Thursday, June 9, 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 Saturday, June 18, from 5:30pm-9pm, the 12th Annual A Wild Affair is coming to the Stone Zoo in Stoneham. This fundraiser features tasting stations hosted by numerous Greater Boston restaurants and caterers as well as live entertainment, a silent auction, and an opportunity to stroll among the animals. All proceeds will benefit Stone Zoo, its education programs and its conservation initiatives.Additional funds raised will support the new Animal Discovery Center.

A Wild Affair is a 21+ “tasting” event.

Ticket Prices:
Advance: $55 (April 1 - June 17)
Gate: $65 (Day of event)
Purchase Tickets Online Here

2) On Wednesday, June 15, at 7pm, Brass Union will host the next event in their “Brass Pair” series – a recurring pairing dinner where the Union Square eatery and lounge joins forces with local brewers, distillers, importers, wine makers and sommeliers – for a night of interactive cuisine and beverage.

At this “Brass Pair” evening, Brass Union will welcome Norwood-based Classic Wine Imports for a savory four-plus-course dinner prepared by executive chef Jonathan Kopacz with accompanying wines hand-selected by Classic Wine Imports sales manager, Stefanie Korman, and Brass Union’s beverage director, Paulo Pereira.

Chef Kopacz and Classic Wine Imports will present the menus as follows:

Avocado Toast with Lardo
Buglioni "Vigliaco" Sparkling Rose
Softshell Crab & Mussels with Old Bay
Cantina Taburno Falanghina
Sole with Meyer Lemon and Sorrel
Saint Michael Eppan Weissburgunder
Rabbit with Asparagus, Ramps and Mushrooms
Paitin Nebbiolo
Lemon Cake with Herb Meringue
Centorri Moscato

COST: $50 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)
Tickets are available via EventBrite:

3) Celebrate National Bourbon Day on Tuesday, June 14, from 5pm-7pm, with a Pop-Up Bacon & Bourbon Happy Hour at Sólás, an Irish eatery located in the Lenox Hotel on Boylston Street. Take your love of bourbon to the next level with Sólás' extensive bourbon list, secret bottles, and specialty cocktails paired with some savory, smoky and sweet specials including:

--Loaded Tater Tots, tossed in truffle oil and grated parmesean, garnished with smoked apple bacon bits
--Grilled Baby Wedge Salad, lightly grilled, topped with heirloom cherry tomatoes, sautéed baby corn, fried shallots, and a bacon and Knob Creek vinaigrette
--57 T-Bird, a grilled 4 oz. all-beef hot topped with maple bourbon honey mustard, garnished with their world famous bacon and tomatoes relish

And for dessert:
--Warm Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie topped with maple bourbon ice cream, warm Nutella, and bacon bits

4) I've received some news of an upcoming Sake event that sounds very interesting. On Monday, June 20, at 6:45pm, Bluefin Sushi Bar, located at 1815 Mass Ave., Cambridge, will be hosting a pop-up, Seven Tastes of Sake with Otsumami.  The event will feature Chef Chris Chung, a Master Sushi Chef, Stephen Connolly, a Sake Professional & Pastry Chef Renae Connolly. The proposed Sake list is intriguing and I'm sure the food will be excellent.  Tickets cost $125 per person, tax excluded, and to make reservations, call Bluefin at (617) 497-8022.

5) In an effort to introduce new clientele to the lay of the land at The Elephant Walk in Boston’s South End, Chef/Owner Nadsa de Monteiro has put together a list of bar snacks with her own personal touch. Every Monday through Friday from 4pm-6pm, enjoy dishes such as:

--The Diplomat: Elephant Walk’s burger with PT Farm hamburger melded with a tomato-onion chutney and spicy mayo on a brioche bun ($10)
--Ripper Hot Dog: An all-beef hot dog in natural casing, deep fried and served in a brioche bun with spicy mayo, topped with a cooked tomato cumin relish ($6)
--Cambodian Sloppy Joe: Served on a brioche bun, smothered with ground pork in a sweet garlic peanut coconut sauce, raw shredded cabbage and lettuce ($9),
--Sweet and Spicy Pork Sandwich: With sliced pork tenderloin in a spicy housin-sesame-ginger sauce with onion, scallion and red bell pepper ($10)
--Grilled Corn on the Cobb: With coconut scallion sauce ($5).

“I think chefs like items like burgers and hot dogs because they are like a blank canvas to work with. While there might be a suggested rule book, you’re allowed to color outside the lines and show your own unique personality each time you cook. That’s a big part of what we do in general at Elephant Walk, but we’re also aware that our cuisine might not be familiar to many guests. Infusing a classic item that a customer is familiar with is a great and unintimidating way to introduce the flavors of what we do. At the end of the day the idea is to get more and more customers to try the restaurant and if the bar menu is the entry point their next order might be our Khar Saiko Kroeung or our Filet de Thon Saisi aux Deux Coulis Pimentés. You don’t know you have a craving for a flavor profile until you experience it,” said Chef Nadsa.

