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) Boston Chops, the new steakhouse in the South End, is debuting a new Brunch menu, held every Saturday and Sunday, from 10am-3pm, including some elements of their Rarely Celebrated beef cuts. Their food menu is divided into the following sections: Raw, their full raw menu is available for brunch; Tossed, with three salads not available on the dinner menu, including Lobster Cobb Salad (grilled avocado along with the lettuces, ½ a lobster, sharp cheddar, egg and grilled bacon, $24). The Unnamed section of the menu features items such as Huevos Rancheros, with machaca beef cheeks, black beans, grilled avocado, and a tortilla ($14); Brisket Shank & Grilled Tongue "Hash" with a 2hr egg, frites, cheese curds and gravy ($14); Giannone Fried Chicken with biscuits, sawmill gravy, sausage, and pepper jelly ($19), Brunch Frites, bottomless frites with a selection of either grilled steaks (a choice of three 8oz cuts) or sandwiches (corned brisket & tongue reuben $14, burger with house bacon, BC sauce & cheddar, $15, croque monsieur $15) served with the choice of select sauces from the dinner menu. For Sides, try the House Made Pecan Sticky Buns ($7) or House Made Donuts with Chocolate Sauce ($7).
On the beverage menu, you will find Prime Bloodies, culinary infused Bloody Marys, a collaboration between the kitchen and the bar. All bloodies can be “cooked” to order: Rare – bold house made Bloody Mary mix, Medium– add spice to your life, Well Done– when you want to play with fire.
Selections include: Pickled Mary with asparagus, green beans, frog balls, and cornichons – all pickled in house ($10); Smoked Kebab with speared bell peppers, pearl onions, and smoked beef tongue ($10); Charred Shishito with pepper jack cheese, grilled shishito pepper, and lemon ($10); Steak & Cheese with veal stock and blue cheese stuffed olives ($10).
2) The Beehive Restaurant's latest celebration will be “La Fête nationale du Québec” or “Quebec National Day” featuring an evening of food and live performance from award-winning singer-songwriters Isabelle Cyr and Yves Marchand on Monday, June 24, from 5pm-1am. In partnership with the Quebec Delegation of Boston and Svedka Vodka, The Beehive will be decked out representing our friends to the north in proper fashion as Cyr and Marchand perform original, well-known and traditional pieces from their Quebec and Acadian repertoire from 8pm-12am.
Highlighting the true friendliness of Quebec and its people, dinner will kick off at 5pm with a La Fête nationale du Québec specials menu in addition to The Beehive’s regular fare. The evening’s food will feature traditional Quebec fare such as: Smoked Trout Cakes with Horseradish & Cucumber Salad ($12), Foie Gras & Maple Crème Brulée ($14), Brome Lake Duck Breast Au Poivre with Sweet Potato Fries ($27), Québec style Lobster Spaghetti ($32), and Bleu berries pie with Maple syrup ice cream ($8).
In the mood for some Quebec cocktails why not try some of The Beehive’s fun featured cocktails for the evening such as the "Caribou de Ville” ($11.50) blending together red wine, American Honey Wild Turkey splashes of maple syrup, served on the rocks with a cinnamon stick, or the "Quebec Urbain" ($11.50) made with Svedka Clementie, blood orange juice and muddled fresh mint served on the rocks.
There is no cover charge for this event, but dinner reservations are highly recommended, so please call 617-423-0069.
3) The Grafton Inn introduces the first annual Grafton Food Festival, a celebration of local food and farms in Vermont, to be held June 22 and 23, from 10am-4pm, in Grafton Village. The event is presented by Northeast Flavor, a food and wine magazine focused on New England culinary pursuits.
Celebrate Vermont’s “taste of place” and sample local food from more than 20 local food providers including Grafton Village Cheese, Side Hill Farm, Vermont Creamery, Blake Hill Preserves, Wright Orchard Sugarworks, Vermont Smoke and Cure and more. Additional food vendors, a bar and local farms will be set-up for purchased items, as well.
Guests will have the chance to enjoy cooking demonstrations each day featuring nationally recognized chefs including Susan Tuveson and Jean Kerr of Northeast Flavor, Jason Tostrup of the Inn at Weathersfield, Martin Schuelke of the Grafton Inn and more. One lucky attendee at each of the five cooking demonstrations will win the prepared food and sit at a special Chef’s Table at the event to enjoy it.
Cost is $10 per person; children under 12 are free.
The Grafton Inn will offer specially priced farm-to-table dinner menus at the Old Tavern Restaurant on Friday and Saturday evening. Friday night is a Vegetarian themed tasting dinner (with a meat option) and Saturday night is a local Pasture to Plate tasting dinner. Reservations are necessary for each dinner.
Additional activities in Grafton this weekend include guided wine and cheese hikes at Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center on Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ($25 per person) and live music at Phelps Barn Pub on Friday and Saturday night at 8 pm (no cover).
The Grafton Inn is offering a special Grafton Food Festival lodging package that includes two night’s lodging at the historic inn, breakfast each morning, entry to the Food Festival and a special Food Festival welcome bag for just $375.
For the complete event agenda and to book lodging or dinner reservations, visit GraftonFoodFestival.com or call 800-843-1801.
