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FREE! Fall 2011

Pizza Wars! Greek vs. Italian

“Killer” New Wines!

Delicious Gluten Free Fall Recipes The Student Prince Keeping Tradition Alive Ceres Bistro The Goddess of the Harvest Vapiano Eating Healthy in Boston’s Theatre District


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Rovezzi’s has always been known as the ultimate in fine Italian dining, but many may not know about our affordable mid-week dining. With our comfortable atmosphere and personal attention, Rovezzi’s is the perfect meeting place for a casual dinner or that important business meeting. If you don’t see exactly what you’re craving on the menu, just ask our chef to customize a dish to satisfy your appetite. Rovezzi’s Restorante - “Buon Appetito Miei Amici”


Fall 2011 Contributors Publisher: Mercury Media & Entertainment, LLC Managing Editor: Domenic Mercurio Contributing Editor: Julie Grady Social Media: Jodie Lynn Boduch Much Ado Marketing Writers and Contributors: Matt Webster, Alina Eisenhauer, Ellen Allard, Jeff Haynes, Elaine Pusateri Cowan, Jodie Lynn Boduch, Peggy Bridges, Ryan Maloney, Christina Whipple Professional Photography: Scott Erb & Donna Dufault Erb Photography Art Director: Rick Bridges Richard Bridges Design Website Developer: Jeff Lerman, Cold Spring Design Account Managers: Dianne Potenti, Henry Agudelo, Tina Anderson, Andrew Bausman, Carol Adlestein, Paige Pascarelli, Bob Willis Foodies of New England Magazine Box 380 Sturbridge MA 01566 domenic@mercurymediallc.com scott@erbphoto.com jodie@muchadomarketing.com All content Š2011, Mercury Media Entertainment All Rights Reserved Printed in USA Foodies of New England assumes no financial responsibility for errors in advertisements. No portion of Foodies of New England, advertising or editorial, may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. The information contained in this publication is believed to be accurate, however the publisher does not guarantee its accuracy. The opinions expressed by others within this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher or its employees. By accepting advertising neither Foodies of New England nor Mercury Media Entertainment is endorsing or guaranteeing the quality of service or products within those advertisements. Every effort is made to ensure that the advertisements come from reputable companies, however we cannot take responsibility for how an advertiser deals with the public.

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Contents Features

14

Pizza Wars! Greek vs. Italian

14

52

The Student Prince Keeping Tradition Alive!

60

Farm Fresh Eggs at the Country Hen Local egg farm located in Hubbardston, MA

70

Pasta and Life: 101

History, recipes and more from Executive Chef Christopher Rovezzi!

74

The Sopranos

52

A dinner with Sopranos’ cast members complete with 7 courses of Sopranos-brand wine

86

Ceres Bistro

The Goddess of the Harvest

98

Wildflour Bakery

A Vegan bakery in Pawtucket, RI

116

Vapiano

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A healthy Italian eatery in Boston’s Theatre District

124

The Odd Couple

A catering company keeps it ‘All in the Family’

Cover: Enrico’s Amanti di Carne Pizza:

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Departments

56

The History of Garlic

56

64

You know it when you smell it, you know it when you taste it!

64

Gluten Free

Fall Harvest Gluten Free recipes

80

Food for Thought The Benefits of Organic Foods

90

Desserts

New York Style Cheesecake with Cranberry Pear Compote

92

Beer Review

Beer Pairing Weihenstephaner

102

Healthy at Home Dressed to Kill

112

Whiskey

Under Loch & Key

102

120

Wines of Distinction A ‘Trou’ American Value

126

Something to Drink Perks Coffee House

112 Foodies of New England

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Harvest Turkey - Corner Grill

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Foodies of New England


The Foodies Have Voted!

You named Executive Chef Mark Hawley of Flying Rhino Café & Watering Hole in Worcester... Worcester’s Best Chef - People’s Choice 2011.

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Flying Rhino Invites You to Try Chef Mark’s Harvest Menu Starting September 28th

Scan with your Smartphone and visit our website

278 Shrewsbury Street • Worcester, MA 01604 • 508-757-1450 • www.flyingrhinocafe.com

Foodies of New England

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Letter

from the

Editor

Happy Harvest, Foodies! When you’re talking about comfort and color, what epicurean delight could more accurately fit the bill than pizza? In this issue, we toured and interviewed pizzaiolas – pizza chefs – from around New England, and came up with the Best of the Best in Pizza Wars. Sorry, no scratch-and-sniff on our photographs – yet. For you nostalgic types, Jodie Boduch takes us back into the gastronomic annals of herb history and come up with The History of Garlic. And who’s a better friend to garlic than pasta? Chef Chris Rovezzi shows you just how to create that velvety carbohydrate in your own kitchen with Pasta 101. In keeping with the quasi-Italian pace, Foodies of New England had the exclusive interview with Sopranos cast members at the Sopranos Wine Dinner in Massachusetts this summer, which featured vibrant Neapolitan recipes and wines from all over Italy.

If you’re lucky enough to live in New England, you know that the Fall brings some of the best taste sensations the palate can possibly experience. We’re talking color, variety, texture, comfort, and nutrition – it’s all part of the New England culinary landscape this time of year. With all that going for us, it wasn’t too difficult for our writing team, photographers, designers, and editors to find compelling subject matter to share with our valued Foodies fans.

Shifting slowly, we visit Boston’s Theatre District to scope out a first-class Italian eatery that was born in, surprisingly, Germany! Speaking of Bavaria, our team ventured out to Springfield to delve into the 75-year-old Student Prince, one of the oldest German restaurants in the nation. Onward we forge, uncovering organic eggs with our new contributor Christina Whipple and a review of the entirely vegan bakery Wildflour in Rhode Island, which is done by 11 year old Sonia. While we’re on the subject of things that are good for you, we’ve spotlighted the Living Earth in Worcester in The Benefits of Organic Foods, and our own Ellen Allard has some terrific gluten-free, cool-weather recipes just for you! In New England, Fall just wouldn’t be Fall without the harvest, and the harvest goddess has blessed us with splendid farm-to-table offerings from her namesake, Ceres Bistro in Worcester. If you’re staying home for dinner, get Dressed to Kill and let Elaine Pusateri Cowan take you step-by-step through a Healthy at Home Fallfavorite with a twist. Or, check out the latest and greatest rustic recipes from local culinary icon, Chef Enrico Giovanello, from his recent appearance on Foodies TV. Having a special occasion and want to send out for dinner? No problem; consult our criss-crossed crazies of catering, “Felix” and “Oscar” at Odd Couple Catering – they even make their own salad dressing! For dessert, celebrity chef Alina Eisenhauer prepares New York Style Cheesecakes with Cranberry Pear Compote, and our Grand Chancellor of Beer Matt Webster offers the perfect accompaniment. There’s nothing like a nightcap, so we’re adding a new array of colorful concoctions for your sipping pleasure. Be sure to peruse Something to Drink with Jeff Haynes and Wines of Distinction for a look at a Californian gem. After, Ryan Maloney takes you through a complete look at Whiskey… Under Loch and Key. Whatever your fun food fancy this Fall, Foodies, you’re sure to get a lot of use out of this edition; so find a nice, warm, safe place to store It – you’ll be going back for more throughout the entire year! Bon Appetit—Buon Appetito—Buen Provecho—Guten Appetit

Domenic Mercurio, Jr. Editor/Publisher

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‘Pizza’...Today Pizza is a culinary fixture in our country. Although its origin is foreign, Pizza has become as American as, well… apple pie. While the USDA doesn’t report specific detail about pizza consumption (only categories of ingredients contained in pizza, like wheat, tomatoes, cheese, etc.), it is reported elsewhere that Americans consume an average of 100 acres of pizza each day, or 350 slices of Written by Domenic D. Mercurio, Jr., Editor Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

pizza… per second!

The Buffalo Pizza - Il Mondo

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Whether you’re a culinary sophisticate, a descendent of the epicurean elite, or just Joe Q. Public who likes a moderately nutritious, simple, inexpensive meal, there is no one – I mean, no one – who doesn’t delve into pizza from time to time. Old-world Italians love Greek pizza, rustic Greeks love Italian pizza, and Americans love ‘em both! Although it’s clear that Americans love their pizza, according to a Wall Street Journal article, many big pizza chains have been slipping in sales revenue. Yet, while the big pizza chains struggle, smaller chains and independents have enjoyed growth, industry observers and analysts say. WSJ reports that smaller operators offer enticing gourmet pizza with ingredients such as caramelized onions, as well as beer and wine and take-and-bake pizzas. In an effort to right the ship, some large chains are offering only pies that are made from natural ingredients. While aligning their menu with some of the smaller, gourmet pizza restaurants’ culinary philosophies is commendable, Foodies of New England would rather laud and praise those smaller, more innovative chefs and establishments that work hard to turn out the greatest pies around. Welcome to Pizza Wars! City v. City, Chef v. Chef, and Pie v. Pie, we’ll highlight the very best and let you, the Foodies of New England readers, decide which is best. But first, back to the beginning. How did pizza, which is essentially an inexpensive, basic peasant food, hypnotize a nation? Three words: Taste, Simplicity, Affordability. As we embark on the answer to this question in more detail, maybe it would help to uncover the historical path of what we now know as “Pizza”.

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Tomatoe Basil Mozzarella - Enrico’s


Why Do They Call It ‘Pizza’? Pizza is a baked pie of Italian origin consisting of a shallow bread-like crust covered with seasoned tomato sauce, cheese, and often other toppings such as sausage or olives. The word pizza is believed to be from an Old Italian word meaning “a point,” which in turn became the Italian word “pizzicare,” which means “to pinch” or “pluck.” First person grammatical use of this verb is “pizzo”, or “I pinch”. Second person, “pizzi”, or “you pinch”, and if “one pinches someone (whoops!), or something (like pizza dough), it would sound like this, “si pizza”, or “he/she/one pinches”. Therefore, to make a dough pie (a pizza), once must pinch the dough to form the pie.

So Who Invented It? Pizza could have been invented by the Phoenicians, the Greeks, Romans, or anyone who learned the secret of mixing flour with water and heating it on a hot stone. In one of its many forms, pizza has been a basic part of the Italian diet since the Stone Age. This earliest form of pizza was a crude bread that was baked beneath the stones of the fire. After cooking, it was seasoned with a variety of different toppings and used instead of plates and utensils to sop up broth or ‘gravies’. It is said that the idea of using bread as a plate came from the Greeks who ate flat round bread (plankuntos) baked with an assortment of toppings. It was eaten by the working man and his family because it was a thrifty and convenient food.

cia, these rounds were served as an appetizer or a snack. (Source: Smithsonian) Pizza developed in Italy in pre-refrigerator times. After focaccia, its most direct ancestor was “Casa de nanza,” which means “take out before.” Housewives would pound out dough into a thin crust and place leftovers on the dough and bake it. Pizza was a peasant food designed to be eaten without utensils and, like the French crepe and the Mexican taco, was a way to make use of fresh produce available locally and to get rid of leftovers. But, pizza as we know it could not have evolved until the late 1600s when Old World Europeans overcame their fear of a New World discovery - tomatoes. Native to Peru and Ecuador, a plant which produced yellow or red fruit (later called tomatoes) was introduced to Europe in the early 1500s. Brought back by Conquistadors to Spain, the tomato was thought to be poisonous and was viewed with suspicion. It wasn’t until the late 1600s that Europeans began to eat the tomato. (Source: Smithsonian and PIZZA TODAY)

To begin with, the pizza was very rudimentary. It was not even called pizza then. It was just plain and simple flat bread (what we now call the pizza crust). From this you can suppose that the history of pizza originated in ancient times, whenever people started baking dry, crusty bread. Of course, the ancient pizza was baked using stone ovens. The toppings differentiate the pizza from plain bread. The real “ancestors’” of pizza (if such can be attributed to something inanimate) are rumored to be the Ancient Greeks’ so-called “plakuntos.” This looked like the modern-day pizza - it was flat or thin, it was round and it had toppings. Naturally, the pizza toppings then were quite basic. The pizza toppings of old were simple herbs. Similar foods were common in the Persian and Mediterranean region around 500 to 400 BC. Then there’s the Italian argument (of course), that pizza was born, specifically, in Naples, Italy (Foodies of Italian descent may now pump their fists). It goes like this...

The History Of… Roughly 1,000 years ago, herb-and-spice-covered circles of baked dough grew exceptionally popular in Naples, Italy. Known then (and to foodies now) as focac-

The peasants of Naples, Italy, who lived mostly off of bread and little else, were the first to add tomatoes to their focaccia bread rounds. In 1830, pizza truly began with the opening of the world’s first pizzeria. Named Port’Alba, the pizzas were cooked in an oven lined with lava from Mount Vesuvius, a volcano located on the Bay of Naples. (Source: Smithsonian) Modern pizza was born in 1889 when Queen Margherita Teresa Giovanni, the consort of Umberto I, king of Italy, visited Naples. Don Raffaele Esposito, who owned a tavern-like place called Pietro Il Pizzaiolo, was asked to prepare a special dish in honor of the Queen’s visit. Esposito developed a pizza featuring tomatoes, mozzarella cheese (a never before used (Continued on page 18)

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Buffalo Pie - Corner Grill (Continued from page 17)

ingredient made from the milk of water buffalo) and basil - ingredients bearing the colors red, white and green for the Italian flag. He named it the Margherita Pizza, after the guest of honor. Thus, the modern-day tomato-and-cheese pizza was born. (Source: Smithsonian and PIZZA TODAY)

Your Corner Pizza Shop: Authentic, or Commercial Cop-out? The term “American” pizza – also known as “Greek” pizza – can refer to two styles of pizza. The first style can reference the style of pizza crust rather than its toppings. This style is baked in a pan, instead of directly on the bricks of the pizza oven (as traditional Italian pizza). This style of pizza is referred to as “Greek pizza”, since it is typical of pizzerias owned by Greek immigrants. These establishments often also sell Greek specialties, such as Greek salads and gyros, and tend to brand themselves as “Pizza and

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Pasta” or as a “House of Pizza”; a code signifying that it is not an Italian restaurant, but a Greek-immigrant owned restaurant serving Italian-American style food. The second usage refers to a pizza with typically Greek ingredients as toppings. These include authentic toppings like feta cheese, onion, Kalamata olives, fresh tomato, green bell pepper, gyros meat and spinach. So, if your corner pizzeria cooks their pizza in a pan and not on a brick oven surface, and if they use fresh tomatoes and not just tomato sauce, and if, by chance, they blend vegetables like green peppers or onions, then they are the real Greek deal. Although Italian cuisine takes heavy influences from Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, Jewish and Arab cuisines, it truly stands alone, especially where pizza is concerned. So, if you ordered a pizza that has a rustic aroma to it, slightly charred edges, a thin, crispy crust, with light marinara sauce and fresh buffalo (white) mozza-

rella cheese, and maybe just a sprinkle of basil, then you’ve crossed the Adriatic Sea from Greece into Italy. Buon Appetito, pizza lovers!

The Nutrition of Pizza: Pros & Cons In general, it can be argued that pizza is made of ingredients and cooked in a fashion that is healthy. Consider the tomato, used for centuries to sustain the longevity of some of the longestliving ethnic races – the Italians. In fact, inherent in tomato sauce is a substance known as lycopene, a potent antioxidant known to offer cancer fighting benefits, as well as protection from heart disease. And one of the interesting characteristics of lycopene is that it appears to be better absorbed when it’s heated, and eating it with fats (mozzarella cheese) further helps the absorption. Speaking of cheese, mozzarella is rich in vitamin D and calcium. Other than the presence of some fat and cholesterol, that’s not a bad trade-off.


Of course, there’s the dough, made of grain, wheat, yeast, etc. Except for the inherent carbohydrates, there’s nothing unhealthy about it; in fact, the method of cooking the pie is baked, so no oil or fat is used in a frying process. Health Sciences Institute reported outlined a recent study from (where else?) Italy, wherein it was articulated that pizza intake may significantly reduce the risk of a second heart attack, even among people who are overweight smokers who get no exercise. But before you reach for the phone to cancel your gym membership and put Domino’s on speed dial, you should know that pizza really isn’t health food, but one of pizza’s ingredients is. In the Italian study, about 500 heart attack patients, and about 480 subjects who reported no heart problems, filled out dietary and lifestyle questionnaires. Researchers found that eating 14 ounces of pizza each week reduced heart attack risk by well over 50 percent. But a pizza in Milan is not the same as a pizza in Milwaukee. Italians generally make their pizza with a thin crust and just a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. An entire pizza tops out at about 800 calories. In the U.S., the typical pizza has thick, doughy crust and quite a bit more cheese. So a Yankee pizza has well over double the total calories of the Italiano pie. So, if Americans take it easy on the layers of cheese and meat – and really keep it simple as it was intended to be – pizza will be for us a very healthy meal. Except for people who have Celiac disease (Celiacs), most people enjoy and aren’t hindered by the consumption of pizza (except for the occasional pound or two). And now, even Celiacs can, and do, really enjoy pizza – thanks to pizza dough made from rice-based flour. Previously, pizza dough was made only from wheat, which, along with barley, rye and oats, contains gluten, the culprit responsible for eating at the lining of the small intestine, thereby making it very difficult for Celiacs to ingest important nutrients. Up to the point, the Celiacs had to live with many different concerns, from unusual weight gain and even rapid weight loss, to muscle cramps, joint pain and chronic diarrhea. Thankfully, that’s a note in the history pages of almost 3 million foodies’ lives, courtesy of innovative culinary approaches and the substitution of rice for wheat in the making of pizza dough.

Calories.............................................................280.0 Total Fat...........................................................10.0 g Saturated Fat..................................................4.0 g Polyunsaturated Fat........................................1.5 g Monounsaturated Fat......................................3.5 g Cholesterol...................................................24.0 mg Sodium....................................................... 606.0 mg Potassium.................................................. 131.0 mg Total Carbohydrate.........................................32.0 g Dietary Fiber....................................................1.0 g Sugars............................................................1.0 g Protein............................................................. 14.0 g Vitamin A............................................................5.0 % Vitamin B-12...................................................... 0.0 % Vitamin B-6........................................................ 0.0 % Vitamin C........................................................... 7.0 % Vitamin D........................................................... 0.0 % Vitamin E............................................................0.0 % Calcium............................................................15.0 % Copper...............................................................0.0 % Folate.................................................................0.0 % Iron.................................................................. 17.0 % Magnesium........................................................ 0.0 % Manganese........................................................ 0.0 % Niacin.................................................................0.0 % Pantothenic Acid................................................0.0 % Phosphorus....................................................... 0.0 % Riboflavin........................................................... 0.0 % Selenium............................................................0.0 %

Average caloric intake from a plain cheese pizza with marinara sauce is about 280. According to SparkPeople.com, the following are nutritional calculations for one serving of plain cheese pizza. (Continued on page 20)

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won’t make any friends with any of your taste buds. Yet, if you’re the type that “just gotta have it,” then congratulations, because once you’ve done the brick oven experience, you’ll never go back. Here’s the qualifier: You need to understand one little-known fact about brick-oven pizza; they’re not all created equal. Most pizza fans think any ‘ol brick oven pizza will do; not the case. If your brick oven pizza man is using gas and not hardwood, you’ll miss a great deal of flavor.

(Continued from page 19)

If you live in, or near, any one of the pizza establishments featured in this edition of Foodies of New England, you’re in luck; not just for the obvious, taste-bud tantalizing reasons, but also for the sheer health of it. Once slice of Margherita pizza with fresh, buffalo mozzarella, sauce and basil has only 280 calories. Add veggies like fresh green Bell Peppers, onions, fresh tomatoes, olives, etc., and you’ve got more of the 4 food groups represented in a piece of pizza than any burger, for certain. In fact, just the report of the caloric intake of a (dare I say it) fast-food burger is enough to give you a heart attack. The Big Mac has 490 calories; add fries to it, and you’re tacking on another 225, never mind the 14 grams of fat. Total it up, and you’re digesting (you hope) 715 calories and 27 grams of fat. So, stay on the healthier side of life, and enjoy a tasty slice of history from a family-owned, genuine chef-on-the-premises gourmet pizzeria. Plus, with a pizza, you can truly have it “your way.”

Brick Oven v. Traditional Oven-baked Pies Here, it’s only a matter of preference and convenience. Nobody would prefer a typical oven-baked pizza over a brick oven (fired by wood, of course – not gas), but if you don’t have access to that type of establishment (and can’t get to Enrico’s Brick Oven Pizzeria in Sturbridge) then convenience

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See, brick ovens heat the pizza using convection, which is circulating heat around the interior of the oven. Many brick ovens, these days, are equipped with gas to heat the interior and cook the pizza – which is fine. But, if you’re not into ‘fine’ and instead prefer blow-your-hair-back pizza, then you need wood… wood is good. The challenge is, not too many pizza chefs still cook with wood; it’s costly, messy, and much more labor-intensive than just firing up the burner in a gas brick oven. But the flavors… oh, those flavors that pour out of a woodfired brick oven… The flavors, aromas, and the subtle spiciness just dancing along the charred edges of the crust are so much more rewarding straight out of a wood-fired brick oven than a gas unit – trust us!


The Future of Pizza Many wonder, “What kind of pizzas will be on the scene in the future?” Well, where greatness is the goal, simplicity seems often to be the vehicle, especially in the culinary world.

