6 of Our Favorite Winter Trends

winter trends

We’ve got the scoop on what’s new, what to do and what’s going on in Westchester and Fairfield Counties, New York City and beyond. Check out six of our favorite trends this season—everything from food to makeup to shoes.

winter trends

Bottles & Baubles
Celebrate the season with Chandon’s limited edition BaubleBar holiday bottles. Available in brut ($26) and rosé ($28), they feature artwork inspired by BaubleBar’s tassel jewelry. BaubleBar in turn has released a Chandon Squad necklace ($48), with a pavé diamond star. Says BaubleBar cofounders Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky: “We were excited to partner with a like-minded strong female leader to create a gorgeous BaubleBar limited-
edition necklace featuring Chandon’s shooting star, and two sparkly pink and gold bottles that make the perfect gift or accessory for any holiday party.”

 

winter trends

Hawaii Without the Flight
Poke bowls—marinated raw fish mixed with rice, vegetables and sauces—are a Hawaiian delicacy, but you don’t have to get on a plane to try it. The newly opened Bango Bowls, in Scarsdale, NY, and Fjord Fish Market in Cos Cob, Darien, Westport and New Canaan, CT, and Larchmont, NY, both serve the trendy dish. “I think that the combination of healthy, fast and delicious is tough to beat,” says Jim Thistle, owner of Fjord Fish Market. “People love to share pictures of them on social media.” At Bango, vegetarians are also catered to with the Feel the Beet poke bowl, made with kale, quinoa, roasted beets and a blood orange shallot sauce. At Fjord Fish Market, the poke bowls (shown here) are made with the fresh seafood the fish shop is known for, including raw tuna or salmon, and cooked salmon or shrimp.

 

winter trends

Route 66 Revisited
The new book, 66 on 66: A Photographer’s Journey, showcases renowned photographer Terrence Moore’s shots of this iconic road, with text by Pulitzer Prize-nominated historian Michael Wallis. Moore first traveled the famous path from Northern Minnesota to Southern California as a child. “I delivered newspapers on 66, went to high school…and during those years I watched as all the orange groves disappeared and houses popped up.” Readers will learn how the road has turned into such a cultural icon. Says Moore: “Seeing the vistas, talking to strangers, stopping to take photos of something interesting…hitting the road has a very special place in my heart and soul.” $20.49

 

winter trends

Makeup News
Cosmetic brands have released their palettes for the holidays. The Sephora Collection Enchanted Sky (above top, $18) and Enchanting Colors (above bottom, $18) options offer bold colors, plenty of sparkle and pretty packaging. Hard Candy has several color-rich versions, including the Glitter Cream palette (above middle, $6), which is full of shimmer, and can be layered or worn alone.

 

winter trends

winter trends

Winter Adventures
Fans of Telluride, Colorado love its world-class skiing and snowboarding. But those looking for a different type of thrill should visit The Hotel Telluride and sign up for the Two Picks and a Prayer package (available January thorugh early-April). Travelers will go on a half-day ice-climbing adventure, and enjoy massages and après-climb cocktails and charcuterie. From $1,739 for three-night package

 

winter trends

Cozy Shoes
Allbirds wool sneakers are the equivalent of a soft sweater for your feet. Created by New Zealand-born Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger, they use sustainable merino wool and sugarcane to create an incredibly comfy shoe, perfect for fall and winter wear. The newly opened flagship store on Spring Street in Manhattan was created with the Partners & Spade firm, using natural, renewable materials to create a relaxed experience for fans of the brand. 

Dress it Up with These Winter Party Picks

Party Wear for Winter

Update your look for the winter party season with the latest cocktail attire, jewelry, accessories and shoes.   

