Produce Playoff 2016 for No Kid Hungry: That’s a Wrap!

Produce Playoff 2016 for No Kid Hungry

This week, the culinary creatives at Betony partnered wth No Kid Hungry to hold the third annual Produce Playoff. After “drafting” their ingredients at the Union Square Greenmarket, some of the world’s finest chefs and beverage experts, including event founders Bryce Shuman and Eamon Rockey (Betony), Bo Bech (Geist), Daniel Burns (Luksus), Flynn McGarry (Eureka), Danielle-Innes (Cosme), Mina Pizzaro (Betony), Leo Robitshcek (The NoMad), Caleb Ganzer (Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels), and Dean Fuerth (Betony), gathered to craft dishes and drinks that showcased their picks in the most delicious ways. More than $75,000 was raised over the course of the evening.

If you missed it, photographer Simon Lewis was on hand to document the prep, the fun, the food, and the spirits. Check out the slideshow below.

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Dining Room, Oyster Bar + Institution: Inside Shaw’s Crab House

Dining Room, Oyster Bar & Institution: Inside Shaw's Crab House

“Either you’re an oyster bar guest or a dining room guest,” says John Gurgone, General Manager at Shaw’s Crab House.

Shaw’s is the 31-year-old Chicago institution known for its simply steamed seafood, and as John points out, the restaurant offers two distinctive but equally iconic experiences. On one hand, there’s the dining room: 330 seats, white tablecloths, 17 servers at a given time, reservations strongly recommended. This is where tourists come in after architectural tours and where locals gather for business lunches or to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.

The oyster bar is a separate room entirely, with around 95 seats available exclusively for walk-ins — a mix of bar seats, high-tops, and casual wood tables. Oysters, predictably, are the main event: the centerpiece of the room is an oyster shucking station, where at any given time 12 varieties are served (six East Coast, six West Coast).

Otherwise, the menus are largely the same, but it’s the vibrant atmosphere that sets it apart: a live band plays jazz and blues music every Sunday through Thursday. Here’s how the two spaces work together. Continue Reading

Oil Have What He’s Drinking: 10 Stunning Oil-Accented Cocktails

There’s an age-old scientific truism that oil and water don’t mix. The same is true of oil and liquor. But that hasn’t stopped crafty bartenders from figuring out creative ways to incorporate a colorful cornucopia of oils into their cocktails. From fat-washing liquors to flambéing citrus rinds and beyond, here are 10 stunning oil-accented cocktails.

The Blanchard, Chicago, Illinois
This is not your same-old-same-old Old Fashioned. Head barman Arunas Bruzas mixes Old Forester Special Reserve Bourbon, vanilla and lavender fume, and aromatic bitters. To complete the creation, he fires up an orange peel. This releases the rind’s zesty oils while reinforcing the bourbon’s smoky elements. Make a reservation at The Blanchard.

Oil-Accented Cocktails

Mourad, San Francisco, California
The Umami + Mint had us at umami (no offense, mint). White tequila is shaken with lemon juice, agave, ‘cumber rounds, mint leaves, and a touch of toasted sesame oil to add the “fifth taste.” It’s served in a double rocks glass with a bewitching ribbon of cucumber that’s sure to inspire you to shoot an Instagram before you take a sip. Make a reservation at Mourad.

Oil-Accented Cocktails

Tarallucci e Vino, New York, New York
The Caprese salad, now in cocktail form – minus the mozzarella. Head bartender Akram Bouchette muddles together cherry tomatoes, basil, simple syrup, and lemon juice before adding olive oil and grappa. Shaken with ice and strained, the pinkish potable comes garnished with cherry tomatoes and viridian basil leaves. Make a reservation at Tarallucci e Vino.

Oil-Accented Cocktails

Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago, Illinois
Beverage director Julian Cox gives a tiki twisted nod to the cult film Friday with his Aloha Felicia cocktail. It changes seasonally, but currently features rum, coconut cream, pineapple, lime, Thai basil, and lemongrass essential oil. The results mash together the sensibilities of the West Indies and the Far East. Make a reservation at Three Dots and a Dash.

