About Traveling Foodie

My Photo

I am a clinical veterinarian in New England.  I absolutely love to travel and experience new cultures, mainly through cuisine. My reviews cover a multitude of different food & cocktail related events from food trucks to philanthropic food-related events and festivals. I like to think of myself as: Veterinarian by day Foodie by night! This blog was launched October 2011. I'm a huge advocate of the nose-to-tail movement and an avid enthusiast of prohibition era and craft cocktails! Sit back and enjoy...I hope this blog encourages you to try something new like book a ticket, pack a bag, and eat to your heart's desire in a new place! How I'd describe myself in a few words/phrases: Food+Travel Blogger, Freelance Food Writer (Past regular contributor on The Bay State Banner newspaper's blog Turn It Up Boston dot com), Jersey Girl (born and raised), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc Woman, Veterinarian, Surgery Lover,Travel Addict, Devoted Gourmand, Proud 2 time Tuskegee University Graduate, Social Butterfly, Girly Dress Hoarder, Stiletto Addict, Classic Cocktail Enthusiast "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO ― Bill McKenna

Monday, September 1, 2014

Stellar Evening at Toro NYC! Part of 24 hour Foodie Tour/ Greedy Girls Reunion August 2014

I organized a NYC dim sum and tapas tasting for my girlfriends and watched the expansion and blossoming of palates in a single day...I felt like a superhero!  This must be what chefs feel like everyday...lucky guys!


Me and the girls at Park Bar 10th Ave with awaiting our Toro resies over rye and Sangria


I had to check out Toro NYC as its Boston location is one of my favorites and so are Chefs Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer!  
You can read my two reviews of Toro Boston here and here.

Toro serves Barcelona tapas in far western Chelsea.  It's sexy, grounded space seats 120 beneath 18 foot windows- a food photographer's dream!

With much more space in comparison to the Boston site, Toro NYC presents an intimate setting with sexy dim lighting, slick, earth-toned surfaces of wood and granite, glass and metal.  This portion of the old Nabisco factory's space has a stark contrast to building neighbor Del Poso by Tom Colicchio (of brilliant restaurateur and Top Chef fame), but only in appearance, not quality of class.  It's smooth tops versus white tablecloths.  The quality of food is parallel, though the styles very different and leading in its own lane.

Photo credit: Missy H.


We were greeted by kind, smiling faces, including Andrew and other fabulous front of the housers.

La plancha is near the rear of the space with seats to allow for up close observation of the magic created by Chef de cuisine, Charlie Trotter and staff.  This area abutts a gorgeous vined green wall nestles in the far left corner.

Photo credit: http://gothamist.com/2013/09/23/boston_chefs_open_toro_a_barcelona-.php#photo-1

The seasonal resurrection of ingredients highlighted by server Josh, who would explain the entire prep from farm to table and its flavor profile of each dish if allowed.   He's just that excited about the food that he's been charged to present- and rightfully so.

He tells us of his relatively recent shellfish allergy revelation after having eaten at Toro during training.  I found this a bit curious, and so did Hadiyyah- our youngest Foodie Day participant- who said, " It's so strange that He's an adult and just realized his shellfish allergy."  Josh proceeded to tell us that he's originally from Colorado and us bay and port lifelong dwellers instantly and shamefully forgave him without judgement.
Now that I think of it, his discover of shellfish allergies was definitely better than the one that my mother told me...she was on a date...there was eyeball swelling...and a closed throat.  Enough said!

After an earlier dim sum feast at Nom Wah in the belly of Chinatown at the oldest dim sum tea parlor in NYC, a stroll and L'Arte del Gelato on the High Line, and a sip or two of rye whisky and red sangria at Park Bar 10th Ave , I was desperately craving a dry cava to feed my Veuve Cliquot hangover and hair-of-a-bigger-dog vodka martini once I landed in NY.
We ended up ordering a bottle of a lovely, dry cranberry and blackberry noted Spanish sparkling rosé:  Joseph Foraster Rosé, Trepat Penedes, Spain.


I was excited to see a few of Toro Boston's staples (and general Spanish tapas' staples) on the menu, especially the Maiz Asado con Alioli y Queso Cotilja, Pimientos Del Padron, Gambas Al Ajillo, and Asado De Huesos.

New to my palate was the tuna tartare (with everything the kitchen loves)- a fatty, garlicky, rich, and mildly spicy raw tuna glorified by the aforementioned rosé.


After the smiles induced by the delicate tuna tartare, we moved on to several more well executed dishes and few that missed the mark in only small components.  
The Morcilla con Habas (lamb and pork blood sausage with fava bean stew), courtesy of the chef, was a lovely bite.  Crisp, juicy, beautifully deep burgundy colored morsels atop bright fava and smooth sheep's milk, house-whipped ricotta.

Morcilla con Habas (lamb and pork blood sausage with fava bean stew) with sheep's milk ricotta

Unfortunately, I didn't get the opportunity to sample the pretty hamburguesas with tomato jam and pickled red onion, but the table gave them a clear thumbs up!

Hamburguesas with tomato jam and pickled red onion
 
The Panceta de Cerdo (pork belly) was amazingly moist and fork tender in the center with crisped outer fatty layer.  It was sadly paired with bland, but crisp triangles of green tomato, both served over a mild, unremarkable smear of yellow curry aioli and adjacent to a green tomato relish.  A lovely presentation, yet the pork was definitely the only star on the dish.

Panceta de Cerdo (pork belly) with crisp triangles of green tomato served over a yellow curry aioli

In keeping with the East Indian flavor theme, the Mollejas (grilled veal sweetbreads with celeriac, cardamom honey, pickled lime, cashews, cilantro, and mint).   
A colorful dish of tender sweetbreads and magnificently layered flavors.

Mollejas (grilled veal sweetbreads with celeriac, cardamom honey, pickled lime, cashews, cilantro, and mint)

Wishing it were served warm, the Corazón (smoked beef heart) was sliced roast been thin and served atop toast and a thick Romesco sauce.

Corazón (smoked beef heart) was sliced roast been thin and served atop toast Romesco sauce

At this point, we began to realize, but not regret, the richness of our meal.  We moved on to the Asado de Huesos (roasted bone marrow with radish citrus salad and beef cheek marmalade).  A phenomenal bite of warm gelatinous bone marrow smeared on toast and topped with a perfect addition of acid from the mandarin and grapefruit, finished with tender shreds of juicy beef cheeks and sprinkle of smoked paprika.

Asado de Huesos (roasted bone marrow with radish citrus salad and beef cheek marmalade)


In keeping with our organ meats and rich offals, the Foie gras y melocotón (pan-seared foie gras with smoked peaches, whiskey gastrique, and hazelnuts) was definitely in order.  I'm very much into sour, sweet, and crunchy with foie gras.  I can say that the pickled, grilled peaches was wonderfully different...'tis the season!

Foie gras y melocotón (pan-seared foie gras with smoked peaches, whiskey gastrique, and hazelnuts)


The absolute bite highlight was the uni spoon...loaded with cool, creamy uni, caviar, a quail egg, and Iberico ham crumble.

Uni, caviar, a quail egg, and Iberico ham

My face before the uni spoon:




My face after the uni spoon:

Ugly Ecstasy...LOL
How was your experience at Toro NYC?  Leave a comment in the box below!

Art of the Cocktail: The Labor of Liquor- A Collaborative Visual Arts Meets Liquid Arts between DrFoodie (Myself) and Boston Center the Arts Mills Gallery

My vision of an artful cocktails/spirits series has come to fruition thanks to collaboration and support from Boston Center for the Arts and Mills Gallery.  First event is during Artweek Boston on October 1, 2014.  Seminar & Tasting by Maggie Campbell and Kevin Martin of Privateer Rum, Ipswich, Ma!  Two sessions available (6-730 and 8-930)...get your tickets now
 
Cocktails and visual arts come together in an illuminating tasting amidst the Boston Center for the Arts’ exhibition “Labor in a Single Shot.” Food+cocktail blogger, Dr. Markeya Williams (“Traveling Foodie in 4” Stilettos”) and Head Distiller, Maggie Campbell of Privateer Rum (Ipswich, MA) host an intimate conversation about rum. Learn how it’s made and how it’s incorporated into hand-crafted cocktails.

