Nearing the eve of the next year, we’re looking forward to all things new, and there are more than a few looming on the dining scenes. It should be any day before the Café Bar at Veritas Wine opens. Housed in Veritas Wines at 321 Justison St. in Wilmington, the bar will seat more than 30 for a glass and a nosh of cheese, cured meats and olives. We’re also looking forward to The Melt Down, in the old Post House at 141 E. Main St. in Newark. The folks who brought you Peace A Pizza up the street plan to bring pure comfort via grilled sandwiches made with gourmet cheeses and artisan breads. That sounds dreamy to us. Also on Main Street in Newark, Café Olé, a European-style Spanish tapas bar brought to you by the good people at Olé Tapas on Old Capitol Trail, is due to open Dec. 31. There are even more fun, cool places on the way, so stay tuned.
Seven More Fishes
As you learned last week, Italy claims half of your Insider’s DNA, so the feast of seven fishes on Christmas Eve is a bigger deal than Christmas itself. This week, we found another great meal, this one at Piccolina Toscana Dec. 21-22 and Dec. 24. Your menu: an amuse bouche of bacala fritter with radish, basil and cabbage followed by a first course of grilled scallop and octopus with cannelini beans and roasted tomatoes in lemon vinaigrette. The second course is a crab cuscini with garlic, chervil and arugula drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, followed by cacciuco of leeks, carrots, shallots, celery roots, clams, mussels, lobster and bass in tomato brodo with grilled bread. Your dessert is a French toast made with panettone with anana gelato, caramel and candied hazelnuts. And it’s all for a mere $59 per person. Reserve now. 654-8001, piccolinatoscana.com
If you missed it last week, Union City Grille’s feast of seven fishes starts at 4 p.m. on Dec. 24. The menu is UCG Clam Chowder followed by an appetizer of (your choice) marinated shrimp cocktail in lemon-sriracha sauce, oysters baked in bourbon barbecue sauce with garlic and panko, or brie baked in phyllo with pears, roasted peppers and candied walnuts over arugula drizzled with fig balsamic. Choose a main course: boneless short rib on Gorgonzola polenta with Royal Trumpet mushrooms and oven-dried grape tomatoes, pistachio-coated lamb chops with Dijon demi glace, smoked bacon Brussels sprouts and caramelized shallot-sage mashed potatoes, or, of course, the aforementioned feast of seven fishes—clams, mussels, shrimp, crab, octopus, scallops and rock fish simmered in tomato broth with olive oil. Your dessert consists of cinnamon-fried gnocchi and ice cream or truffle crème brulee. Good stuff. 654-9780, unioncitygrille.com
Mmm Mmm Good
We love it when this happens: grilled cheese and craft beer tastings at World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington. Visit Dec. 22 to see what unusual, delicious twists WCL can put on a comfort classic, then what delicious brew they’ll team them with. No white bread and orange cheese, thank you, and no industrial lagers. Just goodness with a twist. 994-1400,
Crab lovers, this is for you: Festival Buffet at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino now serves all-you-can-eat hot crab legs on Thursdays and Fridays for $19.95 per person. Hit it Thursdays 4 p.m.-8 p.m. and Fridays 4 p.m.-9 p.m. The Festival Buffet is open daily, starting with breakfast at 7 a.m. Get a special deal on Dover Downs Hotel & Casino gift cards Dec. 18-20: For every card purchased, receive a $25 resort card toward a Dover Downs Hotel & Casino food and beverage outlet and more. Visit the front desk soon.
Another Party for a Cause
Just a reminder: New Year’s for a New Life at BBC Tavern and Grill in Greenville supports the fight against human trafficking. A portion of the $125 ticket will help Keri Kondracki fight human trafficking in all forms around the world. Doors open at 9 p.m. BBC will offer a buffet of heavy hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, deejay dancing, door prizes and a raffle. Don’t forget the champagne toast, of course, or your resolution to help make the world a little better. 655-3785, bbctavernandgrill.com
Pie in the Sky
National Pie Day is coming, and Linvilla Orchards in Media, Pa., is here to help. Jan. 23-27 the popular farm and market will sell more than 40 kinds of pie, including several varieties of good ol’ all-American apple pie and a few cream pies as well. In the past they were called pyes and were stuffed with meat, according to our friend Patrick Rizzuto of Breslow Partners. The Pilgrims cooked them to preserve the filling through winter. Now we eat pies with fillings from pecan or pumpkin to blueberry, as we have been doing ravenously since in the 1800s. Linvilla, famous for its offerings, has been baking them for 40 years. For National Pie Day, it will give away a free pumpkin pie with the purchase of any other pie. We say yum. Mark your calendar now. (610) 876-7116, linvilla.com