Oil-Accented Cocktails

Il Porcellino, Chicago, Illinois
Screech would surely approve. The Saved by the Basil is a complex cocktail sporting Manzanilla fino sherry, lemon juice, Dimmi (an Italian aperitif infused with licorice, rhubarb, vanilla, ginseng, and more), strawberry, dehydrated orange, and a house-made cordial enriched with basil essential oil. Make a reservation at Il Porcellino.

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Dine Like a Local in Boston: An Insider’s Guide to the Best Neighborhoods for Eating Well

Just because you’re a tourist in Boston doesn’t mean you have to eat like one; with some of the country’s best colleges, leading medical breakthroughs, and a true global population, Boston is a world-class city with world-class dining, all nestled into compact, walkable neighborhoods … just perfect for burning off some calories. Here’s where to dine like a local in Boston.

Faneuil Hall/North End

If your time here is short, a walk back in time at this landmark meeting hall with guides in 18th century costumes makes for kitschy fun. But besides mispronouncing Faneuil Hall (rhymes with “manual”), thinking this is the only place to eat in the area would be a mistake. While you will find any number of great pubs — the Hong Kong, Anthem (pictured), and circa-1654 Green Dragon among them — following the scent of garlic along the historic Freedom Trail makes for more fun. If you’re in the mood for a brewski, Bostonia Public House carries several varieties of Sam Adams, crafted just a couple of miles away, along with excellent cocktails, affordable three-course, prix-fixe lunches, savory bar bites, like parmesan polenta fries, and a great beet salad with whipped ricotta, pistachios, and honey.

Dine like a local in Boston

Those old enough to remember the most expensive public-works project in U.S. history, the Big Dig, will dig the Rose Kennedy Greenway, especially beautiful during the summer and fall with its 1.5-mile string of parks, a carousel, contemporary art exhibitions, and swings. A jaunt through brings visitors to either the waterfront with great views at Joe’s American Bar and Grill or Little Italy, where dozens of restaurants open their windows a la the Old Country. Hanover Street may be the most popular — especially Bricco for pre-dinner drinks, such as espresso martinis, and apps, like grilled octopus, — but tucked-away Mama Maria always delights. If it’s raining, check out the covered patio at Il Panino. And if you haven’t had your fill of history, don’t forget to visit Old North Church, where Paul Revere’s infamous “One if by land, and two if by sea” signal is said to have been sent. Is dessert more your scene? It’s worth waiting in line at Modern or Mike’s Pastry for a cannoli and watching servers artfully wind string crisscrossing the ceiling around takeaway boxes.

Cambridge

Penny-pinching college students are fans of iconic Mr. Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers, an institution since 1960, but there are plenty of other smart choices in this home of Harvard University. Creative cocktails at Parsnip like Breeze Through the Trees (featuring pine liquor, gin, lemon, grapefruit, and rosemary) are winning co-eds over, but with mouthwatering mains, like sea bass and duck, at big-plate prices better for when Mom and Dad are in town, Night Market is another new fave. Inventive Asian street fare features banh mi bites for just $2 and daikon fries for $7 with sake slushies to cut the spicy bite. There’s an impressive number of other new restaurants in Harvard Square, including The Sinclair (pictured), a mashup of chef Keenan Langlois creative comfort foods, and an adjoining music hall that’s Boston’s only outpost from independent New York company The Bowery Presents.

Dine Like a Local in Boston

Alden & Harlow is a hit among those too cool for school (don’t forget to check out their grilled carrots at dinner), but if you really want a good weekend brunch (and to “paahhk the cahh in Hahvahd Yahd” for just $3), check out PARK. It’s worth a walk afterward to the Harvard Museum of Natural History for a peek at the amazingly lifelike glass flower collection or to try and spot the narwhal in the Jumanji-like Great Mammal Hall. Cute boutiques, like Mint Julep and Black Ink, abound, and book-lovers will delight in the grand staircase at Harvard Coop (hint: they have a public bathroom).

