For my birthday this August I'm inviting a small group of friends to join me for an afternoon of wine tasting on the CT Wine Trail. The goal is not for people to become wasted, so I'd like to have everyone meet for a nice (and moderately priced) sit down lunch before hand.
Here's what I'm looking for:
(1) I'm coming from New York and most of my friends are coming from Massachusetts. Where is a nice "meet in the middle" place (Hartford, perhaps?), not too far from the wine trail, for lunch? Looking for something a little more substantial than sushi, yet not as heavy as burgers. I like all cuisines, but am partial to New American and French right now. No more than $20 pp would be ideal.
(2) While I'm not vegetarian, some of my friends are. The place should have more than one veggie-friendly option.
(3) Unrelated to lunch, what are your favorite vineyards on the Wine Trail? I've never been to any of these vineyards before, but I'm partial to full-bodied wines (not really a fan of sweet or dessert wines). Don't worry, I'll do my research, but figured I'd ask for opinions while I'm here.
Thank you in advance!