saltwater sommelier

Archive for September, 2009|Monthly archive page

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and sit at the CHEF’STABLE…

In Uncategorized on September 28, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Before you know it, summer and fall will be long gone and the Holiday season will be upon us. Most of us spend way too much time trying to decide on just the right gift for that special someone, or even the relatives that come to town and expect the royal treatment, and even the boss or the employee that did so much extra work this year to help put your company over the top. An over the top gift of appreciation is always an unexpected gift that can reward the giver as much as the receiver. This is where the Litchfield Saltwater Grille can make your gift giving routine just a little bit easier and lots more OVER THE TOP.

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille offers it’s now famous CHEF’S TABLE as a great way to please even the most discriminating wine and food lover on any occasion. From our wonderful but simple chef inspired wine and food parings, to the Saltwater’s amazing gourmet wine dinners  deluxe style, we are sure that the SWG will fulfill all your personal or corporate needs when it comes to gift giving in the up and coming holiday season. With all the menu choices and ideas the SWG has to offer we are sure you can find that perfect gift for a group as small as two, or even for a larger party if that’s what is needed.

This holiday season we here at the SWG have been working with numerous local business owners and some of the area’s most discriminating families planning some wonderful holiday dinners to fulfill their seasonal gift giving needs .With this past year’s grim economic structure a popular option seems to be a simple four course gourmet dinner paired with four wines chosen by the SWG’s house sommelier Brett Clugston, all for under one hundred dollars per person. For example, one local company has reserved our CHEF’S TABLE for 6 people and opted to choose our gourmet seafood wine and food pairing, which includes a first course of Maryland Crab Bisque, followed by a choice of three different salads, then on to a entrée of our famous Saltwater Sole with lemon and capers, and finishing the meal with a light but amazing homemade Pumpkin Cheesecake, each course paired with a wonderful wine that complements the occasion. Choosing to give a gift of gourmet food and wine not only lets your employees know they are well appreciated, but gives the boss a well deserved night out while fulfilling all their gift giving needs.

If the holiday season seems like it’s going to be another year of the same old doldrums, then it’s about time you made the call and reaped the benefits of giving the much appreciated holiday gift of dinner and wine to those who deserve it most, your family, your employees and you.   Just give the Litchfield Saltwater Grille a call @860-567-4900 and ask Brett how she can help get you started on making this year one to remember.

Albe Galotta, SWG Chef


Holiday party planning at the grille…

In The Insider View on September 28, 2009 at 2:21 pm

The holiday season, although deemed the most wonderful time of the year, most always seems to be one of the frenzied periods as well. Quaint notions of baking apple crisps, decorating trees, and buying loved ones gifts are shattered as the proverbial clock ticks faster and the days leading up to the holidays grow shorter and more hectic.

In the spirit of giving, we at the Saltwater Grille would like to alleviate some of your stress during this special time of the year. Book your office or family holiday parties at the Litchfield Saltwater Grille and let us do the work. Whether an intimate gathering with coworkers or a large get-together with the staff, we have the menus and space to cater to all your needs.

Our cozy loft is well suited for any event. Located above our fireplace lounge, it provides a picturesque atmosphere and privacy for your holiday affair. Tired of the same grab bag routine year after year? Instead, grab your colleagues and friends and reserve a table in one of our three dining rooms for some celebratory cocktails and fine festive dining.

Connecticut Caterers, a venture of the Litchfield Saltwater Grille, can accommodate all your holiday events. We provide the same extraordinary service and quality food for small parties of eight as we do for large parties upwards of 300 guests. Hosting a holiday event at your home? Our extensive menu offers a wide variety of platters to appease any group for these special occasions. Enjoy some crispy salmon cakes, lobster and crab stuffed mushrooms, baked oysters, or butternut squash ravioli as you gather into the conference room with your coworkers this December.

As autumn gets underway, if ever for a moment you feel the hectic holiday winds begin to sweep you off your feet, know that the Litchfield Saltwater Grille is on hand to assist you with all your festive needs. See you soon!

Marion Herbert, Inside Blogger

Three hot fall trends in Mixology…

In Sommelier Corner on September 21, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Using herbs from the kitchen…

We all know that mint is great in the popular Mojioto.  This fall bartenders are changing things up by adding basil and thyme to interesting new cocktails.  Look for the Strawberry Basil Mojioto on the Saltwater Grille fall list.  Molasses and agave nectar are also used as a more organic healthier sweetener.


