Eating For A Cause, Bollywood-Tex Style
Imagine there was a new place opening up in March. It would serve Bollywood-Tex cuisine. Would you go?
What if it was only open for one night?
What if its chef was the Red Lion's Brian Alberg?
Most people are a little taken aback by the prospect of Indian/Texan culture coming together but Stockbridge's IS183 Art School for the Berkshires plans to jam the two into one night full of color, music, art and yes, food.
"Who doesn't love a barbecue?" says Alberg. He will be working with a diverse range of chefs in the Berkshires to bring the culinary aspect of the event together. For his part, the Red Lion is donating a pig and two lambs to be spit roasted whole. Alberg intends to serve the pig three ways, the lamb is still up in the air (so to speak.)
The event takes place on March 31. Between now and then, we'll visit the six different chefs who make up Alberg's team and get their take on cooking for a cause and unlikely combinations.
Here's are a few menu items so far:
Alberg's Whole Hog, 3 Ways
Grilled Curried Eggplants
Carmelized Paneer Mushroom Tarts
Crisp Vegetable Pickles in a ginger and mustard seed brine
Ghandi's Grit - Skillet Corn Bread.
And that's just a sketch.
The Buckaroo Bollywood Ball starts at 6 p.m. on March 31, at Interlaken (the former Desisto School)
Tickets for the dinner and dance start at $150 per person.
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Wild Oats Names New General Manager
Durfee is stepping into the shoes of Michael Faber, who left last year to manage a co-op in Keene, N.H. He will oversee finance, marketing and operations for Wild Oats Market, which has nearly 40 employees and sales of approximately $3.6 million last fiscal year.
A Berkshires native, Durfee is committed to local food production, sustainable living, and green business practices. He has promoted municipal composting, is very involved in his community through coaching and other volunteer activities, and has extensive experience working on non-profit boards and organizing community events.
"I was attracted to Wild Oats because of my desire to work in a values-driven and socially responsible organization," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting to know the Wild Oats community and working with the staff to build on the successes of the past few years."
Durfee, who currently resides in Shaftsbury, Vt., is a graduate of Williams College and holds a master's in business administration from Cornell University.
He was a senior forecasting analyst for the Vermont Country Store in Manchester, responsible for corporate sales budgeting and forecasting and oversight of the customer database. He also was director of marketing and communication for the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and its sister inn, Porches Inn in North Adams, and held management positions with Rodale Inc. in Emmaus, Pa., and Sanyo Electric Co. in Kobe, Japan.
"David's background in business, finance and marketing is a valuable addition to the expertise of the co-op's current strong management team," said Wild Oats board President Alison Kolesar. "We're excited to have him at the helm of our co-op and look forward to continued growth under his leadership."
Wild Oats Market is a member-owned, cooperative-based whole foods market specializing in local and organic products.
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Berkshire Chefs To Show Off Skills At James Beard House
Photo courtesy of the James Beard Foundation.
The outside of the James Beard House. Beard is one the biggest names in culinary and the foundation was formed to preserve the country's culinary history.
The James Beard Foundation is showing off the farm to table efforts of local chefs on March 2. The "Preserving the Berkshire Harvest" will feature chefs from the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mezze Bistro in Williamstown, Great Barrington's allium, Route 7 Grill and The Meat Market, and John Andrews in South Egremont.
The chefs will discuss every step from charcuterie or butchery and the preservation of fruits and vegetables to the full meal with a wide range of cured, dried and pickled meats including lardo, pickled pig's feet, porchetta de testa, hickory-smoked jowl, lamb'cetta and crispy pig ear. The demonstration will include ways to preserve fresh food through the winter.
The event was organized by Executive Chef at the Red Lion Inn and President of Berkshire Grown Brian Alberg, who also owns his own farm. This is Alberg's ninth appearance at the Beard House.
"The food culture of Berkshires has been embracing preservation long before the farm-to-table movement became a national story. Here in New England, maintaining and creating nutritional value, texture and flavor, have been imperative to extending our limited growing season. This dinner celebrates our time-honored tradition of preservation and pays homage to the farmer, producer and grower, as well as to the animal itself," Alberg said in a press release.
The reception and dinner is a collaboration among a variety of Berkshire chefs, farmers and producers. The participating chefs are: Alberg, Joji Sumi and Nicholas Moulton of Mezze, Lester Blumenthal of Route 7 Grill, Daniel Hardy of Allium Restaurant, Jeremy Stanton of The Meat Market and Dan Smith of John Andrews. Red Lion Inn Sommelier Dan Thomas selected the wines that accompany the dinner’s reception and six courses.
The chefs sourced menu ingredients from many Berkshire region farms and artisans including Bacon on the Side Farm, Berkshire Blue Cheese, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Berle Farm, Blue Hill Farm, Community Cooperative Farm, East Mountain Farm, Farm Girl Farm, Foggy River Farms, High Lawn Farm, Hilltop Orchards, Howden Farm, Indian Line Farm, Lakeview Orchard, Mighty Food Farm, North Plain Farm, Peace Valley Farm, Taft Farms, Wanabea Farm, West County Cider and Zehr and Sons Mushroom Farm.
