Thursday, March 31, 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) TAMO Bistro & Bar hosts Wine Wednesdays - where they hand-select a new wine flight for their guests ($12 plus tax and services)! Every week is a new experience, and in addition, guests also have the option of pairing the flight with Chef Robert Tobin’s entrées, which he carefully selects to complement the wines ($21 plus tax and services).

Below, please find the offerings for TAMO’s next Wine Wednesday on March 30th, which features three wines, possessing expressiveness & imagination, in celebration of Vincent Van’s 163rd birthday.

Wednesday, March 30th – Three for Van Gogh
Vionta, Albarino, Rias Baixas 2013
Vega, Douro 2013
Bonny Doon, Syrah, Central Coast 2005

Entrée: Ceviche, cod croquette, spicy goat stew

2) The 23rd annual Taste of the North End, one of Boston’s most popular festivals of food, charity, and neighborhood, will be taking place on Friday, April 29th at DCR’s Steriti Memorial Rink. Bringing together the North End’s best Italian restaurants, The Taste of the North End raises money to support local organizations providing healthcare and social services to its community in need.

On Friday, April 29, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., guests are invited to sample a wide array of appetizers, cheeses, entrees and desserts from over 35 of the North End’s most popular eateries while sipping on libations from area wine and beer distributors. The event, emceed by Billy Costa of KISS 108 and NESN’s Dining Playbook, will also feature a high-end silent auction, a live band, and award ceremony honoring Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and John McGee of Mamma Maria.

Co-chaired by event founder Donato Frattaroli, owner of Lucia Ristorante, and James Luisi, CEO of North End Waterfront Health, the event will donate 100% of proceeds to area non-profit organizations. Last year’s event raised over $100,000 for non-profit organizations including: North End Waterfront Health; The Eliot School; St. John School; North End Against Drugs; North End Athletic Association; North End Music and Performing Arts Center; and more.

This year’s participants will include: Accardi & Son; Albert A. Russo Imports, Inc.; Antico Forno; Terramia; Aragosta; Aria Trattoria; Artu; Bricco; Mare; Il Panino; Cafe Paradiso; Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop; Espresso Plus; Filippo; Gennaro; Il Molo; Lucia; J. Pace & Son; La Summa; Lilly Pasta; Lucca; Mamma Maria; Massimino; Mike’s Pastry; Modern Pastry; Neptune Oyster; Paul W. Marks; Piantedosi Baking; Prezza; Rocco’s Cucina & Bar; Sail Loft; Strega; Taranta; The Living Room; Tresca; Union Oyster House; Vito’s; Carmelina’s; Ward 8; Fabrizia Limoncello; Fantasy Wines; Voga Italia Wines; Champy; and Harpoon Brewery.

Tickets are on sale now at a discounted price of $79. Tickets will be $99 after April 15th. They can be purchased on by searching “Taste of the North End 2016” or through the organization website

3) On April 3, Chef Brian Poe will debut the first ever Brunch service at Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake. Available weekly on Sundays, Chef Poe will dish out a collection of brunch plates with southwestern influences in addition to serving up his regular all-day menu. Dubbed “Hangover Specials,” the Rattlesnake will welcome all to the Back Bay for some much needed nourishment following a Saturday night out on the town.

The Bacon, Egg & Avocado Toast ($9.95) comes with guacamole, tomato, fried egg, bacon and cilantro on buttered Texas toast. The Chicken Roti Taco & Egg ($9) piles chile braised chicken, mango slaw and a fried egg on a grilled roti “tortilla.” For more traditional plates, there are Huevos Rancheros ($11.95) with two over-easy eggs, corn tortillas, refried beans, salsa fresca and an avocado and chimichurri crema and the Cheesy Egg Plate ($11.95) with three cheddar-scrambled eggs, bacon and buttered Texas toast. For those looking for a meat fix, there’s the Brunch Burger ($16.95) with Poe-co Loco seasoned ground beef, queso fresco, a fried egg and agave braised pork belly topped with green chile sauce.

WHEN: Beginning April 3: Sundays from 11:30am-3:00pm

4) Beginning in April, North End’s Terramia Ristorante will be offering a three course, prix fixe Chef’s Tasting Menu every Sunday to Thursday. For $33 per person (tax and gratuity not included) guests will enjoy a three course meal from Executive Chef Luiz Prata.

Start the meal with Insalata di Spinaci, a baby spinach salad topped with dried California figs, toasted Pignoli nuts and gorgonzola dolce tossed in a pancetta vinaigrette, or a classic Caprese salad with fresh Buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Next, choose from a selection of pastas including Pappardelle alla Bolognese with veal, beef and pork, or Ravioli con Fichi, figs, mascarpone and walnut ravioli in a sage cream sauce, before enjoying the main course such as Pollo Marsala, Murrays Farm organic chicken breast, wild mushrooms and smoked pancetta served with spinach herb roasted potato, or Maiale, a filet of pork tenderloin with honey walnut crust, parsnip puree and baby spinach finished with dried California prune sauce.

The Chef’s Tasting Menu will be served Sunday-Thursday night in addition to the regular menu. Gluten free options are also available. To make a reservation please call 617-523-3112.

