We just saw this posted and knew that we had to share it even though it’s going on tomorrow. The event is ”Chefs in Conversation, Catalysts for Change” and it’s part of the Greens Farms Academy Coyle Visiting Scholar Program. Featured will be a dialogue between two chefs who both believe that restaurants hold great power in changing our country. First off, we have Jeremy Barlow who started Nashville’s first “green” restaurant, Tayst. Now he has started up another restaurant, but in a totally different vein: Sloco sandwich shop! At Sloco, Jeremy’s serving up local and sustainable food, keeping it affordable, and is giving back to the community. His restaurant and sales support the local schools and local food organizations, helping to keep Nashville thriving and active.
Presenting with him will be Michel Nischan, no stranger to Nutmuggers. Not only did Michel begin The Dressing Room in Westport which has had a do-it-yourself and farm-to-table mentality far before others caught on, he’s also an amazing change maker in the world. He worked together with Whole Foods to ensure their seafood would be sustainable, renewable, and wouldn’t harm the ocean. He’s the CEO of Wholesome Wave, which fights every day to bring balance and equity to cities and towns across the country that are in need of healthier and closer-to-the-farm food options. And, he and other Wholesome Wavers have gone to bat for us, helping bring about some major changes through passing of bills.
Sure, wine tastes good, but there’s more to the good stuff than just “red” or “white.” Where were the grapes grown? What was the climate like there? What was the micro-climate there? What variety of grapes were used? When was the wine bottled? How was the wine fermented? How was the wine stored?
These are all questions that make wine…well…wine. Specifically, you’ll learn to distinguish wines by grape, vintage, and region as you take a 90 minute class at Black Bear Wines & Spirits in Westport. The classes are held Saturdays from 1 to 2:30 and normally cost $50 each, but there’s a special Groupon going on now. You’ll pay just $25 for a wine tasting and class for one or $49 for two people.
May is National Hamburger Month, so what better way to celebrate than talking about hamburgers? Ah, so many styles, so many toppings, so many meat combinations…so much antacid. What we’ve done is create a list of hamburgers that you just might want to try, organized by each day of May, not organized by favorite. So, by the time this month is through, you better make sure you’ve had every single one of these burgers. We’ll be checking your receipts!
We’ll update this list every day in May, so check back daily for your burger fix. But, let’s say we missed your favorite spot…just let us know. No biggie.
May 1: Station Eats of New Canaan and Stamford. Try their burger (shake and dog, too) of the month and see what awesome combos they have next. They use fresh, never frozen, grass-fed beef. And, starting Mid-May, they’ll have their own biergarten. Guten tag indeed.
May 2: Luc’s Cafe of Ridgefield. Aside from some killer frites with the burger, they make it right and make it one way: hormone free home ground burger with (or without) Swiss cheese or bacon. You can add Roquefort for $2.50 more.
May 3: Melt Mobile food truck of Stamford and Greenwich: aside from sophisticatedly awesome grilled cheese sandwiches, there’s a reverse cheeseburger that they’re dishing out: The Insanewich. On the outside they have two of their Original Melts, packed with Gruyere, Tillamook Cheddar, and Monterey Jack. Nestled inside is a beautiful grilled 6 oz. Angus burger served with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and Melt sauce. If you can finish this bad boy, you are worthy of our admiration!
May 4: Mr. Frosty’s of Stamford (Harbor Point). We were sick to our stomachs when we learned from Anthony that Beach Burger in Norwalk had closed, but then we felt optimistic again because we knew that Mr. Frosty’s in Stamford would still be serving burgers. The burgers here are great and come in some awesome varieties. Don’t overlook their fries and their milkshakes, though. There are tons of tables out now around the park, so checking out Mr. Frosty’s and even getting a celebratory ice cream afterwards is the perfect way to enjoy spring and summer.
May 5: Bobby Q’s Pit Stop in Greenwich. So, check this burger out: your choice of a regular, double, or local beef patty served with Joey B’s rich and spicy chili, white cheddar, and…Fritos! Oh, the Fritos make it. The burger (a double) came out juicy, the chili was fantastic, and was great with a Chocolate Mallomar Milkshake. BTW, there’s a milkshake with bacon on the menu. Just sayin!
May 6: Black Duck in Westport. People have been going here well before Guy Fieri stamped his bite of approval on this famous floating restaurant. There are lots of ways to get your burger here from the classic cheeseburger, to a burger with bacon, or a cheeseburger with bacon…but then there’s the bleu cheese stuffed burger, oozing with flava.
