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Archive for 2011|Yearly archive page

5th annual Holiday Toy Drive Party

In Uncategorized on December 2, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Tomorrow, Saturday December 3rd is our 5th annual Holiday Toy Drive Party.  To kick off the holiday season we will be serving complimentary passed hors d’oeuvres between 5-6:30pm in the main dining room by the Christmas tree.  Rick Baumer will play holiday tunes on the guitar.  Please bring an unwrapped toy for The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.


Card’s & Cocktails

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Tarot card readings have become incredibly popular, and involve a trained reader analyzing a deck of tarot cards, and using these results to help you understand your path and issues at present.  Maybe you want to know where a particular relationship is leading, what’s holding you back from that promotion at work, or what is in the way of achieving your goals, or maybe you are just curious what tarot card reading is all about. Erik has been practicing Tarot card reading using ancient Egyptian cards for over ten years. His  reading’s help you better understand for yourself your obstacles and where situations are headed.  Stop by the Saltwater Grille bar on a Monday evening and Erik will read your cards at no charge.

Live Music Every Saturday on the Patio

In Uncategorized on July 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Singer, pianist Mike Tedesco will be playing live every Saturday night now through August.  Make reservations for patio dining to enjoy light music from 5:00 until 8:30pm.  Mike plays current favorites by John Mayer and Dave Matthews, as well as classics by Frank Sinatra and Oscar Peterson.  Mike is 19 years old and lives in Torrington.  He has been playing the piano since the age of 9, studying both classical music and jazz music.  He is currently attending Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island as a jazz and commercial music major.  At the age of 16, Mike participated in and won the Northwest Connecticut Idol Competition.  Call 860.567.4900 for reservations Saturday, July 16th There is no cover charge.

Sunset in July…First Farm to Table Dinner of the Season

In The Kitchen on June 20, 2011 at 6:43 pm

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille is excited to announce the opening of the second Farm to Table Dinner Series season.  The first scheduled event is on Friday July, 8th at Sunset Meadow Vineyards in Goshen.  Last years dinners were hosted with March Farms (Bethlehem), Miranda Vineyards (Goshen), and Sunset Meadow Vineyards (Goshen).

Each menu is created by Chef Albert Clugston III and features fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs from Litchfield County Farms.  Some items such as a very special Muskmelon, Green Zebra Tomatoes, Rhubarb, Eggplant, and Squash Blossoms come from the Chef’s very own garden.  The July 8th menu includes grass feed beef from Litchfield’s Laurel Ridge Farm as well as dairy products from the highly acclaimed Arethusa Cow Farm (Litchfield).  East Coast Shellfish is always incorporated into the menu because there is such an abundant amount of fresh local oysters, scallops, clams, and fish to draw from.

The style format of each menu varies.  July 8th is a casual stationary style menu.  Check out the complete menu here… and remember menu items are subject to change in order to bring you the freshest ingredients available.  There are quite a few farm to table dinners being hosted these days and one of the most unique qualities about our dinner series is the variety of menu items offered.  The July 8th event starts with an iced down raw bar display.  Shucked to order by our raw bar chef guests are welcome to enjoy as much as they would like of Blue Point and Stonington CT Oysters, Baltimore Style Shrimp Cocktail, and Rhode Island Little Neck Clams.  Hors d’oeuvres are passed during the first hour followed by a dinner with two main stations. An Antipasto Bar Style station will include seven interesting dishes (Grilled assorted squashes from Sun One Organic Farm, and Prosciutto Muskmelon Carpaccio to name just a few).  The grill station will serve skirt steak with a green goddess dressing and Tuna skewers with a Ponzu, lime, cilantro vinaigrette.  There are so many different menu items that is hard to believe you could actually have time to try them all.

