JJG_locally_growsphotographs by Michael Piazza

On Bristol Bay


If you have been in to eat in the Lounge at 156 Highland Ave, you may have noticed that we have been offering housecured wild Bristol Bay Salmon, which is from Alaska, on our menu. And you may have thought, “HEY!  Wait.  Alaskan salmon is in no way local to Massachusetts! What’s up, “locavores”?”   Well, I’m glad you asked, cuz this is really important to me, and I’ve been dying to tell you…


In Alaska there is a place that I have only seen in photos, called Bristol Bay. It is the home to many people who fish for their livelihoods as well as their basic sustenance. It is also vital to the the last remaining wild salmon run that is hearty enough to be commercially fished.


Yes, you read that right. If you are eating salmon that is not wild AK it is farmed. I don’t care if it is called “Wild Atlantic Salmon” on the sign at Whole Foods, that is the name of the type of fish. Most of the stuff we see over here is farmed, and that is a whole other conversation about sustainability and ocean toxification.


Save that, let’s get back to Bristol Bay.


Unfortunately for the fishermen and the fish, Bristol Bay sits on top of an ungodly amount of copper and gold, and there are mining companies who want to blow the place apart to get at those “valuable resources”. The Pebble Mine company has fought long and hard to dig there, and so far has been sort of held back by a variety of studies and restraints put in place by the EPA as summonsed up by the people of Bristol Bay.

Regardless of those restraints, the “valuable resources” remain down there, and the companies who want them will keep trying to prove that they have a better case.

This is where you and I come in. We are not in Alaska. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been to Alaska, and I’d like to go, but it’s not going to be soon. Although we over here are not really aware of what is going on over there, there are lots of interested lobbyists who go to politicians in states far away from Alaska and convince them that the EPA is putting restrictions on their mining activities that will compromise the growth of industry, limit jobs, etc. They put pressure on those politicians to support bills that will limit the EPA’s ability to suppress the mining companies progress in any situation, including Bristol Bay.

Do you see where I’m going here?

I’ll get to the point. If Pebble Mine succeeds it will wipe out the last remaining wild salmon run in the country. Maybe in the world, if you look closely. Salmon cannot survive the level of disturbance and pollution that will be caused by the mine. It will be the WORLDS BIGGEST copper and gold mine. The fish do not have a chance. This pisses me off. The ocean is a mess, and getting worse, and this is a really obvious moment to come to the defense of the fish. I cheered when the EPA slowed this project down, and a major investor dropped out, but that was just a little band aid. It matters that people in North Carolina and Massachusetts know what is going on in Alaska because the ocean is everywhere and this affects everyone. You can help by buying wild Alaskan salmon, by telling people about wild Alaskan salmon and by watching out for bills that will reduce the right of the EPA to stop progress on projects that will create environmental disasters.

There is an organization that is well named to help us remember this call to action. It is “Eat Wild, Save Wild”. I am asking you to recognize the importance of the problems we are creating in our food systems everywhere, and to eat local, think global, and sometimes that means acting global too.

If you would like to dig deeper you can do that here:

and I absolutely encourage you to watch the movie Breach to learn more about this important topic.

Meet one of the early pioneers of meal delivery and locavore-ing: JJ Gonson of Cuisine En Locale, in Somerville, MA. Part 1. By Chas Wagner

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Chas: We’re sitting here on a themed taco night. However, it’s not a Tuesday. But rather, a Monday. What’s up with tacos not on a Tuesday? More like, how did Taco Mondays come to be?

JJ: Partly to be contrarian, mainly to be difficult. We just seem to keep up with anti-promotions on a daily basis. We’re coming up with bad ideas all the time.

We do tacos on a Monday, because Monday is the day we cook and pack our once-a-week meal delivery program, so, we’re here.

It actually started because we did tacos last Cinco de Mayo, which went over well. Funny enough, it was a Monday!

So, we did it again. And people liked it. Then, we just kept doing it.

It coincides that just as we are finishing with putting the program together, and as the kitchen wraps up, we open for dinner.

It stuck, because, obviously, people love tacos.

At this point, we’ve introduced one other really serious, themed night as part of the weekly rotation.


Juliana Hatfield Three and Potty Mouth


Coming to our event space at 156 Highland Ave in Somerville on April 19, we are very excited to present The Juliana Hatfield Three with guests, Potty Mouth.

We will be serving all local fare in the ONCE Lounge starting at 5pm.
Ballroom opens at 7pm
Potty Mouth 8pm
Juliana Hatfield Three 9pm

Tickets are on sale now for $20 in advance

Tickets will be available for $25 at the door after 4pm on the day of show

All ages, 21+ with positive ID to drink


Winter Moon Roots & Future Plans


Winter Moon Roots

The Winter Market is back in full swing…

…over at the Somerville Armory and our friend Michael Docter is there again with his amazing root vegetables! Michael is the owner of Winter Moon Roots, a farm where they grow the sweetest, most beautiful roots this side of the Mississippi.

Stop by the Armory on Saturdays this winter to say hello, sample a carrot, and snag a radish or three. He’s got a CSA pick up at Clover, too!

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Shopping, Rocking & Noshing Locally – staying close with CeL!


Local Gifts for the Holidays

Plenty of ways to shop local this holiday season.

