Dish Tidbits: Strawberry Festivals, Cooking Classes, New Restaurants, and More

Posted: June 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Event, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

There’s quite a lot going on the next couple of weeks, including strawberry festivals and farmers market openings, plus some new restaurants on the horizon. Without further ado:

Both days this weekend at Russell Orchards in Ipswich there will be strawberry picking, hayrides, strawberry shortcake, facepainting, music, balloons at their annual strawberry festival.

At Connors Farm in Danvers, the festival is on Saturday only and features live music, food from Champions Barbeque, strawberries dipped in chocolate, Homemade strawberry shortcake, costume characters, strawberry picking, pony rides
face painting, and hay rides.

The following weekend, the Swampscott Strawberry Festival is being held on Sunday the 27th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Town Hall lawn.

If you’re looking for a farmers market to visit or more information about your local market, there is information at the Federation of Mass Farmers Markets and a list of Northeast farmer’s markets here. You can find our list of North Shore farmer’s markets is here, with links on several that we’ve reviewed.

Mary Reilly of The Savory Kitchen has a great idea for those pea tendrils in your CSA box. She’s cooking her way through her CSA share each week and sharing her recipes and non-recipe recipes. Mary also teaches cooking classes at the gorgeous Jewett Farms Studio, and there are slots left in the July 23 class on Indian cooking at home (6:00 pm to 9:00 pm), the July 31 canning class (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm), and the August 13 cooking from the farmers’ market class (6:00 pm to 9:00 pm). For descriptions, go here; classes are $90.

If you’ve got a youngster that likes to cook, you may want to take a look at Shubie’s Tweens and Teens summer classes. They’re for ages 11 to 15 with Chef Laura Tyrrell. Pies and tarts is July 6, fresh pasta is July 13, cakes and frostings is July 20, and garlic bread, monkey bread, and bagels is July 27. All classes are $50 and run from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm. If you sign up for all four classes, you get $30 off. Call (781) 631-0149 for more information.

The PEM is hosting a beer and chocolate tasting in conjunction with its Mayan exhibit on July 8 from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Maya inspired cuisine will be served, and attendees will sample seven unique beers and Taza’s stone ground organic chocolate. More information is here, and the cost is $75 for members and $85 for nonmembers.

Euphoria Lifestyle has opened in the 100 building in Cummings Center, Beverly, serving smoothies and wraps and promising Pinkberry-style fro-yo in about two weeks. We’ll check it out and let you know how it is (tough job, but someone’s got to do it). For future reference, it’s right near Danvers Bank and does not have an outside sign.

In Peabody, we’ve spotted a few restaurant happenings. On June 1, Top Steakhouse opened in the former O’Fado space at 72 Walnut St. Since this Brazillian style steakhouse will be competition for the popular Fire Bull, we’re wondering if the area can support two churrascarias just a few blocks from each other.

We also saw a banner up for Maki Sushi Bar, going in next to Peabody Estate Buyers on Main St. They are in the midst of fitting up the interior, no word on when they will open. Also on Main (toward the Salem line), we saw a banner for Peabody Bread and Baking Co. where Rosie’s Bakery was. We’ll stop in the next chance we get.

And last but not least, a recent Guy Fieri trip (he’s a Food Network celebrity chef) included visits to our own Lobster Shanty in Salem, Rino’s Place in East Boston, Greek Corner Restaurant in Cambridge, plus a few Maine locations. Pictures are here. Can’t wait to see the Shanty episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, air date and time still to be determined.

Share

Upcoming Events: A Winter of Wine and Chocolate

Posted: January 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Lynn, Newburyport, North Andover, Salem, Swampscott | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

With the arctic temps and frosty winds that have settled in, many of our friends are suffering from the post-holiday blues and have hunkered down for the winter. Happily, the next few weeks on the North Shore offer some great opportunities to lift your spirits and get out of the house.

First up, on January 14 at 6:30 pm, 10 Center Street in Newburyport will have wine expert Joyce Hulm, the regional manager of WJ Deutsch & Sons importer, and Craig Hanna, cellar master at Topper’s of Nantucket, on hand for the first of four wine dinners, this one focusing on wines of Sonoma. It’s a four-course meal, each course paired with a different wine, for $45 per person.

