Monday, July 15, 2013

Farmers Markets, Donuts, and The Salty Pig

On Saturday, I made a visit to the Union Square Farmers Market in Somerville.  I have been dying to go to Kimballs to get a delicious box of raspberries (Kimballs is my favorite for this!).  And sure enough they had blueberries, raspberries, and even peaches!!  They also had various tomatoes of all colors and a description of each tomato.  I picked a large yellow tomato called persimmon, which Thomas Jefferson grew in 1871.  Kimballs also has fabulous greens.  I like the tuscan kale and their bags of mixed greens.  I will be able to have fresh salads all week!

Last time I went to the Union Square Farmers Market was in November and I feel I missed out because there was so much more available this time around.  Drumlin farm has a huge selection of vegetables and bouquets of flowers too!  There is also Hutchins Farm, Misty Brook Farm, Nicewitz Family Farm, and Parker Farm, all of which had beautiful vegetables.  There was also a good selection of meat including Hollis Hills and Stillmans.  I sampled a delicious soft garlic and dill cheese from Brookford Farm out of Caterbury, NH.  They also had cottage cheese, feta, and raw cheddar.  The market was not lacking in baked goods, such as Dan's Brick Oven Bread and Iggy's and you could also check out Taza Chocolate for your sweet tooth.

I had to walk down to Union Square donuts to get a maple bacon donut.  Union Square donuts has been coming to the Waltham Farmers Market, which I frequent, but I have yet to try the maple bacon.  There was a line out the door, but it was worth the wait.  I probably texted a picture of the donut to everyone I know, in addition to all the social media I posted to.  This is a delicious savory, sweet treat with the addition of the salty bacon.  I would recommend a visit to Somerville, even if you don't live in the area.  You will be pleasantly surprised.  And go early, I saw on twitter they were sold out by 12:30pm.

This maple bacon donut prompted a lot of conversations within my family.  I texted it to my father, who showed it to his wife, (they were both jealous!) and somehow they decided we should all go to the Salty Pig for dinner to get our bacon fix!  And so that's how we landed at the Salty Pig last night!

The Salty Pig is a unique restaurant on Dartmouth Street in Boston.  I went with my father a few months ago because he wanted to check out the craft beer selection, but we found great food and atmosphere as well.  This was my step-mothers first time at the Salty Pig and she said that there wasn't one thing she tasted that she didn't like.  I think we had a good night!

The menu is unique where you can mix and match your own appetizer by selecting meat, cheese, and extras, such as jams, olives, and nuts.  We selected pâté wrapped in bacon, prosciutto, and smoked chorizo for our meats.  It was my first time trying pate and it was delicious, plus it was wrapped in bacon, which is always a plus.  For cheeses, we had cheddar, pecorino, which went well with the prosciutto, and robiola, which is an Italian sheep and cow cheese.  The robiola was soft and I ate it on bread with some red wine jelly.  We also got some olives and the plate comes with bread and butter pickles and a spicy mustard.  Everything would definitely go well with wine, but we were there for the craft beer selection too!  I like my fruity beers, so I got a raspberry beer by Flounder Brewing Co. and also a strawberry harvest lager by Abita beer.  With my strawberry rhubarb obsession, we decided to keep going with the apps and get a burrata with local strawberries, rhubarb, watermelon radish, pistachio, and spicy sauce on the side.  This dish had so many different flavors to be experimented with.  If you wanted sweet you could stick with the strawberries, but if you wanted spicy, you could take a dip in the spicy sauce which had tons of flavor, but didn't burn your lips off.  And if you like some bitterness, you could put a little rhubarb on your fork as well.

For our meal we went with a prosciutto pizza with a fried egg on top along with tomato, mozzarella, basil, and sweet peppers.  I feel like that speaks for itself!  As we were getting ready to get the check, the kitchen kindly set over a delicious wine to sample along with an outstanding dessert!  The  Lambrusco was chilled and slightly sweet, which was a perfect way to end our dinner.  It also went well with our lemon dessert with blueberries and blueberry sauce with a ricotta cheese on the side (I think was ricotta).  Even though we were so full from our dinner, this dessert didn't have a chance to stay on the table.

Whether you are a beer or wine drinker, I recommend the Salty Pig.  The restaurant does a good job of pairing the beers and wine to match their awesome menu full of good eats!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest

Last month, I went to the Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest at the Arts at the Armory in Somerville.  This event was put on by Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts.  I am currently a festival blogger for Boston Local Food and had the opportunity to write about two of the vendors, High and Mighty Beer Co. and Valley Malt.  This is a great event to try unique beers by local companies some of which use local ingredients. And I love their motto: Eat local. Drink local. Be local.

I am not a beer connoisseur by any means, I tend to gravitate to light, fruity beers.  In fact, my Dad, who I consider to be a beer connoisseur, will give me fruity beers that he gets in variety packs so he doesn't have to drink them.  With that being said,  here are some vendors that stood out to me.  The very first (and very best in my husbands opinion) was Mayflower Brewing Company.  I like my summer beers so I went with the Summer Rye Ale and my husband went with the Porter.  And he loved it!  He loved it so much that we stopped at the store and bought some on the way home!  I tried this rich tasting beer as my last beer of the night and was very impressed.  Another vendor that I enjoyed was Portico.  I tasted the Fuzzy Logic which was a refreshing beer with some fruity hints to it and was perfect for me!  You can find it at a few bars and restaurants in the Cambridge/Somerville and Allston area.  Another fun, fruity beer was the Pomegranate Wheat Ale by Peak Organic Brewery.  Made with local wheat, this beer is light, but not too sweet.  Of course I had to stop by Fisherman's and convince my husband to try the Sunrise Saison, which I love, but he wasn't into it.  I have found that not everyone likes the combination of strawberry and rhubarb as much as I do.  Since the Sunrise Saison has been my drink of choice lately, I choose to have something different which was the Great Wit Whale, a light beer with a citrusy taste, great on hot summer day.

One of the coolest parts of the event was the home brewers.  I tried a chocolate orange wheat wine, which was outstanding and my husband tried the special barrel age apple jack which was 48 proof.  I had a sip of it and that could be one dangerous drink!  These beers were brewed by Alastair Hewitt and after a google search, I now know he is working with Mystic Brewery.  His beer was great and he had the longest line, so it was no secret that he makes good beer.

I was pretty impressed with my first beer festival.  I enjoyed seeing the beer geeks with pretzel necklaces and trying beers that I normally wouldn't try.  This was a great way to raise awareness about eating and drinking local and have some fun trying beer and talking to vendors.  I'll be back next year!

The festival!!

The beers on tap from Alastair Hewitt

Mayflower Brewing Co.