@Avertbrasserie and a bloggers event

I have had the distinct pleasure of beginning to work with one of my very, very favorite restaurants for social and PR work – A’Vert Brasserie in West Hartford.  We recently hosted a blogger event with very talented Head Chef, David Borselle.  He sampled a showcase of small bites featuring a tour of the tastes of A’Vert, from petit duck sandwiches to charcuterie to macaroons.  In addition, we sipped a “French Maid” cocktail (Remi 1746, Fekner cucumber, mint, lime, ginger beer), in addition to a Cote Mas Cremant De Lux Brut Rose and a Cote Mas Blanc Mediterranee.  Below is a smattering of photos from the event, taken by myself, Diane Taha, and Kerri Provost.

Thanks to all the bloggers who attended, and check out the links to their own story places here:

Lady Diana’s Pearls

Wine Esquire

The Deviled Egg Wears Prada

Ron’s Food Trips

Check out their write ups too, and be sure to visit A’Vert soon, for a glass off bubbles, their magnificent happy hour menu, a romantic dinner, or whatever your heart desires.  Your palate will thank you!




Time for a very special @American_Girl fashion show

Penelope loves fashion, and she loves her American Girl dolly

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With her Itty Bitty baby at the American Girl Cafe in Natick, MA this spring

Therefore, we are very, very excited to attend the American Girl Fashion Show, hosted by The Ballet School of Stamford, tomorrow!

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Thanks to the school for the tickets!

This show will feature students with their dollies in a variety of stories and situations.  Show times are 11 am, 2 pm, and 5 pm, and dollies may also have their hair styled during the show.  An American Girl goodie bag will be provided to all the little people attending.  Tickets are available here, and below is a preview of some of the lovely models (and their dollies of course)

Savannah Murray, Stamford

Savannah Murray

Lucy Goldstein, Stamford

Lucy Goldstein

Sophia Alexander, Lia Barlow, Maya Patterson,Malia Patterson, Salma Thomas, Stamford

Sophia Alexandar, Lia Barlow, Maya Patterson, and Salma Thomas

This is a perfect preview for the trip we will be taking to NYC in December to get a ‘big girl’ American Girl dolly for Christmas.  We can’t wait!  Hope to see you there

A lovely tour of vegetarian tapas with @Barcelonawinebar in West Hartford

Tapas.  Are.  Delicious.  Vegetables, executed correctly, are delicious.  These are two of my favorite things.  But before we delve into their culinary delights, let’s examine a third of my favorite things: BEETHOVEN

Beethoven Rocks

Ludwig.  Van.

Do I get more excited to listen to Beethoven I would for many contemporary musical options?  Maybe.  I’m a giant nerd, hold your judgement.  Or if, like me, the musical genius of this great composer sings to your soul, then join me at the Bushnell to listen to the Hartford Symphony’s performance of Bold Beethoven from November 5-7, directed by accomplished pianist William Eddins.  I am deeply appreciative to the symphony for providing me with tickets – which are also available for purchase here.  Ah yes, yes, indeed.

And, back to tapas.

Spanish tapas, of course.  Traditionally executed at Barcelona Wine Bar – who are kind enough to be within walking distance of my home, dedicated to authentic presentation of well executed and classical Spanish favorites, and kind enough to invite me to many of their events.  Here’s a mini-calendar – I’ll be at the Black Hog Brewing one and also commandeering their Facebook page for the night, which is neat:

Wines of Catalunya on November 10th

Black Hog Brewing Dinner on November 19th

Thanksgiving Dinner, Barcelona style, on November 24th

The cooking class took place in the dining room adjacent to the bar, with Executive Chef Eric Stagle guiding us through a range of easy to follow recipes:

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Simple to replicate at home – and I have a recipe to prove it

Chef demonstrated cooking techniques for four different dishes:

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Fried brussels sprouts with picked red onions and pimenton

spanish omelette

Sweet potato tortilla (not pictured but here is the traditional spanish tortilla which I often order and is also delish)

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Braised chicken thigh with pureed butternut squash 

and, last but not least

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Churros.  Delicious churros.  With chocolate dipping sauce.

