Thursday, February 9, 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) I'm excited about the opening this week of Gre.Co (meaning Greece & Company), the latest venture from Demetri Tsolakis, who is also a Partner at both Committee and Cafeteria. Gre.Co, located at 225 Newbury Street, is an everyday eatery that honors the flavors and traditions of Greek street food.

I am so proud to introduce a truly Greek concept that is truly fresh and can satisfy life on the go,” says Owner Demetri Tsolakis. “The ancient Greeks knew that great memories were made and lively conversations were sparked when people gathered around delicious food and drink. Fast forward to 2017, where people are starved for time, but still have a craving for the rich, flavorful recipes of Greece. With Gre.Co there is now a place that unites the old world with the new and allows today’s fast-moving generation to enjoy the authentic food they love—minus the wait.”

Gre.Co offers the best of both worlds – the convenience of street food made with the high standards of a gourmet Greek chef. Executive Chef Alkis Sheri is at the helm of the Gre.Co kitchen bringing inspiration from his hometown in Greece. The team at Gre.Co works with local farms and purveyors such as Savenor’s Market for organic and locally sourced meat that is marinated and slow roasted in house, as well as locally sourced produce from Eva’s Garden and other nearby farms.

The menu showcases Gre.Co Classics that are authentic gyros the way that Greek locals enjoy them – with marinated and roasted meat served in a pita with tomato, onion and hand-cut potatoes. There are six Gre.Co Classics ($8-$9): Classic Pork (with tzatziki), Classic Lamb (with tomato jam), Classic Chicken (with honey mustard), Classic Loukaniko (pork and leek sausage with mustard sauce), Classic Bifteki (ground beef with spicy whipped feta) and Classic Veggie (seasonal squash fritter with yogurt sauce). Guests can also customize their meal by selecting their preferred protein (pork, lamb, chicken, bifteki or veggie) and accompanying house made dips and sauces (tzatziki, spicy whipped feta, charred eggplant, florina pepper paprika, and yogurt sauce) with the Gre.Co Pita ($8.50), Gre.Co Salad ($9.50) and Gre.Co Plate ($10.50) menu options.

Another focal point of the Gre.Co menu are Loukoumades, the legendary Greek street food doughnuts. Gre.Co’s loukoumades are made with an imported custom machine from Greece and the loukoumades station is a visual show stopper where guests can catch the sweet confections being fried and dipped in honey. Gre.Co’s loukoumades are served in five preparations ($5 - $6.50): Classic (Greek honey, walnuts and cinnamon), Yaya’s (hazelnut praline, oreo cookies, powdered sugar), Papou’s (mastiha crème, pistachios), Tasos (dark chocolate, coconut flakes) and Golpho (caramel, almonds, sea salt). Guests can also make their own creations and select their own toppings for loukoumades.

Gre.Co offers a variety of traditional Greek beverages, such as their Frappe (traditional Greek iced coffee), Epsa (available in lime, lemonade of sour cherry), Mastiqua (Mastiha flavored sparkling water that aids in digestion), Ouzon Soda (ouzo flavored soda) and Home-Brew Iced Tea (sideritis mountain iced tea and olive leaf iced tea).

Gre.Co is open daily from 11a.m. to 10p.m.

2) On Wednesday, February 22,starting at 6pm, Executive Chef Farouk Bazoune of STRIP by Strega will join forces with legendary Scotch whiskey maker Johnnie Walker™ for a culinary and imbibing experience that pairs four decadent courses boasting luxurious ingredients, with the brand’s blended, iconic Scotch whiskies.

Presented in conjunction with Johnnie Walker™ brand representative Victoria Bizzozero, who will be on hand to discuss the complexities of each pour, the brand’s unique heritage, and the history of Scotch whiskey, each plate from Chef Bazoune’s four-course tasting menu will serve as a complement to the naturally occurring flavor profiles found in each of the iconic blends.

Chef Bazoune will welcome guests with a refreshing East Coast Oyster Amuse Bouche featuring housemade cucumber sorbetto and a refreshing rhubarb mignonette; the perfect match for STRIP’s signature Blood & Sand cocktail laced with Johnnie Walker™ Black Label™.

