Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Sixth Sense Ignited

Memories of food stand out with surprising clarity in my mostly blurry recollections of childhood. The intensely sensory nature of cooking surely plays a role in why these memories are so vivid, but perhaps more important was the encouragement I received from my parents. They never shooed me out of the kitchen; instead I was given a chair to stand on so I could be part of the action.

Cooking involves an intricate blend of all five senses and they are all prominent in my memories: kneading dough for cardamom bread with my mother, the uniquely spicy smell permeating the air. Bundling juniper berries and slicing kielbasa with my father for choucroute garnie, and wrinkling my nose at the smell of sauerkraut not yet mellowed by hours baking in the juices of pork, chicken, and sausage. Plunging my small hands into cold (somehow appealing in its sliminess) ground meat, eggs, and breadcrumbs for meatballs, my father reminding me not to overwork the meat. 

As my experience grew, I came to realize that a sixth sense – intuition – is just as important as the others. I loved this magical dimension, the synapses firing and pulling out memories of smells and tastes to help decide what extra pinch of spice might be required to make a dish “pop.”

Attempting to cook in what may have been the world's crappiest kitchen. I don't miss that apartment...

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans, Bacon, and Sherry Glaze

This recipe is a Thanksgiving tradition in my family; it began as a more simple concoction made my my father, but I've added a few twists to make it even more "crowd-pleasing." Bacon adds even more meaty richness to what is already a surprisingly satisfying side dish. Of course, if you'd like it to be a vegetarian recipe, the bacon can be omitted without ruining the flavor.

The magical addition is the Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry. It's sweet, adds depth, and when it reduces down with the butter, forms a nice glaze that isn't at all heavy or overpowering of the fresh veggie flavor in the sprouts. 

  • 3 tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup toasted pecans
  • 1/2 lb brussels sprouts, rinsed and halved
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry
  • coarse black pepper

1. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add all of the butter.

2. Making sure the pan is very hot (the butter should be just starting to brown), add the brussels sprouts. Stir to coat with the butter, then LET THEM SIT. Patience! Resist the urge to keep stirring, or they won't get roasty-browned. Let them cook about 4 minutes, then you can toss them and let them sit another 4 minutes or so. 

3. Set aside the sprouts 

4. Add the chopped onion to the pan, as well as the Harvey's. Turn the heat to medium and let the
onions get soft while the Harvey's reduces. 

5. Add crumbled bacon, toasted pecans, and the sprouts, and mix them together. Add a little more butter and Harvey's if needed.

Once everything is tossed together and evenly coated in the Harvey's butter, you're ready to enjoy!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

To the illuminated mind, the whole world burns and sparkles with light. - Emerson

I am continually blown away by the intense beauty of the universe. I am so lucky to live where I do; every moment here is special. There's the quiet of nature, the charm of New England towns, and the best city in the world is just a train ride away.

The reservoir in Redding has always been a favorite spot. There's a rock that you can clamber down to, and while I know it's trespassing I can't help but keep going to sit there and stare out at the water lately. I used to go to the same spot in high school, but I haven't climbed down to that rock in many years. About a month ago I got the urge to go back. It was a totally unexpected thought but totally had to be obeyed. The sun was rising, and I pulled off the road and travelled the familiar route through the trees to my favorite spot. Sitting there, breathing the air, reflecting on my luck to be alive in that moment, feeling the cold rock against my back; I felt a contentedness so powerful it was a physical ache. It's not like the world is perfect or I'm blissfully happy all the time. I was a philosophy major! Of course there's some angst in my soul at all times. ;-) But lately, it's really hard to feel anything but the magic that surrounds me and feel grateful to experience it.

I share with you some of the photos I've taken reservoir-side recently:

I must also share an excerpt from Thoreau's "Walking":

"I wish to speak a word for nature, for absolute Freedom and Wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and Culture merely civil, — to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society. I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make a emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization; the minister, and the school-committee, and every one of you will take care of that. 

