Sunday, July 31, 2016

Arezzo Ristorante on the Saugatuck River in Westport CT

Social Media Promotion : Sponsored.   

Everyone has a restaurant that they visit because of its atmosphere.

Winter or summer we all have our favorite places. Whether it's a restaurant with a roaring fire in the winter, or a flower bedecked patio in the summer. We all go to them for reasons beyond the food.

I have one special restaurant in particular that I love to visit because of its location on the Saugatuck River.  It's the Arezzo Ristorante in Westport Connecticut. Their beautiful patio overlooking the river offers amazing views and a special waterfront ambiance. The atmosphere is relaxing and casually elegant.

Dining at Arezzo Ristorante
on the Saugatuck River in Westport Connecticut

The restaurant features a menu highlighting Chef / Owner Vinicio Llanos' favorite regional Italian dishes in a Tuscan-style atmosphere.

I was recently invited to a media dinner at Arezzo and it was one of those balmy warm nights this summer perfect for dining al fresco. Besides the great atmosphere, I also was able to meet a wonderful social media influencer from New York, Irene, who publishes  I on The Valley, featuring great places and events from the Hudson Valley, and New York's Westchester County to Connecticut's Fairfield County.

Great conversation with friends, both old and new, over dinner always makes for a great dining experience!

We started with some cocktails and I went with a summery Limoncello Martini! Nice and crisp and with strong lemon flavor that I loved.

Limoncello Martini

We then sampled some starters, a savory tomato bruschetta and a delicious eggplant crostini.

Eggplant Crostini


We were then seated where we began our wonderful dining experience over a fabulous charcuterie board before moving on to more appetizers and dinner selections.

Charcuterie Board

For our appetizers we sampled a salmon tartare, watermelon salad, and a three-pasta combination platter.

Salmon Tartare

Watermelon Salad

Three Pastas
orecchiette pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe ,
Gnocchi with cherry tomato marinara and shaved cheese, and a hearty seafood risotto

Next we moved on to our entrees, some great seafood and chops!

Halibut with clams and mussels
in a light tomato broth

Pistachio Encrusted Lamb Chop
with Roasted Baby Vegetables

For dessert we enjoyed a Tiramisu while the lights twinkled across the river...


...and over coffee we concluded our dinner with a beautiful moonlit night in Westport Connecticut at Arezzo Ristorante!

Arezzo Ristorante in Westport Connecticut
View of the Saugatuck River

I know you will enjoy the views, food, and atmosphere as much as I do at the beautiful Arezzo Ristorante in Westport Connecticut.

Be sure to visit them soon!

Arezzo Ristorante

5 Riverside Avenue
Westport, CT 06880

Open Monday through Friday 11AM to 10PM
Saturday and Sunday 11AM to 11PM

Disclaimer: I was invited to the Arezzo Ristorante by members of the management and marketing team, however, all views are my own.

© Home Place 2016 Arezzo Ristorante Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The New Red Bee Honey Barn in Weston CT

Social Media Promotion: Sponsored

Back in March of this year I started following the progress of Red Bee apiary's new honey barn and loved seeing Marina's dream and vision for the Red Bee Honey Barn come to fruition. Marina is the owner, operator, chief beekeeper and honey-maker/taster at Red Bee Honey. In other words, she's the Queen Bee!

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when Marina and her right hand bee associate, Kristine, extended an invitation to a small group from our local Connecticut Bloggers group to be the FIRST to attend a honey tasting and lunch in the Red Bee Honey Barn!

The Red Bee Honey Barn

Marina has been beekeeping since 2000, when visiting a neighbor's apiary and realizing her true passion in life. She is now a best selling author, sought after speaker, and frequent television talk show guest on the subject of bees, beekeeping, and honey. In addition, Marina is the founder and president of the American Honey Tasting Society.

We arrived in the early afternoon and Marina gave our group a tour of her farm and apiary and explained the origin of honeybees to the states and the importance of bees to the ecosystem. It is because of the pollination work of those busy bees that we benefit with the production of green vegetation, juicy fruits and vegetables, as well as seeds, nuts, and berries. And in addition to the benefits those foods provide to us, think of all the wildlife that is dependent on that vegetation and food for survival.

Yes, bees are important!

Some members of our group were brave souls and were willing to don bee keeping suits in order to get up close and personal.

While other members acted as chicken whisperers.

After our outside tour, we descended on the new Red Bee Honey Barn for a tour and tasting. The first floor of the barn acts as the storefront and office, and also has a cozy seating area available for intimate tastings.

While the second floor is large and roomy and can accommodate a large group.

We sat at the beautifully set table and proceeded with the tasting. Much like wine, we learned how pairing different foods with honeys brings out the flavor sensations and profiles.

Marina led us through a wide spectrum of honey pairings, from a light Linden Honey partnered with goat cheese and lemon zest, to a deep dark Buckwheat Honey accompanied by a fire-roasted tomato.

Red Bee Honey Tasting

Below is a delicious Red Berry Honey paired with some earthy Bleu Cheese and a sweet date.

Red Bee Honey Tasting

Just like with a wine tasting, Marina walked us through the sensory as well as flavor profiles.

After our tasting Marina provided our group with a true "Farm to Table" luncheon, with a delightful salad made with fresh lettuce picked right from the garden, egg salad made with eggs from her free range chickens, and a delicious cucumber sandwich, again, made with cucumbers right out of the garden. Of course, the salad was accompanied by a flavorful honey dressing!

