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NiChef – Personal Culinary Experiences in your home

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As most of you know I have a full time job outside of blogging. I try to cook meals for my husband and I at least 4 nights a week but sometimes I just want someone else to cook for me. Is that took much to ask? Not if you ask NiChef!

NiChef is an online global marketplace where you can easily book a personal chef to cook in your kitchen. Niche is bringing communities together through authenticity and experiences while creating new job opportunities in the culinary world. Think of it like airbnb but for chefs.

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Having someone cook in your home, whether it’s a romantic meal for two, dinner party for 4 or 10, it’s such a fun experience and you don’t have to worry about being in the kitchen and not with your significant other/friends/guests. And it won’t break the bank. Contrary to what you are probably thinking, having someone else cook your food doesn’t cost as much as you’d think. In fact, it’s usually cheaper than eating at restaurants, and if you find the right chef like I did, the food tastes better. AND you get to choose exactly what you want to eat and when!

I recently had the chance to experience Nichef. I invited my sister over to share the experience with me. Out chef was Lisseth Conza-Berman. Listen grew up in Peru and all Nichef experiences are Peruvian; centered around the foods she grew up with. Peruvian food is a fusion cuisine, due to its long multicultural history. Lisseth cooked us a delicious meal of Lomo saltado; sautéed beef loin with veggies. Como salted is one of the most emblematic dishes that Peru has to offer. A mix between Chinese cuisine with Peruvian ingredients, makes this dish satisfying and full of flavor. It consists on marinated beef tenderloin stir-fried with onions, tomatoes and served with french fries and white rice.

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The price of the meal is $60 for two people. $30 each for a home cooked meal is a great price and a similar dish in a restaurant would cost you at least $30, if not more when you factor in tip, tax, and beverages/appetizers. 

So how does it work? 

Signing up to use the nichef marketplace is fast and easy. You can sign up with your facebook credentials or your email. After your have confirmed your email, you are ready to go!

To reserve a Chef you will need to sign up and create a Foodie profile. Once you have created and activated your profile, you can then start searching for a memorable experience by type of cuisine, location, and date. It’s recommended that you submit a request at least 1 week before your event date. Once you request a chef, the chef will accept or decline your booking within 24 hours. If you have any dietary restrictions, you can message the chef directly through Nichef’s messaging system.

There are about 40 chefs on the site that you can choose from. Chefs run their own business; choose their own schedules, menus and prices. Every chef has their own ‘niche’ in the culinary market and Nichef allows them to offer you a personal, and delicious, at home dining experience. 

Disclaimer: I received this service free of charge to review for my blog. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

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VocoLife – saving money every time you dine out

Eat dishes. Get money. It’s not magic, it’s VocoLife. When friends go out together, everyone wins. VocoLife partners with over 500 of the best restaurants, fitness studios, and brands to get you rewards every single time you book with friends.

Why use it?

Every time you dine out with VocoLife you save money. VocoLife has partnerships with dozen’s restaurants and businesses in and around Boston to provide you and your friends with exclusive offers every day. Discounts vary depending on restaurant. For example. you might save $8 off the bill if each person in your party spends $25 or each person in the party might receive a your choice of a $7 credit for Uber, Amazon or Starbucks 24 hours after the reservation. Not bad, right?

How it works

First, you and your friends have to download the app. The user-friendly VocoLife app saves you, on average, 40% every time you eat out. These savings are seamless because When you set up an account with the app, you add in your payment information.

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To use the app to eat out, you have to dine with at least one other person. You make a reservation using the app, then you invite your friend(s) to join the reservation via the app. At the end of the meal the bill gets split automatically and charged to the card on file. However, you can choose to divvy it up otherwise via the app. The best part, besides the savings, is that you don’t have to wait for the check when you’ve finished, nor annoy the wait staff asking to split it between your party! 

Sushi @ Crudo.
Sushi @ Crudo.

