Tuesday, July 30, 2019

GreCo: Gyros & Loukoumades at the Seaport

I've long been a fan of Gre.Co (meaning Greece & Company) on Newbury Street, loving their fresh Gyros and Loukoumades. The Newbury Street location is small and intimate and now there is a new location of GreCo, in the Seaport region, and it is much larger and more spacious. You'll find the same delicious food there, but a few new items and even some wine and beer.

I recently attended a media preview of this new location, which is now open to the public. The restaurant is lengthy and spacious, with plenty of small tables, counter seating, and a few larger tables as well. It has a modern look and will soon have patio seating as well, so you can dine outside with a cooling breeze from the sea.

At one end of the restaurant is a large table, that is almost in its own room, giving some privacy to diners.

Around the corner from that large table, you'll find a quote on the wall from The Odyssey by Homer, "A guest never forgets the host who has treated him kindly."

Like an assembly line, you order at the counter and the various employees will out together your meal. Much of the menu is similar to what you'll find at Newbury Street, except there are a few new dishes. The Seaport locations still prepares its foods, marinating their meats for about 24 hours, using their own house-made marinades. The Pitas are cooked on the grill, ensuring they are fresh and hot.

The food menu is dominated by seven different types of Gyros, all which are served in a warm pita with tomatoes, onions and hand-cut potatoes. The seven Gyros (priced $8.50-$10.50) include the Pork (with tzatziki), Chicken (with honey mustard), Lamb (with tomato jam), Bifteki (ground beef with spicy whipped feta), Loukaniko (pork and leek sausage with mustard sauce), Veggie (squash fritter with lemon yogurt sauce), and Mushroom (braised mushrooms with Greek fava). As everything is made to order, you can also customize your own Gyro, choosing your own protein and sauce combination.

I'm partial to the tasty Lamb Gyro, which is was packed with plenty of tender and flavorful meat. The tomato jam adds nice acidity and a little sweetness to the gyro. The addition of the salty fries also enhanced the gyro. This is quality fast casual food.

As a slight variation, you can also have a Salad ($10.50) or Plate ($11.50), selecting your own protein and sauce combination, and each also comes with pita bread. The Plate also comes with a side. You can order a salad on its own, including the Horiatiki ($8.50), Cretan ($8.00), Mykonos ($8.00), and Kos ($9.00). There are also a small number of Soup & Sides, such as Avgolemono (egg lemon soup, $3.50) and Greek Slaw ($2.50).

One new item on their menu was the Greek Summer Gazpacho ($6), made with chilled tomato, onion, cucumber, red pepper, roasted pine nut and feta mousse. Refreshing and flavorful, with bright cucumber accents, I especially loved the hunk of feta in the soup, adding a briny edge to the soup. Highly recommended.

As for Sides, you can order the Homemade Dips, served with with Pita ($4), selecting Tzatziki, Spicy Whipped Feta, Charred Eggplant of Greek Fava. The Gre.co Fries ($4.5), hand-cut potatoes with feta, are addictive. The crisp fries, with a fluffy interior, are enhanced by the salty, creaminess of the feta.

Who wouldn't love Loukoumas, Greek donuts? You can even watch them making your Loukoumas for you! They come in five different flavors, $5-$6.50, including Classic (Greek honey, walnuts and cinnamon), Yaya’s (hazelnut praline, oreo cookies, powdered sugar), Bougatsa (custard creme, phyllo, cinnamon, powdered sugar), Lady Marmalade (fig marmalade, yogurt mousse, toasted almonds), and Choco Loco (white chocolate ganache, wafer crumble, cocoa powder).

The Bougatsa was a decadent treat, with the sweet and creamy custard, lightly crisp phyllo and hot donuts. This is the type of treat to make you forget about your diet.

The Classic remains a delicious option, the walnuts adding a nice crunchy texture to enhance the light and fluffy loukoumas.

GreCo has upped their beverage program, adding both alcoholic and non-alcoholic choices. For Coffee, you'll find Freddo Expresso, Freddo Cappucino and Frappe (Greek iced coffee). You'll also find non-alcoholic options like Greco-Jito (basil, cucumber & honey), Tsai (Greek mountain tea, honey, ginger & lemon), and Homer's Punch (watermelon, star anise, mint & lemon). The Greco-Jito was refreshing and tasty, an excellent summer drink.

For alcoholic options, they have a Greco “Opa Opa” Light Lager ($6), which is made exclusively for them, as well as a Seasonal Beer ($5.50). For wine, there are two options, a White and a Red, both from the Karavitakis Winery of Crete. The Karavitakis Little Prince White ($6.50) is a blend of about 65% Vilana and 35% Vidiano. This wine is bright and crisp, with notes of lemon, citrus and pear. A pleasant summery wine, perfect for sipping on the patio. The Karavitakis Little Prince Red ($8) is a blend of 65% Kotsifali and 35% Mandilari. Smooth and easy drinking, there is still depth to this wine, with pleasant black fruit flavors, including plum and black cherry. There is a freshness to this wine as well, and it paired very well with a lamb gyro. I'm especially pleased that both wines use indigenous Greek grapes, helping people to expand their palates and experience these delicious wines.

I suspect GreCo in the Seaport will do very well. It offers reasonably priced, delicious and quality fast casual food. The restaurant is aesthetically pleasing and is one of the better new options in the Seaport region. I know that when I'm in the Seaport, it will always be one of my top choices. And you can look forward to more locations of GreCo opening in other parts of Boston in the future.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Koshari Mama: Egyptian Street Food

"The Hindi word khicri or khicra is assumed to descend from the Sanskrit krsara...which meant a mixture of rice and peas. This idea of mixing lentils (or peas) has spread during this century to the Near East as well, where rice and lentil koshari is now a popular cheap meal in Egypt."
--Los Angeles Times, April 27, 1995

Last Thursday, I planned to visit the Stoneham Farmers Market so I checked their website to see if anything special was scheduled that day. I saw a new vendor, Koshari Mama, and once I checked out their website, I was intrigued, hoping to taste some of their food.  

Koshari Mama was founded by a mother/daughter team, Sahar Ahmed and Dina Fahim. Dina graduated from Boston University’s Culinary Program, and worked at a number of local restaurants, before deciding to go out on her own. She wanted to embrace her Egyptian heritage, and her mother was a natural partner for her new endeavor. Based in Lowell, they currently sell their products at a number of farmers markets, including Stoneham, Melrose, North Andover, Davis Square, and you can see their schedule on their website.

