Thursday, September 2, 2010

Double Date: Think ink


Check out the artists at the tattoo convention and then sample the squid at nearby restaurants

Now in its ninth year, this weekend’s Boston Tattoo Convention marks its first move outside of the Boston Center for the Arts. A new location at the Sheraton Boston Hotel will give the annual celebration of everything inked-up more space, says convention manager Micah R.O. Litant of Witch City Ink in Salem. “Hotel shows are more centralized. It’s much better having everything, and everyone, in one place.’’

That means easier access to parties, artists’ galleries, and performances like collaborative live painting exhibitions, mixed martial arts fighting demonstrations, burlesque performers, and a Ms. Boston Tattoo contest. Throughout the weekend participants can also enter themselves and their tattoos in categories like best of show and best portrait. The main draw will be the hundreds of artists on hand practicing their work on conventiongoers.

“Some artists book themselves in advance, usually the more well-known ones,’’ Litant says. “But there’s definitely plenty of opportunity for people to walk around, meet the artists, chat with them, and if they want to get a piece done that day there’s always someone available.’’

Boston Tattoo Convention, Sept. 3-6. $20-$70. Sheraton Boston Hotel, 39 Dalton St., Boston.
There’s more than one way to get inked up this weekend. At the nearby Giacomo’s Ristorante they’re serving a squid ink pappardelle with swordfish and tuna in a puttanesca sauce. Chef Richie Talieri says he uses the ink sac from squid to color and slightly flavor the pasta for this popular dish most notable for its artful presentation. “The black ribbons of pasta in puttanesca, purple olives, green capers, and red plum tomatoes make for a really nice color scheme.’’

Bina Osteria offers a squid ink dish as well, with its spaghetti done Sicilian style with lemon, onion, marsala, parmigiano, and cream. “It’s not just the color that makes the pasta stand out, it’s the flavors of the sea that the ink imparts,’’ explains co-owner Babak Bina.

You can also find ink on the menu at Spanish tapas restaurants like Dali. They use squid stuffed in its own ink for dishes like their Chipirones Rellenos. They’re tender, medium-size squid bodies stuffed with tuna fish, chopped onion, garlic, thyme, dried parsley, and hot paprika, braised in a sauce made with onions, garlic, clam juice, white wine, squid ink, bay leaf, and black pepper. “Once people are brave enough to try it, they really love it,’’ says Dali’s Mary Anne Carlson.

Those with tattoos know the feeling.

Giacomo’s Ristorante, 431 Columbus Ave., Boston. 617-536-5723.; Bina Osteria, 581 Washington St., Boston. 617-956-0888.; Dali Restaurant and Tapas Bar, 415 Washington St., Somerville. 617-661-3254,

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