Archive | $$$ (Pay Day Treat) RSS feed for this section

Harbor Brew Fest 2014 Tickets Giveaway

2 Sep

There were so many entries for the contest, but the random winner is Amy Booth who really wants to try Ginja Ninja and the Cannoli beer.  Hey, we’re there with ya…love the Ninja, desperately want to try the Cannoli beer! 

Dude, it’s almost September 20…and you know what that means:  Harbor Brew Fest at The Ball Park at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport! We’ve got our tix, and hopefully you do too, but just in case you don’t, we’ve got a ticket giveaway contest just for you!  So, to win TWO General Admission tickets to Harbor Brew Fest 2014, all you need to do is check out the list of breweries below and tell us one beer from a brewery that you can’t wait to try. Comment on this post to enter or comment on our Facebook post too.  We will pick one random lucky winner at 5 pm (when the contest ends) on Friday, 9/5/14, and will announce the winner.

In case you need a reminder or this is your first time hearing about HBF from us, here’s a quick review:

Continue reading

What’s in a name…a review of Salsa Picante – Port Chester, NY

2 Sep

…that which we call a Mexican restaurant by any other name would taste just as amazing. Right?

See, we heard about Salsa Picante in Port Chester well before it opened a little over a month ago, but we didn’t really give it any thought because the name made it sound like the same ‘ole, same ‘ole quick service Mexican joint. But then, like magic, we were walking down the street in Port Chester and the new spot caught the corner of our eyes. We peeked in and saw that it seemed to be more than what we thought it was, so Danny ran in to snatch a menu and Kristien immediately whipped out her phone to see what the word was on the street. Both searches turned out to be fruitful as the menu looked ah-mazing and people were RAVING about the food online. So, naturally you know what we had to do next…

The very next day (Sunday to be exact) we headed on over early, around 6PM…which we’re glad we did because by 6:30 there were people lining up outside to get in.  To be fair, the restaurant itself is pretty small fitting about 30 people. It has a simple, casual, cafe type feel with Mexican art work all around the darkly painted walls.  The sounds and sizzles of the grill are heard through the open kitchen and the chachacha of drinks being mixed are like music to diners’ ears.

Alright, let’s get into the drinks.

Before we did much of anything, we ordered some drinks. Lucky for us they got their liquor license just about two weeks before we visited.  That means they had margaritas, sangria, basic cocktails, wine, and beer available!  We went with margaritas for Kristien, sangria for Dan.  The margarita is made with house tequila (though we upgraded to Patron), Cointreau, and freshly squeezed lime and orange juices (we watched the bartender squeeze them by hand). It was a very simple, but well-balanced, fresh tasting margarita. Dan’s White Sangria was light, refreshing, and just sweet enough with a nice peachy undertone from the Schnapps.  Dan later got the Red Sangria (because you HAVE to try both, duh) which, again, was nicely balanced and not too sweet.  We later talked with owner David Dolores who shared that the sangria is made with at lest five different kinds of liquors, making them very complex.

Onto La Comida!

There was definitely lots of options to choose from on the menu like appetizers, tortas (sandwiches), burritos, and lots of classically authentic Mexican dishes.  We decided to start off with their Ceviche Misto, which was good, but we had two major issues:  they were pretty heavy on the lime so it was very acidic and, perhaps because of that, the fish had a bit of a mushy consistency. The shrimp and calamari, though, had a good consistency. Here, too (like the Margarita) it was very simple and traditional.  We also tried one of the specials for that day:  a lobster quesadilla.  The lobster, actually, wasn’t overcooked and had a nice consistency.  While we know lots of people say it’s a horrible sin to pair cheese with seafood, we have to say that it worked nicely here with the crispy tortilla and melty cheese playing off the lobster quite nicely.

Elote at Salsa Picante in Port Chester, NY

Next up is one of our favorite dishes from Latin spots, Elote.  They served two corn on the cobs with mayo, Cotija cheese, and chili powder.  David was accommodating with Dan’s loathing of mayo and kept it off of his ear.  The corn was spicy sweet, and rich from the cheese and mayo, just like we like it. The only issue was it was just warm rather than hot.  We would have preferred it to be hot, if not steaming. We also love those charred grilled marks on the corn, which we didn’t see.

For our entrée we decided to share the Taco Platter.  You got your choice of any 3 tacos meats plus onion, cilantro, lime, rice and beans, tortillas, and guacamole.  When the dish arrived, we were so excited:  it’s essentially “Do it Yourself Tacos”!  David explained to us that this is how they do things in Puebla, Mexica where he’s from:  family style, just like us Italians!  We had decided to go with the fish (tilapia), Carne Asada, and Al Pastor tacos because, well, those are some of our favorite flavor combos.

