Sunday, September 24, 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Greenwich Food + Wine Festival 2017 Faces

I thought I'd take a different look at the event this year and focus on some of the faces that helped bring about this amazing event. Some you will recognize instantly, some are soon to become famous. I'll post some food pictures tomorrow. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

15 Days to the amazing Greenwich Wine + Food Festival.

We are driving up from North Carolina for this event, that's how good it is. Hope to see y'all there.


15 Days until Annual Event Benefitting the Mario Batali Foundation, The Friends of James Beard Benefits and the Town of Greenwich Parks and Recreation Foundation

 Greenwich, CT – The 2017 Greenwich Wine + Food Festival, presented by Serendipity magazine ([] and benefitting the Mario Batali Foundation, the Friends of James Beard Benefits and the Town of Greenwich Parks and Recreation Foundation, today announced the final schedule and list of participants for both Friday and Saturday’s events:

·      The Master Chef Wine Dinner at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park by the water’s edge on Friday, September 22 will honor famed restaurateur and author Scott Conant (“Chopped”, “Top Chef”), with special guest Adam Richman.  The event will also recognize the Serendipity 2017 Most Innovative Chefs:  Carlos Baez (The Spread), Stavros Karipides (Famous Greek Kitchen), Lisa & Steve Maronian (Sweet Lisa’s Exquisite Cakes), Mike Pietrafeso (Ada’s Kitchen + Coffee), Brad Spence (Amis Trattoria), Ian Vest (Back 40 Kitchen) and Marc Weber (On the Marc Events).  In addition, Festival Ambassador Chefs including Mogan Anthony (Village Social), Rui Correia (Douro/Gaia), Constantine Kalandranis (273 Kitchen), Brian Lewis (The Cottage), Christian Petroni (Fortina), Debra Ponzek (Aux Délices), Nadia Ramsey (Méli-Mélo Catering), Robin Selden (Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning) and David Snyder (Char Restaurant), will serve innovative dishes alongside carefully selected wines and creative cocktails. The evening will be capped off by a live musical performance by platinum-selling southern rock band Big Head Todd and the Monsters (“Bittersweet,” “Broken Hearted Savior”).

·      Celebrity chefs Mario Batali, Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli and Adam Richman will be conducting cooking demos, book signings and mingling with festival attendees during the signature day of the festival on Saturday, September 23.

The schedule for Saturday’s events is as follows:

·      12:00-5:00pm - Grand Tasting Tent, hosting more than 150 food and beverage tastings from vendors:

1893 Pepsi-Cola

Gin Lane 1751 

90+ Cellars 

Got Attitude Vodka


Holiday Inn Express

AlEv Oil Co. / Manolakakis Family Groves LLC  

Hotel Zero Degrees 

Amore Cucina & Bar

Kindred Spirits & Wine

Argana Restaurant

Little Pub

Aruba Tourism 



Manny’s Ultimate Bloody Mary 

Back 40 Kitchen

Mionetto USA

Bakery On Main

My Mix Creative Kitchen


My Provence Summer 

Benjamin Steakhouse

Nit Noi Provisions

Bianco Rosso 

NoMa Social 

Bob’s Red Mill 

Nonno's Trattoria

BomBom Brands

On the Marc

Brotherhood Winery 

Panka Bistro 

Brown Dog Fancy 

Park City Honey Co. 

By the Way Bakery

PC Deli & Catering

Cabot Creamery Co-operative

PepsiCo, Inc.

Captain Lawrence Brewing Company

Pinot's Palette—Paint. Drink. Have Fun.


RISE Brewing Co.

Cayman Islands

Rudy's Executive Transportation

Char Restaurant 


Charles Smith Wines

Salsa Di Parma

Chelsea Piers CT

Stamford Marriott


Stella Artois 

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

Stubborn Soda 

Craft 14 Kitchen & Bar 

Sweet Lisa’s Exquisite Cakes 

Crown Royal

Tea Guys 

CT Cookie Co.®

Tea House Collection

Culinary Works 

The Capital Grillle

Dan Rooney's

The Daily Crave

Deane Inc.

The Drunk Alpaca Bake Shop

Del Frisco's Grille

The Ginger Man

Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits 

The J House

Dig Inn 

The Lodge at Woodloch


The Olive Oil Factory 

Downeast Cider House

The Playful

Drunken Fruit®

The Real McCoy

Early's Edibles

The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood 

Eleva Coffee

Total Wine & More

Fjord Fish Market

Val’s Putnam Wines & Liquors 

Flinders Lane 

Washington Prime 

Fruit Bouquets 

Whole Foods

Garden Catering

Wine Wise 


Woodford Reserve

Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill


Ggachi Bakery

Zesty Z

·      12:00-5:00pm – The Market Place will feature vendors showcasing the culinary world’s newest trends, technology and more. Participants include Chef Folio, Chakarr Jewelry, Colby Davis of Boston Co., Cutco, Diane’s Books presented by Barbara Zaccagnini, India Hicks Lifestyle Collection, Mario Batali Foundation, Sea Bags, The Two Oh Three, WineCards and Wooster Street Meats.

