Wine of the Times
Frank Pagliaro of Frank’s Union Wine Mart has proclaimed “Black is the new gold.” For proof, you’re invited to Frank’s Golden Wine Event, March 9 at Harry’s Savoy Ballroom in North Wilmington. You’ll be feted by Frank, owner Xavier Teixido, chefs Patrick D’Amico and David Leo Banks, and the Harry’s crew, who have designed six food stations—Italian cucina, French bistro, South American grill-Australian barbie, Spanish tapas, California and Pacific Northwest cuisine and German weinhaus—and more than 150 wines to be paired with your food samplings. That means you’ll taste porcini risotto, calamari, pesto tortellini, cured meats, olives, cheeses and Italian desserts with Prosecco, Gavi, Barolo, Amarone, Brunello di Montalcino and Vin Santo; triple cream Brie, påté maison and savory crepes with Grand Cru Burgundy, Chateauneuf-du-Pape and delicious Champagne: bratwursts, schnitzels and Gouda with Reislings and other German wines; and much more. Live jazz and reggae will fill the air as you mingle, graze and sip. It only happens once a year. Don’t miss it. Order your tickets now. 800-AT-FRANK’s, frankswine.com
Delaware’s Best Amateur Chef
Congratulations to all the participants in last week’s cooking challenge at Deerfield to determine who advances toward the title of Delaware’s Best Amateur Chef. We began Thursday evening with six finalists, based on recipes submitted in January. All six amateur chefs did an amazing job with diverse and flavorful entrées. Each brought a unique set of strengths to the four categories each was judged on: flavor, creativity, execution and presentation. Based on the scores in what was a very tight race, the three amateur chefs who will move on to the finals March 25 are (in alphabetical order):
Kathleen created a delicious rainbow trout burger with lemon-caper mayo and charred tomato relish. Marcy crafted a fantastic pan-seared duck breast over balsamic glaze with a date-pistachio compote. Rick served Canadian surf and turf of blackened Atlantic salmon beside seared wild venison tenderloin with a blueberry-Port sauce.
Delaware Today and Deerfield also congratulate the other three participants, each talented and passionate about their amazing creations. Laura Brown, Dale Houck and Stephanie Shen each presented creative and delicious dishes to a group of appreciative judges. The scores were close, and each of our six finalists really brought their best.
Your Insider was pleased to see so many at the new Ernest & Scott Taproom in Wilmington Saturday night and hope it portends great things for this refreshing newcomer. Thanks to $8 flights (four 3-ounce pours of your choice), we sampled so many delicious microbrews and cask-conditioned ales that we can’t recall them all, but here are a few favorites:
Cask-conditioned Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale: sweet and strong
General Washington’s Tavern Porter from Yards Brewing Company: toasty
Mary’s Maple Porter, Brooklyn Brewery: one of the evening’s favorites, not at all syrupy
Millennium Ale from Old Dominion Brewing: malty and smooth
In case you didn’t know, E&S is all about craft beer, presenting a wide variety from across the country, some in very limited quantities. Sometimes when the barrel kicks, that beer may never be tasted again. Which makes every visit special. But there’s more to E&S than beer. We also grazed from the appetizer list which is creative and well done. More faves:
Smoked salmon on homemade potato pancakes, with crispy leeks and mustard-dill vinaigrette
Orchiette with lobster and cheese, panko crumbs and roasted tomatoes: perfect winter food
Salt-and-pepper calamari with sliced cherry peppers and citrus aioli: beautifully fried, with a little kick
Spinach-feta filo roll with pine nuts, calamata olives, roasted tomato and red wine gastrique: like a Greek egg roll, a total surprise
It’s worth a visit just to see the tower of wooden kegs in the dining room. Or check out the next in a series of special events, Destination Dogfish on March 15, when Dogfish Head Craft Brewery will tap its cask-conditioned Thyme Pale Ale. 384-8113, ernestandscott.com
You can never plan for St. Patrick’s Day too soon. And no place says St. Pat’s like Trolley Square in Wilmington. Catherine Rooney’s continues a play to rival Kelly Logan’s House as the end-all, be-all of Erin go bragh with Pints & Pancakes March 10 and March 17. That means a $6.99 breakfast buffet and $2 pints from 9 a.m. till 11 a.m., before the annual Wilmington parade on March 10. We can think of no better way to prepare. (654-9700, catherinerooneys.com) Kelly’s Logan House doesn’t need to do anything too special—after nearly 150 years, everyone knows it’s the place to be. (655-6426, loganhouse.com) If you can’t get to Trolley, here are a few other great places: Irish Eyes in Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Milton (irisheyespub.com), MacLaren’s Irish Pub in North Wilmington (478-7522), Finbar’s Irish Pub in Rehoboth (227-1873, finbarspub.com), Sheridan’s Irish Pub in Smyrna (659-5566, sheridansirishpub-smyrna.com), Irish Mike’s in Dover (734-4578, myspace.com/irishmikesoldtownpub), Stoney Lonen in Rehoboth Beach and Long Neck (227-2664, stoneylonen.com) and Smitty McGee’s in Fenwick Island (436-4716, smittymcgees.com). Cheers.