Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting wine and food items that are upcoming. **********************************************************
1) From May 13 to June 11, The MET Restaurant Group will host its Ninth Annual Soft Shell Crab Festival serving the delicious crustacean 30 ways in 30 days. Hailing from Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, soft shell crabs have tantalized the taste buds of seafood lovers across the globe. The MET has explored a variety of flavors and techniques that reveal the best of this culinary creature and will offer a special soft shell crab dish each night from mid-May to mid-June.

Guests will enjoy some very crustacean creations including Soft Shell Monte Cristo, Corn meal Crusted Crab with corn silk, favas and pea tendrils, Tempura Fried Crab with soy peanut sauce and cucumber noodles, and Chili Crab Pizza topped with fried crab, sweet chili and arugula. For the purist, soft shell crabs will also be available meuniére style daily.

For more information on MET Back Bay, please visit

2) AKA Bistro, one of my favorite suburban restaurants, has unfortunately been closed since December because of a flood. They now hope to open by the end of April, and that opening will bring some changes. They will change their menu concept, having both Japanese and French dishes on the same, one-page menu. The Japanese fare will include more than just sashimi dishes. There will also be a new look to their bar, a quieter & cooler dining room, and a streamlined open kitchen. I eagerly look forward to their reopening.

3) Friends of Boston’s Homeless, in celebration of decades of success in providing solutions to homelessness in Boston, announces the 27th annual Beyond Shelter benefit gala. Hosted by John Rosenthal, founder of Friends of Boston’s Homeless, alongside emcees Jonathan Soroff of The Improper Bostonian and Rita Cary of 92.5 The River, the event will feature gourmet tastings by the Boston area’s top chefs with live music by Los 4 and the Berklee Bob Marley Ensemble.

Over 25 restaurants will participate this year, including Ashmont Grill, Eastern Standard, Flour Bakery + Café, The Fireplace, Hamersley’s Bistro, Gather, Fenmore Grill, Legal Sea Foods, Steel & Rye, Sweet Basil, Tavolo, Tresca, and Union Bar & Grille. Woodstock Inn Brewery and J. Lohr will serve as the evening’s beer and wine sponsors. The annual gala will also feature a raffle and live auction with items including Red Sox and New England Patriots autographed sports memorabilia, VIP concert tickets, fine art, jewelry, and luxury city weekend getaway packages.

Event proceeds will directly benefit Friends of Boston’s Homeless programs to end homelessness by helping individuals gain independence through Housing First, adult education, employment, life skills development, and access to permanent affordable housing.

Focusing this year on Friends’ Housing First Start-Up Fund, this fund provides long-term homeless individuals with permanent supportive housing, so they are no longer living on the streets or in shelters. Not just a humane solution to street homelessness, “Housing First” saves our Commonwealth significantly in emergency, medical, and public safety costs, roughly $10,000/person, in fact. In just three years, this initiative has helped to place over 350 chronically homeless individuals in dignified, permanent housing, over 90% of whom have maintained their housing and have not returned to the streets or shelters.

WHEN: Thursday, April 10, 7pm-10pm
WHERE: House of Blues Boston, 15 Lansdowne Street
TICKETS: $125 // General Admission
For further information and to purchase tickets, visit

4) A group of Boston's top chefs are teaming up to help raise money for the families of Lt. Edward Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy. The event, called United for Boston's Own, is scheduled for Monday, April 14. Chefs donating time, energy and resources include Ken Oringer, Ming Tsai, Jay Hajj, Michael Schlow, Mike Smith, Ting Yen, Jamie Bissonnette, Michael Scelfo and Monica Glass.

"At times like this, I'm honored, along with others in the restaurant community, to rally together and support these families," says Ken Oringer, owner of Clio, Toro, Coppa and Uni. "It hopefully will help ease some of the journey that stills lays ahead of them."

"Food is a great way to bring people together," says Ming Tsai, owner of Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon. "The fact that we are able to use this event to bring attention and support to this important initiative is very rewarding."

United for Boston's Own will consist of a nine-course seated dinner, each one specifically prepared by one of the Chefs. It will be held at Mike's City Diner at 1714 Washington Street, Boston.

Only 60 seats are available and will be sold at $500 each. One hundred percent (100%) of the proceeds are going to the Walsh-Kennedy Memorial Fund.

Tickets are being handled by Eventbrite and can be purchased at:

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