Thursday, June 30, 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 Tuesday, June 28, at 6:30pm, Legal Sea Foods will host their next Legal Holiday: Fourth of July. Guest will enjoy champagne and sparkling appetizers in this “Pop Goes the 4th” celebration in Park Square’s 10,000 bottle wine cellar. To help capture the spirit of Independence Day, a trio of sips and bites will be served as follows:

Crispy Fried Shrimp Empanada (daikon radish, jalapeno, cilantro, corn, lime juice, mango-ginger chili sauce)
Paired with Mini Ginger Snap Cocktail
Taco Trio (mahi mahi, carnitas, crab)
Paired with Lucien Albrecht Blanc de Blancs Cremant d’Alsace, NV
Strawberry Short Cake (marinated strawberries, vanilla whipped cream)
Paired with Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Aqui, Piedmont, 2008
COST: $35 per session (includes tax & gratuity)
Reservations required by calling: 617-530-9392 or make them online here.

2) The Boston area’s only free Bastille Day celebration takes place in the heart of Harvard Square on Sunday, July 17 from 3 to 10 PM.

Revelers can expect high end street food ala “cart” from Sandrine’s and other Harvard Square restaurants like Chez Henri, a traditional waiter’s race, local artisans, and an international beer garden. After dark, there will be dancing in the streets under a canopy of twinkling lights, to French techno-music.

Sandrine's Bistro chef-owner Raymond Ost, who hails from Strasbourg, France, presides over his favorite French fete by offering grilled Alsatian sausages outdoors on the grill, cooling cocktails like The Sparkling Pear in his al fresco lounge, and a “revolutionary” three-course $25 prix fixe menu served on July 14 and 17.

Chef Ost brings Alsatian authenticity to this event, which draws Francophiles from across New England and as far as Montreal. While our intent is to celebrate the storming of the Bastille, Holyoke Street often finds itself awash in international flavor. We look forward to welcoming folks of all ages, French or not, to join us at this wonderful summer street festival!” says Denise Jillson, Executive Director of the Harvard Square Business Association.

** NOTE: Holyoke Street will be closed to motor vehicle traffic during those hours.

3) Two brothers behind All Star Sandwich Bar in Inman Square will expand their brand with the introduction of All Star Pizza Bar, opening this fall in a small space caddy-corner from their sandwich shop.  It’s a return to the past for chef Johnny Diamantopoulos and his older sibling, Kosta. Their parents operated a successful pizza parlor in Lynn for more than 35 years. The difference will be a streamlined list of only about a dozen ingredients that are always fresh and local, like mushrooms, cheeses and greens. Some of their pizzas will be more unique, like the Mojito Drizzled Smoked Peach & Prosciutto Pizza, the Atomic Meatloaf Meltdown Pizza, and the Deconstructed Chile Relleno Pizza.

Prices will range from $10 to $20 for a standard-sized pie. Geared primarily towards takeout, the All Star Pizza Bar will have seating for about 15, and will also serve local microbrews, sangria, entrée salads and a few side dishes.

4)  The Beehive will celebrate their 4th Annual Bastille Day Celebration on July 14, from 5pm-2am.  The doors will open at 5pm with cocktails and champagne. Dinner service will begin at 5:30PM and continue until 9pm featuring both The Beehive’s regular menu and several specials with French flair such as steak frites, sole meuniere and salad nicoise. Enjoy the first act of the evening with live Gypsy Jazz by the French group “The Chicken Thieves” from 6:30PM-8:30PM.
From 9pm-2am, The Beehive will transform for mature adult oriented dancing St. Tropez-style with DJ Kamal spinning French beats as the kitchen closes for regular dinner service and becomes a large French street food cart serving traditional baguette sandwiches with assorted fillings such as ham, brie, pate and merguez sausage.

Reservations are highly recommended for dinner service between 5:30pm-9pm. Call 617.423.0069 or go to for more info.

5) As recently posted, the Farm Hill Farmer's Market in Stoneham is now open on Tuesdays, from 2pm-6pm. There has been some good news since its opening.  First, this week the Still River Winery was granted a license by the town to sell their apple ice wine at the market. This is a very positive development, and you might even see their apple ice wine at next week's market. I love their product and think many others will enjoy it as well. So stop by their booth and taste their Apfel Eis, their apple ice wine. I suggest you try it with some cheese too!

A new vendor is now at the market, John Crow Farm, which sells grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, including beef, poultry and pork. The farm is based in Groton, and is based on more humane animal raising practices. I have not tasted any of their products yet, but I certainly respect their philosophy and I do enjoy grass-fed beef. You may feel their products are somewhat pricey, and they probably are compared to ordinary, factory farm meats. But, the added quality you will likely get from the John Crow products is worth the added cost. Plus, you get the satisfaction of eating meat that is more humanely raised. So give them a try.

Another new vendor is the Vermont Gourmet Candy Dish, which sells a line of jellies, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, horseradish and more. You can taste all of the products and I really liked the taste of their caramel sauce. The wine jelly was also interesting as well as more unusual apple horseradish jelly. These too would be a nice accompaniement to cheese.

6) Basho Japanese Brasserie is bringing back their sushi making classes. Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon starting July 9, at 2pm, Basho’s talented sushi chefs will teach the fundamentals of rolling your own maki or hand rolls.     

COST: $35 for class plus dessert or $45 for class plus sake flight

Please call (617) 262-1338 for more details or to register

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