Tag Archives: j gilberts

2014 Best of Hartford Magazine Winners Party!

Oh how I have missed my Connecticut events! Boston events are great, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t have nearly as much of a network here as I do back in the Hartford area. That’s one reason why I was so excited to be able to attend the 2014 Best of Hartford Magazine Winners Party this past Friday! As first runner-up for both Best Twitter and Best Blogger in the 2014 Readers’ Poll, I received one ticket for me and one for a plus one – so I brought Rachel, the girl who named this blog. Of course that’s really a reason way down low on a very long list of reasons why I brought her with me. She’s a great friend and I was so happy to be able to share the special night with her!

Our red carpet glam entrance - thanks Sean!

Our red carpet glam entrance – thanks Sean!

And of course I got to reunite with all of my CT event buddies! That included Carolyn Paine (founder of CONNetic Dance, which I have blogged about before) and Emily Cahill, Community Manager for Yelp Hartford. Oh, and you know Kat was there. That’s a given.

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More Birthday Stuff

Thank you for your props in response to my Mexico/birthday themed Marvelous In My Monday post! I really appreciate it, especially after my less frequent blogging as of late. But I still have more to say about my 25th birthday, which was this past Saturday. When I wrote the MIMM post, I was on the airplane and it was my birthday afternoon. I was feelin’ good! However the evening presented new challenges. I overcame them, but my birthday weekend wasn’t completely the rosy picture that my last post painted.

Before boarding the plane though, I did make a new friend from Ohio. He wanted to pose with me as I showed off the gin & tonic sample I received IN THE AIRPORT. Gotta love the duty-free shop in Mexico.

Before boarding the plane though, I did make a new friend from Ohio. He wanted to pose with me as I showed off the gin & tonic sample I received IN THE AIRPORT. Gotta love the duty-free shop in Mexico.

I had birthday dinner plans at my favorite restaurant, J Gilbert’s, with my very close friend (and blog namer, I can’t not mention that) Rachel. It was my first time seeing her since my move to Boston and also my first time seeing her since she got engaged! We started the evening off right with our barrel-aged Manhattans (or as we like to call him, Mr. Manhattan).

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Thanksgiving 2013: Dining Out

In recent years my family has spent Thanksgiving at the home of our friends, the Gerbers. Unfortunately this year they moved to Texas and we decided instead of finding another group to join or having Thanksgiving at home, we would go out! Obviously this was my idea and of course we selected J. Gilbert’s, my favorite restaurant, as the spot. Thankfully (ha get it?!) we were smart enough to call a couple of months in advance and lock down a 6:30PM reservation for our party of six. We received a call the day before Thanksgiving letting us know that a 4PM slot had become available, and my parents jumped on it. This was not fun for me because the earlier the reservation the more time I was going to have between finishing dinner and going to bed to think about what I’d ate. But I was the only one in that camp, so I had to deal!

The Croswell Fam!

The Croswell Fam!

I felt ridiculously hungover on Thanksgiving morning thanks to the previous evening’s festivities (Jager, never again) but made it to the gym for 30 minutes of StepMill intervals and an upper body workout. I sure am glad I went because I felt a lot better afterward, but man it was torturous during! I rushed home to shower and get cozy with coffee and the Black Friday circulars…a tradition! I felt very tempted to restrict after the gym and just not eat until dinner so that I would ensure I’d have plenty of room for the amount of food I was “bound to consume”. I texted my girl Brittany for support and she gave me the reality check I needed to push forward and fuel my body post-workout.

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The Execution of Noa P. Singleton: My Last Meal

I don’t think most are interested in reading a book review unless they’ve either read the book or are definitely planning to read it. That’s why I’m such a big fan of the concept of the From Left to Write online blogger book club. Instead of writing a book review, the book is meant to serve as a writing prompt or inspiration for a post in which I can draw on and blog about my own personal experiences.

