Thursday, December 18, 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)  Pier 6, on Charlestown’s waterfront, is holding a “Winter White” dinner in its private dining room which features a 360° panoramic view of the Boston skyline on Sunday, January 18, 2015 beginning at 6pm.

Beckoning its guests to celebrate the season, rather than hide from it, Pier 6’s Executive Chef Adriano Silva has prepared a special multi-course prix fixe dinner for $50 per person (tax and gratuity not included) which dresses the plate entirely in white. “This gives the restaurant a great reason to show people this amazing room which is one of the best kept secrets in Boston and gives me a great opportunity to play with off menu ingredients,” said Silva.

Lacking color, but not flavor chef Silva will present the following Prix Fixe Menu:

Choice of Salad
Belgian endive, heart of palm, feta cheese, white wine vinaigrette
White bean and fennel salad, house made ricotta cheese, daikon radishes, white balsamic vinaigrette.
Choice of Entree
Pan seared scallops, celeriac puree, jicama, baby turnips cognac cream sauce
Creamy risotto, white truffle oil, shaved parmesan
Baked halibut steak parsnip puree, roasted cauliflower, citrus beurre blanc
White chocolate mousse, Chantilly cream

Please call 617-337-0054 for reservations.

2) Catalyst Chef William Kovel closes out 2014 and welcomes 2015 with a five course, prix-fixe dinner this New Year’s Eve. This celebration dinner includes a five-course menu for $80 which can also include wine pairings for an additional $40. The menu include the following:

--Wellfleet Oysters, Traditional Garnish $3-
--Catalyst Charcuterie, Toasted Country Bread, Pickled Vegetables $18-
--Seared Nantucket Bay Scallops, King Oyster Mushroom, Tasso Ham
--Roasted Winter Salad, Quince, Pear, Beets, Fromage Blanc, Peppercress
--Crispy Oxtail Croquette, Sunchoke, Apple, Horseradish
--Mionetto, Prosecco – Valdobbiadene, Italy
--Guinea Fowl Ravioli, Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Parmesan, Truffle Jus
--Cauliflower Soup, Jonah Crab, Meyer Lemon
--Crispy Pork Belly, Green Curry, Shitakes, Wellfleet Clams
--Maison Roche de Ballene, Vieilles Vignes, Bourgogne Blanc – Burgundy, France
--Orange Glazed Rohan Duck, French Green Lentils, Preserved Lemon, Crispy Duck Leg, Chinese Five Spice Jus
--Slow Roasted Salmon, Braised Endive, Fennel, Swiss Chard, Orange Butter
--Georges Bank Lemon Sole, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Celery Root, Lobster Emulsion
--Dry Aged Beef Strip Loin, Potato-Scallion Rosti, Savoy Spinach, Black Trumpet Mushroom, Perigourdine Jus
--Roasted Acorn Squash, Golden Quinoa, Dried Cranberries, Pecans, Pear Butter, Crispy Kale
--Lemelson, Six Vineyards, Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley, Oregon
--Assortment of Local Cheese $6-
--Dark Chocolate Custard, Caramel Cinnamon Popcorn, Popcorn Ice Cream, Candied Hazelnuts
--Lime Cheesecake, Coconut Sorbet, Passion Fruit Curd, Coconut Tuile
--Carrot Cake, Carrot and Ginger Puree, Pineapple Sorbet, Spiced Walnuts, Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
--Duckhorn, Decoy, Merlot – Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California

Reservations are available, starting at 5:00pm. For reservations, please call the restaurant at 617-576-3000

3) Back for the fourth year in a row, The New Center for Arts & Culture will host the annual, ‘Moo Shu Jew’ show, a comedy dinner event on Christmas Eve. Inspired by the Jewish family tradition of spending Christmas Eve in a Chinese restaurant, the night will feature several celebrity comics from primetime’s most popular late-night talk shows. This year’s lineup includes, Cory Kahaney, Harrison Greenbaum, Josh Gondelman, and Adrianne Tolsch who will perform Jewish-inspired stand-up while guests enjoy a delicious dinner (no shellfish, no pork!).


Teryaki Beef
Vegetable Spring Rolls
Scallion Pancakes
Vegetable Hot and Sour Soup

Main Dishes
Orange Beef
Chicken Kung Pau
Tofu with Mixed Vegetables
Spicy Green Beans
Vegetable Lo Mein
White Rice

Fortune Cookies

Cash Bar Available

WHEN: Tuesday, December 24, 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: Hei La Moon Restaurant 88 Beach Street Boston,
COST: $75 Adults, $45 Young Adults (40 & under). Ticket prices include four-course dinner, (no shellfish, no pork!).
To purchase, visit

4) To ring in their first New Year, River Bar will host a duo of celebrations at Assembly Row. On New Year’s Eve, River Bar will be transformed into a festive Tiki Party indoors and outdoors at their fire pit and heat lamp-lined patio areas. The River Bar team will shake up tiki-inspired cocktails, including their take on a Scorpion Bowl, as revelers toast by the open fires. Executive Chef Patrick Gilmartin will bring Polynesian tastes to Assembly Row with specials like the Saugus Rabbit Legs (Chef’s tribute to Kowloon’s famous “Saugus Wings” - $12) and Nantucket Bay Scallop Rangoon (apple butter - $15).

The following morning, River Bar will open their doors for a Leftover Chinese Food Brunch. From Executive Chef Patrick Gilmartin’s kitchen comes “Leftover” Scallop Rangoon (smeared on a bagel - $12) and Kung Pao Chicken Terrine (with eggs - $10). For those looking for a more traditional hangover brunch experience, Chef Gilmartin will The River Bar Breakfast Sando (egg, Taylor Pork Roll, Brillat Savarin cheese, leeks, stone & skillet English muffin - $14), Bourbon French Toast ($10), Chorizo Scotch Quail Eggs ($9) and Housemade Chinese Sausage Sub (black bean mayo, red cabbage, cucumber slaw - $13).

WHEN: Tiki Party: Wednesday, December 31, from 5pm – 2am
              Chinese Leftover Brunch: Thursday, January 1, from 11am – 3pm

Admittance to the Tiki Party is complimentary and is 21+ with a proper ID. Food and beverage specials on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are available a la carte.

5) Pastoral owners George Lewis and Todd Winer invite guests to Pastoral for a New Year’s Eve Masquerade Party from 10pm-2am on Wednesday, December 31. Guests are encouraged to wear a mask while they enjoy music by DJ Castaneda, small bites prepared by Pastoral Chef/Owner Todd Winer, two complimentary Ketel One cocktails and a champagne toast at midnight.

Tickets are $45 from 10pm-2am and only $25 for guests who make a dinner reservation earlier that evening and want to stay for the party. Tickets can be purchased by calling the restaurant at 617-345-0005 or logging onto

6) Earls Kitchen + Bar will celebrate its first New Year’s Eve at Assembly Row by dishing out a customizable, three-course prix fixe menu. For starters, Head Chef Tim Pennington will serve up a choice of Seasonal Greens or a Seasonal Soup. Chef Pennington’s trio of main courses include the Oven Roasted Salmon (grilled corn, olive oil marinated fennel salad, baby new potatoes, jalapeño cilantro puree), Bourbon Mushroom 7oz Certified Angus Beef Sirloin (crimini & button mushrooms, rich demi, garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables) or the Cajun Blackened Double Breast of Chicken (custom blackening spices, garlic butter, warm potato salad, coleslaw). For one last taste of sweet indulgence in 2014, there is the Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding (chocolate & toffee sauces, vanilla bean gelato, candy snap basket) or seasonal Gingerbread Cake (roasted apples, salted caramel, vanilla bean gelato).

For those looking to toast the ball drop with some bubbly, Earls Kitchen + Bar will feature three sparkling delights: La Marca Prosecco ($9.25/glass; $37/bottle); Piper Heidseik Brut ($22.25/glass; $89/bottle); and, Dom Perignon 2004 ($275/bottle).

WHEN: Wednesday, December 31, from 11:30am – 1:00am
COST: Prix fixe menu: $40 per person (excludes alcohol, tax & gratuity)

7) No time to whip something up for that fast-approaching holiday fête? Leave the pastry prep to the pros this year with help from Cape Cod-based, European-style bakery and café, Pain D’Avignon. Following the close of farmer’s market season, the Hyannis eatery pops up at Back Bay’s Fairmont Copley Plaza, to sell party-ready treats in its only Boston-area location.

Pain D’Avignon will transform The Fairmont Copley Plaza’s tea court into a gourmet holiday farmer’s market complete with the hotel’s impressive Christmas tree and festive décor. Convenient grab-and-go options for time-crunched hosts and party-goers alike will include:

· Classic Italian Panettone
· Seasonal Pies
· Raspberry Streusel
· Buttery Croissants
· Fudgy Brownies
· Scones
· Famous Cranberry Pecan Rolls and Breads
· Baguettes
· Parmesan Crisps
· Housemade Potato Chips

Individual items range in price from $4.00 to $14.00. Customizable gift bags are also available for up to $60.00.

WHEN: Friday, December 19, 2pm-6pm

8) Bao Nation, Boston’s first and only dedicated Asian bao bar, has opened in the rear of Shalimar Indian Grocery/Dosa Factory at 571 Mass. Avenue in the heart of Central Square. Bao Nation joins its next door neighbors, H Mart and Dosa Factory, to create fresh, fast and inexpensive Asian food in the city. Bao Nation is the brainchild of Pavan and Manraj Pabla, whose father Amrik Pabla is CEO of One World Cuisine, corporate parent to a network of culinary enterprises throughout greater Boston..

Bao is short for baozi, light and fluffy buns steamed in woven straw baskets. References to bao date back to 3rd century China. Bao Nation's light and fluffy Taiwanese-style buns are slider-sized, steamed to order, and priced at $3, $4 and $5. Chicken or vegetarian dumplings are $6-7, and rice bowls – coming to the menu soon – can be had for $9-10. Bao Nation shares an indoor seating area with its four-year-old sister restaurant, Dosa Factory. In the spring, outdoor tables and a handy pass-thru window for takeout orders will become available.

Debut Menu
* Central Bao (braised Kurabuta pork belly with sesame oil, pickled daikon, cilantro and green apple relish)
* Bird Bao (crisp boneless chicken wings with pickled onion and peanut powder)
* Miso Bao (miso-cured tofu with bok choy)
* Fish Bao (with ginger, scallions, lemongrass and mint)
* M.I.T. Bao (minced lamb with ginger, garlic, pickled mushrooms)
* Harvard Bao (marinated grilled chicken with dried coconut, peanuts, cayenne)
* J.P. Bao (filled with vegetable tempura)
* Chinatown Bao (top seller so far: fried honey-teriyaki duck, chopped peanuts, red peppers and radishes, mint sauce)
* Dessert Baos – Sweet, salty, crunchy and soft all at the same time, this combination of applewood smoked bacon and peanut brittle with dehydrated brown milk and chocolate dust is indescribable. A second option is a bao that is deep fried and filled with sugared apples, almonds, cranberries and granola. Both are just $3.

Today, December 18, from 5pm-7pm, Bao Nation invites its Facebook friends toshow them that you Like them in exchange for 1 FREE Bao. You must be present during the applicable time frame to collect.

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