Tag Archives: Millwrights

Liver Foundation Serves “Flavors” With Flair And Celebrity Chefs

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liver10 (2)He was the kind of guy you couldn’t ignore as he stood in the doorway at the Aqua Turf, suave but not showy in his tux, and clearly happy to be at the American Liver Foundation CT Division’s annual “Flavors of Ct” fundraiser.
And it didn’t matter that he was only 11, because Christian Mercado,  who suffers from liver disease, knew how to work a room as the evening’s featured guest.
“I’ve worn tuxes before,” the North Haven youngster explained, easily handling yet anotherliver99 interview as hundreds of people arrived for the black-tie event featuring sophisticated sit-down wine-paired dinners prepared by a who’s who of celebrity chefs and served at lushly set tables worthy of any food/wine/home magazine cover. “I’m excited about tonight,” said the North Haven middle-school student. “I can’t wait to speak to the audience.”
“He wants to be an actor,” grinned his mother Nancy Rodriguez who explained her son has an immune system problem that results in his liver not working correctly. “As you can see, he’s such a ham.”

While the 11-year-old was the center of attention, the celebrity chefs who stepped up to cook and serve their gourmet dinners were the stars.
Among them, some of the Hartford area’s favorites including Carbone’s Vinnie Carbone, Besito’s Tim East, Cugino’s Mario Cirikovic, Peppercorn’s Dino Cialfi, Café Colt’s Harry Schwartz, Infinity’s Dan Fortin Hot Tomato’s Kevin Ruoff and The Willows Leo Bushey.
Bushey, once the chef at several area restaurants including Acqua Oyster Bar, The Simsbury Inn and The Hartford Club once again showed his cooking skills and then his table setting expertise as well, creating a decorative presentation that was all edible.

liver100 (2)
“You know how I am about farm-to-table and not wasting anything,” he grinned about the display at his Bristol restaurant’s table that won “Best Flora Table Design.” Besides an array of edible spring flowers including miniature daffodils and lavender piled in rustic containers, and crudités cleverly doing dual duty as part of the table’s decorative diorama, the ”dirt” that served as the table runner was actually edible savory and sweet chocolate cake crumbs.
Millwright’s, whose owner/executive chef Tyler Anderson also served as the evening’s Honorary Chef, won “Something Out of Nothing” award for his table. The Wharf at Madison Beach Hotel, whose table was reflective a tony summer dinner under a pergola, won the “Best Guest Giveaway” award thanks to the canvas tote bags full of gifts on each guest’s chair.

Clear Channel’s Renee DiNino served as master of ceremonies.
“I like to come to this just because sitting in this room and seeing so many beautiful tables filledliver5 with so much good food makes me want to go home and try harder in my own dining room,” laughed Grace Watkins, a pharmaceutical representative who was part of the crowd. “I think this is one of the prettiest and tastiest fundraisers there are in the state” she said. “And it all benefits a very good cause.”
Other prize winners were: “Most Elegant Table Design,” Bin 100 in Milford and Mambo in New Haven;“Most Witty Table Design” La Tavola in Waterbury and “Best Overall Table Design,” Caseus, New Haven.
For more pictures go here.

Millwright’s Anderson Scores Again With James Beard!

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tylera One of our favs, well-known  Millwright’s owner/chef Tyler Anderson, got some good news this week from the prestigious James Beard Foundation.

He’s one of the elite semi-finalists in the “best chef” category of  the  2014 James Beard Foundation Awards.

The competition includes  best restaurants, best new chefs, best regional chefs, best service and outstanding wines and spirits. Anderson was named as a “Best Chef” semi-finalist in the Northeast category and is one of two Connecticut chefs to make the list.

Also named a semi-finalist is Joel Viehland of Community Table in Washington.

Anderson, formerly with the Copper Beech Inn in Ivoryton and a onetime winner on Food Network’s reality show “Chopped,” opened his own restaurant in Simsbury about years ago. And his newest nod from James Beard is not his first. Last year he was named to Beard’s “Favorite Dish and Drink List.”