May 7: The Fez in Stamford. You need to order The Fez Burger. Quite the unconventional and unexpected burger, but sooo good. We’re talking a mixture of lamb and beef together, uniting as one. Sometimes lamb by itself can be too gamey and overwhelming, but the beef balances it out. It’s served with crispy lettuce and tomato, served with roasted onions and peppers. Oh, and they throw on a fabulous green spiced sauce to bring it all together.
May 8: Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield. SDW is an obvious choice if you’re looking for some hot and freshly made wieners, but they’re also a great choice if you want a burger. You can choose between their 4.5 or 6 oz. burgers that are hand-made grass-fed/organic/hormone free/antibiotic free/certified Angus. They serve it up on a potato roll. Yes, when you go there the last thing you think of is a hamburger, but we had the opportunity to try their burgers at an event with the SDW truck. The meat itself was fresh and full of flavor and was cooked nicely. The patty kept that juiciness that makes any burger a treat to eat. Plus, they have lots of great add-ons at the restaurant such as their hand-made toppings like the relish. Go with the hot relish, though. ;)
May 9: Napa & Co. of Stamford. The Napa Wagyu Burger definitely has a cult following, but there’s a price to way…$26 to be exactly. While some might scoff at paying such a premium price for just a burger, it’s not just a burger. It’s more of an experience. They take premium Wagyu (aren’t those two words basically the same thing?) and top it with onion jam, aged Gouda, and black pepper mayo then serve it on a brioche roll. When we tried the burger it was cooked exactly how we like it: medium rare. The patty was juicy and was amazingly full of flavor. You get garlicky french fries with that burger, too…don’t worry.
May 10: Coalhouse Pizza in Stamford. Again, although you might not think of burgers when you hit up Coalhouse, you should give one a shot. Like their pizzas, they come in great varieties, named after blues and jazz legends. Starting off, all burgers are 8 oz. prime beef patties. We had the Classic Coalhouse which simply has Romaine, tomato, and red onion and is served on an English muffin. The burger was definitely cooked nicely (pink or some pink like Plan B) with a good amount of pink hanging around. It was definitely juicy and full of flavor. We’ve also had many specialty burgers that have been made for beer dinners and they have been awesome. The next time we come by for one of their 52 brews on tap, we’ll try the Stevie Ray Vaughan which includes a fried egg, bacon, tomato, pepperjack, and Texas mesquite on a brioche bun. Sure…that counts as breakfast. ;)
May 11: Plan B Burger Bar in Stamford. Although service time from the kitchen has been a consistent issue in reviews, we’ve never had a bad burger at Plan B…but it’s certainly not for every burger lover. The patties here are different than most other burgers than you’ve probably had. They pack them very loosely here and this warrants their “some pink” or “no pink” ordering. This frustrates people and it confused us at first, but it made sense after our waitress explained it: because they freshly grind the burger meat each day and pack it loosely, it’s very tough to serve it the exact way that you want it. We’ve been by a few times and tried some of their classic menu items such as Kristien’s go-to, Tavern Classic, the Chili burger with jalapenos and jack cheese, and the Squeeler with a half pork/half beef mixture. And, we’ve also experimented with their burgers of the week, munching on a killer mac & cheese burger. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that they have a wicked good bourbon selection to wash that burger down with.
May 12: Ginger Man in Greenwich. While their sister restaurant in Norwalk might have more brews on tap, the Greenwich location is still impressive, boasting 26 draft lines. And, you know what that means? You need some burgers to wash all that down with. When we went for St. Patrick’s Day, we sat upstairs and took the less traditional route. We ordered their lamb burger with feta and a nicely mild tzatziki sauce on top. The lamb was cooked perfectly, still pink inside, still juicy, and was full of that beautiful gamey flavor that only lamb can bring. Plus, the tabouli on the side was actually really good. We didn’t know what it’d be like and were a bit hesitant, but we actually enjoyed it. Definitely a nice solid choice for the pub-grub here.
May 13: Burger, Shakes & Fries of Darien and Greenwich. Although we first tried the burgers, shakes, and fries at the Darien location, we’re happy to say we live within walking distance of the Greenwich location. Perhaps one of the things that we love the most about the burgers at BSF is how they are served on fluffy buttered (oh so buttery) toast. The toast itself is awesome, and the patty is excellent, always cooked to medium rare (unless you ask of course). Toppings are great and can be customized. Favorite combo? Bacon, fried egg, and hot peppers. It’s important to note that the Darien location has more room, while the Greenwich location is smaller and dive-ier. We actually like the Greenwich location more…especially because you get to see the charmer Kory Wollins, charming owner and burger-lover.
May 14: Burger Bar & Bistro in Norwalk. Although there have been some reviews of quality going down here, when we went, we had a great time and enjoyed our burgers. Perhaps the star of the show for Dan was the B.E.C. Burger, served with applewood smoked bacon, a fried egg, two slices of American cheese, fries, and a spicy ketchup. If you look back up to the start of this post you can see this burger in all its glory. And, you can also upgrade to Kobe beef for an even better burger experience. Yes, the fries are actually served ON the burger. If you’ve got a pup, you should take advantage of the outdoor patio because there’s a menu just for dogs, too.
May 15: Dairy Inn in Stamford. Sometimes you don’t want a gourmet burger and just want to get down and dirty. And, Dairy Inn at 1092 Hope Street (seen during a scene in the movie, Let’s Talk about Ryan) fulfills your need for down and dirty grub. They are grilling up dogs, red hots (Dan’s favorite), and flame-broiled burgers…plus they have lots of sides like jalapeno poppers and other tried and true American fast food favorites. This was always our favorite alternative to going to a place like McDonald’s or even the much disappointing Jake’s Wayback Burger down the road. Yes, it’s not a gourmet burger, but it’s always served hot and juicy with your choice of toppings. Plus, you can have some ice cream with that burger. ;)
May 16: MacDuff’s in Greenwich. Maybe you’ve never heard of MacDuff’s, but we were looking for a nice Irish pub in Greenwich when we moved. And, it’s kind of a requirement to order wings, burgers, and fries when you go to a pub. Looking back after actually being to Ireland, you do get that authentic kind of vibe by going there. The burger is made with 8 oz. of Prime Hereford beef topped with farmhouse cheddar. The burger was very fresh and had that manly meaty taste that you crave in a burger. There was nice grill marks and it was cooked to a perfect medium rare. This was all served on a poppy seed roll. Perhaps the most fun thing to do was dip the burger in the onion whisky sauce that comes with the burger. That stuff should be illegal. The housemade chips that also come with the dish were crispy and had that nice crunch that you crave. If there was a tiny bit more seasoning this could be one of our favorite burgers ever.
May 17: Shake Shack in Westport. Again, we’re not burger snobs, so we can really go for any kind of burger. It might be a simple patty, a more complicated version, or maybe even a chain burger. What matters is that ya like it and you enjoy it. Waits might be long here at Shake Shack, but the burger is worth it in the end…and so is the outdoor seating. When we tried, Kristien got her standard toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, ketchup, and extra extra extra pickles. She asked for it medium and she got it medium. It was full of flavor, had nice girth and thickness, the bun was fresh, and the patty had that nice char and crispiness on the outside while it was nice and juicy in the middle. It’s really easy to throw on lots of crazy toppings and say a burger is great, but to keep it simple and have it still be great is a completely different issue. Plus, um, we love the shakes. :P
May 18: GRAND of Stamford. Chef Nick Biello came to Grand a few years back and helped them to rework the menu of this trendy nightspot. The menu soon became a burger lover’s dream with so many great choices. Although Dan loved his Elvis burger (peanut butter, banana, bacon), they have since taken it off the menu. Seriously, how could you do that to us? Even still, their other classic burgers are still available with the choice of grass fed beef, free range turkey, or homemade veggie. Both our burgers were perfectly cooked to medium rare and you could tell that the meat was fresh and of very high quality…not like eating pink slime from McDonald’s at all. Some burgers to try out are the Bacon Egg Burger (bacon, deviled egg, peppers), the Bing Burger (cherry preserve, fresh mooz, sea salt), Slow & Low Burger (robiola cheese, braised short ribs, bbq), and the Grand Burger with bleu cheese, caramelized onions, and fig balsamic.
Most anticipated burgers that we (and you) need to try
May 19: Garden Catering of Greenwich, Stamford, and Norwalk. Garden Catering doesn’t do just specials with nuggets and cones. Nope, they’ve got a crazy burger that has us counting down the days until we can hit up their nearby spot in Old Greenwich. We’re talking about the Hotsy burger! You take a 6 oz patty, grill it up, add cheese, Hotsy’s chili (they’re also famous for their chili, btw), 3 strips of bacon, smashed potato cones, and a fried egg. Holy heart attack, Batman…we’ve so got to get this!
It’s time again for Taste of Westport (we covered this event last year, too). What’s great about this event is that you get to taste some of the best food that Westport has to offer and you do good at the same time. Taste of Westport will be on May 2 from 6-9 pm at the Westport Inn and will cost $75 prepaid or $80 at the door. You can get your tickets easily by going to the purchasing page or calling (203) 226-7895 x144. Proceeds are being donated to Clasp Homes of Westport and even more will go to Clasp through silent auctions. Here’s a little bit about Clasp, from their website: “Our mission is to provide homes and opportunities for people with autism and other developmental disabilities. We offer high quality personalized services that enhance each person’s independence, dignity, and continued growth. As a non-profit community organization we are dedicated to increasing public understanding of the people we serve and their ability to be contributing members of the community.”
