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Dining (7)

Friday, 22 April 2022 09:52

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Miriam Restaurant (Upper West Side, NYC)

Miriam Restaurant, the flagship dining spot that launched Chef Rafael Hasid’s premier restaurant ventures, has been one of upscale and trendy Park Slope Brooklyn’s most beloved and esteemed restaurants for close to two decades now. Given its popularity, what better than to open up a sister restaurant, plunked right in the history infused brownstone heavy Upper West Side in Manhattan?

Located on the corner of 74th Street & Amsterdam, there is a certain warmth and old school neighborhood feel to this location; the residents being a lovely synergy of diehard original Manhattan residents and new comers alike, and the visitors for work or pleasure becoming themselves a part of this magic, many enjoying the hustle and bustle without the edge, you might say. This is a location that begs for a go to dining spot, to step out of the clamor, the shopping and the business of living and into a beautifully decorated dining space, which is dedicated beyond measure, to serving consistently delicious food, beautifully plated and meticulously presented to boot. Miriam’s second location is a collaborative design between Chef Rafi and Barak Pliskin of Pliskin Architecture with a New York and Mediterranean vibe. This Upper West Side location echoes design elements of the first restaurant, including the Mediterranean arches and original tiles from the Park Slope location. The open dining room showcases a sprawling brass and terrazzo bar along with vibrant aquamarine banquettes. Custom lighting designed by Krista Ninivaggi complements the matching rose gold bar mirrors expressed in ovular brass sconces to softly illuminate the space. Walnut tables and chairs fill the dining room and greenery peppered throughout; creates an inviting all-day Mediterranean bistro. If looking to dine al fresco, outdoor seating is ample. Enjoy people watching, sip, eat and savor.

At Miriam the cuisine is distinctly Israeli, offering a seasonal menu with many ingredients imported straight from Israel to assure authenticity. The menu is full of variety, allowing choices for the less adventurous palates to the most discerning. Featuring traditional Middle Eastern favorites, there are an assortment of tasty dishes which please all while still maintaining the ethnic flare expressed in particular flavors, spices and preparation style.

Some of the very popular main courses include Braised Short Ribs; tamarind braised beef short rib served with a savory sweet potato latke over labneh and string beans, hearty but at the same time no knife necessary as it cuts with a buttery softness. The Lamb Shawarma is impressive, presented under perfectly browned baked dough, served in a Terra Cotta bowl and opened up by your server table side, allowing the fragrant steam to pipe out and give you a preview of what’s to be eaten, served with herbed rice, roasted tomatoes, sumac red onion and a tahini yogurt sauce. The Falafel Platter is signature; vegan falafel balls made of a mixture of chickpeas and fava beans served with hummus, an Israeli salad, green tahini, mango chutney and warm pita bread. Add an assorted dips plate and you have the makings of a feast.

Looking for breakfast or brunch?

The signature brunch includes Jerusalem Breakfast; two eggs any style, avocado salad, fresh tomatoes, pickles and tahini or a must try is the Challah French Toast, with vanilla and topped with halva and berries.

Don’t be surprised if Chef Rafi himself meanders over to your table, to quietly make sure to your every fancy! Return for seconds and thirds as you likely will, and he might very well “know your name”.


Friday, 22 April 2022 09:44

The Fashion Forward Grape!

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The Fashion Forward Grape!

Le Grand Verre Single Serve Wine

Domaine Prataviera + Château Peyredon + Domaine Caylus Rosé, France (Credit Le Grand Verre)

Wine and fashion, fashion and wine.

We all have our particulars about the clothing that we choose to wear; also the wine that we choose to drink.
All of those involved in the intricate process of making fine wine, must interpret it but also must think about those who want to drink it, how to make the wine- with what tools, how to manage the land and the vineyards and so much more. When you think about it, so too do the designers of fine clothing. The same thought process is perhaps used when creating a tailored dress; the creativity, sensitivity, talent of those who produce it, but clear emphasis on being tailor-made for those who wear it.

Such is the case with Le Grand Verre; a single serve, award-winning, ethically produced, family owned and predominantly female-made artisanal wine collection of France. Expect a diverse collection of red, white, and rosé quality wines, sourced from boutique estates in Languedoc, the South of France and Bordeaux, perfectly suited for the discerning palate. (At 6.3 oz. each - slightly larger than your average pour) Patented and designed by the LGV Trio (three French wine-loving friends turned entrepreneurs Nicolas Deffrennes, Régis Fanget, and Valérian Déjours and made with recycled double-coated PET packaging, LGV is a single serve wine, in a slim, trim attractive bottle, best not to be shared, maybe a sip stolen here and there but truly just a wine pour and then some for you.

Grand Verre Domaine Caylus Rosé 2020.
Tucked in the southern coast of France in the Languedoc-Roussillon winemaking region, Pays d’Herault offers complexity in its rosé achieved via LGV’s partnership with Inès Andrieu of Domaine Caylus, an organic estate known for this blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache and here’s a fun fact: Pays installed music in the vines emitting sequences that allow crops to better resist disease, adapt to variations in the environment and ultimately grow better.

