Thursday, April 28, 2011

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) Towne Stove and Spirits is ready to welcome Spring with a new menu, as created by Culinary Director Lydia Shire and Executive Chef Mario Capone. The revamped carte du jour at Towne will refresh some signature dishes by incorporating new seasonal flavors while adding in some future classics.

For “starters,” Towne Stove and Spirits will offer the following new options: English Pea Soup (with pork belly ‘bap’ - $14); Wild Yellowtail Hamachi Crudo (with white soy & avocado mousse - $21); Wood Grilled Mini Lamb Souvlaki (with orange lentil, magical ‘pani puri’ -$18); Angus Beef Tartare (with 40 ct. chips, crimson beets & hot horseradish dip - $22); and, Button Ravioli (a palest oyster mushrooms, morels & sweet Vidalia veloute - $18). Shire and Capone have also added two new “wood grilled pizza” options to their repertoire: Hawaiian (with bacon & drunken pineapple - $17); and, Lobster (with chervil & fresh favas - $26). The new Burrata (dressed Maine hot house tomato, flaky basil pesto croissant - $13) also graces the “salad” section.

Moving onto the “ocean + wood fired” section of the menu, the culinary team at Towne is proud to unveil: Halibut T-Bone & Half Lobster (with fava bean raviolini - $34); Swordfish & Octopus (skewered w/ fresh bay leaf, wood grilled with citrus sabayon & cous cous pearls - $31); and, Haddock (crisped with cockles &lemongrass cassava butter - $32).

Towne Stove and Spirits is also featuring new “carnivore + wood fired” options, including: Pappardelle (delverde with pot roasted veal breast and housemade ricotta - $16); Chicken (1/2 ROTO w/ whole lemons, sumac & aromatic ground zaatar - $24); Sugar Smoked Peking Duck (with steamed bun & sweet potato - $32); Duck (crisp with fresh cherry savory & towering puffed potato tart - $31); Statler Chicken Breast (wood grilled, panzotti of dandelion w/ walnut sauce - $27); Kurobuta Pork Chop (double, very special with kabocha squash flan & black currants - $30); Flank Steak (100% Wagyu with spaghetti aglio olio - $26); Sirloin (14-ounce prime, simply grilled or with bone marrow & parsley salad - $42); Rib Eye Steak (w/ Towne’s preserved cherry peppers & confit spring garlic - $39); and, Veal Cutlet Schnitzel (crisped with soft egg & rapini greens - $29).

For “sides,” Towne Stove and Spirits will now dish out the following: Fired Rice (Yangzhou, fresh peas & fresh rock shrimp - $10); Asparagus (skillet cooked with chile flakes & parmesan shards - $12); Simple Spinach Stir-Fry (Japanese aemono with sesame salad - $7); and, Ricotta Gnocchi (handmade with yellow tomato Bolognese - $12).

2) Spice things up on Thursday, May 5th, at Tryst, in Arlington. In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, Tryst is offering guests a free shrimp taco with the purchase of a “Tryst-a-rita,” Tryst’s house margarita. From 5pm-10pm,  guests will receive one of Executive Chef Paul Turano’s famed shrimp tacos for free when they order a margarita ($10) in the bar & lounge area or dining room. No food or cocktail substitutions. Limited to one shrimp taco per cocktail order.

3) On May 3rd, Legal Sea Foods in Park Square will celebrate Mother’s Day a bit early with a “Legal Holiday.”  Guests will enjoy four oyster-laced dishes paired with oyster-friendly wines. The menu will be presented as follows:

First Course
Raw Oysters on the Half Shell with Traditional Accompaniments
Paired with Domaine Pepiere “Clos des Briords” Muscadet, Loire Valley, 2009
Second Course
Oyster Stew with Cream, Leeks, Celery, and Fresh Herbs
Paired with Poema Brut Cava, Penedes, NV
Third Course
Fried Oysters with Brie, Spinach Salad, and Bacon Vinaigrette
Paired with Casa Marin “Les Cipreses” Sauvignon Blanc, San Antonio Valley, 2008
Fourth Course
Baked Tuscan Oysters with Pinenuts, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Pecorino Romano
Paired with Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina, Campania, 2009

