Monday, February 29, 2016

A Food and Drinking Crawl Through Grand Case (Saint Martin)

Grand Case, on the French side of Sint Maarten/ Saint Martin, is the gourmet capital of the island. Naturally, I had to spend some time there during my vacation! We had dinner plans at one of the top rated restaurants, but ended up food crawling our way down!

The first place we saw was this little crepe shack on the side of the main road (Boulevarde de Grand Case). Both times I passed by the little crepe shack I was too stuffed. I'm regretting it. You guys should try it and let me know what I missed out on.

Across the street from the crepe shack is our first stop, Calmos Cafe. We went there to drink and let our lunch digest.
Calmos Cafe is a popular bar/cafe on the beach.
By on the beach, I mean lterally on the beach! Grab the best tables which sit on the sand, right next to the water! I could feel the waves on my toes.
Grand Case

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Charcuterie and Vegetables Showcase at BISq (Cambridge, MA)

The popular Bergamot Restaurant opened a more casual sister restaurant near my apartment in Inman Square. I had walked past BISq many times in Inman Square, and I finally had the perfect opportunity to try it when I saw a Groupon for a 6-course tasting menu for $30 per person! I hadn't used Groupon for a while but recently I took a look around and saw that they actually have some great restaurant deals in Boston. I convinced my roommate to join me for dinner one night.

Our tasting menu starts off with some grilled avocado, grapefruit, frisee, salumi jam, peppercorn vinaigrette
I love avocado so this was a great starter for me, but the star of the dish was really the salumi jam. Yes, really, it's "jam" made with salumi instead of fruits!

Herb-marinated beets, raita, fennel, sunflower seed granola

It was unusual to have beets paired with spicy flavors as in this dish.

King oyster mushroom carpaccio, queso verde, red cabbage, peanuts, omelette, soy-ginger dressing 

This was my favorite dish of the night. A thin slice of king oyster mushroom is topped with small cubes of egg omelette, peanuts, and a bold queso verde.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Global Flavors at Tavern Road (Boston, MA)

The airy Tavern Road in Fort Point is a hip eatery that merges the neighborhood's recent emergence and the creative community who's long occupied the area. DiBiccari has a lot of connections to the art community in Boston (his uncle was an artist), so the artwork displayed in his restaurant is also done by local artists.

Tavern Road
Tavern Road's menu spans diverse global influences. Diners may start with some Sumac hummus and grilled beans with apple, sesame, and freshly baked pita ($8)
Tavern Road
In fact, diners should start with this amazing sumac hummus, along with the warm, fluffy pita. It's unlike other hummus you've had. The sumac and apple adds a refreshing tartness, and I am always partial to the nutty sesame flavor. I could't stop munching on the pita and hummus!

Chickpea frites, sweet and spicy tomato jam ($5)
Tavern Road
When I read the description, I was imagining falafels, but these cubes of ground chickpeas are surprisingly smooth and creamy morsels.

Maine Crab conserva, soffrito, fried pita, pickles, herbs ($12)
Tavern Road
Shifting direction to a jar of light marinated crab. The fresh pita makes another appearance here and is a great vehicle for the cool, fresh lumps of crab meat.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Home Chef Meal Kit Delivery Review

Back with another meal kit delivery service review! I recently got to try another service called Home Chef. Home Chef is an ingredient kit service based out of Chicago and currently deliver to 60% of the country.

Home Chef
Herbes de Provence pork tenderloin with zucchini and yellow squash
Just like Plated and Hello Fresh, you can choose your specific meals. Each meal is $9.95 per serving (each meal serves 2), and delivery is free if you order $40 (otherwise, delivery is $10). If you get delivery, which you would with 3 meals for 2, Home Chef comes out to be cheaper than Plated or Hello Fresh. Also, you can Join Today & Enjoy 3 Free Meals.

They have at least 8 meal choices each week and they're clearly labeled with food restrictions like "gluten-free", "nut-free", "low calorie", etc. I also like that they have breakfast meal options, too, which are also cheaper, so you can get 2 dinner meals and 1 breakfast if you choose, to meet your $40 minimum.
Home Chef
Home Chef is a subscription service, but you can adjust the number of recipes each week.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Picnic LA: Fast Casual with a Fine Dining Flair (Culver City, CA)

Culver City residents and workers have a great new lunch spot. Picnic LA is a fast casual, produce-driven spot that's perfect for a quick lunch, takeaway orders, and now even deliveries. Opened by trio Brad Zions, Noah Ellis (who formerly worked in the Red Medicine kitchen), and Eliot Silver, Picnic LA is slinging healthy, vegetable-heavy menu that features produce and proteins from local farms and ranches.

