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Published: Sunday, 1/2/2005

Winter is the season for delicious events

In the midst of winter travels, there are food finds to enjoy. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, you can squeeze in a special lunch or dinner if you are in the right place at the right time.

  • Close to home, in Cleveland, Classics restaurant has been awarded the AAA Five Diamond Award for 2005, making it the only restaurant in Ohio with the distinction. Traditional French cuisine with a modern twist is prepared under the orchestration of Chef de Cuisine Guillaume Brard. At the end of each dinner or following dessert, a collection of tasty morsels such as tiny little cakes called financiers, petit fours, and chocolates is served. Flavors of the financiers include pistachio, Guanaja, chocolate, lime zest, and orange zest. Occasionally the chef uses tropical fruits to flavor these bite-size cakes. "They don't take over the dessert," says Manuel Nieves, sommelier. "They are a little happy ending." They do come with the check, however.

  • The 16th annual Boston Wine Festival begins Jan. 7 and continues through April 8. Hosted by the Boston Harbor Hotel, the festival offers 50 wine and food pairing events under the direction of Chef Daniel Bruce. This year's schedule includes evening receptions, wine seminars, dinners, and themed Sunday brunches. Among the events are a Super Tuscan wine dinner on Feb. 2 and 3, a Valentine's Dinner Dance on Feb. 11, a Valentine's Brunch on Feb. 13, and a New Orleans Jazz Brunch on Feb. 20. For information, visit www.bostonwinefestival.net.

  • On Broadway, in honor of SPAMALOT, a new musical "lovingly ripped off " from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Hormel Foods is introducing a limited-edition flavor, SPAM golden honey grail in a SPAMALOT collector's edition can. The product will be available in limited quantities in February at Broadway merchandise stores and the Shubert Theatre merchandise kiosks in New York City. SPAMALOT, directed by Mike Nichols and starring David Hyde Pierce, Tim Curry, and Hank Azaria, begins previews at the Shubert on Feb. 14.

  • Toronto's WinterCity Festival will feature Winterlicious presented by American Express. This is the third annual winter restaurant program running from Jan. 28 to Feb. 10, in which each of 120 restaurants will offer a three-course prix fixe menu. At lunch, prix fixe menus are $10 or $20; prices for dinner are $20 or $30. Lunch and dinner include an appetizers or soup or salad with an entree and dessert. Beverages, taxes, and gratuity are not included. Reservations will be accepted starting Jan. 13. For information, call 416-338-0338 or visit www.toronto.ca/special_events.

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    Teams of adults and children are invited to submit their original dessert pie recipe to the Crisco All-American Pie Recipe Contest. Each team consists of one adult and one child who are related, or adults must be legal guardians; children must be between ages 8 and 13. Five categories include apple, fruit/berry, sweet potato/pumpkin, chocolate, and citrus. Five finalist teams will win a trip to New York City in March, where they will prepare their pie and compete in a live judging event. The grand prize-winning team will be awarded $5,000. Deadline for entries is Jan. 31. To enter, visit the Crisco Web site at www.crisco.com.

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    Before the holidays, the Fremont Co., producers of Frank's Kraut, began a campaign to make sauerkraut appeal to a new generation via the K'Tini, a classic martini served with a sauerkraut-stuffed olive that has been marinated in vermouth.

    The recipe: Stuff large green olives with Frank's Bavarian-style or regular sauerkraut. Marinate the olives in dry vermouth. Pour two ounces of premium gin or vodka into an ice-filled shaker and shake. Pour gin or vodka into a chilled martini glass; add two marinated Frank's stuffed olives.

    "People have responded well," says Lindsay Kahn, spokesman for the campaign, who advises the best way to get the sauerkraut in the olives is with a toothpick.



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