Thursday, December 20, 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)  On Monday, December 24, from 5pm-11pm, Avila’s Executive Chef, Rodney Murillo, will pay tribute to the Mediterranean region’s rituals and traditions that coincide with Christmas Eve, paying special attention to Italy where the sea’s bounty takes center-stage in the form of the “Feast of Seven Fishes”. In true Avila style, Chef Murillo has recreated a menu that is synonymous with this annual celebration and utilizes locally sourced ingredients that culminate in a classic New England interpretation of this authentic Italian meal. To complement Chef Murillo’s delectable 5-course feast offerings, guests will have the option of pairing each item with a carefully selected varietal from Avila’s worldly wine selection.

In addition to their a la carte menu, Avila’s five-course Christmas Eve “Feast of Seven Fishes” will be presented as follows:

1st Course
Creamy Corn Soup (coriander, fresh Maine lobster)
2nd Course
Crispy Oysters (baby mache salad, sea urchin aioli)
3rd Course
Spaghettini (Nantucket Bay scallops, lemon cream)
4th Course
Crabmeat Stuffed Lemon Sole (clam & squid ink risotto)
5th Course
Pastry Chef Tom Ponticelli’s Dessert Selection

COST: Five-course prix fixe: $59 per person (beverages, taxes & gratuities not included). An additional $20 for wine pairings.

2) Celebrate New Year’s Eve on Monday, December 31, from 9pm-2:30am, at The Beehive in Boston’s South End as they host their 6th annual New Year’s Eve gala celebration. The Beehive’s, “Discothèque Burlesque New Year's Eve 2013” is an evening of bohemian decadence and eccentric fun. Guests will explore their senses as they take in the wonders of sultry Parisian burlesque performances (by NYC’s hotties Francine “The Lucid Dream” & Essence Revealed) and dance to the live powerhouse 60’s pop and soul sounds of Amy Lynn & The Gun Show. The vocal gymnastics that diva Amy Lynn can pull off in a mini dress and stilettos would have Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner on their feet a curtain call! Throughout the evening Executive Chef Rebecca Newell will feature a delectable buffet of hors d’oeuvres and desserts, all served in a cocktail setting. To top it all off, guests can toast the evening with one of The Beehive’s signature cocktails from the evening’s sponsors including Hennessy Cognac, Milagro Tequila and Svedka Vodka, as well as Domaine Chanson wine and Moët & Chandon champagne.

Cost of the event is $115 per person with food buffet, or $75 per person without buffet (tax and beverages not included). Both ticket options include admission and entertainment. There is a cash bar all evening. Tickets/reservations are available by visiting or call The Beehive at  617-423-0069. Non-refundable without 24 hour advance notice.

3) L’Espalier is rolling out the red carpet for guests to ring in the New Year in style. Chef Frank McClelland has handcrafted a lavish menu at this luxe dining destination in the heart of Back Bay. Enjoy the lights of the city from the enchanting dining room while welcoming 2013 with a delectable eight-course menu complete with champagne, for $195.

The menu is as follows:

Hors d’œuvre:
Apple Street Farm spinach pithivier with béchamel
Paired with Pool Roger Brut Champagne, France
Amuse Bouche:
Bergamot and Earl Grey tea spritzer, heirloom egg with American caviar, freeze dried tropical fruits, ham and cheese croissant
First Course:
Warm Wellfleet oysters with smoked bone marrow, vermouth and sturgeon caviar
Winter salad with citrus, barely cooked Maine shrimp, wintergreen vinaigrette and mache
Alba white truffles with Italian chestnuts
Paired with 2009 Kiralyudvar Tokaji Furmint Sec, Hungary
Second Course:
Butter-poached Casco Bay lobster with hearts of palm, and red wine emulsion
Roasted Hudson Valley foie gras with a black truffle and beluga lentil ragout
Slow roasted squab breast with pomegranate, and prickly pear sherbet
Paired with 2008 Domaine Huet "Le Mont" Demi-Sev Vouvray, Loire, France
Third Course:
George’s Bank Grey sole with Nantucket Bay scallops mandarin orange, warm lemon curd and pine
Paired with 2007 Bodega Chacra "Trienta Y Dos" Pinot Noir, Patagonia-Rio Negro, Argentina
Fourth Course:
Guinea hen; slow poached and roasted with black truffle-turnip “risotto,” pear purée, and foie gras jus
Roasted Maine beef tenderloin with braised tongue; “tartiflette” with Abbaye de Tamie, and Bordelaise
Paired with 2001 Lopez de Heredia "Vina Tondonia Reserva, Rioja, Spain (In Magnum)
Grand Fromage:
Paired with 2004 Chateau LaFaurie-Peyraguey, Premier Cru Sauternes, France
Dessert Tasting:
Espresso praline roulade with hazelnut cream and caramel macchiato ice cream
Black and white gâteau with caramelized white chocolate cremeux and rum raisin ice cream
Green apple meringue with eucalyptus compressed apple, calvados crème anglaise and saffron ice cream
Paired with 2010 Bera Bracehetto, Piedmont, Italy

Please note this menu is subject to change. The restaurant will be closed for lunch on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. For Reservations, please call 617-262-3023.