Mama mia! Greek vs. Italian Pizza

If you’ve perused attentively the history of pizza heretofore, you’ll know that it was merely the simplicity that made it so great and created such a demand for the pizza pie. The goals of the Italians, Greeks and Phoenicians were all the same – make something simple, nutritious, and inexpensive. The same is true of pizza today, with some exceptions given to creativity and style.

Simply put, pizza is an open-faced baked pie. So they’re all the same, right? Wrong. Forget New York and Chicago. Let’s dissect the ultimate showdown: Greek versus Italian pizza. Just remember, New England is ripe with pizza boutiques and each has its own spin on this iconic dish.

Take, for example, the Hawaiian pizza. Who, from the hallowed history of pizza-making, would have even put pineapple on a pizza? Somehow, it works. People love it, not just because it tastes good, but because it’s innovative and creative; something new and unusual. Pizza is NOT – I repeat, NOT – Coco Vin. It isn’t Beef Wellington. It’s not a recipe the ingredients of which must be adhered to meticulously. It’s fun to make, fun to look at, and fun to eat. The people that eat pizza eat it because they are fun people. They want to have a fun time, so they choose a fun food. Be it known, foodies, that the future of pizza is guaranteed hereafter to bring delight, flavor, convenience, nutrition, and – yes, of course – fun, to your life.

by Julie Grady

Preparation Generally speaking, Greek pies are not hand-tossed, unlike their Italian counterparts. They’re rolled to fit the pans in which they’re baked, which is another major variation. Traditional Italian pizza bakes directly on the surface of the oven (hence, brick-oven pizza). Crust Italian crust is thin—you can cut it, fold it or just bite into it. Typically, once the dough is tossed and the toppings are on, it goes into the oven. Due to the pan-preparation of Greek pizza, the dough can be much thicker depending on how long it’s left to rise. From personal experience, it certainly doesn’t fold. Sauce This is a more delicate issue. Every pizza place has its own take on the perfect sauce so how can one possibly judge such a category between two general styles of pizza? You can’t. Yes, there are rumors that Italian sauce is too acidic and Greek sauce too sweet because of the nutmeg or cinnamon used in the sauce. But in all honesty, there’s no constant on either side. Cheese In this debate, you have to ask yourself does mozzarella really make a difference? For classic Italian pizza it’s the end all be all, used every time. Whereas Greek pies often include a blend of cheeses. Now if you’re being health-conscious or just don’t like oily foods, beware of the cheese used on your pizza—some release different amounts of oil, which can ruin your experience. That’s it. Now go out there and do some taste testing.

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Baba Louie’s Great Barrington, MA

And Delicious said to Healthy, “There Is Room Enough for Both of Us in This Town!” Written by Domenic Mercurio, Jr. Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Meet Paul & Eileen Masiero, together for over 20 years, and in business since they bought Baba Louie’s Wood-fired All-natural Sourdough Pizza in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, eleven years ago. Back in November of 2000, Paul and Eileen probably didn’t fully realize that their two eldest offspring, Delicious and Healthy, would run out of space in their Great Barrington pizza home. Problem was, wherever Delicious went, Healthy seemed to follow. The Great Barrington location got so busy that Paul and Eileen opened up another location

in Hudson, New York, about 7 years ago. Delicious showed up, and Healthy was right behind him. The couple then opened up another spot in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. At that point, Delicious was sure he would shake Healthy, but not for long, because Healthy was right at his hip at their new Pittsfield home, also. Paul graduated from the CIA in 1991 (Relax, Foodies, you won’t find a tiny microphone cleverly hidden under the basil leaf in your Queen Margherita Pizza. We’re talking about the other CIA – the Culinary Institute of America. He went

Shown: Isabella Pizzarella, Dawn’s Delight - back pizza

on to apprentice at Green Brier Resort in West Virginia, finishing in 1994. Originally from Manchester, Paul moved to Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and worked in that area for a while. As he explains it, he increasingly became tired of working for people that “…Didn’t understand the business.” The original location of Baba Louie’s became available about that time, so Paul and Eileen worked the numbers with Paul’s brothers, who assisted them in determining if that was the right move. (Continued on page 24)

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work here. Delicious, everyone loves you on the Puttanesca Pizza because you do such a wonderful job on the shrimp, anchovies, fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce and capers,” he told one of the boys. “But you, Healthy... you’re an important part of the same pizza; you’re the key to the roasted garlic, green olives, and fresh oregano.” Without you, the pizzas would never taste the same!” he said. “But Delicious is always trying to steal my thunder!” Healthy piped up. “He’s always pushing flavor on people, as if that’s all that matters,” he griped. Did you see the way he pushed me around the other day when you made that Abbondante BBQ Chicken Pizza? Just because it’s got BBQ chicken, red onions, fresh mozzarella, smoked gouda, oregano and parmesan, that doesn’t mean it’s not good for people? I still do my part, don’t I?” “Of course,” Paul encouraged. “First of all,” he added, “Without the all-natural, wood-fired sourdough crust, the pizzas would never be the same, and that’s all because of you, Healthy! You’re the reason the crust is made with no yeast just flour, water, salt and sourdough starter.”

(Continued from page 23)

Since then, it’s been a great relationship between their offspring, Delicious and Healthy. Delicious does have his issues with Healthy from time to time, and vice versa. “When a customer comes in and asks for a Vegetazione Bravo Spelt Pizza (Soy mozzarella, tofu, broccoli, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, calamata olives, spinach, chêvre, tomato sauce and tarragon), Delicious becomes very jealous and territorial,” says Healthy. “Delicious thinks that pizza has to be loaded with only cheese and grease to taste good. Well, I’m here to prove him wrong!” When we asked Delicious if this was true, he shook it off, pointing out that, “Healthy isn’t as great as everyone thinks he is. How can he possibly make a pizza taste as good as I can? I mean, I’m all over the Dirty Brutto Pizza (Roasted red potatoes, pesto, roasted garlic, parmesan and basil), and I do a much better job on the Dolce Vita Pizza than he does!” (Tomato sauce, wilted spinach, fresh mozzarella, California figs, gorgonzola, prosciutto and parmesan topped with infused rosemary oil) Paul and Eileen try to keep the peace between their two boys. Patiently, Paul explains to Delicious that both of them are important to the experience people have at Baba Louie’s. “Listen, guys.... you’re both critical to the success of our

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“And what about Gluten-free Mondays?” Paul continued. “You know you’re the ‘Big Cheese’ when it comes to that! If it weren’t for you, how would I make my rice-flour crust, all Gluten-free, for the people with Celiac Disease? You’re all over the menu every Monday. Gluten-free appetizer, soup, pizza, pasta AND dessert – each and every week!” “Plus,” Paul added, “We serve some very healthy salads and sandwiches with both you and Delicious on them, don’t we?” “And, when we get our ingredients, we always put you first, right? Our Cheese is made for us at a farm nearby, we buy our greens and vegetables mostly from farms within 100 miles of our locations, and the emphasis is always on freshness and quality. You know that, don’t you?” Paul asked Healthy. “Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Healthy admitted. “Delicious doesn’t really steal the show from me. I was just over-reacting a bit. It’s easy to see why; he’s such an important part of all the pizzas.” “Of course,” Paul answered. “But without you, none of them would taste the same or be nutritious. You’re both the key elements to my Dolce Vita Pizza (Tomato sauce, wilted spinach, fresh mozzarella, California figs, gorgonzola, prosciutto and parmesan topped with infused rosemary oil) and our famous Cole’s Creation (Mozzarella, red onions, garlic, plum tomatoes, topped with organic arugula, feta, and balsamic vinaigrette).”


“Thanks for making me feel better, Paul,” Healthy smiled. I can see now that I’m a big part of things around here at Baba Louie’s. I mean, who else puts roasted parsnips and shaved fennel on a pizza and makes it taste great? (The Isabella Pizzarella, also with roasted sweet potato, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, fresh mozzarella, and drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar). “Hey,” Paul winked, “We even import our brick ovens from Italy and stoke them with wood all day long, just so you and Delicious are always on the customer’s minds when they come in.” “You know, guys,” Paul told Healthy and Delicious, “One thing they taught me at the Culinary Institute of America rings true here at Baba Louie’s, “Do one thing and do it well. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.” Indeed, Foodies. That’s why Baba Louie’s menu is remains simple, Delicious and Healthy. With one pasta special a day, they truly keep it simple and straight forward. . And, with 70-80 employees between all 3 restaurants (Pittsfield is biggest, with 120 seats and a banquet hall for another 80-90 guests, Hudson having 80 seats and Great Barrington accommodating 40 guests), “Our main focus is definitely the pizza,” Paul closed. It’s clear to see that, in the Baba Louie’s family, Delicious and Healthy are destined to be together forever. Locations: Baba Louie’s – Pittsfield 34 Depot Street Pittsfield, MA 01201 413.499.2400 Baba Louie’s – Great Barrington 286 Main Street Great Barrington, MA 01230 413.528.8100

Baba Louie’s – Hudson 517 Warren Street Hudson, NY 12534 518.751.2155

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Chicken Caesar Salad Pie


Corner Grill Worcester, MA

The Greek Who Loved Pizza… Italian Style Written by Domenic Mercurio, Jr. Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

The Corner Grille. Hmmm… sounds like a typical greasy spoon serving up tried-and-true breakfast favorites to the locals. Throw in a burger and fries or a corned-beef sandwich around lunchtime and you’ve got a picture-perfect image of diner life where the eats are tasty, but also trim back your mortality expectations by a decade or so, right? Wrong. This is the Corner Grille in Worcester, Massachusetts. For those of you from that area, it’s the Caw-Nah Grille in Wuh-stuh, and it’s anything but a diner. Foodies of New England

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The Delicious Side of Creativity Meet Raena Heppenstall, the founder. Raena is an upbeat, energetic and lively business owner with ideas to spare. Apart from the obvious talent she and her staff possess when it comes to making pizza, Raena also gives birth to creative ideas faster than a brick oven can char a pie crust. For proof, we refer you to her Yia-Yia’s Pie (Greek for ‘Grandma’s Pie’), which is prepared by taking the inside of a Spanakopita (spinach and feta cheese) and spreading it over the think Italianstyle pie crust, then topping it with a shredded phyllo dough. Not creative enough? Then how about her Mad Russian Pie, which is loaded with creamy tomato-vodka sauce, chicken, artichoke hearts, baby spinach and cheese. Got a touch of New England nostalgia? Then grab your sweetheart and dive into Corner Grille’s autumnal signature sensation, the Harvest Moon Pie. Raena blends savory and sweet in this masterful creation, which is sprinkled with brown sugar, topped with roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions, cheese and sausage, and dressed with toasted pumpkin seeds and brown butter drizzle. One slice of this Fall-favorite satisfies your graving for pizza and dessert.

For the Love of the Pie Raena started working at Grecian Corner Kitchen for a ‘nice Greek couple’ back in the 90’s. One day, when she overheard the couple talking about closing the business, she offered to buy the equipment. She then borrowed $15,000 to open up The Corner Grille. On Day 1, Raena had a whopping $25 in operating capital with which to run her new venture. Not much, when you need to buy food and beverages from vendors, make payroll, get a dial tone when you pick up the phone, and just keep the lights on. At the end of the day, she made $100, so she went shopping, but not for a pair of earrings. Frugal to the bone, Raena went out to buy supplies every day until she had enough money to open up an account with a food vendor who would deliver items to the restaurant. Since then, many changes have appeared on The Corner Grille’s often-changing menu. “Back in 1998 when we first

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opened,” Raena laments, “there weren’t even sandwich wraps, so I put wraps onto the menu and phased out the Greek food and kabobs in favor of pizza.” Descending from a Greek, English and Scottish heritage – only one of which she pays homage (“You know dinner’s ready in a Scottish or English household when the fire alarm goes off”) – Raena is a real Foodie. She has the passion for food and loves to create an environment where food is the focal point of fun and good times. This is the attribute of Foodie-ism that gave her the ambition to open up The Corner Grille despite the fear that comes with embarking on a new business. And, despite her Greek heritage and much like the Tower of Pisa, Raeana leans in favor of Italy when it comes to pizza preparation. “Back when I opened Corner Grille, no one around here did a thin crust, so I put them into place. Now, we do all thin pizzas, Italian style; thin, crispy crust. Like a true Foodie, Raena is serious about ingredients, too. She even has her employees sign a confidentiality agreement. But don’t get the idea she’s a whipwielding tyrant. As long-time employee, Tovah, enters for her shift, she’s met with a cheerful, “Hello, Sunshine!” from Raena. Of course, a Foodie like Raeana can’t be stopped at terrific pizza. She also makes her own Iced Tea and Lemonade, which, in a most-unique fashion, come sealed in a rustic mason jar – hand-labeled, of course. On the horizon, she is planning to launch a Fattoush salad-to-go, with dry seasonings and other ingredients taped to the side of the container. (Of Arabic origin, Fattoush is a Levantine bread salad made from toasted or fried pieces of pita bread combined with mixed greens and other vegetables, which are cut into relatively large pieces compared to tabbouleh, which requires ingredients to be finely chopped) A bacon brittle isn’t too far off in the distance, either, along with “Lucky 13” T-shirts, which commemorate The Corner Grille’s upcoming 13th anniversary, complete with a crossedfinger on the back and her corporate identity, “Sweet Basil Jane’s.”


Sweet Tomato & Basil Pie

The Verdict

Corner Grille 806 Pleasant Street Worcester, MA 01602 Tel: 508-754-8884 www.cornergrille.com

Raena has a vision of doing a TV show in which she tours pizza establishments. “I’d love to put the camera on a Yai-Yai,” she exclaims, revealing again her affinity for her Greek heritage and affection for her Greek grandmother. Proud though she may be, this Greek pizzaiola nonetheless emphasizes the following about the origin of pizza throughout her conversation with Foodies of New England: “Pizza is not Greek – it’s absolutely Italian - end of story.” Foodies of New England

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The original Tomato Pie with mozzarella


Pepe’s

New Haven, CT

New Haven Pizzeria is a ‘Haven’ to the Stars Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana Written by Domenic Mercurio, Jr. Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

They called him “Old Reliable” When Frank Pepe opened his Pizzeria Napoletana way back in 1925, this eager immigrant from a little town on the Amalfi Coast of Italy’s Campania region never dreamed it would be graced by the world’s best-known movie stars. No, even if you told him so, Frank wouldn’t have cared much for that kind of thing. A typical immigrant, Frank just wanted to make a go out of it – he was only concerned with getting his business off the ground and making it a place where people could get a great slice of Neapolitan heaven for a very fair price. Frank crossed the pond in 1909 from Maiori, a sea-side town on the Amalfi Coast of southern Italy, just a stone’s throw from Naples. Only 17 years old, Frank, or “Old Reliable” as he was known, made his home in the Wooster Square area of New Haven, Connecticut, and worked in the New Haven

Factory making locks. Soon after he started working here, he was shipped back to Italy to serve in World War I (Thank you, Frank). After the war, he returned and started working in a bread bakery right on Wooster Street. In no time at all, Frank became proficient at flattening out and stretching dough, so he decided to add tomato sauce and turn out “Tomato Pies” to markets and local businesses for a modest profit. Eventually, he bought a wagon to sell the pies from. With that success he then took over the bakery and turned it into what it’s known as today – The Original Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana. It’s called “Original” now because the family has since opened locations in Fairfield, Mohegan Sun (Uncasville), and Manchester, Connecticut, and one in Yonkers, New York. When the ‘Godfather’ of Tomato Pies passed away in 1969, grandson Gary Bimonti (now the manager) was only 9 year old. “He was a very generous man, always with a smile on his face,” Gary recalls fondly of Frank. Foodies of New England

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“Another thing”, Gary laments, “He always spoke Italian to me, even though I wasn’t always sure what he was saying.”

York City, maybe it has to do with New Haven Station being so close by, or maybe it’s just a fluke, but don’t discount the fact that Frank Pepe’s serves up some of the very finest, simplest, most original and authentic Neapolitan Pizza to be found in this or any other world.

Gary was born in New Haven and lived in Hamden, Connecticut, just outside of New Haven. He went to a technical school early on because his mother wanted him to be an electronics technician. Gary had other plans, however. While in junior high school, he balanced his studies with a regular work schedule at Frank Pepe’s and got to know the family business. When he graduated from technical school, he went full-time into the business and learned how to make the pizzas the old-school way. Gary’s mother and aunt were Frank’s daughters, and they took over the business in 1969 with help from Gary’s uncle. In 1988, Gary and cousin Francis Rosselli helped their mothers, who were still running the place. Then, in 1998, Gary took over as manager. Currently, Frank Pepe’s is a family affair, with Gary and his 3 sisters and 3 cousins all pitching in to make Frank proud.

The Original Recipe When Frank Pepe started, his plain pizza was a thing of beauty and simplicity, boasting only sauce, garlic, oregano, and pecorino cheese. It had all the bells and whistles that would make any pizza lover happy – if you lived on the Mediterranean Sea. For variety, Frank offered Pizza con Alice, or pizza with sauce and anchovies. Little by little, Frank began to add mozzarella and other toppings as the years came and went.

La Pizza di Oggi (The Pizza Today) Pepe’s remains traditional; there aren’t as many pizzas choices on the menu as other places. In fact, other than salad, the only thing they serve at Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana is, well… Pizza. For toppings, there are 15 from which to choose, and you can pretty much make your own custom pie, but if you’re smart, you’ll try the signature

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So say the celebrities who duck in for a slice of Neapolitan Nirvana. Pepe’s has been graced by the greats of stage, screen and American politics for decades. Early in his presidency, Bill Clinton would stop in, along with Ronald Reagan (but never at the same time!) during the former actor’s bid for the Oval Office. pie for which Frank Pepe’s has become famous – the White Clam Pizza. If you like veggies, try the remarkable White Spinach, Mushroom & Gorgonzola Pie (also topped with Mozzarella & grated Parmigiano. Naturally, there’s the back-to-basics, Fresh Tomato Pie – but if you want one, you’d better get to New Haven before the snow flies, because it’s only available during the summer. Worth the trip, this simple beauty has fresh, native tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh garlic and basil. Simple, delicious, and unmistakably Italian. In fact, it’s so Italian, Pepe’s might want to rename it, The Italianissimo! Don’t get the idea that Frank Pepe’s is a tiny, neighborhood pizza joint – it’s grown. In fact, the original New Haven location alone has about 60 employees with 10 outstanding pizza-makers, all using authentic brick ovens fired with coal – that’s right, coal. It’s a lot of work, but it’s all worth it. Just ask the regulars that come in two or three times a week to satisfy their Frank’s Fix.

The Stars Really Do Come Out at Night And then there are those that come from far and wide to find refuge in a slice of greatness. Maybe it’s Frank Pepe’s proximity to New

Super-Celebs like Robert DeNiro, Vince Vaughn, and Kevin James find refuge and respect at Frank Pepe’s. “They know they’re not going to be pestered when they’re here. They sit in the dining room with our other guests, but they’re left to enjoy themselves and have some relaxation,” Gary points out. “Our regular guests know enough to give them their peace and quiet. When they get up to leave, it’s not uncommon for another guest to ask for a photo or an autograph, and the celebrities are always very happy to oblige.” Other brushes with greatness you may encounter at Frank Pepe’s (besides the White Spinach, Mushroom & Gorgonzola Pie) might include Henry Winkler, Bill Murray, and Ernest Borgnine (who lived in Hamden right around the corner from Gary). Gary makes sure the celebs have their space and privacy. When they come in, I usually stop by their table and tell them, ‘If anybody bothers you, come and see me’, but it almost never comes to that. We have very respectful guests. “The celebrities usually come in with their own entourage,” Gary notes. “They love the pizza and the atmosphere, and they like the way they’re treated while they’re here. “One time, years ago,” Gary begins, “Bill Murray was in line, trying to be incognito,


but he was only able to pull it off for so long before the other guests in line figured out who he was.” Gary then had to pull him out of line to help get him some privacy. Danny DeVito was shooting Other People’s Money nearby and came in for a slice. “Danny DeVito was so entertaining just stopping by for some pizza – he really gave the room a big lift that day.” Gary recounted one of Robin Williams’ visits. “Robin Williams stops by whenever he’s booked at the Oakdale Theatre. One day, after finishing a pie, Robin went over to the Oakdale, started his show, and burped during the performance. He got a big laugh when he blamed the gas on us by saying, ‘There’s that Pepe’s pizza – really stays with you, doesn’t it?’”

White Clam Pizza

Then, of course, there’s the King of Cool – none other than ‘The Fonz’. Gary knows Henry Winkler, who’s been in often. In fact, he occasionally ships some of Winkler’s favorite pies to his home in California. “The Fonz has to get his Frank Pepe’s fix,” Gary laughs. Most recently, Larry Storch of F-Troop fame dropped by to dive into a pie. “We’re not far from the City (New York), but we’re just far enough for them to get a little hiatus and a great slice of pie,” Gary continues.

