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Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Movies of Repast…

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm

What could be more relaxing than enjoying a quiet night on the couch with dinner and a movie?   One thing you can try is a movie about dinner, one that lovingly cooks a gourmet feast with so much passion that it not only looks fantastic but you can even smell the flavors of the food.  One that touches all your senses as you lounge in your snuggies with a home cooked meal and a dream filled with flavors and traditions of far off lands.  It’s like enjoying twice as much food and pleasure with half the guilt and calories. And you still never moved from the couch.

With a long list of food movies and restaurant related cinema available these days, I thought I would give you my list of favorites that you can enjoy, sit back, relax, and, oh yeah, you still have to cook dinner.

#9…Mostly Martha…A German film about a very skilled chef who, when her sister dies she takes in her child and finds the pressures of juggling  her job and her life a bit more then she expected.  Her love of food and passion for her career serve up a wonderful backdrop for a look into the pleasures and pains of restaurant life. Much better than the remake with Miss Zita Jones called ‘No Reservations’.

#8…Chocolat…A sensual and fulfilling story about a mother and daughter who open up a sweet shop in a small rural French town just at the start of Lent and shake up the morality of the community.  Everyone loves their chocolate, except the mayor who tries to put them out of business. Sinfully delicious, one taste is all it takes.

#7…Eat Drink Man Woman…Filled with lavish family meals and beautiful banquets your attention is caught by the overbearing father of three girls wielding his cleaver and preaching his beliefs with ease and elegance. Life revolves around the ritual of senior master chef Chu, cooking an elaborate Sunday dinner for his family every week where the love lives of all the family members get served up as a second course.

#6…My Dinner With Andre….Two hours of sitting in a restaurant ordering dinner and talking of the worlds ways  Andre orders the Terrine De Poisson and the Calles Aux Raisins, while Wally stumbles through the menu only to order the Potato soup and the Quail.  They finish their meal with a long debate on moral and social philosophy along with an espresso and an Amaretto.

#5…Julie and Julia… A wonderful story of the larger than life cookbook author and self taught chef, Julia Child, and the unbelievably tasteful task taken on by blogger Julie Power.  The two stories intermingle into a delicious story. Bon Appetite…Where there is butter there is a way!

#4…Babette’s Feast…Two adult sisters decide to never marry so they can stay at home and care and cook for their elderly father who is a preacher at the local church.  Sometime later Babett joins their family and takes over the cooking chores. After the father dies the two sisters decide to throw a commemorative 100th birthday dinner for him, allowing Babett to cook the feast.

#3…Like Water For Chocolate…In old world Mexico a love story with no substitute. The youngest of three daughters, Tita, is told to be the one to take care of the aging mother of the family, all while living day to day with her sister who has been matched up with Pedro, the man that she loves. Tita while not knowing the powers that her cooking possesses prepares the most beautiful gourmet country meals for her family all with a breaking heart. While baking a cake for her sisters’ wedding day Tita’s tears fall into the batter making the all the guests feel her sadness.

#2…BIG NIGHT… Two brothers who own a struggling restaurant put all their money, passion and work into serving a lavish meal for a nationally known trumpeter and his band, hoping to bring recognition to their business.  On the night the dinner is to be served all the other invited guests wait for hours for the guest of honor to arrive. Stories are shared, wonderful food is eaten and the best of wines are drank all before the guests leave without ever meeting Louis Prima, the man who would save the brothers from having to go back to Italy.

#1…Ratatouille…Disney’s fantastic animated epic about a kitchen in an exclusive Paris restaurant where a lowly garbage boy named Linguini and a street rat named Remy team up to take over the head chefs position.  What unfolds is a series of events that turn the culinary world of Paris upside down  The food preparation in this movie is overseen by Chef Thomas Keller, one of today’s leading innovators in the industry, making scenes of handling knives or the crunching of fresh French baguettes seem as if they were right at your dinner table .

Every movie on my list is well worth watching, very enjoyable entertainment; all you need to provide is the time and the meal.  Try making something that might compliment the film your about to see.  A homemade pasta dish with The Big Night or a Duck a L’orange with Julie and Julia might just do the trick.  Drinking some Champagne with Chocolate Covered Strawberries or Chocolate Truffles might go perfect with a showing of Chocolat.  Whatever you choose I am sure you’re going to love “Dinner and a Movie about dinner”.

Order take out for your movie from the Saltwater Grille.  Click here for the dinner menu available for take out. Call 860.567.4900

Albe Galotta, SWG

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What’s on Your I Pod?

