Thursday, July 9, 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) SKYBOKX 109 in Natick is a family-friendly sports bar and restaurant. Their new 'Whiskey Passport’ serves as a ticket for guests to explore the world’s finest whiskey, Scotch and bourbon. The idea is to get guests to try different forms/varieties of whiskey from all over the world as a way of expanding their palate.

The way it works is this. When guests arrive, they can ask to join the program for free, at which point they’ll be given an actual passport that they sign and date as their commitment to sampling 50 select whiskeys within one year. Each time they come into the restaurant to continue their worldly whiskey tour, they alert their bartender, who stamps the placeholder for each whiskey included in the tour. Categories, or “Stops” on the tour include ‘Hometown Heroes’ (New England), ‘The Rest of North America,’ ‘Kentucky Bourbon,’ ‘Irish,’ and ’Scotch.’ (over 60 whiskeys in house)

If guests fill up their passport with all 50 stamps within one year, they will receive the following:
· Custom-engraved glass – 1 side with roman numeral noting the order of completion, 2nd side with SKYBOKX logo
· T-shirt: SKYBOKX109 logo and ‘Whiskey 109’ on front, opening declaration (in the passport) on the back
· Whiskey 109 Hall of Fame: Photo and name of person in framed section in restaurant

They will keep your passport here on file so you just have to tell your bartender your name upon arrival. Make your way around the world, sampling the magnificent whiskeys unique to each region. To keep your spirits up, at 25 whiskeys you’ll earn a $20 SKYBOKX 109 gift card. You have exactly one year to earn all 50 stamps before your passport expires.

2) Boston’s preeminent French chef, Jacky Robert, goes wild for Bastille Day. In fact, when his wife was due for a summer Caesarian section to deliver their first child, Jacky insisted it be done on July 14. It was. And to this day, Jacky proudly shares this most traditional of French holidays with the birth date of his daughter, Iris.

Now in Week Four of operations, Ma Maison Jacky Robert has started a French revolution in its staid Beacon Hill neighborhood. And the bistro clearly aims to please with this three-course Bastille Day menu, prix fixe at $35 for lunch or dinner.

Trio of Pates
House-Smoked Salmon
Filet of Sole Mariane
Coq au Vin des Jacobins
Sirloin Steak with pommes de terre “a la guillotine”
Tarte Tatin
Mousse au Chocolat
Crème Caramel

3) The 13th “Taste of Cambridge” returns to the site, University Park at MIT, where the event began with plenty of food & drink, featuring outdoor seating, beer and wine gardens, lawn games, grills, craft beer, The Dirty Water Brass Band, celebrity DJ’s and dancing! It will be held on July 14t, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m with VIP Opens 5:30 pm- 9:00pm.

Highlights of this Year’s Annual Taste of Cambridge include:
--Each “Adult” ticket to the Taste of Cambridge includes four glasses of beer or wine from our beer gardens featuring Amstel, Harpoon, John Harvard’s Brew House, and a variety of other specially chosen beers and wines.
--Our VIP area features a “Bloody Mary Bar,” a raw bar, specialty cocktails, and miniature golf! VIP’s have separate “fast pass” entrance to event through VIP area. VIP area has a mix of unique restaurants and mixed drinks and closes at 9:00 pm, a ½ an hour later then general area. VIP guests can sample in general area as well.

Children and Families are welcome! Get the ultimate Tasting Ticket for the under 12 set (accompanied by a parent): there is so much to choose from -it’s hard for even the pickiest kid to resist! Kids Tasting Tickets are available for $15.00 each for children 6 to 12; kids under six are free.

Feel good and do good! Buy a ticket to this benefit and provide support to local Cambridge non-profits doing direct service work in Cambridge in alcohol and drug prevention and treatment. The TOC helps to support five non-profit alcohol and drug prevention and treatment programs each year: Past recipients include: Cambridge Camping, Food for Free, IHR, The Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, Transition House.

Please note: This is a charitable event and we do not issue ticket refunds. In case of inclement weather we have a rain date of 7/16/15.

Tickets can be purchased for $50 in advance or $60 at the door. VIP tickets are $75.  Children Tickets: ages 6-12/$15; under 6/free

4) At the end of this month, Boston area consumers will be able to purchase a dizzying selection of award-winning cheeses made from Massachusetts milk, all available under one roof. The Massachusetts Cheese Guild is partnering with The Trustees of Reservations to feature nearly 70 cheeses made by 16 local artisans at the 28,000 sq ft Boston Public Market, opening on the Rose Kennedy Greenway July 30. The partners hope to achieve two primary goals: to highlight the quality and diversity of Massachusetts-made cheese, and to promote and generate revenue for Massachusetts cheesemakers.

“They are excited to bring their members’ cheeses, some never available beyond the farms where they are produced, to the Boston Public Market, and look forward to a long and successful collaboration with the Trustees of Reservations.

In addition to numerous hard to find cheeses, many previously sold only on area farms, the booth will offer a wide variety of made-in-New England items ranging from bottled milk and yogurt, to cheesemaking supplies and cookbooks, to maple syrup, honey, pickled vegetables and granola, condiments and crackers. Rounding out the merchandise mix are books and magazine, locally baked baguettes, wooden cutting boards, Trustees-branded clothing, sea salt, and preserves.

