Thursday, January 28, 2016

CHEF LIDIA BASTIANICH DELIGHTS AT THE SHUBERT THEATRE

Lidia Bastianich is the authority on Italian American cooking. She's the owner of countless restaurants, including one of my favorites, Becco, in New York City. For years, she has also starred on her own cooking shows on PBS. So, when Bastianich came to town on Tuesday night, I jumped at the chance to see her speak at the Shubert Theatre.

The evening was moderated by Steve DiFillippo, the owner of Davio's restaurants. His personality meshed perfectly with Bastianich as he asked her about everything from cooking for two Pope's (she cooked for Pope Benedict and Pope Francis) to jokingly asking her who she dates. 

Lidia was candid about her whole life and the journey she took to become a noted restaurateur, or as DiFillioppo called her "the Julia Child of our generation." Lidia was born in Italy, but didn't come to United States until she and her family were brought over by Catholic Charities. She got her work ethic from watching her parents work hard to make it in America. Growing up, she worked at Walken's Bakery in New York City. It was owned by actor Christopher Walken's parents. Lidia said he worked there, too, and they are still friends to this day. (He was featured in her recent PBS Christmas special.)

Lidia talked about opening her first restaurant, Felidia, with her husband Felice. That restaurant put her on the map, with everyone wondering who that young lady was cooking up such inspired food. Lidia has two children, Joe and Tanya. She told them to get an education and they did just that, before coming back to join the family business of food. She talked about how Joe helped her expand the family business, by opening other restaurants like Lidia's Kansas City. Joe was a judge on "Masterchef" for several seasons and is the author of "Restaurant Man," an honest look at the restaurant business which Lidia explained is full of F-bombs.

Lidia also talked about how she got her start on television. She appeared in a couple of specials with Julia Child and PBS took note, asking her if she wanted to do her own show. The rest is history.

The last half hour was opened up to questions from the audience. Everyone had the chance to write down questions before the show. She answered questions for cooking groups in the audience who wanted to know what they should prepare for their next meeting. There were also lots of people saying, "Happy birthday to Grandma!" Lidia's mother just turned 95 last weekend! , , ,

Friday, January 22, 2016

FRESHLY ROASTED COFFEE AND MOUTH-WATERING BAKED GOODS AT PIE IN THE SKY

Homemade pies, huge and flaky croissants and freshly-brewed coffee are all on the menu at Pie in the Sky on the Cape. Located in Woods Hole, this bakery prides itself on being open from 5am to 10pm everyday of the year (and later in the summer) except on Christmas. In the winter, the intimate dining area offers a cozy place to sip on some hot chocolate with a slice of warm pie. In the summer, diners can enjoy a drink or two outside.

Pie in the Sky is the perfect place for breakfast. Their showcase is full of several types of croissants, danish, popovers, cookies, brownies and scones. They'll also make you a hot breakfast sandwich. For lunch and dinner, there are salads, sandwiches, wraps and soups. You've got to try one of their pies for dessert. I enjoyed their hot apple pie with whipped cream.

It's hard to miss their huge coffee roaster in the corner of the dining room. This 17-hundred pound beast is always packed with fresh coffee beans roasting for their coffee. Pie in the Sky also has a variety of smoothies, teas, cappuccinos and lattes. 

pieintheskywoodshole.com , ,

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

MCDONALD'S INTRODUCES CHOCOLATE-COVERED FRENCH FRIES

McDonald's is taking a chance with their classic French fries. In Japan, they are introducing chocolate-covered fries. Mickey D's says the new fries are the perfect combination of sweet and salty. They are not going to be available in the USA anytime soon. If they were, would you try them? ,

Friday, January 15, 2016

MASSIVE PORTIONS AT JOEY GARLIC'S

Bring your appetite at Joey Garlics in Newington, Connecticut. The portions at this classic Italian restaurant are huge! 

