Beekman Arms Inn: History lives at this charming historic inn

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There is something very unique about staying in a historic hotel or inn.  Each of these places are unique as they have hosted a part of our history. The Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck N.Y. is one of those special historic inns that has been a witness to the history of not only the Hudson Valley but America as well.

Located right on Rt 9 in the heart of Rhinebeck, the Beekman Arms has been in operation since 1766 and lays claim to the title of “America’s Oldest Inn”.   During the American Revolution the Inn hosted George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Benedict Arnold (who was a General in the Continental Army at the time).  In the 20th Century, President Franklin D. Roosevelt completed several of his major political campaigns with a speech from the front porch of the inn.

We recently had the opportunity to stay an evening in the inn while visiting the charming village of Rhinebeck.  Upon opening the door you know you are in a special place.  The ceilings are low, the floors are clad in wide plank hardwood  and the public rooms on the first floor are intimate.  There is the reception area and a comfortable parlor with fireplace and next to that is  a cozy room that looks part sitting room, part library with its wood paneling and wing back chairs.

The main floor also houses the Tap Room which is the original part of the inn  which dates back to its origins as a tavern.  The room is clad in wood paneling, wide plank wood floors, a long bar and wooden chairs and tables. The large hearth dates from 1704.  The Tap room is the meeting place in Rhinebeck for locals and visitors to enjoy an ale or a cocktail with friends.  The walls are adorned with historic photos and prints which remind one of the history that has taken place within these walls.

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The historic Tap Room

Also on the first floor is a several small dining areas, the main dining room, and the garden greenhouse where we enjoyed our continental breakfast. The greenhouse was a charming spot to enjoy coffee overlooking the garden.

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The Greenhouse overlooking the garden and front lawn

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Our room was on the second floor, up the charming but steep staircase.  The room was very charming, clean and comfortable. It had a poster bed with quilts,  2 chairs for sitting and reading, a small desk, a non working fireplace, a Keurig coffee maker, and a small television.  The ceiling is low at just about 7 feet which reminds you that you are in an antique building.  The bath was modern and updated.  The floors are over 200 years old and they will creak, but that is just part of the charm of the hotel.  The room was air conditioned. A decanter of sherry and two glasses are also provided.

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Down the street the Beekman Arms also owns the Delamater House and Conference center which is a collection of seven guest house buildings.  The Delamater House dates back to 1844 and was designed by the famous 19th century architect, Alexander Jackson Davis whose designs dot the Hudson Valley and was responsible for such famous buildings as Lyndhurst in Tarrytown.

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The beautiful Delamater House (1844)

The village of Rhinebeck has a charm of its own with its Antique barn, farmers market, cool shops and great restaurants.  It is also a great place to stay and explore this area of the Hudson Valley with its wineries, farms,  hiking, and historic venues.  If you love history and unique properties, than check out the Beekman Arms.

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Beekman Arms

Route 9 Rhinebeck NY       tel:  845-876-7080

http://beekmandelamaterinn.com

 

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A look back at the Greenwich Wine and Food Festival 2016

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The Greenwich Wine and Food Festival presented by Serendipity Magazine  that took place on September 24th was a big success with 200 hundred vendors serving food, wine, hard cider, spiked seltzer, spirits and lots of great food from restaurants in Fairfield and Westchester Counties.  It was a fantastic event filled with cooking demonstrations, cooking and drink competitions and music.

If you missed this event, here are some of the highlights from the 2016 festival.  If you are a foodie, this should be on your “to do” list for next year.

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Delicious food to sample

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Burger Battle Winners:

Cask Republic (Stamford, Norwalk)  won the Judges Choice.

Bareburger won the People’s Choice vote.

 Top Bartender Showdown:

Eastend (Greenwich ) won the Judges Choice.

 The Ultimate Sandwich Takedown:

Judy’s Bar + Kitchen (Stamford)  won the Judges Choice.

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The festival was a great time and Roger Sherman Baldwin Park which overlooks Greenwich Harbor is a wonderful venue for this event. We hope to see you there next year !

