Thursday, April 10, 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) Legal Harborside is saddling up for “the most exciting two minutes in sports” by hosting a Kentucky Derby party for the books. Guests can head over to Legal Harborside’s rooftop to catch the run of the roses as all eyes will be on the top contenders at Churchill Downs. Revelers should dress to impress for Millionaires Row with a prize awarded at the end of the evening for “Best Derby Hat.

Tickets to the party include festive tunes from a live deejay, one Mint Julep per guest, a Triple Crown of passed hors d’oeuvres (pulled pork sliders, shrimp & corn hush puppies, mini chicken & waffles) and an Oyster Bar (WiAnno, Merry Bay, Wellfleet, Naked Cowboy) from 6-7pm.

When: May 3 from 4:30pm – 7:30pm
Cost: General admission: $60 per person
Reserved couch: $400 per group (up to six people)

Tickets and tables may be reserved online. Tickets purchased are non-refundable and have no cash value. Limited tickets and table reservations are available. Access to the event will only be granted to guests with a ticket receipt and 21+ ID. Guests may order food a la carte from the full 3rd floor menu. Roof opens to the public at 7:30pm.

2) From June 2-8, 2014, Campari® and Imbibe magazine will present Negroni Week nationwide when a portion of proceeds from every Negroni sold at participating bars and restaurants will be donated to the charity of their choice. In addition, Campari will donate $10,000 to the top fundraising establishment’s charity.

Last year through Negroni Week, we were able to give back by simply enjoying one of my favorite cocktails,” says Jonny Raglin of Comstock Saloon in San Francisco, one of the original Negroni Week supporters. “Cocktails are really only improved by supporting those in need.”

Last year, more than 120 bars and restaurants across the U.S. participated in the inaugural Negroni Week, including renowned cocktail destinations such as PDT in New York; Son of a Gun and Spare Room in Los Angeles; Imperial in Portland; and many more. “What started as a grassroots movement to aid charities through a cocktail is now an orchestrated effort around the world, giving bartenders and Campari fans a chance to give back to causes that matter most in their communities,” said Umberto Luchini, Head of Marketing, Campari America.

Negroni Week 2014, held in partnership the U.S. Bartender’s Guild (USBG), uses the classic Negroni cocktail - one part Campari, one part gin and one part sweet vermouth – as the catalyst to help raise funds for worthy causes. "We launched Negroni Week not only to celebrate one of the world's great cocktails but also to create a unique platform for charities nationwide," says Imbibe publisher Karen Foley. "It's such an amazing way for bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts to join forces for the greater good."

Bars and restaurants interested in signing up can go to This is also where consumers can find participating bars and restaurants in their area. Negroni fans nationwide will be encouraged to spread the word on social media using the hashtag #NegroniWeek, with surprise giveaways to supporters throughout the week.

Invented in Florence, Italy, in 1919, the exceptionally easy-to-create and even easier-to-enjoy Negroni is considered an aperitif – a drink traditionally consumed before a meal to stimulate the appetite. It can be served up in a cocktail glass or on the rocks, and it is always stirred, never shaken.

Several local bars have already committed to participating, including:
jm Curley
Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar
Brick & Mortar
Russell House Tavern

3) Scheduled for Sunday, April 13, the fifth annual Boston Lamb Jam brings together a slew of talented chefs and their tastiest American lamb-based dishes to compete for top honors in categories like Best in Show, People's Choice and Best Leg, Ground, Shank and Shoulder.

The event starts with a VIP hour tailored to the most ardent lovers of American lamb. From 2:30-3:30pm, guests will get to snack on lamb charcuterie from acclaimed chefs Jamie Bissonnette of Toro and Coppa, Will Gilson of Puritan & Co., Louis DiBiccari of Tavern Road and Dante de Magistris of dante. VIPs will also get to sample sheep's milk cheese, wine and beer, and Elijah Craig bourbon-based cocktails courtesy of mixologist Joy Richard and the renowned bar team at Citizen.

At the main event, which takes place from 3:00-6:00pm, fans of lamb will get to try samples of two dozen lambtastic dishes presented by chefs from Boston, Providence, Portsmouth and Portland. Reigning champion Michael Scelfo of Alden & Harlow, who took home a trio of trophies last year, will be defending his title against first time participants like Graham Botto of Back Bay Grill in Portland and Matt Louis from Portsmouth's Moxy. There are more than a few repeat performers, too including...