  1. Lake Studio M.O. exclusive silk slip midi dress, $580
  2. Marc Cain Dress with reversible sequins, $590, The Westchester, White Plains, NY
  3. Jimmy Choo Lisha plexi crystal star heel, $2,450
  4. Giuseppe Zanotti Tricia red velvet sandal, $1,495
  5. Alex and Ani May ring wrap with Swarovski crystals, $28
  6. J. Crew Glass bead bracelet, $80
  7. Tibi Sequined double waist full skirt, $995, and Cozette alpaca cropped pullover, $350
  8. Club Monaco Kessi jumpsuit, $328
  9. Judith Leiber Shooting star clutch, $4,995
  10. Amanda Pearl Octo clutch in ivory dutchess, $575
  11. Emm Kuo Brerra naughty/nice clutch, $950

(Shown above, from left to rightLK Bennett Hutton jumpsuit, $895, The Westchester, White Plains, NY; Gucci GG Marmont velvet clutch, $1,200Three Floor Jade dress, $492Valentino Garavani resort sandal, $2,345, Fifth Avenue, New York, NY; Oscar de la Renta Silver pearl and baguette necklace, $950; Ranjana Khan Niteroi-S earrings, $390

Bar Carts: How to Put Together a Bar Cart You’ll Love

bar carts and accessories

Today’s bar carts are as much about décor as functionality. With the right tools, you can create one that looks great in your space.

Liquor Lineup

“At-home bar carts are essential to any bartender or someone who likes to entertain friends and family. It’s the equivalent of a kitchen to a chef,” says Katherine Allen, a mixologist/bartender formerly with Harlan Publick in Norwalk, CT. The most common? Bourbon, gin, vodka, rum and tequila, she says. “You can always interchange what is on your bar cart, varying by season, whether you want a more refreshing summery cocktail, like a mojito, ramble, or margarita, or something to warm you up on those cold winter days like an old fashion, manhattan, hot buttered rum, hot toddy, paper plane, classic or mezcal negroni,” suggests Allen.

Bitters, Mixers & More

“An easy and impressive way to add aromatics, interest and depth of flavor to your cocktails is to add bitters,” says Kate Fiore, bar manager at Match in Norwalk, CT. “One should always have angostura and/or peychauds bitters on hand.” Also key are garnishes like cherries, oranges, lemons and limes, as well as syrups and fresh juices. “Playing with infusions is also always something I encourage people to do,” she says. “You can put a vanilla bean in a bottle of vodka and in three days or so, voilà: Vanilla vodka for a delicious after-dinner white Russian.”

 

bar carts liquors

  1. Breuckelen Distilling Project 1: straight bourbon, wheated, bottled in bond, $480 for 750ml, Astor Wines & Spirits, New York, NY
  2. Aviation American Gin, $31 for 750ml
  3. Ron Barceló, Imperial ONyz Rum, $40 for 750ml, BevMax, Stamford, CT
  4. Codigo 1530 Rosa tequila starts at $60 for 750ml
  5. Absolut Grapefruit vodka, $20 for 750ml, Stew Leonard’s Wines 7 Spirits, Norwalk, CT
  6. Fever Tree, Aromatic tonic water, $5.99 for 4-pack of 200ml
  7. Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., Lavender bitters, $12

Choose Your Style

The look of your bar cart can match the style of your home (like mid-century modern or traditional), or simply be a look you love. “It’s fairly easy to put together an at-home bar,” says Allen. “Make it fun with unique glassware and [by] displaying tools.”

bar carts

  1. Crate and Barrel Libations antique brass bar cart, $600, Westport, CT
  2. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Melrose bar cart, $2,070, Greenwich, CT
  3. Serena & Lily Monaco bar cart, $498, Westport, CT
  4. Restoration Hardware, Vintage wallpaper factory bar cart, $1,995, Greenwich, CT
  5. Asprey The Ritz-Carlton cocktail trolley, $78,740

Complete Your Cart

Complete your bar cart with décor, tools, and extras:

On the Market: Beach Houses

beach houses on the market

Wake up and feel the sand between your toes any day of the week with one of these
spectacular waterfront homes, from a Barbados mansion to a modern montauk estate.

Montauk, NY

Address: 42 Old Montauk Hwy
Bedrooms: 5
Baths: 5
Square feet: 7,000
Price: $48 million

Laid-Back Beachfront Living

Celebrities and those in the know are moving to “The End,” choosing Montauk for its more relaxed, quiet lifestyle over the tonier precincts of the Hamptons.

beach houses on the market
A wide wrap-around deck surrounds the second floor of this beach house in Montauk, NY.

“Montauk as a summer destination is becoming more popular as the East Coast’s answer to Malibu,” says Kathleen Coumou, real estate agent at Christie’s International Real Estate. “Celebrities are gravitating there in droves.” This modern beach house designed by architect Frank Hollenbeck was inspired by a Chinese tea house. The blue tiled pagoda roof and floor-to-ceiling windows and doors are not only beautiful but also practical, set on a steel super structure and able to withstand winds up to 100 miles per hour.

beach houses on the market
Honduran mahogany quartz and marble materials add to the sleek design of the master bedroom.

The wide, sandy beach offers the best surf casting as well as incredible privacy. There are only 11 oceanfront homes on two miles of beach in the exclusive enclave of Montauk Point.

beach houses on the market
The circular stairs designed by Hollenbeck are a work of art.

Contact
Kathleen Coumou
kcoumou@christies.com; 212-468-7140

Barbados

Address: The Garden, St. James
Bedrooms: 10
Baths: 10
Square feet: 17,000
Price: $40 million

Elegant Caribbean Cove

There is a reason Prince Harry, Mark Wahlberg, Rihanna, Bruce Willis, Sting and Hugh Grant, among others, have all retreated to Cove Spring House at one time or another.  Sitting on a coral cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, the mansion was designed using coral stone, a hallmark of Caribbean aristocracy.

beach houses on the market
Cove Spring House is set on 1.3 secluded acres but minutes from shopping, dining and golf.

“Its Palladian/Georgian open-architecture brilliantly captures the inherent beauty of the island, maximizes natural light and allows trade winds to cool the home,” says Rae Stollmeyer of Barbados Sotheby’s International Realty.

beach houses on the market
Two first-floor bedrooms have direct access to the covered patio.
beach houses on the market
The home’s secluded beach is protected by the reef.

Set on a small, secluded beach only accessible from the mansion, the residence is minutes from shopping at luxurious Lime Grove Centre and a short distance from the Royal Westmoreland, Apes Hill and Sandy Lane golf courses.

beach houses on the market
Guests are welcomed into a formal entry designed in coral stone.

Contact
Rae “Muffin” Stollmeyer
muffin@barbadossothebysrealty.com; 246-253-5857

Vero Beach, FL

Address: 1840 South A1A
Bedrooms: 5
Baths: 7 full, 2 half
Square feet: 8,400
Price: $7.9 million

Florida Treasure

Located in the Estate section of A1A where gated, oversize lots stretch all the way to the Atlantic, this recently-constructed oceanfront home is the neighborhood’s newest addition and stands out among its peers for its fresh, transitional style as opposed to the more common British West Indies look of other homes in the area.

beach houses on the market
The travertine tiled pool deck provides exceptional ocean views, as the first floor was constructed nearly 20 feet above sea level.
beach houses on the market
The house is lushly landscaped on more than two private acres with a dune crossover to protect native vegetation.

“Called the ‘Treasure Coast’ for the riches that washed up on its beaches centuries ago from shipwrecks, there’s still plenty of ‘treasure’ turning up in Vero Beach,” says Cindy O’Dare, broker associate at Premier Estate Properties. “Our coastal town on Florida’s Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean has been called the Hamptons of Florida.” The area was recently ranked by CNN as one of the best places to invest in real estate, adds O’Dare. Amenities abound here: two private clubs, shopping, dining, art galleries, museums and equestrian and boating opportunities provide endless entertainment.

beach houses on the market
The 40-foot vanishing edge pool with flush spa and sun shelf has a gem coat finish and travertine coping.

Contact
Cindy O’Dare
cindy@premierestateproperties.com; 772-713-5899

Annual Turkey Trot Supports Greenwich Schools

The Greenwich Alliance for Education held their 8th Annual Turkey Trot, with over a thousand participants registered for the 5k or the 1-mile run. The Alliance, which began in 2006, supports the Greenwich public school system by funding innovation, expanding opportunities and inspiring educators. The event included the “Run for Your School Competition,” where the Greenwich school with the greatest participation won a gift card to be put towards physical education equipment.