I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks, who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering; which word is beautifully derived "from idle people who roved about the country, in the middle ages, and asked charity, under pretence of going à la sainte terre" — to the holy land, till the children exclaimed, "There goes a sainte-terrer", a saunterer — a holy-lander. They who never go to the holy land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds, but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre, without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering. 

He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all, but the Saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea. But I prefer the first, which indeed is the most probable derivation. For every walk is a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit in us, to go forth and reconquer this holy land from the hands of the Infidels."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Endless food, drink, sunshine, and happy memories at The 3rd Annual Greenwich Wine & Food Festival

An incredible experience, the Greenwich Wine & Food Festival on Saturday, October 5th, wins a solid spot in my list of most memorable and enjoyable adventures. From the moment I walked through the gates, I knew I'd entered a foodie Shangri-La. Bright sunlight, free flowing wine and beer, a waterside view, and true culinary masters surrounded me, as did a milling crowd of people who all share the same passion for good times and good food. 

I must sheepishly admit, I was thrilled to receive a press pass and a CTBites "blogger lounge" pass, and couldn't help but feel like a celebrity even as I wandered around starry eyed myself. The whole CTBites model is one I admire, from the content they put out to their logo and branding, and to be included in their list of guests was a special moment. I've always had a passion for food and cooking, and after starting in the restaurant management realm (AGM at Rizzuto's in Bethel), I have made a happy transition to writing about the culinary world. I do feel a pang of nostalgia for the unique culture of restaurant life, but I don't think the long hours are something I could have kept up for long. 

The atmosphere at the festival was so glowingly happy and pleasant, and the appreciation for both the event and the perfect weather was tangible. There was a silent camaraderie among festival-goers who all knew that the people around them were equally as pleased to be in attendance. Even in an incredibly crowded tent full of people stopping at random moments to take pictures, bumping into each other, and becoming increasingly full of alcohol, there was not a single instance of tension that I could detect. We were all just basking in the glow of a great experience. Who could ever be unhappy in the presence of fabulous food, wine, beer, spirits, and a gorgeous view? 

As the day wore on, people lounged by the water and recharged for a second or third spin through the tents, and by 4pm the Southern Bash tent was ready to go. Burgers (Shake Shack wins my vote for best), BBQ, and beer were in unlimited supply, and even with a full stomach and a rosy glow, we pushed on! 

I departed the festival in a euphoric state (yes, I'll admit my wine glass was rarely empty ;-)), and couldn't help but think to myself that I've found my calling and hope against hope that I can keep doing what I have been doing! I feel like a dork admitting it, but a big moment for me was when a stranger stopped me in the crowd and said "I follow you on instagram!" Social media has created such an interesting world! It's not isolating, it's a way to make connections that relate to real life. I think it's so interesting, and I feel so lucky. Nothing makes me happier than being around food, people who appreciate it, being able to document my experiences, and sharing my enthusiasm with others. I am thrilled to be a part of such a dynamic community of bloggers, reporters, photographers, and food lovers. 

For all 117 photos from the day, click here for HamletHub Redding's Album. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Changing Seasons, Changing Dishes: New Fall Menu at Bistro 7 in Wilton, CT

Now that fall is underway and the leaves are changing, there are new offerings on Bistro 7 Wilton's menu! As usual, the menu reflects what is available locally and seasonally.

New items on Bistro 7's fall menu: butternut squash soup, BBQ chicken chowder, crispy kale pizza, speck and herbed sweet potatoes, kale smoked caesar salad, organic wild arugula salad with butternut squash, hazelnuts, pancetta, and hazelnut dressing, seafood risotto, and braised short ribs.

I haven't tried all the new items, but here's a recap of the ones I can offer opinions on. (Note: dishes pictured are tasting portions)

BBQ chicken chowder: This was rich, thick, and smoky. I loved it. Perfect for a cool fall evening, and thick enough to dip crusty bread into to soak up every last bit!

Butternut squash soup: Rich and creamy, with parmesan shaved on top, which I thought was an interesting unexpected choice, but I really enjoyed the background flavor that it added.

