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    Recipe of the Month: BBQ Shrimp

    05/31/2013

    1.5 lb U-10 Shrimp

    Spice Rub:
    1 Tsp Paprika
    2 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp oregano
    1/8 tsp cayenne powder
    1 Tsp canola Oil

    For the dip:
    1.5 Cup mayo
    1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
    Zest of an orange, juice of half an orange
    Salt & Pepper

    Put shrimp in a large mixing bowl, toss with oil and spice rub, salt & pepper to taste. Place shrimp on skewers, grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve immediately, with the mayo dip.

    (The shrimp will take on the flavor better if you have time to marinate them over night. Simply mix the oil and spice rub, leave out the salt and pepper and let the shrimp marinate before grilling.)

    A Chef’s Passion: Beyond the Kitchen

    04/25/2013

    Art has been one of the greatest passions in my life, yet people always seem pleasantly surprised when they hear that I painted all the artwork in the restaurant.  In reality, the chef community is full of creative minds and artistic talents. After all, each plate is our craft and cooking is a complex art form that engages all the senses. From Day 1, the concept of a gallery was built into 51 Lincoln and I continue to shape our restaurant to be an intimate and exciting place where food and art harmoniously coexist. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when the editor of Edible Boston magazine approached me in early spring for an article featuring chefs who practice art. The piece, written and shot by Brian Samuels, also profiled two other Boston chefs that I deeply respect: Dave Becker from Sweet Basil and Erwin Ramos from Olé. Immediately, the idea of a food and art event started to form in my head. We hit the ground running with Ilene Bezahler, editor and publisher of Edible Boston, and Dave and Erwin were more than glad to join.

    We opened the door to a packed house on Monday, April 22nd. Glasses were raised, hors d’oeuvres were passed around, and lots of art was purchased. It was truly an unforgettable evening celebrating food and art and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the turnout. As planned, a portion of the sales will be donated to Massachusetts College of Art and Design‘s scholarship fund to support art students in need.

    Dave, me and Erwin

    Dave, me and Erwin

    Chef Dave Becker's pottery

    Chef Dave Becker’s pottery

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    Our collegues from our sister restaurant Waban Kitchen

    Our collegues from our sister restaurant Waban Kitchen

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    The lovely Emily Day (right), Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Fund at MassArt.

    The lovely Emily Day (right), Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Fund at MassArt.

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    A packed house of foodies and art enthusiasts.

    A packed house of foodies and art enthusiasts.

    IMG_5374

    A million thanks to Edible Boston, the chefs at Sweet Basil and Olé, and MassArt for making this event a blasting success. But mostly importantly, I want to thank everyone who joined us on Monday to support our cause. There surely will be lots of happy MassArt students who will benefit from your purchase and generous donation.

    Spicing Up the Spring

    03/23/2013

    Just when we thought we were finally bidding adieu winter, Mother Nature surprised us with the snowiest February and March in history. My street is still covered by a thick masse of slush but the calendar says that it’s now spring, so I’m trusting that we’ll be graced with some sunny days and warm weather in the near future. Last week we transplanted this year’s crop of seedlings to larger plug flats, and watching them thrive in our grow room is getting me excited about our rooftop garden. We’ve already planted a wide variety of tomatoes and peppers and all of them will find their way onto our menu this summer.

    Pepper-300x225

    There are foods you love, foods you hate and foods that fall somewhere in between. Spicy food seems to generate more polarized reactions than most foods, but it is true that more and more Americans are falling in love with hot peppers and their complex and enticing flavors. In fact, according to a University of Pennsylvania research project, chili is now the second-most-craved flavor in our country after chocolate.

    Most of the chefs that I know love hot and spicy peppers, not only because of the excellent color, texture and flavor they can add to a dish, but also the fiery sensation that keeps you going back for more. Sometimes, the heat kicks right in and wakes up all of your taste buds, and other times the spicy punch is subtle and slowly creeps down your throat. Some varieties of pepper bring a numbing, tingling feeling, while others are smoky and sweet.

    To a certain extent, a pepper’s heat is subjective. But the definitive way to measure spiciness is the “Scoville Scale” which was developed by Wilbur Scoville, an American chemist, in 1912. At the restaurant, we often use it to give the staff a better idea of how spicy a particular pepper is. The Scoville Scale was designed to measure capsaicin, the organic compound that causes the burning sensation when it touches your taste buds (or other parts of your skin). In the original test, sugar was used to dilute the heat of a given pepper: the more sugar it takes to neutralize the heat, the hotter the pepper is. This test was flawed in its subjectivity, as it relied largely on human tasters, so it has been replaced by a new process called High Performance Liquid Chromatography. The new method is much more accurate as it reads the chemical fingerprint of capsaicin in a pepper and measures exactly how much capsaicin in parts per million.  As shown in the chart below, sweet bell peppers bear almost no detectable heat, while ghost chili tops the list with more than 1,000,000 Scoville units.

    Scoville-Scale-209x300

    From a culinary standpoint, the Scoville Scale can be very useful to compare the relative heat of different peppers. While certain breeds of hot peppers are rated within a certain range, however, the heat level and flavor can vary depending on numerous factors, such as how and where the peppers are grown. For example, ripened red poblano is much spicier than the less ripe, green poblano. Ancho, which is a dried poblano pepper, has a rich, sweet, almost raisin-like flavor and is often very mild.

    Personally, I love the flavor of habanero peppers and the heat they add to sauces, chilis, and stews. We’ll be growing them on our roof this summer along with red bell peppers, jalapenos, and Hungarian wax peppers. The peppers that we grew on the roof last year were among the most flavorful that I’ve ever had and I loved sharing them with our guests because many of them had never tasted the pure flavors that a fresh, garden-picked pepper can have. I’m looking forward to sharing more updates about our garden with you. Before you know it, we’ll all reap the bountiful crops this summer.

     

    “Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies.” – John Q. Tullius

    02/20/2013

    cupcake-300x225

    Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting
    Yields 2 dozen

    1 pound + 2 oz                   Sugar
    12oz                                       AP Flour
    4oz                                         Cocoa Powder
    ¼oz                                        Baking Powder
    ¼oz                                        Salt
    9 fl oz                                    Milk
    12oz                                       Eggs
    3oz                                         Corn Syrup
    ½fl oz                                    Vanilla Extract
    12oz                                       Softened butter

    1.)    Combine and sift together all dry ingredients.
    2.)    Combine all wet ingredients.
    3.)    In mixer, mix butter with dry ingredients and ½ the wet ingredients until smooth
    4.)    Finish by adding the remaining wet ingredients slowly
    5.)    Bake at 350 degree for 20 – 24 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.

    Frosting
    1 pound                               Butter (room temperature)
    1 pound                               Cream Cheese (room temperature)
    1 pound                               Confectioners’ Sugar
    ½ fl oz                                   Vanilla Extract

    1.)    Using a hand mixer, mix butter and cream cheese until well incorporated.
    2.)    Slowly add sugar in 3 stages
    3.)    Finish with Vanilla extract

    In Season: Winter Citrus

    01/23/2013

    orange-287x300 I ate a perfect clementine the other day. It was sweet, zingy, juicy, yet so…unexpected. The incredibly aromatic scent lingered on my hands, and biting into the velvety flesh simply tasted like warm winter sun. Living in the Northeast and trying to eat as seasonal as possible is not easy, and let’s be serious – we are all a little sick of kale by this time of the year. So in the dead of the winter, the vibrant color and fresh acidity of that clementine was exactly what I needed to beat the winter blues.

    I ate a perfect clementine the other day. It was sweet, zingy, juicy, yet so…unexpected. The incredibly aromatic scent lingered on my hands, and biting into the velvety flesh simply tasted like warm winter sun. Living in the Northeast and trying to eat as seasonal as possible is not easy, and let’s be serious – we are all a little sick of kale by this time of the year. So in the dead of the winter, the vibrant color and fresh acidity of that clementine was exactly what I needed to beat the winter blues.

    While the colder months call for earthy flavors and hearty dishes, citrus can brighten up a dull winter diet and give the vitamin c that our body desperately needs. January offers a dazzling array of citrus variety and I like to be well stocked on all different kinds in my kitchen. Aside from roasted grapefruit, blood orange cakes, lemon tarts and other sweets that you are already familiar with, winter citrus always makes its way into my savory dishes. Salads are a no brainer – slice and mix whatever fruit you have on hand, be it navel oranges, tangerines, or grapefruit and dress it in a simple honey vinaigrette with mint and you’ve got a fabulous appetizer. Blood oranges are a favorite at 51 Lincoln – many of you know how much the little ones love our homemade blood orange soda – and we love adding them into salad dressing and salsa. (see recipe) Oranges are fantastic in a marinade for poultry or fish, using both the juice and zest. Citrus rind in general can be candied and make a great snack. Last but not least, if you like making lemon risotto, try swapping regular lemons with meyer lemons or clementine.

    There are many other citrus types that are less common, such as yuzu, kuanquats or mandalo, but I encourage you to seek them out. A few weeks back, Chef de Cuisine Fernanda made a special risotto with asparagus and Buddha’s hand. Originating in Northeast India, the palm-sized fruit looks like an octopus with yellow tentacles, but the zest is extremely fragrant and not a bit bitter, so don’t shy away from it if you local market carries Budda’s Hand.

    Winter Citrus Dressing

    Zest of:
    1 blood orange
    1 Clementine
    1 grapefruit
    1 lemon

    juice of
    1/2 blood orange
    1 Clementine
    1/4 grapefruit
    1/2 lemon
    3 Tbs Honey
    3/4 cup Canola Oil
    1/2 tsp salt

    Put all the ingredients except for the oil into the blender. Turn the blender on and slowly incorporate in the oil to emulsify the dressing.

    Summer Corn

    08/23/2012

    When it comes to fresh local produce, tomatoes receive most of the attention towards the end of summers in New England. Obviously, I love tomatoes and they have contributed to most of my strongest food memories, but I feel that sometimes fresh corn can be overshadowed. To me, corn is the epitome of the summer. On a steamy August night, there’s nothing better than biting into a corn-on-the-cob—grilled, boiled or even raw—the kernels so crunchy, juicy and naturally sweet that even butter is unnecessary. When I was a child, we ate corn all summer long and my mom would make me shuck all of the extra ears to freeze so that we could make creamy corn chowder in the winter. There is something nostalgic, old-fashioned and inherently American about corn; backyard barbeques, long, hot summer days and the joy of making simple, delicious food.

    Because corn is such a beautiful ingredient that we all have ties to, it makes me sad to think about the ways in which it is used within the framework of modern agriculture. In recent food history, corn has become the world’s most widely grown crop; particularly in North America, government subsidies have turned the grain into a storable and readily-available commodity. Corn-derived ingredients can be found on the labels of 25% of all products in our supermarket. I’m not just talking about breakfast cereals, sodas and snacks, but also cosmetics, household cleaners and other home goods. Most of the corn produced in the U.S. is genetically-bred field corn, which is hard and inedible, yet it makes its way into our diet—often in “invisible” forms—nonetheless: soft drinks full of high-fructose syrup or a cheeseburger made with corn-fed cow beef. Over-production of single breeds of corn has also resulted in an overall decline in genetic diversity. Recently, images of this beautiful glass gem corn, from a small family seed company, made waves on the internet because most consumers simply didn’t know that corn has thousands of varieties just like tomatoes, apples and peaches.

    Of the 12 billion bushels of corn produced in U.S. annually, less than 1% of that is actually consumed. Everything that’s wrong with our industrial agricultural system manifests itself in the production of corn. It’s so unfortunate because corn is a grain that tastes so good naturally and requires little to no preparation. Additionally, corn is packed with vitamins, folic acid and fiber. Through the genetic modification of corn, we are breeding out many of these positive attributes and have created a crop that is taking up valuable farm land and using up many of our natural resources. So this summer, I plan to use the sweet, local corn as much as possible at home and at 51 Lincoln—roasting it to bring out the natural sweetness for our Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad or adding curry in a traditional creamed corn to serve alongside seared catfish. It is truly the best time to celebrate and savor the abundance of fresh corn, so pick up plenty at your local market or join us at 51 Lincoln and let’s all take advantage of the season and enjoy the bounty while it lasts.

    The Promise of a New Season

    05/25/2012

    promise1Especially here in New England, the spring and summer seasons remind us of new beginnings. That is especially true at 51 Lincoln this year, epitomized by our rooftop garden whose bounty we will be sharing with you all summer long. As many of you know, last year was our first crack at growing our own herbs and vegetables and, this year, we are going even further.

    Our planting season started back in March, when we converted an old storage closet into a growing room. We got our seedlings started in a controlled environment to give them a head-start before making the move to our rooftop. I can’t tell you how excited we are to report that our efforts have already begun to pay off! Just yesterday, our sous chef, Fernanda, picked our very first little radish. Shortly thereafter, we discovered our first tomatoes and English peas. Our summer harvest is upon us and we cannot wait to utilize these ingredients on the menu.

    When I was young, I spent many summer days at my grandparents’ house in Salisbury and there was no better snack than a cucumber or tomato cut from their garden, sliced up and lightly salted. It was during those summer days that some of my strongest food memories were created and that is the experience that I’m eager to share with all of you this summer. The dishes that we’ll be featuring on our menu will be extra special because they’ll be based upon ingredients that we’ve devoted so much time to care for and cultivate and they will truly fulfill the promise of the new season.

    Happy Birthday Umami 102 Years!

    11/16/2010

    Kelp_picture_Umamiblog3This year marks the 102nd anniversary of a major culinary discovery. I’d say it was an invention but I’m afraid Mother-nature gets the credit for that one.

    One hundred and two years ago, Japanese scientists isolated and identified a distinctive “fifth flavor”— a compound found in many foods including mushrooms, shellfish, dairy, ripe tomatoes and soy sauce. A compound we now call umami. Dr. Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University (now the University of Tokyo) had observed that this strong, pungent flavor in Ocean Kelp soup was difficult to classify. People could describe it, but they could not identify it as easily as they could something “salty” or “sweet.”  In 1908, Ikeda set out to prove the existence of this flavor, which he believed was distinctly different from the established categories of sweet, salty, bitter, or sour. Ikeda’s research on Ocean Kelp (a traditional soup ingredient in many coastal towns around Japan) led to the discovery of the elusive umami.  Kikunae Ikeda was the first to call the flavor umami (旨味?), meaning “good flavor,” or “good taste.” Other translations indicate the word also suggests qualities like “brothy” or  “meaty. ”

    Ikeda’s fascination with umami led to the discovery of a form of glutamate, and specifically, monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is a modern day chemical reproduction of naturally occurring amino acids and glutamates.  During the early 1900’s, the Ajinomoto Company in Japan began commercial distribution of MSG products. Eventually, some of these man-made flavorings found their way into various cuisines (Chinese take-out, for instance) as synthetic flavor additives. Sadly, most people only know this chemically synthesized version of one of nature’s greatest culinary contributions. Other commercial examples include canned gravy, liquid melted cheese topping, and the chips sold in large bags sporting names like “Cool Ranch” and “Extreme Cheese” that usually accompany Monday night football.  Part of how we “taste” umami is by detecting the carboxylate anion of glutamic acid. This is a naturally occurring amino acid common in meat, particularly in bacon and cured meats (something chefs worldwide will tell you is a must in many dishes, yours truly included). Umami is also a common flavor in cheese, broth, stock, and other protein-heavy foods.

    Many cultures have incorporated umami-rich ingredients into their cuisine for the same reason modern chefs use it in their food—it adds a savory, lasting, satiating component to a dish.  In most western cuisines, the rendering of animal fats like bacon, pancetta, and chorizo as a base is common practice. Building a dish with umami as a base allows the cook to create layers of flavor in a dish, adding salt and sweetness, and ending with the addition of texture and color. The addition of umami-rich ingredients can also happen at the end of the dish, by using cheese as a finishing ingredient (think pasta, risotto, gratin-like dishes where cheese is melted over soups, breads and protein). I’ll discuss this in more depth later.  Umami is not restricted solely to protein-heavy foods. The use of certain vegetables in a dish is another example of umami in daily cooking (such as mushrooms and tomatoes), in a basic tomato sauce, or even showcasing vegetables as the main ingredient contributing the umami element to the dish (such as ratatouille). The discovery of umami, after all, originated from a type of seaweed, and not animal protein.  Below is a chart illustrating some components that multiply the umami flavor effect in various cuisines:

    Multiplier_umamichart_umamiblog1

    As I mentioned, most cheeses tend to have umami flavors. Cheese contains particular enzymes that bond to the umami receptors in the stomach and tongue. Aged cheeses like Parmiagiano-Regginano and Peccorino Romano show higher levels of umami due in part to the concentration of enzymes which ageing imparts to the cheese. These types of cheeses also have higher, more detectable concentration levels of certain pyrazines.  For this reason, the common practice of grating cheese over our favorite tomato sauce has a chemical significance; adding cheese to the already umami rich tomato sauce enhances its effects in the dish. Again, this is something chefs have been doing for a very long time and take for granted, or do simply because without the cheese  a particular dish is “missing” something elusive: that fifth flavor.

    Another way of incorporating umami into a dish is by wrapping certain proteins in other proteins, particularly in those naturally higher in umami (picture scallops wrapped in bacon). Again, this is way for chefs (and home cooks) to multiply the effects of umami in a dish.  Recent studies have shown that bacon in particular has a unique composition of amino acids, which increase the umami count and are actually addictive to the brain. Bacon has a high level of naturally occurring glutamate (mg/100g) :337 Umami units), compared to, say, dried shitake mushrooms (mg/100g) :150 Umami units) or beef (mg/100g) :107 Umami units).  Of course, in any dish, the key is to achieve balance and integration. While umami alone is no culinary panacea, it can be that magic touch that brings out the best in other flavors.

    Bacon_photo_umamiblog-1

    Independence

    10/20/2010

    While running an independent restaurant is no easy task, it’s also an exciting and rewarding endeavor in a number of ways…


    I like to look at the work we do at 51 Lincoln as more of building an institution versus simply trying to build and run a business. Having a more global view and less of a short term financial quarter –to- financial quarter approach allows for greater flexibility. This long plan enables us to build the kind of restaurant which I hope will be around for years to come. I take pride in being an integral part of the local economy. Being more than a store front or retail outlet for a large corporation wanting to open a store in a particular zip code sets us apart from the rest. 51 Lincoln supports local farms, such as Allandale Farm in Brookline, by purchasing the crops they produce. In turn, family-owned businesses such as Wasik’s cheese shop in Wellesley, are able to support their independent businesses by supplying 51 Lincoln with premium artisanal cheeses for our nightly cheese plate.

    Sourcing locally provides us with the freshest ingredients, often plucked from the ground that very morning, making a difference in our food. We believe the less distance an ingredient has to travel from its source, well, the better it will often taste. This allows us to make fresh, better-tasting dishes; food we can feel proud of serving. It allows me to invest in our people, to build employee loyalty, to build a positive equity with everyone at the restaurant, in an industry known for high turnover this is no easy task but one I’m committed to achieving.

    When the restaurant performs well it allows us to thrive, to keep re-investing in both our community and our business. Our continued success also helps our partners and community through taxes, our charitable donations, and our work with local non-profit organizations. In essence, being independent and local benefits us all.

    The one challenge to being local in New England is, well, the weather and the seasonality of produce.

    When I worked on the West Coast, I learned a great deal about what true quality and selection of ingredients can mean to a chef. States like California are blessed with fertile soils, mild climate, and a bounty of produce and proteins. High quality, local ingredients are available year-round, making it a chef’s paradise in many ways. I also learned about the differences in cooking at a larger corporate-owned restaurant versus cooking the way we do at 51 Lincoln. As I’ve pointed out in previous blogs, good food takes time. I don’t know of many great “thirty minute meals” that a chef would consider worthy of serving to their guests. (For more on this see my previous blog entry titled “Time”).

    Good food is often cooked to order—not reheated, not defrosted—but truly cooked when a guest orders it. Cooking this way is only possible if both the ingredients and staff are of the highest quality and caliber. Take for instance the dish featured in this blog…

    I was fortunate enough to work with some amazing chefs early on in my career. Along with picking up technique and recipes over the years, I also learned that there are no short-cuts in the kitchen, not if you want to make a truly amazing dish. In the case of risottos, each chef seems to have their own version or variation of this classic Italian dish. Risotto originated in northern Italy, more specifically the eastern part of Piedmont where local recipes will vary from using Barolo wines to the more traditional Milanese-style, where bone marrow and beef stock are often used as flavoring ingredients.

    A crucial element of this dish is getting the rice cooked just right or, al dente in culinary speak. You must be careful not to over-soak the rice in liquid, rendering it soggy. You must also avoid over–cooking it and making the rice gummy. And, obviously, make sure it’s not under-cooked!  A good risotto requires patience and attention, the use of all of your senses, and again, making the dish to order rather than reheating or defrosting day old rice. We feature some variation of a risotto on our daily menu, below is a recipe for one particular version which our guests seem to really enjoy, so by popular demand we decided to share the recipe with all of you. Enjoy!

    Pumpkin Risotto

    Ingredients:

    • 1# Arborio rice
    • 1 small sugar pumpkin
    • 1 Spanish onion
    • blended oil, as needed
    • salt
    • 1 cup white wine
    • 1/4 # grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 # butter

    Method:
    Pumpkin Puree

    1. Peel sugar pumpkin, remove seeds, and dice into 1 inch pieces.
    2. Small dice onion
    3. Pre heat med. large sauce pot to med low and add enough blended oil to coat the bottom of the pot, add sugar pumpkin and 1/2 of the diced onion and a large pinch of salt., stirring every minute, until sugar pumpkin is tender. Remove sugar pumpkin and allow to cool at room temp for 10 min.
    4. Puree cooked sugar pumpkin in a food processor until smooth. Reserve sugar pumpkin puree.

    Risotto

    1. Preheat rondeaux to med low.
    2. Add enough blended oil to coat the bottom of the rondeaux & add the other half of the diced onion.
    3. Sweat onion with a pinch of salt until translucent & add the Arborio rice and season with a pinch of salt..
    4. Stir the rice frequently on med low heat until rice is toasted but has no color. TIP, if you put your ear to the cooking rice and it sounds like a bowl of freshly poured Rice Crispy’s the rice is done toasting.
    5. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of wine and add 1 cup of water every time the rice absorbs the liquid. Keep adding water and stirring the risotto until the rice is al dente, meaning the rice is firm in the center but not hard.
    6. Add 1.5 – 2 cups of the sugar pumpkin puree to the rice and cook until the rice and puree combine.
    7. Finish by adding grated Parmesan and butter, off of the heat and check for proper seasoning
    8. Plate the risotto and garnish with fried sage and freshly shaved Parmesan

    FALL

    10/07/2010

    We are now officially in that time of year…the time when one leaves the house wearing something short-sleeved, only to inevitably bring along or throw on a longer sleeved piece of clothing to wear later that evening. Fall brings hues of red, crisp fall air, back to school time, but perhaps the one aspect which excites me the most about fall is the change in food and wine.