My favorite part is the strawberries with anglaise for dessert.  Mr. and Mrs. Skilton’s strawberry farm in Morris produces small strawberries that are so jam packed with flavor.  The anglaise sauce is made with local cream and poured while still warm on the strawberries then garnished with mint from The Saltwater Grille’s own garden.  The July 8th event will feature Sunset Meadow Vineyards wines by Goshen wine make George Motel. Tickets usually sell out fast so sign up early.  Sign up here…

View the complete menu here…

More info here…

Connecticut Caterers Summer Lobster Bakes…

In The Kitchen on June 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm

The summer party season is in full swing! Connecticut Caterers is a family run company that has been traveling throughout the tri state region hosting Lobster Bakes for over 35 years.

For every lobster bake we cater the lobsters are shipped fresh the day of your event. These are 1 1/4 pound hard shell, cold water, Maine lobsters. Our staff sets up a cook tent outside and the Chef cooks the lobsters at your party! We bring all of the necessary tools to eat your lobster: crackers, cocktail forks, lobster bibs, and wet naps.

Clients can customize their own menu to their liking and many include the following: Local Corn on the Cob, Tri Color Fingerling Potato Salad, Honey Jalapeño Corn Bread, Garlic and Oregano Crusted BBQ Chicken, and much more! View more Summer BBQ Menu items here…

Connecticut Caterers also offers an extravagant raw bar display. We bring our own raw bar, fill it with ice, and display Blue Point Oysters, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, and Rhode Island Little Neck Clams, along with all the necessary accoutrements: mignonette sauce, cocktail sauce, and horseradish. There are still a few prime party dates available for this summer. Call Party Planner Brett Clugston at 860.567.4900 to inquire about your party date.

Lobster Bake Packages: click here…

Top Three Beers to Pair with Your Lobster Dinner…

In Sommelier Corner on May 26, 2011 at 7:36 pm

We have revamped our beer list for the summer to bring to you a more selections from Craft breweries both on draft and by the bottle.  The following are three new beers we recommend you try with your lobster dinner (best bet: $25 on Monday Night Lobster Night).

#1  Harpoon Hefeweizen UFO

Wheat beers are one of my favorite to pair with lobster.  UFO Hefeweisen  has a cloudy color typical of wheat beers.  The taste is yeasty, zesty, and tangy with citrus flavors that are the perfect accompaniment to a summer seafood feast.  If you’re a fan of Hefeweizens you will love this beer. $4.75 by the bottle on the new Saltwater Grille summer beer list.

FYI: Harpoon Brewery is located in Boston, Massachusetts and Windsor, Vermont.  Owners Rich Doyle, Dan Kenary and George Ligeti were key players in the revolution of craft beer.

#2  Lagunitas IPA

The Lagunitas Brewing Company is a microbrewery in Petaluma, California that has gained a bit of a cult status.  This IPA is pale in color and full in flavor. To me this is a super hoppy beer that can stand up to a meaty lobster with salty butter.  Beer Advocate gave it 85 points.  Try it on draft during Happy Hour for only $3 or $6 at it’s regular price.

#3  Blue Moon

Orange citrus and lemon on the nose. A medium bodied beer with a refreshing wheat flavor.  Enjoy your Blue Moon garnished with a slice of orange to bring out the citrus flavors.   Besides lobster Blue Moon is a great pairing for a light salad, chicken dish, or any raw bar course.

Brett Clugston, SWG Sommelier

“Summer in Sonoma” Wine Dinner

In Sommelier Corner on April 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm

BR Cohn Winery

One of the most amazing things about wine country in California is its diverse landscape, ever changing as you go from county to county. Traveling through counties like Mendocino, Lake County, and Napa make any wine lover long for a life on the vineyard. Each area, one more beautiful than the last, has plenty to offer from its valleys to its rivers, and its mountains to its coastlines. Having spent much time enjoying much of California’s wine country I am always compelled to return to that one place that feels so comfortable. Anything north of San Francisco is God’s country to me, but most of all I have grown to love Sonoma and I really love it in the summer time. Sonoma County is the home of many wonderful little towns like Healdsburg, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, and Sebastopol all just a little more than 1 hour north of San Francisco. Directly in the center of Sonoma Valley, are the beautiful B.R. Cohn Winery, and their Olive Hill Vineyard. Protected on the west by the Sonoma Mountains, which is its buffer to coastal fog, the valley floor is about 7-10 degrees warmer in the daytime. Less fog plus warmer daytime temperatures  along with its natural underground hot springs, creates a naturally frost free environment, and a longer growing season than other areas. B.R. Cohn was started in the early 1970’s by owner Bruce Cohn who sold his grapes to many other big name vineyards in Napa and Sonoma until 1984 when he started to produce his own wine with his own label. Now 25 plus years later the B.R. Cohn Estate has become one of the area’s largest Vineyards, producing many of Sonoma’s most sought after wines. Still the original owner, Mr. Cohn has a love for both wine and music, and at his vineyard he gets to enjoy both. Before getting involved with wine Bruce was the Manager of the very popular 70,s band, The Doobie Brothers. Every year Bruce hosts a fall charity music Festival at his Vineyard with numerous legendary bands and performers raising lots of money for The Valley of The Moon Children’s Foundation. If you get to visit the estate someday, I am sure you will enjoy seeing the lush vineyard of Picholine olive trees that were imported from France, and are used in the bottling of B.R.Cohn’s gourmet food, vinegar and Olive Oil Company.

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille is pleased to announce that on Sunday June 5th 2011 at 3:30 pm we will be hosting our first B.R.Cohn wine dinner in 3 years. It is planned to be held on both our newly redecorated outdoor patio, and in our main dining room. The afternoon will include a “Sonoma Summer Welcome Table” of fresh cheeses, flatbreads and California crostinis upon arrival to be paired with B.R.Cohns new release of their single vineyard Chardonnay, 2009 Sanglacomo.

Being as famous as the SWG is for its seafood we had to include an “East Coast/West Coast” Raw Bar as the second course, with lots of specialty shellfish and seafood delights from both sides of the USA. B.R.Cohn’s Russian River Pinot Noir is just the right taste to pair with this fresh and fun seafood selection. Both these wines will be available to enjoy with the first two courses.

Now that were settled into our seats for the afternoon our salad course of Heirloom Yellow and Red Tomatoes with California fresh fried Artichoke Hearts will go perfect with the Sonoma Zinfandel that B.R.Cohn produces. It compliments Chef Albert’s Famous “White Balsamic Herbal Vinaigrette” wonderfully,which is available retail at the SWG.  Main Course choices will be a either a wonderful Crab Crusted Filet of Sole, fresh citrus sauce and Grilled Zephyr Squash or a Wood Fired, Dry Rubbed Sliced Filet Mignon with Rich Raspberry Merlot Glaze and Vella Cheese Company Dry Aged Monterey Jack.   Our pastry chef never wants to be left out so all the stops have been pulled for us to enjoy a selection of homemade treats that would make any cellar worker happy. Lemon Panna Cotta with Pepita Brittle and homemade Wine Country Cookies will start the list. Topping off our wonderful evening we are pleased to be able to offer a rare gem on the east coast, a special tasting of B.R.Cohn’s Olive Hill Port.

Seats for this very rare event can be obtained by speaking with Brett Clugston at the Litchfield Saltwater Grille, 860-567-4900. There are a limited amount of seats so please reserve early. The price is $78.00 per person plus tax and service Charge. All food and unlimited wine is included.

I have enjoyed visiting the B.R. Cohn vineyard in Sonoma many times.  This is the best way for us at the Saltwater Grille to bring to you the pleasures we have enjoyed here in Litchfield.

Cellar Master, Chef, Blog Writer, Albe Galotta

Kentucky Flavors…

In The Kitchen on April 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille will be hosting a Derby Day Party on Saturday May 7th starting at 5pm.  Makers Mark, Knob Creek, Jim Beam, and Wild Turkey Mint Juleps will be available all night long!  We pick our mint fresh from our gardens, make our own simple syrup, and use crushed ice to serve you the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby in it’s traditional form.

