Month: June 2013

Recipe: Breadbox Smoked Mackerel with Roasted Celery Chutney

Food has the ability to create a memory, to nourish and to enthrall. Every time I hold a dinner party, I’m acutely aware of the responsibilities that behooves each individual course. Will the dish fly and be a delectable mindblast? Will it be infamous and exhibit an ability to teleport guests to the land of taste bud ecstasy? Or will the dish be a bombastic flop and conjure up a torturous chorus of “…it’s not bad?”

I have found a recipe that can elevate you to the level of super-famous superhero. There will be fans and they will roar and they will bow. Monuments will be built in your likeness. But I’m not going to front. This recipe is strenuous, laborious and even toilsome. You have to remember that fame costs. And right here’s where you start paying…in sweat. Although it’s kitchen sweat, so it’s a clean sweat!

And now for the big reveal. The recipe comes courtesy of LCBO’s Food & Drink Magazine 2013 Winter Issue. [As a side-note, can I get an Amen for this awe-inspiring publication? Every two months LCBO churns out a magazine worthy of the highest awards in the land. And they give it away for free. Unbelievable! Everyone I know loves this magazine. I hope it continues to be produced for all of eternity.]  Ok NOW for the big reveal. Behold Breadbox Smoked Mackerel with Roasted Celery Chutney. It’s as delectable as it sounds. Toasty bread serves as a container for crème fraiche, mackerel (or in this case, smoked salmon) and celery chutney. Sweet, salty and with wonderful texture and creaminess. To my horror, the guests dismantled the bread box that I spent what seemed like weeks building, to dip and to scoop and to devour. I had thought that the box would function as a mere vessel. In the end, I suppose it was best that it be edible rather than serve as a simple prop.   

This dish is utterly magnificent and could not have been possible without the genius that is Food & Drink Magazine. I hope that I have have done it justice. My guests certainly enjoyed it!

Check out the recipe for Breadbox Smoked Mackerel with Roasted Celery Chutney on LCBO’s Food & Drink Magazine website.

Eating my way through Boston — Part 2

Clover is my go-to place for breakfast when I am in Boston. And the Harvard Square location is my favorite. It doesn’t matter where I am staying in the city, HSQ Clover is where I need to go for breakfast. It’s fast food done right. It’s vegetarian. There are no freezers. They cut up the food as close as they can to when we’re going to eat (e.g., tomatoes are cut when you order). Everything is done in an open kitchen visible to the customers. 100% of what they hand us is compostable. The menu changes daily. If you can’t already tell, I’m nuts about this place. You should definitely check it out when you’re in town.

On this occasion, I had the oatmeal with fruit compote with a hibiscus green tea. If you’re in for lunch, I highly recommend the chickpea fritter.



Clover on Urbanspoon

This enormous mural installation was posted in Harvard Square near the Coop in order to bring attention to homelessness. 60 3-by-4.5 foot photographs and one 15-by-17 foot photograph cover the entire Palmer Street building in Harvard Square. The installation, called “I am…. More Than Just Homeless,” is a dramatic testament to the strength, resilience, and survival skills of these vulnerable youth. Anthony Pira partnered with Youth On Fire, a drop-in center for homeless youth ages 17-24 in Harvard Square, to present the images in this second public art installation in collaboration with the Outside In Project national campaign “Creating Art to End Homelessness.”

I had heard about this place that served the best lobster sandwiches in New England. Not lobster “rolls,” but “sandwiches.” I took the T to Central Square and then walked for what seemed liked decades. It didn’t help that I wasn’t familiar with the area and that in typical Boston fashion, squares turned into circles, streets were in illogical order and signs were often missing. Definitely not a place you would suddenly stumble upon. Did I mention that it was also raining? Finally, FINALLY, I arrived at my destination, Alive & Kicking Lobsters.

By the time I arrived, I was parched, starving, and I JUST WANTED SOME FREAKING LOBSTERS!!!! And that’s exactly what I got. A generous portion of lobster smushed between two slices of warm and toasty bread. And for $13.95, the price was right. Oh yeah. They even have their own line of drinks. Ginger Ale, Birch Beer, Iced Tea, Root Beer, Lemonade, Diet Root Beer, Cream Soda, Black Cherry, Raspberry Lime, Grape Soda, Water, Sarsaparrilla. I had the orange soda. Quite refreshing after such a long trek. I would definitely recommend this place. But suggest using a GPS to find your way.

