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Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

Wine Pairing for Easter

In Sommelier Corner on March 31, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Easter Ham Wine Pairing…
2008  Alexander Valley Vineyards Dry Rose of Sangiovese Sonoma
On the Saltwater Grille wine list for $27 a bottle this fun, light, easy drinking, bubble gum Rose is a great easy match for your Easter Ham.

Easter Lamb Dish Wine Pairing…
E Guigal Cotes du Rhone France 2005
2003  Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant   Red Wine California

My pairing for the Easter lamb dish is a red Rhone blend.  You can go with the traditional French style from Cote du Rhone or try Mr. Randall Grahm’s (aka: The Rhone Ranger) California Rhone blend Bonny Doony Le Cigare Volant.  Either way what’s in the bottle is a blend of three grapes Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre.  Both wines are smooth, earthy, medium to full bodied, well structured with black pepper and tobacco notes.

Pairing wine with brunch egg dishes…
NV   Ecker Gruner Veltliner Weinland Austria
2005  Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs California

What better time to celebrate by opening a really special bottle like Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs (on the SWG list for $60 a bottle) than Easter brunch?  Sparkling wines are really versatile with food and therefore a great match for light delicate egg dishes.  As a second pick I would try the Ecker Gruner Veltliner, (on the SWG list for $39 a bottle) an Australian white with a touch of effervescence.  Of course the Saltwater Grille will be serving an array of festive Champagne based brunch cocktails such as a Strawberry Bellini and traditional Mimosa’s that will be perfect with your Sunday Easter brunch.

Sommelier, Brett Clugston

View the Easter Brunch Menu here…

View Easter Dinner Specials here…


Easter Traditions …

In The Kitchen on March 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm

My favorite tradition for Easter is the Easter bread my grandmother gives me each year. It’s a sweet bread that’s braided, topped with sprinkles, and decorated with colored Easter eggs embedded in it. She gets it on Mamaroneck Ave in Westchester, NY from an Italian bakery and I eat it with a ton of butter spread on it. Egg hunts, visits with the Easter bunny, and gifting of morning Easter baskets are just a few more of the many traditions people partake in on this Spring holiday. For dinner, most families serve traditional dishes such as honey glazed Ham, Roast Lamb, root vegetables like carrots and turnips, and potatoes . If you choose to dine out this year The Saltwater Grille will be offering many of these time-honored Easter dishes as well as a few with our own twist. For lamb we will be serving grilled Lamb T-Bones with mint jelly as well as a very special Roman Easter Soup made with lamb and egg. Lamb is probably the most recognized symbol for Easter with Easter eggs coming in at a close second. Both represent new life and rebirth. Lambs, born in the Spring, have been recognized in religious history as “the lamb of God,” and were selected for the purpose of honoring Christ. In Christianity, Easter was the first chance to enjoy eggs and meat after a long Lenten season. Our Roman Easter Soup is made with a broth thickened with egg yolks (its a bit like stracciatella soup). Lemon, marjoram, parsley, and other herbs are added to the broth. The soup is served with tender lamb, a homemade toast crostini, and allot of grated Parmigiano. Many fish dishes will be offered during dinner as well including Swordfish, Salmon, Sole, and Tuna.

If you choose to celebrate during brunch there will be quite a few different egg dishes to choose from. The Baked Eggs Strada, a layered dish made with garden tomato, spinach, mozzarella, fresh basil, and red peppers is always a hit. A Spring Vegetable Quiche and a Smokehouse Quiche with andouille sausage will be served with a fresh micro greens salad. Other more modern brunch dishes such as the Farmers Market Zucchini Pancakes with creme fraiche will also be on the menu. And for kids delicious silver dollar pancakes with fresh strawberries and whipped cream might be the favorite. Visit our website for the complete ala carte brunch menu as well as Easter dinner specials. Happy Easter!

Brett Clugston

Easter Dinner Specials here…

Easter Brunch Specials here…

If I Knew You Were Coming I’d’ve Baked a Cake

In The Kitchen, Uncategorized on March 27, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Have you ever eaten anything that you just could not stop thinking about? Something that you just had to have over and over again. Maybe a meal from your childhood, or a dish that you enjoyed at that trendy new restaurant. Sometimes in life you come across that one dish that is so good you want to tell the world. What better way to make sure everyone hears about it, why not sing about it.

