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DINNER & ....
By Valerie Schroth
The evening begins with dinner (and we’ve got suggestions). Where it goes from there is strictly up to you.
Dinner and a Movie
Dinner-and-a-movie has long been a date-night favorite—but this Bethel twosome has a special charm. Intimate Cádiz, with its all-tapas menu, is perfect because you can customize your meal to suit the occasion, your pocketbook and your appetites. The roster includes tasty soups, salads, meat, poultry and seafood options, as well as lots of vegetarian dishes. (A few examples: Kobe beef sliders, stuffed piquillo peppers, grilled tandoori chicken kebabs and avocado-and-mango salad.) Follow that up with a movie at Bethel Cinema (four screens and popcorn with real butter), which often has hard-to-find art-house films. Best of all, you don’t have to brave blustering winds to get there—the movie house is right next door to Cádiz, and can be entered via an internal door. What’s not to like? This combo works well for a lingering romantic lunch on the weekend, too! Cádiz: 203/790-4433, bethelcinema.com
Food Network groupies all over the country know chocolatier Franz Knipschildt from his appearances on “Chopped,” “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” and “Food Network Challenge,” but we’re so glad Knipschildt chose Connecticut to start his now renowned chocolate business and Chocopologie Café (in SoNo). The café is inviting, with cozy, shabby-chic decor, dim lighting and a wide-ranging menu of appealing wintertime dishes like cheese fondue, coq au vin and cocoa-braised short ribs, as well as the don’t-miss French Steak Dip (sliced strip steak, caramelized onions, mushrooms and melted Grûyère on a demi baguette). Then, it’s on to the pièce de résistance—amble up to a glass showcase filled with small wonders of the confectionary kind. Share one with your honey—the Bailey’s Dome is guaranteed to put a gleam in his eye—or try a couple of Knipschildt’s wondrous handmade chocolates. You can watch them being made a few steps away. BTW - Chocopologie seems to be catching on: There will soon be a second location—in Dubai. 203/854-4754; knipschildt.com
A Pub in the Country
This wonderful country pub has become something of a destination in the Litchfield Hills, and it’s not hard to see why. The welcome is warm at The White Horse Tavern, and there’s always a big fire crackling on the raised hearth. Then, whether you dine in the atmospheric tavern or a dining room practically on top of the East Aspetuck River, you’re sure to find something to love on the menu—chicken potpie, perhaps? Guinness beef stew, bangers and mash, (truly superior) fish-and-chips? The highest price on the menu, for the New York Steak, is $18.75. As you may have guessed by now, owner John Harris is an expatriate Brit—and just wait till you see the “Ridiculously Good” desserts—bourbon bread pudding, crêpes Princesse (renamed “crêpes Suzette” by the Prince of Wales “after one of his favorite dinner companions”) and Banoffi Pie (“a banana, toffee, cream pie kind of thing favored by the royals”).
But I won’t have done my duty by you, dear readers, if I don’t mention the pub’s signature burger, a half pound of Black Angus sirloin, brisket and short rib topped with applewood-smoked bacon, caramelized onions and sage derby blue cheese sauce on a toasted buttered brioche. 860/868-1469, whitehorse-countrypub.com