Thursday, March 6, 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 Wednesday, April 2, NF Northeast (Neurofibromatosis Northeast) will celebrate the NF community and its supporters with their Table for TEN charitable event in Boston. With Honorary Co-Chairpersons Jenny Johnson (Co-Host of NESN’s “Dining Playbook with Billy and Jenny”) and chef Brian Poe (The Tip Tap Room; Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake; Estelle’s) headlining this unrivaled evening, supporters will dine at some of the city’s top restaurants before closing out their night at a decadent dessert reception with live entertainment and an auction hosted at Parris in Faneuil Hall.

Groups of ten guests will arrive at their respective restaurant at 6pm, and will indulge in a specially created three-course menu. This year, NF Northeast has joined forces with some of the best restaurants throughout the city to make their biggest splash yet. Participating restaurants in this year’s Table for TEN event include, but are not limited to: 75 Chestnut; Artu; Beehive; BOND at the Langham, Boston; Brasserie Jo; Cafeteria; Restaurant dante; Da Vinci Ristorante; Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse; Finch at The Boxer; Lala Rokh; Lucca North End and Back Bay; Lucia Ristorante; OAK Long Bar + Kitchen; Parker’s Restaurant at the Omni Parker; Post 390; Red Lantern; Stefi’s on Tremont; Strega Waterfront; Taranta; The Tip Tap Room; Top of the Hub; and, Union Oyster House.

At 8pm, supporters are invited to continue the festivities at the official after-party hosted by radio legend Ron Della Chiesa at Parris in Faneuil Hall. At this dessert reception, Montilio’s Baking Company will provide sweet treats and revelers will enjoy Latin and jazz music by the Kenny Kozol Trio as well as a live auction with Honorary Co-Chairperson, Jenny Johnson, serving as Guest Auctioneer.

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a prevalent genetic disorder of the nervous system that causes tumors to form on the nerves anywhere in or on the body at any time. Through NF Northeast’s efforts and the proceeds from their Table for TEN event, grants for groundbreaking research at Harvard Medical School Center for Neurofibromatosis and Allied Disorders, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital are made possible. Over the years, incredible strides in research development have been made bringing us one step closer to a cure.

NF Northeast has provided research grants to scientists at leading institutions around the country. NF Northeast is proud to have been the impetus behind the creation of The Harvard Medical School Center for NF and Allied Disorders (CNfAD), a virtual center whose mission is to define the pathogenetic mechanisms that cause NF1, NF2 and related disorders. NF Northeast is the leading resource in the northeast for patients and families who live with NF, a genetic condition that causes tumors to form on nerves anywhere in or on the body. Neurofibromatosis is more common than cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy combined.

For more information on the Table for TEN event and to reserve online, please visit: Tables for ten are available beginning at $1,000 and individual placements at a table may be reserved for $100 per person. Sponsorships are also available by contacting NF Northeast’s Sonja Nathan at 781-272-9936 or

2) Since chef de cuisine Mark Christian McMann has come aboard, leaving the bright lights of NYC behind to join chef-owner Chris Douglass here in Dorchester.  Ashmont Grill has evolved from an “almost scratch” kitchen to a “totally scratch” kitchen, and menu items now lean towards “culturally specific” areas of the US and Europe.

Some of the new dishes include:
*Avgolemono Soup
Made in classic style with fresh dill, from a recipe taught to McMann “by an ancient Greek lady” who knew exactly when to stop stirring the eggs.
*Winter Citrus Salad
Tossed in grapefruit vinaigrette are: pomegranates and blood oranges, Marcona almonds, ricotta salata, and radishes.
*Kale & Bacon Salad
“We’re maple-curing two hog bellies a week for our house bacon,” boasts McMann, who tosses this healthful green-of-the-moment with house-pickled pears, feta cheese, and cashews.
*Wild Mushroom Lasagna
Kale appears again, layered with roasted tomatoes and black trumpet-dusted ricotta, in this savory dish starring yellowfoot, hedgehog and shitake ‘shrooms.
*French Butcher’s Steak
Technically a bavette or onglet (tip of the sirloin), McMann wood-grills it, then gilds it with spicy chimichurri.
*Chicken and Dumplin’s
“This one’s been flying out the door,” McMann says, “because the pan-roasted Statler breast is splashed with natural jus, and comes with rough-rolled spinach and ricotta dumplings I was taught to call malfatte.”
*Shepard’s Pie
Local lamb is house-ground and braised in Guinness stout, then topped with a cloud of mashed potatoes for the friendly price of $17.

Pastry Chef Clare Garland recommends: “Our Ice Cream Sandwich of the Month (chocolate-mint nestled between two chocolate shortbreads) always satisfies, or, get a whiff of early spring in the Pistachio-Crusted Cheesecake with Rose-Scented Rhubarb and Strawberry Sorbet.”

3) From April 3-12, Restaurant Week Portsmouth & The Seacoast will be held in New Hampshire and close to 50 restaurants will be participating.  Sponsored by the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, Restaurant Week is a bi-annual culinary event that spotlights Portsmouth and the Seacoast as a culinary and cultural destination. The dates for the Fall are November 6-15, 2014.

Participating Restaurants include: Agave Mexican Bistro; Anneke Jans; BG's Boathouse; Black Trumpet Bistro; Blue Mermaid Island Grill; Blue Moon Evolution;Brazo Restaurant; British Beer Company; Budha O - Asian Bistro & Lounge; Café Mediterraneo; Café Nostimo; Carriage House Restaurant; Cava Tapas & Wine Bar; Common Man Portsmouth; Demeters Steakhouse; Dinnerhorn Restaurant; The District; Dolphin Striker; Exeter Inn/Epoch Restaurant & Bar; Galley Hatch Restaurant; Grill 28 at Pease; Jumpin' Jays Fish Café; Library Restaurant; Martingale Wharf; Mombo Restaurant; Moxy; The Oar House; Orchard Street Chop Shop; Portsmouth Brewery; Portsmouth Gas Light Co.; Radici Restaurant; Ri Ra Portsmouth, LLC; Ristorante Massimo; River House; Rosa Restaurant; Rudi's Portsmouth; Harbor's Edge at Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel; Stage Neck Inn; Stages at One Washington;Tavola; Three Chimneys Inn; Tulsi Indian Restaurant; Vida Cantina; Wellington Room; Wentworth by the Sea – SALT.

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