Category Archives: restaurants sourcing fair and sustainable food

street food in boston: chickpea fritters and incredible bread from the clover food truck

chickpea fritter sandwich

my mother has been working at the same building at MIT medical my entire life. that’s 27 years (as of last week…yeeesh) that i have been visiting or picking her up on the same exact street in cambridge upon which there have never before been big white street food trucks serving freshly made locally sourced meals. and all of a sudden, i pop into boston for three days and here you are, delightful clover food truck.  so happy to make your acquaintance.

if you don’t obsessively follow the san francisco food scene from halfway around the world like i do, you may not know that street food is big these days. it used to be just the taco trucks and the tamale lady when you were drunk at zeitgeist. now everything from soup to salami and curry to creme brulee is being sold from carts and bikes and trucks and hovercraft all over the city. okay, maybe not the last part, but that would be pretty sweet. anyway, the SF street food scene has seriously blown up recently, as have the NYC and LA scenes, many of whom release their locations in real-time via twitter. even from london, i know exactly when a delicious fatty cured pig part sandwich goes on sale at a random intersection in san francisco and i can only mourn that i’m about 6,000 miles too far away to get in line. it’s gotten so big that it’s even spawned a backlash of anti-street-food-fad-sentiment. yes, you know things have gotten big when the haters come out to play. but ignore them and revel in the excitement that is street food. beyond all the tastiness, what’s particularly exciting is that the amazing people at la cocina are organizing a street food festival and the go game is running a street food themed scavenger hunt!  if you’re anywhere near san francisco, go sign up to play because it’s going to be AMAZING.

anyway. talking about street food gets me so excited that i’ve lost track of the original topic of this post, which was intended to be the excellent clover food truck. hooray boston for not letting sf, nyc, and la grab all the attention and making an impressive showing of your own.

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canteen has great british food: apricot cobbler, mushroom pie, and other surprises

apricot cobbler with custard from canteen

if my keyboard shorts out from all the drool slowly dripping from my mouth, i fully blame canteen and this ridiculous apricot cobbler.  good lord. this dessert is amazing. warm jammy apricot, fluffy sweet breadiness and your very own mini pitcher of creamy custard. mmmmmmmm. as if things can’t get any better, i spy a neal’s yard dairy cheese plate behind it….

i’ve had a wonderful deluge of visitors over the past few weeks (christine, ant, mom, aunt julia and uncle dick, lexi, sarah, peter, drewstew, becky, and dan…whew!) and our major tourist activity has been eating our way across the city. i enjoy forcefully disabusing people of the all-too-common belief that england has terrible food by shoving something amazing in their mouths.  the old spitalfields market location of canteen turned out to be the perfect restaurant to put this tragically untrue myth to rest once and for all, seeing as their motto is ‘great british food.’ but just how great it was even surprised me too.

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frizzante at hackney city farm: wild boar sausage, tomato sunshine, and perfect strawberry clouds of dessert

wild boar salsiccia, parsley salsa verde and homemade bread

FRIZZANTE! according to my italian speaking dining companion kellin, it means ‘sparkling’ as in ‘i would like my water frizzante.’ a less romantic translation could also be ‘gassy’ but i think we can all agree that’s not a good restaurant name.

frizzante is the casual yet intimate, rustic yet gourmet italian restaurant tucked into an unassuming building at hackney city farm. i may have mentioned once or twice how excited i am to live next to a farm in the city with real animals (especially donkeys named larry and calves named rhubarb and custard. GAHH. stop trying to debilitate me with your cuteness). i am even more excited that the farm is home to such a warmandfuzzy feeling place as frizzante.

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a happy birthday at hazelnut kitchen

Over the weekend, Daniel and I made the twenty-minute drive to Trumansburg, NY to dine at the lovely Hazelnut Kitchen. As you may know, the Ithaca/Finger Lakes area is a destination for foodies who love semi-rural areas, beautiful scenery, and local, sustainable, organictastic food (and wine, but I don’t know anything about that, this being my 19th birthday…). Apologies in advance for the sort of bad pictures. The camera was on the verge of dying, and then it did, right before dessert…I’m new here.