Sadly, January 15th sees the seasonal closing of Salem’s Lobster Shanty. Stop by to hoist a pint and give Diane and Lee your best. Sport your Shanty logo-wear any time this week and receive a 10% discount on your meal, and if you haven’t got any, shirts and hoodies will be discounted 20% until closing night. Never fear, the Shanty will reopen for business on April 1 (no foolin’).

On January 27, Finz in Salem will partner with Mercury Brewing Company for an Ipswich Beer Dinner. Four courses are paired with different beers for $35 per person. We’re thinking the Winter Ale float with fig ice cream and chocolate covered ginger snap sounds intriguing.

On January 30, though it’s a bit far afield for some, it’s likely worth the drive to Wine ConneXtion in North Andover for their first-ever saké tasting (kikishu) from 1:00-4:00. It will be hosted by local blogger Rich Auffrey of The Passionate Foodie, so we know it’ll be both fun and informative.

If you haven’t heard of Wine ConneXtion, it’s because they’re new on the scene, but we hear their selection is great and their prices extremely competitive. If saké is not your thing, you might want to check out The Grand Tasting on February 6 from 12:00 to 5:00. More than 50 wines to be poured, and food will be served.

Coming up February 4, Caffe Graziani in Salem is hosting an International Wine Dinner at 6:00 pm. A five-course dinner, it will feature their signature Italian cooking paired with five different wines from around the world for $75 per person.

Chocolate enthusiasts will be happy to hear about the next two events on the roster. On Thursday February 4 from 5:00 to 7:00, Whole Foods in Swampscott will be hosting a Chocolate Fest. There will be chocolate demonstrations and many samples available from 16 chocolate experts representing a variety of artisan chocolatiers, including locals like Dan’s and Taza Chocolate. The tasting will feature live jazz music and a chocolate fountain as well.

Salem pulls out all the stops February 5 to 14 with its yearly Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate and Ice Sculpture Festival, which features a fabulous Chocolate and Wine Tasting in Hamilton Hall on February 5 at 6:30 pm. Details on the festival are still unfolding, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

One last note: Sunday dining seems to be a hot topic these days. Corey over at Downtown Lynn tells us that The Blue Ox has announced they will now be open for dinner on Sundays, and there is a lot of buzz about Sixty2 onWharf’s new Jazz Supper Club on Sundays from 6:00 to 9:00.

So cheer up, stay warm, and eat well. Spring is only….well, never mind.

(A follow-up to this post with even more events is here.)

Share

Celebrating Thanksgiving on the North Shore

Posted: November 18th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Marketplace | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

It’s coming down to the wire for Thanksgiving, and sometimes the pressure of making everything come together for a holiday can be overwhelming. Hoping to ease your angst, we’ve put together a list of useful North Shore resources.

Tendercrop Farm in Newbury is offering fresh local hormone- and antibiotic-free turkeys, and their Web site even offers cooking advice. Vermont free-range turkeys are available through New Meadows Market in Topsfield, which also offers prepared birds, side dishes, and desserts. If you’re not familiar with it, Northeast Harvest is a terrific resource for locating local farms selling fresh vegetables and poultry. And if you’re looking for quick and easy recipes, check out this fantastic list from the New York Times.

For beautifully prepared gourmet sides and desserts, Ipswich Shellfish Fish Market in Ipswich, Henry’s Market in Beverly, and Foodie’s Feast in Marblehead all have special holiday menus. Ordering deadlines vary, so call as soon as possible if you are interested. Shubie’s Market Place also has a special catering menu, and if you’re worried about pleasing the different wine drinkers at your table, they have a great solution: a six-pack containing carefully selected wines of uniquely different styles. That way, you’ll be sure to have something for everyone, and it’s offered at 20% off the regular price.

If you’re not in the mood to cook, there are plenty of local options still available for tucking into holiday fare. Both the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem and 10 Center Street in Newburyport are serving buffet-style meals. The Hawthorne’s is offered from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm and runs $41 for adults and $17 for kids. 10 Center is offering seatings at 12:00, 2:00, and 4:00. Their feast is $55 for adults, $15 for kids, and children under six are free.

Both Mission Oak Grill and David’s Tavern in Newburyport have special offers. Along with their regular menu, Mission Oak will feature a four-course Thanksgiving meal at $21 per adult and $10 per child. David’s is serving a three course meal for $32 per adult and $12 for kids.

