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If you live in the Boston area, you probably know about Bin Ends Wine, discount wine stores in Braintree and Needham. Not only do they have an amazing selection and great prices, but they also have a true love, knowledge of, and passion for wine.  They periodically do wine dinners, and over President’s Day weekend, we got a group of friends together to go to their Sonoma wine dinner at The Townshend in Quincy.

The Townshend

wine dinner

Gundlach Bundschu Gewurtztraminer

 

scallop crudo

first course
smoked scallop crudo
served with pickled fresno pepper / pork rinds / cilantro
2013 Gundlach Bundschu Gewurtztraminer
"Estate" Sonoma Coast

This was easily my favorite pairing of the night. We love Gundlach Bundschu and have visited many times on trips to Sonoma County. Any sort of crudo is up my alley, and the wine was bright, crisp, and made the dish pop with notes of grapefruit and lemon.

croquette

second course
pork croquette
served with parsnip / gremolata / bone marrow
2014 Raeburn Winery Chardonnay
Russian River Valley

The second course paired a buttery Chardonnay from Raeburn (also a new favorite) with a rich pork and parsnip dish. The vanilla notes in the wine were lovely with the creamy parsnip, another spot-on pairing, and one that was great for a cold Sunday evening. 

lamb  

third course
braised bone-in lamb shank
served with cappellacci / golden raisin / oregano
2011 Donelan Family Wines Syrah
"Walker Vine Hill Vyd" Russian River Valley

Talk about Sunday supper food. . . the third pairing was a hearty, fall-of-the-bone lamb shank with a delicious Syrah from Donelan Family Vineyards. Spice and chocolate and berry notes made for the perfect fireside sipper and a great pairing with the very rich main course.

Buena Vista Irish Coffee  

dessert course
mini "Ghirardelli" sundae
cocoa waffle cone bowl, caramelized white chocolate ice cream, salted caramel chocolate sauce, praline tuille 
  Prepared By Pastry Chef Kate Holochick
Served with The Townshend’s Irish Coffee

At this point I could have rolled out of The Townshend, but we had a San Francisco treat to finish off the evening. A Buena Vista-style Irish coffee and a homemade Ghirardelli Sundae put me in the frame of mind to head to the West Coast and wander the lovely Ghirdardelli Square (which I did just a few weeks later). Easily one of the best desserts I have had in a long time, and the Irish coffee was a sweet and potent way to end the night.

Buena Vista Irish Coffee

After this experience, I really can’t recommend these events enough. It was so much fun, and I hope Bin Ends and The Townshend collaborate again for something similar.

Since I just returned from a visit to Northern California, I have quite a few San Francisco and other posts to share. . . stay tuned!

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Tags: California, Food, food blog, Quincy, Restaurants, Sonoma, travel blog, wine, wine blog

In addition to being beautiful and filled with incredible art and music, Galway Ireland is a dining destination that just continues to add to its world class culinary scene. Restaurants in Galway take advantage of their island home, serving some of the best seafood around. A somewhat mild climate means year-round local vegetables, and all of that glorious Irish farmland results in the best milk, cheese, butter, and meat you can find.

People from around the globe have discovered this, and you can now find a huge variety of cuisines in Galway. On our last visit, we had a cozy evening at Il Vicolo in the Bridgemills before heading to Salthill for a Christy Moore concert. . . which was fabulous, by the way.

The Bridgemills location is important to note, as it means the restaurant is nestled along the banks of the River Corrib. We visited on a raw November day, but I had to step outside to soak up the views and cozy outdoor space, which would be glorious when the weather is nice. In the summertime, the sun sets super late in Galway, and I can picture us out there for a late dinner, 10:00 even, with beautiful evening light. Maybe in July!

Galway Bridge Mills

The building, which is over 430 years old, has been impeccably restored and is a must-visit on your trip to Galway. In addition to Il Vicolo, it houses a variety of shops and other businesses.

Il Vicolo Galway

Il Vicolo’s interior reflects the building’s history, and it is just incredibly cozy and romantic. It’s perfect both for a date night or for a group get together, where lots of red wine and pasta are consumed and chatting happens late into the evening.

Il Vicolo Galway Cannonau di Sardegna Speaking of red wine, I was in charge of choosing a bottle, and with two recent Sardinian wines on my mind, I went with a Cannonau from the island.  A little jammy, with notes of cocoa, this wine was like a big warm hug on  chilly, rainy night. We sipped it in the glowing candlelight while talking about one of our group’s upcoming wedding in Italy.

   mussels Il Vicolo is the perfect place to share plates, and while I only got photos of two dishes, we dove into several of their specialties, focusing on seafood. Mussels are  go-to in Galway, and I almost always order them. These were no exception, plump, juicy, tasting of the sea and of the martini and shallot broth.

Calamarata, pasta shaped like calamari, was dotted with fresh clams and squid and just a kiss of sauce. With pasta like this, you really barely need sauce!

seafood pasta

Not pictured: earthy and delicious wild mushroom bruschetta and homemade meatballs

It was hard to decide on what to order at Il Vicolo, but with the experience being so deliciously memorable, we know that it will be a regular stop on our visits to Galway.

If they could deliver a bowl of pasta and a glass of red right now, all would be well!

 

 

Eating in Galway

Kai Cafe

Galway cocktail bar, Tribeton

Aniar

Ard Bia at Nimmo’s

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Tags: Food, food blog, Galway, Ireland, Ireland blog posts, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger

The beer scene in Massachusetts has become so great that we rarely drink beer that’s from outside the state! While we should expand our horizons outside of our beautiful home state, it’s hard to when we have places like Dorchester Brewing Co. right down the street.

Recently our travels took us to lovely Acton to visit friends. We met at True West and discovered even more great Massachusetts beer.

True West Acton

True West is a beautiful, airy space that was perfect for lunch with the most adorable baby. Who doesn’t love a kid-friendly brewery?!

beer flight  True West beer

I found it impossible to decide on a beer flight at True West and asked them to send out whatever they thought would be best. They did a great job of giving me a diverse lineup to taste. Being a fan of darker beers, I loved the Dubbel the most, but I really enjoyed all of the beers, including the Ruckus, which was a super balanced IPA. I am not always a fan of IPAs, so it says a lot when I like one! I also liked their pumpkin beer, which I haven’t been able to say in a while. Most pumpkin beers end up tasting like potpourri to me (not that I have ever eaten it), but this had a nice blend of spice with a touch of sweet.

True West beer

Tasty pub food paired well with the beer and chilly day. I went for the turkey BLT and the homemade tater tots.

BLT The BLT was on a great, hearty white bread and was well-stacked with bacon and turkey, and the tots. . . well just look at them! They were huge and homemade, served with a great house ketchup. I usually don’t like to veer away from Heinz, to be quite honest, but this was so flavorful and the perfect dip for their tater tots.

homemade tater tots

Everything from the space to the beer to the food at True West flowed together really well and made for a great drinking and dining experience. I hope we have more opportunities to visit in the future, and if you find yourself in Acton, definitely stop in.

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Tags: acton, beer, Boston blogger, brewery, Food, food blog, food blogger, local beer, Massachusetts, weekends

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