This refreshing rosé is full of strawberry, tropical fruit, and pineapple.

Le Grand Verre Domaine Prataviera 2019 envisioned by oenologist Elisabeth Prataviera, this wine is a 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Côtes de Gascogne near the village of Gascony known for producing spectacular white wines in the South of France. She sustainably farms vineyards using organic fertilizers exclusively and holds a Certified High Environmental Value Level 3. Harvesting is done only at night or early morning to preserve aromas and avoid oxidation. Her Sauvignon Blanc is an aromatic white wine with intense citrus and fruity tropical aromas and flavors that leave you with a lean mineral finish in the palate.

Le Grand Verre Château Peyredon 2019

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (63%) and Merlot (37%), this classic Bordeaux is very smooth with refined tannins on the palate. On the nose you will notice blackberry and notes of strawberry and vanilla. Laurence Dupuch of Château Peyredon Lagravette works in tandem with her husband Stephane Dupuch to produce this wine with fruit picked from vines over 100 years old. Sure to capture the attention of even the most particular oenophile crowd, single serve Crus Bourgeois should be savored with every sip.

If only wine could stroll the cat walk!

Monday, 31 January 2022 17:08

Around the World in 30 Meals (Part 2)

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Gladys invites you on an international dining flight, where the return to dining out, brings hope and inspiration to us all.

PJ Bernstein pj

Growing up in the Bronx New York, Jewish comfort food was a staple in my Growing up in the Bronx New York, Jewish comfort food was a staple in my house. From the chicken soup becoming a recognized cure all and deemed Jewish Penicillin, to the family holiday recipes pulled out from my clutter piles annually, dog eared and stained with sloppy pre-dinner spoonful’s, as the world becomes a broader melting pot, so too does its flavors. The food at PJ Bernstein is a magnificent representation bringing me back to a simpler time, or at least it seemed simpler to me as a child. The only way to judge, no matter what your ethnic background, is to visit PJ’s and decide for yourself.

PJ Bernstein is both an Upper East Side Jewish Delicatessen and full-service restaurant and has become one of the few remaining authentic restaurants of its kind---a staple in its star-studded neighborhood since it first opened its doors in 1965. To this day, PJ Bernstein’s continues to be a popular destination for locals and celebrities. From Lucille Ball who apparently ordered corned-beef sandwiches and matzo ball soup way too often to count, to the iconic Mel Brooks and two of the James Bonds, Sean Connery and recently Daniel Craig, this dining spot has kept its MOJO. Bestsellers are their homemade soups such as the “Triple Delight” chicken soup— clear golden chicken consommé, matzo balls, noodles and ravioliesque kreplach-dreamy pasta pillows filled with brisket and onions. For a whimsical party in your mouth, try the “Jewish Whopper,” a fried potato knish stuffed with pastrami and sauerkraut. Velvety cheese blintzes are yet another favorite; thin Russian-style crepes wrapped around a blend of fresh ricotta-like cheese, sautéed and served with sour cream and cherry compote. Smoked fish delights include whitefish salad, Nova Scotia smoked salmon aka lox, served on a bagel with cream cheese and lightly cured and smoked Alaskan sable. PJ’s Famous New York Sandwiches are each served with a half-pound of meat and side of coleslaw and pickles.
Need I say more?


Urban Village Grillurban

Chef Charles Mani’s latest venture, Urban Village Grill will be the first Indian restaurant to feature outdoor tabletop grills. Chef Mani and his team designed this fresh approach to dining to mimic the feel of backyard barbecues, as during the COVID-19 Pandemic necessity became the mother of outdoor meal preparation and dining. In that spirit, two distinct dining experiences can be had here; the outdoor grilling experience and a more traditional dining sit down meal, that features dishes cooked in a Tandoor Clay Oven, Indian curry dishes and many others. Additionally, Chef Charles Mani will introduce interactive barbecue-style grills; set to feature a variety of meat, seafood and vegetarian items that can be cooked by the diner to their palate and hearts content, with a choice of traditional Indian marinades developed by Chef Mani, including Malai, Harliyali, and Achari. Chef’s brand of Indian cuisine is lighter than more tradional Indian cuisine, using healthier ingredient alternatives, and adding vegan and gluten-free options. Highlights from the menu include Basil Lamb Chops and Chef Mani’s curry dishes, including Duck Confit; pan-seared duck breast simmered in curry for an hour, and a vegan rendition of 24-Hour Dal Makhani, lentils that are constantly cooked with aromatic spices. The cuisine is complemented by their own carefully curated seasonal Wine and Craft Cocktail lists that pairs deliciously, with the many Indian flavors and aromas of this restaurant's cuisine.