In Albe's Blog on January 29, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Spending all my life in the restaurant business it seems that I have the tendency to compare everything I see or hear with something about food. Point in case, recently while enjoying some light conversation over a cup of coffee someone asked me “What’s on your I Pod?…and what were the last 10 songs I had inputted into my I Tunes play list?  First of all let me say I am not the most, High Tech guy around, but I try to hold my own on keeping up with today’s technology trends. Now at first I wasn’t sure what the question had meant, but I figured it was a way of someone attempting to acquire some information on me. What I was sure of was, 10 years or so ago this question would have never been asked to anyone. After thinking for a moment my first response was that I don’t own an I Pod. Followed by, if I did have a play list I would be listening to groups like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, or Cream and maybe even some Bowie, or The Beach Boys. …“You like a lot of that old music don’t you” was what I heard back quite abruptly. Followed by, “With all the new music out now I thought you would enjoy something a little more 2010?”  All this talk about what songs you put on your I Pod, and that what you listen to makes some people judge you in a particular way, made me think of something else, food related for sure.  What about the food we put in our bodies on a daily basis.  Doesn’t what you put in have some effect on what comes out?  If digital music reflects your personality, than you are what you eat.  You are what’s on your playlist!  Maybe the question should be “What’s on your plate?” or, “What were the last 10 foods you ate?”  This for sure would be a great way to find out what a person is really made of.  Everyone wants to be up on all the new technology, but as an old wise man once told me, “You have nothing if you don’t have your health.”  Keeping up with this brave new world is great but don’t forget “You are what you eat” & you decide what’s on your eat list!

Albe Galotta, SWG

February 15th Wine Loft Monday Night Special

In The Wine Loft Blog on January 26, 2010 at 7:56 pm

2004  B.R. Cohn Merlot Sonoma County California

Regular List Price $56.00 offered Monday February 15th at 30% Off for $39.00

Moose was the BR Cohn winery’s mascot, beloved pet, and supporter of animal causes such as Pets Lifeline and Guide Dogs for the Blind.  If you ever visited California’s BR Cohn winery you were warmly greeted by Moose.  In honor of Moose, who passed away last January 2009, the Wine Loft Pick of the week is the 2004 BR Cohn Merlot.  Enjoy this wine in the Saltwater Grille’s BR Cohn room adorned with pictures of the winery on the wall.  Ask to sit at table #14 right next to Moose’s picture.

Brett Clugston, SWG Sommelier

For the Wine…

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2010 at 7:12 pm

After last week’s deja vu, I started wondering about other wineries. I knew what the Mount Veeder Winery was like, but the other places… it was hard to tell. It’s not like I grew up there. So when things quieted down at the end of last week, I made a break from my painting, again.

I had heard that there was an office downstairs, so I headed for the basement stairs in the lounge. There had to be a computer in there, and people had mentioned what a resource it could be. Unfortunately, the lounge door was locked. After poking through the three dining rooms, I ended up in the kitchen: success!

I followed the steps down into the basement where a resounding crash seriously startled me. Upon further inspection, I realized the ice machine was just doing its job. I walked past the coolers and preparation tables. Giant sinks and a walk in cooler. And then I saw it. A door. I had to jump to reach the handle, but it was well worth it. The door swung open to reveal a cozy room with a computer.

It took a while to turn on the computer. I had never used one before, but I figured the buttons had to do something. Within a few minutes the screen was bright and showing a lot of little pictures. There was a picture titled internet, so I clicked on it. What a lucky break! A screen showing the news popped on… I had been watching the news for years on the television in the lounge so I figured I was on the right track. It was then that I realized I did not know how to spell Brancott, the winery located in New Zealand that was very popular. Back up the stairs and into the foyer, I was able to find a wine list.

When I typed Brancott into the Internet page, information popped up instantly. One of the first things I discovered was that Brancott is known as Montana in New Zealand. Like the Mount Veeder Winery, Brancott is focused on sustainability. It was one of the founding wineries of an effort to begin sustainable winegrowing, which ended in success. They are also working towards 100% organic farming. Leftover byproducts from wine making, such as stems, pressed skins, and pips, are used as fertilizer while falcons peruse the air, keeping grape feeding animals out of the vineyard. As these falcons were disappearing from their habitats, their introduction into the winery is a benefit for both them and the production of the wine.

Another notable behavior is that the Brancott winery uses 100% recycled plastic. Things such as bird netting, plant protectors, packaging, and irrigation equipment are made of plastic. Once these items are no longer needed, many of them are recycled again.

Both the Brancott Sauvignon Blanc and the Brancott Pinot Noir are available at the restaurant. I always enjoyed their noses, but I’ll enjoy the experience more now that I know the wines come from a place that takes care of the environment.

