Thursday, August 29, 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) On September 16, at 6:30pm, Legal Harborside will host a wine dinner with Italian winery, Altesino. Nestled away in the heart of Tuscany, Altesino’s production averages 220,000 bottles per year, and is recognized as one of the area’s most distinguished producers. Legal Harborside will team up with Altesino’s Commercial Director and Assistant Wine Maker, Guido Orzalesi, to host a four-plus-course dinner featuring cuisine paired with Orzalesi’s choices from the Altesino vine.

The menu will be presented as follows:
Duck “Rognuggets” with Orange Blossom Honey Dipping Sauce
Mushroom Bruschetta, Guanciale, Quail Egg
Polenta, Braised Snails and Shallots, Balsamic Vinegar
Rosemary Skewered Beef Heart, Agrodolce
Altesino Rosso di Montalcino, 2010
Rainbow Chard and Robiola Agnolotti
Braised Veal Shoulder, Smoked Pine Nuts, Ricotta and Marjoram
Altesino Rosso di Montalcino, 2010
Caramelized Lamb Belly (Oxtail Ragù, Lentils, Fermented Garlic and Roasted Squash) Altesino Brunello di Montalcino, 2007
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino, 2008
Roasted 42 Day Ged Prime Rib of Beef (Rosemary-Horseradish Popovers, Puréed Potatoes, Grilled Escarole and Jus)
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino “Montosoli,” 2006
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino “Montosoli,” 2007
Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta with Cherry Almond Biscotti
Altesino Vin Santo “Val d’Arbia,” 2004

Cost: $125 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)
Reservations required by calling 617-530-9470

2) Mâitre d' hotel and Fromager Louis Risoli and Wine Director & Sommelier Lauren Collins present Salon Sessions, held at L’Espalier each month. Louis Risoli's passion for cheese is unparalleled and is the driving force behind the Grand Fromage at L’Espalier since 1988. Lauren Collins, Wine Director & Sommelier at L'Espalier, joined the team in 2012 and is a certified Advanced Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Lauren is one of five people in Boston to obtain this esteemed certification.

L’Espalier presents Classic Combinations at Salon Sessions—an intimate yet educational wine and cheese pairing. Join experts Louis Risoli and Lauren Collins, as they share their knowledge on textbook examples of great pairings, such as Triple Crème with Champagne, Stilton and Port, Chevre and Sancerre as well as Clothbound Cheddar with Bordeaux.

When: Thursday, September 12, at 6pm
Cost: $55 per person
Reservations are required. Please call L’Espalier at 617-262-3023

3) Legal Sea Foods is holding their fifth annual Oyster Festival this fall, from September 18 through October 15, Legal Sea Foods will celebrate everything oysters via menu features and a quartet of special events. All Massachusetts Legal Sea Foods locations will feature a series of rotating in-restaurant specials including Fried Oysters ($10.95), Oyster Stew ($10.95), Oyster Legal ($14.95), Oyster Po-Boy ($11.95) and Oyster & Andouille Sausage Jambalaya ($15.95).

Our oyster bars are a hallmark of our restaurants,” observed Roger Berkowitz, President and CEO of Legal Sea Foods. “And no longer should oysters be just the favorites of gastronomes. We want to educate all our guests and encourage experimentation. We’d like everyone to share the belief of the idiomatic saying, ‘the world is your oyster.’”

Special events will be held at various Legal Sea Foods locations and will include:

--Shellfish Shindig, a ‘shuckout’ of $1 oysters at Charles Square’s outdoor Terrace Bar (September 22 from 2-4pm; a la carte pricing)
--Sip, Slurp and Sup, a trio of small plates paired with oyster-friendly wines hosted in the Park Square location (October 1 at 6:30pm; $40 per person)
--Mollusk Mania, an “everything oysters” party featuring a raw bar of eight varieties and four passed appetizers on the all-weather rooftop at Legal Harborside (October 6 from 2-4pm; $45 per person)
--Oyster Brewhaha, a four-course oyster and craft beer dinner at the Kendall Square location (October 8 at 6:30pm; $55 per person).

The health benefits of oysters come by the bushel. The bivalves are rich in protein, low in fat and calories, low in cholesterol, chockfull of vitamins and are nature’s best source of zinc. All shellfish are separated into batches according to vendor and certified bed area and subsequently tested for purity within 24 hours of receipt at its Quality Control Center, a state-of-the-art fish processing center complete with in-house laboratory. Product remains quarantined until test results confirm negative for toxins. Legal Sea Foods thus ensures that its oysters are, indeed, the best tasting and safest in the industry.

4) On Tuesday, September 24, Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro (BHHB) and the New England Aquarium will co-host a “Celebrate Seafood Dinner” to raise awareness of the challenges facing the oceans and the benefits of sustainable seafood. For just $65 per person, $55 for New England Aquarium members, guests will be treated to a one-of-a-kind, multi-course dinner with communal seating that will satiate the palate while satisfying the soul. For an additional $30, guests can enjoy an optional wine pairing with each course.