NSA Noodle BarNSA

No Strings Attached Noodle Bar, (NSA) is a fresh and new East Meets West concept introduced by restaurateurs Chiwa Yeung and Spencer Cartledge as well as Executive Chef Brooke Apfelbaum. As the new concept began to take, this dream team decided to take it across the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn. NSA Noodle Bar is set in a sleek, minimalist space with bar seating and a modest dining room warmed up with homemade pottery and art, all contributed by the staff and close friends.

The expertly curated menu here pays homage to Yeung’s specialty, Asian cuisine, while Chef Apfelbaum’s brings an Italian influence, with the end product being a delightful fusion between Japanese and Italian-American fare, designed to be eaten either in ample individual portions or family style.. Highlights from the menu include Stuffed Macaroni Bites stuffed with four cheese cream sauce and Japanese sausage with arrabbiata sauce, Hotate Crudo, sashimi quality scallop citrus cured in yuzu with kaluga caviar, wild mushroom puree, radishes, and chives, homemade pasta dishes such as Scallop Parmesan Fettucine, pan seared Japanese scallops and fettucine in a parmesan cream sauce with garlic chips, parsley and chives and much more.

NSA Noodle Bar’s Ramen is a must try with choices such as Truffle Tonkatsu Ramen, with house braised Chashu pork belly, seasonal truffles, Shio soft-boiled egg, menma, scallion, nori, and Naruto or Chilled Yuzu Shrimp Ramen, grilled shrimp, Thai chili pepper, grilled corn, red bell pepper, and shaved carrots in a Yuzu shoyu broth. Don’t hesitate to request translations so as not to miss a single delectable ingredient, the staff is more than happy to oblige.

Need a sweet after?
The Matcha Tiramisu; Matcha ladyfingers, mascarpone cream and Matcha-infused white chocolate disc is unstoppable.


Limani is the upscale Greek-Mediterranean dining overseen by consulting Chef M.J. Alam (Estiatorio Milos), highlighting clean Mediterranean flavors. Enter the expansive dining room complete with high ceilings, gold lighting fixtures and white leather chair seating, with wood and glass partitions between each table for safety. Enjoy the open kitchen and the two tents outdoors for al fresco dining. The menu showcases its raw bar selection, featuring Blue Point Oysters, Big-Eye Tuna Tartare with micro basil, Serrano chili and an orange slice and the show stopping Limani Sampler with Chef’s choice oysters, Ocean Garden Shrimp and Maryland Maine Lobster.

Limani Specialties feature four spreads including Tzatziki, Tarama, Ktipiti and Skordalia, served with perfectly grilled pita bread. Tunisian Octopus grilled and dressed with virgin olive oil and white vinegar is a favorite. Limani offers whole fish like the Branzino, encased in salt and served tableside. For die hard carnivores, the Cowboy 26 oz. bone-in rib eye, (dry aged for 30 days) is served with asparagus and potatoes or French fries. The Mediterranean Mule with Figenza Fig vodka, pomegranate juice, fresh lime juice and topped with ginger beer, served over ice is one of many house developed cocktails. A global wine list with offerings by the glass and by the bottle are also available as well as a selection of beers by the bottle.

The deconstructed Baklava with layers of phyllo, almonds, walnuts, cinnamon and pistachio cream drizzled in honey syrup is dreamy. As the world proceeds to open for business more and more, why not think about your next special event here?

Note: Photos for Limani Roslyn please credit - Photographer | Salwa Khan

Monday, 01 November 2021 02:21

Around the World in 30 Meals (Part 1)

Written by

Gladys invites you on an international dining flight, where the return to dining out, brings hope and inspiration to us all.


Executive Sushi Chef Tomoyuki Hayashi, who decided to pursue the fine and intricate art of making sushi and who has apprenticed under top sushi masters in Tokyo for many years before leaving Japan, has a vast and esteemed history. At Sushi AMANE, Chef Hayashi has clearly used the culmination of all of his experiences to create and plate unique sushi items for even the most discerning palates. As the freshest catches are tantamount to the sushi dining experience, the best cuts of fresh fish are delivered to Sushi AMANE each morning, offering wild fish from Japan and other countries around the world. The dining space itself at Sushi AMANE is an eight seat sushi bar concealed within MIFUNE’s subterranean dining room. Be sure to make reservations for Chef Hayashi’s omakase sushi experience; a progression consisting of four small dishes, nine sushi Nigiri, tamago, hand roll and miso soup. (Selections change daily based on market availability). The omakase sushi experience offers two seatings daily Tuesday through Saturday at 6pm and 8:30pm.

Hassun Tartar Japanese restaurant in feature 2021 Sept.