The Heritage Lingers On The Family strives to carry on their grandfather’s beliefs and traditions. Frank Pepe’s is no stranger to accolades. The pizza hotspot was nominated Best Pizza in Connecticut by Connecticut Magazine’s Readers’ Poll for the last 15 years in a row. Pepe’s was also voted #1 during 12 of those 15 years. In 1999, Pepe’s was added to the James Beard Foundation’s List of American Classics. Television recognition came in 2006, when Pepe’s was acknowledged on History Channel’s American Eats and in

2009, GQ Magazine listed them 12th Best Pizza in the U.S. Pepe’s was inducted into the Connecticut Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2010. So, what’s next for The Great Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana? According to Gary Bimonti, “The business will always be the same. Our menu is simple, classic, and the people like it.” Pepe’s is looking for more expansion, citing Stanford, Connecticut and Westerly, Rhode Island, as possible new locations. No matter where Pepe’s pops up next, one thing’s for sure – real estate values are bound to increase as a result. Pepe’s Pizzeria 157 & 163 Wooster Street New Haven, CT 06511 Tel: 203-865-5762 www.pepespizzeria.com

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Canberry Picnic Pizza


Nice Slice Providence, RI

The Science of the Slice: Pizza Pop Culture in Providence Written by Domenic Mercurio, Jr. Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Quentin Tarantino would write this much better, I’m sure. More likely, he’d turn it into a screenplay, and if he did, the opening shot would be a slow dissolve of white lettering onto a black background reading, “You Can’t Crush the Dream.” That is the resonating, almost personal, catchphrase woven deeply into the artistic, metaphysical, Hendrix-like marketing material conceived by owner Al Read at Nice Slice Pizzeria on Thayer Street in Providence. People who are fortunate enough to stop in to Nice Slice are rewarded not only with a fantastically-crafted slice of Italian heaven, but they’re also given stickers – really, really cool stickers – that perpetually reflect the philosophy of ‘life through pizza’. One such example is the Dream Compass: a warmly-colored adhesive disc proclaiming the Nice Slice mantra, “You Can’t Crush the Dream.”

This type of artsy memorabilia contributes to goodness and provides inspiration for the world living outside of Nice Slice’s warm and cozy space. This is true and lasting pop culture, and, if he were here, devouring a slice of Parallel Universe (bacon, ricotta, and scallions), Andy Warhol would have been proud of what Al and “dough maestro” Neil Meleo are doing for Thayer Street. Nice Slice is so much more than a place to get a great slice of thin-crust pie; the experience from entrance to departure is wrought with reflection and wonder and fairly dripping with a style of décor layered with original artwork unseen in the mainstream commercial world. This is Nice Slice, and it’s the central artery for culture in this neighborhood near Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

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While Nice Slice has only been in operation since 2005, its history is profound, the reasons behind its genesis are simple yet philosophical, and the culture it exudes is thick with belonging, purpose, destiny, community, and art. “It’s not about competition,” was the introspective and relaxed reply from Neil when asked how Nice Slice competes in the pizza world. “It’s about making something good.” And therein exists the notion dubbed, The Science of the Slice. So, what is the Science of the Slice? As I inquire about this mysterious concept, Al subtly gestures toward two people, a mother and her son, bonding over a slice of Pizza Margherita. It is the slice that brings people together in an unguarded, relaxed atmosphere that builds connections and deepens relationships. “The Slice is like the sun and it draws us like planets (the customers) orbiting in its solar system; some customers come often, some come once a week, but they are always heavenly bodies in the slice’s universe,” Al offers. “The longer you’re open throughout the year, the more planets (people) you have in your solar system.” The Nice Slice history is rooted in the concept of perpetuating community. Al’s connection to skateboarding is where it all began, as he tells the story of “Sloppy Sam”, the designer and builder of The Skate Hut, a skate park that existed in the Thayer Street area. “Sam wasn’t called ‘sloppy’ because of his appearance; rather, it was his style of skating that’s responsible for the term – he was a sloppy skater,” Al clarifies. Al spent quite a lot of time in the Thayer Street area working on his skating craft, until he joined up with Paul Schneider, who operated Fellini Pizzeria on Wickenden Street in Providence. Paul moved to Maine in 1999, so Al continued his search for the perfect slice and found himself back on Thayer Street reconnecting with his friends at Lunasea, a skating and surfing shop that was about to close down. “I wanted to bring the culture back to Thayer Street,” says Al, “And, since I couldn’t find a slice I really liked, I decided to create my own ‘pizza paradigm’ and opened Nice Slice in 2005.” “For me, this business isn’t really a ‘business’; it’s a spiritual thing,” says Al. “Thayer Street is a buzzing street, and this is a buzzing room (when the people come in). Late in the evening, around 2 a.m. when they close up, the ‘pizza zombies’ flock like it’s the last glass of water in the desert,” Neil says with a laugh. “And, people offer a premium in the hopes that we’ll stay open a little longer to serve them that coveted last slice of the evening. We’ve been offered barter in exchange for pizza when folks run low on cash – it’s amazing,” Al says. The cultish pursuit of pizza at Nice Slice is a reality, and why not? The freshness is unparalleled, the flavor is blissful, and the quality is top-rate. Not to mention the diversity and unique

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styles of pizza Nice Slice offers. Take the Dymaxion, loaded with chicken, bacon, tomato, and creamy peppercorn parm; or the Earth Crisis, doused with spinach, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, tomato sauce, and cheese; and who could ever keep their distance from Fusiform Gyrus (a.k.a., The Fusie)? This is Nice Slice’s signature inside-out, half-and-half Barbeque/ Buffalo pizza, and it’s worth the trip from any universe. Neil will even build you an earth-shattering vegan pie, using real soy-based cheese and meat substitutes. Take the Phoni Roni, for example; it’s simply made with pepperoni, sauce and cheese. If you like tang, you can opt for the BBQ or Buffalo Chicken. Steak lover? Get the Philly Cheese Steak or the Chipotle Meatball, with meatballs, onion, and spicy chipotle pesto. All Vegan. While you’re there, take in the incredible artwork surrounding you. Nice Slice is all about paying it forward and helping to develop the community. Artists from nearby RISD have their work displayed on any available wall, counter, table or pizza box space in place. In fact, our interview was conducted at the “Thayer Street Table”, which depicts locally-produced artwork that points to Al’s belief that Nice Slice “…isn’t just a business; it’s a community.”


The ‘Art’ of the Slice

Greek Pie

Surrounding us at every glance and in every nook of the room are examples of local artists’ work. One such artist is Adam Suerte, owner of Brooklyn Tattoo, whose influences stretch from Aztec art, Psychedelic art of the ‘60’s, his own Graffiti career, as well as the Dutch Masters underground comic book art, Pop Art, and Impressionism. In the spirit of community shared by Al, Adam teaches art to children, and his murals are on exhibit in several locations at Nice Slice. Al has even taken to having Adam’s work printed on pizza boxes, so those enjoying a slice of Nice Slice can also dig Adam’s impressionistic talents. “I used to screen-print designs by local artists right on the boxes by hand,” Al says. “It’s a way to recognize the talent that exists in the Thayer Street neighborhood and tie Nice Slice into the fabric of the community.” (Continued on page 94)

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Chicken Caesar Pizza


Enrico’s Sturbridge, MA

A Changing of the Guard in Sturbridge – from Italian to Greek Written by Domenic Mercurio, Jr. Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Theo, or “Ted”, Metaxas is a serious pizza guy. His take on the pie is straightforward and simple, “I make it 100% wood-fired, cooked on the bricks, Italian - Period.” You know it must be all about the pie when a dyed-in-the-wool Greek gives deference to the “Tricolori Italiani” (The green, white and red colors of the Italian flag). No doubt about it, Ted is proud. Proud to be Greek, but prouder still to make the best darn pies in the entire Southern Worcester County region of Massachusetts. And if making best pies means

he has to adopt the Italian style of thin, hand-stretched dough and wood-firedoven baking right on the stone, then go ahead and put the vowel at the end of his name, because making great pies is Ted’s mission.

“Rico is a good friend and a great chef and businessman. I was in the right place at the right time. Plus, the restaurant has a great rep and a great name – why fix it if it’s not broken?” Ted says, candidly.

Ted bought Enrico’s Brick Oven Pizzeria back in 2005 from Enrico (“Rico”) Giovanello, presently the Executive Chef at Cedar Street Grille in Sturbridge. At the time, Ted was in another business and wanted a change. Rico loved the culinary aspect of the business, but wasn’t warm to the business end of things (true of most talented chefs).

During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Ted worked at his uncle’s pizza shop (Rainbow Pizza of Webster), which, you might guess, offered a Greek style of pie – pan-baked with a thicker, doughier crust. He then began to work alongside Rico at Enrico’s for about a year to “… get to know the business and the numbers.” Foodies of New England

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Enrico’s Modus Operandi – Blending Greek and Italian

Some of Ted’s favorites (as well as those of the locals and the visiting tourists) include Panciuto Pizza; a red sauce, Italian cheese, sausage, & pepperoni. Something a little unique is the Tuscan Chicken Margarita, with white sauce, Italian cheese, Rosemary chicken, buffalo mozzarella, tomato, and basil. This pie, Foodies, is absolutely exquisite.

As Ted stipulates, he likes the Italian pizza style, and prefers to stretch out the dough at the time of order, rather than stretching it in advance. He does employ one Greek method, however (Ah-ha!): Dough is made every day at Enrico’s, but, in true Greek food-prep fashion, it’s put in a cooler until a pizza is ordered. At the time a customer orders his or her pie, it’s stretched thin (Italian style) and cooked in the brickoven, with burning wood as the heating element which creates a convection of hot air circulating the interior of the oven (Italian-issimo style). The oven is the big difference. Gas is one thing, but a true brick oven has to be burning a couple of hours ahead of time and the wood converted to burning embers or coals before it’s ready to cook. A typical Greek pizza in a gas oven cooks in 12 minutes. What if you use a brick oven? We’ll, if you’re the impatient type, you’re in luck - how’s 5 minutes sound? “If it’s not wood or coal, it’s not authentic brick oven. Pizza must be cooked on the bricks,” Ted points out matter-of-factly. If you really want to see a close-up, realtime video of exactly how a pizza cooks in a wood-fired brick oven, check out Episode 6 of Foodies TV online at www. FoodiesofNewEngland.com. The challenge is this: The pizzaiola (pizza maker) needs to keep moving the pizza so it doesn’t burn or accumulate too much carbon on any one side. The result is entirely up to the skills of the pizzaiola; as Ted says, “The thinner the crust, the crispier the pie. The ability of the pizza chef will be apparent in the pie when it comes out of the oven.”

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Something on the spicy side of life (besides the slightly spicy, brick-oven chicken wings with celery and bleu cheese) would include the Scampi Pizza; white sauce, Italian cheese, sautéed shrimp, roasted garlic, and mushrooms.

One Size Fits All Enrico’s also uses another method that bodes well for the pie – one size. “We offer only one size pizza – a 14”. This guarantees consistency in quality and eliminates taste variances,” Ted indicates. “The pizza chefs have a much easier time of it when it comes to timing the pies exit from the oven. The customers don’t mind one size only; it seems to be a benefit all the way around.”

Fringe Benefits Winter in Sturbridge can be brisk. If, however, you’re motoring down the Pike or I-84, take a quick detour to Main Street (The Historic District) and duck into Enrico’s for a quick thawing out – “The brick oven heats up the whole restaurant, and, between the burning wood and the sauce, it smells great in here, year-round,” Ted says with a smile.

If you love the rustic appeal of Enrico’s atmosphere but don’t want a pizza at the moment, try one of the brick-oven Panini sandwiches for lunch. A personal favorite: Arrosto Alforno; roasted red peppers with creamy spinach & artichoke spread, Romano cheese, cucumbers, mixed field greens, & red onion on homemade focaccia bread. After 4 p.m., the menu shifts to include pasta dinners.

“Bravo… Bravissimo!” Enrico’s has had many accolades, including being voted among the Top 10 Pizza Shops in New England by the Boston Globe. In fact, Enrico’s was the only one from Massachusetts in this category. So, a logical question for Foodies might very well be, “What are some of Ted’s favorite picks at Enrico’s?” “I love the Plain Cheese Pizza,” Ted offers. “You’re getting the basics – the crust, the sauce, the cheese. Those are the staples of the pizza!” Rumor has it that the Margherita Pizza is very popular (We know… the rumor was started by us here at Foodies


Magazine). It’s got the delicious essentials: Olive oil, basil, garlic and some herbs (sorry, can’t tell you which herbs). We asked Ted what the Sturbridge ‘pizza community’ was like. “Eighty-five to ninety percent of customers are the locals, the rest are tourists. And, since we’re the only pizzeria with an authentic brick oven, we’re the only one that can make a true Neapolitan pizza.”

Behind the Scenes, Up Front Enrico’s chefs are quite expert at the art of pizza-making. “We have a pasta chef and we inherited 2 great pizza chefs and an‘oven guy’ when we bought the restaurant from Enrico,” Ted mentions. Enrico’s has it systemized and everyone has their job, like a great sports franchise: The lineup includes the dough stretcher, pizza maker, cooker, and cutter (who also boxes the pizza, if it’s a take-out order). “It’s an open kitchen,” Ted says. “All the guests can see what’s going on in here and get an immediate sense for just how fast the pace is and how hot the temperature.” On a typical Friday night, Enrico’s turns out over 200 pies. “It gets pretty hot; probably a 40-50 degree temperature difference between the oven area and the dining room,” Ted says, shaking his head. (Continued on page 95)

Margherita Pizza

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Buffalo Chicken Pizza


Il Mondo Boston, MA

Il Mondo has ‘The World’ on a String Written by Domenic Mercurio, Jr. Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Il Mondo. The phrase means ‘the world’ in Italian. For those Foodies who have been to the Mother Land of Italy, you know what kind of inspiration can be born at any given moment. Such was the case for Naser Othman, owner and operator of Il Mondo Pizzeria at 182 Huntington Avenue in Boston. “I remember eating at a small pizza shop in Milan, Italy. I had the best pizza slice I have ever eaten in my life. One month later, I still had the taste of that slice in me,” Naser laments. Foodies of New England

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The hypnotic effect of this tremendous Milanese masterpiece was so strong that Naser crusaded in search of its American counterpart back in Boston, but to no avail. One day, however, Nasef realized that the only path to reliving this exquisite experience would be creating it himself. “I wanted one of those slices again but I couldn’t get the same freshness and taste all in one slice in Boston. A year later, I was walking by a pizza shop where the owner was going out of business. I saw that the store was in a good location and I realized that, if I could recreate the pizza I tasted in Italy, I would be able to attract more people who can appreciate the freshness and quality of the pizza I tasted in Milan.” Nasef’s appreciation for challenges and his quest to recreate the ellusive dream-pizza provided the impetus to press on. “I love to try new projects and get myself into challenging situations, so I decided to leave my career as a brokerage manager at Fidelity Investments and open Il Mondo in the summer of 2004. Now, I can pursue what I have always enjoyed, giving people great food and embarking on new adventures.” Nasef has never attended culinary school, always enjoys dinning out, and ‘appreciates a good meal.’ “I like to reverseengineer my meal whenever I am eating dinner with my wife at a good restaurant. We debate about taste and how the dish is made. Then, I come home and I try to imitate the dish. I might fail a few times, but I have the passion to perfect it.” This passion shows up strong in all of Il Mondo’s creations. The extensive menu boasts a whopping 28 specialty pasta dishes, 19 varieties of pizza, 12 wraps, 13 salads, 7 appetizers, 9 calzones, and 18 sandwiches. “One of the best and most distinctive pizzas that we have

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is our Buffalo chicken simply called ‘The Buffalo’ on the menu.” Nasef describes it as ‘mouth watering’, and points to its popularity among tourists, medical professionals and students from area universities. “The students seem to crave the Buffalo Chicken pizza, even for breakfast,” Nasef points out. “We start with our fresh, tender chicken breast which we marinate for 24 hours in a special, spicy sauce that is composed of ten different ingredients. We then roll it in a special breading, fry it, slice it, and finally, mix it with our proprietary hot sauce. We dress the pizza with it and when it comes out of the oven, we add a flavorful Ranch dressing and diced parsley to give it a nice garnish.” The Buffalo is prepared in two sizes, as is all of Il Mondo’s pizzas: 14” medium for $12.99, and 18” large for $16.99. The Margherita is a nicely made, simple pie, consisting of basil, red sauce and mozzarella, and is actually priced even lower than the other 18 pizza choices: $9.99 for the 14” medium and $12.99 for the 18” large. Of course, if you love variety, you’ll be in no short supply at Il Mondo; Nasef prepares a lights-out Meat Lovers pizza, a mouth-watering Hawaiian pie, a rich and creamy Alfredo alternative to the red-sauced pizzas, a fresh and distinctive Garden Pesto, and, of course, the signature Il Mondo Special, loaded with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, fresh spinach, broccoli, ham, mushroom and onion. Wow. Il Mondo is also famous for their 28 specialty pasta dishes, which offer three different sauces that “…really suit our customers’ tastes,” says Nasef. “We are blessed to be able to serve this great and highly-educated community,” Nasef humbly admits, referring to Il Mondo’s proximity to academic institutions and hospitals in the area.


Mandatory Freshness Any slice of pizza you choose at Il Mondo will have the freshest ingredients, which Nasef credits to his early years in native Palestine. “I guess living in a small Palestinian village famous for olive oil, grapes and fresh vegetables motivated me to bring out the best and freshest our pizza can offer.” “When we first opened, we kept changing suppliers to try to find the best ingredients and the freshest vegetables. I would come in very early every morning to sample every kind of ingredient we use to make sure that the flavor and quality is there. Now, we have a supplier which provides us with fresh ingredients every day,” Nasef says. Il Mondo gets it right. They do it so well, in fact, that you may see another location popping up in the near future. It’s a ‘worldly’ piemaking establishment that offers the freshest and best pies you can find, at very reasonable prices. When Foodies of New England asked Nasef about his philosophy, he quickly replied, “Very simple. “Give them gourmet, but give it to them fast and inexpensive. Our customers have a fast-paced life; they’re students and medical professionals who don’t have the luxury to dine in a fancy restaurant for lunch, but still want to eat homemade food with great flavor and quality. So my mission is to give them a taste of my Italian experience in every bite of their food.”

Il Mondo is located at 682 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115. Telephone: (617) 277-7161, or online at: www.IlMondoPizza.com.

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Di Parma Pizza


Flats

Worcester, MA

Pizza as a Cultural Touchstone Written by Jodie Lynn Boduch Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

“I’m a food-focused person in general. I appreciate everything for what it is, but I’m a fan of large, bold, simplistic flavors. I believe everything needs to have some cultural or culinary significance.” –Paul Booras, Owner of Flats Organic Pizzeria in Worcester, MA. Everything about Flats Organic Pizzeria reflects this philosophy--the name, the motivation for opening it, and, of course, the food itself.

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“Flats” refers to “flatbread.” But here, it’s more than just a vehicle for delivering homemade sauce and tasty toppings. What inspires Booras is the idea that most cultures have culinary threads that are woven in some way—often through peasant traditions, which are fundamentally healthy—to flatbread. Because it’s a medium that transcends a lot of societies, flatbread has a broad demographic and cultural reach. Pizza speaks to people at all socioeconomic levels. Everyone understands pizza. Yet they also misunderstand pizza. Often vilified as a guilty pleasure and considered low in nutritional value, pizza has taken a hit in the reputation department. Booras, who opened Flats in April 2010 with business partner Eric Kinniburgh, begs to differ. He offers a refreshing take on pizza: “If it’s prepared properly and with integrity, it’s a healthy product.” In fact, pizza as a nutritious food choice played a role in his decision to open the restaurant. Booras notes that there are limited options for the average person to get a family-friendly meal that’s both convenient and healthy. As a father to young children, he’s very attentive to what they eat in particular and what options exist for kids in general. So strongly does he feel about providing children with sound dining choices that he’s interested in connecting with the Worcester school system. The idea that Flats could deliver a fresh, quality pizza to students appeals to him greatly—he’d like to turn the whole misconception about commoditized pizza on its head. The philosophical underpinnings translate into a mouth-watering, Neopolitan-style pizza. Flats received the “2010 Best New Business” award from Worcester Magazine and “Honorable Mention for Best Pizza.” Their objective is to appeal to everyone—those who are especially sensitive about fac-

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tors such as nutritional value and cultural connections as well as those who are less concerned with those elements and just want to savor a slice. Booras thinks every neighborhood should have a simple, accessible, healthy, mindful-but-notpreachy venue that leaves the door open for other related culinary opportunities (like being an advocate for healthy food choices for school kids). So what’s on the menu at Flats, anyway? It all starts with their blended multigrain dough. They use an old-fashioned bread-making process, and it takes about 3 days to make the dough. The slow fermentation method alters the gluten structures and the protein and carb chains. The aging makes the nutrients much more available—something you don’t get out of quickly prepared dough. Once again, Flats runs counter to traditional conceptions of pizza; in this case, they do so by changing the typical gluten structure of dough. The result is a lower glycemic product, which therefore makes it very gluten-friendly. In addition to typical pizza offerings, Flats has intriguing selections such as Melanzanne (roasted eggplant slices, fresh mozzarella, and nut-free pesto), Shroom’n (shaved mushrooms, green sauce, local goat cheese, and white truffle oil), and Smokin Spud (smoked bacon, potato, caramelized onions, fontina, and roasted garlic). The restaurant also differentiates itself conceptually by its attention to both pizza and its accompaniments. A salad here, for example, isn’t just a few pieces of lettuce with some Italian dressing. Specific flavor profiles are created for salads (take Apple & Goat: goat cheese, green apple, Craisins, and walnuts; or Thai: avocado, Asian slaw, edamame, wasabi, and sweet soy). This allows them to pair well with the pizza or be stand alone


takeout items. This way, even the non-pizza lovers in a family or group have an option. The intention is to give people a customized experience in which palates on all sides of the table are met. Chefs at Flats follow the recipes Booras creates. When a new kitchen employee comes on board, they’re schooled in all the details; it’s a streamlined, standardized process. Far less standardized is the manner in which ingredients are sourced. Using an integrated approach, Flats uses both local producers and traditional vendors. Booras, who has a lot of experience in the corporate culinary world, leverages the vendor connections he’s established whenever possible. The logistics of farm-to-table can be complicated, so he’s found ways to bring together both in order to fulfill their SLO mission (Sustainable, Local, Organic). Given that the word is out that he’s open to forging relationships, it’s not unusual for local producers, without any sort of formal procedure involved, to drop off food items for use at the restaurant. The restaurant at 75 Maywood Street is small and easy to miss. While the nearby Clark University community accounts for much of their customer base, maintaining the same level of clientele in the summer is a challenge. Flats, aware of the power word of mouth has regarding food, has responded by doing more events throughout Worcester. Ideally these efforts will help them to gain visibility and build relationships to complement the existing ones. Another goal over time is to embellish the Flats brand, tapping into its inherent diversity and expanding into other flatbread creations such as naan and Eastern Mediterranean fare. Booras observes that food is integrated with so many things—health, wellness, positive feelings. With Flats, he’s certainly doing his part to make that philosophy a culinary and cultural reality.

