Thursday, June 20, 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) Donato Frattaroli, owner of Lucia Ristorante in Winchester, and Executive Chef Pino Maffeo continue their cooking class series by offering guests an opportunity to learn how to create five different fresh, summer-inspired salad favorites.

On Wednesday, July 10, from 6:30pm-9:30pm, Lucia Ristorante will hold the next in its series of cooking classes, where guests will have a hands-on lesson on how to make the freshest Italian- style summer salads, along delicious vinaigrettes to pair together. Just in time for the heat of the summer, these not-so-typical cool salads are the perfect dish for any summer barbeque or dinner. Following the class, guests will be invited for a family- style meal of class-prepared dishes with both chefs. Notebook, recipes, and aprons will be provided.

This class will include hands-on demonstrations on how to make:

L’Insalata di Patata Italiana (Italian Potato Salad)
Caprese Salad 
With Balsamic Vinegrette
Arugula Salad With Lemon Vinegrette and Bresaola
L’Insalata di Pomodoro Italiana (Italian Tomato Salad)
Sicilian Orange Salad with Blood orange, Fennel, EVOO

The Summer-Salad class costs $60 per person For more information about this event, or to make a reservation for the class, please call (781) 729-0515.

2) Ducali Pizzeria and Bar is upgrading its brunch for the summer. Starting this Sunday, in addition to the regular brunch menu Ducali will be offering a summer “Kegs and Eggs” special: a beer flight + a breakfast pizza for $12.

Start with the choice of a beer flight, Beantown (Massachusetts brews only) or Around the World (multi-regional brews), which offer guests a selection of five, 4-ounce pours. Pair it with the choice of a Breakfast Pizza including: Pizza Ducale with potato, pancetta, mozzarella & egg; Pizza Verde with spinach, cherry tomatoes, mushroom, mozzarella & egg; Pizza Abbruzzese with sausage, onion, mozzarella & egg, and it may just be the classiest form of kegs and eggs around.

Other brunch menu entrees range from $7 to $12 and include:
Frittata Occidentale (Mushroom, onion, red pepper & pancetta frittata served with country toast & Italian style potatoes)
Frittata Tricolore Cheese (basil & tomato frittata served with country toast & Italian style potatoes)
Granola (Mascarpone & fresh berries with homemade granola)
Americano (Two fried eggs, Italian sausage, country toast and Italian style potatoes)
Pane Dolce (Baked French toast topped with Nutella, served with fresh fruit)
Frutta Fresca (Seasonal fruit bowl)

Brunch is held every Sunday 11am-3pm

3) Chef & Owner Jeff Fournier, of 51 Lincoln in Newton, is revitalizing the restaurant by adding new talent to the kitchen, rebuilding the menu, and creating a new interior look and feel. I am a fan of 51 Lincoln and am intrigued by the new changes.

The new culinary team includes: Nate Gibson as the new Chef de Cuisine, a promotion from his former role of Sous Chef at sister restaurant Waban Kitchen; Nicholas Mace as the new Sous Chef, a promotion from his former role of first line cook; and former BU culinary student, Fernanda Tapia, has taken on a more independent role by creating The Cooking School at 51 Lincoln, a weekly hands-on cooking series which teaches a small group the ins and outs of everything from knife skills to how to butcher a while pig.

Fournier and Chef de Cuisine Gibson have rebuilt the menu from the ground up, going back to basics and focusing on fresh, local ingredients and creativity. Fournier sees everything besides the protein as the vehicles for that dish, thus focusing on sustainability all the way through the fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. The kitchen is experimenting with innovative techniques daily (pickled beet relish, apricot clafoutis in mason jars, an Asian Surf & Turf made with seared skirt steak, salt & pepper oyster, warm egg yolk, scallions, Fresno peppers), and the menu changes true to season.

The new menu for summer is composed of:
--Cheese & Charcuterie, such as Pickled Smoked Pork and Valdeon, a Spanish cheese.
--Appetizers, such as Watermelon “Steak” Salad with golden beets, French feta, red beet vinaigrette, and fresh herbs and New England Style Shrimp Chowder
--Entrees, such as Herb-Roasted Fried Chicken with made-to-order buttermilk mashed potatoes, field greens, and plum jam and Pan Rendered Long Island Duck Breast with chilled buckwheat soba noodles and garlic sautéed gai lan.
--Vegetables, such as Ginger & Fennel Dusted French Fries served with chipotle & lime aioli and Polenta Fries with truffled parmesan dip.

Chef Fournier, Gibson, Mace, and Tapia are all hands-on with the creation and fruition of the 3,000 square foot 51 Lincoln Rooftop Garden. The garden grows a majority of produce used at the restaurant, and serves as inspiration for his house made and aged sausages and many whim dishes, producing: tomato plants, many types of herbs, cucumbers, potatoes, and many varieties of peppers. This August, Fournier and Gibson will be using this rooftop produce as a major component during Raw August, a month-long celebration of internationally influenced raw cuisine featuring dishes such as: Fresh Hamachi & Heirloom Melon Sashimi, Rosewater Ponzu, Toasted Sesame Seeds, Bulls Blood and Colorado Lamb Kibbe, White Onion, Parsley, Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette, Naan Bread.

For the summer season, the craft cocktail program concocted cherry and lavender infused vodka, coconut infused tequila, strawberry & lemongrass infused gin, and brown sugar & BBQ-spiced bourbon, to create the offerings: El Cocodrilo - Loco Fresno Chili & Coconut Tequila, Homemade Sour Mix, Fresh Muddled Avocado and a squeeze of fresh lime; Cherry, Darling! - Cherry and lavender infused vodka, Contratto Vermouth Bianco, Campari, dash of simple syrup, and garnished with an orange twist; Bubble Moon - Strawberry & Lemongrass Gin, Creme de Violet, Fresh Lemon, Je T'aime; My Carolina Crush - Brown Sugar & BBQ-Spiced Bourbon, Pineapple, Pomegranate-Soaked Cherries, Lyle's Golden Syrup.

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