blogging event hosted at Mistral. It was my first blogging event, an a real success (my version of success is counted by how delicious the food is).

Oh it was successful.  These are tortilla chips from La Nina.

Oh it was successful. These are tortilla chips from La Nina.

The event had all of the members of the Columbus Hospitality Group, which includes restaurants, hotels, and a tortilla shop.  Each member of the group had a table with a small bite for guests, and there were spring–themed drinks, like the rhubarb one above and a whiskey drink with mint and sparkling wine. I didn’t take a picture cause I was too busy downing the vodka drinks.

I did happen to grab some photos of the food however, like the pizza the waiters were walking around with, my favorite with steak and truffles.

and a thin crust, my favorite.

and a thin crust, my favorite.

There were swordfish skewers from L’Andana,

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Homemade fig and prosciutto sausage with a shishito pepper in a tomato broth from Teatro,

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and sirloin sliders with caramelized onions from Mooo….

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I also can’t forget the pea soup with the chive blossoms from Sorellina,

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Or the tuna tare tare from Mistral, my favorite dish of the evening.

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Chef Jamie Mamano’s original spot (Mistral) is still my favorite, but I was so excited to try all of the other dishes, and each was delicious in it’s own way. I clearly have some eating to do in this town.  I was so happy, I tweeted.

The networking aspect was of course awesome as well.  I met some new faces and saw some bloggers I already know, and hopefully garnered some connections.  Everyone was super nice, which made me less nervous to be the newest blogger among people who were veterans of the blogosphere.  I was a happy camper.  Now that I am finally done with school (graduating in a week and a half, incredibly), I can put a lot of focus into my blogging, and this was a great event to kick off my full–time blogging experience here in Boston.

and I can finally devote all my time to this guy

and I can finally devote all my time to this guy.

-L