July’s book is a debut fiction novel by Elizabeth L. Silver – The Execution of Noa P. SingletonThe story switches between narration by Noa in the first person and narration by the mother of the girl Noa is in prison for killing – in the form of letters to her dead daughter. Immediately Noa is revealed as being on death row for the murder of a girl named Sarah, but we don’t know how said murder or its trial occurred. Slowly, those occurrences are revealed. However, I’m not going to write about them. I’m going to write about a topic discussed at length in one chapter of the book – the last meal.

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Marvelous in My Memorial Day Weekend

It may not be Monday because I didn’t think it was worth it to publish a full MIMM post on a holiday, but Memorial Day starts with M and so does Marvelous, so there’s no reason I can’t keep the alliteration train chuggin’ at full speed. My work day went south the second I picked up my cubicle phone this morning to listen to a voicemail, so I really need to focus on marvelous and not mad. Which is how I’m feeling.

Thanks Katie for hosting this party! Pretend the Monday says Memorial Day.

Marvelous is…making it to my gym’s Friday evening step class. I haven’t been able to leave work on time for that class in awhile but I decided it was the Friday before a holiday weekend so if any day I was going to leave early, it’d be that day. The step class was so fun – a routine with both familiar and new moves, a high-energy instructor who demanded cheers from us as we worked out, and fantastic remixes of old favorites like “The Call”. Great way to kick off the holiday weekend.

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WIAW: Restaurant Photo Dump

The Barre: A Real Food Giveaway ends tonight at 11:59PM EST – don’t forget to enter!

I am blown away by your support on my post yesterday. I have to admit that when I woke up that morning, I felt so beyond low. I have never felt that level of hopelessness before. I had no idea how I was going to get through the day with my mind being SO damn mean to me. But making my #AmazingMe list helped, and the comments I got on the post truly made me teary-eyed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my blog, commenting, and sharing with me your own feelings about negative thoughts and holding ourselves to ridiculously high standards. I already am seeing some lists pop up – and I am going to read every single one!

Becki is going to blog her list – can’t wait!

And talk about timing – Lindsay published an amazing post today in which she fights her brain’s negative body image thoughts with specific positive thoughts about each part of her. It’s clear that every part of Lindsay combines to make one AMAZING blogger who dreams up the best recipes and runs a huge, and growing, Foodie Pen Pals program!

So today I have both old and new restaurant food photos to share, so thought another WIAW Photo Dump was appropriate! I can’t really bear the thought that some of my restaurant photos, even the ones from months ago, will go unseen by my readers. Thanks to Jenn of Peas & Crayons for making sure this delicious party happens every week.

Like I’ve said before, I haven’t really been doing posts of what I ate each day, but I DO take a lot of photos at restaurants. Sometimes they pile up on me and there are too many to share after each time I go out to eat! So without further ado, here are photos I’ve accumulated from February to now that haven’t been seen on the blog yet. These are things I (and my friends) ate and drank, and I’m sharing them on a Wednesday, so it’s totally WIAW-worthy 🙂

Best miso soup I’ve ever had, from Miya’s Sushi in New Haven, CT. Made with seaweed foraged from the Long Island Sound!

Samples of Miya’s sake! Best ever. One was super salty (meant to taste like the ocean) and one was sweet.

Me and a full-size sake at Miya’s, back in March.

Array of Miya’s sushi – all automatically made with brown rice. One roll had brie, and one was wrapped in grapeleaves!

Some of the best fries I’ve ever had, with ketchup, mayo, pesto aioli, and mustard, at Rudy’s in New Haven, CT.

Pear vodka martini on Franklin Ave in Hartford.

Amazingly yummy bread sticks and EVOO/tomato-based dip at Carbone’s on Franklin Ave in Hartford.

Ahi tuna with balsamic vinegar at Carbone’s – so amazing!

Grilled veal scallopini from Carbone’s light menu, served over sliced tomatoes, lemon, baby arugula, and cilantro pesto. My first time having veal and it was a winner.

Jeff’s dinner at J. Gilbert’s this past Thursday – veggie platter of mushrooms, asparagus, tomatoes, corn on the cob, zucchini, and black beans/corn in a red pepper. CRAZY AMAZING I’M GETTING THIS NEXT TIME.