One of the main foods they produce is Koshari, an Egyptian street food. It is a hearty vegetarian/vegan dish composed of rice, lentils, pasta, and chickpeas, topped with a spicy tomato sauce and fried onions. Koshari is available as a Mini (8 oz) $3.00, Small (12 oz) $5.00, Large (16 oz) $8.00, and Egyptian Size (24 oz) $12.00. The dish is prepared in front of you and you can choose how hot of a sauce you want.

Though many sources state Koshari was created in the 19th century, its roots extend back at least several hundred, if not more, years before that time. It has become an inexpensive and very popular street food in Egypt. After tasting this Koshari, I can understand the appeal. It presents a delicious blend of flavors and textures, from the softer macaroni to the crunchy fried onions pieces. It had a certain nuttiness to it, as well as a nice spicy flavor from the sauce. I tried the Mini, just to get a taste of it first, and my only issue is that the cup was so full, it was tough to mix up all the ingredients without spilling them over the side.

I want more, and will be sure to get some the next time they come to the Stoneham Farmers Market, unless I see them at a different Farmers Market. I highly recommend you check out Koshari Mama! I'll also note that they sell a few other items too, such as their homemade Hummus, which was also quite tasty, with a strong garlic aspect and a hint of lemon.

"Kosheri (also spelled kosheree, kochary, kushari, and kochari) is the only menu item sold in some specialty restaurants in Egypt. There is a saying about this nourishing rice, wheat and bean dish: You can have anything you want to eat, as long as it's kosheri."
--The Record (NJ), November 24, 2004

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting, upcoming food & drink events.
1) On Friday, July 26, at 5pm, Davio’s Lynnfield will welcome Guest Sommelier Gary Parsons as he presents the wines of Honig Vineyard & Winery. Honig Vineyard was purchased in Rutherford, CA in 1964, and began producing wine in 1980. In 1984, at the age of 22, Michael Honig took over management of the vineyard and winery. With the help of a handful of family members and a staff of dedicated employees, what began as a small “garage” winery has today become a successful family enterprise, with everyone working collaboratively to run an inspiring and socially responsible business. While focused on producing high quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc since the early 1980’s, the Honig family is committed to protecting the environment, developing their employees, and supporting their community.

Featured Wines:
2017 Honig, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley $10 glass
2016 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $20 glass
Dinner reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 781-944-4810.

2) This summer, check out Rosé Thursdays at Davio’s Lynnfield. Each week, Davio’s will host a different Guest Sommelier for the evening to sample rosé wines from around the world. Known as the ever popular “summer water”, rosé is a type of wine that incorporates some of the color from the grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine. It may be the oldest known type of wine, as it is the most straightforward to make with the skin contact method. Rosé wines can be made still, semi-sparkling or sparkling and with a wide range of sweetness levels from highly dry Provençal rosé to sweet White Zinfandels and blushes. Rosé wines are made from a wide variety of grapes and can be found all around the globe.

Rosé Thursdays at Davio’s Lynnfield will run from July 11th through August 22nd starting at 5:00pm and reservations can be made by calling 781-944-4810.

Featured Wines
7/11 - 2018 Costaripa, “Rosamara”, Lombardy, Italy Glass $12 / Bottle $50
7/18 - 2018 Chateau d’Esclans, Whispering Angel, Cotes de Provence Glass $18 / Bottle $80
7/25 - 2018 Inman Family, “Endless Crush” Rose of Pinot Noir, Russian River Glass $16 / Bottle $70
8/1 - TBD
8/8 - TBD
8/15 - 2018 Bertani, “Bertarose”, Veneto, Italy Glass $14 / Bottle $60
8/22 - TBD

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Hudson-Chatham Winery & the Joys of Baco Noir

"Among these wines, Baco Noir is the only eastern cheese partner. It is a full-bodied red from a grape of the same name, which makes it a 'varietal' wine. The grape is expected to have a great future in eastern winemaking."
--Chicago Tribune, November 3, 1968

Have you ever tasted a wine made from Baco Noir?

Baco Noir is a French hybrid grape, whose origin extends back to 1902, though it was initially called Baco 24-23. It didn't become known as Baco Noir until 1964 and very little is currently grown in France. In the early 1950s, the grape was planted in North America and currently you'll find it grown in various states as well as Canada. In the Hudson Valley of New York, you'll find one of Baco Noir's most ardent advocates, Carlo DeVito.

Carlo, with his wife Dominique, own the Hudson-Chatham Winery and you can read my prior article for background on the winery. The winery produces a number of different Baco Noir wines and I've enjoyed them in the past, especially the Baco Noir Old Vines. Recently, he sent me a media sample of the 2016 Hudson-Chatham "Block 3 North Creek Vineyard" Baco Noir and it didn't disappoint in the least.

Before I review this wine though, I wanted to highlight some intriguing historical items, found in old newspapers, concerning the some of the earliest mentions of Baco Noir grape in North America,

The earliest newspaper reference I found of a U.S. winery using this grape concerned the Pleasant Valley Wine Company, founded in 1860, which is said to be the oldest winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The Chicago Tribune, November 20, 1967, published an article about the winery, noting that in a few years they would market a Baco Noir varietal wine. They didn't have sufficient grapes yet for a varietal wine, but had been adding some Baco Noir to their Burgundy wine, sold under their Great Western label.

Interesting, the Princeton Bureau County Record (IL), November 25, 1968, presented some Thanksgiving recipes and wine recommendations, and Baco Noir was mentioned. "Non-conformists and red wine lovers find that a herb-stuffed turkey calls for the depth of flavor found only in a Baco Noir Burgundy or Chelois." However, apparently the recommendations came from the Pleasant Valley winery so the inclusion of Baco Noir shouldn't be a surprise.

The above advertisement was in the Nashua Telegraph (NH), December 12, 1968, noting the unique taste provided by the Baco Noir.

The Cincinnati Enquirer, March 14, 1969, presented a different advertisement, which seemed to indicate their Baco Noir varietal wine was now being sold, although it still stated "Burgundy" on the label. An article in the Chicago Tribune, July 25, 1969, seemed to confirm this, noting "Great Western has made varietal wines of some of its former generics, and hopefully they will drop the name 'burgundy,' which should be reserved for French wines,...as soon as Baco Noir burgundy...are better known." The article also states that Baco Noir is "destined for popularity."

The Chicago Tribune, July 24, 1970, published an article about the Great Western wines, commenting on the Baco Noir and Chelois grapes, "Both are interesting, both popular and growing more so." The Daily News (NY), October 22, 1970, then printed an article on the grapes of New York. It mentioned, "Before the hybrids, New York wines were less than glorious. Native American stocks and crosses grew well, but wines from them had a strange, wild taste." It then continued, "Main interest now centers on red wines like Baco Noir and Chelois...these are low-priced at less than $2 a bottle."

Baco Noir had already spread to other U.S. states, but the first mention of a state other than New York  producing a Bacon Noir wine was in The Times Herald (MI), April 14, 1971. It had an advertisement for Bronte's Baco Noir Wine, comparing it to a Burgundy, just as Great Western had done. The Fort Lauderdale News, March 15, 1972, also noted that an Ohio winery was producing a red table wine made from Baco Noir and Chelois.

The Democrat & Chronicle (NY), March 16, 1972, provided some information on grape production in the Finger Lakes during 1971. The wineries processed 66,242 tons of grapes, a 32% increase from the prior year. Only 40% of these grapes were used for the production of wine. French hybrids, including Baco Noir, totaled 6,716 tons, so only about 10% of total production.

Great Western's Baco Noir was becoming so popular, that the Chicago Tribune, March 16, 1972, noted the wines had to be allocated, or they would have been completely sold out. In only a few years, Baco Noir had captivated wine lovers.

Now, back to the 2016 Hudson-Chatham "Block 3 North Creek Vineyard" Baco Noir. Block 3 is planted with two varieties of Baco Noir, including the hearty and dark Finger Lakes variety and the French/Hudson Valley variety which produces a lighter wine. Some of the wine is aged for about six months in neutral oak barrels, and the final blend isn't fined or filtered.

Initially, I love that this wine is only 12% ABV, making it easier to enjoy multiple glasses. When so many other red wines have a 14-16% ABV, it is always a pleasant change to see a lower alcohol red. With a light red color, this wine possesses an appealing fruity nose with subtle hints of vanilla and spice. On the palate, it is smooth, delicious and easy drinking, but this isn't a simple wine but rather one with some interesting complexity. It also possessed bright cherry and raspberry flavors, subtle spice notes, a touch of vanilla, and excellent acidity. This is a versatile food wine, great for pizza to burgers, salmon to roast pork. Highly recommended.

If you haven't tasted a Baco Noir wine, then now is the time to try one. And if you can find Baco Noir from the Hudson-Chatham Winery, then I strongly encourage you to buy it.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Rant: A Tale of Two Buns

"The purpose of the sandwich... is to effectively deliver protein or other stuff into your mouth without a fork. Structure, texture, and proportion are as central to the success or failure of the sandwich as its taste. That may be the very best chopped liver, but if the rye bread surrounding it falls apart, you may as well eat it out of a fucking trough."
--Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain

This is a tale of two buns: one success, one failure. Anthony speaks the truth, that the structure of the bread is a significant aspect of a sandwich and if it falls apart, the sandwich is a failure.

Last week, a good friend from Minnesota came to visit Boston and I acted as a tour guide for part of his time while he was here. We visited several restaurants, with seafood being prominent, and the bread issue arose at two of the places we visited. To me, the main takeaway is that restaurants need to pay more attention to sandwich bread, and not just show concern for the fillings.

This is a picture of a successful sandwich, one where the bread is a rock star!

Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood, located within the Moon Bar of the Mooncusser Fish House, is open for lunch, from Monday to Friday. Their small menu offers Roast Beef Sandwiches and various seafood dishes, from Fish Tacos to Swordfish Souvlaki. My friend had their Fish & Chips, a delicious beer battered fish-of-the-day which was Striped Bass that day. An excellent, seasonal and more unique choice.

I opted for the North Shore-style Roast Beef Sandwich, which was as scrumptious as always. The roast beef was tender and flavorful, complemented by the tangy barbecue sauce. The roll, as I've mentioned before, is perfect. It was served warm and was soft and fresh, with the slight crunch of the seeds atop the roll. Honestly, the rolls you get at most North Shore roast beef joints aren't particularly interesting or memorable. This roll is a success on multiple levels, being a fine vehicle for the roast beef, and the ratio of bread to filling was also very good. The rolls are made daily by their talented pastry chef Katherine Hamilburg. When designing this sandwich, they spent lots of time creating the roll, more than any other aspect of the sandwich.

That dedication has paid off, as they now serve one of the best Roast Beef sandwiches in the area, and that is due, in large part, to their compelling roll. With a more ordinary roll, their sandwich probably wouldn't be as worthy of the accolades.

This is a picture of a failed sandwich, one with plenty of potential but where the bread was lacking.

Another one of our stops was at a well-known seafood restaurant, which receives raves for its Lobster Rolls. I opted for the Lobster Roll ($32), hot with butter, and it came on a toasted brioche roll. There was an ample portion of buttery lobster, and the meat was sweet and tender. It certainly had the potential to be a winner of a sandwich except there was a failure in the structure of the bread. Apparently, there was too much butter, which soaked through the soft roll, causing the middle of it to fall apart and making it difficult to eat as a sandwich. In the end, I had to use a fork to eat most of the lobster, and that shouldn't have happened.

I wanted a sandwich and at the price I paid, the roll shouldn't have failed.

Restaurants, pay attention to your buns! Don't make them an after thought. Put careful consideration into your choices as it can make or break your sandwiches. It doesn't matter how delicious the fillings, without good bread, the sandwich just won't succeed. Your choice of bread can even elevate your sandwich above many others which don't pay as much attention to their bread.

What sandwiches do you enjoy which are made even better because of the bread that is used?

Friday, July 12, 2019

Mind of a Sommelier: Rebecca Myers

(Check out my Introduction to the The Mind of a Sommelier series.)

Rebecca Myers is the Co-Owner and Director of Wine & Service ay Loyal Nine in Cambridge, a restaurant which "focuses on New England culinary traditions." Loyal Nine serves breakfast, lunch, and supper, as well as Sunday Brunch. It's a casual spot with creative, delicious and intriguing cuisine and I'm fascinated by their wine list.

