Farmers Market and Local Chefs Make a Winning Combination

Posted: October 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Event, G Bar and Kitchen, Swampscott Farmer's market | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Beautiful and savory plates by Chef Brackmann of G Bar and Kitchen earned the Chef Throwdown trophy.

This Sunday will mark the end of the Swampscott Farmers’ Market first season. If you haven’t been this year, you should plan to check it out. In addition to beautiful produce from area farms, they host some terrific locally produced foods. We enjoyed Patty’s Guacamole out of Gloucester, tasty treats from Salem’s Sweet Adeline’s, and lush jams from Marblehead’s Fille de Ferme.

Chef Craig Hawley prepares a fresh lobster for the grill.

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of being one of the judges at a Chef Throwdown at the market, but due to technical difficulties haven’t been able to post photos until now. It was an awesome event, with all three chefs stepping up to the plate in spectacular fashion, and the crowd hanging on every move.

Chef Brackmann whipping up butternut zucchini pancakes.

Chef Gregg Brackmann of G Bar and Kitchen may have walked away with the saucepan trophy, but I think the judges were the true winners for the chance to taste some unique and wonderful dishes.

Chef Guarino plates his ceviche.

Brackmann’s plating was gorgeous, and his accompaniments, like acorn squash and corn hash, red and purple pepper puree, and butternut zucchini pancakes were fresh and funky, highlighting seasonal produce. Chef Joe Guarino of Red Rock Bistro wowed the judges with a salmon ceviche that was a taste revelation.

Tangy and tender salmon ceviche by Red Rock Bistro’s Chef Guarino.

We loved Chef Craig Hawley’s Bar-B-Que Bistro (seriously, the coolest BBQ truck I’ve ever seen) which he graciously lent to the proceedings, but we loved his smoked purple pepper stuffed with rich seafood etouffé even more.

Craig hawley’s divine smoked purple peppers stuffed with seafood etouffe.

The Swampscott Farmers Market is a great addition to the local food scene, and we congratulate them on a successful first year and thank them for hosting such a well-organized and entertaining throwdown.

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Local Chefs to Compete at Swampscott Farmers Market

Posted: September 12th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Event | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

If you’re a fan of reality shows like “Chopped” on Food Network, we suggest you get yourselves to the Swampscott Farmers Market this Sunday for their Chef Throwdown, which promises to be quite entertaining.

The competition will feature three local chefs: Joe Guarino of Red Rock Bistro, G Bar & Kitchen’s Gregg Brackman, and Craig Hawley of the Bar-B-Que Bistro and Fish and Fowl Supper Club.

Each contestant will be given $35 and 15 minutes to peruse the market for ingredients; they must purchase items from at least four vendors. John Crow Farms will provide a still-to-be-confirmed protein.

The chefs will have one hour to prepare their meal in a very limited space. Extras provided by the market are limited to salt, pepper, olive oil, butter, water, and plates. Contestants are allowed to bring one ingredient from their own kitchens, but that item may not constitute more than 25% of the dish.

Judging will be based on taste, use of workspace, and creativity and presentation. We are very excited to have been asked to participate in the judging and yours truly will be joining Julie Pottier-Brown, Manager of Farm Direct Coop, and Swampscott’s Matt Strauss, former selectman and hospitality executive for over 20 years, to do the honors.

The market is open rain or shine Sundays from 10:00 to 1:00 at the Swampscott High School, 200 Essex Street. The Chef Throwdown will start at 10:30 when the bell rings for the chefs to begin shopping. Cooking will take place from 11:00 to 12:00, then the tasting and judging will begin.

If you’re in the area, stop by to say hello, cheer on your favorite kitchen wizard and pick up some fresh produce at the same time!

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A Savory Evening at Maggie’s Farm in Middleton

Posted: August 28th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: American, Drinks, Maggie's Farm, Middleton, Seafood | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

We recently headed out Rt. 114 to Middleton to check out the newest member of Mark McDonough and Jeff Cala’s Serenitee Restaurant Group. Maggie’s Farm (named after the Dylan song) took over the space next to Sol Bean Café most recently occupied by Rock’s Tavern and opened in May.

Things were hopping on a Saturday night, and we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations after 7:00, so unless you head over early, you may find yourself in the same boat, though spending time at the large, pleasant bar isn’t a problem.