List of Boston-area Restaurants on VocoLife:
49 Social
Asgard Irish Pub & Restaurant
Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca
Bambara
Basho Japanese Brasserie
Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro
Bergamot
BISq
BLR by Shojo
Brown Sugar Cafe
Casa B
Central Bistro Boston
Coppersmith
Crudo.
Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen
Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar
Double Chin
Estragon
Fairsted Kitchen: Supper, Libations, Late Night
Fajitas & ‘Ritas
Flame Hot Pot
Genki Ya (Boston)
Hong Kong Boston, Faneuil Hall
Hops Test Kitchen & Raw Bar
Il Molo
Kayuga
Kingston Grille & Bar
Kinsale Irish Pub & Restaurant
Koy Boston
Lavoile
LE’S
Les Zygomates
Lulu’s Allston
Mei Mei Street Kitchen
Menton
Mix-It Restaurant – Cambridge MA
Naco Taco
Nine Tastes – Thai Restaurant
No. 9 Park
Oleana Restaurant
Pasta Beach Boston
Petit Robert Bistro
Puritan & Company
Red Lantern Boston
Rigoletto Ristorante
Salvatore’s (Downtown)
Salvatore’s (545 Washington)
Select Oyster Bar
Shōjō
Sol Azteca Boston
South End Buttery
Spice Thai Cuisine
StreetFood Revolution
Taberna de Haro
Takemura Japanese Korean Restaurant
Tapestry
Tasca Restaurant
The Brahmin American Cuisine & Cocktails
The Butcher Shop
The Fireplace
The Friendly Toast – Boston, MA
The Friendly Toast – Cambridge, MA
The Merchant
The Tap Trailhouse
Thelonious Monkfish
Tresca
Trophy Room
Troquet
Typhoon Asian Bistro
Warehouse Bar & Grille
Waxy’s – The Modern Irish Bar
Wen’s Yunnan Noodle & Ramen
Wu Er by WOW Barbecue

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The savings don’t stop at eating out. Savings to work out at fitness studios like Xtend Barre, Rock Spot Climbing, and Turnstyle are abundant. 

I have a promo code for $10 off your first meal – or workout – with promo code JESSICAGLUTENFREE. Simply enter the code after you download the app and instantly save $10 off!

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review. All my thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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Gluten Free Menu at Tasca Restaurant // Brighton, MA

I fell in love with Spain after I spent a semester in college studying in Valencia. Ever since, I have loved tapas, paella and sangria! Jeremy and I go out for tapas once every few months, so when I was invited to Tasca Restaurant to check out the updated gluten free menu I couldn’t resist!

I lived in Brighton and Brookline for three years and ate at Tasca quite a few times, but it has been over 3 three years since my last visit! Well, that was until this weekend.

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I love the atmosphere at Tasca, its dark, rustic and romantic, reminds me of being in Spain. It’s great to go with a few people so you can share and try different tapas. Jeremy and I were pretty hungry so we shared four tapas – they aren’t that big – and one entree, which was plenty of food. 

While the owner Dan is working on getting a gluten free bread into the restaurant, I would recommend to bring some gluten free breadsticks of your own so you can enjoy the bean spread that is served with the bread basket. It varies, but the white bean dip we were served was delicious and I was eating it with my spoon! 

Of course we couldn’t resist ordering a pitcher of white sangria. It’s not too strong and easily sharable among two people.

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Gambas al ajilo (Sizzling garlic shrimp) are served sizzling in a mini skillet with pieces of crispy and flavorful garlic chips. 

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Two of my favorite Spanish tapas are the Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Omelette) and Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes in a spicy tomato and garlic aioli.) Whenever we see these on a menu we order the.

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The tortilla is a Traditional Spanish potato and onion omelet. This one had wonderful flavors of rosemary in it – perfect for fall! 

For all the times I’ve visited Tasca in the past, this was the first time I tried the Solomillo, petit filet mignon served with blue cheese gratin (no wine sauce). It might look a little plain without the sauce, but trust me it wasn’t. The meat was tender and juicy and full of flavor!

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Jeremy and I shared the Paella de mariscos (seafood paella) made with shrimp, scallops, white fish & calamari with saffron rice cooked in a lobster broth. While the menu says individual portion, it was big enough for us to share.

