Thursday, December 22, 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)  Executive Chef Brian Poe, of Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake,  is debuting nine new savory snacks as well as a “Midnight Special” each evening for late night dining. Designed with a super-spicy kick, this Special will change nightly.

Chips & Dip ($8)
Deep fried prosciutto, turkey and chicken skins, candied pork belly, homemade chive garlic and onion seasoned Yukon gold chips, 5 Spoke Creamery Chive Fondue
Chipotle Wings ($9)
Smoked jalapeno rubbed, poblano and blue cheese sauce
Grilled Bacon, Steak & Cheese Bites ($10)
Bacon wrapped Newport steak, white cheddar, homemade jalapeno A1
Albondigas ($8)
Three signature meatballs in chipotle broth
Grilled Pizza ($13)
Artichoke and lime alfredo, mozzarella, pepperoni, seasonal mushrooms, chervil
Harvey WineBurger ($11)
Flat patty steamed on the grilled with red wine, caramelized chile spike onions, Texas toast, American cheese, chive and jalapeno mayo
Breakfast Quesadilla ($8)
Cilantro butter fried egg, ham, Velveeta, Swiss and American cheese, hash browns, salsa, sour cream, HellGrande sauce
Sobriety Fries ($6)
Cilantro curried crushed red pepper fries, sriracha, ketchup, fresh squeezed lime
Poe Nachos ($12.75)
Salsa, signature cheese blend, refried beans, lettuce
(available plain, chicken or steak)

WHEN: Sunday – Wednesday: 10:00pm – 1:30am; Thursday – Saturday: 11:30pm – 1:30am

2)  The Mohegan Sun WineFest 2012 will be held from Friday, January 27 to Sunday, January 29, 2012 at the Mohegan Sun Casino. This is a large and diverse wine tasting event and one I highly recommend. I attended the event last year and it was well run, with plenty of excellent wines and foods. Plus, you get the chance to meet some culinary celebrities.

The events include:

Celebrity Chef Dine Around
On Saturday evening, January 28th, Celebrity Chef Dine Around will feature some of the most prominent names in the industry. Food and wine enthusiasts will be served signature dishes by celebrity chefs, paired with wines from the nation’s top winemakers from 8pm-11pm in the Uncas Ballroom. The evening also includes a champagne reception presented by Möet & Chandon to benefit Channel 3 Kids Camp. Scott Haney and other Channel 3 personalities will also be in attendance in support of the camp. Signature dishes will be served by a variety of celebrity chefs and winemakers themselves including Bobby Flay, Ben Ford, Todd English, Jasper White, Govind Armstrong, Donatella Arpaia, Kate MacMurray, Kim Canteenwalla, Betty Fraser, Michael Ginor, Ihsan Gurdal, Andy Husbands, Robert Irvine, Emily Luchetti, Elizabeth Falkner, Mary Ann Esposito, Marc Forgione, Larry Forgione, Bryan Forgione, Daisy Martinez, Douglas Rodriguez, Jason Santos and Jacques Torres.
Tickets for this culinary extravaganza are $175.00 per person.

Elite Cru Tasting
Wine lovers can get up-close-and-personal with some of the “best of the best” vintages from all over the world at the Elite Cru Tasting from 3pm-5pm on Saturday, January 28th in The Cabaret Theatre. This event, in its third year, will offer select vintages from premium wineries and producers. The tasting will also feature oysters, shrimp and gourmet cheeses with guests having the chance to talk one-on-one with winemakers for the duration of the affair. Tickets for this one-of-a-kind opportunity are $200.00 per person which includes admission to the Saturday Grand Tasting and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Channel 3 Kids Camp.

