Monday, April 11, 2011

Supporting the Women's Lunch Place at the Taste of the Back Bay

In the heart of Boston is a wonderful place. There, with flowers and cloth napkins on the tables, delicious food is served daily. Unlike most warm restaurants, though, the women who dine there don't pay. Because, you see, at the Women's Lunch Place, meals are served to homeless women and their children each day.
This past week, a lovely event offered the chance to both try some special dishes, to enjoy spectacular views and to support this fine organization. The Taste of the Back Bay, which took place on April 7th is both a fundraiser for the Women's Lunch Place and a chance to meet the Chefs from some of Boston's top restaurants. Whereas this year's Boston Magazine Taste event took place at the new 1 Marina Place, and the Taste of the Nation/Share Our Strength event will be at the Hynes, the joy of the Back Bay event was the chance to watch the sunset from the 50th floor of the Prudential. Despite being a life-long Bostonite, I have never been to the Skywalk at the Prudential and there is a joy to be had: 360 degrees of glorious views of the Boston.
Throughout the event where a range of wonderful dishes, wines and cocktails. My favorites of the night...From Asana (and pictured at the top of the post): Strawberry "Shortcake" or strawberry juice pearls, strawberries, sable crumble, vanilla cream and tiny meringues. This dish was refreshing and perfect for spring.
From Eastern Standard: Maine Crab Salad with Avocado Mousse and Mango Salsa. I loved the lightness of this dish. It tasted of pure crab, rather than being cloying with mayo as is often the case.

From Sorellina (pictured above), Crema Al Limone or lemon custard, rhubarb gelee and ginger cream. Sigh. I could have eaten the rosy pink gelee all night. It was tart and lush.

From Chef Sisca at Bistro du Midi, Goat Cheese Barbajuan with Provencal Honey. I admit that I had never heard of these Southern French style fried ravioli. At Bistro Du Midi, the Chef offers 3 daily, ranging from seasonal ones with pumpkin or courgettes and basil and, gasp, fois gras. But I thoroughly enjoyed this salty sweet treat.
Simple, but true: From Summer Shack, freshly shucked Cotuit Oysters.

From La Voile: The Soup de Poisson. This elegant soup was clean and comforting, tasting of gentle saffron and fish. The owners recommended dipping in aioli topped croutons into the broth. They also offered chicken liver mousse, olive tapenade and brie profiteroles.

Other treats:
Also from Asana: Sirloin Steak from PT Farms in Vermont with Strawberries and a Truffle Vinaigrette
From Market: Lobster Spring Rolls with Citrus-Chili Emulsion, Homemade Cherry Marshmallows and chewy Ovaltine (!) based caramels with peanuts and popcorn.
From Pairings, Niman Ranch braised pork with smoked pork shoulder braised beans and grilled napa cabbage slaw.
From Via Matta, a trio of crostini with tuna, apple butter and crispy capers; Scottish salmon with blood orange, crispy lentils and mint and my favorite, fluke with jalapeno jam and grapes.
From Sel de La Terre: Veal Cheek Rillettes with Pickled Rhubarb, Pancetta Crumbs and Fresh Herbs
From L'Espalier: Lamb Terrine with Rhubarb Foam and Cauliflower Piccalilli
From Top of the Hub: Braised Pork Belly, Mongolian BBQ Sauce, Peanut Brittle and Enoke Mushrooms

From Brasserie Jo: Slow Cooked Kobe Beef Cheek with Choucroute Cabbage, Brioche Bun and Remoulade Sauce
From Lucca: Homemade Mortadella, Focaccia, Agro Dolce Syrup, Arugula, and eggplant Tapenade

From 94 Mass Ave: A Truffled Mac and Cheese

From Deuxave: Steak Tartare

From Da Vinci, Chef Peppino's Punjabi Arancini with Green Apple Cumin Chutney

From Cafeteria: Pulled Pork Sandwich, Salsa Verde and Mexican Cole Slaw
From Lolita Cocina and Tequila Bar: Scrumptious Cornbread and Tuna on Tortillas
There was even more-chowder from Legal Seafoods, Chicken Tikka Masala from Kashmir, and Vegee Surmai from Mumbai Chopsticks. You could also sample wine and even a beer made from, yes, Island Creek Oysters!
The sunset over Boston. The views were even more gorgeous. Finally, if you want to support the Women's Lunch Place in the near future, they have a wonderful Mother's Day fundraiser each year. Just check out their website and you can purchase beautiful Mother's Day cards. The best part? The money goes directly to the Women's Lunch Place.

I was lucky to be invited to the Taste of the Back Bay this year. But between the atmosphere, the dishes and the cause, I plan to return next year.

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