Weekend Picks, May 20–22

Posted: May 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Lynn, Marblehead, Newburyport | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

It’s a good thing the weather is finally clearing up (fingers crossed) because there are some great outdoor activities this weekend.

First, we’ll tell you how to start the weekend off right. Head over to Lynnway Liquors in Lynn this afternoon and say hello to the effervescent Emily O’Brien. She will be on hand from the Urban Wine Project, and will be pouring tastes of their brand new Oxford Street Pinot Noir and Central Square Chardonnay from 4:30 to 6:30.

On Saturday from 11:00 to 2:00, The Food Project is holding its second-annual Lynn Farm Fest. There will be a plant sale that includes seeds and garden supplies, a workshop on planning and planting a raised-bed garden (at 11:00 and again at 1:30), and you can sign up for CSA shares, which start on Monday. More CSA info is here.

From 1:00 to 5:00 on Saturday, you can get your sugar fix at the Newburyport Chocolate Tour. Pick up your ticket ($15) and goodie bag at the Unitarian Church (26 Pleasant St.), then walk the downtown route and partake in delectable chocolate treats from more than 20 participating vendors.

Shubie’s Food and Wine Festival will take place from 1:00 to 5:00 in Marblehead regardless of the weather, and it promises to be a doozy. There will be more than 40 wines for tasting, and purchasers will receive 20% off a case or 25% off two cases. There will be many food samples, including a Olympic extra virgin olive oil, Sailor’s Swagger pineapple hot sauce, and Chef Lynne’s papas fritas (hand-cut fries). The one we’ll be checking out is an exclusive debut of a new Jasper Hill cheese, Conundrum. It promises to be a cross between the Winnimere and the Moses Sleeper; spoonable, slightly sweet, slightly woodsy. We’ll try not to swoon.

And as usual, we’ve got links of interest from our pals in the North Shore Blogger’s Consortium:

Madman Seth has a weekend chock full of fun outlined in Lynn Happens.

Rob and Laura range farther afield for with some great ideas at The Two Palaverers.

And while our friend Jane Ward lists several events, but the most exciting by far is her own book author reading at Jabberwocky Bookshop, Newburyport. Stop in and see her tomorrow night!

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Wine and Chocolate Tasting Kicks Off Salem’s So Sweet Festival

Posted: February 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Coven, Drinks, Event, Milk & Honey, Salem, Sweets and Treats | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

We threw all caution and calorie counting to the wind upon entering historic Hamilton Hall on Friday night. The reason? The 9th Annual Chocolate and Wine Tasting, the kick-off event for Salem’s yearly Chocolate and Ice Sculpture Festival, running through the 14th.

We had a terrific time at the tasting, getting to see old friends and make a few new ones while sipping and nibbling our way across the room. The participating restaurants went all out with beautiful displays and an insane amount of sweets.

We can’t even begin to mention everything we tasted. Coven had an impressive table stacked with huge, beautiful chocolate cupcakes. Coffee Time Bake Shop offered vast array of luscious baked goods, presided over by a fabulous Barbie cake that induced pangs of nostalgia. (My mother used to make them!) Those that stopped by Ye Olde Pepper Company‘s table were urged to choose chocolates from the largest heart-shaped box we’ve ever seen.

We got a kick out Chef John Andrews of Victoria Station playing with fire as he expertly flambeed cherries for a tasty dessert, and we chatted with Chef Steve from the Regatta Pub at Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites (one of the event sponsors) about his hand-made truffles. They were all rich and decadent, but our favorites were the ginger and cayenne,both set off nicely by the bubbly being poured at their table.

Speaking of cayenne, we really enjoyed the Caliente Cafe cocktail the ladies of Finz were serving. Made with pablano-infused espresso, vanilla vodka, and creme de cacao and then rimmed with white chocolate and cayenne, it had a spicy zing but wasn’t too sweet.

Some of the wines that stood out were a vegan Malbec being poured by the Gulu-Gulu Cafe and the fun Apothic Red on sample from both Victoria Station and Busa Wines. It was lush and spicy yet smooth, a perfect companion to the chocolate we were consuming. Ian from Isaak’s of Salem was on hand pouring his Popp Road Raspberry, which paired nicely with the chocolate cake being served by Green Land Cafe.

We also caught up with Sharon Driscoll, owner of Milk and Honey, who was scooping ice cream. She reminded us that as part of the festival, the green grocer is running a great special—20% off all products with chocolate listed in the ingredients.

In fact, that’s just one example of the tasty specials available throughout the festival. For a full listing of events and savings, pick up a brochure or check out the Salem Chamber of Commerce website. Even if you missed Friday night’s event, there are still plenty of opportunities to savor Salem. With fabulous ice sculptures and sweet deals, it’s the perfect date destination for Valentine’s Day.

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A Week to Find Wines for the Holidays

Posted: November 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Beverly, Drinks, Event, Gloucester, Salem | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

There are so many things to worry about when you’re planning your holiday dinners, including what wines to serve. Luckily, there are several wine tastings this week to help you with that task.