Awards will be presented in May.

For the complete list go here.


Great ’40 Under 40′ Celebs? Java Knew That!

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Just  got the chance to finally peruse Connecticut Magazine’s 2014  ’40 under 40′ list and forty (2)there were certainly some familiar names listed among the ‘best and brightest among Generation Next.’

Familiar because they were people Java had written about long before the new list and long before they were inching their way toward the big ‘4 0.’  Java just knew they were going to make gere positive marks in life.

Among them, 38-year-old David Gere, the Cromwell actor who is tearing up the world with projects including his own business, Shadow Films, an acting career that includes parts in movies and music videos and that little club of his, Blue Cafe & Ultra Lounge in Danbury.

And then there is Thea Montanez, one of Java’s first interviews way back when she was in her thea20s.  We knew she was going on to bigger and better things as she balanced a career with volunteer efforts. After working at the Hartford Financial Services Group, the now 34-year-old  has gone on to open her own philanthropy design and management firm while also serving as president of the Hartford Public Library.

Tyler Anderson, that 36-year-old celebrity chef who went rock star after appearing on reality television, is another name and face very familiar to Java readers. Formerly at the Copper Beech Inn, Anderson opened his own restaurant, Millwright’s , in SiDAYM DROPSmsbury, and is well-known for his philanthropic work as well as his culinary expertise.

Java was also happy to see that bigger-than-life  Daymon “Daym” Patterson from New Britain made the grade. The 36-year-old YouTube food critic had Java  at ‘hello’ when he talked about his Travel Channel show “Best Daym Takeout”  featuring his take on fast food from across the United States.

WNPR’s Chion Wolf, a fellow ‘ville resident and 33-year-old is of course on the list because of all she does beyond her day job including judging food contests, telling stories, dressing up,  playing the trash can bass drum and selflessly serving as a champion for charity.

Other familiar names include Fox Ct anchor Erika Arias, the 36-year-old who showed everyone ariasthe real meaning of multi-tasking a job and family,   and former Courant reporter Samaia Hernandez, the 32-year-old who left Broad Street to do some heavy media lifting across the street in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office.

Also making the list from the Greater Hartford area is 19-year-old violinist Sirena Huang, 25-year-old New Britain city council member Manny Sanchez and former boxer and motivational  speaker, 31-year-old Sammy Vega.

For the entire list go here.

CT Mag Readers Vote on Dining ‘Best’

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maggA new year means new opinions from Connecticut Magazine readers on what’s best when it comes to dining out around the state.

And even with a new, more streamlined  format in the January 2014  issue, several Hartford-area places have still made the grade when it comes to readers’ votes and special mentions by the editors.

In the ‘Best Mexican’ category, Bartaco, with a location in West Hartford, was deemed #1 while another WeHa Mexican eatery, Besito, placed third.

While no longer really part of the Hartford area food scene since closing its Wethersfield location, Carmen Anthony’s, with locations now  in Waterbury, New Haven and Woodbury, was voted ‘Best Prime Rib’ and ‘Best Steak,’ and took third in ‘Best Seafood.’

Placing third in the ‘Best Steak’ category was Capital Grille, which has a new Hartford location.capgrille5

Barcelona, with a location in West Hartford, was third in the ‘Most Romantic’ category,  while Millwright’s in Simsbury took third in the ‘Best Desserts’ contest.

When it comes to ‘Family Dining,’ it was a sweep for Hartford-area restaurants. Placing first was Bartaco in West Hartford. Second place went to First & Last Tavern and third to Wood-n-Tap, both popular places with several locations in and around Hartford.

Bartaco and Barcelona were tapped second and third respectively in the ‘Best Outdoor’ dining category and Barcelona racked up even more reader accolades, placing firsbarct in the ‘Best Wine Selection’ category and  second when it comes to ‘Best Service.’

