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The World Series: Food Edition. Boston vs St. Louis, Ted Drewes vs Toscanini’s

Here we go, it’s late October again, which can only mean three major subjects at Trev’s Bistro: Pumpkin everything, Halloween candy, and the World Series: Food Edition.

Last year San Francisco defeated Detroit handily for food & drink. Then the Giants followed suit with a baseball sweep. However for the Super Bowl in early February, the 49ers lost to the Ravens despite San Francisco defeating Baltimore at the table and the bar.

The Gateway Arch, St. Louis, MONow for the 2013 World Series we have two very fine and if I may say, underrated, food and drink scenes in St. Louis and Boston. In both towns the food and drink take back seats to their beloved Cardinals and Red Sox during the season. But there’s no doubt this match-up of food and drink will be as close as the two excellent teams on the field.

This championship is based on my experience and knowledge with both cities. It is not perfect. Both scenes have WAY more exciting options than what is listed. Please feel free to create your own lineups. Yes, I have much more experience with Boston’s dining scene and am a longtime Red Sox fan, but this is a completely unbiased showdown. Good food and drink doesn’t relate to baseball team bias, at least for me.

Since this is baseball, we’ll craft a starting lineup of nine “players,” a starting pitcher, a set-up man out of the bullpen, a closer, a manager, a broadcaster, and a mascot for our “teams.”

The mayors of the two cities elected not to bet each other this time around, but other city officials did. If the Red Sox win, St. Louis would send a six-pack of Schafly beer, toasted ravioli from Ricardo’s, and a smokehouse specialty from The Shaved duck. If the Cardinals win, Boston would send Harpoon’s Oktoberfest beer, shepherd’s pie from Amrheins, and clam chowder from Legal Sea Foods.

Fenway Park

Fenway Park

That’s a nice little wager. Bonus points for both cities going the microbrewery route (we’re not talking about you, Samuel Adams). However, it’s time for the big leagues. Let’s play ball Boston and St. Louis. (more…)


Tuesday’s Project: Two Comfort Recipes for Tonight

Tonight wherever you may be, we all need some comfort cuisine during these tragic times.

More than any other night, this evening seems perfect for two classic Boston icons: a bowl of clam chowder and some Indian Pudding for dessert. We may be thousands of miles away from New England, but hopefully comfort food such as these two dishes can bring us closer to those affected by yesterday’s tragic events.

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Let’s first start with the chowder that you can find up and down New England and even at many of the most recent Presidential inaugurations, courtesy of Legal Seafoods. Make sure not to forget stirring in the flour during the middle of the recipe, or the chowder will curdle and lack the necessary thickness.

Finish with dessert, which has to be Durgin Park’s Indian Pudding, the molasses and corn meal based dessert served at this Faneuil Hall landmark for the past 180 years. I’m not sure if Samuel Adams enjoyed the pudding, but I certainly do centuries later. Be very careful not to burn the top and at the 5 hour mark, use a toothpick for measuring the interior’s moistness.

Keep in mind the baking time is 5-7 hours. Don’t even think of enjoying this without a scoop of ice cream– vanilla or an earthy flavor such as pumpkin or the umami- filled burnt sugar flavor at Cambridge’s fantastic ice cream shop, Christina’s.

In times like these, this is what comfort food is for. Hopefully some clam chowder and Indian Pudding from two Boston legends can provide a few moments of solace this evening.


Boston Restaurants Giving a Helping Hand

Here is an ongoing thread of Boston restaurants that are currently having or planning fundraisers for those affected by yesterday’s tragedy and the heroic first responders who helped save so many other lives.

Many thanks to Easter Boston for putting together this list and to the many chefs and restaurateurs volunteering their precious time and resources for this important cause.

 


Boston, You’re in Our Hearts

From all of us here at Trev’s Bistro, our hearts go out to the victims and loved ones of yesterday’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon. We’re all thinking of you, Boston. Stay strong and stay safe.