Can you guess who is the blog writer of this post?

Wednesday Night at the SWG is Wine and Cheese Night…

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2010 at 7:02 pm

$15.00 includes a choice of a wine by the glass and an artisanal cheese plate served with crackers, fruit preserves, nuts, and accoutrements.  The cheese selections change often.  Here is a list of some of the recent cheese’s and suggested wine pairings…

Piave Cheese, an Italian Cows Milk Cheese

  • Slightly sweet, resembles Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Piave is named after the river Piave, whose source is found at Mount Peralba in Val Visdende, in the northernmost part of the province of Veneto, Italy.
  • Pair with Full bodied whites like Chardonnay or Medium reds like Merlot or Chianti.

Dill Havarti

  • Semi soft, Danish Cows milk cheese, similar to Swiss cheese. Buttery, sweet, and slightly acidic.
  • Pair with an un oaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Noir
  • SWG Wine Pairing: 2006 B.R. Cohn Chardonnay Sonoma County $42.00 a bottle

Brie

  • Soft and Creamy French cows milk cheese
  • Pair with a light bodied pinot noir or sparkling wine

Chevre

  • A French goat’s milk cheese
  • Sancerre would be a perfect wine pairing.  It is always a safe to pair cheese with a wine from its local area.    The citrus and grassy notes in a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc would also pair nicely.
  • SWG Wine Pairing: 2005 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand $32.00 a bottle.

SWG Sommelier, Brett Clugston

A Taste of Home…

In The Mount Veeder Blog on January 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm

It finally happened. A cork popped and all the memories came rushing back. Homesickness. It has been so long since I had thought of the Mount Veeder Winery, but with the aroma of our 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, I couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgia.

The landscape of the vineyard is breathtaking. Arranged among the sharp angles of the hills, the vines spiral up to meet the sun. Waves of fog create a dramatic back drop as the grapes grow anywhere from 1000 to 1600 feet above the base of Napa Valley. Snuggled in among the mountains, the grapes have the chance to ripen on the vine well into September.

But my love of the place isn’t just superficial. The management of the vineyard is lovable too. While growing great grapes for great wine is a priority, taking care of the earth from which these goods come is just as important. Efforts to maintain the land’s sustainability are constantly underway. There is a special water runoff system that helps to prevent erosion, and it is complimented by the fact that the vines are planted in short, curved rows. The vineyard also provides a place for wildlife to live peacefully among man and his creations. I used to see deer running through the vineyard from time to time.

The grapes are gathered by hand in November and are turned into rich, provocative, and intense wines with dark fruit hints and earthy tannins. Given the demanding climate, not as many grapes grow in the Napa hills as on the floor of this region. Despite the lack of grapes available, the wine makers make magic happen in their bottles. I always saw those little berries as things akin to rare gems, and the wine makers as craftsmen with the best tools.

But back to the present. There it sat, a bottle of 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Mount Veeder Winery, reminding me of my old life on the west coast. Ever so delightful and alluring, I wondered how many other bottles would transport me back in time in the coming years.

Winter Weekend Fun

In The Mount Veeder Blog on January 12, 2010 at 4:42 pm

The other night was incredible. There was a huge party in the lounge and the restaurant was full. In the lulls during the day, the loft above the bar was set up and the lounge was rearranged. There were very few people in the lounge so I snuck upstairs for a few minutes to see what was going on. A ping pong table had been set up and all the tables had been pushed to the side. Hours later, I understood why.Winter Weekend Fun

The party in the lounge was a big one and included several young children. As their parents settled in to enjoy the company of their friends, the young ones headed upstairs for some fun of their own. From the constant bounce of the ball, it was apparent that the game was a hit.

Soon enough, however, the ping of the ball was drowned out by the musicians in the bar. Guitar in hand, they serenaded the group all night long. A variety of sushi and other goodies were passed around as Elise poured the drinks. Across the foyer, I could see the servers zipping about as quickly as Elise was handing out her delightful liquid concoctions.

The specials looked delicious; a few people had enjoyed dinner before the party began. There was a filet mignon Rockefeller with a port wine vegetable sauce, grilled shrimp, and matchstick fries as well as a lobster with a crab cake, sautéed spinach, and garlic mashed potatoes. A gigantic Caesar salad with Romain lettuce, bacon, avocado, tomato, and our own Caesar salad was available as an appetizer. Panko encrusted oysters with flying fish remoulade lettuce was also available.

I could only imagine the delicious dishes being passed about in the other room. The smiles that decorated people’s faces as they left indicated that another wonderful meal had been enjoyed at the Litchfield Saltwater Grille.

Fire up the grill cause baby its cold outside….

