In an effort to get in a better habit of cooking at home, I've been looking for inspiration within the depths of the internet. Well actually I've been looking for it all over the place - but I've found some of the best gems out there happen to be from Boston Food Bloggers themselves. I guess it makes sense, this city has over 300! Here's what's looking good this month. Added bonus, most of them are pretty easy too.
1. Emily of A Cambridge Story has been killing it this month with a ton of great recipes. One of which is actually what I had for lunch yesterday. Inspired by one of my favorite Cambridge to-go spots, Life Alive, Emily made her own hot meal at home inspired by one of their signature bowls chock full of healthy delights. Her Super Food Salad and Lemon Blueberry Trifle were also instant additions to my "to make" list.
2. We may live in New England but the recent temps have got me reminiscing my college Spring Breaks spent south of the border. Not that we needed an excuse to indulge in some Mexican cuisine, but Megan of Delicious Dishings could not have been more on point when she posted her uber easy recipe for Grilled Mexican Tortilla Pizza, proving that even in times of summer laziness you can still turn out a delicious dinner.
3. If you're looking to get a bit creative then head over to The Food In My Beard who recently posted a step-by-step guide for making that totally delicious ice cream truck treat we all crave in the summer - Choco Tacos! The recipe may be a bit intimidating to the amateur chef but I literally had to pick my jaw up off the table after seeing these pics. Talk about impressive and what I'm almost willing to guarantee tastes better than the real thing. Yup, I just went there.
4. Also giving praise to those nostalgic snacks we all loved as a kid is Pickles & Honey writer Amanda who recently turned the crunchy quintessential Cool Ranch Dorito into a healthier option by way of hummus. appropriately dubbed Cool Ranch Hummus, of course. Embracing all those familiar flavors in an easy to make and easy to serve crowd pleaser, enjoy it with a side of tomatoes for dipping or atop a bed of endive for added crunch.
5. And now rounding out our roundup with a mini roundup in itself, we've got a collection of no-fuss no-bake desserts from Bianca, Confessions of a Chocaholic. Think chocolate covered oreos, blackberry fudge squares and nutella banana pudding to name a few.
When confronted with the task of bringing a summery app to a friends potluck the other day, I froze for a moment. Don't get me wrong, I'm not intimidated by potlucks in the least. Quite the opposite -- I love them! But I did feel the need to bring something a little different. The stress came from the fact that I was very pressed for time, with less than an hour to pick up ingredients and get things in order for the occasion. As soon as my friend brought up the idea of making bruschetta, it came to me - Strawberry, Balsamic & Goat Cheese Crostinis! Think of it as bruschetta reworked, inspired by the one of my favorite summer ingredients.
You can stay simple, like I did, or add some flare by swapping out goat cheese for blue cheese, or dropping cheese altogether and using a greek yogurt instead. I've seen some recipes that used crumbled bacon as a garnish and others that add in more sugar versus salt. Either way, the crostinis were a major success at the dinner party and could not have been more convenient to make. Here's how I did it.
- 1 baguette (long and thin)
- 1 pint strawberries
- 1 log goat cheese
- 2 tbsp balsamic
- salt & pepper
- Preheat overn to 400'
- Wash and dice strawberries
- Pour 2 tsp balsamic over strawberries, let sit for at least ten minutes (but you can let sit for much longer if you prefer)
- Slice baguette in half inch pieces, drizzle with evoo and place in oven on cookie sheet for approx five minutes or until edges start to turn a golden/brown
- Remove and let cool, now you are ready to assemble
- Top crostini with goat cheese, spread evenly
- Sprinkle with chopped basil
- Add small spoonfull of balsamic strawberries to each
- Finish off with a pinch of salt and cracked pepper (to taste) and drizzle with some additional balsamic
And there you have it. You've just impressed all your friends in 20 minutes or less. Where's an easy button when you need one? Do those still exist?
Davio's in the Back Bay recently debuted a few new additions to their menu and I could not be more smitten with one in particular: The Asparagus Ricotta Tortelli served with a sweet blood orange beurre blanc, topped with shaved parmigiano. It's pure genius and completely unexpected. I'm not sure who thought combining blood orange and asparagus with a tortellini was a good idea, but kudos to that guy. It's tangy, crunchy, buttery goodness; something I didn't even know was possible to achieve.
That being said, the tortelli isn't the only reason to stop in at the Northern Italian Steakhouse this summer. They're celebrating the flavors of the season by giving their selection of antipasti, insalate, pastas and entrées a face lift. New noms include Braised Lobster Stuffed Squid with flavorful chorizo, lobster brodo, and freshly baked polenta croutons; Hudson Valley Foie Gras with rhubarb cipolline mostarda, topped with a port reduction; and the Lobster Ravioli served with sweet corn and Eva’s onion green in light sherry wine and lobster brood, to name a few. Definitely not your typical run-of-the-mill steakhouse, and we can totally appreciate that. Keep the surprises coming!