The celebrity-populated mural on the rear wall is fun, making it seem as though Jerry Garcia and Pee Wee Herman are jockeying with you for a seat at the bar. Other than that, the obviously music- and farm-inspired décor is a bit more sparse than some of Serenitee’s other establishments and features more TV screens than we like while dining.

The brews on tap include several local offerings, including Cody Sunshine Daydream, a Belgian gold ale brewed specially for Serenitee. Perusing the cocktail menu, we decided to try the Blood Orange Margarita, made with Sauza Gold Tequila, Cointreau, fresh sour mix, and a blood orange puree ($10). It was nicely tart and refreshing, with a decent pour of tequila.

The menu, as expected, features a mix of seafood, grilled entrees, and Serenitee’s trademark sushi. It also includes vegan and gluten-free offerings, which are clearly marked. Speaking of gluten free, once seated at our table, we decided to try the tater tots ($9) for a starter. Not the pre-fab frozen nuggets you’ve come to expect, these were a decadent surprise. Creamy, cheesy, slightly chunky mashed potatoes that had been deep fried and were served with a chive bacon sour cream sauce, they quickly disappeared.

The entrees we sampled were large and hearty. The meatloaf, made from both beef and pork, came as thick tender slabs served with cheddar mashed potatoes, garlic broccoli, and copious mushroom gravy ($19). The lamb shank really exceeded expectations. Savory, garlicky, and falling off the bone, it was served with a tasty summer veggie ratatouille on a bed of creamy polenta ($20).

One member of our party did go for the sushi, which was super fresh. The spicy roll ($10) is offered with a choice of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, or crab, and indecision led us to ask if the order could be made up of some of each. Our server checked with the sushi bar and happily reported it wasn’t a problem.

There was no way we had room for dessert, so that will have to await further investigation. The flow of the dining space space is slightly awkward and parking limited, but the attentive service and enjoyable meal definitely warrant a return trip.

Maggie’s Farm
119 South Main Street, Middleton
(978) 539-8583
maggiesfarmmiddleton.com

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Dish Tid Bits: What’s New on the North Shore

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The restaurant scene on the North Shore is always changing, and the past six months have seen quite a few openings and closings. We’ve put together a list of the goings on, and we’re excited to have so many new places to explore.

Last year, it seemed Salem had a new restaurant opening every week. This year Marblehead wins the prize for the amount of changes and new businesses. Five Corners Kitchen has finally reopened after the devastating fire last year, having enlarged into the former Terry’s Ice Cream space to include a bigger dining room and extensive bar. Clearly, residents were ecstatic to have it back—the place has been filled every time we’ve driven by. Terry’s, which has moved down the street to Atlantic Ave., has yet to re-open.

Around the corner, in the former Pellino’s location on Washington Street, Italian eatery Yannalfo’s Ristorante, owned by Andover resident Brett Yannalfo, is slated to open soon. Joey D’s Italian Grill, serving pasta and seafood, has taken over the Hooked space on Pleasant St, across from the new Warwick Place development. The owners of Warwick Place are working with a developer to put a new high-end restaurant in place, but negotiations seem to have stalled after their request for outdoor seating was shot down by the town.

Hungry Betty’s has been sold to Jason Rakauskas, who has vowed to keep the name and atmosphere, making a few changes to the menu. Kitsen Table in Village Plaza has morphed into Soall Bistro, a Vietnamese café about which we’ve heard some good things.

Brothers Felix and Jose Bracamontes, previously of Mexico Lindo in Melrose, have just opened the doors of a new Mexican restaurant, Casa Carona, in the former Sablone’s space on Smith street. While expected soon, they have no liquor license yet.

Marbleheaders have also been able to indulge their sweet cravings with the opening of two bakeries and a candy shop. Captn’s Bakery on Washington St. offers breads, cookies, pastries, and cannolis, while Just Fabulous Custom Cakes and Sugarscapes offers custom-made, special-occasion confections. The Candy Pop Sweet Shoppe is similar to an old-fashioned penny-candy vendor but also sells snack mixes, popcorn, and fancy baked goods.

In Lynn, we were sad to hear that Turbine Wine Bar has closed. We really liked their atmosphere but hear the landlord was difficult to work with. Le Petite Café, serving breakfast and lunch, has moved into the former Fernandos space on Munroe Street. A Greek-themed family restaurant, Olympic Gardens, has opened on Buffum St., and New Style Asian, featuring an extensive menu of both traditional Asian and vegan fare, has opened on Boston Street.