Rebecca grew up in Bordeaux, and her first real restaurant experience began at 16 when she had a job working at a small bar & café after school and on weekends. This was the start of her wine education. A move to the United States four years later landed her at a restaurant in Providence, RI where she met her husband (and Loyal Nine co-owner) Daniel Myers. In 2007, the two moved to Boston, and she landed a serving job at Les Zygomates Wine Bar & Bistro.

After four years, Rebecca moved to Chicago and joined the team of the newly opened Parisian-style Maude’s Liquor Bar. A few months later, she continued west where she worked at A16 and, as a Captain, at Coi. However, the couple's love for the East Coast brought them back to Boston in 2012, and she joined the team at Barry Maiden’s Hungry Mother in Cambridge. Together in early 2013, the wife-husband duo formed the Hand Taste Collective, a Somerville-based pop-up group that created one-night-only dinner services at restaurants around town. Through this project, they began to develop the concept for their own restaurant, partnering with two other industry vets for its opening.

Rebecca and Daniel are currently working to open their second location, Northern Spy, in Canton.

Now, onto the Interview:

What term do you use to describe yourself: Sommelier, Wine Steward, Wine Director, something else?
Being part of an owner-operator team, we all wear many hats but we all have our area of expertise. One of my favorite parts of day to day is keeping track of the wine world at Loyal Nine and sharing it with our staff and guests that dine at our restaurant. For that privilege, I hold the title of wine steward or wine Director. I am a self taught wine lady, immersed in the food & wine world since child hood, growing up in France.

Please give a brief description of the wine list at your restaurant.
The wine list is an ode to the Vigneron, the independent growers, farming cleanly and producing grapes on living, heathy soils. They often times are working with heritage grape varieties sometimes on the verge of disappearing. It is their life's passion that they present to us in bottle form and we are here to share their story and product with others. Many of the growers are using organic/ biodynamic farming methods and some a hands off approach in the cellar with minimal use of sulfur, leading to wines with a raw or wild feel, very alive and can also vary from bottle to bottle. That being said the list is geared towards offering great value in terms of quality, price and above all joy.

What are your objectives with the wine list?
The idea with the wine list and with wine service all together is to make the experience easy, delightful and you might be pleasantly surprised with something that you have never heard of or thought that you would order before, at times you may even get your mind blown... great wine Has a way of doing that. We strive to present you with wines that are exciting and expressive while finding balance with our environment and playing well with our food. We do a lot of preserving with pickling, curing and make our own vinegars. So with our food having a penchant towards the tangy and briny, wild wine is well matched with its lively attitude and textural tendencies.

How often does the wine list change?
Working with small producers keeps the wine list changes quite frequent, as the amount of wine produced is always limited. We try to retain working with the same producers as much as possible. Some of which we have represented on our list from the beginning, we keep several of their wines on our list in different categories, sparkling, white and red. Their wines come and go throughout the year in these different categories and we get them whenever we can. This is also great for the staff as they get to know a producers style very well and can get excited for a new release or the return of an old friend.

How do you learn about new wines?
There seems to always be a continuous stream of new producers or wines to be in touch with, so the key seems to be enabling a constant exposure to as much wine as possible at all times. whether attending organized trade tastings, importers showing their portfolios, house visits.....but the very best is getting to meet the maker behind the wine, getting a feel of who they are, their convictions and what they would express through the wine.

What is your strategy on pricing the wines on your list?
For the wine list format and pricing, I took inspiration from little restaurants or eateries you can find throughout towns all over France. Often times they hold quite an extensive amount of wines but always organized in categories by price. So for our list, with about a hundred wines listed, if you are looking for a wine for $40 you will find a selection in white and red, and the same with a $60 option. A separate category we call 'Down cellar', includes wines priced above 60 but under 200, as nothing on our list exceeds that price. The idea is to provide ease of ordering, you always know what price you are willing to spend for a bottle when dining out.

What is the most common wine question asked by your guests?
The great thing in working with wines that are less recognizable and unusual is that we are always being asked for recommendations, which really gives us the chance to tell you about the wine and get you excited to try something new. If you are thinking of a chardonnay, what type of white do you really have in mind, something plump and buttery or something bright and mineral focused? You might find yourself enjoying a glass of Negro Lorenzo Arneis from the Roero in Piedmont or Roditis from Slavos in Cephalonia, Greece. 

What is your greatest challenge as a sommelier?
The challenge is being able to turn people on to wine made in a less conventional way, just be open to trying something new, getting out of your comfort zone can be very rewarding. People care about what they put in their bodies and are enjoying getting into wine made with no additives, farmed from grapes not covered in pesticides. However it is very much thanks to the server staff who care to learn about each wine and get excited about the message and really get to know the wines as well. We talk about and taste wines at the restaurant on a regular basis, we also love having the growers come visit us and talk wine with everyone here. 

Tell me about 1 or 2 of the best value wines on your list?
Some of our best value wine is from Meinklang, a family run 'mixed farming operation', located along Austria's eastern border with Hungry, in the middle of the national park Neusiedlersee. The Michlits family truly celebrate biodynamic principles of diversity, growing crops, cultivating wild insect colonies, raising farm animals including a herd of Angus cattle providing natural fertilizer for the farm. Angela and Werner Junior run the wine side of the farm, cultivating a variety of indigenous grapes surrounded by natural ponds and wild grasses. They work minimally in the cellar using ambient yeast and maturation in concrete egg-shaped containers. A bottle that we love and are pouring by the glass right now is their 'Burgenlandred', it's a juicy blend of Zweigelt and Blaufrankisch, both native Austrian grapes. A vibrant, fragrant red with tart berry fruit and a light dry finish that keeps you coming back for more. Their wines are so great that we also had to have their 'Foam', naturally sparkling wine, and Gruner Veltliner for white, all poured by the glass. 

Tell me about 1 or 2 of the most unique wines on your list?
     A wine from Hubert and Heidi Hausherr, that is very unique is the 'Altengarten' 2012 bottling. All of their wine is very unique and really special. They are located in Alsace, and farm a very small estate in the village of Eguisheim. Everything is done manually from plowing the fields with the help of their draft horse Skippy, hand harvesting, and at the time their grapes were pressed in an old wooden manual vertical basket press. They strive to represent the terroir and make their wine in a natural way without additives or filtration. They will typically make field blends, multiple varieties grow together, are picked and fermented together. They do not follow the norm for the area nor do they take the easy road in any way. The reward is this wine, a blend of Riesling & Gewürztraminer, it pours a hazy golden color, intense aromatics of wild flowers, tropical fruit and spice escaping from the glass. It drinks full bodied & inciting with complex flavors of baked nectarine, Meyer lemon and pink pepper corn, but also oxidative with a nutty, savory, dry sherry finish. It is alive and evolving as it reacts to the air and the temperature in the room, dream wine. 
     Another Unique winery is Rocco di Carpenetto, Lidia and Paolo run a tiny winery and agriturismo (essentially a B&B), in the village of Carpenetto in the Alto Monferrato hills of Piedmonte. They make natural wines from old vines in the Ovada, using spontaneous fermentation with native yeast, unfiltered with very little sulfites. They take care of everything themselves, up to the bottling and labeling. they Their 'Losna', local dialect for lightning bolt, it's a spirited, big red made with Dolcetto grapes, a beautifully structured wine balancing chewy tannins, intense dark berry fruit and raw textured mouthfeel. A stunner! 

Tell me about 1 or 2 of your favorite wines on your list?
     A wine that I will always love to drink as long as it will be, is Cascina degli Ulivi, Ivag. RIP Stefano Bellotti, a pioneer become guru of biodynamics, no longer of this earth. His revolutionary winemaking and authentic practices in Novi Ligure, Piedmont, have influences many and have forever changed the face of the wine world. This wine is made of cortese grapes, from wild vineyards scattered about the hills of Gavi, zero sulfur is added and it is bottled unfiltered. 'IVAG' is Gavi spelt backwards reflecting his non conformist methods. The wine pours a cloudy deep straw color, drinks bold and earthy, expressing it's wild personality with notes of yellow fruit, raw nuts and bread. 
     For a view into the independent growers life I would recommend a documentary called 'Natural Resistance' by filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter, a group of natural winemakers in Italy stirring the pot. Among other winemakers that we work with Stefano Belotti participated in the making of this documentary.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

More on the Origin of the Everything Bagel

Who created the Everything Bagel? It's an issue mired in contention, with several different individuals claiming to have invented it. The main problem is that none of the contenders have offered sufficient evidence to support their claims.

A couple weeks ago, I read an Atlas Obscura article, Everything You Need to Know About the True Origins of the Everything Bagel by Dan Nosowitz. I enjoy Atlas Obscura, as it often showcases fascinating stories and locations. In general, Nosowitz wrote a very good article on this topic, although his research missed some items. When I researched my own lengthy Bagel History article, I had plenty of extra information that never made it into the article. I thought the information might be useful for future articles, and some of that information dealt with the Everything Bagel.

Nosowitz wrote that the person who may have coined the term "everything bagel" was David Gussin. "By his own and most other accounts, that person was David Gussin. Around 1979 or 1980, he says, he was a teenager working at Charlie’s Bagels in the Howard Beach neighborhood of Queens, New York." Gussin's work included "...cleaning the oven, where excess bagel toppings accumulated when they fell off." And Gussin once said, “One day instead of throwing them out like I usually did, I gave them to Charlie and said, ‘Hey, make a bagel with these, we’ll call it the everything bagel.” Nosowitz then noted, "Soon, a shop across the street started selling their own everything bagels, and word slowly spread."

Gussin's claim as the inventor of the Everything Bagel was highlighted in an article in the New Yorker, March 10, 2008. However, this article stated, "Within a year, Gussin said, “the everything bagel was everywhere.” This contradicts the claim by Nosowitz that the Everything Bagel slowly spread. However, if Gussin is to be believed, then where is the evidence of the Everything Bagel spreading so far within a year of his alleged invention? It doesn't seem to exist.

In the Atlas Obscura article, Nosowitz stated, "The first mention I can find of the everything bagel is in a New York Times food column from 1988, and at that time the concept was new or niche or local enough that the writer felt it necessary to place “everything bagel” in quotes and define it." The New York Times, August 3, 1988, mentioned the recent opening of the Bagel Baron in Manhattan, and stated they sold an Everything Bagel. "The 'everything bagel' is dusted with salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic and onion."

Why wouldn't the Everything Bagel have been mentioned previously if it were invented around 1979-1980, especially as Gussin claimed that it was soon everywhere within a year of its creation? Such a new offering would have been ripe for presenting in a bagel bakery advertisement. During my prior research, I found plenty of ads from bakeries and delis touting their new styles and flavors of bagels. It makes little sense that the first mention of the everything bagel in a newspaper would be 8 or 9 years after its invention.

However, there actually were newspaper mentions of the Everything Bagel prior to 1998, though they still don't provide support to Gussin's claims.

The above advertisement and coupon was from the Press and Sun-Bulletin (Binghampton, NY), December 7, 1984. It mentions that the Everything Bagel is "new," topped with sesame, poppy, onion, garlic and salt. None of their prior advertisements mentioned this type of bagel. This was the earliest reference that I have found, four years before 1998, though it is possible older references may exist as well.

I next found a reference from an advertisement for a New Jersey bagel spot in The Record (Hackensack, NJ), April 13, 1986. This indicates that the Everything Bagel had already spread past New York, so no longer was just a local item. This ad though doesn't explain what was on their Everything Bagel.

Another mention was in the San Francisco Chronicle, November 11, 1987, in an article titled, "A Bagel-Lover's Guide To the Bay Area." At Holey Bagel, at 3218 Fillmore Street, they produce 16 varieties of bagels, including an "everything" bagel, with poppy, sesame, onion, garlic, caraway, and salt.

The next mention was in The Long Island News & the Owl, June 23, 1988, which published an ad for The Bagel Boys, listing an Everything Bagel. Again, there is no description of the toppings in this bagel.

The Herald News (NJ), August 3, 1988, printed a review of a store, Wanna Bagel, which also sold an Everything Bagel, with 5 toppings, though they were mentioned. Again, we see these bagels being sold outside of New York.

And though the following references occur after the article in the New York Times, August 3, 1988, they are relevant to the issue at hand. The Baltimore Sun, October 9, 1988, published an article and review about "bagels and....," a bagel shop located in Annapolis. They sold an Everything Bagel, noting it is  "full of seeds and no salt." Obviously the idea of this bagel has continued to spread, to Maryland, though it's curious that there isn't any salt on it.

And it continued to spread, all the way to Florida. The Tampa Tribune, June 16, 1989 wrote about a Clearwater bagel bakery, the New York Bagel Boys, which sold an Everything Bagels with dried onion, garlic, sesame and poppy seed. Again, no salt was listed as an ingredient. And the Green-Bay Press Gazette (Wisconsin), March 27, 1991, mentioned a local bagel shop making an Everything Bagel topped with poppy, caraway, and sesame seeds, onion and garlic.

So, the first newspaper reference to the Everything Bagel is actually at least from 1984, and during the 1980s, this bagel spread to places including New Jersey, Maryland, and Florida. Without any supporting evidence, I remain skeptical of David Gussin's claim that he coined the term "everything bagel." And I also remain skeptical of the other claimants to its creation as they too lack evidence supporting their claims. We may never know who invented this bagel and coined its name.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Kamakura & Kumo Sky Bar: A Passion For Japanese Drinks

Chilled Sake, Warm Sake, Shochu, Japanese Koshu wine, Japanese Whiskey, Japanese beer, Japanese-inspired cocktails. There are very few local restaurants or bars which offer nearly all of these choices, and only one place that offers all of them.

That restaurant is Kamakura, located at 150 State Street in Boston. Chef Youji Iwakura has created a compelling Japanese restaurant, offering his take on Kaiseki (basically a seasonal tasting menu) as well as a la carte choices, Bento Boxes, Sushi Omakase, and more. Dining there is a superb experience with some of the finest Japanese cuisine available in the area. The restaurant is spread out over three stories, with the top story being their Kumo Sky Bar & Lounge.

I recently attended a media cocktail party at their Kumo Sky Bar, though I have also visited the bar previously on my own. The bar has about 26 seats, with several seats looking out into the city, a number of seats at the bar, and a number of small tables. This bar has a 400-square foot, retractable glass roof, which should get plenty of use this summer, and presents quite a great view during both day and night. "Kumo" is the Japanese word for "cloud," and with its retractable roof, you certainly get a nice view of the clouds when they are in the sky,

It is an intimate room, and can be booked for special events. It is also a great place to just grab a drink and a snack any night.

The Drinks program at Kamakura, which is available throughout the restaurant including the Kumo Sky Bar, is strong on Japanese beverages, offering much that is delicious, interesting and unique. This is a great place to expand your palate, to sample exciting new drinks you know little about. The staff at Kamakura can help educate you about these drinks, and provide plenty of suggestions for you. And for those who are already familiar with these Japanese drinks, you'll find some more unique items to thrill your palate.

They have a list of ten Featured Cocktails, priced $13-$18, with one outlier at $34. The cocktails change seasonally and all have a Japanese aspect to them, whether it is the main spirit or one of the ingredients. A few of the cocktails include the John Manjiro (Iwai Whisky, Choya, Cherry, $14), Murasaki (Empress 1908 Gin, Sake, Floral Vermouth, $16) and Shoyu What I Got (Blanco Tequila, Mezcal, Choya, Sea Fennel, Aged Shoyu, Orange Bitters, $14). Aged shoyu? How many cocktails have you ever seen that use soy sauce as an ingredient? Choya is Japanese plum wine. I like the innovativeness of these cocktails. Most of the media at the cocktail party ordered cocktails, and I heard many compliments about their taste.

If you'd prefer a Non-Alcoholic Cocktail, they have three choices, all priced $10 each. You could opt for a Matcha Tonic (Matcha, Simple Syrup, Tonic Water), Cucumber Rickey (Fresh Cucumber Juice, Lime, Spritz), or a Lychee Collins (Lychee syrup, Soda, Citrus).

Of course they have a Sake menu, both by the glass and by the bottle. There are about 15 selections by the glass, broken down into two main categories: Junmai and Honjozo, the primary divisions of Premium Sake. There is also a single American-produced Sake. The Sake by the glass is available as a 4 ounce ($11-$35) or 6 ounce ($16-$52) pour. They also offer Junmai and Honjozo flights, each with 3 Sakes, for $38, which is an excellent way to sample a variety of Sakes. A few of the interesting Sakes I'd recommend include the Yuho Junmai Kimoto, Katsuyama Ken Junmai Ginjo, and Musashino Nyukon Tokubetsu Honjozo. You'll also find one Sake on tap, the Bushido Ginjo Genshu, 4-oz $12/6-oz $18, which I've enjoyed on a previous visit.

There are about 21 options for Sake by the Bottle, which come in various sizes such as 300ml, 500ml, and 720ml. About 60% of the options cost less than $100 a bottle, though you could splurge as well on the Hideyoshi "Flying Pegasus" Daiginjo at $560/720ml. You could opt to celebrate with some Sparkling Sake, such as the Dassai Sparkling Junmai Nigori ($62/360ml), which is one of my favorite Sparkling Sakes. The Hakkaisan Snow Aged Junmai Ginjo ($140/720ml) is a hedonistic pleasure I've previously reviewed.

A couple months ago, I recommended that people drink more Warm Sake, and Kamakura is a great place to experience it. They have 5 choices of Warm Sake, available in 5 ounce ($14-32) or 10 ounce ($28-$64) chirori, metal vessels. They serve the Sakes at what they suggest as the ideal temperature, from 104 to 113 degrees, but you can ask for a specific temperature if you so desire.

Of their five options, my favorite is the Shinkame "Holy Turtle" Tokubetsu Junmai, 2 year aged (5 oz $20/10 oz $40). Yoshimasa Ogawahara is the 7th generation owner of Shinkame Shuzoa Sake brewery located in the Saitama Prefecture. I have the privilege to meet and interview him back in 2014. He told me that Sake is the only alcohol in the world where the taste varies according to a wide variety of temperatures, both hot and cold. He also stated that warm Sake pairs well with a diversity of cuisines and not just Japanese. During the cocktail party, I once again enjoyed some of the warm Shinkame and highly recommend it as an experience more people should try.

Kamakura has a small Wine List, with about 12 options, including 10 available by the glass ($12-$22). The options include 3 Sparkling Wines (all French), 4 Whites, 1 Rosé, and 4 Reds. Of the 12 wines, 7 are from France, 2 from California, 1 from Germany, 1 from Washington, and 1 from Japan. The wines aren't the usual suspects, and present some interesting and classic choices, from German Riesling to French Rhone wines.

What is unique though is that they carry a Japanese wine, the 2017 Chateau Mercian Yamanashi Koshu (glass $19/ bottle $76), and they are the only restaurant in Massachusetts to carry this wine. Nine years ago, I attended a tasting of Japanese Koshu wines at Uni, and that was also the first time I met Chef Youji Iwakura. You can read my previous article for more information about the Koshu grape. This was an excellent summer wine, with plenty of acidity, bright citrus and peach notes, a streak of mineralogy, and a pleasing and fairly lengthy finish. There was a mild richness to the wine as well as a touch of salinity. This would pair great with seafood, including raw oysters. Highly recommended!

Their Beer list is also small, with a rotating selection of Draft Beer, including the Lamplighter ($9).  By the bottle/can, they have 3 Japanese beers, including the Orion ($8), Koshihikari ($11), and Ginga-Kogen ($16).

Check out their list of Featured Spirits which includes some local options, like Bully Boy (vodka, gin and rum) as well as Japanese Gin (Nikka Coffey and Ki No Bi Kyoto), which is the hot new alcohol coming out of Japan. They also have about 10 Japanese Whiskies, and you can order a Flight of 3 for $35. I enjoyed a glass of the Nikka Miyagikyo Single Malt, a fine sipping whiskey with fruity notes, a hint of smoke, subtle spice notes, and a noticeable influence of Sherry.

Kamakura also has a menu of Shochu, a distilled Japanese alcohol, with 6 options and you can order a Flight of 3 for $18. Most of their Shochu selections are made from sweet potato, which is often considered to be the ingredients that makes the best Shochu. My favorite on their list is the Tenshi no Yuwaku, 8 Year ($21), made from 83% Sweet Potato and 17% Rice. It was fermented in Sherry casks for about 8 years, which is rare as few Shochu are ever aged this long. It's name translates as "Angel's Temptation," a reference to the Angel's Share, the amount of spirit that evaporates over time while it ages in a barrel. I enjoyed it neat, finding it rich, creamy and smooth, with intense Sherry notes, hints of sweetness, and plenty of complexity. This is the first time I've seen this Shochu available in a Massachusetts restaurant. Highly recommended!

To sample what Kamakura has to offer, rather than opting for the multi-course Kaiseki dinner, you can always check out the Kumo Sky Bar to have drinks and small plates. You'll have a great view of the city while enjoying a large variety of Japanese drinks. Be adventurous and try some Japanese Koshu wine, aged Shochu, warm Sake, or a premium chilled Sake.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting, upcoming food & drink events.
1) Beginning July 9th, the Forge & Vine at The Groton Inn launches a Summer event series, including the following three events:

Beer Garden at Gibbet Hill Featuring Lone Pine Brewing Company
Tuesday, July 9th, from 5pm-7pm.
Cost: $45/person - includes pint glass to take home. You receive 4 beers with a selection of 6 small plates.
For one night only, Forge & Vine will convert its outdoor green overlooking picturesque Gibbet Hill into a lively Beer Garden courtesy of Portland, Maine’s Lone Pine Brewing Company. For $45 per person, guests can play corn hole while enjoying a selection of small plates by Executive Chef Patrick Basset and a sampling of four different seasonal brews - including The Brightside IPA, T-Shirt Cannon IPA, The Portland Pale Ale and Tess Ellation Double IPA. Small plates include classic Bavarian Beer Garden favorites like Soft Pretzels with honey mustard, Bacon Beer Cheese Profiteroles and an IPA Vanilla Cupcake. In addition, guests will take home a signature Long Pine Brewery pint glass.

Spiked Seltzer Fiesta on the Green Featuring High Noon Hard Seltzer
Tuesday, July 16th, from 5pm-7pm
Cost: $25/person - including spiked seltzer tasting and 5 small plates
As we head into the heat of the summer, Forge & Vine invites diners to cool off on the green with a complementary refreshing (and fizzy!) tasting of ice cold Spiked Seltzer courtesy of High Noon Hard Seltzer. For $25, guests will enjoy a selection of small plates such as Jerk Chicken with a pineapple salsa, Shrimp Ceviche and a Passion Fruit Pannacotta with a sampling of the brand’s line of Sun Sip Vodka Sodas including grapefruit, pineapple, black cherry and watermelon - a great way to chill out and toast the summer with friends and neighbors.

Four Seasons Wine Dinner by Carolina Wine & Spirits
Thursday, July 25th, from 6pm-8pm
Cost: Four-Courses including wine - $85/person
Forge & Vine invites diners to join them on the beautiful Four Seasons patio for a four-course seasonal wine dinner hosted by Carolina Wine & Spirits. Led by Carolina Wine Specialist Sue Nordberg, guests will explore and learn about a selection of seasonal wines paired with four-courses crafted by Executive Chef Patrick Bassett. See below for the full menu with list of pairings. *pairings subject to change*

Spicy Tomato Gazpacho (Jonah Crab Salad, Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil Oil)
Domaine LaRoque Rosé, France
Roasted Beet Tartare (Aged Balsamic, Ricotta Salata, Orange)
Wither Hills Pinot Noir, New Zealand
Potato Crusted Halibut (Summer Vegetable Ratatouille, Wilted Farm Greens, Fire Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette)
MacRostie Chardonnay, California
Sweet Corn Cake (Grilled Peaches, Whipped Sorghum, Candied Bacon)
Ascheri Moscato d’Asti, Italy

For more info on Forge & Vine, check out my prior review.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A History of Sake Brewing In Brazil

It's fascinating to realize that the largest Japanese population outside of their country is located in Brazil. After Japan and Brazil signed a treaty in 1907, permitting Japanese immigration, about 800 Japanese, many of them farmers, arrived the next year by ship, aboard the Kasato Maru. A significant number of the immigrants obtained jobs working on or even owning coffee plantations. After World War I, there was a large boom in Japanese immigration to Brazil, most settling in São Paulo, the location of the majority of coffee plantations.

