Thursday, May 3, 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) The Casa Verde team is excited to announce a new chef, Owen Royce-Nagel, who, in addition to working at some of the more creative and respected kitchens in Boston and Chicago (Craigie on Main and Publican to name two), is also the founder of JP Beer Garden with his wife Lizzie Szczepaniak. Owen and Lizzie have hosted a number of successful JP Beer Garden pop-ups in Boston, featuring French-German cuisine. With 20 rotating craft beers on tap, he and the Casa Verde team are excited to collaborate with up-and-coming local breweries on special tasting events.

Royce-Nagel, a four year alum of sister JP restaurant Tres Gatos, has already streamlined the menu and introduced some popular new dishes, including a fried clam taco with charred corn/red pepper/spring onion salsa, a grilled chipotle tofu taco with charred scallion salsa, crema and fried shallots, and queso fundido with his house made chorizo, roasted peppers, and melted chihuahua cheese. He has also brought on new staff dedicated to making fresh corn tortillas by hand every day.

Chef Royce-Nagel draws inspiration for new menu items from his time working at coastal influenced restaurants such as Straight Warf in Nantucket and Row 34 in Fort Point. He has already experimented with a lobster taco, and his passion for shellfish will undoubtedly find its way on to the menu soon.

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the Casa Verde team will be offering some specials from the bar, including pitchers of Negro Modelo, buckets of Tecate and Modelo Especial, and special cocktails like the "Vampiro" (a Mexican classic), as well as a "Green Earth Julep" in honor of the 40th Wake Up the Earth Festival in Jamaica Plain.

2) Chef and restaurateur Michael Schlow and Executive Chef Justin Dain of PINE at the Hanover Inn host a final collaboration dinner full of culinary creativity.

Chefs Schlow and Dain combined their passions and expertise to bring PINE to life in 2013, and have celebrated the partnership year after year – Dain at the helm and Schlow as Hanover Inn culinary partner. After five years, the duo will heat up the kitchen together to deliver one more deliciously memorable experience. This summer, Schlow will step aside to focus his efforts on his numerous dining concepts coast to coast, as well as launch new ventures in DC and the Detroit area. Dain will remain Executive Chef and continue the day-to-day service of stellar dishes that has helped PINE remain an award-winning favorite.

On Wednesday, May 2, from 5pm-10pm, guests will savor a special menu designed by both chefs that features the finest seasonal ingredients sourced regionally throughout New England and served in PINE’s intimate and elegant setting against the backdrop of the Historic Dartmouth Green.

The Menu includes:
1st Course
Hamachi Crudo, Pickled Fennel, Spicy Salsa Verde, Pistachios
2nd Course
Pan Roasted Halibut, Spring Dug Parsnip & Leek Puree (House Smoked Bacon Vinaigrette)
3rd Course Pasta
Spring Lamb Sausage filled Tortellinis (Fresh Peas, Charred Ramp Pesto, Shaved Pecorino)
4th Course
Flash Grilled Wagyu Strip loin (Morel Mushrooms, Fava Beas, Bearnaise, Red Wine Reduction)
5th Course
Strawberry & Rhubarb Tart (Housemade Graham Cracker and Mint Ice Cream)

Cost: The special pre-fixe menu is $65 per person, not including gratuity or beverage pairings. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 603-646-8000.

3) Ocean Prime Boston is handing over the reins of the restaurant to two-time Super Bowl Champion, Patrick Chung, for the night of Friday, May 11th, from 5:30pm-6:30pm. For this one-night only event, guests can book a four-course prix-fixe dinner for $125 with 100% of proceeds going to Patrick’s charity of choice, Asperger/Autism Network.

With only 20 seats available, the special Chung Charity Prix-Fixe reservation offers diners the opportunity to spend some quality time with the beloved athlete along with the chance to have a course personally served by him.

Being a General Manger of Ocean Prime is no small feat. Under the tutelage of seasoned GM, and ex Australian pro-football (Soccer) player, Nick Foley, Patrick will be greeting tables, ensuring everything is running smoothly in the kitchen and on the floor, while also signing jerseys and taking selfies with fans.

The Chung Charity Prix-Fixe includes:
First Course
Point Judith Calamari Sweet Chili Sauce
Crab Cakes Kale, Pickled Fennel, Horseradish Mustard Aioli
Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli Golden Oak Mushrooms
Second Course (Choose 1)
Ocean Prime House Salad Romaine, Field Greens, Granny Smith Apples, Goat Cheese, Walnuts, Sherry Mustard Vinaigrette
Caesar Salad Crisp Romaine, Parmesan Garlic Dressing, Brioche Croutons
Lobster Bisque Butter Poached Lobster
Entrées (Choose 1)
10oz Filet Mignon Whipped Potatoes, Haricot Vert, Cabernet Jus
6oz Filet Mignon with Maine Lobster Tail
14oz New York Strip with Maytag Blue Cheese crust
Chilean Sea Bass Whipped Potatoes, Champagne Truffle Sauce
Blackened Snapper Corn Spoon Bread, Jalapeno Tartar
Dessert (Choose 1)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Peanut Butter Mousse, Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Icing, Pineapple Syrup
Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Graham Cracker Crust, Blueberry Syrup
Chef’s selection of sorbet or ice cream

To make Reservations, please call (617) 670-1345

4) Chef/Restauranteur Steve DiFillippo of Davio’s is teaming up with the Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port, presented by Pepsi-Cola and Shaw’s and Star Market Foundation to raffle off a chance to play football with NFL Legend Tom Brady, with proceeds benefitting Best Buddies International. One lucky winner will get the chance to play with Tom Brady, as well as several past and present NFL players and other celebrities, professional athletes and special guests in the Best Buddies Tom Brady Football Challenge on June 1 at Harvard University’s football stadium.

