July, 2010

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Menu Planning for the Weekend

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

I’m ‘catering’ a BBQ for my mum this weekend in Maine. How does this sound for a menu? Any suggestions?

Apps/nibbles: Mini-crab cakes with caper-garlic aioli, spanikopita triangles, caprese, antipasti (marinated mushrooms, olives, artichokes, peppers) all with baguette.

Main: letting Dad man the grill [grin]; thankfully not my department

Sides: Swabian potato salad (no, not ‘German’, no, not ‘Bavarian’… Swabian!), 2 types of pasta salad (pesto-jalapeno-goat-cheese and the other summer-veggie pasta salad), cucumber-ribbon salad

Dessert bites: vanilla custard-filled, chocolate-dipped mini-profiteroles and mini-lemon tarts with raspberry garnish (from their raspberry patch)

Bergamot

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Bergamot is the new restaurant that has opened up in the old EVOO space here in Inman Square (by The Wine & Cheese Cask and Dali). While I was sorry to see EVOO move, they are just down in Kendall Square, so not to worry… it hasn’t shut the doors. Anyway, Bergamot moved in more or less straight away and it’s been getting great reviews. Last night I had the chance to try it out and the reviews are right: it’s definitely one of the better newcomers to the Boston/Cambridge restaurant scene; right up there in my mind with TW Food and Craigie on Main — given Craigie on Main’s prices, Bergamot is downright inexpensive! (Note: Bergamot is in the $25-35 for mains range so still a little in the ‘special occasion’ category; check out the menu)

bergamot_pea-salad

After a great little amuse bouche of local crab meat wrapped in celeriac on a fresh cucumber, I had the pea-greens salad (pea shoots, scaled/shocked english peas, finely diced berkshire ham, pecorino cheese, truffle vinaigrette and the most amazing “fried egg”. I think they must have soft boiled it, carefully pealed it, then rolled it in panko crumbs and flash fried it. The center was still runny like a poached egg and when you cut into it, it combined with the dressing… lovely). My main dish was a lovely cut of halibut on new potatoes, baby carrots and a perfectly caramelized entire thick slice of vidalia onion, with a touch of herb sauce. Really, really excellent and just the right amount of food. All the desserts sounded wonderful but I was good and stayed away (very tempted but that bride’s maid dress fitting is coming up).

And you know a restaurant is good when they have the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban on the menu. Again, scotch is off limits for me presently, but it is unusual to even see it on the menu.

In the Name of the Father, the Sun and the Holy Goat

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

It’s another sunny and sweltering day here in the city and it is the usual weekend for the Portuguese holy goat festival in my neighborhood. It is, of course, actually called the Holy Ghost Festival, but last year, they typo’ed the sign that hangs over Springfield Street (doh!) by forgetting the S, so it read Ghot, which to me is pronounced the same as goat, so forever and ever (ahem), I will call it the Holy Goat festival.

What is the Holy Goat Festival? Well, there is the traditional ‘opening ceremony’ where the local Portuguese marching band walks up and down my street a few times on a Friday night. All day Saturday, they close down the street and it is your basic block party with the Portuguese-American society selling some yummy smelling grilled stuff and sweets (which, despite having lived here a while now, I have never tried), a beer-prison (seriously uptight as usual about the alcohol; sad really) and a big tent with a huge array of music playing throughout the day. Tomorrow, Sunday morning, there is a parade (again, really just up and down my street) and they crown the Goat Queen. She probably has a better title than that, but usually it’s some gangly-looking teenager that got roped into participating by her parents out of tradition. She usually has braces and gets to wear an overly-poofy prom dress.

I made fun of all this, of course, but the funny thing is that it is ‘old country’ enough that it reminds me of the little stadtfeste in Germany so whatever. It’s part of July my Julys now.