The evening begins at 7 p.m. with a reception in the Beard House's Greenhouse Gallery with assortment of hors d'oeuvres. A seated tasting menu begins around 8 p.m. The price is $130 per person for James Beard Foundation members and $170 per person for the general public.
Beginning at noon a team from The Red Lion Inn and Berkshire Farm and Table will be streaming live behind-the-scenes coverage of Berkshire chefs in the James Beard kitchen. Media coverage will include blog posts, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter updates for up-to-the-minute storytelling as it takes place onsite in New York.
More information can be found here.
Here's the menu:
Rosemary Flatbread with East Mountain Farm Lardo and Lakeview Orchard Jam
Cured Sardines with Preserved Citrus
East Mountain Farm Fried Pork Croutons with Dried Peace Valley Farm Cherry Tomatoes, Mighty Food Farm Winter Kale, and Mayonnaise
East Mountain Farm Pickled Pigs’ Feet with Toasted Bread and Parsley Salad
Mighty Food Farm Potato–Parsnip Latkes with Applesauce
North Plain Farm and Blue Hill Farm Pigs’ Heads Three Ways > Porchetta di Testa, Hickory-Smoked Jowl, and Pickled Tongue with Salt-Cured Lemon, Indian Line Farm Pickled Green Tomatoes, Community Cooperative Farms Pickled Cucumbers, Farm Girl Farm Pickled Beets, and Chef’s Garden Quince Preserves
Arctic Char Crudo with Farm Girl Farm Bok Choy Kimchi, Zehr & Son’s Mushroom Farm Shiitake Velouté, and Shiitake Chips
Roasted Foggy River Farms Blue Hubbard Squash and High Lawn Farm Ricotta Ravioli with Lila’s Mountain Smoked Lambcetta, Taft Farms Pickled Green Zebra Tomatoes, and Oven-Dried Beefsteak Tomato Purée
Berkshire Sauerkraut-Braised Wanabea Farm Rabbit with Smoked Foggy River Farms Squash Purée and Squash Butter
East Mountain Farm Pork Roulade with Garlic Sausage, Pork Confit, Crispy Pig’s Ear, Mighty Food Farm Root Vegetable Purée, and Pickled Vegetables
Howden Farm Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Candied Bacon on the Side Farm Bacon and Berkshire Blue Cheese–Dusted Berle Farm Organic Popcorn
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Baba Louie's Facebook Special
So it's Friday afternoon. Your energy is used up for the week and there's still a dinner to be made or bought or found. You find yourself idly scrolling through Facebook at 4 p.m. When you notice it — Baba Louie's is offering a special deal!
This happened to us last week and it's one of the reasons why it pays to "Like" your favorite restaurants on Facebook.
The Berkshires may not have a Groupon of its own yet but last week Baba Louie's offered a special as good as any you'll find on the major coupon sites. Come in, mention the key words from the Facebook post and you got 50 percent off your dinner tab. Not 50 percent off an entree — 50 percent off the whole bill.
I grabbed my partner in life and we left for Baba Louie's. Once there we sat at the bar and had the best gluten-free pizza I've ever tasted as well as a generous dish of linguine with chicken and artichokes and "Dawn's Delight," a small salad that was plenty for two and was so delicious I would happily eat it every Friday until the summer (at least).
Baba Louie's Facebook page has mouth-watering pictures.
"Dawn's Delight" is described as "Gorgonzola, pears, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts served on a bed of organic mixed greens with our balsamic vinaigrette." Yup, that's the stuff. The combination is completely delicious.
For a pizza we chose the unusual combo of shrimp, pineapple, and coconut on a gluten-free crust. It was a refreshing change from our usual traditional pizza and the crust was surprisingly good.
Baba Louie's uses local organic ingredients whenever possible and has plenty of vegetarian, even vegan, options for those who want them.
Our entire meal, a feast really, with wine, beer and a $10 tip, came to $45. Definitely more than cooking at home but a real bargain for a night out. (It's always nice, if you can manage it, to tip on the amount the meal would have been if you got it at the regular price since your server does the same amount of work and sometimes more.)
So if you're wondering what to do for dinner, go online, check out who says what on Facebook or Twitter — more and more restaurants are making use of social networking to announce specials that aren't available anywhere else, count yourself in and give yourself a treat. You'll be glad you did.
Baba Louie's has restaurants in Pittsfield, Great Barrington and in Hudson, N.Y.
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February Is Chocolate Month in the Berkshires
Joshua Needleman of Chocolate Springs in Lenox pulls out a tray of sweets.
February is "Chocolate Month" in the Berkshires. This is the second year for the countywide effort to sweeten the winter doldrums.
The event kicked off with a low-key party at Chocolate Springs in Lenox on Saturday. Citing the success of last year's event, well-known chocolatier Joshua Needleman hopes people will join in as the month progresses.
So far, Essencials Salon and Medi-spa will be participating with a special "sweet and salty chocolate facial scrub" available for the month of February.
More special offers and events will be posted on the website as they are announced.
If Chocolate Springs offers a special on its fabulous hot chocolate, you'd be smart to get in on it. Joshua's hot chocolate is the best you've ever had, pure bliss in a cup.
We may have another month or two to get through before the Spring arrives but Chocolate Berkshires is doing its best to be sure this month is a sweet one. For more information, chocolateberkshires.com.
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