For those playing at home, here is the sweet potato tortilla recipe.

Sweet potato tortilla
10 eggs
1 large sweet potato
2 onions
1 qt. olive oil
Peel and julienne your onions put about 1/2 an onions worth to the side.
Sauté the rest of the onions on low heat until very soft
Heat Olive oil while you peel your sweet potato. Cut potato in half the long way and then cut into 1/4″ slices.
Salt your sweet potatoes and the 1/2 julienned onion you had reserved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
Poach the sweet potatoes in the olive for about 10 minutes. Don’t over cook them.
Crack your eggs into a bowl while potatoes cook. Salt your eggs
Add cooked hot sweet potatoes and soft cooked onions to your egg mixture.
In a non stick pan that is on medium high heat put a little olive oil in the pan. Add your egg potato mixture to non stick pan and turn to low. Cook for 10 minutes and the finish in a 250* oven

But first, whiskey: a recap of the @wehawhiskey festival

There are things that I like, and then there are things that I love.  “LOVE” would be accurate for an event that is:

1/ Classy as hell

2/ Within walking distance from my house

3/ A benefit for Camp Courant and the Ct Children’s Medical Center

4/ Full to the brim of delicious whiskeys to try – all courtesy of Maximum Beverage!

kat and mckinley

The lovely CEO of Camp Courant – McKinley Frey Albert, aka the @hautehistorian

I love whiskey.  Love it, love it, love it.  Complimenting the whiskeys were many small bites from Highland Park Market – cool little things like brie in pastry, beef wellingtons, and a friggin’ macaroni and cheese bar.  Hello, yes please, and thank you.  They also had Fischers Island Lemonade – another one of my go-tos for the summer.  Here are some notes from the whiskeys I sampled and thought were particularly noteworthy, and below that, please enjoy some lovely photos taken by my very talented photographer buddy, Kerri Provost.  Thank you to the Weha Whiskey Festival for inviting both myself and Kerri to attend.  We had a truly excellent time.

Glendalough Distillery – a delightful light, bright Irish brand rep – and a whiskey to match.  The taste is crisp with a tangy bite and just enough caramel to finish it off.  I sampled the single barrel and was impressed by how much of a punch this young whiskey packed.  Good for sipping and good for mixing too – I would love to try it in a very dry manhattan.

Rebel Yell Bourbon – now we are talking classic.  Classic Kentucky bourbon.  Malty, smooth, and deep and mysterious.  Dive into this nose first and surface just long enough to enjoy the Billy Idol song which, I am sure, you thought of when you read “Rebel Yell,” and if not you’re thinking about it now, and you’re welcome.

Woodford Reserve Double Barrel – ahhh, this is one of my personal go tos.  The Double Oaked version contains smoke, essence, a nice tangy heat and is perfect for sipping.  You could put this in a cocktail, but if you did, it would have to be one that enhanced versus masked the smokey notes and deep flavor profiles.  I would love to hear from my mixologist friends on what they would recommend for this particular blend.

Hudson Valley Whiskey Baby Bourbon – Hudson Valley is actually home to me in a ways – that’s where my Dad grew up and I still have family out there.  So, I am very excited to visit the distillery with my Uncle Gregory in early December, to further explore the flavor profiles they offer.  The ‘baby bourbon’ was, well, a baby.  It’s got a young feel about it, a freshness, a little sweet, a little bite.  Again, a great whiskey for a cocktail.

Bruichladdach Scotch Whiskey – Oh scotch.  Scotchy Scotch Scotch.  Good enough for Ron Burgundy, yet I still struggle with you.  I know I need to develop my palate to appreciate the honey, the malt, that rare singular bite of a very good scotch.  And I will.  And the Bruichladdach was an excellent starting off point.  I’ll keep at it, I promise Scotch.  Next year, when we meet again, I’ll be ready for you.

