5 Questions with Bites of Boston Food Tours
Want to know more about the Boston food scene? Alyssa Schoenfeld of Bites of Boston Food Tours gives us the inside scoop.
Alyssa Daigle Scheonfeld is the founder of Bites of Boston Food Tours and currently serves as the CEO (Culinary Experience Officer) - for the Sweet and Savory South End Tour. A Massachusetts native with a passion for all things food, culture and urban community, Alyssa has found her bliss in guiding locals and visitors through one of Boston’s most historic and tasty neighborhoods. We asked her a few questions...
1. What foods is Boston known for?
Clam chowder and Boston Cream Pie are probably the most well known. Others include lobster / lobster rolls, fried clams and Sam Adams Lager!
2. When a foodie comes to Boston, what neighborhoods should they visit?
The North End and South End for sure. The North End is Boston’s Little Italy and offers a tremendous selection of Italian foods and pastries. The South End is a much more eclectic neighborhood, offering a wide variety of ethnic foods and eateries. Venezuelan, Senegalese, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Ethiopian, Asian Fusion and Southern restaurants - to name a few - can all be enjoyed in the South End neighborhood!
3. What can people expect on your food tours?
On the Sweet and Savory South End tour, guests can expect a creatively concocted combination of walking, eating and exploring. We offer a 3+ hour walking food and neighborhood tour during which our goal is to provide a taste - both literally and figuratively - of Boston’s South End. Our guests not only enjoy sampling foods from 6 local eateries and specialty food markets, but also learning about the chefs / owners and how the establishments came to arrive in the neighborhood. Additionally, between restaurant visits, we also provide a hearty helping of historical, architectural and cultural information about the South End. The South End is not a touristy neighborhood in the city, but is certainly a vibrant culinary and cultural community. We love to introduce visitors and locals alike to a less-traveled yet visit-worthy area of Boston during our tours.
4. Are there any great Boston food events we should schedule our trip around?
Oh yes - there are plenty of food events in Boston! Between May and October, the SOWA Open Market is always a great way to spend an afternoon. The market takes place on Sundays in the South End and now spans over 3 parking lots. In one you’ll find a large farmer’s market, local craftsman/artisan tents in the second, and a third lot full of local food trucks. This is a great way to discover some local producers and farms, as well as to visit and sample foods from many Boston food trucks all in one day. As far as food events go, a couple of the lesser known I would recommend include Chefs in Shorts which is held in June at the Seaport Hotel. This is actually a charity event in which a large number of Boston chefs come together and serve dishes from their respective restaurants. It ends up being a special type of “Taste of Boston” which benefits Future Chefs - a program geared towards preparing aspiring teen chefs for careers in the cooking world after school. Also, Boston Magazine’s “The Cue” and “Battle of the Burger” was a back-to-back event in August this year in South Boston. The Cue featured leading BBQ chefs and Battle of the Burger sought to find the Best burger in the city. If BBQ and/or burgers are your thing, these summer events are a fun idea.
5. Which Boston chefs should we keep our eyes on?
Chef Jamie Bissonette of Toro and Coppa Enoteca in the South End. Jamie won a James Beard award this year for Best Chef in the Northeast and has his first cookbook, The New Charcuterie Cookbook, coming out this month (September 2014). Toro also recently expanded to a location in NYC and both Toro and Coppa are very popular with Boston locals. I definitely think there is more to come! Top Chef Kristen Kish is also worth keeping an eye on as is Chef Tiffani Faison of Sweet Cheeks BBQ.