We had the great pleasure of attending Parallel Post’s third dinner of their 2nd annual, four-part culinary dining series, Farm-To-Trumbull, at Gilbertie’s Herb Garden located in Easton, CT. The gorgeous afternoon further enhanced this 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 afternoon feast reminded me of my childhood days growing up on the farms of the Midwest when all my mother’s brother’s and sister’s families would gather for a Sunday afternoon of eating and visiting on my grandparent’s farm. That was the good ole days when families gathered on Sundays to relax, enjoy great company and conversation while partaking in a fabulous meal.
Parallel Post uses local providers for a majority of its ingredients – seafood from Norm Bloom & Sons in Norwalk, Connecticut and Foley Fish in Boston, Massachusetts; meats from Ox Hollow Farm in Roxbury, Connecticut.; organic cheeses, milk and ice cream from The Farmer’s Cow in Lebanon, Connecticut; and greens from Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens in Westport / Easton, Connecticut.
Gilbertie’s Herb Garden is an independent USDA Certified organic garden located in Westport and Easton, CT. They grow some of the area’s finest herbs, vegetables, annuals and perennials. Not only does Gilbertie’s offer excellent herbs and vegetables, they have extensive landscape products and educational lectures and seminars that will help with your garden for year-round preparation.
The menu for today’s outing, just like for the series and their restaurant menu, focused on local and seasonal ingredients following the approach that natural and sustainable products are instrumental in ingredient selection. The menu was inspired by the farms’ fresh offerings of the day and could not get any fresher because they came from the farm.
As we arrived at Gilbertie’s, we were welcomed with a Parallel Post Lobster Roll to the enlightenment of our palate. Along the way to see what Parallel Post’s resident mixologist, Greg Genias aka “Bootleg Greg,” had created for the occasion, we sampled the Cheese Platter table offerings of cheese, blue fish dip, fruit chutney, sweet curry corn hummus, artisan crackers and bread. Opting to bypass the Raw Bar consisting of clams, oysters and scallop ceviche for a little while, we arrived at the “bar” where we discovered that Greg had created his version of a “shandy” three different ways as cocktail of the afternoon. Not only did his contain the traditional beer, in this case the Royal Charter Pale Ale from Charter Oak Brewing Company, but, also Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
As others relaxed and sipped their “shandy”, we adventured over to the Raw Bar, where Chef Dean and Chef Chris were busy shucking clams and oysters for us to savor.
After a tour of the farm, we settled ourselves at our white linen covered tables to start the fest of cuisine with the theme of the offerings being food often seen at either a New England / Midwestern family picnic but with a modern day twist. Up first was Chilled Melon Soup with a crispy blue crab ball floating in the smooth and delicate soup.
A variety of salads showcasing the fresh seasonal ingredients included: Watermelon Salad with red and yellow watermelon Gilbertie’s arugula, feta cheese, and spiced walnuts; Tomato Salad with basil bacon aioli; and Farro Salad with grilled peaches, fennel, and Gilbertie’s watercress
The entrée’s were Grilled Block Island Swordfish topped with a sweet pepper chimichurri, and cold South-Style Fried Chicken.
We had several cold sides to accompany the entrée’s: Anson Mills Red Peas; Gilbertie’s Eggplant; Raw Pasta Salad with fresh zucchini and squash dressed with a raw tomato sauce; and Creamy Beets with goat cheese.
Two desserts closed out the family-style Sunday picnic: Strawberry Beet Jello topped with pistachio goat cheese and Summer Berry Strudel. These were the perfect selection for a warm Sunday afternoon, cool, light, and refreshing.
The last scheduled date for Parallel Post’s Farm-to-Trumbull 30-person dinner series will conclude on Wednesday, October 8. Tickets to the Farm-to-Trumbull dinners are available for advance purchase at $75.00 per person. Look for an announcement as to when reservations will be taken for the final dinner.