Lots of great singers and song writers have expressed their love for foods with both tasteful and humorous versions of enduring melodies. Some great song writers use food names to portray the singers love for someone.  Like Van Morrison’s “Tupelo Honey” or Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Cherry Wine”.  Tunes like Don McLean’s “American Pie” and Warrant’s “Cherry Pie’ are nice but their only scratching the crust with synonyms like these. What we really want is a song that gives us a little more juice or a lot more meat if you know what I’m “Singing” about?

In the sixties James Brown taught us all a lesson in table manners by screaming out his love of food with his hit “Pass The Peas” only to be backed up with the sound of his soulful passion for snacks in “Mother Popcorn” and “The Popcorn Song”. Other groups showed us their love, like The Beatles who sang about “Glass Onions”, “Honey Pie” and even “Strawberry Fields Forever”. You can sweeten the taste of any hard rock song when you roll like the Rolling Stones with songs like “Brown Sugar”, or “Pass the Wine”.  During the eighties when dining at more sophisticated restaurants became vogue,  Boston’s own The Dead Kennedy’s sang about “A Growing Boy Needs His Lunch”, and “Soup Is Good for you”. Where would we all be if not for songs like “One More Cup of Coffee’ by Dylan or “Canned Ham’ by Norman Greenbaun or even “Cheeseburger In Paradise” by Jimmy Buffet?  The B52’s “Rock Lobster” and the smoky jazz version of “Peel Me A Grape” by Diana Krall will always make me hungry for more.

Now that I have worked up an appetite, this could be the best time for me to share my top ten “Menu” of delicious food melodies that have inspired me over the years to keep cooking….

#10…”Lime in The Coconut” By Harry Neilson, maybe one of the worst songs ever written but when it comes to curing a hangover all remedies are welcome.

#9…”Turkey Zenyatta with Tofu Wrap”. My own version of a gangster rap song teaching overweight inner city kids the importance of eating healthy.

#8…”Spoonful of Sugar” by Julie Andrews for the movie “Marry Poppins “in 1964

#7…”Beans And Cornbread” sung by Louis Jordan at every “Saturday Night Fish Fry”

#6”…Chicken Soup with Rice” Carole King warmed our souls with this delicious tune in the seventies.

#5…”The Eggplant Song” Michael Franks said when my baby eats her eggplant she cooks it 19 different ways.

#4…”All That Meat and No Potatoes” dinner was never the same after hearing this one from Fats Waller.

#3…”Escape the Pina Colada Song” Rhuppard Holmes Likes getting caught  in the rain, he’s not into health food but he does  like Champagne.

#2 “Alice’s Restaurant’ Arlo Guthrie brought the life of Alice and her Restaurant to the entire world one long ago Thanksgiving.

#1…”Savoy Truffle” The Beatles gave us Crème Tangerine and Montelimar, a ginger sling and a pineapple tart. “Yes you’ll have to have them all pulled out after the Savoy Truffle”

When you’re cooking up a storm in your kitchen and you need a little extra sugar, try singing about the food you love and everything will taste better.  And by the way my honorable mention on my top ten song menu goes to Eileen Barton for kicking it all off in 1950 with her tasty voice on “If I Knew you were coming I’d’ve Baked a Cake”.

Albe Galotta SWG Wine Cellar Master, Chef.




Recipe Spring Strawberry Salad with Baby Romaine Hearts, Maytag Blue Cheese, Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

In The Insider View, The Kitchen on March 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm

For the Vinaigrette:

1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 Cup Olive Oil (Good Olive Oil for dressings)

A few basil leaves, chopped

1 Clove Fresh Minced Garlic

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Julienne two cups of romaine lettuce.  Slice or quarter one cup of strawberries.  Crumbled Blue Cheese to taste.  Toss ingredients with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.  Garnish with tomato, red onions, and radishes.

Reserve some dressing and marinade shrimp for 20-30 minutes before grilling.  Add grilled shrimp to the salad if you would like.