Alive and Kicking Lobsters on Urbanspoon




I visited Boston on Memorial Day weekend. Volunteers planted an estimated 30,000 flags representing the service men and women from Massachusetts who have died in the line of duty since World War I. The sea of flags were quite stunning yet very sobering.

Another sad moment was when I visited the Boston Bombings makeshift memorial near Trinity Church. Although right in the middle of a busy city, the site was eerily silent. Not much more to say other than I do hope that my favorite city recovers from this tragic event. Its people are so kind, resilient and truly Boston Strong.


Visiting my friend and going to Fenway are the chief reasons why I come to Boston. The concourse at the ballpark has a wide variety of offerings but I like to stay with the tried and true. Fenway Franks and peanuts. This is baseball after all!


  What a find! A Red Sox sandwhich container!!!!

Joanne Chang is a Boston celebrity. An honors graduate of Harvard with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics, Joanne left a career as a management consultant to enter the world of professional cooking. In 2000, she opened Flour, a bakery and café, in Boston’s South End. Flour features breakfast pastries, breads, cakes, cookies, and tarts as well as sandwiches, soups, and salads.

Flour has been featured in Gourmet, Food&Wine, Bon Appetit, the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Lucky Magazine, Inc. Magazine, and Boston Magazine and has received numerous Best of Boston awards. Flour was also featured on Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network in which Joanne’s sticky buns won over Chef Flay’s. I visited the newly opened Back Bay location and feasted on the lemon-raspberry cake (lemon pound cake brushed with lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd, crushed raspberries and buttercream). Ms. Chang has built an empire in Boston and certainly does not need endorsement from little ole me, nevertheless I urge you to visit Flour as soon as you can and you’ll see why in 2012 it was voted as Best Bakery and received runner-up status for Best Reason to Cheat on Your Diet. Although I would have given it first place!

Flour Bakery on Urbanspoon

Flour Bakery on Urbanspoon lemon-raspberry cake (nf)
lemon pound cake brushed with lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd, crushed raspberries, buttercream – See more at: http://flourbakery.com/content/cakes#sthash.LsUG6SlL.dpuf

lemon-raspberry cake (nf)
lemon pound cake brushed with lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd, crushed raspberries, buttercream – See more at: http://flourbakery.com/content/cakes#sthash.LsUG6SlL.dpuf

lemon-raspberry cake (nf)
lemon pound cake brushed with lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd, crushed raspberries, buttercream – See more at: http://flourbakery.com/content/cakes#sthash.LsUG6SlL.dpuf

lemon-raspberry cake (nf)
lemon pound cake brushed with lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd, crushed raspberries, buttercream – See more at: http://flourbakery.com/content/cakes#sthash.LsUG6SlL.dpuf

lemon-raspberry cake (nf)
lemon pound cake brushed with lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd, crushed raspberries, buttercream – See more at: http://flourbakery.com/content/cakes#sthash.LsUG6SlL.dpuf
lemon-raspberry cake (nf)
lemon pound cake brushed with lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd, crushed raspberries, buttercream – See more at: http://flourbakery.com/content/cakes#sthash.LsUG6SlL.dpuf
lemon-raspberry cake (nf)
lemon pound cake brushed with lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd, crushed raspberries, buttercream – See more at: http://flourbakery.com/content/cakes#sthash.LsUG6SlL.dpuf

Pizza is always on my mind. I had heard about Otto’s greatness but in all my visits to Boston, I had never feasted upon “the pie” for myself. I chose to remedy this situation. I picked the Coolidge Corner location and dined on suggestions from the server. Margherita and Baby spinach, chicken and asiago. Delish.  Otto is noted for combining unique toppings. Try the Butternut Squash, Ricotta and Cranberry or the Apple, Bacon and Red Onion or maybe even the Mashed Potato, Bacon and Scallion. Opt for pizza topped with three-cheese tortellini or maybe even pulled-pork and mango. With these wonderful creative pies, it’s easy to see why Otto was recently chosen by the Boston Globe as one of the 10 best pizza shops in New England.