Organic arugula salad with pancetta, butternut squash, and hazelnut dressing: An interesting combination of flavors! Slightly bitter arugula, smoky pancetta, and the nutty sweet tang of hazelnuts, which added a nice crunch, too. The butternut squash isn't even necessary, though it's good.

Seafood risotto with scallops and shrimp: By far my favorite dish out of the ones I got to try. It's creamy but not heavy or cheesy, and the seafood is really bright and fresh. The scallops were tender, which is often not the case when they're mixed in with other ingredients (and get overcooked). 

Braised short ribs with mashed cauliflower and steamed carrots: I'm not generally a meat eater, but this was buttery tender and fell apart on my fork. Amazing flavor! The mashed cauliflower was a new experience; I tend to favor potatoes, but I could barely tell the difference because the texture was so similar. 

There are also new desserts, including a bananas foster cheesecake and a pumpkin mousse topped with butternut squash seed brittle. Give either one a try - you won't be disappointed. I dislike bananas, and I dislike mousse...yet I liked both of these desserts. Go figure!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Night Out in Ridgefield Connecticut: Art, Wine, Nachos, and Live Music!

All too often I hear people complain that there's nothing to do around Fairfield County. While it can be difficult to find activities at first, a small effort reveals a myriad of options every single night. My recommendation is to plan your night as an "activity crawl" - a bar/event/restaurant hop. It's the best way to try out new places without committing, and meet lots of new people in one night. In a small area like Ridgefield/Redding/Bethel/Danbury, the key to finding out what's going on is by having as varied a network of acquaintances as possible. Remember, everyone wants to go out and find interesting activities as much as you do! So never be afraid to engage new with new people. The only downside is that it's hard to have a totally free night, so be prepared to spend some money. It's worth it though, and mixing free events with dinners out and ticketed parties is a good way to keep your spending under control. Plus, there are tons of happy hours around the area.

Last night was a great night out and about in Ridgefield! I caught some photos along the way.

6:45pm: Opening reception for new exhibit "Wonderland" at Seven Arts Gallery in the Georgetown region of Ridgefield. Really cool art, a great space, and an opportunity to meet other people who enjoy the local arts scene. Plus free wine is always a plus!

8:00pm: Drinks at Bistro 7 down the road about 1/4 mile. It was hopping! We were lucky to snag a spot at the bar, and just stayed for one drink. Miles to go before I sleep! This is a great spot during the week if you're looking to take advantage of happy hour. It's half price tap beers, wine, and cocktails from 4-6pm, plus half off their awesome bar menu. It's class on a budget!

8:50pm: The Hideaway in downtown Ridgefield for a couple beers and shared nachos. It was pretty dimly lit so I didn't get a nacho shot, but they were delish. Great beer list and really good food. It was much quieter than Bistro 7, and there were some families having late dinner. Another spot with a good happy hour starting at 3pm on weekdays. 

9:45pm: The Bayou in central Ridgefield. Cajun themed restaurant/bar. Pretty small. Nice live music, but WAY TOO LOUD for my tastes. We couldn't hear each other. However, everyone else seemed very happy. They definitely draw people in who are there specifically for the music. They also have a good happy hour during the week. 

A terrible picture! But a good band, Lefty. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pork Tenderloin and Roasted Baby Potatoes with Balsamic, Rosemary, and Shallot Butter Sauce

Pork tenderloin can be a delicious and moist dish, but all too easily it comes out dry, tough, and flavorless - the cost of such a lean cut. Done right, however, tenderloin is a satisfying yet low fat meat. While many recipes for fall tenderloin include apples and cider, I wanted to try something a bit different but no less hearty. After consulting a few cookbooks, I created a sauce that's warm and hearty with an indulgently buttery consistency, yet only uses about 4 tablespoons of butter for 4 servings! The trick was the addition of Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry, an ingredient I didn't see in any of the recipes I consulted, but that I've had success with in the past for bringing out meaty flavors in other dishes. 

I chose to pair the dish with roasted baby potatoes; a very simple two step recipe. 