Kaiseki is an elevated form of traditional Japanese washoku cuisine that is served as a multi-course meal and based on the freshest seasonal ingredients. Kōyō in Astoria, Queens is one of a select few New York restaurants that focuses on kaiseki cuisine and is the vision of Chef /Owner Jay Zheng. Zheng’s vision has transformed Kōyō from a restaurant that focused largely on its Omakase sushi offerings to a Kaiseki dining experience including hot dishes that Zheng has created by infusing his Chinese cultural background into traditional Japanese cuisine. Enter and find a warmly lit space adorned with natural wood accents. An eight seat white marble Chef’s counter enhances your dining experience, with a spotlight in front of each diner’s seat to bring focus to the dishes presented. An open kitchen where dishes are prepared enthusiastically and skillfully can be seen from the dining room where guests can get a peek at the chef’s cooking and plating the dishes for the kaiseki experience. Kōyō’s spacious outdoor patio located through the restaurants backdoor features a roof that allows diners to an outdoor dining option if preferred. Kōyō features a seven–course tasting menu, beginning with Sakizuke: (the amuse bouche). Some fabulous choices have been featured here like seared ayu (sweet fish) and Norwegian king crab and pickled watermelon rind in watermelon yuzu dashi. Second is Hassun: a collection of small bites to be eaten beginning on the left, starting with Botan like ebi tartar (spotted prawn), Kaluga caviar and Yamagata dashi (diced vegetables over a sushi rice cracker). Following is uni milk custard topped with hokkaido uni and yub, and after that, perhaps the tempura kisu with matcha salt; with the final Hassun bite being fresh wakame (seaweed) , umibudo (seagrape), tosazu glee and crispy sawagani (small river crab) with yuzu salt and yuzu extract; all exquisite and aesthetically pleasing choices. The grilled course is next with items such as tachiuo; a seasonal Japanese fish in a Sakiyo miso marinade with grilled baby corn atop sweet corn miso. The soup course follows; Owan made with shiitake dashi, hamo (eel), and kohlrabi. The final dinner course is Nigiri sushi which is eight pieces of sushi, each individually selected and prepared by Zheng using Kamini rice with a mixture of red and white wine vinegars. The meal concludes with Mizumono or the dessert course; a hojicha milk pudding along with black sugar tapioca and a light kuro mitsu. Enjoy the finest, rare sakes while you dine to enhance the kaiseki experience. Kōyō also offers a number of Japanese craft beers.
Worth noting is that chef selections change weekly.

BaladeRestaurant for Arounf the Worlsd feature 2

BaladeRestaurant for Arounf the Worlsd feature 1

Balade East Village

Balade combines the authentic flavors of Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisines with flair and flavor. Chef/Restaurateur Roland Semaan, a native of Beirut, Lebanon, found the perfect location in the East Village and returned to his Lebanese roots with the opening of Balade Restaurant in 2010. The restaurant has since become an East Village staple with Executive Chef Micheline Wakim at the helm, and Omar Douad, a native of Jordan, as chef de cuisine.

The interior design brings you to Lebanon, as it is adorned with circular cut pieces of wooden cedar trees and Arabesque tiles, all imported from Lebanon. Outdoor seating is offered with transparent partitions, picnic tables and chairs.

Perhaps begin dinner here with a spread of savory, shareable plates called Mezze such as the perfectly chargrilled chicken wings, marinated for 48 hours with Balade proprietary spices and imported olive oil, freshly ground red peppers and walnuts topped with pomegranate; or Makanek beef sausages flamed table side with fresh lemon juice. The Samke Mechwiye is a whole grilled branzino, marinated in lemon, olive oil and salt served with tahini dipping sauce while the Sultan El Shawarma is made with thinly -sliced marinated beef and roasted with onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and topped off with tahini and a pinch of a spicy mixture called zaatar. Deserts such as Ashta, consists of “white pudding,” a rich cream traditionally made by repeatedly skimming the film that appears on the surface of boiled milk, coated with velvety honey and doused with fresh strawberries and pistachios. A well curated wine list consists of a variety of wines, imported from Lebanon in addition to France and Italy. Beer includes selections from Lebanon Jordan, Turkey and Morocco.

5 Kerala Fish Curry

10 Sapphire Mixed Grill

Sapphire Cuisines of India

A mainstay in the Upper West Side dining scene, Sapphire Cuisines of India has relocated to 2014 Broadway. Executive Chef Sachin Wagh and sous chef Alpesh Rathod, have elevated Sapphire’s cuisine and further introduced a modern Avant-Garde prix fixe dinner menu. The modern prix fixe menu allows diners to curate their own experience from an exclusive selection of 15 dishes—four choices for each savory course and three dessert choices—in addition to the restaurant’s main menu. Highlights from the menu include kerala fish curry, Chilean sea bass served over a spicy coconut sauce; filet mignon, served with cumin tempered fingerling potatoes; and masala chai panna cotta, a cookie crumble served with blueberry compote. The a la carte menu offers popular traditional Indian dishes, such as chatpata poori, mini whole wheat puffs, diced potatoes and chickpeas served with yogurt, mint, and tamarind sauces; and tandoori dishes, lamb shashlik, spiced lamb morsels, served with assorted grilled vegetables. For those who crave heat; lamb vindaloo, a fiery lamb and potato stew cooked with red chili peppers, garlic, ginger, cumin-vinegar masala is perfect and for the vegetarian, malai kofta, mixed vegetable croquettes served with a mild spiced cream sauce satisfies. A full bar on the premises, offers both classic cocktails and a full specialty cocktail menu with an impressive wine list for perfect pairing.

