Craig Susser, a good friend of ours and the super cool, low key owner of Craig’s in West Hollywood was just named among the Wall Street Journal Magazine’s top six restaurants, where some of L.A.’s biggest names love to dine. We were there a few weeks ago and were not disappointed-the food, especially the filet mignon with blue cheese ravioli, was outstanding and we caught sight of a few stars close by. If in LA in the near future, be sure to check the article out so you know where to go.
Ever heard of a Tom Plumbs Blues? Our friends at Church share their recipe for this gin cocktail, which is perfect for the summer. Watch here to see what pairs best with this stirred but never shaken craft cocktail.
Fresh off Memorial Day, we’re keeping things all American with our traditional New England clambake segment featuring Jasper White, chef and partner of Summer Shack restaurants and Steve DiFillippo, owner of Davio’s restaurants. Watch and learn as one of the master chefs takes you step by step, with Steve as his digger, on how to create the best beach clambake around. Impress your guests and wow them with this exciting presentation.
Steve heads down to Duxbury to discover where those delicious island creek oysters come from…but after this trip Steve can shuck with the best of them at Island Creek Oyster Bar
An energetic young Dutch couple, Iris Tonies and Arnout Krediet, run an innovative art school called ESTUDIO NOMADA, located on one of the twisting stone streets in the heart of Barcelona’s historic Gothic Quarter.
The “nomad” studio offers workshops for individuals and families who want to spend a week or two exploring Barcelona and environs with creative local types who will show them local art destinations through the eyes of the artist. Drawing and painting classes, as well as a museum visit or two, are included in the workshop in the city. But that’s not all! The school has just opened an artist residency program in a stunning historic macia in the nearby wine country of Penedés. A day in this lovely setting, surrounded by vineyards (lunch and wine tasting included!), can be added to the workshop, which is hand-tailored for the visitor by Iris. There are stops to sketch or paint the enchanting vineyards and olive groves, along with a visit to a fantastic family-run winery. All of Spain’s cava, the champagne of Catalonia, comes from this photogenic region, an hour outside of Barcelona.
The price for this unique experience, all art materials and museum admissions included, is 50 euros per person per day in the city, and an additional 80 euros for the vineyard/art tour.
To see the lovely wine-country location, take a look at the website for Residency Mas Els Igols and be sure to check out the A.I.R. artist-in-residency.
Carrer de la Palma de Sant Just, 7
Arnout Krediet | Founder @ Estudio Nómada
Official Estudio Nómada website
Last night Jen Royle appeared on ABC prime time television to cook her way onto the hit show The Taste, a kind of “Voice” format where the judges love you or leave you. Jen and Steve Dish It Up on the food combo that got their thumbs up and what it was like to drop everything and head to LA.
The question is…does she make it to the next round?
For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram you would have noticed I am obsessed with making focaccia bread. Not to mention, it’s that time of year when you just want to stay indoors and stuff your face with carbohydrates.
In regards to this recipe, I blame a lot of my mishaps on my oven, but the truth is, when it comes to baking, I’m just not very good. When I cook, I don’t measure. I go my feel, taste and eye. So believe it or not, the hardest part about writing a cookbook (www.daretotaste.com) is writing down the measurements.
I have made this bread literally 15 times in the past month, and I firmly believe I finally got it right. Jumping ahead, I only like tomatoes and shallots on my focaccia. Whereas my mother, however, loves black olives and artichokes. So feel free to add your own spin on this recipe. I’m just a simple girl who likes simple flavors.
2 CUPS WATER, WARM – ABOUT 110°
2 TEASPOONS YEAST, DRY
41/2 CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
3 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL
2 TEASPOONS SALT
2 SHALLOTS, CHOPPED
3 TOMATOES, SLICED OR CHOPPED
1 TABLESPOON FRESH ROSEMARY
1 TABLESPOON FRESH THYME
In a large bowl (or mixer), combine the yeast with the warm water. Let rest for about 15 minutes before stirring. Add the flour, salt and flour. If you dot have a mixer, kneed for 10 minutes until the dough reaches a soft consistency.
Form the dough into a tight ball, coat with olive oil and return to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let double in size… about an hour.
Once the dough has doubled in size, deflate and let rise again for another hour. Once it’s risen, place the dough on a baking sheet lined with olive oil. With your fingers, massage the dough creating small indentations. These will become little pockets of flavor once the bread is seasoned.
In a small skillet, sauté the two shallots in olive oil until soft.
Once the dough is fully massaged, make sure the top is covered with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, rosemary and thyme. Follow with the shallots and tomatoes or any other toppings of your choice.
