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) This July, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro turns 18 and are celebrating the occasion with gifts for all our guests. First, they are giving away Lettuce Wraps to their Facebook Fans. Fans (new & current) can click on the FREE LETTUCE WRAP tab and print an offer for a free* order of Lettuce Wraps. In addition, dine-in guests will receive 1/3 off any bottle of wine** on Mondays and Tuesdays in July. The Facebook Lettuce Wrap offer is available and valid from July 6 – July 31. The wine promotion is valid on Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the month of July.
*Offer valid for one complimentary order of Lettuce Wraps with any food or drink purchase between July 6, 2011 – July 31, 2011. Valid only at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro locations in the continental U.S. Limit one order of complimentary Lettuce Wraps per table. Cannot be combined with any other offer or discount, including Warrior Card®. Printed offer is one-time use only and must be relinquished upon use. Tax and gratuity not included. No cash value. Reproductions invalid. Void where prohibited.
**Wine promotion valid Mondays and Tuesdays during the month of July at participating P.F. Chang’s locations in the United States. Offer not valid in GA (Alpharetta and Buford locations), HI, MA, MN, OK, PA, SC, UT and WA. Offer is subject to change to comply with changes to local or state liquor laws. Offer may not be combined with any other discounts or offers, including the Warrior® Card discount. Offer is dine-in only. While supplies last. Void where prohibited.
2) As a large supporters of local farms in the area, and in an effort to provide a great dining experience for the community, the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro is once again offering their popular “Local for the Locals Market Menu,” a special annual prix-fixe menu built around fresh, in-season and local fare. The evolving menu offers diners the choice of a two-course menu for $25 or a three-course menu for $32. The early evening menu is available from 5:30PM to 6:30PM from Sunday-Thursday beginning Sunday, June 26, and will be offered through the summer season in addition to the regular menu. While the menu will always be influx based on availability and local sourcing, please find an example of the menu below. Reservations are recommended by calling the Beacon Hill Bistro at 617-723-7575.
Local for the Locals Prix Fixe Market Menu
Round the Bend Farms Pork Belly (Fava Beans, Green Tomato Jam, Pea Greens)
Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi (Beet Greens, Heirloom Radish, Kohlrabi)
Native Strawberry Tart (Cornmeal, Sweet Cream)
3) For the summer, Towne Stove and Spirits has introduced new dinner and bar menus, as created by Culinary Director Lydia Shire and Executive Chef Mario Capone.
For “starters,” Towne offers the following new options: Boston Clam Chowder (steamed to order - $10); Buttermilk Fried Ipswich Clams (with summer’s spice cucumber pickle – half order $21; large order $28); Deviled Crab (with a shot of chilled watermelon gazpacho - $16); Lamb Kofte Kebab (flame grilled with sumac spice, pomegranate & soft herb salad - $17); Lobster Wood Grilled Pizza (with corn and honeyed ricotta - $26); and, Rare Beef Salad (with radish & rocket salsa verde - $15).
Moving onto the “ocean + wood fired” section of the menu, check out: Salmon (crisp with tart key lime & Okinawa yam - $31); Cod Bullet (with crackling pork belly and cockle stew of lime leaf and lemon grass - $34); and, Native New Shell Lobsters (simply steamed with corn flan and bevy of summer beans – market). There are also new “carnivore + wood fired” options, including: Grilled Duck (and rotisserie pineapple with taro and ginger vinaigrette - $32); Kurobuta Pork Chop (on potato ‘air’ with celeriac salad and sweet roasted summer figs - $32); and, Filet Mignon (grilled over aromatic rosemary with sauté of foie gras, spiced plum jelly and polenta sticks - $40).
On the bar menu, you'll find: Grilled Cheese (cheddar and ‘moliterno al tartufo’ with fig preserve and truffled chips - $12); Lobster Popovers (with a shot of Jack Daniels honey Tennessee whiskey - $14); Super Chilled Welfleet Oysters (on the half-shell with white cocktail sauce - $18); Duo of Hamachi Crudo + Tuna Tartare (with Hong Kong vinaigrette - $18); and, Thin Panko Fried Pork Chop Sandwich (on a white lily biscuit with hot peppers - $12).
4) A brief restaurant review: The other night I checked out, for the first time, Dube's, a seafood restaurant in Salem. Dube's has been around for many years, and in some circles has a reputation for some of the best fried seafood on the North Shore. It is a small hole-in-the-wall, with a couple of dining areas and a medium-sized bar. The menu has plenty of choices, especially seafood, and there were also about a dozen menu specials that night. I selected a Fried Combination plate, with fried clams, fried shrimp, and fried scallops, accompanied by French fries and cole slaw. The fried seafood was good, but certainly not the best, and the dish contained far more clams than shrimp or scallops. The plate was plentiful with food and reasonably priced. I enjoyed my meal, and would return here, but if I was seeking the best fried clams in the area, I would go elsewhere.