Tasting Dinner Menus

An archive of menus from the tasting dinners hosted at Hel’s Kitchen when we were located at 207 Barre Street. Dinners were served in a communal table, family style . . . in reverse chronological order.

Menu for Thursday May 12th – Indian


Iced Tea with Lemongrass – Green Mango – Mint – Honey

Starting Snacks

Popcorn with Orange Bitters & Curry Spice Blend ~ Lemon-Curry Walnut & Sesame Mix ~ Cucumbers with Honey Vinaigrette


Gujarati Pigeon Pea Curry with Black Pepper Scones

First Small Entree

Bengali Spinach garnished with Lamb with Black Cardamom Butter Sauce

Second Small Entree

Keralan Fish Curry with Onion-Stuffed Kulcha 


Caramelized Mango Ice Cream with Strawberries and Bay Leaf Whipped Cream

Menu for Saturday, April 30th – Macau


Ginger-Lemongrass-Citrus Soda


Carrot Soup with Lemongrass Spiced Peanuts 


Greens in Creamy Garlic Dressing with Salt Cod – Rice Crisps 


“Portuguese” Dumplings – Filled with potatoes, linguica sausage, and bitter greens.


Chicken with Olives, Mussels, Chorizo and mild Coconut Curry

Sticky Rice


Serradura Trifle

Menu for Saturday, April 23rd – Miami-Cuban


“Coca Cola” – Homemade version. With limes. You know what you need to do for a Cuba Libre (bring rum)


Plantain Chips + Honeyed Guacamole


Cheese Broth – It’s a Latin American style cheese soup, not the thick cheddar-ale English pub fare, but a lighter flavorful broth. 

Pork-Guava Pastelitos


Ginger Beer Braised Squash 

 Something Green – It’s the end of April in Vermont, there’s no telling what will look both green and appealing at this time

Main Event

Miami Beef Brisket – Citrus marinated beef brisket

Jicama-Pineapple Slaw

Pan Medianoche


Dulce de Leche Ice Cream with Maria Cookies

Menu for Sunday April 3rd – Vegetarian Tasting Dinner with Optional Bacon

Basket of Scones: British and American Farmhouse Style with Regular Butter and Roasted Pear Butter

[Bacon Jam]


Curry Leaf-Turmeric Dal with Confit Winter Squash and Roasted Pepitas

[Squash Confit-ed with Bacon Fat, Bacon Crumble On Top]


Spinach Salad with Curried Paneer, Lemon-Roasted Beets, Walnuts and Spiced Golden Raisins

[Candied Bacon & Walnuts replace Walnuts & Spiced Golden Raisins]


Carrot & Dukkah Spice Dumplings with Lemon Dipping Sauce

[Bacon in the Dumplings]


Moroccan-Spiced Risotto with Olives, Artichokes, and Chickpeas

[Moroccan-Spiced Risotto with Bacon-Wrapped Olives]


[Dessert Course Extra: A side of bacon-almond-chocolate bark]

Kettle Corn Ice Cream


Whiskey and Snickers Caramel Tart
(if I had a liquor license, I would give you a shot of rugged whiskey with this) 

Bar Pretzels
(nothing remarkable about these, it just seemed like if I didn’t have whiskey to balance the sweet, I should have something. . . )

Menu for Saturday, March 26th – New Orleans


Anisette Soda – We’ll dye it green, toss in a sugar cube, and call it a Nonalcoholic Absinthe (did we mention BYOB?) 


Muffaletta Antipasto Platter


Gumbo Z’Herbes 

Red Beans & Rice


Fish Two Ways – with Sazerac Sauce and with Hurricane Relish (aka the Fish Cocktail Course. . . somehow that sounds less appetizing)


Shrimp & Grits

Braised Greens & Sweet Corn


King Cake with a Pralined Bananas Foster Filling – I realize this has only combined three New Orleans classic desserts, and if I were really dedicated there would be Bread Pudding and Beignets as well. 

Menu for Saturday, March 19th – Persian

Dinners begin at 7:00 pm. Service is family style and tables are shared. BYOB. 

Vegetarian alternative dishes available on request – please do give us enough notice to create a vegetarian version of the dishes being served (by Friday noon is best). We also offer vegetarian tasting menus at least once a month, and you can let us know if you want to be informed of those. 


