Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting wine and food items that are upcoming.
1) Join SKY, located in Norwood, on Friday, January 31, for a special Whiskey Dinner featuring five whiskeys; each accompanied by a complementing regional dish. The evening begins at 7pm with a reception and a multi-course dinner, prepared by Executive Chef Andy DiPace, then begins at 7:30pm.


Cocktail: Fashion Nut, Buffalo Trace Bourbon (Kentucky)--Brown sugar, black walnut bitters, orange peel, cherry
Kentucky Road Kill Stew (we’re gonna use pork!)
Heirloom Pork Shoulder Pit Barbecue Burgoo, fried green tomatoes, mustard green puree and spiced crushed peanuts
First Course
Whistlepig Rye (Vermont)--Notes of cinnamon and cherry, toasted rye on the palate with hints of dark chocolate.
Vermont Grown (Clothbound cheddar, dark amber maple glazed, Champlain Valley Triple Cream, braised apples, Vermont winter hydroponic greens, candied “Smoke and Cure” bacon)
Second Course
E.H Taylor Bourbon (Kentucky)--Caramel corn sweetness, with a soft finish of pepper and tobacco
Chicken and Waffles (Kentucky fried chicken drumsticks, corn meal bourbon waffle, cucumber Benedictine spread, cilantro apple butter sauce)
Third Course
Templeton Rye (Iowa)--Dark fruit notes, mildly sweet with a touch of caramel (The rye that made Al Capone famous)
“Corn Beef” (Corn fed Iowa beef tenderloin, foraged morel mushroom succotash, edamame foam, muscatine melon béarnaise sauce)
Blanton’s Bourbon (Kentucky)--Deep nose of citrus and oak, hints of honey, creamy vanilla finish.
Sweet Kentucky Balls (Cherry pecan bourbon balls, mint julep Johnny cake and persimmons jam, lavender oil)

COST: Tastes of Whiskey is $75 per person (tax and gratuity not included)
Reservations are required and can be made by calling 781-255-8888

2) Chef Tony Maws and Chef de Cuisine Carl Dooley have created the most adventurous and delicious menu for the third annual Road Less Travelled dinner at Craigie On Main. The five-course dinner will take diners on a food-forward adventure January 29. This feast is not an exercise in being as wild or outrageous as possible. On the contrary, the Craigie team is aiming to demonstrate how truly excellent lesser-known parts of animals, fish, vegetables and little known herbs and spices are.

I love cooking,” says Chef Maws. “A dinner like this is the ultimate experience for our team to showcase our creativity in cooking; strengthen our commitment to minimizing waste, and to expose our guests to unique flavors and ingredients they may have not been able to try before.” Of course this isn’t just about the food. Weird wine pairings and interesting beer and cocktails will be poured to complete the experience.

The Road Less Travelled III Menu:

Hors D’Oeuvres –(for the table)
Crab Mustard Cromesquis
Burgundy Snail and anchovy toasts
Pig Ear Terrine
1st course – (choice of)
Foie de Lotte au Torchon (house-cured guanciale, sea urchin vinaigrette)
Grilled Cuttlefish Salad (oroblanco, ink vinaigrette)
Beef Tongue and Heart Carpaccio (warm bone marrow vinaigrette)
2nd course – (choice of)
Plankton Zucca Pasta (pig foot and lobster roe ragout)
Cod Head Boudin Blanc (potato gnocchi, lardo, cod milt sauce)
Braised Tripe and Sweet Bread Posole
Entrees – (choice of)
Smoked Squab Breast (confit leg, salsify, boudin noir sauce)
Elysian Fields Lamb Three Ways (cardoon and lamb fat gratin)
Pig Head to Tail, and everything in between “En Crepine”
Desserts – we have to leave some surprises!

In the event of a serious foodie or nervous diner in the house, Craigie is offering two pledges:
1. Guests will have to Google at least 10 things on the menu to identify/pronounce them.
If you don’t, Craigie will give you an order of the famous Crispy Fried Pig Tails on your next visit.
2. If guests don’t agree that these lesser-known selections are every bit as delicious as their more popular cousins, they can enjoy an order of the pig part du jour.

To make a reservation, please call 617 497-5511

3) Get ready for the 1st Annual Portsmouth Fire + Ice Festival from Thursday evening, February 13 through Monday, February 17. The Fire + Ice Festival celebrates Valentine's Day, Presidents Day Weekend and Winter in Portsmouth, with festivities coordinated by members of the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce. Building on the Ice Fest that the Portsmouth Gas Light Company restaurant has held on weekend evenings in mid-February for the last three years, the new city-wide Festival incorporates day-time fun for families, special programs and offers in stores, restaurants and performing arts spaces and evening entertainment.

The 1st Annual Portsmouth Fire + Ice Festival is a direct outgrowth of the collaborative brainstorming that took place among the businesses who rely on the tourism dollars that contribute so much to the community,” said Valerie Rochon, Tourism Manager for the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce. “Fire + Ice builds on events that were already happening in the city to give couples and families an additional reason to make Portsmouth their Valentine’s Day and President’s Day Weekend holiday getaway.”


Thursday February 13
--The Port Inn Opening Night Party. Time TBA. Port Inn debuts its renovated lobby and guestroom designs at the kick-off party, serving Fire + Ice cocktails featuring New Amsterdam vodka and appetizers for guests and a fire pit and ice sculptures for outside decor.
--The Music Hall 7pm HD Broadcast: Romeo and Juliet starting Orlando Bloom. $22.

Friday February 14
--President’s Day Weekend Hearth-Cooking Workshop at Strawbery Banke Museum. ($65. Advance reservations required at
--Portsmouth Gas Light Company Fire + Ice Fest Charity Night. Begins at 6pm with all proceeds from the door and raffle tickets to benefit Pro Portsmouth, Strawbery Banke and Seacoast Repertory Theater. There will be three ice bars, fire pits, ice luges, wood fire grilled food and ice sculptures. Beverages are sponsored by Southern Wine and Spirits and New Hampshire Distributors.

Saturday February 15
--Flowers of Winter Exhibit. Beginning at 11am with speaker David Park Curry. Discover Portsmouth Center
--NHPTV Presents Winter films at the Seacoast Repertory Theater. Throughout the day, the Rep will be playing winter themed shows and short films from NHPTV. This event is free to the public.
--Portsmouth Gas Light Company Fire + Ice Fest. Beginning at 6pm, there will be three ice bars, fire pits, ice luges, wood fire-grilled food and ice sculptures. Beverages are sponsored by Southern Wine and Spirits and New Hampshire Distributors.
--Winter Night at Pitt Tavern, 7-10pm at Strawbery Banke Museum celebrates President’s Day Weekend in a manner George Washington would have recognized when he visited the Tavern in 1789. Live acoustic music, beer specially brewed for Strawbery Banke by the Portsmouth Brewing Company and tavern food prepared by The White Apron Café at Strawbery Banke. $22.50 per person.

Sunday February 16
--Dog Sled Rides at Strawbery Banke from 10am-4pm. Seal Cove Dog Sledding will be providing dog sled rides to the public on Puddle Dock at Strawbery Banke. Free demonstration of miniature portrait painting, recreating the traditional oil-on-copper style popular in the eras of Presidents Washington and Lincoln, presented by Strawbery Banke artist-in-residence Alan Ammann in the Tyco Visitors Center.
--Performances by Patrick Dorow Productions at the Player’s Ring from 12-6pm. The Player’s Ring will also be providing warm beverages for anyone enjoying the festival who need to warm up! This is a free event to the public.
--Portsmouth Gas Light Company Fire + Ice Fest. Beginning at 12pm, there will be three ice bars, fire pits, ice luges, wood fire grilled food and ice sculptures. Beverages are sponsored by Southern Wine and Spirits and New Hampshire Distributors.
--Fire and Ice Themed Pecha Kucha. Doors open at 6pm and presentations will begin at 7pm at the Portsmouth Gas Light Company in the Third Floor Night Club. During a Pecha Kucha night, presenters are asked to bring 20 slides related to the night’s theme but are only given 20 seconds to explain each one. The Gas Light will have the bar open and a limited menu available to guests.

4) This Valentine’s Day, February 14, from 5:30pm-10:30pm, Legal Harborside will dish out a six-course chef’s tasting menu on their second floor. Available in addition to the regular menu, the romantically-themed tasting is available with optional wine pairings and will be served while overlooking the picturesque Boston Harbor:

French Kiss Oysters (passion fruit mignonette)
Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne, 2004
Bay Scallop Tiradito (sweet yuzu melon, heats of palm, avocado purée)
Domaine Weinbach "Reserve" Sylvaner, Alsace, 2011
Butter Poached Lobster (ricotta gnocchi, uni foam)
Domaine Des Baumard "Clos du Papillon" Savennières, Loire Valley, 2004
Atlantic Halibut (roasted fennel purée, satsuma tangerine, fennel salad)
Chehalem "Ian's Reserve" Stoller Vineyard Chardonnay, Dundee Hills, 2008
Creekstone Beef Trio (dry aged sirloin, oxtail ragout, marrow, white bean purée, braised escarole, meyer lemon gremolata)
Domaine Roger Sabon "Chapelle de Maillac" Lirac, Rhône Valley, 2009
Duet of Passion Fruit Mousse & Chocolate Raspberry Flourless Cake
Pedro Romero "Pedro Ximénez" extra rich sherry

COST: Chef’s tasting menu: $85 per person Chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings: $125 per person For reservations, please call 617-477-2900

5) Taberna de Haro will be honoring St. Valentine for one whole week. The specials were carefully chosen to be romantic and beautiful. From 2/13 to 2/19, they will offer, in addition to their list of 45 authentic Spanish tapas and entrees, the following dishes:

