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A great dinner at a new restaurant in Marion

19 Oct

dinner2 Just-right ribs, a unique soup, a yummy white pizza and a really lovely, warm, setting made dinner at Brew Fish in Marion a wonderful experience. Here’s my Dine Out review in Coastin’ for more:

We started with a cup of the Ch’ale (Portuguese chowder), ($5) described this way on the menu: “kale soup and clam chowder, both local favorites, combine for one flavorful thin broth yet creamy chowder. Chock full of clams, chourico, flavor, and thick cut vegetables.”

Odd as it sounds, the broth was flavorful and the kale leaves large and tasty. It was somewhat like a Rhode Island chowder but yellow in color and much better.

Then we ordered the sticky ribs appetizer ($9) that our friendly waitress said was very popular, and the vegetable white pizza ($12).

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Pigskin Party Packs – new from East Coast Grill

29 Aug

Here’s a great option for that rib cravin’ – Pigskin Party Packs from the dependable and innovative East Coast Grill for 6 to 30 people, ranging from $149 to $450. That’s a lot of ribs, wings, pulled pork, brisket, beans, slaw, cornbread and that awesome BBQ sauce.

Just in time for the arrival of football season, East Coast Grill offers up a play that can’t be missed with Pigskin Party Packs,available for all your game day gatherings. Barbecue dishes are prepared and ready to enjoy, containing all the necessary ingredients for an afternoon of football fun, so you can watch the game instead of the oven. Available for pick up, the party packs will feed the whole team with pulled pork, brisket, sides and more so there is no fumble.

“When the game is on, no one wants to be spending all their time in the kitchen,” explains Chef Jason Heard. “But then again, no one wants to just order the same old pizza every time either, We offer up an opportunity to enjoy both a great barbecue meal and hopefully, a great game too.”

I don’t think I need to wait for games. Especially since I have never had anything that wasn’t totally delicious there. Even when I almost burned my face off gobbling down that killer spaghetti on Hell’s Night.

And don’t even get me started on that Sunday brunch – smokehouse double thick bacon, sweet potato fries with Inner Beauty hot sauce, molasses glazed grilled banana, fruit with chile and lime… and of course the help-yourself Bloody Mary bar!

East Coast Grill
1271 Cambridge St., Inman Sq.
P: 617.491.6568

Sunday-Thursday 5:30 – 10:00 pm
Friday & Saturday 5:30 – 10:30 pm
NEW Saturday lunch 11 am – 2:30 pm
Sunday brunch: 11 am – 2:30 pm

The Bearded Pig opens, closes. Sadness

28 Aug

It came, it conquered, it left and Somerville has lost what for a brief three weeks was the best  darn barbecue around. Shocking news for a new restaurant that was churning out some serious pulled pork and ribs in Somerville and drawing a pretty good fan following.

The last time I spoke with Florida native Chef Michael Schmidt, he said they were running out of food every night. I know I had been getting the pulled pork and brisket sandwiches on a regular basis. I also enjoyed a slab of ribs with my colleagues there with the some mouthwatering mac and cheese, a three-bean side with a tangy original sauce and a sweet home-made mustard and I truly cannot think of anything that compares in the area.

After opening July 30 at 445 Somerville Ave., it looks like they shut shop temporarily but then decided to close for good last Tuesday.

All we know is that they had a problem locating their pit. The latest tweet said, “We have been unable to secure new smokehouse location. We are now permanently closed. Have loved being part of Union Square”

Terrible news for rib lovers in the area and we hope he at least continues the catering business they had. It’s hard to find quality Southern BBQ in the area.

The Bearded Pig is coming to Union Square

25 Jul

You can get pulled pork, ribs and fixin’s at Redbones in Davis Square or Blue Ribbon BBQ past Arlington Center (both hot favorites of mine) but they’re not authentic enough for Michael Schmidt.

The Jacksonville, Fla. man  grew up around good food, family recipes and worked at restaurants his father owned – from fancy upscale ones to pizza shops – and says he really misses good Southern food. So he decided to bring it here.

The Bearded Pig, slated to open any day now near Union Square, promises the real thing cheap and tasty. His catering clients can’t wait for some of that sliced brisket with creamy Southern slaw and his secret weapon – the original pit sauce. Check out the bare bones menu online.

Honey-jalapeno cornbread, four-bean sweet and sour beans, St. Louis spareribs? Cannot wait.

For more, read my story in the Journal.

The Bearded Pig
445 Somerville Ave.
MA 02143
P: 617-996-9080
Sun-Wed: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Thu-Sat: 11a.m. – 10 p.m.

Somerville seizes a sausage smackdown

2 Apr

What happens when you pitch two area chefs in a food fight to create the best sausage bar dish? Only good things.

