Posted: September 12th, 2012 | Author: KN | Filed under: Event | Tags: Bar-B-Que Bistro, Chef Throwdown, Fish and Fowl Supper Club, G Bar & Kitchen, John Crow Frams, Red Rock Bistro, Swampscott Farmers Market | 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!
Posted: September 6th, 2012 | Author: JR | Filed under: Drinks, Event, Farm | Tags: 6th Annual Brewfest at Amesbury Sports Park, China Blossom Tiki Festival, Cider Hill Farm to Table Dinner, Clown Shoes Olympics Brewfest, Gloucester Block Party, History & Hops Craft Beer tasting, Ipswich Ale Harvest Fest, Mayflower Brewery Beer Dinner, Newburyport Cocktail Competition, North Shore Beer Week, Oktoberfest | 1 Comment »
There are some fantastic food events coming up in September and October, but we’re thinking drink, especially beer, takes center stage! We’ll stick to September for the moment and fill you in on October as it gets closer. In the meantime, check our calendar to see what’s coming up.
First up is a Tiki Festival on Saturday (9/8) from 1:00 to 5:00 at the China Blossom in North Andover. It’s a free event with music from 92.5 The River and complimentary samples of Big Wave Golden Ale from Kona Brewing Company. Luau-style food will be served, including a whole pig roast, beef teriyaki skewers, shrimp skewers, corn on the cob, and pork fried rice ($1 per serving). Tropical slush and exotic sorbet will also be available for purchase along with assorted juices, non-alcoholic pina coladas, and beer and wine served from an outdoor cash bar. Click the link above to RSVP and for more information.
Also on Saturday is the Clown Shoes Olympics and Brewfest from 4:00 to 8:00 at the Backstage Bistro in Beverly. Tickets are $35 online and $40 at the door, with proceeds to benefits Pints for Prostate. There will be beer sampling, jugglers, human statues, live music, and beer poetry readings, plus gifts for guests wearing togas.
Next weekend kicks off with a History & Hops Craft Beer Tasting at the Lynn Museum from 7:00 to 10:00 on Friday (9/14) featuring live music, craft beers, and food.
Farther north, the Wenham Tea House is hosting their first Mayflower Brewery Beer Dinner at 7:00. Chef Peter Capalbo will be creatively pairing dishes with five different offerings from Mayflower. this five-course dinner is $75 per person and reservations can be made by calling 978-468-1398.
On Saturday (9/15) from 12:00 to 6:00, you can attend the Ipswich Ale Harvest Fest at the Spencer Pierce-Little Farm in Newbury for beer, BBQ, and vintage baseball. The Orville Giddings band will play, and admission is free.
Then you can head over to Oktoberfest to Benefit the Salem Y from 5:00 to 9:00. Join Pamplemousse, Cafe Polonia, the YMCA, and Ilsa the Angry German Beer Wench for laughter, beer, traditional German and Polish food, beer, live music, beer, wenches, contests and more. Tickets are $20 and include kazoo, mug, German Alpine hat, and an imaginary passport to Munich (first 300 guests). Beer sampling is included; full pours are $2 to $3. Affordable menu prices from Cafe Polonia, Polonus Deli, and The Lobster Shanty.
Or head north to the Gloucester Block Party from 6:00 to 11:00 in downtown Gloucester, a free event. Main Street will be a promenade of entertainment, al fresco dining, dancing and children’s games.
On Sunday (9/16), switch over to cocktails and head to Newburyport for the Annual Newburyport Cocktail Competition from 4:00 to 8:00. For $20 ($30 at the door), you can participate in this upscale cocktail crawl with samples of signature cocktails and food pairings at multiple downtown restaurants. Participants include Ten Center, The Rockfish, Michael’s Harborside, Ceia, and more. Check at the deck at Michael’s Harborside at 4:00. At 7:00, the wrap-up party at Michael’s will feature live music and the last signature cocktail for your tasting.
Next up is Cider Hill Farm’s End of Summer Farm-to-Table Dinner on Tuesday (9/18) from 6:00 to 9:00. Sample spirits from Cody Brewing and Jewell Towne Vineyard along with appetizers, then enjoy a three-course meal from Amesbury’s Phat Cat’s Bistro. Tickets are $50 and must be purchased in advance.
