I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting, upcoming food & drink events.. **********************************************************
1) This spring, Legal Sea Foods in Charles Square will take a trip down south with their Live Crawfish Boil. For three straight weekends, the Charles Square location will host this craw-fest by dishing out a Cajun special, prepared and priced for two. The Two If By Sea Louisiana-style limited time menu feature packs together two pounds of first-of-the-season boiled crawfish and Red Bliss potatoes, andouille sausage and corn on the cob.
WHEN: Available 11am – 11pm (March 20-22 & 27-29; April 3-4)
COST: $25.95 for two people
For reservations, please call 617-491-9400
2) Showcasing the best of the ever-expanding Rhode Island culinary scene, the fourth annual, all-local Eat Drink RI Festival returns Thursday, April 30th through Sunday, May 3rd. The Festival, sponsored by Daniele, Inc., will be held throughout Providence,
“Over past few years, Rhode Island has seen our small farms and food and beverage manufacturers grow. Our local food and beverage entrepreneurial ventures have a big ripple effect on our economy, helping to attract and sustain jobs across our state,” said Governor Gina Raimondo. “I am proud to support the Eat Drink RI Festival, which highlights our amazing restaurants, breweries, vineyards, and thriving food industry.”
The Eat Drink RI Festival will feature a line-up of over 80 chefs, farmers, bartenders and producers including: StarChefs.com Rising Star Sustainability award winner Chef Derek Wagner of Nick’s on Broadway, Gold Medal Cheese Competition award-winning Narragansett Creamery, World Whiskies Award winner for Best Flavored Whiskey Sons of Liberty Spirits, multiple Good Food Award winner Daniele Inc., Blackbird Farm, Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard, Granny Squibb’s Iced Tea, Matunuck Oyster Bar, Revival Brewing Company and Rhody Fresh, among many others.
Festival highlights include:
THURSDAY, APRIL 30
Dinner by Dames to benefit AIDS Project RI – Casino at Roger Williams Park
This unique dining experience brings together five of Rhode Island’s most talented chefs for a multi-course dining event. Chefs Melissa Denmark of Gracie’s & Ellie’s Bakery, Jordan Goldsmith formerly of the Garden Grille, Maria Meza of El Rancho Grande, Kaitlyn Roberts of Easy Entertaining Inc., and Jessica Wood of Fire and Water Restaurant Group partner with local female farmers and food artisans to prepare signature dishes for dinner guests. Jen Ferreira, the East Coast Brand Ambassador for Lucas Bols, will lead a group of RI’s top female bartenders in creating cocktail pairings for each course.
FRIDAY, MAY 1
Truck Stop to Benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank – Alex and Ani City Center
The largest food truck event in Rhode Island returns in 2015! The Truck Stop showcases the excellence and variety of Rhode Island’s mobile restaurants while also benefitting an organization dedicated to ending hunger. Last Festival’s Truck Stop raised over $106,000 for the RI Food Bank. Live music will be performed by the Superchief Trio, featuring Keith Munslow and friends, who perform a repertoire of swing, New Orleans R&B, jump blues and boogie woogie. Some of this year’s participants include Acacia Café, Like No Udder, Mijos Tacos, Noble Knots, Rocket Fine Street Food and Tallulah, among many others.
SATURDAY, MAY 2
Grand Tasting presented by Providence Monthly – Providence Biltmore Grand Ballroom
The Grand Tasting is a showcase of over forty local food, wine, beer and spirit exhibitors, as well as an abundance of local food artisans. During the Tasting there will be three Culinary Demonstrations featuring local chefs with farmers and producers at 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. Some of this year’s participants include American Mussel Harvesters, Bully Boy Distillers, a group of over 10 new culinary businesses via Hope & Main, Jonathan Edwards Winery, Narragansett Brewing Company, Olneyville NY System, RI Mushroom Company, Yacht Club Soda and many, many more.
SUNDAY, MAY 3
Grand Brunch to benefit the RI Philharmonic Music School – Providence Biltmore Grand Ballroom
The Festival will come to a close with the Grand Brunch, prepared by some of the state’s best chefs and pastry chefs including: Chef Christopher Champagne of 84 Tavern on Canal, Martha Stewart Weddings baker Kelly Dull of north bakery, Mexican icon Maria Meza of El Rancho Grande, PBS’s The Chefs of Cucina Amore’s Joe Simone of Simone’s, baking maven Chef Jennifer Luxmoore of Sin, and more. In addition to the food, the Brunch features entertainment by jazz students from the Music School, a coffee bar by New Harvest Coffee Roasters, and a cocktail bar by Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails.
For more information about the Eat Drink RI Festival or to purchase tickets, please visit eatdrinkri.com/festival.
