15 Walnut Gift Certificate Winner!

Posted: October 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: 15 Walnut, Event, Hamilton | Tags: , | No Comments »

We want to thank everyone who took the time to enter this week’s giveaway. Our question was on your favorite go-to for winter comfort, and there were so many terrific answers that we’re feeling better about the upcoming winter already. We’ll be keeping toasty checking out your list of suggested restaurants.

Popular favorites included the The Franklin Cafe in Gloucester, 10 Center in Newburyport, and quite a few Salem spots. People like the fireside at both the Tavern in the Hawthorne Hotel and the Old Spot, and both Passage to India and Bella Verona were popular choices, with newcomer Greenland Cafe showing a big following. 62 Restaurant and Winebar was also a top mention, and while we’re not ready to reveal anything yet, those fans may want to keep an eye out for our next giveaway.

Drum roll, please…

To select a winner, we used the random number generator at Random.org, and the winning entry is #11! Hearty congratulations to Bill, who suggested soups from Farmer Brown’s in Middleton. He will receive a gift certificate worth $100 to 15 Walnut. (Bill, please e-mail us your mailing address and we’ll get the gift certificate right out to you. And don’t forget to let us know how you enjoyed your meal.)

Thank you so much to everyone for entering the giveaway. We are already looking forward to our next one, so stay warm, eat well, and keep an eye on the Dish!

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Dish Giveaway: Win a Gift Certificate to 15 Walnut

Posted: October 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: 15 Walnut, American, Event, Hamilton | Tags: , , | 69 Comments »

North Shore Dish is excited to announce another terrific giveaway!

This time, we are giving away a gift certificate worth $100 from 15 Walnut in Hamilton. Recently awarded Best New Restaurant and Best Burger by North Shore Magazine, 15 Walnut is definitely a restaurant worth investigating. Chef Sam Hunt is dedicated to local sourcing for the freshest ingredients possible, and we think he’s doing a great job.  You can read about our lunch at 15 Walnut here. Since then, we have returned a few times and really enjoyed burgers and drinks at the bar.

How to enter

To enter, leave a comment on this post answering the following question: Now that the season is getting chilly, which North Shore restaurant is your favorite go-to for winter comfort, whether it’s for hearty fare or a toasty fireplace.

That’s all there is to it! Your answer has no bearing on who wins—we’d just love to hear your feedback.

Contest rules

Deadline for entries is midnight on Thursday, October 21, 2010. A winner will be chosen Friday, Oct 22 by a random number generator and notified by e-mail. You must enter a valid e-mail address with your comment. US residents only, one entry per person. Good luck!

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Earn a Free Entrée While Discovering New Flavors

Posted: October 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: 15 Walnut, American, Beverly, Bistro, Cala's, Gloucester, Hamilton, Manchester | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

You may not have realized it, but several of the terrific restaurants we enjoy here on the North Shore are the result of the hard working folks at Serenitee Restaurant Group. The group (previously known as North Shore Restaurant Group) has just unveiled a fun promotion aimed at encouraging diners to discover restaurants they may not have tried and, of course, to get out to old favorites as well.

At any of the six eateries, all with unique atmospheres and cuisines, you can pick up a “Discovery Card” that gets stamped with the purchase of a meal. Whether from six different restaurants or the same one, after you accumulate six stamps, you are rewarded with a free entrée at any of the locations.

The restaurants included in the promotion are:

15 Walnut, Hamilton (read about our experience here)

Cala’s, Manchester (read about our experience here)

Hale St. Tavern, Sushi and Oyster Bar, Beverly Farms

Latitude 43, Gloucester

Backstage Bistro, at the North Shore Music Theater, Beverly

Alchemy Tapas & Bistro, Gloucester

You know us, we’ll use any excuse to get out and try different restaurants, and a free meal is a great one. The offer expires December 31, so there’s plenty of time to explore these North Shore eateries.

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Field Trip to First Light Farm

Posted: April 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Farm, First Light Farm, Hamilton, News | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Want to learn more about sustainable farming? We’ve got just the thing: a conversation with Mike Raymond, owner of First Light Farm. The Hamilton farm is in its third season of community supported agriculture, having provided shares to 120 members last year and planning on at least that many this year.

As in the past, First Light CSA members pay $600 for a 20-week share that begins mid-June. Members can pick up their boxed share in Beverly or Danvers on Tuesdays, Topsfield on Thursdays, Ipswich on Saturdays, or (new this year) at the Salem farmer’s market on Thursdays. First Light will also be selling produce at the Georgetown farmer markets on Saturdays this year.

