Parallel Post Farm-to-Trumbull Dinner

Parallel Post Farm-to-Trumbull Dinner

Parallel Post restaurant hosted its second in the four-part Farm-to-Trumbull culinary dinner series on June 4. Parallel Post is a farm-to-table restaurant located in the Trumbull, CT Marriott, but it is more than you expect from typical hotel dining.  It is one of six restaurants owned by award winning and James Beard nominated, Chef Dean James Max.

Chef Dean James Max

Chef Dean James Max

The restaurant follows a farm-to-table style focusing on all fresh, natural and sustainable products.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, the hostess guided us outside to an intimate outdoor area.  “Bootleg Greg,” resident mixologist – because the title of bartender definitely won’t do – greeted us with the choice of two very original cocktails.

“Bootleg Greg,” resident mixologist greeted us with the choice of two very original cocktails.

“Bootleg Greg,” resident mixologist greeted us with the choice of two very original cocktails.

Greg had mixed up a cucumber fresco, which you could either have in its original non-alcoholic form or with the addition of cilantro-infused gin for the adult version.  It was very refreshing for the warm day.

Cucumber fresco

Cucumber fresco

The second cocktail was a carrot juice with wheat and soy extracts and could be infused with brandy for a spiced up version.

Carrot juice with wheat and soy extracts

Carrot juice with wheat and soy extracts

As guests continued mingling on the cocktail patio, the wait staff was passing two appetizers to whet our palates.

The wait staff was passing two appetizers to whet our palates

The wait staff was passing two appetizers to whet our palates

The bison tartar with farm fresh egg had a hint of spice to it.  The chefs commented that the bison was sourced from Creamery Brook Bison farm in Brooklyn, CT.  I had no idea there was a bison farm in Connecticut.  We also learned that bison has fewer calories and less cholesterol than beef, chicken and turkey, making it a very healthy red meat.

The bison tartar with farm fresh egg had a hint of spice

The bison tartar with farm fresh egg had a hint of spice

The coffee-cured salmon, the second appetizer, was served on flaxseed bread with Connecticut farm cheese with chives.  The nutty bread paired with the rich cheese and salmon was a wonderful combination of flavors.  Shearwater coffee roasters supplied the coffee for this appetizer.  Shearwater is the first and only USDA-certified organic coffee roaster in Fairfield, CT.

Coffee-cured salmon

Coffee-cured salmon

The chefs joined us on the patio to mingle and discuss some of the food we were sampling.

Chef Ali Goss joined us on the patio to mingle and discuss some of the food we were sampling

Chef Ali Goss joined us on the patio to mingle and discuss some of the food we were sampling

After the cocktail hour, guests made their way into the private dining room.  Two large tables were set up in community-style dining format, making it a friendly atmosphere.

Large tables were set up in community-style dining format, making it a friendly atmosphere

Large tables were set up in community-style dining format, making it a friendly atmosphere

Chef Dean James Max introduced himself and the other team members.

Chef Dean James Max introduced himself and the other team members

Chef Dean James Max introduced himself and the other team members

Chef Ali Goss, Chef de Cuisine, has been at Parallel Post for almost two years.  Previously she was the lead cook at Chef Max’s restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Chef Ali Goss

Chef Ali Goss

Chef Chris Molyneux, is executive chef for the restaurant and all the hotel’s dining.

Chef Chris Molyneux

Chef Chris Molyneux

Chef Max described each item on the menu, highlighting the local sources for the ingredients.  Since the menu was inspired by the farms’ fresh offerings of the day, it wasn’t revealed until the evening of the event.  He also mentioned that all the dishes would be served family style – and the food was plentiful!

The menu was inspired by the farms’ fresh offerings of the day

The menu was inspired by the farms’ fresh offerings of the day

Our first course began with parsnip soup poured over Norm Bloom clams salad.

Norm Bloom Clams Salad

Norm Bloom Clams Salad

The soup was served in glass bottled and each guest poured the soup over the salad that was already in the serving cups.