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

6) Famed North End restaurateur and chef, Anthony Caturano (Prezza), will open the doors to his new Gloucester restaurant, Tonno, on June 17. Italian for “tuna,” Tonno will be housed in the former Blackburn Tavern space and will feature coastal Italian seafood and other treasures from land and sea. Seating 99 people, Tonno has partial ocean views and is open year-round.

Chef Caturano’s culinary program at Tonno has been designed to showcase Italian seafood classics with nightly specials that reflect the catches of the day from the local waters. The menu starts with an array of sfizi and primi options ($2-16), including seafood dishes like Tonno Tartare, Octopus “La Plancha” with tomato and fregola, Stewed Clams with white beans, pancetta and grilled bread, and fresh raw bar specialties. There also are more traditional Italian offerings like a daily selection of cheeses and cured meats as well as Meatballs with ricotta, Risotto with red wine and fontina, and Arancini.

The quartet of homemade pastas come in half and full portions ($12-24), and have been adapted from Chef Caturano’s North End restaurant, Prezza: Shrimp Fra Diavolo with tagliatelle; Spaghetti with clams and oregano; Rigatoni with pecorino and black peppercorn; and, Cavatelli Bolognese.

The secondi courses present signature pesce and carne dishes ($25-38), with highlights like the Grilled Tonno Steak with white beans; Cod Oreganatta with creamy leeks and potato; “Cioppino” fish stew; Grilled 16oz Bone-In Rib Eye with braised escarole and roasted potato; and, Veal Milanese

The beverage program consists of classic Italian and house-barreled cocktails as well as a selection of craft beers. From the vine, there will be a curated list of about 110 wines that are mainly focused on Italian varietals.

As Prezza is one of my favorite restaurants, I'm very much interested in checking out Tonno to see Chef Caturano's take on seafood.

7) Les Zygomates, the wine bar and bistro located in Boston's Leather District, is hosting a special Champagne Dinner on Tuesday, June 14, from 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM. This event will consist of a four-course Champagne dinner featuring the French cuisine of Les Zygomates and the delicate Champagnes of Besserat de Bellefon, hosted by Matthieu Luneau from the house of Besserat de Bellefon.

I recently wrote about the Champagnes of Besserat de Bellefon, finding them to be delicious and excellent accompaniments to food. Their Champagnes are specifically produced to pair well with food, such as having finer bubbles, which are 30% smaller than most other Champagnes. As such, this Champagne dinner should be fascinating and delicious. Check it out!

Cost: $100 (which includes tax but not gratuity)
Seating is limited, so to reserve your spot, please call Les Zygomates at 617-542-5108.

8) What is a Chop Bar? A neighborhood favorite, a spot to stop on the side of the road and grab a drink and authentic meal. That is exactly what Chef Kwasi Kwaa is bringing to A&B Burgers on June 28 at 6:30pm. Join them as A&B transforms their menu to reflect four courses of true authentic Ghanaian "street food".

Ghanaian Street Food Menu:
--Braised Goat Sliders (Served with pickled okra and green plantain chips)
--Kelewale (Fried sweet plantains tossed in suya pepper powder served with toasted macadamia nuts and mono)
--Jollof Rice and Grilled Tilapia (African style rice cooked in a goat stew served with grilled Tilapia, moko and shito peppers)
--Brofrot (Ghanaian Doughnuts tossed in sugar)

Cost: $55 per person (Alcohol and gratuity not included)
Tickets must be purchased ahead of time to attend & can be ordered here:

9) Starting Friday, Chef Brian Poe is bringing F#@K SLIDER FRIDAYS to Bukowski Tavern in Cambridge’s Inman Square. A chef with a penchant for exotic proteins, burgers and beer, this new weekly special will feature a trio of unusual sliders with the option of a beer pairing.

Each Friday from 12-4pm, Chef Poe will serve up a rotating mix of signature mini burgers. The new burger and beer-themed series kicks off on June 10 with four-legged slider specialties of Antelope (cranberry jalapeño jus, beer cheese sauce), Camel (ras el hanout spiced, pickled turnips, tahini crema) and Bison (housemade Sriracha ketchup, Dijon mustard). The week’s beer pairing will be a local favorite, a Narragansett Tall Boy (Providence, RI).

COST: Trio of sliders: $10
Trio of sliders with beer pairing: $15

Camel??? I'm definitely interested in checking out a Camel slider.

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