As mentioned before, all photo credits below to Kerri Provost.  And all hats off to the Weha Whiskey Festival for such a spectacular and nuanced tasting event!

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gold label

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A recap of Hartford Fashion Week + a look forward to the #WehaWhiskey Festival!

It’s EVENTS SEASON.  All the things, all the time, all the food, all the sparkle, all the nights out, none of the chill.  Sometimes I have to take a step back and really appreciate the cool things I get to be involved in and collaborate with.  Tonight, for example, I was fortunate enough to attend the March of Dimes Signature Chef’s Auction at the gorgeous Riverview in Simsbury.  And in a couple short weeks, I’ll be back at the same location for Share Our Strength.  More to follow on both of those shortly.  But for now – let’s look forward to this Saturday and the upcoming Weha Whiskey Festival!

weha whiskey festival

Use promo code KAT for 15% off tickets at checkout!  Enjoy 200 whiskeys, courtesy of Maximum Beverage, food from the Highland Park Market, and the satisfaction of knowing you’re raising funds for Camp Courant and the Ct Children’s Medical Center

I stopped by Maximum Beverage today to sample some of the whiskeys they will be pouring at Saturday’s event, including one of my very favorites – Eagle Rare Bourbon

oct 18 blog 1

Maximum has their own single barrel version.  If that doesn’t impress you, we may have nothing in common (sorry)

I hope all of my local whiskey and foodie friends will join me for this event – which I have never managed to attend before!  Very exciting and more, of course, to follow.

So, off of whiskey and on to Hartford Fashion Week.  Katrina did such a marvelous job, along with the rest of the committee (myself included) in bringing an a week’s worth of fashion and fashion related culture to Hartford.

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Here she is with the stylish and fabulous Debbie Alan Wright, owner of Project Closet, and the dashing and handsome Lorenzo Hall (of Fox CT).  A good looking crew!

For those who missed this year’s event, there were multiple nights of fashion themed fun leading up to the three runway shows at Union Station – from a cultural round table at the Hartford Public Library to a fashion themed First Thursday at the Wadsworth.  The star attraction, was, naturally, twelve local original and independent designers showcasing their very diverse looks – from streetwear to ballgowns – at Union Station.  I would strongly recommend visiting and liking the Hartford Fashion Week Facebook Page for some truly beautiful photo galleries and, of course, to stay on top of next year’s event.  But below are some of my favorite moments from the shows:

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Tribal elegance from the Hartford Denim Company

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Wearing an LBD from Therapy Boutique in New Haven and enjoying red carpet fun with my favorite, Jon Aidukonis…

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And my beautiful, tiny diva, Penelope (dressed to kill in a vintage from Venom Vintage)

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Who strutted the runway and, alas, became fashion roadkill at one point 

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Talented local artist Nina Salazar instructing the Femme God models backstage

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Another backstage moment with Saints by SJ

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De Muerte

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AER Collections

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Funkenomics (not pictured: breakdancing)

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Show finale: Saints by SJ

Plus!  Several cool afterparties.  Cuginos in Downtown Hartford provided a lovely buffet after Saturday’s show, and I failed miserably at photographing any of it because Fashion Week hanger is a real thing as either Katrina or Man Repeller will attest to.  However, Amanda, Kate and I had our own marvelous little afterparty at Treva:

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Two inky brunettes and one happy blondie

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And I enjoyed my very favorite local cocktail: the Giardino.  It’s a glorious aromatic gin libation, made special by the full rose ice cube which will slowly melt into your glass, releasing delicious botanicals.  Highly recommended!

However hectic and chaotic backstage may have been, however many flaws we may have noticed during the first go round, Hartford Fashion Week was a truly special event, and I am honored that I was able to participate in its inception – and of course, looking forward to contributing again next year.