Our favorite new concept in Salem is Flying Saucer Pizza, created by the Gulu Gulu folks when they took over the space next door, vacated by Uppercrust Pizza. While we have yet to sample the pies (high on our to-do list) we admittedly geek out over the sci-fi theme and fun movie and TV references.

Green Land Café has been sold to new owner Nolo Opus and is closed for renovation. The new incarnation, to be named Opus, will likely open in November.

43 Church has a new chef, a slightly more wallet-friendly menu, and is open for lunch. Not to be confused with Tavern on the Square or The Tavern at the Hawthorne Hotel, Village Tavern is poised to open soon in that odd space in Museum Place Mall previously occupied by Lakay Island and others. Speaking of Museum Place, that’s where 3 Potato 4, the baked fries place we wrote about a while back, has moved.

And the game of North Shore musical chairs continues. Last year, Brodie’s Pub in Peabody was sold to Michael Votto, who now plans to open a second Brodie’s location in Salem, where the Seaport Café was. Joe Deisely, who originally owned Brodie’s, has taken over 282 Cabot St. in Beverly and opened EJ Cabot’s, which looks to be more pub-like than its predecessor, Tryst. Former Tryst owner and chef Peter Capalbo is now the chef at the re-tooled Wenham Tea House. Got it?

In Peabody, the new Red’s Kitchen and Tavern is in full swing in their Rt. 1 location and Stonewood Tavern has opened on Lynnfield St.

In Hamilton, the Black Cow is still closed for renovations, but it will hopefully reopen in September. 15 Walnut has a new chef and just released a new late-summer menu.

Ally’s Eatery, a new sandwich take-out shop in Rockport has earned rave reviews. According to our friend Heather Atwood, Ally’s “has elevated a panini and salad eaten on a bench to fine dining.”

Our must-try short list also includes Enx Dadulas’ Ohana on Main Street in Gloucester. The upscale New American cuisine spot has been attracting diners in droves since it opened this spring. Also making waves in Gloucester is the nightlife at newly opened Mile Marker 1, which offers a waterside deck, live entertainment, and, if you arrive by boat, free dockage with your restaurant receipt.

Brown Sugar by the Sea, a relative of Boston’s Brown Sugar has replaced Andaman Thai Restaurant in the Tannery in Newburyport and has already garnered some great reviews. Newburyport will also soon be home to two craft microbreweries. Newburyport Brewing Co., a “keg and can” brewery is working to have three ales on offer, and Riverwalk Brewing of Amesbury is preparing to move into new digs in Newburyport in September.

We’d be remiss in our duty if we didn’t mention the invasion of various frozen yogurt chains all over the north shore this summer. We don’t usually cover chains, but they have aroused so much interest we may have to get out there devote a piece to comparison tasting. The things we do for our readers.

More changes are afoot, of course, but hopefully this post will be helpful to those of you looking to widen your taste horizons this fall. If you’ve got any hot tips on new restos, let us know, and we’ll spread the word.

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Lunch Comes Alive at Salem’s New Organic Café

Posted: August 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Cafe, Life Alive, Vegitarian/Vegan | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

When Coven opened at 281 Essex Street in Salem, we really loved their concept and baked goods. While disappointed by their departure, we were happy to find the space was filled almost immediately by another restaurant.

The new tenant, Life Alive, is one of three organic cafes founded by Heidi Feinstein, a natural health consultant. We’ve eaten lunch there a couple of times now and have really enjoyed it. Despite being an organic café focusing on nutrition, health conscious meals, juices and smoothies, the hippy-crunchy vibe doesn’t overwhelm. The staff is welcoming and happy to explain any unfamiliar ingredients or options available. You order and pay at the counter, and they bring your meal to you when ready.

One rainy afternoon, the Udon Miso Masterful ($9.15) really fit the bill: warm, filling and energizing. Chock full of veggies, udon noodles, and dark barley miso broth, it was a soup with attitude and almost too large to finish.

On a return trip, we tried two of the signature meals-in-a-bowl, the Goddess ($8.55) and the Lover ($9). The beets, carrots, broccoli and dark leafy greens are only lightly cooked so they retain flavor and crunch, and the short grain brown rice adds body and texture. The Goddess featured tofu, while shitake mushrooms graced the Lover. Both were drizzled with Sesame Ginger Nama sauce that was addictively tasty.

