Casa B is an new restaurant in Union Square in Somerville that will win your heart. It’s a modern take on the Spanish Tasca, bringing together the influences of Colombia and Puerto Rico and creating a dining experience you won’t soon forget.
The atmosphere is warm and inviting. Angelina, one of the owners, greets you as if you are family. Antique doors decorate the wall on the stairway down to a little dining area. A large faux window is filled with tropical greenery. In the front is a little bar area overlooking the prep area. It feels almost like you’re in a friend’s kitchen.
The menu is vast. Tablas (served on a plank with little bowls of assorted snacks), pinchos (small portions of meat or seafood served on bread), and of course, tapas. They also serve cenas, which they describ as “an evening meal to be enjoyed amongst friends and in the warmth of our home.” This captures the feel of the place.
We started with a spiced sangria and an avocado margarita. Then came the oysters. Wow. The food at this place is stunningly presented. I’ve never seen oysters like this. They were grilled and stuffed with sweet plantain corn relish and red pepper aioli sauce, then plated beautifully with some kind of edible flowers on top. Other highlights of included Bacalao Salad over Toast. I’m not normally a huge fan of Bacalao, but this was seasoned perfectly. It was light, yet full of flavor. The Meatballs in Guava sauce doesn’t sound exciting, but try it in Spanish: Albondigas En Salsa De Guayaba. They tasted more like that. And there were a lot of them. We had to stop ourselves. The were out of the Yucca-Stuff Shrimp Wrapped in Bacon with a Cilantro Ginger Dipping Sauce, but I understand they are to die for. I will definitely go back for them.
Desert, was simply beautiful. Chocolate molten cake with homemade vanilla ice cream rolled in toasted coconut over a pomegranate puree. It tasted as good as it looked.
What I love about this place, is that it is the whole package. Simple, modern decor with warm touches. It’s an atmosphere that is uttery charming. Amazing dishes that bring together sweet tropical flavors with savory complements. A very sophisticated spin on comfort food. And lastly, a level of artistic presentation that you might expect in a fancy french restaurant downtown, but not in a little tapas place in Union Square. You can feel the care and attention that goes into each dish. You can also taste it.
I love eating out in Boston, and I think we have an incredible selection of restaurants around town. This one surprised me though. This one is different. Special. Very much worth the trip.
We told the folks at Casa B about our campaign to bring Top Chef to Boston. They were very excited. Turns out they are all big fans of the show. If the show and cast do end up coming to Boston, I’m guessing they leave being big fans of Casa B too!
Are you passionate about food and cooking? Boston-based how2heroes.com is a great place to go for inspiration. Their culinary how-to videos feature professional chefs and mixologist, fishmongers, cheesemongers, chocolatiers, farmers, beer brewers, home cooks, and anyone with a passion for food and something interesting to share.
how2heroes founder, Lynne Viera, is a passionate foodie, and is constantly looking for talent in all sorts of culinary endeavors. She’s built an impressive library of things like how to shuck an oyster, garnish a martini, deep fry a turkey, or make and preserve jam.
You’ll also find Boston’s favorite chefs sharing their secrets here. Like Jody Adams of Rialto (also a former Top Chef Master Chef), who shares her family recipe for savory brown gravy, and Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger (also a former Top Chef guest judge), who not only demonstrates his recipe for Fragrant Thai Mussels with Lime & Green Papaya, but also sharing a fun trick for eating mussels.
While Boston is a focus, how2heroes also covers other culinary hot spots like New York, New Orleans and Austin. One of the chefs recently featured on the site is Paul Qui, Top Chef season 9 finalists. The image below is from his recipe for Sea Bass Sashimi.
Top Chef, we can’t help but notice you have several chefs in common with how2heroes. Boston clearly shares your good taste. Maybe a challenge here could be feature the chefs not only to preparing an elegant dish, but creating a video to inspire their fans at home. We also suspect Lynne would make a great guest judge. So what do you say? Boston next? Perfect!
If you frequent Faneuil Hall, you may have seen a guy hanging from a 30 foot tripod, upside down, in a straight jacket. Meet Jason Escape: Boston’s favorite magician, illusionist, and escape artist. He also performs at events, like this Sunday’s Magic Night Boston at the Medieval Manor, a medieval-themed theatrical restaurant where patrons must eat with their hands, and the food is not neat. Meet him in person and you’ll find that things are very prone to disappearing behind your ear.