Among the Hartford area restaurants that received a special shout-out as part of the magazine poll were Rein’s Deli, called a “must-exit I-84 gem,” The Willows in Bristol, Firebox in Hartford, the “Max Empire” restaurants, Republic in Bloomfield, Rizzuto’s in West Hartford , Hartford’s On20, (editors noting that the General Assembly should pass a bill requiring every Hartford executive to dine there,) and Vinted Wine Bar and Fleming’s, both in West Hartford.

Mentioned as “fast balls right down the middle” that are worth the trip include 50 West in Plainville, and La Tavola and Sweet Maria’s in Waterbury,

Abartacolso getting some special attention were West Street Grill in Litchfield, Carole Peck’s Good News Cafe in Woodbury, a renowned restaurant that just celebrated its 20th anniversary, Arethusa al Tavolo in Bantam, The Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret, River Tavern in Chester, and a slew of places in New Haven,  editors nicknamed ‘ Connecticut’s hot lava core of fine dining.’

For more of the list go here.


Millwright’s Dish Gets James Beard “Best” Nod

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carrotA dish created by Simsbury’s Millwrights chef/owner Tyler Anderson, has made the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s “Favorite Dishes and Drinks” list for 2013.

And exactly what  creation by the talented Anderson caught the attention of the culinary arts foundation’s cuisine experts?

That would be the Carrot Terrine with Soubise, Carrot Top–Cashew Pesto, and Quinoa!

Anderson explains it like this.

“We were working with ultra-sweet, snowed-over carrots from one of our local farms,” saidtylera Anderson about the dish that was served at an elite tasting at the foundation’s New York location  “The carrots were slowly roasted in the hearth at Millwright’s, then simply set in carrot juice with gelatin. We wanted to take a very earthy dish and present it in a technique-driven way that didn’t look too contrived.”

The unidentified reviewer has this to say about the terrine that was one of 15 dishes and drinks chosen from restaurants around the  country including Fat Rice, Chicago; ABC Kitchen, New York City and Bellocq in New Orleans.

“ I’d say that Tyler and his team succeeded. I love how this dish uses rustic and classic techniques to do a play on a country-style terrine, while still being very of the moment. It has that reverential vegetable cookery that we’ve been seeing a lot of lately; the shoots-and-leaves ethos in the carrot top pesto; and quinoa is one of year’s sexpot grains.”

While the dish was not featured on the menu at the Simsbury eatery, Anderson said “it will be now.”

“It’s truly an honor for myself and the dedicated team at Millwright’s to be included on this list with these other great restaurants,” he said.


Tasty Chef Swap Planned in Simsbury and Washington

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tyleraviehland (2)You’ve heard of reality shows where families and jobs have been swapped. Now two well-known award-winning Connecticut chefs are planning to do their own kitchen swap. Joel Viehland of Community Table  in Washington and Tyler Anderson of Millwright’s Restaurant & Tavern in Simsbury are swapping kitchens this fall. Both known for innovative and inspired menus, as well as farm-to-table dining will visit each other’s restaurant and do what they do best, their own dinner menu. Viehland will be at Millwright’s on Oct. 15 and Anderson at Community Table on nov. 11.

.Each dinner features  six courses with a selection of wines. Tickets for both dinners are $90 plus tax and gratuity. Tickets for each dinner are available at Community Table, 223 Litchfield Turnpike, or going to communitytablect.com or at Millwright’s, 77 West St. 860-651-5500 or millwrightsrestaurant.com



It’s On The Racks, CT Magazine’s 2013 Best of CT

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Courtesy of Connecticut Magazine

That time of the year again folks. The September issue of Connecticut Magazine is out and so is its coveted   “Best of Connecticut” list for 2013.

 The Hartford area has fared pretty well when it comes to who made the statewide “best of” list in categories including fun, dining, gift shops, spas and more, all part of the 16th annual edition compiled by magazine editors.

The Hartford area made its biggest mark when it comes to dining. Manchester’s Cosmic Omelet was named best “eggs” in the breakfast category with Daybreak Coffee Roasters in Glastonbury and JoJo’s Coffee Roasting Co. in Hartford making the list for best “coffee bars.”