The persnickety 13 year old along for the ride was horrified when she realized where we planned to eat. “You brought me to a vegetarian restaurant without telling me?” And the eyes rolled skyward. But she was very pleased to discover a wrap called The Feisty Child ($7). PB&J along with honey and banana on a warm wheat tortilla earned raves.

While dropping $10 on lunch might not fit your daily budget, the same items and prices are served at dinner and if you’re looking for a hearty, healthy fresh alternative, Life Alive is definitely worth investigating. Everything we tasted was super fresh, and the bowl portions were impressive.

Life Alive Cafe
281 Essex Street, Salem
(978)594-4644
www.lifealive.com

Life Alive on Urbanspoon

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Dinner in a Diner, Nothing Could be Finer

Posted: May 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Diner, Event | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

While we often write about fine dining and fabulous foodie finds here on the Dish, more pedestrian diners and roadside joints have always held a place in my heart. Whether it’s the excitement of a road trip, the glamour of chrome and neon, or the call of bacon and eggs served at a Formica counter with a swivel stool, classic diners have developed large following.

One of the most dedicated is the intrepid Larry Cultrera, whom I had the pleasure to meet several years ago. As a diner historian, Larry has been chronicling the history of diners and collecting memorabilia for more than 30 years, and he has just published a terrific book: Classic Diners of Massachusetts. (The History Press, 2011)

An engaging book chock full of history, anecdotes, and photos, one chapter is dedicated to the North Shore and Northern Suburbs. “This region of Massachusetts historically had a high concentration of diners primarily because of the mill/factory cities of Lynn, Peabody, Salem, Haverhill, Lawrence, and Lowell, as well as the port city of Gloucester,” he writes.

Each chapter has a full list of diners in the area and highlights a handful of them. The North Shore chapter lists 24 diners and has sections on some of our favorites, including the Capitol Diner in Lynn, the Salem Diner in Salem, and of course the Agawam in Rowley.

Like a father fond of his many children, Cultrera, whose favorite diner meals are eggs and sausage or grilled cheese, refused to single out a favorite when I asked. He did mention the Capitol is a must-see, though, as it’s one of the last operating Brill diners in the country. He also had great things to say about George and Zoe Elefteriadis, owners of the Salem Diner since 2008.

Whether you’re a die-hard diner fan or have recently developed an interest, I highly recommend Classic Diners of Massachusetts. The history of dining cars and those who operate them is accessible and fascinating, and the lists of diners by area will come in handy on those summer road trips.

If you’re interested in meeting Larry and hearing more first-hand, head to the Saugus Historical Society, 30 Main St., tomorrow night at 7:00 (May 9). He will be giving a talk and slide presentation on classic diners and will have copies of the book on hand to sell and sign. You can also keep up with everything diner-related on Larry’s website, Diner Hotline, and his Facebook Page.

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Pitch-Perfect Pub Grub at Ipswich’s Choate Bridge

Posted: April 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: American, Casual/Pub Food, Choate Bridge Pub, Ipswich, Seafood | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

After spending hours doing yardwork on Saturday, we were in the mood for relaxation: laughing over a few beers, hearty sustenance, and a laid-back atmosphere.  We found ourselves at the Choate Bridge Pub in Ipswich, which filled the bill perfectly.

Long a favorite hangout for Ipswich locals, the pub is named for the adjacent historic bridge, one of the oldest stone-arch bridges in the country.

The restaurant’s configuration, divided between a bar and dining room is a bit odd to navigate, with three entrances but no obvious hostess station to inquire about seating. The large bar was packed and pretty loud, so we opted for the dining room. The atmosphere is typically pubby, with friendly waitresses, wooden booths, menus printed on the paper placemats, and specials scrawled on a chalkboard.

Taking advantage of the free popcorn machine, we munched fresh, hot popcorn while sipping our drinks and perusing the menu. We started off with a buffalo calamari appetizer special that was fine but unspectacular ($11.95). The squid weren’t particularly tender, but this at least helped them from being overwhelmed by the buffalo sauce, and the portion was plenty for four people.

For entrees, two of our party decided on the haddock special, ($11.95) which was a deep-fried bonanza that included both onion rings and fries. The fish portions were generous and the fillets were tender, fresh, and lightly breaded.

I opted for the deluxe pub burger ordered medium rare ($8.95 accompanied by french fries. For $7.50, the regular pub burger comes with chips). It was  served on an onion roll with lettuce, tomato, and pickles and done perfectly—a tasty grilled char on the outside but lightly pink and juicy in the middle.  Really, it was a damn good burger I would order again without question.