A red blend at J. Gilbert’s this past Thursday, and some of their amazing sourdough bread.

J. Gilbert’s special on Thursday – had to get it – grilled swordfish with red wine demi glace and chive butter on the side. Sides were grilled asparagus and a baked potato with mango salsa. I can’t get over it still!

BIG glass of Merlot at Matthew’s in Unionville, CT on Saturday. Eating a caper and salmon cake sent out complimentary by Matthew himself.

I think you can also tell that the last photos are more recent because I’ve gotten a little better with my camera! Wow, my inner arm in the above photo is also quite ghostly. Looks like I need to do some arm flipping next time I tan.

And now that I’ve dumped all my restaurant photos, maybe this will make room for more daily eats photos in addition to the restaurant photos as well! Is that something you guys would be interested in?

I also want to leave you today with one of my favorite quotes of all time that I remembered this morning:

“Sweet are the thoughts that savor content; The quiet mind is richer than a crown.” – Robert Greene

Which of the photos looks the most appetizing to you?

Do you enjoy my way of doing WIAW, aka photo dumps? Maybe I’ll do a traditional WIAW one of these days!

Have you made your #AmazingMe list yet? Don’t forget to share it with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, the comments…sky’s the limit!

Shake Your Soul Dance Yoga

Hey guys! How was your weekend? I spent mine continuing to smile thanks to your support. It really helped me to have all those new mantras and the abundance of encouragement as I went into the weekend! I’m also pleased to announce that I had the last day of my double-weekend summer class yesterday, and have banged out three credits! Just three more to go this summer!

I’m trying to be optimistic because this morning, I have a REALLY bad case of the Mondays. At first the fact that my alarm was accompanied by a clap of thunder made me happy – I love thunderstorms, especially morning ones, because they are always a surprise. But once the rain came down during my commute, I realized it wasn’t an ideal time to have a thunderstorm. Hello, traffic! I also had to pull over to refill my tank at a Shell station, and as I got to work putting my credit card in the pump, the clouds decided to dump a Six Flags water park-sized bucket of rain from the skies. Then the pump decided to decline my card twice (there was no reason for it to do so).

Not as psyched as these fine folks. Source.

I dashed back into my car now soaked to the bone, and ready to burst into tears. Instead I took a deep breath, pulled out my umbrella, and pumped my gas using a different credit card. And it worked. And now I’m drinking black Mudslide coffee from Peaberry’s and trying to keep calm and carry on, as they say. At least I have this blog as an outlet.

But I want to share my thoughts on the new fitness class I mentioned that I was trying on Friday, Shake Your Soul dance yoga! The class was held at Granby Yoga in Granby, CT (I highly recommend this studio for any local readers, the Wednesday power class with Laura is amazing) and was full before the day of the event even arrived. It was only $22, which I felt was totally worth it to try such a unique class that combined two of the things I love, dancing and yoga. The instructor, Jayne Dean, is a Certified Expressive Movement Therapist and certified by the creators of Shake Your Soul, the Levin Institute.

Some examples of benefits of Shake Your Soul include:

  • release of body tensions and movement of body fluids
  • learning to trust the body’s “intrinsic ability to dance” (I love that!) and feeling more comfortable in your ski
  • cardio workout and strengthening of core and lower body

I definitely have to say that I felt all those benefits during the class. Usually on Fridays I go to Group Step and sweat my face off, but I still got a bit sweaty during dance yoga. More importantly, I also had FUN. I’m a huge fan of dancing (anyone who saw me doing Ilyse Baker‘s cardio dance at Reebok knows this) and my favorite songs were the hip hop ones (I recognized Black Eyed Peas and Talib Kweli), especially since Jayne gave us the chance during that part of the class to just freestyle and dance as we wished. We also did group and partner dances, line dancing, and African dance!

