Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I briefly highlight some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently.
1) Mela Modern Indian Cuisine in the South End is now offering an organic menu featuring fresh ingredients straight from Boston area farms to your plate. With locally forged mushrooms, meats from Lexington’s Wilson Farms and fresh veggies from Allandale Farms in Brookline and Butter Brook Farms in Acton, Mela’s organic menu provides an interesting local dinning experience.

Here are some of the dishes you will find on their menu:
--“Golden bag” Samosas (Local mushroom forage, Indian spices, money bag Samosa pastry)
--Organic Tandoori Chicken (Wilson Farms free range Chicken, Indian spices, minty greens)
--“Kerala” Salmon Curry (Wild caught Alaskan Salmon, coconut braised chickpeas, tomatoes, curry leaf, Indian spices)
--Paalak Tofu Strir fry (Morinaga Farms Tofu, baby spinach, cumin, spices
--Chicken Tikka Masala (Wilson farms free range chicken, Butter Brook farms heirloom tomatoes)
--Veggie Korma of the Day (Allandale Farm seasonal veggies braised in a spicy korma sauce)

2) The Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro will be hosting a special New Year’s Eve Dinner featuring the culinary styling of Executive Chef Mathew Molloy. Early birds can finish dinner and enjoy the fireworks over Boston Common, located just steps from the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro. Or, guests can ring in the New Year by dining later in the evening when the mood begins to levitate and the champagne starts flowing. Book early for this very special evening by calling 617-723-7575.

When: Friday, December 31, 2010 from 5:30PM to 10PM.
Cost: $77 per person. Optional Wine pairing for an additional $35. A 20% Gratuity Will Automatically Be Added To Your Bill

Amuse Bouche (Pat Woodbury’s Wellfleet Oyster with Champagne Gelée and American Caviar_
With NV Mumm Napa Brut Prestige (Napa Valley, California) Champagne Toast
* * *
--Ingrid’s Stonington Maine Scallops with Parsnip Purée, Wild Mushrooms, and Sherry-Truffle Emulsion
--Boston Bibb Lettuce with Winter Citrus, Hearts of Palm, Pomegranate and Citrus Vinaigrette
--Hamachi Tataki with Apple, Radish, and Upland Cress, with Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette
--Roasted Vermont Squab Ballotine with Celery Root Purée, Roasted Chestnuts and Apples, and Foie Gras Butter
--Stonington Maine Lobster Soup with Lobster Knuckle and Sherry-Pimenton Froth
Paired with 2008 Montinore, Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley, OR) or 2007 Cusumano Pinot Nero (Sicily, Italy)
* * *
Supplement Course for Two For An Additional $20.00
Duo of Foie Gras – Torchon with Pineapple Chutney and Seared with Pain Perdu and Caramelized Pineapple
Carnoroli Risotto with Shaved White Alba Truffles
Paired with 2005 Haut Charmes, Sauternes (Bordeaux) or 2008 Pio Cesare, Barbera d’Alba (Piedmont, Italy)--For An Additional $10.00
* * *
Main Courses
--Butter Poached Stonington, Maine Lobster with Potato Mousseline, Mushroom Ragout, and Buerre Rouge
--Pan Roasted Wild Striped Bass with Heirloom Carrots, Capers, Pinenuts and Golden Raisins, and Cider Brown Butter
--Roasted Sika Venison with Chestnut Purée, Root Vegetable Glacé and Red Wine Sauce
--Wolfe’s Neck Farm Strip Loin with Oxtail, Roasted Shallots and Mushroom Ragout
--Roasted Vegetable Lasagna with Mustard Cream, Beluga Lentil Ragout and Perigord Truffle Vinaigrette
Paired with 2008 Olivier Leflaive “Les Sétilles” Bourgogne Blanc (Bourgogne, France) or 2007 Anjoli Priorat (Catalonia, Spain)
* * *
Desserts or Cheese
--Passionfruit Tartlet with Sesame Shortbread and Champagne Granite
--Malted Chocolate Mousse with Bitter Chocolate Sorbet and Cocoa Nibs Cookies
--Rhum Baba - Citrus Sponge Cake with Rum Spiked Custard and Lemon Gastrique
--Hannahbells Cinnamon Roasted Apples and Puff Pastry
Paired with 2008 Domaine de Fenouillet, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise (Rhône Valley, France) or 2007 Les Clos de Pauliles, Banyuls (Banyuls, France)

3) This December, the holiday season will come to Towne Stove and Spirits in the form of exclusive specials available for a limited time only. They will serve a festive cocktail, “Holiday Macaroon,” while also introducing a new weekday three-course prix fixe lunch menu specially created for the season by Co-Culinary Director Lydia Shire.

The Holiday Macaroon ($12)  is perfectly crafted with Ciroc Coconut Vodka and Godiva Chocolate Vodka and then finished with a hint of Green Crème de Menthe and a splash of cream. The Holiday Macaroon is then festively garnished with red sprinkles and coconut shavings.

