Newark's Wine and Dine is Here
Coming this week: Newark’s Annual Wine and Dine Downtown. Billed as a “culinary and wine extravaganza featuring a dazzling array of tasty delights prepared by the chefs of downtown Newark’s very own restaurants” the event pairs great food with complementary fine wines from around the world. Seventeen downtown restaurants have selected unique wines to feature with their special menus. Restaurant-wine pairings will offer a $2 per 2 oz. taste of wine. Premium tastings and flights may also be available at varying prices. Special guest Julie Johnson, owner and winemaker of Tres Sabores Winery in Napa Valley, will be at the Stone Balloon Winehouse pouring her very special wines. No tickets necessary. Pick up a glass at any participating restaurant, then pay as you go. The first 2,000 attendees will receive a free commemorative glass and wine pouch. It all happens March 23. Check it out at enjoydowntownnewark.com/winedine.
Happy Easter Tradition
The famous Italian saying “paese che vai usanza che trovi,” “wherever you go, you’ll find different customs,” is very true of cooking. At Easter, as at Christmas, each region has unique dishes that are considered typical. Although some of the dishes you find on Easter are regional and local, there are some that are considered national. The most famous is agnello, or l’abbacchio. Roasted lamb is considered a dish typical of Easter in every part of the country, like the chocolate egg. Both lamb and eggs have deep symbolical meanings, of sacrifice and of life, respectively. Among the primi piatti tortellini in brodo (tortellini in a light vegetable or meat broth) and lasagna are typical of the North. Central and Southern Italy prefer pasta dishes with tomato sauce and lamb. From Campania come two famous recipes. Casatiello is a salty cake with salami, pecorino cheese and eggs. Pastiera Napoletana is a cake of cooked wheat, fresh ricotta and orange extract. You can sample if for yourself at Soffritto Italian Grill in Newark on Easter, when chef Stefania Pastiera will prepare plenty. The restaurant will offer Sunday brunch, but if you’re a stay-at-home type on the holiday, you can order 10- or 12-inch cakes to go. It’s just one small part of what makes the holiday special. Call in advance. 455-1101, soffritto.com
A Generous Act, Indeed
Last year Deerfield and Delaware Today magazine identified Delaware’s Best Amateur Chef through a series of cooking challenges. The winner, Kathleen Matty of Ocean View, earned the title, a trophy, and a $5,000 gift certificate to host a party at Deerfield in Newark. In a display of remarkable generosity and gratitude for their service and sacrifice, Matty will use her prize to recognize service members who are about to be deployed around the world. Each service member will be invited to bring a guest, with a total of more than 60 in attendance, at Deerfield on March 21. “It just made sense to use it for people who deserve it, especially since they are going to be deployed and away from their families and loved ones for such a long time,” Matty says. “My fiancé’s father was in the military, and I greatly appreciate what those that serve do for us. I am really excited to host everyone at this event and to return to Deerfield.” Lt. Col. Angela Showell of the Delaware National Guard has been instrumental in organizing many of Matty’s plans for the evening. The Army and Air National Guard’s Senior Enlisted Advisors provided Showell a randomly selected list of service members who were about to be deployed. This list became the guest list for Matty’s special dinner. “Our Delaware National Guard leadership team and these deploying members really appreciate Kathleen unselfishly sharing her award,” Showell says. “We are grateful for all that she and the staff at Deerfield have done to make this evening special.” “I can remember how excited Kathleen was when she won the contest last year,” says executive chef Paul O’Toole, a judge in the Delaware’s Best Amateur Chef Contest . “To know now that she is utilizing her prize not on herself but for the benefit of our dedicated military service members is truly inspiring.” Kathleen, your Insider salutes you.
What better time for an Irish pub to debut a new menu that the month of St. Patrick’s Day? Which means you should get to Catherine Rooney’s in Newark and Wilmington to see what executive chef Matthew Schafenberg is doing with seafood. To wit: the Galway Bay Seafood Sautée of fat shrimp, PEI mussels and scallops in a broth of shallots, garlic and fresh tomato served around a duchess potato. Then there is local rockfish sautéed in lemon and butter served with Colcannon potato bake and vegetables. And that’s not all. “While creating this menu, I wanted to combine my love of traditional Irish seafood dishes with the amazing options we have available to us locally,” Schafenberg says. “I’m hoping that my passion for this style of cuisine resonates with diners and creates memorable and extraordinary experiences for them.” We say, Slainte. catherinerooneys.com