Inspired by the themes of labor in the Mills Gallery exhibition, the evening highlights the process and work behind creating liquor and cocktails. With Campbell, explore the creative and artistic process of distillation, the aging-process, rum’s distinct flavor profile and its use to craft the perfect cocktail while enjoying a private viewing of the Mills Gallery exhibition!

21 plus, proper ID required for entry. Tickets are $25 and are available at www.bcaonline.org. Limit 20 per session.

Print         Privateer Rum        Foodie

Future seminars will include a number of ladies from LUPEC Boston, Domingo-martin Barreres, Booze Époque, and many more. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Succulent Sundays (Rare Home Cooking Moments): A Weekly Celebration of My Favorite Personal Food Photography

I very rarely cook at home, like maybe 5 times in the past year, rare.

Here are a few snapshots of my favorite home cooking moments.

Roasted salt & pepper asparagus

Homemade chili with ground pork, buffalo, and beef.



Naan pizza with pancetta, arugula, goat cheese, and pesto



Watermelon, goat cheese, and pesto salad

Spicy skirt steak tacos with sauteed spinach, roasted asparagus and cherry tomato



Chef's Window 6-Course Dinner @ East by Northeast, Cambridge, MA

I've always been a fan of the open kitchens at restaurants. Watching the chefs at work can be as entertaining as the dishes they are pushing out.  It also helps when the chef is personable and interactive with guests.  
Cue the Chef's Window Tasting Dinner at East by Northeast.

Of course Chef Phillip Tang has made an extraordinary name for himself over the past few years after Lumiere, Hungry Mother, and T.W. Food as he serves up pretty amazing Asian street and modern foods.  
He did reveal that a Korean street food event is coming in the near future so BOLO.

Cheesing with Chef Phillip Tang and Tamika!

I picked the perfect time to head over to EXNE after a number of nudges to cross the river by friends who've been and even by their manager Blayne.  

The week after my dinner experience, they are closing for summer vaca and revamping the place in the meantime.  

The space is perfectly understated so here's hoping for just a little sprucing up.  Chef says there will be new paint and such.  
I can't wait to see the new digs and set up my one on one interview with Chef Tang for the "At The Pass with DrFoodie" Series where he will join Chefs Gordon Hamersley of Hamersley's Bistro (Closing after 27 years in the South End at the end of October), Karen Akunowicz of Myers & Chang, Brian Poe of Poe's Kitchen, Tip Tap Room, and Estelle's, Carey Dobies of Savvor Restaurant and Lounge, and more.

The Chef's window seats only 4 people at a time.  Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance.  
It's meant to be an exclusive one on 4 dinner experience where Chef Tang creates and personally serves each of the 6 courses, reviewing their contents and answering any questions posed by guests.  The menu changes nightly.

On this particular night, me and Tamika Francis, my newest foodie friend and Executive Director of theMove, enjoyed our evening of gluttony.

We started with a amuse bouche of housemade calamari chips served with an aioli of which the flavor profile escapes me.

Housemade calamari chips with cilatro and scallions
I am a lover of toro (Bluefin tuna belly -sashimi- the second fattiest of three levels of tuna belly, above Chutoro and below Otoro).  I enjoy its richness, its slippery tenderness, its superb fatty marbling.  
The belly of most animals has a fatty marbling that is uber appealing - consider pork belly (bacon), lamb belly, and the aforementioned tuna belly.

Chef Tang offered a belly I was not so familiar with on this next dish.  The belly of the swordfish, he says, is largely overlooked as a delectable portion of the fish.  Most of us, of course, focus on the filet (the steak).  While I prefer toro and otoro over swordfish belly.  It was not served sashimi style, but I somehow expected more richness.  It was treated as a ceviche would be and though I enjoyed its texture and mild flavor, it was not a favorite.  
The swordfish belly was served with cubed watermelon and sliced cucumber, asparagus spear tip pesto and watermelon radish ponzu with black and white sesame seeds.
  