Chef Bazoune’s four-course chef’s tasting menu will be served as follows:
First Course
Seared Foie Gras (poppy seed financier, raspberry gastrique, micro arugula)
paired with Johnnie Walker™ Black Label™
Second Course
Faroe Island Salmon (cider glaze, duet of parsnip and beer purée, baby carrots, baby parsnips, fried parsley)
paired with Johnnie Walker™ Double Black™ Label
Third Course
Filet Au Poivre (green potato mousseline, jumbo asparagus, maitake mushrooms, peppercorn sauce, bone marrow hollandaise)
paired with Johnnie Walker™ Green Label™
Fourth Course
Tart Chocolate Soufflé (Guanaja chocolate, caramel gelato)
paired with Johnnie Walker™ Blue Label™

COST: $95 per person (additional beverages, tax and gratuity not included)
To make a reservation, please call 617-456-5300

3) Executive Chef Josue Louis of Bistro du Midi is giving a whole new reason to head to the Back Bay for weekend brunch. Chef Josue Louis’ Provencal cuisine celebrates seasonal ingredients and bold flavors, and now guests can enjoy an elevated brunch experience showcasing new menu items with Provencal twists on the classics.

New dishes that showcase seasonal ingredients and the bold flavors of Provence include: Kale and Quinoa Salad with golden beets, grapefruit, sunflower seeds and buttermilk vinaigrette, Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with lavender crème anglaise and macerated Ward’s Farm blackberries, Lamb Belly & New Potato Hash with poached eggs, Brussels sprouts, romesco and saffron hollandaise, and Rolled Oats with kumquat, coconut flake, almond syrup.

Additionally, Chef Josue Louis and the team are offering a Work Hard, Brunch Harder Winter Brunch Special which includes two courses and a mimosa for $29/person. The full menu is:

Fresh melon & berries (caramelized banana, vanilla yogurt, honeyed granola)
Kale and quinoa salad (golden beets, grapefruit, sunflower seed, buttermilk vinaigrette)
House-made viennoiserie (choice of chocolate babka or cherry danish)
Lamb belly confit & new potato hash (poached eggs, brussels, romesco, saffron hollandaise)
Rolled oats (kumquat, coconut flake, almond extract syrup)
Omelette (chorizo, zucchini, herbed goat cheese, tomato compote)
Lemon ricotta pancakes (lavender crème anglaise, macerated ‘Ward’s Farm’ blackberries)

The new brunch menu is available every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00AM – 3:00PM.

4) Chef Tony Maws of Craigie on Main and Kirkland Tap & Trotter; Chef Steve "Nookie" Postal of Commonwealth; Chef Tiffani Faison of Sweet Cheeks Q and Tiger Mama; and Chef Will Gilson of Puritan & Company invite guests to cast their vote for best French fry in the city as they face-off at upcoming Share Our Strength Food Fight.

On Sunday, February 26, from 2pm-2pm, to Chefs Tony Maws, Steve "Nookie" Postal, Tiffani Faison and Will Gilson will compete for bragging rights in the ultimate French fry battle. All proceeds from the "French fry-off" will directly benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, which aims to eradicate childhood hunger across the nation.

Tickets cost $20 and include all food created by the talented chefs, bites from Kirkland Tap & Trotter, and two sponsored cocktails. Tickets can be purchased at:

5) Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar Chef de Cuisine Brendan Pelley invites guests to learn how to make Greek food with a hands-on demo class. Join Chef Pelley on Thursday, February 23, from 6pm-9pm, for a hands-on cooking demo.

Menu items that guests will learn how to make include:
Greek Village Salad
Farro Spanakorizo
Greek Desserts

6pm- Meet and Greet with Chef Brendan Pelley paired with bubbles and oysters
6:30pm- Cooking Demo
8:00pm- Enjoy the dishes created and end on a sweet note with dessert

Tickets are $75 and include the cooking class, a meet and greet featuring Greek bubbles and oysters, dinner paired with wine after the class and recipe cards to take home with you. Tickets can be purchased by calling the restaurant at (617) 422-0008

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