NSBC Weekend Picks

Posted: September 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Event | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

It’s Thursday again, and we’ve got some great picks for things to do this weekend—not only from us, but from our pals in the North Shore Bloggers Consortium as well.

Friday evening, the Wenham Village Improvement Society will host an Oktoberfest Fundraiser on the lawn at the Exchange at the Wenham Teahouse. Live music, drinks, passed hors d’oeuvres, several dinner stations, and desserts will be on tap from 6:30 until 11:00. $75.00 per person or $100.00 at the door (tax and 18% gratuity additional). RSVPs are necessary. Please call (978) 468-1398 to reserve your table

Also Friday evening  from 4:00 to 7:00, Nadia Zenato of Italy’s Zenato Estate will be at Shubie’s in Marblehead, accompanied by the infamous BZ Zohn to feature their entire portfolio of wines. The Zenato Estate is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and as part of the celebration, Nadia is touring the Northeast. This will be her only retail stop in New England, and it’s your chance to taste some great wines and meet the owner of the estate.

On Saturday, October 2 from noon to 3:00, don’t forget the 3rd annual Chili Con-Carnival Cook-Off hosted by the Grog in their parking lot in Newburyport. Many restaurants and individual families will be competing for top spot, and you can enjoy live music, door prizes, and great chili, voting for your favorite.

Saturday evening in Salem, you’ll find Witchtoberfest at the Old Town Hall in Salem, a beer tasting fundraiser with 50% of the proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem. They promise “Good Beer, Good Music and Good Times.” There will be light hors d’oeuvres provided by local restaurants, a live band, a raffle, and a silent auction. The confirmed breweries so far include Shipyard Brewing, Mayflower Brewing, Blue Hills Brewery, Narragansett, Beerworks, and Cody Brewery.

And although not specifically food oriented, don’t forget that October 1st means the beginning of the Topsfield Fair and Salem’s Haunted Happenings!

Here are some great ideas from the other members of NSBC:

Jane Ward writes fiction and is the author of Hunger (Forge, 2001) and The Mosaic Artist (to be released).  She is currently at work on her third novel, The Welcome Home.  She also writes about food – in a weekly blog called Food and Fiction, and as a contributing writer to the online regional food magazine, Local In Season – because she loves to cook and eat.  And so does everyone she knows.

Click Here for Author Jane Ward’s Weekend Picks

Food For Thought- Heather Atwood

As a painter and writer, Heather Atwood spent a lot of time waiting on tables in great restaurants. While struggling with color and line, she was also learning how to roast a great chicken, and what it means to balance textures in a dish. She’s been interested in good food ever since. Married, the mother of two daughters, Heather now lives in Rockport, Mass. and is the food columnist for the Gloucester Daily Times. She is featured regularly in Taste of the Times videos and her writing can also be seen in the Wednesday food section of the Times.

Click here for Heather Atwood’s Weekend Picks

Good Morning Gloucester brings you the best of Gloucester MA and surrounding communities. From the docks to the restaurants, the sporting fields to the art scene and anything in between, if it’s happening in Gloucester it’s generally covered on GMG.

Click here for Joey’s weekend picks

At its core, LynnHappens.com is a place to find out what’s happening in Lynn. It features an events calendar, local weather, arts and events coverage, photo galleries, complete City Council videos, letters to the editor and more.

Click here are for LynnHappens.com editor Seth Albaum’s picks for the weekend

The Two Palaverers are the husband and wife team of Rob and Laura Ciampa, two passionate New Englanders who have spent decades exploring the highways and byways of New England in search of regional character, culture and cuisine. Their goal is to recognize the people, places and things that exemplify the character of New England. Join them as they palaver about New England.

Click Here For The Weekend Picks From The Two Palaverers

Greater Newburyport Today is your online guide to the wide range of activities and events occurring within the Greater Newburyport region of coastal Massachusetts, including the surrounding New Hampshire seacoast and the Ipswich/Essex and Cape Ann regions of the North Shore.