Ingredients heavy with antioxidants are popping up all over the new fall drink list at the Saltwater Grille.  Blueberries, Pomegranate, and Acaci (Also hailed the new Pomegranate).  Acaci is grown in the Brazilian rainforest and is being called the world’s “super-fruit.”  It is so jam packed with antioxidants that it is said to contain 57% more than blueberries.  From Time Magazine to Oprah everyone is talking about Acaci and now it debuts at the Grille.  Mixed with VeeV Acai Spirit, a touch of Pomegranate and trendy orange bitters the Acaci Martini is shaken and served chilled straight up with mulled blueberries.

Old drinks reinvented…

Bartenders are pulling out their little black books and brushing up on traditional old time favorites.  Tom Collins, Manhattans, and the Old Fashioned are requested by even the 20 something crowd these days.  This fall we present new cocktails inspired by old classics. The Pegu club in NYC has been famously mixing drinks since the 1800’s and is home to generations of Master Mixologist’s.  Cheek out the Saltwater Grille Pegu Club Cocktail: Tanqueray, Orange Curacao, Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, and Orange Bitters, Strained in a Martini Glass.

Brett Clugston, SWG Sommelier

Happy employees make for a productive workplace…

In Uncategorized on September 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Fall may be the best time of year in the Litchfield hills. The weather is changing, the leaves are turning and the summer is over. And with hopefully a better outlook on the upcoming gaining economy, local business owners are gearing up for a better fall and winter season than last year. This time of year most employees seem to be settling back into a more consistent working mode and are digging in for the upcoming months, vacations are over, kids are back to school and life at the office may be just what the doctor ordered.

Bosses and managers in any business have always had their hands full trying to look for ways to keep the staff motivated and eager to continue their tasks at hand. Now a days trying a few new ideas to keep the enthusiasm of all the crew up might be just the extra step it takes to insure your company is on the right track with today’s competitive workforce.

Employees at most companies  that the SWG  work with seem to have one thing in common , they all look like they enjoy having a little time set aside for a special treat of lunch or break time party platters being delivered to the office as a treat by the owners or managers of their unit. Faces always seem to light up when our delivery staff brings a basket of cheer or platter of pass around sandwiches, or even a hot lunch enough for all.  It’s like the international language of the office, food, and free food at that, and a little time to enjoy it with co workers in a very non stressful setting, along with the thanks from their peers that things are good and that every ones hard work is appreciated.

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille offers all the services that your company will need to help make the start of the new season just a little bit easier on the management and a little bit nicer for your workers.  Let us show you how a simple platter or two of your favorite finger food pass-arounds can cheer up the staff and make their working environment  just a bit more enjoyable. The SWG can deliver a full hot lunch service with salads, entrees, desserts and beverages, and all the necessary paper products  on disposable trays , starting at as little as $15 per person .Other ideas include fall picnic  baskets or platters that can be served on your outside  patio or packed ready for a road trip that you are planning.  With all the different menus and ideas the SWG has to offer, we’re sure that we have just what it takes to make everyone on your staff a little happier, and the bosses a little more sure that everyone is enjoying their job.  And don’t forget that a happy workplace makes for a productive workplace.

Albe Galotta, LSWG Chef

Healthy kids Menu at the LSWG…

In The Insider View on September 21, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Dining out with young children sometimes poses a few challenges. Kids are, in more cases than not, picky eaters. Some will only eat chicken fingers morning, noon, and night, while other – more mature children – appreciate a menu that offers them some “big kid” choices. At the Litchfield Saltwater Grille, we pride ourselves in our elaborate kid’s menu offering plentiful and healthy options.

There are a few staples no kid’s menu can be without: chicken fingers, burgers, pasta, and fries. The Saltwater Grille offers these kiddie basics with a flare that will keep your youngsters happy. If pizza is your thing, our French bread with tomato and mozzarella will be sure to please. Ravioli is a crowd favorite for any age. Put aside the Chef Boyardee because we offer homemade cheese or our signature butternut squash ravioli on our menu.