    Hard to think that only weeks ago we were blessed with heirloom tomatoes, corn, a bounty of summer crops filling our farmers markets, grocery stores and yours’ truly walk- in. Proteins were also fresh and plentiful this past summer and we couldn’t pass on the opportunity to share our inspiration and creativity with our guests. Take our 51 Lincoln Raw August for example.

    This month- long event is devoted to celebrating the virtues of raw dishes. There is something about proteins in their natural state which is both feral and inspiring to a chef.

    Ceviches, tartars and the likes fed our guests during the hot, humid end of the summer. We fed them well and our dishes allowed us to introduce them to some fantastic wine-pairings.

    We paired our scallop ceviche with a crisp Verdejo from our by the glass list. This Spanish varietal is mostly found in the Rueda region of Spain. Often times Rueda whites are a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Viura and of course Verdejo.

    These wines can vary from aromatic and crisp to medium bodied and slightly creamy in texture, however the higher acid component across the board in them makes for a great food pairing wine. Our particular wine had hints of lemon and citrus on the nose, great minerality and a sharp, crisp acid finish which made it an excellent food wine and a match made in heaven for both, raw seafood dishes and our beloved bi-valves on the half shell.

    Another example of a wonderful Raw August pairing was our truffle-infused steak tartar dish. We used Wolfe’s Neck farm hormone and antibiotic free sirloin as the base for our tartar. This carnivore’s delight was paired with a bottle of Freemark Abbey single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from our cellar. Like most well-made Cabernet Sauvignons this particular bottle had only gotten better with age. Smooth, rounded tannins gave way to layers of fruit and a long lasting finish.

    As a chef living in this part of the country using seasonal ingredients is both a challenge and a privilege.  In our case we are committed to using local farms for our vegetables. We try to use sustainable seafood whenever possible. We also take pride in then notion that we can do well by doing good. This past summer we participated in the Massachusetts Farmer’s Market Strawberry dessert festival. This city-wide event took place from June 11th through July 4th2010. Participating restaurants donated part of the proceeds from dessert sales featuring local strawberries to the Massachusetts Farmers Market association. The proliferation of local farmer’s markets around the city is a wonderful thing, there is nothing quite like going out and foraging for one’s dinner, even if it is in the middle of a parking lot or city square. We featured strawberry shortcakes, tarts and myriad of strawberry-centric desserts. We look forward to the success of this organization and the eventual creation of a permanent, local farmers market in our city.

    Going forward we have a lot to be excited about!

    Jim Buckle farmer at Allendale farm has expanded the root cellar there so that we will be able to have great fall vegetables for a longer time.  Sugar pumpkins are really great right now!

    This week will be the second week of wine flights at the bar. Last weeks’ Pinot Noir wine flight was a great success for us.

    We filled our entire bar area and the chefs created a wonderful three component plate of duck liver pate, Great Hill blue cheese, and our house-made bresaola to pair with the selected Pinot Noirs.

    This week we are doing a Chardonnay flight. This week’s flight will cover three continents and three different expressions for this varietal. We will be featuring a Macon Chardonnay from Burgundy (France), a Central Coast Chardonnay (CA, USA) and a Chilean cooler climate Chardonnay (Casablanca, Chile)

    Thursday is of course our 51 cent wing night at the bar and going into next week it’s back to bi-valve Monday and Tuesdays with dollar oysters at the bar.

    We added a number of amazing wine selections over the last couple of weeks; they are currently on our list and ready to drink.  Until next time eat great food at independent restaurants.

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