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) Bar Boulud, Boston, located at Mandarin Oriental, Boston, invites city-dwellers and visitors alike to get their wintry confectionary fix with Pastry Chef Robert Differ’s Parisian-inspired Chocolat Chaud.
Perfect for warming up on a chilly winter evening, guests are invited to taste these drinkable gourmet confections, crafted from the finest cocoa. Chef Differ will feature monthly seasonal flavors, each topped with a dollop of fresh Chantilly cream and accompanied by a selection of delectable bite-sized sweets. Flavors will include: (November) Mayan Gold, creamy luxurious dark chocolate blended with delicate spices and a hint of orange essence, served with vanilla bean marshmallows and snickerdoodle cookies; (December) Milk Chocolate Peppermint, classic milk chocolate complemented by cool peppermint stick, accompanied by latté swirl marshmallows and crinkle cookies; (January) S’Mores, 55% bittersweet chocolate featuring marshmallow and a graham cracker spoon, paired with Chef’s special homemade mallomars; and (February) Almond Joy, milk chocolate combined with creamy coconut and toasted almonds, served with Caribbean coconut marshmallows and almond macaroons.
For those who wish to expand their hot chocolate sipping experience, Bar Boulud will also offer adult-friendly cordial enhancements for an additional $4.
WHEN: Available through February 28, 2017 (served during dinner hours 5:30PM to 10:00PM)
COST: $10.00; additional $4.00 for cordial enhancement
2) Boston is gearing up to celebrate the 243rd Boston Tea Party Anniversary & Annual Reenactment on December 16, one of the largest live historical theatrical moving performances in the U.S. This December, actual tea from London's East India Company, the same come from where the original tea came that was thrown into Boston Harbor during The Boston Tea Party in 1773, will be again thrown into Boston Harbor. East India Company is shipping 220+ lbs of [expired] loose tea to Boston for this occasion.
This annual reenactment includes hundreds of reenactors who bring the story of The Boston Tea Party alive and theatrically recreate the famous events of December 16, 1773. This is an opportunity to experience one of America's most iconic public protests LIVE where it all took place 243 years ago. Last year, more than 600 people sold out the Old South Meeting House and thousands of spectators lined the waterfront to watch actual tea being thrown into Boston's historic waters (this portion is free and open to the public).
Many Boston restaurants and bars are offering a dose of patriotism this year with tea-inspired cocktails and dinner available throughout the month of December and/or the evening of Dec. 16, 2016.
Offered from December 1 - December 16, 2016:
--Avery Bar (10 Avery St. in the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common): The Northeast Mojito - Local gold rum, lemon, sugar, mint leaves, Bohea black tea (one of the teas throwing into Boston Harbor during The Boston Tea Party) - $16; Throw it into the Caribbean - Owls Brew Coco-Lada, Papa’s Pilar Rum - $16
--Bastille Kitchen (49 Melcher St.) - Tea Smoked Mussels Marinière with Earl Grey salt, rouille toast - $14
--Blue State Coffee (155 Seaport Blvd & 957 Commonwealth Ave., Boston) - Patriot Blend Coffee & Revolutionary Blend Tea
--Bon Me (313 Congress St.) Deviled Tea Egg - Eggs soaked in a black tea mixture topped with homemade spicy mayo, cayenne pepper, scallions - $2.50 each
--Harpoon Brewery (306 Northern Ave.) Annual December Boston Tea Party Ale - Craft beer made with Souchong tea, a black tea from the Wuyi Mountains in the Fujian province of China. The tea, provided by the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, is famous for its very distinctive smoky aroma and is one of the five teas thrown into Boston Harbor during The Boston Tea Party. The Boston Tea Party Ale launches on Dec. 5, 2016
--L’Espalier (774 Boylston St.) Southern Earl Grey - Earl Grey-infused Bourbon, Grand Marnier, oolong and ginger syrup, orange bitters, Champagne - $18
--The Marliave (10 Bosworth St.) The Boston Tea Party - Lunazul Tequila, Earl Grey tea, ginger beer, lemon - $12
--The Oceanaire Seafood Room (40 Court St.) Absolut® Boston Tea Party Martini - Absolut® Wild Tea Vodka, muddled with fresh lemons, triple sec, fresh sour mix -$10
