Thursday, June 12, 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) Earlier this week, on Tuesday, June 10, Billy Lyons, proprietor of Menotomy Grill & Tavern, celebrated its one-year anniversary.

Only diehard Arlingtonians and history buffs would know that their town'’s name has morphed over the past 400 years from the Indian word Menotomy ("swift running water") to West Cambridge (1751) to Arlington (1838). William (Billy) Lyons desired to create a neighborhood tavern designed to evoke both the feel and the flavor of his hometown, which played a supporting role in the Revolutionary War.

Warm wood, steel beams, a copper bar back and a massive fieldstone fireplace evoke the feel of the kind of tavern that British and American soldiers marched by as they headed to battle in nearby towns. Artifacts such as lanterns, antique school blackboards, signs and patina’d table stands, all curated by Lyons, complete the ambiance.

Rounding out the Menotomy Grill team are two solid kitchen vets who will share chef duties: Mark Thompson (Chez Henri) and Andrew Lehman (Flora). The debut menu, the entrees priced from $14 to $21, includes:

* Smoked Cod Cakes with Crock o’ Baked Beans
* Tuna Nicoise Salad
* Vegetable Lasagna
* Roasted Chicken with Edna’s Potato, Sausage and Pepper Stuffing
* House-Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich with Chickpea Fries
* Cayenne & Vinegar Wings
* Burgers: Beef, Veggie, Salmon, Tuna, Turkey served with housemade pickles
* Menotomy Indian Pudding
* Blackboard specials daily with brunch items available on Sundays

What’s to Drink ? Weekly cask ale poured into Imperial pints, 20 draft beers, root beer floats, full wine list, and vintage cocktails including the circa 1773 Cooper’s Flip:

2 oz. dark rum
1.5 oz. cask ale
1 egg
½ oz. molasses
½ oz. pumpkin puree
dash fresh grated nutmeg
Shake vigorously and pour into a rocks glass.

2) On Saturday, June 14, at 6:30pm, Pantry, the signature restaurant at The VERVE – Crowne Plaza Natick, is celebrating National Bourbon Day by hosting a three-course prix fixe dinner and cocktail hour that features an array of bourbon-infused plates created by Executive Chef Alastair Mclean that are aired with an array of bourbon whiskeys.

The evening begins in the hotel’s Stardust Plaza lounge where guests will sip a complimentary Bourbon Peach Berry Muddle as they dine on house-made hors d’oeuvres. Next, guests will move into Pantry’s dining room where they’ll enjoy their preferred main course and bourbon pairing before ending the night on a sweet note.

The Pantry’s three-course, prix fixe bourbon tasting menu will be served as follows:

1st Course (Passed)
French Toast, Foie Gras Torchon, Cherry Bourbon Syrup
Chicken Liver Bourbon Pate, Crostini, Giardiniera
Bourbon-Battered Stuffed Peppadews, House Boursin
Bourbon Peach Berry Muddle
2nd Course (choice of one)
--Smoked Trout Ravioli (Bourbon Cream, Bagel Chip Crumble)
Jim Beam – Devils Cut
--Bourbon Rabbit Ragout (Celery Root Puree, Garlic Chips)
Maker’s 46
--Smoked Rib & Pork Belly (Bourbon Marinade and Glaze, Kale, Smoked Tableside) Knob Creek- Smoked Maple
3rd Course (choice of one)
Bourbon Vanilla Panna Cotta (Pecan Ice Cream, Bourbon Brittle)
Jim Beam Honey

COST: $75 per person
For reservations, please call 508-416-1352

3) Executive Chef/Partner Robert Sisca and Head Sommelier Todd Lipman of Bistro du Midi collaborate with James Kowalshyn of L’Espirit du Vin to present a unique five-course dinner paired with the wines of F.E Trimbach on June 24, at 6pm.

The origin of F.E Trimbach Wines dates back almost four centuries to 1626. The vineyard is still managed by direct family members including Hubert Trimbach, nephews Jean and Pierre, and his daughter Anne. The Trimbach brand is widely known as distinct, timeless and of exceptional quality, earning its reputation as the most widely recognized Alsace brand in the United States.

