What to Eat (and Drink) This Weekend
It's time for spring traditions like carbo-loading, Saison Day, and impatiently waiting for patio season.
Is it just us, or did the weekend forecast turn on us? We were looking forward to a sunny and seasonable Patriots’ Day, and instead we’re faced with… whatever this is. Anyway, Friday and Saturday are looking OK, and like us, many restaurants are champing at the bit to get outside. Among the patios we’ve seen open so far: Atwood’s Tavern, Barcelona Wine Bar, the Barking Crab, Best Burger Bar, the Boston Public Market plaza, Brewer’s Fork, Bronwyn, Coppersmith, Worcester’s excellent Dive Bar (from the same owner and beer connoisseur behind Armsby Abbey) and its seasonal Southern food popup, the Mama Roux Trailer; the Hourly Oyster House, MET Back Bay, Nebo, Pier 6, ReelHouse (pictured), Trillium Canton, the Smoke Shop (Cambridge)… Think sunny thoughts, everybody.
As is tradition, chefs are piling on the pasta throughout the weekend to help marathoners build up energy to run 26.2 miles on Monday. Look for prix-fixe pasta deals, like bottomless bolognese, pesto gemelli, and other offerings at South Boston’s Capo on Saturday and Sunday; and the carb-heavy Arsenale menu at the South End’s SRV on Sunday. But it’s also spring, which means that fresh, vegetable-forward pasta dishes are gracing menus all around town… just because. Near the Marathon Finish Line, find some at Eataly Boston, of course, whose La Pizza & Pasta restaurant is donating proceeds from sales of cacio e pepe to the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Away from the hubbub of Back Bay, pretty spring dishes have caught our eye in Medford, at Semolina Kitchen (from the Dave’s Fresh Pasta team); in Cambridge, at Lord Hobo (where you can continue to carbo-load with a great beer selection), and at the Table at Season to Taste; and in Somerville, at Fat Hen.
Another certain sign of spring: Saturday is Saison Day! Five years ago, innovative old-world brewery Allagash declared it so, and the celebration continues at sites around the country. In Massachusetts, the official party is at Night Shift Brewing, with a curated tap list of farmhouse-style ales from both breweries, including an Aquavit barrel-aged saison, and Saison Gratis, openly fermented and hopped in the Allagash coolship; and Night Shift’s award-winning Matisse, along with a variety of fruited and brett-fermented brews. Or, take a mini-road trip west to Honest Weight brewery in Orange, where “every day is saison day,” but which is planning a Saturday release of a new, mixed-culture ale comprised of two different saisons, separately oak-conditioned, then blended and bottled in January.
Saison Day – MA, Saturday, April 14, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Night Shift Brewing, 87 Santilli Hwy, Everett, Facebook.
The prolific and exciting scene of Boston-based chefs doing their own thing in borrowed kitchens continues this weekend with many popup opportunities. Some highlights: Oleana cook Graham Boswell’s Littleburg is bringing lunch to Allston’s FoMu on Saturday, with a new slider loaded with lentil kibbeh, eggplant, pickled radish, and almond sauce; snap peas with spicy yogurt, pita chips, and pumpkin seeds; and more, including a sesame sundae with FoMu vanilla bean ice cream. Then, typically Camberville-based Vinal Bakery (which operates out of Bagelsaurus) is heading all the way out to Jamaica Plain on Sunday, with French Toast English muffins; the Herbie muffin sandwich with egg, spicy herb pesto, goat cheese butter, and greens; English muffins to go, and more. And finally, Wink & Nod’s next Sunday Supper is by the Chop Bar, a four-course menu by chefs Kwasi Kwaa and Shelley Nason. The food is inspired by Kwasi’s childhood roots in Ghana, such as braised goat, seared tilapia, and kelewele (spicy fried sweet plantains).
Littleburg Veggie Burger popup, priced a la carte, Saturday, April 14, noon-2 p.m., FoMu – Alternative Ice Cream & Cafe, 481 Cambridge St., Allston, Facebook.
Vinal Bakery popup, priced a la carte, Sunday, April 15, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (or sellout), Monumental Cupcakes, 36 South St., Jamaica Plain, Facebook.
The Chop Bar popup, $55, Sunday, April 15, 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. seatings, Wink & Nod, 3 Appleton St., South End, Eventbrite.
Poké for a Pal
The fast-growing, “ocean-to-counter” fast-casual chain Pokéworks opens its second Boston-area location this weekend in Harvard Square. For the grand opening, all menu items are buy one, get on free all day on Saturday. That means you can have one spicy ponzu albacore sushi burrito, and you can give one to a friend; or you both can have Maui chef and Top Chef alum Sheldon Simeon’s newest Pokéworks collaboration, the Original Garlic “OG” Bowl with Hawaiian-style Ahi tuna poké, watercress, and a savory garlic sauce. The create-your-own possibilities are broad.
Pokéworks grand opening, Saturday, April 14, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., 1440 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-441-2999, pokeworks.com.