About Traveling Foodie

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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

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pier 6, Charlestown's Premiere Waterfront Restaurant Launches New Spring Menu April 11th

Pier 6 Launches New Spring Menu
Pier 6, Charlestown’s Waterfront Dining Destination Launches New Menu

WHAT:             
Just in time for the warm weather, Pier 6, located on the picturesque waterfront in Charlestown, MA, is releasing its new spring menu Friday, April 11th, 2014.

With new additions to the small plates menu like the Shrimp Ceviche with fresh avocado and grilled pineapple salsa served with fried tortilla ($10) and the Pier 6 Pork Ribs served with green papaya slaw and hoisin barbeque sauce ($11), and new large plate additions such as Grilled Salmon with artichokes and dandelion greens served with saffron aioli ($23) and the Grilled Half Chicken with roasted fingerling potato, Swiss chard and morel cream ($21), this new menu is sure to please. Those with a sweet tooth will delight in new additions to the dessert menu such as the Rhubarb Shortcake with mascarpone mousse and toasted coconut ($7) and the Cheesecake Brownie with coffee anglaise and whipped cream ($7), (Full Menu Below).

Pier 6 is open for dinner  every night from 5:00PM -10:00PM. Dine inside with scenic views of the Boston skyline and open floor to ceiling retractable windows, or dine outside on the upper deck on weekends and select weekdays (weather permitting). For more information please visit www.pier6boston.com or call 617.337.0054.

WHEN:             
New Menu Launch: Friday, April 11th, 2014, 5:00PM
Dinner Hours: Sunday - Monday 5:00PM -10:00PM

              WHERE:           
 Pier 6 | 1 8th Street | Charlestown, MA |02129

MENU:
Spring Dinner Menu

Raw Bar

Wellfleet -Cape Cod, MA
Island Creek - Duxbury, MA
Duxbury - Duxbury, MA
Umami -  Rhode Island
Malpeque - PEI
Shiny Sea - New London Bay, PEI

Shrimp Cocktail - $1.50 ea

Shellfish Platter  - lobster tail, oysters, shrimp, house made ceviche
Regular. $45  Large. $85

Salads
Red and Golden Beet Salad - toasted pistachios, dill, feta, horseradish vinaigrette $9
Shaved Fennel Salad - breakfast radishes, pea greens, orange, fresh thyme vinaigrette $9
Simple Arugula Salad -cherry tomato, balsamic $7


Small Plates
Marinated Olives $5
Housemade Spreads - hummus, romesco, herbed ricotta $9
Lobster Chowder - manzanilla sherry, melted leeks, sweet potato, bacon $12
Shrimp Ceviche - avocado, grilled pineapple salsa, fried tortilla $10
Maine Crab Cakes - shaved asparagus & carrot salad, green garlic aioli $9
Fried Oysters - house made tartar sauce, celery leaves $15
Pork Ribs -green papaya slaw, hoisin barbeque sauce $11
Sweet n Sticky Wings - cucumber, scallion $10

Large Plates
Lobster Roll - house pickles, red cabbage slaw, fries $23
Pier 6 Burger - Vermont cheddar, bacon, house pickles, fries $13
Grilled Half Chicken - roasted fingerling potato, swiss chard, morel cream $21
Sea Scallops - carrot-cumin puree, peas, pea greens, pine nut - -golden raisin brown butter $29
Salmon - artichokes, dandelion greens, saffron aioli $23
Skirt Steak - mashed potato, grilled asparagus, chimichurri $25
Grilled Swordfish - quinoa salad, sugar snap peas, mint yogurt $25
Gemelli - grilled marinara sauce, grilled vidalia onions, smoked mozzarella, basil $17

Dessert
Butterscotch Pudding - candied walnuts $7
Rhubarb Shortcake - mascarpone mousse, toasted coconut $7
Cheesecake Brownie - coffee anglaise, whipped cream $7            

About Pier 6: Pier 6 is one of Boston’s most-sought after restaurants for fresh seafood and waterfront dining. Opening in 2013, the newly renovated restaurant located on Pier 6 in Charlestown, MA has breathtaking views of the historic Navy Yard and USS Constitution, and is just minutes from Boston’s historic North End. Executive Chef Greg Reeves brings a creative, exciting approach to the menu featuring unique takes on classic New England cuisine. Pier 6 serves dinner and lunch daily as well as Saturday and Sunday brunch, and its robust bar programs serves wine, beer and signature cocktails at its two bars until 1:00AM. During the warmer weather, diners can escape to the award-winning patio for an al fresco dining experience. Just as the sea plays an important role in the dining concept, the restaurant and bar features many nautical design elements, three levels of dining including a roof deck, private dining room, mahogany bar, and floor to ceiling glass sliding doors with stunning waterfront views. Pier 6 is located at 1 8TH Street, Charlestown, MA 02129. For more information please call Pier 6 at 617.337.0054 or visit pier6boston.com

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

February/March 2014 Featured Tipples (Cocktails) of the Month!