“This friendly competition, encouraged by our school principals and promoted by the PTAs, certainly brings out enthusiastic students and their families and helps us raise money for our many programs” says Julie Faryniarz, Executive Director.

The race followed a course that weaved through the scenic flat roads of Bruce Park, before ending at the Arch Street Teen Center. Race Director Joan Lynch was thrilled with the success of this year’s trot. “This race is such a fabulous community event, promoting a healthy lifestyle as well as community service, with a large number of students running or volunteering with us. It’s a huge coordinated effort by so many people, bringing together Greenwich and the surrounding communities, to raise funds for such a wonderful local organization,” she said.

Take Your Italian Cooking to the Next Level with Scott Conant

italian cooking with scott conant

There are few things sweeter than an Italian grandmother cooking a pot of fresh cavatelli for her loved ones in the Tuscan countryside. Picture: a table filled with family and friends, laughter, olive oil and a local guanciale (aka cured meat).

For Scott Conant, best-selling cookbook author, judge on Food Network’s Chopped, and owner of four upscale Italian restaurants, this familiar vision from his own childhood represents the foundation of quality cooking. From braising meat to boiling pasta, he believes that the key to elevating Italian cooking is in the basics. This is his best advice for taking your cooking to the next level.

Learn the Foundation

According to Conant, a good nonna’s cooking has multiple layers and a soulful, long-lasting quality that fills up your palate. “The last thing you add to a dish is usually the first thing that you taste, and then it goes backwards from there,” he says, emphasizing the importance of the “soffritto,” or foundation. “If you don’t have the foundation in place, it’s really hard to identify something to stand on to lift you up,” he says. That’s why it’s so important to truly understand those commodities of the Italian kitchen—searing, roasting, mixing vinaigrettes, even boiling pasta. “You really should learn how to do these things the way an Italian grandmother would do it. And then you can evolve and move forward from there,” Conant advises.

Stock Your Kitchen

In addition to the basics (extra virgin olive oil, crushed red pepper, sea salt, garlic and pasta), Conant always keeps a few extra staples in the refrigerator—like bottarga, guanciale, or “a good salume.” These special ingredients, which can sit in waiting for a few weeks, are often the next step in elevating a simple dish—once you master the basics, of course. “Maybe that spaghetti aglio e olio is a starting point for what becomes a
spaghetti with clams,” he says, “or spaghetti with shrimp. [But] you have to know how to make a spaghetti aglio e olio before you know how to make a spaghetti with clams or a seafood pasta,” he says.

italian cooking with scott conant
Woodfire-roasted shrimp with ‘nduja butter

Know Your Oils

Extra virgin olive oil is widely considered the highest quality variety with the most robust flavor, and Conant almost always cooks with it. The exceptions: searing meat and mixing a
vinaigrette. In the case of the former, extra virgin olive oil will likely darken and lose its
flavor, while just the opposite may happen in a vinaigrette. “Straight extra virgin olive could be overwhelming for the rest of your vinaigrette,” he says, “so cut that with another oil that has a neutral flavor profile.” That could be avocado, sunflower, canola, or even melted brown butter.

Salt the Water

When boiling pasta, Conant says it is “shocking” how many people don’t put salt in the water first. “It sounds simple and it sounds pretty basic, but you should add enough salt to the water that it tastes like broth,” he says, advocating for a handful or even more. “It’s a lot, but you’re not consuming all that salt. You’re seasoning.”

Utilize Mother Nature

When it comes to vegetables, Conant recommends roasting over boiling. Not only does this allow for a tasty seasoning and caramelization, it’s also a way to be more health-conscious.
If you’re roasting carrots, for example, he suggests washing them well but keeping the skin on. “That’s all nutrients. There’s no reason to boil them in water and cook all the nutrients out,” he says. 

italian cooking with scott conant
Celebrity chef Scott Conant is known for creating bold flavors.

