We were in an interesting position when we were asked if we’d like to attend a Fairfield County Food Writers’ Dinner at the new Mediterraneo in Hotel Zero Degrees on the Rt 7 connector in Norwalk. See, we’ve been to every single restaurant in the Z Hospitality Group (Terra, Sole, Aurora, Acqua) and recently even wrote up Mediterraneo in Greenwich, so, we weren’t sure if there would be a lot of the same stuff at this new spot. Luckily, though, Executive Chef Albert DeAngelis and Chef de Cuisine Ethan Morse were feeling creative and were offering up many different options on this menu. Before we sat down to eat, we got a tour of the newly opened Hotel Zero Degrees. What we love about it is it’s modern, slick and trendy, but it won’t break the bank. We especially loved the big, open spaces with plenty of room to move around and relax. Our little tour ended in the big, expansive dining room, overlooking the Norwalk River and a rushing waterfall (who knew there was a waterfall in the Norwalk River?). The windows open out into a V and you get that beautiful cool breeze that makes dining so nice and relaxing. Ok, so the food. There was definitely an ambitious menu set before us with 10 courses and paired wines for 9 of them. Yes, we know, it’s a tough life that we lead. So, let’s go through a heavily seafood-focused dinner…hey, we ain’t complaining.
We told you about Soupstock last year…a free music, food, and arts festival that is now in its fourth year. While Soupstock (taking place on June 8 from 10-8 pm at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Shelton) has always been about fun, there’s also a heart to this much anticipated event. Proceeds from the event (there are lots of chances to give and help support) go to The Mary A Schmecker Turtle Shell Fund (read more here) that benefits art, craft, and music education for children and young adults. Let’s show you why you’ll need to keep Saturday, June 8 free for you, yourself, your friends, and your fam:
1) There will be great food options for you:
We’re talking Liquid Lunch of Shelton and Milford, BRYAC from Bridgeport (they’ll have a raw bar), DiSorbo’s Bakery of Hamden, Mamoun’s Falafel of New Haven, and Addeo’s Italian Ice of Shelton. Kristien just might spend the entire festival shooting oysters, though. :P
Terra of Greenwich.
Sole of New Canaan.
Acqua of Westport.
Aurora of Rye, NY.
And Mediterraneo of Greenwich AND Norwalk.
Now, let’s play a guessing game. What do you think these all have in common? They all serve Italian? Well, kind of. They all feature seafood? Well, kind of. They all have been created by Ramze Zakka of Z Hospitality Group? Good answer, good answer team. You guys and gals are on top of things!
It’s pretty cool to say that we’ve been to every single one of those restaurants, but now we have another one to try starting on Monday, 4/29, for dinner. On that day at the brand new Hotel Zero Degrees in Norwalk, the second Mediterraneo in Connecticut will be open. From there, according to a recent press release on Stamfordplus, they’ll be easing into things with dinner only until May 7 and having Sunday brunch starting on May 12. At that brunch you can enjoy a celebratory Bellini or Mimosa.
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)
One of the most frustrating things about ordering delivery over the phone (#ConnecticutProblems) is repeating yourself 30 times, or being put on hold, or being transferred to 10 different people. Yeah, it’s seriously annoying and it’s a big waste of time, especially when there are other important things to do like watch TV, surf the net, watch the kids, or just be lazy.
But, two websites are making delivery (or pick up) just a bit easier and giving you some great things in return. All around, we use Seamless more often because they have a better variety of restaurants for delivery by us, but Delivery.com is still a good option. Let’s look at Seamless first.
Seamless has a very easy to use interface where you can save restaurants into your favorites and even just order a previous meal with just a few clicks. You’ll often see restaurants that have deals like 10% or 20% of orders! Be aware that some restaurants charge a small fee for delivery, but it’s not a fee from Seamless. Also, Seamless will send out emails time to time with special discount codes that you can enter before your finalize your purchase. Our favorite part: add the tip right in and when your food arrives, the delivery person will hand it to you, thank you, then leave. That’s more time for your to spend gorging yourself. Right now they are in the Greenwich, Stamford, and Westport areas, but are expanding.
Our obsession with Restaurant.com (not Restaurants.com) started years ago when we’d shell out $5 and get a $50 pass to restaurants. The amount of money we saved was awesome and we continue to check this site when we want to save some major dinero. We use it for local restaurants and especially when we’re on vacation and want to find a quick, inexpensive meal.
It works pretty easily: enter the city and state where you want a certificate then select the restaurant. The most common option that you’ll see is pay $10 for a $25 certificate, but sometimes there will be bigger incentives like $20 for $50, $30 for $75, or even $40 for $100. Before you purchase your certificate, just make sure that there aren’t any terms of the agreement that won’t work for you such as, “Only includes lunch,” or “No dinner on Saturday.” Also, pay close attention to the fine print because some have an order minimum or some include a tip into the amount of the bill automatically.
One of the first things we do when we’re looking for a restaurant to hit up is check to see if it’s on OpenTable. In just a few clicks you can see lots of restaurants in your area that are taking reservations. From there, you can click on a restaurant, enter in your party size and time, then you’re on your way to booking your table. You could even play restaurant roulette and enter a party size, date, and time and see which restaurants in the area have tables nearby.
Recently, we used OpenTable to get ourselves some nice seats at Bar Sugo in Norwalk and Dinosaur Bar-b-que in Stamford. Plus, we can’t tell you how easy this site makes vacation planning. And, wouldn’t you know it, Dan’s Prius has OpenTable built into it?
When you show up for the reservation, make sure you give your name and they check you in before you find your seat. At most restaurants you’ll earn 100 points for each time you show up and dine out. There are even some restaurants on the site that will earn you 1,000 points for honoring your reservation. When you reach 2,000 points you’ll be sent a $20 gift certificate usable at any OpenTable restaurant.
Here are just some of the OpenTable restaurants that you could hit up in just Connecticut:
Last year we checked out Hops & Grapes Toasts & Tastes and had such a great time. There was great food galore from restaurants across Fairfield County with plenty of beer and wine to try. This year on 4/12 from 7:30-10:30 we can expect the fourth annual Hops & Grapes Toasts & Tastes to be even better as it moves into its new location: the Stamford Innovation Center in the heart of downtown. There will be plenty of room to mingle at this classic landmark building…and plenty of room to get your tastebuds tingling, too. In addition to the restaurants, caterers, cheesemongers, and bakeries, there will also be drinks and representation from breweries. When you’re in between drinks and courses, be sure to check out the great silent auctions that will be available (follow them on FB for early previews of what will be up for auction). Finally, if you stick around towards the end, you can take part in the live auction with amazing trips, gifts, and packages. We are also very proud and excited to be one of the media sponsors for this amazing event that raises vital money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society that fights leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma.
Tickets are $75 each or are $125 for a pair. Also, you may order VIP tickets for $100 each or $175 for a pair which includes a VIP gift bag, a raffle ticket, and a LLS wristband. You can also donate if you can’t make it or even purchase an ad to be played during the slideshow. As of now, these are the hops, grapes, and tastes that you can toast to: