2015 CT Chefs Challenge Competitors and Judges Announced

3 Aug

CT Chef Challenge 2015 Info

We already told you to save the date, so it’s about that time to get your tickets for the 2015 CT Chefs Challenge! The competition goes down on Friday, September 18, starting at 7 pm at the Lincoln Culinary Institute in Shelton. This year you have two options for tix, too: GA for $50 which includes free beer/wine, apps, food buffet, coffee, and dessert or the Tasting Ticket for $100 which also includes a reserved seat at a shared table, and a tasting dish from the chefs for the table to share. Also included is the cocktail hour where you’ll have the chance to drink, try some apps, meet some new friends, and learn about The Optimus Foundation who are the benefactors of this incredible event.

Now, here are some of the great things to look forward to:

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CT Food News: Restaurant Openings, Burgers, Beer, Booze, and Balls – 7/31/15

31 Jul

This week, we’ve got not only some great things to check out, but we’ve also got info on new restaurants, new hours for your favorite spots, and plenty of hop heavy CT Beer news. So, check it out, peoples:

8/1-2 Summerfest is coming to the Harbor Point Waterfront right on Harbor Point Road. There will be food, music, rides, games, a luxury car show, dogs, acrobats, a beer tent, and lots more. Tickets are $10 for adults, $4 for kids 6-12, and free for children 5 and under. If you’d like to buy a ticket in advance, click here.

8/5 Old Greenwich Farmers’ Market goes down every Wednesday from 2:30-6 at 38 West End Avenue. 

Plain cheese, hot oil, stinger = nom nom at Colony Grill8/5 Remember that Bailey’s Backyard presents Market Table Tasting Menus every Wednesday for just 35 bucks. Get your nom on with Chef Pasternack.

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Connecticut Beer: New Book Is Your Ultimate CT Beer Guide; Interview with Will Siss

30 Jul

Will Siss aka Beer Snob, photo from Paul DiPasquale

If you keep up with Connecticut Beer, then chances are you follow Will Siss in some form or another. Whether it’s his monthly “Beer Snob” column in the RepublicanAmerican, or via his blog beersnobwrites.com, he’s dropping beer knowledge bombs left and right. But, he’s added a new way to share about beer and his uberly descriptive reviews: a brand new book. 

If you don’t own Connecticut Beer: A History of Nutmeg State Brewing by now, you’ll need to definitely pick up a copy at a local store, Amazon, or at some of the local events that He will be attending. We have a list below that Will shared with us, so read on for that. And, if you really needed a reason besides our love and admiration of this book, let’s drop some bombs of our own.

Connecticut Beer starts off with an impressive history of beer in CT, sharing things we both had no idea about (what? there’s a restaurant here that used to be a speakeasy?) From there, Will takes the reader through all the CT breweries that were in production before publication. And, each brewery section includes a history of the brewery, a run through of the beer offered, and a quick Q&A from the brewer or owner. He then wraps the book up with some breweries close to opening and a great guide to restaurants in the state that are known for having a stellar brew selection.

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Vote for CT Chocolate Trail in Best Food Trail Awards from USA Today + 10Best

30 Jul

Truffles Chocolate, Dessert & Wine Lovers Evening

The Connecticut Wine Trail has become a popular destination for people inside and outside of The Nutmeg State. And, while we have never been able to finish off a passport, we have been to nearly every vineyard because, well, wine. We love wine and we love to see what different vineyards and wineries here in CT are producing.

So, yeah, you know about the CT Wine Trail, but how about the Connecticut Chocolate Trail? Yup, we’ve got one, and it’s actually pretty impressive. So impressive, in fact, that USA Today and 10Best have listed it in their top 20 Favorite Food Trails. But, getting the CT Chocolate Trail to the number one spot isn’t up to them, it’s up to us

That means we need your help to get the word and vote out because we’re only in 16th place! You can vote once per day up until August 17 at noon, so be sure to vote daily. 

And, why not check out all the shops and producers on the CT Chocolate Trail here and see their listings down below? 

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2nd Farm-to-Trumbull Series Continues at Gilbertie’s Herb Garden in Easton

29 Jul

Parallel Post Logo

If you didn’t have the chance to attend the last Farm-to-Trumbull dinner series, you’ve got another chance next Sunday. But, this ain’t going down at Parallel Posts restaurant in Trumbull . . . nope. It’s happening at Gilbertie’s Herb Garden right in Easton on August 9 from 3-7. Here are the deets that you need to know:

The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook1) It’s a reception style dinner, so there will be chef stations throughout the garden. Nom away on some small bites or take some big boy bites with entrees. And, don’t forget to finish up with their killer dessert bar! Food will be created by James Beard Award Nominated Chef Dean James Max, Executive Chef Chris Molyneux, and Chef de Cuisine Erik Waybright. Please note that the menu is carefully crafted from local sources and is seasonal in nature.