Flats Organic Pizzeria 75 Maywood Street Worcester, MA 01603 Tel: 508-752-1701 www.flatsrestaurant.com

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Salutes Worcester’s Best Chef Judges’ Choice Champion Wilson Wang from Baba Sushi Wilson also won the Judges’ Choice Award in 2007, the People’s Choice Award in 2008 and the Judges’ Choice Award again in 2010. Baba Sushi has been named Best Sushi Restaurant 2008-2011 by Worcester Living Magazine and Best Sushi Restaurant 2008-2011 by Worcester Magazine.

Scan with your Smartphone for a FREE Appetizer

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Baba Sushi 309 Park Ave. Worcester, MA 01609 508-752-8822 www.babasushi.com


Attention Foodies!

Start Your Day Right with our Freshly Baked Pastries We offer our signature danishes in a variety of flavors, using authentic European recipes and methods. We also offer fresh fruit scones, muffins, coffee cakes, and sweet breads. You’ll also want to try our biscotti, assorted butter pound cakes (classic and combination of spices), Parisian macaroons, individual desserts and gourmet cookies.

Pistachio mousse cake

Mark Your Calendar Worcester’s Best Chef Mechanics Hall Sunday, January 29, 2012 Tickets available now at www.worcestersbestchef.com

Vanilla mousse and passion fruit

Milk and white chocolate mousse glass

Serving Worcester for over 50 Years! Wedding Cake Specialists Best of Worcester 2011!

133 Gold Star Blvd. Worcester, MA 508-852-0746 www.thecrownbakery.com

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Keeping Tradition This is a place steeped in history. Take a step into The Student Prince at 8 Fort Street in Springfield, and that’s one of the first impressions that comes to mind. You’re no longer off a busy street in New England. You’re in a casual restaurant in Bavaria. The dark wood interior, impressive bar, and walls full of German art and objects contribute to the Old World feel of a long-standing restaurant.

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Alive at

The

Student Prince Written by Jodie Lynn Boduch Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Indeed it is: The family-owned German restaurant celebrated its 75th anniversary in September 2010. Consistency, good food at reasonable prices, loyal patrons, and a dedication to tradition have made The Student Prince a local favorite for generations of diners.

Good Old-Fashioned German Food A restaurant doesn’t enjoy over seven decades of success without crowd-pleasing meals day after day, year after year. Owner Rudi Scherff gave us the dish—well, not the actual dish, just the inside information—on the culinary history of this comfort food landmark in Western MA. The signature items on the menu are the Sauerbraten (pot roast marinated in red wine vinegar served with a sweet-and-sour sauce), Jaeger Schnitzel (veal in a red wine sauce with mushrooms), Wiener Schnitzel (breaded veal), and sausages such as Bratwurst and Knockwurst. Broiled scrod is also very popular, and seasonal fare is always well-received. Don’t forget the bake shop—Germans have a sweet tooth, and The Student Prince is happy to carry on that tradition with an ever-changing assortment of cakes and pies. Their star dessert is the Chauvinette, a decadent concoction of Galliano, Grand Marnier, and Crème de Cacao with vanilla ice cream. Fillet of Salmon

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The recipes haven’t changed much over the years. Scherff notes that every now and then, they’ve drifted away from the original preparation on some dishes. Yet the experiments never seem to stick; time and again, the restaurant always returns to the proven success of the original. How does this reflect on the hiring of chefs? The Student Prince now looks for culinary professionals who are talented and have some ideas, but not too many ideas. At the end of the day, it’s important that dishes that have been served for three-quarters of a century continue to be prepared the way patrons know and love. Food trends do come and go, and even the most traditional restaurants incorporate slight tweaks to meet diners’ needs and appetites. The rise in peanut allergies, for example, meant taking walnuts off the menu. Scherff has noticed health-conscious patterns among diners (more seafood is being sold these days), which led to more vegetarian offerings and the elimination of fried vegetables from the menu altogether. All this good food needs to be washed down with a little something, and the collection of steins lining the walls—hand-washed twice a year, by the way—drops a hint. The bar at The Student Prince, rarely empty, is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to beer. They sell more Spaten beer on tap than any restaurant in the United States, with selections that include Spaten Lager, Spaten Optimator, and Spaten Mai Bock. Some of the other imported draft beers are Franziskaner Weissbier, Hacker PschorrEdelhell Ale, Stella Artois, and Hof Brau Dunkle. Franziskaner Dunkel Hefe-Weisse and Warsteiner Pils, available by the bottle, are also among the imported German beer offerings. There also numerous kinds of domestic beer, wine, and liquor (for the martini faithful). As for Scherff, he’s happy to have the leftovers of whatever surplus the kitchen has on a given day. He also believes in taste testing: Each day he tries the soups and brown sauce to make sure they’re prepared just right. He also does some (decidedly welcome) market research on Sauerbraten at least once a week, sampling the sauce and dumplings to ascertain that the taste and texture remain consistent. The Sauerbraten is one of his two favorite dishes on the menu. The other is the Wiener Schnitzel—and if you’ve had it, you’ll understand why.

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Bratwurst, grilled homemade veal & pork sausage and Sauerkraut


Festivals & Festivities Never let it be said that The Student Prince doesn’t know how to have a good time. They have three festivals throughout the year showcasing seasonal specialties. Stop in during February for Wild Game month and you’ll see plenty of meat on the menu: buffalo, elk, venison, rabbit, and ostrich. In May, the restaurant’s Maifest menu features bockwurst (the recipe of Rupprecht Scherff, the larger-than-life proprietor from 1961-1996), leg of lamb, swordfish, spring ingredients like asparagus and fiddlehead ferns, and the always-enjoyable May wine served with strawberries. Of course, no German restaurant could sneak through the fall without an Oktoberfest. The Student Prince reveres this much-beloved tradition and celebrates in grand style, doing their best to make Massachusetts patrons feel like they’re in Munich. Pork shanks, roasted half chicken, and weisswurst (white sausage) are a few of the dishes you’ll see in October. Oh, there’s beer at an Oktoberfest, too, right? Right! Rest assured, The Student Prince has no shortage of Spaten Oktoberfest to keep those raised steins full. The Christmas season is always a very special time of year at the restaurant. A beautifully decorated tree. Carolers. An overwhelming sense of the holiday spirit. Rudi Scherff in a Santa hat (sometimes). These things, together with a hardworking staff (the restaurant has very little turnover), make The Student Prince a must-see in December. The restaurant is open on Christmas Eve, and as you might have guessed, early reservations are imperative. The hustle-and-bustle of The Student Prince— at lunch, dinner, or late-night—is a pretty good indication that things aren’t slowing down any time soon. Good food never goes out of style. The Student Prince Cafe 8 Fort Street Springfield, MA 01103 413-788-6628 www.studentprince.com

Red Cabbage

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“History of”

Garlic The History of

Written by Jodie Lynn Boduch Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Jodie Lynn Boduch, owner of Much Ado Marketing, serves as Social Media Director and Staff Writer for the Foodies team. She’s an adventurous explorer of the culinary landscape and enjoys writing about food. Educated in both business and history, she has big plans to put the latter to good use for this column.

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You know it when you smell it. You know it when you taste it: garlic. Given that it’s one of nature’s most recognizable (and beloved) flavors, it’s no surprise that this cousin to onions, scallions, and chives has worn many culinary hats throughout history. Garlic has been around for a while: Clay models have been found in Egyptian tombs, India referenced it 5,000 years ago, Babylon used it 4,500 years ago, and China had it 2,000 years ago—some writings suggest China used it even earlier in its history. Ancient Greeks left it out for the goddess Hecate on new moon nights, rather like our modern tradition with cookies and Santa Claus . . . though the Queen of the Underworld wasn’t really big on bringing toys. Ancient Romans were no strangers to garlic, either. From medicine to culture to the dinner table, garlic is an herb for the ages.

Take Two Cloves and Call Me in the Morning Most people know that garlic has health benefits, such boosting the immune system and lowering cholesterol. The Romans may not have had the advantage of modern science, but they believed it enhanced strength and warded off tapeworm. It was part of soldiers’ diets as well as that of ordinary citizens. Writings from England in the Early Middle Ages suggest garlic as a remedy for coughing, which is reminiscent of its usage in subsequent centuries in treating tuberculosis patients. In the 14th century, garlic was used against the ultimate infectious disease, the plague, and was allegedly effective. Maybe because the rat fleas responsible for the plague didn’t like munching on humans who’d eaten it? Just a guess—but not an unreasonable one. Other creatures have certainly demonstrated an aversion to garlic (e.g., a bird called the European starling, according to one scientific study). The “garlic is good for you” findings in science trace back to the 19th century when Louis Pasteur, noted for his germ theory of disease and for inventing vaccination, analyzed its antibiotic properties. In World War I and World War II, garlic was used to treat battlefield wounds. In 1950s Africa, Dr. Albert Schweitzer used it to treat a variety of contagious bacterial diseases, including cholera, typhus, and dysentery. Here is an interesting feature in garlic’s anti-inflammatory arsenal: It’s usage in treating swimmer’s ear. Hey, Dear? Got swimmer’s ear after my time in the pool today. Can you grab the garlic press and squeeze a little into my ear? Well, not really. The purported method of delivery is in conjunction with glycerin and a carrier oil, via drops into the affected ear. Foodies of New England

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Garlic the Vampire Slayer Ok, maybe it isn’t a slayer, but garlic was a popular anti-vampire tactic once upon a time. It’s a good thing garlic necklaces have gone out of fashion— imagine how Sookie Stackhouse of True Blood and Bella Swan of Twilight would have disrupted the chemistry with their fangtastic honeys if they’d had to worry about ditching the bulbs first.

FUN FACT Did you know? That according to a recent survey by Esquire Magazine, 93% of Americans pick up and read magazines an average of 43 minutes a day. Still think you can get that much exposure from a billboard or the web? Try advertising with us and savor the rewards! Foodies of New England

Garlic isn’t just a no-no for Nosferatu: Islamic myth contends that garlic sprouted from Satan’s left footprint as he sauntered out of the Garden of Eden. However, the proscription against it among mosque worshippers is due to the smell, not the legend. The cultural influence of garlic is still on the map—literally. You know that Windy City out in Illinois? It got its name for the Native American (Potawatomi) word for wild garlic that grew near Lake Michigan. “Chicagoua” became Chicago, and the Cubs have been looking for a World Series title ever since (and we like the Cubs, so we kind of hope it’s their turn pretty soon).

Garlic the Foodie Favorite All this talk of medicinal properties and Dracula repellant qualities is nothing compared to garlic’s popularity on dinner plates across the world. The fact that garlic is easy to grow and not a fussy crop may be one reason. Although it may seem to be everywhere, at this point in history, it only grows wild in Central Asia. Today, there are plenty of garlic relatives known as “wild garlic,” but these are variations within the species and not the herb we all know, love, and cultivate widely. Speaking of wild garlic, it isn’t really something you want in your milk, is it? Then keep it away from the cows, because if they eat it or are exposed to a certain level of garlic fumes, milk can indeed pick up a garlicky taste. And

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that very distinct odor garlic imparts on those who eat it isn’t just a giveaway about your last meal. In ancient Greece and Egypt, it was used as a fertility test. We’ll spare you the details Hippocrates provides, but suffice it to say if a woman had garlic breath following a special procedure, she’d be deemed able to bear children. Not everyone loves garlic, by the way. There exists a condition called alliumphobia, which is—wait for it—the irrational fear of garlic. Needless to say, you wouldn’t find anyone suffering that affliction in the vicinity of Gilroy, CA, which has been hosting its annual Garlic Festival since 1979. At last count they were using 2 tons of garlic over the course of the 3-day event. New England is home to yearly celebrations of the “stinking rose,” too: Bennington, VT has a 2-day Garlic and Herb Festival featuring over 100 local vendors, and Bethlehem, CT holds the Garlic & Harvest festival. Is anyone else in the mood for something really garlicky right now?


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Everybody loves food, but not everyone knows how to prepare it. Foodies TV will help make you a Culinary Rock Star! • Featuring New England’s best, award-winning chefs and their signature recipes • Show reaches 500,000 viewers and 51 cities and towns throughout Central N.E. and Metro West • Perfect venue for exposure and advertsing your restaurant or business • For more information contact Mercury Media and learn what we can do for you! • Airs on Charter TV3 Saturdays at 3:30 PM, Sundays at 5 PM, and Mondays 5 AM and 9:30 PM. Mercury Media & Entertainment, LLC • Box 380 • Sturbridge MA 01566 • 508.479.1171 www.foodiesofnewengland.com

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Farm Fresh Eggs at the Country Hen

Written by Christina Whipple Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

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I

n 1988, George Bass opened the doors to The Country Hen in Hubbardston, MA with 3 employees and 3,000 hens. George met with scientists and doctors before opening Country Hen, creating a feed formula carefully cultivated to use quality organic grains, chosen to ensure high Omega-3’s in the eggs. To best feed hens at each stage of their lives, Country Hen has always had multiple formulas. Today a 7 stage feed formula follows the hens through each life stage. The feed formula’s (always been milled on the farm) is one of the things that sets Country Hen Eggs apart. On a warm July day, I met with Jim Barry, the Country Hen’s sales manager for almost 11 years. He recalled the day he first met George, “After the interview, I went out and bought half a dozen Country Hen eggs. I thought, ‘…an egg is an egg.’ That night after tasting the eggs for myself, I agreed with George. He describes his eggs as ‘The yolk stands tall, the white’s don’t run, and the taste is indescribably delicious’. “ Hens come to Country Hen at 16-18 weeks old. They are initially “immature” and lay small pullet eggs. “These eggs are so small that they get lost in a box.” explained Barry as we started our tour. By 26-28 weeks they’ve reached maturity and are laying large and extra large eggs. “We have Rhode Island Red Chickens. Being brown chickens, they lay brown eggs (white chickens lay white eggs).” As we neared the hen house, I could hear a loud hum. Jim explained that the hens were “singing”. Grinning, Barry said, “George is fond of saying, ‘A happy hen is a healthy hen.” There are 6 laying barns on the 20acre Country Hen campus; 4 are doubledeckers. 6,500-7,000 hens live on each floor. Along the aisles in each barn there are private little rooms for the chickens to lay eggs. (Continued on page 83)

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Gluten Free

Gluten Free Fall Harvest Butternut Squash Fries Ingredients 1 butternut squash, 1 ½ - 2 lbs. 1 tbsp olive oil ½ tsp sea salt freshly ground pepper

Written by Ellen Allard Gluten Free Diva www.glutenfreediva.com Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Ellen Allard is the Gluten Free Diva (www.glutenfreediva.com). She is a recipe developer, food writer, food photographer and food videographer who frequently posts on her upbeat gluten free blog about gluten free and dairy free recipes. Ellen is passionately dedicated to informing readers about the benefits of embracing healthy gluten free and dairy free eating.

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Peel, seed and cut the butternut squash into 1” – 2” pieces. Place in bowl and drizzle with olive oil, enough to lightly coat all of the pieces. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Spread on baking tray (with sides) lined with parchment paper. Bake 350˚ for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove from oven and gently mix the squash around. This will keep it from sticking to the parchment paper. Continue baking for another 15 minutes or until the doneness is to your liking.


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Grilled Asian Tofu Ingredients 1 lb block of tofu ¼ c. olive oil ¼ c. + 2 tbsp wheat-free tamari 2 tbsp dark balsamic vinegar 3 tbsp agave syrup (can use honey or maple syrup) 1 tsp Frank’s Red Hot Sauce 1 garlic clove, minced 1” knob ginger, grated Drain the tofu and press between two heavy plates for one hour. Drain again. Alternatively, use a TofuXpress to express the water from the tofu. It can be found here: http://www.tofuxpress.com/. It works like a charm. Combine the remaining ingredients, whisking well to combine. Slice the tofu into ½” slices and cover with the marinade for at least one hour. Grill on bbq grill or in grill pan on stove until you see grill marks on each side.

Gluten Free Onion Shortcake Ingredients 1 package Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free cornbread mix 1 ½ c. milk (rice, soy, almond, dairy, etc.) 1/3 c. vegetable oil 2 eggs ¼ c. olive oil 2 ¼ - 2 ½ lbs. chopped onions ½ tsp salt 1 tsp thyme 1 tsp rosemary ½ tsp sage 3 large eggs 1 c. Silk Soy Creamer ½ tsp salt freshly ground black pepper Preheat the oven to 400˚. Oil the bottom of an oblong baking pan. Mix the cornbread mix with the milk, vegetable oil and eggs per the package directions. Spread the uncooked batter onto the bottom of the oiled pan. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Saute the onions, salt, thyme, rosemary and sage in the olive oil until onions are carmelized. Spread evenly over the uncooked batter. Set aside.

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Whisk together the eggs, silk creamer, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the onion mixture. Bake 25 – 30 minutes until the edges begin to brown and the mixture feels firm when pressed. Serve warm. Serves approximately 12 – 18 people


Wild Rice & Brown Rice Pilaf Ingredients 1 ½ c. cooked brown rice 1 ½ c. cooked wild rice ¼ c. dried cranberries ¼ c. pumpkin seeds or pepitas 1 tsp dried tarragon ½ tsp salt freshly ground pepper to taste Combine all the ingredients blending well. Serve warm or room temperature.

Apple Crisp Ingredients 6 – 8 Granny Smith apples ¼ c. apple juice 1 tsp. cinnamon 3 tbsp diced candied ginger ¾ c. firmly packed brown sugar ¾ c. Gluten Free rolled oats 5 tbsp brown rice flour 2 tbsp potato starch 1 tbsp tapioca starch ¼ tsp xanthan gum 1 tsp each ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice ¼ tsp sea salt ½ c. cold butter Preheat oven 375˚. Peel, core and slice the apples until you have 6 cups. Mix the apples with apple juice, 1 tsp cinnamon and candied ginger. Place in ungreased 9” square baking pan. Combine brown sugar, oats, brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and sea salt. Cut the butter into this mixture with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.* Sprinkle this mixture over the apples. Bake 25 – 35 minutes or until apples are tender to the touch. *Note: Place the butter in the freezer for about a half hour before you begin assembling this recipe. When you’re ready to proceed with cutting the butter into the flour mixture, grate the frozen butter with a hand grater directly into the flour mixture. The butter will fall into the mixture in small, grated pieces and will then be easier to cut into the flour mixture. Foodies of New England

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Coming in the next issue of Foodies of New England!

Game meats - Lean, healthy and delicious!

Comfort Food - Soups, stews and chili!

Family recipes with Sandy Curewitz

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A Taste of Home For over 65 years, Harry’s Restaurant has been serving up the best in breakfasts, lunches and dinners. With our roadside diner atmosphere, you can expect some of the freshest home cooking anywhere around. From delicious fried clams and onion rings, to lobster rolls, soups and salads, there’s something for everyone. We even have low carb menu options for diabetics. Harry’s Restaurant - family dining since 1946.

149 Turnpike Road Westborough, MA 01581 508-366-8302 www.harrysrestaurant.com

Follow us on Facebook HarrysRestaurantWestborough

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Pasta (and life): 101

Written by Christopher Rovezzi Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

As I started to write this article, I wasn’t sure which angle I should take. What would Foodies most want to learn about pasta? Would it be the history? Should I start with the origins? Would anyone really care that, the story we were all told as children about The Italian merchant Marco Polo bringing his discovery of pasta back from China, is just that‌ a story.

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La Storia (History) In 1279 A.D., while Polo was still in the Orient, someone found A Roman soldier’s last will and testament. In the document, the soldier bequeathed all of his possessions, including a basket of maccheroni, to his family. The history goes even deeper than that. In the 8th century, Arab invasions heavily influenced Italian culture and cuisine. The Arabs introduced a dried noodle made from flour to Sicilian villagers. This early pasta spread to the mainland and by the 1300’s became a staple food to take on long voyages of discovery due to its stable shelf life. Would anyone find it interesting that pasta wasn’t paired with tomatoes until about 1839? Tomatoes were discovered in the new world and even though they were brought back to Europe in the early 19th century, they were considered to be poisonous and weren’t eaten until the mid 1800’s. Once the first pasta and tomatoes recipe was recorded… well ,we all know what happened next.

