Friday, September 26, 2014

Let's Talk About Food Festival Returns to Boston this Weekend

          This weekend, the third annual Let's Talk About Food Festival returns to Boston. This free, public event is sponsored by the Boston Globe and Whole Foods Market and is intended to be a forum for education and engagement around all things concerning food.

          The complete schedule is available online and includes cooking demonstrations, talks, chances to interact with Chefs and Nutritionists, author signings, and the Endless Table with the Museum of Science that will offer conversations with experts on issues such as GMO labeling, food waste, sustainable agriculture and sustainable seafood.

          All of this sounds interesting to me, but I'm especially interested in the events and booths focused on sustainable seafood. I plan to check out the Museum of Science's booth, as well as Saturday's 1PM demo: Something Fishy.

Here's the complete description:

          Intimidated by the idea of choosing sustainable seafood and cooking it at home? Chef and sustainable seafood advocate Barton Seaver will join seafood distributor Michael Dimin of Sea2Table and Chef Jeremy Sewall of Lineage Restaurant for a seafood talk and demo that will cover how to select the highest quality sustainable seafood for your family (hint: fresh doesn't always top frozen), and how to prepare it at home with simple techniques.

          The festival kicks off tonight with an opening party, and I definitely plan to be there tomorrow! Check back next week to read my recap. 

What do you want to read about seafood and or sustainability? Leave your suggestions in the comments section!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bar Boulud Boston

          Bar Boulud is the newest addition to the Back Bay dining scene, and since it's the closest thing to a Michelin starred restaurant in Boston I tried it as soon as possible! Bar Boulud is located in the Mandarin Hotel, in the space formerly occupied by Asana. The food, atmosphere, and experience were outstanding and unlike anything else in Boston.

          We started with a small charcuterie board which included an assortment of pates and cured meats from the charcuterie bar. The Chef's selection for us that evening included lamb terrine with Moroccan spices, beef cheek terrine with herbs and cornichon, pate grande mere with chicken liver, pork, and cognac, cured sausage, and sliced jambon. The entire spread was served with toast, whole grain mustard, and pickles. I honestly loved the whole thing and couldn't pick a favorite, these were some of the best pates I've ever had.

          There were so many appetizers that sounded good, we decided to order several and share one entree so that we could try more. The tuna was probably most impressive because it was some of the best tuna I've ever had, definitely on par with some of the best sushi restaurants in town. It was prepared simply with just a bit of lemon and espelette (French pepper) so as to not overpower the fresh, clean flavor of the fish and finished with bottarga caviar.

          The Maine peekytoe crab with green apple, celery root and chicory was also excellent. The crab meat was like the tuna, about as high quality as I've had, and the portion extremely generous.

           The last (but not least) of our apps was the steak tartare made with handcut ribeye, confit egg yolk, caper, cornichon, and sour dough crisps. The textures and flavors on this were perfect, especially the confit egg yolk.

          We shared the veal trio as an entrée, and with all of the apps this was more than enough food! The trio included roast loin, braised cheek, crispy sweet breads, and sides of artichoke and kale. The braised cheek was my favorite, but the loin was about as tender as I've ever had.

          Bar Boulud was one of the most anticipated restaurant openings this year, and it definitely lived up to all of the hype. This place easily has potential to become one of the most popular in Boston. The menu is designed in such a way that it's perfect for any occasion - sip wine and enjoy bites from the charcuterie and raw bar, have a burger and a beer (there are two burgers on the menu that look amazing), or go all out with a multi-course dinner like we did! I will be back very soon!

Bar Boulud on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 19, 2014

Quick Healthy Salmon Recipe

          Salmon is one of my all time favorite types of fish and has been for a long time. Wild-caught salmon is generally a good choice in terms of sustainability.  Farmed salmon has gotten a bad rep due to use of antibiotics and methods that are harmful, but there are farms certified by organizations such as the MBA Seafood Watch that can be good alternatives.

          I recently bought some wild Atlantic salmon from Whole Foods and made this super quick and easy recipe I wanted to share!

Kale Caesar Salad with Salmon

6 ounces salmon
2 cups chopped kale
2 tablespoons low fat caesar dressing
1 tablespoon shredded parmesan

Bake salmon at 350 degrees for ~15 minutes or until it flakes
While salmon is cooking, toss kale, dressing and parmesan until well mixed
Top salad with salmon

Approximately 350-400 calories

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Chef at Tomasso Trattoria

          If you've been reading this blog regularly, you know that Tomasso Trattoria in Southboro is one of my all time favorite restaurants. I've been over 125 times, which is probably the most I've ever eaten at a single restaurant.

