Thursday, July 26, 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)  The Beehive is well known for its deliciously eclectic menu where dishes from Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and Latin America rest comfortably next to each other. Now, during the summer months guests of The Beehive can enjoy a new patio menu, which features lighter offerings as well as creative interpretations by resident executive chef and former Food Network “Chopped” Champion Rebecca Newell.

Those looking for fresh flavors can indulge in one of the many flavorful appetizer offerings such as the Yellow Beet & Cucumber Gazpacho, Yogurt ($9), or the Market Salad with local lettuce, tomatoes, fennel, sunflower seeds, green beans, and Dijon vinaigrette ($10). You will also find items like Spiced Tuna Steak with Squid Ink Risotto, Basil Pesto & Green Bean Salad” ($25) or Seared Duck Breast with plum sauce and served with a side of pan-fried rice and spring onions ($25). The Beehive’s Raw Bar platters include: shrimp, oysters, clams, tuna tartar, mussels and vary in size and can be ordered to accommodate parties of two, four or six.

The Beehive’s patio menu is available for dinner 7 days a week from 5pm-11pm and brunch Saturday and Sunday 10:30am-3:00pm. As always, patio openings and closings are dependent on weather conditions. For more information, visit their website or call 617-423-0069.

2) From August 2-18, Chef Carolyn Johnson of 80 Thoreau will present a special “Corn and Tomato Festival Menu.” The special four course menu will be evolving daily as Johnson prepares dishes celebrating the freshly picked corn and tomatoes grown at some of Concord’s favorite farms.

There’s nothing better than freshly picked corn from Concord’s Verrill Farm and Brigham’s Farm” explains Johnson. “I want to devour it right then and there when it’s delivered- it is just bursting with flavor. I love the tomatoes from Yarrow Stalk Farm and Blue Heron Farm – again, locally sourced and grown with incredible care and respect.” Johnson says when it comes to creating the “Corn & Tomato Festival Menu” the key is to let the produce just shine and get out of the way. “Mother Nature and these dedicated farmers do it right” says Johnson. “We have a lot of fun in the kitchen deciding how to present this incredible product and truly just giving them a place on the plate to shine.”

Johnson shares some of her plans for the upcoming menu, including two dishes in particular: Griddled Jonnycake with lobster, tomatoes, tarragon and Pan Roasted Local Hake with charred cherry tomatoes, clams, & corn puree. For the rest of the dishes, you’ll have to stop by 80 Thoreau in August.

Cost: Four Courses, $39 per person, not including tax & gratuity
Reservations recommended so please call 978-318-0008.

3) Chef Vittorio Ettore of Bistro 5 is honoring the sweetness of peach season by supporting local agriculture though a unique Peach Tasting Menu. This menu highlights diverse items married with peaches, allowing each dish to highlight the beloved summertime fruit. The menu utilizes local items from Wild Rhody, Write Locke Farm in Winchester, the gardens from the kitchen staff’s homes, as well as Bistro 5’s own window box.

Every Tuesday to Saturday, through August 11, from 5pm-10pm, guests can choose to indulge in the three or five course menu, each available with an optional wine pairing. The menu includes:

--Peach Gazpacho (Mint- Cucumber Water and Cilantro Avocado Sorbet)
2010 Félines Jourdan, Picpoulde Pinet, Languedoc
--King Fish “Crudo” (Peach Chips and White Balsamic Pickled Peaches)
2011 Pala, Vermentino, Sardegna
--Peach Risotto (Fourm dam Bert and Prosciutto di Parma)
2010 Domaine de la Solitude, Rosé, Côtes du Rhône
--Lamb (Brandy-Peach Marmalade)
2011 Luccarelle, Primitivo, Puglia
--Baked Peach (Phyllo Crisp, Zabaglione and Vanilla-Lavender Ice Cream)
2011 Elio perrone, “Bigaro,” Brachetto d’Acqui

Cost: Three course menu is $45 per person; $65 with wine pairings plus tax/gratuity. Five course menu is $65 per person; $90 with wine pairings plus tax/gratuity
Reservations are strongly recommended so please call 781-395-7464

4) On August 9, at 6:30pm, Legal Harborside will team up with Jean-Charles Boisset, President of Boisset Family Estates, for an exclusive four-plus-course wine dinner. Founded in 1980, Boisset Family Estates is a family-owned producer and importer of fine wines with its roots in Burgundy, France. Boisset’s collection of more than twenty historical and unique wineries boast leading positions in the world’s pre-eminent terroirs that each have a unique history, identity and style, yet all are united in the pursuit of superior quality.


