Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I briefly highlight some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently. **********************************************************
1)  Celebrate Taco Armageddon on July 17, from 6:30-8:30pm, orchestrated by the long lost fifth horseman of the Tacopocalypse, Chef Brian Poe. Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake will play host to Tacopocalypse. Enjoy a variety of taco offerings like Thai chicken with peach basil salsa, cherry smoked boar and other chefs’ choice specialty tacos. There will also be a dessert taco bar. Tequila Espolón will be on hand with some goodies, too. Visit Eat Boston for more info and tickets.

2)  Both Filipino and Mexican cuisines are full of bold flavors like chile, cilantro and lime, and bursting with exotic aromas and spicy accents. These common ingredients and similar flavor profiles represent a link between the two cultures cultivated for over 250 years by the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade route, which linked Spain’s colony in the Philippines with its empire in New Spain, now present day Mexico. However, in 1815 the Mexican War for Independence marked the end of the trade route, creating a divide between these two cultures that is apparent in the cuisine served in both countries today.

From Monday, July 16, through Saturday, July 20, Chef Erwin Ramos of the Olé Restaurant Group will offer a special dinner menu at both Olé Mexican Grill in Cambridge and Zócalo Cocina Mexicana in Boston, to celebrate the similarities and distinctions between Mexican and Filipino food nurtured by the Galleon trade route. Born in the Philippines, Chef Ramos will showcase the influence his heritage has had on his culinary skill set and the Mexican cuisine served in his restaurants today. For $39 per person (plus tax & gratuity), guests will enjoy a delicious four-course meal, with each course featuring one dish from each culture, served alongside one another. By the end of the meal, diners will not only have sated their appetite, but will also have a greater appreciation for the impressions Mexican and Filipino cultures left on one another as a result of hundreds of years of trade.

There is a limited time to experience this fusion of two worlds on one plate and reservations are recommended. To make a reservation at Zócalo Cocina Mexicana please call (617) 456-7849. To make a reservation at Olé Mexican Grill please call (617) 492-4495.

Chicken Taquitos/Lumpia
*Crispy corn stuffed with chicken, potatoes and cheese/
*Rice tortilla rolled with chicken and shrimp
Mahi-Mahi Ceviche/Kinilaw
*Mahi-mahi in lime, jalapeno, tomatoes & cilantro/
*Mahi-mahi in lime, vinegar and ginger
Corn Tamales/Suman
*Steamed cornmeal stuffed with chicken/
*Steamed sticky rice with pork
Cactus Salad/Atchara with Lechon Kawali 
*Pickled cactus on a bed of mixed greens/
*Green papaya salad with roasted pork

Mexican Adobo/Filipino Adobo (Chicken & pork)
*Cooked in achiote and dried chile paste/
*Cooked in soy sauce, garlic and vinegar
Mole Amarillo/Kare-Kare
*Pork stew cooked in tomatillos & chiles/
*Oxtail in rice & peanut sauce

Flan de Caramelo/Halo-Halo

I have ranted before about the lack of Filipino cuisine in the Boston area so it is great to see this dinner. I will be checking it out, so will report back my thoughts in the near future.  Hope you will check it out as well.

3) Celebrate and experience Armenian culture and cuisine at the Boston Kermesse: Armenian Street Fair & Festival. The weekend-long event, presented by the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (ACEC) in Watertown, will take place this year on Friday, July 20 to Sunday, July 22. The event will showcase all aspects of Armenian culture such as art exhibits from local artists, traditional Armenian food and gourmet tastings from local food vendors including Tutunjian Wines, Eastern Lamejun, Massis Bakery, Fastachi and more.

