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

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Edible DC/DC Sips- 4th of July Weekend 2015

Dear District of Columbia, I love you. 

Before this weekend, I couldn't conjure up an image of what my social and professional life could be in our nation's capital. 
I would love to live and love in the neighborhoods we drifted in and out of over Independence Day weekend...though not too soon.

As we sat back and took in the vibe of particular neighborhoods, not one person seemed to be in much of a rush. 
On one particular evening later in the weekend, we ordered a car to take us onto the 14th Street Corridor (a street encompassing the Northwest and Southwest neighborhoods of D.C.) and boasting numerous ethnic and diverse food venues, bars, and quaint shops.

14th was where the first streetcar lines ran. It also connects DC to Virginia via a bridge over the Potomac River as well as one culture to another.

 On this night, we started at Dolcezza for some very adult behavior...dessert BEFORE dinner! Gelato!

Georgia Pecan & Salted Caramel Gelato #DessertBeforeDinner

There were major flavors of both gelato and sorbetto on the churn at Dolcezza including Mascarpone & Berries, Champagne Mango, Thai Coconut Milk, Honey Cardamom, Peppermint Stracciatella.

Afterwards, we dined at Le Diplomate, a classically styled French restaurant, from menu to handsome staff, to food presentation, style of outdoor seating and service (in a well-behaved french resto), it was almost reminiscent of Paris but with better manners and attitude on the staff's part. 

As a bonus, I was distracted at least half a dozen times by neighborhood dogs out for walks with or in spite of their owners.

One bull terrier named daisy, with a pretty pink halter and the cutest, sweetest of faces decided, at the very last moment on the stroll down 14th, that she would hold a sit-in, to the amusement of outdoor diners, but not necessarily her owner. 
There would be no active participation in this walk though her "master"/"dad" attempted to go so far as to drag her along one short square of the sidewalk before giving in and tying her to wrought iron in front of a brownstone while he tended to other business.

 It wasn't a rare moment where I didn't ooh or ahh at either the adorable pups walking by, the food being placed down on our bistro table, or the handsome men passing by.  Good neighborhood eye candy!

We basked in the light humidity and slightly overcast sky with a cool breeze back and decided it was better than our earlier attempt to be "real tourist" on the Smithsonian Museum campus upon which we ended up hot and unimpressed at the National Museum of American History vs. our initial intention, the Museum of Natural History. #Fail

Our server Rob was extremely knowledgeable, there was also a Latino server/runner who was in his  #TopModel feelings, serving us long, exaggerated turns as he descended upon and beyond our table (lol) and lovely hostess ladies in navy a line dresses with flats and thin red belts which struck me as the only way I'd want to dress were I officially in the industry ...sans the flats.  Those who know me know I'd swap those for red pumps or stilettos. 

My Full Review of Le Diplomate will be posted soon.

We stayed in Dupont Circle at the Renaissance where I had a few nice bites for one breakfast and one dinner.

The frittata was loaded with fresh veggies (mushroom, spinach, bell peppers, onion), ground turkey sausage and topped with cheese and salsa.



For dinner one night, I enjoyed a large bowl of Maryland crab chowder topped with large pieces fresh crab meat.



The salmon was served with a tangy lemon butter sauce with rice and haricots verts.



Since Derek had arrived two days before I did, he had a surprisingly great handle on the best food neighborhood in which to hang  We both did our research!  

My research came heavily from the perspective of Washington Post Food Critic/Writer, Tom Sietsema who suggested Boqueria for a Spanish brunch. 
Derek's was from getting out amongst the people and having a keen eye for what's happening in the city as well as some historic locations like Busboys & Poets.  So we had a pretty diverse experience together and apart.



One evening, we headed over to to Busboys and Poets (the original location at 14th & V), a community hotbed for racial, political and social change.  The space is named for poet Langston Hughes who worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in the 20's prior to his life as a transformative poet.
There are three other locations in the Metro area.

Langston Hughes at Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC - 1925

The community space features an amazing book collection (for purchase), music, art, food/drinks, and a wholly inclusive vibe from patrons of all ages, ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientation, etc.  We sat at the bar and took in the scenes.  


A busy painting hung on the wall above the back bar kept us entertained for quite some time. 
The beautifully, colorful piece by Anna Rose Soevik was eye-catching and all around fun piece!


