Thursday we started class with a visit from Matt Shaffer, restaurant critic for the Boston Herald. Then, the director of BU's culinary certificate and MLA-Gastronomy programs took us on a tour of the North End, my first trip to that part of the city. We ate lunch at Pizzeria Regina, which has been around since 1926. Great pizza. Our tour took us to Caffe Graffiti, where I had a picture-perfect cup of hot chocolate. We wandered in and out of shops, while our director told us a bit of history here and there, pointing out her favorite spots. We bought quite a bit of good balsamic at Salumeria Italiana after a brief lesson on tradizionale balsamic vinegars. I also bought a bottle of Agrumato, an olive oil pressed with lemons. Went into another store, and we found vanilla beans for two bucks each. They weren't quite as plump as we like, but still quite useable. Tell me that's not a deal in this day and age! We cleaned the store out of vanilla beans.
We ended up at Eastern Bakers Supply, and all of us drooled over all the kitchen equipment. I finally got a set of square cookie cutters. I've been looking for some off and on for over a year. Got 'em for a song, too -- less than 7 bucks. Deals like that make me giddy. My housemate thinks I'm a kitchen geek.
Oh well, I guess you have to be some kind of geek if you're going to be good at anything.
This weekend I'm practicing my perfect meal. We drew lots for slots, and I drew 1:30pm on Wednesday.