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Although we were full, we did have a little room left for dessert – when do I not? Almost all of the desserts at Tasca are gluten free and tonight we opted for the Crema Catalana, a rich chilled orange custard with caramelized sugar top. This is very similar to Creme brulée. 

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Are you hungry yet? My mouth is watering as I am writing this post! 

Disclaimer: I received this meal free of charge. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

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Taste of WGBH Chef’s Gala, part of the 3rd annual WGBH Food & Wine Festival // September 11, 2014

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Imagine 25 of the best chefs from the far corners of New England under one roof! Don’t miss this incredible gastronomic adventure in food, wine, and craft beer! The Chef’s Gala Reception is an elegant evening with 25 unique stations showcasing cuisine of local chefs/restaurants paired perfectly with selected wine and a few select craft beers from 25 featured artisans. Meet and mingle with your favorite chefs, and discover new favorite restaurants. Learn about the magic of pairing various dishes with the perfect wine to enhance flavor, and your experience.

Taste of WGBH Chef’s Gala, part of the third annual Food & Wine Festival, taking place on Thursday, September 11 from 7-11pm at the WGBH studios in Brighton, MA.

This year’s Chef’s Gala menu is bigger and better than ever! Guests have the opportunity to sample small plates prepared by 25 of the region’s best chefs, and sip more than 20 delicious wines from around the globe. For complete details on the Chef’s Gala and the whole roster of festival events, visit www.wgbh.org/festival.

Tickets: general admission: $150 $120 Gluten Free Boston Girl readers can use the promo code FOODBLOG to save 20% off the ticket price. To purchase tickets click here.


Food & Wine Festival

Thurs. Sept. 11- Sun. Sept. 14

 

  1.  Chef’s Gala Reception Thursday, September 11, 2014
  2. The Artisan Taste,  Saturday, September 13, 2014

             Two Sessions: 1pm-3:30pm and 5pm-7:30pmTickets for one 2 1/2 hour session: $50 for members and $60 for non-members

              Located in back WGBH visitor parking lot

Experience a wide variety of artisanal foods featuring New England’s renowned restaurants, chefs, and local producers.

  • Exhibitor tables featuring more than 100 wines from around the world, local food purveyors, and local fare.
  • Clarke Sub-Zero Wolf Celebrity Cooking Stage to include two chef demonstrations during each two and a half hour session.
  • Interactive displays and sponsor activations and entertainment will be included on the stage between each of the cooking demonstrations

        3.  Farmer’s Market Sat. 9/13 11am-5:30pm and Sun. 9/14 10am-3pm             FREE event, open to the general public. Will feature 15-20 farmers/vendors with a wide assortment of fresh produce, spices, herbs, and     baked goods. Check the website for updates in the coming weeks ahead with a complete list of participating vendors

4. Brunch Bar, Sunday, September 14, 11am-1:30pm            Tickets: $40 for members and $45 for non-members: Have Sunday Brunch at the Brunch Bar with more than 100 different restaurants, artisan food producers, craft breweries and wines serving up sumptuous tasting-sized portions of foods from the exotic to down-home. The event features live chef demos, live music and an unbeatable way to travel New England in the span of a couple hours.

 

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Kitchensurfing: Bringing Personal Chefs into Your Kitchen & Fine Dining In to your Home {and $100 promo code}

My girlfriends and I are always looking for any reason or excuse to get together to eat, drink, and have a good time. Rather than go out I decided to invite a few friends over for Girls Night, and hired a chef through Kitchsensurfing, to make us appetizers and dessert. Screen shot 2014-01-31 at 2.09.05 PM

I love Kitchensurfing, I’ve been using the service for a few months now for private dinners (Valentine’s Day is coming up!) and a cooking lesson (click on the links to read about my other KS experiences). My friends, on the other hand, were newbies, and they were just as excited to try something different, as I was to introduce them to Kitchensurfing.

So what is Kitchensurfing?

Kitchensurfing is a marketplace for chefs of all kinds. It’s a service that allows you to bring chefs into your home to cook you a personal and customized meal. From hobby chefs to Michelin star chefs, you can browse the chefs on the site, view their sample menus, read their reviews, and book any of them. From private cooking lessons in your home, to meal deliveries, to a private dinner party for two or fifty-two, KS allows you to ‘shop’ around based on your own needs, wants, budget, and diet.

How it works:

  • Browse the list of chefs, read their reviews and sample menus, and pick one you’d like to have cook for you. Send them an e-mail and voilà, you’ve got yourself a private chef.

OR

  • Submit a “Match Request”. Fill out a form stating what you’re looking for (party size, budget, date, time, etc.), any dietary restrictions or allergies, preferred cuisines, and anything else you want or don’t want. Your request will be sent to all the chefs matching your criteria. Chefs will then contact you to customize a menu. Once you’ve found a chef and a menu that you are satisfied with you can book your chef!

The booking process is incredibly east and it is ok to say no if you don’t like an idea or menu item. So be specific about your likes and dislikes along with any dietary restrictions.  All the chefs I’ve worked with were great with communicating with me prior to the booking, and customizing the menu to my likes and needs. And remember, the chefs want you to enjoy every last bite, so be upfront and honest!

Keep reading for your $100 code….

Our Girls Night was such a blast! The menu looked amazing, and the food turned out even better than we could have imagined. My friends loved every moment of it and could not stop talking about trying KS on their own.

Chef Stephen Coe created a menu of tapas and dessert. Each course was delicious and beautifully crafted. The freshness and flavors of each dish were impressive; we cannot say one bad thing about any of this food.

Red and yellow beet salad with shaved sheep cheese, candied pistachios, and a blood orange aged balsamic over local greens.IMG_6251

Sashimi Tuna served over seaweed salad with pickled ginger, sesame seeds, and siracha sour cream and rice crackers.IMG_6255 IMG_6252

Grilled Oysters with pancetta, fennel, bee pollen, chives, and grated sheep cheese. IMG_6262

Scallops with artichoke hearts, romaine, olives, basil, tomatoes, and capers.IMG_6263

Warm chocolate soufflé with strawberry tarragon and white balsamic purée.IMG_6261 IMG_6260

The awesome folks over at Kitchensurfing have provided me with a $100 discount code for YOU, my readers! Click here to claim your $100 voucher and discover what Kitchensurfing is all about. The code is valid Monday, February 3, 2014 through Sunday, February 16, 2014. Your meal needs to be booked prior to the 16th, but the date of the actual meal could be after this date.

And you don’t have to live in Boston; some chefs are willing to travel all over the state, even to Maine!

Disclaimer: I was not paid for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Pictures from my previous Kitchensurfing Experiences

Romantic Meal for Two by Chris Hallahan

– Late Season corn soup served hot with a ragout of lobster, bacon, and corn
– Kale salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette
– Blue Fish pan seared with crispy skin, over maple glazed carrots and fall vegetables
– Pumpkin & carrot cake (dairy, gluten free)IMG_4988

Cooking Lesson with Michelle Lahey:

-Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers with Vegan Tzatziki
-Quinoa with Dried Cranberries and Roasted Butternut Squash
-Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
-Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

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Drop of Plated Meal prepared by Mark Hardin

– Arugula, Carrot & fennel salad with a creamsicle vinaigrette, sunflower seeds & orange slices
– Braised Lamb Shank slowly cooked in tomatoes and garlic. Served with a gravy made from its own juices. Accompanied by Roasted root vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes
– Mini Flourless Chocolate Mousse Cake Garnished with powdered sugar and a fresh raspberriesIMG_5950 IMG_5947

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Our Gluten Free Cooking Lesson with Kitchensurfing & 25% off code

Kitchensurfing brings a chef into your kitchen for parties, lessons, and so much more.Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 9.34.17 AM

Kitchensurfing (KS) is a marketplace for chefs of all kinds. From hobby chefs to Michelin chefs, you can browse the chefs on the site, view their sample menus, read their reviews, and book any of them. From private cooking lessons in your home, to meal deliveries, to a private dinner party for two or thirty-two, KS allows you to ‘shop’ around based on your own needs, wants, budget, and diet.