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse
75 Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02356
As if our to-eat lists were getting any shorter...new restaurants have been opening all over town this summer. From re-vamped classics to take-out chains to new blood in Chinatown, here are the newest spots to open up in the past month...
Oak Long Bar + Kitchen: Just in time for the Fairmont Copley's 100th Anniversary, the renovations of the Oak Room and the Oak Bar have been completed. The new concept, Oak Long Bar + Kitchen opens today. Expect upscale New England-style small plates and entrees, charcuterie and cheese boards, and a 100% local beer selection.
138 St. James Ave
Boston, MA 02115
Sip Wine Bar and Avery Provisions Co.: Sharing the old Bina Osteria space, the new wine bar and prepared specialty foods shop opened last week in the Theater District. Sip Wine Bar will feature sharable small plates as well as half glass, glass or full bottle wine offerings. Avery will feature over 20 prepared foods.
571 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
Amsterdam Falafelshop: Earlier this month the popular Washington DC-based falafel chain opened in Davis Square. You can dress up your falafel wrap or Dutch-style fries any way you choose with a do-it-yourself topping bar with over 21 sauces and toppings.
248 Elm Stree
Somerville, MA 02144
Shojo: As of yesterday Shojo is now open in Chinatown. According to a preview on Chowder, the modern Asian restaurant will serve sake, craft cocktails as well as Asian fusion-style small plates. They will be open for lunch, dinner and late-night, serving food until 1:30 am.
9A Tyler St
Boston, MA 02111
255 State St
Boston, MA 02110
One Marina Park Drive
Boston, MA 02210
57 West Dedham St.
Boston, MA 02118
And there's no fine print or exceptions or anything...Lineage is actually offering all their wines at half price for the entire month of July. It really doesn't get much better than that!
I tried a great Chardonnay at the other day, Sebella Chardonnay from Sonoma. It wasn't oak-y and buttery like California Chardonnays typically are, it was lighter and much more refreshing -- perfect for summer!
You still have 11 days to check out this amazing deal.
242 Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02446
There has been a ridiculous amount of buzz surrounding Todd English and the reopening of his iconic Charlestown restaurant Olives. After being closed for two years due to a fire, a grand re-opening bash of epic proportions and a complete makeover of the menu and interior, there are certainly no shortage of headlines about Olives and Todd himself.
For me the most important thing about the reopening of Olives can be summed up in two words: flatbread tarts. I say this with absolutely no regard for your waistline, but the flatbread tarts are easily one of the best things to come out of Charlestown, ever. The bread itself is a combination of pizza crust and pastry dough so it has a flaky dessert feel that is completely irresistible, especially when covered with cheese. They have four menu options and varying specials on any given night, some with traditional toppings and some a little more adventurous. Once you try them the inner fat kid inside of you will shed tears of joy.
Check out some of my favorites...
I'm getting hungry just looking at them. Has anyone tried these yet?
What better way to break up the work week than to get together with your friends at a bar, sip some cocktails and make art? Paint Nite recently started up in Boston and it allows you to do just that. The best part is you need absolutely no prior art experience to join, and they provide all the materials. Sign up for an event at a bar near you, and you'll receive step-by-step instruction from a non-judgmental, professional artist who guides you through a painting from start to finish.
Each event is hosted by a different bar and you pick the bar based on what you want to paint. For example, at the upcoming event at Friendly Toast, all the attendees will be learning to paint this....
They've just released the August schedule which usually offers a handful of options on any given night (and some afternoons). The tickets run anywhere from $35-$50, which covers the cost of your canvas, easel and all necessary art supplies. The events usually run about 2 hours and if you sign up for an August event by July 20th you'll recieve 30% off your purchase with discount code "August". For more info, and photos, check out their Facebook page.
Get ready for a menu debut that is about to blow your mind. Brookline's Regal Beagle has been a neighborhood staple for quite some time. The train-car style eatery is local, innovative and always switching things up when it comes to their food offerings. This week is no different as they unleash several new summertime dishes available starting tonight at dinner. With fresh seasonal ingredients and a touch of latin flare, check out the new noms at the Beagle. And be sure to save room for dessert (just wait, you'll see what I mean).
Starting off with a few new bar bites, which range in price from $5 - $7...
Fried Plantain Chips with Chili Sauce made with green plantains, that are deep fried and tossed with chili pepper. This sauce is no joke so be prepared to battle the heat.
The Hamachi is a mix between a crudo and ceviche, tossed with orange, lime juices, Serrano chili, cilantro, onion, tomato and olives. It's super fresh and delightfully light, plus who can resist a good ceviche in the summer? Not me.FULL ENTRY
This Friday, Boston's only on-demand black car service is going to be serving up on-demand ice cream for one day only. From 12pm - 6pm you can order frozen treats from Uber with a quick touch to your smartphone. By activating the Uber app, an ice-cream truck will arrive at your location within ten minutes, offering up an ice cream party for five for just $12. Goodies include soft serve and classic novelty bars like Klondike, Magnum and Good Humor. In addition to slanging sweets on the streets, they'll also be dishing out some Uber swag.
