When we talked with Forrest Pasternack (former Executive Chef of Morello Bistro in Greenwich) a few weeks ago, we couldn’t help but get excited about what he and owner Sal Bagliavio had planned for the reopening of Bailey’s Backyard. A farm-to-table restaurant that would live up to its name, built from the ground, the farm, and garden up. A restaurant where the chef actually visits local farms and buys food from them. A full and complete embrace of what farm to table means. And, after visiting Bailey’s Backyard a few days before opening and being treated to a special preview menu, we know our excitement was well warranted.
The menu is pretty easy to handle, fitting on just one (large) page. In terms of what to order, it’s divided up into a few sections: snacks, sides, greens, starts, mains, and desserts. Of special note is that this is a great restaurant if you’re looking for fresh vegetarian options. You can order whatever you’d like, or have a 3 course meal (starter, main, and dessert) for $27 ($39 with wine pairing) or a 4 course meal (greens, seafood starter, main, and dessert) for $38 ($50 with wine pairing). In addition, you can even have the special Chef’s Tasting which is a seven course tasting menu for a very reasonable $65 or $95 with wine pairings. No tasting menu will ever be exactly the same because it’s built daily based on what’s fresh and from the farms.
Here it is…the day that so many have waited for. That time of year when you can head out, grab fresh produce picked straight from the farm, find great local products, and help support local farmers and businesses. Yes, it’s farmers’ market season and you’ll be happy to know that Westport Farmers’ Market is ready to open. Their first day for the 2013 season will be May 23 from 10 am – 2 pm. Then, every Thursday thereafter up until November 7 they will have their market. Here are the farms and products that you can expect to see all year:
- Wave Hill Breads
- The Local Catch
- Two Guys from Woodbridge
- Sanskow’s Beaver Brook Farm
- Skinny Pines pizza truck
- Rose’s Berry Farm
- SoNo Baking Company
- Fort Hill Farm
- Beltane Farm
- Woodland Farm
- Kaia Cafe
- Silvermine Apiary
- Boxcar Cantina
- Sport Hill Farm
- Ox Hollow Farm
- Huckleberry Artisan Pastries
- Du Soleil Fine Foods
- Raus Coffee Company
- Saugatuck Craft Butchery
- Sport Hill Farm
- Muddy Feet Farmer
Here are some of the farms and products that will be on a rotating schedule:
A local artisan ice cream maker, Tea•riffic! Ice Cream, recently took home some major awards at the 2013 CT Specialty Food Association‘s Product Awards Competition. They took home first place for their Chunky London Mist and Masala Chai flavors, took second for their Ginger Matcha, and placed third with London Mist. The judges (food writers, chefs, and local media personalities) evaluated food based on taste, flavor, texture, aroma, appearance, and color. So, to get recognized for all of these qualities was great, but it’s also more impressive when you consider that there were over 30 different products in various categories in the competition.
But, these aren’t the only awards that Norwalk based Tea•riffic! have won. They were also named Best New Product in the “Edibles Category” at the 2012 World Tea Expo East in Philly. Trying to understand why they have been recognized for great ice cream isn’t very difficult, though. It all began with Mario Leite (co-owner with his wife) wanting to put out ice cream using his two favorite teas: Thai Iced Tea and Earl Grey. From the start of production in October 2012, he saw the importance of using local ingredients whenever possible (Connecticut doesn’t exactly have too many exotic spices and teas that grow here). In addition, he believes that the more simple the ingredients, the better. No need for preservatives or other added junk. Keep it real, keep it pure, keep it yummy.
If you’ve gone into Tuscan Oven Trattoria of Norwalk any time in the past few weeks you probably noticed a big change…namely that it’s not Tuscan Oven anymore. The restaurant has been reworked and retooled and sitting at the helm is Chef Jeff Taibe, brother of Bill Taibe from LeFarm and The Whelk. First, let’s start with the name: Oak + Almond. Oak and almond wood are used in their wood burning stove. As many of your BBQ enthusiasts know, using different kinds of wood gives off and imparts different flavors to whatever you’re cooking. While the oak does have a strong smoke, it doesn’t end up taking over dishes, and the almond wood gives the meat a sweet nutty flavor.
As for the food, you can expect a great portion to be cooked in that beautiful oven, leading Chef Taibe to more traditional ways of cooking. Along with the oven, you can expect a down to earth kind of vibe and approach to the food, too. Food will be made from scratch, they’ll be using fresh, organic, and seasonal ingredients, and they’ll be serving it up on a simple menu.