The customizable, three-course prix fixe lunch menu, for $35 per person, is as follows:

First course: Choice of--
--Acorn squash bisque w/ apple calvados butter
--Mesclun greens and english cucumber w/ choice of dressing: fiery peanut .. carrot + ginger / green goddess / balsamic
--Caesar salad
--Lobster “cappuccino” w/ lobster popover ($5 supplement)

Second course: Choice of-
--Wood grilled + roasted statler chicken breast .. simple / steamed delicata squash .. spoon of chestnut polenta
--Rare salmon filet .. pink sea salt + fennel emulsion w/ provencal olive oil*
--Jasper’s infamous duck salad w/ mango + spiced pecans
--Rotisserie prime rib + toasted ` french dip ‘ sandwich w/ melted brie , watercress aioli + Belgian fries*
--“Double OO “ sugar pumpkin ravioli w/ mascarpone .. toasted sage + cranberry mostarda
--Lobster cobb salad
--#1 crab cake .. shire recipe w/ english mustard sauce + frites .. avocado salad
--Margherita pizza
--Sausage + pepperoni pizza
--Lobster pizza w/ baby red mustard greens + meyer lemon ($10 supplement)
--Deluxe 8 oz. all american bacon burger 70/30 .. ground skirt + shortrib w/ or w/o cheddar .. rare please*
--Tuchler wagyu skirt steak w/ green tabasco , grilled onions + radicchio* ($10 supplement)

Third Course: Choice of=-
--Ex-treme chocolate pudding / new orlean’s style pralines
--Coconut crème brulee w/ “popped hawaiian caramel corn”
--Sugared thin crisp apple tart w/ apple ice cream
--Lemon sherbert + berries

WHEN: The three-course prix fixe lunch menu will be available weekdays from 11:30am – 2:00pm from December 13th through December 31st.  The specialty Holiday Macaroon cocktail will be available for the entire month of December.

4)  Here are some more options for your New Year's Eve celebrations:

MET Back Bay
279 Dartmouth Street, Boston
Phone: 617-267-0451

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Back Bay’s newest dining destination, MET Back Bay. Dance the night away while you enjoy appetizers and indulge in a dessert buffet prepared by Executive Chef Todd Winer. Guests will receive festive party favors, an exclusive sneak peak at Townhouse, and of course, plenty of champagne and MET Punch to toast the New Year at midnight.
Date/Time: Friday, December 31st – 9pm-2:00am
Cost: $100 per person. Guests who book a dinner reservation will enjoy the party for $50 per person.

295 Franklin Street, Boston
Phone: 617-338-1000

This New Year’s Eve, Umbria is hosting their 20th year anniversary party. Enjoy three floors of festivities in Umbria’s state-of-the-art nightclub. The evening will feature an open bar, two DJs, party favors, and a traditional Champagne toast.
Date/Time: Friday, December 31st – 10:00pm-2:00am
Cost: $125 per person

Gargoyles on the Square
219 Elm Street, Somerville
Phone: 617-776-5300

Enjoy New Year’s Eve dinner at Gargoyles on the Square where Chef Jason Santos will prepare a celebratory three-course prix-fixe menu for three seating times. Indulge in dishes including Butter Basted Grilled Lobster Tail or “Signature” Honey & Hoisin Glazed Duck Confit. There will be a traditional champagne toast and party favors during the final seating.
Date/Time: Friday, December 31st – The three seatings will be at : 5-5:30pm, 7-7:30pm and 9-9:30 pm
Cost: First seating is $50 per person, the second seating is $60 per person, and the third seating is $70 per person.

5) Join the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro for their Fondue Sundays featuring classic, French-style fondue presented for sharing. With pots suitable for sharing between 2 to 4 guests ($26per pot) - you’ll be treated to a piping hot pot of classic French fondue served with small potatoes boiled in sea-salted water, cornichon pickled vegetables such as ramps, cipolini onions and cauliflower, and rustic bread locally sourced from Iggy's Francese. Fondue Sundays will be served as a special in conjunction with the Bistro’s regular menu, and will be available during dinner service (5:30PM-10:00PM) beginning Sunday, December 19th, through the spring. Reservations are recommended by calling 617-723-7575.

Recipe for Matt Molloy’s Classic Fondue in French style
3 oz dry white wine (Domaine Giachino Abymes from the Savoie)
Pinch kosher Salt
2 grinds white pepper, from a mill
5 passes fresh grated nutmeg
2 ounces Bergkäse Alpenblumer, grated
2 ounces Emmentaler, grated
2 ounces Gruyére Vieux, grated
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp Kirschwasser
1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch

--Make a slurry with the Kirschwasser and the cornstarch. It should be thick, but pourable. Use more or less Kirschwasser to get a consistency you like.  Set at the ready, next to the stove.
--In an enameled cast iron fondue pot, add the wine, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
--Bring to a boil and add the grated cheese all at once. Whisk over heat until the cheese has melted. Add the minced garlic. Whisk in your slurry, a little at a time, until the fondue has a pleasant texture. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot.

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