heritage breed pigs

Go Here, Eat This - Tico

Where to Go? What to Order?

Looking for a place to eat in Boston? The "must-try" spot for Chinese food? Dumplings? Dim Sum? My favorite burger? Pizza? A Gluten-free joint? Who does the best dollar oysters? Roast pig?

People often ask me where they should eat in Boston and what they should order when they get there. In these "Go Here, Eat This" quick posts, I'm going to share notes of good spots to eat, highlighting what's unique about the place, including some of my favorite dishes. The ones that are house specialities, indicative of the cuisine, or just ones that I really enjoy. I'll also try to note things like whether the place is friendly to those with allergies, or disabilities, etc. Just stuff you ought to know.

Going forward you can search on "where to go" or just look at the "Noshes and News" page. When I add new posts, I'll add them there and post on the home page, too.

Where to go:

Tico Restaurant Boston


617 351 0400

M-F 11:30 AM-2 AM, SAT. & SUN. 11AM-2AM


Unique about this place:

...is a large pan-Latin menu covers flavor profiles of Mexico, Spain, Central and South America. Large selection of small plates, tacos and entrees covering seafood, meat, vegetarian options.


Large, lively bar with over 80 Tequilas.

Some outdoor seating available.

What to eat:

Pork belly, Grilled octopus with aji amarillo, Shishito peppers,


Questions? Comments? Please drop a note if you've eaten here and share any dishes you think are on the "must-try" list!


Someday Soon They will Get It

When I saw the news about the Israeli author who got a book deal for a pork cookbook, it was hard not to feel a small sense of sleight. I guess I got the offal wrong when I thought chicken parts were trayf (Hello -- chopped chicken liver? see what I get for writing my Shiksa Varnishkes post on only one cup of coffee.) But I am CERTAIN that pork is not kosher. Of this, I am sure. And he got a book deal.

But, I told myself, be patient. (After all, you're so good at that.) I tried. I smiled, I nodded, I politely declined when one editor didn't "get it."

I believe that the market will catch up to my and my quirky obsession with weird heritage breed pigs and those farmers that I love, working against all odds to save these old breeds from extirpation. When you have an obsession, it helps if others share it. It also helps if they seem like good, salt-of-the-earth types. I've met many and we all agree: we are on the right track and good things will come. The rest of the world will follow.



The UN declared 2010 to be the Year of Biodiversity. Actually, they declared it several years back but the world slid backwards and the little progress that had been made was lost. The 2010 effort (largely unnoticed by the media, I might add) was meant to re-energize the issue and spread the urgent message that the world is losing one of its more precious resources, the very diversity of life that not only feeds us, but nourishes the planet and sustains life.

So my focus of late has been another interest, at the intersection of ocean conservation and gourmet food. Sustainable seafood has been an interest for years and bringing that message to others, sharing resources and helping people adopt a science-based framework to make better choices... this became my focus. Pigs would have to wait.

Working in the wee hours on my 4th annual Teach a Man to Fish round up, I took a break to check email. And there it was:

New York Magazine - that obscure publication on the periphery of the zeitgeist - sharing Breeds Apart - How to tell your Mangalitsas from your Ossabaws, and six other heritage varieties. Surely, this is a sign. Surely the publishing world will notice. (And yes, if you're a publisher and you may call me Shirley.)

Here I am with American Guinea Hogs (not on the NY Mag list, also missing Mulefoot)


So I am now hopeful that I'll get a little more traction with "the pig book" and am, as well, moving forward with "the fish book." Here's a little amuse bouche for you on my favorite topics.


Pig Tales: a Love Story -

Pig Tales is a story of seduction. It’s about how America is falling in love with heritage pork.  First it was Kurobuta, then the Mulefoot now it’s the Red Wattle and the Hungarian Mangalitsa that seem to dominate chefs’ and food writers’ attention. Taste memories for good old fashioned pork, our various pork-centric food traditions and our newest celebrities - the farmers - all play a part in the story. Pig Tales is a story of my love for pigs, for the farmers who also love them and are trying to save them from extinction, and about the chefs whose love for heritage products is bringing them back to our tables. This is about our love for flavorful food history and for underdogs.

