Hyper Local Brew Fest

Hyper Local Brew Fest If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you know that every summer and fall I drop down the Boston Local Food Festival rabbit hole.  You can barely pin me down for an evening and BF thinks I’m merely a ghost for about a month leading up to BLFF.  So naturally, when the organizers contacted me about a summer event to promote the festival and find more awesome brewers I was thrilled and immediately said yes.

So, in June the Boston Local Food Festival team with Sustainable Business Networks of Boston is presenting the Hyper Local Brew Fest!  This will be an evening of fun I assure you!  Our line up is looking more and more robust every day and as we speak we already have wineries, meaderies, and breweries signed up and excited to show us their wares.

So when is this fabulous event?, you ask.  It’s June 16th at the Somerville Armory where it will be set up in a very similar fashion to our Brew Fest last year.  There will be two sessions of tastings with tickets priced at $30 each. There will be music, there will be delicious nomables, just like at the festival $5/serving.  In general it’s going to be a magical experience.  You should come.  You can get tickets here. And, if you use the code HYPERLOCAL today only (March 16, 2012) you get 10% off your ticket!

Small Plates at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

This post has been brought to you by kathycancook’s very own “BF”, who also sometimes writes in his own blog.

A few weeks back, Kathy was invited to a blogging event at Fleming’s to experience their new small plate menu items. These type of events more-often-than-not fall into the category of “fun, but gastronomically unremarkable” (even more so when the restaurant is a national chain), so I considered passing on this one, but decided to tag along as a plus-one, aiding with pictures and review-related-thinking-activity-things. What I can report back is pleasant surprise. We were treated to a series of dishes, each one vying for my affections by exploiting my different culinary vices. Like children, I could not choose a favorite and had to eat each one multiple times. As such, I’m going to review each dish briefly so as to avoid gross keyboard-unfriendly drooling.
First up on this new lineup is the Filet Mignon Skewers. The skewers were cooked perfectly (rare-medium-rare for-the-win) and was accompanied by “the Sauce”. The Sauce is comprised of two-parts Gorgonzola, one-part bacon, and thirteen-parts jackalope magic. After being the first to taste it, I promptly (and secretly) snuck around the room looking for anything I could dip into it so as to maximize the relocation of whatever Sauce that was present from cold, unfeeling porcelain dishes into my stomach. Assume from this point forward, that all the other dishes I tried were first consumed as they were intended, and then again with gratuitous amounts of the Sauce drizzled all over.
Next came the Sliced Filet Mignon. Let me just re-iterate again here how perfectly this and all the other meat was cooked. My experience has been that most places (including steakhouses) have difficulty hitting that rare-medium-rare sweet-spot – Fleming’s nailed it each and every time (and let’s face it, if you’re eating over-cooked meat, you might as well not bother).
I’m not a huge fan of chops as a finger food, but these lamb chops were delicious and accessible.

Let’s also not forget the seafood offerings. We tried their tempura-breaded lobster, shrimp skewers, Ahi tuna skewers, and scallops. Full disclosure: I am not a seafood fan, save for very few, very specific exceptions. I tried each of these dishes, and was surprised to enjoy each one – they were actually on par with my all-time favorite, steak (which is nearly blasphemy in my book).
We wrapped up with espresso and white chocolate-covered chocolate truffles, which were their own kind of heaven.
I won’t lie, I was surprised by the quality of Fleming’s dishes. While I don’t consider myself a particularly discerning foodie, I recognize the difference between “pretty good” and “fantastic”. If the quality of these dishes are what can be expected at every visit, I’ll be adding Fleming’s to my list of regular places to eat.
Please Note:
We were also treated to red and white variations of wine, though I don’t feel terribly qualified to judge them. I enjoyed them plenty, but wine is one of my regular blind spots. The event was complementary, but as is the norm here at kathycancook, our opinions are our own.

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Pomflower Cocktail

Let’s talk hot, shall we?  I know that if you live south of the New England you are not really phased by the really hot temps.  But I am.  I’m kind of a pansy when it comes to all forms of extreme temperatures – below 20 degrees give me a book, a warm blanket and a cup of cocoa and tell me when it’s warm again.  When it’s stiflingly hot though – there isn’t a lot I can do aside from try not to move too much.  I know that there are actual ways to combat being hot (drink lots of water, take a cool shower, stand in front of the AC unit until your skin goes numb, etc) but these are only temporary solutions.  They seem to not really solve the problem.

The best way to “beat the heat” that I have learned this summer came on a whim of inspiration the same night I made that delicious focaccia bread.  The visiting friend hadn’t brought much with her when she came down since we had planned an epic day of cooking.  What she did bring though was crucial to our choices that evening – a bottle of prosecco.  Now I have a confession – I prefer cava or prosecco over actual champagne every time, I don’t know a lot about wine but I find a nice cava (Freixenet anyone?) far superior to most sparkling wines.

As we chilled the prosecco (she had brought Lunetta) I started to peruse my cabinets and fridge wondering about cocktails and mimosas.  I eventually settled on this cocktail.  I have heard a lot about elder flower liquor recently around the interwebs and on an impulse bought a nip of it to taste, also I thought the bottle was really pretty.  I tried it alone, not really sippable, but with prosecco and some POMWonderful it was divine.  The complexities of the elder flower liquor really shone with the sparkles of prosecco.  And the way the bubbles burst on your tongue makes these cocktails a lovely hot summer evening drink for me.  I found them indulgent and refreshing, a combination I plan to hold onto for a while longer.

Pomflower Sparkling Cocktail
Note: I made that word up.

1/2 oz Elder flower liquor (such as St. Germain)
1 oz pomegranate juice (such as POMWonderful)
2 oz chilled Prosecco or Cava (I love this with Freixenet but your favorite will probably work too)

Add the elder flower liquor and pomegranate juice to the bottom of a champagne flute and swirl them for a minute to mix.  Top the glass with the chilled sparkling wine.  Serve these with a crostini, or just some tasty bread, while sitting on a porch at sunset.  Marvel at the pinkness of the cocktail and share.

Note: POMWonderful gave me the pomegranate juice to use, but all the opinions here are my own and I would buy the POM juice again to make this cocktail alone.