Thursday, January 21, 2016

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) On Tuesday, February 9, Beat Brasserie is shaking things up with its 3rd Annual Le Mardi Gras Carnival. The restaurant will be transformed into Canal Street as it hosts a New Orleans-inspired party complete with community tables, a Cajun menu, beads, live music, Hurricanes and more.

From 4:pm-11pm, guests can get into the spirit with a special Cajun inspired à la carte menu featuring authentic NOLA-style dishes. The Mardi Gras menu will be the only menu offered that evening. Dinner will be served in a community seating to encourage “Laissez les bons temps rouler!" a Cajun expression meaning "Let the good times roll!" In addition to dinner, Mardi Gras revelers can enjoy entertainment at one of The Beat’s two bars while sipping on traditional celebratory cocktails and complimentary Mardi Gras beads.

The party will kick off at 5pm when Alex Lee Clark takes The Beat’s stage for a live jazz dinner set. Alex Lee-Clark is a trumpet player, composer, and arranger, and has crafted a unique and exciting sound by blending jazz and pop sensibilities. At 7:30pm, Clark will hand the reigns to One Finger Down Band led by trombonist Clayton Dewalt. One Finger Down will keep the crowd swinging all night long with their classic second line music infused with New Orleans backbeat funk.

Turkey, Black-Eyed Pea & Kale Gumbo, $9
Shrimp & Grits, $14
Fried Boudin Balls with Whole Grain Mustard, $10
Pork and Pickle Board, $15
Sweet Chili Baby Back Ribs, $13
Oysters, Oysters, Oysters!!
Chicken, Andouille & Shrimp Jambalaya, $22
Blackened Trout, Smothered Greens & Rice, $23
Braised Pork Shoulder, Dirty Rice, Pork Crackling Salad, $24
Skirt Steak Frites, Creole Sauce, Okra, Cornichons, $26

There is no cover charge for this event. Reservations are strongly recommended so please call 617-499-0001.

2) Post 390’s is starting their 2016 Farm to Post dinner series this month and for the very first time, guests will have a chance to purchase tickets to the exclusive kick-off dinners that launch the rotating Farm to Post theme. The first one, New England Winter Seafood, will be held on Tuesday, January 27, from6-9pm, and feature a multi-course menu featuring Island Creek Oysters, Snappy Lobster, Nantucket Bay Scallops, Wulf’s Fish, and beverages from Champy Sparkling Wine.

The evening begins with a oyster extravaganza reception, with offerings like freshly shucked raw Island Creek Oysters on the half shell with three types of mignonettes, fried oysters wrapped in wagyu beef carpaccio. Guests are then seated for a four-course menu that offers dishes like Mushroom & Lobster Benedict with butter-poached lobster and black truffle omelet, served with mushroom and tasso salad; Grilled Monkfish Tail Bordelaise with beef short rib and turnip hash, red cabbage sauerkraut, raw mustard green vinaigrette, and smoked bone marrow; and Spiced Chocolate Pate and Blood Orange Fish Roe with pickled kumquat, liquid sable, crostini and five spice ice cream (yes, even the dessert course incorporates seafood).

The dinner is also a rare opportunity for guests to meet the purveyors behind the food, who will be in attendance, to introduce their businesses and to showcase their offerings. And while the Farm to Post menu will be available in the main dining room starting January 29th through March 24th, this dinner menu is unique and exclusively created for the kick-off dinner.

Tickets cost $55 per person, and they can also be purchased as a package for three dinners ($140) or six ($250). Upcoming dinners include the Berkshire Cheese Trail (March 23rd) and Brambly Pig Farms (May 4th), to name a few – you can find the full list here as well as purchase tickets.

3) Osteria Nino is debuting “Express Lunch” options designed to save you time and money. The  “Express Lunch” offers come twofold, with one for dining in and the other for individual and corporate pickup orders.

Italian for “half and half,” the “Meta e Meta” lunch menu lets you pair any two items from the panini, insalata and zuppe offerings for only $10. The selections are served up in under-30 minutes on weekdays.  There are a half-dozen sandwich options, such as the Prosciutto with hand-stretched mozzarella, arugula and fig jam on ciabatta; Pork Sandwich with balsamic fig, mozzarella and arugula; and, Chicken Parm with crispy chicken, Pomodoro, mozzarella and grana on ciabatta. For salads, highlights include the Beet Salad with roasted beets, goat cheese, frisee, hazelnuts and balsamic; and the Nino Caesar Salad with hazelnuts, croutons and lemon-cream dressing. There are two traditional, hearty soups: Pasta Fagioli, a Roman pasta and bean soup with pancetta, rosemary and breadcrumbs; and, the Pappa al Pomodoro, a Tuscan tomato and bread soup with basil, olive oil and parmigiano.

