Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sangria Fever: Boston Mag and I think alike

So on the 17th I posted a review of some local hot spots to get summer sangria. Coincidentally, Boston Magazine just posted 13 Hot Spots for Summer Sangria. I won't lie. I'm jealous that my idea was published in the Boston Magazine by someone else. But, this is encouraging because it means that I'm thinking along the right lines and if I step it up a notch, I can try selling my ideas to local publications.

Check out this great slideshow on for some more sangrinspiration. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Guacaholic (gua-ca-hol-ic):

"Someone who eats guacamole 10 days a week," Ben Sladowsky, Fenway Cantina.

"Me! I eat it for dinner in a bowl with a spoon and no chips," Cheryl Martins, Rhode Island.

"My fiance. She can't go past the avocados in the store without buying any," Paul Lurie, Brighton.

"I am the poster child," Chef Brian Poe, Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake.

"Me. I came out of the womb holding a bowl of guacamole," Skyler Kelemen, Nacho Patrol.

"Someone who fills up their chip 90 percent with guacamole," Chelsee Adams, We Are Not Martha.


Green, gushy, creamy and chunky. This is what the insides of many Bostonians looks like tonight. Well, at least for those who survived Guacaholics Anonymous. There may be countless people receiving post-traumatic-guacamole-stress treatment in the IGU (intensive guacamole unit) due to overconsumption of this Aztec aphrodisiac.

The first, of what many hope will be an annual event, Guacaholics Anonymous, orchestrated by local food wizard @EatBoston (aka Aaron Cohen) was held at Fenway Cantina -the perfect venue for a guacfest.

For just $10, participants were cut loose to indulge on endless samples of guacamole compliments of eight local restaurants and seven amateur guac-chefs -and one hell of a potent margarita.

Guacaholics had a hard time picking favorites, but among the mostly-mentioned were Ole's fruit guacamole, Chef Brian Poe's gourmet concoction and a "Cowboy Caviar" by amateurs Molly Wyman, Skyler Kelemen and Andi Skaalrud.

Sho Balkian, 25, of East Boston, who was participating in the event with Leighann Farrelly, 29, of Cambridge, (better known as Yelp Boston), says guacamole like Poe's is the wave of the guac-future.

"Guacamole is like hummus," Balkian says. "Hummus is the balance between tahini, garlic and chic peas. But then people started experimenting with roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes - and now everyone is buying flavored hummus. This is going to happen with guacamole too. It's going to be the next hummus craze."

Chef Poe's popular guacamole was loaded with strawberries, mountain mint, basil, plums and cherries, and served with a dash of smoked Mexican sea salt. Poe, who calls himself the "poster child" for the dictionary definition of a "guacaholic" isn't into simple guacamole. He loves to push the limits and try new things. The most inventive guacamole from his kitchen yet? "Foie gras and goat cheese guacamole," he says with a mischievous smile.

For amateur guac-chefs Katie Ducharme and Cheryl Martins of Rhode Island, loading up guacamole with a bunch of ingredients means "obscuring" the avocado. They try to keep their recipe as "virgin" as possible, though they admit they've played around with tequila-guacamole.

Fenway Cantina's Ben Sladowsky also believes in purist guacamole -though he has made it at home with lump crab. "Traditional guacamole with the freshest flavors of roasted jalapenos gives it a nice, hot and fiery yet sweet taste," he says.

Susie Anderson, 27 and Chelsee Adams, 26, of We Are Not Martha also lean toward more traditional guacamole. Their recipe called for bacon, which was the only non-vegetarian guacamole selection. Other than the bacon, what made theirs different? It was super-chunky.

"We don't like it pureed like baby food," Anderson says.

After sampling all 15 guacamole recipes, I staggered out of Fenway Cantina in a total guacoma. Full Belly? Check. Happy Heart? Check. But, the four avocados I just bought at Trader Joe's might get passed off on a neighbor.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cold Spanish Summer Soups -Boston Globe Magazine

There's nothing as refreshing as chilled soup on a hot summer afternoon or evening. Who wants to heat up the kitchen cooking a hot meal when there are plenty of recipes for divine chilled meals? Looking for some new ideas?

Check out the Boston Globe Magazine's food issue from this weekend. It has a wonderful article on Cold Spanish Summer Soups and includes recipes for Spanish garlic and almond soup with grapes, Cordoban-style creamy gazpacho, and a cold melon soup.

Que refrescante!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Loco for Zocalo - Stuff Magazine

Stuff Magazine published a piece on Zócalo Cocina Mexicana today. Zocalo recently set up shop at 35 Stanhope St. in Back Bay. This review is a great overview of the restaurant and it's funny too. My personal favorite comment was about a "d-bag who can spend 15 minutes with a golf-ball-sized dollop of guacamole on his necktie and still not notice." Read it!

photo by Joel Veak

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Best Cuban north of Miami: Chez Henri

French bistro. Cuban twist. That what Chez Henri claims to be. And it is. The first five times you go there you'll order the pressed Cuban sandwich -so says bartender Rob Kraemer. While other menu items like the fritters in guava barbecue and chipotle aioli -or the ceviche in mango-mint mojo with watermelon seem like refreshing, summer-y options, Kraemer swears by the Cuban.

"If it's your first time here, don't even think about anything else," he says.

Trust him.

A south-Floridian, I know a great Cubano from a good one to a fake one. This version of the world's best sandwich may very well be the best Cuban sandwich north of Miami. And it is served with the most amazing plantain chips of all time. I have actually never had plantain chips like these anywhere before -not even in the Caribbean. Chez Henri wins my heart and belly with this dish.

One tip: if you're not a really big eater, either fast all day before consuming -or share the sandwich with someone. I was sad to discover that it doesn't make for good leftovers whatsoever. I'm just not that thrilled about soggy bread that tastes like pickles.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Vote in El Planeta's "Lo Mejor"

Who has the best mojito in Boston? Margarita? Sangria? Where can you find the best tapas? Which establishment takes the cake as the best bakery? Of all the restaurants in Boston, which will rank as the best Mexican, best Latin gourmet, best Brazilian, South American and Caribbean? You decide.

Cast your vote in El Planeta's annual "Lo Mejor" contest. Click here to view the categories and nominees.