Michael Scelfo, Alden & Harlow
Brian Alberg, Red Lion Inn
Brian Dandro, ArtBar
Brian Rae, Rialto
Robert Sisca, Bistro du Midi
Cassie Piuma, Sarma
Brian Reyelt, Citizen
Nuno Alves & Chris Douglass, Tavolo
Peter Davis, Henrietta's Table
Jim Solomon, The Fireplace
Daniel Bojorquez, La Brasa
Justin Melnick, The Terrace

Nemo Bolin, Cook & Brown
Beau Vestal, New Rivers
Champe Speidel, Persimmon

Graham Botto, Back Bay Grill
Austin Miller, East Ender
Niko Regas, Emilitsa

Matt Louis, Moxy
Evan Hennessy, Stages at One Washington

Attendees will be able to sip on lamb-friendly wines and beers from 12 of New England's best breweries (like Mayflower, Harpoon, Rising Tide and Smuttynose, just to name a few), take part in the make-your-own spice rub station and learn the ins and outs of animal butchery at a demo with Nuno Alves of Tavolo.

A portion of the proceeds from the Boston Lamb Jam will support Lovin' Spoonfuls, a local organization that facilitates the recovery and distribution of healthy, perishable food that would otherwise be discarded.

Where: The Royal Sonesta, 40 Edwin H Land Blvd, Cambridge, MA 02142
VIP Tickets ($90): GA Tickets ($60):

4) Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer is celebrating their 15th year of sweet success in the city. This year, some of the area’s premier restaurants and bakeries will be joining forces to help raise money to benefit breast cancer research and care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Establishments will choose one dessert to feature for a week where 100% of the proceeds from sales will go directly to the Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer organization.

This year, top area restaurants have kindly pledged to donate all of their selected dessert’s proceeds to join in the battle against breast cancer including: Cask ‘n Flagon’s Chocolate Torte (homemade flourless chocolate torte served warm with vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream and hot chocolate sauce - $6.75); Haru’s Tempura Cheesecake (coconut with mixed berry coulis, or traditional with sake claret coulis - $9); Legal Sea Foods’s Boston Cream Pie (chocolate sauce, rum caramel sauce, toffee almond crunch - $7.95); and, The Tip Tap Room’s Blackberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding (whiskey caramel glaze - $7.95).

WHEN: Available May 5th through May 11th at participating restaurants
WHERE: Participating restaurants include the following:
· Cask ‘n Flagon – Fenway (62 Brookline Avenue, Boston)
· Cask ‘n Flagon – Marshfield (804 Plain Street, Marshfield)
· Haru (55 Huntington Avenue, Boston)
· Legal Sea Foods – Copley Place (100 Huntington Avenue, Boston)
· Legal Sea Foods – Prudential Center (800 Boylston Street, Boston)
· Legal Sea Foods – Park Plaza (26 Park Plaza, Boston)
· Legal Sea Foods – Chestnut Hill (43 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill)
· The Tip Tap Room (138 Cambridge Street, Boston)

5) Frances Mayes, the bestselling author of “Under the Tuscan Sun,” brings her line of Tuscan Sun Wines to New Hampshire for the first time on Friday, May 16 for a private dinner event at Tuscan Kitchen, a fine-dining Italian restaurant in Salem, New Hampshire. This will be followed by a wine sampling and book and bottle singing event on Saturday, May 17 at Tuscan Market, an artisan Italian marketplace and trattoria. Created in partnership with Curious Cork Imports, each Tuscan Sun Wine was hand-selected by Mayes herself to embody a different concept that touches on the Tuscan lifestyle.

The private dinner with Frances will take place on Friday, May 16 with two seatings at 5:30pm and again at 8:30pm at Tuscan Kitchen. Reservations for the private dinner is limited to 50 people per seating and is $125 per person. This includes a gourmet dinner, a signed bottle of Tuscan Sun Wines, and a signed cookbook. For reservations, please visit

The book and bottle signing will take place the following day on Saturday, May 17 from 11:00am– 3:00pm at Tuscan Market, 63 Main Street in Salem, NH, right next to Tuscan Kitchen. Fans will be able to meet Frances Mayes, taste the wines and have Frances autograph her bottles, books, and the movie which make the perfect keepsake or gift. Frances’s wines, her cookbook, “The Tuscan Sun Cookbook,” book “Under the Tuscan Sun,” as well as the 2003 movie adaptation of her book of the same title will be available for purchase at the event.

The line of Tuscan Sun Wines includes three reds and one white. Each wine has an Italian name and an English translation and showcases the vision of Frances Mayes:

· Pensiero (A little gift) 100% Pinot Grigio
· Permesso (May I come in?) 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
· Tondo Tondo (Just perfect) 100% Sangiovese
· Auguri (My best to you) 80% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot

These wines bring to life a sense of wonder through the simple joys that my life in Italy has given me,” said Mayes. “I hope that by sharing them with the world, others can also attain a bit of the enjoyment I’ve gained from my experience here, if only for a moment as they sip these glorious wines.

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