Follow-Up to 2 x Italian Winemaker Dinner at Max Amore

Last night at Max Amore Ristorante in Glastonbury, over 30 guests were treated to a fabulous dinner and the wines of two of Italy’s favorite winemakers.  Chef Ted Burnett was on his game with a menu that touched on both traditional Italian cuisine as well as influences with a modern twist (see the menu below).

Primo Franco, Mark Conley, Diego Cusumano @MaxAmore

Guests were also treated to wine coming from both the north of Italy as well as the far south.  Starting and finishing with the Prosecco from Primo Franco, a third generation winemaker from the heart of the Prosecco region and his family estate called Nino Franco Winery.  Delicious wines that, as Primo pointed out, “are a way of life and can be great anytime of the day or night as they are light and refreshing”.

In between guests were treated to the deliciously fruit driven wines of Diego Cusumano from Sicily.  From the youthful and value priced Nero d’Avola (a wine featured on the Max Amore wine list) to the fabulous blend of Nero d’Avola and Syrah called Benuara, to the final wine, a 100% Nero d’Avola called Segana, which is sourced from the best vineyards at Cusumano Winery, these wines were as good as it gets.

Next up at Max Amore, Chef Burnett teams up with Max Restaurant Group Beverage Director Brian Mitchell to present a Max Wine & Food School Seminar, theme: Regional Italian Wines and Cheeses.  Feb 11th.  See the Max Restaurant Group website Calendar for full details.

Primo Franco
head of the famed Prosecco house in Venuto, Italy
NINO FRANCO &

Diego Cusumano
of the respected Sicilian winery
CUSUMANO WINERY

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 – 6:30pm
menu created by Executive Chef Ted Burnett

RECEPTION
Prosecco ~ Rustico Nino Franco

COURSE I
Scallop Crudo
Frescobaldi extra virgin olive oil | sea salt
Cusumano ~ Insolio Sicilia, 2010

COURSE II
Berkshire Black Sopressata
grana padano | rustic crostini
Cusumano ~ Nero D’Avola, 2011

COURSE III
Calamari alla Sicily
kalamata olives | capers | melted anchovies | basil |
San Marzano | toasted polenta cake
Cusumano Benuara ~ Nero D’Avola, Syrah, 2010

COURSE IV
Five Hour Roasted Duck
sweet fennel Italian sausage | duck fat with house made linguine | ricotta salata
Cusumano Sagana ~ Nero D’Avola, 2008

DOLCE
Cannoli
sicilian impastata ricotta | candied oranges
Prosecco ~ Nino Franco Valdobbiadene, 2009

Winery Direct Series with 2010 Fess Parker Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills

Max Restaurant Group is First in the Nation with New Wine from Fess Parker Winery

Winery Direct Series Brings Fess Parker Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills, 2010, to market

Most people will remember Fess Parker for his acting roles as Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett in the 1950s and 60s.  He passed away in 2010, but did you know that he and now his family have owned a 715 acres winery and vineyard estate in Santa Barbara for the past 30 years?  That his wines have won countless awards? And that this region grows some of the best Pinot Noir in the country?

The Max Restaurant Group is very pleased to announce that we will be offering the newest wine from the Fess Parker Winery; the Fess Parker Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills, 2010.  In fact Max Group will be the very first location in the country to offer this wine for sale.  We have made special arrangements to list this wine directly from the winery before it becomes available for wider distribution later next year.

As part of this promotion, the $18 glass price will be available for $13 and the customary $66 bottle price will be reduced to $48.  Supplies at these prices are limited and will only last through February.

Stop into any Max location to try this fabulous wine from a great wine region.

 

A little about the Sta. Rita Hills AVA…

First created in 2001, the Sta. Rita Hills viticultural appellation is uniquely situated to receive maritime influences that create the ideal climate for growing exceptional wine-grapes. Inspired by the incredible potential offered within this wine region, a diverse group of talented growers and winemakers are producing some of California’s most exciting Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and other varietals. As with any new region, the winegrowers and winemakers have developed a camaraderie stemming from their love of this region and the excitement of the achievements made thus far.

Sta. Rita Hills is a relatively small appellation of approximately 100 square miles. Intersected by the Santa Ynez River, the cool climate appellation is located between the towns of Buellton and Lompoc in Santa Barbara County, California.