Orange Blossom Soda 


Herbed Cucumbers

Beets with Honey & Lemon 


Nan (bread) with Pomegranate-Walnut Spread

Iranian Lentil Stew


Eggplant Kuku – Similar to a frittata but more exciting



Lamb Koobideh – Ground meat kebab

Barberry Rice




Rose Cake  

Menu for Saturday, February 27th – Mexican 


Ginger-Lime Soda – If you think this sounds like the base for a tequila cocktail, you would be correct.


Crispy Shrimp with Lime Dipping Sauce

Soup & Salad:

Cheese Broth (it sounds better in Spanish)

Jicama & Orange Salad

Many Foods to Go Inside Tortillas:

Homemade Tortillas

Tomatillo Salsa

Yucatecan Refried Beans

Roasted Poblanos in Cream

Caramelized Onions, Bacon, and Butternut Squash

Lengua Estofado

Farmers Cheese with Chili-Lime


Tomatillo Tart & Apricot Ice Cream

Menu for Saturday, February 6th – Eastern European

For the takeout menu in the week preceding this dinner, we’re going to have some nicely traditional Slovakian food. Many potato dumplings will be served and sweet dumplings will be encouraged as a main course at dinner because, the Internet tells me, that’s how people in Slovakia roll. Of course that means there’s pent up creative license, so for the tasting menu we’re getting a little wild and crazy with the cabbage rolls and pierogi. . .   


Homemade Cola – We have to strongly advise everyone to bring beer, it would be difficult to work your way through this menu without beer.  


Potato Dumplings and Cabbage-Bacon-Cabbage Rolls


Lemongrass Chicken Cabbage Dumplings (mini cabbage rolls) and Coconut Rice


Juniper Stewed Beef and Potatoes in (you guessed it) a Cabbage Roll  


Traditional Pierogi Tray with Non-Traditional Sauces
(During one fateful poutine making moment we learned the importance of being open to concepts like Vindaloo Gravy)
Carrot-Apple Relish


Zemlovka – You take bread pudding, apple pie, cheesecake, meringues and combine them into a single dessert and you have zemlovka. One very small piece should be sufficient. But if it’s not, we do have takeout containers on hand. 

Menu for Saturday, January 23rd – Indian Influences

This began with reading about Indian-Chinese cuisine overlap, and progressed into thinking about all the dishes out there that are similar to Indian food but not traditionally Indian, and then to this dinner theme “Indian Influences” (although in all fairness, it could very well be that other countries influenced Indian cuisine, not the other way around). 


Ginger-Date Lemonade – Goes well with a little bit of vodka 


Momos Platter – Steamed dumplings, often served in Nepal


Paneer (fresh cheese) in Tomato Sauce served over Rice Noodles


Bobotje – Would you believe me if I told you there was an Indian Meatloaf? There is. And this is it.  

Raita – Yogurt-based relish  



Spinach Salad with Curry-Lemon Walnuts – A candied walnut mix that’s nicely lemony and curry-y (and made healthy by the spinach)




Indonesian Layer Cake – I’m considering this relevant to the theme because it’s in a cookbook written by a woman whose family is from Sri Lanka, and Sri Lanka is very near to India. 

Menu for December 17th – Best Of 2015

It’s really only a few months of 2015, since August, but there are still plenty of delicious dishes to enjoy.  .  . 

Dinners begin at 7:00 pm. Service is family style and tables are shared. BYOB. 


Ginger-Lemon Soda


Dan Dan Noodle Soup – the classic spicy noodle and pork dish, recreated as a soup


Stir Fried Root Vegetables with Galangal-Coconut Sauce

Another Round of Vegetables:

Asian Cabbage Rolls – Think of it like a stir fry met a cabbage roll, or like a dumpling with cabbage wrapper


Ribs with Monkey Gland Sauce and Steamed Rolls – As with the first time it appeared on the menu, monkey gland sauce continues to contain neither monkeys nor glands (it’s a sweet and sour BBQ sauce)


Kettle Corn Ice Cream and Coconut Crisps

Menu for December 10th – Best Of 2015

It’s really only a few months of 2015, since August, but there are still plenty of delicious dishes to enjoy.  . .

Dinners begin at 7:00 pm. Service is family style and tables are shared. BYOB. 