First Light operates a bit differently from other CSAs in the area (Green Meadows and Appleton Farms come to mind) in that there are no pick-your-own opportunities. That’s because Raymond doesn’t own the six acres of land he farms. Rather, he barters with Brick End Farm, a large composting operation. But don’t assume that means Raymond isn’t invested in the business—just the opposite.

Raymond graduated from University of Vermont nearly 20 years ago with a degree in environmental and resource economics and has been farming ever since. His passion for growing vegetables organically in the most sustainable way possible is infectious. On a tour of the hilly field where fast-growing crops like lettuce and herbs are planted, we immediately saw why Raymond is so excited. The field is divided into many small beds with strips of clover growing in between, a technique called permanent bed strip tillage in which the clover and the crops form a symbiotic relationship.

“We feed the soil, not the crop,” explained Raymond, a Beverly native. “And we don’t do anything in a field that doesn’t make sense.” Unlike most farms, the field is not plowed under each year. Rather, the clover strips provide the soil with the necessary fungus and bacteria, and when mowed during the growing season, they provide additional organic matter for the growing crops. In keeping with Raymond’s desire to use resources at hand, irrigation water is pumped from a small pond at the bottom of the field.

For shareholders, this unusual technique (along with strategic use of the farm’s greenhouse) means more variety in their shares each week, since each bed in the field is like its own little garden. It also means maximum production with minimum damage to the land—Raymond and his crew have gone so far as to modify old equipment to facilitate this updated version of back-to-basics farming.

Tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and other slower growing crops are planted in the farm’s upper field, which Raymond described as bio-intensive, meaning it’s designed to produce as much as possible in the space. An unusual moveable greenhouse is used section by section to maximize growth, and after each part of the field is harvested, a cover crop is planted to fertilize the soil.

Those interested in the CSA will be happy to find a picture of each week’s share from last year on the First Light site, along with delicious-sounding recipes for 40 vegetables and quirky descriptions of First Light team members. You can also e-mail Raymond directly for more information on the farm, his philosophies, and the CSA program.

First Light Farm
www.firstlightfarmcsa.com
firstlightfarmcsa@gmail.com

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Local Flavors Shine at Hamilton’s 15 Walnut

Posted: February 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: 15 Walnut, American, Bistro, Hamilton | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

With a focus on local food and a frequently changing menu, the bistro called 15 Walnut is a terrific addition to Hamilton’s dining scene, which leans toward pub-style restaurants. It’s also beautifully decorated in warm, inviting colors with exceptional art work and a large bar.

We sampled two sandwiches and two salads, with all four dishes clearly focused on top-quality ingredients. The Cuban sandwich ($10) was decadent and melty, with crisp grilled bread and pulled pork along with house-cured ham. The crispy haddock burrito ($11) was surprisingly light for a fish sandwich, a wrap with a perfect mix of fish, vegetables, and salsa fresca.

The 15 Walnut salad features red oak lettuce, Valley View goat cheese, candied walnuts, and fried shallots ($8). The wood oven beet salad mixes arugala with beets, almonds, and a very light aioli ($15 with chicken). We liked that the salads can be accompanied by steak ($7), chicken ($5), or scallops ($6), but we were surprised by the portion sizes, which were closer to side salad than entrée.

Since we were there for a quick lunch, we didn’t have a chance to sample any cocktails or desserts, which sound intriguing. For example, the Endless Summer is made with fresh-squeezed orange juice, orange vodka, cointreau, and splash of sour, and the honey crème brulee and the apple crisp are made with local honey and fruit. The entrées also sound good (especially the marinated skirt steak and the lobster mac and cheese) and seem reasonably priced at $17 to $22 with two sides.

Open from 11:30 am to 11:30 pm every day, 15 Walnut is definitely making it easy for us to return to sample more creative food with a local emphasis.

15 Walnut
15 Walnut Rd, Hamilton
(978) 468-2434
www.15walnut.com

15 Walnut Local Bistro on Urbanspoon

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Autumn Events: Farms, Clams, and Celebrity Chefs

Posted: September 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Essex, Event, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Newburyport, Rockport, Salem | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

91709Sadly, Salem restaurant week ends today. But fear not, intrepid foodies—there’s no shortage of taste-bud-tempting events on tap to keep you busy, including yet another restaurant week and not one but two clam festivals.

Tonight brings two terrific opportunities. The first is The Taste of Cape Ann, at Cruiseport in Gloucester, which features tastings from many of the area’s top restaurants and vintners, as well as Gloucester Brewery and Ryan and Wood Distilleries. Tickets are $35 per person, and all the proceeds go to fund children’s programs at the Cape Ann YMCA.