Further afield in Cambridge’s Central Square, James Beard Award Winner Tony Maws cranks out just 20 bar burgers a night at Craigie on Main, and the mussels and frites at Central Kitchen are a great fill-you-up for just $14. Tech hub and MIT home Kendall Square is booming with several new restaurants, including Smoke Shop, one of Boston’s only BBQ options. Wash it all down at Mead Hall, with one of more than 100 beers on tap, or take a stroll through a real-life “secret garden” high atop the concrete jungle, accessible by elevator in a parking garage at 4 Cambridge Center.

Fenway/Kenmore Square

Most of the peanuts and Crackerjacks around the nation’s oldest ballpark don’t exactly hit it out of the park in a culinary sense, although there are plenty of great places to pre-game before a Sox game. Try Game On or Boston Beer Works — or if you missed out on tickets to the country’s oldest ballpark, stick around Bleacher Bar for a direct view of centerfield through the wall.

Fastball-loving foodies can enjoy a cloth-napkin experience even dressed in a ball cap and shorts at Eastern Standard, where sidewalk dining in the summertime is a grand slam with its butterscotch bread pudding and Jackson Cannon’s cocktails. Neighboring Island Creek Oyster Bar (pictured) is a perfect place to get a taste of bivalves from local suburb Duxbury and other fresh seafood.

Dine Like a Local in Boston

Seaport District/Waterfront

Boston’s newest and trendiest neighborhood has a distinct feel from the rest of Boston, especially with its contemporary rooftops and seaside sidewalk dining, making it a summer favorite for locals and visitors alike. It’s easy to pass an afternoon in the sun trying out the extensive tequila menu at Rosa Mexicano (sober up with guacamole smashed tableside) or with a tiki cocktail at the patio at Committee, where Sunday brunch features a DJ. For the best view from above, check out Outlook Kitchen and Bar at Envoy Hotel with cocktails made from local spirits, or admire the scenery both inside and out at the Institute for Contemporary Art, which welcomes chefs and DJs for its Summer Fridays entertainment series. It’s TGIF at Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, too, featuring free big-screen flicks projected onto a screen with al fresco dining weekly (Jaws makes for an ironic treat.) You can still enjoy the view even if it’s steamy or sprinkling from the third-floor, fully enclosed, glass-walled lounge at Legal Seafoods, or hop on over to Bastille Kitchen (pictured), where the new Sunday brunch offers another opportunity to enjoy the upscale-French-bistro-meets-ski-lodge digs.

Bastille Kitchen

There’s plenty else to do, with childish fun dumping tea into the harbor at the Boston Tea Party Museum, outdoor concerts at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, and lawn games and DJs at Lawn on D.

Downtown Crossing

What was once the city’s gritty transit hub has been revitalized and now buzzes with shoppers flocking to international budget retailers like Primark and H&M and Massachusetts giants TJ Maxx and Marshalls. But it’s all about flash and panache at Yvonne’s, without a doubt Boston’s hottest new restaurant. Despite the waiting list — and list of celebrities who make it a point to come here for shared plates and massive sharable drinks (i.e. the ginormo Moscow Mule, below) — pastry chef Liz O’Connell’s creationslike an After Dinner Twinkieare always playful and never take themselves too seriously. That’s the point of dessert after all, isn’t it? Speaking of playful, many of the city’s theaters are nearby, including the Cutler Majestic and Opera House, and there are free fine-arts to be had on Boston Common park, which features free Shakespeare each summer; this year catch Love’s Labours Lost.

Dine like a local in Boston

South End

With its historic brownstones and meandering brick paths, the South End is romantic by day and sexy at night — but morning may be when this neighborhood hits its stride. Several of the city’s best brunches are all within a mile of each other, including Masa’s 2-course for $9.95, Tremont 647’s Pajama Brunch (come in your most comfortable attire), and Cinquecento, which is $9.95 for coffee, fresh juice, a starter, and a main. Even better, Cinquecento and nearby Gaslight offer free parking for a post-nosh stroll. Mimosas not your thing? Wink + Nod nails the speakeasy concept, or opt for a glass of wine with charcuterie at Coppa or Italian small plates at newcomer SRV, which stands for Serene Republic of Venice.

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