Thursday, February 21, 2013

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) Shake off your funk and revel in the blues with The Beehive’s Blues On Sunday series. The Beehive is bringing you top notch blues complemented by tasty meals and libations compliments of Knob Creek every Sunday night from 8pm-12am. The all-star house blues band is led by 25-year-old musical veteran keyboardist and producer, Bruce Bears and features a core band of legendary players with a revolving door of guests singing, sitting in and getting down.

The Beehive invites guests to share a relaxing Sunday night of great performance with libations from Knob Creek including their Rye Whiskey and Single Barrel Reserve, and dishes from Executive Chef Rebecca Newell such as the Lowcountry Shrimp & Grits ($12), Stuffed Rack of Pork, Bacon, Apple & Brioche Stuffing, Brussels Sprouts, Cider Jus ($24), ‘Fall-Off-The-Bone’ Baby Back Ribs ($13) and the Beehive Prime Burger with Frites, and Slaw ($16).

2) Passion for good food mixed with fun and a dash of education is the inspiration for this spring’s event lineup at Farmstead, Inc. Cheese, wine, whiskey and brunch get the year started off right.

Upcoming events include:

Brunch at Farmstead, Inc.
First Sunday of every month beginning March 3, 10am-2pm
Every month, Farmstead whips up a morning-after spread that’ll knock your bacon-craving socks off. Think boudin noir sausage with biscuits and gravy, fried oysters and poutine, whiskey-brined Rhode Island ham, house-made candied nut granola and corned beef hash, washed down with French-press and Bloody Marys, of course. Reservations are accepted but not required.

Celtic Cheese and Whiskey Class
Sunday, March 10, 4pm-5:30pm
$65 per person
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a blend of the Celtic lands’ best whiskeys and scotches and the cheeses that love them. The Farmstead, Inc. crew talks you through whiskey and cheese pairing basics while you sample Ireland’s finest brown spirits and curds. To reserve a spot, call 401-274-7177 or purchase tickets online at

Wine + Cheese = Love: A 101 Class
Sunday, April 14, 4pm-5:30pm
$50 per person
To honor the never-fail combination of wine and cheese, Farmstead, Inc. Barman David Magiantine and Cheese Monger Thomas Perry invite friends and fans to sample the pairings that made them fall in love with the worlds of vino and fromage in the first place. Guests are invited to learn the basics of pairings and polish their own palates and preferences. To reserve a spot, call 401-274-7177 or purchase tickets online at

Can I Eat The Rind? A Cheese 101 Class for the Whole Family
Sunday, May 19, 2pm-3pm
$45.00 per person; $35.00 for those under 21
The world of queso sparks lots of cheesy questions: Why does it stink up the fridge? How long will the cheddar last? Why is this kind orange? Farmstead has the answers to all these and more at their popular Cheese 101 class. The whole family is invited to nibble on a selection of cheeses and sip on some wine (sparkling cider for underage guests), as the mysteries of cheese are demystified. To reserve a spot, call 401-274-7177 or purchase tickets online at

3) Cinquecento, a new Roman trattoria, will start serving weekend brunch. Beginning Saturday, February 16, Cinquecento will be open for brunch from 10am-3pm on weekends. Reservations are accepted. Cinquecento is located at 500 Harrison Avenue in Boston's South End. Parking is free.

Cinquecento's inaugural brunch menu will include savory Italian dishes like Uova In Camicia, truffled polenta with poached eggs and Fontina cheese, Bistecca e Uova, grilled steak and eggs with Pecorino biscuits and piquillo pepper marmellata, and Cinquecento's already famous Tagliatelle Bolognese pasta with meat sauce. Indulge your sweet tooth with specialties like Ricotta Crespella, crepes with whipped lemon ricotta and native honey, Ricotta Fritters, Sugar Donuts, and Mela e Taleggio, an apple and Taleggio cheese panino with walnut honey pesto.

Accompany brunch with a selection of craft cocktails such as the Arancia Frizzante, a refreshing blend of blood orange juice, vodka, lime, soda water and mint simple syrup, The Bellini, a classic mix of white peach puree and prosecco and an Italian-inspired Bloody Mary, spiced up with peperoncini chilies.

4) Animal Welfare Approved, Chef’s Collaborative and Let’s Talk About Food will be supporting the Harvard Law School Food Law Society in its second annual food law and policy conference in Cambridge, Mass. on March 8-9. The conference will explore the legal and policy aspects of food labeling and will feature a series of lecturers and panelists who are experts in the field. This is the first law school hosted conference dedicated to examining the issue of food labeling from a legal perspective. Bringing together prominent experts to explore the issue is crucial to students, academics, politicians and thought leaders.

There is a great deal of confusion surrounding the misleading food labels commonly found on meat, eggs and dairy. By exploring the issue with industry experts, both students, consumers and professionals will gain an increased understanding of what is really at stake when it comes to the words we put on foods—whether the words are used for informing the public or for marketing the product. “Labeling is about communicating and the words we use matter. This first-ever conference at Harvard Law School is a terrific opportunity help all of the stakeholders come together and think critically and creatively about how to move food system move forward,” says Louisa Kasdon, founder of Let’s Talk About Food.

Melissa Kogut from Chef’s Collaborative adds, “It’s not enough to take labels at face value. This conference will put a much needed spotlight on a confusing topic and show us which labels to trust (and why) and what questions to ask.” AWA Program Director Andrew Gunther says, “When we heard about the opportunity, we immediately knew this was something we wanted to be involved in. Harvard is seen as a leader and is known for hosting dynamic debates and the best way to seek change is through active dialogue and consensus.

