Cochon555 heading to Brooklyn

BROOKLYN, NY – Eat your way through 1,500 lbs. of heritage pork and vote for the “Best Bite of the Day” cooked by five of New York’s top chefs at Cochon555, Sun., Jan. 29. Enjoy a pop-up Ramen Bar with German wines, a Tartare Bar, and more. It’s at Weylin-Williamsburg from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Competing chefs include Nicole Gajadhar, Saxon + Parole, Ryan Bartlow, Quality Eats, Greg Baxtrom, Olmsted, Aaron Hoskins, Birds & Bubbles and Chris Szyjka, Chef’s Club by Food & Wine. Check out www.cochon555.com.

Providence Restaurant Week gets underway

PROVIDENCE – Providence Restaurant Week, with 40-plus Open Table restaurants, starts today, running through Jan. 28. Lunch is $14.95 and dinners are $29.95 or $34.95 with the theme, “Take A Bite Out Of Winter.”

Check out School of Fish at Hope & Main

WARREN, RI – At Hope & Main here, Eating with the Ecosystem’s “School of Fish, offers RI chefs who’ll educate attendees at this series of classes about different methods for turning a whole fish into a dinner, using plentiful local species like scup, herring, whiting, skate, dogfish and sea robin. The classes are held in the demo kitchen and each workshop includes a dinner with wine. Each event features one species, prepared several ways. From January 23 thru late May, there will be five classes. Check out https://makefoodyourbusiness.org/



Anita Lo’s Anissa in Greenwich Village will close in late May

NEW YORK – Chef-owner Anita Lo is closing Anissa on Barrow St.  in Greenwich Village in late May due to sharp real estate tax increases together with a higher minimum wage. After 17 years, her taxes reportedly more than doubled to $80,000. What operators can charge of meals today has not kept pace with other skyrocketing costs, she says in a published report.

More casual options in the works in Manhattan

NEW YORK – A sibling restaurant to Jacob’s Pickles, Maison Pickle, opens at 2309-2315 Broadway in a space that used to be Quest. Jacob Hadjigeorgis’ second restaurant will serve French dip sandwiches, dumplings and more. Eater New York also reports The Fat Monk, from Chef Rob McHue, will open at 949 Columbus Ave. with dishes such as skillet macaroni and cheese, burgers and more.



Eater looks at ‘most anticipated’ national newcomers

PHILADELPHIA – Michael Solomonov’s Rooster Soup Company, with profits targeted to helping local hunger relief charities, is Eater’s Most Anticipated choice here for an opening early this year. Also in the works is a second venture with Stephen Starr for Peter Serpico, now anticipated for this summer. It will celebrate Korean-American fare. In Manhattan, the highly anticipated The Landmark at the former Four Seasons in Midtown from Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi tops Eater’s list. Also forthcoming in late Spring is a project from Travis Lett with Ken Friedman (Spotted Pig) in Noho.

Panera Bread frees all menu items from artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives

BOSTON – Panera Bread announces that its total food menu and portfolio of Panera at Home products are now free from all artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and colors from artificial sources and is believed to be the first national chain to undertake such a comprehensive commitment and meet it. More than 450 ingredients were reviewed and 122 were reformulated, resulting in changes to most of the bakery-cafe’s recipes. Founder and CEO Ron Shaich declares:“At Panera, we want to serve food we want our own families to enjoy. Offering a clean menu free from all artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners and colors from artificial sources is one way we can help our guests feel confident about the food they eat at Panera. Panera’s clean food is foundational to serving food as it should be.”



Vin Expo and Wine Spectator to present “A Taste of Spain”

NEW YORK – Vin Expo and Wine Spectator are teaming up to offer “A Taste of Spain” at Vinexpo in Bordeaux, France, June 19th. The exclusive party will take place at the Palais de la Bourse in Bordeaux’s historic city center on Monday, June 19, from 8 to 11 p.m. “A Taste of Spain is shaping up to be one of the most provocative and essential events of Vinexpo Bordeaux 2017,” says Vinexpo CEO Guillaume Deglise. “We’re proud to work with Wine Spectator to attract such a prestigious line-up of bodegas to the exhibition. Their presence will add a new dimension to Vinexpo parties and will offer great opportunities to international buyers throughout the show. The tasting itself will be a must for any Vinexpo attendee.” The event will shine a spotlight on the great wines of Spain, Vinexpo Bordeaux’s “Country of Honor” in 2017. More than 100 Spanish bodegas have been hand-selected by Wine Spectator to present their wines. These will be paired with food prepared by 10 of Spain’s most celebrated chefs, selected by culinary co-chairs Ferran Adrià and José Andrés.
Restaurant Law Center launched as industry advocate

WASHINGTON – The National Restaurant Association and others are joining together to provide legal advocacy for the industry on a local, state and federal level. “The restaurant industry has been participating in legal battles on behalf of restaurant owners and employees for years,” says Angelo Amador, executive  director of the Restaurant Law Center. “But as these fights become more and more prevalent, we must have the legal means and an apparatus to push back against outside groups that threaten the jobs and economic growth the restaurant industry creates, as well as to protect and advance the industry. The Restaurant Law Center will streamline the industry’s ability to engage in legal proceedings and to seek just outcomes.”