·      12:00-5:30pm – Lawn Games presented by Rhone will include corn hole, giant Jenga and other fun activities.

·      12:30-5:00pm – Ethan Allen Celebrity Green Room will host celebrities and culinary experts and musicians in a luxury lounge while being interviewed by Serendipity contributing editors Chef Matt Storch and Chef Robin Selden.
12:30-12:50pm – Adam Richman
1:00-1:20pm – Scott Conant
1:30-1:50pm – Alex Guarnaschelli
2:00-2:20pm – Kevin Des Chenes (restauranteur and author), Cody Sperry & Chris Sexton (Hoodoo Brown BBQ)
2:30-2:50pm – Samantha Benjamin (The Dessertist), Bill Taibe (Jesup Hall, Kawa Ni, The Whelk), Brian Lewis (The Cottage)
3:00-3:20pm – Mary Giuliani (Mary Giuliana Catering & Events)
3:30-3:50pm – Lindsay Perkins (Lindsay Culinary, LLC)
4:00-4:20pm – Lisa & Stephen Maronian (Sweet Lisa’s Exquisite Cakes)
4:30-4:50pm – Julia Deane (Culinary Works), Renato Donzelli (Basso Café)

·      12:30-6:00pm – Two stages will feature cooking demonstrations from renowned experts and favorite television network stars.
Dacor Kitchen Stage One presented by NuKitchens
1:30pm – Mary Giuliani: Small Bites, Big Drinks
2:30pm – Scott Conant: Risotto 101
3:30pm – Julia Deane: Party Foods
4:30pm – Mario Batali: Human Touch, The Greatest Gift
5:30pm – Angela Baldanza: French Toast with Caramelized Apples

Dacor Kitchen Stage Two presented by NuKitchens
1:00pm – Kevin Des Chenes: Cuisine & Cocktails with Chef Kev D
2:00pm – Adam Richman: Pulled Pork Egg Rolls
3:00pm – Alex Guarnaschelli: Fun Snacks & Nibbles
4:00pm – Samantha Benjamin: Ordinary to Extraordinary Desserts!
5:00pm – Lindsay Perkins: Cake Decorating 101

·      12:45-6:30pm – Meet the Master’s Stage will host tasting seminars with mixologists, brew masters and sommeliers and a celebrity panel.
12:45-1:15pm – Constellation Wine: Internationally Acclaimed Favorites Crafted by some of the Most Esteemed Winemakers
1:45-2:15pm – Woodford Reserve:  Distiller’s Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
3:45-4:15pm – Meet the Masters Panel hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford, featuring Scott Conant, Mary Giuliani, Alex Guarnaschelli and Adam Richman
5:45-6:15pm – Ketel One: A Vodka with Character

·      12:00-10:00pm – Festival VIP Tent, offering private bars, secluded seating areas, private restrooms, private concert viewing area and a special VIP Ambassador Chef Dinner at 6:30pm, featuring cuisine from Ambassador Chefs including Samantha Benjamin (The Dessertist), Arturo Franco-Camacho (Shell & Bones Oyster Bar and Grill), Zach Campion (Bailey’s Backyard), Renato Donzelli (Basso Café), Joe Giordano (Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse), Anthony Goncalves (Kanopi), Michael Kaphan (Purdy’s Farmer and the Fish), Geoff Lazlo (Mill Street Bar & Table), Stephen Lewandowski (Harlan Social, Harlan Public), Forrest Pasternack (Bianco Rossi, Craft 14 Kitchen and Bar), Gregory Peña (The National), Matt Storch (Match, nom-eez), Bill Taibe (Jesup Hall, Kawa Ni, The Whelk) and Luke Venner (Elm) (Open to VIP Ticket Holders only).

·      1:00-6:00pm – Diane’s Books presented by Barbara Zaccagnini, offers attendees the chance to meet the authors behind favorite cookbooks, and purchase a copy for book signings.
1:00-1:30pm - Buzzed: Beers, Booze, & Coffee Brews: Where to Enjoy the Best Craft Beverages in New England with Eric Ofgang
1:30-2:00pm - The Scarpetta Cookbook with Scott Conant
2:00-2:30pm - The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart with Alex Guarnaschelli
2:30-3:00pm - Beyond My Chef Coat: Cuisine & Cocktails with Chef Kev D with Kevin Des Chenes
3:00-3:30pm - Straight up Tasty: Meals, Memories and Mouthfuls from my Travels with Adam Richman; The New Milks with Dina Cheney
5:15-5:45pm - Mario Batali—Big American Cookbook with Mario Batali; The Cocktail Party with Mary Giuliani

·      2:00-8:30pm – The Empire City Casino will offer friendly competition at gaming tables, with dealers offering prizes.
3:30-4:15pm – Fourth Annual Bartender’s Showdown presented by Ketel One, gives area mixologists including Kristina Freitag (Baldanza), Jeff Hodson (Hub & Spoke), Jaime Johel (Craft 14), Juan Meyer (Eastend), Sean Nye (The Spread) and Scott Studwell (Washington Prime) the opportunity to win judge’s and people’s choice awards for the cocktails they create.

