Deacon Giles Distillery teaser, and a Naumkeag review

If you head over the 75 Canal Street in Salem, Massachusetts, you’ll find a car transmission place and a day care center.  Not very exciting stuff, I’ll admit.  However, if you pop your head around the Gardner Street corner, you’ll find that the building also houses the upcoming Deacon Giles Distillery.

I got the opportunity to check out the distillery as construction is still being finished.  Simply put, I think wonderful things are in store for its future.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 9.23.50 PM

One of the walls of the tasting room features an illustration from The Dream, or, The True History of Deacon Giles’ Distillery and Deacon Jones’ Brewery: Reported for the Benefit of Posterity, which is the inspiration for the distillery name.

And the tasting room is very cozy!  Co-founders Ian and Jesse have worked really hard on it.  It features a lot of gorgeous salvaged wood.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 9.24.06 PM

If you look very hard, you can see that we got to taste samples of the gin which had been made in a small tester batch.  The still hasn’t made its way to Salem yet (but it’s en route!) so mass production is on hold.  I don’t even drink, and I have to say that it was a pretty fantastic gin.  I can also tell you that the other product is rum, and it’ll be made with molasses.  100% molasses.  No cane sugar.

The distillery hopes to open in October, and I hope so too!  Ian and Jesse are a couple of really nice guys with a dream and a whole lot of determination.  I plan to have a follow post when everything is open to the public.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Alden and Harlow, in pictures

Last week was the first time I dined at Alden and Harlow in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA.  In sum, it was amazing.  The only thing not pictured that we ate was a plate of root beer glazed ribs (it was a special).  And it was the only plate that we felt did not live up to the deliciousness of all the other plates.  I’m not saying it was bad.  It just wasn’t stellar.  Everything in the following pictures though?  I WANT TO EAT IT ALL AGAIN AND AGAIN.

Alden & Harlow sign

Alden & Harlow sign

waiting for friends

waiting for friends

The turncoat cocktail and pickled green beans to nosh on

The turncoat cocktail and pickled green beans to nosh on

Continue reading

Tea at the Langham Hotel, in pictures

1.  The Langham has a pink, old-fashioned looking taxi cab.

2. Their tea is more affordable than some other places around Boston, but still delicious.

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 1.32.52 PM

The house blends

The house blends

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 1.32.27 PM

Chicken salad was yummy but awkward to eat – I recommend doing it in one-shot which is not lady-like at all. Egg salad sandwiches were wonderfully life-changing, or something like that.

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 1.32.15 PM

delicious desserts with edible gold and silver foil

pink taxi!

pink taxi!

Missing from the pictures were are scones.  They may have been plain scones, but the raspberry jam, lemon curd, and clotted cream were awesome.  Clotted cream is like butter, except better.

In sum?  I loved it.  (^_^)

Toscano, a restaurant review (Restaurant Week edition)

Winter Restaurant Week came to a close yesterday, here in the Boston area.  A couple of my friends have raved about Toscano over the last year, so we went there.  Our menu was:

Primi
Salmone Affumicato
Foley Smoked Salmon – Crostini – Lemon – Caperberries

Rigatoni Toscano
Double Smoked Bacon – Tomato Cream – Herbs

Tagliatelle Porcini
Sautéed Porcini Mushrooms – Herbs

Pasta e Fagioli
Puree of White Bean Soup – Tubettini Pasta

Insalata Cesare
Romaine Hearts – Focaccia Croutons – Classic Dressing

Caprese
Local Fresh Burrata – Beefsteak Tomatoes – Basil

Secondi
Risotto Granchio
Jumbo Lump Crabmeat – Tomato – Shellfish Stock

Pollo Pizzaiola
Oven Roasted Chicken Breast -Pomodoro Sauce – Fresh Mozzarella – Oregano – Patate al Forno

Scaloppini Limone
Sautéed Veal Scaloppini – White Wine – Lemon – Parsley – Patate al Forno

Bistecca alla Griglia
Wood Grilled Sirloin of Beef  – Patate al Forno

Gamberoni al Moscato
Sautéed Shrimp – Leeks – Moscato Wine – Patate al Forno

Salmone Asparagi
Grilled North Atlantic Salmon – Asparagus – Mustard Sauce

Dolce
Tiramisu
Toscano House Specialty “Budino Style”

