Tag Archives: Peppercorn’s

Reichl Brings ‘Sizzle’ To Hartford Public Library

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“Gray rain. Hartford. Woke with sunny memories. Midnight ravioli: orange-tossed. Late supper atreichl4 Peppercorn Grill. Wonderful restaurant.”

reichl1 (2)That was famed author and foodie Ruth Reichl’s you-can-almost-taste-it tweet hours after she brought the sizzle to Hartford Public Library’s  “One Big Sizzling Summer Night” fundraiser Thursday.

Reichl, former editor-in-chief of the defunct Gourmet magazine, brought her food expertise, her philosophy on life  and her new book and first novel, “Delicious” to a crowd that was more than happy to celebrate almost-summer at a party that included games, food from a variety of Hartford’s best-known restaurants and a chance to meet the celebrity chef.

“Good food and good books are what you need to pay attention to in life,” said Reichl, who has nowreichl2 moved on to write yet another book. Admitting she was a little lost when she her job evaporated, Reichl said she bounced back with clever tweets that have made her a Twitter star and spending mega-time in the kitchen, with both turning into fodder for the yet-to-be-named new book.

“Cooking saved my life,” she said, explaining the new book will be a combination of how cooking every day after she lost her job helped her get through the transition. And her plan is to combine recipes, her tweets and her walk along a new path all into the new book.

reichl3 - CopyAmong those attending the fundraiser were Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, and “I don’t cook” library board president Thea Montanez as library CEO Matt Poland acted as master of ceremonies for the dine-around which attracted a big crowd.

“Everything is great but I just like being able to pose with Ruth,” said Manchester resident Mindy Alvarez, a wanna-be professional chef who was thrilled when she was able to take a quick selfie with the famous author and chef.

“I love the way she makes food down to earth, nothing pretentious or part of a fad,” Alvarez said. “She cooks from her heart, and that’s the best way to do it.”

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.”

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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.

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“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.

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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.

Spring Arrives And So Does The Hartford Weekend

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]jewIt’s practically official, winter is over and spring has arrived. And it’s time to seriously get out of the house Hartford! And the spring choices include:

The highly regarded Jewish Film Fest opens March 20 at Front Street’s Spotlight Theatres. The festival features 23 thrillers, romantic comedies, shorts and documentaries from 13 countries in five venues over 10 days. The 2014 series opens with “The Jewish Cardinal” and an opening night dinner gala at the Hartford theater. The series continues through March 30. For more information go here.

To get the weekend off to a good start, you can also head over to Hartford’s Real Art Ways for its monthly Creative Cocktail Hour from 6 to 10 p.m. on March 20.  The evening features the opening of two new exhibits and a recycled art workshop with Trashion Fashion. More information is here.

While we officially say goodbye to  hot chocolate season, you can enjoy the treat another way on March 21 at the Bushnell. The program titled” Hot Chocolate Soul” includes music, comedy and poetryhome with a live Karl Browne’s Smooth Improvisation. More information is here.

What better way to welcome spring than with some spring clean-up, fix-up inspiration when it comes to your home. Get a big boost of that energy by heading over to The Spring Home Show at the XL Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 21 to 23. The show features over 300 exhibits all aimed at giving you ideas when it comes to home improvement.  For information go here.

Now that the weather if getting a bit nicer, time to put that body in motion and support severalriding_a_bicycle_311140[1] good causes in Hartford . Get a jump-start by heading over to XL Center atrium where the Downtown Hartford YMCA will host its 4th annual  “Mission in Motion” event March 22 from 8:30 to  1 p.m. The event supports the YMCA’s Annual Campaign, Read to Succeed, Live Strong and Footlights Performing Arts Program.  Teams secure sponsors and spend time on a bank on stationary bicycles to raise money. Find out more  here.

Love Italian? You must get over to the Wadsworth Atheneum for its Italian Film Wesaluteekend.

On March 21,  there will be a reception at 6 p.m with food from  Peppercorn’s Grill followed by a screening of ” I Am Love” at 7 p.m. On March 22, at 5 p.m. it’s “Big Night,” followed by a five-course Italian dinner at the museum cafe.

On March 23, explore “Views of Italy” in a docent-guided tour of the museum’s collection followed by a screening of “Mid-August Lunch.” For more information go here.

Get in a spring kind of mood by thinking pink and head over to the Hill-Stead Museum on Mardancersch 23 from 2 to 4 p.m

Guests are invited to celebrate French artist Edgar Degas and his famous painting “Dancers in Pink,” part of Hill-Stead collection,  at this family-friendly event. It will feature a performance by the Albano Ballet dancers and a tour of the museum. Light refreshments will be served. there will also be a special art activity mural project as part of the event. To find out more go here.

 

 

Awards for CT Food and Chefs

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ooilWhat’s Connecticut’s best food product in 2013?

Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Ariston Specialties LLC in Bloomfield.

That was the decision after judges recently taste tested 184 food items from Connecticut-based manufacturers in the recent 2013 CT Specialty Food Association Product Awards Competition.

For those that imbibe, the best 2013 Wine Product of the Year was the Cayuga White 2010 from Sunset Meadow Vineyards in Goshen.

The event featured 35 categories including cheese, ice cream, hors d’oeuvres, CT grown, gluten free, relish, salad dressings, organic and desserts.

food2Some well-known winners included Cato Corner Farm, which took first, second and third place in the cheese division, Rachel’s Cookies & Treats in Plainville which swept the cookie category, Chester’s Tiezzi Imports, LLC which won all three awards in the honey division, and  Willington’s Purple Pear, a past “best of” winner that took it all in the sweet toppings category.

“It’s always amazing to see the variety of high quality food and beverages made by producers right here in Connecticut,” said CSFA director Tricia Levesque. “This competition showcases the best of the best in the state.”

ryan_portrait[1]And since we are talking food, there were several other carbonesConnecticut chefs included in the “Best Chefs America” book that was recently released.  Besides chefs from the Max Group and Simsbury Millwright’s, other chefs who were included in the book are Josef Aigner of Brew Bakers in Middletown, Hartford chefs. Vinnie Carbone from Carbone’s, John Chen of Feng, Jeffrey Lizotte of On20 and Celestino Cialfi from Peppercorn’s, Christiane Gehami of Arugula Bistro  and Billy Grant of Bricco Trattoria, both in West Hartford, Ryan Jones of the Mill at 2T in Tariffville and Steven Wolf of Bloomfield’s Republic.