Farm to Table Salad and Sandwiches

My lunch! Delicious!

And after lunch we sampled a delicious dessert, made from chocolate covered honeycombs. Yes, honeycombs are edible!

Chocolate covered honeycomb

Be sure to check out Red Bee Honey and if you have the opportunity you simply must attend one of her upcoming honey tastings (see upcoming events ==> HERE). Look for Red Bee Honey in local stores in Fairfield county and I know that in the Hartford area Hartford Prints! carries her honey. Don't see it in your favorite CT store? Tell them to contact Marina!

And you can always purchase her honey and line of skin care products online at

Red Bee Honey Apiary and Honey Barn

82 Lyons Plain Rd,
Weston, CT 06883-3020

Follow Red Bee Honey on social media!
Big thanks to Marina, Kristine, and Andrea for being the consummate hosts to our group and for providing us with an educational and rewarding experience!

For more pictures of this event visit the 

Home Place facebook page HERE

and while you're there - don't forget to "like" us!

You can check out my fellow Connecticut blogger's experiences at:

Disclaimer: Our group was invited to this complimentary honey tasting by the Red Bee's management and marketing team, however, all opinions are our own.

© Home Place 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Weekend Brunch at Barcelona Wine Bar in West Hartford

Social Media Promotion: Sponsored
This post contains affiliate links

You didn't think Sunday Brunch could get better right?

Well, it just did!

How could that happen, you ask?

How about adding a SATURDAY brunch to your weekend?

That's right! Barcelona Wine Bar in West Hartford has a Sunday AND Saturday brunch!

So, of course we traveled to West Hartford's beautiful downtown Farmington Avenue shopping and restaurant district to visit Barcelona Wine Bar WeHa-Style and sample their weekend brunch!

Bloody Mary Bar
Design your own Bloody Mary!

I started with a Bloody Mary from the Bloody Mary Bar! So much to choose from but I stayed with my favorite heaping spoonful of horseradish and added some briny olives (stuffed with blue cheese) and some pickles! YUM!  I garnished it with a cucumber, radish, and lemon. And, of course, a thick piece of bacon (or two!) as a stirrer.

Bloody Mary Bonnie Style

Also a popular favorite at brunch was this cool refreshing White Sangria

We also learned about the Porron - a shared drinking vessel that is a cross between a wine carafe and a watering can. One tilts the spout without it touching the lips, opens wide, and drinks away! Of course, the cowboy was the immediate expert. Go figure.

And this is why I love him!
The wine in the porron was a delicious Spanish wine, Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado, Getariako Txakolina.  Nice and fruity and light.

And then the food fest began! What I like most about Barcelona's Brunch, is that although they do have specialty brunch small plates and tapas on the menu, you really have the opportunity to order anything you like! This means you don't have to limit yourself to breakfast-type items, and because we went in the early afternoon, we wanted to try a bit of everything!

Below are some of the items we sampled.

 Pork Belly Bocadillo
with Egg and pickled onions

Spicy Meatballs in a Ham-Tomato Sauce

Grilled Asparagus
With Egg, Shallot, and Truffle

House Made Bacon Steak
Served with a Whole Grain Mustard Sauce

Pickled Beet Salad

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes
With a creamy whipped ricotta topping and sweet maple syrup

Roasted Bone Marrow
Served with beets, green onion, and capers.

Manchego Cheese and Jamón [ham] Croquettes
Served on a creamy bed of garlic aioli drizzled with smoked paprika 

Grilled Duck Hearts
With Red Chimmichurri

Torrijas (French Toast)
Served with a delicious coffee vanilla syrup

Huevos a la Flamenca
served with spinach, manchego cheese and a baked egg

Watermelon Salad
Pickled Red Onions and Feta Cheese

Paella Mariscos
Seafood Paella with prawns, clams, mussels and squid

Patatas Brava
with salsa brava and garlic aioli 

Mangalica Cheese Gravy, Egg, Ricotta

Sardinas  in olive oil

Jamón Serrano
Sliced Spanish Ham

Grilled Summer Squash
in a Red Pepper Aioli Sauce

And, believe it or not, after all that food we found some room for desserts!

Churros with Hazelnut dipping sauce

Dulce de Leche Crepes
topped with coconut ice cream

My personal favorites were

  • Pork Belly Bocadillo, a delicious breakfast sandwich with a bit of an earthy spice to it 
  • Huevos a la Flamenca, a nice balanced dish full of flavor
  • Watermelon Salad, the salty cheese brought out the sweetness of the melon
  • Torrijas, this 'french toast' type dish was executed PERFECTLY, the bread was correctly saturated with the egg mixture making the inside almost custard-like, and the outside crisp and cinnamon-sugary. Hands down the BEST Torrijas I've ever had!

If you are looking for a weekend brunch spot Barcelona Wine Bar in West Hartford is a great place to visit! There's so much to do in the area, and brunch specials are available SATURDAY and SUNDAY!

Barcelona Wine Bar in West Hartford

971 Farmington Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06107
(860) 218-2100

Disclaimer: We were invited to Barcelona Wine Bar's Saturday Brunch by members of the restaurant's marketing and management team, however, all views expressed our are own.

© Home Place 2016 Barcelona Wine Bar West Hartford Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Real Time Web Analytics