Talking Taste at the ICA

I attended the first Talking Taste event at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) last Friday, where we enjoyed some beautiful waterfront views and cooking demonstrations by two of Boston’s most celebrated chefs, Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette. The two chefs are well-loved locally and nationally, and together they own and operate the Italian enoteca Coppa.

I’m a huge fan of Coppa, and admire how the two chefs are committed to not just local ingredients but also to the concept of nose to tail eating.  I wasn’t expecting to eat beef tongue at the ICA (although I wouldn’t be opposed to that) but I did expect a fun evening, and that’s exactly what we had.

Talking Taste was held at the ICA Grandstand, which offers expansive views of the Boston waterfront and other establishments alongside like Anthony’s Pier 4, a landmark seafood restaurant at the Fort Point district.

Before the event, Dan and I decided to meet up a little earlier and have a drink nearby. I don’t find myself at the seaport area too often, but I really like the restaurants I’ve tried (Trade, Legal Seafoods, Morton’s, Menton, to name a few). We went to Drink, a Barbara Lynch establishment, where patrons tell the bartenders what kind of flavors and type of alcohol they want (instead of ordering from a pre-set drink menu). The bartenders then craft a specially-made cocktail.

I ordered “something sweet with vodka, please” (same thing I always order at Drink) and ended up with a vodka cocktail with fresh grapefruit juice and raspberry puree. I really liked this sweet cocktail and will attempt to re-create it at home soon.

We ordered a couple of bites, too: french fries and pickled green beans.

I wasn’t always a big fan of pickles (at least not like Christina of Hungry Meets Healthy!) but the last couple of years, I find myself liking pickles and pickled things (pickled jalapenos, anyone?) more and more. The pickled green beans were very tart and vinegary, offset nicely by the creamy aioli dip.

At the ICA, the first cooking demo was for a creamy melon gazpacho:

This was probably the best gazpacho I’ve ever had in my life! I much prefer this to the chunkier tomato version. Jamie Bissonnette demonstrated this recipe, only using a blender (and you know how I love blender recipes). It was a very simple recipe – just sweet melon, Greek yogurt, and some spices.

It was garnished with olive oil and edible flowers.

The next recipe was for radishes with miso butter. I found the radishes a little too bitter, but Dan liked it.

Good thing I had a glass of sangria to wash it down…

Then the chefs made quesadillas stuffed with chorizo, zucchini flowers, and oaxaca cheese. They also shared my favorite tip of the night: when making quesadillas, instead of using oil or butter in the pan or griddle, use mayo! It reminded me of Ruth Reichl’s way of making grilled cheese – the mayonnaise will add a very slight tang but also help the sandwich crisp up better.

Jaimie and Ken were a good team, bantering with each other and gamely answering questions from the crowd.  We were able to talk to them after the event, too.

If you’re in the Boston area for the next few Fridays, you should check out Talking Taste at the ICA. It’s fun, and tickets also include admission to the museum.


19 Responses to “Talking Taste at the ICA”

  1. #
    Tracey posted July 15, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I was there too. I am sad I missed you. I am such a bad blogger and forgot my camera. I thought it was a fun event. These guys are like a double act together. Coppa is one of my favorite little restaurants.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted July 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      Oh too bad we missed each other!

  2. #
    Simply Life posted July 15, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    those waterfront views are just beautiful! what an experience!

  3. #
    Erica @ In and Around Town posted July 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I saw this event but it had already sold out. Sounds like such a fun night!

  4. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted July 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    I never realized that the ICA had this event. Looks awesome!

  5. #
    Susan posted July 15, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    What a cool event!

  6. #
    dan posted July 16, 2012 at 12:02 am

    When we talked to Ken after, Bianca introduced us as “groupies”, and he shot me an odd look…

  7. #
    Joanne posted July 16, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Whoa, that sounds like an awesome event with some SERIOUSLY delicious food! Those quesadillas? Want. Now.

  8. #
    Meghan posted July 16, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Wow, I never heard of these events, but this one looks delicious!

  9. #
    Michelle posted July 16, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I’ve never heard of the Talking Taste series but this sounds like a really cool event.

  10. #
    Rebecca @ Miss Magnolia Munches & Moves posted July 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

    That vodka cocktail sounds delicious. I love when restaurants make drinks with fresh purees and juices.

  11. #
    Lin @ BeantownEats posted July 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    That quesadilla looks incredible! And that is quite the combo of Boston Chefs! Definitely going to keep my eye on their schedule.

  12. #
    Clair posted July 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Ooh, I’m definitely going to see if the bf wants to do this with me! You had me at creamy melon gazpacho. =) But edible flowers and french fries also sound amazing.

  13. #
    Colleen @ Culinary Colleen posted July 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Sounds like such a fun event! Also, great call on going to Drink for pre-event drinks…it never disappoints! I hope they have those pickled green beans next time I go.

  14. #
    Elizabeth posted July 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I love that area of the ICA. All the food looks fabulous!

  15. #
    Megan posted July 16, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    What a neat event! And that mayo trick sounds really interesting. (I miss Drink… and the awesome St Germain, gin, and grapefruit drink I had there.)

  16. #
    Daisy posted July 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I recognize those edible flowers (nasturtiums!) What a cool location for a cooking demo.

  17. #
    Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings posted July 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Looks like a fun evening…Boston’s seaport looks very rustic (the second photo) – at least from your picture! I actually thought that, maybe, you were in Martha’s Vineyard or something!

    Anyway, ditto about the pickles! I am currently obsessed with pickled peppers, pickled veggies, etc., although I am not so sure about pickled fish or pickled eggs! Yikes!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted July 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm

      Hehe I would have to think twice about pickled fish or pickled eggs too!

Leave a Comment