Click here for Greater Newburyport today’s weekend picks


Summer in a Bottle

Posted: September 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Ellie's Going Green, Marblehead, Marblehead Farmer's Market, Marketplace, Salem Farmer's Market | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

One of the things we miss most about summer is fresh basil from the garden. Yes, we made pesto and put it in the freezer in anticipation of the January blues, but we wish we could somehow bottle that wonderful flavor. And that’s exactly what four enterprising women did just over a year ago, creating Ellie’s Basil Vinaigrette.

Actually, Ellie Monnin, a chef, had been making the vinaigrette for many years, but last July, she got together with Darnell Vipperman, Barbara Bane, and Heidi Jarcho to turn it into a business. All four partners are Marblehead residents, and the product is currently made in the town’s St. Andrew’s Church kitchen.

The dressing is not only delicious, it’s sugar free, cholesterol free (it’s made with extra virgin olive oil), and gluten free. It’s also highly versatile—it can be used to dip bread or artichokes, as a dressing for potato salad, or a marinade for fish, chicken, or beef. It’s also good with hot pasta, as dressing for pasta salad, and drizzled over vegetables. We had it last night over chopped tomatoes and cubed fresh mozzarella for an easy, extremely tasty side dish.

Thus far, the vinaigrette has only been available at the Salem and Marblehead farmer’s markets. But Monnin and her partners are looking for a commercial kitchen where they can produce larger quantities and hope to have it in local stores this winter. Once that’s accomplished, they plan to expand into other products (they mentioned cookies), so stay tuned.

Ellie’s Going Green

Photo: Darnell Vipperman (left), Barbara Bane (middle), Ellie Monnin (right), and Heidi Jarcho (missing).


Salem’s Lobster Shanty Featured on National TV, Sends Thanks to Community

Posted: September 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Lobster Shanty, Salem | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Just in case you’ve missed it, Salem’s Lobster Shanty announced recently that they will be featured on the Food Network program Diners, Drive-ins & Dives hosted by celebrity chef Guy Fieri this Monday night, September 27th at 10:00 PM local time.  There will be a viewing party hosted by the Lobster Shanty and Mayflower Brewing Company beginning at 7:00 PM on the 27th at the Lobster Shanty, 25 Front St. @ Artist’s Row in Salem. There is also a free screening at Cinema Salem where the doors open at 9:00 PM and the show begins at 10:00 PM. The owners and many of the Shanty crew will be joining the crowd at Cinema Salem.

In anticipation of this event the Shanty has been working hard upgrading the kitchen exhaust system and readying for the increased traffic that may come from national TV exposure as well as the upcoming Halloween season.

Diane and Lee Wolf, the proprietors of the Shanty, thank the community for their patience and partnership during their kitchen reconstruction and experimental Take-out Nights. They would especially like to thank Front St. Coffee House, Rockafella’s, Coven, Gulu Gulu, and Caffe Graziani for reaching out and helping to feed their guests while their kitchen was closed. The Shanty is also grateful to the City of Salem Fire Department and Health Department for their help in creating a safe outdoor kitchen.

The Lobster Shanty has been serving the good people of Salem for more than 30 years and is proud to be part of the recent restaurant explosion in the downtown area by renewing their commitment to maintain a vibrant downtown Salem.

If you can’t make it to the viewing party, stop by the Shanty and congratulate Lee and Dee Dee!


Milk & Honey: A New Twist on the Urban Grocery Store

Posted: September 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Marketplace, Milk & Honey, Salem | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Man, do we wish we lived up the street from Milk & Honey in Salem. With gourmet items, bulk grains and spices, fresh produce, a variety of groceries, and a great selection of artisan cheeses, this new market in downtown Salem is a gem.

Sharon Driscoll, a 14-year Salem resident, tells us the idea is an urban country store with an emphasis on natural and organic items. She also tells us her new venture is a lifelong dream, but we could see that the moment we stepped in the door.

The market is welcoming and well laid out, with wood floors and exposed brick walls. There’s a display of fresh vegetables from Crown of Maine and Maitland Farm (located off Loring Ave in Salem) plus bins of onions, potatoes, and shallots. There are organic grass-fed meats from New England Family Farms and Free Bird, as well as a selection of vegan and vegetarian items, including Macro Vegetarian prepared foods.

