It was a beautiful, sunny day on July 21st as we headed to the spectacular Riverfront Boathouse located in Riverside Park on the Connecticut River. We were excited to attend the Max Restaurant Group’s 2ndannual Dinner on the River featuring Max Downtown Executive Chef Chris Sheehan and Max’s Oyster Bar Executive Chef Hunter Morton with wine and cocktail pairings by Max Downtown Sommelier Justin Gavry and Max’s Oyster Bar award winning mixologist Derek Vitale. It was sure to be a culinary highlight of the summer!
The evening started off fabulously with a cocktail reception featuring a locally sourced forager cocktail that was absolutely delicious blending St. George Green Chile Vodka with fresh squeezed watermelon juice, lime and club soda. A Sparkling Silver Label by Hopkins Vineyard was also served while we tasted blue point oysters, local cheeses, chowder stuffed clams, grilled oysters with aioli and watermelon and pork belly.
As we sat expectantly waiting for the first course to begin, we all noticed some ominous clouds looming overhead. We were poured a Jonathan Edwards Estate Pinot Gris and served a Stonington Fluke Crudo with buttermilk, radish and rhubarb which were delightful. The Max team informed us that the weather was not looking good and that we may have to head into the Boathouse as a brief rain shower passed by. No sooner had they ushered us all into the Boathouse, the sky unleashed a torrent of rain with thunder and lightning. Lucky for us the Max team continued to pour some amazing Connecticut wines and we got to experience the lovely Boathouse covered pavilion while we waited out the storm and watched a beautiful double rainbow appear over the river.
Then, within what seemed like minutes after it stopped raining the Max team repositioned the tables out of the muddy grass, reset them with fresh linens and tableware and continued the event as if nothing had happened. It truly showed the professionalism and expertise of the Max team and while the rain could have really put a damper on the event, instead it allowed an opportunity for the staff to really shine…and they did!
We continued the amazing night with 4 more courses and dessert, enjoying the following:
Lobster Terrine with green gazpacho, watermelon and pea tendrils paired with a Jones Family Vineyards Chardonnay; Rosedale Farms Corn Flatbread with smoked potato, sweet corn and shaved Australian black truffle paired with Sunset Meadows Twisted Red; Grilled Rhode Island Calamari with paella stuffed squash blossom, Stonington royal red shrimp and chimichurri paired with Lost Acres Riesling; Roasted Red Wattle Pork Loin with summer heirloom beans, smoked pulled pork and tomato gravy paired with Wölffer Estate Cab Franc; and a Brown Butter Peach Upside Down Cake with raspberry compote paired with a SOG-Peel Martini. It was all absolutely phenomenal and I will definitely be attending next year!
You don’t want to miss their Chef to Farm dinner series, which are amazing events held at our local Connecticut farms. Your evening begins with a wine or beer tasting reception (depending on the theme); then you’ll head out for a tour of the farm to see the fields and learn about the farm’s history, operations and products. Your tour concludes in the tented area where tables dressed in white linen and candlelight offer a view of the al fresco kitchen. Each dinner is cooked from scratch and showcases that day’s best produce. The ingredients are sourced daily from local farmers, ranchers, food artisans and fishermen. Menus will vary depending on the day’s harvest and the inspiration of Chef Scott Miller, co-founder of Max Chef to Farm. They’ve even been named one of the five top farm dinners in the country by Fodor’s Travel. Here’s a listing of upcoming events not to miss! Visit http://www.maxcheftofarm.com/
Sunday, August 30: Farm Fest 4:00pm – 8:00pm at Rosedale Farms & Vineyards, Simsbury, CT
Thursday, September 3: The Crop Up Pop Up 5:30pm at Sub Edge Farm, Farmington, CT
Sunday, September 13: Farm Fest 4:00pm – 8:00pm at Rosedale Farms & Vineyards, Simsbury, CT
Thursday, September 17: The Vegan Table 5:30pm at Rosedale Farms & Vineyards, Simsbury, CT
Sunday, September 20: Dinner in the Orchard 5:30pm at Hickory Hill Orchard, Cheshire, CT
Sunday, September 27: Brunch on the Farm 11:00am at Sub Edge Farm, Farmington, CT
Sunday, October 11: HOPtoberfest by MAX 2:00pm – 6:00pm at Rosedale Farms & Vineyards, Simsbury, CT
Dr. Diane Hayden is an experienced entrepreneur and the owner and publisher of Natural Nutmeg and Essential Living Maine Magazines. Dr. Diane has spent over 20 years in the health and wellness industries as an Assistant Professor at Central CT State University, St. Joseph’s College, New York Chiropractic College and Manchester Community College. She led the Education Division of Designs for Health, a physician only line of nutritional supplements, and was instrumental in designing, planning and promoting educational seminars for healthcare professionals in the areas of nutrition and practice development. She is a published author in numerous peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Applied Physiology, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise and the Journal of Gerontology. In addition, she has a professional speaking and coaching business, Dr. Diane Speaks, LLC, and travels nationally to speak and present spiritual and personal development workshops. Dr. Diane is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a BS in Marketing, and earned her PhD in Exercise Physiology from the University of Maryland. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, running, and traveling.