Thursday, June 14, 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)  What is the difference between Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism and how can it be applied to your everyday life? You can learn all you ever wanted to know about these mysterious, or not so mysterious, concepts, ideas and practices at the final seminar of China Blossom’s “Reality Check: China Style!” lecture series sponsored by the Asian Boston Media Group.

The series concludes on Thursday, June 28, from 6:30pm-7:30pm, with The Boston Buddha, Andy Kelly. Kelly will engage guests in a 101 comparison of modern Chinese religious beliefs and then lead attendees in a thought provoking discourse on how to be more mindful in daily life. Andy Kelley 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.

Choose from any of the authentic Asian dishes on China Blossom’s menu and enjoy a free lecture from one of New England’s masters of meditation. Get informed while you eat and learn about the truth behind modern Buddhist practices. Reservations are necessary as lectures are held in private dining room. Please call 978-682-2242 to make your reservation.

2)  Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is introducing a new Bar la Carte Menu. Served exclusively in the bar, the menu offers Fleming’s guests six all-new dishes available any time, any evening. These are more substantial than appetizers or the typical “bar bites” found at many restaurants.

Russell Skall, Fleming’s Executive Chef, says. “This isn’t what you usually think of as bar food, instead these are distinctive dishes with a great mix of bold flavors and textures, served in generous portions meant for sharing. Even in the bar, we want to offer our guests a memorable dining experience.”

Each dish had to pair well with both wine as well as a variety of cocktails and beer, and be easily sharable. After a full year of testing and tasting six new items were selected. The new Bar la Carte menu includes: Salt and Pepper Shrimp ($15) served with crispy fried green beans, thin slices of lemon, and a caper-mustard dipping sauce; Prime Steakhouse Meatballs ($9) in a spicy peppercorn sauce with shitake mushrooms; Fleming’s Original Prime Rib Melt ($16) is slow roasted prime rib stacked on a toasted parmesan baguette with Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms, whole-grain mustard, horseradish slaw, and au jus for dipping; Filet Mignon Flatbread ($12) is topped with Danish Blue and Monterey jack cheeses, and red onion confit; Cedar-Roasted Mushroom & Artichoke Flatbread ($11) has Monterey jack cheese, roasted Christopher Ranch garlic, and roasted red peppers; and Fleming’s Housemade Burrata ($12) is served with charred cherry tomatoes, fresh wild arugula, and toasted garlic crostinis. One additional offering, the Prime Burger ($14; $6 before 7pm) is borrowed from Fleming’s celebrated “5 for $6 ‘til 7” menu. It is served with Wisconsin cheddar cheese, peppered bacon and Fleming’s signature onion rings.

3)  On Sunday, July 15, at 6pm, Chef Paul Turano of Tryst Restaurant in Arlington is collaborating with New England’s very own Root Beer company, Tower Root Beer, for the second annual Root Beer Dinner, celebrating the return of Tower’s 97-year-old classic soda recipe after a 30-year hiatus.

Founded in Somerville in 1914, Tower Root Beer evolved from a tonic company into a specialized Root Beer company. During the Prohibition of the 1920’s when Root Beer became the substitute for beer that was no longer available, their pharmacist- perfected recipe contributed to Tower’s early success and allowed them to withstand the stock market crash of 1929, even when the bank that held their working capital could not.

Spanning New England, Tower Root Beer grew into a well-known business before an unsuccessful merger and competition from the two major soda conglomerates forced them off the market. For the past 30 years, Tower’s recipe has sat under lock and key, before a third generation of the family decided to reestablish the family business after finding their grandfather's handwritten recipe.

Finally back, Tryst Restaurant is celebrating the return of the timeless drink with a classic, three course, $28 prix fixe dinner ($40 with optional cocktail pairings) by Chef Paul Turano featuring Root Beer inspired dishes and innovative cocktails inspired by the sweet treat, like the Tower of Manhattan, sassafras infused Bourbon with a Root Beer reduction and orange bitters, the Dark and Cloudy, featuring Goslings Black Seal Ginger Beer and Root Beer, or the Spiked Float, a mix of Tuaca and vanilla vodka added to the beloved Root Beer Float recipe. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Tryst at 781-7641-2227.

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