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Ziggy Marley with his cookbook

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You should be Dancing! Saturday Night Fever comes to the Westchester Broadway Theater stage

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Saturday Night Fever,the musical comes to the Westchester Broadway Theater stage.  This musical adaption of the 1977 movie which starred John Travolta was adapted for the stage and premiered in London in 1998 and on Broadway in 2000.  It has enjoyed numerous tours, and revivals around the world.  It now comes to Westchester and runs through January 29, 2017.

The story (inspired by  a 1975 article in New York Magazine by Nik Cohn) follows the life of 19 year old Tony Manero (Jacob Tischler) of Brooklyn, who lives with his family in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.  He is stuck in a job with no future and is caught up in the economic malaise that was the late 1970s.  With his father laid off from his job and his brother questioning his path into the priesthood, Tony and his friends turn to dancing as their escape.

We follow Tony’s exploits as he displays his talents on the floor of the 2001 Odyssey club where he absorbs the admiration of his fellow club goers.  Here he meets Stephanie Mangano (Alexandra Matteo) a 20 year old dancer who has moved away from the neighborhood to Manhattan where she is looking to transform herself.  Tony is intrigued by her dancing ability and her boldness in leaving Brooklyn and her old life behind.  They find as they practice for a dance contest that they have more in common then they originally thought.

 

Tony’s gang of friends and his family are all woven into the story as well as Tony discovers he really is “going nowhere” and must make decisions about his future.

The musical score including all the Bee Gees hits (“Staying Alive”, “Jive Talking”, “You should be Dancing”, Night Fever” ) are all here including songs not in the movie.  The arrangements of some of the songs have been changed which makes them fresh and more interesting and in some cases the lyrics have more impact in the context of the story.

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Set design by Michael Bottari makes full use of the WBT stage and included are a bridge which spans the back of the stage and frames the story, the Manero’s kitchen which appears from below and then disappears below stage, the disco, and other locals from the story.

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The cast is large with both main players and ensemble singer/dancers.  Michelle Dawson who last appeared in Man of La Mancha returns to the WBT stage  lends her vocal talents to several musical numbers including “Nights on Broadway”.  Lead actors Jacob Tischler and Alexandra Matteo are excellent in every aspect of their performance and the chemistry between them is quite convincing.  Directed by Richard Stafford who does an excellent job bring the characters to life.

All in all a fun musical that is family friendly and is a treat not just for fans of the film but anyone who enjoys a story of struggle,self discovery  and of course great dancing.

Get out your dancing shoes and boogie over to the Westchester Broadway Theater in Elmsford.

(all photos provided by Westchester Broadway Theater)

Tickets (includes dinner) run from $56 to $84 depending on performance date chosen.

For tickets:  

tel:  914 592-2222

http://www.broadwaytheater.com

Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza  Elmsford New York

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Tredici North: a stylish new restaurant serving innovative Italian fare

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There is a new Italian restaurant in Purchase NY.  that is not to be missed.  Tredici North has a swanky and creative edge combined with modern elegance.  The beautiful space has three distinct areas, a first floor dining room,  a beautiful and uniquely designed bar area, and a second floor which houses an intimate dining space.

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Modern and elegant dining area

The bar provides a striking focal point with its earthy wood counter, copper bar stools, and a wall behind the bar that uses reclaimed tiles from a roof in Italy to create a large striking fan pattern.

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Bar area

Upstairs, the 13 step under lit stairway leads you to the second dining room and creates the feel that an exclusive dining space awaits.

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Tredici North won “Best Of Westchester” 2016  by Westchester Magazine for their Italian dishes and for the culinary talents of executive chef Giuseppe Fanelli.   Chef Fanelli has perfected his craft while working in many top Manhattan restaurants, and has been featured on such television programs as the Travel Channel’s “Man Finds Food” with Adam Richman and he was culinary champion on Food Network’s hit series “Chopped”.

I had the pleasure of dining at this cutting edge restaurant recently and I foudnd out what all the buzz was about.

Cocktails:  Tredici North has an extensive wine list from which to choose, but the cocktails have an appeal of their own.   The “Flaming Scorpion” is sweet libation of juices, rum and vodka that is potent as it  is tasty.  It is served in a tiki style tall glass.  The cocktail is served tableside and the waiter  actually lights the drink on fire. Very cool ! It is quite the show and a great drink.  Some of the other interesting drinks sampled at our table was the “Sun’s out/Guns out”, and the smooth and delicious “Gin Joint”.