5) Chef Chris Coombs, the Boston Chops staff, and BRIX wine shop invite guests to join them for their first monthly wine dinner. Beginning Monday April 4, and continuing on the first Monday of every month, Boston Chops will feature wines from various regions and pair them with a menu crafted by Chef Chris Coombs.

Partnering with BRIX Wine Shop, Boston Chops’ first wine dinner series launches with "Classics from the California Coast” featuring coastal California wines and a delicious, five-course menu complementing the wine selection.

The menu will include:
First course: Aleppo Spiced Chilled Shrimp, Avocado Mousse
 Torched Grapefruit, Rice Cracker
Chanin, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley, CA 2013
Second course: Spicy Crispy Sweetbreads & Pork Belly, “Wedge Salad”
Sandhi, Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, CA, 2012
Third course: Morel Mushrooms, Ricotta Cavatelli, Sweet English Peas & Pecorino
Valravn, Zinfandel, Sonoma County, CA, 2014
Main course: Grilled Rib Eye Cap “Spinalis”, Fingerling Potato, Charred Ramp Salsa
Fiddlehead Ferns, Peppercorn Jus
Hunt & Harvest, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA, 2013
 Dark Chocolate Truffles, Star Anise Vanilla Cream Puffs, Coconut Cake

When: Monday, April 4, 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Tickets are $79 plus tax and gratuity
Please make Reservations by calling 617-617-227-5011

6) The Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce announced Restaurant Week Portsmouth & The Seacoast 2016 will be held from March 31 to April 9.  “This is the 9th year we are hosting Restaurant Week Portsmouth & The Seacoast” says Valerie Rochon, Tourism Director & Interim President, Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce. What started as a promotion to help bring attention and business to restaurants in the Seacoast region has turned into a twice a year tradition celebrating Portsmouth’s national reputation as a restaurant-driven destination.

51 restaurants are participating, the most ever, with a broad range of style and cuisine. It is an excellent opportunity for residents and visitors to visit places that have just opened as well as to dine at the city’s signature chef-driven restaurants with these great values. And it is an opportunity for the restaurants to give back to the community, thanking them for their support throughout the year. “The camaraderie among restaurants and the community is quite remarkable” shares John Akar, owner, Cava Tapas & Wine Bar. “We support one another and we support the community. We are all in this together and we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than here on the Seacoast.”

The Cost for the three -course specials includes Lunch at $16.95 and Dinner at $29.95. You can check their website for info on the Menus of the various restaurants. Some of the restaurant menus which especially appeal to me include:

Agave Mexican Bistro: From Street tacos to Fried Oysters, Bone-In Pork Chop to Turkey Mole.
Apple Crest Farm Bistro: Cider Donut Bread Pudding!!
Black Trumpet: From Burgundy Braised Snails to Veal Saltimbocca Burger
Blind Pig Provisions: From Sasparilla Short Rib Pierogi to New England Paella
Cava: Which gives you 4 courses for dinner.
The Franklin: From Crispy Goat Wonton to Cubano Pork Belly Croquettes
Misto!: Which also offers 4 courses for dinner.
Moxy: From a Cuban Sandwich as a salad to Vermont Quail.
Tino's Greek Kitchen:From Grilled Octopus to Lamb Lollipop Chops.

Check out the full list of participating restaurants and their menus. Some places even include a beverage with their meal, such as a glass of wine or a beer.

7) Every Saturday from April 9 through April 30, The Wine ConneXtion, located in North Andover, is celebrating “Loch and K(e)Y Bourbon Month,” a new, complimentary tasting series that focuses on the striking comparison between single barrel, hand-selected bourbons and their mass produced counterparts.

The Loch and K(e)Y society, based in Westborough, is an organization committed to providing customers with hand-selected, barrel-picked American whiskeys, blended scotch whiskeys, bourbons and single malt scotches of the highest quality. In 2015 The Wine ConneXtion became one of the few exclusive retailers of Loch and K(e)Y selections when it opened The BackRoom and expanded its inventory to include high-end spirits.

True to its name, these rare and one-of-a-kind bottles usually sit under lock and key, but this spring The Wine ConneXtion is breaking the secret seal and sampling them for the masses. Every Saturday from 1pm-5pm, throughout the month of April, The Wine ConneXtion is pouring one of Loch and K(e)Y’s high-end bourbon selections alongside that same producer’s popular, mass produced version. At the first tasting on April 9th, guests will taste and compare the Wild Turkey 101 Whiskey and the Wild Turkey Single Barrel Bourbon. Each tasting is complimentary and held in conjunction with The Wine ConneXtion’s weekly wine tastings.

Loch and K(e)Y Bourbon month will conclude with a seated tasting seminar at The Wine Connextion on May 5 from 7pm-9pm. During this event, guests will try up to six different Loch and K(e)Y selections while learning all about single-barrel bourbons and the exclusivity behind them. Seating for the seminar is limited and cost of attendance is $25 per guest. The cost of admission may be applied toward purchases at the Wine Connextion that evening. RSVP is required by calling (877) 469-5025. Guests must be 21+. For more information, please contact David Messina at (877) 469-5025.

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