Tag Archives: ice cream

2013 A Taste in Simsbury

I received complimentary entry into this event to cover it for this blog. All opinions of my experience are my own!

I’d call this past Thursday’s A Taste in Simsbury the best value tasting event I have ever encountered! For just $50, attendees got to taste food, beer, wine, and cocktails from at least 25 restaurants and vendors. Sponsored by Simsbury Bank, the Simsbury Main Street Partnership fundraiser pulled in money to help them continue to support downtown Simsbury’s social environment.

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I arrived right at 5:30PM, and already a line of people had formed.

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I snagged a wine glass and embarked on a tasting adventure that would end up lasting almost three hours. Thankfully tables and high-tops were set up throughout The Riverview‘s ballroom so that attendees would have spots to stop, take a seat, and have a place to rest plates and glasses.

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Wordless Wednesday: Baltimore

I never had time between all my weekends away to share my photos from one of those weekends, in Baltimore, MD. I really felt at home and can totally see myself living there one day, though I know most parts of Baltimore are not as “cute” as the parts I was hanging out in! Enjoy my photos ūüôā

Iced coffee, gross clothes, and #fitblognyc swag bag – travel standards.

Nomming on a packed salad while working on my paper during the car ride.

Right by our hotel!

Ridiculous amount of menus at Chazz.

Enjoying the Ginger Gin & Tonic made with ginger, cuke, and mint.

Better look at the drink. No it ain’t water.

We all shared a bunch of apps at Chazz’s happy hour – this was the Gorgonzola Beef Carpaccio.

Good old calamari with a fab aioli.

The super tentacley ones with less breading are my fave – more seafood!

Standard tomato bruschetta with goat cheese.

Veal meatball sliders with housemade chips.

My second drink, which my dad had to help me finish…the Pikesville Manhatta using a Maryland classic rye whiskey, with a brandied cherry. One of the best Manhattans I’ve ever tasted.

This Nutella jar on display was HUUUUGE!

Sis and I at da ba.

Sis, dad, and I outside of Chazz, ready to head to an Orioles game!

My most hated chain!

Buzzin’ in the Inner Harbor walking to the baseball game.

I love the Inner Harbor!

The coolest building I saw there.

We got these free bucket hats at the Orioles game!

Dad’s got his rally cap on.

BBQ at the ball game! Surprised by the options at the stadium for food. But that drink I’m holding was freaking gross.

Shared BBQ pulled pork sammie and sides for sis and I.

Way typical.

Next morning’s brunch bev of choice at Teavolve – Strawberry Basil Fizz.

But I had some of their coffee too!

Wheat toast, egg white omelette with CRAB and muchos veggies.

Purchased on SALE at South Moon Under ūüôā

Haul from a cute boutique! Because I definitely need designer highlighters.

Hannah and I stumbled upon this gorgeous bar with cocktails comparable to Drink’s, called Wit & Wisdom, in the Four Seasons.

Perfect afternoon to sit outside with my drink, which included walnut bitters.

Hiding behind some fake dunes?

Hello, you.

Snagged this for just $20 at Urban Outfitters – it’ll pop up in a Fashion Friday soon enough!

My go-to margarita – natural, on the rocks, with EXTRA salt at Roy’s happy hour.

Marvelous marg!

Edamame in the beginning of the meal?! My kind of place!

Dad’s face when I clued him into the fact that edamame is full of soy protein!

Skinny Cosmo ūüėÄ so pretty!

Mini smoked mahi tacos in a crunchy shell!

Mini shortrib tacos!

3 cheers for ICE CREAM from Haagen Dazs! Spiced caramel biscuit…AMAZING.

Pour-over coffee from Lamill for the ride home. So delicous (and it better be, it was like $4!)

And a Whole Foods salad BEAST for the ride home too. Can’t resist visiting other locations’ Whole Foods bars!

Have you ever been to Baltimore?

Do you usually pack food for road trips, or buy on the way?

