On the Menu

Fall into the season with these Blackboard Specials.

Deadlines got the best of me this week, but I didn’t want to leave my favorite PR peeps out in the cold, or neglect to tell you about upcoming culinary specials and events. So, with no further ado, let me introduce the current Blackboard Specials:

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15, Tango’s sous chef, Florencia Estrada, will be whipping up a special “de la cocina Latina” (from the Latin kitchen) menu celebrating the flavors and cuisine of his homeland, including regional dishes from Pachuca (in the Hidalgo region of Mexico), from which he hails. In addition to its existing Mexican specialties, Tango’s menu will feature the following dishes and wines from South America*:
A thick, hearty chicken-based soup made with hominy, onion, garlic, dried chiles and cilantro, and indigenous to Jalisco, located in the middle of Mexico’s Pacific Region.
Suggested wine pairings:
Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc from Chile
Santa Julia Torrentes from Argentina
Trivento Malbec from Argentina
Casillero Carmenere from Chile
Cacao Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah from Chile
Ceviche Martini
A refreshing combination of raw scallops, shrimp and crab, “cooked” in a lime marinade, then layered with guacamole, pico de gallo and a crispy plantain garnish.  
Suggested cocktails:
Lychee Mojito: Soho Lychee Liqueur, Bacardi Rum, fresh mint, lime, lychee
Chilled Herradura CosmoLita: Herradura Silver Tequila, Grand Marnier, cranberry and lime juices
Chicken Mole
A smooth, cooked dark sauce made with onion, garlic, chiles, ground pepitas seeds and Mexican chocolate; from the Nahuatl Aztec word molli, meaning “concoction.”
Suggested beverages:
Tango’s house made spiced sangria: a blend of pomegranate, orange juice and dry red wine, lightly infused with cinnamon and garnished with autumn fruits
Dos Equis “XX” Mexican beer

*Wine subject to change.

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39 Morris Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 526-9500, tastetango.com

Teikoku Executive Chef Takao IinumaWine … and Dine

On Sept. 23, 6:30-9:30 p.m., join Teikoku Restaurant (Newtown Square) and Majestic Wine and Spirits’ Michael Walsh for a “Tour of California” wine dinner. Renown for his approachable, unpretentious demeanor and extensive wine knowledge, Walsh will take guests on a “virtual tour” of California’s appellations and wines. The “journey” will also include an array of fare from Executive Chef Takao Iinuma of Iron Chef fame, along with Teikoku’s Chef de Cuisine Chay Aniwat and the Chef de Cuisine of Azie, Kaz Mitsui. Here’s a peek at the menu to whet your appetite:

Amuse Bouche
Citrus sushi roll: salmon, sea bass, yellow tail, sanma and eel
Pairing: Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc, 2006, Monterey

First Course
Aburi toro salad: Seared blue fin tuna and baby greens with a sweet onion pickle salsa
Pairing: Forestville Reserve Chardonnay, 2005, Russian River Valley

Precision preparation by Chef Takao IinumaSecond Course
Pan-roasted tilefish with chestnut risotto and tempura style matsutake mushrooms
Pairing: Esser Vineyards Pinot Noir, 2006, South Central Coast
Plum wine jelly
Third Course
Wagyu filet mignon with assorted seasonal roasted potatoes and a classic red wine sauce
Pairing: Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004, Napa

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Tiramisu made with green tea mascarpone cream
Pairing: Merryvale Antigua, NV, Medera

$95/person. For more information or to make a reservation, contact events coordinator Christine Olmsted at (610) 644-8270 or christineolmsted@live.com. 5492 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, teikokurestaurant.com.