Wine of the Week – Thomas George Estates Pinot Noir 2012

Like many California wineries, Thomas George Estates is  family owned by a father and son team, Thomas and Jeremy Baker, who seek to focus their world-class estate on site-specific Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in Healdsburg.

The wines are created from three vineyards – Baker Ridge, Starr Ridge and Cresta Ridge -each with its own micro-climate, soil type, exposure and vine age.

This particular label, the winemakers point out, features clones 777, Pommard, 114, 115 and Swan from all three of their estate vineyards, Baker Ridge (40%), Cresta Ridge (32%) and Starr Ridge (28%).

Aged for 11 months in 94% French oak, it is a wine that is well balanced, and offers aromatics and layers of varietal flavor. The wine is 14.3% alcohol and offers notes of red cherry and wild strawberry, It’s an elegant, floral wine that needs air and delivers a rich and satisfying experience. The suggested retail price for this Pinot Noir is $43.
We enjoyed this Pinot Noir for its elegance and flavor. Visit www.pasternakwine.com.




B&G Oysters plans Big Shellabration from Jan. 15-Mar. 7

BOSTON – Barbara Lynch’s B&G Oysters in the South End plans a Big Shellabration with family-style coastal menus priced at $49 per person, Sunday through Tuesday evenings. The event is described as a “coastal tour across or favorite seafood feasts and regional specialties from around the world.” The feasts will be served in addition to daily dinner menus. The events include:

JANUARY 15, 16 & 17 | New England Clam Bake, potato salad, rhode island clam fitters
JANUARY 22, 23 & 24 | Whole Fried Sea Bass à la Grecque, kalamarakia gemista, dakos

JANUARY 29, 30 & 31 | Maryland Crab Boil, crab fries, broiled oysters
FEBRUARY 5, 6 & 7 | Spanish Paella Valenciana, pulpo a la gallega, tortilla española -
FEBRUARY 19, 20 & 21 | Peruvian Ceviche Mixto, papas a la huancaína, anticuchos -
FEBRUARY 26, 27 & 28 | Singapore Chili Crab, fried mantou, clam soup
MARCH 5, 6 & 7 | New England Clam Bake, potato salad, rhode island clam fritters

*There will not be a Shellabration menu February 12-14

Boston Calling returns to area in new venue

ALLSTON, MA – Boston Calling, one of the world’s largest music festivals, returns to the metro area at the fields of the Harvard Athletic Complex here, May 26-28. Visit www.BostonCalling.com to purchase tickets at Early Bird prices until they are all sold, and then, regular pricing. This year’s festival has an expanded lineup of performers plus a new “film experience” with Academy Award winning actress, producer and director Natalie Portman, along with the usual food, drink and visual arts offerings.

Expect headlining sets from legendary rock band Tool, performing in the Greater Boston area for the first time since 2012, English folk-rock superstars Mumford & Sons, and seven-time 2017 Grammy nominee in categories including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album, Chance the Rapper.

Artists showcasing new material include Bon Iver, which scored a Grammy nomination for its first album in five years, 22, A Million, and has not played in Boston since 2012, The xx, which will release their first album in four years on January 13th, and Solange, whose acclaimed new album A Seat at the Table recently debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Others will include Weezer, Major Lazer, The 1975, Sigur Rós, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats, Sylvan Esso, Run the Jewels, Cage the Elephant, and Francis and the Lights as well as several local rock favorites. Go to www.bostoncalling.com for the complete list and pass pricing data.

Next Step Soul Food heads to Codman Square

DORCHESTER, MA – Next Step Soul Food is set to become the first sit-down restaurant in this neighborhood, which has experienced rehabilitation in recent years. Charles Vlahakis, who graduated from Community Servings’ foodservice training program after running a family catering business, worked with the neighborhood’s development group on a plan for the new dining option, according to The Bay State Banner.






New patisserie opens at Boston Public Market

BOSTON – At Boston Public Market, Finesse Pastries, a patisserie from Manchester, NH, opened a permanent space after being a pop-up vendor last year. Chelsey Erickson, pastry chef and owner, makes macarons and sold around 10,000 during her one-month appearance at the Market. Finesse Pastries offers a wide assortment of French macarons, with rotating seasonal flavors accompanying staples such as Vanilla Bean, Salted Caramel, and Pistachio. All macarons are gluten-free and made from scratch, with an increasing number of vegan options. Currently the pastries are produced in Manchester, but production will be moved to the stall at the Boston Public Market.

Chef Brandon Baltzley joins Café ArtScience

CAMBRIDGE – Chef Brandon Baltzley, a former chef at Ribelle here, joins Café ArtScience as executive chef.