Over the River to The Woodstock Inn

12 Days of Christmas Song

Enjoy Christmas morning recipes below for Vermont Cheddar Quiche, German Sour Cream Coffee Cake, Field-Greens Salad with Warm Goat Cheese, and French Breakfast Puffs.

On the seventh day before Christmas, our annual holiday pilgrimage brought us to the popular destination of Woodstock, Vermont – a charming, quaint and quintessential New England town, established in 1761 by settlers from Massachusetts and situated along the Ottauquechee River.

There we visited the Woodstock Inn & Resort, a local landmark that opened in 1892, beautifully decorated for the holiday season. It’s most unique decoration? A 9-foot tall, 7-foot long giant, homemade gingerbread house that festively greets you upon entrance into the lobby, consisting of about 180 pounds of flour, 150 pounds of confectioners sugar, more than 350 rooftop shingles and 700 bricks on the wall. Read more

Magical Moments of Christmas Classics

Best Christmas Movies“I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated,” film director Francis Ford Coppola once said. “The very earliest people who made film were magicians.”

With Christmas day nearly upon us, it is certainly difficult to dispel the feeling of magic that seems to linger in the air and permeate our soul with just a flicker of light, warmth of a fire or viewing of a holiday film.

Indeed, we couldn’t agree more with Mr. Coppola – a great amount of magic can be found in movies, particularly in the holiday classics that, by their very nature, capture the Christmas spirit and – more often than not – remind us of all the good we have in our lives. It’s amazing how certain scenes in particular have the ability to evoke such powerful sentiments, leaving us with unexpected chills or causing us to think or reflect on something in a way we never have – or at least have forgotten to do.

So, in the magical spirit of Christmas, we’ve compiled a list of ATG’s top ten holiday movies (from oldest to most recent), in addition to those moments and quotes that left us with that good, “magical” feeling – either that, or those that were just plain funny! Read more

Wishing for a Miracle This Holiday Season

Eric Metaxas Miracles Book Review“We must think about these things,” writes Eric Metaxas* in the opening pages of the book Miracles. “We must wonder about them and about our lives and about life in general. It is healthy to wonder. We have a deep need for wondering. ‘Wonder’ is of course the root of the word ‘wonderful,’ so we must wonder generally and we must wonder specifically.”

And that is certainly what he inspires us to do in his new book about miracles, a thought-provoking, logical and thorough account of “what miracles are, why they happen and how they can change your life.” Read more

Lighting the Way to the Digital Age: The Collaboration of Innovation

Walter Isaacson The Innovators Book Review Anyone who regularly reads book reviews and keeps current on the rapidly evolving technology world is likely to have heard of a newly published book by Walter Isaacson, the famed author of Steve Jobs’ biography and president of the public policy think-thank, The Aspen Institute.

In fact, Isaacson’s new book has been reviewed by a countless number of publications, garnering significant attention and accolades – and it’s not difficult to understand why.

Entitled “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution” (October 2014), it is Isaacson’s first book that profiles not one, but multiple people, who throughout history have contributed to the technological wonders of today – namely, the computer and the internet. Read more

Cata: Teeming with Tapas and Tonic

Cata Restaurant Review“Variety is the very spice of life that gives it all its flavor,” the English poet William Cowper once said. And variety and flavor are certainly what you’ll find at Cata – a tapas restaurant located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan that opened in September 2012.

Offering a unique combination of tapas – including deviled eggs with fried oysters – and a drink menu featuring twenty-two different types of gin and tonics – each made with a different gin – it is easy to see why this has become a popular destination, receiving not one, but two, favorable reviews in the New York Times (see here and here). Read more

Stirring It Up With Conviction

Liquid Intelligence Cocktail Recipes

Recipes below include Blueberry Basil Mojito, Simple Eggnog, Almond Crusted Turkey Schnitzel With Vermont Cheddar and Bourbon Applesauce, Christmas Baked Brie, and Winter Greens Salad with Spicy Walnuts and Cranberry Vinaigrette.

Christmas time and cocktail time are nearly synonymous, both offering a warm, fuzzy feeling that more often than not leave you wishing for and wanting more.

How fitting, then, that we are in the midst of a cocktail renaissance, which has emerged over the past decade, at least according to several recent news articles:

The Wall Street Journal declares: “That we’re amid a craft cocktail renaissance is without dispute – intriguing new bars and amazing new ingredients surface weekly.”

Andthe New York Times observes: “We’re living in a Golden Age of creativity for bartenders, many of whom are energetically pushing boundaries in both culinary and scientific ways…”

Indeed, if there has been one thing I have discovered in my reading of the cocktail renaissance, it is just how seriously some people take their cocktail creations. Read more

Traversing Through Time with Timeless Treasures

Beautiful Christmas CardsThere’s no other month quite like December. Its ability to captivate us with the sheer joy, cheer and merriment of the holiday season, while also nudging us ever so slightly to the realization that yet another year has passed, is certainly unique – but somehow inevitable, each time it rolls around.

Indeed, it is the month of December in which time in all of its confounding and mysterious forms can be most intensely experienced – signaling both the end of one year and the beginning of another – and filling us with a sense of both longing and renewed hope as we reflect back on the past and eagerly anticipate the promise of a New Year. How true the Aristotelian principle that “every moment is both the end of an era and the start of something new.” Read more

Cioccolato: Il Cibo Degli Dei*


Mast Brothers Chocolate Bars
Mast Brothers Chocolate Bar & Book

World-renowned Chef Thomas Keller** writes in the introduction to Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook (2013), “I could tell that they were men who shared my sensibilities, who worked with a rigor that bordered on obsession because that was the only way they knew. They sourced their ingredients meticulously and refined their recipes over and over until they arrived at the right results.”

Flipping through the Mast Brothers Chocolate book, written by brothers Rick and Michael Mast – or the “pioneers of bean-to-bar chocolate” with a flagship factory and retail shop in Brooklyn, NY – one will likely become captivated by their compelling narration on the background and history of chocolate, interspersed amongst a variety of delicious, mouth-watering chocolate recipes, ranging from American classics such as brownies, cupcakes and cookies to more sophisticated truffles, chocolate meringue pie and more. Read more

The Heart and Soul of All Things

There is something invigorating that comes from being elevated – from being up high and embracing a view that offers a fresh, new perspective.

Looking over a hill
Standing atop an Italian hill

Take, for instance, the profound appreciation of nature and beauty that comes from hiking along a ridge of the Maine Coast in the summer, looking out to the Atlantic ocean and world beyond.

Or the captivation and awe that comes from being transported back in time, standing atop one of the Seven Hills of Rome, overlooking “Il Foro Romano,” what was once the epicenter of political and social life in ancient Rome.

Or even the excitement that comes from sitting atop a rooftop bar in New York City overlooking the Empire State building, marveling at the energy, diversity and seemingly endless possibilities that encompass the 13-mile-long island city of Manhattan.

In fact, it was just this view that recently inspired this first posting. I was sitting atop NYC’s largest outdoor rooftop bar, 230 Fifth, sipping a specialty cocktail and listening to one of my brothers recount his dining experience at a tapas restaurant in the East Village that served 22 different types of gin and tonics and the “best deviled eggs” (with fried oysters) he’d ever had. “That is what is so amazing about New York City,” he remarked, “You get to have the best of the best of everything at your fingertips.” Read more