Tag Archives: Cambridge

Wine Bar @ Central Bottle

15 Feb

A crew from Island Creek Oysters

Wine, something to snack on and a beautiful space make Thursday “Wine Bar” events at Central Bottle a must on your to do list.   What better way to start off your week end than be stopping by Central Bottle, in Cambridge, just a short walk from the Central Square MBTA stop, and share a glass of wine with a friend or meet some new ones?  Last night, Valentine’s in case you missed it, Central Bottle kicked off the lovers holiday with a special treat of “Buck a Shuck” Oysters from Island Creek, and four different wines.

Six and one equals a bit more than a Hamilton

I tried a glass of the Valentina Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Rosato 2009 and six oysters, straight off the boat, so to speak. The wine was clean and fresh with a bit of flower to it, and it complemented the oysters well.   Six oysters and the glass of wine ran me just a bit over a Hamilton, and when you include the lively atmosphere, it comes out to a very good deal.

Lots of folks starting Valentine's Day at Central Bottle

I’d never been to Central Bottle – it’s been open for a year or so – and it was nice to have a moment to look around.   While I was there I ran into partner Nick, and he showed me around the place despite the crowd of folks hanging out.   Nick explained that in addition to wine they also carried beer as well as provisions for a perfect evening.   The space is well stocked with various wines from around the world, and they are slowly moving more American offerings to the shelves as well.

Close to the door, right were you need them

One of the nice features, if you are looking for a quick bottle that isn’t going to empty your pocket, is that they keep a table close to the door stocked with $ 15 and under bottles, which can be handy for last minute purchase.

For the moment it seems Wine Bar is every Thursday (check their web site for specifics) and I’m going to make sure I get a chance to get down there again soon.

Remember, Food is Love!

Cheers,

Justin

Wonderful Treat

20 Jan

Duck and Foie Gras Sausage in a white bean salad ... Yum!

I was wrapping up my last day at work this week today, prior to a long week end and vacation, and while monitoring twitter and I noticed Chef Michael Scelfo of The Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square posting that he was “having some fun working on a sausage consisting of duck meat, pork fat, sage, foie gras, & meletti amaro.”   Well since I had just recently spent the day butchering a rabbit and making a rabbit pate for the first time, this caught my eye and I mentioned jokingly that if the Chef need any tasters, that I would be willing to help out.

Not ten thirty minutes later, after this tweet from Chef, “slow poaching some duck/foie/meletti test links, thinking a warm, mustardy white bean salad, w/ vinegar tinged shallots & LOTS of parsley,” I was sitting at the bar in The Russell House Tavern, having been invited over by Chef Scelfo, and shortly after presented with a beautifully composed appetizer.  I cut and tasted the sausage first.  The rich flavor of the foie gras was pleasantly balanced by the duck and pork, and the slow poaching made for a luscious feeling in my mouth.  My next bite included some of the white bean salad, that included a dash of vinegar that added just the perfect amount of acid to complement the richness of the foie gras.

I finished my portion easily, talked about it with Chef Scelfo, and thanked him for the opportunity.   He mentioned that they will be run as specials in the coming days and week, so If I were you I’d head on down and get me some of these wonderful treats.   I know I’ll be back for them soon!

Remember, Food is Love

Cheers,

Justin

Lunch

13 Jan

A view onto JFK Street from my window seat on the square

Lunch in Harvard Square is a smorgasbord of choices.   From pizza joints too numerous to name, Chinese at The Hong Kong,   and most recently the addition of Clover Restaurant, there is a never ending supply of places to grab something quick or linger over a couple of drinks. Since the new year, I’ve been having soup for lunch on a regular basis, and today I thought I would try some place I had never eaten at before, The Russell House Tavern.

I’ve been to The Russell House on various occasions, and although I’ve had oysters there, I’ve never had anything else off the menu. The place is separated into two distinct areas.  Upstairs is a tavern setting, with a bar that will seat about 10 or so, and a number of high top tables that seat couples and groups large and small.

The menu at The Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square

I was seated at a hightop that looks out on JFK street, in a corner where I could see the whole place.  My server was very attentive and arrived quickly with some water, and let me know about the specials.  Potato soup with bacon and onions was the soup du jour, and I ordered that as well as a Mikey’s Spanish Sub, a slow roasted pork loin with pickle salad, harissa-ginger aioli and Manchego cheese.

Potato soup

The potato soup was tasty, once I added a bit of salt and pepper.   The essential flavor was fine, but I found the soup slightly thin.  I assumed there would be chunks of potatoes, which I was looking forward to without even knowing it.

Micky's Spanish Sub

My sandwich arrived, straight from the kitchen (a food runner delivered it, not my server, just like my soup) and the pressed bread was still slightly hot to the touch.   I chose to have my sandwich with mixed greens rather than fries, and the volume of greens was perfect.   Sometimes “mixed greens” means a few leafs of lettuce thrown on a plate, but this was not the case.

