Restaurants Bloom on the North Shore

Posted: April 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

It was a mild winter, but it still feels wonderful to welcome spring. There’s lots happening on the North Shore food-wise, with new restaurants starting up and farm stands re-opening in many towns.

But first, we need to congratulate the winners of the Warwick Film and Food Festival. Swampscott’s City Grill won the judges award for taste with their smoked beef short rib rillette with candied green tomato and soft polenta. Pickwick Baking Company was the big winner of the night, winning for best presentation and best film pairing (a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party a la “Alice in Wonderland”). Pickwick’s Alison Ryan put her tantalizingly delicious macarons into a woodland fairy-tale setting that delighted the judges and the crowd. City and Pickwick tied for the Best of the Festival Award. Last but not least, Kappy’s Liquors won the people’s choice award for keeping Coppola wines flowing to match their “Godfather” theme. You can see photos of all of the awesome restaurants entries here.

We start the restaurant news with the folks at Serenitee Restaurant group (Cala’s, Alchemy, 15 Walnut), who just opened Maggie’s Farm on Rt. 114 in Middleton. A pub-style restaurant, Maggie’s features starters like smoked goat cheese jalapeno poppers, roasted pork tacos, and crispy corn and crab cake. Entrees include seafood jambalaya, stuffed eggplant, and pan-roasted statler breast; there are also pizzas and sandwiches to choose from.

Next, the Wenham Tea House has re-opened under the management of Henry’s of Beverly, with Peter Capalbo (owner/operator of Beverly’s Tryst) as the executive chef. In addition to breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and weekend brunch, the take-out options feature selections from Henry’s and loose-leaf tea from Hamilton’s Jolie Tea Company. They’re building a 70-person patio and will be holding wine dinners starting in the summer.

Several new restaurants are coming to Salem, including Life Alive organic café in the former Coven location on Essex St., Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt on Lafayette St., Something’s Brewing on Wharf St. (a new tea shop), and Three Potato Four on Washington St. (baked potato snacks with a variety of toppings).

Endicott College’s School of Hospitality Management has announced their restaurant’s spring schedule. Dinners at La Chanterelle Restaurant begin at 6:30 and feature seasonal selections prepared and served by students. Call for more information and reservations: (978) 232-3040. You can also sign up for their mailing list.

Three new food shops are opening in Marblehead. In Old Town, the Candy Pop Sweet Shoppe will feature penny candy, bulk candy, organic candy, vegan candy, sugar free candy, popcorn, and dessert pops, while Captn’s Bakery will offer artisan bread, bagels, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and brownies. In downtown, Absolutely Fabulous will serve up specialty cakes on Atlantic Ave.

For those who can’t wait to buy local produce, Russell Orchards in Ipswich will open on April 28, Cider Hill in Amesbury will open on May 4, and Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton is open already with pansies, home-made treats, and lambs and piglets for the kids to see. And Swampscott is getting its own farmer’s market, located at the high school (200 Essex St) and open from 10am to 1pm on Sundays from mid-June to October.

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A New Spin on Dinner and a Movie: The Warwick Film and Food Festival

Posted: February 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Marblehead | Tags: , , , | 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.

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