Torta di Mirtilli
Blueberry – White Chocolate Tart

Gelato e Sorbeto
Del Giorno

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 1.42.16 PM

The tagliatelle?  I loved it.  The pasta had a nice bite to it, and it wasn’t too oily.  The mushroom flavor was very good.  It wasn’t an immediate “wow” for one of my table companions.  But the more she ate, the happier she was with her dish.  For half of my table, the favorite starter was the rigatoni.  I tried a bite of it.  The bacon flavor is without question the dominant flavor.  It was very delicious as long as you like your bacon, and maybe I’ll order it next time.  Then again, I love tagliatelle and mushrooms, so I’m hard press to say which of the two I’d pick if I had to.  One of the diners had the white bean soup, and she was happy with it. It had a much more delicate flavor than I was expecting.  I’m not sure I’ll ever order it in the future, but I highly suspect that it’s because I’m pro-pasta at Toscano.

Continue reading

Summer/Fall 2014

Look!  Pictures as promised!

There are probably more pictures I should upload but this is all I remember.

grilled chicken and stewed okra at Kareem's (Watertown, MA)

grilled chicken and stewed okra at Kareem’s (Watertown, MA)

kale2

tuscano kale in my garden

kale1

red kale in my garden

lobster and peach dish  at Kareem's (Watertown, MA)

lobster and peach dish at Kareem’s (Watertown, MA)

Kareem’s is a place in Watertown that serves dinner on the weekends (otherwise, it’s dedicated for catering and cooking classes).  An entree is typically around $25, but the food is fresh and lovely.  Chef Ahmad is very talented.  He also makes delicious desserts.  Expect the menu to rotate with the season.

let's talk about food festival swag

let’s talk about food festival swag

let's talk about food 2014

let’s talk about food 2014

let's talk about food 2014

let’s talk about food 2014.

I meandered through the Let’s Talk About Food festival by myself this year.  It’s not as fun when you’re alone.  It was smaller this year, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I found that having two demo locations last year to be overwhelming.  So, I’m glad that there was only one demo location, but the down side is that it meant fewer demos this year.

I had a lot of homework looming over my head that weekend, so I didn’t stick around for too long.

Farmstead board at the Salty Pig

Farmstead board at the Salty Pig

Salty board at the Salty Pig

Salty board at the Salty Pig

I still love the Salty Pig.  I was there on a Saturday with some friends for lunch.  Menu set up is a little different on lunch, than dinner or Sundays.  We ordered sampler boards instead of the normal charcuterie/cheese a la carte.   The Salty Pig board came with (I think):

Porchetta, SP Kitchen, MA Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder, Fennel Pollen, Rosemary
Stracciatella, SP Kitchen, MA Mozzarella Style Pulled Cheese Marinated Olives
N’duja Rillette, SP Kitchen, MA Smoked Pork, Calabrian Chili, Sea Salt

While I think our Farmstead board was:
Manchego de Corcuera, SPA Sheep, Aged 3 Months, Rich & Buttery
Pont L’Evêque, Normandy, FRA Cow, Washed Rind, Soft & Strong
Vermont Wildflower Honey
Marcona Almonds
Stravecchio, Veneto, ITA 
Cow, Aged 12 Months, Sweet & Nutty

I also ate a Broccoli Rabe pizza with Ricotta Salata, Lemon, Garlic, Chili.  No pictures because we devoured it so quickly, but it was delicious.  Definitely different, but no less awesome.  If you ever have a chance to visit the Salty Pig, I highly recommend it.

Another Fork in the Road, restaurant review

I don’t think I’ve talked about this restaurant before, although I’m sure I meant to.

Last weekend, I was visiting a friend in the Dutchess County/Columbia County part of New York.  One of our favorite places to eat  out there is an unassuming restaurant called “Another Fork in the Road”, in the town of Milan (pronounced as MY-LAN, and not like the Italian city because New York is odd like that).   Although it’s nothing special in decor, the food is anything but.

We went on a Sunday night, which meant that it wasn’t packed with people but it also meant that a lot of things had run out on the menu.  Oh well.