          They've recently brought a new Executive Chef on board, Daniele Baliani who has worked at at Le Cirque in New York, Pignoli in Boston and il Casale in Belmont.  I went with in with the fiancé on one of chef's first nights to check out the new menu.

          Upon walking in and chatting with the owners and staff, we learned that the Bolognese recipe had been updated. Tomasso's original Bolognese sauce was one of the dishes I tried when I first visited the restaurant 7-8 years ago, and it was one of the dishes that always kept me coming back. With a few changes in chefs over the years the sauce gradually evolved over time, but there were never any major changes until now. As much as I loved the old, I was excited to try the new version!

          Since they were  still transitioning, there was some of the old sauce available and we had the opportunity to try both side by side and compare. I liked the new sauce better! The major differences are that it uses red wine instead of white, no cream, and includes chicken liver which is hard to detect but adds a richness to the sauce. 

Old Bolognese
New Bolognese
           Trying and comparing the two bolognese dishes was the highlight for me since it was the most fun, but the rest of the meal was excellent as always! Here are some of my favorites:

Amuse Bouche: Seared scallop with citrus
Bruschetta with fresh ricotta, peas, basil, and pancetta
Grilled swordfish, eggplant caponata, grilled Verrill Farm squashes
          We heard there will be even more changes over the next few weeks as the new Chef gets settled in, and plan to try Tomasso again sometime soon to see what he has in store!

Tomasso Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Taste Trekkers Food & Travel Expo Giveaway

The second annual Taste Trekkers Food and Travel Expo is returning to Providence in just a few weeks and I'm giving away two free tickets! The winner will receive two tickets to Saturday's expo and Sunday's scavenger hunt (details and entry form below, winner must be 18 or older).

Taste Trekkers is the nation’s premiere website dedicated to food tourism, and produces the nation’s only Food & Travel Expo. Taste Trekkers also hosts the Find Dining Podcast featuring James Beard Award-winning chefs and writers; and is home to a Food & Travel site featuring contributions by authors throughout the country. You can check them out here.

The expo is a chance for passionate foodies how to explore the world through cuisine by bringing together chefs, farmers, wineries, brewers, food tour operators, and other artisanal food producers from different regions. Sample foods from different places, learn the culinary history of different regions, and gain practical tips for planning your own foodie vacation.

The three day expo kicks off with industry day on Friday 10/3, which includes ten minute talks, panel discussions, and a cocktail reception.

Saturday is Foodie Day, which takes place at the Biltmore Hotel and is open to the public. The day starts with series of ten-minute talks led by culinary experts, focusing on cuisines from around the world. Next are the edible sessions, which are 45 minutes each and dive deeper into dishes from specific regions. Each attendee will participate in three sessions where they'll sample and learn about the history and traditions of the dishes. The finale is the Hope and Main Tasting Pavilion, where guests can wander the room and sample food and drink from dozens of local restaurants and artisanal food producers.

On Sunday, October 5th the expo concludes with a scavenger hunt throughout downtown Providence. Enter by yourself or with a team of friends and compete for hundreds of dollars worth of prizes. The hunt starts at 12:00 noon at the Providence Arcade (65 Weybosset St, Providence, RI) and the winner will be announced at the conclusion of the showing of Farm-City, State.

• Friday, October 3rd: Industry Day
• 1:30 pm: Ten Minute Talks
• 3:30 pm: Panel Discussion moderated by Gail Ciampa
• 5:00 pm: Cocktail Reception
• Saturday, October 4th: Foodie Day
• 10:00 am: Ten Minute Talks
• 11:00 am: Edible Sessions
• 2:00 pm: Hope & Main Tasting Pavilion
• Sunday, October 5th: Scavenger Hunt
• 12:00 am: Eat & Run Scavenger Hunt
• 4:00 pm: New England Premiere of Farm-City, State at the Cable Car Cinema
• Friday: Yena Center at Johnson & Wales University (111 Dorrance St., Providence, RI)
• Friday Cocktail Reception: The Dorrance (60 Dorrance St. Providence, RI)
• Saturday: Providence Biltmore (11 Dorrance St., Providence, RI)
• Sunday Scavenger Hunt: Starts at the Providence Arcade (65 Weybosset Street., Providence, RI)
• Sunday Film: Cable Car Cinema (204 South Main St., Providence, RI)

Here's how to enter, and if you don't win you can always buy your tickets here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 12, 2014

Basics of Purchasing Wild Seafood Responsibly

          Last month I posted about how to shop for farmed seafood responsibly, so it seemed only fitting to do a similar post on wild seafood. Here are some of the basics.

What species are over fished?

           You can find more comprehensive lists using many of the links in the resources section, but here are some species you should generally avoid (or at least pay attention to where and how they are caught): Atlantic Halibut, Albacore Tuna, Blue Fin Tuna (certain regions / methods), Black Fin Tuna, Chilean Seabass, Grouper, Monkfish, Shark, Sturgeon.

Fishing Methods:

Good: trolling / hook and line, using a pot (for crabs and shrimp), and small scale purse seining

Bad: dredging / trawling and long lining

What Resources are Available to Learn More?

Like aquaculture, there are plenty of resources available for learning about how to shop responsibly. Many of those included in my original post also apply to wild seafood. Here are a few to get you started:

The Marine Stewardship Council has tons of information readily available on their website. You can look up "MSC certified fish to eat" along with recipes, track a fishery, look for retailers, restaurants, and more. The website also includes a plethora of articles and educational tools as well as an up to date collection of relevant news and events. They even have an app you can download on your smart phone and look up any of this information on the go!

MBA Seafood Watch: The Monteray Bay Aquarium’s Seafood watch program has plenty of free resources available including downloadable pocket guides by region and a mobile app. Use the guide as a quick pocket reference or search for a type of fish in the app (like bass) for example and you’ll get a list of good choices (ex: US or Vietnamese farmed Barramundi) vs. those to avoid.

Good Fish: is a cookbook with recipes using sustainable seafood and tons of great information on how to buy responsibly. I reviewed this book on 8/1/14, you can read my full review here.

My fellow SSBA Member Richard recently put together a list of some of the third party certifications that currently exist for both wild fisheries and seafood farms.

Your Grocery Store or Local Fish Market: When I did my post on where to buy sustainable seafood, I found that stores with robust sustainability programs had lots of information available on their websites.

Up Next Week: All about salmon and an easy recipe

What do you want to read about seafood and / or sustainability? Leave your topic suggestions in the comments section!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Upcoming Events in Boston and How to go for Free (or a Discount)!

WGBH Food and Wine Fest
This Thursday September 11th kicks off the WBGH Food and Wine fest, with an opening gala! The three day festival includes tons of great events like chef demos, the artisan taste where you can sample food from some of Boston's best restaurants, a farmer's market, and Sunday brunch!

You can read all about my experience at a prior event here. To buy tickets at a 20% discount use my code FOOD BLOG when you place your order online.

East Somerville Foodie Crawl
On Tuesday September 16th (rain date September 17th), come take a cultural crawl through the East Somerville restaurant corridor and discover Somerville’s best kept culinary secrets. With just one ticket, you’ll get one bracelet that allows you to sample the authentic foods of some of East Somerville’s best restaurants. Walk down Broadway and explore each stop on the crawl at your leisure; the authentic foods will take you straight to the sights and smells of Ethiopia, the tastes of El Salvador and the colors of Haiti.

I went a few years ago and it's a lot of fun. The tickets are a great value at $20 but there is also a giveaway for a pair of free tickets here on Little Miss Runshine's Blog, you have three more days to enter!

Blog and Tweet Boston Event at Chocolate Therapy (for Bloggers 21+ only)
This is a free event for Boston Bloggers! Join Blog and Tweet Boston September 25th for a chocolate and wine tasting at Chocolate Therapy in Framingham!

I went to Chocolate Therapy about a year ago with the Boston Brunchers before they were able to serve wine, and it was a lot of fun! You can read all about that event here. Get the complete details and request an invite for the Blog and Tweet Boston event here.

Irish Fest Boston
The first ever Irish Fest is coming to Boston September 26th-28th, and will feature Irish inspired cuisine from some of Boston best chefs, plus drinks, dancing, live music, and tons of great exhibits!

You have 5 more days to enter giveaway on my blog for a pair of free tickets to Sunday's festivities!