Thursday, September 19, 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 Wednesday, September 25, The Beehive will continue its popular tribute series with an evening dedicated to the “Empress of Blues,” Bessie Smith. From 8pm-12am, Nadia Washington and friends will give a live performance honoring some of Smith’s most iconic work.

Referred to as one of the greatest blues singers of all time, Bessie Smith brought an unparalleled emotional intensity, expression and artistry to her performances. Her first recording, “Down-Hearted Blues,” established her as the most successful black performing artist of her time and from there she recorded with some of the most important jazz instrumentalists of the time including Charlie Green, Joe Smith, Tommy Ladnier and most notably Louis Armstrong. Smith’s wide, expressive range, interpretation and delivery established her as one of the most important blues and jazz vocalists of all time.

Nadia Washington and her band will play a unique fusion of contemporary jazz and soul. Washington, whose voice is described as “soulful,” “thrilling” and “beautiful,” is among the prominent artists that connect the lines between music’s heart and soul, much like Smith. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Nadia has toured the East Coast playing with the likes of Kenny Barron and several ensembles including Terri Lyne Carrington, Greg Osby and Ralph Peterson Ensemble.

For dinner reservations or for more information please call 617-423-0069.

2) Culinary Chair William Kovel of Catalyst has gathered celebrated chef friends from Boston and New Hampshire to lead a week long public awareness and fundraising project, Food For Thought. Starting on September 21 (Alzheimer Action Day) until September 29, the participating chefs will offer a special appetizer and donate the proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Association, MA/NH Chapter to benefit programs and research.

Participating restaurants include:
51 Lincoln – 51 Lincoln Street, Newton
Black Trumpet Bistro – 29 Ceres Street, Portsmouth, NH
Blue Inc. – 131 Broad Street, Boston
Catalyst  – 300 Technology Square, Cambridge
Deuxave – 371 Commonwealth Ave., Boston
Langham Hotel – 250 Franklin Street, Boston
Moody’s Delicatessen & Provisions – 468 Moody Street, Waltham
Moxy – 106 Penhallow Street, Portsmouth, NH
Myers + Chang – 1145 Washington Street, Boston
Petit Robert Bistro – Kenmore Square, 468 Commonwealth Ave, Boston
Restaurant dante – 40 Edwin H Land Blvd, Cambridge
Sweet Cheeks – 1381 Boylston Street, Boston
Zebra’s Bistro & Wine Bar – 21 North Street, Medfield

3) Boston area food lovers may be familiar with Chef Paul Turano’s restaurant Tryst, located in Arlington and now Chef Turano's newest venture, Cook, opened Saturday, September 14. The new 80-seat restaurant located at 825 Washington Street in Newton is themed to be a neighborhood restaurant highlighting several different ways to enjoy a meal. From a lighthearted “snacks” section that highlights items such as a house made pretzel ($3), caramel-bacon popcorn ($5) and sweet and spicy peanuts ($5), to starters such as a bag of clams with ramp tartar, salt and corn chow chow ($13), Vietnamese glazed pork ribs with pickled carrots ($12) and Udon noodles with peanuts and ponzu ($10) to mains such as bacon wrapped trout with a lobster & cornbread stuffing with toasted almonds ($23) and braised eggplant with house-made cavatelli, fresh ricotta, basil and tomato ($18), there is something for everyone.

The restaurant also has a wood-fired stove with nine bar seats where guests can sit and order items directly from the chef, including various flatbreads and wood-roasted bites, while watching them be made. The 15-seat bar will host a from-scratch cocktail program, five rotating beers on tap, over 25 canned and bottled beers, and an extensive wine list featuring by the glass and bottle options as well as two draft wines.

Cook will serve dinner seven days a week and will launch its first brunch Saturday, September 21, and will be open for brunch on both Saturday and Sundays moving forward from 10:30am-2:30pm. Lunch service will launch October 1 and will be served Monday – Friday from 11:30am-3:30pm..

4) On Sunday, October 6, from 4 - 7 p.m., Chefs Collaborative, a nonprofit network of chefs that’s changing the sustainable food landscape using the power of connections, education and responsible buying decisions, is assembling some of Rhode Island’s best “farm-to-fork” chefs to promote awareness of local and sustainable ingredients available in the Ocean State. The BBQ will be held at one of the most beautiful farm locations in the state—Schartner Farms private picturesque pond in Exeter.

The event Co-Chairs, Chefs Derek Wagner of Nick’s on Broadway in Providence and Jake Rojas of Tallulah on Thames in Newport are teaming up with the following Rhode Island chefs to create a locally sourced, home-style, barbecue-themed menu:

In Providence
· Matthew Gennuso of Chez Pascal
· Matt & Kate Jennings of Farmstead
· James Mark of north
· Mike McHugh of The Barstow
· David Reynoso of Al Forno
· Benjamin Sukle of birch
· Matthew Varga of Gracie’s
· Beau Vestal of New Rivers

In Newport
· Chad Hoffer and Tyler Burnley of Thames Street Kitchen
· Chad Hart of One Bellevue at the Hotel Viking

In Bristol
· Eli Dunn of The Beehive
· Champe Speidel of Persimmon

In Westerly
· Paul Pearson of Seasons at the Ocean House

Cocktails are to be provided by The Avery in Providence and Berkshire Mountain Distillers with M.S. Walker. Wine will be provided by local vintners Newport Vineyards in Middletown, Jonathan Edwards Winery in North Stonington, Connecticut and via Wine Wizards: Greenvale Vineyards, Stonington Vineyards and Farnum Hill Cider. Revival Brewing Company of Providence and Grey Sail Brewing Company of Westerly will be offering beer selections.

The Rhode Island BBQ is a chance for some of Rhode Island’s most talented chefs to showcase the bounty of the season, from the farms, pastures and coastal waters of Rhode Island. Proceeds from this barbecue help to fund the important work that Chefs Collaborative is doing, both in Rhode Island and across the country, in their mission to make sustainability second nature in the professional kitchen. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds help to fund a scholarship to send Rhode Island chefs to the Chefs Collaborative Sustainable Food Summit.

The event is family-oriented and is held rain or shine. While there is some limited seating, guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets or chairs to sit on. Beer, wine and cocktails are included in the ticket price, but please bring any non-alcoholic beverages that you might need for yourselves or your little ones. The event is $65/adults, $25/children ages 8-18, children under 8 are free. Tickets include all the food and beverage offerings and can be purchased online at

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