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.

Me (duh), Carolyn, Yurah (just back from Europe!), Kat, Whitney (of CT Science Center), and Emily! (Source)

Me (but you knew that), Carolyn, Yurah (just back from Europe!), Kat, Whitney (of CT Science Center), and Emily! (Source)

My favorite photographer Sean was doing his red carpet photo-takin’ thang. So great to see him again after he did such a wonderful job photographing the 90+ Cellars Boston Rose Cruise!

Alas, even his photo-taking skills could not save me from looking like I’m going for a nose pick in this “Thinker Pose” photo:

But Kat nailed it! (Source)

But Kat nailed it! (Source)

Upon entering the party, not only did I encounter a red carpet, but also flutes filled with Prosecco and at the ready. A great way to say, “Hey, you’re at a fabulous event, get ready.”


This was my first time at the Hartford Public Library whether in a library or event setting, and I just adored it. A lovely and fun space that made for fun photo opps as well as a bit of a scandalous feeling, because I felt like I’d snuck into my college library to drink 😛


Libraries are full of props! Photo cred to Kat.

The party was set up with two floors – one for dancing, desserts, and a bar, and another for drink/food samples and another bar. Oh, and the patio was open with an outdoor bar! A great spot to check out the gorgeous Hartford sky.

Along with Best of Hartford winners serving food and drink at tasting stations, the Kitchen at Billings Forge also provided catered food and passed apps. 


A delicious example of one of the passed apps!


Smoked salmon station – BE STILL MY HEART.


Cheese plate and antipasto heaven.


Moarrrr cheese.

Oh, and a cute well-propped photo-taking station…but no one to take pictures. Luckily a kind stranger did so for us.

I go with the doofy hat, Rachel goes with the sexy apron. Classic us.

We also hit up the photobooth, and inadvertently ended up looking naked.

The Best Cocktails winner Firebox served up the Sunny Spice cocktail, which certainly impressed both of us. Probably had something to do with a) its use of cherry & vanilla infused whiskey and b) its use of one of my fave CT products, Ripe Craft Bar Juice.


Speaking of which, I reunited with Ripe’s founder JD and yet another delicious Ripe cocktail!

My dress matches the juice!

My dress matches the juice!

Another very special and familiar table was J. GILBERT’S! Of course the smoked salmon rillete and filet toasts they were serving tasted just lovely and they also handed out steak seasoning in cute little corked glass bottles.

Photo by Rachel

Yet again, the restaurant received a very well-deserved Best Waitstaff award – as well as Best Overall Restaurant!

These crunchy wontons topped with ahi tuna and mango salsa were EVERYTHING. Rachel and I both enjoyed them immensely.


I don’t eat a lot of dessert, but at these types of events I always end up doing so! I enjoyed a pistachio macaroon from the table below, and probably could have eaten five more. There’s something  about mini-sized food that makes me want to just eat a ton of it!


At first I thought Grant’s was handing out cinnamon rolls, but this was actually a cake with berry compote and lemony cream. I don’t usually go for lemon desserts but definitely had a few bites of this guy.


Boy am I glad NORA Cupcake Co won Best Food Truck because I’m always happy to sample their mini cupcakes!


My favorite of the two that I sampled was definitely the Funfetti flavor. I had a small/actually huge obsession with Funfetti back in high school, so it took me back – but in a way that was more delish than any box mix cupcakes or cake I’d ever made.

The dance floor’s music was provided by a mix of a DJ and a great band called Eight to the Bar. Rachel and I loved dancing to their version of Christina Aguilera’s “Candy Man”!

I continue to be glad I saw this dress on Julie’s blog a few years back – such a go-to for me.

I had a great time and am so thankful to Hartford Magazine‘s Kerry Burrows for including me in the party, even though I moved away from Connecticut. I’m always happy to come back home (and in fact am doing so again this weekend).


How fantastic is she?! Leopard is a neutral, people.

What an amazing event. I seriously could not have picked a better party to come home for. So awesome to have so many fun friends in the same place! And that was only one small part of my great weekend. I ate and drank more than I intended/needed at this event and definitely felt awful about it the next day…but some pep talks from family and friends reminded me that the memories from the evening were the most important. Not the food and drink – though as you can that was definitely blog-worthy.

Congrats to Hartford Mag on a great Best Of party and thank you for inviting me!

Which food or drink looks best to you?

Have you ever gotten to walk a red carpet?

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *