Thursday, February 4, 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) Chef/owner Deborah Hanson of Taberna de Haro states: "How to sum up the complexities of biodynamic wines? Where mastery meets mysticism, is my simple explanation. Based on Rudolf Steiner's philosophy of holistic farming, biodynamic viticulture seeks to nurture the vineyard to a state of complete health and vigor so that the grapes she produces are impeccable, and naturally so. The wine made from these grapes has unique texture, vivacity, and charm, not to mention complexity and staying power. The winemakers committed to this philosophy are deep souls with a profound connection to their vineyards. The more of them I meet, and the more I taste their wines, and the more I think about the state of agriculture today, the more drawn I am to this holistic theory, that so deliciously expresses itself in my glass. I'm intrigued and I'd love to share it with you."

To share her thoughts, Deborah is hosting a wine event, Where Mastery Meets Mysticism: A Tasting of Biodynamic Spanish Wines on Wednesday, February 10, from 7pm-8pm.

Five wines will be paired with five courses of tapas., including:
Les Argiles Blanc 2014
Salt-cod & fennel eggs
Orto Blanc 2011
Fideuá of sepia & romescu
Pedra Roja 2013
Roasted eggplant gratiné
Finca L'Argata 2012
Pork loin in samfaína
Mibal 2013
Piquillo peppers stuffed with braised lamb

Cost: $75 per person (plus tax and gratuity)
Reservation and pre-payment required so please call 617-277-8272 in the evenings. This event will be limited to 10 participants.

2) South Street Diner is hosting an all-day Mardi Gras celebration in honor of Fat Tuesday – the last day of the Carnival season. Owner Sol Sidell is recreating that Bourbon Street feel right inside the walls of South Street Diner on Tuesday, February 9, from 11am to 11pm.

Stop in and enjoy an all-you-can-eat jambalaya feast for $6 and enjoy a full New Orleans style Mardi Gras menu including beignets, crawfish, shrimp po’boys, king cake, alligator sausage and “Lucky Dogs.” The staff will be fully decked out in Mardi Gras garb with beads to hand out to customers as well and traditional New Orleans Zydeco music will be blasting from the jukebox throughout the entire day.

For more information, please visit or call 617-350-0028.

3) Pastoral Chef/Owner Todd Winer, co-owner George Lewis, and the rest of the Pastoral Artisan Pizza Kitchen and Bar team invite guests to spend their Valentine’s Day weekend at the Fort Point eatery. This Valentine’s Day weekend, Pastoral Artisan Pizza Kitchen and Bar will be hosting weekend-long events in the name of love (and good food).

Friday, February 12th:
For dinner on February 12th from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Pastoral will be offering guests prosecco paired with local wood and salt-roasted oysters for two for $40.
Saturday, February 13th:
For dinner on February 12th from 5 pm. to 10 p.m., Pastoral will be offering guests discounted Italian wine and prosecco deals, specially added menu items, and house-made, hand-crafted chocolates for the table.
Sunday, February 14th:
Opening its doors for extended hours on February 14th, Pastoral’s brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. will feature house-style jazz from DJ Chris Roxx and friends, music from DJ Sandy Poirer from Shag, a photo booth, specialty coffee drinks, craft cocktails, and small-plates brunch menu. For dinner from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday night, Pastoral will be offering family-style dining specials to enjoy with not just one loved one, but all of your loved ones.

4) The Painted Burro team invites guests to a join them in celebrating love this upcoming Valentine’s Day weekend with menu specials or in celebrating singledom at their anti-Valentine’s “Let’s Give Them Something to Taco ‘Bout” karaoke night.

Valentine’s Day Weekend Menu Specials: Enjoy Valentine’s Day weekend while dining on brunch and dinner specials at the Painted Burro. In addition to their regularly available menus, The Painted Burro will also offer special menu items for brunch and dinner service on Saturday, February 13th and Sunday, February 14th.

Available for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 13th and Sunday, February 14th, The Painted Burro will be offering Lobster Benedict with poached eggs, chipotle hollandaise, refried beans, and a griddled English muffin for $21.

Available for dinner from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, February 13th and Sunday, February 14th, The Painted Burro will be offering Cotuit Oysters with lime, shallots, pickled onions, and tequila mignonette for $12; Grilled New York Sirloin with chipotle-roasted potatoes, white asparagus, oyster mushrooms, red wine demi glaze, and tequila butter for $21; and a Mexican Banana Split for Two with coconut-avocado ice cream, chipotle-chocolate ice cream, dulce de leche ice cream, caramelized bananas, tequila-soaked cherries, and horchata whipped cream for $12.

“Let’s Give Them Something to Taco ‘Bout” Karaoke: Before the boxes of chocolates are eaten and sappy cards are exchanged, The Painted Burro will be hosting “Let’s Give Them Something to Taco ‘Bout” karaoke night for singles to have fun and poke fun at the red rose, teddy bear-filled holiday. On Tuesday, February 9, at 9 p.m., The Painted Burro invites guests to sing their (achy breaky) hearts out while enjoying specialty “cupid is stupid” cocktails, dressing up with anti-Valentine’s Day photo props, taking a swing at a “broken heart” piñata, and munching on funny conversation heart cookies.Performances to the likes of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “All My Single Ladies” are encouraged while duets and love ballads are not allowed!

For reservations, please contact (617) 776-0005

5) This Valentine’s weekend, Brian Poe is bringing “The Love Game” to the Tip Tap Room in Beacon Hill. For three nights, from February 12-14, Chef Poe will serve up a wild game-laced menu that features a series of bold, flavorful dishes designed to tame one’s animalistic desires.

“The Love Game” menu is available as a five-course prix fixe and each course also is available at a la carte pricing:
Elk Carpaccio (green peppercorn studded tenderloin, deviled egg puree, garlic toast points, flash fried capers, lemon oil)
Miso Soup (charcoal roasted pheasant, pineapple sake salsa, lemongrass coconut foam)
Duck Confit Salad (yellow rocket, rosemary chimichurri vinaigrette, goat cheese, caramelized onion chips, Beacon Hill bacon)
Venison (Denver leg, truffle celery root puree, purple carrots, maitake mushroom demi)
Chocolate Mousse (salted caramel ice cream, crisp cocoa tuile, candied hazelnuts)

COST: Five-course prix fixe: $75 per person (items also are available at a la carte pricing)
For reservations, please call: (857) 350-3344.

6) It’s Mardi Gras in New England which generally means restaurants will be adding the word “Creole” and “Cajun” in front of dishes on menus everywhere. But, how true is this to authentic Mardi Gras fare? Chef Paul Turano, chef/owner of Tryst restaurant, in Arlington, has taken it upon himself to bring authenticity to his special Mardi Gras dinner being held on Tuesday, February 9, from 5pm-10pm.

Served in addition to Tryst’s regular menu, Mardi Gras diners can look forward to experiencing an à la carte special menu featuring Shrimp & Grits with Cajun butter ($12), Crispy Cod with kohlrabi pickled slaw, andouille & red pea rice ($21) and Beignets with bourbon caramel and vanilla sugar ($7). That’s not all, guests will be able to enjoy authentic cocktails and Hurricanes galore.

Reservations are highly recommended. Please call 781-641-2227.

7) The Committee team and newly appointed Consulting Wine Director Lauren Friel have introduced a new line up of exotic Greek spirits to their beverage program. In addition to recently overhauling the wine program, Lauren Friel is introducing traditional Greek spirits of rakomelo, ouzo, tsipouro, mastiha and arak that are unusual to the American public. The Greek and Mediterranean spirits are served table side in shooter glasses, 300ml for 1-2 people or 500ml for 2-4 people. Servers present the spirits with rocks on the side allowing guests are invited to pour as little or as much as they would like.

Mastiha, a liqueur made from the resin of the mastiha tree and grown on the island of Chios, is centuries old and made by a technique that is passed down through generations. Tsipouro dates back to monk production in the 14th century, is made with grape pomace and is similar to a pisco, while rakomelo is a blend of the anise flavored spirit raki and honey.