In The Kitchen on January 8, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Even though New England is experiencing one of its coldest starts to winter in many years, firing up the BBQ may be a great idea.  No matter what degree the thermometer has dropped to outside grilling is still in fashion. About 2 or 3 times per week I find myself bundling up and baring the elements in hopes of enjoying the tastes of the back yard BBQ like I remember from summers past. Sometimes it’s a few sides of fresh fish that I picked up in the morning from my local fish monger and sometimes it’s the beautiful loin lamb chops that I saw on sale at the market. Whatever the treat may be that you plan to grill to perfection on this cold but moonlit evening, I am sure would benefit nicely from a homemade signature rub that you can mix up quite easily.

A homemade dry rub is a mixture of spices, seasonings and herbs that when combined will create flavor and texture to whatever you plan to grill. You may want to try a few different combinations of flavors to be used on different items, like fish or meat. A more savory mixture may work better with loin lamb chops or with a Porterhouse cut of meat, as a more citrus or sweet flavor may accompany the seafood better.

One of my favorite dry rub mixture’s can be used as a more versatile coating that goes well with both meats and fish. For this rub you can use either dry herbs and seeds (toast the seeds first before crushing them), or fresh, whichever, you have on hand. A combination of 14 to 18 items makes this recipe a sure hit.   First start with 3 or 4 different kinds of chilies, some hot and some mild, add some paprika for color.  Equal parts of cumin, ginger, allspice, cloves, fennel, rosemary, parsley, thyme, coriander, brown sugar, cayenne, coarse sea salt and black pepper.  Mix everything together and keep in dry place.  When dinner time is close and the grill is hot have your chops or fresh fish ready for rubbing about 30 minutes before you plan on putting them on the fire. First brush your items with a light coat of xvoo and then pat the rub on generously on all sides.  Let fish or meat rest for 30 minutes before grilling.  Making sure that your outside grill is hot while cooking the fish or meat on both sides to the doneness you prefer. Always keep a large platter warm and ready so when bringing you masterpiece back inside in won’t tend to get cold too fast.

Outdoor grilling even in the coldest of winters is a pleasure that you will benefit from as you enjoy the fruits of your labor. I even find myself going back outside to clean up the grill after I have enjoyed my dinner, just to get a little more fresh air and one more look at the moon. Or maybe I am just getting ready for my next great grilling event.

SWG Chef Albe Galotta

Ten Wines To Get My Hands On” in 2010

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2010 at 6:03 pm

This is not the kind of list that a month ago I would have given Santa if I was sitting on his knee in the mall. Not the kind of list that I would put together if I wanted the 10 best wines available. Nor is it a list of my favorite’s wines of all time. Let me also state this is not the bucket list of wines, the top ten I must drink before I die. It’s just a fun list of 10 wines I would love to get my hands on and enjoy during the New Year. It’s also not a list of wines I can’t get my hands on because of price or availability. Thus making this list even more fun to have and hold and to enjoy.  Let’s start by saying that not all wine should be judged by its price.  There are many great selections available at a variety of prices. Having considered price, availability and the types of wines I have grown to love over the years, this is my fun, hands on, wine wish list for 2010.

#10… Brancott   Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Reserve …2008..A  great example of New Zealand’s fantastic wines at such an affordable price.  With a tropical fruit flavor and a taste of lemongrass, this benchmark wine from Marlborough shows how well balanced, crisp and lively this style can be. ($32 a bottle on the SWG Wine List)

#9…Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Napa …2006…A full body, jammy fruit filled wine is perfect for drinking now at a lower than Napa price.

#8…Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley…2007…By far the best Sauvignon Blanc out of California these days. This is a higher end price range for Sauv Blancs but well worth the cost.  It pairs well with pan seared swordfish or a few Maine Lobster Tails on the grill.

#7…Montes Purple Angle…Chile’s gold-standard winery….This spicy wine, with its elegant deep violet hue and intense flavor of wild berries and chocolate, will soon be on your list.

#6…Robert Mondavi   Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005…From the To Kalon Vineyard in Napa’s Oakville District. This true Cabernet classic has vivid aromas of wild berries, vanilla and cassis.  This is one of the last vintages at Mondavi  that was under Roberts watch.

#5…Caymus Vineyards   Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2006 or 2007…Both years are great vintages, drinkable young but will also benefit from years in the cellar.  This wine scores as high as its bigger brother the Caymus Special Reserve, but sells for less than ½ the piece.