WHEN: Tuesday, May 3rd at 6:30pm
COST: $35 per session (includes tax & gratuity)
Reservations required by calling: 617-530-9392. For online reservations, visit:

4) This Mother’s Day, The Back Bay Hotel is inviting everyone to toast the leading lady in their life with Stanhope Grille’s a breakfast buffet in the early part of the day. There will be an assortment of fresh fruit, cereals, fresh baked pastries and breads, eggs Benedict, omelets, home fries, bacon and sausage. During brunch hours, Stanhope Grille will serve a la carte specials including, but not limited to, the following: Irish Oatmeal Crème Brulee ($8); Flatbread Pizza ($11); Brioche French Toast ($14); Buttermilk Pancakes ($14); House Smoked Salmon ($15); The Grille Burger ($13); Florentine Omelet ($16); Steak & Eggs ($17); All American Breakfast ($17); and, Irish Breakfast ($19).

The Breakfast Buffet will run from 7am-2pm, and costs $23 per person.
(Please note that this entry was changed as I received some new info on their Mother's Day plans)

5) Raise a glass to Mom this Mother’s Day at the Wine ConneXtion located in North Andover, at a complimentary wine, mimosa and pastry tasting on Saturday, May 7, from 12pm-5pm. The Wine ConneXtion is collaborating with artisanal bake shop A & J King, located in Salem, and Ocean Spray®, as they pair some of A & J King’s freshly-made specialties, like chocolate bouchon, caramel bread pudding and seasonal tarts with champagnes and wines the Wine ConneXtion has to offer. In an effort to make sure that all moms have the day they deserve the Wine ConneXtion will be accepting donations which will benefit the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

Make your Mother’s Day even more special using A & J King’s special Artisan Pancake recipe.

A&J King Artisan Pancakes
Makes 8-10 pancakes

1.5 cups milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1. Heat griddle or large pan to medium high.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
3. In a larger bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Stir the dry into the wet, using a whisk, until just barely smooth. Add more milk if necessary to achieve desired consistency.
4. Butter or grease the griddle and scoop your pancakes, making sure that they do not spread into each other. When the pancakes are golden on the bottom and the small bubbles rising to the surface to not fill back in when popped, carefully flip. Serve immediately, or reserve in a warmed oven until all are cooked.

6) Lolita will soon be offering Round Two, a Saturday brunch, "that keeps the party going from the night before."  Saturdays, beginning May 14, from 10am-4pm, you can enjoy specials on champagne bottle service and signature drinks (both boozy and non-alcoholic) and a menu of sweet and savory breakfast dishes.

Highlights from the Mexican-inspired brunch include:

“Burracho” (Drunk) Breakfast
Slow cooked beef brisket in red chili broth with poached eggs and avocado, served with a cheese quesadilla
The Shameful Benedict
Toasted cornbread, spicy chorizo sausage and poached eggs topped with chili con queso, served with red chili home fries
Fresh Fruit Ceviche
Watermelon, pineapple, mango, melon, berries and mint topped with hibiscus lime granita
Cinnamon Bun French Toast
A giant house made cinnamon roll soaked in Mexican vanilla custard and served with real maple syrup and ‘bun drizzle’
Red Velvet Pancakes Gigante
‘Cream cheese frosting’ syrup and real maple syrup

And don’t forget the drinks:
Aqua Frescas
Signature non-alcoholic cocktails of fresh fruits and juices, expertly iced
Triple X MilkshakeCreamy Mexican cinnamon-almond milkshake blended with rum
Specials on bottle service from Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot and Moet Imperial

Lolita will also serve traditional Sunday brunch (same menu; no champagne service) beginning May 15, from 10am-4pm

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