Earlier this month it was reported on the Boston Restaurant Talk blog that SOWA Hospitality Group (a division of GTI, Inc.) would be opening a new French restaurant in the space formerly known as Gaslight.
The new restaurant called, Brasserie, will likely open the second weekend of May. Today, signage is being added to the 560 Harrison Avenue building and the parking lot is being freshly paved. Friends & Family events are scheduled for next week to get the staff and kitchen ready for a full opening and daily meetings are taking place with staff as the team readies to open.
I’m optimistic Brasserie will be successful because veteran restauranteur, Jeff Gates, has been overseeing the opening. SOWA Hospitality Group made the decision to make no discernable modifications to the space so Brasserie looks like a Gaslight reboot rather than a new restaurant, but perhaps that was the intention all along. Regardless, it will be good to see the lights come back on and the patio once again full of people.
The restaurant industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. By September 2020, WBZ-TV reported that 20% of all restaurants in Massachusetts had closed for good. Spring 2021 has reversed those trends as many restaurants come out of hibernation and news of new restaurant openings replaces the more depressing news of closures that we became accustomed to last year.
With an increased optimism comes new investment to bring life back to spaces that pre-pandemic were popular and profitable. Seizing this opportunity, GTI Properties has hired Jeff Gates to oversee the food and beverage operations at the SOWA Power Station, which is being converted into a special events space and to open and manage three new restaurants in SOWA – one of which will open next month.
Brasserie, located at 560 Harrison Avenue (formerly Gaslight) will open in May, according to a Boston Restaurant Talk blog post. If that timing is correct, a quick walk by suggests that not much will likely change in decor or design but Gaslight was a juggernaut so the key to Brasserie’s success will be staffing and management.
Roma 500 at 500 Harrison Avenue (formerly Cinquecento) will likely open later this year. Unlike Brasserie, significant renovations and remodeling are required. Roma 500 will have an enlarged outdoor dining patio and bar. No other South End restaurant has an outdoor bar, making this a unique (and welcome) addition to the neighborhood.
Finally, Pho on Thayer, at 460 Harrison (building B) will open in new space that was briefly used by Mohr & McPherson but is now vacant. Late last year Jeff Gates petitioned the city on behalf of GTI to transfer the Hungry I liquor license to Pho on Thayer so the restaurant will have a full bar.
Stay tuned for more details as they come available, I’ll be sure to share that information here.
I like pickling vegetables because it is easy to do and tastes great. You can pickle pretty much any vegetable, but some of my favorites are cauliflower, carrots, peppers, onions and mushrooms. In addition to the ingredients shared below, you will need a jar (above I’m holding a repurposed Teddy’s Peanut Butter jar).
INGREDIENTS: vegetables (your choice), 2 cups of water, 1 cup of white vineagar, 4-5 peeled garlic cloves, 6 tsp of sea salt, 1 tsp each of: black peppercorn, coriandor seed, mustard seed, celery seed and fresh dill (optional).
PREP: Select and chop your vegetables. Be sure they will fit in the jar! I chop a few more veggies than I think I’ll need because you have to pack the jar tightly. Add 1 tsp of black peppercorn, coriandor seed, mustard seed and celery seed to the jar and set aside until the cooking is done.
COOKING: In a medium sized pan add two cups of water and bring it to a boil then turn down the heat so the water simmers and add the 4-5 peeled garlic cloves. Simmer for 5 minutes then add 1 cup of white vineagar and 6 tsp of salt. Stir until salt dissolves (this happens quickly) and bring back to a boil for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the stove and remove the pan from the heat source to cool. You don’t want the liquid to be too hot when you pour it into the jar. There should be more liquid than necessary. This is intentional – it’s better to have a little extra than not enough.