Swordfish belly salad


 The chocking hazard-sized jumbo oysters from Cape Cod, were wisely chopped into smaller but still plump bits of creamy textured flesh, with crispy and crunchy panko coating. 
As a play on the classic Taiwanese dish-oyster omelet, the crisp oyster bits were seated upon a rich, soft egg prep with sweet soy and topped with mint puree and pickled dill all served on the half shell.



I love to hear stories behind a dish or ingredient from the chef.  After bringing a simple, but delicious arugula salad that served as a side for the lamb belly, Chef Tang shared how the poached pears adorning the salad are from a Norfolk Street neighbor's pear tree.  The neighbor offered them to chef as he had no use for so many pears - talk about local sourcing!

The small poached pear, arugula, and watercress salad smartly accompanied tender cuts of tea and peppercorn rubbed, lightly grilled lamb belly.  Pillowy sourdough pancakes served as fantastic bases for sandwich making.  Add a dollop of the red plum and ginger sauce and you've made an excellent edible.
Lamb belly

Everything was superbly spare and just enough to satisfy  until the congee which I happily stuffed my face with even though I thought I'd rupture.  

Congee, one of my favorite dim sum dishes, that can be eaten at any meal, is a porridge-style rice dish typically served with delightful and very diverse toppings from fried shallots to veg to seafood.
Chef Tang's congee was particularly interesting- very New England with a hint of, dare I say, molecular gastronomy.

Lobster congee
  I literally could not stop spooning the contents of this beautiful dish into my face.  
Chef Tang shaving dehydrated miso egg yolk onto my congee.

Chef Tang's congee was topped with poached lobster, lobster butter, fresh sweet corn, chantrelle mushroom, puffed hominy, and shaved dehydrated miso egg yolk created by one of his chefs (hence the molecular gastronomy comment above).  
It was a textural earthquake!

Simply amazing and addictive!
We ended on a sweet, spicy, & savory note.
A beautiful semifreddo was served.


This semifreddo featured a fabulous flavor profile of ginger and carrot with cherry and red wine reduction and topped with toffee and slivered toasted almond.  
The spice and crunch was a perfect combination.

The check came with lovely peanut and sesame cookies.


Thanks to Chef Phillip Tang and his entire team for such a lovely dinner and for endulging out late night stay!  
I will definitely be back for more!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer Sol 2014: The Premiere End of Summer Philanthropic Food+Cocktail Event


This will be my third Summer Sol celebration in support of theMove.  This year I am on the host committee.

theMove is an amazing organization focused on connecting a diverse group of urban children and adults to fresh food sources and exposing them to the labor of love that goes into its production.

Summer Sol 2014
  Saturday, September 13th at the Ed Cooper Community and Garden Center (34 Linwood St, Roxbury – Fort Hill) 
5:00pm – 8:00pm.
Enjoy an evening of catered delicacies and stirring cocktails, inspired by diverse international cuisines, and prepared with the freshest produce from our local partner farms + vendors.

All proceeds support theMOVE's powerful work building a movement to connect people with food, through local farm workdays.

Learn more about theMove's Mission:

 theMOVE spreads the power of food
WATCH our brief intro video @ farmvolunteer.org/video
LIKE us on facebook @ facebook.com/farmvolunteer 
Twitter @farmvolunteer
SUPPORT youth on farms @ rally.org/theMOVE


This Year's Sponsors:
and more.

 Here is one of my previous reviews:  Summer Sol 2012


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Succulent Sundays (Riverside BBQ Series): A Weekly Celebration of My Favorite Personal Food Photography

Riverside BBQ Series
Allston, MA

Harry Parker Boathouse

Restaurants:


Chef Barry Maiden of Hungry Mother's chicken bbq sandwich
 
West Bridge's beautiful pickled things
One of the Bands:  
Tigerman Whoa

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Fanciful Feast Reminiscent of the South I Love + Extra Dose of Creativity @Barry Maiden's Hungry Mother, Cambridge, MA




Love the space at Hungry Mother.  It's quaint and charming along with its staff. 

