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) Laissez les bons temps rouler!" is a Cajun expression meaning "Let the good times roll!" It strongly conveys the "joie de vivre" ("joy of living") attitude of The Beehive’s 5th Annual Mardi Gras celebration being held on Tuesday, February 21, from 5pm-2am. Diners and party goers can look forward to the groovin’ gumbo sounds of Danny Heath and Wali Ali.
Further indulge in Chef Rebecca Newell's Cajun inspired à la carte specials featuring authentic NOLA-style dishes and finish your meal off with a big old Hurricane. Regular menu served in addition to all special items. Reservations recommended so called 617-423-0069.
2) To celebrate the restaurant’s milestone anniversary and continued innovation, Clio reopens after renovations with a newly expanded bar area, extensive bar menu and a cocktail class series. The renovations from original designer Peter Niemitz also extend to Uni, where the Japanese-inspired sashimi bar will add late-night ramen and authentic Asian street food items to the menu, as well as begin an experimental sashimi night led by Ken Oringer himself.
Clio Bar Menu: In addition to the expanded bar area that celebrates Todd Maul’s cocktail program and Clio’s more relaxed atmosphere, Ken Oringer presents a new bar menu of light bites for the casual diner looking for a quick snack or meal to accompany their cocktail. A sampling of the new menu includes:
· Beets with Gillfeather Turnip, Malt, Charred Onion
· Mai Po Tofu Banh Mi with Jalapeno, Cucumber, Nuoc Chan
· Duck Drummettes with XO Sauce, Cocoa Pimente
· Clio Bar Nuts with Caramel, Maldon Salt, Togarashi
· Crispy Onion Strings with Espellette Dressing
· Bone Marrow with Pickled Ramps, Parsley, Kumquats, Capers
· Truffle “Pot Pie” with a Soft Poached Egg
Clio Cocktail Classes: As a leader in the molecular cocktail movement, Todd Maul smokes glassware, uses ice as a building-block garnish, creates citrus paint out of lime sediment and uses a rotational evaporator to break down spirits. Though a RotoVap and a blowtorch may not be typical home bar tools, there is much the home cocktail enthusiast can learn from Maul during “Todd Maul Teaches…,” a five-class series for the serious cocktail student. Each Saturday beginning March 24, Maul leads a two-hour class on one important bartending skill or element.
· March 24: “Introduction to Spirits & Stocking the Home Bar”
How to prepare and run a home bar
· March 31: “Syrups & Flavor Profiles”
How to create sugar syrups, infusions and extracts
· April 7: “Fire & Ice”
How to create flaming cocktails and different ice methods and garnishes
· April 14: “Advanced Bartending”
A culmination of the first three weeks
· April 21: “Advanced Bartending”
An introduction to the unique bar program at Clio
The five-class series is $300/person, which includes tastings and a weekly parting gift that relates to the day’s lesson. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot. Classes are limited to 20 people; participants must be 21 years of age.
Clio Cocktail Club: Armed with more than 90 creations, the cocktail list at Clio reads like a book and is divided into traditional categories like Aperitifs, Gin, Whiskey & Cognac, Tiki Drinks & Daiquiris and non-traditional categories such as Mad Scientist’s Lab and We’re Gett’n the Band Back Together. Todd Maul invites adventurous imbibers to join the Clio Cocktail Club by trying every drink on the new Clio cocktail menu when the restaurant reopens after renovations. People who take on the challenge can keep track of their endeavors with their own personal copy of the new cocktail list, earning Maul’s signature each time a drink is knocked off the list. Members of the Club who complete the challenge are awarded with a private cocktail class with Maul and an overnight at The Eliot Hotel.
Uni Underground: When Uni first opened in 2002, Oringer looked to the sashimi bar as a place to blow off steam, experiment with unusual ingredients and create dishes off-the-cuff into the early morning hours. Ten years later, the experimentation and innovation continue at Uni Underground, a monthly event where Oringer returns to the newly-designed sashimi bar to create a special chef’s whim menu offered exclusively to those seated at the bar. Oringer’s appearance will be announced via Twitter (@KenOringer, @ClioBoston, @UniSashimi) only a few days prior, so the highly-covetable bar spots will require reservations. The inaugural Uni Underground event will be announced in late February.
Uni Late-Night Ramen: Ken Oringer answers the city’s call for good ramen with a late-night menu dedicated to the popular Asian noodle dish. The ramen offerings will change nightly according to Ken’s whim and will feature handmade noodles. The initial menu will include:
· Umami Ramen a rich dish of barbecued unagi, daikon, scallion, enoki and nori, topped with a two-hour egg
· Traditional Ramen an authentic dashi/chicken broth with pork, miso, grated ginger, daikon, scallion, enoki ad nori, topped with a two-hour egg
Thursday – Saturday beginning February 9, from 11 PM – 2 AM
Street Food at Uni: Inspired by his travels to Asia and the region’s vibrant produce markets and street carts, Oringer expands Uni’s menu upon reopening with a variety of authentic street food items including:
· Japanese Fried Chicken with Kimchee and Ginger-Mustard
· Pork Belly Steam Bun with Chili Aioli, Tamarind, Pickles
· Crispy Yuba Buns with Smoked Duck
· Tempura Of Seasonal Vegetables with Soy Dashi, Kosho Aioli
3) Are you a Cabernet Sauvignon fan? Then you should come to the Wine Connextion's Third Annual “Battle of the Big Cabs,” a complimentary in-store wine tasting featuring high-end, luxury wines that are rarely uncorked. The event will be held on Saturday, February 18, from 12pm-5pm, and you will be able to taste Cabernets from producers such as Heitz Cellars, Silver Oaks and Darioush to name a few while munching on complimentary cuisine from Sandrino’s Catering located in North Andover. All of the featured wines will be available for a special price throughout the day.
4) On Thursday, February 23, at 6:30pm, Legal Sea Foods in Park Square will host a Taittinger Champagne dinner with Marybeth Bentwood, Kobrand Wine & Spirits’ Director of Public Relations. This five-course affair will be presented as follows in the restaurant's 10,000 bottle wine cellar:
Lobster Medallion Crostini, Champagne Chive Aioli
Oysters on the Half Shell, Lime Granite
Alaskan King Crab Phyllo Tartlets, Yuzu Crème Fraîche
Paired with NV Taittinger “Prélude” Grands Crus Brut
Seared Diver Scallops with Belgian Endive, Radicchio, Frisée Salad, Marcona Almonds & Champagne Saffron Vinaigrette
Paired with NV Taittinger “La Française” Brut
Lemon Butter Poached Salmon with Potatoes Au Gratin, Caramelized Fennel, Dill Crème Fraîche
Paired with NV Taittinger “Prestige” Rosé Brut
Vanilla Butter Lobster “Pot Pie” with Lobster Cream, Crispy Phyllo
Paired with 2000 Taittinger “Comtes de Champagne” Blanc de Blancs Brut
McIntosh Apple Pudding with Cinnamon Mascarpone Cheese
Paired with NV Taittinger “Nocturne” Sec
COST: $125 per person (excludes tax and gratuity)
Reservations required by calling: 617-530-9397