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Help Us Nominate Chef Nick for a James Beard Award!

Photo credit Angela Cardinali

Chef Nicholas Moulton

Please join us in nominating Chef Nicholas Moulton of Mezze Bistro + Bar in Williamstown for a James Beard Award! The James Beard Foundation is calling for Best Chef nominations for 2017 — deadline is Thursday, December 1st. Help us rally the vote and nominate the very talented Chef Nicholas Moulton for the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year.

Photo credit Angela Cardinali

Chef Nick at the Beard House

Photo credit Angela Cardinali

Chef Nick at the Beard House

It’s fast and easy and we’d love your support!

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Nominations are open to the public. Please go to this link and vote for Rising Star Chef of the Year. You will need to create a sign-in, which takes less than a minute.

Click on “2017 Restaurant and Chef Awards.”
Once you do that, select “Rising Star Chef of the Year” and fill in the 5 fields to vote. You’re done.
Please forward to friends and fans of Nick and vote before December 1st.

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We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of Mezze Bistro + Bar. We hope that Chef Nick’s efforts have won your vote and we look forward to serving you again soon. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

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More on Nick and his Beard history:
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Nick produces simple food that is bright and full of life. He is dedicated to the nose-to-tail philosophy and is involved in the harvesting and butchering of ingredients for the restaurant’s menu. He places an emphasis on plant-based foods and wild ingredients that grow in the Berkshire region and believes in supporting sustainable agriculture. As a chef focused on regional cuisine, his values are completely aligned with the seasonal cooking philosophy of James Beard.

Nick has presented two dinners at the Beard House as part of a team of Berkshire chefs and last year, leading the team for Mezze Restaurant Group’s dinner. With a strong commitment to the farm-to-table movement, Nick is always building awareness of Berkshire food culture and an understanding of the region’s terroir.

All photos courtesy of Angela Cardinali

Photo credit Angela Cardinali

Chef Nick at the Beard House

Pasta Wednesday Season is Back at Mezze Bistro + Bar

Pasta Wednesday at Mezze Bistro features delicious, flavorful pasta made in house by Chef Nick Moulton and his team. Our dedicated kitchen crew carefully prepares this winter weekly special with good food fans in mind. A little crankin’, some hand-rockin’ and rollin’, and a beautiful sauce to accompany the pasta prep. It’s a great deal, too.

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Enjoy a generous main pasta course for $18 (full portion) or $12 for a half-portion plus a kid-friendly housemade pasta and meatballs for $12.

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Now with a cult following, Pasta Wednesday at Mezze Bistro is in high demand. We offer the special from November through April so get in on it while the water is hot!

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Check out our Facebook page and Instagram account for weekly updates so you know what’s on the menu and can plan an outing with friends and family.

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We’re working on scheduling some visits to our sister restaurant Allium over the winter months when Chef Nick will trek south and share this Pasta celebration with good food fans and friends in Great Barrington.

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Stay tuned for details coming soon! For reservations, call 413.458.0123 or visit OpenTable.

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From Our Kitchen to Yours — Thanksgiving Prepared by Mezze Catering + Mezze Bistro

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What better way to relax and enjoy our most favorite food holiday of the year? All the fixin’s AND the turkey prepared by our chefs for your friends and family at home.

Thanksgiving To Go for the Holidays

Our full menu is included below. To place an order, email mezzebistro@mezzeinc.com or call Mezze Catering at 413.458.8745 (9 am -3 pm) | Mezze Bistro at 413.458.0123 (3 pm – 9 pm). All orders to be picked up on Wednesday, November 23rd between 12 pm & 9 pm. If you need to make special arrangements for pick-up, please inquire.

Call in your order before it’s too late. Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Please note: Mezze Bistro + Bar will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.

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Celebrating 20 Years of Restaurant Madness

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In celebration of Mezze Bistro turning 20 this year, the following blog post is excerpted from Bo Peabody’s article dated May 18, 2016 on LinkedIn.

I’ve Run Many Businesses, But Never Experienced Anything Like The Madness Of A Restaurant

In the restaurant business, longevity is a rare commodity. It’s not only ingredients that are seasonal. Staff come and go; menus change; leases can be difficult to renew; and over time, guests tire of any particular dish or vibe. It’s unlikely that any given restaurant you went to ten years ago is still there. And if it is, they’ve surely made some changes. Restaurants are less a brand than they are a product of the people who inhabit them — the chefs who whip up the curiosity, the waitstaff that serve the aura, and the guests who attend to the enthusiasm.

