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Cider: The Other White Wine

12 Apr

I’m just lazily linking over to a post I did for Yankee last week. It’s a quick look at the totally under-appreciated world of hard cider, inspired by a recent trip to Montreal:

In other news, my publisher is really getting behind The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, which now has it’s own Amazon page and ISBN number (0393065995)!! Wow, wow, wow. You work on something for years and then it’s real and it seems unreal. Norton has ordered a very healthy printing run (or, at least, healthy for first-time author), so if you have any inclination to pre-order the book, it would go a long way toward them deciding that they didn’t make a mistake.

Setting aside the usual anxiety, impostor syndrome, and angst about promoting, there are moments when it feels very good.

We are also dealing with some unrelated stressors: a house about to go on the market (will it sell?), a cat with advanced kidney disease (is this the end?). My energy is completely scattered. But having lived through some Much Bigger Problems, at least we have these in perspective.


Me, Me, TV

26 Feb

A few exciting announcements this week. I’m going to be heading back to Yankee Magazine as senior lifestyle editor covering food, home, and garden. This is a really happy development. I was food editor at Yankee from 2002-2005 and it was one of the best work experiences of my life. The people are great, the setting is gorgeous (I’ll be working up in Dublin, NH once a week), and I love that Yankee tells stories that very few magazines tell. I’m also excited to be able to cover all of New England — lots of road trips ahead.

Second, I made my (brief) network TV debut last night. Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares came to town in December to remake Davide restaurant and they asked a group from Boston mag to come and weigh in on the remade menu (verdict: It was very good. Go check out the new Davide). We show up in the last 10 minutes or so.

Funny thing is, that’s not the only show that was in town that week. A few days later, Throwdown! with Bobby Flay came to Boston do a vegetable lasagna cook-off with Christine and Carla Pallotta of Nebo and they needed a couple of local judges. Donna Garlough, BMag’s food editor, wasn’t available so she sent them my way. My fellow judge was Marianne Esposito, host of Ciao Italia. I’ve watched her show for so many years—it was a treat to spend time with her and hear  stories of her travels to Italy and what it’s like to produce a show on PBS for so many years. I think the taping went well, but the producers had us do these staged introductory shots that are probably necessary for television but completely embarrassing. “Try to look intimidating!” they said as they panned the camera up my body like this was some sort of workout video. Oh my god, are you kidding? I tried to be tongue-in-cheek about it, but I’m sure I’ll just look like a complete goofball. So if you watch it, my apologies. This one airs on Wednesday at 8:30 on the Food Network.

And thus ends my one-week splash into the waters of television.

Sea Worthy

27 Oct

seagrille_photosI just finished reading Corby Kummer’s mostly thumbs-up review of the Rowes Wharf Sea Grille in this month’s Boston Magazine (which, incidentally, includes my profile of Seth Greenberg). I had the opportunity to visit the place last week at a press lunch, and was encouraged to see that Boston finally has a solidly good, non-chain seafood restaurant with a water view. Funny that such a seemingly emblematic restaurant category was so scarce.

I share Corby’s love of one dish in particular: swordfish with jasmine rice and a coconut curry sauce. I tend to assume the worst of Asian fusion flourishes—previous experience proves that they’re often mangled—but this sauce was light and aromatic and the fish was so delicately cooked. It was a far cry from the bone-dry chops that tend to pass for swordfish steaks at too many oceanside restaurants. You know the type—the ones that serve their swordfish with mango salsa, yellow rice dotted with red pepper cubes, and a side of sauteed spinach, and seem to have just discovered the fruity martini craze, even though they’d long ago crossed the $30 barrier for entrees. I hate those restaurants.

Another Sea Grille standout: the deconstructed Nicoise salad, served only at lunch. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect slab of seared tuna, and the dusting of Chinese five-spice powder makes it sing.

The Sea Grille’s clubby, nautically-themed dining room is designed more for business types and tourists than urban regulars—the tables are spread wide apart and surrounded by big upholstered chairs. It’s very comfortable, but I generally prefer hotel restaurants that feel a little less hotel-y. Still, I suppose you can’t fault a restaurant for knowing its audience, and this one is a stone’s throw from the financial district.

One last thought: Daniel Bruce is the executive chef at both the Sea Grille and at Meritage, and I think he’s one of the undersung talents in town. Not that he hasn’t earned praise, but he just doesn’t hog column inches like some other chefs. Seems like he’d rather be out foraging for mushrooms or working in his garden, which I  respect. He also single-handedly programs the Boston Wine Festival, now in its 21st year. So if you haven’t tried his food lately, you’re in for a happy rediscovery.

My one bone to pick with him (and it really is nitpicking)? His restaurant names: I’d prefer to lose the extra “e” in “Grille.” And then there’s the matter of Meritage, which his team pronounces, incorrectly, with a soft “g.” The word is actually an American invention, used to describe California Bordeaux-style blends. It’s cross between the words “merit” and “heritage,” and rhymes with the latter.  I was kind of embarrassed to learn this fact in Napa, after spending an afternoon raving about the wonderfu Meri-tahj blends. Someone finally corrected me. So take it from me and avoid superficial humiliation: Meri-tedj.

Back in the Game

20 Oct

Things have been a little quiet around here lately. To be honest, I’ve been on tenterhooks, waiting to hear back from my editor on the apple cookbook, which I submitted last month. Friends and family kept asking, “Any word yet?” and I kept gulping Valium saying, “No, still waiting.”

Well, great news: She likes it! She really likes it! I’m so relieved and fully reenergized to get back into gear here. First off…news from Sunday’s visit to Portland, Maine…

Scenes from a cookbook

5 Aug

Scenes from a cookbook

Cheap eats and other dining deals

1 Jul

The629_cover July issue of Boston magazine hits the stands today, featuring my last big project as food editor. I’m quite proud of how it all turned out—lots of great service for budget-minded diners (plus, tips for how to make the most of the occasional splurge). We even found the best free food in the city. Check it out…

New England Eating rises again

1 Jul

headerSo, back when I lived in California, I started this blog. And when we moved back to Boston, I launched this one, with every intention of continuing what I’d started. But  work and life got in the way, and the blog went dark and gathered dust.

Now I’m a free agent again (thanks, economy!), discovering the perks of of my new gig, and writing for some local and national titles (more on that in the coming weeks).

Now it’s time to put some real muscle behind blog. Because a) it’s fun, b) it fills a niche, c) someone might find it useful, d) I like to write, and e) I can use the tax write-off.

Hope you enjoy it. And, remember, I do take requests. Just leave your dollar in the giant brandy snifter.

A face made for radio

27 Jul

Looks like I’m going to be recording some regular radio spots for WBZ’s “Connoisseur’s Corner” with Jordan Rich. He’s such a nice guy, it’s impossible to be nervous (plus, it’s taped, which takes the pressure off). My first piece aired on July 23, so click over there if you want to have a listen.