Victoria Station in Salem is running list of holiday specials as well as an all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving feast for $30 per adult and $12 per child (children under five eat free). For those in search of alternative ideas, Rawberts Organic Garden in Beverly offers a full holiday menu available for eating in or taking out.

If you’re looking for a more casual atmosphere where you can relax and sip a brew with your turkey and fixin’s, Sweeney’s Retreat in Marblehead will be open, offering their Irish Pub style Thanksgiving meal, and the Lobster Shanty in Salem promises a tasty looking family-style communal table meal at $25 for the all-you-can-eat extravaganza.

Finally, we’d like to give a big shout-out to Tavern on the Square in Salem, which is serving a free Thanksgiving dinner from 11:30 to 2:00. It is open to all but focuses on the elderly, the homeless, and families that are struggling in these difficult times. Talk about the holiday spirit!

We hope this list helps to alleviate some of your impending holiday stress and that your Thanksgiving is full of family, friends, and great food.

Share

Salem’s Lobster Shanty Is More Than Meets the Eye

Posted: May 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: American, Casual/Pub Food, Lobster Shanty, Salem, Seafood | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

shanty21

After running some early evening errands in Salem on Friday, we passed the Lobster Shanty and decided to stop for a bite. A local dive bar lauded by Yelp-ers as the best place around to get drunk with your dog, the Shanty advertises “warm beer, lousy food, surly waitresses, rude bartenders and cranky cooks.” How could we not investigate?

The place is one of the tiny buildings in Artist’s Row, so the actual bar is relatively small, but what draws locals on summer nights is the good-sized patio area with free live music on weekends. We opted to sit outside and perused the very reasonable drinks menu, choosing a Belfast Bay Lobster Ale ($4.25) and a specialty cocktail, The Perfect Storm ($7.50), that turned out to be a tasty rum punch with a nice kick.

Along with the requisite boiled lobster and fried seafood offerings, the menu provides a wide range of choices, including grilled pizzas ($7-$9), gourmet burgers ($7-$10), and entrees ($13-$20) We got a chance to chat with executive chef Diane Wolf, who co-owns the Shanty with her husband, Lee. When they bought the place two years ago from the previous owner, she told us the menu was very limited, and she couldn’t resist having a little fun with it.

So while it boasts about limp salads and the tepid sodas, The Shanty’s menu actually reflects creativity and quality not found in your standard pub food; a burger dredged in sesame seeds and cracked black pepper and topped with gorgonzola, grass-fed Guinness-soaked steak tips, and side dishes like wilted spinach and bacon and grilled seasonal veggies. All of the seafood is bought from local fishermen, and Wolf said they make their own mozzarella.

We ordered the calamari ($10) to start, the lobster roll ($17) with a side of the spinach and bacon, and a fishwich ($7) with sweet potato fries and an extra side of pickled beets. The teenaged member of our party ordered the chicken tenders and fries basket.

The calamari was terrific, lightly breaded and very tender. Our only disappointment was that it wasn’t a larger portion—we inhaled it in short order. The chicken basket was pub standard, but the fries were salted with what looked like sea salt, a nice touch.

fishfriesThe lobster roll was what a lobster roll should be: chock full of meat, not overly dressed or seasoned, served on a toasted hot dog bun (we’re sticklers on that point). The piece of fish in the sandwich was good-sized, lightly breaded, and crisp. Our server, a smiling young man who answered to the name of Betty (!?), forgot the tartar sauce but was highly apologetic about it. The spinach and bacon was lovely, and the sweet potato fries were divine. Delicious and crispy with large flakes of salt, we would return on their merit alone.

In truth, there are many reasons to return to The Shanty. Yes, it’s a small unassuming place with some surly looking characters haunting the kitchen, but we found the staff genial, the food tasty, and the prices excellent. (Wolf told us that with an eye to the current economy, they’re staying with last year’s prices). With outdoor seating, music on weekends, inexpensive drinks and snacks as well as the more gourmet options, we’re thinking it’s a great place to chill on a summer night. Whether or not you bring your dog is up to you.

The Lobster Shanty
25 Front St. (At Artist’s Row) Salem
(978) 754-5449
http://lobstershantysalem.com

Lobster Shanty on Urbanspoon

Share