Raise Your Glass: Chewy, Hardy Wine From Sicily
Jan28

Raise Your Glass: Chewy, Hardy Wine From Sicily

Villa Pozzi Nero D’Avola, Sicily 2013; $8.99 – $11.99 A few years ago, when Sicilian wines were relatively new to New England, I tried a bottle. It was an inexpensive dark red wine made from a grape that I had never heard of, which is not unusual; after all, Italian vineyards are home to more than 350 documented grape varietals. The wine, made from the Nero D’Avola grape, wasn’t very good by most standards, rough tasting with a...

Read More
The Beerhunter: Save a Keg. Tap a Cask: Cask beers make a slow, sweet comeback
Jan21

The Beerhunter: Save a Keg. Tap a Cask: Cask beers make a slow, sweet comeback

Nothing screams American mass-market beer like that big silver “Coors” bullet train. TV spots show it rocketing through a winter blizzard, smashing huge glaciers into ice rubble before steaming into town like the Polar Express for the college set. Ahh, refreshing! Should beer really go down like a blast of the Arctic? Maybe if you don’t want to taste it. But nearly all American beers served on draft hit your pint glass at between 35...

Read More
Scene Here: Big Easy Brunch
Jan21

Scene Here: Big Easy Brunch

Remember that first wash of Technicolor in The Wizard of Oz? That’s what it’s like to step off the grayscale street and into Chef Wayne’s Big Mamou in Springfield. This little New Orleans-style restaurant is stranded on a run-down industrial block of Liberty Street, but that hasn’t put a damper on the warm, welcoming vibe that Chef Wayne Hooker has curated. The place is dimly lit and cozy, decorated with colorful masks, murals,...

Read More
Epic Chowder Smackdown: Old school fish shop takes top honor
Jan15

Epic Chowder Smackdown: Old school fish shop takes top honor

Schermerhorn’s Seafood Restaurant clam chowder, Holyoke Score: 4.5 Price: cup, $3.99; bowl, $4.99 The judges found this chowder deliciously creamy and well-balanced. Amanda: Everything a clam chowder should be. You could actually smell the clams. Kristin: The clams were soft and the creamy potato mixed nicely. Buttery fishy goodness. Lou: A little gritty, but not too gritty. This is a very classic clam chowder done well. Cal’s...

Read More
‘We’ve Got to Get Our Image Back’
Jan15

‘We’ve Got to Get Our Image Back’

Spellbound Cabernet Sauvignon California, 2013 $11.99 – $15.99 When the weather turns not quite so delightful and temperatures start to drop, a hearty red wine seems an appropriate answer to the sleet-smattered cold and the right choice to accompany winter fare or to enjoy while sitting around the wood stove and listening to Linda Ronstadt’s “Duets.” There are a number of good, inexpensive California cabernet sauvignons on the...

Read More

Beerhunter: Iron Duke Brewing’s Signature “Baby-Maker” is Born

The new Iron Duke Brewing facility in Ludlow might be a bit of a trek for some Valley beer chasers, but the visit pays off in small pleasures. One of those is sitting at the bar in their busy taproom listening to college kids and grandparents alike shout, “I’ll have a Baby-Maker!” Nick Morin, co-founder of the brewery, says he named this amber porter for his pregnant wife, who was nine months along when the first barrels debuted in...

Read More