Otto Pizza on Urbanspoon  

My pal and I made our way to Inman Square to a local sandwich shop deserving of its name, All-Star Sandwich bar. The wild colors, the people, the friendly wait staff and the chaos from the kitchen somehow brings this place together and makes it very unique. It’s exciting and welcoming all at the same time. All-Star runs seven different specials for every day of the week, specific to that day.
We tried out some mainstays from the menu. The Veggie Cubano (Grilled eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, roasted peppers, portabelo mushrooms, jack cheese, Swiss cheese, with cilantro aioli and Dijon mustard pressed on French bread) and the classic Reuben (Corned beef with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and russian dressing on rye). The Cubano was perfect. It’s hard to make a veggie sandwich that’s not mushy or watery. Not in this case. All of the ingredients blended in perfect unison. The Reuben was, well, classic. Great tasting corned beef with just the right amount of dressing on nicely toasted bread.
It’s a fun place with delicious food. And I will be returning. Often. If only to try out one of the special sandwiches that’s right in my wheelhouse. Buttermilk fried chicken, braised collard greens, country gravy and cheddar cheese. That sounds crazy good, no?
All Star Sandwich Bar on Urbanspoon

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I visited for the first time, the Christian Science Center. Check out my pics from a beautiful sunny day in Boston 😉

And with that it was time to bid adieu to my fav city.  But not without a clam roll and some chowder from an old mainstay, Legal Seafoods. Boston I miss you already. I’ll see you in September! Stay #bostonstrong! Go Red Sox!!!!

lemon-raspberry cake (nf)
lemon pound cake brushed with lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd, crushed raspberries, buttercrea – See more at: http://flourbakery.com/content/cakes#sthash.LsUG6SlL.dp

Eating my way through Boston — Part 1

New England native Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote, “I have an affection for a great city. I feel safe in the neighborhood of man, and enjoy the sweet security of the streets.” Although I can’t be absolutely certain, I suspect that he could have been rhapsodizing about Boston, a city that he and I both share a great affection for.

Boston is like a second home to me. I love its people, its buildings and I love riding the T.  Boston is where I sleep the best. It’s where I’m happiest and feel safest. It’s where my beloved Red Sox play and best of all, it’s where I have the coolest dinning experiences. Check out some of the haunts I frequented during my latest visit.

***

After months away from the city, I crave pizza. And I always run to Upper Crust, a pizzeria offering a Neapolitan-style, thin crust pizza. There are various locations throughout the greater Boston area.  The Beacon Hill restautrant has community tables, where customers share the dining space.  Over the years, it has been awarded the titles of “Best Gourmet Pizza” and “Boston’s Best Pizza”from local media. And it’s my personal favourite.

Upper Crust Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

My next stop was John F. Kennedy’s first home out in Brookline. It was the first day of tours after being closed for winter. JFK lived in the Beals street house from birth through his toddler years. The first floor contains the living room, dining room, and kitchen. The dining room is set up as it was for a typical meal in the Kennedy household. You’ll notice the kids’ table on the left. The tour guide noted that the dining room is where Papa Joseph would quiz the kids on current events. They were expected to be able to debate and discuss, even at a young age. This is where it all began!

The tour guide played us a recording of family matriarch Rose Kennedy narrating the goings-on in the kitchen. The kitchen is set up as it would have been around 1917.

After the tour, I headed to Kupel’s bakery to pick up some bagels and some iced tea. Kupel’s is listed by epicurious.com as one of the best bagel shops in America. I have to agree. The bagels were soft and chewy.  IMHO, they were the best bagels I have ever tasted.

Kupel's Bagels on Urbanspoon

While walking up Harvard Ave. in Brookline, I spotted Dorado’s. I remembered it being listed as one of the best taco restaurants in Boston. This place serves high-quality, authentic mexican food. I ordered shrimp tacos (chipotle marinated and beer battered shrimp, jicama, pineapple salsa, Baja crema). Simply amazing and delicious. They crunchiness of the battered shrimp and jicama combined with the freshness of the pineapple salsa and the tang of Baja crema made this a perfect taco. When you’re in Boston next, skip the many Mexican chain restaurants and head to Dorado’s. Next time I am there, I want to try the cemitas, a popular sandwich from the south-central Mexican state of Puebla.

Dorado Tacos & Cemitas on Urbanspoon
My last stop for the day was Saus, a truly great eatery near Faneuil Hall devoted to Belgian-style frites and waffles. The website states that they believe in the power of the condiment. And they’re not kidding. Saus has over 15 unique dipping sauces on the menu, not including the homemade mayo, ketchup, and gravy.  I availed myself of some fries with truffle ketchup and a Belgian waffle with some homemade Nutella. After a long day of touring the city, a meal at Saus was truly satisfying.