Aside from burgers, Choate Bridge is known for their pit barbeque plates, and the last member of our group went for the lamb tips plate served with choice of starch and vegetable/salad ($14.95). The meat was tender and flavorful, grilled with a house-made sauce and once again, the portion quite generous.

If you’re headed back from the beach this summer and looking for a change from the ubiquitous clam shacks, try stopping into Choate Bridge to see what they’ve got on the grill. It’s not fancy, but neither are the prices or their attitude.

Choate Bridge Pub
3 South Main Street, Ipswich
(978) 356-2931
www.choatebridgepub.com

Choate Bridge Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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A New Spin on Dinner and a Movie: The Warwick Film and Food Festival

Posted: February 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Marblehead | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Posts have been a bit light on the Dish over the past month, and I must fess up. I’ve been moonlighting on NSD (which is, in fact, moonlighting on my day job) to help the folks at the Warwick Theatre Foundation put together a fundraising event.

The WTF, as they are affectionately known, is a non-profit group dedicated to preserving the history of Marblehead’s original Warwick Theatre and creating a new, community-based, state-of-the-art movie theater. What many don’t realize is that Marblehead’s local commerce has taken a huge hit lately, with the closing of at least five storefronts this month alone. The Warwick folks feel a new theatre can become a community-gathering place, enliven downtown foot traffic, and boost the economy of surrounding businesses.

The Dish is partnering with WTF and many area restaurants to create the Warwick Film and Food Festival. It’s a tasting event with a twist: local chefs are asked to create offerings where each dish, drink, or dessert has been inspired by a favorite film.

Local celebrities will judge the event on presentation, taste, and film pairing, and attendees will select their own people’s choice winner. The evening includes alcoholic beverage tastings and a full roster of live music.

So far, the entrants have really piqued our interest. Some chefs, like Tony Bettencourt of 62 Restaurant and Wine Bar have yet to reveal their movie inspiration and are keeping us guessing. Others have got everyone buzzing with their choices, like Matt O’Neil of the Blue Ox, who registered for Silence of the Lambs. Other movies chosen include The Perfect Storm, True Grit, The Rum Diaries, and Tortilla Soup. Intriguing, to say the least.

As the event nears, we’ll publish a full list of participating restaurants, but mark your calendars now—this is shaping up to be a fun food event unlike all others, especially if you’re a film fan! The evening starts at 7pm on March 24 and takes place at the Tower School in Marblehead. Tickets and more information are available on the Warwick ‘s website. We are still accepting entries and warmly invite all local  chefs and restaurant owners to register here.

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A Tale of Two Brunches

Posted: February 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: American, Beverly, Breakfast, brunch, Cafe, Organic Garden Cafe, Tryst, Vegitarian/Vegan | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Extraordinarily for us, last weekend saw not one but two brunches, both in Beverly. On Saturday, we had relatives staying who wanted to go to brunch, and our favorite Wellesley student is vegan, so we let her choose the venue. She decided on The Organic Garden Café on Cabot Street, which not only serves vegetarian and vegan fare but largely raw foods as well.

The space is small and comfortable, and our waiter was attentive. We were offered both the breakfast and lunch menus and chose items from both, sipping our drinks while we waited for the food. The coffee was respectable; the hot cocoa, made from raw cacao, was super rich; but my favorite was the lemon ginger and raw honey tea. Blended fresh, it arrived frothy and hot and was a perfect antidote for winter weariness.

Our entrees ranged from “live”(dehydrated instead of baked) granola ($6) and quinoa porridge with agave nectar, cinnamon, cardamom, and raisins ($4 with additional toppings $1 each) to the Southwestern faux omelet on baby spinach ($7), made with a combination of ground nuts and veggies in lieu of eggs. We also tried the omelet, nausage patty, & crepe combo ($9) where a mix of sunflower seeds, flax, onion, portabella, and seasonings stand in for the sausage.

Clearly, the faux versions of traditional meat items are not meant to replicate the carnivore’s experience; they are fanciful takes using similarly spiced or textured food. Everything was extremely fresh tasting and well seasoned, and in the end, the savory foods with their layers of flavor won out over the sweet; the southwestern plate being a real standout.