Avoid Shortcuts

“Make sure that you follow through on the technique,” says Conant. “If it says in a recipe to sear the steak well, really get that pan nice and hot.” Doing otherwise may save a few seconds, but it comes at the expense of flavor (in this case, caramelization). Says Conant: “Just having a broiled piece of meat is very different from having something that’s been seared off precisely and braised for an extended period of time at a low temperature inside of a heavily flavored liquid. Make sure that you sear that steak really well because everything means something in the end.”

6 Inspirational Home Design Reads

Released this year, these books provide equal parts inspiration, advice and escape—with an intriguing look into homes of widely varying styles and locations.

American Originals: Creative Interiorshome design reads
by: William Abranowicz (Vendome)

Esteemed photographer William Abranowicz takes the reader into the homes of his extraordinary subjects—painters, rock stars, designers and tastemakers, including John Mellencamp, Robert Couturier, Ellen DeGeneres, Martha Stewart and Bette Midler, among others—and shows that their spaces are the ultimate canvas for self-expression. In more than 225 photographs (most never published before) Abranowicz’ mastery of light, form and composition, coupled with his curiosity and sense of humor produce striking, unconventional portraits of place.

The Curated Home: A Fresh Take on Traditionhome design reads
by: Grant Gibson (Gibbs Smith)


S
an Francisco-based interior designer Grant Gibson delivers a highly instructional book that draws on inspiration from his personal style, world travels and client experience. Each chapter focuses on a different area of the house, such as the living room, dining room, bedroom and kitchen. Sidebars contain design secrets, decorating tips and how-tos with further advice. Named one of Elle Décor’s “5 Designers to Watch” and featured in many shelter publications, Gibson is known for his approachable, engaging and livable style.

home design reads
Learn more about what to consider during the design process in this new read.

Hygge & West Home: Design For A Cozy Lifehome design reads
by: Aimee Lagos & Christiana Coop (Chronicle)

Christiana Coop and Aimee Lagos founded Hygge & West 10 years ago on the concept that the key to making a house into a truly personal home is in the decoration. Hygge (Danish for cozy) is different for each person, and their book offers a look into 20 special homes designed to promote feelings of coziness, companionship and comfort—from a San Francisco apartment to a log cabin in Wyoming, a family home in Minneapolis to a colorful apartment in Brooklyn. The volume includes interviews with the homeowners and tips for creating similar feelings in any space.

Contemporary Classical Architecture
by: John B. Murray (The Monacelli Press)

home design readsIn his second book, architect John B. Murray brings us 15 new residences that reveal his mastery of the classical vocabulary and sensitivity to proportion and scale. The design studies featured include Fifth Avenue and Central Park apartments, new country houses and additions to properties on Long Island and in upstate New York, as well as the home of the president of a prestigious New England university. John B. Murray Architect, a New York-based firm, is the recipient of multiple Stanford White and Palladio awards. After studying at Carnegie Mellon, Murray joined the firm Parish-Hadley where he worked with legendary designer Albert Hadley, before opening his own practice in 1997.

home design reads
Architect John B. Murray introduces readers to 15 projects in this, his second, book. The properties range from country homes and New York City apartments—and all showcase his signature style.

Old Houses Made Newhome design reads
by: Macarena Abascal Valdenbro (Teneues)

This inspirational volume showcases a range of home rehabilitations—from total gut jobs to less extensive work, like cosmetic changes or simple finish and fixture upgrades. Theserenovations include more than 30 apartments and single-family homes, with photographs and drawings to illustrate the process from concept to construction. Homeowners and professionals can find inspiration for adapting existing buildings to contemporary lifestyle needs while adding to the property value.

Ray Booth: Evocative Interiors
by: Ray Booth (Rizzoli)

home design reads
Trained as an architect, designer Ray Booth is a partner in the prestigious McAlpine firm, founded 35 years ago. Booth’s debut monograph presents his most celebrated Nashville residences, including his own home, as well as previously unpublished projects in Palm Beach, Louisiana, New York, Texas and the Hamptons. The spaces convey Booth’s command of mixing modernism with a sense of place and history. Hallmarks of his designs include architectural furniture, drapery walls, captivating mirror and art displays, and a blend of antiques with contemporary pieces.

