tasting events

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Canal Park at CambridgeSide!

Event Date: TUESDAY, JULY 11th 2017

Rain date: THURSDAY, JULY 13th 2017

5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Engage in one of the best food sampling events in the region featuring local restaurants, specialty foods, cheese, ice-cream, wine, beer, mocktails, coffee purveyors and entertainment.

Cambridge, MA– The 15th “Taste of Cambridge” is on the move! This year we are headed to Lechmere Canal Park at CambridgeSide. Enjoy spectacular food & drinks overlooking Canal Park, featuring beer and wine gardens, games, grills, craft beer, The Dirty Water Brass Band, Celebrity DJ Rich DiMare, a Mocktail Contest and dancing!

Highlights of this Year’s Annual Taste of Cambridge include:

This year, the whole event is VIP! We are offering a “Taste and Spirit” tier for $75, which includes all food, beverages, and 4 beer, wine or specialty cocktails.        

The “Taste” tier for $50 includes all food and non-alcoholic beverages (juices, teas, and specialty coffees). Children and Families are welcome! Get the ultimate Tasting Ticket for the under 12 set (accompanied by a parent):  Kids Tasting Tickets are available for $15.00 each for children 6 to 12; kids under six are free.

Mocktail contest! This year watch Cambridge mixologists compete to make the most innovative and best-tasting mocktail in the “Peoples Republic”. Local celebrity judges will decide the winner!

Best in Taste! Everyone gets a vote to elect the best “Taste” of Cambridge.  Your vote counts!

Feel good and do good!

Buy a ticket to this benefit and provide support to local Cambridge non-profits doing direct service work in Cambridge on alcohol and drug prevention.  The Taste of Cambridge helps to support multiple non-profit alcohol and drug prevention and treatment programs each year. This year’s recipients include: Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), Caspar, Cambridge Camping Association, Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund, Paine Senior Services, and On the Rise.

The Taste of Cambridge (TOC) was founded by the Cambridge License Advisory Board (CLAB), a registered 501 c 3, and is produced by dedicated CLAB volunteers in partnership with the City of Cambridge. CLAB works year-round to prevent underage drinking and to educate and support liquor license holders. The TOC is primarily a charitable event! Our participating restaurants, sponsors, and volunteers present the best “Taste of” event to provide financial support to our beneficiaries!


Tickets can be purchased online at www.tasteofcambridge.com

Please note:  This is a charitable event and we do not issue ticket refunds.

In case of inclement weather we have a rain date of 7/13/17.


Many thanks to this years site sponsor, CambridgeSide for graciously hosting the 15th Annual Taste of Cambridge.  This year’s event has been graciously sponsored by: Anheuser-Busch, Bombay Sapphire, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, Cambridge Office for Tourism, Cambridge Savings Bank, Cambridge Trust, CambridgeSide, Down the Road Brewery, Downeast Cider, East Cambridge Savings Bank, Farmer Willies Craft Ginger Beer, GoPuff, GrubHub, Irving House, Late July, Mad River Distillers, MIT, Olivia’s Organics, PEAK Event Services, Pegasystems, Privateer Rum, Purity Juice, Sparkling Ice, and Whole Foods

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Tags: beer, benefit, cambridge, cocktails, community, events, Food, tasting events, wine

Starting the week by feeling behind is not ideal, but here’s to hoping for lots of energy to somehow catch up on life. Work is busy; it’s seven days a week with calls at any time of day, including 9:00 p.m. on Saturdays. It’s hard to find time to take a mental breather! A silent meditation retreat is sounding pretty good right about now. . .

Blog events have been a nice way to reconnect with friends and network with new people while enjoying great food, and the Taste of Columbus Hospitality Group a couple of weeks ago was definitely one of these evenings. A week out from the marathon bombings, things still felt somber, and a gray, drizzly night added to that mood. Luckily, the Columbus Hospitality Group pulled together some great dishes to warm our hearts and stomachs! The group consists of the following restaurants and hotels.

  • Mistral
  • Teatro
  • Sorellina
  • Mooo…
  • L’Andana
  • XV Beacon Hotel
  • The Inn @ St Botolph

Upon early arrival at Mistral, I enjoyed cocktails with Lin and Megan before heading into a private back room to stuff ourselves silly with deliciousness.

As we entered the room, I grabbed a slice of Mistral’s beef tenderloin, mashed potato, and truffle oil pizza.

Mistral pizza - Beef tenderloin, mashed potato, and truffle oil pizza

I absolutely adore Mistral. The food is delectable, and it’s a great, sophisticated yet still comfortable place for drinks. It’s also a great place for a girl’s night out in Boston. This beef tenderloin and mashed potato pizza, with it’s intoxicating truffle aroma is one of the most amazing comfort foods ever.

Mistral tuna tartare

Mistral tuna tartare is pretty legendary. I had it for the first time many moons ago for a date, even before I met my husband, We’ve been together for almost 10 years;  this tuna tartare has a long-running fan in me and I think the rest of the City of Boston as well.

La Nina Tortillas

Tortilleria La Niña, the first tortilla bakery in New England to authentically produce white corn tortillas and chips.  They’re local, and they use non-GMO corn I addition to being delicious. Tortilla chips are one of my major food groups, and I was happy to discover these tasty chips. Just add a big bowl of guacamole and a margarita!


Mooo. . . beef sirloin sliders

Other food highlights included sliders from Mooo. . . I hadn’t eaten at Mooo. . . . at that point, but actually had lunch there a week later when conducting a site tour of the beautiful XV Beacon. Part of my job is placing press and trade groups visiting Massachusetts in  hotels, so it’s always fun to get to visit and see the hotels firsthand. XV Beacon is absolutely gorgeous, so stylish and city chic!

One of my other favorites of the evening was Teatro’s fig and prosciutto sausage in a spicy tomato brodo with a charred pepper. The tomato brodo was so warm and comforting. Even as it gets warmer I have been all about the soup lately; this little bite was both tasty and soul-warming.

Teatro - fig and prosciutto sausage in spicy tomato brodo

Wine is another of my major food groups, and since we were just back from California and yearning to go back already, I went with a glass of Trefethen Chardonnay. The event also offered a selection of cocktails; everything looked great.

Trefethen Chardonnay

I loved the opportunity to try bites from restaurants I haven’t been to; it definitely inspired me to want to check them out. Once of the great things about this tasting event was that it was small. Sometimes “taste of” type events can be overwhelming, but at this one we were able to grab a table and go back and forth to get food and take photos. All in all, a great event.

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Tags: Boston, cocktails, Columbus Hospitality Group, events, Food, mistral, tasting events, wine

This is not your parents’ hotel restaurant. When I was younger and we traveled, we always avoided the hotel restaurant. It was pretty much a given that you didn’t eat in the hotel . Times have definitely changed, with hotel restaurants doing all sorts of creative, community-focused, delicious things for not just their guests, but for locals.

Last Thursday I had the great opportunity to join a few other bloggers and some of the team at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge for a tasting of the new ArtBar menu. I had been to ArtBar before for drinks with colleagues, a cocktail class, and late night bites, but since I had never eaten dinner there before, I was excited for the full experience.

We definitely received VIP treatment, starting with a private room just for our dinner with Director of Food and Beverage Troy Clarke already mixing up specialty cocktails when I arrived.



Although it was a rainy day, the views across the river from ArtBar were lovely, one of my favorites of Boston. Of course, you can’t quite tell that from this photo. I just thought it was an artsy shot, and well, I was at ArtBar. . .

Royal Sonesta

Pimm’s Cups, either made with homemade bitter lemon or ginger beer, were our welcome drinks. Always a lover of ginger beer, I went with that option, and thoroughly enjoyed the spicy and refreshing drink as I  mingled with other dinner guests.

Pimm's Cup

Once we sat down, Troy shared information about ArtBar’s food and beverage with us. The restaurant sources as much as possible from local and sustainable sources including about 25 farms and other suppliers. They are continually striving to be more green and are working on 100% sustainability for their seafood. None of this is easy, especially for a restaurant in a hotel that serves several meals a day and has to appeal to a large and diverse audience, but you could see the obvious passion and excitement behind these initiatives as well as behind the creative and inventive cocktail and food menu.