Homemade Cola – Sort of like Coca Cola 

A Salad

San Isidora Salad – It’s a salad with candied cumin seed clusters and pineapple in with the greens

A Soup:

Spicy Tomato Soup with Fried Peanuts 

An Appetizer:

Carrot Kitfo, Labneh, Soft Lavash Breads – Carrot kitfo is my vegetarian version of steak tartar (what exactly it has to do with steak tartar is unclear)

An Entree:

Chicken Bastilla – Moroccan Chicken Pastry. It’s elaborate. And worth all the effort that goes into making it. 


Dulcey-Lemon Meringue Bars and Tea

Menu for December 3rd – Nordic

Due to popular request (of, um, one person but we liked it) “Iceland” is designated a key part of Nordic cuisine for the purposes of this menu. The Icelandic dishes are labeled as such. 

Dinners begin at 7:00 pm. Service is family style and tables are shared. BYOB. 


Caraway, Orange Bitters, Cream “Lift” – Similar to an egg cream. Adding vodka would make it more traditional. Following with a shot of Brennivin would make it Icelandic. 

Opening Gambit:

Rye Crisps with Fresh Cheese, Beet Tartar, Hard Boiled Eggs


Fish Chowder  


Hot Dogs in the Style of Iceland and Finnish Cucumber Salad – What are hot dogs in the style of Iceland? You’ll have to attend the dinner to find out. 

Main Event:

Modern Icelandic Lamb – What makes this modern is that it comes with kale. It actually comes with a lot of embellishments including dates, capers, mushrooms, and a marinade that includes kelp.


Semlor – Swedish Pastries 

Menu for November 19th – Turkey

If you think we’re choosing a Turkey theme the week before Thanksgiving as a silly pun, you would be correct. 

Dinners begin at 7:00 pm. Service is family style and tables are shared. BYOB. 


Sherbet – The world’s first soft drink  

 Soup Course:

Turkish Tomato Soup 

First Full Course:

Mantis (like a Turkish version of ravioli) and Green Salad

Second Full Course:

Roasted Eggplant & Pilav (Rice)

Mucver (Zucchini Fritters)

Easing Into Dessert. . . Slowly. . . :

Simit (sesame encrusted breads) with Feta, Almonds, Dates


Kazandibi (custard) 

Menu for November 12th – India

Dinners begin at 7:00 pm. Service is family style and tables are shared. BYOB. 

          Beverage Suite – It counts as a whole course in this instance

Adrak Navratan – Spicy Digestif
Masala Soda
Masala Taak – Spiced Buttermilk

Ganthia – Little “bar” snacks with the drinks

First Appetizer:

Chukandar Ki Galouti – Beet Kebabs

Second Appetizer:

Appam (lacy pancakes) and Bengali Spinach

Main Dish:

Jardalu ma Marghi – Chicken and Apricot Curry
Rice and Chapatis


 Besan Ke Laddoo – Nuts & Chickpea Flour
 Bhapa Doi – Steamed Sweet Yogurt

Menu for October 29th – Ethiopia

Before anyone panics that this menu doesn’t include Doro Wat (chicken stew – and by far the most popular Ethiopian item in America), it’s going to be on the Takeout Menu for the Ethiopia week. The Berbere spice has been ordered in large quantity; we’re all set Doro Wat-wise. 

Dinners begin at 7:00 pm. Service is family style and tables are shared. BYOB. 


                    Spiced Honey Tea (cold) – Mead would be the appropriate BYO beverage


Dabo Kolo – Similar to soft pretzel nuggets but better


Minchet Abesh (thick meat stew) with Soft Boiled Egg

A Large Spread of Second Course Items:

Mesir Wot – Red Lentil Stew
Atkilt Wot – Cabbage, Potato, Turmeric
Carrot “Kitfo” – Kitfo would really be raw beef, but we’ve got not-raw carrots here
Ayib – Fresh Cheese

Slowing Down After the Previous Course:

Shiro (chickpea flour spread) on Honey Bread

Sweet Bites at the End:

Shembra Kolo and Chocolate Dusted Almonds

Menu for October 22nd – South African (Part 2)

As discussed in South Africa part one, this country has wonderful wine country in Stellenbosch. It also has beer. South African Breweries (SAB) is a global beer conglomerate. Which doesn’t necessarily make their product sound appealing, but if you want to pair this dinner with an SAB beer, here’s a link to the brands that they own. Miller is on that list. We’re doubling down on the melting pot aspect of South African fare here, with Dutch, Indian, and Malaysian influenced dishes (and to be fair, Miller probably goes well with all of them). 

Dinners begin at 7:00 pm. Service is family style and tables are shared. BYOB. 


