Thursday, February 2, 2017

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) The Alpine Restaurant Group is pleased to announce the opening of The Burro Bar in Brookline. This is Chef/Owner Joe Cassinelli’s fifth venue behind Posto, The Rosebud American Kitchen and Bar, The Painted Burro and Osteria Posto in Waltham. This new neighborhood dining destination will be located in the heart of Brookline’s Beacon Street in the former Ribelle space.

Brookline is such an exciting and vibrant neighborhood and we are thrilled to introduce the Painted Burro’s sibling restaurant, the Burro Bar to the restaurant scene,” said Joe Cassinelli. “The inspiration for the concept came from the evolution of what the Painted Burro has become in Davis Square. We want to invite our loyal guests and new friends to join us on another adventure, one that blends authentic Mexican techniques with our local bounty in an atmosphere with first class hospitality in a comfortable setting.”

The menu is crafted by Chef/Owner Joe Cassinelli and the front of the house will be overseen by General Manager Helen Israel. The beverage program has been carefully curated by Alpine Restaurant Group’s Director of Operations, Alec Riveros. Inspiration for the menu comes from regions of Mexico such as Baja, Oaxaca, Vera Cruz and the Yucatan with splashes from South America. The modern approach to cuisine with a respect for tradition is exemplified throughout dishes where ingredients and local produce take center stage.

The menu includes a selection of Bocaditos (small bites) such as Mexican Street Corn off of the Cob, Roasted Beets with Morita Dressing and Goat Cheese, Spice Green Beans in a Smoked Shrimp Mole and Enmoladas. There is also a section of Classicos which stem from the Painted Burro’s signature menu items, such as the Guacamole El Mero Mero, Nachos Con Chorizo and the Chicken Tamale Ahogada. The seafood section, Del Mar, includes Charred Octopus, Snapper and Scallop Ceviche and Grouper Con Coconut. There is a selection of Queso Fundidos that includes selections of Chorizo and Roasted Apple, Squash and Cauliflower and Nopale and Poblano Rajas. Tacos will be the star of the menu with more than half a dozen options, including: Baja Fish Tacos, Beef Tongue, Short Rib Double Stack, Chicken Liver and Gulf Shrimp Diablo.

The beverage program at the Burro Bar embodies The Painted Burro’s dedication to eclectic tradition. A tequila list with over 100 bottles that are handpicked and “Burro tested and approved” are featured and available in 1 oz. or 2 oz. tastings or in their Margaritas which showcase the pure flavors of the tequila. There will also be 40 Mezcals, making it one of a handful of Mezcal Bars in the Boston area.

The Burro Bar will be open for dinner nightly at 5pm until 1am and in the near future, it will open for Sunday brunch.

2) On Tuesday, February 7, Bar Boulud will debut a three week Pop-Up Chocolate Shop featuring a selection of handcrafted cocoa confections from Pastry Chef Robert Differ. Available to pre-order and select preferences at pick-up, these decadent desserts will be beautifully packaged and ready to gift just in time for the Valentine holiday. Available through February 28th, Chef Differ’s specialty sweet selections will include:

Assorted Embellished Cupcakes
--Red Velvet (rich cream cheese frosting)
--Chocolate Fudge (dark chocolate frosting, plunged in ganache)
--Birthday Cake (pink bubblegum frosting)
“Shades of Chocolate” French Macarons
--Ivory (zest of orange essence)
--Milk Chocolate (crunch of praline)
--Dark Chocolate (coffee truffle)
--OMG Chocolate (hint of licorice)
Handcrafted Bonbons (flavors may change and additional flavors may be available)
--Peanut Brittle
--Dark Chocolate Espresso
--Aged Rum & Vanilla
--Raspberry Lychee
--Fresh Mint
--Classic Cocoa dusted with 72% dark chocolate
Le Petite Gâteau (dark chocolate devil’s food cake layered with truffle, crème de cocoa and creamy chocolate mousse, engulfed in even more chocolate)

As a sweet enhancement, Bar Boulud will also host a chocoholic tasting menu exclusively at the Pop-Up Shop Counter, available during lunch and dinner service. Sit at one of the counter’s seven seats and indulge in a variety of sweet treats, which can be ordered individually or as a tasting flight. Additionally, guests can cozy up with a cup of Chef Differ’s featured hot cocoa - Almond Joy Chocolat Chaud, warm milk chocolate finished with creamy coconut, toasted almonds and a housemade coconut marshmallow; also available with cordial enhancement.

Please note: online orders must be placed with a minimum 48-hour advance notice.

For more information or to place an order, call 617-535-8800 or visit Eventbrite

3) Michael Serpa, executive chef/owner of Select Oyster Bar in Boston's Back Bay announces "Bistro Mondays." Available from 4:30pm-9:30pm, fFor $33, guests can enjoy a special prix fixe menu.