PACKING: Add the garlic cloves and fresh dill (as much or as little as you like) to the jar then begin packing your chopped veggies. Pack tightly (see photo below). I add in a few sprigs of dill as I go. Once done, pour the liquid to the top of the jar. Keep uncovered for ~30 minutes so it cools then seal, give a good shake to mix the seasonings (this will make the jar look murky – see my photo above). Put in the refrigerator overnight. The vegetables will be ready to enjoy the next day.
Chicken soup is good for the soul – or so the saying goes. It is also easy to make. The only drawback to my recipe is that it takes a bit of time (approximately 75-90 minutes) so I typically make this on the weekend.
Chicken soup recipe ingredients
16 oz of chicken broth 16 oz of tap water 1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thigh 1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless breast 1/2 lbs of chicken drumsticks 1 cup of rice
1 cup of finely chopped onions 1 cup of finely chopped carrots 1 cup of finely chopped celery 4-5 cloves of garlic (whole cloves) 3-4 bay leaves bunch of thyme 1 tsp of salt, pepper and oregano (each) olive or vegetable oil
STEP 1 Place a large pot on the stove with 2 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil and turn the heat to medium high. Place the garlic cloves and drumsticks and chicken thighs in the pan and rotate so the meat will sear. Hold off on adding the white meat for the moment.
After 2-3 minutes (once the meat starts to brown), add the chopped onions, carrots and celery, a couple pinches of salt, and stir for a few minutes until the vegetables soften. Lastly, add the boneless, skinless chicken breast to the pot, bay leaves, thyme, and approximately 1 tsp of pepper and oregano.
STEP 2 Add the broth and water to the pot. Once added, the liquid should nearly cover the chicken. Bring the pot to a boil, then cover, turn down the heat and let the soup simmer for 30-45 minutes.
STEP 3 Scoop out the chicken and shred it (the meat should be cooked and shred easily at this point) then add back to the pot. Add 1 cup of rice and bring the soup back to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Cooking tip, I recommend tasting the soup after you take the chicken out to make sure the flavoring is satisfactory.
Once the soup has cooked. Turn off the stove and let the soup cool. Take out the thyme (if you’ve tied the stems together like I do – see image above). I also use a fork to fish out the whole garlic cloves and mash the garlic against the side of the pot then stir it back into the soup. Lastly, if you’ve included the drumstick bones after shredding the chicken, take those out and dispose of them.
This recipe is delicious and makes approximately 6 servings.
This week I’m mixing things up a bit by sharing a video of Sergio cooking (and me helping) that was filmed in our kitchen back in 2011 as part of a guest blog post he did for my friend Tracey who writes Life. Food. Wine.
This is the first time I’ve watched the video in years and a lot has changed. Sergio and I have a few more wrinkles for sure, new appliances and countertops as well, but what hasn’t changed is Sergio’s love of gnocchi with a rich, creamy (preferably) red sauce. This makes for a heavy meal better suited for the late fall and winter but I wanted to share this as part of my weekly recipes and hope you enjoy the video format.
Sergio is a natural on the camera but instructions that come in the form of temperatures, time, and quantities can be a bit vague. Below I’ve done my best to capture the ingredients you will need to make the gnocchi. For a quality red sauce to accompany this dish I’ll refer you to my January post, BosGuy cooks: Tomato sauce.
INGREDIENTS: Ingredient quantities are a guesstimate based on what was shared in the video below.
One package of Yukon Gold potatoes
Grated Parmesean and Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and dried Italian seasonings
COOKING: Watch Sergio make homemade gnocchi below. He includes tips on how to make, roll, cut and cook the gnocchi. While it can be a little messy, it is worth the time and effort.
According to this January 2021 article in Irish Central there are ninety different words to describe potatoes. Even here in the U.S. we have a number of names, which should be a clue this is a popular vegetable. While there are a lot of ways to cook them, this easy, three-step process is how I cook potatoes. The total cooking time (including prep) takes approximately 30 minutes.
For this recipe you’ll need potatoes (I use golden yukon or red bliss because of their size), vegetable oil, salt, pepper and any other seasoning you may like. I often add chopped parsley to the potatoes after they come out hot from the oven. In the photo above, I’ve added fried and salted sage.
STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, wash the potatoes, then add them to a large frying pan. Nearly cover the potatoes with water and liberally salt (this will absorb into and season the potato). Boil for approximately 10 minutes. They will be done when when you prick the potato and there is only minimal resistance.
STEP 2: Drain the potatoes and add them to a large bowl (and let them sit for 5 minutes to cool). Drizzle with vegetable oil and sprinkle your preferred seasonings. I often add a few pinches of salt and lots of ground black pepper. Paprika is another favorite seasoning but use whatever you like. Then mix so the potatoes are coated with the oil and seasonings.
STEP 3: Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and with the bottom of a glass slighly “smoosh” each potato before placing them into the oven which you preheated to 400 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes. This will make the outer part of the potato more crispy, but the inside will remain creamy. Although I’ve never tried it, I imagine you could probably broil the potatoes for their final minute or two in the oven (I’ll have to try that next time).
The potatoes hold up great in the refrigerator for about a week (assuming they aren’t eaten before then), and they make for a great side plate with eggs for breakfast or with your dinner.
I love this salad, because it is always delicous and is incredibly versatile. You can add whatever you like to the roasted Brussels sprouts, but I like adding fresh fruit or raw vegetables for the texture and flavor. I typically opt for bell peppers for the pop of color, nuts and cheese for the crunch and flavor, but add what you like and more importantly what you have that is fresh in your kitchen.
I first wrote about this salad in 2018 and in that recipe I used pomegranate, slivered almonds and goat cheese. Sound tempting? It is and you can check out that recipe here. Above is a more recent variation on the recipe which includes: Brussels sprouts, red and yellow bell peppers, pine nuts and shaved Parmesean cheese with olive oil and a balsamic reduction drizzled over the salad.
There are two parts to this recipe. The first part involves prepping your veggies and roasting the Brussels sprouts. The second part involves letting the sprouts cool and assembling the salad.
The star in this recipe is the Brussels sprouts so be sure you roast them to your satisfaction. I do this by slicing the vegetables in half and cutting off the botoms of their stems then drizzling grapeseed oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and hand tossing them to make sure they are coated with the oil and seasonings before placing them into an oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. When there are about 5-7 minutes left I flip them over. The image above is what the Brussels sprouts looked like with ~5 minutes remaining.
When I take them out of the oven, I let them rest for about 5-10 minutes then I put them in a bowl and into the refrigerator for another 10 minutes to cool down. Once they are no longer hot and steaming, I take them out and slice them 2-3 times (depending on their size) from the core to the top and add them to a large salad bowl with the other chopped veggies and ingredients (minus the cheese add just prior to dressing).
Once everything is assembled to your satisfaction, add your cheese and dressing of choice. I like extra virgin olive oil and balsamic reduction glaze. Add whatever other seasonings you like and serve cold.
This salad holds up for a couple of days in the refrigerator, provided you have not dressed the ingredients. The oil and vinegar will make this turn into more of a mushy consistency if you dress the entire salad and leave the leftovers overnight in the refrigerator.
Dine Out Boston (March 14 – 28) starts next week. Here is a full list of participating restaurants for this year’s, Dine Out Boston. If you’ve never participated or you need a refresher, participating restaurtants offer a three course prix-fixe menu for lunch ($15 | $20 | $25) and dinner ($28 | $33 | $38). Call ahead to inquire about the menu and to make your reservation. For more information visit the Dine Out Boston website.
Outdoor dining on public sidewalks and parking spaces will return to Boston by April 1, 2021 (weather permitting). The program which was expanded last year to help restaurants and the public dine outdoors, was well received and wildly popular. Eater Boston has an excellent article with more details around the program and why it is returning to the sidewalks and streets of Boston in a few weeks, which you can read here.
Look for a large, new parklet to be built by Boston Chops South End on Union Park Street to expand their outdoor dining capacity. The exact number of seats to be added is yet to be confirmed but will be significant and a welcome addition to the neighborhood for patrons who want to support local restaurants but prefer dining alfresco.
I saw a version of this recipe on TikTok and it inspired me to make a pasta dish with feta cheese. I’ve modified ingredients to suit my tastes and encourage you to do the same. This is really easy to pull together and a delicious vegetarian meal.
Recipe Ingredients: 1 package of pasta (I used rigatoni), 12 oz of grape tomatoes (I used “Sugar Bomb” grape tomatoes on the vine), a block of feta (1/3 to 1/2 of a pound), 1 onion (sliced thinly), 4 cloves of minced garlic (I used roasted garlic) as well as fresh parsley and basil. For additional seasonings I used extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and dried oregano.
Start by heating water to boil the pasta and in a second pan add oil, the thinly sliced onions and chopped garlic over medium heat. Salt to season and stir until the onions soften. If the pan is too hot and the onions start to stick to the pan add a dash of stock, water or white wine and turn down the heat.
Add the pasta once the water starts to boil and in your other pan add the tomoatoes. These should cook for about 10-12 minutes so they will soften and breakdown. Stir every couple of minutes and add dried oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper. When your pasta is almost done cooking (approximately 2 minutes remaining) add the feta cheese. I chopped the cheese into large wedges and broke it up with my hands as I added it to the pan. Turn the heat on your stove down to low and stir everything together. Note that the photo above only shows approximately half of the feta that was used.
Drain your pasta and add it to the pan with the vegetables and cheese. Drizzle olive oil over the pasta, add chopped parsley (I use a lot because I love parsley) and add 5-6 medium sized basil leaves (hand torn) to the pan. Turn off the heat and stir together. It should look like the photo below when you are done.
This was really easy to make and extremely satisfying. It comes together in about 20 minutes and smells fantastic. The more cheese you add, the more creamy this will taste. I was trying to be healthy so I used the feta sparingly, but if I was making this for a dinner party I would double the amount. I guarantee you will enjoy this meal.
I love onions. I use them in nearly everything I cook so I will occassionally brown or caramelize onions. When I’m done I’ll put them in the refrigerator to be used in sandwiches, salads or dinners later that week. The main difference between browning and caramelizing onions is time and temperature. I’ll explain more below.
Browning is a technique that uses a little oil (I use grapeseed / or canola oil) and a sprinkling of salt over thinly sliced onions. The outsides of the onion will brown in 15 – 20 minutes (just be careful not to burn the onions by stirring regularly). This isn’t something you can walk away from once you start.
The image above is what it should look like when you are done browning onions. In this batch, there is a lack of conistency in coloring but for my purposes it was more than fine. Don’t let imperfection prevent you from giving this a try. What matters is you like the taste and they add flavor to whater you add them to.
Caramelizing follows a similar technique (I use olive oil) and a sprinkling of salt over thinly sliced onions. However, I start by heating the pan with oil on medium heat and after a minute or two add the onions. Immediately turn the pan to down to medium low heat and stir until the onions are a dark brown, which takes a good 45 minutes.
In the photos above you can see how the onions start to brown on the left after cooking for a few minutes. The image on the right is what the onions looked like after approximately 20 minutes of browning.
Cooking tip: After I brown or caramelize onions, I usually make a dinner with that pan so the flavor and bits of onion still in the pan can be used to flavor my meal. Add a bit of wine or butter and use a wooden spatula to scrape off the bits to add more flavor to whatever you are about to cook.
Cleaning tip: Add some water and soap detergent then place the pan on your stovetop on low heat. After 2-3 minutes take the pan off the stove and wash in the sink.
My trainer has been encouraging me to eat healthier. I have a fairly healthy diet but there is room to impove, and this is one breakfast I make regularly that gets two thumbs up from him so I thought I’d share it since it is easy to make and always delicious. Avocado & toast is a popular breakfast in the US, but everyone does it a bit differently. This is avocado & toast à la BosGuy.
Ingredients required: 1 ripe avocado, fresh whole wheat bread (or whatever is your preference), 2 eggs, tomato, butter, salt and pepper. For best results, the avocado and tomato should be room temperature.
Start by adding butter to the frying pan to prevent the eggs from sticking. Butter seems to work better, but using oil is a bit of a healthier option. Fry the eggs over medium heat and toast the bread. While the toast is toasting and the eggs are fryn’, open the avocado, remove the pit and set aside. Then cut four thin slices from a ripe tomato. When the toast is ready, scoop out the avocado and with your fork and use its tines to mash so it completely covers your toast and then add the tomato. Sparingly sprinkle salt and pepper on both avocado and tomato so everything is seasoned. Then take your eggs out of the pan and place them atop the avocado and tomato (season again as you like – I add fresh dill, salt and pepper) and serve as an open-faced sandwich.
Hints / Tips: I like to wait a minute or two before eating because if the tomatos are sliced thinly the butter and warmth of the egg will slightly soften and cook the tomato. I cook eggs so they will be very runny and the yolk will mix with the avocado, tomato and crunch of the toast so napkins are a must. A strong cup of fresh brewed coffee is the perfect accompanyment.
I like mashed potatoes. They are a great comfort food, but I enjoy how much lighter my “fake” mashed potatoes made with cauliflower taste so I thought I’d share this recipe with you to get your thoughts. In full disclosure I keep playing with this recipe and am open to suggestions.
The recipe comes together in three stages and can be made in 15-20 minutes depending on your prep. It is even easier to make if you purchase already chopped or riced cauliflower. For this recipe, you will need a blender or something to help purée the vegetable as well as the following ingredients:
Cauliflower (1 lb)
2-3 tablespoons of butter
3-4 cloves of garlic (I used roasted garlic)
4-5 tablespoons of sour cream
pinch of kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of grated Parmesean cheese
1/3 cup of water
Step 1 Prep: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and divide the cauliflower in half. Half of the cauliflower will be roasted and half will be steamed. If you buy a head of cauliflower, cut the florets into roughly even sizes (smaller is better because it will cook faster and be easier to blend).
Step 2 Cooking: Drizzle olive oil over the cauliflower and sprinkle a few pinches of salt then place the baking tray in the oven. Riced cauliflower (shown above) will only need 5-7 minutes. When the edges start browning take it out. Larger florets will need more time so adjust accoringly.
Steam the other half in the microwave by adding a 1/4 cup of water, salt and half the butter cut into small pieces. Seal the bowl with wrap and set at high for ~3 minutes. When there is approximately one minute remaining, take out and stir the vegetable and put back into the microwave to finish.
Step 3 Blending: Let the cauliflower cool for 2-3 minutes then add to your blender along with the remaining amount of butter, Parmesean cheese and garlic. I used four roasted garlic cloves, but in the future I will use more, because I like the flavoring. Blend briefly then add the sour cream and additional seasoning and blend or fold in and mix together – taste as you go and add more sour cream and seasoning to your liking.
I first shared this shrimp scampi recipe back in 2014 and make it fairly regularly. This is a favorite dinner because it is relatively easy to make, comes together quickly and is always delicious. The key to this recipe is to avoid bagged, frozen shrimp and to take care not to overcook the shrimp.
1/2 lb pound of linguine
12 shrimp (thawed and deveined)
1/2 cup of white wine (a dry white works best)
2 tablespoons of butter
4 garlic cloves sliced thinly
Zest of one lemon and juice from half a lemon
Italian parsley (chopped),
Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Step one is prep your food and peel your shrimp. The shrimp should not be frozen when you cook them. Next, boil a large pot of salted water for your pasta and add olive oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat. While you wait for the water to boil, make your sauce and cook the shrimp. When the oil is hot, add the thinly sliced garlic and butter to the frying pan and stir to prevent the garlic from burning. If the pan seems too hot turn the temperature down slightly.