 

home design reads
There are 250 gorgeous photos in this book, which give a first-hand look at Booth’s style and design.

Here’s a New Hotel Option for Out-of-Town Guests This Holiday

hotel stamford residence inn

Have friends and family headed your way for the holidays? If you’re looking for a place for them to stay (that’s not your house!), here’s one new option to add to the list: The Residence Inn Stamford Downtown. This extended stay, 156-suite hotel on Atlantic Street opened in November and boasts apartment-style suites with kitchens. Plus, the hotel welcomes pets and offers complimentary luxury car service throughout the city.

We spoke with Todd Lindvall, the hotel’s area general manager and a veteran of the Stamford tourism scene, about the hotel, how tourism has shifted in the city, and his favorite spots to take out of towners.

Tell us a bit about the new Residence Inn Stamford Downtown. What makes it different from other hotels in the area? 

Todd Lindvall: Residence Inn Stamford Downtown is the city’s first extended-stay hotel. Our custom designed, luxury apartment-style rooms encourage travelers to stay, explore and enjoy all that downtown Stamford has to offer. In addition, our new tapas and tequila bar, One Club, will stand out in Stamford’s popular Downtown District. With over 90 restaurants and bars within walking distance, we wanted to insert ourselves as a part of the downtown food and beverage experience. Complete with a dramatic double-story ceiling, grand piano and fireplace, One Club will serve as another great atmosphere to unwind, socialize and indulge in the perfect cocktail at day’s end.

hotel stamford residence inn
All photos: Residence Inn by Marriott Stamford Downtown

With the holidays coming up, lots of people may be coming in from out of town—why do you think Stamford, and Connecticut in general, is a great place to visit?  

Stamford is a thriving and growing community that has something to offer for everyone. We have the advantage of being a city with a flourishing downtown scene, but at a more easy-going pace. There are many indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy during the holiday season for both individual travelers and families in the city and surrounding area. Plus, we’re less than an hour by train from New York City, which is perfect for travelers that want to enjoy the Big Apple’s holiday festivities but stay outside the hustle and bustle.

How has tourism changed over the years in the area?

Travelers have increasingly acclimated to the millennial mindset of convenience over luxury. We needed to learn and adapt to that mindset to provide guests with an experience custom to their needs. Hotels must stand out and display qualities that are especially unique to corporate travelers and social groups, while providing an elevated level of service. Residence Inn Stamford Downtown will do just that, putting travelers in control of their experience.

hotel residence inn stamfordWhat are some under-the-radar places you love recommending to visitors? 

I always love to recommend Lorca Coffee Bar, Mill River Park, Columbus Park, Antique District in Harbor Point, Chelsea Piers Sports Complex and Verde Galerie to travelers.

Anything else you’d love for us to know?

Because we neighbor our sister property, Courtyard by Marriott, which recently completed a $2.5 million renovation, guests of Residence Inn will be able to access the amenities of both hotels. This doubles the options for our guests and lets them enjoy the best amenities of both properties during their stay. For example, Residence Inn Stamford Downtown guests can jump start their day in Courtyard by Marriott’s indoor pool or cap it off at R Bar, which is Courtyard’s chic bourbon and whiskey lounge.

Athletes, Entrepreneurs, and Chefs Honored at The Orthopaedic Foundation for Active Lifestyles Gala 

The Orthopaedic Foundation for Active Lifestyles (OFALS), held it’s star-studded 14th Anniversary Gala at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel in New York City. The event honored Wes Matthews Sr., two-time NBA Champion with the Los Angeles Lakers; Olivia Palermo, global style icon and entrepreneur; McCullough Shriver, the inventor and CEO of activewear clothing company, Sweetflexx; Ben Bebenroth, award-winning chef, and founder and farmer of Spice Companies; Bill Telepan, Michelin-Star chef, author and the executive chef at Oceana Restaurant in NYC.

