About Traveling Foodie a.k.a DrFoodie

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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

Monday, March 23, 2015

Grandma's Dim Sum, 40-24 College Point Blvd, Flushing Queens, NYC- Quarterly #GreedyGirlsUnite Food Tour- March 2015

My girlfriends since childhood and I started a new tradition outside of visiting one another in our respective cities/states during down time and holidays. We are meeting quarterly in a city or part of a city to sample the amazing food! This time we invited one my veterinary colleagues/mentors/friends.

#GreedyGirlsUnite

Our last meet-up was back in early autumn where we focused on lower Manhattan.  We started with the oldest dim sum purveyor in all of NYC, Nom Wah Dim Sum Parlor and ended with ToroNYC with fun stops along the way!  

We decided to make starting with dim sum our opening ceremony of sorts-no matter the neighborhood so we chose Grandma's Dim Sum in Flushing Queens, NY.  



This time we hired the driver we used at the end of our last tour as our personal driver for the day.  Five of us fit comfortably in this SUV and he was extremely professional, even mapping out the most sensible route plan for our list of restaurants.  
Big shout out to Samuel Moore, Uber/Personal driver and new friend to us all.

Located in a shopping mall, you're thrown into the mix of fast paced, almost exclusively Asian shoppers-groups of friends (young and old) and families, pushing baby carriages.  It's high energy.
For nostalgia's sake, I was tempted to grab a slice in the Chuck-e-Cheese located at the bottom of the escalator.  The shimmering costume jewelry and the traditional bakery were also great distractions as we made our way to and from Grandma's. 

We walk in and immediately, our cell phones lose service.  There's a slight, silent panic that ripples through the group until we turn around and face the wifi password on display near the hostess stand.  All is right in the world again.

We seated after only a few minutes by jovial staff.  We all observe the dishes at nearby tables and marvel over what we might order.  After being served a pot of tea, we briefly discuss the "Emperor's Pour" tradition and begin to dissect the dim sum and regular lunch menu.

Because Dumpling Galaxy was next on our list, we chose to not fill up on too much dumpling or shumai dishes.  We did succumb to shumai from the cart along with chicken feet.
I was pleasantly surprised that the chicken feet were more savory versus sweet.  I've had plenty where the cloying confectionery character was too much to bear.

Chicken feet and shumai

Sylvia sampling her very first chicken foot!

Most of my girlfriends aren't shy about trying 'exotic' foods, but I seemed to be the only one willing to order the spicy jellyfish in a group of women who are pretty adventurous eaters.  
It was served chilled and topped with white sesame seeds.  The texture was reminiscent of a seaweed salad-great comparison, Sylvia!  The spice was not at all overbearing and there was piquant notes on the mid-palate.  Each crisp bite resonated between the ears and the outer texture of each tentacle was not at as all off-putting as one might imagine.  It was simple, refreshing starter, but way too large a portion to finish.




We all agreed that a big bowl of bone broth soup was definitely in order, so we decided to share the braised beef noodle bowl.  


Unfortunately, we were all underwhelm.  The beef was certainly tender and the fatty bits superb, but the broth presented no real character, so I asked how long do the cook their bone broth and turns out it's a measly 20 minutes.  Certainly not enough to impart any real flavor from bone that's worth talking about.
I also could appreciate the toothsome, springy noodles.


The bowl of congee with abalone and frog, which both Sylvia and I were looking forward to was even more disappointing.
Lacking much flavor, it was unbelievable that the abalone and frog imparted little to the dish.
Even the delicacies alone fell flat.


The fried chicken with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppers and chili was an overall success with the group.  
Full of flavor and spice, the chicken was also supple and succulent!


The salt and pepper shrimp were simply fried shrimp, but a good batch.




The Dongpo Pork- Chinese pork belly cooked in brown sauce over sauteed bamboo shoots was major!  It's the definition of fat=flavor!


Dongpo Pork
Overall, I'd say that our experience at Grandma's Dim Sum was good.  The people were friendly (I vaguely remember one of the servers putting her number into my phone :0) and the food mostly great!  
I'd definitely check back in next time I'm in Queens.

Wine & Dine on Beacon Hill: Featuring Wines from Argentina! April 15, 2015 at 7 pm

WINE & DINE ON BEACON HILL
Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro Presents a Wine Dinner Featuring Wines from Argentina


 On Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 at 7:00PM guests will take a virtual culinary wine tour of Argentina at Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro’s spring wine dinner. 
Designed to both educate and entertain, Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro’s (BHHB) wine dinners are aimed at individuals of all experience levels. 