We love how many items are available in bulk, saving us from buying more than we need and all that unnecessary packaging. There are several varieties of beans; rice, lentils, quinoa, and polenta; loose tea; coffee; dried peppers and mushrooms; dried fruits; vanilla beans; and more.

The grocery section includes an interesting mix of the practical (cereal, pasta, dog food) and the gourmet (wine jelly, Taza and Vao Vao chocolate), plus a large selection of baking items, many of them gluten free.

We were happy to see a number of local products on the shelves, including Appledore salsa, Pemberton salsa, Lark cookies, and Effie’s oatcakes. Fresh loaves are available from A&J King and Nashoba Brook. Not food but quite local is a collection of Plum Island soaps and body butters.

The fresh pastries in the case next to the register are also local; some are from Nashoba Brook and the rest from Dough Raise Me in Amesbury. We sampled an individual pumpkin cheesecake, a berry berry tart, an apple tart (needed more flavor), and the ginger chocolate cookie. The cookie might have been the best of the bunch, with the almond-y tart taking a close second.

Ordinarily, we’d wish Driscoll good luck on her new spot, open for only two weeks, but we really don’t think she’s going to need it. We’re thrilled to see this well-thought out market join the ranks of the many businesses helping make the revitalized downtown Salem such a great place to shop.

Milk & Honey
32 Church Street, Salem
(978) 744-6639


Weekend Picks

Posted: September 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Event | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

This post marks the beginning of something new here at the Dish. We have joined with a group of fellow local bloggers to form the North Shore Blogger Consortium. We will be bringing you the best of Boston’s North Shore each Thursday morning in a series of posts titled North Shore Blogger Consortium Weekend Picks. These picks will feature each blog’s very top picks of things to do for the upcoming weekend, whether it be culture, food or activities.

This first week is a bit of a soft opening, if you will, with just a few participants. We will be featuring many more bloggers in the upcoming weeks.

North Shore Dish Weekend Picks:

Tonight, Thursday 23rd, Shubie’s Market Place will be hosting a wine tasting  at the Lee Mansion in Marblehead to benefit the Marblehead Museum and Historic Society.

Saturday the 25th is a huge day for beer; it marks the beginning of North Shore Beer Week, and, man, is there a lot to choose from. Henry’s Market in Beverly is having an Oktoberfest celebration; they’ll have tents set up for a huge beer tasting, including samples from both local and national brewers, plus lots of great food and the judging of the Home Brew Competition. Further north, you’ll find the 5th Annual Riverfront Brewfest, hosted by the Haverhill Brewery and the 4th Annual Brew Fest at the Amesbury Sports Park, which promises “Beers Bands and BBQ.”

And if you’re looking for something to do with younger kids that day, you might want to check out the Ipswich Chowder Fest, which takes place from 12:00 to 3:00 on the Ipswich River Walk and features family-friendly activities as well as chowder tastings from area restaurants.

And on both Saturday the 25th and Sunday the 26th, Marblehead will be holding its annual Fall Festival, which for the first time this year includes a Restaurant Rivalry. You can purchase a ticket for $5 and as you walk through town enjoying the special events and sidewalk sales that will garner you tastings at a group of the local restaurants. You get to vote on your favorite, and you could win a $50 restaurant gift certificate.

Here are the picks from some other members of the Consortium:

At its core, LynnHappens.com is a place to find out what’s happening in Lynn. It
features an events calendar, local weather, arts and events coverage, photo
galleries, complete City Council videos, letters to the editor and more.

Click here are for LynnHappens.com editor Seth Albaum’s picks for the weekend

Good Morning Gloucester brings you the best of Gloucester MA and surrounding communities. From the docks to the restaurants, the sporting fields to the art scene and anything in between, if it’s happening in Gloucester it’s generally covered on GMG.

Click here for Joey’s weekend picks

Greater Newburyport Today is your online guide to the wide range of activities and events occurring within the Greater Newburyport region of coastal Massachusetts, including the surrounding New Hampshire seacoast and the Ipswich/Essex and Cape Ann regions of the North Shore.

