Thursday, January 11, 2018

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) This is an exciting event, bringing a taste of Peru to Cambridge! I've long said we need more Peruvian cuisine in our local area so I hope this event does very well. And how often do you find Guinea Pig on the menu?

The Automatic Food & Drink is letting Chef Martin Su, who is a native of Peru, take over the kitchen on Sunday, January 28, for a special Peruvian Takeover. Chef Martin will highlight some of his favorite and authentic dishes from Peru.

The proposed Menu includes the following:
--Leche de Pantera ( Panthers Milk )
blood clam, seed weed, toasted cancha, lime juice, fish broth, garlic, ginger
City: Lima
--Rocoto Relleno (stuffed spicy pepper)
rocoto pepper, onion, raisin, kalamata olives, ground beef, queso fresco, poached egg
City: Arequipa
--Inchicapi de Pollo (creamy chicken chowder)
yucca, culantro, peanut, onion, polenta, chicken stock
City: Loreto
--Seco de Cabrito (goat stew)
chicha de jora, Ají Amarillo, panca, Cilantro paste, onion, beans, salsa criolla
City: Trujillo
--Pepian de Cuy (hearty guinea pig stew)
yellow potato, panca, peanut, garlic,chicken stock
City: Cusco
--Patarashca de Trucha (patarashca of trout)
Patarashca is a Quechuan* word meaning to fold and paste
cumin, tumeric, salsa criolla, fried plantain, banana leaf
City: Iquitos
*Quechua is the official language of the Inka Empire
--Suspiro a la Limeña (sigh of Lima lady - meringue)
condensed milk, evaporated milk, white meringue, cinnamon
City: Lima

All items to be ordered a la carte, and pricing is still To Be Determined.
Reservations are encouraged, but not required.

2) For National Hot Toddy Day, which is today, January 11, Sumiao Hunan Kitchen is offering their own version of a Hot Toddy ($7), with a base of a "warm lemon-honey black tea that is enriched by the depth of Courvoisier VSOP Cognac, a spirit that captures the earthy essence of autumn in New England. A house made lavender-clove reduction is folded in and the cocktail is finished with a sweet dose of Disaronno Amaretto and garnished with a lemon twist."

With the cold temperatures we've been facing, a Hot Toddy will hit the spot, and warm you up.

3) The new Eventide Fenway is now offering rotating brunch-specific specials mid-day on Sundays, from 11am-3pm, alongside their regular menu. Start the day off right with Buns and Bubbles – two signature Chinese steamed buns filled with soft scrambled eggs, topped with dollops of caviar and served alongside the classic morning OJ and bubbles mimosa – or a Pork Roll Breakfast Sandwich – New Jersey’s beloved breakfast meat with eggs and cheese on an everything bagel.

4) Tony Maws, chef/owner of Craigie on Main and The Kirkland Tap & Trotter, just debuted Craigie On Main’s Vegetable Burger on Tuesday. This is the vegetable counterpart to Maws’ famous Craigie Burger. “This vegetable burger will stand on its own” according to Maws. Long a supporter of vegetables, it is actually not surprising to learn that Maws has been working on Craigie’s Vegetable Burger for over a year. “I am fascinated by America’s love of burgers” shares Maws. “I always wanted to create a really great vegetable burger. In fact, my brother Alex, who is a vegetarian, challenged me to create a vegetable burger as good as our cheeseburger at Craigie. He thinks this is a pretty awesome burger, so I hope everyone else agrees!”

The Craigie Vegetable Burger is made with roasted black beans, brown rice and lentils as the base. Maws adds to it a special blend of fire roasted mushrooms, tahini, fermented black bean powder, miso powder and a kick of pomegranate molasses. Egg serves as the binding agent to keep it all together. “The taste and texture are both so important” shares Maws. “This has to taste really really good. I didn’t want to create a vegetable burger just so I could have one on the menu. My purpose is to create a really juicy and delicious vegetable burger that holds its own on the plate and on our menu.” Maws serves the Craigie Vegetable Burger on a home-made bun, and is tinkering with the condiments.

The Craigie Vegetable Burger will be served Tuesday nights only, starting at 5:30pm until they run out, at the Bar at Craigie on Main. The Price is $18.00

To a carnivore like me, can any veggie burger really stand up to a beef burger? Maybe I will have to check it out and see.

5) The North End’s il Molo is gearing up for a Patriots post-season to remember with a special dollar menu. Head to il Molo for Saturday night’s matchup against the Titans, from 4pm-11pm, and nosh on a new $1 Game Time menu featuring finger foods such as Grilled Italian Sausages (topped with perfectly charred caramelized onions and pepper rings), Crispy Shrimp Tacos (topped with spicy aioli sauce and pickled red onion), Fried Calamari (served with sweet dipping sauce) and fresh Oysters – all for a buck. Complimentary, freshly popped Parmigiano Popcorn will also be available at the bar throughout the game.

il Molo’s 54-inch flat screen TV hanging above the bar provides sight lines from almost anywhere in the bar-area, and an extensive list of beer, wine and cocktails completes the intimate game-watching experience.

The Game Time Menu is available with the purchase of any beverage and is offered at the bar and at high-top tables in bar-area only.

6) David Vargas, chef/owner of Vida Cantina and business partner Joel Harris, owner of Dos Amigos, announce the formation of Vida Tortilla, an exciting new collaboration bringing together a local chef, local farm, and local business to create a new local product: fresh organic tortillas. Vida Tortilla’s one-of-a-kind tortillas will be made with Tuckaway Farm’s organic heirloom flint corn using local expertise and labor. Vida Tortilla’s fresh organic tortillas will be featured at Vida Cantina in Portsmouth, as well as at the very popular Dos Amigos’ 4 locations, farmers markets and local specialty stores. Vida Tortilla plans to be preparing and selling fresh NH grown, NH made tortillas in Spring 2018.

The team has just launched a Kickstarter campaignwith a goal of $11, 500, to raise funds for securing a business loan to help pay for the purchase of a custom-made tortilla machine and the build-out of a new kitchen in Dover, NH. The Kickstarter campaign runs through January 22, 2018 and Backer rewards include cooking classes, taco parties, and a fiesta catered by Dos Amigos and Vida Cantina.

Their Kickstarter campaign has nearly reached its goal and just needs a little push to get them over the goal line. You can join the campaign directly through Kickstarter or you can attend a special fund raising event, Vida Tortilla Night, which will be held at Vida Cantina on Thursday, January 18. A Four-Course Menu will be offered for only $25, and a portion of the proceeds will go toward the Kickstarter. The Menu includes Seasonal Salsa, Flint Corn Encrusted Haddock Taco, OG Chicken Pie, and Mango Stone Fruit Galette.

This is a challenge, as we are young entrepreneurs and our funds are limited” explains Vargas. “We are asking for help via the Kickstarter to help make this delicious, sustainable project a reality. It is a big ask, but we have the farm, business and culinary experience to make it happen. We are proud and excited to create this new local business right here in New Hampshire.”

This sounds like a cool Kickstarter, and they are close to meeting their goal. Why not help them make their dream a reality?

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