Walking in, you'll see today's selections of entrees, salads, and more displayed on the counter


Each item can be purchased individually, or you can get a combo. A combination of any entree with any 2 salads will be $14.50, $17.50 for entree and 3 salads, or get 3 salads with no entree for $12.
Picnic LA
The bread they use come from Lodge Bread Co, a new darling in the LA bread world, which is also made in the Culver City area.

Picnic LA

As I mentioned, the items here are produce-driven so there are a lot of vegetable items featuring local farm products like in this Citrus and fennel salad

Friday, February 12, 2016

Healthy Dining at Freshii (Boston, MA)

When you eat out as much as I do, and eat as much unhealthy stuff as I do, a dinner filled with salads and healthy options is a welcomed change. A couple weeks ago that change came in the form of a blogger dinner at Freshii in Back Bay.
Freshii is a fast food franchise out of Canada that focuses on fresh, healthy items like salads, wraps, juices and such. They have multiple locations in Boston including one on Dartmouth St in Back Bay.

We tasted samples of quite a few things during dinner including the popular Metaboost Salad (field greens, spinach, kale, mangos, carrots, edamame, almonds, goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cochon Butcher: New Orleans' Best Sandwiches, Elvis King Cake

Happy Mardi Gras! Where are you all celebrating this day of revelry?
In honor of this day, I thought I would post my favorite place I visited last time in New Orleans. NOLA is home to many great sandwiches that were invented here, but this places takes them to the next level. Yes, Cochon Butcher is a hip, "craft" sandwich place. And the sandwiches are amazing.

Cochon Butcher

The Muffuletta was invented at Central Grocery in New Orleans, but I believe the best muffuletta in the city is here at Cochon Butcher. The giant sandwich costs $12.
Cochon Butcher
Sure, there is something satisfying in the messy, old school sandwiches (and you shouldn't miss a pilgrimage to Central Grocery - still a great spot!), but the muffuletta here is perfect. Great sesame bread, the right ratio of olives, various deli meats and mozzarella. Of course, the key is the fact that the meats they use at Cochon Butcher are housemade or house cured, so it's a flavor you won't get elsewhere.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Ticket Giveaway! LA Weekly The Essentials, Feb 20

LA Weekly's annual food event of the year is coming! The Essentials is returning on February 20 to California Market Center in downtown LA, featuring more than 40 restaurants. Curated by LA Weekly's food critic Besha Rodell, you can expect LA's top restaurants at this event. Among them are: Animal, AOC, Broken Spanish, Bestia, Connie and Ted's, ink, Jitlada, even Kiriko Sushi. Been wanting to try Curtis Stone's Maude and can't get in? Don't want to make the trek to SGV for Szechuan Impression? Come here instead. 
The VIP tickets are already sold out, but there are still general admission tickets available for $70 per person which includes unlimited samples of food, beer, wine, and cocktails starting at 6pm. Part of the proceeds go to benefit Food Forward.

Lucky you, though, LA Weekly is generous enough to give away a pair of tickets through my blog!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bar Toscana, Brentwood's Hidden Italian Gem

Bar Toscana is the cocktail bar next door to longtime Brentwood favorite, Toscana. The Italian trattoria has been in business for 26 years. In the competitive culinary world of Los Angeles, that means they must be doing something right!

For their cocktails at Bar Toscana, they have brought William Perbellini who came from Italy to head the bar program here.

Bar Toscana

Perbellini's cocktail menu ranges from the classics to the seasonal, like this Costa Esmeralda (cognac, Grand Marnier, grapes, and sage)
Bar Toscana
I love grapes as a cocktail ingredient, and here it is paired with a grape-based spirit.

Barrel aged negroni with Plymouth gin, campari, and sweet vermouth
Bar Toscana
This was an unusually good negroni, expertly made and even smoother thanks to the barrel aging.

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