·      4:00-6:15pm – Bud & Burgers celebrates the area’s best artisan burgers. Participants include tastings from Bareburger, Brown Dog Fancy, Budweiser, Coals, Dan Rooney’s, Darien Butcher Shop, Hapa Food Truck, Simply Delicious and Westchester Burger Co.
5:00-5:45pm – The sixth annual Burger Battle, hosted by Adam Richman presented by Angela Swift, will crown the top burger in the area, judged Scott Conant, Kevin Des Chenes Alex Guarnaschelli, Robin Selden, Angela Swift and Bill Taibe. Contestants include Bareburger of Rye, Coals, Dan Rooney’s, Darien Butcher Shop, Hapa Food Truck, Simply Delicious and Westchester Burger Co.

·      4:00-8:30pm – The Tailgate Party celebrates one of America’s favorite past times, featuring samples from Anheuser Busch, Caffe Bon, Festivities, Fleishers Craft Butchery, Hapa Food Truck, Hoodoo Brown BBQ, Ketel One, Knot Norm’s Catering Co., Mike’s Organic Delivery, NoRA Cupcake Company, Spiked Seltzer, The Blind Rhino, The Granola Bar, The Greatest Blaze & Co., The Whey Station and Woodfood Reserve. The Bar-B-Que Pitmasters Stage with Chris Sexton, Cody Sperry & Friends will feature grilling and cooking tips, butchery and cuts of meat and more.
4:15-4:45pm – Pit Masters! With HooDoo Brown BBQ’s Chris Sexton and Cody Sperry
5:15-5:45pm – Knife Skills 101 with Wüsthof  
6:00-6:30pm - #KnowThyFarmer | #LoveThyButcher with Fleishers Craft Butchery

·      4:00-8:30pm – The Don Julio South of the Border Fiesta celebrates the bold flavors and festival cocktails from south of the border. Participants include Brasitas, Don Julio, Halstead Ave Taqueria, Little Mexican Café, Pacifico, Sonora Restaurant and Tomatillo Taco Joint.

·      6:00-10:00pm – Saturday Night Intimate Stage & Lawn Dinner will offer guests the chance to mix and mingle with Mario Batali, Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli, Adam Richman and Mary Giuliana over cocktails and oysters by Saltaire. The seated dinner features a three-course meal prepared by Chef Rui Correia of Douro Group with liquor table service, and the best seats in the house for the evening’s live musical performance (Open to VIP Stage & Lawn Dinner Ticket Holders Only).

·      6:30-8:00pm – The Ian Murray Band will kick off the evening’s musical performances.

·      8:30-10:00pm – Platinum-selling rock band Train (“Play That Song,” “Drops of Jupiter,” “Hey Soul Sister” and “Meet Virginia”) will close out the event.

Tickets are now available; visit for ticket options and to purchase, or call 203.588.1363.

The main beneficiary of this year’s Festival is the Mario Batali Foundation. Founded in 2008, MBF raises funds to provide literacy programs, as well as nutrition information and access to emergency food organizations to underprivileged children and their families. MBF also funds pediatric disease research.  Other Festival beneficiaries include The Friends of James Beard Benefits and the Town of Greenwich Parks and Recreation Foundation. 

The event will be held rain or shine, and anyone under 21, including infants or strollers, will not be admitted.  Animals are also not permitted.  Please note this schedule is subject to change.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Wrightsville Beach Brewery- Wilmington, NC

Now here is a brewery that was long in the making, and that wait was well worth it as this place was well thought out and planned. I have been meaning to go to Wrightsville Beach Brewing for some time now and the opportunity arises when my daughter said she wanted to go for her birthday. Fifteen of us showed up and they were very accommodating what with joining tables, splitting bills, and taking care of people from 2 to 65 years old. 

Someone spent some serious time, and some serious cash, designing this place. The layout is quite nice, clean, open, and warm, and the most amazing part is the acoustics. You can actually carry on a conversation with people at your table at a normal voice and not be drowned out. 

The beer selection was quite good with seventeen Wrightsville Beach Brews being offered. well, the waitress said they were out of three, but that still left fourteen. I went with a flight of four for eight bucks to get an idea of their offerings, The two porters were okay, probably would be even better in November in cooler weather. The Ginger beer was good. The Belgian Triple was excellent and warranted a ten ounce pour to follow. The real surprise for me was that I ordered a Kolsch after tasting my daughter's beer. This was the finest Kolsch I have ever had. 

I ordered the shrimp and grits at $14 and I was quite impressed, it had more of a cajun feel than a low country.  The shrimp tasted fresh, the grits were perfectly cooked, and there was just the right amount of a cajun heat to the dish. I am going to try to replicate this at home. 

The rest of our party had pizzas, salads, and crab cake sliders. 

Definitely a place you should check out sometime, I know I'll be back soon and often. Check out their website for more information and directions.