An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Mar 4, 2014
09:03 AM
The Connecticut Table

Farm-To-Trumbull Dinners at Parallel Post: Menus Set by Freshest Local Ingredients

Farm-To-Trumbull Dinners at Parallel Post: Menus Set by Freshest Local Ingredients

A scene from a 2013 al fresco Farm-to-Trumbull dinner, held in conjunction with Gilbertie's Herb Gardens in Westport.

We’re guessing that when he was young Dean James Max (below) was frequently "fresh" with his parents.

The chef and culinary mastermind behind the company DJM Restaurants, which owns Parallel Post in Trumbull at the Trumbull Marriott, is dedicated to using seasonally appropriate locally produced ingredients.

This spring and summer, Max will share his “fresh” obsession with Connecticut locavores at the Farm-To-Trumbull dining series. The series will kick off at Parallel Post on Wednesday, April 2, at 7 p.m.

For $75 (not including tax or gratuity), food lovers will be treated to a multicourse family-style meal with the season’s finest local ingredients. The meal will include dessert, as well as craft cocktails presented by the restaurant’s resident mixologist, Greg Genias.

Other Farm-To-Trumbull events will take place on, June 4, Aug. 20, and Oct. 8. 

Because they’ll be using only fresh local ingredients, Max and the chefs he works with won’t know what the night’s menu will be until just before the dinner itself.

“We don’t like to create a menu too far in advance because it needs to be reflective of whatever ingredients are best two or three days prior to the event,” he says.

Whatever ends up being featured, there’s always a lot of variety.

“The food is served family-style because it really represents this farm-style Sunday dinner, where it’s just platters of food being passed around the table. Everybody shares; we all sit together. And there are enough dishes that if you’re a vegetarian there’s enough for you to eat, or if you don’t eat pork they’ll be stuff without pork. You might miss one or two things but you still will have choices.” (Above, organic farro, tomatoes, basil greens, cucumbers, and champagne vinaigrette.)

Max adds that there are generally “three different appetizers, a choice of two proteins, and a lot of different vegetables. And there’s desserts as well, usually two or three different types.”  

Parallel Post purchases the majority of its ingredients from local businesses and gets seafood from Norm Bloom & Sons in Norwalk, Conn., and Foley Fish in Boston, Mass., meats from Ox Hollow Farm in Roxbury, greens from Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens in Westport, and organic cheeses, milk and ice cream from The Farmer’s Cow in Lebanon.

Representatives from The Farmer’s Cow will attend the Farm-To-Trumbull dinner in April and will talk about their brand and producing local farm fresh dairy products. (Right, Octopus Salad with feta, olives, garden mizuna and beets.)

Attendance at each Farm-To-Trumbull event is generally limited to 30 people in order to maintain an intimate feel. Last year one of the dinners was held outside at a local farm, and Max plans to host at least one of the dinners at a farm again this year. In celebration of April being Earth Month, Farm-To-Trumbull guests will be given vegetable seeds and encouraged to plant them in gardens of their own.

Max lives in South Florida, but flies up to Connecticut to personally oversea Farm-To-Trumbull events. He works on creating the unique menu for each of the dinners with executive chef Chris Molyneux and chef Ali Goss of Parallel Post.

While he’s not yet sure which ingredients will be available for the April dinner, Max says that menu will likely include a big salad with roasted or grilled asparagus and possibly a side dish featuring rabbit.

“Since rabbit is not a big seller for a lot of people, we’ll tend to use that more as an appetizer,” Max says.

As a chef, he stresses, working with fresh ingredients never gets old. (Above, organic chicken salad with summer peaches.)

“From a standpoint of quality it’s a better product because it’s really less time to the table. We want to work with the freshest items possible, so we look for where we can get stuff locally first.”

Parallel Post is located at 180 Hawley Lane in Trumbull. The first Farm-To-Trumbull dinner of the year will take place on Wednesday, April 2, at 7 p.m. The cost is $75 per person plus tax and gratuity. To reserve a spot, email farmtotrumbull@gmail.com.

For more information, see the website www.parallelpostrestaurant.com or call 203-380-6380.

Farm-To-Trumbull Dinners at Parallel Post: Menus Set by Freshest Local Ingredients

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