 The bar is intimate and stocked full with fantastic spirits, churned into notable potables by the likes of Lino (previously of Upstairs on the Square, Cambridge) and Heather (State Park & LUPEC Boston).





Had this beauty in cocktail called a "Monkey Flip"
I love a good flip - a cocktail made with one whole egg shaken to perfection with the likes of gin, or rum, or brandy, etc.   
Now, don't freak out, it is an elevation on an eggnog and I'm sure the vast majority of us have sampled eggnog. The velvety richness, the frothy top, the highlighted spirit makes a classic flip so very special.  

The "Monkey Flip is made even more delicious by the presence of one of my favorite amari - Punt e mes- along with a lovely liqueur called Banana du Bresil.

The "Monkey Flip" 

Ron Abuelo Rum
Banana du Bresil
Whole egg
Punt e mes 

A beautiful coffee cocktail created by Lino


Everything, that can be, is locally sourced from the seafood to the cornmeal used for HM's mind-blowing black skillet style sweet cornbread seeping with melty sorghum butter.  Other ingredients are generally from the Appalachian/Mid-Atlantic region. 
Check out HM's purveyors, here.


Skillet cornbread with sorghum butter


Nothing will rock your world more, as a side dish, than the hearty antebellum grits topped with cheddar and peppery tasso ham.  They're cheesy, savory, and all around amazing.  

Welcome to the south!

Antebellum grits



The cuisine is southern at heart with flashes of French influence, as a number of southern dishes (especially in the Southeast U.S.) tend to be.  It's a testament to Chef Maiden's time at Lumiere.

Take the treatment of the wild Burgundy escargot.  These magnificent mollusks were bathed in a beautifully fragrant, savory, herbaceous persillade broth, topped with crisp, salty confit fingerlings, and dollops of "Duke's" aioli.  Duke's is a traditional mayo created by Eugenia Duke in 1917 in Greenville, NC (where my maternal side of the family is originally from in the states).  It is a staple in southeastern kitchens, used for such side dishes as cole slaw, potato salad, and sandwiches.

Escargot
I also immensely enjoyed another preparation of escargot...
Wild Burgundy escargots & grits tasso ham, shimeji mushrooms in a moderate, fragrant broth
Green tomato, cucumber, goat's milk yoghurt, Texas olive oil gazpacho topped with Maine crab


Cold soups are perfectly refreshing during the summer months, whether asparagus or watermelon.  

I'm a fan of gazpacho.  I think this had to be my first green vs. red tomato gazpacho.  It was fresh and vibrant with added texture and flavors from juicy, sweet Maine crab.

In keeping with the fresh farm-to-table items on the menu, the juicy, sweet corn on the cob sprinkled with andouille sausage crumbs, Parmesan cheese and lime, was simple and delicious.  

I was not a fan of the sauteed collards.  I prefer my collards a bit more tender.


Sauteed collards

A garden fresh, hearty batch of charred corn and cherry tomato relish with pickled okra topped a luscious morsel of pan-roasted bluefish (wild caught in Chatham, MA) on a bed of romano beans, basil oil, and smoky bacon.

Bluefish

Looking for something on the lighter side try one of their dinner salads.  My friend and fellow foodie dinner date (Jen Sutherland of Berkshire Mountain Distillery) enjoyed her green salad piled high with greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, Anson Mills Salt Island red peas, Steen's Cane vinaigrette.




One evening, the dinner salad was made with mesclun greens, smoked and spiced hazelnuts, grapefruit, 
Vidalia onions, and spring cow's cheese.


Is nose-to-tail dining your thing as much as it is mine?  
If so, try the tender waygu beef tongue au jus with dijon mustard, Robinson swiss cheese, on crusty toast 
or
 the rosemary tagliatelle with confit chicken giblets, soft quail egg, Kentucky Worcestershire sauce, and SarVecchi (a Wisconsin cheese reminiscent of Parmesan).


Beef tongue

Beautiful rosemary tagliatelle with chicken giblets and a soft quail egg

Chef sent out a lovely dessert.  The absolute highlight being the vibrant mint ice cream!



Oh, and don't forget to order a 40 ounce! 



Me & Chef Barry Maiden