Restaurants that do last are an anomaly, carried forward by a random assortment of good luck, great staff, creative offerings and an ability to adapt and change.

Restaurants, such as Le Bernardin, Daniel and Gramercy Tavern have all been around for more than 20 years, and are classics because of their tenure. These restaurants are just three of the 53 restaurants we rate at Renzell, a company I founded last year. Renzell is dedicated to changing the way restaurants are rated by using a data-driven methodology. We create a unique rating system by using data from a comprehensive survey taken by Renzell Members each time they dine out. Our first annual ratings will be released this September.

But I’ve also seen the longevity as a restaurant owner. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Mezze Bistro and Bar, a restaurant in Williamstown, Massachusetts, I co-own with Nancy Thomas. We operate two restaurants up in the Berkshires, an area not immune to the difficulties of maintaining a steady business. The area has a number of challenges: seasonal tourist traffic, a shrinking base population, and demand that is very event-driven (Tanglewood, skiing, etc.). It also has one huge asset: local farmers and producers. Understanding the rhythms of these challenges and assets is at the core of our success. We don’t take it lightly that we’ve managed to last this long, and we celebrate everything that brought us to this remarkable milestone.

Running a restaurant for 20 years means 20 years of memories — of chefs who moved us forward, dishes that delighted and dared, servers that became cult of personalities, cocktails that soothed, and a whole lot of crazy shit that happened night after night.

Since 1996, we’ve had three locations and a fire (the entire place burned down!); seven head chefs, 14 front-of-house managers, more than 350 waitstaff; two lost liquor licenses for unauthorized after-hours staff parties (totally worth it, by the way); seven guests removed for drunkenness, one dream table: Gwyneth, Blythe, Spielberg, Capshaw; one dream order: Bradley Cooper eating salad, soup, followed by another salad; eight hospital trips for burns and cuts; too many rummaging bears to count; several broken walk-in freezers; 250 dance parties; 300+ weddings; nine proposals (that we know of); two drag queen cabarets; two fringe floats in the Williamstown 4th of July Parade; 2 Heimlich’s (both, thankfully, successful); a screening party for the premier of The Restaurateur with both Danny Meyer and Tom Colicchio in the house; an accounting scandal that almost ended everything; two restroom sex scandals; one employee fired for drug dealing; many, many rock and roll shows; dropping off ONE sandwich at a private jet in North Adams (you know who you are); one court appearance for a donut caper; several coming out parties; 8 Halloween parties (it takes two years to recover from each one); and over 1,000,000 dining experiences delivered.

All of these things brought us to the brink of ruin but are the underpinning of our longevity. It takes a family (and yes, a few scandals) to get you through the years. In 1996, just a few months after we opened, a weary traveler came in one late night after we had closed. She was hungry and eager for someone to talk to. Nancy made her a salad with some cheese and bread, her own choice for a late-night nourishment. That woman has returned to Mezze for the entire 20 years. It really is the small things.

– Mezze Restaurant Group Co-owner Bo Peabody

Through The Kitchen Window: A Mezze Night to Remember

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Photo credit FED Guides

Back in the kitchen, a team of all-star cooks reviewed the coming experience with the service staff as forks were handed out during shift meeting – everyone eager for a taste of the entire menu. The kitchen crew – many of whom were comrades from past times and now-new places – sparked an infectious party mood as they awaited their previews. Happy faces all around.

Photo credit Bill Wright

Photo credit Bill Wright

 

Photo credit Bill Wright

Photo credit Bill Wright

 

Photo credit Bill Wright

Photo credit Bill Wright

 

Photo credit FED Guides

Photo credit FED Guides

 

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Photo credit FED Guides

 

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Photo credit FED Guides

This team of local celebrities led by the renowned Joji Sumi were about to present a raft of specialty dishes for an ultimate dining event – the East Coast debut of a San Francisco pop-up ‘Through the Kitchen Window.’ Surely, this was a gig worth tasting and celebrating as much as working. I know I was pleased to join in the fun in every sense – the food, the experience, the company and… did I mention the food?