4) Tres Gatos Tapas Bar, a full service restaurant, book and music store, will be celebrating New Year's Eve. Dinner service will feature their classic menu with some luxe new additions from Chef Marcos Sanches such as:
--Monkfish croquettes with uni sauce, wild greens & urfa pepper,
--Squid noodles with black tomato sauce, crispy tentacles, pimenton & celery hearts
--Seafood paella.

Starting at 10pm, the three cats will change gears into a late night party as Music & Literary Guide Phil Wilcox spins music from the record player and salutes the New Year with vuvuzela blowing. Plenty of Cava will be flowing and grapes will be abound in the true Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes, 1 for each month, to the chimes of the clock at midnight.

For reservations, please call 617-4774851.

5) Toast with Turner Fisheries, known for its sustainable approach, on New Year’s Eve for an a la carte seafood dinner. Some menu options include, but are not limited to:

Atlantic Shelf
An assortment of local Atlantic shellfish, tomato horseradish, mignonette, luis sauces
Soups and Starters
Turners “hall of fame” clam chowder with house-made oyster crackers $6
Butternut bisque, cinnamon crème friache $5
Jonah crab cake, chipotle remoulade $14
Tuna two ways, ginger-curry marinated yellow fin tuna, cumin seed crusted tuna, wasabi aioli $16
Caesar salad, crisp romaine hearts, parmesan crisp ,classic caesar dressing $9
Golden beet carpaccio, rainbow swiss chard, cider glaze, pistachio dust $11
Rockport merluza filet, pernod, crispy bacon, creamed brussels sprouts $31
Grilled salmon, roasted garlic, baby potato wild mushrooms $33
Grilled pomegranate tofu, ginger fried rice, shaved carrots $24
Lobster thermidor, cured tomato hollandaise gruyere
Steamed Maine lobster, steamed and served with drawn butter

For dinner or brunch reservations, please call 617-424-7425.

6) On a night of the year when restaurant prices soar to astronomical heights, Olé Mexican Grill located in Cambridge, is not only offering á la carte options for New Year’s Eve with its menu of Mexican fare, but is also treating its customers to free samples of “lucky foods” from around the world. On Monday, December 31, all guests that are on hand just before the clock strikes midnight will receive a free platter of lucky foods from around the world to accompany their champagne toast and ensure luck in the New Year! (1 Per Table)

Dinner reservations are accepted until 11pm and the celebrations will continue well into the early hours of the morning with a lively lounge scene and a festive environment. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling Olé Mexican Grill at (617) 492-4495.

7) The Feast of the Seven Fishes (festa dei sette pesci) is celebrated on Christmas Eve and is believed to have originated in Southern Italy. Today, a tradition of Italian-Americans, it is a meal that typically consists of seven different seafood dishes.

Join Tuscan Kitchen, located in Salem, New Hampshire, as it celebrates Christmas Eve with a “festa dei sette pesci” dinner on Monday, December 24, from 1pm-8pm. Guests can look forward to a five course, prix fixe feast, featuring none other than seven types of seafood, alongside family and friends for only $65 per person (tax and gratuity not included, beverages additional). Pair your dinner with Tuscan Kitchen’s amazing and extensive wine list. Tuscan Kitchen’s regular menu will also be available for guests looking to order their favorite Tuscan dishes.

Reservations accepted for parties of seven or more. Call ahead seating is available for parties smaller than seven. Please call (2) hours prior on Friday, Saturday and holidays. Simply call (603) 952-4875 before leaving your home or office and if on a wait, you will be added to the wait list ensuring priority seating. Upon arrival, please check in with the host at the front door. * There may be an additional wait when you arrive.

Feast of the Seven Fishes 2012 Menu:
--Cacciucco “Tuscan Shellfish Stew”: Classic Fish Stew from Livorno Pan Seared Monkfish, Scallop & Clams, Tomato Saffron Brodo
--Insalata Di Polpo Alla Griglia: Wood Grilled Octopus & Fingerling Potato Salad, Warm Pancetta Dressing
--Gambero Fritto: Semolina Crusted Head on Prawn, Pan Seared, Lemon Extra Virgin Emulsion
--Merluzzo Nero: Pan Seared Black Cod, Maine Lobster & Focaccia Mista, Braised Cavolo Nero, Orange Zest Crèma
--Valrhona Chocolate & Mascarpone Bread Pudding: Salted Caramel Gelato

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