Piolin Jr. Restaurant beckons patrons to try a taste of Peru with house specialties that incorporate authentic ingredients. Chefs at the family-friendly restaurant specialize in preparations of meat that stick to diners' ribs without adhesive and include grilled steaks and veal hearts, rotisserie chickens, stewed goat, and deep-fried fish. Entrees can pair with a bottle of Peruvian wine or a half-pitcher of chicha morada, a traditional beverage made from the juice of purple corn.
New to the area, chef Hector Avila prepares small plates and entrees inspired by the cuisines of Spain, France, and Italy at Le Bistro by Avila. He dresses fresh turbot or tilapia with beurre blanc sauce and enhances the flavors of roasted pork tenderloin with a chunky apple-cranberry relish made on-site. Desserts such as Belgian chocolate mousse or caramel-draped crème brulee provide a sweet finish, and servers pour wine atop a polished granite bar.
Manny Miranda learned the art of winemaking from his father and grandfather, who hand-pressed their grapes in the courtyard of his childhood home in Portugal. Fifty years later, with the help of his wife Maria, Manny finally opened his own winery, Miranda Vineyard, and began fermenting delicately balanced vintages. In the past few years, wine-competition judges have taken notice: Miranda’s seyval blanc earned a 2010 Gran Harvester Award silver medal for its fruity taste, as light and crisp as a helium-filled apple. In addition, the Vinho Fino collected a 2010 Amenti del Vino International Wine Competition gold medal. The sprawling grounds of the winery play host to soft picnic blankets topped with lunching visitors, live concerts, Shakespearean performances, and tour groups of parched raisins.
Since opening in 1975, Haight-Brown Vineyard has churned out 2,000 cases of grape-based libations each year from its nearly 10-acre vineyard and welcomed visitors into its rustic, cottage-like wine house. Emphasizing vinifera and French hybrid grapes, the state’s first-established winery creates a selection of wines that include the Big Red, a bold syrah; the Morning Harvest, a rich malbec; and Honey Nut Apple, a traditional apple wine that incorporates local honey and cinnamon. Vintners share their time-tested expertise during regular classes that teach aspiring oenophiles about a variety of vintages and techniques for cheese and chocolate pairing. Amid the tasting room’s wood accents and crackling stone fireplace, customers sample vintages and attempt to describe taste sensations with adjectives such as “silky” or “very different from milk.”
After stepping into Litchfield Inn's lobby, you can tell it isn't a quaint, rustic bed and breakfast: A gilded 9-ft. chandelier is suspended above a winding staircase, and Oriental rugs cover the floor, which is buffed to a reflective sheen. The opulence extends to the deluxe rooms, many of which are decorated with plush sofa chairs and hues of deep cornflower blue. The rooms are a cozy spot to share a bottle of wine and nibble chocolate-covered strawberries plucked from the inn's chocolate-strawberry vines.
Though they're slightly more spacious than the deluxe rooms, the Litchfield Inn's suites have the same modern conveniences, including 32-inch flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations.
In the morning, guests can savor a breakfast from Bantam Bistro that may include cranberry pancakes and eggs Benedict. The onsite bistro's executive chef, Jonathan Gyles, prepares organic, artisanal fare in an intimate space warmed by a massive stone fireplace. Gourmet entrees range from sautéed long island duck breast ($30) to open-faced lasagna ($18) made with seasonal veggies.
Within the stately Litchfield Inn, Bantam Bistro's executive chef Jonathan Gyles lends Italian flair to gourmet American dishes crafted from local and organic ingredients, such as mushrooms from Mountaintop Mushrooms and cheese from Cato Corner Farm. The expansive menu includes dazzling charcuterie platters, fillets of Atlantic salmon and tails of Maine lobster, and pastas such as bucatini and agnolotti. Barkeeps pour sips of more than 118 wines and muddle peaches into Bantam's signature take on the classic old fashioned, whose amber tones glow in the flickering light of tabletop candles in leaf-etched votives. The dining room’s brick-lined fireplace gives chefs a cozy place to store canapés shaped like Christmas stockings, and sparkling chandeliers twinkle above Sunday brunch dishes nestled inside pristine silver chafing dishes.
M.E.L.T. Fitness Studio's trainers see each body can be defined and molded with the appropriate exercises. Rather than a standard group workout for all their clients, they provide what they call group personal training, modifying and accentuating various exercises to the ability level of their students. They stick to a theme each day, reserving Tuesdays for fat-burning blasts, Fridays for abdominal work, and Saturdays for m.e.l.t.ed cardio, which burns as much fat as possible while building cardio endurance. Within that theme, they provide personal variations for each client to accommodate fitness level or injuries, very often naturally relieving chronic pain by carefully strengthening muscles around the affected area.