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Photo credit Bill Wright

 

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Photo credit Bill Wright

 

Photo credit FED Guides

Photo credit FED Guides

 

Photo credit FED Guides

Photo credit FED Guides

 

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Photo credit Bill Wright

 

Photo credit FED Guides

Photo credit FED Guides

The champions manning the back of house were literally stars in their own right, each able to draw out the crowd for a treat as a solo act, let alone together: Dan Hardy – former Allium and Mezze Catering chef, now chef at The Clark with Starr Catering Group; Vi Huu Wood – Joji’s former foraging mate and Mezze line cook for several years – now a farmer and cheesemaker at Berle Farm in Hoosick, NY; Bjorn Somlo – chef-owner at Nudel Restaurant in Lenox, a man who breathes his very own inspired local mantra; and, of course, Nick Moulton – the current chef at Mezze Bistro with five years of working with Joji under his belt, now delivering his own brand of deliciousness every night of the week.

A dream team, indeed.

Photo credit FED Guides

Chef Dan Hardy (R) (Photo credit FED Guides)

 

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Chef Vi Huu Wood (Photo credit Bill Wright)

 

Photo credit FED Guides

Chef Bjorn Somlo (C) (Photo credit FED Guides)

 

Photo credit FED Guides

Chef Joji Sumi (Photo credit FED Guides)

 

Photo credit FED Guides

Photo credit FED Guides

Abuzz with excitement, I sat at a table with some friends and media professionals amid a roomful of Mezze regulars and Joji groupies – each of us barely containing our anticipation of this knockout team’s presentation. From farmer Kim Wells, whose pigs were always a main ingredient on Joji’s menus in past years, to a host of friends from nearby and afar – the energy was palpably high and peaking. By 6 pm, when the hot pink MASS MoCA drink cart rolled out with a bubbly Caitlin Harrison presenting a bright and festive spring beverage collection alongside manager Amy Mendes sprinting across the floor – it was a full-on party.

Photo credit FED Guides

Photo credit FED Guides

 

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Photo credit FED Guides

 

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Photo credit FED Guides

 

Photo credit Bill Wright

Wine Fairy Caitlin Harrison (Photo credit Bill Wright)

And not long after, as the impatient and eager crowd debated a kitchen invasion, the dim sum food carts emerged, bathed in the glowing light of sunset – and became the center of every mouth-watering conversation. Suddenly, everyone was into instant gratification. Our table was not immune to this deeply satisfying point-and-click menu experience.

Photo credit FED Guides

Photo credit FED Guides

 

Photo credit Bill Wright

Photo credit Bill Wright

 

Photo credit FED Guides

Photo credit FED Guides

 

Photo credit FED Guides

Photo credit FED Guides

We ordered one of everything. Well… almost everything. Just as we realized we’d missed the steamed buns, they were gone. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Distracted by the family-style, shared plate of Roasted Pig Head with Peking Pancakes, Scallions and Peanut Sauce…well, let’s just say nobody had room left, in any case. Pacing and restraint had been rather roughly discarded in place of full-on hedonistic joy.

Photo credit FED Guides

Photo credit FED Guides

 

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Photo credit Bill Wright

 

Photo credit FED Guides

Photo credit FED Guides

 

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Photo credit Bill Wright

Yet somehow, there was still room for dessert – some kind of miracle, really… Chef Marianne Comella did not disappoint. Her lemongrass-frosted mini-donuts and ice cream sandwich bites bathed in a dense fudge sauce had us shamefully scraping the plates for more. I’m not above admitting that some rather overly aggressive sharing may have taken place among the four of us.

Photo credit FED Guides

Chef Marianne Comella (Photo credit FED Guides)

 

Photo credit FED Guides

Photo credit FED Guides

Later, although sooner than it felt possible… it was all over. The servers were happy. The guests were happy. The chefs were content. (It’s not in their nature to be happy.) And, I was ready to sign up to do it all again next year. Possibly even sooner, once I had a good lie down.

All in all, it was one of the best anniversary parties I’ve been to and my favorite of the Mezze 20th Anniversary celebration events this year.

Many thanks to the exceptional Mezze crew, with extra special kudos to Nancy and Amy. Thanks to Bill Wright and Nick and Robin from FED Guides for joining us on this glorious evening and for sharing your beautiful photography. Thank you, all-star chef team. And to Joji, thank you for making your way out east and for leading the charge. (I’m serious about not waiting another five years before bringing you back through *our* kitchen window…)

— Angela*

 

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Photo credit Bill Wright

 

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Photo credit Bill Wright

 

* In the spirit of full disclosure, the author of this blog post is the lucky duck who has been working with Mezze Restaurant Group for nine years as marketing maven. She does not write in first person often, but this event in particular, warranted a personal essay to honor the experience.