The large case displaying great-looking desserts was enticing, but we were so sated that we opted to purchase a few treats to take home for later. Eschewing the cakes and cookies, we had to try the “I am Mighty” balls ($3.50) for the name alone. A dense combination of fruits, nuts, and seeds dipped in dark chocolate; it was like the ultimate protein bar—tasty, satisfying, and energizing.

On Sunday, we ended up back on Cabot Street just a few doors down from the Organic Garden, to meet a Beverly friend at Tryst. As one would anticipate, this meal offered a much more traditional brunch menu, including the standard Bloody Mary’s and mimosas. Two of our party went for alternate benedicts; the spinach enhanced eggs florentine ($8) and the eggs royale ($11), with a generous portion of Scottish smoked salmon. Our third entrée was the French-style omelet with goat cheese, broccoli, and roasted red peppers ($9) and a side of bacon ($3.50)

The menu mentions that eggs are local, but isn’t specific as to the source. The omelet was huge, and the vegetables tender but a bit heavy on the peppers. The benedicts were lovely, with velvety lemon hollandaise and excellent quality smoked salmon. Each plate included a portion of hash browns and two huge orange wedges. The hash browns seemed an oddity; a small, dry half-patty that I wanted to be tastier than it was.

The weekend turned out to be a lesson in expectations. Having had lovely dinners at Tryst and heard good things about their brunch, our expectations were high. The meal was certainly tasty but didn’t knock our socks off. It’s a solid choice for those seeking a good brunch in a nice room (not as common as you’d think on the North Shore), but in future, we’ll stick to Manhattans and roast chicken at the bar.

My only assumption about Organic Gardrn Café was it likely had a “hippy-crunchy” vibe, which it did, though not oppressively so. The opportunity to sample foods I had never contemplated making at home made it very enjoyable. What fascinated me was not the raw aspect of the food, but the creative combination of textures and tastes. I found myself thinking about returning for lunch or dinner to explore more menu items.

Tryst
282 Cabot Street, Beverly
(978) 921- 2266
trystbeverly.com

Organic Garden Café
294 Cabot Street, Beverly
(978) 922-0004
organicgardencafe.com

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Upcoming Events: November Noshing

Posted: November 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Event | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

How crazy is it that we’ve got summer-like weather at the start of November after a snow storm in October? We’re just happy to enjoy a little Indian summer before the holiday craziness sets in, and we’ve got some great food events for you to enjoy before the turkey and gingerbread take over.

First, don’t forget that Salem Restaurant Week started on Sunday and will run for two weeks (through Nov 17, not including Fridays and Saturdays). Participating Salem area restaurants will offer either a two-course prix-fixe dinner menu for $15, a three-course prix-fixe dinner menu for $25, or both (price does not include drinks, taxes or gratuities). The Salem Chamber of Commerce just announced the late addition of Red Lulu to the list, so now’s your chance to check out Salem’s newest eatery.

On Friday the 11th, Salem Wine Imports hosts its Third Annual Grand Tasting. This year it’s being held at Colonial Hall, Rockafella’s new function space, and proceeds will once again benefit Historic New England’s Phillips House; Historic Salem, Inc.; and the Salem Athenaeum. There will be more than 100 wines available for tasting, light appetizers, and live entertainment from a classical trio.  Tickets are $35 for the general public and $25 for members of the beneficiary organizations. Tickets are available at Salem Wine Imports, located at 32 Church St. This event does sell out, so advance tickets are strongly suggested.

 It sounds like Matt O’Neil and company really know how to throw a party. On Monday the 14th, head over to the Blue Ox in Lynn to Shuck, Taste, & Nosh. They’ll have CJ Husk from Island Creek Oysters on hand shucking shellfish,  wine pro Jerry Castleman pairing wines with the oysters, and Chef O’Neil will whip up a variety of hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased in advance by calling (781) 780-5722.

 On Tuesday the 15th, area chefs, restaurants and business owners once again come together to host Take a Bite Out of Trafficking.  The fundraiser, held at the Ipswich Country Club, features culinary samples, live entertainment, live and silent auctions, and movie screenings. Participating restaurants include 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar, Tryst, 15 Walnut, Adriatic Restaurant & Bar, Ipswich Country Club, Mr. India, Green Land Café, Ipswich Inn, Off the Vine, Bistro 45, and 43 Church.

All proceeds from the event will go to help nonprofits in their fight to end human trafficking. Donations will benefit women and girls from Nepal to India in the form of medical emergency care, wellness visits, vocational training, and basic housing. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door, with a cash bar. For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.tabootrafficking.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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