A fulltime general manager for the cheese booth has been hired. She is Gannon Long, formerly of Glen’s Garden Market in Washington, DC. Several part-time shopkeepers will share responsibility at the booth for spreading the good word about local cheeses, joined by volunteer “cheese ambassadors” from the Cheese Guild and the Trustees. Occasional demonstrations and Meet the Cheesemaker type events are planned for the future.

“It is fitting that the vendor booth of Appleton Farms, America’s oldest working farm, will be a one-stop shop for cheese-lovers looking to sample the bounty the Commonwealth has to offer.”

5) Haru is gearing up for summer in the city with the release of new seasonal dishes and cocktails available beginning today. These summertime specials are designed to capture the lightest and cleanest flavors of the season through a duo of sophisticated appetizers, a refreshing sushi roll and two thirst-quenching cocktails.

From the kitchen, Haru will introduce two appetizers: Bluefin Crab & Corn Fritter with blue crab, corn, green onion, ginger, Thai basil and an Old Bay dressing ($8) and Tuna Tataki & Tomato Salad with seared rare tuna, vine ripened tomatoes, avocado and fresh herbs in a light lemon vinaigrette ($16). Haru’s featured sushi roll this summer is the sweet and flavorful Watermelon Roll made with snow crab, green onion, mint and watermelon that is topped with shrimp and served with a lemon dressing ($18).

For those looking for a retreat from the heat, Haru will debut two cocktails ($7.50 each) that are bursting with the bright, refreshing tastes of summer. The Cucumber Matcha Margarita sees Avión Silver tequila, Ty Ku Cucumber sake, Luxardo and matcha mixed in with a housemade cucumber-jalapeño infusion that tantalizes taste buds. With the use of matcha (a fine powdered tea hailing from Japan), this margarita-with-a-twist packs in the nutrients with its natural detoxifying qualities. The Watermelon Lemonade marries two summertime favorites in a clean yet tart blend of Absolut Citron, Ty Ku Silver Junmai, St-Germain Elderflower liqueur, fresh watermelon, lemon and thyme syrup.

WHEN: Available July 7 through October 6.

6) This summer, MET Back Bay is adding a brand new Rosé menu, just in time for the warmer weather. The MET’s new wine menu features a variety of pink wines to be purchased by the glass or the bottle. Stop in for a glass or pair it with one of MET’s signature dishes including the Pan Roasted Atlantic Halibut with Meyer lemon risotto, peas & stems and pistachio oil, New England Lobster Roll made with fresh shucked Scituate lobster and mayo served on a brioche bun, and Wellfleet Clams & Bucatini with prosciutto ends and garlic brown butter.

Rosé Wine Menu (by the glass)

Domaniers Selection Ott
Provence, France 2014 $15
Pale pink, with subtle aromas of red fruit, & a touch of citrus. It’s silky & supple with perfect acidity for patio sipping or summer suppers. Pairs well with fried food & grilled white flakey fish.
Minuty Prestige Rose
Provence, France 2013 $9
Very intense aromas of citrus fruits and white flowers. Has a good balance between rich fruits & the frest acidity. While there is a crisp, tangy background, the foreground is ripe with strawberries & apricots. The whole things is finished with a lively, bright aftertaste.
M de Minuty Rose
Provence, France 2014 $17
Hints of peach & candied orange. The mouth is fresh and round. Low acidity. Very light finish, no lingering palate.
Guilhem Rose
Pays de I’Herault, France 2014 $9
Vivid rose pink. Pleasant, intense with hints of strawberry. Mouth: Full & round with aromas of crushed red fruit. End: Splendidly fresh and long.
Signature Magali Rose
Provence, France $12
A light salmon pink in color. “A flattering bouquet of citrus fruits and red fruit.” Fresh & smooth on the palate, evoking the juiciness of apricots & grapefruit. Pairs well with vegetable dishes, salads, grilled foods. Also an excellent aperitif wine.
Chateau Beaulieu
Provence, France $10
Fruit-forward wine brimming with bright, summery notes of strawberry, raspberry & wildflowers.

7) Wendy Issokson, owner of the new Chill On Park in Fields Corner, Dorchester, announced today the start of “Family Night Tuesdays” at this ice cream and coffee shop that is becoming Dorchester’s neighborhood ice cream destination.

Family Night Tuesdays
*Every Tuesday evening this Summer, 6pm-8pm
*Specially priced kids ice cream cone or cup, $2.50....add one topping for 50 cents
*Free kids gift and balloon with any ice cream purchase. (One gift per child with purchase).

Family Ice Cream Social on Tuesday, August 4 and September 1
--August 4 Family Ice Cream Social:
*Special event with free face painting and kids activities. Fun for the whole family. 6-8pm.
*Specially priced kids ice cream cone or cup, $2.50...add one topping for 50 cents
--September 1 Family Ice Cream Social:
*Back to School Night at Chill On Park, with kids games and activities and surprise gifts for kids back-to-school backpack (with purchase of ice cream). 6-8pm.
*Specially priced kids ice cream cone or cup, $2.50...add one topping for 50 cents

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