Click here for Greater Newburyport today’s weekend picks

In addition to these fine folks, next week we will have suggestions from The Two Palaverers, Heather Atwood, Abby Cahill O’Brien and Author Jane Ward. Stay tuned!


Ambivalent About Anmol

Posted: September 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Anmol, Beverly, Indian | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

We experienced a decidedly mixed bag on a recent visit to Anmol. We were pleased with the coconut naan ($3.75 and a special that day), and the mango chicken ($7.95). We also liked that we could order any dish with mild, medium, or hot spice levels. And the small bowl of cinnamon-laced rice pudding at the end of the meal was a nice touch (gratis).

But the décor is stale, there were too few shrimp in the shrimp curry for the $7.95 price tag, and while the $9.95 chicken masala dosa was huge, it was dry and somewhat flavorless.

With so few Indian restaurants on the North Shore, we hesitate to disparage this one, especially since it’s not bad, just average. Still, Passage to India is only one town further south, and every meal we’ve had there was much more enjoyable. We’re also curious to know if perhaps some of Anmol’s dishes are better than others. If you’ve enjoyed a meal there, please let us know about it in the comments.

258 Rantoul St, Beverly
(978) 232-9009

Anmol Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Gearing Up For North Shore Beer Week

Posted: September 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Drinks, Event, Green Land Cafe, Henry's Fine Foods, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Brothers Sean and Ryan Jansen and friend Ian Cowpar are men on a mission. Their lofty goal? To spread the good word to the citizens of the North Shore about the many joys of craft beer.

2 Beer Guys, which started out as the  personal project of Sean and Ian to educate themselves about the nuances of various beers, has blossomed into much more. They now host beer tastings, teach Beer 101 classes, maintain a website on which they have published hundreds of brew reviews, and publish a blog with up-to-date information on local and national beer events. These guys know their stuff and truly enjoy getting involved with the community.

Which brings us to North Shore Beer Week. If you’re thinking you’ve never heard of this event, you’re right—this year marks the first of what the Beer Guys hope will evolve into a great annual event.

After being involved in the organization of Portsmouth Craft Beer Weekend this winter, Sean and Ryan told us they got excited about creating a larger celebration to encompass their home turf. In partnership with Seaboard, a local beer distributor, they began to knock on doors to spread the word and gain support of local venues. Bookended by existing events, and during traditional Oktoberfest time, the last week in September seemed a perfect fit.

The celebration kicks off on September 25 with the 5th Annual Riverfront Brewfest, hosted by the Haverhill Brewery. They’ll run two sessions featuring sampling from roughly 20 breweries as well as live bands and their popular cask cellar.

The following week includes beer tastings hosted at many local restaurants and liquor stores, two craft beer education classes by the Beer Guys, the Oktoberfest celebration at Henry’s Market in Beverly with the judging of the Homebrew Competition, and a couple of beer dinners including the Green Land Café’s Harvest Beer Dinner. The final event of the week will be the Great Brewers 2010 Grand Prix of Gloucester, which features a beer garden from 11:00 to 5:00 on October 2 and 3, with many participating breweries.

The full schedule of events can be found on the website. The calendar function is a little awkward, so be sure to click on each day to see all the events.

The Dish is an avid supporter of small local brewers, and restaurants that support the craft beer movement. We are constantly delighted by the variety and quality of beers available. The North Shore is definitely a haven for beer lovers, so if you’re one of them, get out there and show Beer Week your support.


Autumn Events: Food and Brews to Cure the End of Summer Blues

Posted: September 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Amesbury, Beverly, Essex, Event, Gloucester, Ipswich, Peabody, Rockport, Salem | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Labor Day weekend has come and gone, the kids are back to school, and everyone else is back to the grind. If the end of summer is getting you down, we’re here with good news. This fall is so full of terrific events, you’ll be too busy making merry to notice the shorter days and cooler temps.

If you’re interested in dining diversity, you’ll want to head over to Peabody Square on Sunday: the 27th Annual International Festival begins at 11:30 a.m. This popular event offers a variety of live entertainment and kids’ activities, but the real draw is the food, with more than 60 booths serving up traditional fare from Greece, Brazil, China, Poland, Italy, the Caribbean, and many others.

And the feast doesn’t stop when the festival is over. Peabody Restaurant Week starts September 12th and runs until the 15th.  Participating restaurants will offer a three-course prix fixe meal at the bargain price of $15 per person (tax and gratuity not included). So far, the list of participants includes Firebull, Paddy Kelly’s, Sugar Cane, Tokyo Steakhouse, Trackside, Wardhurst, and Willowtree. As with any restaurant week, it’s wise to make reservations.

September 16 brings the Taste of Cape Ann to Cruiseport in Gloucester. This is a great opportunity to try offerings from some of the area’s best restaurants and caterers and to sample beer, wine, and more. All proceeds benefit YMCA youth programs in Gloucester and Rockport. Tickets are $35 per person and available at the Gloucester Y or at the door.

On the 18th, head out to the Spencer-Pierce-Little Farm in Newbury for the annual Ipswich Ale Fall Fest. There will be food from Ipswich Clambake and Tennessee’s BBQ alongside Ipswich and Stone Cat Ales. Entertainment includes live music and vintage baseball games. Admission is free; food and beer are extra.

The folks at Henry’s Market are getting a jump on things by celebrating Oktoberfest in September, and they’re looking to throw quite a shindig on the 25th. They’ll have tents set up for a huge beer tasting, including samples from both local and national brewers. They promise plenty of grilled sausages and other taste treats, and the highlight of the event will be the judging of the Home Brew Competition.

Also on the the 25th is the 4th Annual Brew Fest  at the Amesbury Sports Park from 12:00 to 8:00 p.m. which promises “Beers Bands and BBQ” and tickets are $10.00 per person. The event kicks off North Shore Beer Week, which we’ll be talking more about in an upcoming post, so stay tuned.

And if you’re looking for something to do with younger kids that day, you might want to check out the Ipswich Chowder Fest, which takes place from 12:00 to 3:00 on the Ipswich River Walk and features family-friendly activities as well as chowder tastings from area restaurants.

Did you know that Salem’s Lobster Shanty is being featured on an episode of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins & Dives? The segment airs September 27th at 10:00 p.m., and to celebrate, the folks at Cinema Salem are hosting a free viewing party starting at 9:00 p.m. The action will be starting at the Shanty at 7:oo pm and Mayflower Brewing will be on hand with samples of their IPA, Porter and new seasonal Autumn Wheat. They’ll also have it available on tap if you want to purchase a pint.

On the 28th, Green Land Café will be hosting a beer dinner featuring some unusual beers. They will have Tilburg’s Brown Ale, Hitachino Red Rice, Schlenkerla Marzen, Tripel Karmeliet, Saison Dupont, and Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout paired with dishes like kobe beef, pumpkin lobster bisque with chanterelles, roasted local quail, New England cheeses, and more. Tickets are $65 per person. Call (978) 744-7766 for information and reservations.

The Lyceum will be presenting an Introduction to Wine Varietals at 6:00 p.m. on the 30th, and they promise a fun tasting and discussion of six wines along with appetizers for $30 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. If interested, they ask that you RSVP to (978) 745-7665 to reserve a spot.

Speaking of local dinners, don’t forget 62 Restaurant and Winebar is running its Passports promotion throughout September, October, and November. Not only is it an opportunity to sample terrific food at a great price and widen your wine horizons, it’s also a chance to win a free trip to Europe.

Caffe Graziani is hosting an International Wine Dinner on October 14 at 6:00. They’ll be serving five courses, each with a different wine, including a spiedino of scallops and shrimp in curry ginger sauce with Rioja Blanca Cortijo from Spain, gorgonzola and walnut gnocchi in cherry tomato cream sauce with Gamekeeper’s Reserve Cabernet Graham Beck from South Africa, and beef braciolettine in sauce of fresh roman tomatoes, black olives, and capers with Salice Salentino Rivera from Italy. Tickets are $75 per person, which includes tax and gratuity. Reservations and prepayment are required. For more information, e-mail paulag@caffegraziani.com or call Giovanni or Paula at (978) 741-4282.

