“We can” with @LoveMondoTrasho and the first #Hoptoberfest hosted by the @MaxRestGroup

Hello friends!  I’m drinking Malbec, watching The Matrix, and not feeling super inspired to write, to be honest.  BUT I had such an amazing weekend with two very cool events, so it’s totally worth it to get in the flow and get this post going.  That’s what I’m telling myself anyway :)

As I had mentioned in my last post, I was very on the fence about going to the Aids CT Fashion Show.  Simply because of the sheer volume of cool events in October – but I rallied and I attended, and it was so worth it.  I was also battling a head cold last Saturday night, so I didn’t get to see the whole fashion show and I’ve stolen some of Nick Caito’s gorgeous photos from CTNow to do justice to the main event.  First off: New Country Motor Cars is an absolutely fabulous event venue:

harvest people pouring

Also fabulous – the good folks of Harvest who donated their time and products to help fight Aids in CT!

saison beer very rare

They even poured a super rare saison for myself, Nick, and Emily.  It’s good to hang with Caito/Cahill, because these are the type of perks they get =)

I liked the New Country Motor Cars Mercedes dealership space because, well, all the pretty cars, but also because it was light, airy, and split into several sections which made for fun exploration and also separated the mixing, mingling, and shopping from the catwalk in a cool way.  The show itself was split into two sections: local designers and local retailers.  Hosting and judging was Mr. Mondo Guerra himself, of Project Runway fame:

pic w mondo

And also kindly posing for pictures at the step and repeat with us!  Featured left to right: Jon Aidukonis, (SP), Diane Taha, Mondo, Me, and Emily Cahill

We drank champagne and browsed local retailers during the VIP hour:

ctn-pictures-we-can-2014-fashion-show-20141011-004

We are experts at drinking champagne.  Photo by Nick Caito for CTNow

stackpole jewelry

Check out the cool neon bands – they are necklaces/bracelets/customizable/from Italy.  I’m going to investigate further the next time I’m on Pratt St, which luckily for me, is tomorrow

One of my coworkers, Betsy Foster, actually walked in the fashion show too for local boutique Lyn Evans!

betsy modeling

Werk, girl

And yes, unfortunately part of my head cold was a blinding headache with light sensitivity, which made watching the runway show near impossible.  But as promised previously, here’s a gorgeous photo by Nick, and you can check out the entire gallery here

nick caito photo

Sunday, October 12, I awoke blessedly head-cold free to a quintessentially gorgeous autumnal day.  Which made for a wonderful three mile run at the Farmington Rail Trail

trees man

I love to spend almost an entire day per weekend outside.  It’s harder to do this in winter, of course, although I do snow shoe which helps with getting my fix of the great outdoors (yes, I know, hippie) but days like last Sunday?  Those are the ones that are MEANT to be spent al fresco.  Gorgeous, sunny, perfect – if you like in CT you know what I’m talking about.  It was a perfect day.  Which, as I told Scott Miller of Max, was really quite awesome for their first ever, totally sold out, Hoptoberfest!

scott miller with p

I asked Scott for a picture and he in turn asked to pose with “the famous Penelope” which was just adorable

baby dance off

Equally adorable: tiny friends getting acquainted.  There was a dance off.  Then P went in for a kiss and the little boy ran to his Mommy.  Alas, young love.

As far as the beer?  Oh, excellent.  And the snacks were of equal quality.  The Max Restaurant Group doesn’t mess around – so that’s no surprise.  Rosedale is a beautiful location for al fresco events, and I love that it’s only 20 minutes from home

rosedale farms cow

Sooo charming

There were familiar faces as well as new friends in the beer selections:

hooker beer tent

A perennial favorite: Hooker Beer

pumpkin scotch and cannolli beer

New to me: Shebeen Brewing.  The Cannoli Beer was nutty and packed with flavor – sweet with hints of vanilla and chocolate