Through the Kitchen Window: Mezze Dim Sum Pop-Up on May 18th

Through the Kitchen Window:

A Dim Sum Cart-Style Pop-Up Dinner with Chef Joji Sumi

Wednesday, May 18 at Mezze Bistro

 

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In celebration of Mezze Bistro’s 20th Anniversary this year, we welcome back former chef Joji Sumi from San Francisco to cook up a Dim Sum cart-style dinner on Wednesday, May 18th. Joji has been presenting ‘Through the Kitchen Window‘ pop-up dinners on the West Coast and will be joined by a crew of excellent guest chefs from all around the Berkshires. The kitchen team will include Nudel chef Bjorn Somlo, former Allium chef Dan Hardy (current chef at The Clark), Mezze chef Nick Moulton and former Mezze sous chef Vi Huu Wood (now cheesemaker and farmer at Berle Farm). And, Caitlin Harrison, featured wine fairy of the evening, will be pushing the dim sum carts with us!

Tables are going fast… Call Mezze Bistro + Bar at 413.458.0123 to reserve.

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A sampling of the Dim Sum menu:

Spring Vegetables, Feta, Pickled Mushroom, Charred Asparagus Jus

Brassica, Cured Arctic Char, Herbs, Caper Dressing

Octopus, Duck Merguez, Fregola, Yogurt

Sweetbreads, Ham, Egg, Watercress

Paratha Samosa, Spring Peas, Coriander Chutney

Kofta Kebabs, Yogurt, Pickled Ramp, Naan

Shorty’s Pork Gyoza

Mushroom Dumpling

Pork Bun

Brochettes of Grilled Radish, Nettle Pesto, Sunflower Seeds, Lemon

Button Mushroom Escabeche, Smoked Paprika, Shallot, Green Olives

Carrot, Rye and Horseradish Pâté, Salted Beef Fat Toast, Cabbage

Jalapeño Poppers

Wil Brokaw Avocado, Crab, Cucumber, Nori Crispies

Duck Wings, Honey, Miso Sauce

PEI Mussels, Green Chorizo, Green Garlic Broth

DBJ: Duck Liver, Strawberry Jam, Almond Butter

Pig Face Taco: Chinese-spiced Testa, Cabbage, Salsa Verde

Fish Ceviche, Ginger, Citrus, Avocado

Shared Plates:

Please note the following options are limited large plates, meant to be shared at the table with friends.

Whole Fried Fish, Black Bean Sauce, Fried Rice*

Roasted Pig Head, Peking Pancakes, Radish Sprouts, Hoisin*

  • If you would like to pre-order either dishes (or both!), please let us know when making your reservation so we can save them for you.

 

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Photo credit Angela Cardinali

 

A farmer’s tribute to Chef Joji Sumi can be viewed here.

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Mother’s Day Brunch at Mezze on May 8th

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A la carte menu items will include:

Continental Housemade Bread Basket
Gammelgarden Skyr with Fresh Fruit + Granola
Cured Salmon with Deviled Eggs, Parsley + Lemon
Farm Eggs, Housemade Bacon, Toast
Soft-scrambled Eggs with Ramp Butter + Everything Bagel Crumbs
Gammelgarden Buttermilk Biscuits and Black Pepper Gravy with Housemade Ham, Eggs + Ramps
Brioche French Toast with Fruit Compote and Ioka Valley Farm Maple Syrup
Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms with English Peas, Fava Beans, Ham + Egg Yolk
Vegetable Hash with Ramp Hollandaise + Poached Egg
Fried Chicken with Creamy Grits, Collard Greens + Maple Butter
Pork Carnitas Tacos
Steak Frites with Braised Onions, Shoestring Fries + Malt Vinegar Aioli

Book your table with Mezze Bistro at 413.458.0123.

 

Lunchbox Love Note
By Kenn Nesbitt

Inside my lunch
to my surprise
a perfect heart-shaped
love note lies.

The outside says,
“Will you be mine?”
and, “Will you be
my valentine?”

I take it out
and wonder who
would want to tell me
“I love you.”

Perhaps a girl
who’s much too shy
to hand it to me
eye to eye.

Or maybe it
was sweetly penned
in private by
a secret friend

Who found my lunchbox
sitting by
and slid the note in
on the sly.

Oh, I’d be thrilled
if it were Jo,
the cute one in
the second row.

Or could it be
from Jennifer?
Has she found out
I’m sweet on her?

My mind’s abuzz,
my shoulders tense.
I need no more
of this suspense.

My stomach lurching
in my throat,
I open up
my little note.

