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 Tuesday, April 9, at 7pm, Legal Sea Foods in Park Square will host a wine dinner with Jordan Winery, a Sonoma County-based winery that specializes in producing Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Legal Sea Foods will team up Jordan Winery’s Assistant Winemaker, Maggie Kruse, to host a four-plus-course dinner featuring signature cuisine paired with choices from their vine.
The menu will be presented as follows:
Scallop Tiradito* Al Aji Limo, Micro Cilantro, Choclo
Oysters on the Half Shell, Fuji Apple Mignonette
Tempura Lobster Bites, Sweet & Sour Aioli
Jordan Chardonnay, Alexander Valley, 2010
Crab Meat Tartare in Salsa Verde (Green Apple & Ginger Vinaigrette)
Jordan Chardonnay, Alexander Valley, 2011
Mesquite Wood Grilled Tuna Steak* (Creamy Hedgehog Mushroom Risotto, Blackberry Chutney)
Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 2008
Herb Crusted Lamb Chop* (Black Truffle Mashed Potato, Grilled Ramps)
Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 2004
Aged Vermont Dandy, Grafton 3 Year Aged Cheddar, Maple Wood Aged Cheddar (Grilled Francese, Cherry Compote, Dark Chocolate Shavings)
Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 2002
Cost: $95 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)
Reservations required by calling 617-530-9397
2) On Saturday, April 6, Horizons for Homeless Children will host their annual Spring Event, A Night For Tomorrow, followed by the first annual Spring Event After-Party.
Starting at 9:30 p.m., guests can come enjoy a fun-filled evening with the lively Horizons’ Young Professionals Group. The evening will feature late-night drinks, dessert, dancing and views of the skyline from the beautiful State Room.
All proceeds from the After-Party (as well at the annual Spring Event) will directly benefit Horizons for Homeless Children.
COST: Tickets are $75 each
WHERE: State Room
60 State Street, 33rd Floor
FOR TICKETS: www.horizonsforhomeless.org/springevent
3) For the first time ever, Tavolo will open its doors on Easter Sunday, with service from 1pm-8pm. In addition to its regular Italianate menu, Tavolo will feature a variety of a la carte brunch and dinner specials, some of which will appear on the new spring menu. Chef de Cuisine Nuno Alves loves cooking with rabbit, which his family raised and ate as he grew up with 10 siblings in Somerville. Nuno has also become something of a local expert on American lamb.
On the Tavolo menu Sunday, March 31 and beyond:
Braised Rabbit Ragu over Housemade Gnocchi
Truffled Egg or Bacala Pizza
Asparagus and Bacon Salad
Spring Pea Soup
Ligurian Whole Trout Bourride
House-Butchered Lamb Two Ways: smoked breast / roast leg
Confit Artichoke Tart in whole grain crust, inspired by Maria Speck's Ancient Grains for Modern Meals
Eggs and Peppers over Polenta
Squid Ink Linguini with Cockles and Tomatoes
Rhubarb Panna Cotta
4) Portsmouth & The Seacoast Restaurant Week will be held from April 4-13, with a three course Lunch at $16.95 and a three course Dinner at $29.95. At least 49 restaurants will be participating this year. Doug Bates, the President of the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce stated: "Every year we welcome new restaurants to the program and new dining guests to the Seacoast. We thank our locally owned and operated restaurants, chefs and farms for providing incredible product at a tremendous value as part of Restaurant Week. This year we are delighted that Portsmouth's reputation as a dining destination is being recognized nationally, with our chefs earning national honors and acclaim."
Bates is referring to two local chefs, Chef Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet Bistro, a James Beard Award semi-finalist and Chef Matt Louis of Moxy, a Food & Wine Magazine People's Best New Chef 2013 Nominee. I previously raved about Moxy and awarded it my Favorite New Hampshire Restaurant of 2012.