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Become a Certified Cicerone Beer Server at @ Coalhouse Pizza’s 7 Week Program

28 Jul

New Bourbon Beer Bar at Coalhouse Pizza in Stamford

Becoming a certified Cicerone is a big deal. It means that you’ve reached your dreams of becoming the ultimate beer nerd and that you know more about beer than the average human. Plus, it’s damn cool. Who doesn’t want a new title added to an ordinary name?

Well, in 7 short weeks, you can be a bit closer to being called a Certified Cicerone! That’s because Dan and a bunch of other people are heading to Coalhouse Pizza in Stamford for the latest in their Beer Academy classes. For $25, you’ll get a personal pizza, instruction from Max Finnance Certified Cicerone, and a flight of beer to match up with the instruction. After the 7 weeks, you’ll have enough knowledge stuffed in your cranium that you’ll be able to pass the online exam and become a Certified Beer Server, Level 1 of the Cicerone training. Plus, if you’re a Coalhouse Beer Club member, you get a free pint of beer . . . but deciding might not be easy with 85 brews on tap. NBD, but just the biggest selection of beer on tap in the entire state of CT.

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Hopping Good: Two Roads Opens Hopyard Area of Brewery; Music Series Starts Sunday

28 Jul

Part of the new Hopyard at Two Roads. The Shed Bar is to the right and the stage is by the wall of hops. Photo from Two Roads Brewing.

Two Roads Brewing Co. in Stratford has been a huge success since their opening. Not only have they been able to build up their own brand and brews, but they’ve helped other breweries like Stillwater and Lawson’s Finest Liquids expand their market reach by brewing in their massive brewhouse. And, they’ve not only grown in terms of popularity and market reach, but the brewery itself has been upgraded massively in so many ways. Their brewing capacity has grown immensely, they opened a very successful outdoor beer garden with their Airstream at the base serving up brews, and even opened up a beer garden at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.

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Come to Lugano for the meats + cheeses, stay for the rest – Old Greenwich (Review)

27 Jul

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While we trusted, based on their impressive restaurant portfolio, the Racanelli’s wouldn’t let us down on fabulous ambiance, food, and drink, we were eager to check out all that Lugano Wine Bar & Salumeria has to offer after watching it being built up over the past few months.  We were probably most excited by their amazing selection of artisan meats and cheeses from their Salumeria, their wine and cocktail list, and their variety of Italian tapas . . . you know, pretty much everything.

When we arrived, we were valet-parked and got our seats right away. Conicidentally, we sat in the same exact spot where we sat during the past two iterations of the space (Palomino & Bistro Latino). As we shared during our preview post, the bar is a stunning and lavish White Carera Marble and the seats are clad in a rich and exotic red leather that just oozes comfort. It’s very Zaza, Molto, and Dolce, but more “Industrial Chic,” as Nick Jr. told us, putting it in a league of its own.

Meat and cheese plate at Lugano in Greenwich

Well, let’s get down to it and dig into the food (much like we did). First off, we went a bit crazy with the meats and cheeses, but we were hungry and needed something in our bellies STAT. You can order meats and cheeses individually or you can order them up in special platters, too. In addition, there are small bites for you to order alongside the meats and cheeses like Polenta Fritta, Marinated Olives, Garlic Bread, Cauliflower Fritti, and Giardiniera.

While we have had a few of the meats on the menu already, we wanted to try some of the rarer and harder to find kinds that the Lugano staff were so proud of. The first we tried was the Smoked Panchetta which had beautiful marbling and just the right hint of smoke. Second was the Salame Calabrese which Nick Jr. had told us to try a month ago. Unlike so many other meats that claim to be spciy (but are just lame), this one had a nice gentle creeping heat to it. And, arguably our new favorite was the Finocchiona because the fennel came through so nicely but wasn’t overpowering at all. All were sliced paper thin and really just melted away into your mouth.

And, while it was tough to pick the meats, it was even tougher to pick which cheese to order. Considering our outright addiction to burrata, we had to place an order of the Burratina. It comes cut apart, is somewhat creamy on the inside, and is a bit denser on the outside. Overall, it was a decent burrata, but I think we’ve been spoiled by the amazing, freshly made-on-the-spot burrata at Brick + Wood, making all other burrata pale in comparison. We also ordered the honey glazed ricotta which came out in a very large portion. So much so that we got three extra orders of bread just so we could spread a lil’ on each piece. Oh, and it was great: the ricotta was creamy and airy with the honey adding a nice sweetness to all of it.