The Last Fishermen -

Who are the people whose livelihood is disappearing with the vanishing wild fish?

The Last Fishermen will introduce a seafood-savvy public to the fishermen who supply them with wallet-card approved seafood. As the farm-to-table message permeates the food culture, the same links are being explored in the ocean-to-table chain. From community-supported fisheries to fishing cooperatives, new models are emerging in an attempt to salvage what may be a disappearing lifestyle.

The Last Fishermen will explore sustainable seafood issues - from the vantage point of the other end of the pole: the fishermen holding it.



Sustainable Meats 101: Come Join me at the Boston Center for Adult Ed

Not Just Pigs & Fish

Many of you know me through Teach a Man to Fish/Teach a Chef to Fish sustainable seafood events or through my Pig Tales: a Love Story saga. But I really like to talk about all sorts of sensible sustainability. What are choices we can all make, each day, to lessen our impact on the planet but also to increase our enjoyment whilst here? As my friend Meg says, "it's about sensual sustainabilty!" Holla!

I'm so excited to be offering this class at the Boston Center for Adult Ed, the oldest, nonprofit adult education center in New England. We'll be cooking in one of their new state-of-the-art kitchens (Thermador or Gaggenau, be still my heart) at 122 Arlington Street (near Smith & Wollensky.)

We're going to explore what makes our proteins more or less sustainable and we're going to roll up our sleeves and cook! I'm sharing resources, tips and recipes and there will be chickens from Pete & Jenn's Backyard Birds, Bison from Wild Idea and local, probably Halal goat. You will leave the class with new friends, a resource guide, recipes and an appetite for more.

People ask if I cook with wine. The answer is yes. Sometimes it even goes in the food. (Parrump pump. I'll be working this room all week.) But seriously folks, we'll have a chance to learn about what makes a wine more or less sustainable, too. Let's get cooking, and talking, and eating! And come have a glass of wine on me.

Here are a couple of links to get you in the mood:



Please sign up today, mark your calendar, and spread the word!

And thanks to Rich who posted this even before I did.

True Food Tuesday

? We're going to do a live "TweetChat"! Thanks to Traca Savadogo the incomparable @SeattleTallPopp - I've just been introduced to to this tool. To make it easier to tweet - I'm going to use #TFT

3 PM  EST - 4 PM EST - this is our first time at bat so let's see how it goes. I'll be using the questions, concepts within this post to guide the discussion and Traca is going to help me moderate.

If you're on Twitter - and even if you're not - I invite you to join the conversation about what I'm calling "True Food." I've started a hashtag #TrueFoodTuesday on Twitter. For civilians, that's simply a way to track all comments in Twitter related to a theme or topic. Tomorrow, Tuesday we'll post tweets and links and comments here about #TrueFood we're eating, buying, growing, thinking about.


It's growing, it's not in a box, I can talk to the person that grew it...these are hallmarks of #TrueFood.

These came from a package but were only dried, still #TrueFood.


So what is "True" food? And why start this conversation?

Many of us are already talking about true food. Whether you're an omnivore or vegan, whether you like CSAs and CSFs or usually eat from a box but are exploring new ways to eat healthier food, you can participate.

You may have heard about the obesity epidemic? The rate of diabetes? The recent suggestions that pesticides on fruits may be linked to higher ADHD in children?

You may be concerned about disappearing farm land and the aging of the farming population, or the vanishing heritage breeds and loss of biodiversity? Or, thinking about the struggles of local fishermen and the threats to their survival.

Perhaps you're reading Michael Pollan's Rules - see his post on Huffington Post here. And two examples of Pollan's rules:

#19 If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.

#36 Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.

These Brussels Sprouts don't need a label to tell us what they are. They are #TrueFood.

Why the #Hashtag topic?

These are the kinds of topics I want to talk about and I want to get others sharing their questions and tips, recipes and photos.