Chef Albert Clugston III has created a Southern Style bar menu featuring a Knob Creek Bourbon Infused BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich served with Fried Pickles and Potato Salad.  For the full Derby experience try our Grilled Shrimp and White Cheddar Grits served with Jalapeño Corn Bread with Sea Salt and Cayenne. More of this menu here…

Our dessert chef will be baking traditional Pecan Pie and a special “Derby Pie” a decadent chocolate pie made with Makers Mark Bourbon.  Call early to reserve your table in our lounge so that you can watch the race Live on TV at the Saltwater Grille 860.567.4900 And don’t forget to wear you hat!

No Man Can Eat 50 Eggs

In Albe's Blog on April 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm

The love for food in the cinema has long been a topic of writers and producers throughout the years.  Many great movies focus on the passions and love we all have for wonderful foods and their places of origin.  Food has long been known for always being able to portray the full range of human emotions.  Ever since the larger than life Charlie Chaplin made two dinner rolls dance on forks, in” The Gold Rush” food has elevated Cinema to some of its greatest moments.

Blockbuster films like “Julie and Julia” focus on the lives of two women, one a chef and one a writer. Their amazing love of food and life melt together for a delicious and romantic food story. “Ratatouille” was a wonderful animated story of how a rat runs an award winning kitchen in France with the help of young Linguini, a low level prep cook.  And can we ever forget “Mostly Martha” or its remake “No Reservations” and all the wonderful scenes of Martha in her kitchen preparing the beautiful meals she so passionately serves.  But these films are made about food.  They live and breathe food from the beginning of the film to the end. What about the movies that entertain us with much different subject matters?  Like westerns or comedies, or war stories or love stories. Ones that don’t focus on the love of food or how to cook food, or where it’s grown, but movies that just happen to offer an unbelievable food scene. These are some of the added fun and unexpected treats we benefit from as we view the never ending buffet of new and old movies available.

Being a person that prefers to go to the theater only with the assurance  that I will be overwhelmed with the sights, sounds and even smells of food, I have been assured  that every once in a while a great food scene will occur in a film that has nothing to do with the overall story. Stories maybe about a love triangle that include a dinner scene you never forget. It could be a tale of a young man growing up and moving on in life while remembering the cooking of his home. Or an unexpected restaurant scene in a spy thriller that blows the top off the case and the oven. While you are trying to digest all of that,  I thought I would write down a list of my favorite delicious food scenes featured in movies not about food.

#10…Tom Hanks in “Big” showed the world how eating an ear of baby corn and a mouth full of caviar at a cocktail party would look like if you were a 12 year old in a 22 year olds body.

#9…”Lady and the Tramp” Disney Dogs, Tramp from down town and Lady an upper crust breed of girl, and their Spaghetti Smooch while being serenaded to “this lovely Bella Notte” in the back alley of an local Italian restaurant.  As Tramp shows himself to be the perfect dinner date, true movie magic occurs as a strand of spaghetti held between them draws their lips together for the first time.

#8… “Pulp Fiction” A film otherwise having nothing to do with food, Quentin Tarantino’s fantasy scene with hit man Vincent Vega and mob leader girlfriend Mia Wallace drinking milk shakes in a 1950’s diner. The wait staff is dressed up to the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lewis and James Dean, as we sit in and watch the dining, dancing and passion of two bad for each other players.

#7… “Pretty Woman” Julia Roberts dines out at a very elite and over her head type of restaurant with the wealthy Richard Gere and the two heads of a large company he is attempting to take over. After having her meal ordered for her by a more capable Gere, everyone gets a laugh as her failed attempt at eating escargot results in a projectile snail shell flying across the room only to be caught by a quick handed waiter.

#6… “”Animal House” John Belushi brings the roll of Bluto in this college humor film to a higher level with the over the top scene in the school cafeteria.  First Bluto loads up his tray with every imaginable food item while going thru the cafeteria line. Then after stuffing a mound of mashed potatoes in his mouth and giving everyone at the table his impression of a zit he belts out the words most movie goers and college students would not soon forget “Food Fight’.

#5…9&1/2 Weeks, Kim Basinger  and Mickey Rourke create a feast for the senses as they spend more time than humanly possible on the floor in front of a refrigerator as he blindfolds her and feeds her everything from berries to honey. The anticipation alone of the tastes drives everyone wild.