  • 1lb pork tenderloin, well sprinkled with coarse salt and fresh black pepper, about 2 tsp. each
  • 3 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary (fresh is imperative)
  • 1/4 cup diced shallots
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Harvey's bristol cream sherry (a worthy purchase as it's useful in many recipes)
  • 4 cups sliced baby potatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat 3 tbsp. EVOO a saute pan until almost smoking. Add the tenderloin and sear, about 1 minute, then turn and sear on the other side for another minute or so. Keep turning until all sides are nicely browned. 
  3. Heat a medium saute pan, add 1 tbsp. EVOO, heat over medium heat until shimmering, and add the sliced potatoes. Do not stir; let them get brown on one side, about 5 minutes, then give it a stir and cook another 5 minutes or so. They do not need to get tender, as they'll finish cooking in the oven with the pork. 
  4. Place the pork in a baking pan, (I line with foil for easy cleanup), surround the pork with the potatoes, cover loosely with foil, and pop it in the oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes. 
  5. In the pan used to cook the pork, add 2 tbsp. butter, 2 tbsp. EVOO, and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen browned bits of pork that have stuck to the pan. 
  6. Add the water and brown sugar, stir to incorporate.
  7. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat until caramelized, about 5 minutes. 
  8. Lower the heat and add sherry, rosemary, and remaining butter.
  9. Remove the pork from the oven and let sit, still covered, for 10 minutes. The internal temperature should register 140 degrees. The meat will be SLIGHTLY pink. 
  10. Add all the pork, potatoes, and juices (there will be about 1/2 cup) to your pan sauce, stir it all together so the potatoes are coated in sauce. Then slice your tenderloin into medallions, and serve!
Serves 4 people

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Heirloom Tomato Pasta Pomodoro

I've always loved the light, clean taste of pomodoro sauce. It's much brighter than a traditional marinara sauce, and doesn't require all day cooking to get a rich flavor. Since there was a pile of tomatoes from the CSA slowly over-ripening on the counter, it seemed like the perfect time to try my hand at a favorite.


  • Two cups diced tomatoes, preferably local. Canned tomatoes just don't taste the same! Reserve all the liquid, pulp, and seeds; they're actually where most of the flavor is, and the liquids form the majority of the sauce. 
  • 1/4 lb. spaghetti or cappellini
  • About 5 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste (I used about 1/8 tsp. because I'm weak when it comes to spice!)

This recipe would comfortably serve 2 very hungry people, or 3 people with no leftovers remaining. Adjust amounts accordingly. 

  1. Get your pasta water boiling. Use less water than you normally would; you'll use some of the extra starchy water to augment the sauce. Salt the water; it's the only added salt you'll need. 
  2. Heat EVOO till shimmering, then immediately turn the heat to low and add the garlic. Don't let it brown at all, just let it soften. This will retain a mellow flavor so it won't overwhelm the brightness of the tomatoes. 
  3. Add all of the tomatoes, liquid, pulp, and seeds. Raise the heat and get it bubbling. 
  4. Start cooking the pasta. 7 minutes should do it. 
  5. Add your basil, red pepper flakes, and black pepper to the pan. Keep letting it reduce. 
  6. When the pasta is done, drain it but reserve about a quarter cup of the liquid, and toss it all into your pan. 
  7. Swirl in the butter - the added fat helps everything stick to the pasta. 
  8. Cook the sauce down for a few more minutes over medium heat. 
Now just pour a glass of wine, grate some parmesan for those who like it, and get eating! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Two Days, Two Josh Ritter Concerts

I was lucky enough to attend two Josh Ritter performances (my 8th and 9th) on August 18th and 19th. First at Toad's Place in New Haven, CT, and again at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA. What a great experience both nights were! I got to Toad's Place very early, which landed me a dead center front row seat. At Tanglewood, Josh opened for Grace Potter, so there weren't many people seated yet - I just went and sat in the front, and no one seemed to mind!

At Toad's Place I captured some nice video, and 22 seconds into my video of "Joy to You Baby", guitarist Austin Nevins looks right at the camera. A nice moment to catch!

Here's the setlist:

Here are some of my best stills from Toad's Place:

New Milford, 2011

Friday, August 16, 2013

Get Cooking! Pasta that's healthy enough to enjoy guilt-free.

