News and Notes

Posted: March 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Wow—there are so many things going on right now our heads are spinning. We also had some tasty meals and treats over the weekend, so, without further ado, here’s a roundup of everything we thought you should know.

On Tuesday March 23 at 7:00 p.m., The Blue Ox’s Matt O’Neil will be demonstrating how to filet a whole cod and braise ramps. The $35 fee includes a three-course meal (dessert is dulche de leche/chocolate chunk bread pudding). Call (781) 780-5722 to reserve a spot.

The Lyceum has announced a new drink menu, including a cool as a cucumber martini; a french cocktail with champagne, gin, lemon juice, and cointreau; and an orange bitter martini with Grey Goose orange, dry vermouth, cointreau, and orange bitters.

Salem Restaurant Week dates have been announced. The event will take place Sunday April 11 to Thursday April 15. We’ll have a list of restaurants for you as soon as they are announced.

Seeking comfort food Saturday night, we ended up at 15 Walnut and found just what we were looking for: a cup of the best French onion soup we’ve ever tasted (complete with cheese-covered croutons), a perfectly cooked burger on a brioche bun, and highly addictive hand-cut fries. The bartenders were having an infectiously good time, and the margaritas were just right.

Turbine Wine Bar has opened in Lynn with an interesting-looking menu. The Web site is short on information right now, but Corey from Downtown Lynn blogged about his visit here.

We have heard exciting news about the new restaurant going into the recently vacated Ladycakes space in Marblehead and will bring you more details soon.

We had a dish of pistachio gelato this weekend from Jaho in Salem. It was fantastic, as was the mocha coffee we washed it down with. The small gelato is $3.50, and it’s plenty to satisfy a sweet tooth. We sampled the chocolate gelato also, and it was fine but not worth the calories.

The Adriatic Restaurant and Bar is slated to open soon in what used to be the Edgewater Café in Salem (Washington St). It will offer a mix of Italian and European food.

Ithaki in Ipswich is closed for renovations and will reopen March 25.

Salem’s Spring Fling is slated for Saturday March 27 from 6:00 to 9:00. Sponsored by Pamplemousse, this event takes place at Old Town Hall and celebrates the end of winter with fine wine, craft beer, and food from local restauranteurs. Tickets are $25.

And last but certainly not least, Coven Artisinal Market Cafe and Dessert Bar will open in early April at 281 Essex Street in Salem. It will specialize in freshly made food, whimsical desserts, artisanal market items, and local farm fresh produce.


Gyros From Heaven

Posted: December 9th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Greek, Ipswich, Ithaki | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

We never know how to pronounce gyro, but that doesn’t stop us from ordering it at every opportunity. Warm bread, spiced lamb, and tzatziki are a remarkable combo, so we were delighted to find it taken to a new level on a recent visit to the much-touted Ithaki.

Yes, Ipswich seems an odd place for an upscale Greek restaurant, and like us, you may have wondered if it’s worth the trip. We’re happy to report it is.

At a recent weekend lunch, we started out with a half portion of Greek salad for three people ($6). A large stack of thick tomato slices was perched on a bed of micro greens. Supporting players included cucumber slices, yellow pepper, green and black olives, and a chunk of what we’ll call “real” feta (to distinguish from the kind in our local supermarket). We didn’t see a nearby greenhouse, but the chefs have got some trick up their sleeves, as the tomatoes tasted more like August than December. The dressing was gossamer light and delicious, just olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs.

The gyro ($11) consisted of a large piece of fried flatbread slathered with tangy sauce and topped with tomato and perfectly cooked lamb chunks, with roasted potatoes alongside. It was impossible to eat like a sandwich, but we’re not complaining; it’s certainly one of the best lunch entrees on the North Shore.

Which is not to say the moussaka and the pastitsio don’t pass muster; they do. Both feature an ultra creamy bechamel and flavorful meat sauce. The moussaka ($11) adds tender slices of potatoes; the pastitsio ($9) has thin pasta tubes.

One block north of Ipswich’s main drag, Ithaki has parking in front, a large dining room, and a good sized bar and café area. We’ve heard the main dining room is packed and pretty noisy on weekends, so you may want to try a weeknight for a more relaxed meal. Dinner starters run about $12, and entrees range from $20 to $37 (for rib eye). There is also Sunday brunch with an interesting sounding asparagus and kasseri cheese omelette.

The service at our lunch was impeccable, and there were plenty of tables—but you may want to request one away from the windows on a cold day. Also, the Web site features some funky animation involving food—check it out!

25 Hammatt St, Ipswich
(978) 356-0099

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