Spring is here, so why not celebrate with some great food? And, why not throw in some great deals and prixe fixed meals? Yup, it’s everybody’s favorite time…restaurant week! First off, why not enter to win a $25 gift card to some local Branford businesses and restaurants just by clicking here? Once you’ve done that, you can check out special deals and prices during their Restaurant Week from April 14-20. We’ve listed all the info for you (20% gratuity is added to restaurant week checks) and even have a special recco from our friend Edwin Williams Bartlett of the awesome CT Out and About about one of his favorite spots, Home:
“All home runs! I don’t like tomato soup in general, but Home’s is amazing. I either have the patty melt or the Cuban (not on the list) when I am there and it has the same pork flatiron as the special, and it is the best piece of pork on a plate in the state. Their mac & cheese is to die for…I was a guest for the new menu meeting for the staff back in October, so I am very familiar with the whole menu. I was very impressed with the Artic Char, which I much prefer to salmon, and it’s even wild caught. The pan seared scallops and the duck breast really caught my attention, too.”
- Allegra’s $13 lunch or $25 for dinner
- Assaggio $29 for dinner
- Ballou’s Wine Bar Dinner for two, just $35
- Ben & Jerry’s $1 off any purchase of $3 or more
- Billy’s Pasta Cosi $16 lunch or $29 dinner
- Brandi’s Burgers Buy any speciality dog or burger, get a free small fry
- Campania Ristorante $16.44 (date of Branford’s founding) for lunch or $29 for dinner
- Chuck’s Margarita Grill $25 for dinner
- Darbar India $10.95 lunch or $20 dinner
- Dockside Seafood $13 lunch or $25 dinner
- Donovan’s Reef $10 lunch or $18 dinner
- Eli’s on the Hill $13 lunch or $25 dinner
- G-Zen $25 for dinner (some of the best veg food)
- Home $25 for dinner
- Jalapeno Heaven Buy two Karma margaritas, get free nachos or buy two full portion dinners and get a complimentary app.
- La Luna Ristorante $24 for dinner
- Lenny’s $13 lunch or $25 dinner
- Mango’s Bar and Grille $25 for dinner
- Nellie Green’s $13 lunch or $25 dinner
- Parthenon Diner 10% off lunch or 15% off dinner
- SBC $13 lunch or $25 dinner
- Su Casa Mexican Restaurant $25 for dinner
- U.S.S. Chowder Pot $13 lunch or $25 dinner
- Comments 2 Comments
- Categories American, Asian fusion, Bitchin' beer list, Burgers, Chinese, Farm to table, French, Good Bar Scene, Greek, Healthy options, hot dogs, Indian, Irish, Italian, Latino, Mediterranean, Mexican, New American, New Haven County, Nuevo Latino, Pizza, Restaurant Week, Tapas/small plates
Update: Bailey’s Backyard is now open…read our review.
Elevating local ingredients. That was the recurring theme to a recent talk we had with Forrest Pasternack, Executive Chef at Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield. We talked about Forrest’s amazing cooking a few months ago when he was Executive Chef at Morello Bistro in Greenwich, but he’s moved onto greener pastures…literally. He’s been working with Sal Bagliavio, owner of Bailey’s Backyard to not only refocus the menu, but also to rework the philosophy, the heart, the body, and the soul of the restaurant as it undergoes some major changes. While the restaurant is closed right now for renovations, you can expect an opening around the middle of April. Let’s look a bit closer into how Forrest plans to inspire diners, fully embrace the philosophy of farm-to-table, get the community involved, and spread the love of all things local across Connecticut.
Planting the Seeds: A Fresh Start, a Local Approach
Forrest knows Ridgefield. He grew up there and for a long time he’s been looking to get involved in the local food scene of a community and elevate the ingredients found nearby. With great excitement he shared, “I want to offer a showcase for local ingredients.” And, yes, he’ll be doing that…and not in your typical way, either. He’ll literally be planting seeds with his sous chef in the restaurant’s garden courtesy of Veronica’s Garden, will help nurture the seedlings, will reap the veggies, then will feature them in the dishes. For everything else, the staff will gather the freshest veggies, herbs, meats, and supplies every week from local farms. Some of the farms they plan to visit are Veronica’s Garden of Ridgefield, The Hickories of Ridgefield, and Maple Bank Farm of Roxbury. As for meat, he’s going local too such as Greyledge Farm in Roxbury. Even the wine menu at Bailey’s Backyard will be almost entirely local, with lots of Long Island and Connecticut vineyards showing up like Lieb Cellars (we love the wine and the vineyard itself) of Mattituck, NY; Millbrook Winery in Millbrook, NY; and DiGrazia of Brookfield, CT.
Watering the Seedlings: Nurturing the Restaurant, Nurturing the Community
Forrest told us that he wants to be a real driving force in the community in regards to food. By keeping the menu at Bailey’s Backyard local, he’ll be helping to reach that goal. In addition, he was sad to see that the farmers’ market in Ridgefield went away so he’s going to do whatever he can to try to bring one back. But, it’s not just Forrest who is nurturing Bailey’s Backyard. Chef Pasternack shared, “Sal, the owner, really understands food and he knows farms. He knows local wineries. And, whether people know it or not, he’s been a proponent of farm-to-table philosophy for a long time.”
Since we told you about Eat for Equity back in September, they have held three wildly successful dinners. And, after holding three events, Eat for Equity chapters become formally recognized by the organization and become official. Now they are official…congratulations Meg, RJ, and everybody else who has worked so hard to make Eat for Equity Stamford so successful.
After having these three great dinners, they are back for some more fun-filled action on April 6 from 7-10 at the Parallel 41 apartments, 1340 Washington Boulevard in Stamford. 100% of the money being donated will be going to Rebuilding Together Fairfield County. They are a nonprofit volunteer organization that works with local groups to preserve and revitalize homes and communities in Fairfield County. All of the repairs and work done on the homes comes at no cost to the families. Eat for Equity notes, “All work is done with them, not for them.” This furthers Eat for Equity’s mission of giving everybody in the local community a fair shot and evening the playing ground.
Now, onto the meal itself. The menu just cries out SPRING, especially with lots of fresh local veggies! Ah, what better way to welcome in the warmer seasons than having a great meal, meeting new people, and catching up with old friends? We can’t wait! As always, you must be 21 or older to attend and don’t need to bring food with you…but if you’d like to bring some beer and wine you’d be the best EVER. Also, there is no charge to take part in the dinner, but if you could muster up $15-20 for a donation, that would rock. So, make sure you get your tickets by visiting here (you don’t need to print them out), bring a check or cash with you for the donation, then munch away on all this great food:
A few years ago, before we started our blog, we tried Bambou Asian Tapas & Bar in Greenwich and really enjoyed it. Now only minutes away from where we live, we decided to head back and see if things were as good as we remember.
Just looking at the menu, we were excited because of the variety of flavors and choices. The decor, too, is pretty simple and zen…relaxing. So, let’s take you through our meal and show you why Bambou just might be your next stop for unique tapas and creative sushi.
Sweet Potato Tempura Fries with Honey Soy Dip
Awesome plating with a fry basket displaying the fries. While the outside was crispy, the insides were raw and needed more cooking. The dip added some sweetness and there was a slight tartness from the soy. The darker fries were thicker and had a deeper kind of flavor. We probably wouldn’t get this again.
We got ours steamed, though you can get them fried if you’d like. One of the things that we hate most about dumplings is how some Asian restaurants use a super thick, flour-y wrapper on the dumpling so all you taste is starch. Well, they’ve got it down here at Bambou because they use nice, thin rice paper…just like they should. Inside the dumpling were big chunks of veggies and the soy vinegar sauce for dipping was a bit tangy. Very good!
Connecticut loves their restaurant weeks and the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce is giving you an extra incentive to visit participating restaurants from March 10-16: a raffle. Yes, just pick up your Patron Program card at any of the participating restaurants and get at least three stickers by visiting any of the restaurants during the Westport-Weston Restaurant Week. If you’d like to win local restaurant gift cards, be sure to drop off your card at any of these locations:
- The Westport Public Library, 20 Jesup Road
- Westport National Bank, 1495 Post Road East
- Citibank, 399 Post Road West
- People’s United Bank, 371 Post Road East
And, without further ado, here are the restaurants:
Recent Top 10 Noms
The Last 10 Posts
- Soupstock 2013 brings soup contest , a food court, music, arts + more to Shelton, Connecticut
- Morello Bistro pouring new summer cocktails (recipes included) – Greenwich, CT
- Haitian Food’s the Focus of Eat for Equity Stamford’s June Event, Benefiting Haiti Marycare
- Meet Your Neighbor: A Taste of Port Chester w/ 34 Restaurants!
- Pour at the Shore brewing up at Seaside Tavern Memorial Day weekend
- Bobby Q’s BBQ Kicks off the Season with Beer Garden Opening – Westport, CT
- Yoga, Summer Wine + Craft Beer Tastings at Bottlerocket of Westport this June
- Getting clucky with it: Westport Chicken Coop Tour @ WTF
- Dishcrawl Fairfield County Expands + Launches New Canaan Events
- Casting Call: Can You Take the Fire of Hell’s Kitchen? Chefs Wanted for Season 12!
- Happy #WW @talkavino @Local913 @VinoInLove @bhuelser @corkchronicler @thewinegetter 9 hours ago
- Thanks for the RTs! @_kristinsanity @sweetmrph @raminganeshram @CTGirlAboutTown @GoingGreenie @MegEHarrington @bklyncorkdork :) 9 hours ago
- Fundraiser today at @GardenCatering SBC for Local Muscular Dystrophy Camp and ALS Research: wp.me/p1a5jD-2Eh 14 hours ago
- Soupstock 2013 brings soup contest , a food court, music, arts + more to Shelton, Connecticut wp.me/p1a5jD-2QT 17 hours ago
- @bklyncorkdork Thanks so much! 18 hours ago
- RT @bklyncorkdork: Meet Your Neighbor: A Taste of Port Chester w/ 34 Restaurants! : wp.me/p1a5jD-2R1 via @OmNomCT 18 hours ago
- Morello Bistro pouring new summer cocktails (recipes included) - Greenwich, CT wp.me/p1a5jD-2RC 18 hours ago
- @cpt1103 Thanks so much for sharing. :) 1 day ago