The five-course meal and its pairings are as follows:

Sweet Corn Soup, Crème Frâïche, Lardon
2011 Pinot Blanc
Crispy Pork Belly, Farro, Golden Raisin, Pickled Fiddleheads, Pork Jus
2007 Gewurztraminer, Reserve
Pan seared Tilefish, Crispy Scales, Tomato Confit, Pea Shoots, Chorizo Emulsion
2077 Riesling, Cuvée Fredric Emile
Sage-Rubber Loin of Pork, Morels, Favas, Haricot Verts
2011 Pinot Noir, Reserve
Golden Peach Clafoutis, Honey Ice Cream
2000 Pinot Gris, Vendage Tradive

Cost: $125 per person, not including tax or gratuity.
For reservations, please call Bistro du Midi directly at 617-426-7878

4) Taberna de Haro is holding their last wine seminar of the season on Thursday, June 26. Come meet Noelia Paz, winemaker and owner of Bodegas Tampesta. The ambitious Noelia de Paz and her brothers started something unique when they sought help from one of Spain’s most prestigious and daring winemakers, Raúl Peréz. Raúl helped them plant some very special vines in northwest Spain’s under-the-radar but oh-so-promising Tierra de León DO. Insistent upon showing off indigenous grape varieties that are compelling and full of character Noelia and Raúl have worked determinedly to handcraft some of Spain’s most distinct, interesting, artisanal wines under the Bodegas Tampesta label. Prieto Picudo and Albarín may be little-known grapes, but they are powerful and delicious when grown and vinified by this passionate team.

On the Menu:
--Totus Tuus cava (to welcome you & put you in that wine-space)
--Maneki Blanco 2013
Mousse de trucha (Trout mousse, grilled toast)
--Tampesta Blanco 2013
--Tampesta Rosado 2013
Patatas a la importancia (potatoes w saffron, bird stock, and garlic)
--Tampesta Finca de los Vientos 2009
Ropa Vieja (garbanzos sautéed w chorizo, beef shank, tomato, & clove)
--Tampesta Imelda 2010
Queso Leonora con compota de pimientos (Semi-cured goat cheese from León with red pepper compote)

Cost: $55 per person (plus tax & gratuity)
Reservation and pre-payment required. Call 617-277-8272 in the evening.

5) Continuing Eastern Standard's “Standard Education” series, Wine Director Colleen Hein is providing guests a peek into the Champagne region drawing from her experiences there this spring. During her extensive travel through Champagne in April to visit boutique grower Champagne producers, Colleen learned about the region’s cool and often challenging climate from small, artisanal producers who are defying the staunch traditions and techniques that have defined Champagne for centuries.

She now gives guests a glimpse by way of glass into the exciting changes that are slowly taking place in the region, pairing hand-selected sparkling and red wines from Champagne with five courses of Eastern Standard’s New England-inspired bistro fare.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 24 7:00 pm
TICKETS: $150/person
Please visit to secure a seat at the table. CONTACT: or call 617-532-9100

6) This Saturday, June 14, the new Del Frisco’s Grille will open in Burlington. Located in a new shopping area cross from the Burlington Mall, this restaurant is the more casual offspring of the Del Frisco Double Eagle Steakhouse.

Executive Chef Rob DiTonno, who has been with Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group for the past three years at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Boston’s Liberty Wharf will feature local favorites like the Berkshire Pork Meatballs and East Coast Fish Tacos, alongside new classics such as Wood Oven-Baked Flatbreads, Cheesesteak Egg Rolls, and Ahi Tuna Tacos. Three days a week the menu will feature the “Daily Dish,” a daily special served Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The menu is rounded out with a selection of prime steaks, hearty salads, formidable sandwiches and chef-inspired entrees.

The Grille, open for lunch, dinner and brunch, offers two floors of dining with seating for 220 guests along with an upstairs bar with 10 seats, a downstairs bar with 20 seats and an outdoor patio with fireplace with seating for 100.

I was invited to preview the new restaurant, getting a tour of the facilities and getting to try some of their dishes. In short, it has a great look to the place, with an open kitchen, lengthy bar, and a cool exterior patio on the second floor. I also enjoyed the food, from a superb Corn Chowder (with crabmeat and smoked bacon) to their hearty Grille Prime Cheeseburger (with 2 patties). It is worth checking out.

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