Our teacher, Jayne, in action. Source

I have to admit that I felt a bit guilty about doing a workout that was “less intense” than my typical Friday fitness class, but I did something new and something that I love, so I was trying to and still am trying to reflect on that fact and feel proud of myself for going outside my box and breaking routine. It’s not easy for me to do that! I danced my hardest and tried to make each “move” as intense as my body felt comfortable with. My quads were DEFINITELY burning during the plie squats and lunges we did. Many of the moves also combined cardio and strength because not only were they quick with lots of arm movements (cardio), but they required us to stay low in our legs (strength). And if you think about it, that makes perfect sense since dance is one of my favorite ways to get cardio in and yoga is a great way to strengthen the body.

Jayne does other classes around CT, and Granby Yoga wants to have the class again, so I hope I get to do Shake Your Soul again soon. You can look for a teacher in your area here! And I’ll be sure to mention when I’m going again, in case any local readers want to join 🙂

If you want to see examples of Shake Your Soul dancing and student perspectives, check out this cool video from Kripalu! I wish I had videos or photos from my event…maybe next time I can ask Jayne to snap some shots for me!

After the class, I went to a friend‘s birthday dinner at my favorite restaurant, J. Gilbert’s, and got a dish there that I’d never tried, the Lobster Cobb Salad! I also enjoyed a couple glasses of red wine. Again, I felt a bit guilty getting the wine after doing a less intense cardio workout for the day (and I’d taken a rest day the day before), but once I was with my friends I relaxed a bit. I also talked to my mom before dinner, and as usual she had plenty of encouragement for me. She also told me she was proud of me for skipping Step in favor of something new and unique. Hearing that really perked me up and helped wipe my mind of annoying guilty thoughts so that I could enjoy dinner!

Greens, balsamic vinaigrette, lobster, sweet potato straws, avocado, hard-boiled egg, corn nuts, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and mango salsa. Boo flash.

Started with a glass of Syrah! Like my post-yoga-dance look?

Had to embarrass Jeff with this photographic evidence of his death grip on my shoulder.

Is it hard for you to try a new fitness class (and break your normal routine)?

Have you ever done some kind of dance yoga workout?

What was the best dinner you had this past weekend?

Who are your sources for support if you are struggling with food and/or exercise-related guilt?

What’s the worst case of the Mondays you’ve ever had? How’d the Monday turn out?

My Favorite Restaurant

People often ask me what my favorite restaurant is, since I’m such a fanatic. It’s a fair question! And if you follow me on Twitter, you may know what the answer is, seeing as I’ve checked in there four times in the last two weeks (and I’m the Mayor 😀 shut up, it matters).

If you guessed J. Gilbert’s, you are spot-on! I’ve done a full write-up on a visit (when they came out with a new menu) and have mentioned them countless times. I’m a big fan of tweeting every experience I have there too.

Swordfish, broccolini, baked potato.

When I first started visiting J. Gilbert’s, I’d order the same thing every single time – 6 oz. filet mignon, baked potato, and asparagus. Oh, along with their awesome sourdough bread.

The butter on the right is pastrami butter!

But then I became an adventurarian (genius term Heather came up with for my style of eating) and began to feel the need to get something different every single time. And that’s totally possible, thanks to the constantly-rotating selection of specials.

Jeff’s latest special selection – 14 oz veal with a fig demi glace and lobster risotto!

I love taking friends to J. Gilbert’s because I KNOW they will love it, no matter what they order. However, there are certain things that are their specialty. When Jeff and I took our friend Kelly there a couple weeks ago, we helped her pick out a meal that was a sampler of what J. Gilbert’s does best, wood-fired steaks and seafood.

4oz filet, crab cake, lobster risotto, lobster mac n cheese.

The bar has an amazing atmosphere. I love going there to hang out and catch up with friends, or family. The bartenders are courteous and really fun to chat with. J. Gilbert’s boasts an extremely impressive wine collection, but their cocktails ain’t half bad either.

Lemon Basil Manhattan: Maker’s Mark, lemon, basil, simple syrup, pure cane sugar.