We were still well fed.

Here was our menu:

menu1

 

menu2

My friends and I shared three appetizers.  We had the grilled asparagus with smoked ricotta and soft boiled egg, the tandoori calamari, and the crispy pork belly with sweet potato and kale.

The smoked ricotta was amazing (as in, I still want some more right now).  The flavor of it with the grilled asparagus and egg was just perfect.  I loved the pork belly dish just as much.  The pork belly was sweet from the root beer but it didn’t taste like root beer at all.  It just tasted delicious.  It was wonderfully crispy and the mash was really good too (and, to me anyway, not heavy on the sweet potato flavor somehow… I wonder if it also had some root beer in it).   For my dinner companions, the pork belly dish was the best of the three.

app1

 

apps2

Our least favorite was the tandoori calamari.  It was fine, but it wasn’t anything special.  One person at the table is an Indian food “expert” and she said that the combination of spices was too bitter.  Personally, I just thought that it wasn’t as well thought out as the other dishes so it paled in comparison.  Also, the carrots should have been a little softer.

As for our entrees, there was duck with beans and fiddleheads, chestnut gnocchi with porcini, and 5-spice marinated flank steak with chard/ramp “kimchi”.

duck

 

gnocchi

I had a bite of the duck and the gnocchi.  Both were very good.  I almost ordered them  but my friends and I have a pact to not order the same dish if we’re dining at Another Fork.  I’m glad I didn’t.  I grew up on Chinese style roast duck, so I find most other duck dishes to be a little boring.  (Even if I am dining at a fine restaurant in Paris.  True story.)

The gnocchi were good but the chestnut flavor was undetectable under the sauce.  The sauce was amazing, but it’s really more of a fall/winter dish than a spring dish.

steak

The steak dish was my entree.  Downsides?  I couldn’t taste any 5-spice flavoring.  I could only taste the wine in the marinade.  As for the kimchi, it wasn’t kimchi at all.  I’m not sure it had even been fermented or pickled, to be honest.  I think it might have been sauteed.  So, I’m not sure why the restaurant chose to describe it as kimchi.  (I’ve had pickled items at the restaurant before.  It was delicious, so I know they know how to.)

The upside?  Boy, it was a tasty dish!  Definitely my favorite of the three and I’m glad it was all mine.  (^_^)

I can’t wait to visit the restaurant again the next time I’m in the area.  You should go too, if the opportunity is ever there.

Reference Link:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Another-Fork-in-the-Road/163533972662

Staycation, day 5 (Genki-Ya)

Well, it rained yesterday.  It rained on my last official day of my staycation.  And I don’t mean that it was drizzling or it was raining moderately.  I mean that it was raining heavily all afternoon.  So, there was no final food truck hurrah for me or my sister.

That’s ok.  I had a good back up plan!

… Or so I thought.  We walked in the heavy rain from South Station to Shōjō.  Shōjō is a new-ish Asian fusion restaurant in Chinatown that has been getting some pretty good reviews.  And their website says that they are open for lunch on weekdays from 11am to 3pm.

Can you see where I’m going here?

Well!  Imagine the surprise on my face when we get there and they were closed.  A “we’re closed due to blahblahblah” sign would have been nice!  I felt like such a loser!

Apparently, this was posted on their Facebook page on Thursday night:

As a reminder, we will be closed tonight in celebration of our 1 year anniversary! We will resume normal business hours tomorrow Friday Aug 9th. Thank you all for supporting us through our first year!

And then this was posted on Friday:

We will be closed for lunch today, will be open for normal dinner service tonight starting at 5:30 pm.
We will be launching new lunch menu starting Monday!

DAMMIT!  Not everyone in the world is subscribed to your Facebook page, Shōjō!

So, we stood there, in front of Shōjō and in the heavy rain, trying to decide what to do.  My poor sister was hungry and I was going to have an angry sister on my hands if I didn’t act fast.  Luckily, I remembered that one of my sister’s backup suggestions was Genki-Ya, a sushi restaurant about three blocks away… Even better by the fact that I remembered where it was.  (When it’s raining badly, three blocks feels like it’s a world away.)

DSC01025-1

But, yay!  Genki-ya was open! Continue reading