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The Boston Wine Expo is still months away, in the dreaded month of February , but last week a bunch of Boston bloggers got a sneak peek of what the Wine Expo has in store for us in 2013.

The preview event was held at Action Kitchen at the Seaport Hotel, an absolutely gorgeous cooking and event space used for private events.

Action Kitchen at the Seaport Hotel

I would LOVE to cook and entertain in this space.

Action Kitchen

Boston Wine Expo preview

The Wine Expo preview featured some of the wineries that will be pouring wine at the actual Expo, plus food from some of the vendors who will be sampling there.

wine list

Chabaso Bakery

salmon

 

Crab cakes

Since I was having an intense training week, I seriously chowed down on crab cakes and beef with a bright, beautiful, amazing chimichurri sauce.

beef

green sauce

In addition to eating, we were able to taste wines from several wineries. As I always do, I had my favorites.

Action Kitchen, Seaport Hotel

I spent quite a bit of time at the Hope Family Wines, seriously falling for Troublemaker by Austin Hope, a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Petite Sirah. This wine has smoky and chocolate-y flavors along with dark fruit, really luscious, full of body, just gorgeous.

Hope Family Wines

Another favorite table was a winery we have visited, Alexander Valley Vineyards. I have loved the time we’ve spent at the winery and have been hoping to return for their annual Cyrus dinner which takes place in the caves every March. Their Zinfandels were a fun choice for the event, and we tasted through Temptation, Sin Zin, and Redemption. . . are you sensing a theme? Being a lover of the Dry Creek Valley, my favorite was Redemption, but I really enjoyed them all.  I love Zinfandel, its big, bold fruit flavors, hints of spice, and roundness. It’s a go-to wine for me in the winter. Fingers crossed I will get to pay Alexander Valley Vineyards a visit soon. . .

Alexander Valley Zinfandel

In addition to enjoying lots of great food and wine, we learned about some of the new additions to the Boston Wine Expo including a blogger ambassador program, social media lounge, and some great seminars on buying wine, including one from The Urban Grape’s TJ Douglas. It seems like it’s going to be a great Wine Expo, and it gives us reason to look forward to one of the coldest months.

Happy Friday, everyone! I am looking forward to some down time, but I am most looking forward to the wedding of my dear friend Michelle!

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Boston fish pier

I’m always disappointed when I get to the fish counter or frozen fish section of the grocery store and only find fish and shrimp from a world away. Thailand, Singapore , and Chile often dominate, and I always wonder, with so much ocean right outside our doors, why there isn’t much Massachusetts seafood available.

As a result, I was really excited to receive an invitation to the Boston launch of i love blue sea at Red’s Best on Boston’s fish pier. Have you heard of i love blue sea yet? Before I received the email I had not, but once I started reading, I was interested in learning more.

Here’s what their website has to say:

i love blue sea is a company formed by fishermen, surfers, dreamers, foodies and entrepreneurs.

We believe that businesses based on the ocean should first do no harm to it. We have developed relationships with oyster farmers, crabbers, and fishermen and women who run their own boats and are braving the waterways to bring you the freshest, most responsibly sourced seafood available.

You will know when your seafood was caught, where it comes from, and if you’re so curious, you can find out the name of the ship and how the harvest is going. When the ships come to shore, you’ll receive seafood straight from the boat.

i love blue sea

i love blue sea is working with Red’s Best, a seafood distributor with product from networked fishermen. Red’s Best gathers together fish and shellfish from fishermen in the New England area and then processes it and gets it out to restaurants and i love blue sea. Because Red’s Best works directly with the fishermen, they develop trust and relationships that work for both parties. These relationships ensure that fishermen are paid good wages and that fish is coming from reliable and reputable sources  This also allows for traceability of your seafood. QR codes on the packaging allow you to find out when the fish was caught and where, along with information the fisherman who caught it.

image

The event with i love blue sea was held right inside Red’s Best fish storage and processing area. While we took in a ton of great information, we snacked on fresh oysters, clams, and a delightful, lemony lobster salad.

oysters

lobster salad

Red’s Best has fish coming in every evening, and the night of the event was no different. A truck with a variety of different species arrived and was unloaded before our eyes. It was definitely like no other party I have attended, and all of the bloggers there agreed that it was one of the most interesting events ever.