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The Flaming Scorpion

Appetizers:  The Angry Lobster is a fantastic presentation with a 1 pound Maine lobster pan fried with meyer lemon, white wine, roasted garlic, red chili flakes, and a grilled corn on the cob as a side.  Can you say decadent?  A great dish that can be shared as well.

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The Angry Lobster !

Another great dish is the fried Calamari (with a twist!) .  This dish is firecracker hot  and served with celery and gorgonzola cheese.  It was hot and spicy, crispy (not soggy of chewy) and scrumptious.

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Calamari

The “Inside Out  Meatballs” are a specialty and very popular and are panko encrusted beef, pork and veal meatballs that are stuffed with fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheese and served in a homemade marinara sauce.  Delicious.irene-075

Another top starter is the grilled Polpo.  Tender Portuguese octopus grilled and served over frisse salad, grilled peaches, fennel, balsamic glazed pork belly and pesto.  This dish clicked all the boxes, savory, sweet, smoky and so fresh. A great combination of ingredients.

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Polpo

All the pastas are made fresh in house, so we just had to sample some.  The Pasutice is a triangle shaped pasta with Maine lobster, tarragon, shaved asparagus, roasted grape tomatoes and a touch of cream. This dish is true comfort food at its very best.  Order a dish and have everyone at the table have a taste.

Main Course:   The main courses we enjoyed continued to impress everyone at our table.  Try the Organic Salmon, lightly smoked with olives, tomatoes, feta and a banyuls (wine)  vinaigrette. Fresh, healthy and so Mediterranean.   Another choice was a special menu item that evening, the Veal Valdostana. An enormous slice of veal served on the bone with a superb sauce and spinach.

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Organic Salmon, lightly smoked

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Veal Valdostana

The last entree choice was the Kobe Beef Ravioli which again was made with homemade pasta and filled with braised Kobe beef, caramelized onions and fontina in a brown butter and thyme reduction.   A wonderful dish that is full of flavor but not too filling.

 Dessert:   Save room for the imaginative desserts.  I can vouch for the “Drunken Monkey”, which is walnuts bananas served with flamed dark rum and poured over banana and chocolate gelato. Fire and Ice was another hit with berries and Longford vanilla ice cream.  Eat this soon after serving as it will begin to melt on you!   The “Nutella Lasagna” is a special dessert as well  and is composed of hazelnut and chocolate whipped cream in between layers of chocolate wafers and  chopped hazelnuts.  So good!   Also sample the fresh Carrot cake and Coconut cake.

Tredici North has combined innovative cooking, beautiful interior design and a friendly and attentive wait staff .  The combination made for a evening of great dining.  Tredici means “thirteen” in Italian and there is nothing unlucky about this newest dining treasure in Westchester. Enjoy!

Tredici North

578 Anderson Hill Road  Purchase, New York      tel:  914-997-4113

http://www.tredicinorth.com

 

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Bands,Beers,Bites and Wine at the New Canaan Nature Center, Saturday October 1st

 

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A cool event will be coming October 1st 2016 to the New Canaan Nature Center in New Canaan, CT.   The Center will be hosting its 5th Annual Harvest Festival.

At the Harvest Festival where will be samples of locally brewed beers,  wines, bites from Rosie;s and live music from a jazz band.

The event will be taking place in the meadow in the 40 acre outdoor nature sanctuary

Enjoy beer and wine from the following:

  • Two Roads Brewery
  • US Beverage
  • Spiked Seltzer
  • Church Owl Beer
  • Charter Oak
  • Red Grape
  • Walter Stewart’s Spirits – 4 wine vendors
  • New Canaan Wine Merchants

Tickets:  $75 per adult.(in advance —$90 at the door)  VIP Tickets :$250 includes 2 adult tickets and VIP parking.

for ticket information and to purchase tickets:

https://67848.blackbaudhosting.com/67848/Harvest-Festival

New Canaan Nature Center

144 Oenoke Ridge New Canaan, Ct    phone:  203-966-9577

 

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Dine on “Hudson Valley Mediterranean” at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck

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The village of Rhinebeck is a real gem in the heart of the Hudson Valley.  With its history, shops, galleries, architecture and fine dining, it is a great day or weekend destination.  Gigi Trattoria is one of the restaurants that should be on your “to dine” list if you are in the area.  Gigi Trattoria is the perfect place to eat with its innovative  Mediterranean menu and emphasis on sourcing its ingredients from a host of local Hudson Valley growers and purveyors.

irene-aug-sept-390Laura Pensiero is the owner and creative force behind Gigi, is a chef, a nutritionist, and an author of three cookbooks.   Gigi Trattoria opened in 2001 and was one of the first restaurants in the Hudson valley to source the bulk of its ingredients from local farmers, growers, ranchers,  and purveyors.