By creating this topic, I'm hoping to catalyze people's thinking and energy, focus it for a day on what we eat and where it comes from.

  • Is it a local fisherman that's doing hook and line haddock or shrimper with by-catch reduction or Alaskan salmon that's carefully monitored?
  • Are you buying or trying or thinking about sustainable meats like Old World Meats Making a Comeback as Sustainable Choices?
  • Sometimes people get tired of thinking about what they can't have. I want to celebrate the good food that we are enjoying, without worry. Local produce, organic grains, sustainable seafood, heritage breeds.
  • Maybe someone will post a Tweet with a recipe or favorite farmer or a photo that shows what they ate that day.



How to Participate

1. Drop a comment here with your favorite True Food you ate on Tuesday.

2. Tweet using the hashtag #TrueFoodTuesday. Or if you use Facebook, drop a link there to your favorite post, recipe or photo of #TrueFood.

? There will be a drawing for a new book Cider Beans, Wild Greens and Dandelion Jelly: Recipes from Southern Appalachia.

Maybe you have a question about how to choose more sustainable foods? Maybe you have a tip to share?

Have a favorite fishmonger, farmer or Farmer's Market?

Jennifer Hashley is both director of Tufts Friedman School's New Entry Sustainable Farming Program and a farmer herself. Her pigs are #TrueFood.

Have a favorite book to share - like Lisa Hamilton's Deeply Rooted, or Langdon Cook's Fat of the Land? Both those books talk about #TrueFood.

Proud of something you baked from scratch or made for dinner from #TrueFood? Share it!


Some links to get you started:

? Nourish Network has a whole section of articles, recipes and tips on Eco-friendly eating, called Eco-Bites. Check it out here.

? Kim O'Donnel on Culinate - these Thursday Table Talk chats are filled with good, True Food.

? Did you see the film Food, Inc.? Thought-provoking film about false food, and True Food.


The Canvolution is all about #TrueFood!



Chef Rick Moonen's Catfish lettuce wraps are #TrueFood.

Laying hen at Pete & Jen's Backyard Birds. Her eggs are #TrueFood.

Farm, Fish & Fowl: Exploring Sustainability



Here are my slides from this afternoon's panel discussion at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Along with the Tufts University Alumni Association, the Food for Thought: Tufts Food, Wine and Culture Series has included famous alumni like Dan Barber. Tonight's panel discussion on Sustainability was a thought-provoking and fun event. We were billed as "leaders from the restaurant industry and local farms" who (would) explore the challenges and opportunities of bringing sustainable practices to what we eat."

For my part, I was delighted to participate and scribbled notes while my co-presenters spoke. Peter McCarthy spoke of his commitment to whole animal utilization, to Pete & Jen's Backyard Birds (and bunnies and pigs) as well as his progress toward LEEDS certification at EVOO.

Jennifer was entertaining and managed to cover a lot of information on the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project. What a terrific program they have at this school!


  • Jacqueline Church, an independent food, wine & spirits writer whose work often focuses on “sensible sustainability” issues
  • Peter McCarthy, Chef/Owner at EVOO restaurant in Cambridge, MA
  • Jennifer Hashley, director of the Tufts Friedman School's New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and Co-owner of Jen and Pete's Backyard Birds
  • Moderator:
    Dr. Timothy Griffin, faculty member and director of the Tufts Friedman School's Agriculture, Food and Environment program

    A cocktail reception for event participants will featured hors d'ouevres from restaurants EVOO and the Beacon Hill Bistro, among other venues that offer locally grown food.

    I promised to share my slides. So here they are:



    I look forward to continuing the discussion started this evening, and I really enjoyed the lively chats with many of the attendees during the reception.

    Please email me or drop a comment here if you want more info on the slides, the books we discussed or if you have any further questions!

    All photos are mine except for the gorgeous fish dish on slide three, that's Matt Wright's entry into last year's Teach a Man to Fish event, and the NASA photo on the Issues to Watch slide.