Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting, upcoming food & drink events.
1) On Monday, January 23, at 6:30pm, Legal Sea Foods in Park Square will host a wine dinner with selections from Ravines Wine Cellar. A boutique winery located in an emerging world-class wine region, the Finger Lakes of upstate New York, this small, distinctive winery crafts elegant and food-friendly wines using Old World winemaking traditions with New World innovation.

Legal Sea Foods will team up with owners, Lisa & Morten Hallgren, to host an exclusive four-plus-course dinner featuring signature cuisine paired with their selections from the Ravines Wine Cellars vine. The menu will be presented as follows:

Lobster Arancini, Lemon, Chervil
Crispy Fried Oysters, Chipotle Aioli, Crispy Kale
Coconut Shrimp, Yuzu Marmalade
Ravines “Methode Classique” Brut Sparkling Wine, Finger Lakes, 2007
Grey Sole Tiradito (Citrus Aji Amarillo Marinade, Toasted Corn, Yuca Chips)
Ravines “White Springs Vineyard” Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, 2014
Ravines “Argetsinger Vineyard” Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, 2012
Rainbow Trout Rollatini (Lemon-Tarragon Butter Sauce, New England Crab, Baby Spinach)
Ravines Chardonnay, Finger Lakes, 2014
Swordfish Marsala (Cremini Mushrooms, Peruvian Potatoes Au Gratin)
Ravines Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes, 2014
Ravines “Maximilien,” Finger Lakes, 2013
Pineapple Crostata (Coconut Zabaglione, Mascarpone Ice Cream)
Ravines “Late Harvest” Vignoles, Finger Lakes, 2013

COST: $85 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)
Reservations required by calling 617-53009397

2) There are some positive changes coming to Jamaica Plain, to a few of the interesting restaurants which are owned by David Doyle, Maricely Perez-Alers, and Keith Harmon.

First, Centre Street Cafe has been awarded an upgrade from Wines and Malt Beverages to Wines, Malt Beverages and Liqueurs (commonly referred to as a "Cordials" License). This will allow the restaurant to expand their beverage list to include aperitifs and digestifs -- including Amaro, and simple but iconic cocktails such as the Negroni, the Americano, and Aperol Spritz -- as well as offer a Bloody Mary for brunch. With the numerous artisan liqueurs that are now available, this grants the restaurants lots of flexibility and diversity to create some intriguing and delicious cocktails.

Second, Casa Verde has been awarded a non-transferable, All Alcohol License ("Full Liquor" License) pending approval of the ABCC. This will allow the restaurant to serve traditional Margaritas, other classic cocktails, Mezcal, as well as a curated Bourbon list. I'm glad to see some love for Mezcal! And it is always good to see more Bourbon.

Third, the group is seeking to open a new restaurant, the Brass Cat Cafe, which would be located at 3399 Washington Street in Jamaica Plain. It will be discussed at a Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council meeting on Monday, January 23 at 7pm at Curtis Hall, 20 South Street. Pending support from the neighborhood associations related to the Washington Street corridor, and from the Public Service Committee of the JP Neighborhood Council, the Licensing Board for the City of Boston would then decide later in January whether to approve Brass Cat Cafe's application for a Wines, Malt Beverages and Liqueurs License. The ABCC would need to give final approval on the license.

The Brass Cat Cafe is in the late stage of concept design, with conversations ongoing that will almost certainly end up causing small adjustments to the final product. Currently the plan is to be a counter service coffee shop, bakery, and sandwich shop during the day and an inexpensive, full-service American comfort food restaurant at night. Sandwiches will all be made with bread baked in house and the Brass Cat will act as a bakery supporting their other restaurants (who currently make all their own bread daily.)

At night, the menu would likely revolve around the southeastern quadrant of the United States: American comfort food. Sample items might include fried chicken, jambalaya, ribs, burgers, po' boys, blackened fish, dumplings, etc... Though that is subject to change with time and further discussions.

The basic idea though is to keep it simple, affordable and approachable. In addition, they want it to be a great place to work,  that adds something to neighborhood, and which the locals will enjoy and support. More information about Brass Cat Cafe will be forthcoming.

3) With the New England Patriots in the Playoffs this Saturday night, heavy favorites against the Houston Texans, many people might be tailgating at home. Brian Dandro, Executive Chef of ArtBar and Royal Sonesta Boston has shared an easy recipe for a tailgating snack. Let's hope Saturday is but another step leading to Brady's Fifth Super Bowl Ring!


3 pounds jumbo lump crab meat
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups grated parmesan
¾ cup chopped scallion
6 cloves roasted garlic cloves
3 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T fresh squeezed lemon
1 T Frank’s Hot Sauce
½ TSP dry mustard

Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Top with some bread crumbs, sprinkle with more grated parmesan and bake at 350 degrees in a casserole dish until the top is browned and the dip bubbles at the sides. Break out some tortilla chips, pita bread, or some other cracker/bread to scoop up some of this dip.

Go Patriots!!!

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