So far, March has been a good month of imbibing.  I am writing this on Saint Patrick's Day which is totally coincidental, since most SPD drinkers are not slamming craft cocktails.  
I've had a spectacular flip created by Justin Kuhni at Centre Street Sanctuary (an obvious favorite neighborhood spot for me), a lovely acidic, rum based cocktail with a red wine float and a  tequila based cocktail build up with citrus and baking spices at Blue Dragon, and a beautifully balance and complex milk punch created by John Drew also of Blue Dragon.

The milk punch was complex, as most are.  The spirit based was Privateer rum (silver) made with beautiful components, including mace, all-spice, anise, bitter orange peel, clove cardamom, cinnamon, kobocha squash, orange and lime.





The color imparted to this punch is sexy.,.a little green goddess a touch of Chartreuse.

Be on the look out for my latest interview with friend and head distiller at Privateer Rum, Maggie Campbell!
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After a few hours at the New England Food Show, I decided to take my out of town guest to Centre Street Sanctuary, my favorite neighborhood watering hole.  
Justin Kuhni was on the bar and made a spectacular off menu flip called the Blackberry 370 after I requested a cocktail with Pisco (my favorite white brandy out of Peru) and an amaro (preferably Cynar). 
This is what he came up with:  The Blackberry 370 made with one egg white, one part (each) of Pisco, Cynar, Kina L'Avion d'Or (an Italian apertif wine), and lemon juice with muddled blackberries and Angostura bitters topper.  
It was a nice blend of bitter, berry, and spice with a silky finish that all flips should offer.


Past months' featured tipples of the month can be found, here.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

January/February 2014 Featured Tipples (Cocktails) of the Month!

Congratulations to two bartenders who seem to always inspire me enough to make it on the Featured Tipples of the Month Series!
Jillian Caron of the new Leather District place to be, Savvor Restaurant & Lounge, Sahil Mehta of Estragon Spanish Tapas in the South End, and John Drew of Ming Tsai's Blue Dragon in Fort Point.  
You can read about their coverage and others, here.

Some new faces: 
Myles Stout, formerly of dBar
Jimmy Quadros, formerly of Sanctuary and now at Kitchen
Angie of Canary Square
Cassie of Eastern Standard

I've had a wonderful winter full of spiced, warming cocktails.  I can't wait to see where Boston (and beyond) bartenders will take us for Spring!

Let's start with the cocktail created by Angie of Canary Square and named by yours truly:  The Creole

One evening, while visiting one of Canary Square's favorite resident bartenders, Dave Sheets, I requested (as I typically do) a new, off-menu bourbon cocktail.  Dave recalled one recently created by Bar Manager, Angie.  

It is made with equal parts Monte Negro, Pierre Ferrand Cognac, and Buffalo Trace Bourbon.    
My love of amaro and bourbon is equally and perfectly satisfied with this cocktail.  I don't often order cognac-based drinks, save for an occasional sidecar, but the Pierre Ferrand cognac imparted earthy, woodsy, pretty floral notes that really brings this cocktail to a nice finish.  Buffalo Trace bourbon was first introduced to me at Canary Square by manager Bryce Mack who swore by it.  Canary is still the only place I frequent that uses it almost exclusively on its bourbon cocktail list, and with good cause.  It's a smooth, luscious bourbon with spicy honey notes.

Angie and The Creole




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 One evening, while grabbing a cocktail  and late night bites at Eastern Standard (a beautiful bar where I first fell in love with craft cocktails by Naomi Levy and Kevin Martin) Cassie whipped up a beautiful cocktail for me featuring....
wait for it... 
an amaro and bourbon!  
Right answer!  Are you sensing a theme here?  

My palate craves what it craves, but there are so many flavor profiles of bourbon and amaro alike that this combination never gets old!


After enjoying a few cocktails we moved on to a newish phenomenon called the "bone luge" -
"A shot of booze, funneled down an emptied out shank bone."

It's major, I promise.  Check out Mr. Bone Luge himself, here, and see images of people boneluging around the country!  

After devouring our roasted bone marrow, we did ours with Mezcal.  
Here are ours pics:

It was my best bud Nick of TreasureMA's idea, of course!