The season 10 episode practically writes itself. Cooking in a Gondola and shooting at ingredient targets will seem like child’s play after you get the chefs in straightjackets and watch as they try to escape as gracefully as Jason does before he makes all the best ingredients disappear!
#topchef #youaregettingverysleepy #whenicounttothree #yougottatryboston
There’s new burger joint just south of Boston. Executive Chef Paul Wahlberg, along with brothers Mark and Donnie, opened up Whalburgers in the Hingham Shipyard. And he’s serving up some down home cooking just minutes from their first restaurant, Alma Nove (named after their mother, Alma, and her nine children).
The menu is simple, and often reflective of the family’s upbringing. The Triple Decker is a throwback to their childhood house in Dorchester. Each of three specialty burgers are endorsed by one of the brothers. Paul’s signature is 100% beef, government cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, homemade sweet pickles, and Wahl sauce. Simple, classic, and very tasty.
Also on the menu: hot dogs. The Stray Dog comes with brown mustard, sriracha sauce, and house-made smoked tomato salsa. (Mark has joked about naming the next one The Dirk Diggler Dog!) As to sides, you’re gonna need to to try the sweet potato tots. If that isn’t a good idea, I don’t know what is. Enough said.
The Wahlberg’s have promised simple, down home food. And they deliver. Bon Apétit called Wahlburgers ”wicked pissah!” It and its sister restaurant Alma Nove are well-loved by locals, and are luring folks in from the city for a night on the suburbs.
Word has it that Mark working on plans to shoot a reality series based on Wahlburgers. If it comes to light, you can bet they’ll come to Boston to film it. We’re thinking Bravo’s Top Chef should do the same. Adding Wahlburgers to the list of potential episode locations, and three Wahlbergs to the list of potential celebrity judges.
(photo: Island Creek Oyster Bar)
One of the best things about Boston dining, is the availability of fresh local seafood. And while Lobster gets a lot of attention (as it should!), the city and surrounding region is a mecca for oyster lovers. Here are a few highlights.
The Union Oyster House: It’s the oldest operational restaurant in America. The building was built in the 1600s, when the Boston waterfront came right up to its door. It served in various capacities, even housing a future King of France in 1796. In the 1800s, when oysters were all the rage, it became the Atwood and Bacon Oyster House (check out the original menu here). It eventually became the Union Oyster House, and has served such patrons as Daniel Webster and the Kennedy clan. Incidentally, the first use of the toothpick in the United States was also at the Union Oyster House. But I digress…
(photo: historic photo from the Union Oyster House)
Neptune Oyster: Jeff and Kelli Nace’s restaurant and raw bar has been featured in publications like Food & Wine and Travel & Leisure (including the “World’s Best Awards” issue). They have an amazing selection of oysters and have also been recognized for their wine list. Put this on your “must try” list for the North End.
(photo: Neptune Oyster)
B&G Oysters: This is one of Barbara Lynch’s masterpieces. Simple atmosphere, amazing seafood, and a great selection of oysters. Local oysters from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine are always on the list.
(photo: B&G Oysters)
Island Creek Oyster Bar: This is a newer spot opened by restauranteurs Garrett Harker ofEastern Standard and Jeremy Sewall of Lineage, in partnership with Duxbury oyster farmer, Skip Bennett, known for making Island Creek Oysters famous. Erin Byers Murray, who wrote Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm describes it as “a really stunning example of a farm-to-table type restaurant.”
(photo: Island Creek Oyster Bar)
Learning about oysters: If you’re an oyster fan, consider taking a tour of a local farm, like The East Dennis Oyster Farm on the Cape or the Matunuck Oyster Bar in Rhode Island. The latter, along with the Island Creek Oyster Bar mentioned above, were featured in USA Today’s “10 Great Places to Get Oysters on the Half Shell.”
(photo: East Dennis Oyster Farm)
Final Thoughts: All of the delicious options we have here to enjoy oysters, from the quick top at the clam shack to the high-end dining experience, is yet one more reason why Bravo’s Top Chef should consider coming to Boston for season 10. If you think so too, help support the cause by following us and sharing your thoughts on ourFacebook Page or on Twitter using the hashtag: #yougottatryboston. You can also find us on Pinterest.