Fish (tilapia) taco at Salsa Picante in Port Chester, NY

First up was the tilapia that came out red (from paprika), moist, and delicate.  We made ours with cilantro, onion, radish, lime, and a touch of their orange sauce.  Then we both made our own Carne Asada tacos!  The beef had nice grill marks, giving off even more flavor.  We threw everything on this taco, using the smoky red sauce on one and the orange sauce on our seconds.  And, finally, we made our Al Pastor tacos. Unlike most variations we’ve had, you can actually taste (and see) the pineapple along with the pork…which we loved!  We decided to make ours with cilantro, onions, lime, and the orange sauce, though the red sauce did help to highlight the pork even more, too. We had enough meat and toppings to make 6 tacos each and even asked for more tortillas so we could make two more tacos at home. All in all a tasty (and again, simple and traditional) dish!

And last, but never least, dessert.

We couldn’t decide which to go with, the Quatro Leches (ooo that’s one more leche than normal) or the Churros. So guess what? Yeah, we did both…don’t judge!

The Quatro Leches was ridiculously moist, and only a little sweet unlike most we have that hurt our teeth. The chocolate syrup on top gave it a nice little warmth/depth. Honestly, this was one of the best we’ve ever had.

The Churros were stuffed with cream and Cotija…OMG. They were super crispy on the outside and oh so ooey gooey on the inside.  Man, that cheese really sent this dessert over the top. Yum!

So, would we say Salsa Picante lived up to our expectations of its name, or did it far exceed those expectations? Well, if you’re looking for a traditional, simple, affordable, authentic Mexican experience that is a major step up from quick service Mexican spots, then this is most definitely a great place to go. If you’re looking for modern twists, fancy cocktails, a hopping ambiance, and complex flavors, you can stick to one of our other fave trendy Mexican spots, like Bodega.

Noms: 3.25

Cost: $$-$$$

Address: 110 Adee Street.

Port Chester, NY 10573

Phone:  (914) 481-5488

Salsa Picante on Urbanspoon

Morello Bistro: Old World Italian Charm with a Modern Twist – Greenwich, CT

28 Aug

Exterior Morello Bistro Greenwich

From the outside, Morello Bistro in Greenwich appears to be a cute, maybe even unassuming restaurant with a brown and white awning and a few outdoor tables.  But, as you enter, the beautiful domed ceilings, archways, terra-cotta colored columns, and second-level balcony really set the mood for a contrasting old world, yet modern Italian experience. We were excited to have that experience again when General Manager, James Branigan invited us for a special tasting since we haven’t been to Morello Bistro since the first time we tasted their menu back in November ’12 when Chef Pasternack ran the kitchen.

We started the night chatting with Olivier Flosse, Beverage Director for MARC (Mardon Abela Restaurant Corporation).  Not only is Olivier in charge of wine and cocktails at Morello, but also A Voce, Bistro du Midi, and FPB. We loved talking with Oliver because he oozed passion and excitement for his job! We talked about wine, cocktails, and his pairings for the night as he shared insights and observations in the world of adult beverages. He talked about how cocktails seem to be returning to classic liquors, how St. St. Germain has made a huge comeback in cocktails because it is, in the words of Olivier, “pure and elegant.” And, he kinda blew our minds when he told us about a cocktail that he has at A Voce:  Il Tartufo.  It’s made with a 10 year bourbon infused with three different vermouths and black truffles.  Then, they put white truffle honey on one side of the rim…DAMN!

Well, enough foreplay, let’s get down to business:

Continue reading

Parallel Post + Onyx Moonshine Team Up for Scandalous Prohibition Dinner

26 Aug

As bad as you think your life is now with problems left and right, think about this:  what if you lived during the Prohibition Era?  You couldn’t get a beer, couldn’t get a cocktail, couldn’t even drink wine…what kind of life is that?  But, that didn’t stop the truly devoted who took the ban on liquor as a creative opportunity to sell illegal drinks in speakeasies and make a profit.  Oh, and you best believe that people started brewing their own liquid goodness too…stuff that would put hair on your chest, stuff that could polish (and maybe corrode) metal, stuff that was sure to get you all messed up with just a few sips.

Continue reading

SoWe Food + Wine Festival 2014 Ft. Celebrity Chefs + Demos, Restaurants, Food Trucks and Drinks Galore

18 Aug

While we focus on Fairfield County, we sometimes can’t control ourselves when it comes to nearby towns and events: there’s the CT Brewers Guild Brewfest at Ski Sundown, Miya’s in New Haven, Coals in Port Chester, Captain Lawrence Brewery in Elmsford, and there’s also the SoWe Food & Wine Festival.  That’s Southern Westchester Food & Wine Festival for you n00bs.

This event, now in its third year, (2012 was Taste of Scarsdale which morphed into the SoWe Food & Wine Fest) brings together the best of food in NYC, Westchester and Fairfield Counties, along with excellent wine (beer too) and exclusive experiences.  SoWe goes down from 9/19-21 with tickets ranging from $0 to $85 for the Celebrity Chef Battle on Friday.  They have also teamed up with WhyHunger, Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps, The Community Counseling Center, JDRF, Greyston, and the Food Bank for Westchester to donate a sizable portion of their profits from the weekend to these important charities.

Let’s take you through the different days and options that you can take part in.

