Sunday, September 26, 2010

Heaven on Earth

I have been so spoiled these past couople of weekends with my extravagant foodie adventures. Yesterday, the Phantom Gourmet Food Festival will be added to my list of annual highlights....the list is going to be pretty epic....
Before I get you all worked up on how amazing this feast was, let me first tell you how nervous I was going into the whole thing. See, I was worried that the tickets (40 dollars-not my most frugal expenditure), would end up not being worth the return.  I was mainly worried about the crowds, especially seeing as the event was sold out. Now when a food event is sold out, it does not simply mean that every seat will be means that the space (however big it is) will be packed with 1000s of other hunger-ravaged, food-crazed 'phans' like myself. So you can understand where my fear was coming from.

I was also worried that I wouldn't get my forty dollars worth of food. But this was secondary, because I went in with the thought that it was the experience I was paying for, not so much the food.
As it turned out, the festival was so great that neither of things really bothered me and my first words upon entering the gates, were 'just being here is worth forty dollars'. So if that doesn't prove the success of this thing, I don't know what does.
My friends and I managed to find an alternate lineup by Ipswich street where we headed the entry. Apparently the main entrance had hundreds of people by 11 30...Our spot let us in fifteen minutes early and we didn't even have to deal with lines until about two hours later, but by then we had done most of our damage.
The entire street of Ipswich and Landsdowne were lined with 90 of the PG's favorite spots, there were amazing ribs, pulled pork sanwiches, flatbread pizzas, chowders, name it and it was there in its best light.
Among my favorites were the fried pickles from Ronny's Place, the peanutbutter, banana and bacon burger from Boston Burger Company and this incredible pumpkin risotto (above).  My friends really loved the special cannoli bombs from Wholly Cannoli, these amazing ribs and the chicken stew of The Chicken Connection. I actually enjoyed the fact that there was more than just desserts, indeed, the sweet things took a back seat for this event, something that every good person should do once in a while.
I have to say though, the highlight of the day was the Upper Crust eating contest held in the House of Blues. I saw Joey Chestnut(in the middle in black), the world's best eater (what a title) demolish 37 slices in 10 minutes...setting a world record!
It was a say the very least.
So, all in all, I think I can safely say that the event was worth the splurge and that I will be on the lookout for next year's festival, one which I hope more of you can make it out to!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Phantom Gourmet Food Festival...

I am going to keep this post short and sweet as Boston seems to be the most happening place these days when it comes to incredible food festivals. We just got over the shock of the NE Dessert Showcase and already we have another amazing opportunity to sample a huge variety of famously delicious food....this time courtesy of the Phantom Gourmet.
On Saturday, Sept. 25th from noon to 5 pm at the landsdowne in Fenway, the Phantom Gourmet (or his PR at least) will be hosting one of the year's most extensive food festivals. 80 of PG's favorite restaurants will be present at this event, there will be indoor and outdoor booths, music, drinks...a foodie's paradise.
Of course this kind of entertainment doesn't come without a price. Tickets are 40 dollars, which, assuming it is not a madhouse of hunger stricken vultures, is actually a decent price.
Tickets and all other info can be found at
I know it's not frugal...but I am thinking it might just be worth the splurge....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

On cloud number nine...

Here's to New England, a proud group of states and cities with much to brag about when it comes to desserts. In case you are wondering where I draw this conclusion from, allow me to refresh your memory...yesterday, the 18th of September, was the day all dessert names, big and small, joined forces and allowed for the New England Dessert Showcase.  Hosted by Anthem at the Westin Copley Place, this event had been on my radar for about a month, and it did not disappoint one bit.
From the moment I entered dessert heaven-actually, from the moment I entered the floor on which it was being held- I knew I was about to experience one of the best food events I had yet experienced. My first step inside the conference room made this thought reality as I found myself staring right at the world's largest Boston Cream Pie. (Pictured above) The pie was the center piece and surrounding it were more dessert booths than I knew existed. My friend and I just walked around in awe the first time, trying to take in all the sights, smells and displays to their very last detail.  We were lucky, we got there right when it opened and were thus able to really savour every moment, indeed, I was in such a state of joy, that I thought might faint...I didn't...but I sweat I might have!
The event was true to its word, and presented a wide array of dessert aficionados, from big names such as Finale and The Melting Pot, to smaller, delivery-only companies like Cupcakory and Whirl-Ease-Tea. Most displays were very well decorated with beautifully arranged trays of cupcakes, cookies, truffles, name it...the dessert showcase had it!
Among my favorite was a french-indian fusion dessert from Mantra, it was a mango custard-flambée with a fried doughnut drenched in hot amazing three layered mousse concoction from the Top of the Hub...Finale's blueberry cheesecake and of course...Kickass Cupcakes!
There were very interesting appearances as well like the ultra-healthy Budibars and the Whirl-Ease-Tea sticks which would dissolve in the hot water and create a delicious pot of organic tea.
All in all, although my heart was fluttering perhaps a little too quickly by the end of my time at the showcase, I don't think I have ever been more in my element.  I was proud to be the frugal foodista, walking around among all the other (perhaps slightly more popular) bloggers and media representatives.  All the same, I think I made my mark...even if it was perhaps more in the means of a dent in that Boston Cream Pie!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A stomach full of opportunities....