The full menu includes the following:
Rakomelo (House-made with Tsikoudia, honey, clove, and cinnamon served warm)
300ml $26, 500ml $44
--Plomari Lesvos, Greece
Glass $8, 300ml $34, 500ml $58
--Barbayanni ‘Aphrodite’, Lesvos Greece
Glass $6, 300ml $26, 500ml $44
--Mytilini Lesvos, Greece
Glass $5, 300ml $22, 500ml $36
Local Spirits
--Idoniko Tsipouro, Drama
Glass $8, 300ml $34, 500ml $58
--Haraki Tsikoudia, Crete
Glass $6, 300ml $26, 500ml $44
--Homericon Mastiha, Chios
Glass $8, 300ml $34, 500ml $58
--El Massaya Arak, Lebanon
Glass $7, 300ml $30, 500ml $50

Pairing these spirits with various meze is a tradition that Greeks celebrate with admiration. Some of the new meze that were just added to the menu and pair well are the kounoupidi (whole roasted cauliflower, mostarda, kasseri), chestnut stifado (braised chestnuts and shallots, sweet potato), keftedakia makedonias (greek style meatballs, walnuts, tomato-prune salsa) and loukaniko (fennel sausage, braised leeks, florina pepper coulis, smoked manouri cheese).

In addition to launching the new spirit offerings, Friel has introduced a new list of exclusively Mediterranean wines at Committee as well as launched a new monthly wine dinner series highlighting different regions of the Mediterranean. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 617-737-5051.

8) This Valentine’s Day weekend, love over brunch or romance under moonlight at The Elephant Walk in Boston’s South End neighborhood. Executive Chef Nadsa de Monteiro is bringing exotic flavors and standout features to her special Valentine’s Day menu which will be served in addition to the regular brunch and dinner menu.

On Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14, from 11:30am-4pm, guests are invited to brunch outside the box, with staple items that include Crêpe au Canard ($12), a French crepe filled with duck braised in soy tamarind juices, portobello mushroom, crème fraiche and scallion alongside dressed baby greens, and Oeufs Brouillés au Kapik Khing ($11), cage-free scrambled eggs, PT Farms pork belly slow-cooked with Khmer spices and cucumber pickles served with sage sautéed potatoes or mixed greens. As the sun sets , and dinner begins, travel abroad with features that include Côtelettes d’Agneau Grillées, Ravioles aux Champignons ($29) New Zealand double lamb chops grilled, wild mushroom ravioli in red wine-rosemary sauce and kale sautéed with garlic, or bring Cambodian flavor to the forefront with Saraman, ($26) beef short ribs slow cooked in a rich Khmer curry with cardamom seeds, cinnamon, star anise, lemongrass, coconut milk, tamarind and shrimp paste; served with turmeric coconut rice and pickled vegetables, both available gluten free.

Opt for the brunch Bloody’s, aimed to spice up the dullest of lovers with a mix of chilies, lime juice and tuk trey (a spicy Cambodian dipping sauce), blended with vodka and Elephant Walk’s very own unique Bloody Mary mix ($9), or choose from Elephant Walk’s carefully curated wine list to toast to the perfect evening.

For more information or to make a reservation please call (617) 247–1500.

9) Up for a good challenge, to devour a huge burger? Fuddruckers Reading is hosting a special event for Fat Tuesday, February 9, a 3-Pound Burger Challenge! Can you devour a 3-pound burger in one hour?

For $19.99 you get a 3-pound burger, 1-pound of Fudd fries and a bottomless Coca Cola beverage. Additional burger toppings, like cheese, are extra, but their condiments bar is still free (with stuff like pickles, peppers, tomatoes & more). If you can finish the 3-pound burger and fries in one hour, you will receive the following:
--2 free meals toward a future visit
--1 free t-shirt stating your victory
--Undeniable respect from friends, family and colleagues

The restaurant will be open on Tuesday, from 11am-9pm, and the challenge is available all day but there is a 24 hour notice required. Call to make a reservation, (781) 942-4891.

Which of my readers is up for the challenge?

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