Hartford Courant

Firebox in Hartford was named best “farm-to-table” in the menu/cuisine category while the city’s Trumbull Kitchen was named best for its “gluten free” menu.

Tulmeadow Farm in Simsbury made the best “ice cream” list while Hartford DISH made it into one of the new categories, “Dog-Friendly Dining.”  But it’s not what you think.

The category highlights restaurants who may not serve Rover his own entrees tableside, but the family dog “is welcome to enjoy the atmosphere and a table scrap or two at the outdoor seating area on warm sunny days.”

The landmark Rein’s Deli in Vernon once again named best “deli” in the dining out “ETC.” category. Named best “Greasy Spoon” was Middletown’s Mo’s Midtown.


Hartford Courant

Best new chef is Hartford On20’s Jeffrey Lizotte and best pastry chef, Millwright’s Kristin Eddy in Simsbury. Best tearoom went to Hartford’s Tisane and in the best “diners” category; Corey’s Catsup & Mustard, O’Rourke’s in Middletown and Parkside Café in Bristol all got the magazine’s nod.

Mondo in Middletown made the best “pizza” list and when it came to the best “neighborhood restaurant,” Hartford’s First & Last Tavern fit the best bill.

In the sandwich variations category, Plan B burger Bar with many locations including West Hartford and Simsbury made the “burger” grade, and on the best “barbecue” list, Smoking with Chris in Southington also pleased the editors.


Hartford Courant

The list also includes a “Family” activity category and in the Hartford area Riverfront Miniature Golf in Farmington was a best place to go along with the Brownstone Discovery Park in Portland and Crocodile Cove Water Park at Lake Compounce in Bristol.

In the antiques category, shops including Antiques on the Farmington in Canton, the Flea Circus in Canton and Irreplaceable Artifacts in Middletown were all award winners.

And as far as services, Vinnie’s Jump & Jive community dance hall in Middletown was cited as an award winning place to learn how to dance.

For the entire list go here.

CT Mag Releases 2013 ” Best Restaurant” List

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ctcoverIt’s that time of year again when Connecticut Magazine announces its prestigious “Best Restaurant” list, a carefully compiled accounting of restaurants from all over the state that shine in categories ranging from appetizers to service to cocktails.

This year, the landmark list, featured in its February issue,  was created a little differently. Instead of reader votes, magazine editors invited food writers, cookbook authors and bloggers to do the nominating.

Several Hartford area restaurants  made the grade again including Tyler Anderson’s Millwrights in Simsbury, a winner in the “Best New Restaurant”  and “Best Service” categories.

maxBoth Max Downtown and West Street Grill also made the “Best American” list. Among the “Best Overall”  winners was West Street Grill in Litchfield, with Max Downtown, Brasserie Pip in Ivoryton and Hartford’s On 20 making the honorable mention list.

Speaking of Brasserie Pip , the place popular chef Noel Jones landed after leaving On20 last year, it was tapped as one of the “Best Romantic” places to dine and interestingly enough, On20 also made the “Best Romantic”  list as well.

grantdWest Hartford’s Grants made the “Best Dessert” list, Besito “Best Mexican” and Barcelona “Best Appetizers” lists. Among the “Best Italian” winners was Hartford’s Carbone’s.

“Best Brunch” included Hartford’s Firebox, “Best Seafood” included Max Fish in Glastonbury and “Best French” restaurant included Cavey’s in Manchester.

casteakTapped for the “Best Steak” category were Carmen Anthony, with several locations in the state including Wethersfield and Waterbury, and Fleming’s in West Hartford. “Best Prime Rib” winners in the Hartford area were Carmen Anthony and Hawthorne Inn in Berlin.

Named to the “Best BBQ” list was The Pit Stop BBQ in New Britain.

Making the “Best Sushi”  list was Feng in Hartford and Sushi Red in Plainville.

For the complete list go here.