West Marin - Crisp Days, Cheese Trails & Wild Beauty
Party for One - Firebox in Hartford

Small Plates, Big Flavors in Cambridge

We had a blast both nights at Ana Sortun's Turkish and eastern Mediterrean influenced restaurants in the Boston area - Oleana, in Cambridge, for which she won a James Beard Award as Best Chef in the Northeast, and the newer Sarma, her partnership with former Oleana chef Cassie Piuma, nearby in Somerville. Check out the sights here in Sarma's image gallery. Sarmabunuelo

Before you go either venue, spend a few minutes with these fascinating interviews and videos featuring Sortun - on cooking, Turkey, female entrepreneurship and more. She's an inspiring and thoughtful pathfinder in the culinary space. For example, Siena Farms, 25 miles west of Boston, where the produce for her restaurant ventures is sustainably produced, is yet another partnership in her well-integrated food chain - this one with her spouse Chris Kortun. All these connections are genuinely "farm to table," unlike those poor imitators increasingly clamoring to occupy the same space.

Whether two, six or more, sharing the bouquet of flavors in the inventive small plates is a feast of aromatic spices and bright flavors for the senses. Imagine these plates going around the table one recent evening at Sarma - beef and chard rolls, brussel sprout bravas, pork bunuelo, BBQ duck, baby artichokes, Greek salad, fatoush and a surprise chef's creation, "special meze." (We won't reveal the details and spoil the fun, but suffice it to say, once you've eaten more than you think you can, here comes something irresistible.)