This past weekend we had the privilege of spending the day in New York City capturing one of our favorite couples. Eleanne and I have been friends for some time, neighbors and we even share a God-child! After learning of her engagement we were super stoked to be asked to capture their wedding day. Given that my wife and Eleanne have become close friends over the years, we were all looking forward to working together. We spent some time going over engagement session locations and ideas and we ultimately chose the city. Manhattan provides an endless supply of beauty, architecture and excitement. I am not going to get into our hilarious encounters with walking tours, tourists and just flat out interesting people at every stop! To begin the day we started with Central Park, who wouldn't??
We started at the Glade Arch. While this picture may give you the impression that it was a slow day at the park, it wasn't. We were lucky enough to get a 30 second gap in foot traffic and we moved on!
The Belvedere Castle is such an amazing place to check out. On top of the amazing views there is magnificent stonework! It was a no brainer to use that as the backdrop for this shot. While we ultimately wanted to use all of the castle, it was a mob scene and we moved on to the Shakespeare Garden.
The paths, gardens and overall layout were amazing. We managed to find some quiet corners to capture some really sweet shots. I think one the best parts of an engagement session is seeing a couple in love. Eleanne and Matt almost made it like they weren't there for pictures at all, just enjoying a day in the park. To round out the day we took a subway ride downtown to capture a few more shots and grabbed a little lunch. When in NYC, you must get a couple of shots on the subway!!
At the end of this amazing day together we stopped at the New York Public Library for a few parting shots. It was the perfect way to end a day well spent!
There are a million and one things I can write about Mike and Kristine. For the sake of not getting mushy and long winded I will keep it short. We met Kristine on a project a few years ago and have been friends ever since. They are two of our best friends and I was honored when they asked me to shoot their wedding. Not going to lie though, we all knew it was happening! They are the true definition of good, hard working, honest and real people. Their wedding was absolutely gorgeous. From the venue down to the sparkler send off...they nailed it! I hope this small collection of shots will relay to you just how amazing this couple and their day was! It was held at Aria Banquet Facilities in Prospect CT and music was provided by Dance to the Music Entertainment in Wilton CT. Makeup courtesy of Liana Martinez.
So this is a post that borders on fun and exciting. We met Kristine on a previous project about a year ago and after some time working together became fast friends. There is something to be said about working alongside someone who bleeds dedication and work ethic. After our project wrapped up Kristine contacted me about doing some head-shots and I gladly obliged. To say that she was a huge promoter was an understatement! She vowed to take me wherever she went if there were photos to be taken and on top of that she has never been at a loss for kind words about me and my work. Her and I had chatted about wedding stuff and it always seemed to be put on the back burner. When we finally got to meet Mike (he is the soldier) Dena and I knew that the wedding wouldn't be on the back burner for long. They are awesome together and support each other in every way. It is about as cheesy as you can get but some of us soldiers are known to have a soft side, especially for dancers! When they finally made it official (to us at least!) we could not wait to do the engagement pictures. We decided on Woodland Park in Darien and took a walk that capped off a beautiful Sunday!
We wandered around the park and laughed, cracked jokes and pondered on a season for the wedding. My daughter entertained in between stops and taught us a thing or two about surviving in the woods. The apple doesn't fall far! It is always a good day when you work with a couple who is easy and fun to be around. I can honestly say that i could not be happier for Kristine and Mike. I am honored to be part of this and I hope to be there to capture every milestone they achieve! They deserve all the happiness in the world and more!
Tonight Bar Sugo held another one of their much anticipated and greatly appreciated game dinners. While it was slightly different than what they usually do as far as the menu was concerned, that was about all that deviated from what someone has come to know about Chef Pat and his creations. All of the previous Game Dinner's have featured a vast array of game, tonight he went with Strictly Birds. To say the least, he was flying high!
First up was the fried quail. Having been to previous game dinners I was all too excited to try this. It was spot on. Crispy, tender and moist, granted you can deep fry anything and make it delicious but not everyone can do it with quail. Throw in the grits and honey and you had a plate of deep fried sweet and salty to kick off a night of awesomeness.
