I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my semi-regular column where I briefly mention some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently.
1) One of my favorite Food Network shows is Chopped, which pits four chefs against each other, testing their culinary skills and creativity. Each episode is self-contained and you don't need to have seen any prior episodes to enjoy it. Over the course of three stages, the chefs receive several intriguing ingredients and must create dishes using those ingredients within a very limited time period. The provided ingredients often form unusual combinations, like gummy bears and wontons. So it is a true challenge to these chefs, some rising to the occasion while others fail miserably.
A local chef will be appearing on Chopped very soon, and I will definitely be watching. Chef Rebecca Newell of The Beehive, a restaurant I highly recommend, will appear on Chopped on Tuesday, August 10, at 10pm. The Food Network describes the episode as: "For the first time, four talented women set out to claim the title of Chopped Champion. But one chef’s dream is squashed by her kabocha and sardines appetizer. In the Entrée Round, when the chefs take too long getting the beef cooking, the judges worry that the food will not be ready to serve. In the end, when two super sweet childhood favorites appear in the dessert basket, will the final dishes leave the judges nostalgic or nauseous? "
Rebecca said "The whole thing made me itchy.." and that the experience was "great" and "intense." Will she win? Will she be eliminated after the first round? We will have to turn in on August 10 to find out what happens. I am rooting for Rebecca.
2) The Ashmont Grill in Dorchester has some special events for August.
Thursday, August 5: Buck-a-Shuck Oysters
Chef-Owner Chris Douglass shucks ‘em on the patio tonight and every Thursday night in August. Ice cold Bay State oysters can’t be beat. Neither can the price: $1 each.
Sundays in August: Reggae Brunch
Boston’s only reggae brunch takes place on their shady back patio on Sundays between 10am-3pm. Great tunes, Caribbean cocktails and a ganja-inspired menu for urbanites who can’t always get out of town on the weekend.
Saturday, August 14: BBQ Aboard Dorchester Dottie
Join the newest “hatchling” in the Boston Duck Tours fleet – a pink polka dot hottie known as Dorchester Dottie – which visits Ashmont Grill from 11am-2pm. Come for an ala carte BBQ lunch and eat aboard Dottie (yes, they’ll be serving duck kabobs). Or, just bring your friends over for a distinctive summer photo.
Monday, August 23: Monday Night Wine Club
Monday Night Wine Club will showcase Sicilian wines and food (6:30 PM / $30), featuring the added attraction of a reading from “The Wine Lover’s Devotional,” a light-hearted new book of advice, lore and knowledge about wine. Author Jonathon Alsop is director of The Boston Wine School, so he’ll answer questions about wine, which he demystifies with great humor.