Last month Jeremy and I had a wonderful, restaurant-quality, 4-course meal with Chef Chris Hallahan. We were blown away not only by his culinary talents, but also by his passion for food and locally sourced ingredients. He was friendly and engaging, and answered all our questions. You can read all about our first KS experience here.

The whole experience was so wonderful that I decided to use KS again, but this time I wanted a cooking lesson.

After browsing a few profiles and menus to see who would be a good fit for a gluten free, dairy free cooking lesson we chose Michelle Lahey. Michelle is a Boston based personal chef and I love her blog, The Economical Eater, so I was thrilled when she replied to my request for a cooking lesson for my sister and I!

The Menu for our cooking demonstration:

Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers with Vegan Tzatziki
Quinoa with Dried Cranberries and Roasted Butternut Squash
Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip BarsIMG_5677

Services Included

  • Ingredients
  • Cleaning
  • Transport

Michelle’s food was fantastic. She was engaging, super friendly, and really easy to talk to. She was really knowledgeable about vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free food, such a relief!

Michelle’s menu incorporated fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients.IMG_5652

I really like Brussels sprouts but have never cooked them myself, so I was eager to learn to do this once and for all. And it’s much easier than I thought!

Our previous attempts at making veggie burgers have all failed. Michelle’s recipe for Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers was easy to follow and can easily be swapped with different types of beans and spices. We loved the Middle Eastern spices and flavor combinations in this burger.IMG_5649The vegan tzatziki was also easy to make and paired perfectly with the burgers. This is something I plan on making again. Since going dairy free I hadn’t eaten tzatziki. I was surprised with the simplicity of the recipe. Michelle used So Delicious almond based yogurt and also recommended coconut yogurt was well. I haven’t been able to find plain coconut yogurt so I just bought the almond yogurt when I made it.IMG_5679The pumpkin chocolate chip dessert bars were to die for.  My sister and I felt like we had died and gone to heave. The secret ingredient— garam masala—gave the bars an unbelievable flavor. They were absolutely incredible. And lucky for us she left us her recipe so we can make them again and again! The recipe is also available on her blog.IMG_5680

Not only did Michelle show us how to prepare the food, each step of the way she explained what we were doing with all the ingredients and how each one contributed to and played a role in the dish.IMG_5659

We enjoyed learning new recipes that we can now add to our repertoire. I like that Michelle focused on healthy, fresh, and seasonal ingredients. We liked everything about this meal and we felt good eating it.IMG_5677

Click here for a 25% off coupon for your next Kitchensurfing booking! This code is valid through Dec. 31 (you don’t have to have your meal prior to the 31, it just has to be booked by that date). This code can be used on any KS service.

Disclaimer: I received this service free of charge to review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

restaurantweek

Boston Restaurant Week Summer 2013 Gluten Free Options

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Attention Gluten Free Diners! Believe it or not, delectable dishes await you at a number of restaurants this Restaurant Week.

It’s that time again, when some of Boston’s finest – and most expensive – dining establishments offer dinning experiences for affordable prices. Last year’s 3 course dinner menu cost $33.12, and the year before $33.11. Well this year they decided to raise the price by not only 1 cent, but $5.01. However, this is still an unbelievable price for many of the options available. At The Capital Grille, the Bone-in Kona Crusted Dry Aged Sirloin will cost you $43 on a regular night. Pigalle’s Cassoulet braised lamb shank runs at $31 on the dinner menu and the seared salmon at Davio’s will set you back $29. Now that you have a little more perspective on that, I think you don’t mind such a big price increase this year. (Some restaurants are including a glass of wine or sangria in this price too, others have great wine specials to go along with the restaurant week menu)

As someone who loves food I naturally have always participated in restaurant week, which is actually two weeks twice a year in Boston. But as someone who has developed food intolerances over the last few years (gluten free since 2009, dairy free since 2012 and now yeast free too), it has made me a little anxious. Until recently, a limited menu rarely meant something was food allergy/intolerant friendly. [Unfortunately it still does sometimes].  Over the years I’ve had to politely decline invitations from friends to dine at certain restaurants due to my dietary restrictions and the lack of Restaurant Week options. I’ve also persuade them, sometimes more like whining, to go somewhere else, even after hearing them say they’ve “been dying to try this place” or “have been waiting months to go here”. Well, that is all changing. As gluten free diets and other food allergies are becoming more prominent in our society, it is leading restaurant owners and chefs to becoming more aware of and knowledgeable about gluten free diets and how to accommodate to our dining needs.

Below is a list of restaurants that offer gluten free Restaurant Week menu options. Some offer full Gluten Free Restaurant Week Menus. Some off gluten free options on the menu and others can accommodate very easily by subbing gluten free pasta for regular, etc.

If you would like me to add your restaurant to this list, or if you are a gluten free diner who has recently enjoyed a gluten free Restaurant Week meal somewhere else please let me know and I will be happy to add it to the list. Click on the restaurant name to bring you to the Restaurant Week Menu.

Disclaimer: This list is my own personal list based on personal and past experiences.

Gluten Free Restaurant Week Menu:

 

Restaurants with Gluten Free Menus Options:

 

Gluten Free Options at Petit Robert Bistro

I went to Petit Robert Bistro in Brighton to celebrate my graduation with my dad and Judy (his girlfriend). For those of you who do not know, I graduated this past Saturday from Northeastern University and I know have a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration! I am finally done with school…for a while at least!
The thing I really liked about this place is that the entire meal was an experience. We tried new and different things (well I’ve had all these before, but not here and prepared differently). We were not rushed, and our entire meal lasted about 1 ½ – 1 ¾ hours.
Excellent service, very polite and friendly. Our waiter was very attentive without being too disruptive. He was very knowledgeable about the menu, gluten free options and wine pairings.
We started with three appetizers. The first was the Escargot with a pesto-type sauce. I loved it. Sometimes escargot is served with too much garlic, but this one had just the right amount of garlic, swimming in pools of butter. If you are not a fan of butter, I would be ware as they are not afraid to use butter here!

 

We also had the Sliced Red Beet and Soft Goat Cheese Salad. Delicious, one of my new favorite menu items to order out. This one was delicious!  And the Steamed Mussels Marinière in a White Wine and Shallots Sauce. The mussels were good, but white wine sauce could have used a little more flavoring. Big portion.

 

All sauces are thickened with cornstarch, not flour, which is great for us!! This made ordering so much easier! We were also given the choice to substitute any sides we wanted (i.e. the noodles on the chicken dish). Almost all entrees come with sides, so before you order any sides a la carte, double check with the waiter first.
We ordered 3 different entrees, but ultimately ended up sharing everything, which was fun! I ordered the Beef Short Rib Bourguignon and Roasted Potato. The beef was not as tender as one would expect beef short ribs to be served, but the sauce was incredible, a little on the salty side. It had a stew like feeling when I ate it, but not so thick and served with vegetables as well. I ended up taking half of this home and had it for dinner the next night.

 

Judy ordered the Chicken Coq-au-vin (Chicken with wine) It was tender and moist, and we all loved the sauce – butter and red wine, with such richness; the flavors shined thru on this one.

 

My dad had the Sautéed Scallops over Mushroom Risotto. The scallops were cooked to perfection. I love risotto. This one was a little bland and not very creamy. The lack of creaminess I liked, but it could have used more seasoning and mushrooms. This was the smallest dish of the three, which tends to happen with scallops.

 

For dessert we had the Vanilla Crème Brûlée, which was rich and creamy with a perfect-torched sugar topping, but I did not taste the ‘vanilla’ aspect. It tasted like a regular crème brulee, it was still good, don’t get me wrong, but it was missing the “vanilla”.

 

The Mousse au Chocolat (Chocolate Mousse) was just so so. It had a good texture and it is more chocolaty than sweet. I’ve decided not to order Chocolate Mousse anymore, because I am always dissatisfied.

 

My favorite dessert by far was the Chocolate and tangerine ice cream. This was the best ice cream I have ever had!! I don’t know how they did it, but the tangerine flavor was infused into the chocolate ice cream. It was so refreshing and delicious! I highly recommend this!
I’ve heard that the food at the other locations – South End and Kenmore – is much better. I wasn’t disappointed with our meal, but I wasn’t blown away either. If I go back, it would be to one of the other locations.
Free Valet. 3 other locations: South End, Kenmore Square and Needham.


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Petit Robert Bistro on Urbanspoon

Gluten Free tapas at Tasca Restaurant in Brighton

I LOVE TAPAS!

I fell in love with Spain after I spent a semester in Valencia. 3 of my favorite things are tapas, paella, and sangria!! Tasca is right around the corner from me and I am a frequent visitor. I love going with a few people, 2 or 3, and ordering a variety of different tapas. I say 2 or 3 people, because if there were more I definetly would not be able to have seconds of my favorite tapas!
Now I do have to say the Sangria here is a little fruity than in Spain but much much much better than most places in Boston that use way too much fruit juice. Also, make sure to ask for the $5 pitchers!! (And $5 bottles of wine on some nights) This is a little secret not everybody knows about.

I love the atmosphere here, its dark, rustic and romantic, reminds me of being in Spain.

So let’s see what haven’t I eaten here? …..

First, bring your own dinner rolls. They serve a bread basket with an amazing white bean spread. I’ve eaten by the spoonfuls when I forget my gf bread, it’s that good! It is also accompained by a small plate of fresh Spanish olives, makes me feel like I’m back in Valencia.

The Gambas al ajilo (Sizzling garlic shrimp)  served in a mini skillet and is still sizziling when it arrives at the table. Great flavor but tiny shrimp, even though there were a lot.

I also love the Atun salteado – perfectly prepared slices of rare peppered yellow-fin tuna over a mixed bean ragout in a saffron Dijon ailoi. Not a big fan of the beans but the tuna melts in your mouth.

The duck confit is a stand out. It is a small, petite duck breast and legs that are so juicy and moist, very well seasoned, with a nice size portion of a cider-spiced red cabbage and apples.

Two of my all time favorite Spanish tapas, and staples all across Spain, are the Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Omelette) and Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes in a spicy tomato and garlic aioli. Not the ”Omelette” is nothing like the American omelette. It is full or potatoes and onions and about 3 inches thick.

I could go on and on about every dish, but I won’t, I will leave some surprises for you. In addition to the tapas I just raved about I also recommend:
– Jamon Serran and Queso Manchego (Cured Spanish Ham and Cheese)
– Steas Ronan (portabella mushrooms)
– Solomillo
– Brie a la plancha (baked brie, apples and raisin chutney – also one of my favorites)
– Mejillones (mussels) Very Typical of Spain
– Salmon ahumado (smoked salmon – again, I loved this)

For entrees I’ve tried the Grilled Salmon, cooked to perfection but a little too much sauce, I would ask for it on the side if that is possible. Don’t get me wrong, it is good, just too much. And sauteed spinach is one of my least favorite things, and theirs is extra oily (gross). I’ve also tried their Paella, both the Seafood and Valencian style, which has chicken, chorizo and duck. I prefer the seafood over the meat, the chicken was a bit dry, but the Seafood Paella is out of this world, and huge portion sizes. I love it! Definetly have to get this, it’s even big enough to split, especially after eating all those tapas….

 Zarzuela de mariscos (top) and Sefood Paella

Other entrees I recommend:
-Pato asado (roast duck legs)
– Zarzuela de mariscos (seafood in a lobster-tomato broth, bring some bread for dipping!)

So by now you are thinking come on there has to be something she doesn’t like! And there is. I did not like the Patatas aioli, it’s just a fancy name for a potato salad with garlic mayonaise, onions and capers. Stick to the patatas bravas.

Also dissapointing was the Pulpo Gallega – octopus – a traditional dish from Galicia (Northwestern Spain). This was also one of my favorites in Spain and I was unimpressed by their version; it was a little undercooked and way too oily. I also did not like the Carne tartara (tatar of beef), even though my boyfriend loved it. Rare beef was never my thing anyways.

They also have a 3-course prix fixe “stimulus” deal that is very reasonably priced during the week.

