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Entries in Road Trip (23)

Wednesday
Jul092014

Winvian in Litchfield Hills: Farm Dinner & A Little History

Ever since a friend mentioned to me his unforgettable experience  visiting Winvian in Litchfield Hills, Connecticut, I have always kept it on my “to do” list.  In fact, when my daughter and I perused the website, she prematurely decided that it was to be her future wedding venue. So, when I received an email announcing a farm dinner event, my daughter and I jumped at the opportunity. Arriving at Winvian on June 11, 2014 was reminiscent of the approach to a French chateau, along with the service, culture, and class that such an experience entails. 

In 1775, Dr. Seth Bird, an eccentric but respected physician known for bringing a coffin along on his house calls, built a home for himself and his family in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut. It was a white clapboard beauty, aproned with meadows and woods, and a comfort and sustenance for the generations.

In 1948, the Smith family bought the historic Bird estate and named it Win-Vian, a combination of the first names of Winthrop Smith and his wife Vivian. They raised a son, bounteous fruit and vegetables, and livestock on the property (today the luxury Spa stands where the pigpens once did but offers a rather nicer kind of mud treatment).

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Sunday
Jun222014

Connecticut's Best Dairy Farm Ice Cream: 2014 Edition

With summer finally here, we have updated and expanded our annual roundup of the best dairy farm ice cream in Connecticut.  

You can’t get closer to farm fresh ice cream than tasting it at farm.  Not only do you see the cows, you whiff them, and that aroma is part of the authenticity of the experience, if not the charm.  Sure, these farms aren’t close by.  But WTD.  They’re “Worth The Drive”   And worth the lick: usually the freshest, creamiest, and most flavorful retail ice cream available in Connecticut.

While Chocolate and Vanilla remain cash cows, dairy farms also offer a greater array of flavors than you’ll find at parlors or in the supermarket freezer case.  In fact, farmers have begun to rival restaurant chefs for sheer inventiveness and culinary dairying-doo.

So, for your and your family’s guilty or innocent pleasures, we submit our favorite cow-to-cone  ice creams …

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Friday
Jun132014

Road Trip to Philly: Food, Bars & Culture

When I told a friend I was going to Philadelphia for a couple days, he said, “second prize, two weeks in Philadelphia.” That old W.C. Fields joke is funny, but two days in this art-filled, foodie city made me wish for two weeks.  There’s lots to explore. Chef-followers will recognize Iron Chef Jose Garces, Top Chef Kevin Sbraga, and empire-building chef Stephen Starr. Locals will tell you about their favorite mixologist Katie Loeb. 

CT Bites readers will discover the American food revolution took root early in Philadelphia, and it’s flourished.  Philly’s vibrant city streets are filled with interesting architecture, art, museums, restaurants, cafes, clubs and bars. Yet, it’s a polite city. People murmur, “Excuse me.” And if they see you with a map in your hand and a befuddled expression on your face, they offer directions. Showing the Brotherly Love is what they do.

Brauhaus Schmitz

The Philadelphia food story begins with the Germans, who first arrived in 1683. Today, lines form out the door Fridays and Saturday’s at Brauhaus Schmitz, which specializes in New German cooking.

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Sunday
Dec222013

TravelBites: Heading to Miami, Florida? Don't Miss MC Kitchen

By request….CTBites is trying out a new column, TravelBites, for our readers heading out of the great state of CT. These articles will feature popular vacation/business travel destinations for local CT residents, but if you have a suggestion for a TRAVELbites, contact us. 

Our first article features Chef Dena Marino and MC Kitchen in sunny Miami….one of the fastest growing “foodie” hubs in the US.  

Hot culinary spots are opening in hotel restaurants like SLS South Beach with Katsuya or The Bazaar by Jose Andres as well as Soho transplant, Lure Fishbar in the Loews. Funky hipster dining options are popping up practically daily in the emerging fashion and art neighborhoods like in the Design District , Midtown and Wynwood…Miami and Miami Beach has something for everyone.

MC Kitchen, opened a little over a year ago, is the passionate creation of Chef Dena Marino and her friend, Brandy Coletta  Hence, the M and C ).  Chef Dena, who actually hails originally from northern New Jersey, moved to Miami a little over three years from her executive chef position at Ajax Tavern in Aspen to head up the kitchen at the now defunct Danny Devito’s restaurant, Devitos. 

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Friday
Sep202013

Foodie Road Trip: Mystic, CT for Seafood & Sweets

“Cute Connecticut Day Trips.”  Search. Labor Day had left me with an unexpected day off from work, and I’d turned to Google to help decide what to do with the time.  The results came in with a definitive winner: Mystic, Connecticut.  Between an aquarium, a historical seaport, and seaside shops, the town seemed like the perfect destination.