On Saturday the 22nd from 12:00 to 8:00, it’s the 6th Annual Brewfest at Amesbury Sports Park. Entrance is $12, with more than 100 beers, OGO ball, summer tubing, and BBQ on offer.
The 22nd is also the start of the 3rd Annual North Shore Beer Week. While Sean and Ian (The infamous 2 Beer Guys) haven’t posted the full schedule yet, keep an eye out. They’ve done a terrific job the past two years scheduling tastings and events, and we’re sure this will be no exception.
Posted: August 17th, 2012 | Author: JR | Filed under: Event | Tags: Boston, Cygnet Confections, Diner en Blanc, Heather Atwood, Melu Tasty Treats, picnic | 1 Comment »
Would you like to have a gourmet picnic with 650 like-minded people in an undisclosed location? This was the offer extended to us a few months ago as the highly secretive Diner en Blanc prepared for its first Boston event. This was definitely worth leaving the north shore to experience.
Started in Paris in 1988, Diner en Blanc is a chic mass picnic in a public space. It’s by invitation only and involves some preparation on the part of the attendees, but the Boston event last night came together beautifully on the lawn in front of the Moakley Courthouse. After dressing all in white, putting together a gourmet picnic, and gathering a portable table and chairs, we met our leader at our designated location on Seaport Blvd. We were soon surrounded by elegantly dressed picnickers, and when our group was complete, we were instructed to walk toward the courthouse.
It was a large crowd, but the tables were set up quickly, and a bar and band awaited the group. Between the view of Boston Harbor and the skyline, the white-clothed tables and party-goers, and some strategic lighting, it was a magical sight. We thoroughly enjoyed talking and sharing bites with our tablemates, who included North Shore residents Deborah of Melu Tasty Treats, one of the amazing volunteers, and Cathyann of Cygnet Confections, who wowed everyone with her lucious cake. We also enjoyed smoked salmon pate, a creamy quiche with an herbed crust, and a terrific peach blueberry tart with almond paste (recipe from Annie Copps via the lovely Heather Atwood).
If you’re intrigued by our report, keep your eye on the Diner en Blanc website, where information on future events will be posted. The idea is to grow the event each time it’s held, so there’s plenty of opportunity to snag an invite for next year, which organizers are already discussing given last night’s resounding success.
Posted: May 11th, 2012 | Author: JR | Filed under: Drinks, Event, Ipswich, Turkey Shore Distilleries | Tags: Old Ipswich Greenhead Spiced Rum, Old Ipswich Tavern Style Rum, Old Ipswich White Cap Rum | No Comments »
As New Englanders, we love a good story. We also love local products—especially the kind you can make cocktails with. So it was with great pleasure that we attended a party to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Turkey Shore Distilleries and the launch of their Greenhead Spiced Rum last weekend.
The company was formed by Mat Perry and Evan Parker, who grew up as neighbors and friends on Turkey Shore Road in Ipswich. It turns out that barrels of molasses from the West Indies were unloaded at a wharf in Mat’s backyard along the Ipswich River on their way to John Heard’s local distillery from 1770 to 1836. In fact, rum making was a major New England industry in colonial times. Today, Perry and Parker use table-grade molasses to create artisanal rum using a 250-gallon copper pot still built in Kentucky.
We took a tour of the small operation, taking in the gorgeous still, the fermenting tanks, and the tiny bottling operation. Mat told us that the company’s barrels are unusual in that they are smaller than most and built for them from white oak. Most rum these days is aged in barrels already used to age scotch, but the colonials used new barrels, so Turkey Shore does as well.
Along with Old Ipswich White Cap Rum (which we tasted in a fantastic adult version of lemonade) and Old Ipswich Tavern Style Rum (bolder than White Cap and truest to the original New England rums), Turkey Shore is now offering Greenhead Spiced Rum. Delicious and unusual, it has notes of lemongrass, spearmint, and green tea.