Her book “Hudson Valley Mediterranean: The Gigi Good Food Cookbook” showcases her passion for fresh local ingredients as well as her approach to healthy and flavorful eating.

 

 

 

Starters:  We started with a dish that could easily be an entree as well.  The Gigi Skizza is a flatbread pizza topped with fresh ingredients.  We sampled the Bianca Skizza which was a perfectly executed blend of shaved pears, fig compote, goat cheese mozzarella, arugula and truffle oil, sitting on a thin crispy crust.  This combination of sweet, creamy and savory toppings in contrast to the crusty dough was a real delight.

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Bianca Skizza

The Caesar Salad is a nice take on the classic with red and green romaine, homemade caesar dressing, razor thin slices of fresh parmesan cheese, and ciabatta croutons.   A real nice and healthy choice for an appetizer.

The Main Course:   the homemade pastas are available as an entree or in smaller portions. Gluten free brown rice penne is a nice substitute  if requested.  I indulged in the mouth watering tagliatelle with beef and pork ragu and fresh ricotta.  This was  pasta was an excellent choice as it was made fresh in house and it simply melted in your mouth.  A real comfort food.

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Our main entree was the Fazio Farm chicken with summer succatash which was light, fresh and a healthy choice.  It was pan roasted with sweet local corn, fava beans, cherry tomatoes and summer squash.  I also ordered a side of quinoa tabbouleh which is a fine example of a healthy grain with a fun and tasty twist.  It was a perfect pairing.

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Fazio Farm Chicken with summer succatash

 

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Quinoa tabouleh served in a metal bowl

There is a list of interesting cocktails which we did not sample on this visit.  The staff made suggestions for wine pairings at each course and we were happy they did as they truly complimented our meal.  There is a happy hour at the bar from 5-6pm several nights a week.

 

The restaurant which is housed in a former commercial space right in downtown  Rhinebeck has three separate dining areas.  The outside space is sunlit and faces the street and is great way to spend the afternoon or evening.  Large umbrellas shield diners from the sun.  The bar room with has seating as well and large windows illuminate the space.  The rear dining area is a long rectangular space with warm color  palette for the walls and floor which echo the Mediterranean theme.

The walls are also adorned with art from local artists which reflect the artistic vibe not only of the menu but the Rhinebeck community as well.  Indeed as we dined, a local artist whose works were on display was enjoying a drink in the corner of the bar.   The staff was plentiful , very friendly and attentive.  Menu changes seasonally.

For a fresh modern approach to Mediterranean cuisine, you need to dine at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck.

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Gigi Trattoria

6422 Montgomery Street Rhinebeck New York   ( easily accessible via the Taconic State Parkway)

phone:  845-876-1007

http://www.gigitrattoria.com/

 

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Food, wine, live music and more at the Greenwich Wine and Food Festival ! September 23-24th

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photo courtesy of Serendipity Magazine

The food and wine event of the year is coming to Greenwich September 23-24.  The Greenwich Wine and Food Festival presented by Serendipity Magazine returns to Roger Sherman Baldwin Park (on Greenwich Harbor).

For foodies this is an amazing event with food, wine, specialty dinners, cocktails,demonstrations, famous chefs and live music featuring reggae star Ziggy Marley.  The setting for the event in a beautiful park overlooking the water is very special

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Ziggy Marley

.Saturday is the main event and there will be the Grand Tasting Tent from 12 noon to 5pm.  There will be over 150 food and beverage vendors serving their delicious wares.   Participants are from Greenwich and the surrounding area including Westchester County.   Some of the participating vendors will be: Rye House, Campagna (Bedford Post Inn), Village Social, Wuji, Benjamin Steak House, East End, Saltaire, Sonora, The Ginger Man, 273 Kitchen, Farmer and the Fish, Truck, Rosemary and Vine, Aux Delices, Rowayton Seafood, and many more.  Some of the above restaurants have already been reviewed by       I On the Valley and we look forward to seeing them at this amazing event.