Then wham! as if
it were a bomb,
inside it reads,
“I love you—Mom.”

Pizza Tuesday: An Allium Guest Favorite

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Illustration by Miriam Ross

Pizza Tuesdays at Allium in Great Barrington are happenin’ every week:

Wood-fired Neapolitan pizza ($13), or a chef’s choice pizza with special toppings for $16.
Served 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Like” our Facebook page and receive updates each week.

Reservations are recommended. Call 413.528.2118 or visit OpenTable.

 

Illustration by Miriam Ross

Illustration by Miriam Ross

Illustration by Miriam Ross

Illustration by Miriam Ross

 

Illustration by Miriam Ross

Illustration by Miriam Ross

Pizza Tuesday

Illustration by Miriam Ross

To see more of Miriam Ross’ work, please visit her on Instagram at @miriamjubette.

 

 

Women Winemakers’ Dinner at Mezze on March 18

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Friday, March 18 at 6 pm

Join Berkshire Organics, Oz Wine Company, and Mezze Bistro to celebrate female winemakers and their work. Mezze Bistro will offer a tasting menu with wine pairings from female winemakers across Europe, with Oz Wine Company owner Andrew Bishop dropping tidbits of knowledge along the way. The evening begins at 6 pm and Chef Nicholas Moulton will present five-courses to accompany the wine selection.

 

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Welcome Wine
Sparkling Rose Filipa Pato 3B Beiras, PT n/v

Raw Mackerel, Toasted Wheat, Blood Orange, Avocado
Sauvignon Blanc Domaine Adele Rouze Quincy Loire Valley, FR 2014

Slow-cooked Carrot, Feta, Vadouvan, Kale
Chenin Blanc Domaine De La Bergerie Anjou Blanc Loire Valley, FR 2013

Octopus Bolognese, Parsley Cavatelli
Uva Rara Cantina Castaldi Francesca Piedmont, IT 2013

Heritage Breek Pork, Maine Yellow-eye Beans, Cabbage
Red Bordeaux Chateau Falfas Bordeaux, FR 2014

Local Cheese Plate
Lambrusco Villa di Corlo Emilia-Romagna, IT n/v

Five-course Prix Fixe Menu for $68 per person. Price does not include tax or gratuity.

Please call Mezze Bistro + Bar at 413.458.0123 to reserve a table.

 

 

 

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Adele Rouze

Cantina Castaldi Francesca

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A Tribute to Chef Joji at Mezze Bistro

Kim Wells of East Mountain Farm Shares His Favorite Menu at Mezze

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The celebration of Mezze Bistro’s 20th Anniversary this month got me thinking of the special meals I’ve had at Mezze over the years. Many of them were with Joji Sumi, a big fan of using pork and an experienced chef who practiced nose-to-tail cooking. Every other week, Joji would butcher a whole pig from my farm to make charcuterie and create mouth-watering dishes for the restaurant’s seasonal menu.

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Joji would visit my farm regularly and bring along his kitchen team to see where their food was coming from. They would save compost scraps from the kitchen for the pigs, which created this fantastic closed-circuit system of local food. Early on, I remember a time when Joji came up to the farm to see the pigs and a large heritage breed pig emerged from the forest. Its jowls were so large it could barely see past them. Joji was transfixed but finally turned to me and said, “I’m in love.”

That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship ;-)

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My most memorable and passionate meal at Mezze was the “pork-tastic” banquet Joji created for us at the end of August in 2010. I had just started selling a side of pork to Mezze and the first one I brought in was from a heritage breed pig with the usual two to three inches of fatback. Joji was quietly inspecting the pig and, given his expression, I thought he might be alarmed by the quantity of fat. I asked him if something was wrong and he said, “No, this is just me being happy!”

My oldest son was visiting from California that week so my wife Lynda and I, along with my mom and dad, headed out to Mezze on a Saturday night. At first, we were handed menus but when word got to the kitchen that the farmer was in the house, the server asked for them back and said we wouldn’t need menus. Joji had a special meal planned for us. All ten courses highlighted East Mountain Farm pork. Joji’s creative talents exploded once he had the raw ingredients and we enjoyed that meal immensely. I thought, with all the nostalgia going on with Mezze’s 20th Anniversary, that you would enjoy seeing the menu from that night.

Joji's porktastic dinner

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Kim Wells of East Mountain Farm

 

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Chef Joji Sumi, former Mezze Chef

All photos courtesy of Kim Wells of East Mountain Farm in Williamstown, Mass.