#4…”Goodfellas”…Never have you seen any group of inmates eat and cook so well as when the cops drop off a box of fresh lobsters just before dinner time to the convicted mob bosses cell. Dinner in the slammer is not so bad when you cut the garlic for the sauce real thin with a razor, and don’t put too many onions in the sauce, it makes it to sweet.

#3… “When Harry Met Sally’” While sitting in a New York City deli Meg Ryan explains to her platonic friend, Harry, how easy it is for a woman to fool a man. What follows is Sally seductively acting out her explanation while eating bites of her overstuffed deli sandwich. Everyone in the place stops talking and eating so they can listen and watch all the way to the last emotion. All brought back to life when the middle aged woman ordering at the next table then tells the waitress “I’ll have what she’s having”.

#2… “Five Easy Pieces” It’s hard to beat the scene in the diner when Jack Nicholson (Bobby) attempts to get a side of plain wheat toast, and has to reason with a waitress who refuses to make any substitutions on the menu. “I’d like an omelet  plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, hold the butter, the lettuce, the mayo, and a cup of coffee” “Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, give me a check for the sandwich, and you haven’t broken any rules”.

#1…”Cool Hand Luke” Paul Newman will always be remembered by the scene that follows when he bets fellow prisoners on the chain gang whether or not he can eat 50 eggs in one hour? “NO Man Can Eat 50 Eggs” is the roar of the crowd as the bets come in and a mountain of hard boiled eggs begins to vanish into poor Luke’s body. There are a lot of classic scenes in Cool Hand Luke but this great “Food Scene” will be remembered by movie lovers with a passion for years to come. A critic once wrote “What makes theater great are the great moments in theater”.

Chef, Cellar Master & Blogger, ALBE GALOTTA…

Celebrity Chefs and Sommeliers

In Sommelier Corner on April 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I have the honor of appearing as a featured sommelier alongside celebrity Chef Dave Martin (runner up on season one of Top Chef) on Thursday May 19th.  The event  is the first in a line up of Pop Up Restaurants being planned.  The Litchfield Saltwater Grille will actually contribute two of the three featured sommeliers for the event.  Albe Galotta, The Saltwater Grille wine director and myself have paired five wines with Chef Martins amazing five course menu.  To see the complete pairings and menu click here…

Dominik Caiati, who is spearheading the event, knows the allure celebrity Chefs have these days. The public elevated Chefs to celebrity status quite a few years ago.  Iron Chef started the wheel spinning (the Japanese version first aired in 1992) and later reality shows like Top Chef and Chopped brought more attention turning Chefs into stars.  Sommeliers (the other half of the restaurant world) have yet to be recognized in this same light.  Not many people can actually name a professional sommelier yet they are a key ingredient to a successful restaurant.  As a sommelier myself I have been following the career of Belinda Chang.  Currently 38 years old she originally studied biochemistry at Rice University.  Her first major job in the wine world was as a sommelier for Charlie Trotters in Chicago.  Now the wine director for The Modern in NYC she manages an enormous wine list for one of Danny Meyers most successful restaurants.  To name a few other noteworthy sommeliers: Aldo Sohm (Le Bernadin), Paul Roberts (French Laundry), and John Ragan (Eleven Madison Park). Please note sommeliers do jump around a bit from one high profile restaurant to another.  Sommeliers can gain recognition in a few ways.  One is by being a part of a hugely successful restaurant or working alongside a star Chef.  James Beard awards a best wine service award each year and being the wine director for a restaurant receiving this honor can make a sommelier a “Star Sommelier.”  Although tasting every day to train your palate  combined with quite a bit of studying is what really makes a person a true wine expert.  There are many levels of certification one can receive as a sommelier.  The highest level being “Master Sommelier,” a title held by only 180 people in the world.

So if you are a foodie and a wine enthusiast I suggest getting tickets to the first event in this Pop Up Restaurant Series fast.  There are only 60 seats and it will sell out.

Purchase tickets to the event here…

Brett Clugston, SWG Sommelier