--Red Lantern Restaurant & Lounge (39 Stanhope St.) Kold Tea - An oversized cocktail (serves 3-4) of jasmine and oolong-infused Tito’s Vodka, lemon, beer - $35
--RumBa (rum bar located in the InterContinental Boston - 510 Atlantic Ave.): IC-breeze - Barr Hill Gin, fresh brewed mint tea, limoncello, orange juice, Peychaud's bitters, simple syrup, lemon - $15;
Life & LiberTea - Rum steeped with Earl Grey tea, honey syrup, fresh muddled lemons -$14;
Tea Act - Rum, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, Mathilde Pêche, fresh brewed iced tea, fresh muddled ginger, fresh lemon juice - $14
--Tavern Road (343 Congress St.) The Sons of Liberty Daquiri - Lawley's New England Spirit (rum), black tea, grenadine, lime - $14
Offered the evening of the Boston Tea Party Anniversary/reenactment on Fri., Dec. 16, 2016:
--Barking Crab (88 Sleeper St.) The Crabby Tea Party - one cup of clam chowder, one entree of Harpoon IPA battered fish & chips, a pint of Harpoon IPA - $20.16
--Smith & Wollensky (294 Congress St.) Boston Tea Party Reenactment Prix Fixe Dinner - 3-course prix-fixe menu (signature steak or seafood, side & dessert), Samuel Adams Boston Lager™ - $45
3) Housed in a state of the art facility in Boston’s Newmarket district, the New England Center for Arts & Technology (NECAT) is hard at work fulfilling two critical needs that have been in the headlines this year:
1--Training professional cooks to step into kitchen positions that restaurants in Boston and its environs are desperate to fill
2--Providing FREE career training for chronically under-employed men and women, many of whom are homeless, just out of jail, or in recovery from opioid and/or other substance addictions
Despite the high public profile of these dual issues, NECAT and its programs have remained surprisingly under the radar. Its energized management team is commited to changing that.
“Our student success stories are amazing,” says Executive Director Josephine Cuzzi. “These are folks who have spent their entire adult lives drifting, imprisoned, or addicted, and come to us with no skills or self-confidence. Teaching them to cook is easy … what’s difficult is changing an attitude of not being accountable for their actions. The transformation is remarkable in those who make it through our program.”
NECAT offers a free, 16-week culinary program, whose goal is to get graduates placed in food industry jobs at a living wage. The training currently costs the organization about $7,000 per student.
Legal Sea Foods and Eataly are two area restaurant entities who have taken the employment lead, hiring dozens of NECAT grads and paying them equitably. The phones at NECAT have begun to ring from other brand name restaurant operators, who have gotten wind of the NECAT program and the 20 employment-seeking cooks that it turns out every 16 weeks.
Fund raising for its programs is key at NECAT, which depends on state and municipal grants and foundations for revenue. Towards that end, NECAT is about to launch its Master Chef Series, bringing global culinary talent to its Boston facility for demonstrations and dinners on a quarterly basis.
On Thursday, December 8 at 6:00 PM, NECAT will host a Middle Eastern cooking demonstration and multi-course dinner by internationally renowned chef/hotelier Uri Jeremias (known as Uri Buri) of Akko, Israel, a UNESCO city. Uri Buri, 71, is known in Israel as “the white-bearded prophet of fish and seafood,” and his restaurant in the 4,000 year old UNESCO World Heritage site of Akko was named Trip Advisor’s top choice in 2016 for fine dining in the Middle East.
Chef Uri Buri will treat Bostonians to an interactive cooking class in NECAT’s culinary demonstration theatre followed by a seated dinner of his signature dishes in NECAT’s Orchid Cafe’, both located at 23 Bradston Street, Boston.
A sampling of dishes on the December 8 menu:
* Ceviche of Local Fish
* Eggplant Bruschetta
* Curried Seafood Soup
* Tobiko (Flying Fish Roe) Stuffed Persimmons
* Tuna in Yogurt
* Arabic Lentils and Rice
* Kohlrabi & Arugula Salad
* Sea Bass in butter/sage/lemon sauce with cauliflower puree
* Mediterranean Shrimp in EVOO, garlic, chili peppers and lemon
* Seasonal Dessert ... regional wines
Tickets to the demonstration and dinner are $150 per person. Proceeds will benefit NECAT programs. Go to www.ChefUriBuri.eventbrite.com.