WINONAS 2 042021 096

WINONAS 2 042021 510 WINONAS 2 042021 140

Winona’s Modern European Café & Natural Wine Bar

Winona’s is a brand new modern European café and natural wine bar set to open its doors in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on November 12th 2021. Owned by husband and wife team Executive Chef Cressida Greening and Emir Dupeyron, the concept draws inspiration from Chef Greening’s British roots and will feature breakfast and lunch in the café which will seamlessly transform into a wine bar at night. The Back Room at Winona’s will feature a prix fixe dining menu that will highlight clean flavors and locally sourced ingredients. The space, which has been there since 1910 and served as an old fixture store, has been completely redesigned. Enter to find an art deco style café/wine bar with light wood banquette seating and burgundy chairs with wooden tables. A long hallway leads to a mirrored door. Open the door and you will find Winona’s dining room (set to open in December), featuring high ceilings and skylights with an open kitchen and opposite facing cocktail/wine bar. During the day, Winona’s will feature breakfast and lunch with coffee selections provided by their neighbors Parlor Coffee Roasters, who roast everything fresh daily. The breakfast dishes will include such popular selections as the overnight oats with chia seeds, coconut milk, hemp seeds, seasonal fruit compote and crushed almonds. For a decadent treat, the brioche toast with whipped ricotta, almond butter, grape jam and crushed peanuts delivers while the smoked salmon tartine with smoked whitefish spread, with pickled beets, scallion crème fraiche and everything bagel spice on rye bread stands to likely become a signature dish. Lunch items will feature such tasty choices as the mortadella sandwich with provolone, cornichons and frisée on focaccia; or for the health conscious, a warm grain bowl with quinoa and brown rice, shaved brussels sprouts, roasted koginut squash, pickled carrots, cauliflower and sautéed market greens will hit the mark. The evening wine bar will offer a small plates menu with options such as Lamb Belly Fritters with mint yogurt and Aleppo dust; and local cheese charcuterie boards enhanced by spiced tomato jam and fennel crackers among other delectable treats. The wine list was curated by Chef Greening, who is also a certified sommelier with The Court of Master Sommeliers. It features a select number of reds, whites, sparkling by the glass and bottle, with an emphasis on low intervention, natural and biodynamic wines from small producers. The cocktails at Winona’s are inventive and unique such as the brown-buttered rum, served hot and made with aged rum, amontillado, cream, brown butter and baking spice; or the Lavender Fields with blanco tequila, grapefruit, lavender and lime among many others. For a sweet finish to the meal, peruse the selection of dessert options such as the dark chocolate mousse or the olive oil cake with chamomile yogurt cream and macerated stone fruit.





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A Wise Old Soul with a Fresh Young Spirit - City Winery - Hudson Valley

by Karen Holly Berliner

Located in Mid-Hudson Valley in upstate New York, at the historic Montgomery Mills property on Factory Street, this winery is part of a successful chain and the very the first non-urban site for City Winery (with currently venue locations in New York City, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

Helmed by Michael Dorf, the founder of New York City’s popular Knitting Factory nightclub, the chain is a favorite for wine lovers who are seeking the feel, sights, scents and sounds of a traditional winery in the heart of a big city. This unexpected venue upstate delights, with 22 acres along a sparkling river with a waterfall, generating electricity with hydropower, with acreage dedicated to grape vine grapes. Formally a longstanding industrial grist mill erected in 1813, this winery is the perfect one stop setting as a perfectly orchestrated mixed-use development, including a restaurant, a tasting room, and a sprawling venue for weddings and events. Be charmed by the historic details from the property’s industrial past, as the property is adorned with hanging framed photos made from repurposed wood planks from the mill’s frames, aged hardwood, from bare sand-blasted joists to tan-brown lacquered floors. Old yarn processing machines decorate the winery as well as other whimsical details, paying homage to its past with dignity and restored themes.

Fifteen wines are available by the glass via the winery’s custom and eco-

conscious tap system, developed by Chief Winemaker David Lecomte. At the Barrel Room restaurant, multi-level outdoor patios overlook the Wallkill River. Its menu features Mediterranean-influenced foods, such as flatbreads, charcuterie, and cheese, with signature dishes like risotto balls, duck tacos and gourmet burgers. Sunday brunch is also served. Guests can order wine on tap or from a thoughtfully curated wine list as well as four to five reserve wines.

Through double doors from the restaurant and tasting room, the main event space opens to 6,800 square feet. It’s located near the gallery, which treats guests to views of the fermentation tanks on the grounds, keeping to the historical ambience.