Also this evening is the first of the Celebrity Chefs Best Local Food Series, which takes place at the Inn at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate. This series of four dinners invites area chefs to be as creative as possible with fresh local produce, seafood, and meats. The four-course menu, with two wine pairings, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres, including tips and taxes, is $135 per person.

The series features the following chefs:
9/17  Chef Robert Grant and Cheese Director Stephanie Santos of The Butcher Shop
10/1  Chef Paul Callahan from High St. Grill in North Andover
10/22  Chef Richard Morin, executive sous chef at Eastern Standard
11/12  Barbara Lynch, the force behind No. 9 Park, B&G Oyster, The Butcher Shop, and Sportello

On September 22, Sixty2 on Wharf will host a Farewell to Summer wine dinner that has us salivating already. The evening promises “a seafood-centric menu paired with wines from the prestigious Alois Legeder vineyards in Alto Adige, Italy.” Tickets are $85 per person; reservations are required. Click the link above to check out the terrific menu.

Friday September 25 brings a unique multi-farm-to-table dinner experience with the Farmer’s Market Dinner at historic Spencer Pierce Little Farm. Newburyport area restaurants will be paired with various local farms to create a wide range of inspired tastes. There will be live music, tours of the farmhouse, hayrides for the family, and free admittance (pay per dish and drink).

IpswichIf you haven’t filled up at the farm the night before, head over to Ipswich on Saturday the  26th from 12:00 to 3:00 for the annual Ipswich Clam Festival. For $10, you can taste chowders from many local restaurants and vote for your favorite. Plenty of family activities will be on hand, along with Mercury Brewing Company with their popular sodas.

And speaking of Mercury Brewing Company, they will be hosting the Ipswich Ale Harvest Fest at Green Meadow Farms on October 3. They will have a wide selection of Ipswich ales, Stone Cat ales and lagers, as well as Mercury soda pop and bubbly waters available, alongside food by Ipswich Clambake and live music.

CARWOctober 18 to 23 marks the return of  Cape Ann Restaurant Week, which features three-course meals for only $22.09 per person. (Drinks, tax and tip not included.) Restaurants from Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, and Manchester are participating, so what better excuse to take a scenic drive, ogle the foliage, and explore the coast? Click the link above for a list of the participating restaurants.

No one will argue that the lowly bivalve is one of the biggest draws in bringing people to Essex, and where best to experience it than the Essex Clam Fest? Now in its 27th year, this local festival takes place in Memorial Park in downtown Essex on October 24 and boasts 40 to 50 food, craft, and local product vendors and a clam chowder competition.

So even though the days are getting shorter and the air cooler, take heart—the eating season is just heating up!

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Upcoming in August: Summer Food Fun

Posted: July 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Hamilton, Lynn, Salem | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

As we head into the dog days of summer, (though they’ve been more like the duck days of summer with the recent weather) we’ve found a handful of food events in August worth checking out.

Salem starts August off right with a pair of fun food affairs. On Monday, August 3rd, from 5 – 7 pm, make a date with the Mayor. Residents are welcome to hob nob and nibble with Mayor Driscoll for Mayor’s Night Out, a sampling tour of three local restaurants; Gulu-Gulu Café, Tavern in the Square, and Grapevine Restaurant. The event is a benefit for Salem Main Streets, and details on registering can be found at their website, Salem Main Streets.

On Tuesday, August 4th from 6 – 7:30 pm, young and old alike can indulge in this year’s annual Ice Scream Bowl (same old Scooper Bowl, brand new name) The event takes place rain or shine on Salem Common, and the tickets ($5 for adults and $3 for kids) enable you to sample cold creamy delights from a great variety of local dairies and shops. For more details check out the Ice Scream Bowl.

August 7th brings the first of three local farm-to-table dinners, co hosted by Good Tastes Kitchen and three different farms. This one takes place at Green Meadow Farm and tickets ($80) include a 4 course meal, cocktails & entertainment. Wine and beer will be offered by Jewel Towne Vineyards, Turtle Creek Vineyards and Mercury Brewing Co. If you are interested in attending, we suggest you look into it soon, there are only 100 seats available and tickets must be purchased by July 30th.

On Sunday, August 30th, The Blue Ox will host LobsterFest ’09 from 4 – 7 pm, which promises to be “a day of sampling traditional New England food with a Blue Ox twist”. Tickets are $39 per person and include a complimentary cocktail and live entertainment. Sounds like a great way to celebrate the end the summer to us!

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