Thursday, February 27, 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) On March 5, at 6pm, Dinner by Dames brings together five of Rhode Island's most talented chefs for a special dining event. Chefs Melissa Denmark of Gracie's and Ellie's Bakery, Jordan Goldsmith of Garden Grille, Maria Meza of El Rancho Grande, Kaitlyn Roberts of Easy Entertaining Inc. and Jessica Wood of Fire and Water Restaurant Group, gather together for the first time to prepare signature dishes and a few treats for dinner guests.

Hosted at The Café at Easy Entertaining at 166 Valley Street in Providence, Rhode Island, Dinner by Dames will begin with a 6 p.m. reception with welcome bites from each chef, then moving into a five-course dinner featuring: Gordita with goat and green salsa, Pappardelle with confit wild mushrooms and Maine white beans with roasted leek broth, Nantucket Bay scallops with other wonderful things, Pork and beans, and Milk chocolate and grapefruit crémeux, pistachio cake and espresso-toffee ice cream.

The five chefs have all enjoyed each other’s food but have not had the chance to collaborate before. Meza said, “I’m excited to work with these great women chefs and prepare plates different from the cuisine I usually create.” Denmark said, “This is an exciting way for some of the talented Rhode Island female chefs to show off all of the great food we create.” Wood added, “It’s going to be an amazing event to see women chefs highlighted in a primarily male dominated industry.” Roberts said, “I really like working with women because they tend to be a little more collaborative. The spirit when women get together is palpable, so I look forward to sharing the energy of the night.

The cost of the dinner is $85 per person (which includes an 8% sales tax and 18% gratuity). An optional wine pairing, selected by Jessica Granatiero of The Savory Grape Wine Shop in East Greenwich, will be available to purchase at the event, as well as an a la carte wine selection. Tickets are available now at

2) The 6th Annual Cheesemakers’ Festival will be held on Sunday, July 20, from 11am-4pm, at the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn in Vermont. This is a celebration of cheeses, artisan foods, craft beers, local wines – and the people who make them. Over 100 cheeses from more than 40 cheesemakers as well as dozens of artisan food producers and local beer, wine and spirits producers will all be gathered for this event. This is one of my favorite events of the year and highly recommended. Plus, I advise you buy your tickets early as the event sells out every year.

Tickets are $50 per person and include full access to all festival events, including workshops, demonstrations, and beer and wine tastings. An early bird special of $45 for tickets runs through March 1. To order tickets visit now on sale through, or by calling 802-86-FLYNN.

3) Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Carnival; different ways to describe the same worldwide party of hedonism and excess before the long (and dry) days of Lent. This March, on Tuesday, March 4, from 8pm-12:30am, Kenmore Square craft cocktail hub The Hawthorne is doing just that by bringing true New Orleans flavor to the neighborhood with a properly gluttonous and spirited Mardi Gras feast.

Time-honored, N’awlins-born cocktails like the Sazerac, Vieux Carre and Ramos Gin Fizz will be flowing Bacchus-style throughout the evening. And for noshing, live crawfish flown in straight from The Big Easy, The Hawthorne’s own oversized muffuletta and freshly fried oyster Po’ Boys lay a stick-to-your ribs foundation for a little light debauchery – horns and beads included. Rounding out the festivities is live New Orleans jazz from Mickey Bones and the Hot Tamale Brass Band, letting guests get down to the beats of Bourbon Street. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training as they prepare to run the Boston Marathon.

Cost: $75/person, includes New Orleans-approved snacks and two cocktails; other cocktails and bites available for purchase. To buy tickets, visit:

4) Chef Paul Turano, chef/owner of Tryst restaurant in Arlington, has taken it upon himself to bring authenticity to his special Mardi Gras dinner being held on Tuesday, March 4, from 5pm-10pm. Served in addition to Tryst’s regular menu, Mardi Gras diners can look forward to experiencing a three-course prix fixe menu available for $35 per person featuring items such as barbequed oysters with creole butter, chicken and sausage gumbo with spicy fried shrimp and jasmine rice and bread pudding “Commander’s Palace style” with butter pecan ice cream and rum sauce. That’s not all, guests will be able to enjoy authentic cocktails and Hurricanes galore.

Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling 781-641-2227.

5) Taste of Iceland, an annual festival that celebrates Iceland’s vibrant culture, returns to Boston with a series of events from March 14-18. Presented by Iceland Naturally, the five-day event highlights the best of Icelandic food, music and culture, giving Bostonians a taste of what life is like in Iceland. This year’s events include a special Icelandic menu at Rialto prepared by chef Hákon Már Örvarsson, a Reyka Vodka Craft Cocktail Class, and the Reykjavik Calling concert at The Middle East.