Fellow foodies! Another weekend awaits and with it comes many opportunities....
As you all know, Saturday will be the day to reserve for the NE Dessert Showcase happening at Westin Copley Place from 12 -5..and you know I will have something to say about this when I am through with it! (You can still buy tickets online at, or at the door of the event.)
After your crazy Saturday night you may be in the mood to kick back, watch the football game and be surrounded by cheap, easy to reach and easy to eat pub grub...if this is the case you should head down to the Baseball Tavern at 1270 Boylston from 10-2 pm on Sunday morning. They will be offering great views of the football game, 1dollar hot dogs, 25 cent wings and 4 dollar Bloody Marys. It probably isn't what I will be doing on Sunday morning, but I can definately see the appeal!
Or maybe you are reading this and thinking...enough with the food extravaganzas! I just want a quiet weekend with maybe a modest little food related outing...Well, lucky for you, there happen to be about four new places on my radar. Checking one of these places out can lead to very rewarding results, especially if you end up enjoying the place so much that you can see yourself becoming 'a regular'.
If you are in the mood for a good burger, try out Tasty Burger, 1301 Boylston in Fenway (I recently did a segment on this new spot).
Or you could go to my favorite culinary spot, Davis Square and try out their new beer tavern/brasserie, Foundry-on-Elm.  Here you will be welcomed by 32 different beers on tap and a wide ranging menu capable of satisfying the most ecclectic of parties.
If you are in the mood for something completely different from American fare, why not try out some Italian at Vapiano's by Boston City Plaza?
Or maybe some Mexican at Zocalo near Back Bay station?
I could keep going....but I won't because I know that sometimes too many options are just as bad as none at all.
I trust that you will do with your weekend what you feel is best, hopefully that involves some kind of culinary adventure...but then again, not everything has to revolve around food...right??

Monday, September 13, 2010

Save the date! New England Dessert Showcase

A great event is drawing nearer and nearer with every day this week.  As we inch towards the weekend (it's only Monday...I know!), we are simultaneously inching towards an amazing event showcasing desserts from prominent dessert makers all over New England.
This event will be making its second appearance and as an inner-city bostonian, I am very happy to hear that it will be being held at Westin Copley Place; very close to me...and very easy to get to for others!
So let's get down to logistics, the event will be on this coming Saturday the 18th running from noon to five. Tickets are 35 dollars, but don't get too huffy about the price, because there will be enough exquisite desserts, chocolates, ice cream, dessert wine (!!!) and more to fill your stomach, tantalize your pallet and easily justify the ticket price. Although the event is open to the public from noon to five, the festivities begin on Friday with an opening night party at the Greatest bar near North Station. Only VIP ticket holders are guaranteed a place and in case you are in the mood to really experience dessert paradise, these are tickets are available (online only), for 40-55 dollars. If you hurry you can secure a spot for you and whoever you are going with: General admission tickets will be available at the door, this just depends on whether you are willing to leave such an amazing opportunity up to chance....the risk is up to you! In case you still need convincing, Finale will be there, as will cakeology, Treat cupcake bar, the Chilly Chow and so on and so forth!
Basically, everyone who is anyone in the dessert world will be present...I consider myself a somebody in the dessert world...even if I am always see, on the receiving end...either way, I will be there...will you?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekend events galore!