Cool weather, fog, wind and the soils limit vine vigor, crop yield and intensify the flavors of the wines. Distinct geology and geography combine to form an absolutely unique maritime corridor. Two east-west oriented valleys represent some of the most incredible dirt and unique climatic influence in the Pinot Noir world.

Other great growers and producers from this fabulous region include: Brewer-Clifton, Clos Pepe, Foley Estates, Foxen, Pali, Sea Smoke, Siduri, Sanford, and many others.

 

Found on Draft at Max Burger: Relic Hounds Tooth Dark Mild

Since opening, our Max Burger locations (either in West Hartford Center or Longmeadow) have dedicated a tremendous amount of thought to beer.  Finding and selecting just the right brew to run.  Making sure the styles do not get too similar, or that we keep the fan favorites around.  One thing that this attention to detail has given us is the ability and desire to find the unique, local brews.

In West Hartford we have developed a relationship with Mark Sigman, owner of Relic Brewing in Southington, Ct.  Mark is a craft brewer in every sense of the word, essentially brewing small batches out of his garage to get started.  To date, Mark and Max Burger have joined forces regularly to bring Central Connecticut some of the unique and finely crafted brews that are the hall-mark of Relic Brewing.  The latest addition to the line-up is the Hounds Tooth Dark Mild English Ale.

An old school English style which is traditionally malty and dark but lower in alcohol. This one is 5%abv, which is on the higher end for the style. Its brewed with traditional English malts, hops and yeasts including various types of chocolate malts, and dark crystal which combine to give some burnt raisin, caramel and hints of roasty chocolate. Some fuggles hops lend some spicy earthiness.

Delicious, smooth but still a unique small batch brew, this is perfect for cold weather sipping.  Limited time only.

 

House-made Kegged Sangria now online at Trumbull Kitchen

Kegged Sangria at TK
House-made Kegged Sangria online at Trumbull Kitchen

This afternoon, I made a batch of Sangria at Trumbull Kitchen and loaded it up online so that it now pours fresh from a draft line.  The advantage is that I can make it in larger batches for better consistency from glass to glass, it stays fresh under a blanket of gas, which also helps to give it a bit of carbonation, and we can get it to your table quick and easy.  Great summer cocktail, my Sangria is a blend of Red Wine, Spanish Brandy, some fresh fruit juices, Agave nectar and Orange Liqueur.  Give us some feedback when you taste it – I can always adjust the recipe based on guests tastes.

Brian Mitchell

Introducing Our Newest Team Member!

Both sexy and sophisticated, this team member will go a long way in seducing guests and helping to improve our image. Showcasing lovely curves and a graceful smile. Durable, strong and fun to hold. Sometimes shimmering with exotic spices. Sometimes classically dressed for a night on the town. And sometimes just lazing away the afternoon on one of our patios. I hope this team member is seen all over (and everyone wants to be seen with them). We interviewed a lot of candidates, but in the end we had to go with this choice; everyone loved the look, everyone loved the feel, and everyone loved the charm. Introduce this member to anyone and everyone, they really have a great spirit for the job…Our new coupe cocktail glass: Cardinal #794278 Continue reading “Introducing Our Newest Team Member!”

Barrel-Aged Cocktails Begin at Max Fish

While it will take about 3 months for the cocktail to finish, we started to make it this week.  Yes, that’s a 3 month window of production.  Sounds like a long time to wait for a drink? Not really once you taste the results.

The Barrel-Aged Cocktail has been making it way around the country and is now firmly in Connecticut at the Max Restaurant Group.  We started this week with a variation on the Manhattan by blending Hudson White Corn Whiskey from New York’s Hudson Valley with Doling Dry Vermouth from France and just a touch of Regan’s Orange Bitters from Louisiana.  We didn’t make just one drink, though – we made a barrel full of it – 5 gallons to be precise.  This mixture is taking its time mellowing and coming together in an oak barrel that previously held whiskey from Hudson Distillery.  The idea is that over the next few months the cocktail’s elements will have the opportunity to really meld with each other, pickup some color and sweet vanilla flavors from the barrel and be affected by the slow integration of oxygen – an element typically not found in cocktails.

The end result will be a smooth and mellow Manhattan that is easy to drink and delicious to sip.  We plan to make it available early to mid-June, or when the drink is ready.

We will be expanding this concept at Max Fish, as well as introducing it at Trumbull Kitchen and Max Oyster Bar.  We are planning on doing a tasting event featuring all the variations we mix up sometime in June. Perhaps you can let us know which are the best combinations??