Jen& Nick
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One random Sunday afternoon, Jill Caron (Savvor Restaurant & Lounge) made a simple, yet perfectly balanced cocktail with my favorite Italian...Cynar!  The cynar sour was garnished with Angostura 
polka dots!

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One of my most recent perfect winter cocktails was with Myles Stout, former bartender at dbar.   A perfect holiday, The Cinnamon Spice is a cocktail made with Jack Daniels whiskey, orange and cinnamon.



***********************************************************************************

Jimmy Quadros at Kitchen Boston, made a lovely, herbaceous mezcal tequila based cocktail that saved a pretty disappointing meal (review coming soon).


Be on the look out for next month's featured tipples of the month and my interview with Head Distiller of Privateer Rum, Maggie Campbell!

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez! Mardi Gras in Boston @ The Hawthorne



We had a blast for only $75 of Fat Tuesday with fresh crawfish, muffaletta, oyster po' boys and ...King (cup)Cakes!  There were also Hurricanes Sazerac, Vieux Carre, and Ramos Gin Fizz cocktails.





Muffaletta

 





The Hot Tamale Brass Band was amazing!  I wanted to second line up Commonwealth!









Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

At The Pass with Chef Carey Dobies, Executive Chef of the Newly Opened Savvor Restaurant & Lounge, Boston, MA

 
Courtesy of Savvor's FB page.
The anticipation for the opening of Savvor Restaurant & Lounge in the space where District Lounge once resided in the Leather District was great!  Ever since hearing through the grapevine from one of my favorite Boston bartenders, Jill Caron (Savvor's resident drink slinger), that the cuisine would be Caribbean/Gulf Coast Southern focused, I was intrigued.  The neighborhood could certainly use a fresh idea.  There are even rumors of a future 'speak easy' style space which when mentioned, causes owner Eddie to chuckle a bit (hmmm?).  I'll keep ya posted!

I interviewed Executive Chef Carey Dobies just before a private Super Bowl party that I was invited to hosted by owner Eddy Firmin, former co-owner of the now closed Blue Wave Restaurant & Lounge, one week prior to their soft opening.  We enjoyed a few bar bites, but the soft opening is what I most anticipated...and my expectations were thoroughly met and exceeded.


Chef Dobies showing off a 20+ ounce 60 day dry aged ribeye steak that I ordered!


Chef Carey Dobies is a pragmatic chef with an intriguingly creative palate.  He says of his palate: 
"I feel like my palate is much more sensitive to salinity. If that's such a thing. I can tell when it's just right.

I'm also a big fan of astringency."

After a few minutes of chatting and touring the kitchen and prep space, I wanted to hit the town with him and just eat. The two dishes he is most proud of on the menu? 


"It's a toss up between my shrimp and grits or the Quail and Waffles. The shrimp are head-on with a leek mousse injected into the brains. And, the grits are from Anson mills. Both can be out of peoples comfort zones especially if you don't like to see faces on your food or if you've grown up eating instant grits. The Quail and waffles, simply because of the quail. I love quail. I love Blueberries and Quail. I love waffles. I love chicken and waffles. Why not all of them together? Same concept, different approach. 
I do wish people would just tear into the quail like fried chicken. That's the fun juxtaposition of that dish. Quail is thought to be elegant, served with dainty sides, and fruit- centric, heavily reduced sauces...

Just jump in there! Tear it up with your hands! It's a little, delicious bird, enjoy it with some waffles! No need for a fork and knife..."
 
Chef Dobies' idea of a good meal includes some of the sexiest places in the Northeast where I have also personally enjoyed a meal or two--- Martin Picard's Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal, Quebec where I fell in love with the foie gras poutine featured on my "Battle of the Poutine-Montreal Edition" and the pied de cochon (of course), Belly Wine Bar in Cambridge, Mass, where Robert Grant has served up amazing dishes featuring offal as well as great house made sausage and charcuterie, and Toro in Boston’s South End - Chefs Bissonette and Oringer's always packed, outstanding tapas bar with amazing eats.

In fact, Chef Dobies was inspired by Chef Robert Grant's charcuterie skills when they worked together at The Blue Room.  During our interview, he shared his latest creation - hickory smoked, un-aged duck ham!  

It cut like butter and tastes like heaven.




The duck ham is now featured on Savvor's menu under "The Larder" section.
We began out interview with a tour of the kitchen.  Everyone in the kitchen will learn and prep all dishes.  It's a smart move to keep some reciprocity in a business where staff can be so transient.  Laura, a sorely underutilized kitchen talent from her previous post will be primarily responsible for hot appetizers, stocks, soups, sauces, and purees...the life's blood of the kitchen.

