Here are some photos from my last meal at Beacon Grille back in June.
Here are some photos from my last meal at Beacon Grille back in June.
On Sunday, Carlos and I headed to Fenway Park in Boston for the 2013 Phantom Gourmet Food Festival. Carlos had purchased two tickets in advance and they were $30 each. The festival promised 100 different types of food samples as well as music, dancing and festivities. From their commercial on their website, I thought beer was also included but water, beer and wine cost extra (or maybe I just missed when they were passing out beer?!). Bars and restaurants along Lansdowne Street were open exclusively to Festival goers. The Festival was huge, running all down Lansdowne and onto Ipswich. There were hundreds of people there (thousands maybe?) and the festival ran from noon to 4 pm.
I had a mixed experience at this festival. I didn't want to go but Carlos really wanted to and was treating me to a ticket so that I could accompany him. Phantom Gourmet is a local TV show that reviews restaurants in Eastern Massachusetts (and sometimes in other nearby states) and also highlights locally made products. They have an enormous following and their episodes are incredibly popular. Just watching an episode will make you drool. They drive a lot of business to local restaurants so I really appreciate what they do.
The food they focus on is not really my type of food. I've been on more of a health kick recently and I like to try more ethnic and unique foods as well. Phantom Gourmet's typical cuisine is mostly high in calories, big on flavor and mouth-wateringly sinful. I used to be into that kind of food but haven't been in a long time because of my health problems and my focus on being healthy. Also, on Sunday I was two days into a nasty bout of flu so I wasn't particularly hungry or even happy to be outside. However, I tried to have fun the best I could.
There were lots of fans there at the festival and you could pick them out in the crowd because they were wearing purple, Phantom Gourmet's official color. We got there around 12:30 and the festival was already packed with people. They check your I.D. and your bag at the gate for security. Also because of alcohol consumption it's for ages 21 and over only so it was a nice kid-free event. This was a big plus for me! We didn't know how the festival worked and initially we tried to go to each individual booth from the outside. I realized later that the booths were all set up in one long line and you follow the long line and pass each stall one-by-one to get easier access. Each vendor/restaurant had one or two food samples they specialized in.
Types of food: Burgers, Hot Dogs, pickles, pulled pork sandwiches, clam chowder, grilled clams, soup, pretzel bread, garlic knots, flatbread pizza, chips, meatloaf, meatballs, chicken pot pie, popcorn, sandwiches, etc.
Types of dessert: donuts, ice cream, cupcakes, brownies, frozen yogurt, etc.
My thoughts and tips: It was well-organized and the chaos was well contained. But festival goers were pushy, grabby and greedy. You'd get a better experience when the crowd has dissipated some. I recommend going to the festival a good one or two hours after it starts.
All the food I had was delicious. I came with a list of things I wanted to try but barely made a dent. You have to be open-minded and try what you can get your hands on. And be prepared to wait in a long line for what might be a very tiny sample. Lines move fairly quickly which is a bonus.
I wish the booths had better signage. These are mostly local businesses advertising their products and services and I wish I could have been able to identify better who was who. Some had great signs and gave out business cards which did help.
Overall, it was good and I'm glad I went. I think being outdoors made my flu symptoms worse but I still enjoyed it. Will I go again next year? Probably not. $30 is a lot for what ended up being not a lot of food and for being a bit overwhelming with such a big crowd. However, if you don't mind crowds, are patient and really like this type of cuisine, I encourage you to go! You will have a lot of fun and it's wonderful to be at Fenway enjoying the sunshine and eating lots of great food.
|Carlos enjoying some pulled chicken on a piece of toasted bread|
|An all-beef (no pork) meatball. This was the best meatball I've had in a very long time!|
|Turkey and Cheese Panini with a Brownie Shot. Mmm! I love the addition of a little dessert. Felt more like a mini meal than just a sample.|
|I was waiting in line for some mushroom bisque which was delicious with a bit of bread from the neighboring booth.|
|S'Mores Ice Cream from Daddy's Dairy. Oh my goodness this was so good I came back for seconds!|
|Pretzel Bun. Yowzah! This was so good I gobbled it up.|
|Fuddruckers Burger. Not too glamorous looking but that beef patty was divine!|
|Sweet Potato Fries with Cinnamon and Brown Sugar|
|Fried Calamari. Score!|
|Summer Shack's Grilled Clam with a bean and corn salad. Best thing at the festival! The line was long and I wish I could have had more than one sample.|
|Not a lot of people were out in the crowd passing out samples. It was a bit crazy. One brave lady was passing out a tray of tiny cupcakes and we grabbed a couple.|
|Bag of Sweet Potato Chips|
|Utz was there handing out potato chips two bags at a time.|
|I ended up getting 4 of these Kind Bars to take home. The healthiest thing at the festival!|
On Tuesday, Carlos and I headed to Newport, Rhode Island on a day trip. We have both been to Newport before but it had been a while and we had never gone together. It was a fun trip filled with food, drives, walks, mansions and beautiful sights.
We had lunch at The Red Parrot on Thames Street. I had been to this restaurant before. It's in a great location and gets a lot of business because of it. They were packed and we got some pretty crappy service. I was incredibly hungry by the time we got there so I was very impatient. It took forever for us to get service and to get our food. It felt like we were there for 2 hours!