Today's cooking adventure turned out to be a crowd pleasing success. It's easy and healthy, but totally filling. The only time consuming element is all the chopping...but once that's done, you pretty much just toss it all in the pan and you're done! It's an astonishingly forgiving recipe; you really don't have to measure anything...just eyeball it or adjust based on your personal preferences.
Cavatappi with shrimp, veggies, and bacon
  • 1/2 lb Cavatappi
  • 1/4 lb shrimp, cooked
  • 1 1/2 cup baby peas
  • 1/8 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, chopped (I use Applegate Farms because it's nitrate free)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBS capers, rinsed and minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, diced
  • ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and dried basil to taste
  • approx. 1/4 cup olive oil

Get a pot of water boiling for your pasta, which you'll add at the end. Pour some of the olive oil into a medium saucepan and heat until shimmering over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and saute till slightly transparent, then turn up the heat and let the edges get a little brown. Add the peas, give them a stir. Now is a good time to add your seasonings; just keep sprinkling and tasting till it tastes right to you! I usually use half a teaspoon pepper flakes, a teaspoon each of oregano and basil, and several generous turns of the pepper grinder. 
Now throw in the artichoke hearts, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, and bacon. Stir it all together, add some more oil if needed (remember, you'll be adding pasta so it will "use up" a lot of the oil as it gets coated). Make sure the heat isn't too high; you don't want the bottom to burn. If it starts to stick or look like it might burn, just splash some white wine in the pan to deglaze it (and then pour yourself a glass!) Now you can cook your pasta; I let it boil for 7 minutes, cook longer if you don't like it al dente. 
Lastly, add the bacon, shrimp, fresh cherry tomatoes, and garlic. These don't need to cook much, so by the time the pasta is done they'll be fine. Now drain the pasta, add it to the pan, and stir it all around! Drizzle a little more olive oil if needed (if you're feeling indulgent, white truffle oil REALLY pops the flavors). 
You're done! It'll serve at least 4 people, especially with a salad and bread. Enjoy in good health and good company. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bistro 7 Offers a Locally Sourced Culinary Experience, Biodynamic Wines, Artisan Cocktails, and Ambiance!

Bistro 7, a farm to table restaurant in Wilton, was kind enough to invite me for a tasting last week. I brought a fellow foodie with a long history of restaurant employment, Andrea. I am pleased to report that it we both found the evening to be a pleasurable and delicious experience, and I now have a new favorite place near home. It's all too easy to hit the same spots over and over, and Bistro 7 has given me a reason to branch out.

Upon entering, we were greeted by a friendly hostess and seated at a comfortable deep booth. The owner, Breno Donatti, arrived with a bottle of La Jara prosecco, two glasses, and a warm welcome.

The interior is cozy, but retains an upscale feel with exposed brick walls and old fashioned fillament lightbulbs. It's clear that a lot of thought went into the design of the space, and upon speaking to Breno about how much we admired the attention to details, he explained how his wife had been an integral part of the design process. While comfortable enough to become a go-to favorite spot, Bistro 7 seems like a great "first date" kind of place. The glass divider between the bar and dining area is nicely frosted so the space feels open without being exposed if you're in the deep booths next to it, and the tables across the way are far apart enough for privacy. There's nothing more awkward than feeling like you're nearly sitting with the party next to you. Andrea and I were impressed by how "at ease" we felt in the space - even with a big open kitchen, there was no sense of frenzy or the sounds of slamming pots. An open kitchen is a great touch, but only if the action inside runs smoothly (Andrea and I both worked in a restaurant with an open kitchen, and it was more a source of embarrassment than anything else); clearly Breno and his chefs have everything under control.

The first course arrived, and we dug in. A succotash of kidney beans, corn,  and sugar snap peas provided a tasty bed for pan seared scallops and a drizzle of tarragon pesto. Andrea and I were impressed by the perfectly al dente snap peas, scallops that were still tender (I've had overcooked scallops so many times; what a shame), and the surprising brightness of the pesto.

Next, a glass of Catarrato; a crisp sicilian white with a mineral undertone that paired nicely with a cold salad of white quinoa, marinated red beets, crunchy green apple, sweet potato, roasted corn, red onion,  and raisins with a spritz of lemon juice. I don't know how they make it, but I want to learn the recipe because it was delicious. I've never gotten quinoa to taste that good, or retain any texture beyond "mushy." Kudos to the chef!

Our next wine arrived, Langhe Arneis Meriggiare from Lorenzo Allutto, as well as an explanation of how unique it is. Produced in very small batches by just 10-20 people, it's an organic white yet has a light orange hue. The color is a result of the hand processing; some of the skins remain on the grapes and impart a tint. The Meriggiare was paired with a hearty tomato soup topped with grilled cheese croutons - actual miniature grilled cheese sandwiches floating on the surface. It was tasty, but not the star of the show.

A crispy skinned branzino was next, and proved to be the favorite dish of the night; Andrea and I both finished every bit despite the knowledge that we needed to save room for more. The fish was flaky and moist, and the skin was extremely flavorful. The filet was resting on top of a "farmer's hash" of potato, artichoke hearts, olives, celery, and red onion, which was good but not even necessary - the fish was delicious enough to stand alone. It was paired with a crisp South African Beau Joubert Sauvignon Blanc, which was also excellent and very well matched with the flavors of the dish.

All the while, we were listening to live music that was so unobtrusive I had to ask Andrea, "Is this live, or just a really good sound system?" My ears perked up midway through the meal because "Take 5" by Dave Brubeck caught my attention. I often dislike live music at restaurants because it is too loud, but that clearly isn't a problem at Bistro 7.

Stuffed to the brim, our eyes widened at the site of our next dish: meaty country ribs and truffle fries. Before having Bistro 7's truffle fries, the best I had ever experienced were at Wurstkuche in L.A. It's a close race, but I think Bistro 7's are better. I'm almost upset, because now I have yet another food I must try to resist! They were crispy, really "truffle-y" without being greasy or too heavy; I finished all of mine and then started stealing Andrea's as I whined about being too full. Neither Andrea or I had enough room to eat very much of the ribs, but we both enjoyed them. Lots of tender meat and a house made tangy barbecue sauce. The Honoro Vero organic Monastrell pairing was not like any wine I'd experienced before, likely because I'd never even heard of the grape variety, but I thought the flavor went well with the heartiness of the ribs.

Lastly, we enjoyed a Sandeman 10 year tawny port with a trio of desserts: apple blackberry pie, chocolate brownie with a cream cheese swirl, and raspberry bread pudding. The pastry chef, we were told, is very passionate and inventive. Our waitress excitedly told us about how he just keeps producing better and better desserts. We enjoyed all three, and the fudge-y warm brownie was our favorite.

After the meal, Breno visited our table and we had a great conversation about food, and the importance of eating local. He sources as much as possible from local farms, which I think is fantastic - at the time of our meal, 100% of their produce was from local farms. As commercial agriculture becomes more and more damaging to the environment and our health, I will always support a business that appreciates local products. The one downside, he explained, is that when something runs out, there's nothing to do about it. Most customers, he told us, understood that buying local means there isn't an endless supply, so the occasional shortage has not been much of a cause for complaint. I'm glad to hear it!

Andrea and I are big fans of cocktails, and Andrea does a lot of experimentation with homemade simple syrups, infusions, and new ideas for drinks. We always like to check out a restaurant's cocktail menu, and we told Breno how impressed we were by Bistro 7's. He kindly brought us two of the "sage advice" - organic vodka, sage infused simple syrup, blackberry Chambord glaze, and a squeeze of lemon. We were also impressed by the wide selection of organic biodynamic wines. Bistro 7 is doing an excellent job of supporting sustainable practices.

We departed the restaurant full, happy, and impressed. We will both certainly be returning for more. We have a new happy hour to try! The bar area, a bit more brightly lit than the dining room, features two large screen TVs, but they don't overwhelm the space or give any "sports bar sense." With such a great happy hour menu, I'll certainly be heading to the bar in the near future.