Which nommm looks best to you?

Also, the winner of the Love with Food giveaway is my friend Alex of The Run Within. Congrats girl! I will be sending  you the code to get your FREE September Love with Food box. Remember, everyone else has until 8/31 to use the code CAITVIP for $2 off if you want to order your own box! Thanks to all who entered!

How I Spent My 23rd Birthday!

Yesterday was my 23rd birthday! I ended up having a great day (so great that I didn’t have time to blog :-P) and want to thank all of you that wished me happy birthday on Twitter and/or Facebook! So how did I spend my special day? Haven’t had time to upload cam pics yet, but I was tweeting a play-by-play of life, as per usual.

The day got off to a great start when I woke up to this. I love my mom!

My co-workers continued to make the day fabulous. My friend Steve got me these gorgeous tulips. The bow matches my St. Patty’s Day nails!

The fellow ladies of our sales row (of cubicles, ha) know me well. They gave me a bottle of local CT red wine from Sharpe Hill Vineyards! I haven’t had their wine yet and am super excited to try it.

Holy moly, look at this gem! It’s from Jim, a co-worker who has access to a pretty awesome bakery (he got another co-worker an equally awesome cupcake for her birthday last month). That chocolate-cake looking part is actually ALL icing. I am an icing freak. So let’s just say I’m gonna enjoy this. Saving it for tonight after dinner maybe!

I’m a lucky girl!

My boss was kind enough to give me a half day on my birthday, and good thing, because it was about 80 degrees without a cloud in the sky yesterday. Is this the new CT March? I’ll TAKE IT!

Obsessed with Vera towels.

No, this is not a summer ’11 photo, this is YESTERDAY. Amazing! I chilled with my best friend Lidia as we drank iced beverages (coffee for me, green tea for her), read magazines/books, and chatted. She was also kind enough to use my Goodreads to-read list to pick out a couple of new books for me as a gift – it used to be we were gifting each other off our Forever 21 wish lists, and now it’s Goodreads! Oh, how adult we are!

Now I can see what all that hype is about!

A classic that I’ve been curious about.

Call me weird, but I wanted to go to the gym despite the fact that it was my birthday. I completed 4.08 miles on the StepMill, Level 16, speed intervals AKA some kick-butt HIIT. Felt FABULOUS after! Read the issue of SHAPE with Kate Walsh on the cover. She is one amazing lady.

I wrapped things up with the below workout created by the amazing Heather of For the Love of Kale¬†(who gave me a birthday shoutout yesterday, THANKS LOVE). I’m not doing any upper body today so wanted to get some in yesterday. Quick and effective!

After showering my sweaty self off, I went to meet my friend Colin (of Taste of New Haven) at Mustard Seed Cafe, a cute local breakfast-and-lunch place, for a French Wine Tasting Class event put on by my favorite liquor store EVER, Sonoma Wines & Spirits. Apps were served to start and I put together a little tasting plate, but kept it light because I wanted to go out to a late dinner afterward.

Went back for seconds on the veg (obviously).

For a wine lover like myself, this was definitely an informative event, in terms of both tasting wine and its origins. I have to admit I found myself drifting a bit during the historical parts of the presentation, but I think that was because I was so excited to get-to-sippin…

Flight #1 (three total).

The most fascinating part for me was learning how to both properly smell and taste wine. Did you know that you’re supposed to cover the glass with your hand, swirl the wine around, and then just take a slight sniff from under your hand when smelling a wine? The whole swirl and stick my nose in the glass thing that I’ve had going on is NOT correct. Too bad I put on hand lotion right before the event!

The proper method of tasting wine is really cool and made a HUGE difference. I’m having no luck finding a video or series of photos on Google (I know, what?) demonstrating the method, but it involves taking a sip, tilting your head forward and letting the wine rest in the front of your “palate”, and then tilting your head back (it reminded me of taking a shot…) and letting the wine slide over the middle and back parts of your tongue before swallowing (or spitting, something I am not fond of, and I know, that’s what she said). The taste was SO much more intense. I kinda loved it.

