Five Boston food bloggers, a four course heirloom tomato dinner, and three wine pairings makes for a fabulous Wednesday night!
It didn’t start out as such. I made my way over to Harvard Square in the rain, received some disappointing news, and since it was the one year anniversary of Ted Kennedy’s death, decided to walk down by the river and through JFK Park in Cambridge for a little bit of thinking (ahem, crying) time.
Due to a hot summer and days of rain, everything was lush, green, and beautiful. The park was empty and peaceful, just what I needed for a little alone time after work.
I liked this quote from then President-elect Kennedy in 1961:
“The enduring qualities of Massachusetts–the common threads woven by the Pilgrim and the Puritan, the fisherman and the farmer, the Yankee and the immigrant–will not be and could not be forgotten in this nation’s executive mansion.” Yay Massachusetts!
After I was sufficiently rained on, I wandered back toward Harvard Square where I browsed boots, books, and clothes, and ended up at Cardullo’s ogling gourmet food products.
They have giant jars of Branston pickle, an Irish/English relish that is incredible on cheese sandwiches.
In addition to tons of coffee, chocolate, tea, cheese, crackers, biscuits, sauces, candy, juices, sodas, you name it, from around the world. Le sigh.
And once inside, we found Megan, looking like the queen of the castle on the high-backed purple chair.
Soon after we were joined by the lovely Daisy, and all decided on having the wine pairing with Upstairs on the Square’s “The Perfect August Repast; A Tomato Feast!”
We started with an amuse bouche, a shooter of summer gazpacho, served with a Ca’ del Solo Albarino from Bonny Doon Vineyard. Bonny Doon’s wines always impress me, and this Albarino was no different. Refreshing, bright, and citrusy, it went exceedingly well with both the gazpacho and our next course, the Classic Native Heirloom Tomato Salad with Fresh Market Raspberry Vinegar, Vermont Goat Cheese, and Thai Basil.
The Albarino had great citrus – but not acidic- flavors that paired very well with the slight acidity of the tomatoes. Creamy goat cheese and sweet raspberries brought it all together.
The next course was a Parsley & Lemon Crusted Hake with Lightly Crushed Yukon Golds & Lemongrass Tomato Water. Hearty and light at the same time with a delicious kiss of lemon flavor, this was my favorite savory course. With our hake, we sipped a Domaine Caillot Mersault from Burgundy. It had a delightful oaky flavor that really brought out the lemon flavor in the fish but also went well with the potatoes. I discovered that potatoes and wine with a hint of woodiness go well together!
The next course was a beef course, Wood-Grilled New York Strip Steak with a Tomato a la Provencale and Slow Roasted Garlic. While I am not a beef eater, I still loved this course for the fresh stuffed tomato seasoned with garlic and what I think were tarragon and fennel, paired with a spectacular 2006 Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap. The nose of the wine was pure Napa Valley, some nice dark fruits, a bit of dark chocolate, and that earthy, woody smell that just immediately transfers me across the country to the place I would to be most.
The final course, our dessert, was simply spectacular, delicious, unique, creative, magnifique! Sweet Tomato Sorbet Coupe with Olive Oil Ice Cream, Candied Pine Nuts and Lemon Thyme Shortbread. I can’t even put into words the layers of flavors and textures. The sorbet truly tasted like tomatoes, but in a sweet, light sort of way. The olive oil ice cream was creamy, rich, decadent, and the pine nuts were crunchy, sweet, and light. Top top it off, buttery, lemony shortbread with a savory hint of thyme.
We spent the evening eating, drinking, and catching up. It is so much fun to be with such a smart, funny group of women with the same interests AND people who not only understand the need to photograph every morsel, but join you in doing it! We were probably quite the sight, but we had a great time and I can’t wait to get together again.
Before I forget, the winner of the CSN Stores giveaway is. . . Kristy! Kristy, please email me with your contact info so I can get your gift card to you!
Tomorrow I am planning a special local food/farmers’ market blog post, but I DO need foodies to feature in the coming weeks, so let me know if you would like to be featured!
Random question of the day: What is the nicest thing someone has said to you recently?
A very old friend who I haven’t seen in over 12 years left a very kind comment on my Facebook page the other day and made my day, and I would love to hear what people are saying to make you happy!