fluke

After we watched all of the fish get unloaded from the truck, we got to go into the cooler to see where they would be stored for the night.

scup

Throughout the evening we learned about some of the fish and shellfish that come in to Red’s Best, including conch, lobsters, flounder, fluke, monkfish and scup. Scup, we learned, is a delicious, sustainable fish that is sometimes referred to as sea bream. This fish is not common in the market, yet it’s plentiful, easy to prepare, and would be cheaper than a lot of other options. It’s all about the marketing!

conch

image

i love blue sea makes it easier for all of us to have access to these smaller fishing operations. Their website features all sorts of delicious-looking sustainable specialties that you can order online and receive in an eco-friendly package the very  next day. I’m already planning on ordering a gift from the site this week. I love that i love blue sea allows me to support sustainable practices, local fishermen, and a healthy, delicious food option.

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Really, it was lunch for dinner, which meant there there were cocktails, like my Del Frisco’s favorite, the VIP. On a steamy night last week, a few Boston bloggers and I were treated to some of Del Frisco’s latest lunch menu items. As opposed to some dinner entrees, like big cuts of meat and sides, lunch dishes are lighter and much quicker to prepare. We learned that most of the lunch items can be made in about 10 minutes, making Del Frisco’s a great option for a work week lunch or business meeting.

But first, cocktails on the deck, overlooking the harbor. . .

VIP Cocktail at Del Frisco's

How can you say no to lunch with views like this?!

Liberty Wharf Boston

Once we were seated for lunch for dinner, we got a chance to check out the menu for the evening. Four smaller portions of some of Del Frisco’s favorite lunch items made for a VERY filling dinner.

Del Frisco's lunch

seared ahi tuna salad

Seared Ahi Tuna Salad (shaved Napa cabbage, arugula, mango, chilled noodles, toasted almonds, tomato, avocado, ginger-sesame dressing)

This, in my mind is the perfect dish. It’s the type of meal I could eat starting at brunch, all the way through late-night and never get tired of it. My appetite lately has been strange, much like that of a 19 year old frat boy. Really, I have been wanting carbs, cheese, and salt in every possible form: pizza, fries, chips. That’s about it. This salad did its part in reawakening my love for fresh foods and flavors that pop. Simply delicious.

spaghettini

Spaghettini (garlic shrimp, plum tomato, basil, and lemon zest)

This dish ended up being my favorite, I guess because the abovementioned food cravings. I loved that, although it was a pasta dish, it was still very light and full of flavor from the shrimp. The tomato also gave it a nice acidity. As you can see, I cleaned my plate. (I’m not that messy though, I did share mine with my neighbor.)

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steakhouse salad

Steakhouse Salad (broiled prime strip steak, deviled egg, baby mixed greens, watercress, avocado, cherry tomato, bacon, parmesan, blue cheese and horseradish lemon dressing)

It really doesn’t get much better than this. I even had a few bites of the perfectly cooked steak, which matched up great with crisp greens, tangy blue cheese, and avocado. But the deviled egg?! Who thought of this genius? I have never had a salad with a deviled egg before, but I think it needs to become a standard salad topping.

deviled egg

image

Orrechiette (grilled chicken breast, baby spinach, and roasted garlic parmesan cream)

By the time this creamy, decadent plate of little pasta arrived, I was just about full. I managed a few bites noticing in particular, the grilled flavor of the chicken, which I loved, and the garlicky cream sauce. This dish, for me, would be perfect in a few months, when the temperatures start dropping and there’s a need for something cozy.

It was fun to have the opportunity to try so many delicious lunch dishes all in one meal. Del Frisco’s is open for lunch Monday-Friday 11:30-4:00, and their lunch menu is impressive and quick, if you need it to be. I could see lunch at Del Frisco’s being the perfect mid-day treat on a day off in Boston too.

What’s your lunch style? Do you go out to eat, bring food to eat at your desk?

 

As this was a media event, Del Frisco’s kindly provided our meals at no charge, but as always, my opinions are my own.

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House on Urbanspoon

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Tags: blogger events, Boston, cocktails, Del Frisco's, dinner, Food, Lunch

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