                    Spicy Ginger Soda


Gesmoorde Vis (salt cod, onion, tomato) Bruschetta

Followed By:

Butternut Dal – Butternut Squash Soup (aka the National Soup of the Day) meets Dal


Boerewors Biscuit Sliders – aka Sausage Biscuits
Burani – Garlicky yogurt raita


Sosaties – Kebabs using a Malay curry marinade
Aloo Kachalu Chaat – Sweet Potato, Potato, Banana, and Indian Spices

Something To Entertain You While We Make Coffee:

Fresh Roasted Local Peanuts


Rusk and Coffee Cream Ice Box Cake – Rusks are twice-baked biscuits  

Menu for October 15th – South Africa

Dinners begin at 7:00 pm. Service is family style and tables are shared. BYOB. 

Featured Drink:

Grown Up Grape Soda – Ah, about that incredible wine country, we don’t have a liquor license so this is as best as we can do. 

Nibbly Things to Begin:

Herbed Cheese Crackers
Heirloom Apples
(You know what these pair well with? Wine). 


Miniature Bunny Chows – Stew in a bread roll
Green Salad


Butternut Squash with Spiced Tomato Sauce
Briyani – Rice pilaf


Rooibos Tea Braised Chicken
Hominy and Grits – In South Africa it’s Pap and Samp, but basically we’re looking at Hominy and Grits 


Old Cape Pudding with Amarula Cream 

Menu for October 8th – Macau

Macanese food, in very brief, is Chinese meets Portuguese meets African (Angola, Mozambique)

Featured Drink:

Homemade Cola – A DIY version of Coca-Cola
[Port & Tonic] – It’s not on the menu because there is no liquor license, but if you have Port kicking around your house, a port and tonic is refreshing and would be a great cocktail here. It’s traditionally made with white Port, but I’ve found no harm in using red (apologies to Portugal).


Bolinho de Bacalhau – Salt Cod Fritters (I’ve eaten these in Portugal, aka the Land of Extreme Salt Tolerance. As part of my commitment to all diners surviving the meal, I’m going to dial back the salt quotient. If I had beer to sell you, I might not be so sensible).


Vegetables Rolled in Rice Noodle Sheets with XO Sauce (A seafood based seasoning sauce)


Po Kok Gai (Portuguese Chicken with Mussels, Chorizo and mild Coconut Curry)
Sticky Rice

A Snack Before Dessert:

Tea Eggs with Piri Piri Spiced Pork & Crushed Peanuts (Piri Piri is a Portuguese / African Hot Sauce) 


Egg Custard Tarts with Maple-Lemon Whipped Cream

Menu for October 1st – Taiwan

A Parade of Dishes:

Spicy Cucumber Relish
Sticky Rice
Pan-Fried Tofu with Date Sauce
Leek-Shiitake Steamed Buns
Tea Smoked Fish with Cold Noodles
Shrimp-Scallion Pancakes with Braised Greens & Spicy Sausage
Pork and Pickles
Sweet Potato Dumplings
Coconut Dumplings

Menu for September 24th – Moroccan Food

Featured Soda:
   Apple Rose Soda – Vermont apple season meets. . .well, rosewater. And a little vanilla.

Soup Course:  
    Moroccan Corn Chowder – Vermont corn meets Moroccan spices. The rest of the menu isn’t Vermont meets stories, just the beginning.

Feast-like Middle Part:
    Moroccan Bread (plus Socca, a traditional gluten-free bread made with chick pea flour)
    Taktouka (tomato and bell pepper spread)
    Sumac-Marinated Lamb & Bessara (Fava bean spread resembling hummus – a vegetarian portion will be kept separate from the lamb)
    Eggplant with Chermoula Sauce
    Roasted Cauliflower with Dukkah Spices (Technically Egyptian, but it tastes so good)
    Spiced Carrot & Orange Salad

Not-Quite-Dessert Palate Cleanser:
Mint-Buttermilk Panna Cotta – tangy, only slightly sweet

Apple Rose Caramels (see how we came full circle there?)
    Sweet Paprika and Dark Chocolate Truffles

Menu for September 17th – Moroccan Food

First Items:
    Spiced Nuts
    Fresh Pitas and Zaalouk (eggplant & tomato salad)

Main Dishes:  
    Fish with Chermoula Sauce
    Cous Cous
    Beets in Thick Yogurt
    Spicy Carrot Salad
    Lemon Relish

Multiple Desserts:
    Orange Gelato with Walnut-Cinnamon Pralines   
    Moroccan Mint Tea with Rosewater & Honey
    Date Bread

Menu for September 10th – Spain

We’re getting particularly creative here and choosing a Spanish menu that highlights the culinary stylings of the 16th century – ie when Spain was the Empire of Fusion Cuisine (getting valuable ingredients was, after all, an important part of the reason for exploring and establishing colonies across the world).