And oh yes!  The snacks.  Glorious, glorious snacks.  I was oh so glad I had gone for a run that morning, as there were nice little passed (free with ticket entry!) bites:

allagash and blue cheese

My favorite: the blue cheese and walnuts on an endive.  It balanced so nicely, flavor wise, with the beer.  Particularly the saison in my glass for this picture

And a very reasonable $5 token bought heartier fare:

pretzel and bacon

Pictured: candied bacon, which I have sampled before as a garnish on cocktails at Max Burger.  Candied. Bacon.  And, of course, pretzels with mustard and beer sauce.  Yaaaas

The aforementioned Scott Miller is now the head of the Max Catering Group and assured me that they will be rolling out more events in the future.  Which is great news.  We all had a terrific time, and it was hands down the best beer festival I’ve ever attended:

hoptoberfest group shot

Pictured left to right: Matthew Hodgman, his fiancee, Amanda Young, Penelope!, my husband, Michael, and of course, me

October is a glorious month! Let’s do all the things

Greetings, friends, and welcome to a special events round up featuring my very favorite month of the year: October.  Without waxing too basic about pumpkins and the like, let me just say that I friggin’ love this time of year, especially in gorgeous Connecticut.  And today I am feeling particularly Octoberish – well – mostly orange – as you can see by my outfit:

selfie orange dress

This dress is from a Posh Sale several years back – and yes there is another Posh Sale in several weeks, and more details are below

and my lunch as I write this:

squash soup

Roasted butternut squash soup, served in an awesome C Wonder bowl from the lovely Cait, and with a gorgeous skyline view of Hartford from our cafeteria at work

In addition to Halloween, there is a plethora of fun events coming up this month.  For example: apple picking, which is super fun no matter what your age, but even better if you’re 18 months old

photo (53)

Just ask Penelope, who picked a whole basketful of drop apples (50 cents a pound at Lost Acres Orchard!  Can’t beat that) and then went on a tractor ride like a Very Big Girl

If you are looking for more of a round up of general events in Hartford, I recommend Real Hartford’s blog – she is the Queen of all things fun, and cool to do around town.  I’ve just hand picked a couple that I am personally attending and looking forward to this month, as there is so much going on, and it’s all very cool.  Without further ado, here goes:

We can with Mondo Guerra at New County Motor Cards on October 11th

Oookay.  I’m not sure if I am actually able to attend this.  I have both FOMO at missing the fashion AND sadness to miss an amazing charity event dedicated towards ending the course of AIDS.  And I want to see my favorite Titian, Carolyn, wow the crowd as an MC.  But – I know my limitations, and I know I need to have balance with my daughter and my social life (and my time on the couch in no pants watching baaaad Bravo TV, if we are being brutally honest).  So I might have to pass – but I still highly recommend that you go, and you can purchase tickets here as they aren’t available for sale at the door typically.  And there will be bubbles and food and amazing fashion and celebrity host, all for a great cause.  Gah.  So I might go.  But probably not.  But stay tuned!  Haha.

1st ever annual Hoptoberfest at Rosedale on Sunday, October 12th

OK, sorry folks – this event IS sold out.  But there are two more opportunities to partake in Max beer festivities – the first being a Hoptoberfest Dinner at Max Downtown on October 10, and the second is the Trumbull Kitchen Beerfest on November 2nd.  In addition to being stoked for all the rich local beers which will be poured and paired with Max appetizers, I’m excited to congratulate Scott Miller on his promotion to head of Max Catering (a new position).  So well deserved, as Scott has headed up the very successful Farm to Chef dinner series at Rosedale and other amazing farm locations statewide.

 

A Recipe for Healthy Babies: Signature Chefs Auctions for the March of Dimes on Thursday, October 16

Yet another wonderful, wonderful cause.  The March of Dimes makes its mission in helping  ensure that expectant mothers carry their babies to term whenever possible – ensure healthier babies.  How cool is that?  And their signature auction and chef round up (Cuginos, Bear’s Smokehouse, Barcelona Wine Bar, Salute, and more) will ensure an evening of wonder, wine and cuisine to raise funds for the charity.  It’s also at Simsbury’s The Riverview – one of my favorite venue spaces due to both the pretty layout and its proximity to my home.  Leeanne will be my partner in crime next Thursday at this event, and I can’t wait.  Tickets are currently on sale here.