The restaurant was tucked away, almost invisible on the main street, small and homey with a bar and a view of the kitchen. They serve Gimme! coffee and the menu lists all the farms they buy products from, including goat cheese producers, apiaries, and so on.

hazelnut-specials

That there is the specials blackboard, and a view of the exposed brick walls. 

I’ll get straight to the good stuff. First, bread and appetizers. 

hazelnut-bread-bucket

The bread came in a little metal pail with green onion butter. It was excellent.

hazelnut-calamari

Daniel started with a calamari watercress salad with black olive vinaigrette, feta, wheat berries, and red pepper coulis. Pretty!

hazelnut-egg

I had this genius creation, which I could literally eat every day for the rest of my life. Bottom layer of semolina pasta sheet. Middle layer of smoked ham, ricotta cheese, and garlicky broccoli rabe. Blanket of sunny-side-up organic farm egg. Be still my heart. Be growly my stomach.

Our entree escapades were equally fruitful, or, perhaps more accurately, meatful. Daniel killed some pan seared duck with plum miso sauce, grilled asparagus, snap peas, and baby carrots, and I housed down a roasted, natural, pasture-raised chicken breast wrapped in the most crisp and delightful bacon I’ve ever eaten, over a vinaigrette bread salad with green onion-wrapped asparagus. Feast your eyes. 

hazelnut-duckhazelnut-chicken1
Bonus points for a crispy little bit of thigh on the chicken as well. You can see it peeking out from behind that green onion. Hello, friend.

Dan and I finished the meal with triple espresso chocolate cake and a warm apple galette, both with amazing vanilla ice cream. Alas, I have no pictures, but I think I’ve probably tortured you enough already.

When will I return to Trumansburg, and bring you with me, you ask? 

chicken-bbq1

May 3 for the chicken BBQ. Buy your bus tickets now.

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nyc food tour, part three: brooklyn italian food pornography, with soundtrack

FOOD PORN. that’s pretty much all this post is. feast your eyes on this centerfold-worthy photo of lemon honey yogurt panna cotta with sweet rhubarb and homemade oatmeal cookies.

rhubarb-and-honey-lemon-pannacotta

mmmmmmmm.  giving some love to that other borough where everyone i know now lives, i went to al di la trattoria in brooklyn over the weekend with my lovely friend olivia and her wonderful mother, lois.  this fantastic restaurant in park slope serves incredibly delicious and relatively uncomplicated northern italian food that is local and organic whenever possible. in case you’d like to add another sensory dimension to your food porn viewing experience, i’ve included a brooklyn-based soundtrack inspired by the saturday night shenanigans at the best dance party in the country, the rub.

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Gimme Coffee Gives Me Coffee

For my first real post on our blog, I’m going to pay homage to the amazing Gimme! Coffee company, originally from Ithaca, where I’m in school, and now in Brooklyn and Manhattan as well. When I arrived in Ithaca in the fall, my barista-extraordinaire boyfriend Daniel, a former employee of Gimme’s Farmer’s Market station, politely made it very clear to me that I wasn’t going to be drinking just any ol’ cup of coffee anymore, at least not on his watch. I’m terribly grateful that he’s brought me into the magical Gimme world. Here are some reasons why (and some photos from mei from our nyc gimme! stop).

my-macchiato-of-love

mei’s macchiato of love

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i want the triple mint sauce from minako organic poured all over my face

i’ve been wanting to go to minako organic on mission for years now, and just managed to sneak a visit in before leaving SF. my friend and delicious-food-and-alcohol-overconsumption partner-in-crime julie went recently and had the best time eating vegetarian sushi and chatting with judy, the good-lord-you’re-adorable server/daughter of the owner, so we went back on one of my last nights in town.  the food is absolutely amazing – i’ll get to that in a second. ok, i guess i’ll let you see a photo first. feast your eyes on this crispy potato wrapped shrimp:

crispy-potato-wrapped-shrimp1

good lord. i would not complain if someone wanted to wrap everything i own in crispy deep fried potato strings as an april fool’s joke. anyone? anyone? anyway, the reason i’m not focusing on the food at first is because there are all these cute personal touches that made me truly adore the place. first off, check out the colorful handwritten specials board with little japanese food magnets. i am a total sucker for this shit:

specials-board

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the porky pork porkorama at mission street food

i hit up mission street food again on thursday with my girl julie. julie is one of my favorite people in the world despite her being a vegetarian and ‘forcing’ me to eat all the delicious meat dishes by myself.