Don't have the app yet? Don't worry. Here's how you can download it: To download the app for iPhone or Android, log on to download the app and create an account. When ready, users can just open the app, pick the ice cream vehicle type, tag their location and request a truck. For any questions about the service please visit their city page at or email their team.
(photo courtesy of Dan Watkins)
Next Tuesday (July 17th) Eat Boston and Brian Poe are hosting the first annual Tacopacalypse at Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake. Chef Poe will be cooking up some crazy taco creations like thai chicken with peach basil salsa and cherry smoked boar, plus he's going to be featuring some of his favorite taco creations from other chefs around the city. And just in case you're still hungry after all the tacos, there will be a dessert taco bar as well.
Tequila Espolón will also be on hand with the drinks.
The event starts at 6:30 and tickets are $15, get them here.
384 Boylston St.
At my friend Dan's BBQ last week, he started off the feast with a fantastic Tomato Basil Ceviche. It the perfect tasty and not too filling appetizer before the main course of red curry pulled pork sandwiches. I've been thinking about recreating it at home myself because ceviches are relatively easy to make and usually a crowd pleaser, the only challenge is finding fish fresh enough to serve raw.
Dan went to the New Deal Fish Market in Cambridge to get his fish (he used a combination of mackerel and snapper). They assured him that the fish he was buying was swimming that day--it doesn't get much fresher than that.
New Deal Fish Market
622 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02141
Sakanaya in Allston is a great spot for select cuts of fish, such as sushi grade or blue fin toro. You can also get some fresh sushi made for you right in the store.
75 Linden St
Allston, MA 02134
The North End Fish Market has not only fresh fish to take home, but they prepare sushi for you at the counter as well. Bonus = they also have an awesome lobster roll. The store owners are really helpful when it comes to choosing fish and answering questions about preparation.
North End Fish Market
99 Salem St
Boston, MA 02113
Morse Fish Company in the South End is half fish market half clam shack, so you can pick up some fresh fish for dinner and enjoy fried clams for lunch.
Morse Fish Company
1401 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118
Here's Dan's original recipe for Tomato Basil Ceviche, you can find step by step photos on his site, The Food In My Beard.
6 big tasty summer vine ripened tomatoes
4 ears of corn
About 20 basil leaves
1 smallish red onion
5 Pepperoncini plus a tablespoon of the juice from the jar
Around 10 lemons
1 clove garlic
1 or 2 teaspoons of red pepper flake
2 pounds of the freshest white fish you can find. Today I used 50/50 mackerel and snapper, but I suggest going to a market and seeing what they suggest for ceviche from what they have on that day.
Broil or grill the corn with some butter and salt to brown. Let cool. Dice up the tomatoes and put in a large bowl. Chop the corn off the cobs and add to the bowl. Dice the pepperoncini and add along with the juice. Rip up the basil into smaller pieces and add to bowl. Mix and season well.
Meanwhile, juice all the lemons and oranges. Cop the fish into cubes roughly the same size as the tomato chunks. Pour the citrus over the fish chunks and season well. Grate the garlic into the bowl and add the chile flakes. Mix well. Dice up the red onion and top the ceviche mixture with the onion, pressing it down into the fish to keep the fish nicely submerged. Place this mixture into the fridge and allow the fish to cure for about 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
Finally, dump the fish mixture into the tomato mixture and mix well. Cut a baguette into crostini rounds and toast. Serve the ceviche with the bread.
It's summer time and everyone's deserting the city to shack up with their besties at their beachfront property. Things are getting quiet and you're looking for something to spice things up a bit. Well here's something that can literally do the trick -- Foodie Pen Pals, brought to you by the creative mind behind the healthy living blog The Lean Green Bean.
With over 1,000 participants from accross the country, the small phenomenon which started back in 2011 has really taken off. Each month, anyone can choose to sign up for a foodie pen pal. By the 1st you recieve information on your pairing and by the 15th you're expected to put a fun food-filled package in the mail to your assigned pen pal. With members coming from all parts of the country, you'll never imagine the kind of stuff you'll recieve. Last month I was excited to find tons of seasonings and spicy sauces from my pen pal out in Texas while I sent loads of local sweets and chocolates to my pen pal out in Oregon.
The spending limit is always pretty low, and everyone loves getting something in the mail so it's a fun concept to get involved with. There's no long term commitment so you can try it once and see if it's something that works for you. For full details on how Foodie Pen Pals works, and information on how to enroll, click here!
About the authors
Michelle Zippelli is a Boston based hedonist who is committed to finding the best food that Boston has to offer. She has lived in Boston for 6 years and works in online marketing. Michelle loves meatballs, live music, exotic cheeses, Mexican food, spur of the moment dance parties, and all things pickled.
Jacki Morisi is a self-proclaimed bon vivant extraordinaire. A Boston native whose waking hours are exclusively focused on travel, music, food, and fare ... emphasis on food and fare. She's a firm believer that just because you're living on a young professional's budget doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste, and carries this mantra into each and every dining endeavor.