La Scienza (“La Shen-zah” – the Science of Making Pasta) 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour 4 extra-large eggs 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil Mound 3 1/2 cups of the flour in the center of your table or workbench. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs and olive oil. Using a fork, beat together the eggs

and oil and begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well. As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up from the base of the mound to retain the well shape. The dough will come together when half of the flour is incorporated. At this point, start kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands. Once there is a mass of dough, remove from the board and scrape up and discard any leftover bits. Lightly reflour the board and continue kneading for 6 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky .Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Once you have a ball of pasta dough, the possibilities are endless. You can use your hands and a rolling pin. You can purchase any number of home kitchen pasta rolling machines, or you can roll it out using an empty wine bottle turned on its side. I used the last method when I was a poor college student and had only enough money to purchase the basic ingredients to make the dough. Papardelle, fettuccini, tagliatelle, linguini, all of these “long cuts”, are all perfect types of pasta to make from fresh pasta dough. Once you have the dough rolled out into a large thin sheet, these flat pasta are differentiated based on the width of the cut. The other direction you can take with fresh pasta is Pasta Ripiena, or “filled” pastas, which include ravioli, tortellini, panzerotti, cannelonni and manicotti. There are dozens of different shapes and millions of filling possibilities limited only to the creativity of the chef making it.

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Personalità (“Pair-soh-nahl-ee-tah” – Personality) While doing research for this article, I came across several recipes for a fresh pasta called “Cavatelli.” Cavatelli is a dense, short-cut pasta where ricotta cheese is added to the egg and flour mixture. As you prepare this pasta, Foodies, you need to form the dough and once it rests you cut small, half-inch-size pieces. Cavatelli is rolled under your thumb against the table so that it curls over your thumb and makes a sort of “c”-shaped pasta. The more I researched, the more memories of my adolescence came creeping in. When I was about 8 or 9 years old, my uncle Coogan pulled me into the kitchen at a family gathering and told me I was going to help with one of the most important tasks of the day, making the cavatelli to go with the pork ribs that were simmering in the tomato sauce. I froze. “Me!?! I’m just a kid! I can’t be responsible for something that important! Was he crazy? Was it a temporary lapse in judgment? Too much homemade wine? Was he confusing me with one of my older brothers who would’ve been much bettersuited to take on ‘one of the most important tasks of the day’?” I remained silent (and terrified) as he lead me into the kitchen. Although I came from a family steeped heavily in culinary tradition, I myself, had not yet had any experience with food – other than eating. I LOVED food, especially the food at these gatherings. I just never paid any attention to where it came from. Oh, I knew it was prepared by the old people that were always in the kitchen, I just had no interest as to how it was created. But there I was, standing on an old milk crate to raise me to an appropriate height , working the sticky dough with my hands, making many mistakes at first but not worrying that he was going to get angry. To start, he would cover my hand with his, slowly rolling the piece of dough guiding my thumb with his. It was a slow smooth motion of grab, roll and sweep away to the side where the other cavatelli were piling up. After a while he removed his hand from atop mine and almost like it had a mind of its own, my hand kept repeating the process. I was doing it – on my own, with no help! To an 8 year-old, it was a very empowering feeling, comforting feeling. The real reward came during dinner when no one could tell where Uncle Coogan’s cavatelli ended and mine began. Coogan gave me a nudge and a wink and the pride swept over me like a warm blanket.

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I could tell you that this moment was the true beginning of my culinary passion and the root cause to my life as a Chef, but it would be a lie. My true interest in food came much, much later in life. No, what this moment did for me was connect food to comfort, to accomplishment and to belonging. I’m sure Uncle Coogan had no idea how much that lesson in cavatelli affected me. Shame on me for never telling him.

Wikipedia defines FOODIES as amatures that simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news. Different from gourmets, who want to EAT the best food, Foodies want to learn anything about food, both the best and the ordinary, and about the science, industry, and personalities surrounding food.

But, once again, is this what Foodies want to read about?

Christopher Rovezzi is the owner and Executive Chef at Rovezzi’s Ristoranté located in Sturbridge, MA. www.rovezzis.com

Given that, I hope I hit the mark.

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Written by Domenic Mercurio, Jr. Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

It’s an offer your taste buds can’t refuse. A multi-course, chef-served dinner with Soprano’s cast members, complete with 7 courses of Soprano’s-brand wines, hailing from all over Italy. It was, to be sure, ahem… a ‘hit’. There I was, barging in on a quiet, personal ‘sit-down’ between Larry Boy Barese (Tony Darrow) and Carlo Gervasi (Arthur Nascarella), as the trio leisurely autographed wine bottles in a back room before dinner. Our photographer, Scott Erb, softly asked, “Do you gentlemen mind if we take some pictures?” and gulped when Larry Boy answered without lifting an eyebrow, “No pictures.” Not sure if he was half-joking, I thought I’d try to soften up what seemed to be a scary situation, so I walked a little closer, leaned over the table between the ‘boys’ and whispered, “Permesso, Signori, ma facciamo una storia della vostra visita per la cena questa sera. Ci possiamo parlare un attimo?” Essentially, what I asked them was, “We’re writing a story about the wine dinner this evening. Could we chat for a little while?” But, what they heard and agreed to was, “Would you fine gentlemen mind not killing us while we bother you with questions about your life?” Given my close proximity to his hand, Larry Boy felt the urge to connect it firmly to my face, commenting to Carlo (Arthur Nascarella), “Hey Arty, this is a good-looking kid, eh?” to which Arthur replied, “Yeah, sure. He’s Italian, ain’t he?” (Continued on page 76)

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Sopranos Wine Dinner a ‘Hit’

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They allowed me to sit down for awhile. Consummate professional that he is, Scott coolly took shot after shot (Excuse me, not ‘shot’ – ‘photograph’ is what I meant), while I carefully peered into their early days growing up in Italian families in New York City and the acting careers that followed. As it turns out, Tony Darrow’s real name is Nunzio Borghese, and his family is from a little town outside of Palermo, Sicily, called Collesano (near Sciacca). Darrow gets nostalgic about his visits to Sicily, but even more nostalgic when he talks about his role as Sonny in Martin Scorsese’s blockbuster film, Goodfellas, a film based on his old neighborhood in Brooklyn and the very people he grew up with who made the movie so colorful. “I remember that scene in the bar with Joe Pesce, when he hit me over the head with a bottle. What was so interesting about that scene was that I wrote it,” he says. We politely asked him to explain, so he continued, “One day on the set, Martin [Scorsese] called me into his trailer and said, ‘I’m taking this scene away from Paul [Sorvino]; I want you to write it.’ Well, Paul got angry at that, but Martin wanted Paul to appear spontaneously angry in the scene, so it worked out really well.” Darrow is the only actor who has worked on six Woody Allen movies. “Woody Allen hasn’t even done six Woody Allen movies,” Nascarella jokes. “The last one [Allen film] I did was Small Time Crooks with Jon Lovitz, Tracey Ullman, Michael Rapaport, and Hugh Grant.” Darrow appeared with Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal in Analyze This and with Hugh Grant in Mickey Blue Eyes. Some of Darrow’s current projects also include To Kill the Irishman, with Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Paul Sorvino, and Steve Schirripa(who played Bobby Baccalieri on The Sopranos), and Goat, with Armand Assante, Vincent Pastore, and Ice T.

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It’s clear that Darrow and Nascarella are well-acquainted with each other and have a good sense of one another’s timing. As Tony mentions that he grew up with the very characters portrayed in Goodfellas, Arthur interjects, “And I arrested them.” Arthur, a retired New York City police detective, lives in Edgewater, New Jersey, and grew up Arturo “Arthur” Nascarella in New York City’s Spanish Harlem. Nascarella, whose family is also from Sicily (Prizzi), has completed 60 feature films, including a Brooklyn State of Mind, He Got Game, Happiness, and is best remembered for his roles as “Frankie” in Enemy of the State, “Mario” in Summer of Sam, and “Frank LaGunda” in Cop Land. Nascarella’s new and exciting works about to debut include, Man on a Ledge with Sam Worthington and Lily of the Feast with Paul Sorvino, Tony LoBianco, and Federico Castelluccio, but he looks fondly on his work in The Cooler with Alec Baldwin, in which he “gets to kill” Baldwin at the end. Nascarella jokes, “I told Alec that the Republican National Committee offered me a million dollars to do the scene for real.” As we wrapped up our private time, I had to find out what these TV mobsters’ favorite meals were. “My mother’s Chicken Scarpariello,” fired Darrow without hesitation, a Sicilian chicken dish which you can prepare at home according to Rachael Ray’s recipe, courtesy of Food Network (see page 79). We asked Nascarella to tell us about his favorite Sopranos Cookbook recipe, which was, of course, “Broken Leg of Lamb.” As we headed out into the main area of the event at Clarke Corporation’s kitchen showroom in Milford, Massachusetts, a beautiful, sprawling, ornate layout, the men were immediately ‘mobbed’ with fans and, having no shortage of gregarious personalities, they accommodated everyone who approached them.


“The members of the Sopranos cast were such gentlemen; hosting this event was a truly rewarding experience,” said Sean Clarke, Clarke Corporation’s general manager. As long as no one said the wrong thing, this was shaping up to be an evening of opulence and flavor, with Neapolitan goodies prepared by Chefs Tim Vaillette of Prezo’s Grille & Bar in Milford, Massachusetts, and Tommaso Gargiulo of Peppercorn’s Grille & Tavern of Park Avenue in Worcester, fresh pastas prepared by Lilly’s Pasta of Everett, Massachusetts, a Soprano cupcake display created by Five Bites of Wellesley, Massachusetts (Best of Boston winner), Sopranos cigars by CAO Cigars, and seven varietals of Italian wines courtesy of Vesuvio Import Company of Manhattan’s famed Madison Avenue. But, behave yourself, because with so many of Clarke’s oversized Sub-Zero refrigerator-freezers around, you could easily find yourself ‘cooling off’ somewhere – permanently. If you exercise the proper ‘respect’ for the company you’re in, a night like this can be a seriously good time. The bill of fare was incredibly colorful, tasty and diverse; so many unique and decadent choices, and so many marvelous wines with which to pair them. We started at Prezo’s first station, featuring fresh pasta with an arugula and watermelon salad, dressed perfectly with fresh Parmigiano cheese and lime vinaigrette. The next stop wowed us with a braised short rib served over a creamy, herbed polenta. The chilled cioppino (seafood salad) was a marvelous creation – cool, tasty, fresh, and perfect in texture. (Continued on page 78)

Arthur Nascarella as “Carlo Gervasi”

Tony Darrow as “Larry Boy Barese”

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Sopranos (Continued from page 77)

And then, the third station! If you like taste explosions, you would have enjoyed the warm tomato salad, complete with fresh beefsteak tomatoes, basil, garlic and goat cheese served over grilled bruschetta (rustic, toasted bread). The Chicken Sinatra (what else?) was a sautéed, boneless breast of chicken layered with an eggplant crouton, sharp provolone cheese, Portobello mushrooms, and a zesty marinara in a white wine butter sauce. One bite of this and you’ll be singing “Witchcraft.” Prezo’s servers passed an absolutely inspiring Arancino (which means ‘orange’ in Italian, named after the shape and texture it bears). The arancini (plural) were pure epicurean excellence: deep-fried risotto balls blended with four distinctive cheeses and prosciutto di Parma and a wild mushroom bruschetta. For dessert, ricotta-filled cannoli, a rum tiramisu and the aforementioned Sopranos-themed cupcake display by Five Bites of Wellesley. What’s that? You’re on a diet? “Forgetta-bout-it!”

The Sopranos Wines We tasted all of the Sopranos wines alongside the various delicacies prepared by Prezo’s chefs. First up, the Pinot Grigio from Friuli, northern Italy. We found this crisp, well-balanced white to be fuller and richer than traditional Pinot Grigio, with ripe, tropical melon flavors and hints of zesty grapefruit. Floral and hibiscus aromas are prevalent throughout and the finish is clean and sharp. We then moved on to the Sopranos’ red selections, beginning with an atypical Italian varietal – Pinot Noir – or, as they also call it in Italy, Pinot Nero. The varietal is known to be best when from Burgundy, France; Baden, Germany; or the west coast of the United States, specifically Oregon or Washington State. There, many wonderful

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examples of Pinot Noir, and Pinot Gris, are crafted. Although the wine’s origin wasn’t the birthplace of some of the better Pinot Noirs, we gave the Italian cousin its due consideration and found it to have surprisingly ripe aromas of berry and smoky, brown spice. The wine’s tannins are moderately soft, and its overall constitution is fairly complex with a fragrant and almost velvety finish. Tasting in order of fullness, we moved on to the next logical wine in the order – the Cabernet-Merlot-Sangiovese blend from Sicily. Its full-bodied character has a moderate elegance to it, with a vibrant ruby color. On the palette, the ripe blackberries prevailed but didn’t overshadow the subtle cassis notes and shapely tannic acidity on the mild, persistent finish. The Chianti was a deep ruby color with a fruity nose, had a full body, and was fairly well-balanced. Predominantly comprised of the Sangiovese grape with Canaiolo and Malvasia Nera grapes blended in, this Chianti was warm, smooth and finished with a soft, lightlytannic acidity. As we tasted through the Chianti to the Chianti Classico, we noted a bigger bouquet of cherry and spice, with a subtle vanilla quality from the barrel. The Chianti Classico Riserva, which has 2 years of oak aging, boasted a more intense garnet color with black fruits and polished tannins and rich layers of ripe fruits and spice. The major differences between the Chianti, Chianti Classico, and Chianti Classico Riserva wines involve grape selection and barrel aging. Chianti is typically comprised of 85% Sangiovese with the balance being a blend of Canaiolo and/or Malvasia Nera. Chianti Classico wines are made in the same fashion, but the grapes are grown in the preferred Classico zone of Chianti, which features better-situated, hillside vineyards that are southerly-facing, thereby allowing the grapes to develop without a must and produce more (Continued on page 84)


Chicken Scarpariello Ingredients 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast Salt and pepper 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns  of the pan 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces 3 hot cherry peppers, drained and chopped 4 cloves garlic, chopped or thinly sliced 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth 1/4 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley,   a couple of handfuls 2 tablespoons juice from hot pepper jar Orzo with Parsley and Lemon Zest, recipe follows

DIRECTIONS

Photo courtesy of Steve Idarola

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Cut chicken into large chunks and season with salt and pepper and poultry seasoning. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin oil to the hot pan, 1 turn in a slow stream. Set chicken into pan and do not turn for 2 or 3 minutes or you will tear the meat. Brown chicken 3 minutes on each side and then remove all of the chicken to a warm plate. Add bell peppers, hot peppers and garlic to the pan. Saute the peppers and garlic for 5 minutes, tossing and turning them frequently. Add wine to the pan and reduce 1 minute. Scrape up the pan drippings. Add the chicken stock and bring it up to a bubble. Set the chicken back into the pan. Toss the parsley with the chicken and peppers and cook the chicken through, 2 or 3 minutes. Scatter a little hot pepper juice over the pan and serve the Scarpariello over a bed of lemon orzo. WOW! Orzo with Parsley and Lemon Zest: 1/2 pound orzo Coarse salt 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it 2 large lemons, zested Black pepper 1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley, a couple of handfuls Cook orzo in salted water about 12 minutes, to al dente. Drain orzo well. Do not run under cold water. You want the cooked pasta to remain hot. Transfer pasta to a serving bowl. Drizzle orzo with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add lemon zest and parsley and toss to combine the flavors with the pasta. Yield: 4 servings Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 12 minutes

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Food for Thought

Organic The Benefits of Foods

W

hen you look at the food you’re about to eat, do you ever wonder where it was and what’s been done to it before it got to your plate? Well, unless you grew it or raised it yourself, there’s usually quite a story to be told. The foods made available to us in today’s markets and grocery stores have often been sprayed, injected, or processed to such a degree that they are essentially a very different food than what nature intended them to be.

Written by Peggy Bridges Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Peggy Bridges is a high school Business Technology and Graphic Arts teacher. She is Editor-in-Chief of a school newspaper, and her writing has also been published in a national educator’s magazine. Peggy is a firm believer in healthy living and an active lifestyle. She enjoys many outdoor activities with her husband and children. Her recipe for a perfect afternoon is a hike with her family and lunch on a blanket served from a picnic basket packed with great food and bottle of good wine.

One way to be sure you’re eating foods in their natural intended state is to plant a garden or raise livestock yourself. However, that’s not an option for many of us for myriad reasons. What is a viable option though, is to buy and eat organic foods. Organic foods must meet strict standards, making them a safer option for consumption than conventional foods. They are not sprayed with pesticides, injected with hormones, packed with preservatives, or processed to a point where the food item is no longer a recognizable version of the original. Across the country, the number of organic farms is growing. These farms have to adhere to strict standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that are enforced through yearly inspections and certification. When these standards are met, this earns them the USDA organic seal. So what are the benefits of organic foods? Are they more nutritious? Some studies have shown that organic produce has higher mineral content and lower levels of heavy metals. Certain pesticides, when present in conventionally grown foods, have been shown to reduce levels of important vitamins when these chemicals are applied to the food plants. The nutrients most often affected are Vitamin C, beta carotene, and the B vitamins, all of which are critically important to the body’s ability to battle the presence of chemical toxins and prevent some types of cancer. The buildup of certain pesticides and chemicals in the body has been shown to cause many forms of cancer and other debilitating illnesses. In particular, scientists now have evidence that breast cancer is associated with pesticide residue. Organic foods have been shown to have much lower levels of heavy metals than conventional foods. The buildup of heavy metals in the body such as aluminum, lead, and mercury, has also been shown to cause numerous ailments, such as the presence of aluminum being connected with Alzheimer’s disease. Organic foods have been shown to contain an average of 40% less aluminum than commercial foods.

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Other damaging heavy metals having a lesser presence in organic foods are lead, which can cause lower IQs in our children, and mercury which can cause neurological damage. As a result of so much overwhelming evidence, many people are now opting to “go organic.” One local proponent of organic foods since its establishment in 1971 is The Living Earth, an organic and natural foods market located in Worcester, Massachusetts. As a family owned business, they also offer a wide variety of natural supplements, cosmetics, micro-brewed beers, and organic and low-sulfite wines. The focus of the business is to offer environmentally conscious products that also promote a healthy lifestyle. Housed in the same building is the popular restaurant EVO, an award winning vegetarian restaurant known for preparing meals using the finest local and natural organic ingredients. When the EVO chef needs specialty ingredients that he can’t find elsewhere, he often looks to The Living Earth to supply him with those foods. We spoke with the Store Manager of Living Earth, Frank Phelan, to get his thoughts on organics and their role in today’s food market. When asked if he has noticed an increase in the popularity of organic foods, Frank responded, “Absolutely.” He said there has definitely been an increase since the business first opened, particularly in the 1980’s when things “really caught fire.” Frank explained that just about all their produce is certified organic, with the only exception being in-season produce that sometimes comes from local organic farmers who don’t have the means of going through the extensive inspection

processes to be deemed “certified organic.” The Living Earth gets a lot of its in-season produce from Many Hands Organic Farm located in Barre, Massachusetts. Many Hands is certified organic by the Baystate Organic Certifiers, and also maintains a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share program for people in the local area. In the

We asked Frank what he thinks has caused the increased interest in organic foods. His response was that “more media play and the influence of the Internet” have had a considerable impact on the organics market. He went on to say that “Baby boomers who are now in their 50’s and 60’s are at a point where they’re realizing their own mortality, and

off season, roughly November through May, the bulk of Living Earth’s produce is shipped in from larger suppliers and is all certified organic. All of their foods are marked or labeled, so you always know what you’re getting. Frank says, “When you pick up a piece of produce in our store, you can be sure it’s organic.”

are taking steps to extend their lives and add to their quality of life by choosing organic foods.” We talked about other reasons people are turning to organic foods. Frank told us that more women tend to shop at Living Earth as a means of nurturing personal and family health. They want to do right by their children. A number of people are choosing organics as an alternative or supplemental treatment to a debilitating illness. Frank made reference to all the evidence out there regarding heart disease and cancer, and how many people see an organic diet as a means of lowering their risk. He explained that many of their customers are pre-educated, and may ask questions about recommendations for certain (Continued on page 82)

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Organic (Continued from page 81)

purposes. “We just guide them in the right direction.” As is always the case, there comes the issue of price. Because most organic farms are typically smaller than the larger commercial farms, they don’t qualify for the government subsidies that the larger conventional farms receive. This is one factor that keeps the price of organic foods higher in general than their conventional counterparts. Another factor that Frank explained is that organic farms are more labor intensive. They have to monitor their fields, keep track of crop rotation, and weed their fields as well. “There’s no spraying of RoundUp to keep the weeds down.” Add to this the fact that it costs money to go through all of the inspections it requires to be certified as organic, and it’s easy to see why organic foods have to be priced a little higher. Frank talked about the price factor, putting it in perspective. “People tend to have the box store mentality that cheaper is always better. That’s not really the case. You may save at the check-out, but you end up paying for it somewhere else, like with your health or damage to the environment.” He went on to say that the impacts are also felt in the high cost of our health care system. We asked Frank if there was anything he’d like people to know about organics in general. “If people really took a look at how the conventional foods they eat are grown and processed, they might think twice and make the switch to organics.” He went on to explain how even the hormones and antibiotics that are injected into livestock eventually make their way into the groundwater and impact the environment. Frank really has a point here. Not only are we continuing to put harmful chemicals into our bodies by eating conventional foods, but we are also supporting the whole cycle of damage when the re-

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sultant waste products make their way back into the ecosystem. We’re actually perpetuating a cycle of damage to our environment. Our groundwater supply is probably the part of our environment that is most affected by pesticide use. Once chemicals enter the soil, they don’t go away quickly. To test this, scientists planted a garden in ground that had been contaminated by a common pesticide 38 years earlier, and the result was that all twelve of the vegetables planted, including lettuce, zucchini, potatoes and carrots, showed residues of the pesti-

cide. Digestive and nervous system disorders have been connected with accumulated levels of pesticides in the body. So choosing organics is not just an issue of monitoring the foods we eat. It is also about being environmentally conscious. We all have a responsibility to think beyond the here and now, and take steps to ensure the safe and healthy future of our children and our planet. Living Earth 232 Chandler Street Worcester MA 01609 508-753-1896 www.lefoods.com


Country Hen (Continued from page 62)

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of organic foods and the dangers to which people and the environment are being exposed from the pesticides in commercial foods, here are just a few sources you can check out. •

Wellness Web (www.lookwayup.com), Are Organic Foods Really Healthier for you?