One soup that absolutely blew me away with its punch of flavor and heartiness was the Roasted Garlic Soup with catfish, mussels, and fingerling potatoes.




Roasted Garlic Soup with catfish, mussels, and fingerling potatoes.

 The roasted garlic soup was simply terrific.  It was everything a soup should be, full of great, fresh ingredients, creamy and rich with perfect seasoning.  I am not particularly a fan of catfish, but it was a complete afterthought.



The New England Style Gumbo, though a wonderful idea in theory, was poorly executed with undercooked rice and over cooked pulled chicken.  Chef expressed that the funky hybrid rice used (Charleston gold x Basmati) can be temperamental.  It is milled and sent directly to him from Ansol Mills.
 I am looking forward to giving it another chance.  


New England style gumbo- Clams, Pulled chicken, Morcilla (blood sausage AKA boudin noir), Okra, Hybrid rice
 The idea for even creating a bold New England-style gumbo that was presented more like a deconstructed gumbo verses a classic roux-infused mixture, speaks to the culinary character of Chef Dobies - an Ohio native raised in Florida and having spent some of his adult, professional life in New Orleans.  His early life boasted of his grandmother's Polish cooking. 
He now brings high and lowlands to your palate throughout his menu.  A chef who grew up eating perogies, rice and beans and empanadas as much as he barbequed with his dad and made homemade apple pie with brown butter ice cream (at only 13 year of age) is bound to bring it in the kitchen!

He recalls one of his all time favorite meals consisting of
seared pompano with Tasso ham, lobster butter and lobster consume, which he cannot cant eat anymore because he has since developed a shellfish allergy.  He says he will never forget it and it's the reason why, even though he can no longer taste these dishes in the kitchen, but can still execute. 
Case in point:


Giant prawns and creamy grits.  The heads were filled with whipped liver mouse and roasted leeks.  SO GOOD!
  
We move on down the winding stairs to the prep kitchen.  The space is huge and outfitted with what looks like a brick barbeque gill and all.  Everything is spiced to perfection at Savvor.  
Chef Dobies is pretty anal about his spices and their organization in the kitchen.  The one and one half walk-ins where beautiful meat is dry aging is the same.  The double ribeyes are bag aired for five weeks and air aged for three weeks.



There are several lovely dishes that were presented at the soft opening's full menu hour that has endured the past month.  They live amongst many other tasty treats.  

The Crispy Pig's Skin Cracklin served with dried pear mostarda is one and the out of this world Crawfish Hushpuppies served with spicy hollandaise for dipping!  the hushpuppies are crisp spheres with soft, moist, buttery warm centers filled with tender morsels of crawfish.

Crawfish hushpuppies with spicy hollandaise dipping sauce.
The Bay Scallop Crudo was not only beautiful in presentation, but a refreshing few bites on the palate as well. 


Bay scallop crudo served in a scallop shell with green papaya, pickled mango, and shaved celery stalk and greens
Chef will take full advantage of the fresh seafood New England has to offer.  After moving to NYC to attend the Culinary Institute of America, he moved on to New Orleans to complete an externship at at GW Fins, a 300 seat, old warehouse turned seafood mecca of restaurants in the French Quarter.  At GW Fins, chef prepared seafood which was butchered daily by the in-house fish monger.  Once he moved to Boston to pursue his career, he worked with greats like Michael Schlow (Tico, Alta Strada, Cavatina, etc.) and Todd Winer (The Met Bar(s) and Soon to open Pastoral).

Scallop Crudo

Other light seafood bites include oysters which you can order on the half shell with a refreshing cucumber mignonette and fresh horseradish or have fried to perfection and served with an earthy celery remoulade.


Chef Dobies seems obsessed with on over-the-top (in size) meat items and I am not complaining.

  The "Giant Chicharron" is a prime example next to the massive 20+ ounce, bone-in, double ribeye steak which he has since reduced.



One Giant Chicharron, fried garlic, beer, bourbon glaze with grilled tortillas and pikliz
The double, bone-in ribeye was shared with about three other people and I still had enough for lunch the next day.  It was cooked to a perfect medium rare over stewed greens, red eye gravy, and black-eyed pea ragout.



Ribeye served over stewed greens, black-eyed pea ragout, red eye gravy with garlicky cheddar biscuits
The only thing that missed the mark were the cheddar biscuits which were way too overdone.  It was mentioned to one of the cooks and on my next visit to Savvor, I could not as for more perfect buttery, soft biscuits.



