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.
Update: unfortunately, Step Out has been postponed. We’ll give you more info when we get a new date.
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.”
Good beer is worth writing and talking about. And, do you know what else good beer is perfect for? Drinking, duh. So, it only makes sense that beer dinners are great because you get to drink the beer and you get to learn about the beer. Sometimes a rep from the brewery will be present and sometimes if you’re lucky you’ll get the owner or head brewer to present. But, in the case of the Brewmasters Dinner at Ginger Man SoNo on Monday, May 6 at 7 pm ($85 pp includes tax and tip), you’re getting much more than that.
That’s right beerologists, you’ll be getting a major treat. We’re talking about two brewers from Italy and a brewer from Denmark. The guests of honor, along with their breweries, are:
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.
When you want to find out about gardening, you go to about.com.
When you want to find out about the birds in your backyard, you go to about.com.
And, when you want to find out what everybody’s favorite shopping spot in New England is, you go to…Stew Leonard’s!
That’s right, about.com readers picked Stew’s over other amazing places such as The Yankee Candle Village, the L.L.. Bean Flagship Store, Settlers’ Green Outlet Village, and Vermont Country Store to win Best New England Shopping Spot. If you’ve ever been to Stew’s, you know why. They are the world’s largest dairy store, they have great produce, excellent prepared food, a stunning selection, and they have animated figurines that greet you throughout the store. Really, who else does that and can pull it off? It’s like an adventure every time you go to Stew’s!
We’d like to congratulate Stew Leonard’s on this awesome win. It’s a testament to their hard work, their commitment, their devotion to charity, and their love of community.
Stew Leonard’s is in Norwalk, Danbury, Newington, and in Yonkers.
Brace yourselves. Are you anchored down? Good, let’s forge ahead. Bar Sugo in Norwalk is opening up for lunch and brunch and will soon have outdoor seating. Yeah, we know…that’s awesome. Lunch (from 11-4) will start on April 1 (not a joke, punks) and will feature much of the same dinner menu, but they’ll also be adding some panini, more salads, and a burger. Oh, but to call it a burger is selling it short. It will be a house dry aged Ox Hollows Farm beef burger with red onion jam, gouda, rosemary mayo, and a Sport Hill farm egg on top, served on housemade brioche. Chef Pat and co. will also be offering cold fried chicken with crispy speck and pickled mustard, too.
Brunch (11-3) starts off on April 7 and Pat promises that it will be like a brunch that you’ve never experienced before. We’re talking about old Italian countryside kind of brunch, unlimited bellinis, and special dishes such as lemon pancakes with lemon custard and lemon butter or Sport Hill farm eggs and pork belly from Millstone.