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photo courtesy of Serendipity Magazine

There will be specialty food tents all day with the Ultimate Sandwich Tent from 5pm to 8:30 pm, a Grill Masters Tent featuring Bar-b-que from  4pm to 8:30pm and a South of the Border Tent featuring Mexican dishes open from 6pm to 8:30pm.

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photo courtesy of Serendipity Magazine

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The fun goes on all day with the Empire City Casino tent featuring casino table games.  Live  music kicks off at 6:30 pm at the Pepsi Music Stage with reggae star Ziggy Marley followed by Old Crow Medicine Show.

This is an event not to miss.

Tickets: $150.00 for a Saturday all day pass,  for more info including special dinners, and VIP packages see   http://serendipitysocial.com/greenwich-wine-food/tickets/

For more information:

Greenwich Wine & Food

Where: Roger Sherman Baldwin Park   100 Arch Street (Right off exit 3, Route I-95) Greenwich Ct

 

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From the creator of House of Cards: “Farragut North” at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

Playwright Beau Willimon, the creator of “House of Cards” (Netflix hit series), delivers a powerful and timely play about the inner workings of presidential campaign.  The work was influenced by his own personal experience of working on both US Senate and Presidential campaigns.

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Farragut North premiered in 2008 at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York and would become the basis for the screenplay for the motion picture “Ides of March“.  That screenplay was written by Willimon, George Clooney and Grant Heslov (The Monuments Men).  The play has now come to the Ridgefield Theater Barn and will be performed through October 1, 2016

The play is set during a presidential campaign in the days leading up to the Iowa Caucuses.  The audience meets many of the main characters in Scene One including Stephen (Jack Tynan) they young and blindly ambitious press secretary, his boss Paul (Fred Rueck) the seasoned campaign manager, Ida (Julie Zelman) the crafty and ambitious New York Times reporter who will do whatever it takes for a story, and Ben (Ryan Wenke) the young reserved staff assistant who is kept at a distance by his seasoned superiors.  We learn in this scene both the intrigue and the behind the scenes tactics of a national campaign and how the campaign can manipulate the press and craft the candidates message to serve its needs.

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Scene Two of Farragut North is a critical scene where Stephen meets secretly with Tom (Steven A Miller) who is the Campaign Manager of his rival.  In the meeting in a quiet restaurant outside Des Moines, we learn the dirty secrets of misinformation and poll manipulation by the other candidate.  The crafty Tom leads Stephen to believe that his candidates campaign is all but over and he should jump ship and join his team.  Stephen who is both young and ruthlessly ambitious has had his life turned upside down by these revelations and he begins to question his own future.

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The political intrigue and games continue for the rest of the play with the appearance of Molly (Margaret Fegan) who is a young amorous intern who is learning more than just national campaigns.  It is her interactions with Stephen that brings to light issues of loyalty, fidelity, betrayal and honesty both on a personal level and in the campaign.

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There are excellent performances all around and direction by Cathy Fitzgerald Linder is first rate.

NOTE:  The play contains adult language and subject matter and is not suitable for minors.

Tickets:       $24  ( a real bargain!!)    $20 for seniors, students and veterans

Seating in the 70 seat theater is Cabaret style at tables and doors open 1 hour before showtime.  You can bring your own food, wine and snacks to enjoy prior to the show.

For tickets and information:

Ridgefield Theater Barn 

37 Halpin Lane Ridgefield Ct

http://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org/

 

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Johnny Utah’s: Southwest food and fun comes to South Norwalk

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The South Norwalk, Ct. (SoNo) scene is known for its dining, shops and galleries. Along Washington Street which is the epicenter of the SoNo revival is an interesting spot that is quite different from the rest of its neighbors. Johnny Utah’s is a new bar and restaurant featuring barbeque, fun drinks, a mechanical bull, country music and even line dancing on the weekends.

The menu features an affordable barbeque and southwestern inspired menu.  Amazing burgers (10 oz)start as low as $5.00, alluring cocktails, unique chicken wings, and over the top milk shakes are some of the items that will draw your attention to this fun dining experience.

