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.
Darien has definitely been shaping up as a culinary destination with the recent additions of Estia’s American and Bodega, as well as the solid Scena Wine Bar & Restaurant. And, it’s about to become even better sometime near the end of May or the beginning of June when Joe Criscuolo opens up Meatball & Co. at 23 Tokeneke Road. We’ll get to the food in a sec, but first some background info on Joe. Joe and Matt own and operate Pizza Post in Greenwich that’s putting out some awesome pies (we had a Clams Casino on Saturday that was killer) and food. They make their own meatballs and sausage and they are BYOB. Joe and Matt took over the shop from their father who started Pizza Post in ’72. And, now Joe’s giving the reigns over to his brother Matt as he starts his own business which has always been a dream of his.
Okay, that’s enough background…we know, you want the details.
Joe had been thinking of starting his own restaurant for quite a while and always wanted to do something different. He was particularly inspired after visiting The Meatball Shop in NYC and seeing what they were doing. ”The area is super-saturated with pizza places, so I wanted my restaurant to be accessible to all and to be different,” Joe told us. ”I wanted to feature comfort food, and I wanted it to be great. And, the meatball is such a great vehicle to present with. You can really do anything with them, from veal piccata, to Asian inspired, to sausage and brocoli rabe, and more.”
People went crazy last year when Plan B Burger Bar opened in Stamford Town Center. What? A restaurant with great burgers, a killer beer selection, and an amazing variety of bourbon? Yes, yes, and yes. Well kiddos, ya’ll further out east in Fairfield County won’t have to drive out to Stamford anymore for your Plan B fix. Coming this fall, Fairfield will have its own Plan B Burger Bar at 1262 Boston Post Road, the old post office building. If that’s too far to wait, don’t worry. They opened the Stamford location ahead of schedule and maybe that will happen here?
We are opening in Fairfield, CT Fall of 2013!
But, you won’t have to wait that long to have a Plan B Burger in the fair city. Stay tuned to find out what we’re doing in Fairfield for National Burger Day on May 28th.
You might have heard of pop up restaurants, springing up in empty spots or abandoned places. Here one week, gone another. You know…that’s so 2012. PopShop Market, though, is taking things into 2013 with their pop up market. For each pop up event they’ll have 50 or more vendors, a mini farmers’ market, they’ll feature a local brewery, and they’ll have a bunch of CT’s best food and food trucks available for your noming needs. The first PopShop Market is being held on June 1 from 9-3 at the Fairfield Theater Company‘s warehouse and parking lot. There’s no cost at all and there is live music, too. Here are the details for the first event:
Zicke, Zacke, Zicke, Zacke, Hoi, Hoi, Hoi!
Yeah, you’ll be singing lots of songs in German pretty soon. Odes to the Oktoberfest gods, if you will. And, you’ll be singing your heart out from the beautiful, newly renovated patio at Station Eats in Stamford. The patio has been reimagined and redesigned and will forever henceforth be known as the Landmark Biergarten at Station Eats. We got in touch with one of the owners, Nick Type, and he told us more about the Biergarten, opening half way through May:
“It will offer a line of rotating draft craft beers, wines, sparkling wines and our house made (fresh / no mixes) station margarita (14oz – $6.00). Beer prices will be very reasonable. We will have buxom gals and hunky lads serving out there and the occasional live music act. The biergarten menu will be an extension of our current menu and include items such as bier braised brats, house made bacon sauerkraut on pretzel rolls. Complimentary warm station kettle chips made to order will greet every patron.”
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.
You’re all in for a real sweet treat. Forever Sweet Bakery (formerly Sweet Endings) has set up their very own location in Norwalk at 4 New Canaan Avenue.
You might remember we wrote about their awesome cupcakes, cookies, and treats when they were at Stamford Town Center. While they moved out, they took up shop and based themselves out of Scoop Cafe in Stamford. During this time, they were able to get their cupcakes placed in many restaurants and were able to make lots of custom cakes and grow a steady customer base.
Frances Mercede, baker/owner extraordinaire, recalls what it was like to see the building at 4 New Canaan Avenue: “When Sky showed me the space, I knew this would be a great home for Forever Sweet Bakery.” But, that doesn’t mean it was easy to get things rolling. Sky (co-owner, husband of Frances, media specialist, awesome guy all around) immediately got to work with friend Ted Sihpol and built a wicked awesome bakery. One of the Forever Sweet Bakery customers said, in fact, “This is the nicest looking bakery I have seen.”
It was a crisp, spring day this past Saturday when Mike DiStassio launched the much anticipated The Local Meatball food cart. Just the night before he had found the perfect spot on Unquowa Road, right above the tracks at the Fairfield train station, where he could begin slinging meatballs with his brother Alan.
As he was getting ready for his 12:30 opening, people were already lined up, ready to try what Mike had worked so hard on. Featured that day, were two of his five rotating balls: Serious and Kick in Da. After meeting up with Mike’s wife and Kristien’s former coworker, Anne as well as other former coworkers and friends Michael, Bill, Rob, and Lisa, we placed our order. Now, don’t get us wrong, we love catching up with old friends…but the intoxicating scent of tomato sauce was too much to bare. We ordered (and were graciously treated to) three of each meatball on rolls.
Let’s start off with Serious, aka the original with ground beef from Saugatuck Craft Butchery. The sauce was slightly sweet and tangy, but with a warm, rustic taste. The bread, straight from Il Forno in Da Bronx to Mike’s door step, was amazing. Ya know, it’s hard to beat bread from Da Bronx. The meatballs themselves were good, but we wondered if they were just a bit too dense this first time around. The flavor was good though, with the perfect amount of herbs, and the meat was super fresh.