To our great pleasure, Parallel Post invited us to the second dinner of their second annual four-part summer culinary dining series, Farm-To-Trumbull. Inspired by the season and its culinary yield, this event is designed to provide an intimate experience led by James Beard-nominated Chef, Dean James Max; Executive Chef, Chris Molyneux; and Chef de Cuisine, Ali Goss of Parallel Post.
The fabulous evening starts off with a welcome cocktail and a sampling of small bites outside on the terrace, followed by a family-style dinner inside ripe with the season’s finest local ingredients, wine pairings presented by Parallel Post’s resident mixologist, Greg Genias aka “Bootleg Greg,” and closes with delectable desserts.
“The menu for the dinner, like the menus for the entire series, centers around the use of local ingredients and follows the philosophy that natural and sustainable products, and responsible farming, are the key components in ingredient selection. The menu will be inspired by the farms’ fresh offerings of the day and as such, patrons will be invited to embrace their adventurous side with the Farm-to-Trumbull menu being revealed that evening.”
Parallel Post fully supports the local Connecticut farming community and uses local purveyors for a majority of their ingredients – seafood from Norm Bloom & Sons in Norwalk, CT and Foley Fish in Boston, MA; meats from Ox Hollow Farm in Roxbury, CT; organic cheeses, milk and ice cream from The Farmer’s Cow in Lebanon, CT; greens from Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens in Westport, CT; coffee from Shearwater Coffee Roasters in Trumbull, CT.
As we walked onto the patio right outside Parallel Post, are eyes were drawn to a table with the main ingredients for two special cocktails created by “Bootleg” Greg. One jar held a bright green mixture of cucumber juice, cilantro, fresh ginger, simple syrup, and sparkling water, and fresh lime juice; known as Cucumber Fresca. In the other jar was an unnamed (we decided to name it “Carrot Top“) reddish orange mixture of carrots, soy extract, wheat germ, cinnamon and nutmeg. These can be served with or without alcohol. To accompany the Cucumber Fresca, Greg was offering either vodka or house-made cilantro infused gin. He used Brandy for the Carrot Top cocktail.
As we stood around, chatting with other guests and enjoying the amazing cocktails, we were served two appetizers: Bison Tartar and Coffee Cured Salmon. Executive Chef, Chris Molyneux and Chef de Cuisine, Ali Goss enlightened us with stories about how the cuisine was chosen and created.
James Beard-nominated Chef Dean James Max, the chef behind the creation of the “Farm-to-Trumbull” series, mingled with us, chatting about how the inspiration for this series came from the his early life on a farm.
The Bison Tartar appetizer came with grilled Ciabatta.
The coffee cured salmon was topped with flax seed bread and CT Farm cheese. The coffee with which the salmon was cured was supplied by a local coffee company, Shearwater Coffee Roasters in Trumbull, CT. A slight hint of coffee was detected within the delicate flavor of the salmon.
Moving inside, we settled ourselves in the over-sized dining room around a beautifully decorated table. Chef Dean introduced himself and provided us with a glimpse of what was created for our culinary delight this evening.
As mentioned earlier, the meal was served family style which encourages guests to be friendly and get to know one another.
The first course consisted of soup, salad, and a soft-shell crab. Gilbertie’s Green Salad was a light combination of greens, early summer watermelon radishes, and soy-ginger oyster mushrooms with a wasabi green vinaigrette. Yes, those red and white saucers on top are radishes, perhaps the largest radishes I have ever seen.
The Parsnip Soup arrived in a warm bottle which you poured over Norm Bloom clams and greens. The parsnip soup was mild enough to allow the clams to shine through.
The golden brown Crispy Soft-Shell Crab was accompanied by pea shoots and a cayenne ramp aioli.
A Jam Jar sweet white wine was paired with the first course. The sweet white wine proved to be a wonderful choice to go with the seafood and salad. It was light and refreshing.
Moving onto the entrees portion, we were presented with four different vegetables to accompany the “meats” or as entrees for the vegetarians among us: Grilled Asparagus, Warm Purple Potato Salad (not pictured), Fiddle Head Ferns, and Baby Kale. The nicely grilled asparagus was topped with frissee, Manchego cheese, and sherry vinaigrette. The baby kale was enhanced by the roasted walnuts, feta cheese, and pickled apricots. The ferns were served with slightly grilled zucchini. Warm purple potato salad was colorful and well balanced between ingredients.
For the “meats” we dined on Grilled Pork Chop and Montauk Roasted Tuna. Montauk roasted tuna with English pea puree, roasted fava beans, pearl onions, and wheatgrass vinaigrette.
A Route Stock Cabernet Sauvignon was selected to provide a fruity, but rich and lingering red to pair with the heartiness of the meat.
The juicy and tender grilled pork chop came laying on a bed of lima beans, mustard greens, and bacon jam.
Dessert was a trio of Warm Strawberry Crostata, SoCo Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, and Gibertie’s Lavender Creme Brulee. The crostata was topped with cheese crumble and paired well with the SoCo vanilla bean ice cream. The creme brulee was rich and creamy with the prefect level of lavender being present.
Greg made us a Special Dessert to help close out the meal: strawberry puree, yogurt, and Campari popsicle misted with Campari and Absinthe. WOW, is all that is needed to describe these.
What an enjoyable evening – refreshing cocktails, dining on exceptionally fresh, local and good food all while making new friends. The theme of the evening was readily apparent in all of the cuisine presented. Every dish was well balanced, allowing the fresh ingredients to shine and add depth to to each.
Additional scheduled dates for Parallel Post’s 2014 Farm-to-Trumbull 30-person dinner series include Sunday, August 10 and Wednesday, October 8. Parallel Post is working to have the August 10th dinner at a local farm. Visit their website for full details.
A little about Parallel Post:
Chef Dean James Max has infused his farm-raised roots into the Parallel Post located inside the Trumbull Marriott Merritt Parkway. The bold and flavorful menu features modern American cuisine with a Northeastern regional twist. They use seasonal, local ingredients to prepare their contemporary dishes. The menu offers options from snacks to small plates, large entree, and a multi-course tasting menu. Parallel Post serves breakfast Monday through Friday from 6:30 to 11:00 a.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; lunch Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and dinner daily from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. Parallel Post is located at 180 Hawley Lane, Trumbull, Conn.