Category: Boston Events

500 Diners, 18 Chefs, 8 Brewers, 4 Cuts, 1 Winner

Cambridge is full of hidden oases from a zen garden in North Cambridge, a roof top garden near MIT, to a pasture in The Charles Hotel where a flock of not so sheepish diners, chefs, and brewers converge once a year for Boston’s Lamb Jam.

After hours of sampling the gamut of dishes that the chefs prepared from four cuts of lamb a People’s Choice, Best in Show and Category winners were declared.

This year’s People’s Choice was the colorful crêpe with layer upon layer of flavors.  Cassie Piuma of Oleana won the hearts and palates of the 500 lovers of lamb with her Lebanese style lamb crêpe with harra sauce, crushed walnuts, cucumbers and pomegranate.  For those of you who missed this year’s event, you can sample some of Oleana’s fabulous lamb  in their Lamb with Turkish Spices, Pita & Everything Green with Garlic & Yogurt or Moussaka.  Or, you can head to Sofra for their lamb shawarma.

Winners for each cut category were as follows.  Chef Brian Reyelt of Citizen had a leg up on the competition winning with his lamb leg and bone marrow polpettone with bourbon cherries.  Chef Brian Alberg of the Red Lion Inn won best shoulder dish with his lamb shoulder and kale meatballs with Farm Girl Farm smoked tomato purée served with a Parmesan croustade.  Best shank dish was an elegant braised lamb shank terrine served atop a round of caraway brioche and topped with a crispy lamb bacon from Chef Michael Scelfo of Russell House Tavern.  Best loin hailed from Rhode Island and was  La Laiterie‘s Chef Matt Jennings‘ Korean flavored deli creation a Korean lamb reuben with a red miso cured lamb loin, sauerruben, gochujang thousand island dressing and smoked Emmentaler on a semolina and lamb fat roll.

Lamb Shoulder & Kale Meatballs with Farm Girl Farm Smoked Tomato Puree & Parmesan Croustade (Chef Brian Alberg of The Red Lion Inn)

The winner for Best in Show at Boston’s Lamb Jam is Chef Brian Alberg of the Red Lion Inn.  He will go on to compete in the Lamb Jam finals at Savor the Central Coast in California at the end of September.

For more Lamb events, head over to Fans of Lamb and check out their upcoming events and contest.

Burrito Bowl: Can Sweet Cheeks Take Another Title?

The first Annual Burrito Bowl took place last year before that other famous Bowl right here in Boston at Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake! With chefs from ChurchTarantaTremont 647BolocoOlé Mexican GrilleGargoyles on the Square and of course Chef Poe there was more than one fantasy team at play. The trophy of this game was to win a spot on Poe’s Kitchen Super Bowl menu and of course bragging rights.  This year Burrito Bowl II is taking place Saturday, February 4th in honor Super Bowl XLVI with each chef creating a signature burrito to represent their favorite NFL team.  Since this is the burrito bowl each burrito will be served up in a bowl rather than rolled as a classic burrito.  Tickets are $15 and can be bought online.

This past weekend both Church and Sweet Cheeks cooked up some chili as they fought for a title at the chili cook-off.  Tiffani Faison of Sweet Cheeks BBQ captured the prize with her judge’s choice chili made with rice beans and accented with a cilantro mint chutney.  We can’t wait to see what these top notch chefs will pull together for their burrito bowls.

This year’s line up:

SeattleTremont 647 Chef Andy Husbands

AtlantaPoe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake Chef Brian Poe

San FranciscoLolita Chef Brian Roche

Green Bay - Olé Restaurant Group Chef Erwin Ramos

WashingtonBoloco Chef Jason Hutchinson

HoustonChurch Chef Jon Gilman

New EnglandPigalle Chef Marc Orfaly

DallasSweet Cheeks BBQ Chef Tiffani Faison

PittsburghTaranta Chef Jose Duarte

Other players for the Burrito Bowl will be shots of Tequila and the attendees who will be given ballots to vote.  While attendees have a say in who will win the People’s Choice award there was also an official panel of judges with Dan McCarthy (Urbandaddy Editor), Scott Kearnan (Stuff Magazine) and Jenny Johnson (TV Diner).