Last year, the open-air festival attracted over 5,000 guests from the Greater Boston area, and beyond. The incredibly successful festival will once again raise proceeds to benefit the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (ACEC), a nonprofit organization tasked with sustaining and nourishing Armenian culture and education through the community center. This year, the event will feature live music by internationally renowned Armenian musicians such as Harout Pamboukjian, Arman Hovhannisyan, John Berberian Ensemble featuring Onnik Dinkjian, Arev Armenian Folks Ensemble, KarenKocharyan Quartet featuring Jerry Bergonzi and Classic Groove and other performers. Guests can experience Authentic Armenian cuisine with cooking demonstrations from local chefs including Ani Catering & Takeout and Armenian Market Bakery. Shop the latest collections of bangles and necklaces from Alex and Ani Jewelry bangle bar at Boston Kermesee. Perfect for kids of all ages, the festival will include a special visit and meet & greet by Wally of the Boston Red Sox as well as a Gladiator Joust and Bounce House.

Hours: Friday, July 20 from 6pm-11pm, Saturday, July 21 from 12pm-11pm, Sunday, July 22 from 12pm-7pm

Cost: Free admission for children's entertainment, exhibits, vendors and food. Ticketed Admission for Entertainment Portion only.
Friday, July 20: Featuring: Harout Pamboukjian! Adults: $25/Children:$10
Saturday, July 21: Featuring Arman Hovanisyan! Adults: $30/Children:$10
Sunday, July 22: Featuring Onnik Dinkjian & John Berberian & MalBarsamian
Adults: $15/Children:$10 2 Day & 3 Day Passes (Entertainment)
All-Access 3-Day Pass Adults: $55 / Children $20
2-Day (Fri/Sat) Access Pass Adults: $45/Children $15

Info: To purchase tickets or for more information please visit:

4) Proprietor Peter Lovis, of the Concord Cheese Shop, is still talking about his springtime trip to northern Italy, where he visited three cheesemakers, and participated in the production of a 400-lb. wheel of crucolo cheese that will be delivered to him in December for Concord’s annual Crucolo Day Parade. Lovis spent time at the family-owned Formaggi Carozzi in Lombardy, maker of fine taleggios and gorgonzolas. While there, he tasted some cheeses that have never been exported to the United States. It was possible to have them shipped direct to his shop, and the first wheels of these unique cheeses arrived this week. Ask for a sample of:

Strachitunt (strak-ee-tunte): A soft cow’s milk cheese with a hint of mold imbuing a mild “blue cheese” flavor; Made like taleggio, the cheesemaker pours each morning’s fresh, warm cheese curds on top of the curds that were poured and cooled from the evening before. Next, the crust is pierced to blend the two textures together. Upon maturation, the cheese becomes aromatic and runny, ideal served on crisp rye crackers.

Ricciolo: An aged cow’s milk cheese that’s tangy and crumbly on the inside, with a rustic crust on the outside. The Concord Cheese Shop has just one wheel of this cheese (but hopes to receive more), and it is in perfect condition for nibbling now.

Taleggio Piacere: If you like taleggio, you’ll love this twist on it, as they do in Valsassina, where it’s made. Young, tangy, with hints of citrus and lemon peel.

5)  On August 15, at 6:30pm,, Legal Sea Foods’ Vice President of Beverage Operations and Master of Wine, Sandy Block, will host an exciting and adventurous “Blind Tasting” wine dinner at the Park Square location. Each delectable course will feature a comparative tasting of European and “New World” wines whose identities will be concealed so guests can enjoy them with the food pairings. While discussing their distinctive qualities in a group setting, guests will indulge in the following menu:

Hors D'Oeuvres 
Clams Casino, Thyme Butter Lobster &
Pork Spring Roll, Sweet &
Sour Sauce Tuna & Coconut Milk Ceviche,* Aji Oil
First Course 
Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp
Baby Arugula & Watermelon Salad, Roasted Walnuts, Feta Cheese, Aged Balsamic Reduction
Second Course 
Pan Seared Yellow Fin Tuna
Garden Vegetables, Red Quinoa Salad, Black Olive Tapenade
Third Course
Hickory Wood Grilled Swordfish 
Stuffed Poblano Peppers, Zucchini Corn Sauce
Cheese Course
Local Swiss, Manchego, Muenster Peach Compote, Brioche Toast Points

Cost: $75 per person (excludes tax and gratuity)
Reservation required by calling: 617-530-9397

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