Cover the dough in the pan and let rest for at least another 30-45 minutes until it’s risen once again.
Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes until the top and bottom are lightly browned.
Roasted Tomato, Ginger & Basil Soup
Nothing screams fall or winter like a hearty tomato soup, especially on a chilly day. Lucky for me, New England brings lots of days that call for this recipe. And if you love carbohydrates and starches as much as I do, to make it even heartier, add rice or orzo pasta. Serve with a classic grilled cheese sandwich and you have a perfect meal.
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Now for part 2 of our series on Top Chef alums: Boston’s dining scene has always been a vibrant one. With such easy access to an abundance of farm-raised, season-changing ingredients, our region has always been much more than the “land of bean and cod.” Our corner of the country has always been quietly pushing culinary boundaries. (Thanksgiving? Totally America’s first dinner party.)
Faison placed runner-up on the very first season of “Top Chef,” and earlier this month she scored the number two spot again on the inaugural season of “Top Chef Duels,” a spin-off that pits popular alums in culinary face-offs. (She also competed in a special “Top Chef All Stars” season.) When she’s not in front of the camera, you’ll find her in the kitchen at Sweet Cheeks Q, her popular barbecue restaurant steps from Fenway Park. With its smartly sourced meats, house made sauces and creative, bourbon-drenched cocktails served in mason jars, there’s a slightly elevated touch to her down-home fare.
Pro Tip: Chilly out? Fear not. Sweet Cheeks’ popular beer garden has a retractable roof, so you can still drink outside (sort of) when the cool weather comes.
Mark Gaier & Clark Frasier
This culinary power couple competed together on “Top Chef Masters.” But they first made their mark at Arrows, an Ogunquit icon that introduced locals to “farm to table” dining long before the phrase became ubiquitous. They still operate a slightly more casual restaurant, M.C. Perkins Cove, up in that resort town. But earlier this year they opened their first Boston spot: M.C. Spiedo, at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, a glitzy option for historic Italian cooking based on the traditions of – what else? – Renaissance-era cuisine.
Pro Tip: How down to detail are the recipes? Check out “Leonardo’s Salad,” is comprised of a list of ingredients found in Da Vinci’s notebooks.
Kish was chef de cuisine at Barbara Lynch’s fine dining destination Menton when she won the 10th season of “Top Chef.” Since then, she’s moved on and parlayed her fame into a number of opportunities: from roving the country for special cooking engagement to scoring an endorsement deal with Rembrandt toothpaste. She hasn’t yet settled into a new permanent home, so keep an eye on her Twitter account (@KristenLKish) to see where she’s cooking next.
Pro Tip: In this case, tip your hat. Kish made “Top Chef” history by being the first contestant to win after being (temporarily eliminated). She made a comeback in the show’s “Last Chance Kitchen” and wound up only the second female winner to date.
He may not have won the inaugural season of “Top Chef Masters,” but the star chef behind Via Matta, Tico, and Alta Strada says he would “absolutely” return to reality TV again. “Although it’s really stressful and demanding, I’m competitive and seek vindication,” says Schlow. “I understand the challenges a little better and hope that given the opportunity I would fair a little better on the show.”
Pro Tip: Traveling? Good news. Schlow recently opened some new restuarants outside the Hub: Cavatina at the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood, and a Washington, DC brand of Tico.
Another “Top Chef Masters” alum, Sortun is the major talent behind Oleana, a Turkish and Eastern Mediterranean restaurant that earns its recurring recognition as one of the area’s best restaurants. But late last year she also opened Sarma in Somerville, a hip destination for cocktails and small plates. And her Sofra Bakery continues to satisfy sweet teeth, specifically.
Pro Tip: Want to try your hand at the plates that this James Beard-winning chef puts together? Sortun is also the author of a cookbook, “Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean.”
Hey, food TV fans! Here’s where to find “Top Chef” alums around Boston.
Boston’s dining scene has always been a vibrant one. With such easy access to an abundance of farm-raised, season-changing ingredients, our region has always been much more than the “land of bean and cod.” Our corner of the country has always been quietly pushing culinary boundaries. (Thanksgiving? Totally America’s first dinner party.)
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Red Lantern – Owned and operated by Empire’s Big Night Entertainment group, the ambiance at Red Lantern is spectacular; Asian décor of course. It’s not too loud to have a conversation with your date or even neighbor. In fact, I had one of the worst dates of my life here, but always seem to make friends with those eating at the table next to me. Had a little too much to drink? You won’t even get in trouble for pushing your friend under the table when she leans over to pick up her chopsticks. Trust me. I’ve tried it.
