Creativity Thrives at Peabody’s Maki Sushi Bar

Posted: June 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Asian, Maki Sushi, Peabody, Seafood | Tags: , , | No Comments »

They say good things come in small packages, and that’s definitely the case at Maki Sushi in Peabody. Behind this unassuming storefront on Main Street is a pleasant space with a large menu of traditional and creative sushi.

We had heard good things about Maki Sushi, which opened less than a year ago and does not yet have a liquor license (it’s in the works for the near future, we’re told). It did not disappoint, with fresh offerings and attentive service.

We started with the avocado salad, which featured wafer-thin slices of perfectly ripe avocado, crisp romaine, and a delicious ginger dressing ($6). We also tried the wasabi shumai, five lightly fried dumplings packed with that wonderful horseradish heat ($6).

For our main course, we mixed up the traditional and the modern. The salmon nigiri was good sized and tender ($5). The California roll with snow crab was generous, tender, and flavorful ($8). The eel roll was the only one we tried that we wouldn’t recommend—a bit skimpy on the eel and not enough sweet sauce ($7).

The number of special rolls on the menu is impressive. We tried the double tuna roll, a definite winner with spicy tuna, cucumber, and scallions in a roll topped with a piece of tuna ($10). The lobster roll was also terrific, with lots of tempura lobster, mango, avocado, and a delicious sauce ($14).

We were too full for dessert, but we may save room for the mochi ice cream or the banana wontons next time. We might even venture outside the sushi bar to try a bento box, which includes rice, soup, salad, gyoza, cream cheese dumpling, vegetables, and a four-piece California roll ($16 for beef teriyaki).

Maki Sushi
43 Main St, Peabody
(978) 854-5426

Maki Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon


For Savory Sandwiches and Craft Beer, Stop into Swampscott’s Cup n Board

Posted: June 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cup n Board, Marketplace, Swampscott | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Since opening last October, The Cup n Board, a new specialty foods market in Swampscott, has been steadily gaining Internet buzz, a new favorite of food and wine bloggers and craft beer devotees.

Located on Burill Street, directly across from the commuter rail station in the former Fiory’s Market space, the spot is both convenient and awkward. Those unfamiliar with the area may find it difficult to navigate, but there is plenty of street parking on the adjacent block, and it’s perfect for commuters.

A small wonderland of local, organic, and fair-trade items, Cup n Board is worth stepping into just to peruse the shelves. Many local favorites are in evidence, along with beautiful baked goods supplied by Christopher’s Café in Lynn, a nice selection of cheeses, fair trade coffee, organic teas, and gelato.

Although the market carries a respectable selection of wines, the real standout is the craft beer case. The impressive array of imported ales and craft brews includes local favorites like Clown Shoes, Cody, and Notch Sessions as well as Pretty Things, Blue Hills, and Mayflower. If you’re hesitant to buy a whole six pack in order to try something new, many are available as mix n’ match, so you can put together a combination to take home.

Cup n Board holds one beer and one wine tasting a month, each accompanied by small bites crafted specifically for the occasion. In July, they’ll have a Notch Session beer tasting with Chris Lohring of Salem on the 8th and an Argentinean wine tasting with Swampscott’s Michael Lancaster of Global Wines on the 22nd.

Swampscott resident Susan ‘Suki’ Ellsworth and several neighbors developed the idea of the market together, but when the others backed out of the project, she decided to continue on her own. With a background in catering and food service, a ready smile, and an upbeat manner, Ellsworth seems ready to take on the world, one fabulous sandwich at a time.

And the sandwiches are really that great. At $7.95 a pop, they are large enough to save half for later and stuffed with fresh ingredients. On our first visit we tried the Thai Chicken, which contained chicken, lettuce, carrots, onion, cilantro, spicy sauce, and peanut sauce in a lightly toasted roll. It was crunchy, savory, and delicious. We also tasted the Vietnamese: carrot slaw, cilantro, cucumbers, red onion, siracha, and soy with pork (you can substitute portobello mushroom), which had much more of a kick.

Another night we called ahead an ordered sandwiches so they were ready for pick up after stepping off the train. The Rueben was a lighter, pressed version of the classic, with turkey in lieu of corned beef, and the Mediterranean was a taste revelation. A pressed sandwich with turkey, olive spread, red onion, spinach, and feta cheese, it was tangy and unique and will definitely be making a return to our table.

Ellsworth also offers a variety of salads for $6.95 each, based on what produce is locally available.

The Cup n Board is open from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm during the week and 9:00 to 6:00 on Saturdays so commuters can grab their coffee and muffin heading in and a light dinner and libation on the way home. You can find additional information about daily specials on their Facebook page.

Cup n Board
205 Burill Street, Swampscott
(781) 595-0511


Anyone For a Cocktail?

Posted: June 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Drinks, Marketplace, Powell & Mahoney | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

We’re constantly amazed at the things we find in our own backyard. For example, did you know that frozen-cocktail wholesaler Maui Beverages is located right in Beverly? Even better, its parent company, Creative Juices, recently launched a line of all-natural cocktail mixers based on classic drinks like lemon sours, bloody marys, and margaritas.

The Powell & Mahoney line is sold all over New England in liquor stores and specialty markets for $6.59 to $7.99. It uses high-quality natural ingredients and is made in small batches for better taste and a more consistent product, according to co-owner Mark Mahoney. His partner, Brian Powell, is a former vice president of Stirrings.

