When Food Network staple Robert Irvine and his Restaurant Impossible crew arrived at Mamma D's, they were overwhelmed. Ambitious owner Luigi Desiato operated an eatery that was equal parts restaurant, vineyard, and petting zoo, a combination that clouded his sizable culinary prowess and led to an overabundance of greased pig races. But Chef Irvine's visit enabled the charismatic Luigi to pinpoint his vision, and Mamma D's has since transformed into a hub for high-end cuisine and fresh-off-the-vine wines. Vinos, such as a dolce vita sweet red and chardonnay pinot, gush from taps beside craft beers at the full-service bar that, along with the outdoor patio, overlooks the idyllic 2-acre vineyard. Sips on these homegrown varietals complement the menu of small plates, chops, and seafood, which, according to the Montgomery News, encompasses a "combination of recipes from Bologna and Abruzzo, where both sides of Chef Louie’s family grew up."
The host of his own Sayre Woods Media series, Wine'm and Dine'm with Chef Louie Desiato, Luigi also presides over daily classes where he shares his bottomless knowledge of cultivating grapes and pairing wines while serving up artisanal cheese and surprises from the kitchen, which is manned by his talented son, Nick Desiato.
Jason Harris brews classic American pale ales right alongside his own patented version of watermelon beer, illustrating his passion for both traditional techniques and forward-thinking beer recipes. The company he started in 1992, Keystone Homebrew Supply, now employs a staff of similarly dedicated crafters who are wise in the ways and means of making your own beer, wine, cheese, mead, honey, and flavored play-doh. In addition to stocking all the required equipment and ingredients, Keystone's 23,000-square-foot location in Montgomeryville also hosts classes that inspire amateurs to cook up their own tipples and cheeses.
Peace Valley Winery's 20-acre estate delights wine gurus with its gorgeous facilities and vineyards brimming with two dozen varieties of distinctly flavorful grapes. Today's Groupon grants guests access to a range of winetivities and items. Start off with a wine tasting ($5 fee, waived with purchase of a bottle), and allow one of Peace Valley's fermentation-fanatic staff members to informally demonstrate how to analyze the winery's varietals.
Chris, Cardinal Hollow Winery's owner and winemaker, ferments more than 2,000 gallons of juice each year to fill the facility's wood-paneled, cabin-like interior and its tasting room with more than 25 innovative varieties of the potent potable. Both independently and as part of the grape-cobbled highway of the Montgomery County Wine Trail, Cardinal Hollow invites visitors to wet their whistles at tastings and nourish brain orchards in classes. A two-hour lesson includes a full tour of the facilities such as the tasting room, which can be rented for parties of up to 100 people. Along with a tasting, guests will be given an overview of the history and the process of winemaking. During the class, oenophiles sink incisors into salty cheese and crackers while absorbing lessons on wine-and-food pairings at a bar that's supported by sturdy wine barrels. Guests can also peruse Cardinal Hollow wearables at the winery’s retail shop or groove to the live music that permeates the air about once a month.
People eat three times a day to prevent rebellious stomachs from escaping in search of peanut brittle, their natural prey. Today's Groupon uses the power of South Asian cuisine to placate restless tummies: for $15, you get $30 worth of international cuisine and drinks at Shanti: Taste of India in Dorchester. This Groupon is not valid for Shanti's lunch buffet.
More than 10 years ago, Shanti opened to provide the South Boston area with fresh, authentic Indian food. After realizing that the subcontinental focus limited the range of noshing experiences, the founders soon expanded their menu to also include Pakistani and Bangladeshi dishes. Now, stylish lamb, beef, and goat parade onto plates in a variety of spice suits, including the Indian gosht vindaloo ($11.99) and the Pakistani gosht kadai ($11.99). A well-equipped squadron of nine vegetables guards the nabaraton korma's creamy sauce ($10.99). Authentically stamp a palate-passport with the shrimp bhuna, seasoned shrimp imported from Bangladesh ($12.99). Tour the menu by blindfolding yourself, spinning around, and pointing randomly at your dinner, or engage the knowledgeable staff in a friendly game of 20 Questions to receive a personal recommendation.
The rich red walls and tablecloths give Shanti a regal ambience that reaches its full and inevitable consummation when the delectables arrive in gilded dishes. At the nod of your head, goblets full of beer ($3–$6.95), wine ($5.50–$7.50), or a creamy yogurt lassi ($3.99) levitate to the table in anticipation of exuberant toasts. Reservations are suggested for parties of eight or more and can be made online here.
More than 100 Yelpers give Shanti an average of four stars. Eighty-eight percent of more than 90 Urbanspooners recommend it, and three Insider Pagers give it a four-star average.
- This is amazing Indian. Since we don't really know anything about Indian food, we always end up asking questions; the staff always helps us choose the best meal for us. – Cassie M., Yelp
- Shanti is the real deal - high quality food at reasonable prices. – Mark P., Yelp
- This is some of the best Indian food I have had. I come here with my family and we each get different things and share. The flavors are so rich. ─ Emma M., Insider Pages