Chef Dobies is open to constructive criticism.  I missed the hard opening due to an event I attended in Brooklyn, but when asked about constructive feedback received after opening night, he stated,  

"Yes I did. This is why I like working with Eddy and Courtney. They both have great palates, and they offer honest criticism. I readily accept any if it's going to help grow our menu and our business." 
He went on to say, 
"I'm very optimistic because of the first night. Lots of people came in and enjoyed the food, and the responses I received when I was dropping off the two dishes was great. Some people weren't feeling it because they expected burgers, or chicken fingers. This isn't that place."  

And I am certainly glad that it isn't.  We have enough of those places!

If you're looking for another burger joint, Savvor may not satisfy your desires, but if you are in search of a little oasis of culinary nirvana slightly off the beaten path, this just might be your new favorite hangout.  

Some of Chef's inspiration in print comes from cookbooks such as, 
"Harvest to Heat" by Darryl Estrine, et. al
"The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine"
"Au Pied de Cochon" by Martin Picard & Anthony Bourdain
and
"Smoke and Pickles" by Edward Lee

In life, he says his inspirations include,

"My late grandmother, and my late grandfather. They never got to see me get this far. I wish they could have."

I'm certain that his two sons, who reside in Western Massachusetts also serve as inspirations.  His time spent with them includes lots of playing and eating pancakes at IHOP! Can't beat that!



Consider that one of the newer menu items includes an absolutely delicious Yaka Mein...a delicious bowl of quality ingredients and bold flavors that perhaps serves as a nod to the neighboring hood to which it is prepared.  
If nothing else, it certainly speaks significantly to the mind and heart of the chef as he is just as interested in Southern/Caribbean style food as he is Asian cuisine.
  When asked about his favorite type of cuisine (ethnic or technique-wise) to prepare and/or eat, Chef Dobies answered with an enthusiastic,  
" I really love Japanese.  The preparations are very rustic, but require a lot of finesse to get just right.  Take a look at all of the cool shit they do in Izakayas nowadays!  However, at 2 a.m. falafel or schwarma is better than sex."  

Ummm, so, I need to follow-up with chef on where he goes for falafel and schwarma...I'm on the case peeps!

Wondering if people would consider his Yaka Mein part of the 'growing trend', being that following trends are not his priority,Chef Dobies offered,

"You may say that the "Yakamein" is contrary to that, but I've really been thinking about that for months. Even before it seemed like ramen was this HUGE thing. I just like to cook what i think is good." 



Yaka Mein:  lo mein noodles, oxtail, tasso ham, 5:10 egg, bean sprouts, green onion, Old Bay seasoning, slurping patrons!
I imagine that to create a menu like this, you must spend the majority of your time pondering upon of creating your next great dish.  When not spending quality time with his children or lovely girlfriend (a Pastry chef for famed Flour Bakery), chef describes his go to meal after a long day as, " For real? Golden Grahams with lots of milk and a beer or an entire pint of peanut butter cup Ben & Jerry's ice cream."


Speaking of sweets, Savvor will eventually develop a fantastic desserts menu with great minds in the kitchen like Abbey from Centre Street Sanctuary in Jamaica Plain.  Savvor also acquired an amazing chef trained in fine dining, Nick, hailing from the same location. I am just as excited about the team that has been formed as I am the food coming out of the kitchen and the out of this world bourbon selection and cocktails created by Jill Caron!


One of my favorites thus far, with Jill knowing my bitter-prone palate pretty well, was the Cynar Sour with Angostura bitters polka dots.


 A bonus sent out on my last visit was the off menu charcuterie plate with pickled cucumber slices, okra, mussels, duck ham, and prosciutto.

Charcuterie plate
When I brought up price points versus quality in light of trendy food, Chef Dobies openly shared his opinion:
  
"I'm looking forward to when minimalistic plating and break your wallet dining begins to die. You can eat so well for so cheap, and I feel like it's an affront to a guest to make them pay $38 for a dish that only cost $7 to produce. I remember eating a tuna dish that was literally a lightly pickled cucumber, with micro greens, and tuna tartare. It cost $21! Pomp and circumstance has its place, but not in this economic climate. Feed people well and they'll come back. "

The kitchen and overall, the staff, takes great consideration of the feedback received from guests.  The menu is continually being tweaked  and guests are more than welcome to openly share their thoughts, so don't be shy.
 
It has been an extreme pleasure getting to know the folks at Savvor and experiencing the great hospitality, food, and cocktails.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for the team and will be cheering them on every step of the way!

Disclosure: A portion of these meals was provided at no cost.  The opinions above, however, are my own.