the guest chef on thursday was mari takahashi of sozai restaurant and sake lounge in the inner sunset. i would like to adopt mari and install her in my kitchen as the benevolent goddess of porky love. her MSF menu included THREE kinds of pork product which i had to eat ALL BY MYSELF. poor me. i actually went through the charade of questioning whether i could actually eat it all and reminding myself out loud that i could always take home any leftovers. then i totally destroyed all three dishes on the solo tip because i am into over-the-top gluttony like that.

i started with the bacon xiao long bao, which are shanghai soup dumplings that i got obsessed with when living in nyc chinatown after graduating college. it’s a steamed dumpling typically filled with a super intensely porky broth that is best eaten by putting it in a soup spoon and poking with a chopstick so some of the juice leaks out and cools off and you don’t get a first mouthful of boiling hot magma-style  liquid. these soup dumplings were made with bacon (i am seriously on bacon overload) and were served in adorably multicolored silicone cupcake liners:

bacon-soup-dumplings-in-cupcake-containers

these soup dumplings weren’t the best i’ve ever had (my faves are from nice green bo, formerly new green bo, downstairs from my old apartment in chinatown), with a slightly drier wrapper and less tasty broth inside, but they added an exciting element with the salty smokiness of the bacon. definitely worth a try.

we also started with olives, the smaller darker lucque and my favorite bright green castelvetrano, and a bottle of wine from julie. oh herro.

wine-and-lucque-and-calvestrano-olives

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pizzaiolo and the soft clouds of heavenly porky goodness

i’m on a straight up no-holds-barred godzilla-style food rampage throughout the bay area before i leave for london. last night’s ravenous feeding involved the truly kickass pizzaiolo in oakland. i met the chef/owner, charlie, when he hired the go game to run an event for his staff.  i won’t blow up any spots, but let’s just say charlie and team dirty sanchez showed quite a lot of…spirit. did you happen to spot a dude in a girl’s raincoat and no pants running around the mission last week? there sure are some crazy peeps in this hood.

charlie used to work at chez panisse, so his food is also sustainably sourced, based on fresh ingredients, and well-known to be fucking ridiculously delicious. i love their philosophy, as stated on the website:

Whenever we can, about 98% of the time, we buy only locally grown, organic, seasonal meat and produce. We buy from small farmers we know and love, people we eat with, drink with, and share our lives with. We buy whole animals from ranchers we know and trust: We buy organic flour, milled in Oakland by people who bring their children to Pizzaiolo for dinner. We change the menu every day to reflect the offerings of these remarkable local food purveyors in their freshest most beautiful form.

so, is the food remarkable, fresh, and beautiful? a resounding and wholehearted fuck yes. just check out the new potato pancetta rosemary fontina pizza:

new-potato-pancetta-pizza-closeup

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a night in chez panisse foodie heaven and i can die happy

gorgeous-carrots

i’m welcoming you to my overview of a foodie night in paradise with a gorgeous bowl of root vegetables, just as chez panisse welcomes you into their restaurant. yes, i went to chez panisse last night with some friends, and i think i can die happy now. the whole evening was a joyful blur of old friend reunions, bottles and bottles of wine, warm and friendly people, a kitchen tour (!), and of course, incredible food made from the purest of ingredients.  the pile of knobby, hairy, obviously farm-fresh root vegetables placed next to a bowl of citrus fruits and beautiful loaves of bread tells you exactly that as you walk in – this is a restaurant dedicated to sourcing, cooking, and serving the best ingredients possible with the utmost love and respect.  it’s basically a gastronomic temple of food worship, and i happily bow at their altar after last night’s meal.  it wasn’t that any dish was particularly holy-shit-this-is-so-delicious-it’s-blowing-my-mind amazing, but the whole experience – the attentive, carefully choreographed service, the welcoming and happy-to-show-you-around kitchen staff,  the beautifully printed menus, the little touches like freshly made caramels with the bill – made the evening truly amazing. and of course, the stellar company…

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