Connecticut has always been somewhat uncharted territory to individuals living beyond the country – but using a new Hartford-via-New Haven line of Amtrak’s Northeast Regional Corridor opening up the transportation lines between New York City, Boston, and Hartford, places like West Hartford, Simsbury, and beyond are getting increasingly more available to weekend travelers and foodie tourists alike.
Below, we highlight some of our favourite classic and emerging destinations in central Connecticut– specifically, West Hartford, where new luxury hotel offerings, lovely gardens, and also an unbelievable local food community continues to evolve and inspire.
Photo: Manny Vargas
Artisan West Hartford
Fresh off its one year anniversary, Artisan West Hartford continues to inspire patrons using finessed neo-New England cuisine served indoors of what is, no doubt, a real-life version of The Secret Garden. Found in the center of Blue Back Square in the Delamar Hotel, Artisan is available seven days a week and features an expansive 1500 square feet of outdoor pergola and garden area – the very first of its type in the region.
Produced by gardener Renee Giroux (of Bouley Botanical fame), the idea is all about as wholesome and relaxing as it receives: chefs develop the vegetables that they cook with in the garden that surrounds the restaurant, even harvesting things such as patty pan squash, eggplants, and tomatoes only minutes before they’re cooked to elevated dishes that are served to diners in exactly the same garden where they climbed. (That’s about as farm-to-table as it receives.)
Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer’s menu has been influenced by the seasons and as such is constantly changing, however Fall 2018 patrons ought to be on the lookout for your restaurant’s leading crab meat along with tomatillo gazpacho, which features a mattress of succulent crab meat topped with avocado sorbet along with a stunning bright green soup they pour table side for added flourish. Seafood dishes, furthermore, are exceptional, although the wine list is selected with aplomb and dessert is more thoughtful and tailor-made (things such as neighborhood salted caramel goat cheesecake are offered alongside homemade ice cream and olive oil cake).
Those organic ingredients that cannot be supplied by the onsite garden have been sourced from farms that are place, so Artisan can still continue to offer new, artful cuisine yearlong. In style as well as in practice, Artisan honors nearby agriculture and craftsmanship by paying homage to Central Connecticut’s java farms using a series of oversize murals comprising flowering tobacco plants that echo both the lushness and intimacy of the garden just outside. The end result is a setting that’s elegant yet welcoming. To estimate the restaurant itself: “The ambiance of a lush, intimate garden is transportive. ”
Artisan West Hartford, 1 Memorial Rd, West Hartford, CT 06107
Image via elizabethparkct.org
Elizabeth Park Conservancy (Hartford)
Elizabeth Park Conservancy is a 102-acre historic city park listed in the National Register of Historic Places that straddles both Hartford and West Hartford– a shared gem one of the two municipalities. Having a beautiful dahlia garden, a magical duck pond, along with a world-class improved garden on site, it’s a great spot to take the dogs or kids outside for a day spent in nature, and also a lovely spot to run, walk, or picnic among the flowers.
The Elizabeth Park Rose Garden is the oldest rose garden in America– renown because of its lush alleys of flowering heritage roses and it’s ’s copious, expertly maintained espalier. Visitors to your garden can enjoy a meal in the local Pond House Cafe (which also hosts weddings and events ) or do as the natives and get a takeaway lunch from Popover (see below) to enjoy a perfect outdoor meal in the park.
Elizabeth Park Conservancy, 2804, 1561 Asylum Ave, West Hartford, CT 06117
Image through The Delamar West Hartford
The Delamar Hotel & Spa (West Hartford)
Part of what causes Artisan indeed appealing is The Delamar Hotel, where the restaurant is situated. Not merely is it that your Delamar the region ’s premiere luxury hotel destination (including the work of local artists, some delicious free breakfast, and local transport services powered with a Tesla) however the onsite Spa is magnificent, offering many different bespoke esthetician services powered by Biologique Recherche along with Valmont skin care solutions.
Image via The Delamar West Hartford
Services in The Delamar Spa range between noninvasive facelift treatments that use triple micro-current technology to manual lymphatic drainage, hydration eye masks, and blow ups and deep conditioning treatments, along with deep tissue massage, all which can be handled by highly trained, friendly staff. Lots of the spa treatments also take place on an Amethyst BioMat, which provides the benefits of far infrared heatingsystem, which is believed to increase circulation, immune function, and combat inflammation.
