Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

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) Opening on Saturday, May 30, the new BISq (Bergamot Inman Square) is coming to Inman Square. "BISq will focus on eclectic small plates, an innovative charcuterie program and a compelling beer and wine list selection."  The team behind Bergamot, one of my favorite restaurants, is introducing this 49-seat restaurant which will also feature two bars; one with a charcuterie bar and the other a beverage bar.

BISq and Bergamot’s Wine Director, Kai Gagnon, has created a thoughtful and inventive wine and beer program to perfectly compliment the diverse cuisine that will be developed by BISq Executive Chef Dan Bazzinotti. Chef Bazzinotti will oversee the kitchen at BISq as the Executive Chef with Chef/Owner Keith Pooler also sharing his time between both locations.

Kai plans on utilizing his sabrage skills at BISq on certain nights to commence service. The featured wines that Kai will be including on the wine list include those of Northern France, Germany and Austria. A majority of the wine list will focus on the Loire Valley.

The BISq menu which has been created by Bazzinotti includes small plates with a focus on his charcuterie program. Some of the charcuterie menu highlights will include: creole calf liver mousse, chicken rillettes, kabanosy, and betty’s mazzafegati.  Some of the menu standouts include: lemon corzetti, lamb ribs, green gazpacho, grilled nectarines, and creole beignets.

The dessert menu, prepared by Bergamot Pastry Chef Kelcey Rusch, will have a daily selection of individual trifles. There will be three options nightly- one with chocolate, one with fruit (such as the orange-vanilla pudding with ramazotti soaked cake and toasted almonds) and one that has an eggy base.

After five very successful years of operating Bergamot, my team and I were ready for another challenge. I am so grateful for such a talented and creative group that surrounds me, and I want to make sure that they are always able to grow and broaden their capabilities while they are part of my team,” said Pooler. “That is why we created BISq together. It showcases Kai’s passion for wine and beer, Dan’s expertise with Charcuterie, and it offers Servio another opportunity to lead the front-of-the-house staff and engage new guests.”

.I'm very much looking forward to checking out BISq.

2) The Legal Sea Foods in Cambridge’s Charles Square is lining up special summer eats, from June to August, at its expansive al fresco Terrace Bar situated in front of the Charles Hotel.

June: All You Can Eat Fish Fry
--Crispy Fried Haddock - French fries and cole slaw ($18)
July: All American Hot Dog Bar
--One Dog ($5)
--Three Dog Sampler Board ($15)
--Sonora “Bacon Wrapped a la Plancha” - grilled onions, tomatoes, jalapeño relish
--Chicago Vienna Beef Dog “Dragged Through the Garden” - tomato wedge, piccalilli, pepperoncini, dill pickle, mustard
--New Jersey Thuman’s Dog "Ripper Style" - crispy fried "rutts style" relish, steamed bun
--NY Sabrett All Beef Hot Dog - sauerkraut, sweet onions in tomato, brown mustard
--Rhode Island Little Rhody Brand "Hot Weiner" - diced onions, meat sauce, yellow mustard, steamed bun
August: Souped Up Gazpacho Bar
--One cup ($6)
--Gazpacho Trio ($15)
· Red - tomato w/ veggies and tortilla strips
· Green - cucumber, Greek yogurt, avocado
· Yellow - cantaloupe, crème fraîche, EVOO
· White - almonds, sherry vinegar, grapes
Toppings ($3 each)
· Sweet Maine Crab Meat
· Pickled Texas Shrimp
· Squid Escabeche
· Saffron Poached Mussels
· Cajun Flaked Salmon
· Pickled Papaya
· Mango Salsa

3) On Tuesday, June 16, at 6:30pm,  Legal Sea Foods in Park Square will host a wine dinner with Leeuwin Estate. Leeuwin Estate is one of the founding wineries of the now famous Margaret River district of Western Australia. In 1972, legendary Napa Valley winemaker, Robert Mondavi, first identified the future site of the Leeuwin vineyard as being ideal for the production of premium wine and provided early mentorship to Denis and Tricia Horgan who founded Leeuwin Estate in 1974. Maintaining a team of highly skilled and dedicated winemakers, Leeuwin Estate is currently under the direction of two generations of the founding family and continues to churn out world-class wines with distinct flavors.

Legal Sea Foods will team up with Leeuwin’s Joint Chief Executive, Simone Furlong, to host a four-plus-course dinner paired with his selections from the Leeuwin Estate vine. The menu will be presented as follows:

Oysters on the Half Shell, Melon Granita, Grapefruit Pearls
Foie Gras Torchon, Brioche Toast Points, Peach Jam
Tempura Cauliflower Florets, Citrus & Cilantro Marmalade
Leeuwin Estate “Art Series” Sauvignon Blanc, Margaret River, 2013
Butter-Poached Turbot Fillet (Confetti Cous Cous Salad, Lemon-Dill Gremolata)
Leeuwin Estate “Siblings” Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Margaret River, 2012
Grilled California Wild King Salmon (Grilled Mango Salsa, Sultana & Cashew Rice Pilaf)
Leeuwin Estate “Prelude Vineyards” Chardonnay, Margaret River, 2011
Leeuwin Estate “Art Series” Chardonnay, Margaret River, 2011
Beef Bourguignon (Yukon Gold Pearl Potatoes, Fried Ramps)
Leeuwin Estate “Prelude Vineyards” Cabernet Merlot, Margaret River, 2007
Leeuwin Estate “Art Series” Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, 2008
Private Stock Cheddar, Aged Gouda, Manchego (Toast Points, Raspberry-Thyme Jam)
Leeuwin Estate “Art Series” Shiraz, Margaret River, 2011

COST: $85 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)
Reservations required by calling 617-530-9397

4) On Wednesday, June 10, from 6:30PM to 8:30PM, the Wine ConneXtion, located in North Andover, invites guests to explore the tastes of American bourbons and whiskeys, at its complimentary “All American Spirits” tasting. At this special tasting the experts at The Wine ConneXtion will be pouring a selection of upscale American bourbons and whiskeys barreled in the USA including one from Boston’s own backyard. Names such as Whistle Pig, Eagle Rare and South Boston Irish Whiskey are just a few of the great spirits to be poured at this tasting.