We ordered a half dozen local oysters as a starter.
I'm so happy Carlos has developed a taste for Oysters. He dislikes most seafood but gave raw oysters a try and discovered that he likes them. These were pretty decent.
Carlos got a Greek Salad.
I really wanted lobster so I ordered a Lobster BLT with sweet potato fries. The basil focaccia was supposed to be either toasted or grilled but was neither. It was cold and not very tasty. The insides were delicious though. There were lots of large chunks of lobster, strips of crispy bacon and slices of tomato along with field greens. On the side there was a dipping sauce for the fries and mayo for the sandwich. I skipped the mayo. I'm not a big fan of sweet potatoes but these sweet potato fries were the most delicious ones I have EVER HAD! Perfectly fried, sweet, crispy on the outside, soft in the middle and overall heavenly! If you ever go, you must have these as a side. Even Carlos, who also isn't a fan of sweet potatoes, enjoyed them.
For dessert, we split a slice of coconut cake. It came with fresh pineapple, mandarin oranges and mango puree. The cake was a bit stale and dry but overall it was tasty.
We did a lot of walking an exploring along the wharves, up and down the different streets in the touristy part of town and down some side streets.
Later on, we went down Ocean Drive to see all the glorious sights and headed to the famous Bellevue Avenue. We went to two mansions: Marble House and Breakers (above). I had only ever seen the mansions from the outside and had never been inside so this was a treat.
We went back to the wharves and had dinner at The Wharf Pub & Restaurant.
We had a long journey back home so we ordered iced tea and had plenty of refills.
For an appetizer, we got the house tater tots. This restaurant had different tater tots with all sorts of toppings and sauces. We went with the plain ones which were only $5. It came with rosemary ketchup and whole grain mustard. I can't stand rosemary so I mostly had the mustard. These tater tots were hot, crispy and mighty tasty.
Carlos ordered a Greek Style Turkey Burger. The toppings included tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, cucumbers and parsley. It came with a side of potato wedges. Carlos devoured this plate of food!
I had the Beet & Green Salad with Blackened Local Cod. The fish was an extra add on for about $5. The salad had mixed greens, local ricotta, red onion, toasted pine nuts, pickled beets and croutons. Everything was tasty but the croutons were a bit burnt and they could have been more generous with the beets. I only say this because this was advertised as a beet & green salad.
Now let's talk about that cod. Oh my heavens. That was one of the best pieces of cod I have ever eaten. It was well-seasoned, perfectly (and I mean perfectly) cooked. The cod held together really well and it was blackened just right. I would go back just for that cod. I told the waiter how good I thought it was and I hope he passed that compliment on to the chef.
After, we got some cookies from the Cookie Jar which is right across from The Wharf Pub & Restaurant. No pictures though! For $5, we got an oatmeal raisin cookie, snicker doodle cookie and a peanut cookie. The snicker doodle cookie was the best of the three!
We had fun in Newport, RI and will definitely be going back.
Oh hey there! It's been a while. I have been focused lately on exercise and healthy cooking. And much of what I have made or eaten hasn't really been blog-worthy. I plan to change that and update here more. Another issue I have been having is food photography. Our kitchen is dark and we have no windows there. We had to get rid of our kitchen table too so we have been eating off of a rickety old coffee table. Not the best circumstances for good food photography. I hope to be able to pick up this blog back to it's old glory when we move out into a new home with a better kitchen. Until then, expect some posts here or there.
Now this Chicken & Leek Pot Pie is the best chicken pot pie I have EVER MADE! Leeks are much tastier in this pie than onions. I don't add herbs or celery but feel free to add them in if you want. This is simple and delicious.
Chicken & Leek Pot Pie
Extra Light Olive Oil
1.25 lbs of Chicken Tenderloins, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1-1/2 lbs of baby tricolor potatoes, halved or cut into thirds depending on size
2 leeks halved, sliced and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsps of flour
2 cups of Chicken Broth
Pie crust dough
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp of water)
Makes 6 servings
Preheat oven to 385 degrees
Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a dutch oven or a wide bottomed pot. Once the oil starts to sizzle, brown the chicken. I brown the chicken in two batches. Take the chicken out and set aside.
Add another drizzle of oil and add the potatoes and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Then add the flour, leeks and chicken. Stir so the flour covers all the ingredients Slowly pour in the chicken broth. Stir well.
Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for 10 minutes. Shut off heat and cool for 10 minutes.
You basically want to do all the cooking of the filling on the stove top. The baking time is really for the crust.
Add the filling to a baking pan. I use a 9-1/2 inch oval one.
Cover with your pie dough, stretch and cut off extra bits.
Cut a few diagonal slits along the top. Brush the top with the egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes in your preheated oven.
I forgot to add the egg wash to this one in the photo above. Oops! Otherwise the crust would have been a lot glossier and not as dry. It was still good though.
The filling is a bit light on the chicken but I like it that way. You can always reduce the amount of potatoes and add some more chicken if you want. Fresh herbs would be nice too but since they are expensive and don't keep well in our fridge I skipped them.
It's important to let the pie cool for 20 minutes. Or 10 minutes in front of a fan! Cooling time is crucial so you can serve the pie without it completely falling apart. Enjoy!