We enjoyed meeting the Turkey Shore team, sipping their terrific rum, and learning about their operation. We’ll definitely be seeking out their product, which is available at Kappy’s in Danvers and Peabody, Main St Liquors in Beverly, Cape Ann Liquors in Gloucester, Marcorelles Liquors in Ipswich, Haley’s in Marblehead, Port Wine and Spirits in Newburyport, and Quality Liquors in Salem. It’s also at some of our favorite restaurants, including Hale Street in Beverly, The Farm in Essex, 15 Walnut in Hamilton, and Choate Bridge Pub in Ipswich. For a full list of stores and restaurants, please visit the their website.
If you’d like to see the distillery for yourself, you don’t have to wait until their next anniversary to check out Turkey Shore. Tours are available between 12pm and 5pm Monday through Friday and also by appointment. You can see more photos from the anniversary event on our Facebook page.
Turkey Shore Distilleries
23 Hayward Street #8, Ipswich
Posted: May 8th, 2012 | Author: KN | Filed under: Diner, Event | Tags: Classic Diners of Massachusetts, Diner Hotline, Larry Cultrera, Saugus Historical Society | No Comments »
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.
Posted: March 20th, 2012 | Author: JR | Filed under: Event, Marblehead | Tags: Benefit, tasting, Warwick Film & Food Festival, Warwick Theatre Foundation | 1 Comment »
Just a quick reminder that the Warwick Film & Food Festival is this Saturday night at 7:00 at the Tower School in Marblehead. There are still tickets available at the UPS store at Village Plaza and Crosby’s Market (both in Marblehead). Tickets are $50 at the door or $45 in advance ($80 for two in advance) and can be purchased online at http://www.warwicktheatre.org/film-food-fest.html and http://warwickf3.eventbrite.com.
We’ve got a great lineup of food and beverage purveyors offering tastings: 62 Restaurant & Winebar, Alfalfa Farm Winery, Blue Ox, Caffe Italia, Cape Ann Brewing Co, City Grill, Every Little Breeze, Finz, Hungry Betty’s, Kappy’s Liquors, Ken’s Kickin’ Chicken, The Landing, Le Bistro, The Lobster Shanty, Pickwick Baking Co, Rockhopper Café, Ryan & Wood Distilleries, Sea Street Soups, Starbucks, Starlight Creative, Three Cod Tavern, Turkey Shore Distilleries, and Victoria Station.
Live entertainment includes Marblehead’s The Jewel Tones, Luminescence, Hayley Reardon, and The Marbleheadstones, along with Boston band The Chicken Slacks, with its famous horn section.
Every participant has chosen a film to pair their food or beverage with, and we hear that some are even dressing the part, so we are looking forward to a creative and fun evening. Who chose Silence of the Lambs? What will Hungry Betty’s serve to pair with Attack of the Killer Tomatoes? Will Doug from Ryan and Wood really dress up as a pirate to serve his rum punch? Please join us for this fantastic event to benefit the Warwick Theatre Foundation—great food and great fun for a great cause. See you there!
Posted: February 9th, 2012 | Author: KN | Filed under: Event, Marblehead | Tags: Charity Tasting Event, Warwick Film and Food Festival, Warwick Theatre Foundation, WTF | 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.
Posted: December 8th, 2011 | Author: JR | Filed under: Blue Ox, Boston Local Market, Enzo, Event, Nathaniel's at the Hawthorne Hotel, Smolak Farms, Victoria Station | Tags: Emerson Inn, Feast of the Seven Fishes, Gingerbread House Workshop, Rockport Christmas Pageant, Salem Children's Charity, Teddy Bear Tea | No Comments »
There are a slew of culinary-related holiday events in the next few weeks, so let’s dive right in.
First up is the Holiday Local Market from 11:00 to 5:00 on Saturday. It’s in Boston but includes North Shore vendors Lark Fine Foods, Chococoa, and Blue Egg Baking Company. Go here for more information and to RSVP.
On Tuesday the 13th at 5:00, Victoria’s Station is hosting the 18th annual Salem Children’s Charity event. All proceeds from the event (which includes food, celebrities, auctions, and surprise guests) go to the less fortunate school children of Salem. $15 cover charge per person.