• The Organic Trade Association, (www.ota.com) • Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry •

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, (www.ams.USDA.gov) National Organic Program

• U.S. Geological Survey (http://ga.water.usgs.gov)

In total, almost 60,000 laying hens enjoy their homes, complete with decks (they love the sun) and nearby trees purposely planted to provide shady areas (another 40,000 hens are housed at similar outlying barns). “We don’t like crowding them” Jim added as we continued down the dirt path. When asked about a Hen’s sleep/ wake cycle, it was evident that Jim has been doing this for a long time, “We don’t push them or try to fool them into laying eggs. There are some farms that keep the lights on for 18-20 hours/day. Lights go out in the barn around 8 pm. Initially you hear fluttering as they find a place to roost, and then all is quiet. You could hear a pin drop. When the lights are turned on at 5 am the hen’s head straight to the nest. The more the hens start to lay, the more they sing. Mornings around here can be deafening.” Country Hen eggs are distributed in 23 states. Barry’s job takes him anywhere in the US on any given day. “We don’t advertise our eggs; it’s all word of mouth. Many of our customers give us leads. Years ago a customer who lived here for 6 months and in California for 6 months said, ‘We wish we could buy your eggs in California.’ We’ve been working with Whole Foods since they were Bread and Circus.” After a call and conversation, Country Hen Eggs were on Northern California Whole Food shelves followed by Southern California stores. “Today you’ll find us up and down the California Coast.”

recipes on the website. The Country Hen used to give tours. Jim said everyone especially enjoyed working with school groups, “Chickens are very curious animals. When children would visit, the hens would come right over and untie shoes.” Because of strict FDA laws, tours are no longer done. The Country Hen is currently working on a virtual website tour. You can buy Country Hen Eggs at many local markets. You’ll find them at Whole Foods and other stores around the country as well as locally. They are sold in half-dozen cartons. A 6-pack of large brown eggs is approximately $2.99 in most NE stores. Each carton contains a slip of paper providing information that is both comical and educational, with employee information, animal bios, contests and holiday greetings. Country Hen has inserted these slips from the beginning. Jim added with obvious pride, “We joke, ‘Most people open up egg boxes to check for cracks, our customers open them for the insert.’ We get calls and emails from all over the US when a customer opens a carton and does not find an insert.” Today The Country Hen has 35 employees and 100,000 laying hens, which produce over 500,000 eggs per week. Country Hen 16 Williamsville Rd. Hubbardston MA 01452 978-928-5333 www.countryhen.com

“Our customers are loyal; they buy our eggs and consistently provide us with feedback. Two years ago we announced a recipe contest on our website. Customer response was unbelievable. We (Country Hen employees) tested and tasted, narrowing down finalists. “You can find winning Foodies of New England

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Finding the Right Balance Between Design and Business to Achieve Success

Sopranos (Continued from page 78)

sugar. The Chianti Classico Riserva is also produced in the same way but undergoes barrel-aging to soften the wine’s natural tannic acidity derived from the dark Sangiovese skins. All of the Sopranos wines are available at Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, Massachusetts, and each carries a reasonable price. Some of the proceeds of the event were donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, the purpose of which is to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured service members aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members. For more information on this very worthwhile organization, please visit www.WoundedWarriorProject.org. All in all, the Sopranos Wine Dinner really delivered a great time, extraordinary unique Italian cuisine, and well-crafted wines of considerable value. “We were very happy with the turnout and our guests really enjoyed themselves,” said Ryan Maloney of Julio’s Liquors.

Richard Bridges Design is a graphic design studio specializing in brand identity, product packaging, collateral, and advertising, incorporating contemporary design solutions with sophisticated elegance. Call today to learn how we can help your business grow.

sturbridge, ma 01566 508.517.5084 www.richardbridgesdesign.com 84

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Hey, if you don’t believe Ryan, take it from one of the characters in attendance, “We were so happy to make the trip up to New England to be with all of these sincere, friendly people. The food was marvelous, the wines were terrific, and the company was so pleasant. It’s just like Sunday dinner at home in Brooklyn,” lamented Mr. Darrow, or, as his friends from New England called him that night, “Larry Boy.”


Evo is the Evolution in Dining:

• We prepare tasty, healthy comfort food with something for everyone, from the vegan to the meat-lover. •We use local, organic ingredients to explore food trends from cultures across the world •Award-winning chef and a state-of-the-art oven Need more reasons? Come in for lunch or dinner to see for yourself!

In the heart of Worcester at Chandler Street and Park Avenue!

www.evodining.com

234 Chandler Street Worcester, MA 01609 508-459-4240 Foodies of New England

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The Goddess of the Harvest at

Ceres Bistro

Ceres Bistro, located within the Beechwood Hotel in Worcester, takes its name from the Roman Goddess of the Harvest. She would be pleased to see that the restaurant, which aims to exemplify farm-to-table dining, is a fitting tribute to her title.

The atmosphere of Ceres Bistro would also be deemed worthy of a goddess, no doubt. From the striking bar to the stained glass dome, this is a place where you expect to have an extraordinary meal. (And you will). You’re also likely to feel as though you’re . . . elsewhere. Located at 363 Plantation Street, the restaurant is in a busy part of the city. The sophistication that envelopes you upon stepping inside is a pleasant retreat from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Written by Jodie Lynn Boduch Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

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Fruits De Mer - chilled lobster, oysters, shrimp, chilled mussels

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The standards are high at Ceres Bistro for both food preparation and service.

Grilled Swordfish Filet

Goat Cheese and Berries

Then there’s the food. One of the Roman myths surrounding the goddess Ceres was that she to punish a man who cut down her grove, she cursed him with insatiable hunger. A welcome departure from that story, the restaurant does quite the opposite: Ensure that no one leaves Ceres Bistro anything other than satisfied. Executive Chef Jonathan Giddix describes the food as Contemporary American cuisine. The menu is a sort of melting pot, fusing influences from cultures all over the world but no one specific region—all while trying to keep ingredients sourced as locally as possible. Although logistics and seasonal availability often present challenges, Ceres Bistro does makes a tremendous effort to work with local farms to obtain fruits and vegetables. Not only does this embody the farm-to-table philosophy, but also it means there’s more to this restaurant than the bottom line. Sourcing locally doesn’t

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necessarily mean lowering expenses—in fact, due to a variety of factors (such as not being able to buy in bulk), it can sometimes be more costly. Nevertheless, Ceres Bistro endeavors to fulfill its mission. Both the concept and the execution are, if you’ll pardon the expression, divine. Some of the signature dishes include, for appetizers, Crisped Crystal Brook Farms Goat Cheese (local fruit, baby greens, ginger glaze) and the Ceres Salad (local greens, roasted peppers, beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, candied walnuts, bleu cheese, sherry vinaigrette). One of the most popular entrees, which appears on both the lunch and dinner menus, is the Bistro Style Free-Range Breast of Chicken (mushrooms, shallots, carrots, truffle scented fingerling potatoes, natural pan jus). When asked what he considered a menu highlight, Giddix need no time to answer: Duck Two Ways. This succulent dish offers both seared duck breast and confit leg of duck, along with a bouquet of petite vegetables, and fingerling potatoes. The pièce de résistance? A yuzu gastrique. Yuzu is an aromatic Japanese citrus, and in this dish, it’s a delightful counterpoint to the other elements. For dessert,


the restaurant likes to put a twist on the classics (e.g., lemongrass crème brulee). The elegant bar at Ceres Bistro warrants elegant cocktails, and the selections do not disappoint. Take, for example, Lillet’s Daiquiri, a concoction of 10 Cane Rum, Lillet, Luxardo Maraschino, and fresh-squeezed lime juice, or Rosemary Limeade, which consists of Grey Goose vodka, Patron Citronge, and rosemary-infused limeade. If you wish to imbibe in something a touch less sweet, the Cucumber Martini might catch your eye: Hendrick’s Gin, Yellow Chartreuse, cucumber-infused simple syrup, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice. And the farm-to-table philosophy extends to the beverage menu, too, with many locally brewed beers. As for behind the scenes at the restaurant, let’s look at another Goddess of the Harvest myth, one where Ceres sent the hero Triptolemos to teach mankind about agriculture. The chefs and staff would be apt pupils indeed. The standards are high at Ceres Bistro for both food preparation and service. General Manager Mark Waxler shares the criteria for hiring chefs. Taking it a step beyond resume review, the management team at Ceres Bistro invites prospective

chefs to cook for them using the ingredients at hand, like a mini-Iron Chef. The team then observes a chef’s movement throughout the kitchen and his or her response to pressure, praise, and criticism. Attitude is key. The same is true for service. Attitude counts for more than experience, because as Waxler says, “you can teach someone to wait tables, but you can’t teach them to smile and to care.” The restaurant does care, and it shows. Portions are available in half or full sizes (an idea inspired from customer feedback), prices are reasonable, and service is attentive. Details are important. Would a goddess expect anything else at a restaurant bearing her name? Ceres Bistro has an appealing menu and enticing ambiance—and that, Foodies, is not a myth. Ceres Bistro 363 Plantation Street Worcester MA 01605 508-754-2000 www.ceresbistro.com

Bone-In Rib-Eye Steak

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Desserts

New York Style Cheesecake with Cranberry Pear Compote The first time I ever baked a cheesecake I was 12 years old, it was for my father because it is his favorite dessert. The recipe was from Mrs. Grimbal’s Desserts, a cookbook my grandmother gave me, but even at that age I had to put my own spin on it by adding Kahlua.

Written by Alina Eisenhauer Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Alina opened Sweet Pastry Shop and Dessert Bar in the summer of 2008 and has been winning awards and critical acclaim ever since, including the 2008, 2009 & 2010 Worcester Living Magazine “Best Dessert”, the 2008 City Living Magazine “Best Bakery” and the 2010 Worcester Magazine “Best Dessert.” Sweet was also featured on TV Diner and Phantom Gourmet and Alina has appeared on season one of Food Network’s Chopped and was featured on season two of the network’s Cupcake Wars. Her recipes have even been featured in The National Culinary Review.

Twenty-eight years later I am still making cheesecake and still putting my own spin on it. As much as I like to play with recipes and put my own twist on things, when it comes to some things I am a purist – cheesecake is one of these things. Rich, creamy, New York style cheesecake is so delicious and has such an amazing texture on its own that rather than add things into the batter, I prefer to only change the crust and add toppings that compliment and enhance the cheesecake while letting it remain true to its origins. I began thinking about a cheesecake for fall and the holidays and really did not want to do pumpkin because not only is it overdone and expected, but I also really feel that by adding pumpkin to the batter, a bit of the beautiful texture is lost. So, with pumpkin not being an option I thought about what other flavors signify fall in New England to me and decided on cranberries and pears with a gingerbread crust. The tart and tangy cranberries combined with sweet pears and a spicy gingerbread crust are the perfect compliment to the rich, creamy cheesecake filling, giving you a perfectly balanced dessert. Sweet 305 Shrewsbury Street Worcester MA 01604 508-373-2248 www.sweetworcester.com

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Crust: 2 cups ground gingersnap cookies 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted. Cheesecakes: 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temp.  1 cup sugar 2 Tbs. flour 1/2 tsp lemon zest 1/2 tsp orange zest 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 4 eggs 2 egg yolks  2 Tbs. heavy cream Directions: Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter six 1 1/4 cup custard cups (or use a silicone mold coated with pan spray- that’s what we use at Sweet). Toss ground cookies with melted butter in medium bowl to blend. Press 3-4 tablespoons cookie mixture evenly onto bottom of each prepared cup. Bake for 5 min. Just to set. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth then add sugar and mix to combine. Scrape down the bowl, add the zests and flour, mixing to combine. Slowly add the eggs and vanilla while continuing to mix. Scrape bowl and mix until smooth and combined. Divide batter equally among custard cups. Place cups in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to pan to reach halfway up sides of cups. Bake until cheesecakes are set in center, about 45 minutes. Remove cheesecakes from water bath. Cool completely. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Cranberry Pear Compote: 1 ripe pear, peeled and cut into 1/2” cubes 1 cup sugar 1 cup water 12 ounces Fresh or Frozen Whole Cranberries 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise Directions: Combine sugar, vanilla bean and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add the pear and cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes (until cranberries pop), stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups. To Serve: Cut around cheesecakes to loosen. Turn cheesecakes out onto plates. Pour warm compote around cheesecakes. ENJOY!

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Beer Review

Major Beer Category: Ale Major Style Category: Weizen/Weissbier Sub Style Category: Bavarian Weissbier What Is A Weissbier? The use of wheat as one of the main ingredients in beer dates back to the Babylonian and has since been perfected by the Germans. Due to the high levels of protein present in the wheat it is an extremely difficult ingredient to us while brewing. Fortunately for us, brewers are some of the most creative people in the world and finding the right blends of wheat and malted barley became their passion, allowing them to create one of the most dynamic beers in the world. What Is A Bavarian Weissbier? The Bavarian Hefeweiss (hefe = yeast)/ weisse (white) is made with fifty percent or more wheat base and the balance filled with malted barley. The wheat gives the beer its cloudy color and the barley rounds out the mouthfeel. The magic in this beer comes from the yeast – a top fermenting ale yeast strain that marries the wheat and malt giving the beer a distinct flavor of banana and clove. Full of vitamin B-complex, this beer has been prescribed by German doctors to cure skin problems for centuries. Our Choice: Weihenstephan Hefeweiss.

Written by Matt Webster Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Matt Webster is a craft beer enthusiast, educator, event goer, blogger, restaurant adviser, private dinner consultant, celebrity video show host and above all, proudly passionate about all things beer.

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Why did we choose this beer? Pairing beer with cranberries is somewhat of a challenge. Fortunate for us, we’re professionals. We tried a number of different beers – we know, tough job – with the cranberry compote garnished cheesecake. What we found, was an amazing match between the clove flavor profile of the beer and the tartness of the cranberries. Couple that with a mixture of banana to play off the pears and cheesecake and … voila! Magic. Where can you find it in a 6-pack or 16.9 oz. bottle? KJ Baarons, Mass Liquors, Austin Liquors, Julio’s Liquors, Marlborough Wine & Spirits, Wine Nation. Where Can You Find It On Draft or In The Bottle*: The Dive Bar, The Boynton, The Horseshoe Pub, The Armsby Abbey, Sweet, The Texas Barbeque Company. ***Note: This beer may not always be available at the above locations at all times.


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Nice Slice (Continued from page 37)

Putting Community First… and Last From the moment you pick up the incredibly colorful menu to the time you pay for your slice at the counter, you’re shown one marvelous example after another of Nice Slice’s commitment to the Thayer Street community and its foundation in Art. “Adam (Suerte) did our menu design and or counter depicts Ryan Lesser’s original design,” Al explains. Ryan is the Art Director at Harmonix Music in Cambridge and he’s a long-time pizza fan and a believer in the Science of the Slice. “He’ll be a featured artist on the pizza boxes,” Al says, smiling. Al also helps middle school students by selling skateboarding hats they created near the register and giving the proceeds to them. It’s just one more way to pay it forward to the Thayer Street community. As we wrap up our interview, we become almost unaware of the patrons around us as they munch on oversized slices of greatness and snap photos of the interesting artwork surrounding them. Al breaks into a recollection of a recent trip to Korea, during which he discovered Nice Slice’s “parallel universe” – a small pizza shop operated by two brothers in Seoul, South Korea. “The place had jazz records on the wall, a hand-made sign, an old, black rotary-dial desk phone, and a can of San Marzano tomatoes [imported from Naples, Italy, and considered by many chefs to be the best sauce tomatoes in the world].” “Seoul is a city where everything is modern and nothing stands out; it’s very conformist, so, for us to meet these pizza guys – the only guys we saw with tattoos – was very unusual.” Al says. “In Seoul, the nail that stands out gets pounded back in.” That might be the case in some parts of the world, but not on Thayer Street in Providence. Here, the nail that sticks out gets a beautiful piece of impressionist art hung from it… and a slice of cheese to go. Nice Slice 267 Thayer Street Providence, RI 02906 Tel: 401-453-NICE www.niceslice.com

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Enrico’s (Continued from page 41)

Erico’s secret to great pizza can be summed-up in a few very simple parts: Sauce: “I remember Rico always saying, ‘Keep it simple; don’t dress it (the sauce) up with too many herbs, and use low-moisture cheese’,” Ted recalls. Dough (and Sauce): “Make it that morning, fresh.” Ted says. “It’s very important to me to make dough and sauce fresh every day.” Cheese: “Don’t cheap-out and buy cheese on sale. There’s a reason it’s on sale. Keep it consistent.” Produce: Enrico’s sources its pizza ingredients from a local purveyor who sources fresh from the Boston produce docks. “I choose the produce myself,” Ted says, “If you don’t like the produce from the normal food vendors, you can refuse it, but then you won’t have anything at all. In order to avoid getting ‘stuck’, Ted picks it, himself. “If I don’t like what the vendor has, I simply move on and get what I need somewhere else,” he reports confidently. The Last Word: Ted’s Commandment: “You can’t control produce all the time, but you can always control the dough, sauce and cheese. Produce is great in the summer, but never the same in the winter. Go with what’s in season.” We asked Ted if he was planning to eventually open another location and, if so, where? “You have to depend on a lot of other people in order to successfully open a second location. I don’t want to water down what we’ve built by taking attention away from the current location. We’ve got a good grasp on the business; it’s very manageable and I like to stay on top of things. Staying focused also helps us to maintain consistency, which is huge for us.” “Remember,” Ted adds, “Your restaurant is only as good as the last meal you served.” Enrico’s Brick Oven Pizzeria & Pub 500 Main Street Sturbridge, MA 01566 508-347-1740 www.enricosbrickovenpizza.com

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Vapiano (Continued from page 119)

“We get a diverse group of guests here at the Stuart Street location,” Marcus mentions with a curious tone. “The students and professors come over from New England School of Law and Tufts University, and we get Red Sox fans walking over from Fenway, people stop in before and after a Blue Man Group (Charles Playhouse) or a show at the Wang Center, and, of course, we get tour groups and hotel guests on a routine basis.” Whatever your favorite Vapiano menu item, Foodies, one thing is for certain: The side order will always be a double serving of It’s-All-About-the-Guest. “The coolest thing is when people come in for the first time,” Marcus says, excitedly. “It’s especially rewarding to take them through the Vapiano experience and hear their reactions as they leave. Also, we love it when people who have been to other Vapianos come to our location, or who are from our home country, Germany. We speak a little German and it’s thrilling when we can communicate with our European guests.” Vapiano Boston is located at 191 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116 (857) 445-0236 Vapiano Boston is open: Monday through Wednesday and Sunday 11am-10pm Thursday 11am-11pm Friday and Saturday 11am-12am

Roasted Tomato & Garlic

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Wildflour Bakery Written by Sonia Richter

Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

H

i, I’m Sonia. I’m eleven years old and I love to write, cook, and try new food. I wanted to write about a vegan bakery called Wildflour Bakery in RI. My hope is this article inspires adults and children to visit and enjoy Wildflour as much as I do! It’s a great example of how something delicious can be nutritious too, which will really get you thinking more about what you eat. A pinch of this and a bit of that from a skillful chef or baker usually ends up as something delicious. Wildflour Bakery puts a whole other meaning in your everyday sweets and treats, especially since “vegan” means “made without animal products”. Well, everyone knows that a bakery is usually filled with tasty treats made with butter, milk, eggs, and other products which come from animals – but that’s what makes Wildflour so unique – you won’t find any animal-based products here! The all-vegan menu includes some raw and gluten-free items, along with fresh juices, pizza, and other bakery items. Wildflour Bakery is a perfect place to go when you’re craving a unique treat. Located at 727 East Avenue in Pawtucket, RI, Wildflour makes its home in a small shopping plaza. Inside the tasteful décor is filled with plants and many shades of green, along with twelve solid wood tables with matching chairs with a vegetable motif. Every cupcake, scone, and muffin is in a large glass case and displayed to look beautiful and absolutely delicious.