Ensalada valenciana 9.75 (Frisee & escarole w blood orange, salt cod shreds, fried garlic, moscatel vinaigrette)
Canapes de corazón 7 (River Rock beef heart canapés w Canary Island red mojo)
Codornices enamorados 19 (2 quail in dark chocolate-almond-hazlenut sauce)
Magret de pato 24 (Brick-oven roasted duck breast w pomegranate reduction)
Conejo con moras y miel 18 (Rabbit braised w blackberries, honey, & Moorish spices)
Paella de verduras de invierno 23 (Winter vegetable paella w preserved lemon allioli)
Tarta de aceite de oliva y naranja 7.50 Orange-scented olive oil cake, sugared rose petal garnish

For reservations, please call 617-277-8272

6) Prezza is about to be struck by Cupid’s arrow with the arrival of San Valentino in the North End. On Valentine’s Day, Executive Chef & Owner Anthony Caturano will dish out four exclusive specials for one night only.

To start, there is a Nantucket Bay Scallop Crudo (Meyer lemon, chili flakes, basil, fennel - $16). For a handmade pasta course, Prezza will serve up Ricotta Gnocchi (lobster, Amaro cream, sage, crushed hazelnuts, bacon - $20 as appetizer; $36 as entree). For entrees, there is a Red Snapper Milanese (mixed radishes, cucumbers, watercress & tarragon vinaigrette - $32) and Grilled Rack of Lamb (roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts, fine herb aioli - $46).

For Reservations, please call 617-227-1577

7) Kitchen Kibitz, the new participatory dining experience which explores modern Jewish cuisine with rich global influences, has teamed up with Shōjō Asian Bar & Bistro to celebrate Asian New Year with a twist. Together, Kitchen Kibitz and the team at Shōjō will be hosting a special Asian New Year dinner on Sunday, January 26. The dinner will feature two seatings, one at 6PM and one at 8PM. Tickets for the dinner are $68 per person, include eight courses and cocktails, and can be purchased through Eventbrite. Special guest chef Mark O’Leary, O Ya and jm curley alum, will be joining Shōjō chef Jeremy Lee to collaborate on the menu and present the dinner. The dinner will take place at Shōjō at 9A Tyler Street in Chinatown.

"We always hope to tell a story through the dinners we host, and Shōjō does a tremendous job at telling their story of Asian cuisine" Gabel said "Since we come from similar backgrounds of re-imagining traditional food, we knew it would be a terrific partnership."

Asian New Year is a major holiday for much of the Boston community and the dinner will pay homage to traditional fare with symbolic meanings and will also share influence of Jewish cuisine. Asian and Jewish culture and cuisine share a surprising amount of similarities, and these are particularly evident when it comes to holidays and the ways families and groups share these traditional meals. The cuisines marry well, and Kitchen Kibitz and Shōjō, who both use fun, untraditional ways to make diners fall in love with meals made with traditional aspects, combine their passions easily to create a truly different dining experience.


Black & White Challah
Matzoball Ramen
Pastrami Rye Bao
Luobagao Latke with Lox
Good Harvest Stir Fry Flanken
Chinese 5 Spice Kugel with Dried Longan
Tangerine Honey Shaved Snow
Black Sesame Manischewitz Mochi

8) This Valentine’s Day weekend, from Friday, February 14 to Sunday, February 16, from 5pm-1am, Executive Chef Eric Gburski is spicing things up in the South End with a spread of seafood specials at Estelle’s Southern Cuisine. In addition to serving their regular menu, Estelle’s will make Valentine’s Day a little hotter – and spicier – by dishing out seven dishes with intoxicating southern flavors.

For starters, there is Cotuit Bay Oysters 2 Ways (half dozen on the ½ shell with pickled watermelon rind & jalapeño mignonette - $15.95; or, four oysters baked on the ½ shell with lump crab, cornbread crumbs & Cajun butter - $15.95), #1 Raw Tuna Tartare (creole mustard, pomegranate, arugula, sherry vinegar & fresh corn nuts - $13.95) and Grilled R.I. Littleneck Clams (scotch bonnet sausage, black eye peas, charred tomatoes, wine & butter - $12.95). There are a trio of entrée options: Pepper Grilled Yellowfin Tuna (mustard-chile-soy sauce, fried sweet potatoes & grilled broccoli rabe - $26.95); Grilled Jumbo Gulf White Shrimp (creole lump crab relish, andouille sausage braised black eye peas & buttermilk fried onions - $28.95); and, Blackened Bacon Wrapped Scallops (tomato-chile-chutney, creamy-cheddar grits & garlic seared spinach - $27.95). To conclude this southern culinary adventure, dive into the Molten Chocolate-Chile Cake (raspberry-champagne sauce - $8.95).

For reservations, please call 857-250-2999.

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