TASTE OF WGBH: Food & Wine Festival 2014

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i will be attending this year’s taste of WGBH Chef’s Gala Reception on Thursday, September 11, 2014. 25 of the best chefs from the far corners of New England will be cooking at the event. it will be an incredible gastronomic adventure in food, wine, and craft beer. guests have the opportunity to sample small plates prepared by 25 of the region’s best chefs, and sip more than 20 delicious wines from around the globe. For complete details on the Chef’s Gala and the whole roster of festival events, visit www.wgbh.org/festival.

my readers can get a 20% discount on tickets! you can purchase tickets online at http://www.wgbh.org/foodwine/festival_tickets.cfm and use the promotional code FOODBLOG.

the whole roster of festival events:

Chef’s Gala Reception

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dress code: Cocktail attire, business attire

7-10pm open to general ticket purchasers

Tickets, general admission: $150

The event is held inside the WGBH Calderwood Studio, and Atrium

The Chef’s Gala Reception is an elegant evening with 25 unique stations showcasing cuisine of local chefs/restaurants paired perfectly with selected wine and a few select craft beers from 25 featured artisans. Meet and mingle with your favorite chefs, and discover new favorite restaurants. Learn about the magic of pairing various dishes with the perfect wine to enhance flavor, and your experience.

*Must be 21 to participate

The Artisan Taste

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dress code: Business casual-casual

Two Sessions: 1pm-3:30pm and 5pm-7:30pm

Tickets for one 2 1/2 hour session: $50 for members and $60 for non-members

Located in back WGBH visitor parking lot

Experience a wide variety of artisanal foods featuring New England’s renowned restaurants, chefs, and local producers.

• Exhibitor tables featuring more than 100 wines from around the world, local food purveyors, and local fare.

• Clarke Sub-Zero Wolf Celebrity Cooking Stage to include two chef demonstrations during each two and a half hour session.

• Interactive displays and sponsor activations and entertainment will be included on the stage between each of the cooking demonstrations

*Must be 21 to participate

Farmer’s Market

Sat. 9/13 11am-5:30pm and Sun. 9/14 10am-3pm

FREE event, open to the general public

Will feature 15-20 farmers/vendors with a wide assortment of fresh produce, spices, herbs, and baked goods. Check the website for updates in the coming weeks ahead with a complete list of participating vendors

(will be located in front parking lot by Newbury Comics and our parking garage in same configuration that we had in the 2012 Wine Fest)

Brunch Bar

Sunday, September 14, 11am-1:30pm

Tickets: $40 for members and $45 for non-members

Dress code: Business casual-casual

We’ve taken the guessing out of where to have brunch with this exclusive event. Have Sunday Brunch at the Brunch Bar with more than 100 different restaurants, artisan food producers, craft breweries and wines serving up sumptuous tasting-sized portions of foods from the exotic to down-home. The event features live chef demos, live music and an unbeatable way to travel New England in the span of a couple hours.

Also on Sunday Sept. 14 are two

Food & Wine Festival Seminars

These will be located inside Cahners Conference Room, Reno and 3rd fl cafe

Pickled: Preserving the honored tradition

Sunday, Sept. 14, 2-3:30pm

Donation: $25

Capacity: Capped at 40 guests

Presented by Tia Pinney, Naturalist/Adult Program and Eco-management Coordinator from Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary

Join us for a visually, aromatically, and gastronomically exciting event, as we explore a plethora of pickles with our friends from Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary. The art of pickling has made a comeback in recent years with the popularity of the do-it-yourself movement. This class will provide you with the basic skills you need to pickle a wide variety of fruits and vegetables at home.

We’ll review the elements that go into crafting a good pickle, including acid, flavorings, spices, produce choices, preparation, and storage. You will have a chance to sample some delicious pickled fruits and vegetables during the seminar, and you’ll even be able to take home your own pickled creations at the end of class. Bring your appetite, and get ready for this adventure in pickling.