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Prices are clearly shown on a chalkboard overhead. They are generally a bit higher than the usual bakery, but with all the unique flavors you will find there, I think you’ll find it is well worth it. Wildflour Bakery also has a special relationship with Garden Grille, which is just next-door. After having a

vegetarian meal at The Garden Grille, you can just stroll over to Wildflour for some freshly squeezed juice and dessert to complete your meal. Or skip the Garden Grille and just head straight to Wildflour where dinner items such as fashionable raw lasagna or popular vegan pizza are always available. Whichever you choose you are sure to have a satisfying meal and leave with a smile on your face. Wildflour opened in December 2010 as a way of expanding Garden Grille’s vegetarian concept to include the creation of

all-vegan desserts and pastries. Pastry Chef Nicole Parmentier works with Garden Grille Head Chef Jon Dille to explore the use of such healthful substitutes as agave, rice flour, soy flour, tapioca starch, and vegetable margarine for the more typical animal ingredients like butter, milk, and eggs. All the items contain only 100% vegetable colorings and flavors. No honey, meat, dairy, or ANYTHING from an animal is ever used. According to the manager, Wildflour is the only vegan bakery in RI. OK, “vegan” is one thing, but “tasty” is another! So I decided to see for myself if it is really possible to make mouth-watering bakery items (along with other vegan features) that really live up to their non-vegan counterparts. The verdict? Yep! Tw o of my favorite sweets were the peanut butter brownie and the raw cheesecake. With a layer of peanut butter, the brownie is a delicious twist on the classic chocolate brownie, except that it’s a whole lot better! The cheesecake is absolute amazing. It has flakes of coconut that give it a great texture. The price of the cheesecake is a bit high ($7.00) but it is worth it because it is one of the best and healthiest desserts things you’ll ever taste. The vegan pizza at Wildflour will blow your mind. I had the cashew, cheese (soy-based), pesto, pine-nut pizza and while it may seem a bit too complicated for any kid to like, trust me: it was so good! All the tastes, textures, and flavors combined


into a delightful variation on a classic theme. Calling all kids, adults, and whoever likes a good pizza - if you are craving a new pizza experience besides that boring old cheese and pepperoni, Wildflour is a great place to go.

it more likeable. Whether you are sipping a cooling watermelon juice at one of the picnic tables outside or munching a fabulous brownie while working at a laptop, Wildflour is a perfect place for people of all ages to meet for guilt-free I also sampled the freshly squeezed treats where, as the staff says, “You can watermelon juice, which was excel- have your cake and eat it too!” lent. Then I tried the Grasshopper juice (pineapple, ginger, wheat grass). OK, it’s Wildflour Bakery a little weird with a stronger after-taste 401-475-4718 of ginger than I would normally go for, 727 East Ave, Pawtucket, RI but overall the pineapple flavor made www.wildflourveganbakerycafe.com

Pizza Strips- Cashew Cheese w/ Pesto

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Foodies is ‘Sticky’ “Did you know that 93% of Americans read magazines, and that the most popular magazine category in the world is Epicurean (food)? Did you also know that when Americans pick up Food magazines, they read them for an average of 43 minutes – uninterrupted by cell phones, conversations, or anything else?” If you want to give your brand the attention it deserves, then ask our Foodies designers to customize an ad for you, wrapping it in the recipes and features of Foodies Magazine to make your message truly memorable. Contact Foodies at: www.FoodiesofNewEngland.com/ Advertising Opportunities.

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Healthy at Home

Recipes by Elaine Pusateri Cowan Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

www.elaine-domesticbydesign.com Elaine strives to create beauty everyday. Whether she’s designing web pages or interiors, preparing appetizers or entrees and even refinishing furniture or making art, she always looks to satiate her appetite for all things artistic. As an artist, foodie, interior designer and amateur photographer, Elaine believes in the quality of a sustainable life, not just living well. Her strong sense of duty to integrate such sustainability into every aspect of domestic life begins with perhaps the most basic of all elements: diet. She believes eating well to be fundamental to well being and with a stocked pantry filled with local produce, anyone can whip up quick, fresh and delicious meals every night.

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Dressed to Kill Chicken breasts stuffed with a hot Italian sausage, Â dried cranberry and goat cheese dressing Ingredients 1lb Italian Sausage-(I prefer Hot from S&S Market Place-Pusateri family recipe) 1-2 Swirls of Olive Oil 1 Baguette 2 Sprigs of Rosemary 1 Cup of Dried Cranberries 8 ounces of Goat Cheese 2 Eggs 4 Whole Chicken Breasts-not split Bamboo Skewers DIRECTIONS 1. Remove sausage from casing by cutting a slit length wise then hold the sharp end of your knife against the casing and gently tug the casing off. 2. Put a Dutch oven on medium heat and add a swirl of olive oil--just enough to get things sizzling. 3. Add the sausage meat and brown. 4. Add a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary. 5. While the sausage is browning, quarter a 1/2 of a baguette, then cut into little cubes. 6. Once the sausage has browned- strain the drippings into a bowl and remove the rosemary stem and reduce to low heat. 7. Add the quartered baguette to the sausage and stir I prefer a large wooden spoon to incorporate-it just sounds so much better then metal clanging. 8. Pour the drippings back into the pan and remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. 9. Incorporate a cup of dried cranberries and 8 ounces of goat cheese. 10. Add two beaten eggs, incorporate well. 11. Preheat oven to 350. 12. Prepare the whole chicken breast by trimming any fat, and then flatten with a kitchen mallet. 13. Scoop a generous mound into the center of the flattened chicken breast, fold both sides up and secure with a single skewer weaving in and out three times. 14. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes baste with the cranberry/ balsamic reduction and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. 15. Remove stuffed breasts from pan and onto a clean cutting board, slice into one inch pieces then plate. 16. Drizzle the Cranberry/Balsamic reduction over the slices.

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Balsamic/Cranberry Reduction Ingredients 1 Cup 100% Cranberry Juice 1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar DIRECTIONS Add 1 cup of 100% Cranberry Juice and 1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar to a small sauce pan over medium heat- let reduce by 1/2.

Wild Grain Rice Ingredients 2 Pats of salted butter 1 Cup Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley 1 Sprig of Rosemary 1 Cup of white wine 1 Cup of water DIRECTIONS 1. Put small Dutch oven over medium heat and add

two pats of butter.

2. Add one cup of rice medley and 1 sprig of

rosemary, stir into butter until it begins to

smell “nutty”.

3. Slowly add the wine then the water. 4. Reduce to low and cover-check it in 15 minutes if

you like it to have more “tooth”, if not let it go for

20 minutes.

Also available on our website: www.foodiesofnewengland.com

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Roasted Butternut Squash Ingredients 2 Butternut Squash Olive Oil- just enough to coat the pan  and squash 2 Pats of Salted Butter A Dash of Salt DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 350. 2. First cut the ends off of the squash, then cut lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and rinse. 3. Rub the underside--non-skinned side with olive oil. 4. Roast for 30-40 Minutes. 5. Chop peeled squash; add to a mixing bowl with 2 pats of butter and a dash of salt.

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From The Kitchens of Foodies T V... Tuscan Herbed Leg of Lamb Recipe by Enrico Giovanello Table 3 Restaurant Group Photography by Pete Lapriore Ingredients ½ cup fresh rosemary ½ cup fresh sage 6 cloves garlic ¼ cup kosher salt 4-6lb lamb leg ¼ cup olive oil Mince the first four ingredients together. Cover the lamb leg thoroughly with the herb mixture. Drizzle the olive oil over the lamb and roast in an oven proof pan at high heat. If using a conventional oven cook the lamb uncovered at 475 degrees for approximately 50 minutes. Internal temperature of the lamb should read 145 degrees.

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Frittata with Bacon, Zucchini and Cheese Recipe by Enrico Giovanello Table 3 Restaurant Group Photography by Pete Lapriore Ingredients 4 large eggs ¼ cup water 1 tablespoon flour ½ teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon black pepper ¾ cup sliced zucchini ½ cup chopped cooked bacon ½ cup cheddar cheese 2 tablespoons olive oil In a bowl, whisk the eggs, water, flour, salt and pepper. Whisk well until mixture is smooth. In a 10-inch, ovenproof, nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the sliced zucchini and sauté for 1 minute. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and combine the bacon and cheese. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until set. 2 to 4 minutes in a wood burning oven. 10 to 12 minutes in a conventional oven set at 350 degrees.

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Master Chef’s Basic Pizza Margherita Recipe by Enrico Giovanello Table 3 Restaurant Group Photography by Pete Lapriore Ingredients 8oz pizza dough ¾ cup sliced cherry tomato 1 cup fresh mozzarella 2 tablespoons olive oil ¼ cup fresh basil ½ teaspoon chili flake Salt & pepper to taste If using a conventional oven cook the the pizza at 450 degrees for approximately 5 to 8 minutes (depending on the oven).

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Dessert Pizza Recipe by Enrico Giovanello Table 3 Restaurant Group Photography by Pete Lapriore Ingredients 8 oz pizza dough ¾ cup roasted grapes 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon cinnamon Balsamic vinegar reduction For the balsamic vinegar reduction; on medium heat, reduce 1 ½ cups balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan to ¼ cup. The vinegar should be thick and sweet. If using a conventional oven cook the the pizza at 450 degrees for approximately 5 to 8 minutes (depending on the oven).

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Whiskey

Written by Ryan Maloney Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Ryan Maloney has over twenty five years experience in the spirits industry. He has appeared in and on the cover of several international whisk(e)y and trade publications. He is the “go to” guy for all things alcohol related for the Phantom Gourmet T.V. and radio show. He has done consulting work for major players in the beverage field. He is the founder of The Loch & K(e)y Society and the creator of www.lochandkey.com a forum based whisk(e)y website. However, Ryan is most recognized as the owner of Julio’s Liquors in Westborough MA, where amongst other accolades he has been twice awarded “Retailer of the Year”.

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Whiskey...


Under Loch And Key

The Golden Age of Whiskey I have often heard friends say, “I don’t like whiskey.” To which I reply, “Have you tried them all?”

I

have other friends that say, “I haven’t found a whiskey that I didn’t like; I just like some more than others” (don’t panic, Brad, I won’t mention any names). I worry about both sets of friends, but mostly the latter. Such a blanket statement is not quite fair to a spirit that offers such a diverse palate. Few people, for example, would say, “I don’t like movies,” but instead might say, “ I don’t like horror movies.” By the same logic, specificity is also necessary when referring to whiskey, a category which includes a vast array of flavors ranging from sweeter bourbons with nuances of vanilla and caramel, to heavy, peaty (having the flavor of decaying vegetation) Islay single malts with intense smoke and iodine hues. Just think of all the types of whiskies that are available here in the U.S. In your local liquor store or watering hole, you can find Bourbon, Irish, Canadian, American, Japanese, Indian, French, Single Malt Scotch and Blended Scotch, and there are even subsets to all these categories – plus there are innovators who are blurring the lines between all of these styles. But, the fact remains that ALL of these are whiskies! Recent trends in mixology have made many people curious to find out what all the whiskey hubbub is about. If you’re one of the newly curious, you’ve picked the right time because we are living in the Golden Age of Whiskey! Now is a great time to experiment with this new spirit. You might consider gathering a group of friends for an at-home whiskey tasting party, or, check with your local liquor store and see if they have any whiskey tastings (many of the tastings are free), or even whiskey dinners on the calendar. Go online and see if there are whiskey-themed events happening around you. A couple of sites to check out are: www.whiskyguild.com , www.maltadvocate. com , www.whiskycast.com and my whiskey site, www.lochandkey.com. For those hesitant to dive in headfirst, I suggest taste testing with a whiskeybased mixed drink. Many establishments throughout New England boast, and rightfully so, that they employ some of the best mixologists in the country. The next time you’re in one of these fine establishments, tell the bartender that you want a whiskey-based cocktail and also tell them which flavor profile you enjoy, sweet or savory (tangy or salty). (Continued on page 114)

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Then, stand back and watch them work (more than likely you will end up with a new favorite drink). Remember, there is also nothing wrong with keeping it simple. You would be surprised how refreshing an Irish whiskey and ginger ale, or a bourbon and cola, can be. My beautiful wife, Jennifer, loves the smell of many of the whiskies I drink, but she is lessthan-enthusiastic about their flavors. Recently, while travelling in New Orleans, I ordered a Sazerac (a rye-based drink made famous in the Big Easy). Jennifer asked if she could try some. Well, let’s just say I never got my drink back.

You’ll find that when you’re reading labels that whiskey

Another nice introduction to whiskey can come from the new explosion of whiskey based liqueurs or infused whiskies, many of which you may have heard of. From the “old school” we have Irish Mist and Drambuie, and the “new kids on the block” include Jim Beam’s Red Stagg (black cherry), Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and my personal favorite, Wild Turkey’s American Honey. Most of these can be mixed or enjoyed straight up (no water, no ice). On warm or hot days, I like Wild Turkey American Honey with lemonade; on cool or cold nights, I prefer it with black tea. Many people in “the whiskey world” look down their noses at these products. But, much like how White Zinfandel has served to introduce people to other, more serious wines, these whiskies have introduced a new wave of consumers to the whiskey world. You will find, as most White Zinfandel drinkers did, that your palate will change over time and the lure of stronger tastes will drive you to try more styles of whiskey. Indeed, the wine scene is full of Cabernet Sauvignon drinkers that began their love for wine vis-à-vis some sort of fruity wine product, although most won’t admit it!

in to differentiate themselves from some of the inferior

I hope I’ve piqued your interest to explore outside of your comfort zone in drink selection. As the old saying goes “don’t knock it until you try it!” Given the variations available to you in this golden age of whiskey it might take awhile before you can pass a final judgment on this most versatile spirit.

is spelled Whisky or Whiskey. The presence of the “e” or lack thereof has been the subject of many debates and, yes, even brawls. The general rule is as follows: no “e” in Scotland, Japan and Canada; “e” in Ireland and just about everywhere else. American whiskey producers usually have the “e”, but there are exceptions (i.e., Maker’s Mark). Theories explaining the differences include: The Irish put the “e” product coming out of Scotland in the early 1800s, to a Scotsman taking the “e” out to save ‘coppers’ (pennies) on printing. (It’s important to remember that these are just theories, so please, for the love of the drink, don’t write me saying that I disparaged a great grandfather)

A Couple of Whiskey Drinks Seth Fagans’ Bitter Sand: 1oz Douglas X.O. Blended Scotch Whisky 1/2oz Cherry Heering 3/4oz Aperol 3/4oz Sweet Vermouth 2 dashes of whiskey barrel bitters (old fashion bitters can be substituted in a pinch) Mix all the ingredients in a pint glass filled with ice and stir Strain into a chilled cocktail glass Bay of Haggis: (a whiskey man’s take on a Mojito) 1 1/2 oz Glenmorangie Original Single Malt Scotch 3 fresh mint sprigs 2 tsp sugar 3 tbsp fresh lime juice cold Polar seltzer In a tall thin glass, crush part of the mint with a muddler, (or the handle of a wooden spoon) to coat the inside of the glass Add the sugar and lime juice and stir thoroughly and top with ice Add scotch and mix Top off with seltzer Add a lime slice and the remaining mint to garnish.

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Insalata Caprese -Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Fresh Basil


‘Go Easy’…Vapiano

Has Your Healthy Dining Experience Covered Written by Domenic Mercurio, Jr. Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

The Italians have an expression – “Va piano…” which means, “Go easy” or “Take it easy.”

peace and provides an opportunity to meet people and establish relationships.”

This is exactly what you can expect to do at Vapiano, a very unusual and healthy Italian eatery in Boston’s Theater District.

Vapiano is truly a European concept, but didn’t start in Italy. It began in Hamburg, Germany, in 2002. The premise was, and is, pretty simple: Fresh product and a Mediterranean atmosphere. “They wanted to have a fresh, personal meal and a great atmosphere in which to enjoy it, an open environment to sit wherever you want, and great lounge music,” Marcus adds.

Although the menu is Italian, Vapiano is actually a German concept that boasts efficient, creative, healthy and expeditious food preparation. Add variety and freedom to stroll from food station to food station, selecting your favorite house-made pastas, hand-tossed pizzas, Panini, antipasti, and salads made with locally-grown produce, and you’ve got a killer culinary combination. The curiosity is established upon entering through the revolving glass and chrome doors of the clean, contemporary, but cozy, restaurant. Guests are promptly welcomed and asked, “Is this your first time at Vapiano?” When the response is ‘no’, the greeter presents the guest with what appears to be a credit card (called a ‘chip card’) and invites them to stroll throughout the restaurant’s various food stations.

Relax and Stay Awhile Guests choose a la carte and swipe the chip card at each station along the way, finally paying at the reception station when they have finished dining at the large, homey, communal tables, chatting at the extensive wine bar, or lounging in the plush, red leather arm chairs near the floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the Theater District of Boston. “Communal tables allow you to meet more people,” says Marcus Baylor, Interim General Manager of Vapiano’s 191 Stuart Street location. “My favorite focal point in the dining room is the olive tree,” he adds. There, a big, round table allows you to meet new people. As Marcus points out, “It’s hard not to strike up a conversation and meet someone with a live olive tree in the middle of the table; it’s symbolic of

Described by Vapianistas (the team members at Vapiano) as “Somewhere between the nicest of fast-casual and hippest of casual dining”, Vapiano is clearly on a mission to define the future of fresh casual a new and refreshing niche in the restaurant industry. We asked Marcus about the unique idea of providing guests with ‘credit cards’ to use. “The pay cards allow our guests to tour the different food stations, sit where they like, enjoy a book, have a business meeting, and really take advantage of all that Vapiano has to offer and still be ambulatory and free, without being at the mercy of a server.” Our stroll through the food stations presented us with offerings such as fresh pasta, abundant salads made with fresh, leafy lettuce, delicious, thin-crust, brick-oven pizzas, fresh desserts, and a well-rounded wine bar.

Your Order, Made to Order The chef at the pasta station was very friendly and accommodating, customizing our menu selection to our taste (it’s so nice to not have to wonder if the server communicated your request to the chef). The pasta was made-to-order at the food station right in front of us - in a wok (that’s right, real Italian meals … prepared in a wok). The process is very healthy, and very engaging; the chef chats with you, asks (Continued on page 118)

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you about your preferences, and puts it all together in controlled portions right in front of your eyes. Marcus commented, “In Europe, they’re all about the right portion sizes. You should never leave a restaurant feeling ‘stuffed.’” At Vapiano, chefs make their own pasta, which includes two wheat pastas (one short, one long), as well as fusili and spaghetti. There are also seven different shapes of semolina pasta. “We’re a systemized restaurant. Every recipe is premeasured and the chef knows precisely how much of each ingredient to use,” Marcus notes. The chef first prepares the sauce in the wok. He then drops in the pasta, knowing he has 90 seconds to prepare it before the sauce changes its constitution. Next, he must add the fresh ingredients, which have already been assembled and placed in a certain order on the prep station (a French culinary process called ‘mise en place,’ or ‘put in place’). The result is a simple, authentic, delicious, and healthy meal of appropriate portion size that won’t leave you reeling from a food coma.

Special requests are welcome at Vapiano. “Our chefs can make anything you’d like and routinely accommodate particular needs,” Marcus points out. If you’d like your dish without cream, no problem; vegan, no problem; gluten-free, no problem. After all, this is Vapiano – they ‘go easy’ here. During the World Cup, the doctors for the American soccer team would come in and get personal meals for the soccer players, with requests for triple chicken for more protein for one player and double pasta for extra carbohydrates for another. Until Foodies of New England took notice, Vapiano has been underpublicized for their healthy approach to food preparation. “Everything is fresh and we make all on site,” Marcus says. “Our pizza dough, of course, is made on site, and we stretch it by hand – Italian style. Our Marinara sauce is made fresh on-site, every day, and we build our pizzas with all-natural cheeses and the freshest of toppings.” Vapiano even makes a Pizza Bianco (white pizza – no sauce) and will create any type of pizza the guest’s creativity can muster.

Pomodoro Fresco e Basilico: Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Basil

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The Two-level Capone pizza ovens fit 18 to 20 pizzas at one time and are manufactured in Italy. They’re built with genuine stone beds, which are a very effective cooking surface. We observed the food prep and cooking processes to be efficient and quick. “We use an induction burner field that utilizes high heat without burning fuel, versus a typical gas burner. There’s absolutely no flame used in the entire kitchen,” Marcus tells us. “This cuts down on gas consumption and insurance costs,” he adds.

For the Long Haul This location has been open since June 2010, but Marcus has been at Vapiano since its inception. “Just before starting at Vapiano, I was in the IT field when the whole dot.com thing blew up. I saw a very unusual ad in the Dusseldorf newspaper for employees to come in to a ‘casting’ for a position at Vapiano, so I showed up, partly out of curiosity about their process. While there, a group of people came into the room and told me and some other candidates about the Vapiano concept. Based on our reaction, they would either hire us or not. Fortunately, they hired me.”

