The Boston Wine Expo’s Grand Tasting event unites varietals from nearly 200 wineries around the world with cuisine from more than 40 local eateries during four hours of culinary harmony. Attendees can sip more than 1,000 red and white elixirs culled from the grape-producing and wild-cork-taming regions of North America, Europe, the Southern Hemisphere, and the Mediterranean. Samples from Boston-area restaurants such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Sandrine’s Bistro complement each swig as vintners enlighten enophiles on current winemaking trends. Throughout the afternoon, top gastronomic maestros tread two stages during live demonstrations that divulge recipes and directions for finding the secret compartment hidden inside every wine bottle. Lifestyle exhibits and a full schedule of seminars enlighten guests on topics ranging from cheese-and-wine matching to the diversity of Italian varietals (not included with this Groupon). A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit local charities.
Executive chef Stephen Sherman (Union Bar and Grille, Aquitaine, New York's Union Square Cafe) heats up Scarlet Oak Tavern's kitchen with his culinary creativity, crafting a menu of upscale steak, seafood, and elevated tavern fare. The raw bar gathers wellfleet clams, crab, local oysters, and other shellfish, creating a flavorful precursor to main-course dishes. Stephen fires up locally sourced steaks, including filet mignon and sirloin, all of which are available au poivre—coated in pepper and cut into the shape of France. Though Scarlet Oak is firmly rooted in steakhouse soil, the tavern also serves a variety of specialties such as chicken pot pie, meatloaf, and pumpkin ravioli with roasted pecans and maple mascarpone.Scarlet Oak Tavern inhabits a restored historic home. Inside, warm fires roar during colder months, illuminating rich wood floors and classic historic architectural embellishments. The sophisticated interior sets the scene for nights out, special occasions, or private dining for groups while still remaining inviting for families. Part of the Webber Restaurant Group, the tavern holds itself to the strictest of standards regarding freshness and quality of ingredients. All produce is sourced locally from Gibbet Hill Farm in Groton, and meats and seafood are aquired from other local farms and fish mines.
Thanks to a $50 loan from his grandfather, Chef James Messinger was able to promote his small catering business in the local classifieds, kicking off the career he dreamt about as a student at the Culinary Institute of America. The unlikely success from this small ad helped The Crazy Chefs Caterers to flourish and allowed Messinger to finance a long-desired wine-tasting odyssey through Spain, where the local cuisine quickly captivated both his tongue and imagination. Upon arrival back home, he established Loco Tapas & Wine Bar with his wife, brandishing fresh, quality ingredients from local farms to construct traditional tapas influenced by Spain's Catalonia, Basque, and La Rioja regions. The highly praised seasonal menus flaunt a rotating arsenal of small plates and elegant entrees, including a saffron-rice paella with chicken, chorizo, and mussels that the Boston Globe declared as one of "40 fantastic dishes" in the Boston area.
Hovering above Loco Tapas & Wine Bar's fully stocked bar, a chalkboard announces a handwritten roster of Spanish wines by the glass. Elsewhere in the dining area, dangling chandeliers and flickering candles set the stage for shadow-puppet tours de force upon rich crimson walls. Striking black accents, tablecloths, and furniture punctuate the sleek color scheme.
Pigalle's casts a romantic spell inside the unassuming brick building, with cream and earth tones, columns, and classic white-linen table settings. Inside the soothing confines, unfold a menu, fold it into a paper crane, then unfold it again to discover a savory appetizer such as duck-liver mousse with toasted brioche, cornichons, and caper berries ($15). Experience the classic and unknown simultaneously with Chef Orfaly's adventurous entree creations, such as the shrimp scampi with house-made tomato fettucini and cherry-tomato herb-butter sauce ($25) or the crispy half duck with turnip succotash, potato puree, and sweet and sour oranges ($32). Lighten a meal with a fresh mango and avocado salad (crumbled goat cheese, grapefruit vinaigrette, and basil oil, $16), or grab the roasted sirloin, mushroom, and foie gras strudel, with red-wine sauce and creamed broccoli ($35), to become as full as a cartoon cat attached to an air hose.
Nico Ristorante's crimson walls, plush red drapery, and sparkling chandeliers seem designed for romance, as do the extensive list of fine wines and the menu full of classic yet sophisticated dishes. Chef Salvatore Firicano and his crew use locally sourced produce and other fresh ingredients as the tools of their trade, selecting farm-raised mussels and littleneck clams to serve over grilled tuscan bread and stuffing 2-pound lobsters with shrimp and scallops. They use a variety of artfully hand-crafted fresh pasta, from fusilli and rigatoni to tiny, toothsome bundles of potato-dumpling gnocchi.
The restaurant is a part of The Varano Group, a collection of Boston dining establishments created by celebrity restaurateur Nick Varano. Varano's other lauded endeavors include the star-studded Strega Ristorante, Strega Waterfront, and the newest location Strega Prime Italian Steakhouse, located just ten minutes north of Boston.