We recently got a chance to chat with Mahoney, who  grew up on the North Shore and currently lives in Marblehead. He is understandably proud of the new mixer line, which he said has been very well received by retailers and consumers. “Half the battle is getting people to try it. Once they do, we have a customer,” said Mahoney, whose favorite local bar for cocktails is Beverly’s Soma.

The Powell & Mahoney line launched in 2010 with bloody mary, red sangria, lemon sour, pomegranate martini, margarita, mojito, cosmo, ginger, and hot toddy mixers. Within the next few months, the company will introduce peach bellini and low-calorie margarita mixes (the latter will be around 35 calories per ounce, not including alcohol, and made with a natural sweetener).

Mahoney gave us samples of several of the original products, plus the new peach bellini. We found the bloody mary fresh-tasting and pleasingly spicy. The ginger is a standout—perfect for making dark and stormys or perhaps a ginger martini. Those who like a sweeter drink should try the cosmo, and for the perfect brunch drink, definitely add champagne or prosecco to the bellini, which is very fruity and not overly sweet.

As our favorite summer drink is a gin rickey, we decided to experiment at home with the pomegranate and whipped up a pomegranate rickey. Fun, refreshing and far from ordinary, it’ll be the pick of the patio this summer.

Mahoney, whose favorite drinks include pina coladas and pomegranate margaritas, told us to watch for “bar chefs” continuing to create signature cocktails and tailored drinks at high-end restaurants. He also expects to see margaritas in flavors like white peach and prickly pear and a proliferation of shelf-stable, eco-friendly packaging for everything from wine to cocktail mixers.

On the North Shore, the Powell & Mahoney line can be found at Pamplemousse (Salem), Haley’s (Marblehead), Henry’s, Depot Liquors, and Cosgroves (Beverly), Harrigan’s (Hamilton), Ipswich Bottle (Ipswich), Leary’s Fine Wines (Newburyport), and Kappy’s and Route 114 Liquors (Peabody).

Powell and Mahoney Ltd.


Weekend Picks, June 10-12

Posted: June 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cider Hill Farm, Event, Lobster Shanty, Marblehead Farmer's Market, Wine Connextion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

If you’ve been running around crazy busy for the past few weeks, you’re not alone. We feel your pain and think you might enjoy kicking back and relaxing at some of the great tastings and fun events going on this weekend.

Start things off right by stopping into Cup ‘n Board in Swampcott from 5:00 to 7:00pm for a beer tasting from Blue Hills Brewery. They’ll have tasty treats on hand as well, and an awesome selection of both beer and wine to take home for the weekend.

This weekend marks the beginning of strawberry season and Smolak Farms in North Andover is throwing a kickoff celebration from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm with strawberry picking, free activities for the kids and complimentary wine and prosecco tastings provided by Wine ConneXtion from 1:00 to 2:00pm.

They’ll also be starting pick-your-own season at one of our favorite farms, Cider Hill in Amesbury. And speaking of Cider Hill, they’ll be participating in the Marblehead Farmer’s Market, which opens on Saturday for the season. In a recent newsletter Glenn Cook, owner of Cider Hill said ” This is one of the best markets in the state!” Check it out from 9:00am to noon.

On Saturday afternoon there are several opportunities to try new tastes you may want to add to your summer drink list. At 2:00pm Busa Wine and Spirits in Salem is hosting an Iberian Wine Fiesta with summer reds from Bodegas San Valero in Carinena, Spain on offer as well as a handcrafted sangria. They will also be raffling off two $50 in -store gift certificates. The raffle tickets are $5 each and proceeds to go to Northeast Animal Shelter.

At 4:00pm Kappy’s Liquors in Danvers hosts a Grand Beer Tasting, which looks to be a terrific way to sample north shore brews with selections from Cody and Cape Ann Brewing, as well as more esoteric quaffs like Stone Brewery’s Arrogant Bastard Ale and Les Brasseurs’ Amadeus Biere Blanche Witbier.

There are also a couple of fundraisers worth attending on our radar. Salem’s Lobster Shanty hosts the 6th BaldBil YMCA Day. The Shanty will donate 5% of the entire day’s house proceeds to the Y’s financial assistance program in support of kids and families. All bartender tips will go to the Y, as well as what the waitstaff give to the bartender at night’s end. There will also be live music and some very cool items raffled off.

On Monday the 13th, head on over to Victoria Station in Salem. At 7:00pm they are hosting a Fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. When executive chef John Andrews discovered that one of his staff had been diagnosed with MS he stepped up to rally support for her and the Society. There will be food tables by Victoria Station, Finz and The Lobster Shanty, Seaport Cafe and more, as well as raffles, auctions, celebrity bartenders and live music. Tickets are $10 at the door and all proceeds go toward the cause.

And as usual, we’ve got the weekend picks from our pals in the North Shore Blogger’s Consortium:

Seth keeps you up on everything going on in Lynn at Lynn Happens, including the debut of the new Arts After Hours production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, directed by our awesome pal Corey Jackson.

Kim Bingham talks about meeting the Boston Brunchers along with her weekend picks on Lighter and Local.

Author Jane Ward lists her weekend ideas, but we’re even more entranced by her luscious looking curried chicken salad recipe.

Rob and Laura head all over New England for some great ideas at The Two Palaverers.