The bar also has a great happy hour, including a Sunday option, from 4-8pm! I love Sundays at J. Gilbert’s. A nice way to wind down the weekend!

My favorite happy hour app, the chicken quesadilla.

Another happy hour option, filet mignon sliders with sweet potato shoestring fries.

My family celebrates almost every special occasion at J. Gilbert’s.

My parents and I recently had dinner there to celebrate my 23rd birthday. I went all out and ordered the rack of lamb.

My dad’s swordfish was a work of art (you may recognize it as the cover photo on the Cait Plus Ate Facebook page).

And I like to think of this picture of us from that night as a work of art too 🙂

When my Nana Connie came to visit, we took her to J. Gilbert’s TWICE!

Me, my mom, and Nana Connie at Sunday happy hour.

She enjoyed her filet and crab cakes (another first-timer, so I suggested she order that!) and I adored yet another new-to-me entree choice, the ahi tuna! One thing I don’t often switch up are my sides. I tend to gravitate towards a baked potato and asparagus almost every single time. Their baked potatoes are truly the best I’ve ever had. So much sea salt on the skin!

The weird dark thing in the upper left is actually the charred side of the other piece of tuna. YUM!

The waitstaff is very friendly and not at all annoyed (or seemingly not annoyed…) by my mom and I, who are chronic meal-modifiers (sauce on the side, tweaks like that).

A modified fish my mom ordered, grilled mahi mahi, sans sauce (it was on the side).

That’s great news for anyone like myself who loves to dine out frequently, but wants to do so in a health-conscious way. My mom and I also frequently ask for lighter sides like our baked potatoes and asparagus in place of heavier sides like mac n cheese or creamy risotto.

Sea scallops, a favorite of many of my friends and family.

But sometimes you have to go all-out and order a meal as-is, AKA as a chef designed it to be served and eaten, as my friend did above when he ordered the sea scallops!

Love/hate relationship with this huge wine list. So hard to choose!

So there you have it – now you know what my favorite restaurant is 🙂 If you live in CT, I recommend heading over to J. Gilbert’s (make sure you have a reservation if it’s a holiday or weekend) for dinner, or even popping in for their happy hour if you’re looking for a cheaper way to enjoy their gourmet food.

You can also like them on Facebook to get exclusive, random surprise Facebook deals – or join their mailing list! You’ll get a free entree on your birthday, as well as a $15 off coupon right off the bat for signing up.

What’s your FAVORITE restaurant? Just one, no cheating!

Are you a meal-modifier when dining out like myself?

Wednesday’s Workout and Whole Foods Goodies

Yesterday my first guest blogger feature was published on LoziLu Mud Run’s website! Check it out for some easy, tasty ideas for a girl’s night in. You can also explore the rest of their site to find a Mud Run near you – I hope to attend the Boston run on 7/7/12 and would LOVE to make a blogger meet-up out of it!

Good morning friends, and happy Thursday. We are ALMOST to Friday which means I am ALMOST hopping on a plane to Orlando (Saturday afternoon is when we depart) with my mom to reunite with my wonderful grandparents, who I haven’t seen since December, and my dad, who has been on travel abroad for the last couple of weeks (and I miss him like crazy).

Yesterday became a very busy day at work and I got out late, so I was ten minutes late to spin class, but it was all good because one of my favorite instructors was teaching. Not only did she step her game up with her music this week (the last few weeks on Wednesdays it’s been like spinning to the Guitar Hero soundtrack…this time there was some fun mixed in like Carrie’s “Cowboy Casanova”) but she also put us through a REALLY tough workout that involved a three-song hill – OUCH, my quads! The 50-minute cardio session left me feeling sweaty and awesome, so I decided to keep the vibe going and head to the weight room for a quick upper body workout session.