 

Big Cocktail Dinner Tonight at Max Fish

Maxologist Dave Bouchard Building the Cocktails

Tonight Dave Bouchard and Dave Sellers presented a great dinner featuring some innovative cocktails based on classic styles and food pairings to match.  Despite (slightly off)weather we had over 40 people venture out to experience this dinner and enjoy the creative process happening at Fish.  Dave Bouchard has created a serious craft cocktail culture with his staff and they are creating delicious cocktails, as was on display for dinner tonight.  Here is the lineup that we featured:

Chef Dave Sellers Doing What He Does Best

Aperitif

Gougeres / Trout mousse / caviar

Kir Royal-classic sparkler with a twist

Massenez de Dijon, fresh orange, Prosecco, lemon oil

Daiquiri

Cuban Wedding shrimp / Jumbo shrimp / myers rum / orange juice / jalapeño

Lemon Thyme-the original daiquiri, elevated; savory and refreshing

Puerto Rican white rum, lemon-thyme syrup, citrus, Jamaican dark rum

Martini

Thai steamed red snapper / tamarind / ginger / lemongrass

Tamarind Kiss-exotic but familiar; each sip invites another

Ginger infusion, tamarind and citrus, notes of vanilla

Manhattan

Rye glazed “bacon” / roast pork tenderloin / stone ground grits

Green Point-smooth, spicy and convincing

Old Overholt rye, Yellow Chartreuse, Punt e Mes

Flip

Marcona almond cake / sherry sabayon

Pedro Ximinez-rich, creamy and complex

Pedro Ximinez sherry, orgeat, egg, nutmeg

Ilegal Mezcal Now at Max Fish

We tasted the Ilegal Mezcals this week and decided that these were must haves for our bar.  The style of the mezcal is much different than its cousin Tequila as the agave is usually roasted in stone lined pits where the smoke from the charcoal is allowed to mingle and add to the flavor of the final beverage.  Ilegal is a great brand and we will be offering the three styles (Blanco, Reposado and Anejo) either individually or in a flight of three.

Check the atatched video for a great discussion and explanation on the Ilegal Mezcals.

Randall Grahm at Max Downtown Tonight

Tonight was another enticing evening at Max Downtown with a great culinary adventure based around the wines of Bonny Doon Vineyard from California.  Owner Randall Grahm has made a few appearances over the years at Max’s, and tonight added another chapter in this adventure as he discussed and amused guests with his fabulous wines and Max’s cuisine.  Randall is as lively as ever and we really enjoyed the wines, most focusing on Rhone varietals but with a few side-trips to Spain and other regions.  Tasty food pairing wines all the way.  Great stuff…Thanks Randall!

New Batches of Brewtus Maximus Pale Ale

A double batch of Bretwus Maximus was created this morning starting at 4am.  We will have these in house in about three weeks – fresh as can be.  The smell of the hops as they are going in the kettle is delightfully spicy, herbal and fruity all together,  Mixed with the sweet, malty aromas of the grain – and you have beer heaven.

Click here to see a short video: Brewtus Maximus

Jean Trimbach at Max Oyster Bar Next Week

While you are still deciding what to do for Valentine’s Day (we suggest a visit to one of our locations with your favorite person) consider attending this great dinner next week with one of our favorite wine producers, Jean Trimbach.

The Trimbach family has been making wine in Alsace since 1626, and we are very fortunate to have Jean Trimbach (pictured on  the left) and his family’s wines at the Oyster Bar for this dinner.  We will be featuring the classic wines of Trimbach along with some very special selections from their Grand Cru sites and Late Harvest sweet wines.  Executive Chef Scott Miller has prepared a very intriguing menu based in large part on ingredients found in and around Connecticut.  Join us for what should be a culinary winter highlight.

Special Valentine’s Day Cocktails at Max’s

All of our MAXologists have been working hard to create new and innovative cocktails to feature over the next few days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Each cocktail has a unique style created by the local bartenders at each of our locations, and most of them will be featuring Mionetto Prosecco, a lovely sparkling wine from Italy, as the main ingredient. Loads of fresh ingredients from raspberries to edible orchids are being used. Make your reservations today or just stop by one of our taverns for a great, original cocktail, such as Mike Mills’ “Downtown Love” from Max Downtown in Hartford.