Gluten Free Menu Items

  Ensalada Tasca                                                                                            
Organic greens, tomato, and olives tossed in a red wine vinaigrette. no crutons    
                                   
  Gazpacho   (Chilled piquant tomato and cilantro soup)   No Croutons                 

      Sopa del día        (Homemade soup of the day)   No Croutons                         

             
Pulpo a la Gallega                                                                                       
Octopus served on olive oil sautéed potatoes with smoked Spanish paprika
    
Patatas alioli                                                                                              
Potato salad with garlic mayonnaise, red onions and capers                  
Boquerones                                                                                                            
Marinated fresh Spanish white anchovy filets over tomatoes and red onion                         
 Jamon Serrano y Queso Manchego                                                               
Cured Spanish ham and shaved Manchego cheese, no tomato toasted crostinis                                         
Carne tártara                                                                                             
Tartar of beef tenderloin topped with a wild mushroom and shallot duxelle served with cornichons and chopped egg, no crostini                 
Setas Ronan                                                                                               
Roasted portabella mushrooms with shaved manchego, capers, red onion in a sherry
vinaigrette without roasted red pepper toasts        
    
Pincho de pollo y chorizo                                                                              
Grilled chicken and chorizo skewer with peppers and onion in a spicy chili sauce
Tortilla española                                                                                           
Traditional Spanish potato and onion omelet                                                
        
Gambas al ajillo                                                                                            
Sizzling shrimp in garlic with chili pepper                                            
        

      Asado de cerdo                                                                                             

Char grilled pork loin overa rosemary infused white bean ragout with mushrooms     
Patatas bravas                                                                                              
Fried cubed potatoes in a piquant tomato sauce and garlic aioli   
                                                                                       
Confít de pato                                                                                               
Fall off the bone succulent roasted duck leg served over braised red cabbage   &apples     
        
Solomillo                                                                                                  
Petit filet mignon (3oz) served without a red wine sauce with mushrooms     
                                                 

     Caracoles                                                                                                    

Escargots baked in traditional herbed garlic butter with cognac    
        
Carpaccio de atun                                                                                       
Sesame crusted pan seared tuna over a black bean & mango salsa with wasabi 
aioli 
      

    Atún salteado                                                                                          

    Peppered yellow-fin tuna over a mixed bean ragout in a saffron Dijon aioli     
  
     Brie a la plancha                                                                                                   
    Grilled imported Brie cheese with a homemade savory apple & raisin chutney 
    served without the grilled baguette                 
Mejillones                                                                                                  
Fresh mussels steamed in a white wine tomato broth with garlic and onion, served
without grilled herbed crostinis

      
       Salmón ahumado                                                                                         

Smoked salmon served on a potato pancake with red onion, capers & dill crème fraîche                    
Entrees
Bistec de ternera                                                                                                 
Grilled 12oz top filet steak over garlic mashed potatoes with a red wine jus and creamed spinach (no creamed spinach allowed!)  
Salmón a la plancha                                             
Grilled filet of salmon in a white wine basil sauce over spinach and mashed potato                                   
Paella de mariscos                                                                                                  
Shrimp, scallops, mussels & calamari with saffron rice cooked in a lobster broth(individual portion)
Filete de cerdo al rioja                                                                                         
Dijon mustard and herb crusted roasted pork tenderloin served with a mixed bean ragout and spinach over a scallion potato cake in a red wine shallot reduction     
Pollo al jerez                                                                                                          
Oven roasted boneless breast of chicken stuffed with chorizo, Manchego cheese and spinach without sherry mushroom sauce                                            
Pato asado                                                                                                            
Roast duck legs with braised red cabbage and apples over scallion mashed potato with blackberries  
Filete de buey                                                                                                     
Grilled 10oz Black Angus filet mignon over a scallion potato cake and vegetables no  cognac and green peppercorn sauce   
Zarzuela de mariscos                                                                                              
Shrimp, scallops, mussels & calamari in a zesty lobster and tomato broth without garlic toasted crostinis 
Paella Valenciana                                                                                                       
Chicken, chorizo and duckling in saffron rice with roasted red peppers and peas(individual portion)
    
Pescado del día                                                                                                      
Chef’s daily fresh fish special    (Check with manager about sauce/breading)