Hors D'Oeuvres
Scallop Ceviche, lime gelée
Fried Green Tomato, crab salad
Olive Oil-Poached Hiramasa Belly, za’atar spiced cracker, black cyprus sea salt
Paired with JCB, by Jean-Charles Boisset, No. 21 Crémant de Bourgogne, NV
First Course
Sautéed Skate Wing (roasted and puréed corn, vanilla bean, braised leeks)
Paired with JCB, by Jean-Charles Boisset, No. 81 Chardonnay, Sonoma County, 2010 and Bouchard Aîné et Fils Pouilly-Fuissé, Macon, 2009
Second Course
Pan-Seared Arctic Char (grilled calamari, crispy maitake mushroom)
Paired with DeLoach “Block 1950” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, 2011 and Jean-Claude Boisset Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Burgundy, 2010
Main Course
Seared Duck Breast (fresh figs, confit leg and cipollini hash, minus 8 gastrique)
Paired with DeLoach “OFS” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, 2008 and Domaine de la Vougeraie “Les Petits Noizons” Pommard, Côte de Beaune, 2009
Dessert Course 
Pot de Crème (cinnamon, vanilla tuile)
Paired with Neige “Première” Apple Ice Wine, Quebec, 2010

COST: $95 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)
Reservations may be made by contacting 617-530-9470

5) From Sunday, August 19 through Sunday, August 26, over 40 North Shore restaurants and wine stores will join together to hold the second annual North Shore Wine Week. Sponsored by Northeast Flavor magazine, in conjunction with NECN’s “TV Diner,” and the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, North Shore Wine Week will celebrate the North Shore as a premier destination for fine wine and food.

Throughout the week the area’s finest wine stores and restaurants will highlight their wine selections with various complimentary events and great deals including everything from specially crafted wine tastings, wine dinners, wine flights, pairings, special events and more.

North Shore Wine Week will kick-off with a VIP event at the Wine ConneXtion, located in North Andover, on Saturday, August 18 from 12pm-5pm, with an exclusive, free wine tasting event featuring cuisine from several participating North Shore Wine Week chefs.

Buy local, drink global and join the North Shore as a vibrant food and wine community and support local businesses including: 15 Walnut, Alfalfa Farm Winery, Beacon Hill Wine Shop, Bonta Restaurant & Grill, Brasserie 28, Bistro 45, Burtons Grill, Busa Wine & Spirits, Café Escadrille, Ceia Restaurant, China Blossom, Finz Seafood & Grill, Grapevine Restaurant, Ithaki Mediterranean Cuisine, Joe Fish Seafood Restaurant & Bar, Joseph's Trattoria, Keon's, Kappy’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Halibut Pointe Restaurant & Bar, Loretta Restaurant, Masa Restaurant, Nathaniel's at Hawthorne Hotel, Oregano's Pizza, Pamplemousse, Pellana Steakhouse, Porthole Restaurant, Salvatore’s Italian Restaurant, Salem Waterfront Hotel, Samuel's at The Andover Inn, Shube’s, Tuscan Kitchen, Urban Wine Project, Waterside Tap & Grill, Wild Bites and Wine ConneXtion.

For more details on special events and a complete list of featured wines, please visit

6) Chef Jay Murray remembers when his mother called Julia Child on her home phone back when he was a boy, to ask questions about Julia's recipe for vegetarian plum pudding. Jay recalls being amazed that Julia Child answered the phone herself, and helped his mom with the recipe. "That was pure Julia" recalls Jay. "She made food approachable for all of us."

In honor of what would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday, and rather than go the vegetarian plum pudding route, Jay is presenting a 100 Day Aged Ribeye in Julia's honor at Boston's Grill 23 & Bar steakhouse. 100 days? That is an incredibly long time to age a steak. I have had a 55 day dry aged steak before, but nothing longer.

--Vichyssoise with Russian vodka, chive puree and caviar
--100 day aged Ribeye Steak with pommes anna, asparagus and foie gras-juniper butter
--Peach Tarte Tatin with sauternes caramel

Cost: $59
Available August 15-18

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