Thursday, March 29, 2012

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)  "Let’s face it, you think China is a place shrouded in mystery and you want to know more! What’s the deal with the “year of the animal” thing? How does feng shui actually work? What is the difference between Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism and how can it be applied to your everyday life?"

Learn all you ever wanted to know about these mysterious, or not so mysterious, concepts, ideas and practices at China Blossom’s new “Reality Check: China Style!” lecture series sponsored by the Asian Boston Media Group. The series launches on Thursday, April 26, and continues on the last Thursday of each month through June. Choose some dishes from the China Blossom menu and enjoy a free lecture about topics such as feng shui, Chinese astrology and modern Buddhist practices.

Thursday, April 26, from 6:30pm-7:30pm
Feng Shui Rudiments: Guest speaker Peg Donahue, Co-Founder of The Center of Feng Shui and Intuitive Arts, will discuss the fundamentals of feng shui and its meaning in Chinese culture. Donahue has advanced training and experience in Bau-Biologie, feng shui, mind-body energy techniques, manifestation and quantum physics. She is the founder of Feng Shui Connections, Co-Founder of Living Energy LLC and is also the co-author of Dorm Room Feng Shui. Donahue received her MBA from Boston University and her BA from Georgetown University.

Thursday, May 31, from 6:30pm-7:30pm
Chinese Astrology: Guest speaker and certified feng shui practitioner, Katina Lemay, will discuss the ins and outs of Chinese Astrology, as well as the basics of the well-known “Four Pillars” concept. Lemay combines her intuition with her training in black sect, compass and form feng shui, earth energies and four pillars astrology to help individuals improve targeted aspects of their lives. She is a certified home stager and Kundalini Reiki Master. She is the founder of The New England School of Feng Shui and is a Red Ribbon member with the International Feng Shui Guild.

Thursday, June 28,  from 6:30pm-7:30pm
Modern Chinese Ideologies and Daily Life: Taoism vs. Buddhism vs. Confucianism: The Boston Buddha, Andy Kelley, will engage guests in a 101 comparison of modern Chinese religious beliefs and then engage attendees in a thought provoking discourse on how to be more mindful in daily life. He founded The Boston Buddha to teach individuals to be more productive in their careers and happier in their lives by incorporating meditation into their busy schedules. Kelly graduated from the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School and is a certified instructor of Primordial Sound Meditation for The Chopra Center.

Cost: Enjoy a complimentary lecture with dinner from China Blossom’s menu.
Reservations are necessary as lectures are held in private dining room. Please call 978-682-2242 for more information or to make your reservation.

2)  Legal Sea Foods is “Raising the Bar” once again by debuting their new spring and summer cocktail list. New to the “Martini” list, Legal Sea Foods will now begin pouring the Double Cross Truffle Martini (pure, clean Slovakian Double Cross vodka, truffle & blue cheese olive - $12.95) and the “Perfect” Ten Martini (Tanqueray 10, aromatized wines, lemon twist - $10.95).

For “House Specialties,” sangria options ($9.95 each) now come threefold: Yumberry Sangria (Thatcher’s Yumberry liqueur, Hendrick’s, moscato, lime, fresh raspberries, soda); White Sangria (St. Germain, Skyy Citrus, sauvignon blanc, lemonade, lemon bitters, lemon-lime soda); and, Legal Sangria (Spanish Red Wine, Cruzan Raspberry and Citrus rums, Massenez Crème de Peche, lemon-lime soda, fresh fruit). There is also a classic Moscow Mule (Russian Standard, Gosling’s Ginger Beer, lime - $9.95).

Legal Sea Foods also offers “Exclusive Selections” featuring their own hand-selected, privately bottled El Dorado 5 Year Rum, Corazón Añejo Tequila and Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon. Newcomers to this category include: Smokin’ Hot ‘Rita (Corazón Añejo Tequila, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, jalapeño-habanero syrup, fresh watermelon, lime - $9.95); Mojito (El Dorado 5 Year Rum, mint, lime soda - $9.95); and, “Old Fashioned” Old Fashioned (Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon, sugar, orange bitters, Angostura bitters - $9.95).

