Aprihop to It

A beer dinner at PBE kicks off the week, and a Temple of Suds prepares for its unveiling.

Monday, April 4: Dogfish Head invades the tranquility of Pizza by Elizabeths for a special four-course beer dinner tonight. Here’s a peek at the menu, presented by chef Paul Egnor:

First Course: Aprihop

Field green salad with dried apricots, spiced pecans, roasted grape tomatoes, goat cheese, red onions, and an orange vanilla vinaigrette.

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Second Course: Shelter Pale Ale

Steamed Prince Edward Island mussels with sage sausage, granny smith apples, grilled scallions, cheddar cheese and pizza crust wedges.

Third Course: 60 Minute IPA

Flat Iron steak with potato puree, roasted asparagus and black truffle butter.

Fourth Course: Chicory Stout

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S’mores with homemade graham crackers, homemade marshmallows, chocolate ganache and malted ice cream

Tickets for the dinner are just $59 per person. Call 654-4478 for more.

Now thru Friday, April 22: If there is a dining promotion called “Holy Meat,” there is a very strong chance that the good-humored fellows at Chelsea Tavern are behind it.

Indeed, chef Sean McNeice and the Chelsea kitchen are rolling out a Lent-friendly selection of fish dishes to be served during Fridays during this holiday month. Holy Meat will include:

Pan-seared black grouper over squid ink pasta with blood-orange ginger cream

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Grilled “wild caught” salmon over Delaware crab chowder

Beer-battered catfish and chips

Call the Tavern at 482-3333 for more.

New digs: Two Stones Pub

“Kneel Before the Pint.”

Beer people tend to be religious bunch, Michael Stiglitz says. They might not be churchgoers in the traditional sense, but their reverence for beer borders on pious.

“Every beer drinker has their mug, their favorite bottles. I drink every beer out of a New England Imperial glass. There’s a lot of reverence.”

Stiglitz, the corporate chef behind Pig + Fish Restaurant and the Pickled Pig Pub in Rehoboth Beach, is opening his ode to craft beer later this month. Two Stones Pub (2 Chesmar Plaza, Newark, 294-1890, www.twostonespub.com) will take over the spot previously occupied by Piece of Ireland. Stiglitz and his team installed a new stained mahogany bar, hightops, plus signs and doodads devoted to beer. A four-and-a-half-foot Buddha statue, posed beneath stained glass lighting greets customers at the entrance.

The chef they call Stigz is building a temple to craft beers. He plans to have 24 craft brews on draft, another 100 or so bottles, a cask beer engine, plus all the fun one-offs and reserve bottles that beer fanatics go, well, fanatical for.

“I want to make this place a destination for beer drinkers,” Stiglitz says. “When I go to Boston I know I’m going to Lord Hobo or ChurchKey when I go to Washington, D.C.”

Two Stones (not a euphemism, Stiglitz swears) will also feature an eclectic mix of pub grub, in line with his creations at Pickled Pig and Pig + Fish. Food and beer pairings will be a huge part of the program, as will monthly beer dinners.

Beer is the alpha and omega here, but Two Stones plans to have a relaxing, 28-seat dining room away from the bar for lunches and dinners. A wine list will rotate four reds and four whites regularly.

“But, specifically,” Stiglitz says, “we will be focused on craft brew as it sweeps the nation.”

Stay tuned for more.

Now: Those recently-revamped comfort cultivators at Piccolina Toscana have launched two special nights for two special delicious/dietary menus: Meatless Monday and Gluten-Free Tuesday. The regular menu will still be available on Mondays and Tuesdays, but specials on those nights will be geared toward vegetarian and gluten-free diets, respectively.

Says owner/mastermind Dan Butler: “One thing I don’t want to do is to make anyone feel out of place. Piccolina Toscana has always enjoyed great support from the community and this is a way for us to more completely embrace the community. For example, I don’t want to make a vegetarian dish that a meat-eater would never go for. We want to be welcoming to all our customers and we want to be your favorite restaurant, period.”

During its renovation last fall, Toscana brass held focus groups that revealed customers’ cravings for veggie and “G-free” options. New specials will vary from week to week, with a la cart choices joining a three-course prix fixe meal.

Here is an example of how a Meatless Monday menu might look:

Spinach and Grilled Radicchio with Toasted Pine Nuts, Shellbark Hollow Farms Goat Cheese, and Honey Sherry Vinaigrette

Fettuccine with Roasted Mushroom “Bolognese,” Arugula, and Pecorino Toscano

While Gluten Free Tuesday could look like:

Piatto d’Olive — Tuscan Olives, Caperberries, Pickled Vegetables, and Balsamic Whole Grain Mostarda

Arugula, Radicchio, Gorgonzola, and Grapes with house-made Dried Cherry Mostarda Dressing

Roasted Tomato Reggiano Polenta with Grilled Marvesta Shrimp in Spicy Shallot Vinaigrette

Stay current at Toscana’s website, or call them at 654-8001. Special thanks to JulieAnne Cross for the scoop and the photo.

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