Shaken & Stirred
Sunday, September 14, 2:00-3:30pm

Donation:$25

Capacity: Capped at 40 guests

The dedicated staff from the James Beard Award-winning Kenmore Square cocktail lounge, The Hawthorne, is calling class into session to teach guests a little about the history of the cocktail, and the style and technique that go into mixing a drink. Katie Emerson, The Hawthorne’s bar manager, will cover ratios for a few original classic cocktails, while mixing up a classic Bee’s Knees. Katie will provide the details needed to assess your home bar, and the tools to customize cocktails using three basic formulas for a variety of delicious and time- honored variations. You’ll leave armed with the fundamentals to mix the perfect cocktail and a few goodies to take home to your own bar.

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Go! Go! Curry!| Cambridge, MA Boston

Pork Belly here, Bunny is still away in Beautiful Costa Rica, so I’ve been roaming around and eating. Curry is awesome, especially Japanese curry, because it’s the ultimate JDM comfort food. It’s cheap, it’s easy to make, you can pretty much throw it on anything, rice, noodles, bread, and it’s Oishi!. Go! Go! Curry! is the only Japanese curry restaurant in the Boston area that only serve Japanese Curry. It is located in the relatively new H-Mart food court in Cambridge, along side Paris Baguette and Sapporo Ramen. Go! Go! Curry! is a Japanese chain with a few more stores in NYC in the States.

The Cambridge H-Mart is not as big as the Burlington store, some items are noticeably more expensive.

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The Menu is pretty basic, you have a choice of Pork, Shrimp, Chicken, and Sausage Katsu, or get everyone on one plate. They even offer the “World Championship Curry”, which is the biggest curry plate in the US. All for only $30!!!!!

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You order from the Sapporo Ramen Window

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In true Japanese style, they have the plastic representations of their dishes in high-detail. In Japanese it’s called Sampuru サンプル, Deriving from the word “Sample”

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A Sampuru of their Pork Katsu Curry

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A Sampuru of their World Championship Curry, it’s huge!

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I went for the Grand Slam. I recommend only eating this if you are extremely hungry! It comes with one Pork Katsu, one Chicken Katsu, 2 Sausages, 2 Eggs, and 1 Tempura Shrimp.

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Look at that Fried goodness. They fry everything to order, so it is always hot and crispy.

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I finished it all….. I skipped dinner that night because I was still full.

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Don’t forget to return your tray!

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Go! Go! Curry! Not much to say here, if you are craving Japanese curry, it hits the spot with huge portions and fried foods. I guess you can say it’s on the expensive side, but I think it’s decent priced for the portions. This H-mart seems more expensive than the other H-Marts. A Green tea O-Cha is like $1.50-2 in burlington, at this location it is $3. After your meal is over you can get a pastry from Paris Baguette.

Go! Go! Curry!
581 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139

New Saigon Sandwich | Boston, MA Chinatown

Pork Belly once again, Bunny is currently away on Holiday in Costa Rica so if the pictures don’t look up to par, it’s because she is a better Photographer and Adobe Lightroom user than me. We just got rid of our Fuji X100s and picked up a Sony A7 with a MetaBones IV adapter to use our assortment of Canon EF lenses. So far the Sony A7 has completely exceeded all my expectations. If you’re looking for a small camera that really packs a bunch buy this camera! It’s amazing how this little camera takes pictures just as good as our Canon 5D Mark II.
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Since Bunny is away, I am left to find food on my own. Growing up in Northern Virginia, my parents would buy the family Banh Mi weekly, I have fond memories of getting it straight from the store, often the stores would make their own baguettes, it was best when it came straight from the store still warm. I believe the baguette makes at least 60% of a Banh Mi.