Now through Tuesday, May 15, at 1 pm EST, purchase your entries for a chance to win the grand prize package. Raffle tickets are $1 for ten (10) entries and can be purchased at
Proceeds of the raffle will benefit Best Buddies International.

GRAND PRIZE package includes:
· Roundtrip airfare for two (2) to Boston
· Two (2) nights accommodations
· One (1) player spot in the Best Buddies Tom Brady Football Challenge at Harvard University Football Stadium on June 1st, 2018
· Autographed football signed by Tom Brady

Additional packages may be purchased for varying amounts on
Entry deadline: Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 at 12:00 pm EST. Winner will be selected and notified shortly thereafter. Must be 18+ with valid ID.

5) Sumiao Hunan Kitchen (SHK) has relaunched its popular “Hunan Hour” menu, their twist on a culinary happy hour. Available each afternoon and late-night, Hunan Hour showcases an assortment of full-portion appetizers for half-price with any cocktail, wine or beer purchase. The specialty menu caters to any budget and any outing, whether it be an after-work treat with coworkers or the desire to indulge in array of Hunanese-style bites after-dark.

The relaunch of this dining deal will offer more than 10 of SHK’s menu items priced at only $4-6, such as Wood-Ear Mushroom Salad ($4), Steamed Pork Sausage ($4), Sumiao Gyoza ($5), Scallion Pancake ($5) and Sesame La Niu Rou ($6).

Sumiao’s “Hunan Hour” menu will be available daily from 3:30pm-6:30pm, as well as late-night from 9:00pm-10:30pm Sunday through Wednesday and 9:00pm-11:30pm Thursdays through Saturdays.

6) Starting this May, Puritan & Co. will be responsible for all weddings, special events, retreats, and monthly farm dinners at The Herb Lyceum.

Each week starting on May 4th, The Herb Lyceum will host their Farm Dinners on Fridays and select Saturdays throughout the summer season. The farm dinners feature five-courses for $75 per person, which includes gratuity. The dinners are BYOB and guests are invited to explore the farm, dine at a communal table and enjoy farm-centric seasonal cuisine created by the talented team behind  Puritan & Company and Chef/Partner Will Gilson.

Each month's dinner menu will be posted monthly online and bookings will be available via Eventbrite along with the scheduled dinner dates.

Tickets for May's Farm Dinners on Friday, May 4th; Friday, May 11th; and Friday, May 18th are now available for purchase at

May Farm Dinners will feature:
First Course:
Cucumber Toast with mint, dill, radish, goats milk feta, caviar
Second Course:
Roasted Asparagus with smoked salmon, gribiche, basil, new potatoes
Third Course:
Chilled Pea Soup with marinated mushrooms, berbere oil, crème fraiche
Main Course:
Grilled Pork Chop with sunchoke, peppers, potato galette, mustard jus
Carrot Cake with candied walnuts, rum raisin puree, mascarpone, vanilla

7) Viale in Central Square has now launched full lunch service, served daily from 11:30am-2:30pm. "With the expanding Central Square community, we're excited to be offering all day options to serve people working or visiting the neighborhood." states Greg Reeves and Mark Young, Viale co-owners.

Lunch Menu:
Baby Arugula - radish, pecorino, buttermilk, almond $10
Marinated Beet Salad - pickled fennel, herbed yogurt, pistachio $10
Salmon Crudo and Pea Salad - snap, snow and english $15
Chilled Asparagus Salad - 60 deg egg, prosciutto, micro basil, puffed farro $15
Small Plates
Marinated Olives - orange and rosemary $6
Pan Roasted Calamari - creamy napa, smokey tomato, crispy shallots $12
Crab Toast - chive aioli, citrus salad, radish $13
Fried Cauliflower - White anchovy, caper-golden raisin brown butter $9
Sandwiches and Chips
Chicken Parm $13
Pork Saltimbocca $12
Cheesesteak $12
Gnocchi - wild boar bolognese, rosemary $15
Bucatini - cacio e pepe $12
Torchio Puttanesca - black and green olives, white anchovy $14
Swordfish - avocado yogurt, slow roasted tomato $17

They also serve various Pizzas during lunch and in the Week of May 1, they will be serving Margherita, Clam & Bacon, Mushroom w/Nettle Pesto, and Sausage & Broccoli Rabe pizzas.

Drinks will include tea-infused spritzy cocktails, bubbly, booze-free or booze-filled beverages, craft beers, Rosé, and a variety of new wines for the spring and summer.

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