Taste of the Nation, Boston 2012

Before I dive in to this post, I just wanted to get a few logistics out of the way. The winners of the ThinkThin bar giveaway are Katie, Carol B, Leah, Krlock, Lara, Marcie, Ashleigh, Rene and Maryz. Ladies, please email me your addresses to elina@healthyandsane.com!

Also, if you live in the Boston area and are still looking for a special Mother’s Day gift, I’m now offering gift certificates for private cooking lessons. Maybe you can even join your mom for the class? I think that would be crazy fun!

Ook, now that we got that stuff out of the way, can I tell you about my favorite foodie event of the year? Yup, it’s that time again – Taste of the Nation recap time that is!

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[Yup, this was an ice sculpture.  I definitely thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread.]

I rave about how much I love this charitable event (see 2010 and 2011 recaps here in case you’re bored) but this year given my involvement with Cooking Matters which is part of Share Our Strength, I was even more excited to attend! Btw, before I forget – I did receive press tickets but I am always honest (just ask all of the friends that we convinced to purchase tickets this year and join us!) – it is a fantastic time, every time, and is such a great way to raise money for a fantastic cause!

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Sliders galore

Compared to previous years there were definitely fewer tables (although still plenty; it’s still pretty much impossible to try every single thing) and the theme of the evening appeared to be sliders – meat + pickled veggie type combos and straight up slowly braised meat between soft little buns. Pretty much all were delicious although it got a bit tiresome at the end, especially when nearly identical dishes were presented. I felt a little bad for the restaurants because on a stand-alone basis, they were all stars.

Lucky’s Lounge pork belly sliders with pickled vegetables, diakon sprouts, and kung-pao sauce

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Del Frisco’s steak sliders

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Myers + Chang korean bbq sloppy jo

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Whole Foods smoked pork hum bao

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Cambridge School of Culinary Arts – least favorite of the bunch

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Favorite restaurants I’m now even more in love with

Trina’s Starlite Lounge tomato soup with grilled cheese – so simple yet so perfect!

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Trina’s was on my 30 by 30 list so I already had the pleasure of checking out the restaurant (love the decor, the service and the fabulous cocktails). This made me really want to go back!

The Franklin Café crispy pig ear chicharrones – were a fun change from all the sliders

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Flour Bakery milky way tartes. I’m obsessed with these guys- they are sweet, light and creamy!! The recipe is in the Flour bakery cookbook (Bridget was actually the one to get me hooked on this stuff when she made it for Megan’s party one day).

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Places I really need to make sure I visit now!

Meatball on crouton from Jodie Adam’s of Rialto & Trade

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The crouton was super crunchy which shocked me but this was playful and delicious!

Slow cooked beef over corn bread from Gargoyles

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Scooped to order whoopie pie ice cream sandwiches

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To die. For.

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For some reason I can’t find them online now Sad smile

Thirsty Thursday

Some booze was consumed. It’s open bar so we had to do “a little” tasting Winking smile We won’t name any names but someone (not me) was a bit slow the next morning. We didn’t get to NY until 7:30pm the next day, despite all the original plans to leave early in the AM and spend the day in the city (my sister was getting married the following day).

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Local hard cider. A little dry with a hint of honey. Yum! Smile

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Like I said, there was a bit of drinking ;)

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Randomness

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Made by Mr. Hamersley himself

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Everyone loved this mac & cheese. I’ll stick to their usual leek free kind though (Church is pretty awesome!)

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Bianca and Meghan

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There were so many other blog friends at the event. I loved seeing familiar faces and of course comparing notes on the dishes not to be missed! :)

Katie – the pastry chef at Tremont 647 (we volunteered together with Cooking Matters!)

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I think they served a deconstructed caesar salad sandwich with house cured bacon. Does this look right to you? I was in a food coma by about this time…

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Shady Oaks Organics sells locally cultivated specialty mushrooms (sold at local farmers markets and online). The founders also happen to be from Newburyport where Adam is from Smile

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Meh

Tavolo lobster cream lasagna – pretty bland for such a promising dish

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Jason made a passive aggressive remark about everyone being a food blogger these days. Way to make me feel special, Jason! ;)

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Craigie on Main made hob knobs again! They are crazy delicious but they’ve served them at every food fest I’ve been to. Can we see something else, please?

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Surprise

Brasserie Jo pork belly pate with pickled carrots was actually surprisingly delicious, despite the fact that I don’t love the place (I’ve been there several times since it’s one of the closets places to my condo, and found their brunch to be great but dinner a waste!). I liked the mustard bite of these little babies!

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And there you have it. Despite a bit less variety this year, we still had a really fantastic time. I hope you check out the SOS website to find a Taste of the Nation event near you!

Which dish would you want to try first?

 

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