Chef Albert Clugston III

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille

Or: Come in to The Saltwater Grille during Administrative Professionals Week and let us prepare this special Spring dish for you.  View the complete luncheon special here…

New Spring Cocktail List Debut…

In Sommelier Corner on March 26, 2011 at 3:37 pm

One of the top current hot spots for mixology in NYC is a hole in the wall lounge in Chinatown, “Apotheke”.  The word has gotten out about this little hidden gem.  Bartenders dressed in lab coats mix up cocktails with interesting ingredients such as leeches, star fruit, Chipotle, cucumber, and dill.  Drinks are listed as prescriptions for love sickness, mood lifters, or to enhance your health and beauty. Much inspiration came from Apotheke to bring to you the Saltwater Grille’s new Spring Cocktail list.  The fresh fruit purees are a major part of what make the cocktails really special.  Our kitchen makes fresh cucumber, mango, pear, prickly pear, strawberry, and guava puree.  Fresh lime and lemon juice is used as well as our own homemade syrups (lavender, simple syrup, and thyme infused syrup).  The new Resort Guava Tini is reminiscent of being welcomed with a lay and fresh guava juice at the Hilton in Hawaii.  Also new is the Cherry Blossom Rum Fizz.  Using flavored bitters (the new favorite ingredient for bartenders right now)  this cocktail is made with Bacardi, simple syrup, lemon juice, and cherry bitters shaken and served with club soda.  The prickly pear margarita has quite a few key ingredients to keep our bartenders at the Saltwater Grille busy mixing: strawberry juice, lime juice, triple sec, simple syrup, homemade prickly pear puree, agave nectar, and of course tequila.  Try it with salt or without.  For Gin drinkers our new Hendricks Gin French Gimlet is served straight up with a bit of Elderflower liquor bringing you a flavor of infused cucumber, rose petals, citrus, and cane sugar.  Old favorites like the Dirty Harry a vodka martini with blue cheese stuffed olives remain.  See the complete list here…

Saltwater Grille Sommelier, Brett Clugston

What’s the soup of the day?

In The Kitchen on March 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm

You would think soup was the only thing served at The Saltwater Grille.  All day long everyone asks, “What’s the soup of the day?”  The phone rings ten times every morning before we open for lunch and more than half ask “What’s the soup of the day?” Every great restaurant has to back their reputations by serving great food. What better place to start than with a bowl of soup?

Many famous restaurants around the world have found serving a great bowl of soup is worth its weight in gold. In New Orleans, the famous chef Paul Prudhomme at his very famous restaurant K-Paul’s, serves a bowl of steaming hot seafood gumbo with the gumbo poured over the rice tableside giving you a face full of Southern charm, a style chefs around the world love to copy.  Molyvos, in New York City, a bustling, longstanding and well received Mecca for great Greek food has served more Avgolemono soup (Chicken, lemon and egg) than you would want to count the calories in. Any great Jewish Deli or sandwich shop has its own famous “Borscht” fresh puree of Beet soup with sour cream, made their special way. Just a bit north of Santa Barbara in California in the town of Buellton you will find Pea Soup Andersen’s a landmark place serving hundreds of people a day, a place I’m sure you figured out  what their famous for.  And let’s not forget all the new kids on the block with their fast food menus and their relaxed spaces. Customers flock to Panera Bread Bakery for their wonderful Broccoli and Cheese soup. My favorite has to go to Maxim’s in Paris for serving the best French Onion Soup in the world in the most romantic location for over one hundred years.  With all that noted, here at the Saltwater Grille we pride ourselves on serving the most famous Clam Chowder on the east coast. Chef Albert’s Connecticut Clam Chowder has earned followers from all over the New England area making the SWG Connecticut Clam Chowder the famous Chowder that it is.   Using local clams and potatoes plus all the best of what the area’s farms have to offer, this satisfying soup really makes the grade.  The SWG kitchen also flavors this amazing crowd pleaser with special double smoked bacon made just for this recipe by our very own local, world famous smokehouse “Nodine’s Smokehouse” in Goshen Connecticut. With this soup you don’t have to ask me “What the soup of the day is?” just come in and order some. It’s available for sit down service along with take-out all day and every day.