Starters:  try the Philly Egg rolls with shaved Philly steak onions and cheese served with Johnny’s Barbeque sauce.  It was crispy and full of flavor.  We followed that up with Pickle Chips, which are lightly battered and fried and served with a chipotle mayo on the side.  It is an interesting combo of flavor and texture.

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Philly Steak Eggrolls

We also tried a sampler of chicken wings, a staple in many bars today.  There are several types available and we sampled the BBQ, a very hot and spicy sriracha, and the unusual peanut butter and jelly wings served with fluff as a dipping sauce.  The wings were crispy and not soaked with grease and were quite tasty.

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Pickle Chips

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Chicken wing sampler with the PB and J Wings

Main:  Burgers are a mainstay here and the big 10 oz beef patty served on a brioche bun is both large and filling.  Prices start at a bargain price of $5 for a naked burger and then go up as you add toppings.  To build your own burger you have the choice of adding an assortment of cheeses, onions, mushroom, peppers, fried egg, and much more. Fries are extra.  We sampled a burger with swiss and a slice of fresh avocado which was delish.    Ribs are also a favorite on the menu and despite the lack of an on site smoker the ribs were soft and tender. They are available in 1/4 ,1/2,3/4 and full racks.

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Burger with swiss and avocado on a brioche bun

Cocktails: along with the regular assortment of beer there are some interesting cocktails.  Try the Johnny Utah, a blend of Bacardi rum, coconut rum, Captain Morgan spiced rum with pineapple and cranberry juice.  This drink was sweet, tropical and quite potent without being overpowering.   For the real adventurous try the signature “bull bowl”. The Buckin’ Berry is a real crowd pleaser as it served in a huge oversized cocktail glass with Smirnoff vodka, sourberry lemon vodka, homemade lemonade, blueberry vodka and blue curacao.  The drink is then garnished with a popsicle!  As the bartender pours the drink you watch it bubble and steam rises from the glass!   It is very sweet and served with 4 straws for you and your friends to enjoy.

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Dessert:  Johnny Utah’s offers some amazing milk shakes to cool down the barbeque and hot wings you may have eaten.  There are several to choose from and we shared the decadent chocolate milkshake with a huge brownie on top.

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The interior is composed of dark wood, and two rooms with two full bars, a small elevated stage, tables for dining, and of course the mechanical bull ring.   If you are going to dine, they are open for lunch and we dined at 6pm and the restaurant was lightly occupied.  I understand later in the evening Johnny Utah’s draws quite a crowd looking to enjoy the cocktails, line dancing and music.  A fun place to sample a southwestern cuisine and atmosphere not usually found in our area.

 

Johnny Utah’s

80 Washington St Norwalk Ct.        203 299 0711

http://www.johnnyutahssono.com/

 

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Go Grape Stomping At Robibero Family Vineyards! Sept. 24 -25th

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Looking for a really fun and unique event?  Then go grape stomping at Robibero Family Vineyards in New Paltz at their annual Grape Stomping Festival.  This years festival will take place on Saturday September 24th and Sunday September 25th 2016 .  The winery is open from 11 am to 6 pm.

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At the event you will be able to take off your shoes and climb into a barrel filled with grapes and stomp away.  It is a great photo opportunity and something you will always remember.  No worries as there will be a station to wash off your feet after your stomping.

Your ticket price in addition to the stomping, a wine tasting of their fabulous wines in the tasting room or you may choose instead of the tasting to have a glass of wine and take home one logo glass.

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Tasting Room

Robibero produces premium artisan wines that are handcrafted in small batches.  Some of the wines available are Chardonnay, Reisling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and some delightful hybrid blends.  All the wine is made on site.  Bottles or cases are available for sale at the tasting room.

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Enjoy your wine on the deck overlooking the vineyard

There will be live music from 2pm to 5 pm both days.   Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the winery, but space is limited.

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Enjoy a beautiful day in the Hudson Valley and after the winery check out the cool shops and great restaurants in downtown New Paltz.

See you there!

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Robibero Family Winery

714 Albany Post Road  New Paltz New York           tel:  845-255-9463

http://www.robiberofamilyvineyards.com

 

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