October 16 brings the Salem Harvest Fest at the Knights of Columbus at 94 Washington Square. The party features live music, food, more than 50 wines to sample, and tastes of brews from Magic Hat, Cape Ann Brewing, Harpoon, Cody Brewing, Mayflower Brewing, Dogfish Head, Berkshire Brewing, Wachusett, Narragansett, Ipswich, and Stone Cat. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and are available at Salemharvestfest.com or Pamplemousse, 185 Essex St. (The Harvest Fest website hasn’t been updated as of this post.)

October 17 marks the start of Cape Ann Restaurant Week, which runs through the 22nd. Area restaurants will offer a three-course prix fixe dinner for $25 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Many local favorites including Gloucester’s Lobsta Land and Rockport’s Emerson Inn By The Sea will be participating. The Cape Ann website will be updated as the list is confirmed, and we’ll keep you posted as the week nears.

The 28th Annual Essex ClamFest, a North Shore favorite, takes place on October 23. It starts at 11:00 a.m. Memorial Park in Essex and features lots of fried clams, food and fun, but the main event is the Clam Chowder Tasting. Ten local restaurants will serve up their favorite chowder recipe starting at 12:00, and the contest judges will include Jeff Jones, Senator Bruce Tarr, Ann-Margaret Ferrante and
Legal Seafoods CEO Roger Berkowitz among others. The public will have the opportunity to sample and vote on their favorite chowder.

And if that isn’t enough to fill your fall, don’t forget that many of the local orchards and farms feature hayrides, cider donuts, and live music on weekends to accompany apple picking and pumpkin purchasing. So stop moping over summer; get out there and enjoy the tastes of autumn on the North Shore.


Brutole Proves Location Isn’t Everything

Posted: September 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: American, Brutole, Danvers, Mediterranean | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

If we hadn’t heard from a couple of sources that the food at Brutole was outstanding, we would probably have turned around in the parking lot. This restaurant has got to win the award for strangest location ever: it’s a high-end Mediterranean restaurant located on Route 1 next to a Motel 6.

Once inside, it’s easy to forget where you are. The luxurious décor and lighting put you in the mood to dine, and the outstanding service makes you feel you’re in good hands. By the time the warm artisan bread arrives with olive oil (mixed tableside with cheese and pepper flakes), you’re a convert.

We started with the caesar salad ($10), which was outstandingly fresh and coated with the perfect amount of dressing. The duck breast with mushroom risotto and a blackberry reduction ($14) was also a winner, three large slices cooked to medium-rare and ready for that delicious sauce.

The hefty portions don’t stop with the appetizers. The prices at Brutole are similar to those you’d find in Boston, but the portions are about double. For example, the rack of lamb was cooked to our requested medium, absolutely delicious, and accompanied by a very tasty lentil/vegetable mix. At $41, it’s the most expensive entrée on the menu, but definitely worth the splurge in terms of flavor, and with six good-sized chops on the plate, we were able to make another meal of the leftovers.

We also enjoyed the grilled salmon ($28), which came with silky horseradish mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. The sea bass with white bean compote and spinach ($34) was great, especially combined with the sautéed mushroom side dish ($9).

Desserts are often a disappointment, even at fine dining establishments, so we’re pleased to be able to recommend saving some room when you dine here. The crème brulee was creamy and satisfying ($9), but it was outshone by the strawberry rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice cream ($10). It’s served in a loaf pan, wonderfully crisp and decadent, and the perfect size for sharing.

It was a great ending to the meal, but we received one final service before we left—a bag with nicely packaged leftovers was handed to us in exchange for a number, rather than dumped on our table. Brutole may not be located in a charming area, but that didn’t stop it from winning us over.

65 Newbury St, Danvers (first driveway after Rt 114 east exit)
(978) 777-6633

Brutole on Urbanspoon