“A Courant Affair:” 250 Years of Beats and Bylines from the Hartford Courant on October 24

Wow.  I work for the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States.  The same paper that printed the Declaration of Independence for the public to read.  That’s a lot of history to explore, and the majority of this year has been spent exploring it, month by month, by delving into the rich history – visual and textual – in the Courant’s archives.  The gala, onsite at the Bushnell, will be a night to celebrate all of this.  The Trashion Fashion crew is busy assembling some really terrific newspaper dresses.  I don’t know what I’m wearing.  Probably at least some newspaper.  I’m awfully excited.  Tickets on sale here folks.

Blogger Preview of the Posh Sale (and brunch!) on October 25

The Posh Sale will be here from November 7-9.  That means that the most wonderful vintage clothing for men and women – from both the Wadsworth’s textile society and generous donations from the community.  I attended, as previously mentioned, two years ago, and I’ve been impatiently waiting for another Posh Sale since (it doesn’t happen every year so extra reason to be excited and to definitely, definitely go).  I will also be giving away a pair of tickets to the preview party on the evening of November 7th, after our blogger’s preview, with some sneak peek photos of what’s for sale, so stay tuned and check out all the event details here.  Oh yeah.  Vintage baby.

CRC Styles Fashion Gala to benefit Make a Wish Foundation on October 26

My goodness.  Another really great cause and wonderful charity.  What could be more wonderful than making the dreams of gravely ill children come through?  Rhetorical questions aside, this event is the 10th annual Fashion Gala, and it will be black tie fancy and full of fashion, food, and of course, raising funds for the Make a Wish Foundation (most important of all by far).  Tickets on sale hereYes, that is also two black tie galas in one weekend for me.  No, I’ve never been to a black tie gala before.  Yes I’m excited. No I don’t know what I’m wearing.  But: challenge accepted (style wise, that is).

ARTini on October 30th

The Greater Hartford Art’s Council’s signature cocktail fundraiser features a curated art deco show this year – a first!  As well as a roaring 20’s flapper theme.  Which will suit me just fine, as I’m headed there with Carolyn and will just raid her enormous costume wardrobe (read: basement).  Ooooh.  I haven’t managed to attend this event yet either, but I love cocktails and I love the arts, so this will be a lovely pre-Halloween adult festivity (Halloween is, of course, reserved for squiring Penelope around in her baby shark costume).  Tickets on sale here if you care to join us for ARTini!

Wagyu and wine for a mere $25 at the @CapitalGrille

Several weeks past, the Capital Grille launched its seasonal deal on a gourmet burger and a delectable glass of wine, hand selected by their master sommeliers.  I was invited in for the experience by their local management at the Front St, Hartford location – and they graciously comped the check and, as with previous entries, approved this post prior to publishing.  Just a bit of full disclosure here folks.  And oh my, was it a rich and mighty pairing.

front st view w wine

We dined on the patio.  This offer is available at the bar, the patio, and in the main dining room for lunch.  Behold our mighty wine line up!

This year, the choices for the wine and burger pairing are: a Wagyu Cheeseburger (havarti, fried egg, and crisp onions), a Kona Crusted Wagyu Burger (shallot mayo) or a Wild Mushroom Wagyu Cheeseburger (15 aged balsamic).  This is up from two burger choices last year.  The wine pairing options are: Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley, 2010), and J Vineyards Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley 2013).  Also noteworthy: these two wines are excellent, revered, and very rarely available by the glass.  So that’s all kinds of fancy.