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille is renowned for having a bountiful list of options. Choice is important when dining at our restaurant. The same goes for the children. Our child entrees come with their choice of rice or potato du jour. Our healthy options include Bell and Evans grilled chicken breast with baby carrots, grilled jumbo shrimp, Atlantic grilled salmon filet with vegetables, or a perfectly sized 6 oz. steak sirloin.

To say the least, the Litchfield Saltwater Grille is quite child friendly. Whether celebrating your child’s birthday, their big win on the soccer field, or prize winning science project, we hope to be the go to place for your next family outing. See you soon!

Marion Herbert, LSWG Inside Blogger

September 22 marks the first day of autumn…

In The Insider View on September 14, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Litchfield County, although nestled between the metropolises of New York and Boston, is not widely known for its action packed nightlife or fast paced lifestyle. What it is better recognized for, however, is its timeless New England culture, and perhaps most notably, for foliage and food.

September 22 marks the first day of autumn, a time of the year when the New England countryside is in its prime. Scenic drives become a local sport as the leaves change from green to bronze making the Litchfield hills a beautiful patchwork of warm yellow, orange, and brown shades. This fall foliage set as the backdrop in the quintessential colonial town of Litchfield exemplifies New England culture. And there is no restaurant that is more New England, or more American, than the Litchfield Saltwater Grille.

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille is an American inspired restaurant. Traditional dishes such as our Montauk Bouillabaisse, Twin Maine Lobster Tails, Butternut Squash Ravioli, and Cedar Plank Atlantic Salmon are offered up with a twist and a touch of elegance. We offer a variety of items from our raw bar, including an assortment dubbed the American Way, which includes a variety of our Little Neck Rhode Island Clams, Blue Point Oysters from Long Island, Jumbo Gulf Shrimp, and scallop seafood salad.

When the fall chill sets in, the Saltwater Grille’s lounge may be the most coveted space in Litchfield. Our stone fireplace and wooden beams create a cozy, warm environment. Fight the cold with a bowl of Connecticut Clam Chowder. This classic New England chowder is made entirely from Connecticut based products, including Connecticut clams, Nodine’s smoked apple bacon, and dairy products from Arethusa Farms in Litchfield. Enjoy a refreshing beverage such as the seasonal Sam Adams Oktoberfest draft or a smooth wine from our extensive collection.

Celebrate this special time of the year and all it has to offer at Connecticut’s finest country restaurant, the Litchfield Saltwater Grille.

Marion Herbert, LSWG Inside Blogger

Movie Julie and Julia Stirs our Interest

In The Insider View on September 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm

While meandering Borders bookstore this week, I found myself browsing the front tables where the trendy and “very now” reads are displayed, when I saw something familiar. It was Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle. It is a book that has most likely not been coined as trendy since it was first published in 1961.

The new hit movie, Julie and Julia appears to have spurred a newfound interest in not only French cuisine but the culinary arts as a whole. Based on two true tales, the movie follows Julie Powell, played by Amy Adams, as an endearing, yet lost, young wife who begins to blog about her experiences cooking through Julia Child’s cookbook. Simultaneously, Meryl Streep gives an adoring portrayal of Julia Child and her cooking efforts in Paris and her journey to becoming a household name.

Perhaps it is fairer to say that the movie didn’t rekindle an interest but rather tapped into a passion that was already alive in our society. Culinary arts have always been a mainstream interest of pop culture. Society as a whole has a natural interest in chefs and the food industry, and it is not just for those with a talent for cooking. I will sit glued to the Food Network for hours, watching someone talk me through how they chop up vegetables and broil pork chops knowing that I am still going to eat cereal for dinner.

Why the fascination? Perhaps it is not the cooking but rather what the cooking represents. Food is an essential part of our lives. It serves as the centerpiece for social gatherings with friends and family. The preparation is just part of the experience. Perhaps we watch these shows and read these books not necessarily because we’re dying to know how to broil pork chops, but rather we’re yearning for the experience of preparing a meal. Whether you are baking cookies with your daughter, preparing something for your family’s dinner table, or testing your skills in the kitchen solo, you are learning something new about yourself creating something you are proud of for all to enjoy.

Julia Child once said, “It’s fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That’s what human life is all about – enjoying things.” She was personable, confident, and a joy to watch with a brilliant story. Through this movie, America was reminded why it is that we love food.

