Thursday, September 26, 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) Chef Paul Turano, owner of Tryst in Arlington, MA, recently opened Cook, an American Bistro style restaurant. Now, on Saturday, September 21, they will open for Brunch, and will then be open every Saturday and Sunday, from 10:30am-2:30pm, for brunch.

The brunch menu is separated into 5 different categories. Most of the traditional breakfast options are located under the Hot section. Some of the dishes include French Toast on sweet Portuguese bread topped with fresh berries ($11), Eggs Benedict ($15) and Veggie Benne ($12) both made with poached eggs and a smoked tomato hollandaise sauce, and a Southwestern Omelet ($11) comprised of ham, corn salsa, avocado and cheddar cheese.

There are also plenty of lunch options available. From the Grilled section of the menu, Grilled Cheese ($12) made with tomato, herbs and greens, a Burger ($13) with cheddar cheese, pickles and fries, or a Tuna Flatbread ($16) complete with a spicy aioli sauce. From the Wood Fired section, a Soppressata Flatbread with provolone and tomato conserve ($14), a Vegetarian Pita ($11), or a Tomato and Mozzarella ($12) topped with basil and evoo, all of which are available on gluten-free crusts. Lobster Sliders ($6 each), Kale Salad ($10), and Cobb Salad ($15) can be found in the Cold section of the menu, along with other vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Customers can also order any additional breakfast options with their meals from the Sides section of the menu. Some of these sides include a Berry Parfait ($6), Hash ($7), an English Muffin or Toast ($4), Bacon or Sausage ($4), Brunch Potatoes ($6), and Fries ($6).

2) Things are heating up at Shanti restaurant as it hosts the second annual Xtreme Vindaloo Challenge at its Dorchester location. Throughout the entire month of October, Shanti is challenging guests to finish a plate covered in the fiery, unbelievably spicy Vindaloo sauce made of red chilies, Thai bird chili, jalapenos, Kashmiri chili powder, black peppercorn, onions, garlic, Garam and Chat masala and ginger. Guests that take part in the Xtreme Vindaloo Challenge will have their choice of beef, chicken, lamb, goat or shrimp which will be topped with the fiery sauce, but all daredevils will be required to sign a waiver prior to biting in. If challengers are successful in finishing the dish, the Xtreme Vindaloo dish & the next entree is on the house.

Shanti, an Indian style restaurant that prides itself on tradition, is no stranger to spices and intense flavor. Their usual entrees might be hot, but this dish takes it to the next level as it brings the heat. Vindaloo is a sauce that is typically found in Indian curry meat dishes and has a reputation for being the hottest item on the menu. Shanti’s Chef Pokhrel will be preparing sizzling Vindaloo dishes of the guest’s choosing. Those who beat the challenge will earn bragging rights and the pleasure of calling themselves: winner of the Xtreme Vindaloo Challenge.

Cost: Chicken Vindaloo, $11.95; Lamb Vindaloo, $14.95; Beef Vindaloo, $12.95; Goat Vindaloo, $12.95; Shrimp Vindaloo, $14.95

3) On Wednesday, October 2, join The Beehive for “Oktoberfest Der Beehive,” an evening highlighting rustic German food and libations, as well as entertainment by the Octoberfest German Band. Revel in official Oktoberfest festivities with The Beehive as Harpoon Brewery rolls out the barrel to have a barrel of fun!

Pass a mug of ice cold Harpoon Beer including Harpoon IPA, and Octoberfest as you enjoy the evening with The Beehive’s traditional Bavarian & German menu specials such as: German Sausages and House Roast Pork Knuckle both served with Sauerkraut and potatoes. Not in the mood for dinner? Join the Beehive at 8pm when the Octoberfest German Band takes the stage and enjoy your ice cold beer with The Beehive's oven fresh pretzels. Dust off your Dirndl and lederhosen and come celebrate!

WHEN: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013, live music from 8pm-12am, Food and drink from 5pm-2am. COST: No cover charge, cash bar. Dinner reservations recommended.

4) This year Champagne Day is October 25. Wine lovers worldwide will raise a flute to that quintessential wine of celebration, good cheer, and toasts everywhere: Champagne. The annual event encourages the celebration of this truly unique wine that can only come from the Champagne region in France. Consumers from around the world are encouraged to participate in the celebration of Champagne and raise awareness about the need to protect the Champagne name.

Participating is easy. Consumers can join Champagne Day online by blogging, tweeting, posting and sharing their thoughts by using the #ChampagneDay hashtag. Or, they can host or join one of the numerous retail and restaurant tastings that are being planned in locations across the United States. To stay up-to-date on the most current news regarding Champagne Day or to register an event, visit

As part of the celebration, the Champagne Bureau, USA, is once again hosting a contest to recognize authentic Champagne and will give away a new iPad mini to one lucky winner. Contestants are encouraged to send an original photograph or video completing the sentence “Champagne is. . .” All entries must exclusively showcase authentic Champagne and support the sentiment expressed in the statement: "Champagne only comes from Champagne, France." Entries that do not feature a Champagne bottle or label will be accepted as long as authentic Champagne is featured.

There are three ways to enter for a chance to win:
1--Post a picture/video to Instagram using the #ChampagneDay hashtag and tag the Champagne Bureau, USA;
2--Post a picture/video to your Facebook profile and tag yourself and the Champagne Bureau, USA, in the picture;
3--Email a picture or video to with the subject line “Champagne Day 2013 Contest Entry.”

One Grand Prize winner will be selected randomly on October 23 and receive a new iPad mini. The winner will be announced on October 25, Champagne Day. Complete contest rules are available at Contest entrants may submit multiple entries to increase their chances of winning. All entries must be unique, as duplicate entries will not be considered.

For more information about this contest, please visit For more information about Champagne Day or the worldwide effort to protect the Champagne name and origin, please visit or

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