Get a Taste of Armenian Wines at Mado Restaurant in River Edge

Plus: Other events in Summit, Montclair and Cape May.

Armenian Wine Pairing Dinner at Mado Restaurant
Wednesday, January 15, 6-9pm

If you’re less familiar with Armenian food and wine, or you simply want to expand your wine vocabulary, you can’t do any better than this wine pairing dinner at Mado in River Edge. A sommelier from Vias wine importers will be on hand to guide you through the night’s menu and wine pairings, which are all from Karas Wines in Armavir, a relatively young winery (opened in 2002) planting new roots into ancient terroir at the base of Mount Ararat. As for the menu, it’s three courses, though the first is a mezze course with things like hummus, labne, cheese boreg (a phyllo pastry stuffed with feta and herbs) and muhamarra, a spicy walnut and bread spread. Mains include kabobs (lamb and chicken) as well as whole grilled branzino with lemon, olive oil and herbs. Wines will range from white to red, dry to sweet, with plenty to dig into in terms of variation in texture, tannin, suppleness, fruit flavors, etc. Tickets are an all-inclusive $75, though if you have a few friends you’d like to bring, get a table for 10 at a discount for just $650. Mado Restaurant, 570 Kinderkamack Road, River Edge; 201-265-3629

Comedy Uncorked at Willow Creek Winery
Saturday, January 18, 6–10pm

It’s January. Typically grim and gray, and definitely cold. So we’ll gladly welcome a night that combines a three-course dinner, wine pairings, and belly laughs. Three New York-based comedians are slated for the night’s entertainment: Sam Mushman, Camille Theobald and Mike Sicoli. The dinner menu looks straightforward and a little fun (spinach salad, pork chop, carrot cake). Add Willow Creek wine (including a sangria with that last course) and a few solid comedy acts and you’ll almost forget it’s tax season again. Tickets are $65 for everything, giggles and goodies, so if you can’t make this one you can try for the February and March dates. Chances are you’ll need a break from something chilly then, too. Willow Creek Winery, 160-168 Stevens Street, Cape May; 609-770-8782

The Suyat Band: Live Music at Summit House
Thursday, January 23, 9:30–11:30pm

Maybe you’re doing Dry January but even abstainers need an excuse to get out and party, especially in these cold early weeks of the year. Summit House has just the thing: a night of live music from The Suyat Band, whose founder Matthew Suyat is the nephew of none other than the only person on earth who’s ever rivaled Judy Garland in terms of breaking our hearts with this song. Suyat himself is a serious talent (he’s won at the notoriously challenging, deeply revered Apollo Theater) and his band’s music promises to be no less transportive and beautiful—all helped by the fact that you’ll be listening to the band with the backdrop of Summit House (non-abstainers, don’t forget to avail yourself of the expertly prepared drinks). Ideal for easy dinner-and-a-show, and why not set your recreation standards high for 2020? No tickets required in advance, but a dinner reservation might be wise. Summit House, 395 Springfield Avenue, Summit; 908-273-6000

Winter Farm Dinner at Samba Montclair
Wednesday, January 29, 7pm

The words “winter” and “farm” aren’t often mixed in our foodie vocabs, but Samba Montclair and Harvest Drop are correcting that with a six-course dinner where all the emphasis is on farm fresh food. What’s maybe more compelling than the food itself (or as compelling) is the story behind Samba’s relationship with Harvest Drop, the local farm delivery system for New Jersey chefs now going four-and-a-half years strong. To put a long, lovely story short, Samba chef Ilson Goncalves was Harvest Drop’s very first customer, and encouraged founder Oliver Gubenko when he shared his business idea. So even though January’s tasting menu is TBD, considering the relationship it’s celebrating (between chef and diner and local purveyor, local farmer, and local product!) it’s going to be a deeply thoughtful, deeply satisfying dinner. Tickets are $85 and include a copy of The Samba Montclair Cookbook. It’s BYO, which saves money and opens up drinks options. Samba Montclair, 7 Park Street, Montclair; 973-744-6764

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