I always worry when Thursday roles around and I haven't heard of any local festivities...luckily, more often than not, by the time Friday hits, I usually have one or two neat little tid-bites to pass on to you!
This weekend, there a couple really neat and frugal sounding events, which really can't be beat!
First, and I apologize for the short notice, but tonight, from 6-9 in Union Square, Somerville there will be another great indian festival. Celebrating Indian culture, there will be a plethora of beautifully colored punjabis and get indian food! As usual with Indian festivities, music, art work and dancing will take center stage so entertainment will not be found wanting.  The party will continue throughout the night at the Independent where Indian style cocktails will be featured! I really hope you can make it out at some point tonight!
Second we have another interesting event taking place in Dorchester at Tavolo, their famous Italian restaurant. Luckily, this will be on Sunday, so you have time to get your head and schedule around it. Tavolo will actually be celebrating their second birthday, which is a pretty big deal for a new restaurant on the block. The terrible two comes in more than years on Sunday, you can get two dollar bellinis and take advantage of a two dollar bar menu from 5-7. Seeing as it is a Sunday, this time slot might just work out for you!
As if these two festivities weren't enough, I thought I would tack on a Monday celebration...these are a little more rare. In Brookline, at MJ Ready International Bistro, you can enter the pie contest of the year. For five dollars, you are qualified to eat all the banana, raspberry, strawberry, apple and any other fruit you can think of going into a pie, as you want. It's from 6-10, so you will have no trouble pacing yourself to get your money's worth...or your stomach's worth, which ever is greater! And what better way to welcome the start of automne than a pie party!?
I think between the three of these events, you will find something to satisfy your stomach, or your frugality. I sure will!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Escape to the Vineyard

This Labour Day weekend had an ominous cloud going into it, Hurrican Earl had everyone scampering around buying extra provisions in case of power losses, cancelling plans and flights and generally preparing for a perfect storm. While all of this is probably the smart thing to do when it comes to Boston's usual crazy weather, it turned out to be the usual tale of a big scary shadow turning out to be a cute little mouse. Sure there was a bit of rain and fog on Friday night, but from Saturday morning throughout the entire weekend, we were blessed with clear blue skies, a bright and warm sun toned down by a cooler breeze.
Now that the weather report is over, let me tell you what I made of my weekend. Labour weekend, or any three day weekend for that matter tends to be a great opportunity to take a day trip somewhere not too far, but far enough outside of the city to get a bit of perspective. My friends and I did just this. We picked Sunday as the perfect day as it would be sandwiched between the other two days and not prone to the bookend traffic and headed up to Martha's Vineyard.
Travel was a breeze...except maybe for a few wrong turns and a general lack of attention to street signs...or a lack of street signs. We parked the car, hopped on the shuttle and skipped (litterally) onto the Woodshole Ferry which brought us to Oak Bluffs.
If you have ever been to Martha's Vineyard, you will understand the appeal of the island. It has a beautiful quaint atmosphere with little boutiques, little restaurants and lots of beaches. We decided to rent bikes and tour around that way. It was a novel idea but for the winds which had us pretty much pedaling at a standstill at times.
Throughout our day of  fun in the sun, we didn't get to lie on the beach, but we did stumble upon a couple of excellent homemade ice cream shops or fifty. In MV, every other store is a creamery! A friend had suggested we try out Carousel, but we were attracted to Ben and Bill's across the street. This place had about fifty different flavours all of which were unique and incredibly tempting. I was in such a dither of excitement that I had to keep myself from asking to try all of them. In the end, I settled for a sampling of their lobster ice cream (yes you heard it right, a butter based ice cream with real lobster meat chunks), their chai ice cream and their  chocolate peanut butter cookie dough. I was very proud of myself in the end, it only took me about 15 minutes of questions before I decided to go with their cherry chip (cherry ice cream with cherries and chocolate chunks) and their K.G.B (Kahlua, Grand Marnier and Bailey's). The prices are pretty steep, but their portions are MASSIVE, so don't feel badly about opting for the kiddie size.
I don't think I have ever been more in love with the dairy department. At that moment, when I took away my two scoops (which was actually more like a pint) of heaven, I felt completely whole. I could return to the Vineyard on a moment's notice just for that ice cream.
So for those of you who got out of the city on this past three day weekend, good for you! I hope you had a great experience, perhaps not as great as mine...but then again, if ice cream places like Ben and Bill'swere a dime a dozen...well who am I kidding, that would be a dream come true!
Unfortunately, there is not website, you will just have to go and taste for yourself!