Rockport’s Christmas Pageant is taking place on Saturday the 17th, and the Emerson Inn is offering a three-course prime rib dinner from 5:00 to close for $33. They are donating 10% of the sales from this event to the Rockport Christmas Tree Committee. The are also offering a five-course New Year’s Eve dinner for $75 per person with selections like rack of lamb and shrimp florentine.
Also on the 17th, you can make your own gingerbread house at Smolak Farms in North Andover. The event is from 10:00 to 12:00 and costs $40. Call (978) 682-6332 to reserve a spot.
The Hawthorne Hotel is holding a number of holiday events, including a Teddy Bear Tea on the 17th, Brunch with Santa on the 11th and the 18th, as well as Christmas Eve dinner and a Christmas Day buffet brunch. Some friends of ours celebrated Thanksgiving at the hotel and raved about it. Check their events page for details.
Finally, the folks at Enzo in Newburyport are offering a traditional feast of the seven fishes on Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th. The menu includes house-smoked bluefish pate, lasagna with anchovy (a traditional Piemontese Christmas Eve pasta), broiled clams and mussels, and much more for $50 per person. Enzo is also planning a New Year’s Eve dinner where diners can select from one of four offerings for each course. Personally, we’re interested in the duck conserva raviolo with egg yolk, duck sugo, and crisp leeks and the crema fritta with chocolate sauce and gianduja gelato. The cost is $65 per person, and wine pairings will be available.
One final note—we’d like to congratulate Lynn’s Blue Ox for being named one of the top 100 American fare restaurants in the US by OpenTable. Fantastic news!
Posted: November 8th, 2011 | Author: KN | Filed under: Event | Tags: Salem Restaurant Week, Salem Restaurant Week Fall 2011, Salem Wine Imports, Shuck Taste & Nosh, Take a Bite out of Trafficking, The Blue Ox, Third Annual Grand Tasting | 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.
Posted: September 30th, 2011 | Author: KN | Filed under: Event, Ipswich, Lynn, Newburyport, Salem | Tags: 2 Beer Guys, Chili Con Carnival, Ipswich Chowderfest, Lynn Museum Oktoberfest, North Shore Beer Week, Witchtoberfest | No Comments »
We haven’t been keeping up with events the past month or so, but we’re back in action and so are the events this weekend. Fall starts off with a bang (and lots of beer) this weekend.
Start things off right with the Lynn Museum’s Oktoberfest Celebration tonight from 7:00 to 10:00. They’ll have brews from local faves Cape Ann Brewing and Ipswich Ale and others, along with treats from Karl’s Sausage Kitchen and live music. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.
Speaking of beer, we are smack dab in the middle of North Shore Beer Week. You may recall last year we interviewed the 2 Beer Guys about the development of NSBW. They are back again this year with even more events. Check out the schedule here for craft beer tasting all over the North Shore.
In Salem, Beer Week means the second annual Witchtoberfest , which this year includes a run to benefit the Boys and Girls Club as well as a beer garden featuring local brews and live music.
If you’re looking for something hearty and warm as the weather starts to cool off, on Saturday you can choose between chili and chowder. If spice is your thing, head up to Newburyport where the Grog will be holding its fourth annual Chili Con Carnival, a chili cook-off to benefit three area food pantries. The entry fee is $10 to sample the chilis and delectable cider doughnuts from Cider Hill Farm. Ipswich Ales will be on hand selling beer.
If chowder is more your style, then Ipswich is your Saturday destination, where the Lion’s Club hosts its annual Chowderfest. For $10 you’ll get to try chowder by various local restaurants, including Windward Grille, which won the people’s choice award for chowder at last year’s Essex Clamfest. We are also pleased to see 5 Corners Kitchen will be on hand. North Shore denizens have been missing Chef Barry Edelman’s tasty fare as his Marblehead restaurant is undergoing repair from a fire earlier this year.
Both events run from noon to 3:00, so if you’re really hungry and want to take a scenic afternoon drive, you could have your fill of each. If the weather holds, a stop at Cider Hill for apples or DownRiver for ice cream would complete the day. Autumn on the North Shore just doesn’t get any better.