Thursday, May 9, 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) Now in its 16th year, Chefs in Shorts brings together a group of the area’s top culinary talent who will fire up the grills and create their favorite dishes during this expansive outdoor, summer-in-the-city barbeque hosted at the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center. Join some of Boston’s best chefs for an evening of grill-offs, desserts, beer & wine and fun all to benefit Future Chefs, a local non-profit school-to-career program focused in culinary arts. Future Chefs’ mission is to prepare urban youth in Greater Boston for quality early employment and post-secondary education opportunities in the culinary field and to support them in developing a broad base of transferable skills as they transition into the working world.

This year’s confirmed chefs and venues include the following:
Alma Nove & Wahlburgers Paul Wahlberg
Aura & Tamo at the Seaport Hotel Robert Tobin
Backyard Farms Tim Cuniff
Bambara Jay Silva
Battery Park & Sweet Caroline’s Joshua Smith
BOND at the Langham Hotel Mark Sapienza
Brasserie Jo Nicholas Calias
Catalyst William Kovel
Church Jonathan Gilman
Cinquecento Justin Winters
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse Rodney Murillo
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House Derek Barragan
Flour Corey Johnson & Jeffrey Stevens
Jamaican Me Hungry Eric Campbell
Kick Ass Cupcakes Sara Ross
LaVallee’s Bakery Goods Distributors Andy LaVallee
Lucky’s Lounge Luke Beardslee
Mela Ranveer Brar
Philip R’s Philip Rotondo
Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center Karen Hodsdon & Richard Rayment
Taranta Jose Duarte
Top of the Hub Mark Porcaro
Treat Cupcake Bar Adie Sprague
Tremont 647 Andy Husbands
Union Bar & Grille Keenan Langlois

Where: The Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center,  200 Seaport Boulevard, Boston (along the upper level viaduct)
When: Friday, June 14
VIP/Media Reception: 6:30pm
Main Event: 7pm–9:30pm
Cost: $70 per person (includes admission with complimentary beer, wine and culinary tastings) Tickets: Tickets available online:

2) Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar has just launched, at each of its 65 locations nationwide, the Fleming’s WiNEPAD™, a custom app on iPad that helps guests navigate the restaurant’s extensive wine list tableside or at the bar. “For our guests, the Fleming’s WiNEPAD™ takes the guessing out of ordering wine,” said National Director of Wine Maeve Pesquera. “We look forward to enhancing the experiences of our guests and taking the intimidation factor out of wine.

The WiNEPAD™ has easy-to-use, intuitive and interactive software, but it also provides label-specific tasting notes and, in some cases, the story behind the wine. Another unique and differentiating element is the ability for guests to match their current mood with specific varietal categories and tastes, providing a customized experience with the “What’s Your Mood” function. White wine moods range from Fragrant & Fruity to Rich & Elegant, red wine moods include Big & Intense and Rich & Voluptuous, and sweet wine moods feature Sweet & Mouthwatering and Sweet & Powerful. The Mood Matcher function offers more than 10 moods with various wine selections for each to satisfy guests’ ever-changing tastes.

Other standard features including:
--Wine List Tab: Sorts wines in progressive order from lightest to fullest by region, varietal, Fleming’s 100® selections, wines rated at 90+ by Robert Parker Wine, Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast and local selections chosen by the location’s wine manager.
--Maeve’s Raves: Presents wines selections recommended by the National Director of Wine Maeve Pesquera.
--Perfect Pairings: Showcases wine and food pairings based on the guests’ menu selection by providing three paired wine options that accentuates complementary flavors. This takes the guesswork out of selecting a glass of wine for each course.
--Spin the Bottle: Provides a fun and adventurous take on ordering wine for the indecisive. The bottle icon spins and lands on a different selection each time.
--Share This Wine: Gives Fleming’s guests the ability to email themselves any wine on the wine list. The email comes to the guest’s inbox complete with their new favorite wine, tasting notes and an image of the label.

3) Tuscan Village, in Salem, New Hampshire, will host their very own cooking school “Scuola Culinaria,” for those wishing to learn and experience true Italian-artisan cooking. Launching Wednesday, May 22, from 6:30pm–9:30pm, the first in the school’s series of classes will launch with “An Evening in Tuscany” featuring celebrity Chef Mary Ann Esposito and the creator of the Tuscan Brands empire, Joe Faro.

The first class, An Evening in Tuscany will consist of a demo class and a 3-course dinner held in Tuscan Kitchen and led by Esposito and Faro in which guests will see each dish demonstrated, followed by the presentation of the dish. Guests will get to interact with Esposito and Faro during the demonstrations. Guests will received an autographed copy of one of Mary Ann Esposito’s books and a Tuscan Market apron as well as recipes from the evening’s dinner for $85 per person (beverages, tax and gratuity not included).

--ANTIPASTI: Chickpea Meatballs, Roasted Tomato Sauce, Pecorino Toscano Spiedini of Grilled Fig, Robbiola Wrapped in Speck, Vin Cotto Drizzle
--PRIMI: Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Butter Sage & Walnut Sauce Duck Raviolo, Amarena Cherry & Sangiovese Pan Sauce, Candied Hazelnut Crumble
--SECONDI:  Shrimp Amalfi Style Crispy Pork Shank, Braised Peach & Shallot Mostarda, Creamy Ancient Grain Polenta
--DOLCI: Almond Paste Cheesecake, Blackberry Gelato, White Chocolate Drizzle

Tickets for the event are available by calling Tuscan Kitchen at (603) 952-4875, or online at:

4) Chef Tim & Bronwyn Wiechmann of T.W. Food, an excellent Cambridge restaurant, are opening a new restaurant, Bronwyn. This will be a Central and Eastern European-inspired restaurant, located in Somerville, and will open on Wednesday, May 15. Located at 255 Washington Street, Bronwyn will initially be open for dinner, with brunch and late-night sausage to follow. The restaurant will begin accepting reservations at 617-776-9900 on Saturday, May 11.

The menu will showcase Central and Eastern-European dishes made from the best local ingredients from nearby farms in the Boston area, including Hausbrot (breads), Appetizers, Wurst (sausages), Noodles, Mains, Sides and Desserts. The bakery will offer sour and chewy giant Bretzels with sea salt flakes and artisan breads made with whole grains milled in-house, and the beverage program will highlight Central and Eastern-European selections. Many of the design elements in the restaurant were either handcrafted by Chef Wiechmann or brought back from his travels overseas.

Highlights from the menu include Hand-twisted Bavarian Sausages; Dark Beer Soup with Aged Cheddar Kreplach; Foie Gras Knish with Potato, Prune, and Hazelnut; Spatzle with Emmenthaler, Onion, Asparagus, and Verbena; Bavarian Roast Chicken with citrus-pineapple cure and grilled red cabbage; thin veal “Jagerschnitzel” with foraged mushrooms and walnut; and Riesling Sauerkraut.

5) Lucia Ristorante Owner Donato Frattaroli and Executive Chef Pino Maffeo introduce the next class in the Lucia Winchester cooking series: Pasta Making with Pino. Impress your friends and family with your knowledge of how to make a variety of pastas, taught by Lucia Executive Chef Pino Maffeo. Some topics will include different varieties of pasta, filled pastas- ravioli and tortellini, as well as recipes and cooking techniques.

When: Wednesday, May 22, from 7p.m.-9 p.m.
Cost: $50 for the public (and includes a meal after class)
Students can sign up and pay at host station before class date or pay by credit card by phone. For more information or to book a spot, please call (781) 729-0515.

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