Today I wanted to test out my camera and get something quick to eat. I stopped by New Saigon Sandwich in Chinatown, down the street from empire garden. ***Warning Snob moment** Vietnamese food in the Boston area isn’t as good as the Vietnamese food back home in Northern Virgina, or the mecca of Vietnamese food in the US, Westminster, California. It just isn’t, even Dorcester, MA the supposedly Vietnamese town in MA, in my opinion is not as good…….When I say these places are good, I mean good for Boston……

What you see when you walk up
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Typical assortment of Bun Dishes and such
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No Vietnamese on the menu, a sign for me that makes me question their authenticity. In my travels I have eaten at many Vietnamese restaurants owned by non-Viets, such as Korean, Chinese, or Chinese-Vietnamese(but raised in Vietnam). The workers were speaking straight Cantonese and didn’t respond to me in Vietamese…..(Also not trying to say only Viet people can make Viet food…..) **Warning, that was snob moment number 2**
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The place is pretty much a hole-in-the-wall

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I walked over near the Chinatown gate to sit down. This lady was feeding the pigeons in front of me with a bag of garbage.
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Literally her garbage, I saw scraps on fruits and veggies in there…
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It’s Eco friendly
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Back to the food….
I got the bbq Beef (I’m guessing Thit Nuong), always a solid choice at most Banh Mi places

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The bread is nice, crispy, and flaky. The meat was okay, the bbq beef could of been more marinated or at least grilled more. Usually bbq Beef is supposed to have a nice and brown/blackish color, not gray. The sandwich was heavy on the Nuoc Mam, (fish suace), taste like squid brand (we Vietnamese know our fish sauce), the pickled veggies were on point (who can mess that up?). Overall, it was okay. I like the bread from this place, but I like the meats from the place down the street. At $4 a sandwich I can’t really complain much more. On the scale of things, it’s a Boston good, but a National okay.

New Saigon Sandwich
Chinatown
696 Washington St Boston, MA 02111

New Saigon Sandwich on Urbanspoon

Yuji Ramen | New York City, NY

Porkbelly again, another one of my food-business adventures. Last Month I went to Yuji Ramen in NYC, discretely located in a Whole Foods Market Food Court, next to big commercial chains such as Jamba Juice (Not Hating on you Jamba). I went with a friend and we were greeted by friendly staff. Yuji Ramen started as a pop-up and has since turned into this semi-permanent location, more on this later……

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Yuji Ramen is known for their Mazemen, they also offer full broth Ramen.

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Like many Ramen shops now, they offer mixed broth Ramen.

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I went with the Bacon and Egg Mazemen, Who can resist Bacon……. (As cliche as that sounds)

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All mixed up

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My friend went with the Spicy Tuna Mazemen

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I like how the noodles are thick and chewy. The server told us they use Sun noodles…..

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Overall I thought Yuji Ramen was decent. The portions are a perfect size for a quick bite, I like how the noodles are thick and chewy. The Bacon and Egg Mazemen was a bit salty for my taste, however they use thick cuts of bacon instead of the typical supermarket stuff which is a plus. The Spicy Tuna Mazemen was on point, the flavor had lots of depth. Remember how I said this location is semi-permanent….. I went in July, the server informed me that they were closing down this location by the end of the month and moving shop to Okonomi in Brooklyn. The server also informed me that Okonomi is a “Japanese Breakfast” restaurant, Yuji ramen will still be there serving out Ramen. I was also informed that they are offering a Ramen Omakase at this location. Personally I think the idea of a Ramen Omakase is some hipster shit, but maybe I will give it a shot one day….

Okonomi

150 Ainslie St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Yuji Ramen on Urbanspoon

Chilipa | 霸道麻辣香锅 | Boston Allston, MA

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chilipa is a newly opened spicy pot joint in super 88 food court in allston, replacing one of the kind.

spicy pot, mala xiang guo, is a popular spicy sichuan dish in china. you get to choose the ingredients such as veggies, meat, and seafood, and then will stir fry them for you in special sauce/seasoning with a spicy level of your choice. ‘ma’ means the numbingness of the peppercorns and ‘la’ means spicy.