The Saltwater Grille crew of hard working soup chef’s also makes great Bisques such as Lobster Bisque, Crab Bisque, and even Mussel and Purple Potato Bisque. Lately the rave has been about the Artichoke and Lump Crab Bisque; I am sure this one is going to be famous some day.   Seasonal soups are always the order of the day in this kitchen, making hearty bean and root vegetable creations, or soups with pasta or rice in the colder months and lighter versions in the summer. Cold soups always get a lot of attention in warm months using local fruits and vegetables when they are at their peak. Even the seafood used in our soup’s get’s chosen due to what comes off the docks that day.

Many times every day I get asked “What’s the soup of the day”? And every time I do I am glad to tell them what seasonal delight we have to offer. We do serve other things at the SWG but I guess everyone just wants to have a bowl of soup before they really get down to business. There goes the telephone, looks like I have to go, someone wants to know, “What’s the soup of the day?”

Chef, Wine Cellar Master, Albe Galotta

Pub Style Irish Beer Tasting Dinner…

In The Kitchen on March 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Looking for a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year?  Call now to make your reservation for our Irish Pub Style Beer Tasting Dinner.  Spots are filling up fast.  This year for $30 each guest will enjoy four courses and three beers (each beer is a 6 oz pour).  The menu, by Chef Albert Clugston III begins with a choice of either Potato Leek Soup or a Salad served with homemade Irish Soda Bread.  This starter course is paired with Guinness on draft (see the picture above for me w/ Guinness in hand).  Next is the traditional Irish sausage, Bangers commonly served at breakfast.  Our contemporary American twist on the dish is to wrap them in phyllo with cheddar cheese and caramelized onion.  Sort of like pigs n a blanket.  This course is paired with Smithwicks Ale.  For the entree course you can choose from Corned Beef and Cabbage (of course!), Sheppard’s Meatloaf (very popular last year), or  Salmon Bromley. For the Salmon Bromley we use fresh Atlantic salmon sauteed with white wine, lemon, butter, and leeks, topped with julienne apples, and served with baby potatoes.

And for dessert… Baileys Chocolate Bread Pudding with a Toffee Sauce.  Feel free to order an Irish Coffee as well (if you have room).

Reservations can be made for March 15th, 16th, or 17th starting at 4pm until 9:30pm.  Large groups are welcome!  If you have a person in your party who would like to enjoy this Irish menu without the beers the price is $24.  Call 860.456.4900

View the complete menu here

Credits: Food by Executive Sous Chef Eric Frost

2007 California Cabernet Sauvignon “Hit’s the Mark”

In Sommelier Corner on March 6, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Everything seemed to go right that year, just enough rain, the growing season was just the right length, and the yield was just perfect. All over California, throughout every region, growing grapes and making wine turned out great that year. As for Cabernet Sauvignon it looks like 2007 has turned out one of the best vintages in the last 15 to 20 years. And what’s great about this year, 2011 is that all the 2007 Cabernets are being released and now available in the local stores.

The 2007 California Cabernets have all the flavors, tastes and smells associated with the great Cabernets of the past. Rich Plum and Cherry fruit, Vanilla, Mocha and leather, and just enough spice of currants and earth. Best of all these still young Cabernets are perfect to enjoy right now or lay them down for their exceptional aging potential.

Top wine producers in the Napa Valley scored very high points with all the big wine critics and wine magazines. Vineyards like Schrader, Colgin, Hundred Acre and Joseph Phelps all scored between 97 and 100 points with their 2007 Cabernets.

