What to Eat (and Drink) This Weekend

Vive la France! Or, uvijek vjerni to Croatia? Plus a new deal on pizza, all of the ice cream, and more.

Les Sablons' first-floor bar

Les Sablons’ first-floor oyster bar. / Photo by Emily Hagen

Bastille Day Specials

No matter which team you’re rooting for in the World Cup Final (more on that dans une minute), celebrate French culture on Saturday in honor of France’s national Bastille Day. The excellent, French-ish dining stalwart L’Espalier has a special, $138 menu and wine pairings available Friday-Sunday. In the South End, perfectly Parisian Frenchie hosts a traditional guinguette party all weekend long (and a World Cup watch party on Sunday morning), with all the pastis, fine wines, and frosé one needs—plus the lawn game pétanque. And on Sunday night, wind down from the weekend (and the World Cup fever) au Bar à Huîtres de Les Sablons. From 9 p.m. ’til late at Après Bastille…After Dark, find complimentary bites, Film Noir-inspired cocktails, a Champagne room, and more at the first-floor Oyster Bar at Les Sablons. DJ Brother Cleve is spinning a Frenchie set, and there will be a raffle at midnight supporting Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE Gives).

the Aviation cocktail at Mamaleh's

The Aviation cocktail might not be a Croatian tradition, but it wouldn’t exist without Marasca cherries grown in Croatia. / Photo by Amanda Macchia provided by Mamaleh’s

National Drinks for the World Cup Final

Besides its national holiday, France is also fêting a trip to the World Cup Final. Les Bleus take on checkered red-and-white Croatia this Sunday at 11 a.m. If you plan to shout Vive la France! all weekend long, the French culture offers many well-known brunch and drinking traditions to inspire your celebration—from croissants, to café, cognac, fine wines, and more. Are you feeling uvijek vjerni (always faithful) to Croatia, a team that hadn’t seen even World Cup semi-finals since 1998? If you can find it, consider a shot of the popular Balkan brandy, rakia. Maraska Sljivovica is a Croatian plum brandy (slivovitz) available at the stellar bar at Mamaleh’s; or co-owner and beverage director Heather Mojer also suggests ordering or making the Aviation, which features maraschino liqueur distilled from Marasca cherries of Croatia. The Croats also love themselves a good Czech-style pils—Notch Pils would be a good stand-in locally, and we happen to know a great sports bar and many, many more local watering holes that carry it. What if you’re just rooting for a good game of soccer? Lamplighter Brewing hosts a viewing party in its back taproom (and joint café Longfellows hosts a Vinal Bakery pop-up before kickoff, so you can eat well and claim a good seat). Down the Road’s taproom is also opening early at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, with cold beer, hot pretzels, and free pinball. And the Garden at Publico, which has been a great place to catch the World Cup action in Southie, opens at 10 a.m. with a brand-new, globe-trotting brunch menu, World Cup-sized cocktails, and reservations available for groups.

The South End location of Area Four has a new rotating pizza-and-beer special every day

The South End location of Area Four has a new rotating pizza-and-beer special every day.

Pizza and Beer

Not that anybody needs an excuse to order pizza and beer, but here is a good one: The Boston location of Area Four just launched a new, everyday special of a featured pint and pie for $15. The pairing will change as kegs kick, but the first one up is a good one. Try a pint of Trillium Brewing’s Permutation #46 (a double IPA with Nelson Sauvin hops) and chef Jeff Pond’s bone marrow and mushroom pizza. Once that Trill is gone, future featured beers include Toppling Goliath Pompeii IPA, Common Roots Daylight DIPA, and Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine; plus a range of consistently fantastic pies. Check Instagram for future pairings.

264 East Berkeley St., South End, Boston, 857-317-4805, areafour.com.

Lauren Friel is opening Rebel Rebel at Bow Market

Lauren Friel. / Photo by Matt Watson

Award-Winning Wine Programs

The annual Wine Spectator awards were announced last week, which recognize interesting selections that are appropriate to their cuisine, and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers. Have a glass or several from one of more than 50 Boston-area restaurants that got the nod this year (look for the full list in WS’s August issue), including Grand Award winner Grill 23, and newcomers like Uni, City Winery Boston, and Meritage Restaurant at the Boston Harbor Hotel. And last month, Wine Enthusiast named its top 100 restaurants for wine, including Loyal Nine, Menton, Taberna de Haro, and Portland, Maine’s Drifter’s Wife. Spiritual beverage advisor Lauren Friel, who is opening a natural wine bar called Rebel Rebel at Bow Market later this year, was also honored by the Enthusiast: She got the nod for the women-produced wine list she developed for New York City’s award-winning Dirty Candy. You can taste her tastes locally at Committee, or by snagging a ticket to Tuesday’s Nightshade Viet-Cajun crawfish pop-up at Short & Main in Gloucester.

/ Photo provided by Toscanini’s

Ice Cream

Sunday, July 15, is National Ice Cream Day. There are dozens of scoop shops, dessert menus, and retail freezer cases where you can celebrate, this weekend and every day.