It was with great difficulty that I settled upon the Wild Mushroom Wagyu.  My husband, Michael, selected the Kona Crusted Wagyu.  We were blessed with two glasses of wine thanks to our lovely server, who saw us hemming and hawing and graciously brought us both options to try.  I ended up drinking most of the cabernet and Michael took care of the pinot, based on personal preference.  Flavor wise, the Jordan Cab charmed me with its complex berry aromas and tart sweetness.  I love a good, full bodied red, and this one in particular sang with lots of high fruit notes which made it an excellent summer to fall transitional wine.  the J Vineyards Pinot was also excellent – lighter than the cab (of course) and silky smooth, also with plenty of notes of fresh berries.  My husband very rarely drinks reds and he was surprised by how much he enjoyed it.

And how did the wine pair with the burgers, you may ask?  Well, only as nicely as a luscious glass of red can blend with the tangy, rich flavors of a perfectly executed, high quality beef burger.  Seriously, check this little beauty out:

wagyu precut

In presentation at the table.  Pictured nestled lovingly next to the burger: delicious truffle fries.

burger side view

Sliced open for further investigation.  Note the perfectly pink center.

wagyu better picture

En route to my mouth #actionshot

I should really investigate the type of balsamic that Capital Grille uses.  It’s just marvelously complex, tart, and brings out these amazingly three dimensional flavor palates in the food.  I became acquainted with this fine balsamic during a previous post, on the plate with prosciutto wrapped chicken.

 

chicken prosicutto better pic

Hello, lover

The balsamic alone made me glad for my burger choice, and the creamy mushrooms complimented the flavorful, fatty wagyu beef quite nicely.  I DO want to go back to try, well, both other varieties actually, but most definitely the Kona Crusted Wagyu.  Sadly, I forgot to even ask for a bit of my husband’s Wagyu Cheeseburger, and by the time I thought to ask, it was gone!  There is plenty of opportunity to return, thankfully – as the event runs until November 23rd.  For the $25, you receive both the burger and the wine, and a second glass of wine may be purchased for $20.  I really can’t recommend this promo enough – go and enjoy it before it’s gone!

Dananaanaana! Batman! At the @FleetFeetWH #UrbanChallenge2014 and @Campcourant Buddy Bash

Last Friday involved much dashing through the West Hartford Center, much superhero costumes, and many, many Hooker beers.

much superhero, so wow

It’s as good a time as any for a doge meme

Not often does a Batman costume work for not, one, but two, events (outside of Halloween, obviously).  But there was a nice intersection between the awesome Urban Challengehosted by our friends at Fleet Feet West Hartford, and Camp Courant’s Buddy Bash! Fleet Feet was kind enough to give me 50% off my team price when I told them I would be blogging about this event.  Thanks you guys!  Carolyn and I had an awesome time as team DANANANANAA Batman!

batgirl selfie

And now you have the song stuck in your head.  You’re welcome

The Urban Challenge is a national obstacle course, and it involves problem solving and dashing around to finish interactive clues and beat the clock and competitors to the completion of at least ten challanges (for instance: a clue on Homewreckers led us to Moe’s, where the challenge was chugging hot sauce).

fleet feet outside

A great crowd turned out for the race!

Carolyn and I took the whole thing semi-seriously.  Meaning we ran, we sprinted, we parkoured the hell out of some benches (much to the amusement of patio diners at Grants), but at points where like “nah” and we strolled.  So not surprisingly, we finished in the middle of the pack (working so much in the West Hartford center was a definite advantage for solving the clues quickly – so that worked for us as much as our occasional laziness worked against us).  BUT we won first place for “Most Badass,” which I believe is the most important of all the accolades which can be bestowed:

WIP fitness card

Oh this will be very useful after the Hartford Marathon (I’m running a 5 mile relay) and before the epic calorie fest of Thanksgiving and Christmas!  Can’t wait to check out WIP

In addition to winning a glorious prize, we were fed delicious carbs – pizza from Luna Pizza and delicious beer from the aforementioned Hooker Beer Company.