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My husband’s very favorite pasta sauce is also one of the world’s simplest. We both fell in love with this Roman specialty, a creamy twirl of fresh pasta, hot with crushed black pepper, during our time in residence at the American Academy in Rome, after a friend introduced us to the charms of the old Jewish Ghetto. There, on the Piazza delle Cinque Scuole, behind an unmarked door at number 30, is one of the smallest trattorias in the city, Sora Margherita.
You need to become a “member” of Sora Margherita because of local licensing, but this essentially means filling in a form. We were introduced in this loud and crowded little watering hole to the simple marvel that is pasta cacio e pepe. The cooks at Sora Margherita serve it over a delectable egg tonnarelli (a variation on long, flat fettucine), but any long pasta will do. The quality of the pasta is as important as the freshness of the few ingredients.
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I’m assuming if you live in Boston you have been to Empire, one of the most delicious Asian and sushi places in the city.
I would go into length about the menu, but it would take me forever to list all the things I love. At Empire there is something for everyone. Don’t like sushi? Not a problem. Order up some pot stickers, lo mein and/or fried rice and you’ll think you’re in Chinatown, minus the disgusting decor and drunk college kids at 3 a.m. The great thing about Empire is it may very well be the only place I can go to eat and drink at the same time, if that makes any sense.(Translation-I can eat and drink just enough to still have the desire to stay and check out the eye candy hanging out at the bar area.) The service is never less than impeccable on any given night at any given time, and to me, that is one of the greatest achievements of this restaurant. The waitresses and bartenders are easy on the eyes but quick and efficient at the same time. In my opinion, it’s hard to hire a full staff of gorgeous human beings who also perform their job well. AND when it comes to cocktails, Empire is not lacking in tasty beverages. I’m in love with the Emperor’s Mule (I’m on a Moscow Mule kick lately) or the Asian Pear, all vodka-based drinks.
The food? Sky’s the limit. The sushi is fresh and beyond creative, but not complicated and confusing. My favorite roll at Empire is the Hamachi Tartar Roll, a citrus (lime) yellow tail tartar with cucumber and avocado and more, and the Red Dragon Roll, which is blue fin tuna with a bit of spice. If you have $24 to spare, order the lobster cupcakes, a deep-fried morsel of goodness you’ll dream about for the rest of your life.
This is legit my go-to spot for “girls night out” because you really can’t go wrong. It can be a singles spot, a place for groups to meet after work, and even a birthday party destination. In fact, I think I’ve been to Empire for all of the above, including New Years Eve two years ago. Yes, with my posse of girls. Some guy at the bar told me my arms were fat. Actually, I think his exact words were, “get your fat arms out of my face.” He was really sweet. Needless to say we did not go home together that night.
The Boston Bruins have been known to drop in at Empire as well, especially when Shawn Thornton was a member of the B’s. I’ve never seen a fight at Empire, my friend made out with a hot guy in the hallway last summer, and I lost my $375 car keys and leather jacket there last fall. I mean…so much can happen at this place.
My only gripe with Empire is it can be somewhat loud past 9pm and the music is funky. If I want to hear loud music past 11pm, there better be some Michael Jackson on the playlist. Unfortunately, you won’t find that at Empire. So if you’re headed for some conversation, pick another spot. One more thing: The cab situation can be tricky as well. With Strega right next door, it can be a nightmare/free-for-all getting home and that is nothing less than a pain in the ass. And frankly, I’m too old to worry about that crap.
Check out styleboston at the Empire opening
Aria Trattoria, North End — One of my absolute favorite spots for dinner, drinks, more drinks and snacks… everything! And yes, this is my second and last North End restaurant on the top five list. I would add more, but I don’t want you all to think I’m afraid to leave my neighborhood.
Massimo Tiberi has hit it out of the park with Aria. Named after his daughter, the best part of the menu is Tiberi’s love for having pasta fit into every meal. I agree with Mass, you must squeeze the pasta in somewhere. In fact, a small bowl of homemade bolognese is what makes your night at Aria complete. And the fact that you can order a small bowl of pasta in between your starter and main dish is, in my opinion, righteous. Yeah, I said righteous.
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Thank you for joining me on my first food-related blog post. I am thrilled to dip my pen, or keyboard, into the culinary arts – and what better way to start my new career than a witty blog post about my second favorite thing in life (next to sports of course)…food.
As many of you already know, I am an avid home cook. To foster this, I am attending culinary school in January (Cambridge School of Culinary Arts) and I recently finished a food-related project in Los Angeles. I also wrote my first cookbook over the summer, “Bullied Into Cooking,” which helps support an anti-bullying campaign in all 134 Boston Public schools. I’m in the process of writing my second book that will be out in early December.
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