Earlier this week, I stopped by Osteria Nino and ordered the Meatball Sub and Warm Goat Cheese Salad, which is pictured above. Accompanied by house made potato chips, you get a good-sized meal for only $10. And that meatball sub is excellent, one of my favorite dishes at this spot.

For those on even more of a time crunch, Osteria Nino now offers to-go lunch menus for individual and corporate orders. Whether placing for a quick bite to eat at your desk or organizing a working lunch for the board room, Osteria Nino will pack up their homemade deliciousness giving you the freedom to leave the cooking to someone else. Osteria Nino offers an expansive selection of panini, insalata, zuppe, salumi & formaggi, antipasti, primi and secondi options, fit for any palate and occasion, that come priced individually or for groups.

For reservations or to place an order, please call (781) 272-1600.

4) There might be a massive snow storm this weekend, though we still could avoid the major brunt of the storm. Several local restaurants have already made plans on how to deal with significant snow storms this winter. In the event of a declared snow emergency in the their town, the following restaurants will offer blizzard specials.

In Somerville, Rosebud American Kitchen and Bar will invite diners out of the cold and into Rosebud to enjoy brunch-for-dinner specials. In addition to the regularly available dinner menu, dinner guests will be able to choose from a variety of Blizzard Brunch-For-Dinner plates as well as a delicious Bacon Bourbon Bloody Mary to help forget all about those winter woes. Rosebud will operate during normal business hours in the event of a snow emergency unless otherwise specified.

The Blizzard Brunch-For-Dinner menu items will include:
Classy Chicken: fried chicken thigh, VT cheddar, sausage gravy, farm egg, Stone & Skillet English muffin
French Toast: thick cut brioche, orange/vanilla dipped, blackberry maple syrup, mascarpone whipped cheese
Chicken & Waffles: Belgian waffle, fried chicken, roasted peach maple syrup
Breakfast Flatbread: sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, cheddar, fontina, parmesan, scallion
Bacon & Egg Burger: Griddled Cheeseburger, yellow cheese, lettuce, shaved red onion, pickles, WGS - served with crinkle cut fries
Bacon Bourbon Bloody Mary

Also in Somerville, the Painted Burro will be offering mini tacos for $3.

Tacos will be available in the following flavors:
- Chorizo de la Casa: sunny side egg & papas, chipotle mayo

- Gulf Shrimp “Diablo Rojo”: guacamole, habañero & mango salsa

- Campechano: grilled zucchini & nopales, roasted cherry tomato salsa, salbitxada, cotija, spiced pepitas

- Pork Carnitas: crispy pork, spiced pumpkin mole, honey crisp apple salsa, Mexican crema, cotija, our own flour tortilla

- Crispy “Baja-Style” Fish: savoy cabbage & jalapeno slaw, lime-cilantro mayo

- BLT & Cheese: crispy pork belly, pico de gallo con limon, romaine, “salsa mil islas”, cotijia
- Mahi a la Plancha: avocado, jicama, pineapple & serrano salsa, frisée

- Crispy Calamari: Mexican cabbage slaw, jalapeño aioli

- Short Rib Double Stack: crunchy & soft tortillas, tres quesos, red wine & Mexican cola mole, cotija, shredded napa cabbage

- Chicken Tinga: chipotle & tomato ranchero, rajas, Mexican crema, cobija

And also in Somerville, Posto will offer wood-fired pizzas for $12 for eat-in or take-out.

Pizza flavors will include:
- Margherita: mozzarella, olive oil, basil, sea salt
- Pepperoni: calabrese salumi, mozzarella, basil, parmesan
- Marinara: sliced garlic, oregano, parmesan
- Mushroom: shiitake, white trumpet, crimini, fontina, spinach, lemon zest
- Soppressata: spicy pork salumi, mozzarella, Tuscan pepper, oregano, arugula, parmesan

In Cambridge, Puritan & Co. will offer any time it snows more than three inches in Boston throughout the winter a special hree-course “storm menu” including select appetizer, entrée, dessert for only $35.

And In Jamaica Plain, Canary Square will offer $5 tacos and $8 margaritas as snowstorm specials.

Tacos will be available in the following flavors:
- Crispy Coconut Cod: Avocado, Mango Salsa, Pickled Slaw
- Carnitas: Gala Apple Salsa, Chedder Cheese, Pickled Fresno Chilis
- Grilled Hanger Steak: Avocado Crema, House Salsa, Crisp Baby Greens
- Fried Egg: Radish, Smoky Beans, Hot sauce, Cotija

Margaritas will be available in the following flavors:
- Classic Margarita
- Spicy Pineapple Margarita
- Pomegranate Margarita
- Apricot Margarita

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