In addition to dining and drinking, City Winery plans to become a one-stop venue for musical performances in the Hudson Valley. Like with its other locations throughout the country, it looks forward to welcoming live music to both its indoor main stage and outdoor amphitheater. The vines border a big green field, beside the Wallkill River, where musical acts, such as folk and indie rock bands, will play free concerts on a fully wired stone stage.

A bridal barn allows for a romantic, post nuptial; a 1920s barn converted to a bridal loft with two guest room apartments on the bottom floor.  In 2021, the winery will finalize its all-in-one experience with a 13-room conference center and hotel.

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Why not?

Bring home a bottle or two of City

Winery wine and sit by the fireplace


Whether it's at a wintry wilderness campsite or your living room hearth, there’s nothing like a crackling fire to warm the soul. You want a fire that's easy to build, quick to take and long-lasting. Here's a handy refresher on starting a dependable flame. The only materials needed for fire are tinder, kindling, fuel, two wine glasses and a fabulous bottle of wine, and yes love sweet love.

1.   Start with newspaper topped by kindling. The amount of paper depends on the dryness of the kindling on hand--the drier the kindling, the less paper needed.

2.  Pin the paper down with a dozen or so pieces of kindling.  Ideally, kindling should be placed on and behind the newspaper so that the air reaches it quickly where it's lit.

3. When the flames from the kindling begin to subside, add several larger pieces of firewood in a teepee formation, which doesn't smother the flames.






Bridgehampton features world-class restaurants helmed by talented chefs, upscale boutiques and venues, top notch wineries, and some of the most beautiful horse farms in the region. This is a great destina­tion for all, no matter where your interests or desires lie.

This visit we head out to the Hamptons on a Thursday and stop by Wolffer Estate Vineyards in Sagaponack enroute to Bridgehampton and right on time for its The Barstool Series where you can head over to the Tasting Room once each month for an interactive and informa­ tive hour with Suellen Tunney. Explore all things food and wine while sampling along the way. March offers To Age or Not to Age? The ul­timate question when it comes to wine. Guests will taste through and compare different styles and levels of wine and learn to identify key points that will help determine what to store and what to drink. This special class will use the 2015 and 2002 vintages our flagship wine, the Christian's Cuvee Merlot, among other varietals, to teach this subject. In April, look forward to their Pairing Cider course.

After Wolffer, we head over to The Bridgehampton Inn, which is within walking distance to Bridgehampton's boutiques, art galleries, and cafes. This inn, circa 1795, is a charming clapboard house, featur­ing six lovely rooms and an on-site cooking school, allowing for a great opportunity to brush up on skills in the kitchen. The following day, we enjoy a delightful English breakfast, served on the veranda. Then we head over to Mecox Beach, which has a volleyball set-up and dedicated court, ample facilities, and food stands. It is a glorious morning of fun, sun, and sand. For lunch we visit Almond, featur­ing contemporary French bistro fare served in a historic space. It has antique tin ceilings and a hand-carved bar, wood-topped tables, and dark wood wainscoting. We dine on delicious chicken and mussels paired with a cool and refreshing lemongrass Cosmo.

For dessert we take a ride over to the famous Candy Kitchen. This nostalgic luncheonette and soda fountain conjures up a simpler time by offering friendly service and basic and classic menu items. This is the perfect spot for a scoop of t homemade ice cream and a smooth cup of hot coffee. We learn that the seventh annual Great Food Truck Derby is returning to Bridgehampton this season when a caravan of New York City and Long Island food trucks park at the Hayground School. Some vendors have included Billie Jean's Grill, Blondie's Bake Shop, Chiddy's Cheesesteaks, and more. Look out for The Long Island Shucking Truck, ready to satisfy your raw bar cravings on the fly. Live music is provided often.

For dinner, we choose Calissa in Water Mill, one of the newest res­taurants in the Hamptons and inspired by the design and cuisine of the Greek island of Mykonos. The executive chef Dominic Rice crafts an extraordinary menu of shareable plates of Long Island seafood, local seasonal vegetables, and other Grecian specialties. Highlights include traditional Greek dishes like salt-baked striped bass or lamb, as well as modern interpretations of Greek standards such as corn croquettes with spicy feta, chilies, and cilantro yogurt or pickled octo­pus, celery, carrots and grilled ciabatta. Calissa also has the largest se­lection of large-format bottles on Long Island, the most by-the-glass options, and plenty of roses. Calissa features weekly winemaker din­ners throughout the summer months. New this year is Sunday brunch service for the summer; an aperol spritz bar; and Agora, an outdoor marketplace that will run through the season. Participating vendors include Pared Eyewear, Stephanie Gottlieb, and Tai Jewelry, among others. Calissa will continue to offer live music and hot DJs to pair live entertainment with great food. Another offering is Cellar Night, where you can bring in a special bottle from your very own collection and Calissa will open it at no charge, asking for a taste for their som­melier. This is offered from Sunday through Thursday nights. The policy is designed to allow guests to enjoy wines not readily available for purchase that come from their personal cellars or travels.