The Fresh Watermelon Crush (Rain Organic Vodka, fresh watermelon, simple syrup - $9.95) will join the ranks in the “Cocktails” portion of the menu. For those looking to cool down, head to their “Highballs” section ($8.95 each) where you will find the Coconut Lemonade (Skyy Coconut, coconut water, fresh lemon, sour).

For “Tasting Flights,” guests can explore their palate with three one-ounce pours. In the new Legal Trinity ($11.95), sip on their exclusively barreled spirits: El Dorado 5-Year Rum, Corazón Añejo Tequila and Eagle Rare 10-Year Bourbon. Other flights include: Patrón Tequila (Silver, Reposado, Añejo - $13.95); A Taste of Tawny Port (Quinta do Noval 10 Year, Fonseca 20 Year, Taylor Fladgate 30 Year - $14.95); Ultimate Chocolate Ecstasy (Bailey’s Irish Caramel Cream Liqueur, Godiva Chocolate Cream Liqueur, Bailey’s Irish Chocolate Mint Cream Liqueur - $10.95); Grand Mariner (Grand Mariner, Grand Mariner Centenaire, Grand Marnier Cent Cinquantenaire - $24.95); and, Nectar of the Gods (Brinley’s Gold Coffee Rum, Brinley’s Gold Coconut Rum, Brinley’s Gold Vanilla Rum - $8.95).

3)  On April 11, at 6:30pm, Legal Sea Foods will team up with the co-owners of the Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, Fred Merwarth and Oskar Bynke, to host a four-plus-course wine dinner at the Park Square location. Each course will feature Legal Sea Foods’ signature cuisine paired with selections from this vineyard in New York’s Finger Lakes.

Hors d'Oeuvres
Scallop Mousse, Toast Points and Chervil Aioli
Lobster Anticuchos with Mini Garden Vegetables
Fresh Oysters* and Lemon Granité
Paired with 2006 Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard Cuvée Brut
First Course
Braised Pork Mousse Stuffed Calamari (pecorino clam risotto)
2010 Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard “Reserve” Dry Riesling
Second Course
Indian Spice Rubbed Striped Bass (basmati lentil salad, grilled mango salsa)
2010 Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard Gewurztraminer
Third Course
Hickory Wood-Grilled Arctic Char (roasted ratatouille, herbs de provence compound butter)
2007 Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Dessert Course
Pineapple and Mango Tart (lime-coconut caramel sauce, vanilla scented whipped cream)
2008 Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard “Bunch Select” Late-Harvest Riesling

Cost: $70 per person (excludes tax and gratuity)
Reservation required by calling: 617-530-9397

4)  "With more than 150 Regional Pasta Tour dinners under their belts, Tavolo chefs Chris Douglass and Nuno Alves believe they have circumnavigated the 20 regions of Italy at least three times – adding up to a whopping 450 authentic recipes researched, cooked and served since 2009."

Their 3-course Regional Pasta Tour menu ($25) is offered every Wednesday from 5-10 PM, with dishes originating from stalwarts like Tuscany and Sicily, and from lesser-known pockets of culinary discovery like Campania (Spaghetti with Salmon & Braised Octopus). One Wednesday a month, Regional Pasta Tour is devoted to one of Italy’s countless annual food festivals.

Wednesday, April 4
Artichoke Festival Pasta Tour
(Sagra del Carciofo Romanesco)
Raw Artichoke Salad with Shaved Parmesan
Lasagna of Confit Artichokes and Pancetta with Bechamel
Cynar-Green Tea Granita

Wednesday, May 23
Ligurian Lemon Festival Pasta Tour
(Sagra di Limoni)
Farinata: arugula, chickpea flatbread, caramelized mushrooms, lemon vinaigrette
Lemon Trofie (pasta shape) with lemon frittelle, lemon zest, and salt cod with lemons, capers and olives
Lemon Olive Oil Cake with berries and lemon meringue

Festivals of Pignoli and Baccala are coming up in June and July !

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