Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Preview: Taste of Italy in Los Angeles on October 1

by @btsunoda

The Taste of Italy is an upscale food and wine event which features some of the best regional Italian cuisine, food products and wine LA has to offer. This year is the 8th annual event and I had an opportunity to preview food served by Celestino in Pasadena.

Celestino has been in business for over 17 years, originally located in Beverly Hills. It is owned and operated by the Drago brothers, known for their quality Italian cuisine since the 1980’s. Celestino’s cuisine is mostly Sicilian and some other regional dishes such as squid ink risotto or osso buco.  
One of the starters was a squid ink arancini filled with seafood. These were triangular black rice balls served piping hot and very crispy. It was one of my favorite dishes that evening and I hope they serve that at The Taste of Italy.
Porcini mushrooms are more earthy and woodsy and for that reason they make an excellent foundation for soup. Celestino’s porcini soup was topped with shaved black truffles. Taking a bite of the truffles with the porcini soup was the marriage of two great flavors.
The third dish was a veal carpaccio topped with grated pecorino cheese and shaved truffles. By this time, I was grateful that everything was paired with truffles. The veal was very delicate in flavor and didn’t overpower the remaining ingredients.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Rediscovering the Italian Food in Boston's North End at Artu

All the tourists and locals alike know that Boston's North End is the place to go for Italian food, yet most of the time I go there, I end up at Neptune Oyster for a lobster roll, instead - I can't help it! Sure, I've had my cannolis and I've been to a couple of the Italian places there, but for the most part, North End remained fairly unexplored to me. But thanks to a recent blogger dinner at Artu, I got the chance to experience another part of the North End.
Our dinner started with a simple salad of Roasted beets, pistachio vinaigrette, gorgonzola
Polpetti (homemade meatballs, parmigiano, $8)
I love meatballs when the texture is right, just like the ones here. Tender homemade meatballs with traditional Italian tomato sauce - why mess with something so simple and perfect!

Grilled country bread, smoked mozzarella, prosciutto, Backyard Farms tomato
I loved the smoked mozzarella on these!

Artu also had some solid cocktails, and the bar is open until 2 AM every day. Every day! That's one of the latest places to grab in the drink in the area, especially on a weeknight. I stuck with the classics, which they do very well.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Boston Giveaway! Tickets to Taste of the Fenway on 9/28

Lucky Boston readers, I've got another giveaway for you!

Taste of the Fenway is coming on Wednesday, September 28. This neighborhood is not just about the stadium but also houses some of Boston's best restaurants. The street festival will take place on Van Ness Street and will feature Fenway's great restaurant lineup including Sweet Cheeks Q and Tiger Mama from Top Chef Tiffani Faison, Hojoko, Loretta's Last Call, Tapestry, the new Saloniki, and more alongside wine and beers aplenty. There will be live music and art to keep the night entertaining.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Preview: The Chicken or the Egg in Playa Vista, CA

by @btsunoda

I recently attended a pre-grand opening party at the Chicken or the Egg in Playa Vista. If you haven’t been to Playa Vista before, it’s an interesting mixed-use development situated between Westchester and Playa Del Rey.
The concept is the creation of Hunter Pritchett (Waterloo & City, Mendocino Farms, Son of a Gun) and Sean Krajewski. The name, Chicken or the Egg, represents a restaurant that serves breakfast egg sandwiches, salads and dishes that include fried chicken. In addition, their ingredients are sourced locally from suppliers that have sustainable processes.

The restaurant interior is urban with a clean minimalist appearance. The design fits in well with the office buildings situated nearby. Both bar and table seatings are available. There were a couple of indoor trees which offset the stark interior.

I was able to sample a few items that evening.

A delicious assortment of baked good awaited us. These were just baked and were warm and tasty.

Chicken Cobb Salad
Photo credit: The Chicken or the Egg

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Brunch on Mondays at Lulu's Allston (Boston, MA)

Now that I've started a new Monday-Friday job, I miss the days where I can take longer lunches on Mondays. If you're one of those people who can take a long lunch on Mondays, you should take advantage of it and head to brunch! Brunch on Mondays? Yes, some places like Lulu's in Allston actually does their full brunch menu on Monday.
Lulus Allston
No crowds! Brunch at your own leisure.

At Lulu's, there are plenty of egg dishes like eggs benedict or omelettes, but my eyes went straight to their "Comforts" section which listed things like Cinnamon Roll Mini Waffles and Smores Pancakes.

I had a really hard time deciding but in the end went with the White Trash Hash (tater tots topped with braised short ribs, two poached eggs and hollandaise, $14)
Lulus Allston
It's almost like tater tot breakfast poutine .. it would've been better for me if the egg was more runny.

I also tried the Monte Cristo Pancakes (savory pancakes filled with cheddar cheese and smoked ham, topped with raspberry jam, fresh herbs, and powdered sugar)
Lulus Allston\

Thursday, September 8, 2016

GIVEAWAY! East Somerville Foodie Crawl on Sept 13

East Somerville is a hidden food gem, with international restaurants that span from Haiti, Ethiopia, Italian, Mexican, and more. Not sure where to go in East Somerville? Well, join the East Somerville Foodie Crawl on September 13 to sample many of these restaurants, all in one night!

You'll hit some great restaurants like La Brasa, Fasika, Rincon Mexicano, East End Grille, Deano's Pasta, and many more. There are almost two dozen restaurants participating, and you can see the full list here.
chilorio estilo Sinaloa at Rincon Mexicano

Tickets are $25 per person (high school and college students can get tickets for just $15), and you can also get tickets to the Aeronaut Beer Garden for $12 which lets you have two beers. Tickets can be purchased here. Join other foodies and try out the gems in this neighborhood.

AND, lucky for you, The Foodie Crawl has generously offered a pair of tickets for my readers! To win the two tickets, follow the instructions below, winners will be selected and notified by September 12!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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