Dish Tidbits: Two Restaurant Weeks, Three Halloween Parties, and a Slew of Tastings

Posted: October 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

There are so many food-related events going on in the next few weeks it’s enough to make our heads spin (sorry, couldn’t resist).

For starters, Sunday marks the start of Cape Ann Restaurant Week, and it only runs until Thursday, so start planning your night out now. Three-course dinners for $25.11 are available at numerous restaurants—the list is here.

There are several events of note next weekend, starting with Shubie’s Fall Food and Wine Festival on Saturday. This free event runs from 1:00 to 5:00 and includes tastings of more than 50 wines and 15 cheeses, plus discounts on featured products. Jasper Hill Farms will be on hand with their cheese, along with many other cheese makers and vintners. A list of the wines being offered is here.

Also on Saturday, this time from 12:00 to 5:00, is a tasting of American blended wines known as meritage. It’s at Wine ConneXtion in North Andover, and more information is available here.

There are too many Halloween events for us to list them all, but we’ll mention a few that crossed our desks this week. The Bridget Bishop Costume Ball is taking place at Salem’s new 43 Church from 8:00 to midnight. There will be music by DJ Emilita, tasty treats, ghoulish cocktails, and prizes for most creative and outrageous costumes ($75 per person). Hawthorne Hotel’s annual costume ball is also Saturday night. Tickets are $90 per person, and information is here. Up in Gloucester at Lat43, a $5 cover will get you into the second annual Nightmare Circus with music by DJ Vito and prizes for best, sexiest, and scariest costume.

If you’re sufficiently recovered from Saturday night to venture out on Sunday, the fourth annual North Shore Bazaar is being held from 1:00 to 4:00 at the Community Covenant Church in Peabody. More than 25 vendors will be offering organic, fair trade, or locally sourced gifts and services, including Touchstone Honey, Mercury Brewing, Galbraith Gourmet Catering, Fellows Farm, and Vegan Girl Next Door. More information is here.

The beginning of November is also shaping up nicely in terms of events. Mark your calendars for a tasting of the industry’s highest rated wines (90 points and above) at Wine ConneXtion on November 12 from 12:00 to 5:00 and for Salem Restaurant Week, which runs from November 6 to 10 and November 13 to 15. The list of restaurants with click-throughs to their menus is here.

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Gloucester Goes Gourmet at Duckworth’s Market

Posted: August 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Deli, Duckworth's Beach Gourmet, Gloucester, Marketplace | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Need a night off from cooking? A gourmet picnic to impress a date? How about a great sandwich to take to the beach? Duckworth’s Beach Gourmet could be the answer to all these desires if you’re in the Gloucester area.

There’s a lot packed into this store’s fairly small space, owned by the folks at Duckworth’s Bistro, including wine, prepared foods, gourmet cheese and charcuterie, and gift items. Indeed, we were impressed with the store’s selection of red wines, supplemented by a cold case with white wine, champagne, Ipswich Ale, several other high-end beers, Reed’s ginger ale, and Harney & Sons bottled juices and teas.

Put a bottle of wine with a loaf of Iggy’s bread, a jar of jam, a gourmet mustard (black current dijon sounds good), some wine vinegar, or a bottle of hazelnut or truffle oil, and you’re all set for a hostess gift. If your friend has a sweet tooth, try gourmet tea accompanied by lavender or provence-flower honey, a pretty canister of flavored sugar from local purveyor Didi Davis, a bag of Lark cookies, or a box of Marich candy.

For beachgoers, Duckworth’s has hot and cold sandwiches, containers of potato salad (no mayo) and cole slaw, Deep River Snacks chips, individual desserts, and hand-made sandwich cookies with Captain Dusty’s ice cream (also available by the half-gallon).

Those looking for help with dinner will find containers of roasted tomato soup and marinara and alfredo pasta sauce, fresh uncooked pasta, house-cured salmon, and prepared foods such as flank steak, haricots vert, chickpea burgers, roasted fingerlings, and pasta salad. Hand-made pies are available most days; go early for the best selection.

The deli case is filled with a charcuterie-lover’s dream: serrano ham, prosciutto, and speck from La Quercia alongside pancetta, sopressata, and salameto from Fra’Mani. The cheese selection is extensive, ranging from chevre from Topsfield’s Valley View Farm to New England-sourced Cabot clothbound cheddar, Champlain Valley Creamery triple creme and Seal Cove chevre. Imported selections include raclette, morbier, robiola, and Delice de Borgone.

We stopped in last weekend after brunch at Sugar Mags just to see what was on offer, but we plan to return for sandwiches and treats the next time we head for Good Harbor Beach—seagulls, stay away, please.

Duckwoth’s Beach Gourmet
24 Washington Street, Gloucester
(978) 282-1414
www.duckworthbeachgourmet.com

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A Slice of (Foodie) Heaven in Newburyport

Posted: September 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Deli, Grand Trunk Imports, Marketplace, Newburyport | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

On our recent trip to Newburyport, we were introduced to Grand Trunk Imports by Kim Gobbi of Newburyport Today. The store is not new, but somehow we had completely missed it on previous trips. Now that we know about it, we can’t wait to go back.

