Thursday, December 30, 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)  In honor of National Soup Month, Legal Sea Foods will be declaring a ‘Legal’ Holiday on 1/11/11: “Chowda Day.” Available at all Legal Sea Foods locations for the duration of the day, $1 cups of their signature New England Clam Chowder will be served up as they have been at every Presidential Inauguration since 1981.  Cost: $1 per cup of clam chowder with purchase of an entrée

2) Legal Sea Foods is The Culinary Guild of New England are co-sponsoring an educational (and controversial) dining event concerning sustainable seafood on January 24, from 7pm-10pm at the Park Plaza location. Legal Sea Foods’ President and CEO Roger Berkowitz will present a four-course dinner, followed by a discussion "on the most current information concerning sustainable seafood fishing practices."

The Menu is:
--Fritters (Black tiger shrimp, duck cracklings, smoked tomato, and avocado sauce)
Paired with 2008 Hermann J. Wiemer Reisling, Finger Lakes, New York
--Cod Cheeks (Spaghetti squash, toasted pecans, melting marrow gremolata)
Paired with 2008 Schiopetto Sauvignon, Collio, Italy
--Prosciutto Wrapped Hake (Braised escarole, Rancho Gordo beans, blood orange marmalade)
Paired with 2009 Domaine du Viking Vouvray, "Cuvée Tendre," Loire Valley, France
--Citrus Almond Cake (Yuzu semi freddo, candied kumquats)
Paired with 2007 Jorge Ordoñez Moscatel Selección Especial No.1, Málaga DO, Spain

The most controversial aspect of their press release was the following: "Over the last few years, news reports on the sustainability of seafood have become more frequent, causing widespread discussion on what fish is sustainable, and therefore safe to eat. Unfortunately, this discussion is flawed by outdated scientific findings that unfairly turn the public against certain species of fish. In a direct effort to counter existing misinformation about sustainability, the menu for this event is deliberately designed to serve what is commonly believed to be outlawed or blacklisted fish.

This is certainly very provocative, and has raised numerous eyebrows in the sustainable seafood community.  For example, check out the Leather District Gourmet's response as well as the Don't Panic post on this matter. Many eyes are watching. 

I agree that the wallet sustainable seafood cards have some problems, but the criticisms here also appear to be overgeneralizations.  So I am very curious as to what will be actually said during this dinner. Legal has garnered a lot of publicity from the press release so it is up to them to live up to the hype.  "There will be an opportunity for CGNE guests to ask questions about what’s safe to eat, which species are indeed plentiful, and how to read between the lines of media reports." 

Hopefully, this will lead to a fruitful discussion on sustainable seafood.  But Legal better be prepared with lots of answers for the questions they will inevitably be asked.  Their failure to respond, or lack of information, could be very detrimental.  The Legal representatives at the dinner cannot pass the buck, claiming that others in the organization not at the dinner have the answers.  They must be fully prepared to discuss and debate the issues. 

Cost: $90 for CGNE members; $110 for non-members
Tickets are available for purchase online at

3)  The 6th Annual CityFeast will soon be held in the North End, a culinary event to Conquer Diabetes and benefit the Joslin Diabetes Center.  Six North End restaurants have joined together to support Joslin Diabetes Center's High Hopes Fund by hosting special five-course dinners with wine pairings. The High Hopes Fund supports Joslin’s efforts to improve the lives of people with diabetes—young and old—and to prevent and cure the disease.  Carla Gomes, the mother of a child with diabetes and owner of both Antico Forno and Terramia, founded CityFeast to help raise awareness of the disease and support Joslin Diabetes Center's mission of conquering diabetes in all of its forms.

Participating restaurants include Terramia, Antico Forno, Lucca, Tresca, Caffé Graffiti and Taranta.

Date: Sunday, January 30, 2011. From 6pm-9pm. 

Cost: $150 per person. (Ticket price includes tax and gratuity). Proceeds benefit Joslin’s High Hopes Fund. $100 of the ticket price is tax-deductible.

To purchase tickets: Visit and click on “CityFeast.”

I attended this event last year, enjoying a delicious meal and having a fun time mingling with the other attendees.  Please consider getting tickets to this year's event, supporting a great cause, and I am sure you will enjoy an excellent dinner too.

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