Another fabulous dining spot is Bistro Ete, featuring Chef Arie, whose preparations reflect his Cypriot heritage, formal training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and his years working under Michelin-starred chef Philippe Da Silva in Provence. This dining spot offers classics such as escargot and striped bass with champagne truffle sauce along with signature dishes such as wild-caught Spanish octopus with cher­ry tomato or duck wings confit with curry coleslaw, house bbq jerk, and roasted local Brussel sprouts with pomegranate seeds and tahini. Chef Arie's vegan and vegetarian dishes are tasty options as well. For seafood cravers, Hudson Blue Crab House features interesting seafood, including an array of crab-centric dishes such as Alaskan red king crab legs, Dungeness crab, snow crab, and Florida stone crab claws; East and West Coast oysters, including Kuma moto oysters; and dishes made with fresh local seafood. The bar menu includes 70 tequilas and 20 beers on draft, and a great selection of cocktails.


On our way home Saturday, we stop at Manna Restaurant in Water Mill to enjoy al fresco dining, which is available in both the courtyard terrace. On Sundays, Manna presents "Under the Stars;' live music for diners. This restaurant's celebrated chef, Marco Barrila, creates a multi-regional array of traditional, rustic dishes that change seasonally and focus on local farm-to-table, as well as imported Italian products. The menu in­cludes signature dishes such as the char grilled octopus with chimichurri and the truffied veal chops.


Thursday, 31 January 2019 14:33

A Fancy Fork in the Road

Written by

A Fancy Fork in the Road pic

ARTISAN West Hartford- Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer

This sublime dining spot located in the Delamar West Hartford hotel captures you visually, even before you have a bite to eat from its menu, with its distinctly rich atmosphere---- both easy on the eyes and over the top loaded with history. ARTISAN West Hartford pays tribute to Hartford, expressed through thought­fully curated decor such as the hallway leading to its dining space, lined with authentic red planks reminiscent of the region's tobacco farms of yesterday. Add to this a larger than life mural of flowering tobacco fields with not a detail missed, along with a charming country-chic vibe featuring a colorful and fragrant garden/outdoor dining space. Enter the garden and take in the whimsical decor such as Mason jar pendant lights and natural wil­low branch hanging lanterns strung from the trees, making for a truly enchanting feel of a secluded sanctuary. Breathe in the fresh scent of the restaurant's herb garden as it mingles with the aroma of tasty dishes served; take in the sound of relaxed conversation, along with strains of soft music playing. Enter the main dining room and view the striking hand painted fig mural along the back wall, along with a dark wooden bookcase holding a collection of eighteenth-century Swedish books, brass and glassware. Notice the two-story ceilings, light wide-plank pine flooring and Gustavi­an furniture, all lending an inviting feel. The pewter Parisian bar top surrounded by 9,000 hand-laid bricks in a herringbone design tie everything together with finesse. Sofas and chairs grouped for casual conversation around the handcrafted traditional Swedish farmhouse tile fireplace create great appeal.

.... And oh, the cuisine ...

The New England-inspired menu is continuously changing and influenced by the four seasons in capturing New England together with the French heritage of its own Chef Kieffer. For example, the signture Artisan Seafood Chowder is loaded with tasty oysters, clams and shrimp served with freshly baked fennel crackers as op­posed to the typical clams and potatoes standard versions.Those little touches here and there give beloved traditional dishes a nip and tuck via unique interpretation, maintaining that which we as diners have come to expect, but taking it notches above the ordinary. Another popular choice on the menu is their signature prime han­gar steak served with watercress, shallot sauce and a generous pile of crispy pommes frites in classic bistro mode, but again with a signature twist. Desserts such as their lemon olive oil cake with Maine blue­berry compote or perhaps a collection of local artisanal cheese with a perfectly paired glass of wine conclude the meal beautifully.

Chic and Unique:

For those looking for a more intimate space, the Private Dining Room at Artisan (often referred to as the "Copper Room" ), features custom copper string chandeliers suspended from a gold-leaf patina barreled ceiling. Keeping with the 18th century theme throughout Artisan, a Gustavian dining table, grand armoire and roomy chairs with farm­house upholstery enhance the vibe. An intricate plastering technique that dates back to Roman times adorns the walls. What a memorable dinner party could be had here.

Executive Chef, Frederic Kieffer

When you chat with Chef Frederic, you get an immediate sense of his passion and drive, that drives him way beyond his love for food, farming, creating and cooking. Kieffer shares his life history with me, meaningful and impressive from a very young age to the present; and we linger deliberately when we touch upon something of significance and passion. Kieffer grew up in France and attended culinary school there in the late 1980s; first visiting America when he participated in a culinary exchange program with Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Following this, Kieffer began working in Greenwich, ultimately spending over a decade in restaurants both there and in New York City. He humbly mentions that he was one of three chefs involved in the 1996 reopening of Windows on the World after the first bombing of the World Trade Center. (The restau­rant would ultimately be taken down during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001). Chef describes getting" there" Windows of the World) each morning, looking out of those famous windows and spend­ing his mornings "peeking out above the clouds". This is who he is in es­sence-the passion and the great losses that followed.