#4…Tangent…Edna Valley … Albarino …2007…With its fresh, crisp flavor, and vibrant aromatic citrus taste, this refreshing wine makes any day taste full of sunshine. ($35 a bottle on the SWG Wine List)

#3…Altos Las Hormigas…Malbec…2008…Once only used in Bordeaux as a blending grape, with its high level of tannins, this inky colored intense wine has wonderful tastes of fresh plum and tobacco.  Malbec is a grape of the future with a taste for right now. ($36 a bottle on the SWG Wine List, Also offered by the Glass)

#2…Grunner Veltliner Ecker …Austria…2007… A wine made to be so light you have to gulp it not sip it. With a touch of fresh herbs this slim and racy wine goes perfect without over powering your gourmet cooking. This is the type of wine you learn to buy by the case, and as an added bonus: all Grunners are bottled by the liter not by the 750.ml., so you get a extra 6 oz. in each bottle,  Happy New Year. ($39 a bottle on the SWG Wine List)

And now # 1…Domaine Drouhin… Pinot Nior…2007…  Nestled in the Dundee Hills of Oregon with its remarkable similarities in climate and latitude, of Burgundy France, this fourth generation daughter of the Drouhin family is producing wines that rival her family’s 13th century roots in winemaking. Easy to drink and pleasurable with all styles of cooking, this is a “must drink on a regular basis “type of wine. ($60 a bottle on the SWG Wine List)

There it is.  That’s the list, nothing fancy, nothing too hard to get.  Just a fun ready to drink get your hands all over type of wine list. With putting a budget on wine as one of my new year’s resolutions, I think if I get my hands on one of these wines per month, I can enjoy a year full of great drinking and still have 2 months to spare. I hope you enjoy my list as much as I plan on enjoying drinking them. Most of these wines can be found on the ever growing international award winning wine list at The Litchfield Saltwater Grille.  Stop by for dinner someday soon and try out a bottle or two, you just might find a few that you like.

See the Saltwater Grille Complete Wine List Here

SWG Chef, Wine Director, and Blogger Albe Galotta

2010 Is Here Like It Or Not!

In Uncategorized on January 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Another year is gone, not only has 2009 passed but a decade has vanished with it.  A decade that seemed to keep getting rougher as it carried on.  Looking back over a lifetime of decades my thoughts are that the first of the new millennium didn’t turn out like a lot of people thought it would. To me it seems like a decade with no definition.  One that lacks the character that so many of the past have come to be known by.  A decade with no direction it seems, one that started off with high hopes and ended up in the great recession.   With such a high rate of unemployment, and a low rate of return on our hard earned money, staying afloat in this economy has turned out to be a full time job.

The restaurant industry during the past 10 years seems to be a harsh example of a floundering economy. With so many family owned restaurants closing in the wake of higher taxation, escalating food costs, fuel surcharges and insurance costs.  Restaurants in general have seemed not to make any unique or original strides in any particular area leaving the customer wanting for more.

2010 has all the right makings for putting the industry back on track with lots of new trends and environmentally correct decisions to steer us in the right direction.  Becoming a restaurant that learns to depend on local dairies, locally, grown produce & locally farmed meats and seafood is a step in the right direction. Enjoying the luxury of a chef maintained garden with organic vegetables and herbs is clearly the way to an exciting new menu focus. With budget in mind as a factor to whether your seats are full in your restaurant, small plates and half portions should become more available, and even mini- low cost desserts will be seen more.  How about all the local chefs that are bottling their own dressings, jellies, jams, preserves, and salsas.  These products will prove to move off the shelves quickly.   Locally grown and bottled wines and locally brewed beers will continue to show well on the best of menus throughout the area.  With less known grape varieties such as Malbac, Petite Sirah & even Viognier being offered we will start to see a change in our everyday choices of wines by the glass and bottle.  Using local resources in as many ways as possible will produce a much more unique and affordable dining experience for all, along with taking on the social responsibility of being a part of a community.

Getting back to basics in the restaurant industry should be a welcome change, with more focus on value and quality allowing the customer added reasons to return more often than of late. With all the choices that a customer has these days of places to spend their hard earned dollars there is no better time to start then at the beginning of a new decade.  I am looking forward to seeing the exciting changes that restaurants are long overdue for.  To change is good, not changing is not good!    Best of all eating in your local restaurant may well turn out to be a healthier and more rewarding experience then it has for the last 10 years or so.   Enjoy,….. & always expect the Litchfield Saltwater Grille to be on the cutting edge of all your culinary expectations. Serving the finest products from the Litchfield areas best know organic farms, local meat and seafood purveyor’s, smoke houses, wineries, breweries and dairies, along with our commitment to quality and great value.   Thanks for enjoying the SWG in the past, But most of all thanks for your support in the future….. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL ….

SWG Chef Albe Galotta