Husband and wife team Jeremy and Angela Kirkpatrick have stocked their small space with a treasure trove of gourmet food, microbeers and wine, and accouterments. One wall is filled with imports like chutney, pasta, and olive oil, plus unusual items like orange flower water and roasted chestnuts.

At the back of the store, a large blackboard lists available wines by category, and the cheese case is full of interesting selections. A separate case holds bowls of olives and cured meats like sopressata and paleta iberico (dry cured Spanish ham).

Nearby is a selection of imported European beers and local microbeers, including Haverhill Brewery, as well as sandwiches like blue cheese with apricot and honey. The sandwiches are made fresh each day on artisan bread that’s also available by the loaf.

The front of the store features interesting non-food items, including gorgeous European cheese knives, sexy black slate cheese boards, and handcrafted cutting boards from New Hampshire Bowl and Board.

The next time you need picnic fixings or an interesting pre-dinner spread, we suggest giving Grand Trunk a try. Or you may want to time your visit to coincide with their wine tastings, held Fridays from 3:00 to 6:00 and Saturdays from 2:00 to 6:00.

Grand Trunk
53 Pleasant St, Newburyport
(978) 499-4441
www.grandtrunkimports.com

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Summer At Last: Marblehead Farmer’s Market

Posted: June 16th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Marblehead, Marblehead Farmer's Market, Marketplace | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

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Saturday was opening day for the Marblehead Farmer’s market, and we were thrilled to see a good turnout, especially since produce is not exactly abundant at this time of year. Fortunately, the Marblehead market has plenty to see and buy other than produce, including Thai food from Sticky Rice, baked goods from A&J King (almost sold out at 11:00, so go early), meat from Stillman’s Farmssalsa from Pam, lobsters courtesy of our favorite lobsterman, Paul Crowell, and interesting craft and community vendors as well.

The Marblehead market is located behind the Veteran’s Middle School (the old high school for us old-timers). It runs from 9:00 to 12:00 every Saturday, and there is plenty of parking.

There were lovely looking strawberries, of course, along with herbs, fresh eggs, honey, lettuce, and flowers. Having just been to the grocery store on Friday, we kept our purchases to a head of butter lettuce from Cider Hill Farm and a log of goat cheese from Crystal Brook Farm. The lettuce was fine but more bitter than we’re used to (not sure if this is due to the variety or the time of year); the cheese was wonderfully creamy and tangy.

Throughout the summer, we’ll be visiting many North Shore markets and reporting on our food finds. If you frequent your local market, please let us know of stands or edibles you recommend by leaving information in the comments or e-mailing us at email@northshoredish.com.

For more information on the Marblehead market and a complete list of vendors, go here.

And don’t forget your sun hat!

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Corks and Forks and the Best Cheese Ever

Posted: May 12th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Marblehead, Marketplace | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

corks2Saturday we took some time to check out Shubie’s First Annual Corks and Forks event, which ran from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We got there just before 2 p.m., and the place was packed. There were seven distributor tables in a relatively small space, with each pouring six to eight wines and so many people milling around it was almost sensory overload.

While we are far from being true oenophiles, we love wine and really enjoy learning about and tasting new vintages. Most of the wines were in the $11 to $25 range, and discounts were offered when purchasing six or more bottles. A few of the whites we liked were the Siblings Sauvignon Blanc, which was full of super sassy citrus; the Domain de Huards Cheverny, which was grassy and crisp; and the Zenato Pino Grigio, which was light and summery.

Reds we enjoyed included the Carpe Diem Pinot Noir, which was rich and fruity; the Casa Castillio Monastrell, which was savory and a bit peppery; and the Jiminez Landi Tinto, which was strong and direct but quite beguiling. Andrew Crookes, who poured the Jimenez and other Eric Solomon Selections, was by far the most engaging of the reps. Young, chatty, and enthusiastic, he knew his stuff and seemed to genuinely love his job.

cheeseThere were also several tables of cheese vendors set up, various chips and dips and sweets set out throughout the store, and servers circulating with appetizer sized tastes from Chef Lynn Aronson’s kitchen.

Our favorite cheeses were the Springbrook Farm Tarentaise, a Vermont Alpine cheese similar to a gruyere; the Vermont Butter and Cheese Coupole, another of their “age in your fridge” offerings; and several selections from Jasper Hill Farms.

While their Constant Bliss and Bayley Hazen Blue were both excellent, the knock-your-socks off star of the day was the Jasper Hill Farms Winnemere, which is only produced November to April. This was simply the most amazing cheese I have tasted. It is an aromatic raw milk cheese that has had its rind washed in lambic beer and wrapped in a strip of spruce. Everything from the cow’s milk to the wild yeast for the lambic and the spruce bark is harvested from Jasper Hill’s Vermont farmland. The result is complex: a smooth and creamy yet bright tangy flavor with an earthy, almost woody, note that is truly addictive. We brought some home, and it is only through sheer force of will we haven’t inhaled it all and licked the package clean. Yet.

Another discovery of note was the Fra’Mani handcrafted salumi which was tasty in the extreme. We tried the salametto, the soppressata, and a rosemary ham, all of which had us snitching extra samples.

While the event really only offered bargain prices if you were interested in buying larger quantities, Corks and Forks was  a terrific opportunity to widen our taste horizons and take home a few new favorites. Certainly worth checking out the next time Shubie’s hosts it.

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