Sangria Spritzer – This is what a sangria becomes when you lack a liquor license. 

Early Nibbles
Marcona Almonds
Cucumber Salad with Honey & Rosemary  

Substantial Appetizer
Panades – similar to empanadas, with a corn flour wrapper, filled with tuna.  .  
Marinated Olives

Main Course
Peacock Sauce – Applied to chicken (sourcing peacocks for eating seemed unlikely), served over rice
San Isidoro Style Green Salad 

16th Century Cheesecake
Orange Yogurt Cake
Chocolate Espressos  


Menu for August 27th – Border Towns (Southern) 

Notes on this menu are here.

Cocktail Moment
Housemade Cola; Mexican Coca-Cola; American Coca-Cola

Introductory Course
New Mexican Fry Breads with: 

Farmers’ Market Guacamole (the non-local avocados will be enlivened with more local vegetables)
Fruit Relish

Beef Jerky Fajitas (they are poorly named but otherwise well designed for deliciousness)
Green Olives, Mussels and Fava Beans with Amaranth Polenta
Green Salad with Citrus-Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette

Spicy Chocolate Fudge Brownies & Biscochitos (the State Cookie of New Mexico)

Menu for August 20th – Lowcountry Cuisine

Dinners begin at 7:00 pm. Service is family style and tables are shared. BYOB. 

Notes on this dinner are here.

Cocktail Moment
Iced Tea and Lemon Simple Syrup – Separate so you can decide how sweet you want your tea. 

Introductory Course
Chilled Cucumber Soup with Melon
Bite Sized Biscuits

Herb Salad with White Peach Vinaigrette
Lowcountry Boil – aka Frogmore Stew – Potatoes, Corn, Sausage, Shrimp 

Lemon Bisque (it’s not a soup, it’s a pudding) and Roasted Peaches with Pecan Crumble

Menu for August 13th – County Fair

Dinners begin at 7:00 pm. Service is family style and tables are shared. BYOB. 

Notes on this menu are here.

County Fair Cocktails
Grown Up Shirley Temple (not so grown up as to be alcoholic, since we’re BYOB, but nice ingredients and not overly sweet)
Pink Lemonade

Salad Course
Spinach Salad with Pepperoncini, Roasted Red Peppers, Fried Dough Croutons

Pork Chop on a Stick (bite-sized) and KoolAid Pickle Relish
Caramel Apple Country Pork Ribs
Shoestring Oven Fries
Smoky Buttermilk Coleslaw  

Kettle Corn Ice Cream with Maple Snap Cookies

Menu for July 30th – Malaysia Night**

First Bite: 
Roti Canai with Sambal and Tamarind Dipping Sauces

Street Food Salad Course:
Pasembur – This is not salad as in “obligatory healthy item” salad, it’s fried vegetable bits with fresh vegetables and a sticky peanut sauce

Char Kuey Teow – Rice Noodles with Seafood
Roti Jala (crepe noodles) and Chicken Curry
Rojak Buah – Jicama, Fruit, and Tamarind Salad
Mustard Greens & Turmeric Root 

Ondeh-Ondeh – Coconut dumplings
Teh C Ping – Black Tea with Sweetened Condensed Milk (a splash of kahlua, coffee liqueur, or whiskey probably wouldn’t be amiss for an after dinner drink)

Menu for July 23rd – Taiwan Night 

BYOB Cocktail Hour: 
Fresh Watermelon Shake
Green Tea with Ginger & Mint
(And for additional BYOB guidance, here’s this Watermelon & Iced Tea Martini)

First Bite:
Flaky Daikon Radish Pastries  

Peppery Pork Buns
Meatball Mochi with Spicy-Sweet Dipping Sauce
Pan Fried Leek Buns 

With Accompaniments
Oysters with Black Bean Sauce
Spicy Cucumbers
Tomato Salad with Ginger-Soy Dip
Fresh Vegetable Tray

Shaved Milk Ice with Fruit and Sorbet