Thursday, May 23, 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) After months of swirling rumors, none confirmed, Chef Paul O’'Connell wants Boston area diners to know that his French-Latin bistro, Chez Henri, has NOT been sold, nor is it closing its doors anytime in the immediate future. O’Connell admits, however, that he has “been entertaining some possibilities for change, but there is no firm plan or time frame.” In the meantime, O’Connell is a full time presence in the Shepard Street kitchen.

In fact, O'Connell is re-launching The Latin Dinner Series, a summer dining concept that’s been on hiatus for a few years, but was a crowd favorite when it has been offered in the past. Starting on Memorial Day Weekend 2013, and running until the end of June, this sensuous, $39 prix fixe menu is based on recipes from a variety of South and Latin American cuisines.

In July, O’Connell will introduce a brand-new prix fixe menu concept, comprised of dishes made by a long and illustrious roster of alumni, that is, chefs who have spent time in the Chez Henri kitchen over the past 18 years (and in most cases have gone on to careers of great acclaim). First up is the celebrated husband-wife team of Amanda Lydon and Gabriel Frasca of Nantucket’s Straight Wharf restaurant, who will contribute recipes from their days working at Chez Henri in the late 80s. Pricing and details will be available soon online at

2013 Latin Dinner Series 
Appetizers, Choice of
-Venezuelan Chipi Chipi Clam Soup with Ipswich Clams
-Clam Fritters with Bacon Aioli
-Grilled Clams Casino “Havana” with rum-lime butter & green garlic
-Chopped Kale Salad with cojita cheese, beachcomber croutons, buttermilk-chipotle dressing
-Chorizo and Shrimp Empanadas
- Smoked Cod and Lobster Chowder (cooked by Chef O’Connell at The Super Bowl – recipe below)
Entrees, Choice of
-Lobstah Bake in a Bowl: Maine Lobster, Mussels, New Potatoes and Corn with chile-lime butter and a bacon-corn biscuit
… add (1) Berkshire Farms Hot Dog, $2
-Ash-Roasted Hake and New Potatoes with Criollo Stew of spring vegetables, beer-battered onion rings and herb aioli
Desserts, Choice of
-Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcake with Dulce de Leche
-Hot Fudge Sundae with Mexican Chocolate Brownie and crème de canela

2) Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and The Greg Hill Foundation will host Seaport Strong – a benefit to support those tragically affected by Boston Marathon bombings. The event, which will feature special guest bartenders such as New England Patriots players Danny Aiken and Zoltan Mesko, will donate 100% of the proceeds to the affected families and victims.

On Tuesday, June 4, at 6:30pm, for $50, guests will enjoy Del Frisco’s signature passed hors d’ oeuvres, VIP cocktails, and a silent auction, all while mixing and mingling with their favorite Boston athletes.

To purchase tickets, please visit The Greg Hill Foundation. For more information, call Del Frisco’s at 617-345-3941.

The Greg Hill Foundation is a 501c3 organization that was founded by Greg Hill, host of WAAF’s Hillman Morning Show. This unique foundation responds to immediate requests for assistance, to improve the lives of local families touched by tragedy, through matching the charitable donation of Greg's media audience.

3) The staff of Forum will be taking over sister restaurant, Noche, in order for the chef to test new menu times that will be on the Forum menu when it reopens and it will also allow the Forum staff to see loyal guests and friends while Forum is under renovations. Newly appointed Forum Executive, Chef Matthew Barros, will be hosting test dinners at Noche every Friday where the Forum menu will be introduced to guests as part of a weekly-ticketed event called “FORUM FOR ONE”. Proceeds from this multi-course dinner will benefit Boston’s ONE FUND.

Chef Barros was most recently the Chef de Cuisine at MARKET by Jean-Georges Vongerichten inside the W Hotel in Boston and at Myers + Chang in Boston’s South End. Forum staff, Forum guests, and supporters of Forum are invited to attend this special multi-course dinner while giving back. This will also give Chef Barros an opportunity to fine tune the Forum menu and teach the kitchen team his cooking techniques while he is without a kitchen. Some of the menu items will include:

--Warm Beet Salad - on Rich Yogurt with Candied Walnuts, Berkshire Blue Cheese, Bosc Pear, Garlic “Sand”
--Watercress Salad- Spiced Pecans, Cranberries, Blue Cheese, Champagne Vinaigrette
--Molasses Glazed Pork Belly with Pickled Peaches
--Crispy Skinned Sea Bass on Couscous with Swiss Chard, Tomato Vinaigrette
--Brick Chicken on Panzanella Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Dijon Basil
--Chili Glazed Lamb Chops* with Roasted Eggplant & Citrus Peppers
--Frozen Chevre Parfait- Financier, Poached Pears, Caramel
Dark Chocolate Mousse Torte

WHEN: Friday, May 24 & Friday, May 31
Doors open at 6:30 pm. Dinner begins at 7:00pm
Proceeds will benefit Boston’s ONE FUND and tickets are $75 per person, Tickets can be purchased by logging onto

4) 51 Lincoln, in Newton, is launching a weekly hands-on cooking series that will take place every Saturday called The Cooking School. Chef Fernanda Tapia will guide the class through a variety of topics ranging from the fundamentals of cooking to advanced techniques such as butchering a whole animal. After each class, the students are able to enjoy the fruits of their labor- a multi-course meal- paired with wine. Classes all take place from 9am-12pm every Saturday and will range from six to twelve students. Reservations should be made in advance online at The Cooking School.

Education is important to 51 Lincoln Chef/Owner Jeff Fournier as he is currently a culinary instructor at Boston University and Chef Fernanda was one of his students and now works for him at 51 Lincoln as one of his key chefs. When: The Cooking School at 51 Lincoln starts on Saturday, June 8 and all classes are listed below.

Saturday, June 8
Knife Skills: Hone and Refine Your Technique 
$75 Per Person (includes full meal and wine)
Saturday, June 15
Restaurant Secrets “Tricks of the Trade”: Searing, Blanching, Emulsions 
$100 Per Person (includes full meal and wine)
Saturday, June 22 
Handmade Pasta: Orichetti, Cavatelli, Fettuccine, Ravioli 
$89 Per Person (includes full meal and wine)
Saturday, June 29
Five Minute Pasta Sauces: Marinara, Puttanesca, Alfredo 
$89 Per Person (includes full meal and wine)
Saturday, July 20
The Best Breakfast: Eggs Benedict, Potato Hash, Crispy Bacon 
$89 Per Person (includes full meal and wine)
Saturday, July 27
Pickling and Canning: Jams, Tomato Sauce, Pickles 
$120 Per Person (includes jars of each to take home as well as a full meal and wine)
Saturday, August 3
Butchering, Part 1: Chicken, Pork Chop, Leg of Lamb 
$250 Per Person (includes meat to take home, full meal and wine)
Saturday, August 10
Butchering, Part 2: A Whole Pig 
$350 Per Person (includes the butchered meat from the whole pig, a full meal and wine)

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