Welcome back to AM Intel, a round-up of mini news bites to kick off the day.
Mmmm, Severed Finger
North Shore pop-up Speakeasy Donuts is at it again, creating spookily decorated, over-the-top treats. The group will be vending at Daughters of Darkness on Saturday, February 24 — a night market at the Witch House (310 Essex St., Salem) featuring female artists, writers, and crafters, taking place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Speakeasy will have a few different individual doughnuts and doughnut sets available, including the Mini Audrey II box, which includes three of Speakeasy’s “Little Shop of Horrors”-inspired doughnuts (yeasted doughnut with blood orange glaze — because of course it’s gotta be blood orange — and vanilla royal icing, along with sour apple licorice vines) plus one “gruesomely sweet” white chocolate severed finger, hand-painted in perfectly disgusting detail.
Macarons and Ice Cream Make a Perfect Pair
In other sweet (and less scary) weekend news, Maca Boston — a local macaron pop-up that’ll be putting down roots at Somerville’s forthcoming Bow Market — is popping up at Gracie’s Ice Cream (22 Union Sq., Union Square, Somerville) this Saturday, February 24, from 5 to 8 p.m. Maca and Gracie’s will be combining their talents during the event, serving up macaron ice cream sandwiches. (Note: Those who fall in love with macaron ice cream sandwiches during this event should consider taking a little road trip up to Portsmouth and visiting La Maison Navarre, a French pâtisserie at 121 Congress St. that stuffs macarons with several different flavors of ice cream, from strawberry to cookies and cream.)
Spring Is Here, and It Is Full of Cheap Hot Dogs
Well, it’s not technically spring yet — although we got a few outstanding days this week before the snow returned — but Boston’s first true hint of spring, the seasonal opening of Sullivan’s (2080 William J. Day Blvd., Castle Island, South Boston), is just about here. The classic spot reopens this Saturday, February 24, for its 67th season, and hot dogs will be half-priced (just 95 cents per dog) through March 2.
Some local chefs are making moves. Pierce Boalt Juckett is now part of Nicholas Frattaroli’s restaurant group, which includes Ward 8, Bodega Canal, North Square Oyster, and a forthcoming Italian restaurant. Juckett — an alum of Waypoint, Select Oyster Bar, Menton, and Uni — is taking over as executive chef at North Square Oyster (5 North Sq., North End, Boston), a role that previously belonged to 2017 Eater Boston chef of the year nominee Douglas Rodrigues. Juckett is also culinary director for the restaurant group as a whole, while Ward 8 and Bodega Canal chef Kenny Schweizer is now kitchen operations manager for the group.
Over at Strip-T’s (93 School St., Watertown), talented couple Peter and Mareena McKenzie — both alums of Shepard in Cambridge and a lot of other local spots, including Strip-T’s defunct sibling, Ribelle — are now in the kitchen, with Peter as chef and Mareena as pastry chef. Look out for new dishes such as the Octo-Dog (a grilled octopus sandwich), the Mother and Daughter sandwich (it’s got fried chicken and an egg yolk sauce), daily pie specials, doughnuts, and more.
Speaking of Shepard (1 Shepard St., Cambridge), there’s a newish chef there as well: Scott Jones, an alum of No. 9 Park and Menton, joined the team in early January. Per a statement emailed by Shepard owner René Becker, Jones and Becker are focusing on “simple, French-inspired dishes, such as cassoulet and choucroute garnie, prepared with technique one would expect from the chef of Menton.”
“The two are bent on making Shepard the ideal neighborhood restaurant,” Becker’s statement continues, “where locals and friends can dine any night on a simple and satisfying bowl of onion soup or a bowl of tagliatelle with duck ragu, or a very tasty, roasted chicken.”
It’s been a time of change for Shepard, which opened in the former Chez Henri space in mid-2015 with a concept centered around wood-fired cooking. In June 2017, Cambridge told the restaurant to stop cooking with wood and charcoal; chef de cuisine Peter McKenzie had already left in May, partially citing the smoke issue. Co-founder Susan Regis (UpStairs on the Square) departed Shepard later in the year “to take on new challenges,” per a November 2017 statement from Regis and Becker, and Asta chef-owner Alex Crabb jumped onboard to help for a while, while still running things at Asta.
Fried Chicken Alert
Speaking of Asta (47 Massachusetts Ave., Back Bay, Boston), the restaurant is bringing back its highly popular, rarely occurring fried chicken and biscuit pop-up this Saturday, February 24, from noon to 2 p.m., and it’ll be taking place on forthcoming Saturdays “until [the] next Asta distraction.” Keep an eye on @friedchickenandbiscuit for updates.
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