4) Beginning Sunday, June 9, TICO hosts a monthly Summer Patio Party with food, drinks, music, games, giveaways and fun. On Sunday, July 14, from 2pm-8pm, there will be an All-American BBQ. Technically it’s Bastille Day, but don’t tell that to TICO – they’re still celebrating the Fourth well into July with classic BBQ fare like burgers, dogs, ribs, cornbread; beer samples, giveaways from Patron Tequila, and music from DJ Jaz. On Sunday, August 11, from 2pm-8pm, there will be a Patio Pig Roast. Closing out the summer with another of TICO’s winning pig roasts, the patio will be rocking once more with all-you-can-eat porchetta from the rig roast, sides, beer samples, giveaways from Patron Tequila, and music from DJ Jaz.
COST: $20/person at the door includes all-you-can-eat food, beer & spirit tastings, giveaways and live music from DJ Jaz of the Boston Celtics
5) Bistro 5, a phenomenal Italian restaurant in Medford, is celebrating strawberries and local agriculture from June 13-June 29, with a special 5 Course Tasting Menu with Wine Pairings. 50% of their dessert sales will benefit the
Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Market.
The Menu is:
Strawberry Thyme Chilled Soup (Port Wine Syrup, Mascarpone and Prosciutto)
2011 Aragosta, Vermentino, Sardegna
Scungilli (Thinly Sliced Conch, Green Strawberries and Spring Onion Vinaigrette)
2011 Loosen Bros "Dr .L" Riesling, Germany
Goat Cheese Ravioli (Strawberry Confetti and Shishito Peppers)
2009 Montaribaldi, Dolcetto d'Alba
Duck Milanese (Strawberry and Window Box Shiso, Rhubarb and Cherry Compote)
2009 Zenato, Valpolicella, Ripasso
Strawberry Shortcake (White Chocolate Mousse and Lemon Cloud)
2011 Elio Perrone 'Bigarò', Brachetto d'Aqui
Cost: Tasting Menu--Five Course: $68 per person or Three Course: $49 per person
Wine Pairing--Five Course: $25 per person or Three Course: $20 per person
For reservations, please call (781) 395-7464
6) Chef-owner Chris Douglass of Ashmont Grill is hosting four special dining events this summer. Prices and menus vary.
Monday, June 24 @ 6 PM
Joel Gott Wine Dinner: Cost $65 inclusive for 5 courses of seasonal cuisine, served communally on the patio and paired with 5 wines from this white-hot winery. Gott's local representative will speak. Seating for this event limited to the first 25 people who call to reserve a space.
Sunday, July 14 @ 6 PM
Pig Roast: This exciting outdoor pork-a-thon features a traditional pig roast with all the fixins plus selected beers and wines. Cost is $60 inclusive.
Sunday, August 11 @ 6 PM
Lobstah Bake: New Englanders know that this feast always includes our favorite crustacean, plus local corn, potatoes, clams, hot dogs, watermelon and more. Act fast as seating is limited @ $60 inclusive.
Sunday, September 8 @ 6 PM
Dueling Chefs of Dorchester: This exciting competition pits the kitchen teams of Ashmont Grill and Tavolo (our sister restaurant) against each other in an end-of-the-season patio party chock full of local farm fare, meats, fish, psta, homey desserts, wine and beer. $75 inclusive.
Rain dates for all four events will be posted online.
7) Joseph Cassinelli, Chef & Owner of the Alpine Restaurant Group, announced three new hires to his restaurant team. The Alpine Restaurant Group currently owns and operates Posto, Posto Mobile and The Painted Burro in Davis Square. These are some of my favorite restaurants. Alpine Restaurant Group has named two inaugural positions including: Alec Riveros as Director of Operations and Chef Robert Jean as the Culinary Director of the group. Additionally, Chef Wyatt Maguire joins as Executive Chef of Posto.
“In 2010, Posto was one of the first restaurants to debut in the resurgence of the Davis Square restaurant scene,” says Joseph Cassinelli. “It is New England’s first Verace Pizza Napoletana certified pizzeria, but over time it has evolved to be much more. Under the direction of our new team, guests can now enjoy a dining experience that highlights the simplicity of Italian cuisine augmented with the New England bounty. An extensive antipasti program of small plates, handmade pasta dishes, and local grilled meats and fish are labors of love that we are all excited to share.”
The new menu at Posto showcases the simplicity of Italian cooking with a focus on artisan ingredients. The menu includes a new section of Stouzi (white bean puree with cauliflower giardinerre), Ensalate (string bean salad with fava, pea, sunchoke, Gaeta olive and pistachio pesto) and Primi (ciabatta with rosemary roasted peach, foie gras & lavender sea salt). The Pasta section features an expanded selection of hand made dishes such as a rabbit tagliatelle with peas, carrots, toasted garlic, farm egg & tarragon. The Pizza selections offer both rosso and bianco selections and continue to be made in the true Neapolitan spirit with “00” flour, San Marzano tomatoes, and house made fior di latte mozzarella. A new section of Carne e Pesce showcases wood roasted meat as well as an extended selection of seafood dishes such as whole roasted sea bass “cartocchio” with spicy pomodoro, fennel & saffron sea salt and brook trout with kale, chiogga beet, sweet onion & bone marrow “almondine.”
The beverage program at Posto has also been revamped. The cocktail list now includes a selection of Aperitivo such as Aperol Spritz which is available by the pitcher, Cocktails made with house infused spirits, house made limoncello and simple syrups, in addition to selections of local and international draft and bottled beer. The wine list features sparkling, rose, white and red wine selections available both by the bottle and by the glass. Posto’s beverage program also features an imported Italian wine preservation system called Enzo. Enzo’s extensive wine by the glass program allows guests to enjoy rare selections of reserve wines by the glass. I look forward to checking out all the changes.