Tomorrow evening, Eric Olson and Salem Wine Imports once again host their fabulous Grand Tasting from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Old Town Hall in Salem. There will be approximately 80 wines to sample with light appetizers and live music. This is a terrific event. We attended last year and not only discovered some new favorites but learned a thing or two as well.

The best part is that tickets are $30, and all profits from event go to The Salem Athenaeum, Historic Salem, and Historic New England, so you can support local causes while picking out your holiday wines. Call Salem Wine Imports for ticket information at (978) 741-9463.

If you’re farther north, Duckworth Beach Gourmet will be holding a more intimate tasting tomorrow evening in Gloucester. Hosted by Red White Boston, they will be pouring sparklers including Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, and Crémant de Bourgogne. The shop carries some excellent cheeses and will choose some to pair with the wine. The event is free and runs from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

If you can’t make either of these, Henry’s Wine Cellar in Beverly will be holding their Grand Holiday Tasting on November 13 from 2:00 to 5:00. They’ll have both premium and value wines on hand to fit any budget, and the folks from Henry’s Market Catering will be there passing appetizers. They do a great job with prepared foods for the holidays, so you may find inspiration for both wine and food.

Also on Saturday from 4:00 to 7:00, Leary’s Fine Wine and Spirits in Newburyport is hosting their Grand Autumn Tasting, and they’ve got the entertainment angle covered. The folks from The River WXRV 92.5, will be there to host the shindig with giveaways and raffles. Leary’s will offer dozens of bottles to try and feature hors d’oeuvres by Seaglass Ocean Front Restaurant and a turkey carving table from Tendercrop Farms. They’ll also be giving away two $25 gift certificates, one to Capri Seaside Dining and one to Seaglass Restaurant.

Heck, even if you’re not entertaining this holiday season, these events are all worth checking out.

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Two New Series Put a Twist on Traditional Tasting

Posted: October 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: 62 Restaurant & Winebar, Drinks, Event, North Andover, Salem, Wine Connextion | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Whether you are looking for something new to sass up your glass or planning ahead for those holiday dinners, those of you into exploring wine will want to take note of these tastings.

Sam and Tina Messina, owners of North Andover’s Wine Connextion, value your feedback as a customer. So much so that their new Saturday Sampling Series lets you have a say in what wines will make it to the shelves. They’ll be pouring some of the newest wines, from a different region each week, and looking for your input as to which bottles they should keep in stock.

As an added bonus, they will be hosting demonstrations and food tastings with terrific local chefs at 2:00 each Saturday. Space is limited for the chef demos, so they ask that you RSVP to press@wineconnextion.com.

October 9. Wines of Spain with Chefs Christina Johnson and Paul Eastman of Phat Cats Bistro, Amesbury from 1:00 to 5:00.

October 16. Taste of Italy with Chef Samuel Hunt of 15 Walnut, Hamilton from 1:00 to 5:00.

October 23. Grand Tasting  to celebrate the Wine Connextion’s one year anniversary with Tom Grella, Food Network chef and director of restaurants for Salvatore’s from 1:00 to 6:00. Featuring more than 40 hand-selected wines by Wine Connextion with tasting stations throughout the store. A complimentary booklet will be provided to all attendees with explanations of each wine.

October 30. The Great 2007 Cabernets with Glory Restaurant, North Andover, from 1:00 to 5:00.

Chef Tony Bettencourt at 62 Restaurant and Wine Bar not only wants you to taste wines, he wants to educate you about them as well. His new Wednesday night series called Bread, Salt, Wine aims to bring some of Boston’s leading wine resources to you. Each week, a different group will speak about the wines served and answer questions.

The evenings will feature wine samples and complimentary hors d’œuvres; Chef Bettencourt will also offer his full spuntini menu (think tapas) free with the purchase of one of the wines during the tasting.

The series is offered every Wednesday night from 5:00 to 7:00 in 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar’s Lounge. It’s free with RSVP to press@62restaurant.com.

October schedule:

Red, White Boston: October 20

The Second Glass: October 27

Boston Wine School: November 3

Boston Uncorked: November 10

Local Wine Events: November 17

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Weekend Update: Dueling Tastings, Plus More for Mom

Posted: May 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Ipswich, Lynn, Marblehead, North Andover, Salem | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

This Saturday looks to be a rainy one, but maybe that’s a good thing. You won’t feel so guilty about staying inside all afternoon tasting wine, especially when there’s going to be so much to try. There are two terrific events to choose from.

In Marblehead, Shubie’s is hosting another Corks & Forks Wine and Food Festival from 12:00 to 4:00, with more than 40 wines to sample as well as New England artisinal cheeses and other treats from their kitchen. These events are always fun, and you can find our review of one here.

In North Andover, the Wine ConneXtion will be hosting a Grand Tasting from 2:00 to 6:00. They’ll be pouring more than 50 wines with many new arrivals and some old favorites. Tom Grella from the Food Network’s “Next Food Network Star” will be on hand dishing up culinary treats.