hooker

Beer tastes better after a race

And then we were off in the Batmobile -errr – I mean the Prius – to Buddy Bash!  Which is also super hero themed, in honor and recognition of all the generous sponsors who are super heroes to all the underprivileged kids they support, every summer, with a free camp in the beautiful Farmington countryside.

nick caito hartford courant

The interior space at Buddy Bash.  Photo by Nick Caito, taken for CTNow

josh camp courant

CEO of Camp Courant, Josh Reese, on stage in this fabulously dark and underdeveloped picture (sorry)

das superhero

Josh’s wife Amanda and I.  A classic Batman/Superman combo!

hooker at buddy bash

And yep!  More Hooker Beer.  What a wonderful night.

Sometimes the best part of going out is discovering a little surprise from the evening before the next day.  Such as this note from the valet on my key chain:

best valet

We are the “girls with yellow capes (sic)”  Could anything be better?

Jalapeño #errathang and #TGIF mixology @NIXSHartford

I have two current obsessions – one is the word “errathang” – the other is jalapeños – and both are in this blog title.  “Errathang” I discovered whilst writing the Fall Arts Preview.  It’s an imaginary word from the imaginary world of Frowhawk Two Feathers – which will be on exhibit at the Wadsworth shortly.  ERRATHANG.  I love it.  Thankfully my love of jalapeños is shared by one Rich Clemons – of Nixs in Hartford.  He showed be a step by step tutorial on how to prep one of my favorite Nix’s cocktails – the Jalapeno Business – and here’s the video for your viewing pleasure:

jalapeno business

Ze Jalapeño Business, yaaas

Ingredients: 1.75 oz. Tanduay Silver Ru, 1.75 oz lime juice, .75 oz jalapeno simple syrup, coconut water

In addition to drinking my jalapeños, I’ve been eating them.  Lots of and lots of them, thanks to my CSA with The Garlic Farm.  Fresh jalapeños are a delightful, crisp addition to our meals – plus they are organic.  And it’s fun playing “Russian roulette” with them, as the heat level varies wildly with each individual pepper.  Hehe.  Here’s a really simple corn, jalapeño, and bacon side dish.  I’ve also made it with goat cheese – and if you want to add a tablespoon to this recipe, it will blend all the flavors together nicely.

bacon

Begin by sautéeing several slices of bacon in a frying pan.  Drain the excess bacon fat.

corn in pan

Add fresh raw corn.  Just slice it right off the cob and you’re good to go.  Salt and pepper to taste!

jalapeno and corn

Select your jalapeño

jalapeno corn and bacon

Slice and add to the pan.  Cover and reduce heat slightly – cook for 5-10 minutes or until corn is juicy

fish tacos

I served mine with fish tacos and more fresh, sliced jalapeños on top.  Because I can’t get enough.

So there you have it.  Hot pepper season is almost over, so get out there and enjoy the fresh jalapeños while they last!

 

That time I went to Nolcha Fashion Week with a ballerina … and then we ate pizza in Times Square like a couple basic (tourist) b*tches

So, I have spent most of this weekend not hitting tennis balls as planned or attending tiara parties to snarkily mock a certain sartorial beauty pageant – which shall remain nameless – as similarly planned.  So good gracious, I had a sulky time of it (from the couch, with my cozy tea, my HP Lovecraft, and my adorable daughter quietly amusing herself with her wooden puzzles).  Waaah, whine.  Poor me, so busy I got sick from running around too much.  And yes, without a doubt, it was a week fueled with caffeine, carbs, zero workouts, and many mixed beverages, which is probably why I got sick.  But at the same time, should I be complaining about attending NY Fashion Week?  Should I whine if I put in a couple extra hours working on the Fall Arts Preview for an amazing client – The Greater Hartford Arts Council- because I was handed the amazing opportunity to select and edit the arts listings?  Heck no.  Nope.  So I’m settled in with The Wolf of Wall Street on the TV, a glass of 90 Plus Cellars Pinot Grigio – ice cold and delicious – and yes, it is later than I had planned to start working on this blog, and I do feel a bit under the weather still (shh, I know I should be drinking tea and not wine, but I just can’t do any more tea/water/I-want-wine-don’t-judge-me).