Now back to the food…but, we’re not talking about just great restaurants. Michele’s Pies, the award-winning and Bobby Flay-throwdown-winners, will be on hand. Plus, there will be lots to drink like Beaver Beer, local Onyx Moonshine, and even more provided by Black Bear Wines & Spirits, Crystal Rock, and Green Farms Spirits. Here is all the info.
Life’s kind of strange, isn’t it? Chef Bill Taibe who started LeFarm and The Whelk became very well known in Connecticut when he cooked at G/R/A/N/D in Stamford, he started his own spot called Relish Food & Wine, and especially when he took Napa & Company to new heights. When he left Napa in 2009, a chef named Arik Bensimon came in and took the reigns. He was a chef who had received major praise from his experiences at Le Cirque and Picholine in NYC and La Panetiere in Rye. LeFarm was born soon after. And, from day one, Executive Chef Arik Bensimon made a name for himself again at Napa & Company plating food with heart, soul, and reverence for local food. We were treated to an amazing dinner that Chef Arik prepared and we were really blown away…course after course. Then this past summer we found out that Chef Arik had left Napa & Co and we all wondered…what was he up to next? Well, he took Fairfield County by storm a second time by becoming Executive Chef at The Spread in Norwalk. Again, we had a meal there and we really loved Arik’s rich and hearty dishes that were sprinkled with simple complexity, and vowed to come back time and again.
And, now onto the life is strange part. Chef Arik Bensimon has left The Spread and is now Executive Chef at LeFarm in Westport, owned by Bill Taibe. We wish lots of great success to Arik and we’re so happy for him. He’s the kind of guy who deserves the best. Being Executive Chef at LeFarm, for him, will be a perfect match and can only push LeFarm to even greater culinary heights. Seriously…make your reservations now. You’re not going to be able to get in the door.
Winter is only one season, but why does it seem so long? Perhaps this year we can blame it on Punxsutawney Phil who promised an early end to winter, but lied? Yeah, never trust a rodent, that’s what momma always said.
But, look, we’re beyond it all now! The weather has turned, we’re at the start of spring, and we can actually feel the sun’s warmth. By now, you’ve probably already lit up the BBQ and cooked up a storm. And, you’ve probably been thinking about eating out(side) at a restaurant to enjoy the great weather. So, we decided to put together a nice list of restaurants in the area that we like that have either al fresco (outdoor) dining or open air dining. Perhaps you have an amazing restaurant to add that we missed? Let us know! Taco Bell doesn’t count, though. ;)
Enjoy the beautiful weather people…you earned it!
Ecco rooftop bar/eatery on top of La Zingara (added by N)
When we went to The Dressing Room last year, we were impressed with the hands on approach to the food, the attention to detail, the focus on all things local, and the do it yourself approach. They had some killer mac & cheese and we still longingly dream about the Naughty Angel dessert. Yes, grilled poundcake…ahhhhhh.
As you might be aware, Paul Newman and Michel Nischan (only one of the coolest, most groundbreaking, and nicest chefs in the ENTIRE world) started The Dressing Room. The same attention to detail and reverence for ingredients that we mentioned comes together in the Lieb Cellars wine dinner on 4/11 at 7 pm for $75 per person (tax and tip extra). This time around The Dressing Room is pairing four courses with Lieb Cellars wines.
We’ve been to Lieb Cellars on the North Shore of Long Island and it’s just a breathtaking experience. Plus, the wine’s pretty good, too. ;) If you’ve never been out to the North Shore, it’s a must summer trip. We can usually hit up six vineyards in a day. Any more than that is just pure suicidal!
Smoked Sunburst Trout: frisee, micro amaranth, champagne vinaigrette, trout caviar, and buttered croutons
Paired with Lieb Cellars Merlot Blanc
Pork and Cabbage Stew: savoy cabbage, preserved tomatoes, asparagus, hen of the woods mushrooms, and garlic toast
Paired with Lieb Cellars Pinot Blanc
Grilled Sankow Beaver Brook Lamb Chops: caramelized fennel, carola potatoes, pearl onions, lamb jub, and micro herbs.
Paired with Lieb Cellars Cab Franc
Lemon Custard Pie: fresh whipped cream and candied lemon peel
Paired with Lieb Cellars Blanc De Blancs