I really like to make my upper-body weight lifting similar to a Group Power (like Body Pump) class. I’m not a big fan of lifting heavy weights and then resting in between sets – though I know this is good for building strength! Usually when I do that, I try to do abs in between while my upper body is resting. My favorite way to lift upper body though, is to treat it like my own individual Group Power class and do varying moves back-to-back of one muscle group during an entire song. Then for the next song, I switch it up to another muscle group. By the end of the song, my muscles are always burning and shaking! Last night I rocked Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy“, one of my favorite albums of all time, for some shoulders, abs, and biceps. I did them in that order because my arms DEFINITELY needed a rest after doing shoulders before I could move on to biceps. I forgot how LONG those Kanye songs are!

Grilled chicken/turkey burger with spicy yellow mustard, black beans, baked potato with pico de gallo.

I came home and refueled with the amazing dinner above. I also had the inside of the potato, but it’s in a bowl off to the side, and looks pretty bland in photos anyway! The black beans were from Moe’s and I could’ve eaten an entire pot of them – I just love black beans so much. I’m grateful to be living at home with a mother who is always up for making me healthy, delicious meals!

I’m going out to eat tonight to my favorite restaurant, J. Gilbert’s, to use a $20-off coupon I got back in December. It expires while we’re away next week so it must be used! Joe and my wonderful Nana Connie (she arrives today to take care of my brother while we are gone in FL – I’m so glad she is coming!) are going to join my mom, brother, and I for dinner. I also plan to order one of their wine flights – I have never tried theirs and will definitely be craving some vino with my meal!

Joe and I at dinner this past Saturday night at Grant's in West Hartford.

I’m going to end today’s post with some random photos that I took during my December Florida vacation at the Palm Beach Gardens Whole Foods salad/hot bars. I never got a chance to share them and I love seeing what Whole Foods locations across the country have at their food bars –  does this make me a nerd? No, I think it just makes me a foodie 🙂 Enjoy!

LOVE the colors in this photo.

DOLMADES! Was so excited when I saw these.

FL Whole Foods locations always offer some kind of great seafood salad like the shrimp salad above!

The colorful lettuce-less Greek salad in the middle was so good, but the onions were STRONG!

Plantains make my heart happy!

Have you ever noticed differences in Whole Foods location offerings across the country? Any of the items above look familiar from your local Whole Foods – OR completely foreign?

What’s your favorite way to lift upper body weights?

Anyone else have exciting Thursday dinner plans?


Max Fish Oysters & Willamette Wines

Around my area, Max Restaurant Group is king. Their eight independent restaurants are all extremely successful and known for some of the best-tasting food and highest-quality drinks in the state. MRG also puts on lots of foodie-and-wino-targeted events. Though I’ve only heard great things about what’s served, I also have noticed that most of the events have quite a price tag. So imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I saw an event on the calendar for January that was only $35/person – the “2012 Oysters and…” tasting of oysters from Max Fish, one of the MRG restaurants specializing in seafood, and white wines from Willamette Valley Vineyards, brought by the founder of the vineyard himself, Jim Bernau.

A chef completing rapid setup between tastings – there were three times, and we came for the second!

My dining partners at this event were my go-to foodie guys, Jeff and Evan. In fact, I have another tasting we attended not-so-recently that I hope to recap this week, but that’s neither here nor there.

Both still and sparkling water were offered – fancy!

I was beyond pleasantly surprised to see Jim himself there representing Willamette Valley Vineyards, because I had actually met him the day before at the Sun WineFest! In fact, his Willamette Pinot Noir (yum) was my very last sip of alcohol of the day, right before I headed to the main stage to cover the Oyster Open. The WineFest, by the way, occurred the day before this oyster and white wine tasting, so I considered it an extension of my WineFest culinary adventure!

Bucket for oyster shells!

Oyster expert Kim Kockza taught us a lot about what we were about to eat, and continued to educate us about oysters as we slurped them down. So much goes into oyster farming! Southern oysters of the US take about 12-18 months to grow, whereas are some oysters grown around the world that take up to seven years. Oysters are often grown in a controlled environment to the size of a quarter, and then released into bodies of water so that they can nom on plankton all day and get nice and beefy for OUR consumption. They eat, then we eat, the circle of life!