From the start, the immigrants brought food from Japan, and likely Sake, with them and soon enough, these items could be imported into Brazil. There is some indication that at least by the early 1920s, there were Japanese brewers in Brazil who were producing Sake, miso, and soy sauce. However, the only producer of note appears to be Tozan Farm, possibly because of the difficulty of brewing Sake in the heat of Brazil, the same type of problems that were faced by the Sake brewers in Hawaii. However, though brewers in Hawaii eventually found technological ways to adjust to the climate, it doesn't seem brewers in Brazil were as innovative. I should also note that Sake in Brazil is sometimes referred to as "Saquê."

The farm, which would later be renamed Tozan, was located in the province of Campinas outside São Paulo and originally was owned, in the early 19th century, by Floriano de Camargo Peneado who primarily grew sugarcane. In 1854, his son took over the farm, expanding it to include corn, rice, and coffee, with coffee taking on a more prominent role in the coming years.

In 1927, the Iwasaki family purchased the farm, renaming it "Tozan," which means "Eastern Mountain." In addition, "Tozan" was a pseudonym for Mitsubishi founder, Yataro Iwasaki, and his hobby of poetry writing. Hisaya Iwasaki, the third president of Mitsubishi and son of the founder, took over control of the Tozan Farm. In 1934, they started a Sake brewery. and their first Sake brands were Azuma Kirin and Azuma Otori.

It's been difficult to find information about Sake in Brazil after this time, until the 1970s. However, we do know that the Sake brewery continued to produce Sake throughout those years. In 1975, Kirin Holdings acquired a portion of the Tozan company and their holding company became known as Azuma Kirin, mostly responsible for Sake production. At some point, Kirin Holdings owned 89% of Tozan, the rest owned by Toru Iwasaki, the great-grandson of the founder of the company. In July 2016, Kirin Holdings purchased the outstanding shares owned by Iwasaki and they now control 100% of the Tozan company. They have now combined Tozan and Azuma into a single entity, Azuma Kirin Company.

In the Folha De S. Paolo, January 29, 1976, there was an advertisement for Azuma Kirin Sake, made by the Industria Agricola Tozan, S.A., Rua Galvao Bueno, 212, Sao Paolo. The ad mentions that you can create a Caipirinha de Saque, the traditional Brazilian cocktail made with cachaça, sugar, and lime, by substituting the Sake for the cachaça.

Azuma and Tozan currently produce approximately 65 products, including Sake and Japanese food products, with Sake accounting for 35% of their business. It is also alleged that their Sake constitutes about 70% of the market in Brazil, making them the top Sake brewery in Brazil. Kirin will now modernize their Sake distillery, release a new logo for the Sake brand, and engage in a new marketing campaign.

Information on other Sake breweries in Brazil isn't easy to find, and most that exist seem to have been started within the last ten years. Maybe the second largest Sake brewery in Brazil is Sakeria Thikara, which was established in January 2009 by Paolo Busch in the city of PiedadeSão Paulo. The term "Thikara" essentially means strength and the brewery embraces an ancient Japanese legend of the Koi, Japanese carp, and this there is a carp on their bottles.

They produce two brands, the Gold and Silver (including a Kosher variety), which are both Honjozo, and use imported Japanese rice. Honjozo means that they add some distilled alcohol to the Sake to draw out certain aromas and flavors. The Sake is available in a 745ml bottle, 187ml bottle, and a 5 liter box. They sell their Sake in Brazil and also export to a few other South American countries.

The Destillaria Stoliskoff, which was established in 2007 in the city of São Roque, São Paulo, produces a variety of spirits including rum, whiskey and vodka. They also make two Sake products, the Sake Fuji and the Sakerita. Their website has very little information about the Sake Fuji, so it is unclear whether it is a premium Sake or futsu-shu. The Sakerita, which only has a 7% ABV, blends their Sake Fuji with tropical fruits, and three versions are available: Pineapple, Kiwi and Strawberry.

Through a Brazilian alcohol store website, Imigrantes Bebidas, you can note that there are a few other Sakes produced in Brazil, yet finding additional information about these brands is difficult. You can find entries for Sake Okinawa, Sake Ryo (which might be a honjozo), Sake Jun Daiti (which is connected to Diageo and is noted only as "bottled" in Brazil so might have originated elsewhere), and
Sake Sakeih.

If anyone has any additional information about Sake in Brazil, please contact me. Thanks.

(The original version of this article was posted in September 2016, and has been expansion and revised due to additional research.)

Monday, July 1, 2019

Rant: Don't Ignore The Pizza & Pasta Buffet

An All-You-Can-Eat Pizza & Pasta Buffet for only $8! It's one of the best deals north of Boston yet  it's rare that you see anyone writing about it.

Why not? Maybe because it isn't a new restaurant and the buffet isn't new either. However, we shouldn't ignore writing about such excellent deals, despite the fact they aren't new and shiny.  As I've said before, food writers tend to write primarily about the new restaurants, ignoring so many good restaurants that have stood the test of time. We need to highlight these older restaurants which still are worthy of our attention.

For 58 years, Prince Pizzeria has been serving pizza on Route 1 in Saugus. If you grew up in the area like I did, you probably visited Prince as a child. I've never stopped going there either, and still regularly dine there for lunch. I go for their pizza & pasta buffet and think it's an excellent deal. For $8, you get all-you-can-eat ziti, marinara sauce, garlic bread, pizza and dessert pizza. Ten years ago, in 2009, the buffet was $5, so the price has only increased a relatively small amount since that time. The buffet is available Monday through Friday, from 11:30am-2pm.

At any one time, there are five different pizzas on the buffet, including a cheese pizza, a couple meat pizzas (like sausage or pepperoni), and veggie pizzas. As soon as a pizza is gone, it's quickly replaced. Their pizza is more unique, and doesn't easily fit into any of the usual pizza categories. It's not Greek pizza or bar pizza, it's not Chicago deep deep or Neapolitan.

When I dine there, owner Steven Castraberti is usually at the restaurant. ensuring everything runs smoothly. He's not some absentee owner, but a man with a passion for his restaurant, a man who takes an active role in its success. The longevity of the restaurant, when so many other restaurants on Rt. 1 have closed over the years, is a testament to the family's dedication.

If you haven't been to Prince Pizzeria in a long time, if at all, then please check it out, especially for their lunch buffet. Hopefully, we will see more food writers too highlighting older restaurants which still are worthy of our attention and patronage. Prince's buffet isn't fancy or exotic. It's just delicious food at a very reasonable price. Maybe I'll see you there!