Kicking Off: Break out the tasting glasses: The Boston Harbor Hotel’s 22nd annual Boston Wine Festival starts on January 7 with a gala opening reception. This year, the three-month series of seminars and dinners is loaded with industry heavyweights such as Baron Philippe de Rothschild on January 12; another can’t-miss event is the Battle of the Cabernets on January 13 and 14. Early birds get the wine: If last year was any indication, all three of these will sell out.
Everywhere! Compared with New York and L.A., Boston’s been a little slow to jump on the food-truck trend. But mobile restaurants and food carts are finally catching on here. Garden at the Cellar chef Will Gilson — he’s the one working the flat-top griddle at left — has leased a vehicle from the local fleet belonging to Food Truck Nation; he expects to hit the road cooking some-time in January. Meanwhile, chefs Adam Gendreau (Circle, Bistro du Midi) and Patrick Gilmartin (Bravo at the MFA) have opened Staff Meal, a truck serving headcheese sandwiches and deviled eggs till 3 a.m. How to find out where it’s parked? Twitter, natch.
Coming Soon: Slated for a February opening at 745 Boylston Street, Max Brenner is a 5,900-square-foot restaurant devoted to chocolate. Like its sister locations in NYC, Philly, and Vegas, it will serve a light menu of savory offerings, including salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. But the real star is the cacao: frappes, sweet cocktails, and hot chocolate served every which way.
Closing: Just a few doors down from Max Brenner, longtime scenester (or wannabe-scenester) hangout Vox Populi is about to RIP. Rumor has it that the group behind Noche, the Tap, and the Federal will take over the space late this winter. We also hear that the Lyons Group (Towne, Alibi, Back Bay Social Club) has nabbed the Mass. Ave. spot that held burger and martini bar Match; its replacement has yet to be announced.
Now Open: Southie residents at last have a place to stock up on gourmet grub. American Provisions opened last month at 613 East Broadway, carrying John Dewar & Co. meats, Woodbury’s Wellfleet bivalves, artisanal cheeses, and baked goods; locals can also stop in for a morning cup o’ joe.