Thursday, June 23, 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) On Sunday, July 17th, at 6:30PM, Chef Paul Turano of Tryst Restaurant in Arlington, is collaborating with New England’s very own Root Beer company, Tower Root Beer, to create an exclusive Root Beer Dinner, celebrating the return of Tower’s 97-year-old classic soda recipe after a 30-year hiatus.

Founded in Somerville, MA, in 1914, Tower Root Beer evolved from a tonic company into a specialized Root Beer company. During the Prohibition of the 1920’s when Root Beer became the substitute for beer that was no longer available, their pharmacist- perfected recipe contributed to Tower’s early success and allowed them to withstand the stock market crash of 1929, even when the bank that held their working capital could not.
Spanning New England, Tower Root Beer grew into a well-known business before an unsuccessful merger forced them off the market.. For the past 30 years, Tower’s recipe has sat under lock and key, before a third generation of the family decided to reestablish the family business after finding their grandfather's handwritten recipe.

Finally back, Tryst Restaurant is celebrating the return  with a classic, three course, $29 prix fixe dinner, $40 with optional cocktail pairings, by Chef Paul Turano featuring Root Beer inspired dishes.  Tryst will also feature innovative cocktails inspired by the sweet treat.  Reservations are required and can be made by calling Tryst at 781-7641-2227.


First Course
Licorice and sassafras rubbed pastrami, root beer pickle & toast points
Second Course
Tower Root beer & stout braised beef short ribs
Third Course
Old fashioned root beer float with a banana cream filled Twinkie

Paired Cocktails
Tower of Manhattan
Sassafras infused Bourbon with a root beer reduction and orange bitters
Dark and Cloudy
Goslings Black Seal with Ginger Beer and Root Beer
Spiked Float
Root Beer float with Tuaca and Vanilla vodka

2) The concept of purposefully eating in complete pitch-black dark originated with Jorge Spielmann, a blind clergyman from Zurich. When guests ate dinner at the Spielmann house some would wear blindfolds during their meal to show solidarity with their host and to better understand his world. What Spielmann’s sighted guests found was that the blindfolds heightened their sense of taste and smell and made their dining experience more enjoyable. This unique dining concept opened as a restaurant in Switzerland called Blindekuh (Blind Cow) and has expanded to restaurants in Paris, Moscow, Berlin, Prague, Hong Kong and more recently in New York and California.

The concept was brought to Greater Boston by founder David Goldstein, producer of Mystery Café, creator of the Boston Chocolate Tours and founder of the award winning team building company, TeamBonding.  For the next Dining in the Dark Dinner David Goldstein has partnered with Chef Tony Bettencourt and his restaurant 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Salem. On Sunday, July 10th, at 7:30pm, 62 Restaurant will take blindfolded guests on a journey through the tastes and smells of Italy.

Guests will begin their three-course journey by being transplanted to a bacari (Venetian pub) where their first course will be traditional cicchetti (hors d'oeuvres) highlighting the key components of Venetian cuisine which is in-season fish, seafood and regional vegetables. Guests will taste the salt air and be guided by their narrator and tour guide.  Next stop on the trip will be a rustic farm and vineyard in Tuscany where guests will smell burning wood and the waft of grapes from the vineyard paired with the sounds of local music.  Finally, guests will end up in the capital city of Rome where they will conclude their journey at a bustling city cafe.

Each course will involve only the heightened senses of taste, smell, touch and sound; and will be a journey not to miss as narrators and musicians guide diners through each region. As menus cannot be revealed until the night of the event, dietary restrictions or allergies should be mentioned when calling the restaurant to make reservations. The cost of the dinner is $75 per person and includes 3 courses and all N/A beverages. An additional/optional wine pairing is available for $15 or guests may have their drinks cocktailed.

For reservations please call the restaurant at 978-744-0062.

3) At Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, guests can enjoy a three-course Prime Rib Dinner at a special price every Sunday evening in July and August (July 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31; August 7, 14, 21, and 28).

MENU: The Sunday Prime Rib Dinner is a 3-course meal featuring:
· 12 ounces of succulent Prime Rib, served with a trio of sauces
· Choice of The Wedge, Fleming’s or Caesar salads
· Choice of one side dish
· Choice of dessert

COST: $29.95 per guest

4) On June 27th, Legal Sea Foods in Park Square will host the Alsace Wine Dinner, part of their ongoing celebration of the region located in northeastern France that boasts the most natural and authentic grape flavors in wines. Hosted by Legal Sea Foods’ Vice President of Beverage Operations and Master of Wine, Sandy Block, this special four-plus-course dinner will pair signature cuisine with brilliantly perfumed French wines.
The menu will be presented as follows:

A Variety of Seasonal Tastes
Lucien Albrecht Blanc de Blancs Crémant d’Alsace Brut NV
Spring Greens Salad (asparagus and egg, with warm ramp and slab bacon dressing)
Hugel Gentil 2009
Willy Gisselbrecht Pinot Blanc 2009
Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve 2007
Smoked Salmon Tartare (fried capers with dark rye, preserved lemon mustard sauce)
Domaine Weinbach Sylvaner Reserve 2009
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht “Gueberschwihr” Riesling 2007
Grilled Trout and Juniper-Scented “Choucroute Garnie” (bacon wrapped potatoes and whole grain mustard)
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht “Clos Windsbuhl” Riesling 2006
Warm Apricot Croustade with Mascarpone Ice Cream
Rolly Gassmann Gewurztraminer 2004

COST: $75 per person (excludes tax and gratuity)
Reservation required by calling: 617-530-9397, or visiting:

5) The 14th annual Taste of Allston will be held Saturday, June 25, from 12pm-3pm, at the Murr Center at the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston and features food from an international array of Allston Village eateries, samples of several international and domestic beers and wine, a silent auction and live music.

Allston Main Streets and President Marc Kadish are excited to announce that Allston’s vibrant dinning scene will be coming together to show off their amazing restaurant diversity and help support the community. The neighborhood’s cuisine features popular food from around the world, including tastes from China, Korea, Brazil, Russia, Italy, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Colombia, France, Thailand, India… and of course good old U.S.A. tried and true favorites.

Rain or Shine at the Murr Center at the Harvard Athletic Complex, 65 North Harvard Street, in Allston. Ample parking is available at the site, which also has door-to-door service via MBTA buses #66 and 86.

To benefit the vibrant Allston community! All proceeds will benefit Allston Village Main Streets, a community-based public-private partnership working to revitalize the Allston commercial district.

Tickets are $15 per person in advance, and $20 at the door, $10 for kids under 12. Tickets are available on-line at

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