The Holiday Season means different things to different people, but one universal is that it SHOULD involves the things (and people) we love the most. That was most certainly the case for me at Max Downtown for their annual Champagne Gala reception, with my most favorite date (Scott), followed by Teddy Bear Tea the following day, with my darling daughter Penelope and the adorable Mommy/daughter combo of Rosa and Gloria – of Lady Diana’s Pearls (check out her blog about our experience here!)
Before I delve into everything we enjoyed – a quick note for those (like me) still doing holiday shopping (bonus points if you make a spreadsheet to track the eight nights of Chanukah… oh that’s just me… oh ok). A Max gift card is an excellent gift for those who enjoy champagne, teddy bear tea, burgers, wood fired pizza, local oysters – the list is long with ten locations to choose from! Pick one up here (e-card options available too for those last minute purchases!)
And also, a huge thank you to my friends at Max for inviting me in for both of these amazing experiences below. Please enjoy the photos at the bottom of this article also for a visual recap of my experience.
OK – on to the important stuff. Champagne, champagne, champagne. Our good friend Jacob of the Wise Old Dog was on hand along with Max Sommelier Brian Mitchell the night of the gala. Scott and I are semi regulars at the wine tastings of the WOD (if you haven’t been – go – RSVP in advance and prepare to be entertained AND educated by Jacob, who is both knowledgeable and oh so clever. And probably going to give me flack about writing all of this about him next time I see him). My two favorite champagnes of the evening were the Fourny and the Marguet, and he was gracious enough to give me the background on each. The Fourny is imported by Kermit Lynch, and is organic, small batch, and sustainable in a mass market, over produced area. The Marguet is imported by Jeff Hellman, a quote “Grower Champagne Gangster.” Small batch, specially produced and created with a relentless attention to detail. Another Jacob quote on this champagne “this all grand cru fruit, high toned sparkler shows orchard fruit, nice structure, medium-plus body, and a very clean and persistent finish. Delicious.” Both these champagnes were indicative of the evening overall – if you want to stray from Verve and find something interesting, original, and totally excellent, the Champagne Gala is the way to go. Or, just go and soak in some bubbly. The choice is yours! So check out the impressive bubbly list next time you’re at Max Downtown – and also – when you go to the Wise Old Dog. And if you need help selecting a bottle – Jacob and his staff will be more than willing to oblige.
On the Teddy Bear Tea: this was Penelope and my first tea, and we will absolutely make it a holiday tradition. Every part of the afternoon was a high note, from the impressive brunch cocktail selection to the well curated brunch/dessert plates, to the stuffed bears which every child received, to the candy bar. Penelope was all smiles the entire time – a bit of a rarety for a little kid in a restaurant setting. We also lucked out in that Shabbat Bear was visiting that weekend from her preschool, so he was able to hang with the other bears and also enjoyed a delicious latke as part of the tea spread. Having lived in the UK for several years, I’m a large fan of high tea in general, and the concept of eating many small bites as part of a full meal on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The Teddy Bear Tea is also a fundraiser and toy drive for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center – so in addition to be excellent Mommy/daughter Daddy/daughter Mommy/son Daddy/son bonding time, it’s a destination to drop off toys and help sick children enjoy their holiday too. What a wonderful time. So set your calendars for next year, and from my family to yours – Happy Holidays!
One last note: Steve Abrams, Managing Partner at Max Downtown, was on hand for both evenings. Steve is a dapper dresser and gracious host, and seeing him is always one of the highlights of visiting MD! He is pictured below with Brian Mitchell and again with Rosa at Tea.
Max Champagne Gala
Max Teddy Bear Tea