The Medspa in the Delamar, meanwhile, offers Coolsculpting, Botox, Juvederm, also Kybella, among other clinically approved health and beauty therapies. Locals can get remedies before going to Artisan for your ideal stay-cation, but traffic to the region may also enjoy the relaxed, curative offerings.
Delamar West Hartford, 1 Memorial Road, West Hartford, CT 06107
Image via Popover Bistro & Bakery
Popover Bistro & Bakery (Simsbury)
We’ve ever had many excellent popovers in our daily life – but not one apparently as motivated as well as inventive as the ones offered in Popover Bistro & Bakery in Simsbury. Popover’s Mission is synonymous with its title: they focus in popovers (again: why doesn’t each town have one of these?!) And salads that are produced from farm-fresh components daily.
Popover aims to source local, healthful, organic products when possible, and they take special care to make allergy-conscious meals with worldwide appeal. Fortunately, the bakery can be available late (as much as bakeries are involved, 8 PM is overdue ) and also on the weekends. It’s ’s a truly modern operation that knows what it does well, which explains why people keep coming back.
Popover Bistro & Bakery, 928 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, CT 06070
Photo by Winter Caplanson
Millwright’s Restaurant and Tavern (Simsbury)
Located within an old mill in addition to a beautiful waterfall in scenic Simsbury, Millwright’s is your vision of nationally renowned and James Beard Foundation nominated chef Tyler Anderson, whose reputation as an unbelievable chef was well known before he emerged on Season 15 of Bravo’s Top Chef (the most recent claim to his foodie world celebrity ).
Because 2012, Millwright’s was serving seasonally inspired New England cuisine that includes micro-gastro triumphs such as Chef Tyler’s signature tapioca custard, “All The Flavors of Clam Chowder,” which is now a guest favorite. Particular care can be given to consciously utilize ingredients that would have been accessible in New England historically– and with the exclusion of citrus and a couple of seasonal requirements that could ’t be grown in the wintermonths, they’ve done a pretty great job of sticking to their origin bioregion.
Photo by Winter Caplanson
As a result, the Chef’s Tasting Menu is certainly the best method to acquire the quintessential Millwright’s encounter, but those that sample man menu items will discover a reason to keep coming back. Just make sure you save room for pastry chef Kristin Eddy’s signature desserts, which by now have a reputation that leads to those who see Millwright’s to desperately advise other people to please save room for dessert.
Not surprisingly, over the years Millwright’s has endured bouts of significant acclaim from review heavyweights such as the New York Times— but more recently, Anderson has expanded his offerings to include The Cook & The Bear in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square (where he functions chef-inspired BBQ) and also Porrón & Piñsome , a brand new tapas-style restaurant in Hartford, each of which continue to establish themselves as local principles.
Millwright’s Restaurant and Tavern, 2424, 77 West St, Simsbury, CT 06070
Image: John Cudworth/Flickr
Emerging Wine Scene, Hiking, Architecture, and Beyond
Towering above the beautiful forests of Central Connecticut, the 165-ft tall Heublein Tower is a stone landmark located atop Talcott Mountain, a country park that attracts hikers seeking beautiful views from the 1,000-foot summit. The mountain’s foliage is very gorgeous (and clearly New England-looking) at the Fall)
Connecticut has historically not been on the map when it comes to wine tasting and agro-tourism, however Rosedale Farms & Vineyards in Simsbury offers both. Stop by for new roadside vegetables and Chef-To-Farm dinners in the Summer, or even move in the Fall for supper picking and timeless New England hay rides with the whole family.
If you don’t have the time to venture outdoors, the historic houses on Prospect Ave along with the University of Saint Joseph make for lovely sightseeing when driving about West Hartford, along with the Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge in West Simsbury is enduringly enchanting in peak bloom. Overall, experiencing any of the place ’s beautiful indoor-outdoor offerings makes a fantastic relaxing weekend getaway for city dwellers, also for people who live nearby… well, exactly what are you waiting for?
The article West Hartford Aims to Be Connecticut’s Next Foodie Paradise appeared on Garden Collage Magazine.
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