Food

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Being a Boston food and travel blogger as well as  a publicist/social media consultant has always been an interesting combo for me. It’s definitely helped me to grow my circle of blogger friends and contacts, allowed me to stay in the loop on local media and events, and it’s helped me craft how I want to interact with (and how I DON’T want to interact) other bloggers.

It’s always fun when the two come together in one place, and on Monday that’s exactly what happened. A bunch of Boston bloggers came together at the Olive Connection Brookline ( client of mine since summer 2015) to taste Nautical Gin cocktails and an array of wines that a colleague of mine works with.

Olive Connection Brookline

The event was a casual get-together that allowed bloggers to check out the beautiful gift items that the Olive Connection has for the holidays and to mingle in a festive setting. It was fun!

cheese and charcuterie

Olive Connection is a beautiful store offering so many different artisan food items like charcuterie, pastas, sauces, coffee, tea, and of course olives, olive oil, and vinegar,

rainbow pasta gift  

pasta and sauce They put out a delicious spread of snacks that featured ingredients from the store such as bruschetta, shrimp with amazing artisan cocktail sauce, crudite with a beet horseradish dip, and more.

holiday food spread

And my favorite, brownies made with their blood orange olive oil.

blood orange olive oil brownies

Nautical Gin was on hand with their beautiful bottles of craft American gin, making their signature Gimlet cocktail as well as a festive Gin and Jam cocktail made with local Doves and Figs jam.

For the cocktail recipe, visit the Nautical Gin Instagram page.

 

gin and jam Nautical Gin cocktail

Nautical Gin makes a great holiday gift! Find it in a store near you: http://www.nauticalgin.com/where-to-buy.html

 

Nautical Gin cocktails

All of the wines we tasted were delicious and perfect for holiday entertaining.

Don Melchor

Trivento Golden Reserve

Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem

Peter Zemmer Pinot Noir

St Urbans-Hof Wiltinger

Ferraton Pere et Fils Samorens White

Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio

Trivento Amado Sur Torrontes

Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Sauvignon Blanc

Grazing on small bites, cocktails, and sips of wine while mingling with really interesting and fun bloggers was a wonderful way to spend a chilly December evening!

Thank you to all of the Boston bloggers who attended and to our hosts the Olive Connection, the wineries, and of course Nautical Gin for the cocktail gin-spiration.

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Tags: bloggers, Boston, Boston bloggers, Brookline, Food, food bloggers, gifts, gin, gourmet, lifestyle bloggers, PR, small plates, social media, wine, wine bloggers, wine tasting, work

It was a cold but beautiful weekend to be in one of the most beautiful places in New England, the Portland, Maine area. We’ve made several trips to Maine in the past and always look for reasons to visit. . . we even have a trip to Camden booked for April. I am counting the days until it’s warmer!

A few past Maine blog posts:

Freeport and Camden Maine

Hartstone Inn, Camden, Maine

Our friends recently moved to Maine, which gives us an important reason to visit. After our second annual Halfway to Dot Day 5k race (which was absolutely bloody freezing) we hit the road, stopping for lunch in Portsmouth and then heading on to beautiful Cape Elizabeth.

My first order of business was a New England-y photo shoot for Nautical Gin, a brand I have been working with this year. Our friends brought us to Kettle Cove, which was a stunning location and a place I would love to visit again when it is warmer than 10 degrees.

Kettle Cove Maine

After some snacks and relaxing, we headed to downtown Portland for drinks at the Top of the East in the Westin Portland Harborview.

Eastland Portland Maine The views and Christmas decorations were gorgeous, and the cocktails delicious. It was definitely the perfect place to kick off our night out in Portland.

Eastland 15th floor Portland

After our round of drinks, we headed to the main event, dinner at Sur Lie, where we had one of the best meals we’ve enjoyed in a long time and ordered half of the menu.

Cocktails Sur Lie Portland

First, more cocktails: Forest Moon of Endor {Four Roses bourbon, Applejack, Kina, pecan orgeat, lime, sassafras bitters}

This definitely had a nice, warming autumnal feel and taste; it was reminiscent of apple pie but not too sweet.

Fried Milk Braised Cauliflower

{Fried Milk Braised Cauliflower, honey soy glaze} – Sweet, with little kicks of spice, earthy, delicious, the way cauliflower should be

Smith's Log Smokehouse Sausage

{Smith’s Log Smokehouse Sausage, orange peel & honey pork sausage, house pickles, roasted garlic} I had heard great things about Smith’s meats, and they were confirmed when I had this sausage. Melty roasted garlic and paper thin slices of bread paired deliciously with it. ,

chicken croquettes

{Chicken Croquettes}

I was a huge fan of these when I was a kid, and this more gourmet version was even better.

 

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Pink bubbles go with everything. I am loving Franciacorta lately and Italian bubbly in general. This was the perfect choice for pairing with so many different dishes and for celebrating new beginnings.

the best scallops ever

{Seared Scallops, white sweet potato puree, pickled red onion, pineapple mojo, lime}

We agreed that these were some of the most perfect scallops we have ever had.

 

Captains' Cut Cod*

{Captains’ Cut Cod*, butternut squash purée, pecan, apple, maple syrup}

I normally wouldn’t think of cod and autumn flavors like these going together, but this dish was amazing. The fish was cooked to perfection, and everything just worked so beautifully.  This dish made me want to experiment with fish more at home.

 

 Panko Crusted Pork Cutlet*

{Panko Crusted Pork Cutlet*, L.P. Bisson & Sons pork loin, chicken gravy, Whatley Farm organic duck egg, house pickles}

We couldn’t decide between the two pork dishes so we ordered both. Again, cooked to perfection, and the meat was paired with seasonal, creative flavors.