Executive Chef Josh Lewin is committed to incorporating local products and sustainable practices into Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro’s cuisine in unique and innovative ways. To bring this delicious and educational feast to diners, Lewin worked alongside the Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Program to bring only the freshest, most sustainable ingredients to the table. Joining the Bistro and Aquarium will be special guests, Pat and Barbara Woodbury of Woodbury Shellfish in Wellfleet, as well as Adam Fuller and Larry Trowbridge from Snappy Lobster Company in Scituate, to speak about their companies and the changing landscape that is affecting local resources. As they speak, guests will be able to taste their product firsthand by indulging into Chef Lewin’s creative take on Woodbury’s farmed shellfish and Snappy’s dayboat seafood.

For reservations please call: 617-723-7575. Seats are limited.

Swordfish Conserva, Mouse Melon, Tomato Vinaigrette
Wellfleet Oyster, gelled in its liquor. Horseradish and Whey Granita
"Rachel Rose" Scallop Mousse. Cherry Cilantro Jam, Mangalitsa Lardo, Sabzi
Harpooned Swordfish and Lobster, Heirloom Tomato, Tomato Consomme, New Potato
Olive Oil Cake, Mexican Chocolate, Beets

For reservations please call: 617-723-7575. Seats are limited.

5) The region’s seafood industry will be the focus of the second annual Boston Seafood Festival. Hosted by the Fisheries Foundation (BFF) on Saturday, September 28 in the Seaport District at the Bank of America Pavilion, the event will be a day of celebration and festivities.

The Boston Seafood Festival will offer a full day of events focused on educating the public about the local and global elements at play in New England’s dynamic fishing industry. The event will take place from 11am-10pm and will include more than 20 vendors serving up fresh-from-the-water fare, an all-day lobster bake, celebrity chef demonstrations on how to cook seafood, an oyster shucking contest, the New England Aquarium Touch Tank and other hands-on activities for children, as well as educational panels presented by scientists, fishermen and nutritionists focusing on seafood and sustainability. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at

Established by the BFF to raise awareness of New England’s fisheries, the festival highlights America’s original seafood hub, a centuries-old industry facing many modern-day issues. The Boston Seafood Festival hopes to set the tone this year for an even larger celebration next year, which will be held conjunction with the 100th birthday of Boston Fish Pier, an enduring symbol of the New England fishing industry. “We have to work together to sustain and support our fish and fishing families or iconic fishing centers like the Boston Fish Pier may disappear,” says Robert Nagle, co-founder of the Boston Fisheries Foundation and Vice President of Operations at John Nagle Co. The BFF will celebrate New England’s passion for fishing and delicious seafood bounty with locals and visitors at this all-day event. BFF President and Co-Founder Chris Basile, owner of Quarterdeck Seafood Market, says, “Whether you enjoy the most traditional or the most adventurous seafood, you will find it at the festival. We are really excited to share our love of seafood with the public.”

Fishing-related organizations such as Ocean Trust, Saving Seafood and Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association, along with scientists and nutritionists, will be on-hand to share information. There will be local culinary talent presenting stage demos throughout the day; some of the notable chefs who will demonstrate perfect fish preparation include Chef Jose Duarte of Taranta, Chef Rich Garcia of the former 606 Congress, and Chef Bill Bradley of the New England Aquarium. Last year, thousands of guests came to the event to enjoy the seminars, demos, music, and competitions. This year, the organizers anticipate more than 5,000 attendees over the course of the festival.

On Friday, September 27th, the BFF and Boston Seafood Festival organizers will kick off the weekend’s events with the second annual Boston Seafood Gala. This event will include culinary offerings from many of New England’s most prestigious chefs. Tickets to the gala are $125 per person and can be purchased by visiting The gala will take place at the Exchange Conference Center on the Boston Fish Pier in the Seaport District. Proceeds from this celebratory gala event will benefit the Boston Fisheries Foundation.

6) Joslin Diabetes Center, the world's largest diabetes research and clinical care organization, will celebrate with “ritmos de salud” at the Artists for Humanity EpiCenter on September 26th, to benefit its Latino Diabetes Initiative.

Guests will enjoy an evening filled with upbeat Latin rhythms from Grammy nominated Gonalzo Grau as well as a performance by Salsa Matei Dance Company; guests will be encouraged to join in on the dance floor. A fabulous array of food will be provided by 10 of Boston’s most renowned Chefs, led by our culinary chair – Chef Jose Duarte of Taranta.

Diabetes is a disease of epidemic proportions across all populations, affecting certain racial/ethnic groups in even greater numbers. National data demonstrates that Latinos have a two-fold increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to the Caucasian population. Joslin Diabetes Center’s Latino Diabetes Initiative (LDI) strives to improve the lives of Latinos affected by diabetes, or at risk for the disease, through culturally oriented patient care, education, outreach and research, as well as working to find a cure.

When: Thursday, September 26, 6pm-11pm
Cost: Tickets are $65 can be purchased by calling 617. 309.2512 or e-mail

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