Meatball Sampler at Lugano in Greenwich

At this point, we were feeling good and could have ended the meal satisfied, but that would be very un-OmNomCT of us, now wouldn’t it? Damn right, so we ordered the Meatball Tasting which had three balls together for $9.50. Up first was the Classic Beef which was delicate, moist, airy, and light. Next in the tasting was the Turkey ball which had that nice savory taste you expect from good turkey, but was a bit denser than the beef. And, finishing up the plate was Spicy Beef which again was airy but had a spicy kick that again creeped up on us. All the meatballs had a crispy crust along the outside and we dug the nicely balanced sauce which was tangy, chunky, with the right amount of saltiness.

From here, we decided to try out the Spicy Pork Ribs, the Polenta with three meat ragu, and the Spicy Fried Italian Peppers just to get a taste of the apps that they offer. Without a doubt, the Spicy Pork Ribs were a highlight of the night for us. The ribs slid off the bone with a gentle tug, they had a nice heat going on, and had that awesome balance of rich and tangy from the vinegar. We’d order these again and again. Up next was the polenta which was creamy, but could’ve used more salt and flavor. And, while we liked the lamb and beef on top, we felt like the dish overall was bland—there needed to be more sauce, or more of an acidic contrast going on in the ragu.

Fried Italian Peppers at Lugano in Greenwich

And, finally, we finished up (so we thought) with the Spicy Fried Italian Peppers. The aroma on those peppers was amazing, so we dug in. And, while there was a nice flavor from the grill, the peppers were also on the bland side with no (or too little to taste) seasoning.

As we got our check to pay, wouldn’t you know it, dessert shows up, courtsey of the house. Oh Lord, have mercy. So, we dug in with what remaining space there was left in our bellies, and got down to business. First we took bites of the Cheesecake which was very creamy and not too sweet at all. In addition to that perfect balance, it was rich, but not dense. And, tying it all together was a bright and vibrant rasberry sauce. A very nice cheesecake indeed! We were also treated to a Molten Lava Cake. Now, we’ve got something to say about Molten Lava Cakes. We’ve stopped ordereing these because they always just end up tasting like a cake with a tiny drop of “lava” inside. But, we’re happy to report that this cake was overflowing with lava inside once we took our forks to it. There was definitely a nice, rich, chocolately taste and it was (also a nice surprise) actually hot!

So, wrapping it all up, we liked a lot about our first time at Lugano. The meat and cheese options are the big highlight, especially if you’ve got a nice glass of wine or cocktail in your hand (which they have a great selection of). We would go back here just for these options, no doubt. Also, we’d definitely get the Meatball Tatsing again becaue it was delcious, but we’re a little cautious about that with the price for just three meatballs. Now, while nothing is priced too expensively, it does add up after a bit if you get a little app happy like us. But, considering the prices of Italian in Greenwich, Lugano remains a moderate option with good quality. And, while we did note that some of the dishes needed a lil’ more sumin sumin, they’ve been open for a very short time and are still finding their way through their new restaurant no doubt. We’ll be back again to be confirm or update our first impressions. Cuz, you know, that’s how we roll!

Lugano

Noms: 3.5

Cost: $$$

Address: 1392 East Putnam Avenue

                Old Greenwich, CT

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CT Food News: Tequila, Food Truck Fests, Parties, BBQ, Wine, Food to Try, Props + More – July 23

23 Jul

The last week of July is around the corner, so it’s only right to sap every single tiny minute out of each day, right? Right. So, let’s go through a ton of events, deals, and foods to try here in Fairfield County and even beyond in some cases. Have a damn good weekend, people. 

Now-7/30 Pinkberry in Darien, Greenwich, and Fairfield is hosting Happy Hour, Monday-Thursday, from 5-7 pm. At that time you can get half off your medium or large Inkberry. Two new flavors that you might want to try are the Strawberry Margarita and Blueberry.

7/20-8/2 Taste of Hartford Restaurant Week is back with some crazy good deals on some great spots. Check them out here.

17/24 From 11-5 in Fairfield, New Haven, and Hartford Counties, request YOGO Fro-Yo Truck to come to your house, camp, or office! It’ll take just minutes for the truck to arrive and then you can get a crazy good selection of flavors and toppings. Pricing and special deals are inside our post from today

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CT: Get-Yo Fro-Yo On-Demand this Friday from Uber + YOGO

23 Jul

1-2

Summer’s been on full blast this week and there seems to be no relief in sight . . . well, until this Friday at least. Yep, this Friday, (7/24) from 11-5, Uber is embarking on a mission to get some cool relief in your hands and we partnered with them to get you all the tasty deets . . . 

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