 L.P. Bissons Smoked Pork Chop

{L.P. Bissons Smoked Pork Chop, carrot-cream cheese puree, walnut, torpedo onions, fennel, brown butter}

The contrast of flavors between the rich pork and carrot-cream cheese and the crunchy, tangy onions made this one of my favorite dishes of the night.

  apple cider donut {House Apple Cider Donut, apple cider donut, pecan maple syrup, pumpkin gelato}

Chocolate Pot de Creme

{Chocolate Pot de Creme, espresso gelato, orange laced madeleines}

Heavenly desserts could not be passed up, and we couldn’t get over how delicious both of these were. Every bite of this meal was so well-planned and thought out. The perfect ending to the night was a visit from the chef to see how things were. Between the service, the wine pairings, the ingredients, and the cozy, simple decor, Sur Lie quietly and understatedly outdid itself.

NespressoSunday brought a nice lie-in, Nespresso (which I hadn’t had in awhile. . . oh how I love it!), and a walk around Portland Head Light, which was decorated for Christmas and looking like a picture perfect New England scene. I love Maine.

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

 Portland Head Light  

Before we reluctantly made our way back to Boston, we stopped for brunch at The Porthole, a hidden-away diner-type restaurant and bar that we try to visit every time we are in Portland. Their brunch is great, and in warmer months, the patio is the place to be for live music and local Portland beer.

I had to go for the Lobster Bennie when in Maine!

lobster benedict

the porthole portland maine

It was an excellent weekend, and while we were sad to see our friends move away, they couldn’t have picked a better place for us to visit! I look forward to discovering more of Portland and the surrounding areas in the future, especially when the weather is better!

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Tags: blogging, brunch, cocktails, dinner, Food, Maine, ME, New England, Portland, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger, wine

My love affair with Vermentino continues, thanks to recent Sardinian wine events. A while back, there was a day on a boat with Santa Maria La Palma tasting some absolutely beautiful Sardinian wines. A few weeks later, I had the pleasure of a delicious wine lunch with Vigne Surrau at Select Oyster Bar, cementing my desire to wander around Sardinia on our trip to Italy this coming summer. We have a wedding in Tuscany in July and are hoping to tack on another destination. We’ve both done Rome, Florence, Pisa, Venice, and the beautiful Le Marche and Abruzzo regions (BEST wine tasting day ever), so Sardinia is looking like a real possibility.

Okay, enough of our travels for now.

Back to the wine. . . Vigne Surrau wine lunch Warm and charming hosts from Vigne Surrau welcomed us into a cozy space in the back of Select Oyster Bar, wine and information awaiting our arrival. Learning about where wine is grown is always fascinating to me, especially when it is on an island like Sardinia, and all of the conditions of the island affect the grapes. Surrau’s vineyards are in Gallura in the northern part of Sardinia, and they are directly affected by the Mistral wind and the granite earth and clay where they grow. Their website says “Nature imitates art and man pick it”, a concept I found so beautiful as the wines truly were works of art created by nature.

Sardinia is home to incredible Vermentino, and that’s what we started our lunch with.

BRANU Vermentino di Gallura D.O.C.G.2015

Lemony and with a great, food-friendly acidity and freshness, this wine’s stainless steel fermentation means that the flavors are not influenced by oak or anything else. This wine was like sunshine and a day at the beach, but has enough body to be a winter white, we all agreed.

SCIALA Vermentino di Gallura D.O.C.G. 2015

This wine is a blend of the best Vermentino and aged on its lees, making it feel like a more substantial wine. Less lemon and more pineapple/mango/minerals than the BRANU.

Sardinian wine

 

 

select oyster bar

While we learned about Vigne Surrau, we also indulged in perfect pairings of the seafood that Select Oyster Bar is known for. Heavenly salmon crudo and Vermentino are quite possibly the perfect pairing. This menu was clearly planned keeping both the food and wine in mind.

salmon crudo

 Vermentino

As we moved onto our second course and the red wine, I deviated from the seafood menu because there was AVOCADO TOAST. I’m sorry, but I just can’t say no to that. Last sips of Vermentino cut through the creamy fattiness of the avocado and brightened it up in the best way, while my first sips of Cannonau added a bit of spice to the pairing.

avocado toast

As I mentioned in my last post on Sardinian wines, Cannonau makes for a beautiful, light red that can be enjoyed year-round. We compared the SINCARU and the Riserva, two different vintages, and noted similarities and differences. As simplistic as it sounds, both were just so delicious. The Riserva is aged in Slovenian oak which gives it a fuller body and richer texture, and I also noticed a slight hint of saline or minerals on this wine. Truth be told, the 2014 was my favorite of the two because of the spicy notes. . . I could see it being perfect for a casual pizza night in front of the fire.

SINCARU Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. 2014
SINCARU RESERVE Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. Riserva 2013

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vigne surrauFor the final course and wine, I went back to seafood, a steaming bowl of clams with chorizo, I think the key component of pairing with the wine.

BARRIU I.G.T. Isola dei Nuraghi 2013

This blend of Cannonau, Syrah, Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon was big and bold, notes of baking spices and pepper along with stewed fruit. It was so cozy, and while you might not think a red would go with clams, the flavors in the broth along with the salinity of the clams really worked with the wine’s beautiful characteristics.

sauteed clams  

This wine lunch was a delicious and educational way to spend an afternoon. Thank you to Vigne Surrau for hosting me!

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Tags: Boston, events, Sardinia, sardinian wine, seafood, wine, wine and food pairing, wine blog, wine events, wine tasting

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