I will work on balance, I promise.  But for now, let’s focus on the awesome, sparkly, fun time that my good friend Carolyn and I enjoyed:

nolcha fashion week

At Nolcha Fashion Week!  Also, Carolyn blogged about our night for City Ella – check out her write up here!

Nolcha is the indie, emerging artists’ platform during Fashion Week.  Housed in the uber trendy Eyebeam Attelier in the lower west side of Manhattan, removed from the bustle of the Lincoln Center, and hosting some serious emerging talent in the Fashion Scene.  Like Kathy Xiomara, whose show we were fortunate enough to attend last Monday night (yes, I said Monday night.  Yes, I worked a full day Tuesday.  Yes, it was a late night, and heck yes! it was worth it).

But I’m jumping ahead of myself.  Before we left Connecticut, we were red carpet pampered by the lovely ladies of Blo West Hartford.  Thanks to my good friend and client, Stacey, for hooking us up with such amazing hair:

blo selfie

We’re so spoiled.  Note my Channel bag in the foreground.  And my Marshall’s dress in the background!

carolyn hair

Not pictured: Carolyn’s Disney Princess coffee mug full of prosecco.  Because we also classy.

kat hari

Stacey described my hair as ‘skyscraper straight’ and I think that’s pretty accurate.  Side note: new favorite hair style

Suitably glammed up, we headed down to the City, and towards the Eyebeam Attelier.  On the walk there, we discovered Champagne Charlie’sHow can you possibly not stop for dinner at a place called that?

champagne charlies

I use ‘dinner’ in a very loose sense of the word.  We had champagne and french fries.  It was one of the best meals of my life.

Upon arriving at the Attelier, we immediately took a very necessary selfie:
kat and carolyn hair

Such necessity, so importance

Dropped by the step and repeat:

step and repeat

A very wise choice, as it was absolutely mobbed later in the evening

And enjoyed some delicious (free!) drinks from some very generous sponsors:

dasani

Very delicious, Dasani, I’ll try these again.  They were good mixed with rum at the event AND also to go for the ride home!

My favorite, however, was the Bellaforma fruit wine:

bellaforma

Specifically, the Sorell (floral) variety.  The lady was kind enough to be amused and not disparaging by my multiple trips back.  If anyone would like to try at a discount, use the code: NOLCHAFW14

As mentioned previously, the show we were there to see was by Portuguese designer, Kathy Xiomara.  She is known for her geometric patterns, evidenced in intricate peter pan collars and stunning cut out details, combining cutting edge trend with a vintage store feel:

eggplant midi

I could and would and should wear this eggplant midi creation

Kathy Xiomara also collaborated with Otterbox to design a dress featuring their new shatter proof protective phone case in a gown:

nolcha kathy xiomara otterbox

Photo courtesy of the Nolcha Blog

The effect of the swinging phone cases on the runway was ethereal and effortless, appearing to be an avant garde take on the trend of high/low skirt transparencies which is so en vogue.  It was only after reading about the show after the event that I realized we had experienced, essentially, the “unconventional challenge” element from Project Runway.  Oh, and speaking of Project Runway?  Otterbox hooked up the show attendees with a brand new phone case, designed by none other than the legendary Nina Garcia:

otter box

It looks really fab on my phone.  I love it.

As far as free swag goes, a brand new iPhone case is pretty far up the list of things that I’d ask for if I was inquired onto the subject.  But the point is, one should never look a free gift swag in the mouth anyway.  Although, some parties based solely around swag – and featuring $14 glasses of prosecco, may be best to avoided.  We may or may not have attending one which was somewhat questionable for a grand twenty minutes, which could have been unfortunate as it was all the way uptown in Times Square.  But if you look hard enough, there is a delicate silver lining to every cloud, and ours happened to be truly awful, greasy, tourist trap pizza at… wait for it… Sbarros

greasy pizza

I would feel shame, but it would be unAmerican to do so.