The soup was served in glass bottled and each guest poured the soup over the salad

The soup was served in glass bottled and each guest poured the soup over the salad

The soup had rich flavor and the salad added a crispy element to the soup.

Parsnip soup

Parsnip soup

The first course continued with a beautiful salad filled with Gilbertie’s farm greens, early summer watermelon radishes, soy-ginger mushrooms with wasabi green vinaigrette.

A beautiful salad filled with Gilbertie’s farm greens

A beautiful salad filled with Gilbertie’s farm greens

Finally the first course was capped off with crispy soft-shell crabs, pea shoots drizzled with cayenne ramp aioli.  The crabs were sweet and succulent.

The first course was capped off with crispy soft-shell crabs, pea shoots drizzled with cayenne ramp aioli

The first course was capped off with crispy soft-shell crabs, pea shoots drizzled with cayenne ramp aioli

Jam Jar brand Moscato sweet wine was served with the first course.

Jam jar wine

Jam jar wine

For the entrée portion of the meal, we began with four side dishes.

Grilled asparagus and frissee was topped with Manchego cheese and sherry vinaigrette.

Grilled asparagus and frissee

Grilled asparagus and frissee

Purple potato salad.

Purple potato salad.

Purple potato salad.

Baby kale salad with roasted walnuts, feta cheese and pickled apricots.

Baby kale salad

Baby kale salad

Fiddle head ferns, which are only available for a few weeks in May/ June.

Fiddle head ferns

Fiddle head ferns

The main entrée featured two protein items:

Grilled pork chop with lima beans, mustard greens and bacon jam.

Grilled pork chop

Grilled pork chop

Montauk roasted tuna with English pea puree, roasted fava beans, pearl onions and wheatgrass vinaigrette.

Montauk roasted tuna

Montauk roasted tuna

We filled our plate with some of each item because we wanted to taste everything.  I was amazed at the pairings one key ingredient with several others to create amazing flavors.

We filled our plate with some of each item because we wanted to taste everything

We filled our plate with some of each item because we wanted to taste everything

Route Stock cabernet wine was served with the main dinner entrees.

Route Stock cabernet

Route Stock cabernet

For dessert we were treated to several indulgences:

Warm strawberry crostata with goat cheese crumble.

Warm strawberry crostata

Warm strawberry crostata

SoCo vanilla bean ice cream served in a mason jar.

SoCo vanilla bean ice cream

SoCo vanilla bean ice cream

Gilbertie’s farm lavender flavored crème brulee.

Gilbertie’s farm lavender flavored crème brulee

Gilbertie’s farm lavender flavored crème brulee

Additionally, we were forewarned of a frozen cocktail treat.  It consisted of a strawberry and yogurt popsicle house made by “Bootleg Greg.”  He made the rounds spraying the popsicles with Campari liqueur.  It was like nothing we’d ever seen or had before.  What a fun treat!

Strawberry and yogurt popsicle house made by “Bootleg Greg.”

Strawberry and yogurt popsicle house made by “Bootleg Greg.”

As the meal drew to a close, the diners joined in a round of applause for the chefs and wait staff.

Me and Chef Dean James Max

Me and Chef Dean James Max

As I reflect back on all the dishes, my favorites included the salmon appetizer, the parsnip soup and salad from our first course, and the purple potato salad and grilled pork chop from our entrées.  Dessert was a three-way tie.  I loved all the items – crostata, which brings back fond memories of my Italian grandma, homemade ice cream and lavender crème brulee.

The entire farm-to-Trumbull dinner, from appetizers through dessert, was first-class – both food and service.  Chef Dean James Max and his team masterfully turn fresh ingredients into culinary art highlighting flavors, textures, colors and local sourcing.

I encourage you to check out one of Parallel Post’s upcoming farm-to-Trumbull dinners.  You can find details about the remaining two dinners on the Parallel Post website.

Have you ever been to a farm-to-table community dinner event?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was invited to the June farm-to-Trumbull event by the Parallel Post’s marketing and public relations team, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience at the dinner. 

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