3) From Monday, June 1 to Wednesday, June 3, 2015, famed Sake expert John Gauntner will hold the 18th stateside version (and 31st overall) of the Sake Professional Course at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The content of this intensive sake course will be identical to that of the Sake Professional Course held each January in Japan, with the exception of visiting sake breweries. The course is recognized by the Sake Education Council, and those that complete it will be qualified to take the exam for Certified Sake Specialist, which will be offered on the evening of the last day of the course.
The course is geared toward industry professionals wishing to expand their horizons in a thorough manner into the world of sake, and will therefore be somewhat technical in nature, and admittedly somewhat intense. It is likely more than the average consumer needs! But the course is open to anyone with an interest and sake and will certainly be enjoyable. The course lectures and tasting will begin with the utter basics, and will thoroughly progress through and cover everything related to sake. There will be an emphasis on empirical experience, with plenty of exposure to a wide range of sake in the tasting sessions throughout the three days. Each of the three days will provide the environment for a focused, intense and concerted training period.
The goal of this course is that “no sake stone remains left unturned,” and his motto is “exceed expectations for the course.” Every conceivable sake-related topic will be covered, and each lecture will be complimented and augmented by a relevant tasting session. Participants will not simply hear about differences based on rice types or yeast types, they will taste and smell them. Students will not only absorb technical data about yamahai, kimoto, nama genshu, aged sake and regionality, they will absorb the pertinent flavors and aromas within the related sake as well. Participants will taste over 90 sake within five focused tasting exercises across the three days.
Like its counterpart held in Japan each winter, it will be quite simply the most thorough and comprehensive English-language sake education in existence. Participants will also be presented with a certificate of completion at the end of the course.
The cost for the three-day class, including all materials and sake for tasting, is $899. Participation is limited and reservations can be made now to secure a seat, with payment due by May 1, 2015.
For more information and a view of the daily syllabus, please go here. For reservations or inquiries, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I've taken this Sake education course and highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in Sake.
4) To celebrate the first day of spring and put a fun, culinary twist on the phrase, “In like a lion, out like lamb,” Tempo, a staple on Moody Street for the past ten years, is serving a limited-edition lamb-inspired menu. On Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21, diners can enjoy Chef-Owner Nathan Sigel’s prix-fixe, three course menu of lamb three ways and officially bid farewell to winter.
The “In like a Lion, Out like a Lamb” menu will feature the following selection of dishes:
Guinness-Braised Leg of Lamb Agnolotti (Guinness and Vermont butter cream sauce with pickled ramps, upland cress and green garlic chips)
Lamb Polpette (Grass-fed Colorado lamb meatballs, dijon-horseradish cream sauce, spinach pappardelle, crispy red cabbage, fennel and golden beet foam)
Beer Bread & Mint-Crusted Rack of Lamb (Baby spring vegetables and black mission fig-porto jam)
Sheep’s Milk Yogurt and Honey Cheesecake (Fresh spring strawberries and pistachio cream)
COST: $39 per person (tax + gratuity not included)
For Reservations, please call 781-891-9000
5) The Taste of the North End – one of Boston’s most popular festivals of food, charity, and the rich history of the neighborhood – is taking place on Friday, May 1 this year. Guests can sample from more than 35 popular North End eateries showcasing a wide array of delectable appetizers, cheeses, entrees and desserts, and sip on refreshing libations from area wine and beer distributors. There will also be a high-end silent auction with hotel and restaurant packages, Boston sporting tickets, memorabilia, and more. There will also be a live band performing and dancing is encouraged.
All proceeds from the event are split between multiple non-profit organizations in the North End including elderly, education and health programs to help better then entire community- last year over $100,000 was raised. This is the fifth year that North End Waterfront Health has partnered with the Frattaroli family to put on and host the event.
This year’s event co-chairs are event founder Donato Frattaroli, owner of Lucia Ristorante, and James Luisi, CEO of North End Waterfront Health. The Master of Ceremonies this year is NESN’s “The Dining Playbook” personality Jenny Johnson.
This year’s participating restaurants include: Al Dente, Antico Forno, Aragosta, Artu, Bricco, Cantina Italiana, Carmelina, Ducali, Filippo, Fiore, Gennaro’s 5 North Square, Il Panino, J. Pace, La Summa, Lucca, Lucia Ristorante, Mamma Maria, Massimino, Mercato del Mare, Mike's Pastry, Modern Pastry, Neptune Oyster, Pagliuca, Paul W. Marks, Piantedosi Baking, Quattro, Taranta, Terra Mia, Tresca, and Ward 8.
WHERE: DCR Steriti Memorial Ice Rink, 561 Commercial Street, Boston
WHEN: Friday, May 1, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Tickets are $79 and can be purchased in advance at totne.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 617-643-8105. Tickets are $99 after April 26th.