While looking through your local wine shop shelves you might want to keep an eye out for some of these wonderful selections. My first recommendation is the Summers Estate Andriana’s Cuvee, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2007. Revealing a bouquet of sweet black cherries, plum, earth and spice, this medium-bodied, seductive red is ready for drinking now or great to enjoy over the next decade. If you’re looking for a highly aromatic Cabernet, seek out the 2007 Beaulieu Vineyard, Maestro Series, from Napa Valley. This wine is full of violets, cassis and blackberries with a hint of licorice to finish. With all this flavor and taste this gem is perfect for that special dinner keeping the $65.00 price tag in mind. Both Hall Vineyard and Far Niente in Napa have released their 2007 Cabernets to rave reviews both scoring 93 points and more from the top critics. Another special occasion wine from the 2007 vintage is the Anderson’s Conn Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, a full bodied deep red that evokes the quality and finesse of this great vintage  My value pick for this category goes to the Chateau Souverain vineyard for their Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. This lush wine drinks like a much more pricy Cabernet with a more than fair retail price of about $14.00.

When great vintages like the  2007 hit the stores many savvy buyers stock up on their favorites planning to enjoy some now and over the next year or so, but also to put a few cases away so they can age them and enjoy the fine wine they become. If you have the luxury of being able to cellar some now you will have the pleasure of drinking them when they are no longer available in the market. Great vintages like this are what wine lovers are looking for. Take advantage of the market while you can and enjoy yourself all the way to the cellar. Oh yah I also just heard the 2008 vintage from California is going to be amazing. Who knows, but I can’t wait to find out.

Albe Galotta… Wine cellar Master, Chef

Many of these wineries and vintages can be found on the wine list at The Litchfield Saltwater Grille

All Around the World Spring Wine Tasting… Part Five

In Sommelier Corner on March 6, 2011 at 8:14 pm

2006 Venta Mazzaron Tempranillo Spain

Made from 100% Tempranillo and produced in the province of Zamora, Spain.  A few of the other grape varieties grown in this region include Malvasia, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Verdejo.  Tempranillo is the grape used in Spain’s most famous wine Rioja.

My suggestion is to pair the Venta Mazzaron Tempranillo with the Kona crusted sirloin for your entrée course.  The “New World” dark jammy fruits dominating this wine are the perfect pairing for a juicy steak.  An earthy Tempranillo with notes of espresso, licorice, and sweet spices like cinnamon and cloves.  The truffles and coffee rub on the steak will make it possible to explore this wines broad flavor profile.

Take a leap and try pairing this red with your salad course as well.  The salad featuring strawberries and Maytag blue cheese over baby romaine hearts with balsamic will bring out the rich blackberry, plum, and strawberry flavors in this wine. On another occasion try this wine with Paella.

This wine received allot of great press and reviews when it was first released.  Robert Parker gave it 91 points and said it would age well.  I just opened a bottle from the cellar to taste and found it to be drinking beautifully.  What a treat for a lunch time special!

Brett Clugston, SWG Sommelier

Call 860.567.4900 for reservations.  $32 per person includes three courses, three wines, and tasting notes.  Limited time offer March 22nd through June 17th. View the complete “All Around the World Spring Wine Tasting” menu here…

All Around the World Spring Wine Tasting… Part Four

In Sommelier Corner on March 6, 2011 at 8:08 pm

2005  Lifra Bianco S. Osvaldo Baron Babos Italy

The winery Cantina S. Osvaldo produces a Pinot Grigio that perfectly exemplifies what an Italian Pinot Grigio should taste like. S. Osvaldo also produces sparkling wines, Cabernet Sauvignon and  Merlot.  “Lifra” is a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.  By fermenting the Sauvignon Blanc in stainless steel and barrel fermenting the Chardonnay the end result is a well balanced, structured white wine that can stand alone as an aperitif or compliment a main meal.  The Sauvignon Blanc offers bright citrus fruit (green apples, grapefruit, pear) and the oak aged Chardonnay gives a creamy body with hints of vanilla.

Situated in Northeastern Italy, the Veneto region has a cool climate ideal for grape growing.  Famous Italian wines such as Soave, Amarone, and Valpolicella are produced in this area.  Lifra posses the crisp minerality we love about Italian Pinot Grigio’s with added structure and complexity.  Pair this wine with the Crab Ravioli in a light sage broth or the SWG Spring Chicken with lemon caper sauce.

Brett Clugston, SWG Sommelier

Call 860.567.4900 for reservations.  $32 per person includes three courses, three wines, and tasting notes.  Limited time offer March 22nd through June 17th. View the complete “All Around the World Spring Wine Tasting” menu here…