Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Best Tastes of Taste (and a Preview of Taste of the Nation!)

It is a rare night that you can have glorious 360 views of Boston, while tasting some of the best food the city has to offer. And I was incredibly grateful that in a week filled with low points, I received a ticket from Boston Magazine to attend their Taste event back in November. It took place in a loft style area with floor to ceiling glimpses of the Boston skyline at 1 Marina Drive. Throughout were many of Boston's top chef's offering a chance to try their food and to talk, even for a minute about their cuisine. It was an indulgence that I won't forget anytime soon.

Some of the bites I enjoyed, in order of delight:

Menton’s Colin Lynch offered my absolute favorite of the night: A smoked salmon sabayon filled with caviar, chives and rye (pictured below before the eggs were filled.) It was an unctuous mixture that I had to try...twice. They also had a wonderful Hiramashi tartare.

Summer Shack’s Chef Jasper White had a simple sounding squash-lobster bisque served with pumpkin oil. But despite how full I was, I ate the entire bowl and am hoping to figure out how to recreate it at home.

Lala Rokh’s Babak Bina's eggplant puree was my favorite surprise of the night. It was the ultimate dish in being more than the sum of its parts. And, in fact, it persuaded me to head to Lala Rokh. The official title: Kashk-e- Bademjan served with goat’s milk yogurt, house infused mint oil and caramelized onions.

Il Casale/ Dante’s Dante de Magistris was frying up ravioli filled with a chocolate-chestnut puree. They were topped with a Sicilian citrus: candied Cerdo. Per usual, Chef de Magistris took a dish up a notch as the citrus made the dish.

O Ya’s Tim Cushman offered hamachi nigiri with banana peppers, black pepper, white truffle oil and chives. It reminded me of my incredible meal there almost 2 years ago.

Tiffini Faison from the now defunct, Rocca, served olive oil grilled homemade bread with house made ricotta and grape mosta and served with salt and black pepper. This was so good that I am tempted to try to replicate it at home, heavy on the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Market’s Chris Damskey had bay scallops with ginger-soy dressing and fine herbes. For dessert, the restaurant offered a Vietnamese chocolate coffee tart with condensed milk and whipped cream. However, my favorite part of their offerings: the salted caramels and passion fruit marshmallows.

Asana’s Nathan Rich had an incredible dessert (that is typically served on their menu): A lollipop with 5 different types of chocolate cheesecake: 28% cocoa, 64% CocoaBerry, 38% Valhrona, 70% Valrhona, 80% Valrohna and a Cocoa Nib Tuile. Yes: it was fantastic.

(These desserts were perfect with Jim’s Organic Coffee)

Neptune Oyster of the North End offered Dayboat scallop crudo with feta crema, orange, mint and tandoori spices

Radius’s Michael Schlow served up a mashed potato bar that was comfort food-jazzed up.

Harvest’s Mary Dumont had a ginger pork slier with root vegetable slaw. I adored the side drink: a bourbon with a mint lemonade/iced tea mix; 1 month family focused on the second Wednesday.

Russell House Tavern's Michael Scelfo had a great riff on a traditional Jewish dish: House smoked arctic char with Baldwin apple latkes, caraway and buttermilk crème fraiche and Verrill Farm micro-greens.

Bistro 5’s Vittorio Ettore offered Duck confit and apple on brioche with fois gras mousse and fennel pollen. It reminded me of my lovely tomato meal that he served to local food bloggers.

Tremont 647’s Andy Husbands served up pan seared salmon grit cakes, with grilled salmon salad and chives

Woodward’s Mark Goldeberg had glazed pork belly with apple compote and cheddar biscuit

Sorellina had a lovely looking buffala mozzarella with Mangalista ham and concord grape syrup

Clink’s Joseph Margate had an equally gorgeous yellowtail that was served with pomegranate seeds and walnut puree.

There were other restaurants, but I ran out of both appetite and space to keep track of all the treats I had. Boston Magazine treated me to these tickets. The cost of the event is $95.00. So, no, it is not an inexpensive night out and trust me, I appreciated the opportunity. But you did get unlimited wine and cocktails, as well as unlimited chances to eat some pretty fantastic food and to talk to the chefs who created the gems in the first place...

Better, still, if you are interested in this write up, you can also go to a similar event: Taste of the Nation Boston. This event, taking place on April 14, 2011 will feature over 70 restaurants and chefs. And, the best news? 100% of the proceeds go directly to Share our Strength, a not-for-profit working to end childhood hunger. (I will write a more extended post on this event in a few weeks...)

Boston Magazine's Taste took place on November 1, 2010 at 1 Marina Place at Fan Pier

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