Dashing back to the safety of trendy Nolcha, we caught the standing room only end of an ethereal showing of evening gowns

final show dress

Side note: Carolyn has found her future wedding dress

And we also met the sparkling and talented Paula Mele - founder of the New York Fashion Meets Fitness Runway Show

carolyn and paula

Thanks so much for arranging our passes, Paula!  Also, you ladies sure do know how to pose.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.  But man, for a first trip to Fashion Week, I don’t think I could have asked for anything better.  And hopefully I can go back next year!

red carpet 2

Yaaas to the beautiful people and the beautiful threads.

 

 

A Taste @RealArtWays #playnice with mixology @NIXSHartford and five awesome events in September

Greetings friends!  I am writing this on Labor Day from the wonderful Lost Acres Vineyard, which is way better, quite frankly, than Starbucks:

lost acres working

Not pictured: my delicious pumpkin whoopie pie from Lost Acres Orchard, which is right up the road!  Time for fall, yes?

Speaking of autumn and local farms – I’ve rounded up some of my favorite, upcoming September events and they are listed below for your viewing pleasure.  But first, a recap of some of my favorite happenings from the last couple of weeks!  Not going to go into a crazy amount of detail, but I did have a lovely birthday (at Lost Acres, obviously), and my friend Emily hosted an equally lovely cocktail party called “Dazed and Infused” because she and her boyfriend Nick are really clever like that:

 

penelope and alex

Drawing at my party with her BFF Alex from next door, sporting a fetching Unicorn Horn courtesy of Auntie Cait

p on the balcony

Enjoying the balcony at Emily’s party

Penelope attended both parties of course, although she was regrettably absent from two fun events her Mama got to finally try out this week (alas, not everything is 18 month old approved – topping the list are probably French films on cooking and VIP cocktail mixers – which is what I did at Real Art Ways (for their Taste series) and at Nixs (for the cocktail party!)

Taryn invited me to the Taste featuring Chris Prosperi, and I rapturously accepted her invite as I’ve been following this event closely since it’s first season (details here if anyone’s interested!)

with taryn

Taryn and I.  Ain’t we cute?

Basically, the premise behind this concept is: a cozy, food themed movie in Real Art Way’s hipster cinema (wine encouraged!) followed by a q and a and “taste” of small plates with the chef in question.  Fabulous!  This Taste paired the work of Chris Prosperi – a gazpacho and panzanella to be exact – with movie from the Inventing Cuisine series featuring French Chef Michael Troisgros.   The whimsical film featured an in depth portrayal of the inner workings of one of the best kitchens in France (with some ‘heavily staged’ scenes according to Mr Prosperi) and elaborate, beautiful shots of some elevated haute cuisine.  Michael’s stage presence – he is a regular guest on WNPR’s Faith Middletown Show – was in full force post film:

chris prosperi

Preparing the panzanella!

metro bis panzanella

A group pairing of the gazpacho and panzanella, with a card from Chris’ home restaurant, Metro Bis in Simsbury

The next show is on September 29th will host Rachel Carr, of Six Main for a farm to chef, vegetarian/vegan/pescatarian evening.  Tickets are on sale here!  Highly recommended for the cerebral foodie who really appreciates the intellectual and visual aspects of cuisine.

Real Art Ways was one of the first Hartford venues I really experienced upon moving here through their Creative Cocktail Hour.  It was, therefore, from beloved old to shiny new to go in the course of a week from an event at RAW to a cocktail mixer at Hartford’s newest sexy newcomer – NIXs.  This Boston chain features a slick chandeliered, mirrored, pirated up interior (seriously, go check it out) creative, delicious mixology, and a nice offering of seafood entrees:

raw bar

Hello there, $1 happy hour raw bar!