Continue reading

Gettin’ Schooled at Karen Brownlow’s Chop Shop Cooking Class in Westport

11 Aug
Karen operates Chop Shop classes right out of her beautiful kitchen

Karen operates Chop Shop classes right out of her beautiful kitchen

With Fairfield County’s active food scene, it’s no problem trying a new restaurant whenever you want.  But, sometimes you might want more than a meal out.  Maybe you want to take those restaurant-quality dishes home with you to make whenever you want.  Again, there are certainly many cooking classes that you can try out here in the 203, but many are simple meals or involve basic skills.

Some of the steps involved in making a great ceviche

Some of the steps involved in making a great ceviche

So, we were very excited to learn about Karen Brownlow of Chop Shop Cooking.  She loved cooking for friends and at parties so much that she decided to study cooking at The New York Restaurant School in Manhattan.  Seeing her talent, they kept her on in their catering department and became one of their head chefs in charge of the many events that they cater.  From there, she worked at Abigail Kirsch and even started her own catering company.  As her life got busier and she wanted to spend more time with her family, she decided to stop catering, but…and here’s where Chop Shop came in…but, her friends convinced her to start cooking classes.  And, so Chop Shop Cooking was born!

Continue reading

Ibiza Tapas Restaurant + Wine Bar: a taste de las tapas Españolas en Danbury

4 Aug

After taking a trip to Barcelona, Spain a couple years back we became a little “tapas shy” back here in the states.  Ok, we know what you’re thinking, OmNomCT shy about anything, let alone food?  Yeah right!  It’s true though!  We had such amazing tapas in the motherland that we were afraid we might be a bit disappointed by the local tapas spots.  But, after Ibiza owner, Ignacio Blanco assured us that his tapas were the real-deal (and he should know, he’s from Spain and has spent a lot of time there), we said, what the heck, let’s do it!So last Sunday evening we headed on over after we worked up an appetite failing miserably at a round of golf in Southbury.  The restaurant is in a bit of an odd location within a strip mall, but they’ve done a nice job making you forget that once you get in.  The walls are sleek and dark, the lighting dim, and there were some festive brightly colored paintings throughout, much like many of the tapas spots we went to in Barcelona.  The scene wasn’t too lively, but it was a Sunday night which usually tends to be a chill night for restaurants.  Before we went at it, we talked with Ignacio a bit and learned more about his experiences in Spain and his other restaurants, including Miegas (another tapas restaurant) in Norwalk which we LOVED but never got a chance to write up back in 2010. Continue reading

CT Food News, Vol. 15: Pepe’s Takes MA, Festivals, Contests, CT Beer Props, Updates, and more…

31 Jul

August is a bittersweet month:  the last bits of summer are dripping down, parents, teachers, and students are ready to head back to school, and the boys of summer are gone (points for the reference).  But, screw that bittersweet crap:  we’re talking ’bout just sweet for the next two weeks!  In CT Food + Beer News, Volume 15, we’ve got openings, restaurant updates, fairs, restaurant specials, and more.  If you’d like a full list of events that we’ve covered in previous posts, check out our Events page up above.

Restaurant Openings and Updates

Pepe’s Pizza will be opening up a restaurant in Brookline, MA, further expanding their cheesy empire.  Pepe’s will be replacing The Fireplace restaurant, formerly owned by Jim Solomon.  Other locations include the original Pepe’s in New Haven, and their pizza satellites in Danbury, Fairfield, Manchester, Mohegan Sun, West Hartford and Yonkers.

Continue reading

CT on Tap: New Beer Festival in Danbury Focuses on American Craft Beer

28 Jul

Watch out CT, you’ve got another beer festival on the way!  Yup, yup…get ready for Connecticut on Tap at Ives Concert Park in Danbury on 9/13 from 3 to 6 brought to you by i95 Rock and Townsquare Media Danbury.  Think of it:  over 120 different craft brews being poured out for you and your hop-happy friends.  Tickets are either $35 for GA, $55 for VIP, or even a special price for designated drivers on the day of the event.  Now, here’s what you’ll experience at both price levels:

Continue reading

Take a Culinary Tour Through Latin America via Aarón Sánchez’s Paloma in Harbor Point, Stamford

22 Jul

Let’s just put it out there now…we haven’t had the best of luck with celebrity chef restaurants over the past few years, with the exception of Gordon Ramsay’s Maze and Michael Psilakis’s Kefi both in NYC.  More often than not we’ve had disappointing meals like our experience at the recently closed Primary Food & Drink by Graham Elliot and at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in Las Vegas. We’ve found that a celebrity chef putting his or her stamp on a restaurant and menu doesn’t guarantee anything.  So, you’ll have to forgive our skepticism when Aarón Sánchez made plans to open up Paloma in the Harbor Point area of Stamford (where The Beer Garden used to be). Would Chef Sanchez, from Chopped and Cooking Channel’s Heat Seekers (with partner in crime Roger Mooking), be a rare exception?

Well, you better believe we wanted to find out ASAP.  We just so happened to see an ambiguous announcement on Harbor Point’s Facebook page Saturday evening so we made a bee-line for Harbor Point to see if it was really open.  To our delight it was a soft opening and we were lucky enough to get a table.  SCORE!  So, let’s get down to biz-natch… Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,970 other followers

%d bloggers like this: