My wife and I tried the first day of Taste of Boston yesterday, and it was pretty much the same old same old. Nothing really stands out in my head, but that was hardly a surprise.
However, it was kinda fun to spend some time in the Celebrity Demonstration Tent. At least the little tastes were free there (if produced in a somewhat re-heated industrial fashion by the sous chefs while the big shots did their demos).
We didnt get there early enough to catch Chris Schlesinger from East Coast Grill or Robert Farthman of Azure, but we did catch the end of Jasper Whites demo. I can never figure out why some people like his chowder so much. Too thin for my tastes (although I like the big hunks of potato better than the little machine cut pieces that Legal uses).
Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger and the Food Channel prepared a fusion (excuse me, east-west) risotto with sushi rice and blue shrimp (which I was dissapointed to discover turn pink when cooked). The one spoonful I tried seemed tasty enough. He was as funny as ever, although some of his jokes were a bit on the rude side. His parents were there, and he told an amusing story (liberally name dropping famous French chefs and Michelin 3 stars) about his mothers predilection for absconding with ashtrays from famous restaurants. Also, his show is moving to WGBH next month.
Thomas John of Mantra demoed his unique Indian-French fusion cuisine with halibut steamed in banana leaf with Indian spices and a yogurt sauce. He is obviously not the flamboyant Food Channel type that Ming is, but the simple and flavorful dish convinced me we need to try Mantra soon.
The standout of the afternoon was an entertaining, educational and delicious performance by Ian Just of Les Zygomates. His WRKO co-host didnt have much to do, as Ian was a non-stop talker while he prepared rabbit haunch & saddle stuffed with red & yellow bell peppers and covered with a rabbit broth reduction infused with foie gras. He ably demonstrated how to de-bone a rabbit (which actually looks pretty easyfamous last words!) and was full of educational anecdotes (although he repeated at length the old wives tale about searing meat locking in the juices, proving a Superieure de Cuisine Francaise education isnt everything!). This guy would be great on the Food Channel--sort of a cross between Emeril and Julia Child, without Jacques' accent.