Joey Garlic's has a full bar with local and national beers. I started off my meal with a red wine sangria. Apps include sweet potato wedges, wings, calamari, garlic bread and meatball sliders. Our sever recommended the "Joey's Famous Eggplant Fries," so we ordered them. They were covered with grated cheese and served with pomodoro sauce. There was plenty for our table of four.

For dinner, I enjoyed their meat lasagna, one of their specials. This cheesy and meat-packed lasagna was absolutely gigantic. I was only able to eat half of it and brought the rest home. Other Italian classics on the menu include chicken cacciatore, chicken marsala, chicken piccata and eggplant parm. These meals are also HUGE, enough for another meal or two. There are also several salads including a wedge salad with bacon, goat cheese salad, meatball salad and buffalo chicken salad.

Joey Garlic's is also known for its pizzas. Create your own or order one of their specialty pies like "Pizza a la Carbonara" or "Hawaiian Pineapple Pizza." I haven't tried their pizzas yet, but I've heard they are very good.

Joey Garlic's has a second location in Farmington, Connecticut.

www.joeygarlics.com ,

Sunday, January 10, 2016

BESITO MEXICAN



Besito Mexican is one of the many new restaurants that's opened in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts over the past year. I've been looking forward to trying it and I just got my chance!

Besito has an extensive drink menu. I enjoyed their classic margarita. Every meal comes with warm tortilla chips and salsa, but kick it up a notch by ordering their guacamole. Your server will make it fresh for you tableside in a traditional molcajete. It's so fresh and so good.

Meals include traditional Mexican fare such as iron skillet tacos and enchiladas. There are also larger meals (Platos Fuertes) like salmon, filet mignon and skewers of shrimp and steak. There are also plenty of vegetarian options. I ordered the pollo (chicken) tacos. The chicken and melted cheese are presented on a hot iron skillet. Make as many tacos as you want with their unlimited tortillas. I was able to make a half dozen for myself. The meals also come with rice and black beans for the table.

Our server gave us a complimentary bag of warm churros to take home with us for dessert. They were amazing. Diners also get a small worry doll. Tell the doll all of your troubles before placing it under your pillow and you'll have a sound sleep.

Eat Up New England loves Besito Mexican. The food is a fresh as it gets, and touches like the churros and worry dolls made this meal extra special.

Besito is located in the Mall in Chestnut Hill. They have another Massachusetts location in Burlington, along with a restaurant in West Hartford, Connecticut.

www.besitomexican.com ,

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

RINGING IN 2016 AT POST 390 IN BOSTON

Popovers
Seared Diver Sea Scallops
Whole Scituate Lobster
Banana Crème Pie
Finding the perfect restaurant to spend New Year's Eve at can be difficult. This year, we settled on Post 390 in Boston's Back Bay and what a night it turned out to be!

We were greeted with complimentary glasses of champagne and treated to a table full of NYE accessories like party hats and beads. Nice touch!

Every meal begins with their sea-salted popovers. I could have made a meal out of these crunchy and buttery treats. They are soooo good, but there was a special four-course menu for NYE awaiting us. I was in a seafood mood, so I started out with their "Seared Diver Sea Scallops" and followed it up with their "White Shrimp & Mango Salad." Both courses were refreshing and light, so I had plenty of room for my entrée. For dinner, I enjoyed the "Whole Scituate Lobster." The tail was broiled. The claws were tempura-fried.

We had just enough room for the last course: dessert. All of us ordered their banana cream pie and were glad we did. It tasted like something right out of grandma's kitchen.

www.post390restaurant.com , ,

Sunday, January 03, 2016

FRANK PEPE OPENS IN CHESTNUT HILL

Frank Pepe opened its first Massachusetts location in Chestnut Hill in December and people are flocking to it to try their famous thin crust pizza. Eat Up NE stopped by last night and couldn't get anywhere near the door. They were so busy that they stopped taking take out orders. I'll be back during the week for lunch, when, hopefully, it's quieter. , ,