The Business of Vapiano Marcus started making pizza at the Dusseldorf location and met president and founder Kent Hahne. From there, Marcus was on the train, becoming involved in the creation of new locations all over the world, and, when Mr. Hahne brought the Vapiano concept to the U.S., Marcus was right with him. “The founders brought a large amount of capital together to pull this together,” he reports. “When they first started discussions, they all had hotels or other food concepts in

mind, and wanted an initial location in Hamburg. What they ultimately came up with was Vapiano.” The swanky restaurant chain currently has 70 worldwide locations (12 in the U.S.) and another 100 in development in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. There are also plans for Mexico, Chile and Peru on the horizon, as well as a Vancouver, Canada restaurant in 2012. (See vapianointernational.com for a list of all locations.) Vapiano succeeds at delivering a new spin on the dining experience with its urban upscale Italian decor and its modern customer service. “We average one or two openings per month,” says Marcus. “We opened in Dusseldorf, then the Netherlands, Belgium, London, France, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Korea, and Thailand. It’s a complete Vapiano nation that’s evolving in Europe,” Marcus says. Amid all the efficiency and growth, Vapiano shines a warm light through the corporate veil, making people feel comfortable, accommodated, and important. “A good restaurant indulges all of my senses,” says Kent.

The Vapiano Way: Serving Locals with Local Ingredients Each Vapiano location sources herbs and produce from local purveyors. Managers meet with local produce companies to let them know Vapiano’s needs, and those local growers and suppliers are very happy to accommodate. The Stuart Street location in Boston orders daily from Katsiroubas Brothers in New Market Square (www.katsiroubasproduce.com). (Continued on page 97)

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Wines of Distinction

Written by Domenic Mercurio, Jr. Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

I Known in restaurant circles as The Wine Guy, Domenic is focused on food and wine education. Domenic’s enthusiasm and passion for food and wine, propelled him into a local TV wine education series, The Wine Guy, in which he took viewers on a tour of California and Italy’s wine regions and historic destinations. In addition to being the editor and publisher of Foodies of New England magazine, Dom is the host of Foodies of New England, a dynamic and educational TV show. The show features New England’s best, award-winning chefs, and their signature recipes.

magine for a moment if you were able to combine your favorite things all in one neat, tidy, little package. In some cases, you can. Apple made the iPod so that you can pick and choose your favorite songs and play them in any order. Many finer restaurants offer customized menu options that the chef prepares exactly to your taste. When you think about it, if you have enough financial influence, nearly anything you could want might be yours. But, what if you don’t want to spend a fortune and still want it your way? Well, if what you want is a wine that combines some of the world’s best, tastiest grape varietals in one delicious, versatile libation, then look no further than the 2006 Trou de Bonde “Roux.” This is winemaker Clay Brock’s special project. “I felt this blend was a unique mix of exciting varietals and came together as a nice, easy-drinking sipper. The name ‘Trou de Bonde’ is a playful moniker; it means ‘Bunghole’ [the hole in a wine barrel] in French. I wanted the wine to have a whimsical name, and a classy label.” And classy it is, with its white parchment background, elegant scrollwork rust border, and laminate gold accents. But more important than the label is the wonderful “roux” (French for ‘mixture’) resting inside the tall, Bordeaux bottle. Trou de Bonde is crafted from 58% Petite Sirah, 35% Zinfandel, and 7% Tempranillo (a hearty, Spanish varietal). Flavors abound from this decadent blend; its medium-bodied with a plush mouth-feel, offering prominent flavors of blackberry, dried cherry, sweet vanilla, dried mint, figs, Christmas spices, and cocoa.

Petite Sirah: Small Grape, Big Flavor The dominant grape in this cuvee is Petite Sirah at 58%. On its own, without any other varietals blended in, Petite Sirah typically produces dark, inkycolored wines with firm texture and mouth-feel; the bouquet has herbal and black pepper overtones and typically offers flavors of blue fruit, black fruit, plums, and especially blueberries. Compared to Syrah, the wine is noticeably darker and purplish in color, is typically rounder and fuller in the mouth, and

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offers a brightness that Syrah lacks. The wines are very tannic, with aging ability that can exceed 20 years in the bottle. This quality is a result of Petite Sirah’s small berry size, hence the name “Petite.” The small size gives the grape a high skin-to-flesh ratio, resulting in a great deal of tannic acidity versus sugar, making barrel-ageing necessary. Petite Sirah can also be rather “short,”; that is, the flavor does not linger in the mouth. This is the reason most winemakers, including Clay Brock, see some benefit of blending it with other grapes which may add length and elegance. A little viticultural background: Petite Sirah is a cross between the Syrah, Peloursin, and Durif varietals. Durif (a minor grape variety named after a grape breeder at the University of Montpellier in the 1880s) was developed to resist Powdery Mildew, to which Syrah is susceptible. Although mildew-resistant, the tightly-bunched variety was vulnerable to gray rot in the humid southern Rhône. Fortunately, the grape has adapted well to the drier climates of California and to those of northeastern Victoria, in Australia. In fact, the grape has fared better in America than in its south of France birthplace, where it is now almost extinct. Indeed, California is one of the most diverse wine regions in the world, with almost 100 grape varieties grown in over 100 viticultural areas, including dozens of ¬different microclimates and soil types, as well as a unique array of knowledgeable and experienced winemakers who add to and deepen that diversity. Clay Brock is one such winemaker. His career includes winemaking positions at Edna Valley Vineyard and Byron Vineyards in Santa Maria after graduating from Cal Poly, as well as vice president of winemaking at the reputable Zaca Mesa Winery and his current post as general manager and director of (Continued on page 122)

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winemaking at the famed Wild Horse Winery and Vineyard in Templeton, California. Although Trou de Bonde “Roux” was produced and bottled at Zaca Mesa, Trou de Bonde Winery in Los Olivos, Santa Barbara, California, is a separate entity entirely. As evidenced by Trou de Bonde’s character, Petite Sirah wines are improving rapidly at the present time thanks to the existence of more sophisticated winemaking equipment and a greater knowledge of how to handle the grapes in the winery for optimum results. Winemakers now have the ability to reduce harsh tannins and bitterness, allowing Petite Sirah to show its abundant fruit qualities. “We were initially focused on the production of small lot luxury white wines. With ‘Roux,’ I wanted to appeal to the everyday wine drinker. The 2006 wine is drinking quite nicely now,” Brock explains. His decision to add Zinfandel and Tempranillo can be expounded upon by exploring the characteristics of those varietals.

The American Favorite: Zinfandel All other significant wine varieties have their reference points in Europe, but the grape that represents one-third of Trou de Bonde’s richness is none other than Zinfandel, which established its own tradition in California and has become known as America’s Heritage wine. Zinfandel’s history is a classic All-American success story—transforming from a little-known grape into one that has achieved such tremendous popularity that it has grown on more than 50,000 acres in the United States. Originally said to be the father of the Primitivo grape from Puglia, Italy, Zinfandel was the most widely planted varietal during California’s first wine boom in the late 1800s (18781889). Zinfandel is a hearty grape and usually bears a high sugar level, making it a spicy, peppery wine, with a hint of fruity flavor - berries or dark cherries are often the taste range. Zinfandel plays nicely with other varietals, and thus makes a good blending grape, as you’ll see after your first sip of Trou de Bonde. Thanks to the Zinfandel, Trou de Bonde is a very versatile wine, pairing well with “typical American” food - pizza, burgers, and steaks. It’s hearty enough to match up with chili, stews, and thick red sauces.

Viva Espana Clay Brock’s use of Tempranillo in Trou de Bonde is unusual but innovative. Most California winemakers, when blending, use grapes of French origin, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Mourvedre, or Grenache; some use those of the Italian persuasion, such as Barbera or Sangiovese.

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At only 7%, Brock’s choice paid off well, given the added structure and tannic acidity contributed by the Tempranillo. In fact, Tempranillo grapes tend to be low both in overall acidity and in sugar, but often high in pH and nearly always high in tannin from their thick skins. Tempranillo aromas and flavors often combine elements of berryish fruit, herbaceousness, an earthy-leathery character, and good minerality. It needs only a short growing season, and this early ripening tendency is the source of the name tempranillo, which translates to “little early one.” The use of the Tempranillo grape by Brock, we believe, is what gives Trou de Bonde its dry, leathery, slightly vegetal, or herbal, finish. Brock’s blending of Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Tempranillo in Trou de Bonde is a testament to his creative approach to winemaking. His affinity for French varietals is even more strongly represented at Zaca Mesa, where he produces many Syrah-based wines, some of which include Mourvedre and Grenache. His whites have a European flare, also, with Viognier, Pinot Gris, and Roussanne leading the way. It’s no surprise, of course, that Brock wanted to create “a nice, easy-drinking sipper.” What he ultimately came across with, however, was something that is great with or without food. With food, Trou de Bonde’s fruit profile is punctuated; without food, it’s a smooth, fruit-forward pleasure. Either way, at between $11 and $15 a bottle, Trou de Bonde is a winner among a range of wine drinkers from occasional to serious. But, get this delicious cuvée while it lasts; 2006 was the last vintage produced by Brock, and we’re told by Shrewsbury, Massachusetts-based importer Global Wines, Inc., that there are only a few hundred cases still available (check the website at www.GlobalWinesInc.com for a list of retailers that offer Trou de Bonde). The 2006 Trou de Bonde “Roux” is Foodies-Approved at 90 points. FNE.

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Odd Couple Catering Keeps it ‘All in the Family’

Written by Daniel R. Mercurio Domenic D. Mercurio, Jr., contributing Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Yes, it’s true. The company is actually called Odd Couple Catering. And yes, there is also a Felix and an Oscar. So, the question remains, “can two divorced men run a catering company without driving each other crazy?” Absolutely, by having two things in common: their heritage and the food for which it’s known. After all, what’s better than enjoying a home-cooked meal with the people you love after a long day? How about the feeling of Thanksgiving dinner, sitting down with family and digging in? In today’s fast-paced world, the sit-down meal has become a rare commodity and the family factor, treasured, has been all but removed from the world of food. Perrone and Ricci are angling for just the opposite. They’ve created a menu that centers on their Italian heritage, making that homey feeling available to everyone at an affordable cost. By two minds—two very different minds—Odd Couple Catering was formed. A reference to the ‘70s sitcom, Ray Perrone, Jr. (“Felix”, as his perfectly pressed, black apron displays) takes that name because he’s “very, very particular,” as Joe Ricci (Oscar) puts it. Ricci adds, “Ray handles the details; I do the back-of-the-house (the kitchen). We’re both excellent at what we do.” Perrone and Ricci are each other’s yin and yang, ebb and flow, Frick and Frack. We’ve attended one of their successful events, and when one says ‘tomato’, the other truly does say, ‘toh-mah-toe.’ Yet, despite their obvious differences, they never once ‘called the whole thing off’ during their three years in business together. This great pair creates even greater fare because their excellence and diversity shine through the food. Besides the feast of Italian cuisine, there’s baked haddock with rice pilaf

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at $14.95, a sit-down prime rib at $22.95, and homemade pizza—which “people go crazy over,” says Perrone. But the buffet takes the center stage. At just fourteen dollars, it’s an endless supply—and that is the only way to eat Italian food—that’s “prepped fresh in the A.M. for the event that night,” Perrone says. And he means for all the food: “Palma’s makes our bread fresh everyday…and [original] salad dressing is prepared fresh before every event.” He adds, “The food goes from the stove to the plate and nothing in between.” Starting every one of these dishes is the salad, which Perrone says “gets more compliments than the main course sometimes.” The key is an original dressing that Ray and Joe concocted themselves—consisting of balsamic vinaigrette, sweet basil, red wine, crushed garlic, aged Romano cheese, and a subtle tangy sweetness (plus one or two other proprietary ingredients). The difference, Perrone claims, is that “When you add a commercial dressing to a salad, you taste the dressing mostly; when you use our dressing, you taste the food and how the dressing accents it.” And isn’t that the function of a dressing—to dress salad, and not to, well, wear it? It’s become so popular that customers have requested Perrone send out batches to them. Odd Couple Catering also provides certified bartenders, a trained wait staff, and a clean-up crew. As Perrone puts it, “You just write the check and we’ll take care of the rest.” Regarding the food, he adds, “We have a focused menu—and we do it well.” Holding together the menu is that feeling—you know the one—of a home-cooked meal. “My family was always the family that cooked,” says Perrone. It’s that sensation that


drives him. “My house always smelled great” he adds. The aroma in the food Odd Couple Catering provides creates a sense of nostalgia for many. Perrone says that one of the main courses, the Italian sausage, “is from a recipe created by my dear Uncle Frank (Perrone), who happens to be a terrific cook.” Odd Couple Catering uses that recipe for their Sausage Cacciatore, which receives kudos from far and wide. New England Patriots Hall-of-Famer Steve Grogan told Perrone, “This is the best Sausage Cacciatore I’ve ever had.” The sauce has also been passed down generations, all the way from his grandmother Matilda to his mother Barbara— who he claims is their “VP of Food Operations.” “She tells me, ‘you need something in the sauce’, says Ray, ‘sweet basil.’ That’s a mother’s touch.”

rable, and the duo has become a rarity in today’s commercial world. Odd Couple Catering brings that family feeling wherever they serve food, including at corporate events for Hanover Insurance Company and the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. “We stay on our game by always checking our food, tasting and re-tasting, and asking for feedback,” Perrone says. They also routinely perform research and development on their recipes and ingredients. Sounds high-tech, doesn’t it? Actually, as Perrone puts it, “I bring my pasta over to my mother’s, and she eats it—that’s how I know.” FNE. “Felix” and “Oscar” at Odd Couple Catering can be reached at 508-450-5903 or at LakeSideCatering@Earthlink.net.

And who could forget Auntie Helen’s meatballs? “Auntie Helen was allergic to garlic and onion, so her meatballs were made without either, yet they were the best I’ve ever tasted.” As noted earlier, Odd Couple Catering’s bread is made fresh every day by Palma’s Bakery in Worcester. Perrone emphasizes the point with this tidbit: “I call Rocco at Palma’s to see if I can come by to get the bread and he tells me, ‘It’s still too hot to cut, Ray. Give me another ½ hour.’” And that’s the essence of Odd Couple Catering: Family. Still fresh and hot, all of the leftover gourmet goodies from Odd Couple Catering events are sent straight to Veteran’s, Inc., in Worcester, and every Thanksgiving morning the pair prepares a meal at the Marine Corps League in the city as well. Odd Couple Catering doesn’t stop at charity—Perrone believes in the long-term effectiveness of generosity in his business. “Good product at a fair price” is the motto and the marketing secret that keeps customers coming back. Although it’s not much of a secret, is it? It’s a strategy that many larger businesses have turned a blind eye to in order to make a quick buck. Food and family will always be insepa-

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Something to Drink? “Why can’t I make coffee like this at home?”

Written by Jeff Haynes Photography by Jeff Haynes

Jeff has been writing and photographing for a variety of publications since 1995. His work has covered a wide range of topics such as art, sports, politics, real estate, human interest, business and the environment. In addition, his photography includes portraiture, promotional work for various artists, and fine art imagery seen in shows around New England. He is also a fan of all good things to eat and drink. It’s a habit -- addiction, perhaps -- that he attempts to feed daily.

That was the first thought -- greedy and selfish -- that sprang to mind as I drank my Mocha Grande. The perfect fusion of espresso and chocolate made the so-called coffee I brew at home seem like swill. Realistically, I have no chance of matching the coffee skills of Raymond Brady, the man who made my Mocha Grande. The general manager at Perks Coffeehouse in Norwood, Mass. has been serving up hot and tasty caffeine for 16 years. “No matter how busy it is, I make it correct,” Brady said. His attitude was forged under pressure from his earliest days at Perks. Every Friday, at 10 past 3 in the afternoon, he faced a tough customer: his mother. Her weekly visit came right in the middle of a particularly busy time. Brady would be juggling afternoon customers and setting up the coffeehouse for that evening’s live music performance. But Brady knew his mom was coming off a long week at work, and looking for a relaxing cup of joe to kick off her weekend right. So doing a rush job on a drink like her Mocha Grande just wasn’t a possibility. “No way,” Brady said. “That’s my mom.”

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And doing the Mocha Grande right requires a solid three minutes, he said. Sure, a lessor version of the drink can be cranked out in 30 seconds, he noted, but it’s not the same. Specifically, a hot chocolate with two shots of espresso has the same ingredients as a Mocha Grande, and takes of a fraction of the time to make, but the taste is completely different. “It doesn’t make any sense, but that’s how it works,” Brady said. For hot chocolate fans looking for a little extra kick, mixing in the espresso is a popular way to go, Brady said. The Mocha Grande, on the other hand, is for the coffee lovers who want a taste of chocolate.


The Mocha Grande begins by thoroughly stirring and blending ground Ghirardelli chocolate with two shots of espresso, he said. “By combining the espresso and chocolate, it allows the espresso flavor to come through,” he said. Next comes the steamed milk. Learning how to properly steam milk, Brady noted, is a process that can take a couple weeks to learn. As much of 90 percent of the task hinges on listening, he said. People don’t realize how much they rely on listening to steam milk until they try to do it while while a live band is playing in the same room, he said. “Just like any bartender, mixologist or chef, Brady has his own spin he puts on his works. For the Mocha Grande, “I always use less milk, and add foam on top,” he said. Topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, the drink can make morning coffee feel like a warm, caffeinated dessert. In other words, it’s an instant hit with me, along with legions of other faithful fans. But the Mocha Grande doesn’t capture the crowd that it did years ago, Brady said, as the world of dressed up coffee has become very diversified. People aren’t just mixing in chocolate anymore: caramel, peppermint, raspberry and list of flavors that looks like an ice cream shop’s menu have diluted the dominance once held by the Mocha Grande. And then there’s the seasonal influence. As the temperatures have warmed up, so have the sales of the Raspberry Lime Rickey, Brady said. A top seller, Perks serves well over 100 of them daily, he said. Maybe I’m old fashioned. But I typically like to get coffee when I go to a coffeehouse. And the rich Mocha Grande tastes like a good way to feed my daily habit.

“Why can’t I make coffee like this at home?” I repeated my question to Brady. “You don’t have an espresso machine at home?” he answered. Well, no, I don’t. But the bigger issue is my lack of skill and experience to make that kind of coffee. There was only one thing to do: savor the drink in front of me. OK, there was one more thing: plan to come back.

Topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, the drink can make morning coffee feel like a warm, caffeinated dessert. Perks Coffee House 685 Washington Street Norwood, MA 02062 (781) 762-5565 www.perksnorwood.com

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Roughage No MoreThe New Wave of Salads Written by Julie Grady Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

There seems to be a relatively large portion of the population that still believes salads are merely roughage. That’s what it always was to me—tasteless iceberg lettuce and watery tomatoes, a plate filler to go alongside the more satisfying aspects of meal, a chore. It was too light, not filling enough and had absolutely zero satisfaction. Who would ever opt for a salad? Seven years ago I would have answered frantic women on diets. My answer now: gourmands, epicures, foodies. What changed my mind? My taste buds didn’t change and I certainly didn’t transmogrify into a frantic woman on diet. I simply went to graduate school where my meager stipend required me to think creatively when it came to my weekly shop.

The Filling Factor First things first: salads can’t be filling. Wrong. As a proud meat-eater, this was once a stipulation of my own. The obvious answer is to add meat. It’s general knowledge that protein satiates better than cellulose and what better way to make a salad worthy than to add some char-grilled steak tips or grilled buffalo chicken. Just remember three ounces is plenty—you don’t want to get the meat sweats from noshing on your salad. But there is a more exciting path. Leaner sources of protein do exist, branch out and try them. There’s tofu, tuna, smoked salmon, spinach, legumes, nuts and seeds. If words like tofu and legumes scare you, join the club. The trick is, don’t ever eat them plain. Please, for the love of the gourmet gods, season, season, season!

ROY G BIV A monochromatic plate is depressing. It’s the last thing anyone needs when saying bye-bye to summer. There’s a simple solution: rainbows. Eating by color was a fad for a reason: the more colorful the food combination, the higher (and more varied) the intake of important life-enhancing nutrients.

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Generally speaking, the compounds that give colorful foods their color are actually the same compounds that have high nutritional benefits. This even goes for lettuce; the darker the leaf, the more vitamins it has. Next time you have a green and green salad, just think back to earth science and remember your buddy ROY G BIV. To get you started, here are some ideas: Red: red peppers, cherry tomatoes, kidney beans, strawberries Orange: carrots, orange peppers, orange slices, nasturtium Yellow: corn, yellow peppers, lemon, garbanzo beans Green: spinach, arugula, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts, avocado, manges tout Blue: blueberries, thyme flowers Indigo: there aren’t many foods that are indigo, so insert black olives here. Violet: grapes, red onion, red cabbage


Feeling Good Texture can enhance any part of your life, from cashmere bathrobes to silk ties and satin sheets. It’s also a huge part of cuisine and can be just as fulfilling as flavor. So if texture can make anything better, why not use it in your salad? The three key words in this category are crunchy, supple and smooth. If you can find each of these in one salad, you’ll not only enjoy it, you’ll revel in it. Celery, broccoli crowns, raw peppers and toasted seeds can provide you with a crunch, while smooth qualities reside in softer produce such as avocado and nasturtium flowers as well as cheese and tofu. Supple foods are always pleasant and often juicy—think grapes, cherry tomatoes, corn, blueberries.

Efficient Fat In order for your body to actually make use of most of the nutrients found in your perfect salad, it needs fat (audible gasps are permitted). Stick to the healthy fats found in nuts, olive oil and avocado. An easy way to do this is ditch the non-fat dressing for something homemade.

D.I.Y Dressing Homemade dressing always sounds impressive and it’s always easy to make. The typical starting point is 2 parts oil, 1 part vinegar. Once you have the basics, feel free to get creative. Try this combination to start. All you have to do is whisk everything together. 1 cup olive oil ½ cup balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard salt and pepper to taste

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Foodies of New England Fall 2011  

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