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) From September 14 to October 11, Legal Sea Foods’ will bring half-shell hedonism to mollusk mavens and oyster newbies during their ninth annual “Oyster Festival.” For four weeks, a sequence of in-restaurant menu features and a shuckout event will celebrate everything oysters and all are invited who share the belief “the world is your oyster.”
Bivalve specialties will be available for the duration of the Oyster Festival and include Fried Oysters (three for $10) in four preparations (buffalo, BBQ, Sriracha lime and BLT); Baked Oysters (three for $12) available in a quartet of options (lobster spinach, crab & cheese, scampi and roasted); Oyster Stew ($14.95); and, the Legal Sea Foods teams will shuck seasonal standouts at their raw bars daily for those who opt to go au natural. Legals also suggests washing it down with the official drink of the 2017 Oyster Festival, the Skiff Cocktail, with Absolut Vodka, aromatized wine, lemon, botanicals and celery bitters ($11).
On September 16 at 2pm, Legal Sea Foods’ al fresco Charles Terrace (20 University Road, Cambridge) will host their annual “Shellfish Shindig” event that has shucked oysters by the bushel for only $1 per slurp. First-come, first-served; get 'em while they last! (Complimentary admission.) In the event of rain, the “Shellfish Shindig” event will take place inside the atrium of the Charles Square restaurant.
The Oyster Festival is celebrated at all Legal Sea Foods locations throughout Massachusetts, with the exception of airport venues.
2) On Tuesday, September 12, at 7pm, Ledger, a progressive new restaurant conceptualized by Chef Matt O’Neil and located in the heart of historic downtown Salem, will host acclaimed Chef Maria Sinskey of Napa’s renowned Robert Sinskey Vineyards for an intimate five-course wine dinner featuring the cuisine of Executive Chef Daniel Gursha and Chef de Cuisine Craig White.
Guests in attendance will not only enjoy five exquisite courses artfully prepared with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, each paired with a hand-selected varietal from Sinskey’s Napa Valley vineyard; they’ll leave knowing the exciting story behind each pour, along with insider knowledge of what it takes go from vine, to vintage.
A true reflection of the restaurant’s commitment to serving traditional 19th century New England-inspired dishes elevated by today’s resources and culinary techniques, the menu will be presented as follows:
Salad of Summer Melons (stracciatella, speck, verbena dressing)
Pairing: Pinot Blanc Los Cameros 2013
Live Scallop Crudo (cherry, green apple, sunflower oil)
Pairing: Abraxas Vin de Terroir Scintilla Sonoma Valley Vineyard 2014
Confit Duck Leg (mulled cherry, celery root, lacinato kale)
Pairing: Pinot Noir Los Cameros 2013
North Star Smoked Lambchetta (huckleberry, local grains)
Pairing: POV Los Cameros 2012
Pear Tarte Tatin (frangipane, pinot gris ice cream)
Pairing: Pinot Gris Late Harvest Los Cameros 2012
COST: $129 per guest (gratuity not included)
To make a Reservation, please call 978-594-1908
3) Every Wednesday, Kendall Square’s newly opened Sumiao Hunan Kitchen will be offering their twist on the classic Wing Wednesday deal by offering a complimentary order of their popular Nom Numb Wings with the purchase of a Tiki for Two cocktail. Combining Dewars White Label Scotch, Beefeater Gin, Mixed Juices and Cruzan 151, the Tiki for Two is a timelessly sweet, shareable drink that pairs perfectly with the spiciness of Sumiao’s Nom Numb Wings.
Seasoned with dried hot chili and peppercorn oil, Sumiao’s Nom Numb Wings are bursting with complex umami flavors. Whether a seasoned wing eater or not, guests are sure to love the robust, rich flavor of Sumiao’s Nom Numb Wings.
COST: Purchase one Tiki for Two cocktail ($30), receive one complimentary order of wings.
4) On Tuesday, September 12, from 7pm-9pm, Tavolo will host a special 9th Anniversary Party, celebrating all those years of serving high-quality Italian food, drinks, and hospitality in Dorchester's Peabody Square. Chris Douglas, chef/owner of Tavolo, was one of the pioneers in the South End as the chef/owner at Icarus, closing in 2009 after a 31-year run. He then opened Ashmont Grill and Tavolo, both a short walk from the Ashmont T Station on the Red Line.
Tavolo is a casual, neighborhood restaurant serving housemade pasta, pizza, and excellent Italian food. They recently completed an extensive renovation, including 2 gorgeous murals by local artist, April Clay. Weekly events include special Sunday Suppers (3 courses for $30), Monday and Tuesday cicchetti specials, trivia every Monday, and a weekly dinner on Wednesdays where chef chooses a region of Italy and highlights it with a 3-course meal for $30.
The 9th Anniversary Party will include fall menu samples from their new Executive Chef, Eric Buonagurio. Eric's first job at 17, was with Chef Jason Santos at Gargoyles on the Square in Somerville. He also worked with Jason at Blue Inc. (sous chef), Abby Lane (sous chef), and Back Bay Harry's as executive chef. Eric opened Parla in the North End as executive chef. Eric developed a passion for gardening and the outdoors at a young age, as his grandfather, father, and brothers shared their knowledge and experience. He is an avid gardener, hiker, and outdoorsman who has been foraging for wild mushrooms and herbs for 4 years.
Eric states: "I love produce and the gratification of starting a seed, nurturing the plant, and producing food from it. I'm passionate about being close to where food comes from and really trying to understand all aspects of cooking from sourcing the food, trying different techniques, and creating new dishes. I love the challenge of exploring new ingredients and flavors with the changing New England seasons. I'm excited about preparing food that tastes great, but is also beautifully presented. My priority at Tavolo is to cultivate strong relationships with local foragers and farmers like the folks at Langwater Farm in Easton, MA. They offer true, local organics and amazing produce that I'm proud to continue featuring on our menu."
There is no cover charge for the 9th Anniversary Party and there will be a cash bar.