At the event, guests were greeted with a champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception, followed by a 4-course dinner with wine pairings, and exclusive silent and live auctions. Guests also enjoyed live entertainment from American Idol Season 14 winner, Nick Fradiani. The event was emceed by Cindy Hsu, Emmy-Award winning anchor and reporter with CBS 2 News in NYC.

The Orthopaedic Foundation for Active Lifestyles is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote an active and healthy lifestyle for all ages, as well as support, develop and encourage research concerning orthopaedic care and advancements in technologies and treatment of arthritis, orthopaedic injuries and musculoskeletal diseases.

Lindsay Perkins’ Must-Visit Spots in Connecticut and NYC

lindsay perkins chef
Lindsay Perkins baking with her daughter Valerie.

West Hartford chef Lindsay Perkins is Connecticut through and through. Having honed her baking skills at Truffles Bakery and Kitchen in Farmington, the Wethersfield native now teaches children and adults how to cook through her Hartford-based Lindsay Culinary, LLC. Here, she shares her go-to spots for breakfast, dessert and more.

Breakfast at Heirloom Market at Comstock Ferre in Old Wethersfield, CT

My order is always the bacon, egg and cheese on a homemade buttermilk biscuit with maple sriracha; a freshly baked pastry of the day; a “Red Juice” (freshly pressed beets, citrus, fresh ginger, carrot and apple); and a nonfat latte with two raw sugars. Eat outside in the warmer months, or inside in the wonderfully rustic Comstock Ferre building, the oldest, continually run retail seed store in the country. End your excursion by taking a picturesque walk down Main Street and get transported back into colonial times as you stroll by the beautiful period homes, museums and shops.

Lunch at ARTISAN Restaurant in West Hartford, CT

The newly opened restaurant is located in the boutique Delamar Hotel in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square entertainment district, with a sister location in Southport, CT. Go for a leisurely lunch and sit outside amid the lovely garden; the freshly picked herbs and veggies will no doubt end up on your plate.

Cocktails at Max Downtown in Hartford, CT

Our capital city’s crown jewel, Max Downtown, is the place to “see and be seen” before an evening at The Bushnell Center for Performing Arts (Hamilton is coming in December), the XL Center before a concert or a UConn basketball game. Sip on a Mulberry Basil Collins in the newly redesigned whiskey bar as you gaze up at the wine mezzanine that stores their expansive wine collection. The steaks and seafood are legendary, but be sure to save room for dessert—my favorite is the individual baked Alaska, a delicious classic.

Fine Dining at Eleven Madison Park in NYC

I have had the pleasure of eating at Eleven Madison Park two times, including a tasting menu in 2016 (before the redesign) that lasted four wonderful hours. The food was innovative, delicate, personal; the service was impeccable, warm, and not stuffy in the least. If you choose to pair your meal with wines, prepare for questions from the sommelier like, “Would you like to explore traditional Italian varietals or be surprised with wines from off-the-beaten path?” Say “off-the-beaten-path.”

Dessert at Mozzicato’s Bakery & Pastry Shop in Hartford, CT

My absolute favorite, favorite, place to go for dessert! I get a big box of pastries that I pick out from their impressive wall of bakery cases packed with Italian favorites like tiramisu, cannoli, cream puffs, éclairs, beautiful individual sized cakes and sweets filled with ricotta, vanilla, or chocolate cream. The Nutella ricotta pie is served by the slice; I always get a full-size one for Easter. Get a loaf of Italian bread or  slice of pizza, or sip on espresso in The Caffe attached.

Shopping at Cookshop Plus in West Hartford, CT

lindsay perkins chef hot spots
Assorted baking goodies at Cookshop Plus

Located in West Hartford Center, Cookshop Plus is a family-owned culinary gold mine for the professional or home cook. With a tremendous inventory of appliances, cookware and chefs tools and the largest assortment of sprinkles, cake pans, cookie cutters and decorating supplies I have ever seen! They offer cooking classes, on-site knife sharpening, and in-store tastings on the weekends featuring locally made products. It’s my go-to when I’m looking for the perfect hostess gift, cake supplies, or when I just want to poke around and be inspired.