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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Trip Notes


Just returned from a whirlwind trip back to the East Coast where I had many fun adventures and wonderful family times. In spite of two back-to-back blizzards I did manage to reconnect with some Boston food scenesters like my dear friend Chris Young, and Matthew Curtis, who hosted us for a nice glass of wine by his fireplace. I was most intrigued when he showed us his "cheese cave" packed with brightly colored tins of the cult cheese made by Washington State University. Look out for the new Harvard Square restaurant venture from Curtis and his partners, which will be located in the former Greenhouse space, it's sure to be a highlight of 2009!

I met Chef Rachel Klein, who heads the kitchen at Aura restaurant in the Seaport Hotel. Klein, who was formerly the Chef at Om Lounge in Cambridge, was impressive and I intend on following her career to see where she lands next.

I made it to Vanessa and Rebecca Alssid's house for a lovely dinner by the firelight. I love going to dinner at their house because they always finish a meal with a beautiful cheese plate. We sampled a hulking block of Parmesan Reggiano that was hand delivered from Italy; a decadent truffle cheese; and wonderful cheese from Vermont that I must track down.

Stomach Alert: I have a new favorite breakfast spot called Sofra, in Watertown. Yet another fabulous eatery from the visionaries behind Oleana, my favorite Cambridge restaurant. Get the Turkish Breakfast, which features a soft boiled egg deep fried in crispy fideos alongside an pitch perfect tomato sauce with toasted sesame seeds. It will really challenge the way you think about eggs for breakfast.


Thanks to Facebook I organized a little mini reunion with friends that date back to elementary, junior high and high school at Temple, a stylish, subterranean bar and lounge located in the Rennaisance Hotel directly across from the Rhode Island state house.

With my family we feasted in our annual Christmas dinner of Thai seafood hotpot. Every year we all look forward to this communal meal, where everyone takes part in filling the lemongrass and kaffir lime scented hotpot with fresh seafood, (some of which my father actually caught off the coast of Rhode Island) fragrant herbs, napa cabbage and water spinach.


On to Pittsburgh, where I finally got my fill of good Italian cooking thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Silver's collaborative meatball dinner. Oh how I love a good meatball!

I went to the famous Primanti Brothers for their legendary sandwich filled with french fries, coleslaw and your choice of meat. Too big for my slender jowels, but it's a Pittsburgh institution.

We practically had to fight to get a booth at Fiori's Pizzaria but it was worth the wait. Thick, crusty, and generous with the toppings, Fiori's is the kind of East Coast pie I crave out here in Southern California.

Down to the Strip District where I salivated over the bounty of specialty food shops from the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, which had huge drums of olive oils, those highly coveted Bella San Marzano canned plum tomatoes, and a cheese counter full of wonderous delights. I made a pit stop to pick up some spices at the Penzeys shop, including, aleppo pepper, Za'atar, a Middle eastern mix of sumac, thyme, sesame, and salt, Tuscan oregano, and an assortment of dried peppers. I like to mix my Za'atar with oregano and sprinkle it on pita bread with olive oil and salt before it goes into a warm oven. An easy and satisfying snack!

We picked up some fresh oysters at Wholey's and though we didn't pack an oyster knife, we somehow managed to pry them open. We taught Nick Silver how to shuck oysters and watched him as he tasted his first bivalve.

I can't believe all of the good eating I've experienced in the last few weeks!

1 comment:

Jen said...

Happy New Year lady!!