Super delicious food is always a good way to go and our ONCE a Week Gift Certificates make a great stocking stuffer!

For your friends who already have their cooking down, there are a couple cool fairs to check out.

  • Holly Fair is Cambridge’s oldest crafts fair, featuring over 70 vendors coming together in Harvard Sq on December 13 & 14.
  • Local is for Lovers is Somerville’s local crafts market, where you can get a good chunk of holiday shopping done in the Center for Arts at the Armory on December 14.

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Adventures on Oyster Island



Last week the Cuisine en Locale crew ventured out to Island Creek Oysters to see where our favorite mollusks originate. The folks at Island Creek are as experienced as they are hospitable, and we learned all sorts of amazing factoids, like how oysters don’t reproduce in the cold Duxbury Bay waters and have to be nurtured in Island Creek’s personal nursery before heading into the big blue sea.



Giant algae tubes and empty round breeding tubs gave us room to imagine the detailed process of growing tiny oyster babes. Looks like we’ll have to come back again in February, when they begin the breeding cycle, to witness that.

We also learned that oysters hibernate in the wintertime, like bears. Who knew? They squeeze their shells together so tight that no water comes through and then hunker down until the snows thaw.


Mark finds all the cool dead things.


Sea yoga.












Ahoy! Captain Ken at your service!

We motored out on the mud flat during high tide. Twelve feet of frigid seawater blanketed the oysters as we giddily examined the tiny boat house with our tour guide, Annie, and our skipper, Hadley. Mollusks and crabs vied for our attention, but the oysters beckoned. Everyone took a turn cracking open the shell and slurping out the just-caught delicacy. Usually I cringe from oysters, but they were so fresh how could I resist? I tried one and ate with relish, shucking a few more for myself and the crew. The deep, mineral-rich seawater and chewy meat invigorated us all.


Kaitlin and I donned the giant mud pants used to harvest during low tide and splashed our feet off the back porch while Ken gave Sandra lessons in shucking. By the end Sandra’s technique was flawless! Maybe we’ll have new oyster shucker at next year’s Valhalla.



Kaitlin and Luc, ready for harvesting.


Ken teaches Sandra the art of oyster shucking. It takes patience, finesse, and a good knife!












We’re so glad we got to take the trip out to Island Creek. If you can’t make it out to Duxbury, never fear! You can find their delectable oysters over at the Island Creek Oyster Bar on Commonwealth Ave in Downtown Boston.

Keeping Things Warm & Toasty

Winter is coming!! Yes, we’re another month closer to chillier winter days, but we plan on keeping things warm and toasty here in the CeL kitchens with all the cooking we’ve got planned for you and your guest.  That’s right, we do catering so keep us in mind when your friends and family come over for the holidays.  Maybe you’ll want to beef up your order, make it a double, so you have some extra food around.  We’ll also be cooking up some special side dishes for you to use at your Thanksgiving dinner so keep a look out for a menu of what we’ll be offering over the next couple weeks.

Menu Preview below…







Someone Else to do the Cooking . . . Dinner & A Mushroom Movie . . . Map of Monsters . . . ONCE Muertos


Sometimes You Just Need Someone Else To Do The Cooking

October is here and our party calendar is filling up fast, but there are still some choice dates left. Give us a call about catering in your place, or ours: 617-628-4220.

Dinner & A Mushroom Movie

mushroomEver wonder what it’s like to forage for mushrooms? Now you can find out! Come watch the screening of Now, Forager this Thursday night at the Somerville Theatre, then hop on over to Cuisine en Locale for a super tasty, freshly foraged mushroom dinner! Not up for the movie? No worries, you can come eat anyway! Snag your tickets here.

Map of Monsters

It’s time for your 15 minutes of fame. This Friday night Cuisine en Locale is hosting Map of Monsters, a live concert filming featuring Shepherdess, Planet of Adventure, Gondoliers, and Xylouris White. It’s only $5 to see the bands, so slick back your hair and put on your finest vest for the cameras. Show starts at 8pm, but get in early to join us for dinner at 6.

ONCE Muertos – Featuring Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys

Jazz hands and a new apron for Muertos! JJ’s ready. Did you get your tickets yet? Last year we sold out, and we want to see you there!

Meal Delivery Brainstormcook

Our chefs have some big plans for Tuesday Meal Delivery*. Here’s just a taste of what we are going to make for you:

Omnivore Highlights

  • Beef Stew
  • Shrimp & Grits

Carnivore Highlights

  • Smoked Bluefish Pate
  • Stuffed Zucchini

Vegevore highlights

  • Biscuits & Gravy
  • Mushroom Stew

And don’t forget Taco Night on Monday! Every Monday from 6-8, or until we run out.

We’ve launched our new website and very soon we’ll have an improved ordering system. Don’t be alarmed! It’s the same great food made even easier. You can also inquire about catering and hall rentals. Interested in picking up your share, rather than delivery? Get in touch with to stop by from 10 – 2 on Tuesday to grab your share.

*Due to the nature of local food, our ingredients are subject to weather fluctuation and farmer availability. Our menu is always subject to change. No matter what, if you sign up for a meal delivery, you’ll get a fridgeful of delicious, local food, made with love. See you soon! The CeL Crew