Second course was goose meatballs. These were more like baseballs, not surprising since Pat pretty much has had the meatball game locked up since he first started offering them. Farroto and baby carrots accompanied this dish and were the perfect, subtle finish that it needed.
Next up was a dish I self admittedly was on the fence about. I can say that because I confessed it to Pat and he was cool with it! Squab Ragu with mustard greens and calabrian chili. This dish was legitimately a flavor juggernaut. 3 different textures, heat, sweet and salt. 1 forkful in and I was a believer.
Number four was a pheasant milanese with millstone lettuce, green strawberries and pickled fiddleheads. Say that 3 times fast! I have had plenty of pheasant and lettuce but it was a first for the strawberries and fiddleheads. This was such a refreshing and solid dish that most of the table was quiet while eating it. That is pretty enough to get the point across without me rambling on.
Bringing us home was the braised duck legs. I mean, I feel like a broken record but it was fantastic. The polenta was out of this world and the duck was tender and cooked perfect. It is tough to attend these dinners and not seem biased but if Pat and the guys in the kitchen weren't this good I along with the restaurant full of people wouldn't keep going back!
So in closing I will share a little story and leave you with a few random shots of the night. We shared our table with Chef Pat's parents and Aunt. Pat and I have been friends for a few years now and I even played sports with his brother. Spending a few hours with them made me realize why Pat is every bit of an amazing man as he is a chef husband and father. He has built something that anyone close to him knows is his dream. His wife, Megan is right there with him and together they are doing some incredible things. I am proud to call them my friends and I would hands down tell you that if you haven't eaten there cut the shit and go!
It has been a while since we have been up to Bar Sugo for a game dinner so tonight we rectified that. For the record don't let the name fool you, chef Pat isn't playing. This guy is on top of his game and it is no surprise he is nominated for Chef of the Year.
The first dish on the menu was the Venison Meatballs. If you are unfamiliar with Bar Sugo or you live under a rock you know that their meatballs are second to none. While these are not on the regular menu they belong there. Tender, moist and the sauce was fantastic. Prepared with creamy polenta, parmesan fresco and parsnip caponata. Great way to start the night.
Next up on the list was the Fried Squab Sandwich, I have to admit I was going into this with an open mind and I was glad I did. This gem included bacon jam, arugula, pickles and toragashi ranch. Put it between a rosemary bun and you have a believer. I was so happy with serving that if it ended there I would have been fine.
But luckily it didn't. I have been shooting for Pat and coming to Bar Sugo since they opened. I think that over the years we have built a great friendship that comes before the business at hand. He and his wife Megan are two of the most wonderful people you can meet and to see their passion for each other and Bar Sugo is amazing. We are truly lucky to call them friends. The third course was roasted rabbit with burnt onion, wild mushrooms, hot peppers and lardo roasted potatoes. The rabbit was absolutely delicious, hot, crispy and tender. The potatoes however, just divine.
Number four was a pasta dish. I am a self admitted anti pasta person, not really sure why but I am. Perhaps if I ate more pasta like this I could be swayed! Ravioli with duck and foie gras, smoked yams, sunchoke, pickled gooseberries and currant gremolata. Sweet, salty and savory. As a side note Pat make his pasta in house. Stop by the Facebook page for Grana and check it out!
Bringing the dinner to a close was a dish that I was excited for. Wild Boar with gnocchi creamed brussel sprouts, torched orange mostarda and fried pistachios. I am a huge fan of boar, actually I am a huge fan of any sort of pork. This works out well because at Bar Sugo they are all about the pig! This dish was a perfect way to end the night. Sweet and salty with fantastic texture.
I am going to leave you with a few candids from the evening. In closing I just want to touch on one point. As I stated earlier, Dena and I have become very good friends with Pat and Megan. We have watched this creation grow and become something nothing short of amazing. Now we get to watch their family grow as well, they are two of the nicest most deserving people in the world. We could not be happier for them and are really honored to be a part of their lives and their friends.