When Evan tried to squeeze lemon onto his first oyster, Kim certainly gave him a talking to. She wouldn’t allow it! We had no sauces either – this event was all about tasting the oyster in its purest form.

Oysters taste different depending on what species they are, where they are farmed, the farmers’ methods, and more. I’m extremely inexperienced with oysters – in fact, this was my first time having them raw like this – but I could still tell that a difference existed between certain species. Some had subtle flavor variations that I preferred to others. However, all of the oysters (no matter what kind) had the unfortunate habit of shedding little pieces of shell that kept getting caught on my tongue and in my teeth!

All of the oysters we sampled at Max Fish were from British Columbia. Three species were paired with three different white wines. Another slightly adventurous event for me, since I am a red lover at heart (hearts are red, ha!), and I have been trying to explore whites and give them a chance. I did not like any of these whites as much as a red, but pairing them with the oysters was certainly fun!

  • Gigamoto oysters with 2009 Pinot Gris: I enjoyed the wine portion of this pairing more than the oysters. They tasted very, well, raw. The taste was a bit more harsh and in-your-face seafood (if that makes any sense) than I would have preferred. The Pinot Gris and its clean taste did pair well with them and each sip was a satisfying cleanse to the palate. These oysters, though, were not really for me.
  • Miyagi oysters with 2010 Riesling: These oysters definitely tasted better thanks to their creamier texture. Kim showed us that the oyster’s white belly could tip us off before even tasting it that creaminess would come into play here. At first sip, the Riesling was way too sweet for me (they usually are). However as I continued to pair the miyagi oysters with the wine, I enjoyed the Riesling more and more.
  • Pacific rim oysters with 2009 Chardonnay: I was not the biggest fan of the Chardonnay paired with these oysters. I’m not sure if it was the oysters, or the wine (it’s hard for me to like a Chardonnay) but I definitely preferred the other two whites to this wine. These oysters were more similar to the gigamotos to me (less creamy than the miyagis).

Jim is a great guy, so down-to-earth, and he gave us lots of good wine education while we slurped and sipped! Willamette Valley is in Oregan, and Jim has owned the land for 29 years. His key wine making principle is stewardship of the land, so anyone buying Willamette Valley wines can be confident that the beauty of the valley is preserved and the land is well cared for before, during, and after harvest.

Jim’s passion for his wines really shines through.

Our last portion of the tasting involved some oysters that had been “tinkered” with – in the best way! Instead of served raw, these were served with some tasty garnishes.

On the left are two oysters topped with a chard gilee and chives. On the right are two oysters topped with an apple-bacon relish! I liked those the most out of the two (kinda obvious, it’s bacon), but the chard gilee oysters were great as well, and both went well with some leftover Chardonnay I still had. In fact, I liked the Chardonnay a little more after I paired it with these beauties! I have to say, raw oysters are not exactly for me r. I don’t think I’d ever order them out, but when it comes to garnished or stuffed oysters, I’m game!

Evan and I took turns snapping photos of each other eating the oysters. I went with the shot-glass-method:

I think Jeff is judging me.

Evan went with the slurping method, and I hate to say it, but I think he wins this round. He looks fancy! Or like he’s making out with the oyster.

Before we left, the three of us had to get a photo with the lobster tank. Too bad we failed and stood directly in front of it.

Classy foodies forever!

After leaving, we proceeded to J. Gilbert’s to take advantage of a free appetizer FourSquare deal and oh yeah, split a bottle of wine. Then back to Max Fish for late night happy hour bites. Yes, it was a bit of a spontaneous Monday out, but we kept it both cheap and sophisticated.

Our free J. Gilbert’s Maytag bleu cheese chips, and red wine (not free)!

J. Gilbert’s bartender talked us into a bottle…

My Max Fish happy hour cheese plate (wine = cheese plate cravings, always).

Max Fish happy hour Thai Shrimp Toast. Jeff continues his hand modeling career.

Thanks to Max Fish for hosting a cool event and to Jim for sharing his wines with us!

How much experience do you have with oysters? What about white wines?