Last year, the winner of the People’s Choice award was Gargoyles in the Square’s playful burrito bowl atop a crunchy layer of Fritos with pork and a crumbled layer of blue cheese.  The winner of the first Annual Burrito Bowl, however was Chef Duarte’s digital delicacy with a QR coded tortilla.  The winning Burrito “Mayamero” consisted of Mojito Marinated Suckling pig, Congri, Raw Sugar Cane and Cinnamon braised sweet plantains, queso fresco, fried yucca, red onion criolla salad, Aji Amarillo Aioli, and a dash of rocoto.


Fenway May be Frozen but It Is Hot This Weekend

The Fenway flock are getting ready to fly south in a few weeks, for Spring Training,  but not everyone gets to be a snowbird. Even if our beloved ballpark is hibernating for the winter now that Frozen Fenway has come and gone, there is still so much to do at a ball’s throw from the park.

This Satuday, Church Boston is hosting a chili cook-off with an amazing assortments of chili simmering in each neighboring chef’s kitchen.  Read more.

Brunch is definitely best enjoyed this time of year.  Sleep in and then enjoy some hot dishes perhaps a little sweet treat with a touch of richness on the side.  FoodieBytes blogger shares her brunch experience as she headed out with the Boston Brunchers at none other than the Lansdowne Pub.  Read more.

If you sleep past brunch, long awaited, Top Chef (runner up but who’s counting)  Tiffani Faison’s Sweet Cheeks BBQ is up and running with great reviews.  I guess sweet cheeks make happy bellies.  Sweet Cheeks is open for lunch, dinner and late night.

Whether you wait for spring training or you head there this weekend.  While the cat’s away the mice will play and play and play.  Come opening day, you’ll be ready and know the neighborhood beyond the Green Monster.

Most Wanted Chefs On the Lam(b)

Save the date because Sunday, February 19th is not only the first day of Spring Training but another rite of spring is the Lamb Jam!  The American Lamb Board and some of  Boston’s most spritely lamb loving Chefs will compete for the title of Boston Lamb Master.  This third annual celebration of lamb mastery will be held at The Charles Hotel in Harvard Square.

The mug shot! Last year, Chef Jason Santos’ winning dish was a Poached Lamb Loin with Black Truffle, Cauliflower Espuma, Bee Pollen and Fried Garlic. Photo courtesy of American Lamb Board

This year’s host is TV Diner’s Billy Costa, who has celebrated lamb month in the past by heading over to the Viking Center and cooking up some lamb lollipops (recipe included) with North End chef Damien DiPaolo.  In addition to tasting some amazing lamb dishes, lamb jammers will be treated to butchery demonstrations by Chefs Nuno Alves and Chris Douglas of Tavolo and butcher Josh Pert from the Meat House, local brewers will be serving beer to to pair perfectly with the lamb you will be enjoying.

Media judges and attendees will be awarding Best in Show and a People’s Choice award.  The Oscars have nothing on this red carpet line up of A-list chefs.   The restaurants competing for these titles include 606 Congress, Bistro du Midi, Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar, Clink, Garden at the Cellar, Henrietta’s Table, La Laiterie Bistro, Oleana, Pain D’Avignon, Storyville, Red Lion Inn, Rialto, Russell House Tavern, Sel de la Terre, Summer Winter, Tavolo, The Fireplace and Tomasso Trattoria.  In a supporting role, are the participating breweries, which include:  Berkshire Brewing Company, Blue Hills Brewery, Cape Ann Brewing, Harpoon Brewery, Ipswich Ale, Mayflower Brewing Company, Pretty Things Beer and Rapscallion.

2011 “Best in Show” Prize from Chef Jason Santos (formerly of Gargoyles now at Blue Inc.) went on to the Master Lamb Jam competition in NYC. Photo courtesy of American Lamb Board

Lamb Jam tickets are a steal at $50 each because aside from bragging rights for being a part of it all ticket price includes all food and beverages and a portion of the proceeds goes to Share Our Strength.  From now until January 25, fans of lamb can take advantage of a shepherd to chef special and purchase three tickets for the price of two.  Tickets are available at www.FansofLambBoston.com.  To stay in the loop become a fan on Facebook or follow @FANofLAMB on Twitter.