Greetings friends! I am writing this on Labor Day from the wonderful Lost Acres Vineyard, which is way better, quite frankly, than Starbucks:
Not pictured: my delicious pumpkin whoopie pie from Lost Acres Orchard, which is right up the road! Time for fall, yes?
Speaking of autumn and local farms – I’ve rounded up some of my favorite, upcoming September events and they are listed below for your viewing pleasure. But first, a recap of some of my favorite happenings from the last couple of weeks! Not going to go into a crazy amount of detail, but I did have a lovely birthday (at Lost Acres, obviously), and my friend Emily hosted an equally lovely cocktail party called “Dazed and Infused” because she and her boyfriend Nick are really clever like that:
Drawing at my party with her BFF Alex from next door, sporting a fetching Unicorn Horn courtesy of Auntie Cait
Enjoying the balcony at Emily’s party
Penelope attended both parties of course, although she was regrettably absent from two fun events her Mama got to finally try out this week (alas, not everything is 18 month old approved – topping the list are probably French films on cooking and VIP cocktail mixers – which is what I did at Real Art Ways (for their Taste series) and at Nixs (for the cocktail party!)
Taryn invited me to the Taste featuring Chris Prosperi, and I rapturously accepted her invite as I’ve been following this event closely since it’s first season (details here if anyone’s interested!)
Taryn and I. Ain’t we cute?
Basically, the premise behind this concept is: a cozy, food themed movie in Real Art Way’s hipster cinema (wine encouraged!) followed by a q and a and “taste” of small plates with the chef in question. Fabulous! This Taste paired the work of Chris Prosperi – a gazpacho and panzanella to be exact – with movie from the Inventing Cuisine series featuring French Chef Michael Troisgros. The whimsical film featured an in depth portrayal of the inner workings of one of the best kitchens in France (with some ‘heavily staged’ scenes according to Mr Prosperi) and elaborate, beautiful shots of some elevated haute cuisine. Michael’s stage presence – he is a regular guest on WNPR’s Faith Middletown Show – was in full force post film:
Preparing the panzanella!
A group pairing of the gazpacho and panzanella, with a card from Chris’ home restaurant, Metro Bis in Simsbury
The next show is on September 29th will host Rachel Carr, of Six Main for a farm to chef, vegetarian/vegan/pescatarian evening. Tickets are on sale here! Highly recommended for the cerebral foodie who really appreciates the intellectual and visual aspects of cuisine.
Real Art Ways was one of the first Hartford venues I really experienced upon moving here through their Creative Cocktail Hour. It was, therefore, from beloved old to shiny new to go in the course of a week from an event at RAW to a cocktail mixer at Hartford’s newest sexy newcomer – NIXs. This Boston chain features a slick chandeliered, mirrored, pirated up interior (seriously, go check it out) creative, delicious mixology, and a nice offering of seafood entrees:
Hello there, $1 happy hour raw bar!
I met my good friend, JC, at the bar, where she had discovered a $6 martini special which I promptly ordered too (in spite of the free cocktail samples circling the party – it was too good to pass up!)
Clementine vodka, grapefruit juice, triple sec, prosecco. Heaven.
Next up: circling the cocktail party, playing nice with good friends, and trying every cocktail in sight! Rich Clemens is the head Bar Manager at Nixs. JC and I both know him from Tisane, and we did nerdly bonding over his Dr Who inspired “Bad Wolf” cocktail
Fresh lemon juice, orange juice, Redemption Rye Whiskey, and honey simple syrup. Plus this awesome quote: “I wanted to make a cocktail that is extraordinarily sexy like Billy Piper but badass like a pissed off Tardis.” I can’t even.
Another personal favorite of mine was the Tequila Mockingbird (more clever names, yaaas):
“Alabama Slammer” style with silver tequila, slept gin, amaretto, lime juice, and orange juice
But the majority of people I talked to named the pretty Beach Please as their favorite:
Pineapple vodka, cucumber juice, agave nectar, lime juice, and sparkling coconut water
I have pretty rampant ADHD and between the shiny chandeliers and the cocktails, I missed almost all of the food pairings
It was delicious. But lonely.
So I most definitely need to go back to NIXs pronto to try more food offerings. Fortunately, the new Bear’s Smokehouse is right around the corner, so JC, Rachael, and I headed over there for delicious BBQ.
Rachael demonstrating great street eating skills with her Mac Attack.
Truly, a week full of Hartfordy goodness. And there’s so much more coming up in September! Below are five events I’m really looking forward to:
Open Farm Day in Granby: This is the epitomy of a family friendly event. Grab the kids (or the dogs, or both) and head out to the farms in Granby for a day of expos, samples, and general wholesome earthy goodness. From the goat cheese at Sweet Pea, to the fresh organic garlic at the Garlic Farm, to the peach cobbler at Lost Acres Orchard, to a free sample of wine at Lost Acres, you’ll have a good time and support local agriculture. And bring the reusable tote you usually cart to the farmers’ market, because there will be plenty of fresh produce and other goodies for sale.
Taste of the Suburbs – our restaurant week featuring prixe fix menus of awesome deliciousness. I’m currently in the throes of agony trying to decide between 50 West and El Pulpo. Heavy stuff man. Other strong, noteworthy contenders and favorites: Esca, Max’s Oyster Bar, Millwrights and Vinted. Pick one – or two! and go enjoy between September 8 -21st. Reservations strongly recommended.
Urban Challenge – West Hartford! You probably need to burn some calories after all the delicious feasting at restaurant week. Why not do it the FUN way on September 19th – working in teams of two to decipher clues about local West Hartford stores and dashing from place to place ahead of some fierce competition! And I mean ‘fierce’ in the most fashiony way, as dressing up is encouraged and Carolyn and I will be participating and BRINGING IT. Early registration is strongly encouraged as the event will sell out.
Harvest Party Dinner at Lost Acres We attended this dinner last year and it was a blast. Penelope and I picked grapes in the morning (which is totally free and a thing you can also do the day of if so inclined) and then headed back for a farm to chef dinner with Mike that evening, complete with many samplings of Lost Acres blends. This event is also anticipated to sell out, so pre-registration is a good idea.
The Colin McEnroe Show’s Fifth Year Anniversary! Attention, WNPR nerds. The Colin McEnroe Show is turning 5 and YOU are invited as a fellow fan to celebarte at Infinity Hall in Hartford. For the low price of $5 a person, come enjoy your favorite radio personalities and hobnob with hipsters (let’s just be realistic about that being a thing that will happen) at the gorgeous new Infinity Music Hall and Bistro in Downtown Hartford.
So that’s what I’ll be up to in September, and I hope many of you will join me! Any cool events I missed? Leave them in the comments please xo