A trend for Restaurant Week this year is an expanded offering of Gluten Free and Vegetarian menus. There are over a dozen restaurants also offering gluten free and/or vegetarian menu options. They include The River House, Blue Moon Evolution, Brazo, Cava, Common Man, Green Monkey, Martingale Wharf, Moxy, Tulsi and more. You can find Restaurant Week menus for about 70% of the participating restaurants on the website.
Interestingly, some of the restaurants offer even better deals that the usual. For example, The Portsmouth Gas Light Co., B.G.'s Boathouse and Cafe Nostimo each offer a complimentary glass of wine or beer. The Great American Grill offers a free glass of House Wine. Cava offers a four course dinner rather than the usual three courses. Tio Juan's Margaritas Mexican Restaurant and Grill 28 are offering their three course meals all day for only $16.95. So why not give Portsmouth & The Seacoast Restaurant Week a try?
5) On Easter Sunday, March 31, Turner Fisheries is offering a special brunch from 11am-3pm. For $69 per person, ($23 for children ages 5 to 12, under 5 years no charge) guests can enjoy a chef attended carving station, both a cold a hot buffet, and a plethora of desserts. Guests can indulge in a few of Turner classics such as the Clam Chowder and the New England Seafood Harvest complete with northern shrimp cocktail, cape littlenecks and island creek oyster. There are also traditional Easter brunch classics with a “Turner twist” including Crab Cake Benedict and Carved Lamb Chops with caramelized onion rolls from the chef’s station.
For the full menu selection, click here. For reservations please call: 617-424-7425
6) On Tuesday, April 23, The Beehive presents a tribute to the “father of jazz,” Louis Armstrong with an evening of live performance featuring some of his most iconic work. Join The Beehive as musician Eric Bloom and guests take the stage to honor one of the most legendary musicians of all time.
Widely remembered for his 1968 hit song “What a Wonderful World,” Armstrong was best known for his superb trumpet skills and iconic raspy voice. He pioneered the jazz genre-- shifting its focus from collaborative group performances to solo performances with scatting and singing, and was one of the first African American musicians to make his mark on the music scene.
From 8pm-12am, the music of the great Louis Armstrong will take over The Beehive as current jazz musician Eric Bloom plays some favorite tunes. Bloom broke into the jazz scene at the young age of 17 when he was chosen as a soloist for the All Eastern jazz band that performed at Carnegie Hall. In 2009 he began playing with highly-acclaimed singer-songwriter Diane Birch and opened for legendary musicians and fresh pop icons including James Morrison, Mat Kearny and Nick Jonas, and appeared on several national TV Shows including the Today Show, the Jimmy Kimmel Show and the David Letterman Show. In 2011 Bloom started playing with two critically-acclaimed funk bands Soulive and Lettuce, and since then he has performed with Dr. John, Pharohe Monch, Billy Martin and Talib Kweli to name a few.
No cover charge, cash bar, reservations recommended.
7) Wines will be poured and cuisine will be served on Saturday, April 20, from 12pm-5pm, at The Wine ConneXtion, located in North Andover, as they welcome guests to A Tasting for the Ages. Wine expert Aldo Rafanelli, from the famed House of Antinori will pour select wines as guests learn about the 600-year-old family dynasty, while complimentary Italian fare will be provided by North Shore favorite, Salvatore’s Andover, for all to enjoy.
With wine-making roots dating all the way back to family members in the 1385 Winemakers Guild of Florence, The House of Antinori has been in the business for over six centuries. Owning vineyards in Chianti Classico, Bolgheri, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Orvieto, and Washington State, the family has honored Italian traditions across multiple generations. Joining the family in 1987 as the sole U.S. representative, Aldo Rafanelli of Ste. Michelle’s Estate has carried the Antinori tradition overseas and will be at the Wine ConneXtion to guide guests with his passion and extensive knowledge, while providing them with rare insight into his 26 years with the company.
Walk-ins are encouraged and welcome all day! The event is Free to the public. Please note: Must be 21 or older.