Icelandic Menu at Rialto Restaurant
March 14-18 | 8PM | Rialto Restaurant & Bar | One Bennett St. | Cambridge
An authentic Icelandic meal will be available Friday through Tuesday at Rialto Restaurant, located in Harvard Square. Icelandic chef Hákon Már Örvarsson, winner of Bocuse d’Or and World Culinary Cup, will collaborate with Rialto chef Jody Adams, a James Beard Award winner and former Top Chef Masters competitor. Diners will enjoy a four-course meal featuring traditional tapas-style dishes, fresh Arctic Char, free-range Icelandic lamb, and Skyr of the Vikings. Prepared onsite with fresh ingredients flown in from Iceland, this special menu will be offered for $85 per person (tax, gratuity, and beverages not included). For reservations, call 617-234-8026 or email

Reykjavik Calling Concert
March 15 | 8PM | The Middle East Restaurant & Nightclub | 472-480 Mass Ave. | Cambridge
The free Reykjavik Calling concert combines three of Iceland’s most talented musicians with two Boston-area musicians for a night of spectacular collaborations. Past Reykjavik Calling performers have included of Monsters and Men, Asgeir Trausti, Lay Low and many more. Presented by WERS 88.9 FM and Iceland Naturally, admission to the concert is free and will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show begins at 9 p.m. Click here to RSVP.
Icelandic musicians: Hermigervill (Electronic) | Retro Stefson (Electronic/Alternative) | Sin Fang (Indie/Electronic)
Boston musicians: The Love Experiment (Indie/R&B) | Skinny Bones (Folk)

Reyka Vodka Craft Cocktail Class
March 16 | 4PM | The Liberty Hotel | 215 Charles St. | Boston
New to Taste of Iceland in Boston, this special, hands-on craft cocktail class will teach participants to artfully assemble cocktails using Icelandic Reyka Vodka. Led by Liberty Hotel Mixologist Juan Carlos Perez, the class is free and attendance is limited to 50. Click here to reserve your ticket (required for entry). Must be 21 years or older to participate.

6) On Sunday, March 9, from 3 p.m.– 9 p.m., Forum Bar & Restaurant invites guests for a Marathon tailgate that “goes the distance!” in the support of Forum Director of Event and Marketing Erinn Fleming, along with fellow runner Peter Riddle and the Joe Andruzzi Foundation on their journey to completing the 26.2 mile 2014 Boston Marathon on April 21.

Having been introduced to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation in 2013, Fleming was immediately captivated by their mission to provide support for individuals and families coping with cancer. On April 15th of last year, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation held a team-watch party for the 2013 Boston Marathon at Forum that was brought to an abrupt stop.

This year, Fleming, Riddle, and the Joe Andruzzi Foundation are teaming up to finish what they started by running, supporting, and continuing to raise funds for those affected by cancer. “I’m running because I cannot be inside Forum looking out again,” says Fleming. “I’m running because my chest tightens and my eyes tear up every time I think about it. I’m running because there’s a voice inside my head that said you should, you will, you are, you can.”

Cocktails and light appetizers will be served while items including Red Sox tickets, a weekend getaway to New York City, and more are auctioned off.

There is no cover for this event. Suggested donation of $20 in support of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation. To make an online donation, please visit:

7) On March 4, from 5pm-1:30am, Executive Chef Eric Gburski will embrace the spirit of New Orleans by offering exclusive Mardi Gras specials at his southern-style hotspot, Estelle's . To celebrate Carnival in the South End, Chef Gburski will offer a two-course prix fixe menu that will give revelers a night of pure “Fat Tuesday” indulgence. To start, there is the Traditional Andouille Sausage & Smoked Chicken Gumbo. For the main course, Chef Gburski offers up a choice of two entrees: Braised Duck & Andouille Sausage Etouffee or Estelle's Creole Seafood Jambalaya.

On the liquid side, Bar Manager Jen LaForge will be shaking up the South End Hurricane, a festive Bourbon Street-inspired mix of Prichard's Peach Mango Rum, Cruzan Pineapple Rum, amaretto, Don Ciccio Hibiscus liqueur, lime juice, pineapple juice and pomegranate juice that is garnished with pomegranate seeds and a lime wheel.

COST: Two-course prix fixe: $30.95 South End Hurricane: $9.95
For reservations, please call 857-250-2999.

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