More Wine Happenings

On Sept. 25, 6-8 p.m., Cellar Door Imports (cellardoorimportswine.com) and Blush (Bryn Mawr) will host Parti de Vin. No word yet on edible offerings, but the following wines will be poured:

Banyan Gewurztraminer
Optima Chardonnay
Evohe Garnacha
Folk Machine 2006 The Long Drive (a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Valdigue and Madera Syrah)  

For added enticement, Blush is offering 10 percent off any purchase to guests who linger for dinner or drinks after the event. 24 N. Merion Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 527-7700, dineatblush.com

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Also on Sept. 25, Philadelphia’s Mediterranean escape—and one of MLT’s featured outdoor dining spots in Philly (Epicure, “Outside Is In,” July 2008)—Positano Coast, will host a Crudo Wine Dinner featuring wines from the islands and a delectable sampling of crudo, the Italian rendition of sashimi.

So far, the menu is slated to include an enticing selection of crudo, such as The Hawaiian Trio: Opaka Pink Snapper, baby tomatoes and lemon oil; Kajiki Blue Marlin with radish and citrus cream, and big eye tuna with extra virgin olive oil and micro arugula; Madai (Japanese red sea bream), horse mackerel and onaga (red snapper) and other innovative creations from executive chef Pippo Lamberti, one of Philly’s “Next 8 Great Chefs.”

Non-imbibers can enjoy Chef Lamberti’s creative crudo sans vino for $50. The special wine pairing package will cost you an additional $25. 212 Walnut St., second floor, Philadelphia; (215) 238-0499; lambertis.com/locations/positano.htm

The Holy Trinity

Michèle Haines, Dibruno Brothers Cheese and Trinchero Family Estates host “Wine, Cheese and Chocolate” Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. Amp up your wine and cheese knowledge with fromage expert Hunter Fike from Dibruno Brothers and wine expert Cheri Vallance-Tucker from Trinchero Family Estates as they guide guests through a special tasting that pairs American cheeses with wines from California. Best of all, you’ll get to learn how to make Michèle Haines’ decadent chocolate mousse.

$50/person. Spring Mill Café, 164 Barren Hill Road, Conshohocken; (610) 828-2550, springmill.com

Almost Missed This One

Seventy-nine degrees, partly sunny and just a 10-percent chance of precipitation add up to fair weather for the 29th Annual Chester County Restaurant Festival Sept. 21, noon-5:30 p.m. (rain date Sept. 28). Throw in a fortuitous 4:15 p.m. Eagles-Steelers kick-off, and I’d say Sunday is shaping up to be a perfect day to get out and revel in all the good eats that West Chester has to offer. Up and down Gay Street in downtown West Chester, participating borough eateries will be dishing out their signature dishes with a side of wine and spirits. Hostess with the mostess, Mary Bigham will be on the red carpet all day at the WC Dish booth broadcasting live on WCOJ with JT Morgan, entertaining the crowd with “Food Olympics” and other fun antics.

Festival attendees get to vote for their favorite apps, entrées and desserts via text messaging, or live by visiting the WC Dish booth. Bigham will be giving out WC Dish tattoos, and those who get their pictures taken from the WC Dish photographer “w/a tat” will get their 15 minutes of fame in an online post and be eligible for foodie prize packs.

Since a crowd is unavoidable, you need to get your navigational skills in check. First things first, grab a festival map at the WC Dish booth located at the corner of High and Gay streets. All of the participating vendors, restaurants, crafters and “Dish” award folks are listed on the map so
you can plan your route to taste all the participants. Most Dish award offerings are priced between $2 and $5, so you can taste a lot of the categories without breaking the bank.

Note: Those restaurants that are not doing the awards have much larger portions, with prices hovering between $7 and $12. Choose wisely depending on your appetite; going for the bigger buck offerings might prove to be more of a commitment than tasting the smaller, more affordable options.

For a list of participating restaurants and a virtual map, click here.

Last But Not Least

Area restaurants will be donating up to five percent of sales during this week’s Great American Dine Out, sponsored by Share Our Strength. Take a night off and bring the kids; the more you eat, the closer we all can come to eliminating childhood hunger in the United States.
Visit Great American Dine Out for a list of participating restaurants. Just type in a Main Line or Philly zip code, and you will be rewarded with an extensive list of options. It’s a great cause, and it’s an easy way to show your kids that a little goes a long way in making a difference in someone else’s life.

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!