October Roundup – from Wagyu and Wine to Hartford Fashion Week

It’s time for Fall in New England, with all the traditional bells and whistles.  Apple picking, events, haunted hayrides – you name it, it’s happening this month.  Here’s a round up of a couple upcoming things I’m really looking forward to, in addition to two fall traditions I’ve already celebrated that will be available all month long:

Hartford Fashion Week kicks off tonight at Union Station in Hartford.  Friday and Saturday’s shows are SOLD OUT, but you can still buy tickets for Sunday (act fast!)  I attended a preview last night at the Wadsworth’s monthly First Thursday and was also interviewed for Telemundo as the only Spanish speaking committee member.  The interview was, hmmm, interesting, but the First Thursday collection was terrific.  I particularly enjoyed Redfield Design – the romantic steampunk collection jived very well in the Wadsworth’s space.

kat and katrina

With Hartford Fashion Week founder, Katrina, post interview.  This lady rocks!


Redfield Designs models acting the part of living statues at the museum

For more info or to buy tickets for Sunday – visit here.  You can also purchase tickets at the door for $40 tonight or tomorrow, but those will most likely be standing room only and cannot be guaranteed for availability.

Signature Chef’s Auction for the March of Dimes The March of Dimes is committed to raising the standard of living for pregnant women and their babies, and they also are incredibly important in the care and wellbeing of preemie babies.  This signature fundraiser occurs annually in Hartford at the Riverview.  This year’s date will be October 15th, and you can purchase tickets here for the October 15th event. It’s for the babies.  And it’s also a terrific event with wonderful food sampling from some of the best chefs in the region.

Share Our Strength another collaboration from some of the finest and kindest Chefs in the Hartford area.  Share Our Strength benefits No Kid Hungry – a national charity which is committed to ending childhood hunger.  So again, it’s for the kids.  Chef Tyler Anderson of Millwrights is the chair of this year’s event.  The October 29th event will this year feature a full table seating by each participating restaurant, with a three course sit down meal: a truly great chance to enjoy an excellent meal with friends whilst giving back to the community.  Tickets are available here

Wagyu and Wine an annual offering from The Capital Grille – this special engagement will run through November 22nd, and allow you the opportunity to enjoy a delicious, fatty, crispy, flavorful waggly burger, paired with an excellent glass of red wine, for only $25.  I attended with my good friend Jon Aidukonis.  We took advantage of the free valet parking (so convenient, especially in Downtown Hartford!) and sat out on the lovely patio space on Front Street, as if was a beautiful evening to be outdoors

wagyu valet parking


kat and jon wagyu

I have tiny little T Rex arms coz I’m excited for burgers

I chose the Gorgonzola and Black Truffle Wagyu Burger and paired it with the recommended Justin Isosceles Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles, 2012)

wagyu glamour shot

Glamour shot

I’m an enormous fan of the following flavor combinations: gorgonzola, red meat, and red wine.  So naturally, the marriage off all three in this meal was right up my ally.  I also enjoy the technique that the Capital Grille lends to the wagyu burger – it’s a high quality product for sure, but in the wrong hands you can end up with a soggy, fatty burger with an overly rich finish.  The Capital Grille executes the wagyu burger with finesse and expertise, yielding a product which has a textural outer layer with a nice hint of salt and a creamy, meaty, flavorful center (which they will happily leave medium rare upon request).  Paired with a chocolatey, Bourdeaux style cabernet with an excellent balance and a big, strong presence and you have a symphony of textures and flavors for your palate to enjoy.  John also kindly allowed me to sample his paired wine: the Landmark Overrlook Pinot Noir (California 2013).  The spicy, fruity Pinot is an excellent fall wine, and I would like to go back and enjoy a full glass with the second pairing: the Wagyu Cheeseburger with fried egg and crisp onions. And I probably will.  Because for $25, why the heck not?  Thanks to the Capital Grille for inviting us in to enjoy this pairing and providing us with a lovely meal.