And perfect it was.  In addition to its attractions, Mystic also holds an array of amazing restaurants overflowing with fresh seafood.  After a morning at the aquarium, my friend and I chose a place called “Go Fish” for a late lunch.  It is located in Old Mistick Village, an area of small shops and boutiques meant to feel like a colonial New England town.  We walked into a space adorned with large sea inspired murals painted in vibrant colors- almost Warhol-esque.  There was a beautiful large bar accentuated with rows of shiny glassware.  Even though it was three in the afternoon, several people were enjoying a meal or a drink at the bar.

Go Fish specializes in fresh seafood; ideal for the person wanting to appreciate the coastal milieu.  Specials included an assortment of local raw oysters and jumbo crab legs.  Guests can choose from an array of appetizers, sandwiches, soups, and entrees.  My favorite feature was that full entrees could be ordered as small plates as well.  I decided on a small plate version of their Steamed Littleneck Clams with grilled chorizo

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Sunday
Nov252012

Six Main: Elegant Raw & Vegetarian in Chester CT

Six Main will close their doors as of September 27, 2014. From their website announcement: "Thank you to all of our loyal customers for a wonderful 2 1/2 years, and most of all we would like to thank our farmer, Baylee Drown and her team at Upper Pond Farm for providing us with such inspiring food."


Elegantly prepared, nuanced preparations of vegetarian, vegan and raw food dishes are the expert domain of Six Main Restaurant in Chester, CT. Housed in the former Chester Savings Bank, a stately 100-year old landmark situated at the center of this quaint central Connecticut town, Six Main helps to usher in the slow momentum of “contemporary plant-based gourmet cuisine” into the state.  

Open since summer 2012, Six Main is the result of a serendipitous collaboration between owner Bill de Jonge and award-winning raw chef Rachel Carr. Looking for a chef who would hold the same passion for healthy food, de Jonge hired Carr who happened to find herself in the Northeast after many years on the West coast at the helm of the well known Los Angeles raw vegan outpost, Cru. Their partnership also led to the cultivation of de Jonge's Old Lyme home, Upper Pond Farm, for produce specifically raised for the restaurant they were building.

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Thursday
Aug162012

Tour India with Thali's Prasad Chirnomula

Indian Master Chefs Prasad Chirnomula and Maneet Chauhan, along with Culinary Instructor Jody Eddy have meticulously planned a gastronomic and cultural journey to India, December 1 - 13, 2012.

One way to reach India's heart is through its stomach. Centuries of applied epicurean experimentation have led to several regional centers of India such as the regal Rajasthan. Through formal and informal discussions throughout this journey, Prasad and Maneet will provide invaluable insights of their homeland and guide you through one of the greatest gourmet spice journeys you will ever experience.

From the bustling metropolis of Delhi to the serene natural quiet of the Thar Desert, you will explore India and celebrate the tastes and the sights and the sounds, while meeting the people that give India its name and its fame.

For a detailed itinerary, pricing and more information about registration, visit www.jhcbh.com.

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Thursday
Aug162012

A Taste of Litchfield Hills 2012

The 27th Taste of The Litchfield Hills, New England's oldest food and wine festival, will be held August 25-26, 2012, at Harwinton Fairgrounds. Advanced general admission is $8 and does NOT include food or beverages.

This new location for the festival will provide covered pavilions for two-days of showcasing the Litchfield region's food and wine as well as shopping and live entertainment. 

Chefs and purveyors from nearby restaurants and businesses will prepare "grazing-sized" portions of house specialties ranging from $4 to $8 dollars each, and wine and beer available for purchase will be served. Lists of participants and menus are forthcoming.

Advance General Admission (Age 12+): $8.00; Advance Senior Admission (65+): $7.00; On-Site General Admission (Age 12+): $10.00; On-Site Senior Admission (65+): $9.00; Child Under Age 12: FREE; Festival occurs rain or shine. 

Taste of Litchfield is located at Harwinton Fairgrounds at Locust Road, Harwinton, CT. Advance admission tickets, exhibitor information and more information is available at www.LitchfieldFestivals.com.

 

Tuesday
Jul242012

The CTbites and 109 Cheese & Wine Road Trip Giveaway

From the coast of Maine, to the island of Nantucket, to the beaches of Long Island ... who doesn’t love a great summer road trip? As we downshift into the slower and warmer final weeks of summer, CTbites wants to know, what are some of your favorite road trip destinations?

Comment on this post sharing one or more of your favorite summer road trip destinations for a chance to win a picnic basket from 109 Cheese and Wine filled with cheese, wine and charcuterie from the Ridgefield wine shop. 

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Tuesday
Jul172012

Foodie Road Trip: Three Days in Cape Cod

Cape Cod is the perfect summer road trip destination for busy people.  About a three-hour drive from Fairfield, Connecticut, the towns of Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, hold good news for food lovers.  On a recent three-day getaway, my husband and I sought casual-but-good waterfront places where shorts fit the dress code. We discovered inspired and classic renditions of New England fare.

Woods Hole is where the ferry leaves for Martha’s Vineyard, but it’s a destination in itself. The quaint gray-shingled town rests on a spit of land, where on a recent idyllic summer day, sunlight sparkled on the water, and breezes blew stress away.  Ah, vacation.

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