I met my good friend, JC, at the bar, where she had discovered a $6 martini special which I promptly ordered too (in spite of the free cocktail samples circling the party – it was too good to pass up!)

cocktail with happy hour menu

Clementine vodka, grapefruit juice, triple sec, prosecco.  Heaven.

Next up: circling the cocktail party, playing nice with good friends, and trying every cocktail in sight!  Rich Clemens is the head Bar Manager at Nixs.  JC and I both know him from Tisane, and we did nerdly bonding over his Dr Who inspired “Bad Wolf” cocktail
nixs cocktails pouring

Fresh lemon juice, orange juice, Redemption Rye Whiskey, and honey simple syrup.  Plus this awesome quote: “I wanted to make a cocktail that is extraordinarily sexy like Billy Piper but badass like a pissed off Tardis.”  I can’t even.

Another personal favorite of mine was the Tequila Mockingbird (more clever names, yaaas):

pouring the watermelon one

“Alabama Slammer” style with silver tequila, slept gin, amaretto, lime juice, and orange juice

But the majority of people I talked to named the pretty Beach Please as their favorite:

nixs cucumber cooler

Pineapple vodka, cucumber juice, agave nectar, lime juice, and sparkling coconut water

I have pretty rampant ADHD and between the shiny chandeliers and the cocktails, I missed almost all of the food pairings

deviled egg

It was delicious.  But lonely.

So I most definitely need to go back to NIXs pronto to try more food offerings.  Fortunately, the new Bear’s Smokehouse is right around the corner, so JC, Rachael, and I headed over there for delicious BBQ.

rachael eating bbq

Rachael demonstrating great street eating skills with her Mac Attack.

Truly, a week full of Hartfordy goodness.  And there’s so much more coming up in September!  Below are five events I’m really looking forward to:

Open Farm Day in Granby: This is the epitomy of a family friendly event.  Grab the kids (or the dogs, or both) and head out to the farms in Granby for a day of expos, samples, and general wholesome earthy goodness.  From the goat cheese at Sweet Pea, to the fresh organic garlic at the Garlic Farm, to the peach cobbler at Lost Acres Orchard, to a free sample of wine at Lost Acres, you’ll have a good time and support local agriculture.  And bring the reusable tote you usually cart to the farmers’ market, because there will be plenty of fresh produce and other goodies for sale.

Taste of the Suburbs – our restaurant week featuring prixe fix menus of awesome deliciousness.  I’m currently in the throes of agony trying to decide between 50 West and El Pulpo.  Heavy stuff man.  Other strong, noteworthy contenders and favorites: Esca, Max’s Oyster Bar, Millwrights and Vinted.  Pick one – or two! and go enjoy between September 8 -21st.  Reservations strongly recommended.

Urban Challenge – West Hartford! You probably need to burn some calories after all the delicious feasting at restaurant week.   Why not do it the FUN way on September 19th – working in teams of two to decipher clues about local West Hartford stores and dashing from place to place ahead of some fierce competition!  And I mean ‘fierce’ in the most fashiony way, as dressing up is encouraged and Carolyn and I will be participating and BRINGING IT.  Early registration is strongly encouraged as the event will sell out. 

Harvest Party Dinner at Lost Acres  We attended this dinner last year and it was a blast.  Penelope and I picked grapes in the morning (which is totally free and a thing you can also do the day of if so inclined) and then headed back for a farm to chef dinner with Mike that evening, complete with many samplings of Lost Acres blends.  This event is also anticipated to sell out, so pre-registration is a good idea.

The Colin McEnroe Show’s Fifth Year Anniversary!  Attention, WNPR nerds.  The Colin McEnroe Show is turning 5 and YOU are invited as a fellow fan to celebarte at Infinity Hall in Hartford.  For the low price of $5 a person, come enjoy your favorite radio personalities and hobnob with hipsters (let’s just be realistic about that being a thing that will happen) at the gorgeous new Infinity Music Hall and Bistro in Downtown Hartford.

So that’s what I’ll be up to in September, and I hope many of you will join me!  Any cool events I missed?  Leave them in the comments please xo