When The Spread co-owner, Chris Hickey, first approached CTbites with the idea of co-hosting a party on a roof of a Norwalk garage, we admittedly were pretty skeptical. A parking garage roof? For a sit down dinner party? The popular CTbites Invites program has co-hosted a slew of unique culinary events, but never one in a parking garage.
But skepticism turned to enthusiasm, as talented Executive Chef Carlos Baez, began sharing his ideas for the creative menu and we toured the space on the top floor of the North Water Street parking garage across from the Maritime Aquarium.
An open sky above, panoramic views from all sides of Norwalk Harbor, Downtown SoNo and even a glimpse of competitive rowers in the Norwalk River lent itself to a great venue for an evening dinner and viewing of the City of Norwalk fireworks scheduled for Thursday July 3rd.
Of course, as we have seen multiple times this year, Mother Nature had her own plans, and due to severe thunderstorms predicted , the Norwalk Fireworks and The Spread party were moved to Saturday July 5.
But no dampening of spirits here, as The Spread team and new catering arm, Spread Out, and Chef Baez moved into high gear to create a fun and festive space and an amazing menu.
Long banquet tables with red checked tablecloths and red, white and blue floral arrangements were set up family-style in a huge U-shape on the top floor of garage level 5R. Draft Beer from Two Roads and Thimble Island flowed freely, and fresh Sangria was dispensed from a huge raffia wrapped jug, and Harvest Vodka mixed up a variety of festive and colorful vodka concoctions.
Over 180 attendees celebrated Independence Day, feasting on what turned out to be “Food Fireworks”! Servers in “stars and stripes” bow ties circulated with passed hors d’oeuvres of raw oysters with lemon, cocktail sauce and mignonette, Mini fingerling potato skins topped with crispy pancetta and sour cream, Buratta topped crostini with heirloom tomatoes, Cucumber and mint gazpacho shooters with shrimp embellishments, and cured salmon over avocado crostini.
Upon being seated, Chef Baez continued with his “display”, presenting the first course, a delicately sliced Hamachi crudo with lime and jalapeno caviar, topped with baby radishes and micro cilantro and EVOO.
But the main course, a meaty and perfectly grilled thick cut pork chop was the Finale to The Spread Food Fireworks. Served with a celery root and cabbage salad, spring onions and romesco, and followed by a dessert of crème caramel.
It was a perfect way to end the evening…
Oh wait, how could I forget the main reason for the parking garage? And with no traffic or parking problems to boot! (Free Parking, courtesy of the Norwalk Parking Authority)
It was time for the City of Norwalk Fireworks! Easily visible from a number of vantage points along the walls of the parking decks, the well-fed guests, drinks in hand ambled over to enjoy the display as the streaks of light lit up the clear, starry sky from the barge off Calf Pasture Beach.
An evening of fireworks…for all of the senses.
Thank you to The Spread for sharing your vision with CTbites and turning a non-descript parking garage into a PARTY garage!
Want to read more about this evening. Check out Andrew Dominick's article on Food Dudes.
Photography Courtesy of Andrew Dominick via his Food Dudes blog.