Thursday, July 19, 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)  Back again, Smolak Farms presents “Whim” 2012. Located in North Andover, Smolak Farms has partnered with Northeast Flavor, Cambridge Culinary School, Boston Chefs, Yelp and to present the best outdoor dining experience New England has to offer.

Whim will take place every Wednesday evening starting July 11 and continuing until August 29 at 7:30PM and will feature top chefs from all over New England. Guests will experience a meal under the stars prepared by some of New England’s most respected chefs. Included in the $65 ticket price is a three-course dinner followed by a bonfire to meet and greet your fellow diners. Chefs will be accompanied by culinary students from The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in order to help them smoothly and successfully execute dinner to an audience of over 100 guests each week. As implied by the event name, Whim, the menu is prepared the day-of at the discretion of the chef.

Upcoming on July 25, at 7:30pm, Whim will feature Chef Vittorio Ettore of Bistro 5 & A Tavola, who is   an extremely talented chef and I greatly enjoy both of his restaurants. So this dinner should please all diners. His charity is "Seed to Plate", which is a hands-on food-education program, which tries to create a lasting connection between children and their food.

INFO: $65 per person (gratuity and tax not included). Included in the ticket price is a 3-course dinner and hayride/farm tour. Dress is casual. Beverages not included. Paired wines, beer and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase. Only one menu will be presented with no substitutions. Ticket is non-refundable. Tickets can be purchased directly via:

2) Tequila is a part of Mexico’s history and folklore, and the stories, myths and legends surrounding it are as old as the country itself. Named after the small town where it was first produced, tequila gained prominence after Mexico achieved independence in 1821 and was a symbol of national pride during the Mexican Revolution. In the United States tequila has typically been sampled in the form of a margarita, but people are starting to discover that the zesty flavors in good tequila are best enjoyed like a fine wine or spirit, sip-by-sip!

On Tuesday, July 24, from 5pm-11pm, Olé Mexican Grill, located in Cambridge, and Zócalo Cocina Mexicana, located in Boston, will celebrate National Tequila Day by offering guests a special Taco & Tequila Pairing menu. For just $25 per person, guests will sample shrimp, beef and braised pork tacos, along with blanco, resposado and anejo tequilas from Herrardura. This menu will be served in conjunction with the regular menu, and vegetarian options are also available.

1st Pairing: Blanco Tequila with
Baja Tacos: Beer-battered shrimp with pickled cabbage, cilantro pesto, chipotle aioli, toasted black sesame seeds, on hand-made corn tortillas.
or Rajas Tacos (Vegetarian Option) Roasted poblano peppers tacos, with crema and cheese.
2nd Pairing: Reposado Tequila with
Tinga Taco: Cold marinated shredded beef tenders tacos with shiitaki mushrooms, pico de gallo, avocado and pasilla salsa
or Pipián Tacos (Vegetarian option) Grilled squash, zucchini, carrots and corn tacos in Pipián mole
3rd Pairing: Añejo Tequila with
Tacos de Carnitas: Braised pork tacos with guacamole and pickled red onions
or Tacos de Hongos (Vegetarian Option) Variety of seasonal mushrooms cooked to perfection with epazote and garlic mojo

3) A Tavola continues its A Taste of Italy culinary tour with its three-course monthly dinners focused on a distinct region of Italy in which Chef Vittorio Ettore has drawn inspiration from. This month’s menu features the coastal region of Liguria, and Chef will be present to explain the cuisine and techniques he is so fond of. Guests will be given the option to pair wine from Liguria with their dinner. Now, through July 28, Tuesday through Saturday, from 5pm-10pm, this Ligurian dinner will be available.

The Italian Riviera, characterized by its lofty mountains and tucked-away beach towns, is the birthplace of pesto, where pine nuts and basil are abundant. Edging right up to the Ligurian Sea, the cuisine is also dominated by seafood. Escape to Portofino or the five towns of Cinque Terre with this month’s menu, which includes:

Trofie al Pesto (Hand Rolled Pasta with Fresh Basil Pesto)
Buridda (Tomato Broth Seafood with Fluke, Shellfish, and Squid, Fennel and Basil Marmalata)
Budino di Amaretti (Almond Pudding with Candied Almonds and Red Wine Cherry Reduction)

Cost: Three-course menu is $45 per person; $65 with wine pairings. For reservations and information, call A Tavola directly at 781-729-1040

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