Tastings are complimentary and open to the public, 21+ only. I was at their last whiskey tasting and it was an excellent event with plenty of delicious whiskey available to sample. This event should be just as good so check it out.

5) After 17 years in business, Chef/Owner Deborah Hansen of Taberna de Haro, in Brookline, has decided to open on Sundays. She will serve Brunch every Sunday from 12pm-4pm and then their regular menu from 4pm-8pm. Brunch sounds like a great idea and the menu is very compelling.

Some of the highlights of their Brunch menu include:

Churros y chocolate $10
Long fritters & thick hot chocolate
Beicon y huevos $12
Thick bacon, fried eggs, fries, griddled tomato, and thick toast
Revuelto de gambas y ajetes $12
Scrambled eggs with pickled green garlic shoots & shrimp
Migas y orejas $15
Spanish hash with chorizo, fried eggs and griddled pig ears
Huevos rotos $12
Olive oil-fried potatoes with broken fried eggs and diced jamón ibérico
Plato combinado $16.5
Marinated pork loin, fried eggs, fries
Tabla catalán $16
Thick toast, grated tomato, garlic cloves, exceptional Catalán olive oil, fuet (hard Catalán sausage), garrotxa cheese (cured goat), roasted red peppers
Tabla madrileña $15
Tortilla española, jamón serrano, manchego cheese, sliced tomato, warm baguette with olive oil - make a bocadillo!
Paella y fuente de ensalada $40
Today’s paella, preceded by a big salad (serves 2-3)

6) Chef Jacky Robert, French-born and often considered a standard-bearer for French cuisine, recently sold his shares in Petit Robert Bistro and is bringing his enthusiasm and experience to a new venture. He has partnered with Ms Sam Sosnitsky, owner of Pierrot Bistro, a Beacon Hill restaurant, and on Monday, June 1, the pair plan to to re-christen the lower Cambridge Street space Ma Maison Jacky Robert.

For Robert, it’s a homecoming of sorts, as he acted as consulting chef when Pierrot Bistro opened in 2004. Chef Robert promises that the menu at Ma Maison Jacky Robert will remain faithful to the precepts of classic French cuisine, while injecting an occasional element of surprise.

Debut Menu Items:
Gazpacho with Shrimp $8
Uncle Lucien’s Country Pate’ $8
Romaine Hearts with Cherries, Walnuts & Roquefort $12
Boston Celtics Salad: 4 green vegetables and seared red tuna $17
Pan-Seared Foie Gras with Apple Tatin and Rhubarb Gastrique $19
Grilled Wild Salmon with Ratatouille $20
Braised Short Ribs Bourguignon $19
U10 Scallops with Pea Risotto $20
Double Lamb Chops $20
Plats du Jour will include: sweetbreads, lamb stew and Tripe Provencal

7) On June 3, starting at 6:45-pm, Puritan & Co. Chef/Owner Will Gilson, Chef de Cuisine Alex Saenz, Wine Director Peter Nelson and the restaurant’s team pay homage to Umbria’s wines from the “Green Heart of Italy” in the next installation of “Wine Wednesdays.” Wine Director, Peter Nelson, is working with Mise Imports to select six Umbrian wines to feature at the next wine dinner on Wednesday, June 3. Umbria is known as “il cuore verde d’Italia,” the green heart of Italy.

I was at their last wine dinner and it was an exceptional time, with lots of great food and wine. This event also should be equally as good.

The Umbrian wine dinner will include a multi-course meal, paired with each wine, prepared by chef de cuisine, Alex Saenz. The wines featured at the Umbrian Wine Dinner include:

2013 “Pigro delle Sorbe” Bianco
2013 “Terre dei Preti” Bianco
NV Rossa da Tavola
2012 Sagrantino “Il Forestiero”
2012 Sangiovese “Le Cese”
2008 Sangiovese “Selezione le Cese”

Cost: $95 plus tax and gratuity
For Reservations, please call (617)-615-6195

8) On Wednesday, June 3, at 6:30pm, experience some of Hell’s Kitchen’s famous (perhaps more aptly put, infamous) plates as Chef Brendan Pelley, of Zebra’s Bistro and Wine Bar in Medfield, cooks and dishes on his Hell’s Kitchen Experience. Chef Pelley didn't win but I'm sure he has plenty of fun stories of his experiences.

The Hell’s Kitchen Dinner Party will include:

Amuse Bouche:
Mini Beef Wellington, parma ham, mushroom duxelles
1st Course:
Lightly Torched Scallop on the ½ Shell, roasted fennel puree, loukaniko vinaigrette
2nd Course:
Tempura Soft Shell Crab, yuzu aioli, quick pickles, ginger garlic sauce
3rd Course:
“THIS RISOTTO IS &#*%@*!!”
Lobster & Corn Risotto, saffron tomato broth, butter poached tail
4th Course:
Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb, spinach orzo, cracked green olive jus
5th Course:
Sticky Toffee Pudding, date puree, cardamom ice cream

Price: $85 per person
Reservations required, so please call 508-359-4100

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