My favorite flight obviously – three reds, how can you go wrong?

I had a few favorites, which I marked with stars on our info/ordering sheets, and ended up decided to purchase the Chateau Picque Caillou Graves Pessac-Leognan. I know – what?? Just know that it tasted sooo oak-y and fabulous. I also received a $25 credit with my admission, and the bottle was $30.59. How often do I have a chance to buy a $30 bottle of wine for $5?! Answer: never, so I leapt at it. I’m going to save this bottle for something very special!

After the tasting wrapped up, Colin and I headed out to get some FOOD. It was almost 9pm, so we hit up the late night happy hour at Max Fish! I love going to these kinds of happy hours at nice restaurants because I get the chance to order and sample food that would normally be out of my price range.

Recycled image from my last visit but obviously I had to get the cheese plate again.

Colin offers a useful hand-size comparison for this ahi tuna with jasmine rice and lemongrass sauce.

Frozen not fresh (as our waitress honestly told us when we asked), but still so good.

Does anyone else dip fries into their ice cream and/or milkshakes? Colin thought I was a weirdo for that one!

I’m asking about ice cream because Colin not-so-secretly (I noticed immediately…) approached our waitress and asked her to send over a birthday dessert for me. I was still surprised because I had no clue what it’d be! I wish this picture hadn’t come out so blurry:

CARAMELIZED BANANA SPLIT

SO DELICIOUS. I realized it had been too long since I last had ice cream. And it had been way WAY too long since I’d made that an ice cream SUNDAE. The caramelized bananas and slightly-salty nuts on that whipped cream made it extra special.

Fabulous, fabulous birthday. And it doesn’t stop there – off to J. Gilbert’s with my family tonight!

How did you celebrate your last birthday? Do you have any go-to traditions?

CW’s Chops ‘n Catch: Gerard Bertrand Wine Dinner

I had such a great experience at the first special Chops n Catch Dinner last month! I definitely knew I wanted to attend the next one, and was excited to find out that there would be another held in March, this time with focus on wine – sign me up! The wines were provided by Gerard Bertrand, a French winemaker that was recently voted European Winery of the Year.

Evan did not join in this time, but Jeff still was up for some wining and dining, even though he is not the biggest wine fan. Kudos to him for being adventurous!

With the dessert course…be patient, we’ll get there.

I was running late but it was still “cocktail hour” time when I arrived. Jeff was a loyal foodie and waited for me before digging into, and by that I mean eating-in-one-bite, the first passed appetizer, the shiraz-braised shortrib. ¬†I definitely suck because I didn’t take a photo. My camera was taking forever to get into the correct settings (I don’t even think I ever got it there) and I was impatient and wanted to dig in!

Just picture a bite of beautiful brown shortrib sitting on a silver spoon – at first I was confused as to why it was served that way, but got the reasoning once I finished the bite of meat and saw shiraz left pooled in the spoon. The app was VERY shiraz-braised, and I loved it. The presentation showed, along with the taste, just how much wine was used in the recipe. It was definitely the fruitiest shiraz I have EVER tried. I don’t think I would like drinking a glass of it, but with the meat, it tasted wonderful. I’m also sure there were other ingredients mixed in with it that made it taste fruitier than it would as a glass of wine alone.

We were soon poured our first glasses of wine (paired with that ever-important H2O) that were meant to be paired with the first course, but there was quite a delay between the pouring of the wine and that course being served, signaling the end of the “cocktail hour”. It was a little tough to hold back from drinking our wine, but we wanted to save it to have with the food, as it was meant to be drank. I would hope that at future Chops ‘n Catch dinners, the time period of passed appetizers would not be so long.

We also never received the second passed app, the blackened ahi tuna with cucumber relish. I mentioned this to our waiter, and after checking in the kitchen, he returned with a promise that he would bring one out to us after the first course, asparagus and goat cheese bisque with tri-colored cherry tomatoes, was served. Fine with me!