Faroe Islands Salmon Tartare (mustard dressing, crispy capers, radishes)
Smoked Bluefish Toast (blood orange marmalade, roasted fennel)

Frisée Aux Lardons (smoked bacon, sunnyside egg, toasted breadcrumbs)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts (heirloom apples + pomegranates)

Maine Mussels ‘à la Normande’ (shallots, white wine, herb toast)
Peekytoe Crab Pappardelle (toasted hazelnuts, lemon, parsley, cracked pepper)

{add 1 dozen island creek oysters +$12}
by the dozen only, max 3 dozen, only with prix fixe

Drink these: 
Cour-Cheverney Phillipe Tessier $55
Trousseau Jean-Luc Moullard ‘Côtes du Jura’ $60

4) Il Molo, the North End neighborhood spot for seafood with an Italian accent, is launching a brand new Sunday brunch service kicking off on Sunday, February 12. Il Molo will be open at 11:00 AM with executive chef Pino Maffeo offering dishes from the new brunch menu as well as inventive and also classic cocktails that diners expect to sip with brunchy fare, mixed up by bar manager Luke Collier.

We’ve been getting amazing feedback from our dinner and lunch service, so we couldn’t wait to start brunch,” says Donato Frattaroli Jr, who is co-owner along with his father Donato Frattaroli. “We are going to offer our customers a brunch that will give them a reason to wake up in the morning!

The new Brunch menu includes Starters that follow in the ‘serious seafood’ vein that Il Molo is known for, like Smoked Salmon Toast with Sour Cream & Onions, and Mini Lobster Rolls served Warm. There will also be a selection of Brunch Breads: Honey Pecan Sticky Buns; Butter Croissants; Raisin Pecan Rolls w/ Maple Butter. Brunch Plates will include a fairly wide array of dishes based on traditional brunch but with a clearly Maffeo twist, like the TBE – Tomato, Burrata and 2 Poached Eggs with Pesto Hollandaise; the Lobster Benny – Farm Eggs, Maine Lobster, Hollandaise; and Blueberry Griddle Cake – Maine Blueberries, Maple Syrup, Powdered Sugar. There is also a selection of Sides, which include Lobster Hash. All brunch items are under $20.

And because brunch, no matter how good it is, is never complete without cocktails, Luke, Il Molo’s Bar Manager will be debuting his special brunch cocktail menu which includes the Rise & Shine – Irish Cream, Artisanal Coffee and Fresh Whipped Cream and the Peruvian Huevos & Jamon – Pisco, Egg White, Lime, Sugar, Bacon Crumble; as well as takes on the more traditional Mimosa and Bloody Mary.

Brunch will be served every Sunday, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

5) Owners Filippo and Phil Frattaroli, guest chefs Antonella and Domenico Santacroce, and the Lucia Ristorante team invite guest to join them for a special Abruzzese cooking class and dinner.

On Tuesday, February 7, at 5 p.m., Antonella and Domenico Santacroce, guest chefs visiting Lucia from Italy’s Abruzzo region, will be teaching a special cooking class at Lucia Ristorante focusing on Abruzzese cuisine. Following the cooking class, guests will feast on their creations paired with Lucia’s exceptional house wines.

The menu will include:
Sagne e Fagioli: an Abruzzese version of Pasta e Fagioli with homemade pasta and beans from Sulmona
Chitarrina all'abruzzese: chitarra pasta with a tomato and lamb sauce
Pallotte Cacio e Ova: cheese (Caciocavallo from Abruzzo) and egg pallotte
Pizzelle: thin, anise-flavored cookies originating in Abruzzo made with authentic handheld irons directly on the stove

Tickets cost $75, not including tax and gratuity, and can be purchased by calling Lucia at (781) 729-0515.

6) I recently mentioned the opening of Bistro Dueta modern French dining experience in one of Arlington's most iconic buildings--the former Arlington Five Cent Savings Bank. Bistro Duet reunites InterContinental Hotel, Boston alumnae Cyrille Couet and Wayne Duprey.

Bistro Duet is now announcing the start of their weekend "Bistro Brunch", which will run from 11:30 am - 2:30 pm every Saturday & Sunday. You can begin your brunch with Financiers, Muffins or their Baker's Basket (an assortment of pastry). You can the move onto items such as a Salade Croquant de Jardin or a Banana Nutella Tartine. Or opt for the Crispy Duck Confit Waffle, a Croque Monsieur, Moules Frites, or Baked Eggs Ratatouille. Most of the dishes cost less than $14 and would be a good way to start your weekend.

For reservations, please call Bistro Duet at 978-863-8848

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