This event is about “wonderful wines, creative food and good friends,” says Cecilia Rait, proprietress and wine director of the BHHB.

Beginning at 7:00PM, diners are invited to visit all four regions without leaving the comfort of their seats.  
Cecilia and Tracy Burgis of M.S. Walker act as virtual tour guides, moving from region to region expanding the history, curiosities and nuances of each selection. 

During this educational dinner, guests will sample wines from regions across Argentina.  

In addition to wine, the dinner will showcase the culinary artistry of Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro’s Executive Chef Lucas Sousa, whose dishes are designed to complement each featured wine.


This intimate adventure is set in communal seating to encourage conversation, laughter and fun. 

For $65.00 per person (tax and gratuity not included), guests are treated to four wines, a four-course dinner and Cecilia's and Tracy's good cheer, humor and expertise. 

Reservations are encouraged as the event will sell out fast.


WHERE: Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro| 25 Charles Street, Boston, MA 
617-723-7575 | www.beaconhillhotel.com.

      Wednesday, April 15th, 2015; 7:00PM

COST:              $65 Per Person (tax and gratuity not included).
Reservations are necessary. 
Please call 617-723-7575.



About the BHHB:

Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro is both an intimate and authentic boutique hotel, and an award-winning Bistro in Boston’s historic Beacon Hill. The Hotel consists of 12 guest rooms and one in-room suite; blending both modern convenience and historical character reflected in its thoughtful and distinctive design.

The Bistro serves Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, as well as, weekend Brunches and is open 365 days a year. Hours of operation are as follows:  Breakfast: Mondaythrough Friday 7AM to 10AM & Saturday and Sunday 7:30AM to 10AMLunch: Monday through Friday 11:30AM to 3PMBrunch: Saturday and Sunday 10AM to 3PM, Afternoon Bar Menu:  All Week 3PM to 5:30PMDinner:  Monday through Saturday 5:30PM to 11PM - Sunday 5:30PM to 10PM

The Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro is located at 25 Charles Street and is adjacent to the Public Garden on the corner of Charles and Chestnut Street, easily accessible by T from either the Charles/MGH or Park Street Stations. For More information please call 617-723-1133 or 617-723-7575 or log on to: www.beaconhillhotel.com.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Monday, March 30th, 2015: 3rd Edition of "Art of the Cocktail": A DrFoodie and Boston Center for the Arts Collaboration: Scotch Whisky with Naomi Levy of Eastern Standard




Monday, March 30

6:00-7:30 pm first seating

8:00-9:30 pm second seating


Mills Gallery | 551 Tremont Street 

The Boston Center of the Arts (BCA) and Dr. Markeya 

Williams (Traveling Foodie in 4" Stilettos) host the next

 edition of Art of the Cocktail featuring Scotch!

Intimidated by Scotch? Wondering which style to order? 

What is the difference between a single malt and blended? 

Naomi Levy, Beverage Manager at Eastern Standard Kitchen 

and Drinks demystifies this alluring spirit at this lively 

interactive lecture and tasting. 

Tickets include tasting, 

conversation, snacks and a private exhibition viewing of the 

Mills Gallery.

$25 Early Bird Tickets March 1 – March 16

$35 Regular Tickets March 17- March 30 at 3pm


This is a 21+ event and proper ID is required for entry. 

No refunds or exchanges.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lunch at David Chang's Momofuku Noodle Bar, East Village, NYC (171 1st Ave btwn 10th & 11th)


 
Photo Credit: Momofuku Facebook Page

David Chang’s Momofuku has been credited with having led the advent of the ramen movement in the U.S.  He, arguably, put the delicious soup on the proverbial map on this continent for many of people.


It is always interesting to me how many people looked at me with puzzled faces whenever I mentioned my 45+ day love affair with the classic Japanese soup, which to be clear and historically correct, ramen was introduced to Japan by Chinese immigrants and traders over a century ago.  Immediately, their first thoughts were of the packaged dried noodle, spices, and vegetables we all survived on in college or even, for some, as job-hunting adults. 


Nissin Foods founder Momofuku Ando is credited with the instant noodle’s introduction (1958 and in stores 1971), but the dish as a whole far surpasses the reconstitution of Cup Noodles and Top Ramen in the U.S.