Christopher’s Table in Ipswich also has some fun events going on this weekend. Friday night at 7:00, they’ll be hosting a chocolate tasting. Never mind brunch—mom might enjoy this decadent evening even better! They promise a cocktail party-style event with a cash bar, featuring their signature chocolate desserts along with goodies from Prides Crossing Confections in Beverly.

On Saturday, Christopher’s Table will be putting on a Mother’s Day workshop for children ages 6 to 10 to decorate cupcakes as flowers to make mom a Cupcake Flower Pot. Tickets to both events are $20, call (978) 356-6166 for information and reservations.

Also on Saturday, Pamplemousse in Salem is hosting a Think Mom! wine tasting from 2:00 to 4:00. They’ll be pouring Mommy’s Time Out and helping you choose a great gift for mom, whether it’s a Relaxation Basket they’ve put together or any of the myriad fun items they have on hand.

The Blue Ox missed out on our round-up post, but they, too, are doing a Mother’s Day brunch. They’ll serve both brunch and lunch options all afternoon (12:00 to 6:00), and all moms receive a rose with their reservation. Three courses for $29.

Also, if your mom likes to cook (or eat), The Blue Ox’s next cooking class would make a great gift. It’s taking place Tuesday May 25 at 7:00, $35 per person for three courses. Chef Matt O’Neil will be demonstrating healthy and season fish tacos. Dinner includes the tacos, cold corn soup with avocado cream, and honey chocolate bread. Call (781) 780-5722 to reserve a spot.

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Tastings: Upcoming Events

Posted: April 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

wine

Wine, cheese, chocolate, and pasta: those are the four food groups, right? Actually, they are the focus of a handful of upcoming food events on the North Shore that we’re excited about, so read on and mark your calendars for a tasty spring!

First off, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., on May 9th, Shubie’s in Marblehead is hosting what they are calling Corks and Forks; their first annual food and wine festival. The event will feature a variety of more than 50 wines, with samples being poured from France, Spain, Argentina, South Africa, Chile, Italy and California. Also on hand will be an array of cheeses and charcuterie from local and national artisans, as well as Tapas tastes from Chef Lynne Aronson. Admission is free, and on Saturday only many of the wines featured will be heavily discounted.

Shubie’s Market Place
16 Atlantic Ave., Marblehead
781-631-0149
www.shubies.com

If relaxing with cold wine and cool jazz is more up your alley, head on over to Salem Wine Imports at 32 Church St. in Salem. Also on the 9th, from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m., North Shore local Ed Barker will be there to present vintages from the New Zealand winery Barkers Marque, which he co-owns with his brother Simon.

As an added draw, they will have a representative from Verve Records on hand, who will be spinning Diana Krall’s new release, “Quiet Nights” and a hosting a drawing to give away copies of the CD.

Salem Wine Imports
32 Church St., Salem
978.741.9463
http://salemwineimports.com/

If you are like us, always looking for a good excuse to indulge in chocolate, have we got an event for you! On Saturday May 16th from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Newburyport will once again be hosting the Chocolate Tour of Newburyport.

This event is win-win; visitors stroll around checking out the shops in Newburyport while sampling a chocolate taste treat at each location, and all the proceeds go to benefit the Red Cross Foundation of the North Shore.

More than 20 stores will be participating, including Ballotin Chocolate Boutique and Café, Greta’s Great Grains, Life is Good, Ruby Slipper, Talbots and Valentines. A wide range of goodies will be served, including chocolates from Lake Champlain, New England Chocolate Company and Willy’s Candy Shop in Salisbury as well as treats like Barefoot Contessa brownies, chocolate martinis, and gourmet hot chocolate with a splash of your choice of liqueur.

Visitors can pre-purchase tickets ($15, cash or check only) at Valentine’s at 27 Water Street, The Ruby Slipper at 50 Water Street, Ballotin Chocolates at 16 Unicorn Street, or First National Bank of Ipswich at 155 State Street. On the day of the event, the tickets can be picked up at the Unitarian Church on Pleasant Street, where there will be a booth in the Market Square Plaza.

Shopping, chocolate, helping the Red Cross; what’s not to love?

The Chocolate Tour of Newburyport
http://northeastmassredcross.org/index.php?pr=2009_Chocolate_Tour

Everyone is abuzz over the new restaurant on the scene, The Blue Ox in Lynn. Not only are we excited to check it out, we’re also thrilled that they are hosting cool events. On June 8 at 7:00, Chef Matt O’Neil will be doing a demonstration on everyone’s favorite Italian treat: gnocchi. The demonstration, followed by a dinner-sized tasting of the pasta, is $29. Call the restaurant at (781) 780-5722 to reserve a spot. Who knows—we may see you there…

The Blue Ox Restaurant and Bar
191 Oxford St., Lynn
(781) 780-5722
www.theblueoxlynn.com

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