What to Eat (and Drink) This Weekend
Festive fare for the Year of the Dog, an actually presidential cocktail, new chefs' cuisine at Strip-T's, and more.
Chinese New Year Treats
Once you’re done thoroughly cleaning the house in anticipation of the Year of the Dog, it’s time to celebrate. The Lunar New Year is today—Friday, Feb. 16—so keep an eye out for traditional dumplings, meats, fish, and other specials on menus, Chinese and not, around Boston. Cambridge’s Sumiao Hunan Kitchen is breaking out the lucky red envelopes: for every $100 spent there this weekend, get $10 to come back and ward off evil spirits. For an elegant celebration, check out the Asian-inspired Champagne tea service in the lobby lounge of the five-star Mandarin Oriental. There are three options ranging from $58-$2,018; each one begins with a Champagne toast, and includes five natural tea blends, and a tiered display of sweet and savory bites. It’s served daily from 2-5 p.m. through February 25, and reservations at 857-400 2062 or firstname.lastname@example.org are recommended (and required for the top-shelf experience). And since Chinese New Year is such a major holiday in that country, its geographic neighbors also celebrate. That means Tiger Mama has some Southeast Asian menu additions, beer specials with Tiger Lager, and a caricaturist in the house tonight from 5:30-7:30 p.m. At Kaki Lima at KO Pies, chef Retno Pratiwi is making lontong cap go meh (pictured) this weekend only (and note, KO closes at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday for a private event). “This is a complex dish both in flavor and culture. It is a celebratory dish that is often served for Chinese New Year in Indonesia and represents Chinese-Indonesian interpretations of Javanese cuisine,” Pratiwi says. Can’t get enough of this festive fare? The Shojo team just did a sold-out Chinese New Year dinner at the James Beard House in New York City, which owner Brian Moy and executive chef Mike Stark will reprise this Wednesday, Feb. 21, in the Dragon Room at BLR by Shojo. Check out the full menu on Eventbrite, where you can also reserve your seat.
A Triple Axel of Booze
The triple axel, which California native Mirai Nagasu landed this week to become the first American woman (and just the third woman ever) to do so during an Olympic competition, is kind of a big deal. Landing it helped Nagasu earn the bronze medal for Team USA. Celebrate with a cocktail in her honor at Everett distillery Short Path. The Triple Axel drink special features three of their house-made spirits: rum, creme de menthe, and ouzo, and it’s available all weekend. Got Olympic fever? Check out these pop-up Olympic bars and special beer releases, and visit Kane’s Donuts for a Team USA doughnut in honor of Saugus native and Olympic snowboarder, Jonathan Cheever.
An Octo-Dog, a Butter Burger, and Milk-Braised Chicken
Paul Maslow’s Strip-T’s has a new family in the kitchen: Chef Peter McKenzie, formerly of Shepard, Ribelle, and Rialto, is now at the helm of the 32-year-old Watertown landmark, alongside his wife, Mareena. The pastry chef was most recently making desserts at Pammy’s in Cambridge. She also worked at Island Creek Oysters and Portland, Oregon’s iconic Voodoo Doughnuts, and had also contributed to the pastry programs at Ribelle and Shepard. At Strip-T’s, they plan to maintain the funky, hospitality-first vibe, with new flavors, seasonal ingredients, and more. Mareena plans to channel the spot’s retro ambiance with a new selection of daily pies, cookies, cakes by the slice, and doughnuts. A few of Peter’s new dishes have already hit the menu. Among them is the Octo-Dog (pictured), with grilled octopus, spicy tartar sauce, cucumbers, red onion, and dill; the Mother and Daughter sandwich, with fried chicken, sweet potato, hots, egg yolk sauce; chamomile ricotta toast with honey and bee pollen; steak frites with chili, fennel fries, and bearnaise; and gnocchi with sunchoke, Parmesan, and pea greens. Strip-T’s remains closed on Sundays, and is open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
93 School St., Watertown, 617-923-4330, stripts.com.
Cold-Brew French Toast + Beer
As Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen gets its Brighton brewpub ready for primetime, brewer Alex Corona and chef Jonathan Gilman continue their pop-up tour. Their regular Saturday night stop at Lamplighter Brewing is on (this weekend with potato chip sourdough), and on Sunday check out Brato’s first-ever brunch at Bone Up Brewing in Everett. The fermentation-driven kitchen is featuring chocolate-malted cold brew sourdough as French toast, with a blueberry streusel crumble; and fresh chili maple breakfast sausage. But what to drink? “Shelby Smoked Stout (7.2 percent) will go great with breakfast sausage, blueberries, and French toast. It’s very smooth, not overly smoky, with a hint of roast and lots of dark chocolate notes,” says Bone Up’s cofounder and brewer Liz Kiraly. Bonus: For an extra $3 donation to the Pets for Vets Foundation, you can keep the glass (pictured). Or, she suggests a pint of Bone Up’s newest release, Big DeLICious. The 5.2-percent hoppy farmhouse ale is a collaboration with Big aLICe Brewing. “It’s bright, super citrusy, and refreshing,” Kiraly says. “The perfect brunch beer!”
Brunch Pop Up with Brato Kitchen, Sunday, Feb. 18, noon-4 p.m., Bone Up Brewing, 38 Norman St., Everett, 781-691-9092, Facebook.
A Very Presidential Old Fashioned
Thanks in no part to the sitting president, this Monday is a holiday, y’all. Celebrate Presidents Day in the City of Presidents, where you’ll find a special apple brandy old fashioned this weekend at the Townshend. Bar manager Palmer Matthews subbed Laird’s 7.5 Year Old Apple Brandy for rye whiskey, and uses a dash each of cinnamon, and whiskey barrel-aged bitters. John Adams, who is buried just a few steps away from the Quincy Center restaurant, was a well-known apple aficionado, and even built a ciderhouse on his Quincy property. Laird’s, the oldest distillery in America, boasts a number of presidential fans over the years. Besides the apple brandy sipper, chef Collin Davis has some Presidents Day weekend menu specials inspired by the time of Adams and Hancock, including Johnny cakes with salted cod, smoked honey butter, and trout roe; poached New England salmon with egg sauce, peas, and potatoes; and apple pandowdy for dessert, with charred apples, French vanilla ice cream, and duck fat caramel.
1250 Hancock St., Quincy, 617-481-9694, thetownshend.com