This one involved Highland Kitchen‘s Rob Morotto’s slider against East Coast Grill‘s Jason Heard’s banh mi.

I had mixed feelings going in since I love both restaurants but guess who won (the headline’s a dead giveaway, I know)? Read my delicious story in the Journal to find out – and have some sausage handy. It will make you crave some:

When two chefs are asked to come up with the perfect stadium snack using sausage, it can smoke up a storm. The steamy competition pitched aioli against mustard, sausage bites against sausage patties, and onion against jicama until the smooth slider won over the delicate banh mi at the Parlor Sports Tuesday Night Fight by popular vote…

This was hosted at the newly opened Parlor Sports, a cozy sports bar by the owners of Trina’s Starlite, adjoining the larger bar/restaurant in Inman Square. It’s a great place for local sports fans to watch games on eight flat screen TV’s.

Parlor Sports
1 Beacon St.
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 576-0231
M-F: 6 pm – 12 am
Sat-Sun: 12 pm – 12 am

Lucia serves up mouthwatering polenta specials

23 Mar

Despite great restaurants, good cafes and delicious food, there’s one thing the North End doesn’t have and Owner Donato Frattaroli plans to bring it to Lucia Ristorate. The idea is for a group of people to sit around a communal table and enjoy a special theme dinner.

At an invitees-only party for media showcasing the idea, the good owner and Chef Pino Maffeo hosted a group of 12 at a unique two-hour long polenta party, Italian style with lots of wine, jokes and merriment.

From the traditional antipasto featuring the tenderest of prosciutto to the juiciest lamb shank over a creamy polenta, it was a unique experience diners would definitely pay for.

Our journey started with the antipasto plate featuring a smoky marinated eggplant and roasted peppers next to the traditional meat and cheese – all exceptionally fresh and tasty.

The bruschetta came next – one with a bright green broccoli rabe and another with toasted  mushrooms that I could’ve eaten a dozen of.

I had mixed feelings about an Asian-inspred shrimp dish with a tangy salty and sweet  glaze that I found  overpowering. I think a simple Italian olive oil base would have brought out the flavor of the high quality shrimp more.

A visit to the kitchen a flight below showed us the chef cooking a large pot of polenta in a surprisingly clean and spacious kitchen. The chef said they are one of few restaurants to have so much space and pointed to the two extra rooms they use for functions, aside from the main dining space.

Then came the polenta dishes and any doubts or self control vanished as we dug into a rich rabbit and truffle dish, a braised lamb shank so tender that it didn’t need a knife, lip-smacking pork riblets with a red sauce that must have simmered for days to reach that flavor and color. Continue reading

Bao, BBQ jam, munchkins emerge winners at Boston Bacon Takedown

20 Jun

The Boston Bacon Takedown, hosted by Matt Timms at the Somerville Armory on Sunday, drew a sold out crowd of more than 200 attendees all full of bacon pride. Seventeen amateur chefs competed and the event was sold out before it started.

As one of four judges (sweet!), I was amazed at some of the creativity on display and wish there were more savory dishes as opposed to sweet ones. There were several kinds of bacon brownies, as well as bacon smores, bacon bourbon bark, cacao maple bacon bites, bacon crème brûlée and more. And there was a cute waffle pig display that won a prize.

One of my favorites, the Little Bao Wow – a Vietnamese sandwich using marinated bacon, homemade buns and veggies – won all-round. Aleks S. (who won first place in the Boston Lamb Takedown  last year) and Frank Chen made a version of Frank’s Mom’s recipe and took home with  a spatula trophy, a year’s supply of bacon, knives and other cookware.

I was also really impressed by Matt O’Shea’s BBQ bacon jam which won second place – he gets full points for creativity and uniqueness.The maple bacon munchkins and the bacon arancini were also delicious. As a huge meat fan, I must give extra points to Rob Primmer and Peter Sedlak for a delicious bacon confit that took much time and effort to make and wish I had space for another bite. But after tasting 18 dishes, I was pretty baconed out. Thanks Hormel for a pack to take home!

Here’s a list of the winners:

People’s Choice Awards:

  • 1st: Aleks S. & Frank Chen – The Little Bao-Wow Buns
  • 2nd: Matt O’Shea – BBQ Bacon Jam
  • 3rd: Aaron Tanaka – Bacon Ginger Crème Brulee

Judges Awards:

  • 1st: Zak & Erica Walstein –Maple Bacon Munchkins
  • 2nd: Rob Primmer & Peter Sedlak – Bacon Confit
  • 3rd: Laruen Lesser & Nate Wicksmith – Bacon Arancini w/ Garlic Bacon Aioli