Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pickin' Pumpkins

Fall is here...my favorite season! There are so many good things in season to cook and so many wonderful, warm, homey things to eat...and what is fall without a trip to the pumpkin patch to stock up on everything you need for homemade pies and other Halloweeny/Thanksgiving treats. That's why I love New England...it's nice and chilly and the leaves are oh so beautiful. This year was even better because we had our sweetie with us. :)

So on Saturday we headed out to Blue Jay Orchards in Bethel. They have an adorable gourmet store with some great canned veggies, butters, all sorts of baked goods and mixes, along with incredible apples, holiday decor and more.  I bought some spicy canned green beans and some canned beets (I can never pass those up!) and K opted for the apple butter and some local honey.  You just can't get any better than that.  Then we took advantage of their photo opportunities since it's Sweetie's first Halloween (she was bundled up and wearing her costume...she's going as a pumpkin this year, of course!) and then we took the tractor trailer back to the pumpkin patch to pick out one big pumpkin, one medium pumpkin, and one tiny pumpkin.  Okay, okay...predictable, but cute.  :)  The only disappointing thing was they didn't have hot apple cider, but at least they had cider donuts.

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Cap'n JACS hot dog stand...it sounds pretty mundane (after all, it's hot dogs, right?) but they were very yummy and I was excited by the multiple toppings available (definitely try the orchard salsa!) plus the story behind the business is really great.  The stand was started by a couple (the daughter and son-in-law of the orchacrd's owner) and named after their four kids (J.A.C.S.), the oldest of which is in the Navy (which is where the "Cap'n" comes from).  They opened the stand to teach their kids about running a business, and I was just really impressed so I thought I'd mention them.  Be sure to go there on the weekend so you can grab a hot dog.  

So hope you're having a nice fall and getting ready for all the yummy things that go along with the season....yum...turkey!!!  Until tomorrow, have a hot glass of apple cider and a great three meals!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ulysses Oyster Festival in NYC

Oh, YUM!
So every once in a while, K has a few tricks up his sleeve. He's gotten especially creative since Sweetie was born because free time is precious. Luckily we live within driving distance of New York City so fun events are very close. Two weeks ago he told me to get in the car...he had a surprise destination in mind. So I packed up the baby and the chihuahua and was ready to go...I LOVE surprises! (Okay, truthfully I didn't get ready until I had asked if there would be food there...K answered "Do you think I don't know you?!?") We ended up in the financial district at an outdoor Oyster Festival, hosted by Ulysses Folk House...it was AMAZING. Ulysses Oyster Fest The oyster season just started and they were carting huge bags of fresh oysters to the shucking stations. $6 for a draught beer (Guinness, Smithwicks or Harp) and $10 for half a dozen oysters and they were amazingly delicious. (It took me back to my trip to Australia with K in 2007...we had oysters at Blu Bar on 36 at the Shangri-La hotel. The view of Sydney was beautiful but the oysters in NYC were better!!!) So back to the festival---there were at least a half a dozen more restaurants from the immediate area with booths and some delicious food. I sprung for the Lobster Bisque and some handmade pizza rolls. Not the cheapest, but totally worth it.

So I hate to torture you by telling you about an amazing event that's already past, but hey, oysters are available during all months with an "R" in the name (yep, that's right, just don't expect good ones from May through August) so head on out to your favorite Raw Bar and partake! Two of my favorite spots in the area are Dish Bar and Grill in downtown Hartford and Max Oyster Bar in West Hartford. I've never had anything at Dish that I didn't like...the ambience and service are just as good. If you get the opportunity to go, definitely take it. And of course the Max Group name speaks for itself--try the Oysters Rockefeller at Max Oyster. If you have a favorite spot, let me know what it is! I'd love to check it out. So until tomorrow, have a great three meals...and maybe some oysters!