We kicked dinner off with a spring pea soup with Marcona almonds which gave it both a smooth and crunchy texture and a nice richness to go with the sweet green peas.

pea soup

Next up, we tried some of the new appetizers on ArtBar’s menu. We were first brought out full servings of each, plated how they would be for diners in those portions, and then we each received our own tasting plate which was really fun. The dining portions were quite substantial!


From left to right we have the pork cheek tacos, grilled calamari bruschetta, and the holy amazing deep fried macaroni and cheese with truffle fondue. Of the three, the mac and cheese definitely wowed me the most. It was fried and crunchy but not greasy in the slightest. Dare I say it was kind of light? It would be the perfect dish for sharing. Dipped in warm, gooey truffle fondue, this was a comfort food I would crave again and again. I enjoyed the other appetizers as well. The bruschetta was an interesting combination plated on top of a Marcona almond puree that I could have licked off my plate. I don’t usually go for bruschetta, not being a huge bread person, but the calamari added another element that changed up the classic dish. The pork cheek tacos were tender and flavorful; I could see these being a nice small entrée.

sampler plate

Our next cocktail was a vodka punch, a French Standard, created by ArtBar’s bartender. ArtBar is delving into old fashioned punch service in a beautiful and fun way using these glass absinthe containers with spouts on either side. The French Standard is a dangerously delicious ix of Ciroc Vodka, Lillet, St. Germain, Lemon, and Grapefruit Bitters. The light citrus flavors went so well with our appetizers, and having the containers served to us definitely made for fun sharing of drinks.


Our next course featured two entrees from the spring menu, game hen stuffed with spring vegetables with a potato cake and pan butter and artic char with beluga lentils and sautéed leeks. 


The chicken was good, moist and served with a delicious potato cake. It was a choice that would appeal to many people, including those with less adventurous palates but still done in a way that stands out a bit.

The char was amazing. It was quickly cooked at high heat to crisp the skin to perfection. Soft lentils  provided a nice contrast, and the leeks melted in my mouth.


Dinner was served with a Smoked Cherry Fizz: Lepanto Brandy, Amere Nouvelle, Smoked Cherry Phosphate. Troy burnt cherry bark in front of us with a little torch, showing again his creativity and use of all sorts of different ingredients in the restaurant’s cocktails. If you ever get the chance to take one of his classes, definitely do; he is fun to watch!

smoked cherry fizz

ArtBar’s Executive Chef Brian Dandro came in to meet with us, despite it being his day off, and he had Chef de Cuisine, Stephen Hamilton and the team in the kitchen serve us up a little extra, scallops they had gotten from the boat the day before. This was one of the most perfect scallops I have ever had. It was seared and caramelized on top and so buttery and tender all the way through, with that sweet fresh scallop flavor. Amazing.


The night ended with a dessert course accompanied by an alcohol-free cocktail, Pressure. ArtBar has a whole menu of non-alcoholic drinks for people who can’t or don’t want to drink alcohol but would like a little something special. The Pressure contained Ginger, Grapefruit Shrub, Agave, Lime, Honeycomb, and CO2. Honeycomb reminds me of my nana, who often had a jar at home. I loved ending the meal with a refreshing drink and not having to worry about a headache the next day.

non-alcoholic cocktail

Two different desserts provided plenty to satisfy our sweet cravings; almond streusel cake with caramel poached pears and “Turtle” panna cotta. I ate every bite of the almond cake which was light and lovely. I found the panna cotta to be a little too sweet for me, but I think it would be a true chocolate-lover’s dream.

almond cake

panna cotta

ArtBar did a really nice job on their new menu. It really reflects their desire to create an experience that is comforting and sophisticated, and it’s clear that a lot of thought and staff input goes into it. ArtBar’s location makes it perfect for warm weather and evenings with lots of light, and its cocktails, wine, and food make it a great place for all sorts of palates.

As we were guests of ArtBar our dinner was complimentary, but I was truly excited to write about the experience, and I am equally excited to return. Trying ALL of the cocktails on their menu is a challenge I could live up to.

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Tags: blogger events, cambridge, chicken, cocktails, dessert, events, Food, menu, pairings, scallops, tasting events

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