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Monday’s Neighborhoods: Fenway Park/Kenmore Square, Boston

I still claim that the Fenway Frank is the premier regular hot dog in baseball. 81 afternoons and nights a year (hopefully 10 or so more with the postseason too) Fenway Park fills up with its 37,000 plus capacity of the Red Sox Nation making the pilgrimage to one of sport’s most quirky and exciting venues. My guess is at least 30,000 of those Sox fans each game enjoy the Fenway Frank, steamed in beer of course (the secret). Now is the time for a Fenway Frank and to visit Fenway, celebrating its 100th birthday this year…and now that the Red Sox are winning again.

Year-round though there is always a lot more going on in the Fenway-Kenmore Square area besides baseball, though baseball is always at its heart even in the hockey days of January. The two areas are really two separate micro neighborhoods, split by the Massachusetts Turnpike, and connected by an overpass. The pair though are very inter-connected, both bordered by Boston University’s campus and served by the Kenmore Square T subway stop. Right outside the T Stop, you’ll see the Barnes and Noble-Boston University Bookstore. What just seems like a bookstore is actually the famous building with the Citgo Sign on its roof, a sign every baseball fan knows from watching games at Fenway on T.V.

Kenmore Square is mostly home to various student-friendly, family-friendly eateries à la Pizzeria Uno, Bertucci’s, and Qdoba. However, right by the T station is a little gem: the Hotel Commonwealth with not one but two worthwhile eateries. The Island Creek Oyster Bar is the spot to cozy up to the bar for a dozen oysters from Wellfleet and Nantucket on the halfshell, lobster roe noodles with maitake mushrooms and braised short ribs, along with anything seafood. It’s a rare oyster bar actually owned by an oyster farm. Also in the Commonwelath, Eastern Standard is one of Boston’s go-to late night spots, in the same style as the big brasseries of Paris without the French edge. Cocktails are standouts here. In a way, it’s the Balthazar of Boston.

Across the overpass you’ll first arrive at Cask n Flagon on the corner of Brookline and Landsdowne. Cask n Flagon is arguably the marquee sports bar in a city full of them (yes, more marquee  than Cheers, also known as the Bull & Finch). Landsdowne Street is the focal point of the dining and drinking activity for the area, turned into a pedestrian thoroughfare on gamedays. If going to the game, be sure to get a sausage from The Sausage Guy vendor on Landsdowne before heading into Fenway. With the Green Monster on one side of the street, various bars such as the House of Blues, the Tequila Room, and the everything in one Jillian’s line Landsdowne. At the intersection with Ipswich is the excellent La Verdad Taqueria, from Ken Oringer, one of Boston’s premier chefs at Clio, Uni, and Toro. Just a stroll on Landsdowne shows the old Fenway area with the park on one side and the new vibe of the area, with hip bars and award winning Mexican food on the other.

Red Sox fans before the game on Yawkey Way...after maybe going to one of the area's new exciting bars and restaurants?

Off the first base side of Fenway is one of the newest and most promising bars: Jerry Remy’s, owned by the Red Sox’ beloved television analyst and former second baseman. My last visit last season involved a pumpkin ale from Shipyard Brewing in Portland, Maine, along with Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, very impressive draught choices in the land of Samuel Adams. Did I mention sports bars? The very similar Boston Beer Works can be found opposite Jerry Remy’s off the third base side.

A block down Boylston from Jerry Remy’s is the exciting new Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar, amidst neighboring Burger King and Subway. Again, quite the juxtaposition. Further down Boylston is another new addition, Sweet Cheeks BBQ from former Top Chef contestant Tiffani Faison, quickly becoming the darling of the neighborhood. The 4,700 pound smoker creates some of Boston’s best short ribs and briskets, on game day or any day. A few blocks off Boylston on Jersey, towards the Fens, is a tiny Northern Italian gem, Trattoria Toscana…not a sports bar at all, but a civilized, charming slice of Italy in the capital of Red Sox Nation.

It’s an intriguing area culinary-wise, with a smorgasbord of sophisticated options, sports bar, regular bars, student friendly joints, and family restaurants. The one thing in common: on game day, everyone is wearing their Sox gear and debating the latest questionable Bobby Valentine move.