I accepted an invitation to attend the New Haven Food & Wine Festival, which was held on August 25th at the Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament. I found parking on a nearby lawn for $10, and then threaded my way through the crowds enjoying the various vendors and exhibits.
Soon I found the tent where the event was being held.
I arrived an hour after the event started, and the place was absolutely packed.
Spaced among the food tables were three tables serving wine.
I proceeded through the various tables counterclockwise, first taking photographs and then eating. The first table was Barcelona,
which was serving a salt cod esqueixada
and lemon cheesecake.
The next table was the Central Steakhouse and Bentara table.
Central Steakhouse’s New York strip looked absolutely delicious before it was sliced
The dessert was a chocolate marquis.
After that came the Union League Café table.
I asked Jean-Pierre Vuillermet
about the much anticipated Bar Bouchon in Madison, and he informed me that it had just opened. Union League was serving braised beef cheek with Provençal vegetables
and a bittersweet chocolate and milk chocolate pot de crème.
On to Heirloom,
where I enjoyed a housemade blackberry soda and Prosecco float with mascarpone gelato and poppy crumble.
After Heirloom came Bespoke,
whose aromatic chilled mussels were so good I helped myself to several throughout the event.
Having a limited sweet tooth, I only tried a couple of desserts, and thus never tasted Bespoke’s French macaroons.
A short hop, skip and a jump brought me to Geronimo Southwest Grill,
which was offering a prickly pear gazpacho
and sweet potato tamales with Agave walnuts.
I decided to dally at Thali,
Thali was represented by flavorful chicken kebabs (I had many)
and a carrot and red beet mascarpone pudding, while Thali Too was represented by Manchurian noodles with eggplant and shiitake mushroom. Chef-owner Prasad Chirnomula’s portfolio
has been expanding rapidly lately, with a new Thali in Westport, with Chao Chi in Newtown, and with a planned third New Haven eatery which I’ll reveal when the time is appropriate.
Next I checked out Caseus,
which showcased an assortment of farmstead and artisan cheeses, slow-fermented breads and seasonal fruit and nuts, not to mention chocolate and raspberry goat cheese petit fours.
The next table was Ibiza Restaurant,
where a shrimp and baby scallop ceviche
and rice pudding with passion fruit ice cream
were on display.
At the L’Orcio table,
I found the chef-owner
giving out seafood crostini
and handmade bignés filled with strawberry ricotta cream.
Always fun, Foster’s was next.
and s’mores crème brûlées were the featured items.
Miso, which shares some ownership with Foster’s, was serving salmon with karashi sauce
and a summer roll.
had a real winner in its Farmer Jones heirloom tomatoes with applewood smoked bacon in a truffle vinaigrette.
The restaurant also offered gorgeous Swiss confections.
Zinc and Kitchen Zinc were both represented.
Zinc offered a chilled corn and cilantro soup with blue crab salad
as well as a local melon terrine with basil yogurt foam.
Kitchen Zinc offered Hudson Valley goat cheese with arugula pesto, raspberry drizzle and toasted quimoa.
The next booth turned out to be Pacifico,
where pan-seared tuna with golden pineapple guacamole
and dulce de leche cheesecake were featured.
Beyond Pacifico was Claire’s Corner Copia,
where a trio of summer bruschetti
and assorted mini-cakes were being served.
Basta Trattoria, adjacent to Claire’s as it is in real life, featured orecchiette with arugula and local sausage as well as assorted handmade biscotti.
And the last table was 116 Crown Street, which was offering sandwiches of housemade pâté and Taleggio cheese as well as watermelon shortcake.
Some folk were braver than I about precariously loading up on food.
In addition to the restaurants present, I ran into a few other notables. A familiar voice said “Beautiful!” right in my ear, and it was Jacques Pépin, commenting not on me but on the food item for which I was reaching. I resisted the temptation to photograph Jacques—I’ve intruded far too often.
Jacques could have been talking about fellow food writer, Amy Kundrat, who seems to attend every event I do.
Amy was wearing a zebra-striped scarf. But I was supposed to be watching for a pink scarf, so I would recognize publicist Leigh Cashman (left), and finally I found her.
Her companions were Cathleen Decker (center) and Dawn Fitzpatrick (right).
When I stepped outside, I found a fellow cameraman, who was either sick, trying to shoot the pavement or studying images he had captured. Who could tell?
I took a few images of the tennis that was being played that evening (Caroline Wozniacki v. Dominika Cibulkova, I believe), then returned the next day to catch a men’s game in the morning (Evgeny Korolev v. Thiemo de Bakker) and a woman’s game in the afternoon (Elena Dementieva v. Marion Bartoli). The photographs are roughly sequential. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Many of the daytime action shots were taken by my twelve-year-old daughter, Tala Mayumi.