Marion Herbert, SWG Inside Blogger

Pairing wine with your New England Steamed Lobster Dinner

In Sommelier Corner on September 7, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Tips for pairing wines with your lobster dinner…

1) Look for whites with more mineral qualities instead of a fruit oriented white.

2) Choose a wine that is un oaked yet has enough richness and complexity to stand up to the rich lobster meat and decadent butter.

3) Choose a medium to full bodied white that will stand up to the rich fattiness of the lobster meat.  A very light style Pinot Grigio that has little complexity will let the lobster overpower the wine.

Try: Albarino, Pinot Blanc, Chablis, Un Oaked Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner, Viognier, Riesling, Rose, or a white Cote du Rhone.

“The Classic Lobster Pairing”

2007 Louis Jadot Macon Villages Chardonnay France $32.00 a bottle SWG wine list

My personal favorite everyday drinking wine.  At $32.00 a bottle this wine is a steal.  A dry, elegant, classic white burgundy.  Rich, crisp, vivid acidity.

“The California Chardonnay and Lobster Pairing”

2005 McIlroy Cellars Chardonnay Russian River Valley $35.00 a bottle SWG wine list

Chardonnay is a traditional pairing for Lobster.  Carefully choose a Chardonnay that is not heavily oaked.  McIlroy Cellars Chardonnay tasting notes: Light golden straw color, dry and medium bodied.  Light balanced oak.

“Missing Summer Already Lobster Pairing”

2006 Caymus Conundrum California White Table Wine $52.00 a bottle SWG wine list

Tropical paradise in a glass: peaches, guava, honeydew melon, and lime zest.  Medium to full bodied with a good acidity.  Take your palate on a journey, destination: a long Road to Hana.

“Red Wine Drinkers Lobster Pairing”

2007  Soter North Valley Pinot Noir Rose $42.00 a bottle SWG wine list

A red wine will really overpower the delicate lobster flavor.  Soter North Valley Pinot Noir Rose is a favorite of celebrity sommelier Belinda Chang, originally of Charlie Palmers.  This rose has flavors of fresh strawberries, orange notes, and apple.  A long finish with an elegant creamy brioche quality.

“The Esoteric Lobster with Wine Pairing”

Most sommeliers shun pairing lobster with red wine yet Jean Georges surprised the wine word with an interesting pairing of a red burgundy Vosne Romanee 1er Suchots Arnoux with his spicy lobster dish.  It debatably remains one of the top 5 wine pairings of the past 10 years.

My Esoteric Pick…

2006  Bonny Doon Vineyards Le Cigare Blanc White Wine California $42.00 a bottle SWG wine list

Randall Graham presents a white Rhone blend from California.  The winery is farmed using innovative biodynamic methods.  Le Cigare Blanc White is a blend of Roussanne and Grenache Blanc grapes.  This wine is structured, dry, and medium bodied.

SWG Sommelier Brett Clugston

Happy Labor Day 2009!

In The Kitchen on September 7, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Enjoy this recipe at one of the summers last party days…

Chilled Cucumber Soup

Fresh cucumbers



White potato – peeled and diced

Chicken or vegetable stock

Fresh dill

Heavy cream


White pepper

Dry mustard

Chopped chives

Halve & seed cucumbers.  Wash & chop leeks.  Sautee leeks in butter till translucent.  Add sliced cucumbers, potatoes, chicken or vegetable stock, salt, pepper & dry mustard.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft.  Cool.  Puree soup in batches.  Put soup through food mill and chill.  Before serving taste for seasoning.  Add dill & cream.  Garnish with chopped chives.  Serve in a chilled glass on a chilled saucer with a decorative paper napkin as an under-liner.

SWG Chef, Albe Galotta

A refreshing dessert…

In The Kitchen on September 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Peaches in red wine.  Peel 4 peaches, place the halves, with no pit in a small sauce pan, add 1 bottle Rioja wine, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 3 oz. brandy, a squeeze of lemon, and 1 cinnamon stick. Bring to boil then simmer until peaches are tender. Let cool. Serve over ice cream or on pound cake.  This recipe keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve it hot or cold.  Serve with a dry chilled Rose.  Try: Alexander Valley Vineyards Dry Rose of Sangiovese Sonoma County.

SWG Chef, Albe Galotta