Langston Hughes by Anna Rose Soevik- Canvas (19x6 Feet on 5 Panels) 

We enjoyed a few libations and I ordered the Tuna Nicoise salad which was bright, fresh, and pretty much on point for a Nicoise salad.  I didn't expect a huge piece of tuna steak, being that I am used to it with sliced and pan-seared tuna. Had I known, I would have requested a warmer temperature on the prep. 



A new friend did rave about the shrimp and grits and another about the fried chicken and collards!  
Sounds like a must try on my next visit to the District!

The next day we decided on Boqueria, a Spanish tapas restaurant, for brunch.  Boqueria boasts a spectacular Unlimited Brunch tapas, drinks, and sweets for only $39 pp with a time limit of 2.5 hours.

 The entire table has to decide to order this way in order to get the deal.  The server brought out dish after dish and pitcher after pitcher of mimosas, white/red/pink Sangrias, and then two desserts. 

It was almost disturbing how many dishes we had in front of us at any given point.  
The highlights for me were some of my favorite Spanish dishes to begin with.

Check out our feast below...

We were stuffed at this point.  I have no idea how I managed to smile without bursting wide open. 


Even with food restrictions at the table, we were all able to enjoy a full meal.


Albondigas:  classic Spanish lamb meatballs bathed in tomato sauce with sheep's milk cheese and cucumber slices which added a layer of beauty, texture, and color and coolness.

Even though the tapas were unlimited, the presentation did not lack.

Large, crisp spears of asparagus over a puddle of hazelnut Romesco sauce. Simple, fresh, and full of flavor.


A beautiful roasted beet salad with orange wedges, frisee, green pistachios, Valdeon blue cheese, and Sherry vinaigrette
Golden and Purple Beets make for a beautiful dish! 

Outside of the lovely beet fries served at GrassFed Boston, I cannot seem to wrap my brain around eating purple beets, as my grandmother's pickled beets on dinner salads continues to haunt me. I'm all about the golden,however. 
#ChildhoodPhobiaNumber 3 
#FirstWorldProblemsNumber 29840753084

And yes, I am using hashtags in blog posts now (smile).  
Your entire life can be described in fun hashtags...trust me.


Huevos Benedictinos
Wooden tray full of delicious accompaniments:  



  • Fresh, warm country bread served with a garlic aioli and olive oil for dipping

  • Olives and Manchego cheese cubes 

  • Majorcan potato (Tortilla Espanola aka Spanish omelette or Tortilla de Patatas made of potato and egg) cut into cubes and served(very different from the traditional wedge cut) and topped with a creamy dollop aioli.

  • Thin shavings of jamon Serrano
The Huevos Benedictinos was beautiful, but I unfortunately could not stomach any more breaded foods by the time it came out.

Griddled and halved English muffins were topped with thin sliced jamon Serrano, a perfectly poached egg, Hollandaise sauce and sprinkled with smoked paprika and chives.


I can hardly call this sauce or include in the title of this dish a Salsa Verde.  It was bland, thin, uninteresting.  Out of season tiny mussels yearned for undeserved recognition.  I had one and decided against giving it much more attention.  With all the bread that ended up on the table, it would have been dreamy to have a sauce worthy of' dipping housemade bread.

Service was attentive and quick.  I highly recommend Boqueria for a hearty meal and creative cocktails.

Of course I had to sample a highly rated ramen shop before leaving DC.  Check out my review of Daikaya which I am adding to my latest ramen article entitled: 



Bar reviews coming soon!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Truro Vineyards+South Hollow Distillery (Twenty Boat Rum): A Beautiful Day Down the Cape

"Down the Cape", "On The Vineyard", "In The Hamptons", "Down the Shore"- these phrases dredge up such nostalgia for me -having grown up in Northern New Jersey and living in Boston for nearly 8 years now!

For the first Spring/Summer trip of the year "down" the Cape, we certainly chose a winner! 

The day started off a bit dreary and gray as we arrived at South Station to await the private van/bus service to take us to Truro, Mass.



Joy Richard prepared a lovely daiquiri using Twenty Boat Spiced Rum in these fun flasks! 


We met up with new and old industry friends as this particular trip was sponsored by USBG Boston (United States Bartender's Guild, Boston Chapter), of which I've been an 'Enthusiast' member for a year- though Troy Clarke (Past Chapter President) and others have been encouraging me to join for several years now.  

I've enjoyed several educational and entertaining booze events before and during my membership with USBG.  This one was quite unique.

My fun plus one!


After the unbearable winter we suffered in Boston this year, literal green pastures is going to be phenomenal to the eye for quite some time.  

Stepping off of the bus, we were greeted by the sun attempting to peak through the stubborn clouds.  
Less than a mile from the coast/beach, salinity was in the air and I anticipated what interesting flavor profiles this would impart to the products we were about to sample.

Jonathan Pogash, The Cocktail Guru, hosted our experience just mere hours after his arrival back to homebase from Ireland!

What a good sport! 
Photo Courtesy of Megan Lambert

We began the tour near the distillery where Jonathan greeted us with a refreshing, effervescent, spiced mojito-style cocktail created in collaboration with Joy Richard, Tyler Wolters, Oriana Conklin, and Shannon Higgins. 

Image from Truro Vineyard+South Hollow Distillery Facebook Page





Nicole Gelinas greeted us and excitedly lead us to the distillery.
The space was cool and clean with wafting aromas one can only describe as earthy, spicy, rustic.

As we prepared to taste the Twenty Boats rum, we received one of the most fascinating rum history lessons I've ever received in Massachusetts.

The property has a nearly 200 year history.  It originated as a farm, was once a bed and breakfast, which was purchased by the Roberts family in 2007 to begin producing a number of varietals.




Once rum began to be distilled at the property, the family decided to honor the bootleggers of Cape Cod, in particular, an elusive group of 10 men who were arrested for 
rum-running in 1930. 

 They were captured and released on bail.  
Shortly thereafter, they fled in their previously confiscated motor boat through the heavily monitored harbor (20 Harbor Police and Coast Guard boats were in pursuit).  
The bootleggers somehow evaded capture.  
They docked in Provincetown Harbor and fled on foot without a trace.

The history of booze, but in particular of rum in New England, is always fascinating!





History of the property 
(per Truro Vineyards website):

Truro Vineyards has been in existence since 1992 but the 

house and the estate date back nearly two centuries.

Built in 1813, the square dignified Federal house was part of a farm from its earliest beginnings. First owned by John and Hannah Hughes, the property was later purchased by Captain Atkins Hughes. It was in turn given to his daughter, Amelia and her husband Michael Rich. Rich became a prosperous farmer selling grain, coal and milk from the estate. His hard work and ambition earned Michael the reputation of being “the busiest man in the village”.

In 1930 famed artist Edward Hopper was inspired by the property and painted “Rich’s House”. He returned a year later to paint “Rich’s Barn”.

During the 1940’s Elton and Margaret Rich were in stewardship of the property. During that time the Richs produced magnificent cantaloupes grown in the estate’s warm, well drained sandy soil. Later, this same soil and site would prove to be a perfect spot for growing grapes. In 1964 the property was sold to Burton and Maxine Rice.

The Chinese Mulberry tree that graces the property to the right of the front door was brought over by a ship’s captain around 1850. It has been carefully preserved and maintained. Our most frequently asked question is not about our wines, but rather: “What kind of tree is that?”


About the Rum:

South Hollow Distillery makes 2 different styles of Twenty Boat rum.  They are using both American organic sugar and molasses in a hybrid copper pot/column still leading to the product being twice distilled.  The sugar cane juice is said be be used to mellow out the flavors. 

Distiller's Notes:

Dave Roberts, Jr., the distiller or Twenty Boat Rum, had been a home beer brewer turned professional for over 8 years- having worked as a brewer for Flying Monkey in Kansas and Sweetwater Brewery in Atlanta, wine and beer have been a part of his DNA through David Roberts, Sr. (former CEO of United Liquors) and exposure for half his life.

Dave states that the new charred whiskey barrels are typically at a 3-4 char level and the rum is then filtered through cartridges at 2.5 microns, then 0.8, then o.4 microns.




The spiced rum (a beautiful creation) is seeped in various spices sourced locally from Atlantic Spice Company, a spice shop just up the road in Truro.   

This was one of the most aromatic, fragrant domestic spiced rums I've ever tasted with beautiful, numerous spice, fruit, and herbal notes on the nose and palate- cardamom, clove, nutmeg, anise, black pepper, pineapple, orange zest, vanilla and more.

It is taken off the still and spice bags used in 250 gallon drums for seeping over three weeks.  Dave tugs on the strings attached to the spice bags daily-as you would a teabag-to impart as much flavor as possible. 
Color is imparted by the spices only. There's no caramel color in this product as is common place with other mainstream/popular spiced rums.  
The spiced rum, unlike its amber counterpart, never sees oak.  It is not aged in a barrel.  
The bottles are hand-filled, labeled and sealed.  A handwritten batch label is carefully placed on each bottle.  The spiced rum is 95 Proof.



We were able to smell the canvas bags of spices used for seeping and creating the spiced rum. 
Here's my friend Keyse of the Crocodile Tears Vintage Pieces and Handmade Jewelry Blog, enjoying the spice bags: 



The amber rum is noticeably milder and mellowed.
  Aged in Truro vineyard toasted chardonnay and charred bourbon barrels (the latest batch sourced from Jim Beam) which are blended together for the final product, it boasts caramel and more nutty, vanilla, white pepper, and mildly woodsy flavors. 
Batch #1  (aged for 12-14 months) is currently on the market, while Batch #2 (aged for 15-18) was being processed/produced as we visited. 
  The amber rum is 84 Proof.

We then ventured over to the tasting/barrel room for a sampling of various wines produced at Truro Vineyard.  A full review may follow.  Here are a few snapshots of the beautiful space.


Photo Courtesy of Megan Lambert




Blackfish's food truck (Crush Pad) prepared delicious bites on site!  They are now open 7 days per week.
We enjoyed spectacularly fresh seafood, meat, and veggie dishes with specially prepared cocktails and wine by the glass. 


Image courtesy of Truro Vineyard Facebook page

Charred Broccolini with General Tso's sauce, cashews and scallion

Beef taco with purple cabbage slaw and chipotle sour cream 
Cold lobster roll on brioche with fried cauliflower 
Grilled Kale salad
On the property, lives a beautiful, young Newfoundland.  I snagged a pic with her (via my friend playing paparazzi) near the outdoor wine/cocktail bar.


Can't ever take my veterinarian hat off. Loved this Newfie!
Before leaving, we split into teams and participated in a scavenger hunt where we had to take a selfie with a squirrel, a bird, a yellow flower, and one with the entire team in downward dog...



Good times with good people.  That's what life is all about!



If you haven't visited Truro Vineyards+South Hollow Distilleries, you must visit very soon!

For the time being, Twenty Boats rum can only be purchased in Massachusetts.



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Collection of the Ramen, Pho, and Other Noodle Soups I've Enjoyed Over My Past 6 Month Obsession


My 6-7 month ramen and other Asian noodle bowls obsession all started in Boston, but I soon thereafter traveled to Paris.  
I always take a trip, typically, an international trip for my birthday, and birthday #35 was no exception.

Here's a my journey:


Paris, France


The first bowl of ramen I experienced was simply a shock to the system because I didn't realize that the person I was staying with lived in the section of the 1st Arrondissiment, which is an Asian-French neighborhood boasting a variety of Asian delights from sweet bakeries to savory ramen and gyoza shops.

We only ventured a few blocks from her apartment to sample my first bowl of ramen in Paris!

The broth was thin, but flavorful, the veg abundant and fresh, with slabs of pork.  
The gyoza at this joint was the real star of the table.






Higuma is one of Paris' Asian chain restaurants and I was much more impressed with their offerings.  I visited the one in the Opera neighborhood at 27 Boulevard des Italiens.

The broth was spicy, the veg bright, crisp, and abundant. It was vibrantly colored and they didn't spare on the seafood- calamari rings, shrimp, even bits of tender pork.  
Service was upfront, somewhat quick, and polite.


Miami, Florida


I must say that I was the very least impressed with the ramen at Momi Miami.  I'd read a few reviews early this year while I was in South Florida visiting family and escaping the bitter Boston winter for a few days.  
I was unable to get there back in January, but knew that it was the first place I wanted to head to after my flight arrived.
My mother and I planned a spa weekend on South Beach and I looked forward to starting it off sharing one of my recent food obsessions.

The Tonkotsu broth was not the slick, creamy broth one would expect from broth may from boiled down pork bones and marrow.  There were no beautiful fat droplets.  I ordered the pork belly ramen and even that was a let down.  I don't think I've ever had dry pork belly.  Where was my fatty layer?  I wanted to demand a do over.  Survey the kitchen for what could have possibly gone awry.  I'd been thinking about Momi for months and being that it was the first thing I sought after landing from Boston, made the disappointed a much harder blow.


My mother order the Peking duck ramen and experienced the same-dry, chewy duck meat!









NYC



Momofuku is a ramen-lover's dream!  Service is supreme and so are all of the dishes we sampled.  You can read my full review, here

Classic Momofuku Ramen


Spicy Miso Ramen



Ginger Scallion Noodle Bowl (Mazeman)


Grandma's Dim Sum (Queens, NYC)

Me and my best friends since childhood come together to eat around NYC every 3-4 months or so.  During our last visit in March, we focused on Asian restaurants around Queens.
We had plenty of great dishes at Grandma's Dim Sum, however, the beef noodle soup was just so-so with good noodles and beef, but the broth was a let down.  
Read my full review, here.




Quincy, MA





I adore this place.  Quick and friendly service and great soup!  My recent favorite is the Pho Bo Kho, a spicy beef stew with large slices of carrot and lemongrass.

Pho Bo Kho


Pho Bo Kho


Pho Chin Nac




I returned from Paris the week of Thanksgiving and was way too tired to join anyone's family for a festive dinner, so decided that hot pot would be a great alternative.







Boston, MA


Totto Ramen has 3 locations around NYC.  I love the Boston location.  Watching the cooks preparing noods and torching pork is quite the treat when sitting at the noodle bar.
Their broth is full of flavor and their is an abundance of toppings from which to choose.

Char Siu Pork Ramen


Paitan Ramen- straight noodles cooked in chicken broth


Spicy Shredded Char Siu Pork Ramen



Allston, MA

Pikaichi

Pikaichi is one of my latest favorite spots to grab a bowl of ramen when I'm craving it the most!
Their Spicy Miso ramen has a luscious, dense consistency and great flavor.  Their noodles are perfectly toothsome. I always add an extra butter cube!


Spicy Miso Ramen


Chinatown, Boston

Shojo

Chef Mark O'Leary is one of my favorite chefs in Boston.  He's talented and down to earth.  His creations can be mind-blowing and his ramen in no exception.
Have you ever had squid ink ramen noodles?  No? He did that!  You can read my review of my last review of dinner at Shojo, here.





Squid Ink Ramen noodles!




Jersey City, NJ


Union Republic is one of the places I go to before leaving NYC or NJ.  

The nose-to-tail ramen with seared, sliced pig's heart, crisped pig's ears, and pork belly is phenomenal!

I could eat the crisped pig's ears every day of my life!

You can read my full reviews here and here.


Nose to Tail Ramen


Spicy Ramen with chorizo, citrus yogurt, shredded daikon radish, and a soft egg

Breakfast Ramen (Mazeman)- Pig's ears and Egg


Breakfast Ramen (Mazeman)- Pig's ears and Egg



Philly

Iron Chef Morimoto's first U.S restaurant still looks very 1999.  It's like walking into a time machine. There are sleek lines on the translucent tables and booths.  The neon lights that change color every so often are confusing and kind of "sleazy Miami night clubish". The phallic wavy carving in the walls made us giggle a bit, but the food!  The food coming out of this kitchen is brilliant.  Full review coming soon.  

Here are ramen shots!



Cambridge, MA


Sapporo Cambridge

In the C Mart food court, Sapporo is slinging some damn good ramen.  Full review coming soon!










Washington, DC

Daikaya

Daikaya serves a great variety of broths from classic Shoyu and Spicy Miso to Mugi-Miso (a barley miso broth) and a 100% Vegan Broth! 

They finish the soy beans and veggies in a wok adding smoky notes that adds to the depth of flavors in the broth.  
I thoroughly enjoyed my bowl and their pork gyoza were hearty and flavorful as well.




Boston, MA (South End)

The Beehive

Not known for their ramen, but rather their live music in their sexy grotto space, Beehive's menu has always boasted multi-cultural dishes.  
I had friends visiting from out of town (Atlanta) and my college friend, Cynae Tarver and I both ordered the dish.  Her colleague, Montez ordered a largely portioned classic roasted chicken dish.



Mazeman style (the noodles were not covered in broth, just barely bathed in it), their noodles were perfectly toothsome with bouncy give.  It was topped with a more than generous amount of pulled pork, beautiful watermelon radish, pickled onion, and greens.  
The buttery sauce and broth was so rich and delicious, Cynae absolutely needed more.  Initially, we were told it was impossible, but then came an angel from the kitchen informing us there had been a terrible mistake, we could have extra broth after all!

To quote a Facebook post made by Sapporo Ramen in Cambridge: 

"Ramen is nature's way of making up for Mondays."