Thursday, March 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) Chef David Vargas, a son of Mexican immigrants, is hosting Si Se PuedeYes We Can, a one-night-only Guest Chef Dinner event at his restaurant Vida Cantina in Portsmouth, NH on Sunday, April 2, at 6pm. Vargas is bringing together top New England chefs to cook in his kitchen to raise funds for organizations working with immigrant families and their families.

Vargas explains why he created the event, “We want to make an immediate impact to benefit immigrants and their families living and working in New England. I know we are all affected by this: our friends, our family and our communities need our help. I am honored that these incredibly talented and busy chefs are joining me in my Vida Cantina kitchen on April 2 to come cook together in the spirit of Si Se Puede – Yes We Can. The funds we raise will go to three worthy organizations working tirelessly on behalf of immigrants and their families. The phones at MIRA/ MA Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy, PAIR / Political Asylum Immigration Representation, and Migrant Justice VT are ringing off the hook. If I can bring good people together for a night of great food, drink and karma then I think we’ll all feel better for coming together.”

Vargas reached out to some of New England’s top chefs. He is tremendously grateful to these chefs for donating their time and talent for this first ever fundraiser. Joining him at Vida Cantina on April 2 are:
Chef Cara Stadler, Tau Yuan, Brunswick, ME and Bao Bao Dumpling House, Portland, ME
Chef Daniel Bojorquez, La Brasa, Somerville, MA
Chef Jake Rojas, Tallulah’s Taqueria, Providence, RI
Chef Joseph Urtuzuastegui, El Corazon Food Truck, Portland, ME
Chef Keith Schubert, Taco Party, Somerville, MA
Host: Chef David Vargas, Vida Cantina, Portsmouth, NH

The Beneficiaries
MA Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA)
Political Asylum Immigration Representation (PAIR)
Migrant Justice Vermont

Location: Vida Cantina, 2456 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth, NH
Price: $65 per person / $90 dinner and drink pairings
Menu: 5 Course Dinner by Guest Chefs and Host Chef David Vargas
Tickets must be purchased in advance so please called Vida Cantina at 603-501-0648

This sounds like a very worthy event, especially in light of the country's current conditions, and I hope you buy tickets.

2) Check out No. 9 Park on Tuesday, March 7th for an evening celebrating sherry in the Bar Room. They love this under-appreciated fortified wine from Andalusia, Spain and think you will too. The No. 9 Park team will dedicate the entire evening in the Bar Room to showcasing some of their favorite Sherries, complimented by traditional Spanish fare. No reservations necessary, swing by to enjoy featured flights, an extensive selection of Sherries by the glass, Sherry-based cocktails (including spirits aged in Sherry casks), and a menu of Spanish snacks.

 Here's a sneak peek at some of the flights that will be on offer:

NV Hidalgo Manzanilla "La Gitana"
NV Hidalgo Amontillado "Napoleon"
NV Hidalgo Oloroso "Faraon"

NV Hidalgo Manzanilla Pasada "Pastrana" en Rama
NV Lustau Fino de el Puerto en Rama
NV Lustau Fino de Jerez en Rama

NV El Maestro Sierra Amontillado "12 Años"
NV El Maestro Sierra Oloroso "15 Años"
NV El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximenez

NV Hidalgo Manzanilla "La Gitana"
NV Grant Amontillado "La Garrocha"
NV César Florido Oloroso "Cruz del Mar"

3) Unfortunately, the Brasserie Jo wine dinner with Jean Trimbach has been canceled. ,

4) On Thursday, March 16, at 6:30pm, Chef Lydia Shire will team up with Valle dell’Acate’s winemaker, Gaetana Jacono, to host a night inspired by Sicily at Scampo. With Shire being credited early in her career as helping pave the way for female chefs to flourish in a male-dominated industry and Jacono for asserting herself as a woman winemaker in Sicily where tradition is still deeply rooted, these two female forces will come together to bring forth an extraordinary evening celebrating Italian traditions in food and wine.

The winery was born in 1981 in Acate, a small town and commune in the south of Sicily, from the initiative of two ancient families living in the territory of Ragusa: Jacono Ricca and Ferreri dell’Anguilla. With the awareness of the historical value of their territory, they have pursued the objective of developing both the viticultural and oenological potentialities of the autochthonous species of grape wines. The new generations (and Gaetana Jacono in particular) have been entrusted with the task of promoting the knowledge of their wines in Italy and all over the world.

This wine dinner features Shire’s Sicilian-inspired creations that are paired with the fruits of the Valle dell’Acate vine:

The menu will be presented as follows:
Spring Artichoke Annunziata in ‘Paper Bread’
Crocce & Crisped Purple Kale
2015 Tenuta Ibidini Insolia
Hot Polenta Bianca & Whipped Ricotta (sardina ‘a beccafico,’ fresh mint, pomegranate pesto, pine nut picada)
2015 Zagra Grillo
Charcoaled Pesce Spada (swordfish in Shire’s Sicilian fish soup with red shrimp plancha, handmade cuscus-cuscus, drops of sour orange oil)
2015 Il Frappato Vittoria DOC
The Noble Porcini Roast (with sciusceddu-style veal meatballs, toasted sage)
2012 Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico DOCG
Crackling Pork Rack (thinnest cut with spot of spicy chocolate sauce, creamed black beans, fresh and preserved cherries)
2012 Il Moro Nero d’Avola
One Perfect Lamb Chop (one spoon of blood orange risotto, shaved ricotta salata)
2012 Tané Nero d'Avola
Lydia Shire’s Own Cassata Siciliana (handmade pistachio fondant, pistachio ice cream)

COST: $150 per person (does not include tax or gratuity)
Advance reservations required by calling (617) 536-2100

5) Legal Sea Foods in Charles Square is bringing back their southern-style Live Crawfish Boil special this spring. For four straight weekends, the Charles Square location will host this craw-fest by dishing out the ultimate Cajun feast as created by Chef Layne Copell who was born and raised in Louisiana.

The “Two If By Sea” limited time menu feature packs together two pounds of first-of-the-season boiled Louisiana crawfish with red bliss potatoes, andouille sausage and corn on the cob

WHEN: March 24-26; March 31-April 2; April 7-9 & April 14-16
COST: $28 (excludes tax & gratuity)
For reservations, please call 617-491-9400

6) Puritan & Co. Chef/Owner Will Gilson, and the Puritan & Co. team invite guests to join them for Dine Out Boston, March 5-10, and 12-17. In addition to the menu items provided below, an optional wine pairing will be available for an additional fee. The menu will be available for dinner service only and cost $38, not including tax and gratuity.

The menu includes:
To start:
- Six local oysters ($15 supplement)
First course:
- Cauliflower flan with jonah crab, parmesan, hazelnuts
- Lobster bisque with bay scallops, root vegetables, sherry-garlic espuma
- Foie gras brulee with spicy pineapple chutney, brioche ($10 supplement)
Main course:
- Roasted spatchcocked hen with swiss chard, fingerlings, truffle jus
- Baked haddock with scallops, buttered leeks, parsley crumbs, lemon crown
- Duck and pork cassoulet with confit leg, roasted breast, grilled garlic sausage ($10 supplement)
Desert course:
- Banoffee with graham cracker, banana ice cream, ducle de leche, vanilla
- German chocolate cake with devil's food, toasted coconut pecan ice cream, cherry

To make reservations, please call (617)-615-6195

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