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the veggies are sold by baskets and meats are sold by lbs. the choice of ingredients are rather limited at chilipa

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got boba from lollicup while waiting.
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here comes the food
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mala xiang guo should smell really fragrant because of various spices that go into the pot, but when pork belly brought this mala xiang guo to the table, all i smelled was old meat smell. the spices couldnt even cover the old smell of the meat, thats how strong it was.
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the food overall didnt taste bad. i asked for the most spicy, but it wasnt spicy and numbing enough. there’s a pool of oil on the bottom of pot. the meat def was NOT fresh. i had mild diarrhea afterwards. my friend reported the same thing after she went: the meat was really not fresh.
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despite of not fresh meat, i would still come back for the veggies when i crave mala xiang guo. it is still much better than what wow bbq has to offer.
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they offer a few other dishes such as dan dan noodles and spicy bean jelly. we got the spicy bean jelly, i thought it was decent.
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on a side note: i was commenting on my friend’s instagram pic of the mala xiang guo that i agreed that the flavors were rather weak and the meat was really not fresh. one of the owners of chilipa happened to see my comment. instead of taking in my feedback, he rudely interrupted our conversation, got super defensive, and argued back with very mean and sarcastic comments which i didnt really appreciate. i am not sure how would a restaurant improve if they cant humbly take feedback from their customers.

chilipa
1095 Commonwealth Ave
Allston, MA 02134
Allston/Brighton

http://www.chilipa.com/

Chilipa on Urbanspoon

How to prepare/cook Crawfish Boil | Whole Shabang Sauce Recipe

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last weekend, we did a crawfish boil at a friend’s place.

we ordered 30 lbs of crawfish off internet. 30lbs was wayyyy too much for 10 ppl. probably 15lbs would have been enough. the crawfish came in pretty much all alive. we put ice on them and they survived overnight.

before cooking them, the crawfish needs to be cleaned really well. they are super dirty animals that grow in dirty water. right before washing them, pour a lot of salt over the crawfish. salt will make the crawfish vomit and purge any dirt and waste in their digestive system which minimizes any fishy taste and smell.

you could stir them so the salt can get in evenly, but be careful dont kill the crawfish.

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wait for a few mins then start rinsing them with water MANY times til the water is completely clear.
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once they are well cleaned, get rid of any crawfish that are dead. DO NOT eat any dead crawfish!
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so fresh so clean clean
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excited for the boil
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we were going to cook them outside, but the fire wasnt strong enough. the crawfish came with louisiana crawfish seasoning so we just dump them in the water. also throw in couple lemons!
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he’s ready for the bath
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if you had been to boiling crab in LA, you probably know how amamamamamammazing whole shabang sauce is. here is how a recipe to make some at home and it tastes pretty darn close.

here is how to make the whole shabang sauce:

you will need:
a lot of garlic
a lot of butter – we used 6 sticks
old bay seasoning
lemon pepper
paprika
cayenne pepper
cajun seasoning
sugar

A LOT LOOT LOOOOOTTTTT of garlic!!! this is very important! if you dont like garlic, dont even try to make this sauce. this was 3/4 of the whole container garlic. it can never be too much garlic! more garlic please!
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then heat all your butter in a pan, then when butter all melted and simmering – add in all garlic.

then add all the seasonings (old bay seasoning, lemon pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, cajun seasoning). i added about 1-2 spoons each, you can do whatever you want to taste.

put the heat on low and stir constantly so the bottom doesnt burn/stick

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here’s a video how i made mine

mussels
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time to check on the crawfish
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looks like they are ready
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i added some cooked crawfish in the whole shabang sauce that i made and coated the crawfish evenly with the sauce. super delish, only if i werent on a diet. fml. the sauce is seriously good with anything, seafood, corn, potatoes. ANYTHING!
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some awesome dipping
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biscuits
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a friend made this crazy good rich ice creamy chocolate pie for desserts, i’d totally eat the whole thing if i werent on a diet. ugh fml
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soooo goooodddd, deserves another shot
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we never finished the 30 lbs of crawfish

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food coma
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lucky she wasnt a crawfish
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