When you smell the garlic cooking and it turns a golden hue add your liquids: white wine and lemon juice. Wait one minute then add the shrimp, lemon zest a dash of salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes (optional) in that order. Cover the pan and give it a good shake. After 1-2 minutes flip the shrimp and let them cook for another minute so both sides are pink. Then turn off the stove and add the parsley. Remove the pan from the heat (keeping it covered). The shrimp will continue to cook and this will keep everything warm.
The final step is to add the cooked linguine. Toss it so the pasta is coated with the sauce and parsley. If there isn’t enough liquid add half a ladle of the pasta water. This is why it is helpful to liberally salt your pasta water. The starchy, salty water will enhance and help extend the sauce. Then just before plating, drizzle a little olive oil over the pasta. This adds more flavor and a shine that is appealing.
Cooking Tip: It is easier to take the shell off the shrimp before they cook, but I keep the shell on and remove the shells after I turn off the heat (but before adding the parsley and pasta). I can do this quickly but it is very hot so for that reason I suggest shelling the shrimp before they are cooked. Just be mindful that when shrimp cook without their shell, they cook quickly and can get rubbery so be mindful of your cooking time.
I first shared this recipe back in 2017 but thought it was worth sharing again. This is a recipe for a side dish, and it will elevate any dinner but works particularly well with chicken and steak dinners.
The recipe comes from Ina Garten and while I never seem to be able to follow recipes, this one is really easy. The total prep time is ~5 minutes and the cooking time is ~25 to 35 minutes. The recipe below is for two people so double this (or more) if you are cooking for a dinner party. I can guarantee you every last shallot will be devoured. When it is cooked, the smell is mouth watering and you can easily cut them with a fork.
1 pound of whole, peeled shallots
3 tablespoon of butter
1+ tablespoonsof sugar
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of fresh ground black pepper
Italian parsley, finely chopped (optional)
The Cooking: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit then take a medium size pan to melt butter over medium heat on your stove. Once the butter has melted add the shallots and sugar. Roll the shallots in the butter and sugar and stir them for 5-10 minutes until they start to brown then add the vinegar, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. The final step is to place the pan (uncovered) in the oven until the shallots are tender and caramelized (~20-30 minutes). Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Cooking Tips: You can save yourself time if you buy shallots that have already been peeled. This plate is best when it is served warm from the oven.
Cleaning Tip: The most difficult thing about this dish is the clean up. I suggest that after you cook the shallots and plate them, add some water to the pan with a little dish soap and leave it on low heat on your stove. Just remember to use your oven mitts when you grab the pan to clean it! Everything will come right off.
If you use garlic and olive oil regularly, then you should definitely give this a try. The process for making garlic confit is very easy and the result is a flavorful olive oil and soft garlic with a rich nutty flavor. I use this garlic in my red sauce or as part of a rub, and I use the infused olive oil for cooking.
This couldn’t be easier. Take peeled garlic cloves and cook them slowly at 200 degrees Farenheit for 3 hours in your oven. That’s it. While this does take time the only thing you need to do is take them out of the oven and cool. Your kitchen will smell heavenly and once cooled can be refrigerated for several weeks.
The Prep Work: This is largely dependent on how many garlic cloves you peel (I typically do 5-6 garlic heads at a time). Alternatively, you can avoid all the prep work by purchasing garlic cloves already peeled.
The Cooking: Add the garlic cloves in a pan and add just enough olive oil to cover the garlic. Then put in your preheated oven for 3 hours.
Cooking Tips: I like to turn the oven off and let it rest for another 30 minutes before taking it out. Remember to use your oven mitt when handling this, because the pan handle, garlic and oil is very hot.
Rest the pan on your stove top until it sufficiently cools then pour into a container and refrigerate. You can see from the image above that I also add a few sprigs of thyme in the mason jar for additional flavor.