The narrow perception of some Americans where international cuisine is concerned-especially those that are not-so-well-traveled or, even worse, those not willing to "eat outside the box" or outside of their comfort zone-is devastatingly and overwhelmingly sad to me.

As the RamenRater, a legally blind man out of Washington who has changed the bloggersphere by tasting instant noodles from multiple countries all over Asia and becoming famous for it, stated during recent interview with Lucas Peterson on www.luckypeach.com
"I’m not a rich man, by any means—my whole philosophy is that I do all of my traveling through my palate. Every time I try one, it’s something new. I very, very rarely eat a variety twice. It would be a waste, since it’s a chance to add to my list of conquered instant noodles."

In fact, it has been established that the instant noodles we look upon as the food of the poor and struggling are part of the diet for lower to upper class people in Asia.
Ramen is a style/type of Asian noodle like soba, udon, vermicelli, mein, etc. 
My home state of New Jersey is also the home (Hawaii being the first) of a famous ramen noodle production company where the noodles have been produced for restaurants all over the United States since 1981!  
Sun Noodle provides noodles to Momofuku Noodle Bar (NYC), Union Republic (NJ) and many others. 
They also intermittently open for classes and tastings at their Edgewater, NJ location.

Eating at Momofuku Noodle Bar is a dream for many a ramen-lover.  
I recently (years after the ramen boom) have fallen deeply in love with steaming bowls of beautiful broth filled with perfect noodles, veg, and meats from Paris to Boston, to NYC and there’s no real foreseeable end to my madness.  And that suits me just fine.

Ramen is immensely diverse from the style of tare (the base of the broth)- shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), or miso (fermented beanpaste); tonkotsu style broth; and a variety of toppings including pork (minced, sliced, belly, offal), chicken, seafood, tofu, a variety of vegetables, lard, spices, and herbs. 
Often times there's also a boiled, soft/runny or raw egg and occasionally a tea or soy egg.  

The show stoppers are always the broth and the noodle.

Then there's Tsukemen style where noodles and broth are served separate and you enthusiastically dunk the noodles into the broth before slurping them.  

Mazemen is a brothless version where all ingredients are in the same bowl and mixed together upon eating, like a Korean Bibim Guksu (Bibimbop with noodles versus rice).


Momofuku's Mazemen: Ginger Scallion Noodles with pickled shiitake, cucumber, cabbage, and pork shoulder with kombu





Other delicious, popular noodle soups include , Beef Noodle Soup and Ka Tieu (Taiwan), Pho and Banh Canh (Vietnam), Banmian (China), Laksa (Malaysia), and many more!
Check out my ramen runs in Paris, here.

 Before dousing with sriracha, gochujant, or any other sauces, savor the broth, chew the noodle, take in the steam, then slurp like there’s no tomorrow…it’s absolutely, culturally acceptable.
As we awaited the text message declairing that our table was available, we visited a shop up the street for a few gyoza to whet our appetite.


At Momofuku Noodle Bar, before ordering our individual ramen and mazeman choices, we enjoyed a few other stapled small plates.
 
Momofuku's umami-forward, garlicky kimchi was excellent!  Bright, funky, tangy, crisp, brined then fermented napa cabbage with carrots, Korean chili, fish sauce, herbs and spices.  We ordered it to taste alone and with the dishes we planned to sample-especially the bao. 




Shrimp & Grits with Benton's bacon, a poached egg, and scallions

We loved the Shrimp & Grits 
The tender, plump shrimp rested in the center of Ansel Mills coarse, yellow grits cooking in dashi broth (I believe) to the consistency of congee.  
Chewy bits of Benton's hickory smoked, brown sugar/salt/pepper-cured bacon out of Tennessee, a perfectly poached egg, and chopped scallions.
We politely avoided licking the bowl...because our mamas raised us better than that!



An even more amazing dish was the caramelized Brussels sprouts roasted and served in a light, sweet dashi broth and tossed with crunchy, halved, toasted hazelnuts, and diced bitter-sweet green apples.  
Like icing on a cake, the dish was topped with dancing shavings of katsuobushi (dried, fermented, aged, petrified tuna) also called bonito flakes, imparting umami flavor to an already earthy, sweet, and sour dish.

Katsuobushi Block.  The block is shaved over dishes.    Photo Credit: "Katsuobushi block" by Andy king50

  
We seriously could not get enough!  
It was the one dish we ordered that we would not allow to leave the table until we finished every last morsel...
"make room for the Brussels!"


Brussels Sprouts, Dashi broth, Green Apples, Toasted Hazelnuts, Katsuobushi


Brussels Sprouts, Dashi broth, Green Apples, Toasted Hazelnuts, Katsuobushi

The wings were perfectly smoked and sticky with a bit of heat with garlic, pickled chili, and scallions.
 
Smoked Chicken Wings- garlic, pickled chili, scallions

Of course we sampled the bao (steamed buns).  We ordered the brisket buns- thick, juicy, tender cuts of brisket rested on horseradish, pickled red onion, and cucumber sandwiched between soft, moist steamed buns.
  I added a bit of the kimchi for extra kick and texture.


Brisket bao
Brisket bao topped with housemade kimchi

NOW FOR THE RAMEN BOWLS!!!

The ramen, procured from Sun Noodle (Edgewater, NJ) provided toothsome, springy bites with the kinks picking up the perfect amount of broth and fresh ingredients.

The Ginger Scallion Noodle Bowl
A mazemen (brothless) bowlAtop perfect noodles sat slivers of pickled shiitake mushrooms, cucumber, scallions, and cabbage with tender, shredded pork shoulder.


Ginger Scallion Noodle Bowl


Spicy Miso Ramen
Smoked chicken, poached egg, and spinach.
The rich broth packed nice heat with tender slices of chicken afloat.

Spicy Miso Ramen

Spicy Miso Ramen

Classic Momofuku Ramen 
Pork belly, Pork Shoulder, Poached Egg, Scallions, and Narutomaki (traditional fish cake role with pink spiral)
The Momofuku classic ramen was beautifully balanced. A flavorful bowl of rich broth, tender shreds of pork shoulder and thick cut, perfectly fatty pork belly.  Simply delicious!

Momofuku Ramen

Momofuku Ramen

We had a blast!

Cheers to David Chang and team for a beautiful experience.  My two girlfriends are now new ramen lovers!  Can't wait to visit other restaurants in the group!  
See ya in March!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Café Restaurant La Gramont, La Frégate, and L'Egrégore Café in Paris, France

On the dreary days in Paris, it was great to walk into a cafe for a warm sip and some comfort food.

Across the Seine River with a view of the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay on the left bank (7th Arrondissement) is a little corner tourist cafe called La Frégate.  


The building is built on the site of the house of Marshal d’Artagnan, the character who inspired The Three Muskateers, and was named after the frigate that docked under Le Pont Royal in the 1870’s.
It is also a block away from the flat where writer/historian Voltaire, with whom I share my birth date-November 21 (in theory) died on May, 30 1778.



The heating lamps dotting the space where the outdoor seating was were attractive as were a few of the hot cocktails.

We sipped on Vin chaud (hot spiced wine/mulled wine) and Grog au rhum (Rum toddy-unfortunately not spiced) and people watched.

Vin chaud and Grog au rhum

For a simple, filling lunch, I enjoyed a couple of bites at Café
Restaurant La Gramont on the corner of Rue Gramont and Boulevard Italiens in the 2nd Arrondissement where I was staying at a friend's apartment.
I found the refreshing Remoulade aux pommes vertes et queues d'ecrevisses (Shredded green apple and crayfish tails in remoulade sauce) to be light and delicious with tart, creamy flavors and textures and tender sweet crayfish tails.  The Balsamic drizzle imparting the nice acidity and tang!

Remoulade aux pommes vertes et queues d'ecrevisses (Shredded green apple and crayfish tails in remoulade sauce)

The Croque Madame was decent with a crisp-edged sunny side up egg, and gruyere, soft-centered toast, savory ham.  The accompanying salad was dismal at best, but the hearty, thick cut, steak fries made up for it.

Croque Madame

Croque Madame

I came upon L'Egregore Cafe in the Louvre / Palais-Royal
 neighborhood after a disappointing dinner at Au Pied de Cochon.  Co-Owner Stephane was charming.  Having worked in the states (Boston at one point), we chat a bit about his culinary/restaurant experiences.  The space was quaint and casual- cute downstairs cafe area with a small 2-3 seats bar.  A couple of regulars and a group of young adults came in during my visit. 


Stephane and the chef gave me a tour of the kitchen and the adjacent upstairs dining space overlooking  Rue Croix des Petits Champs.




Stephane invited me back for a lunch service which I had heard good things about but, unfortunately, couldn't fit into my schedule during the rest of the week.  
Though my dinner meal was not spectacular (overcooked steak), I did appreciate a few Four Roses bourbons...