The pork loin and pickled salad went perfectly together, and the harissa-ginger aioli added a slight tang and a bit of heat.  I could have used a bit more of the manchego, but I guess the lack of it made for a lighter sandwich which is better for me anyway.

Good Sandwich and a Great Salad of Mixed Greens

Overall I had a great lunch, and I’m sure I’ll be back.  I would have prefered to have half a sandwich and the cup of soup for a bit less cash (the whole meal cost me a Jackson, with only water to drink) but I walked out with my other half of sandwich which I’ll enjoy tomorrow for lunch.   Service was good and it was nice to sit someplace other than my desk while I had lunch.

Remember, Food is Love!

Justin

Red, White and Boston

6 Jan

A sample of the evenings selection for us to taste

Whew, what a great event!

I will admit here, as I did to anyone who would listen to me tonight, that I am a neofite when it comes to this blogging about food and wine.  That said, if tonight is any kind of an indication of the world I am dipping my toes into, I can tell you now that I am straight up ready to jump in with two feet!

The wine tasting this evening, coordinated by the talented folks at Red White Boston, was held at the Enormous Room in Central Square, Cambridge.  Easy access by the MBTA put me on the door step this cold night way too early for the start of the event, so I slipped down stairs into the Central Kitchen and had a few oysters from Duxbury before making my way up to the event.  I’ve never been to Central Kitchen, but the wine offerings were nice, and the oysters fresh, so I’m sure I’ll be back there soon.

Once upstairs I was greeted, along with various others, by Cathy Huyghe the founder of 365daysofwine.com, and of Red White Boston.  Cathy encouraged us to put our jackets down and move into – yes – THE enormous room, and share some Gloria Ferrer, Blanc de Noirs, NV, which was just being poured.   The exposed brick walls, and dark muted colors of the room were classic, and there was ample seating, with small glass tables for everyone.

Cathy Huyghe, founder of Red White Boston introducing a wine

The Gloria Ferrer has a light pink hue to it, and was refreshingly light, with a fruity citrus taste.  It was a perfect way to start the evening, a kind of aperitif for our adventure.  By the time we reached the third of six or seven wines we were sampling this evening, the crowed had settled out to a comfortable 30 or so people, and there was an amazing energy in the room.  Although this was my first event like this, it was welcoming, informative, friendly and I not only learned quite a bit, but met some amazing people.

Cathy Huyghe, right, texting and tweeting as glasses stand ready to be filled

One of the “off the list” wines we tasted this evening was from a brand new distributer, Panther Distributing, located in Wilbraham, MA.  Daniel, from Panther, was there with a couple of wines out of Australia, and we were able to try among others the K1 Chardonnay.  I’m not a white wine person for the most part, but this Chardonnay was very nice, not too overpowering, and quite refreshing for me, and I enjoyed it very much.

Cathy Huyghe showing off some other wine

 

Chateau Nozieres, Ambroise de l'Her, 2006 (Malbec, Cahors, France)

One of the surprises for me was the Chateau Nozieres, Ambroise de l’Her Malbec from France.  We normally think of Malbec as a from Argentina, but this is a French Malbec, was tasty and with just the right amount of tannins and spicy fruit flavor, for a Hamilton it is a great wine and one I am sure to purchase soon.

We finished up the evening with a number of other wines … a couple of different Syrah from France, as well as another Malbec, but the one we were building up to was a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon from Nicolette Christopher in Napa Valley.

Having this wine tonight reminds me of a scene in a movie with Sean Connery, that came out when I was actually living in France.  In The Untouchables, Sean Connery plays an Irish cop in Chicago trying to bring down Al Capone, played by Robert De Niro, and in one scene he is up against one of Capone’s henchmen, and the bad guy turns on Sean Connery with a knife, and Malone, Connery’s character says “Isn’t that just like a wop? Brings a knife to a gun fight.”

The Nicolette Christopher Cabernet was .45 tonight in the midst of a pocket knife convention.

Nicolette Christopher is a small wine maker located in the heart of Napa, California.   The name comes from the wine makers themselves, Nicolette and Christopher, and it is clear from the wine that the small scale, personal attention they give to their product is what makes it outstanding.   It was by far the most expensive wine we tasted this evening, at around a Grant, but well worth it in my book.

Nicolette Christopher, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003

James McGowan

We also got a chance to hear from a local wine maker, James McGowan, who hails from Ayer, MA, and he explained to us a bit about the wine making process, and how he does it right here in the Bay State, but that my friends will be another post for the future.

Thanks again to everyone involved, and in addition to all this wine tasting and wonderfulness, I was also introduced to a number of wine and food bloggers including Lindsay Morriss and Ali Horeanopoulos, from Second Glass, and I encourage you to check out their blogs and see what they are up to in the near future.  There is a lot of good stuff going on our there!

Remember, Food is Love!

Cheers,

Justin