Bourbon Tasting
Sun WineFest is excited to bring back its Bourbon Tasting presented by Beam Global Spirits & Wine from 6pm-9pm at Leffingwells Martini Bar on Friday, January 27th. The 3-hour tasting will give inquiring minds an opportunity to mingle and enjoy the insight of Bernie Lubbers, Whiskey Professor for Beam Global Spirits and Wine and author of Bourbon Whiskey Our Native Spirit. Bernie was named “Global Whiskey Ambassador of the Year, 2009” by Whisky Magazine at Whisky Live! in London. Taste the artisan attention of 100′s of years of tradition through Plan B’s unique bourbon inspired menu paired with a variety of fine bourbons including Maker’s Mark, Booker’s, Knob Creek and Jim Beam. Savor them straight or enlist the help of Plan B’s mixologists to create a crafted bourbon cocktail.

Dedicated space will also be provided for a premium cigar sampling hosted by AVO Cigars—Cigars in Perfect Harmony. AVO Cigars bear the name of famed pianist and legendary cigar connoisseur Avo Uvezian. After a successful career as a Jazz pianist Avo Uvezian toured the Caribbean in search of the finest tobaccos and the best factory for making his cigars. In 1982 he found both in the Dominican Republic. Today AVO Cigars are enjoyed by aficionados all over the world and Avo’s lifelong quest for perfect harmony has brought him great success in not one, but two careers – music and premium cigars. Tickets are $90.00 per person with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Channel 3 Kids Camp.

Bubbles & Bon Bons
Topping off Sun WineFest’s blockbuster weekend is the popular Bubbles & Bon Bons event in The Cabaret Theatre from 6pm-9pm on Sunday, January 29th. Guests will sample high-end champagnes, chocolates and cheeses inside The Cabaret Theatre featuring Jacques Torres, one of the most beloved and highly regarded pastry chefs and chocolatiers in the world. Jacques will be joined by Emily Luchetti, recognized around the world for her award-winning sweet creations and the author of five cookbooks, Elizabeth Falkner, owner and Chef of two Michelin recommended restaurants in San Francisco and Executive Pastry Chef Lynn Mansel from Mohegan Sun. This event will appeal to all of your senses through decadent desserts, luxurious champagne, delightful entertainment and an opportunity to mingle and party with fantastic chefs in an intimate setting – you won’t want to miss how we bring the Sun WineFest 2012 to a close! Tickets for this sumptuous event are $95.00 per person.

WineFest Grape Stomp
Things will get a little messy as teams try to out-run, jump and stomp the competition during the 3rd Annual Mohegan Sun WineFest Grape Stomp to benefit the American Diabetes Association. The event will begin on January 28th at 4:15pm on the main stage in the Uncas Ballroom during the Grand Tasting. Sixteen teams will bare their feet and have three minutes to stomp as much grape juice as they can out of a vat of grapes. The team application for entry can be found at

First place will win $1,500, an overnight stay at Mohegan Sun and a complimentary dinner for two at Todd English’s Tuscany. Second place will take home $1,000 and third will receive $500.00. The top three teams will also win well-deserved pedicures from Elemis Spa. The deadline to enter the competition is January 5, 2012.

Oyster Open
Sun WineFest brings back the fan-favorite 8th Annual Mohegan Sun Oyster Open presented by Bud Light Lime on January 29th at 4:15pm. Professional shuckers from the best restaurants, raw bars and shellfish and seafood companies on the Eastern Seaboard will compete for a first place prize of $3,500 cash and the championship belt.

Second and third place winners will receive trophy plaques and will take home $1,000 and $500.00, respectively. To enter, potential participants can download the application at The deadline for Oyster Open registration is January 4, 2012.

Grand Tasting:
The weekend’s main event, the Grand Tasting takes place from 12pm-5pm on Saturday, January 28th and Sunday, January 29th in the Convention Center at Mohegan Sun. Over 1,000 wines, spirits and beers will be on-hand for tasting as well as sample dishes from some of the area’s finest restaurants.  There will be a nominal charge for the sampling of signature dishes – a portion of the proceeds benefits Channel 3 Kids Camp. Tickets for this weekend attraction are $70.00 for a one-day pass and $120.00 for a weekend pass.

Tickets for the Grand Tasting, Elite Cru Tasting, Celebrity Chef Dine Around, Bourbon Tasting and Bubbles & Bon Bons may be purchased online at,, over the phone at 1-800-745-3000 or in person at Mohegan Sun’s Box Office.

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