Event co-sponsors include Animal Welfare Approved, the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, Let's Talk About Food, and the Petrie Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics. Register at Admission is free for students with ID, and open to the public for $5 per day of attendance. Visit for more information.

5) Lucia Ristorante Owner Donato Frattaroli introduces exciting additions to Lucia Winchester’s lineup. Together with Executive Chef Pino Maffeo, the two are making Winchester Center a foodie destination this winter. Beginning this February, Lucia Winchester is launching two events: Traditional Lucia Family Dinners and Cooking Classes with Chef Pino and Donato.

With its first installment on Sunday, February 24, the Traditional Lucia Family Dinners are designed to transport guests to Abruzzo, Italy as if they were at the Frattaroli dinner table. For just $20 per person ($15 for children under 12 years old), guests can feast on an authentic Italian dinner composed of century old Frattaroli family recipes. The dinner spread includes: soup or salad, pasta (an option of linguine or penne) with marinara sauce, and a choice of two sides—sausage, meatballs, beef braciolettine, or ribs. The Traditional Lucia Family Dinner menu will be available every Sunday and Monday evening during dinner service throughout the winter.

On Wednesday, February 27, from 6pm-9pm, Lucia is launching its Cooking Classes with Chef Pino and Donato. The first installment of this monthly series is titled, “Mouth-Watering Soups and Stocks: The Building Blocks of World-Class Italian Cooking.” Chef Pino and Donato will give guests hands-on training in the art of mouthwatering soup and stock making. Attendees are encouraged to bring a notebook – during the three-hour cooking course, they will learn the basics of how to make simple stocks (chicken stock and prosciutto broth) and how to incorporate them into world-class tasting soups (pasta fagiole and minestrone soup). They will also discuss bread pairings with Piantedosi breads, including how to choose which breads go best with a variety of meals. The cost of the class is $55 per person.

For more information about these events, please call (781) 729-0515.

6) On March 11, at 7pm, Legal Harborside will team up with Cakebread Cellars’ Director of Sales, Dennis Cakebread, to host a wine dinner at Legal Harborside. This four-plus-course culinary adventure will highlight the best tastes from sea and vine. Cakebread Cellars has vineyard properties located throughout Napa Valley surrounding the production facility in Rutherford where it all began in 1972. Today, the winery owns 13 sites totaling 982 acres.

The menu will be presented as follows:

vol-au-vent, lobster, tarragon, mascarpone
geoduck clam, yuzu marinated melon, virginia ham
pickled sardines, dill crème fraîche, caraway and rye toast
merguez sausage, fennel vinaigrette and apple hash
Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2010
tuna carpaccio* (bosc pear, wakame, serrano chiles, wasabi aioli and cucumber)
Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, 2011
grilled shrimp (rosemary, smoked and braised chickpeas, chorizo and roast garlic dust) Cakebread Cellars “Reserve” Chardonnay, Carneros, 2010
cast iron skillet-seared duck breast (red rice, golden rutabaga, preserved walnuts and junipers)
Cakebread Cellars “Benchland Select” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2009
mountain cheese and dried fruit
Cakebread Cellars Zinfandel, Lake County, 2010

COST: $125 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)
 Reservations can be made by contacting 617-530-9470

7) Maritime Gloucester, a working waterfront museum and marine science education center, will present a series of public lectures in March on the future of fishing and seafood, sustainability, and seafood fraud. Each free lecture takes place at 7pm at Maritime Gloucester, 23 Harbor Loop off Rte. 127 in Gloucester.

Meet the region’s experts on these hot-button topics, and learn how the latest industry changes are affecting both fishermen and consumers. "The public is hungry to better understand these topics, and we are thrilled to bring the conversation to Maritime Gloucester,”" says Executive Director Tom Balf.

Turner’s Seafood is the 2013 sponsor of this unique public information program. Turner’s, a family-owned business, is a partner with Cape Ann Fresh Catch, operates a retail fish market and wholesale fish processing facility in Gloucester, and a restaurant/oyster bar/fish market in Melrose called Turner’s Seafood Grill. Turner’s also sells fish and lobster with overnight delivery.

Schedule of Events:

Thursday, March 7
Fish, Fraud and Forensics
Sheila Jarnes, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and Beth Daley, The Boston Globe
The lead reporter on the Globe’s seafood fraud investigative team, and a NOAA inspection/enforcement official, will describe this emerging concern, and what measures are being taken to address it.
Thursday, March 14
Trawl to Table: Understanding Today’s Groundfisheries
Jen Levin, GMRI (Gulf of Maine Research Institute), and a spokesperson TBA from the Northeast Seafood Coalition
An eye-opening discussion of commercial ground fishing methods, gear technologies, seafood transport, and the seafood needs of discerning markets.
Thursday, March 21
Sustainable Seafood Choices
Allison McHale, NOAA Fish Watch, and Heather Tausig, New England Aquarium’s Ocean-Friendly Seafood Program
Sustainable seafood purchases are a lot easier to make, thanks to these two consumer-oriented programs. A must for anyone who cares about our oceans’ renewable resources.
Thursday, March 28
Seafood Restaurant Crawl
various eateries throughout greater Gloucester. See OR for further information


Michconnors said...

Wish they did these fish sustainability talks in Boston!

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.