Apple Picking I took the little Miss Penelope out to Clark Hill Farms at Bushy Hill and we both had such a great time.  We enjoyed apple cider donuts:

cider donut apple picking

So nice

minnie mouse apple picking

And ran through the fields and picked a whole bag of apples!  Like a big girl

It’s peak apple season and we New Englanders are very spoiled with our options statewide

apple picking


But I would recommend Clark Hill Farms in particular for their ridiculously good farm to table breakfast.  I’ve been three times now, and I’ll be writing a post JUST about their food at some point in the near future.  Granby is only a 30 minute drive from Hartford, and if you go out there, I recommend checking out Lost Acres Vineyard too!

horse apple picking

Visits with horsies for baby

wine apple picking

And delicious, crisp, fresh apple wine for Mommy.  I’m not a cider person, but the Apple Wine at Lost Acres is clean, well executed, and delightful without any of the vinegar aspects (pleasant to some I know) which characterize cider.  Highly recommended!

What do you like to do for October in CT?  Leave me some recommendations to try if you please!

@SBShades #StevieBoi #NYFW2015 show plus @NolchaEvents told through a #Snapchat story

I have some really, really talented friends, whom I got to watch in action during New York Fashion Week.  Top of mind right now are two people:

nolcha blog glasses

Kelly Hart of “That Girl” – who was the lead make up artist for the Stevie Boi shades fashion show 


nolcha blog in line

Carolyn Paine, seen practicing resting bitch face with me as we lined up for the show, and who is currently deep in Nutcracker planning mode

Kelly was in charge of make up and styling for this show, which focused on blinged out glasses and a constructuralist aesthetic.  The venue was very Chelsea chic – the No. 8 Lounge, with the show itself happening quite casually with models strolling and and out of the crowd.

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Whatever this chandelier is – I’m into it

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After the show, we popped  upstairs to congratulate Kelly and meet the models
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Seen here being fierce

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Also extraordinarily fierce – Carolyn’s friend Andrae, modeling a pair of the Stevie Boi shades

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With some very fine Jeffrey Campbells

After the show, we headed over to the Vanity Fair after party, at the Empire Hotel Rooftop

therapy outfit empire hotel after party

My entire outfit is from Therapy (minus the Alexis Bittar pendant) – a lovely slouchy black tee and a black leather skirt – casual but dressy, perfect for venue hopping in the city.  I like Therapy so much that I wore a SECOND outfit for the store for my follow up trip to the city for Nolcha on Sunday:


This is, quite possibly, my favorite little black dress.  The only reason I say ‘possibly’ is that I have an absurd amount of LBDs in my closet (but can you really ever have too many?  I think not)

Nolcha is a showcase of some independent and up and coming designers, with several high impact runway shows occurring back to back.  It takes place at Pier 59 Studios, another excellent venue with onsite valet parking and a really excellent lounge and rooftop space.


I missed the 6 pm shows this year, but was delighted to attend the 9 pm ones to see Danny Nguyen, Acid NYC, and Intrepid by AO’C


Selfies were taken with Danny


As well as solo with a photobomb from one of the lovely gents from BE Magazine (hurrah new friends!)


And last but not least, the lovely Paula Mele, who is also the current Mrs. Connecticut International

Alas and alack, last year my good friend Kat attended Nolcha with me and took some killer photos.  This year, my evil camera roll decided to become full within minutes of arriving at the venue and, of course, before the fashion shows commenced.  So I had to resort to good old fashioned Snap Chat to capture the runway shows.  You can find higher res images from the photographers at Nolcha at the following links:

For Danny Nguyen

For Acid NYC

For Intrepid by AOC

… of all the three shows, my favorite element were the textiles by Acid.  their use of colors, particularly on the swimwear, combined with trendy prints, was right in my wheelhouse, aesthetic wise.  Some of the highlights from my Snapchat “gallery” are below as well for your viewing pleasure – enjoy!










Cheers to New York Fashion Week and all the creativity which goes into each and every designer’s collection!  It’s an honor to attend and experience the new apparels first hand


Finishing with a glass of bubbly and a new glossy mag for reading at home