What to Eat (and Drink) This Weekend in Boston
At the tastiest holiday markets, Champagne and caviar, a soul-warming bowl of pasta, and more.
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A Pastry Love Fest
Joanne Chang’s fifth cookbook, Pastry Love, billed as “a baker’s journal,” is the Flour Bakery + Café founder’s most personal and most comprehensive book yet. Full of 125 of the James Beard Award-winning chef’s favorite recipes—from strawberry slab pie to mocha chip cookies—as well as master lessons and techniques from Chang herself, it would be a great holiday gift for any baker or Flour fan on your list. And if it’s signed by the sweet celebrity chef? Even better! Chang has embarked on a “Pastry Love Fest” this weekend, so there are ample opportunities to meet her and have her personalize your copy. Chang will be at Flour locations around Boston this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7—check out the full schedule here—and she’s making a very special stop on Saturday afternoon at Somerville’s Vinal Bakery, which is owned and operated by Flour alumna Sarah Murphy. Head to Union Square on Saturday from 1-3 p.m. to meet Chang and Murphy, have an English muffin sandwich—the recipe for Murphy’s signature bread is included in Pastry Love—and some extra-special treats, like a slice of “Sarah’s adult spice cake.” This showstopper, which is included in the book, was created by baker Sarah Powers, who worked at Flour, was on the opening team at Vinal, and now owns Lemon and Salt Baking.
Pastry Love book signing, Saturday, Dec. 7, 1-3 p.m., Vinal Bakery, 222 Somerville Ave., Somerville, 617-718-0148, vinalbakery.com.
Delicious Holiday Markets
Artisan markets abound this frosty weekend, so get going on that holiday shopping—and eat well while you’re at it. It’s the first weekend of the SoWa Winter Festival, where the summertime hotspot transforms into a winter wonderland with hot cocoa (spiked, or not) and mulled wine, food trucks, ice sculpture demos, and hundreds of handmade and vintage vendors to browse. On the other side of the river, Somerville’s unique maker marketplace is getting Cozy at Bow this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8. Alongside the regular retail vendors (who all undoubtedly have holiday sales and specials), there are currently pop-up shops by the Curious George Store, and Not Just Co., a Somerville-born “shoppable dream pantry” stocked with curated sea salts, spices, tinned fish, beans, cookbooks, and Not Just’s signature pasta sauce. And of course, the food and beverage residents are getting in the spirit: You’ll find mulled wine at Rebel Rebel, boozy hot cider at Create Gallery and Cocktails, hot chocolate with nutmeg whipped cream at Gate Comme des Filles, macarons at Maca flavored with Bully Boy booze, and more seasonal treats. Finally, detox a bit on Sunday at the Vegan Market: Holiday Edition. Not only will there be food for purchase from the likes of Littleburg, Jennifer Lee’s Bakery, Bartleby’s Seitan Stand, and more—there will also be vegan-friendly gift ideas.
As city dwellers, most of us don’t have a fireplace in our living room to cozy up in front of. But Pammy’s does—and it also has a seasonal pasta special that is similarly soul-warming. Chef Christopher Willis is making ribbons of taglierini to toss with a rich sauce of braisedWagyu oxtail, chilis, star anise, and red wine. It’s amped up with a dollop of house-made sour cream, and a sprinkling on top of grated horseradish, orange zest—and dark chocolate. Yep. Reminiscent of beef stroganoff but unlike any version you’ve tried, it’s a unique and comforting reason to revisit this Cambridge stunner this weekend.
928 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-945-1761, pammyscambridge.com.
Champagne and Caviar
December is pretty much synonymous with over-indulgence. We’re not sorry. Wherever you dine out this weekend, look for opportunities to treat yourself to luxuries such as white truffles and caviar, like an at-cost add-on at Eventide Fenway, a $3 garnish to any oyster at Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34, and on Friday, 10% off an item from East Boston Oysters’ caviar shop if you use the cheeky discount code. Also: Definitely have a glass of Champagne. At Select Oyster Bar in the Back Bay, the illustrious Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2008 is available by the glass (!). Or, head to the North End’s beautifully decked-out Ciao Bella for a sparkling wine flight to match the sparkling decor.
Speaking of over indulging, good luck resisting the seasonal flavors at Boston’s best doughnut shops. To wit: Kane’s Donuts is rocking a couple specials featuring Boston Harbor Distillery spirits, like a tiramisu doughnut with BHD coffee liqueur; and a maple cream liqueur doughnut topped with crunchy toasted walnuts (pictured). At Blackbird Doughnuts shops, you’ll find mint chocolate chip, eggnog cheesecake Bismarcks, marshmallow coconut “snowballs,” and more winter flavors. Among Union Square Doughnuts’ seasonal treats is cranberry crisp, spiked with orange, cinnamon, anise, and clove. ’Tis the season!