The bisque was really excellent, but Jeff and I both agreed it could have been presented better. I would have liked to see the tomatoes and asparagus stalk less “buried”, especially since the tomatoes’ interesting colors were essentially hidden under the thick soup. The taste was very impressive though. The goat cheese could have easily overpowered the asparagus, but both flavors were very well balanced and the soup was not too heavy like some bisques are.

It paired pretty well with the white wine pictured above, the Reserve Speciale Viognier. The hostesses from Gerard Bertrand called it fresh and floral. I liked this white because it was very dry. I’m not usually a white person but I was able to enjoy this one, it had notes of apricot but was not too sweet.

After the first course, just as the waiter promised, we were delivered the second pass appetizer, the blackened ahi tuna with cucumber relish. WOW. It was cooked perfectly, slight crispiness on the outside and nice and rare in the middle. The relish was so fresh!

The next wine was a red – yay! And a Pinot Noir too – double yay! The Reserve Speciale Pinot Noir is Gerard Bertrand’s best-seller in New England. It had a lot of soft fruit notes and though it wasn’t as robust or dry as I usually like my reds, I did enjoy it.

I definitely enjoyed the second course’s food component more though – BBQ pork belly with vinegar slaw and fried hot peppers. I LOVE PORK BELLY. It cut like butter and had nice crispy corners – those were my favorite bites. The slaw tasted just like the classic slaw that comes with all the burgers at Catsup & Mustard, one of Corey Wry’s other restaurants. The fried hot peppers were so good, but then again what fried anything isn’t good?

For the entree, we were given a choice of two entrees –¬†housemade salt ‘n vinegar potato chip crusted crab cakes with sweet ‘n spicy broth or¬†herb-seared boneless lamb loin with manchego cheese and potato croquette. For Jeff and I it was a no brainer –¬†crab cakes all the way! The crab cake was served with the white pictured above, the Cremant de Limoux, a sparkling wine similar to champagne. Cremant is actually the original sparkling wine of France, and preceded champagne! The lamb was served with the above-pictured red, the Grand Terroir Tautavel, a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan grapes. I love red blends because every one tastes unique and they often contain some of the less common grapes (I had only heard of Syrah in this blend, for example).

I actually ended up requesting that my crab cake entree be served with the red wine, because not only am I not a white wine person, but I am REALLY not a sparkling wine person. I have issues with carbonation (as in I usually can’t stand it). I know that may have “thrown off” the pairing, but I often drink red wine with my seafood. Jeff the not-wine-lover however, jumped at the chance to try a sparkling wine. He liked it, and I liked my red as well. Not so sure about how well it paired with the crab cake – didn’t pair badly, but just didn’t strike me as an interesting combination of flavors.

The crab cakes were so good though. While we were a little bummed that the crab cake was not completely encrusted in potato chips, as the entree’s title led us to believe, we were both extremely impressed by the abundance of crab (and subsequently, lack of filler, a good thing). The sweet ‘n spicy broth was indeed both sweet and spicy and had a great balance of the two flavors. I wish I had gotten to take a big potato chip encrusted bite of crab cake, but I got a similar effect when I had some of it with the potato chips at the same time, perched on top. Yummy!

Our favorite pairing was yet to come though! Dessert was a pistachio souffle and vanilla bean sauce served with vanilla ice cream, along with a glass of port-style dessert wine, Banyuls. I ADORE ports, and was so excited that the dessert wine wasn’t a sparkling white. It was so, so amazing with the ice cream. I just wanted to take a scoop of it, drown it in port, and eat that out of a bowl. The souffle was pretty awesome as well, but the port-ice cream combo stole the show. I didn’t want it to end!

It was another tasty experience at CW’s Chops ‘n Catch, and my calendar is already marked for their next event on Monday, April 30. I await the menu with bated breath!

Which course would you have wanted to try most?