As a distinguished chef, he gets to express this through cooking, dining and teaching his staff. "Passion is expressed through making things your own" he explains. He offers the example of his Yankee Pot Roast, steeped in New England tradition as well it should be but instead of using typi­cal cuts of beef, he uses tender beef cheeks. "I remain true to the idea of the classics but with my own approach. As a chef, your dishes need to have a story behind them or they're just standard versions of the same thing:' Kieffer sources fresh, sustainably grown local ingredients, and is dedicated to highlighting Connecticut-grown produce in his menu. For him Farm-to-Fork isn't a trend or a business model; it's a lifestyle for him and his family.

About The DELAMAR West Hartford:

Situated in the heart of the Blue Back Square neighborhood, DELAMAR West Hartford is the area's newest boutique luxury hotel. Styled with a contemporary take on traditional elegance, this six-floor mid-rise with 114 rooms and suites, features an open plan lobby resplendent with mar­ble, big windows overlooking the lawn, professional displayed artwork, a beautiful piano in the lobby accompanied by a spiraling seat made with 2,500 quarter coins which lends great character. All guests visiting here toast with a complimentary welcome glass of champagne at check in enjoy a lovely breakfast buffet spread; can take advantage of a courtesy vehicle within a 5-mile radius as well as valet parking. With high-speed internet access, access to their fitness center with Peloton bikes, a class at The Yoga Shop and complimentary admission to the New Britain Mu­seum of American Art.

The spa invites all to relax and rejuvenate.
Not a trick missed. 

A Fancy Fork in the Road pic2Porron & Pina
Restaurant Porron

Opened in the spring of 2018, this signature Spanish style dining spot is located in the Goodwin Hotel. Helmed by celebrity Chef Tyler Anderson and his loyal professional team, Restaurant Porron brings local fare to a globally-inspired menu which features a Ham Bar and a Wine Tasting Room making for an authentic Spanish dining experience, while main­taining the traditions of New England. The Ham Bar features an assort­ment of ham with such tasty choices as Iberico de Bellota (Spain), Ben­ton's Smoked Ham (Kentucky) and Coppa (Italy) among others. Skewer of octopus, pickled peppers and onion, smoked duck legs with a sherry glaze and spiced yogurt introduces exotic flavors and for a heartier appe­tite, a full sized course such as the delicious grilled quail with chimichurri hits the spot.

The Wine Tasting Room boasts an Iberian-style tiled floor with ceiling­high shelving wines from around the world. Together, the Ham Bar, the Wine Room and extensive and creative Tapas-style menu all lend to shar­ing, tasting and relaxing making for not just a delicious meal but a dining destination experience. The professional servers and their team enhance your dining pleasure with great suggestions offered, never insisted.

Bar Pina

This craft cocktail bar pays homage to the iconic history of the Goodwin building starting with the library, which gives a deliberate nod to the pub­lishing hub that the city of Hartford once was to the craft-cocktail menu with its classic twist, at the same time updated by the fun gin-and-tonic selection and other classics, many of the ingredients from local purveyors. Pina which is Spanish for pineapple was a symbol of hospitality in colonial America. Visitors are able to meander from the bar to the dining room, and back again should they desire, enjoying the Spanish-style tapas from Res­taurant Porron just down the hall. Bar Director Tim Cabral has developed an extensive list of classic, modern and Spanish-inspired drinks.

Chic and Unique:

For the quelling of your daytime sweet tooth, Pastry Chef Kristin Eddy has designed an artisan donut menu. Hotel guests and passers-by can stop in for some coffee and a sweet treat as they relax in the circular "library" nook of the restaurant.

Celebrity Chef Tyler Anderson

Nationally renowned Chef Tyler Anderson has been nominated for The Best Chef Northeast award from The James Beard Foundation for the past five years. A former TOP CHEF
contestant from Season 15 of Bravo's hit show; he has also appeared on several Food Network shows. Chef was just 16 years old when he dis­covered his affinity with food preparation in restaurant kitchens. Each experience helped him develop his culinary skills, his palate and his sea­soned signature style. Anderson is embracing what many poo pooed - appreciating the magic in maintaining Hartford's character in the name of revitalization. His concepts and menus are fresh and unique while he manages to maintain tradition. When asked what his favorite spice is, he responds "fennel pollen".
I believe that this says it all!

The Goodwin Hotel:

The Goodwin was originally developed in 1881, as an upscale apartment building and later converted to a hotel hosting prestigious guests such as J.P. Morgan, who resided at the hotel during visits to his hometown. To­day it is touted as an iconic Hartford landmark, with a vibrant urban feel while staying true to elements of its heritage and tradition. The Goodwin is a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel in Hartford, known for its impeccable attention to detail. Its downtown location puts visitors in the heart of Hartford's very best in shopping, dining, art and culture.


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