Welcome to a new ice cream experience @ Milkcraft, Fairfield

28 Jun

The “going out for ice cream” experience is pretty standard these days: you wait in a brief line while browsing frozen vats of available flavors, you order, you pay, and before you know it you’re licking your way to dairy heaven. But, at Milkcraft, the newly opened ice cream shop in Fairfield, the experience has completely changed . . . and for good reason. Continue reading

Contest Alert: Sumoslam w/ Endless Beer @ No Worries Brewing ft. Spud Stud

21 Jun
SUMOSLAM 2

We have two tickets set aside for a very lucky winner . . . 

If you’ve got a sumo sized thirst for one of CT’s newest breweries, No Worries, we’ve got an event for you: Sumoslam. This first ever event is hitting Hamden right at No Worries Brewing from 1-5 on July 10. Tickets cost $30 and that gets you unlimited pours of all No Worries beer (you can drink more than $30 of beer, right?), a commemorative t-shirt, and free entry (if you want) into the Intergender Inflatable Sumo Wrestling Tournament. Registration begins right at 1, so you’ll wanna sign up ASAP to get your shot on the competition bracket. Your hosts for the event are Ken Tuccio of the Welcome to Connecticut Podcast (who organized this) and everybody’s favorite chef: Chef Plum! And, tying it all together will be the Spud Stud food truck who will be on site selling some bites of goodness.  Continue reading

Black Rock Farmers’ Market Sprouts up for 3rd Season this Saturday!

17 Jun
Black Rock Farmers' Market 2015

Shop local this summer and hit up BRFM!

Black Rock has always been a thriving community, but it has grown even more over the past few years with a great variety of restaurants and shops coming in. It has especially blossomed due to the start of the Black Rock Farmers’ Market three years ago. Fresh meats, cheeses, veggies, homemade products galore—the BRFM definitely made a big splash on the scene. Continue reading

Two Roads Road Jam Fest 2016: Two Tix up for Grabs!

16 Jun
thumbnail

Summertime, and the beer fest tix are freebies . . .

Yes, it’s true, we’re giving away two tickets to Two Roads amazing Road Jam Fest thanks to our beer-buds at Two Roads and Beerfests.com. This awesome annual event takes place on 6/25 from 2-9 and will feature Road Jam Raspberry Wheat and other awesome Two Roads brews, a Cluster Truck food hub, and two stages of music from the likes of Alpaca Gnomes, Turkuaz, Moon Hooch, and Deep Banana Blackout. Tickets are normally $30 (includes your first pint) or $22 for DD, but when you roll with us, there are benefits. Well, not like friends with benefits benefits, but you get us. Continue reading

It’s ’bout Time We Dined @ Sugar + Olives: A Review of a Farm-to-Table Mainstay in Norwalk

9 Jun

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We have a huge “must try” restaurant list that seems to get bigger and bigger every month with all the awesome new restaurants opening up around here. So you can imagine how sometimes restaurants that have been around a while that we’ve been meaning to try, somehow end up getting pushed back. This is exactly what happened with Sugar & Olives in Norwalk . . . that is until we finally got our acts together and booked a table a couple of weeks ago. I mean we’re suckers for legit (and local) farm to table, so it’s pretty embarrassing that we waited so long.

How long exactly? Well, we were instantly psyched about Chef Jennifer Balin’s concept when she opened Sugar & Olives . . . that was even before OmNomCT was born! Whoa.  Her concept centered around being a dependable go-to spot for farm-fresh food, whether it was in the form of dining at her restaurant, picking up some eggs or milk within the tiny market inside, or for cooking classes which she hosts regularly. Then, the cherry (or should we say garnish) on top was when they added their new mixologist, Chris Grimm, who has quite the reputation for his creativity behind the stick.

When we finally arrived for dinner (yes, they’re much more than just a lunch/brunch spot), Chris greeted us and showed us right to our seats. The first order of business? Yeah, you know us so well . . . drinkey times! Here’s what we tried:

Esmerelda cocktail at Sugar & Olives in NorwalkEsmerelda: Chris shares, “The Esmeralda is Tequila Blanco, Grapefruit Liqueur, and Lime Juice, in a Mezcal rinsed glass, garnished with ground black pepper.” This was refreshing, vibrant, and has a juicy gush from the grapefruit liquer and the lime. Very nicely balanced and a definite must order if on the menu.

Gold Rush cocktail at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTGold Rush: Kristien went gaga for the one. Again, this drink was very well-balanced with bourbon, lemon juice and honey syrup. The sweetness from the Red Bee Honey made in Weston marries so well with the bourbon. Really just the right amount of kiss from the honey, making this a drink we’d just sit with and drink all damn day.

Ramp Gibson: Apparently, ramps aren’t just for dishes and for seeking after like the rarest kind of Pokemon. The ramps in this drink were pickled at their peak and add a strong kick and wildness to this drink. That garlicky-spicy punch blends in nicely with the gin which comes through as a slightly stronger flavor. This is Chris’ play on a dirty martini, mixed with gin, dry vermouth, ramp brine, and pickled ramp. Super creative, super tasty!

Il Palio cocktail at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTIl Palio: There is an undertone of cherry going through with bourbon up front making a nice Manhattan. As the drink melts more it evolves into a Boulevardier. Chris uses a Campari ice cube, bourbon, sweet vermouth, and housemade orange bitters with this drink. Definitely a fun and interactive experience, with a nice balance to make it well worth the wait.

Chet Baker: The rum is up front, a fun drink, with a nice punch, but like his other drinks, not overpowering. Chris describes it as a, “Cool cross between a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned, using dark rum as the base ingredient, instead of whiskey. Dark Rum, Sweet Vermouth, Honey Syrup, on a big rock”

While we were there we serendipitously ran into Chef Bill Taibe of The Whelk and Kawa Ni with his wife and they asked us to join them and their friends, Lori Cochran from Westport Farmers’ Market and her husband . . . and that’s when the feasting began. 

Up first? Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Radicchio, topped with a Pomegranate Molasses Dressing. It was fresh, bright green, bright citrusy, and the pumpkin seeds added a nice tastiness. Exactly what you’d expect from a fresh Brussels Sprouts salad.

Taco platter at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTThen, Tacos Featuring Fish, Chorizo, and Veggie. Although we thought this dish would be three tacos, one taco filled with each of the aforementioned fillings separately, it actually was a mixture of all three fillings in all three tacos. Surprisingly though, it worked. The fish was moist and delicate, the veggies had a nice bite, and the chorizo added a fatty, smokey tenderness. The Cesar’s special sauce also had a solid kick, so if you like a steady slow heat, this is it. Overall, we were very happy with this dish.

 

Our next course (you know we can eat a massive amount of food, right?) was a series of the Chocolate Bread Toasts. Yes, we know, you’re wondering . . . chocolate bread? Does it work? Yes, it sure does, especially because it’s not even sweet, with just a hint of that real cocoa taste peeking through. The first we had was the Pea + Leek which featured a silky and gentle puree of pea and leek, topped with a vinegary and garlicy bite of foraged and pickled ramps. We did like this one, but did want a little more flavor punch in the puree. The Bacon Jam toast, however, is where it’s at. That jam was savory, smoky, with the cocoa playing nicely off of it. It was all topped with a perfectly cooked sunny-side-up duck egg that just oozed out all its fresh deliciousness onto the bacon. And, we also tried the Sun Dried Tomato toast that had a beautiful fresh and slightly-acidic bite. Rounding it all out and playing so well with the tomato-forward tapenade was a generous portion of goat cheese that cut the acid and added a nice creamy tang.

Trout a la plancha at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTWhile we were waiting for our other dishes to come out, Chef Balin brought out the Whole Trout a la Plancha, served over quinoa paella with lemon beurre blanc. The fish was moist and wasn’t dry one bit, but it really lacked seasoning or any flavor really. In addition, the quinoa underneath also lacked flavor, offering nothing but a texture contrast to the delicate fish. We didn’t eat much of this because we wanted to save room for dishes that ended up being far superior.

Lovely Lamb Burger at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTUp next we tried the Lovely Lamb Burger, made with May-Tag Blue, caramelized onions, ancho chile ketchup, leaf lettuce, all topped with an English muffin and served with roasted carrots. The lamb was top quality and had that exciting wild and gamey undertone that was powered up with the bold fattiness of the cheese, and toned town with the slightly sweet and spicy ketchup. A must order, no doubt.

The Pulled Pork Ragout also caught our eye, so you know what we had to do. The ragout itself was rich, earthy, and had a nice spice undertone with flavors like cinnamon and clove. The pork inside was cooked just perfectly and flaked off well, too, jiving well with the sauce. And, the nice touch for us was the creamy, cheesy, and silky polenta underneath. It cut into the richness of the sauce and brought even more complexity to the dish. Very nice.

Chic pea busted scallops at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTAnd, we rounded out our meal with an order of the Chic Pea Busted Scallops, served with lentil stew and ramp oil. This, people, was a legit dish. There was this amazing crust on the outside with some extra crispy bite from the chic peas, while on the inside it was that perfect cook with a little bit of give to it. The lentils were cooked nicely and the ramp oil brought out a garlicy explosion to the dish. This dish was fun, was fresh, and was a nice play on textures, which we’re real suckers for.

Olive Oil Cake at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTWell, the meal might have been over, but we still had dessert on the way . . . and you know it’s kind of like a second meal, right? Chef Balin was so blown away, she asked if we were hiding food somewhere . . . um, yeah, in our freakin’ bellies. So, up first we really needed to check out the Citrus Olive Oil Cake because, well, Citrus Olive Oil Cake. How do you NOT order the potentially moistest, not too sweet thing ever, especially when there’s a note on the menu that says, “THIS IS GOOD”? Well, we agreed. The cake itself was exactly what we hoped for: moist, but not too sweet, and the citrus came through so well with a nice toasty nuttiness to finish it off. For us, though, the thing that just took this dessert over the edge was the mascarpone cream, which added a nice tart bite and richness.

We wrapped up the meal with some dark and bold French press coffee that you can order in three sizes . . . oh, and a cookie. How could we resist a cookie? Especially Mexican Chocolate Cookie! It was delightfully dense, yet moist, chewy, and had notes of cinnamon running throughout the chocolate chips. YUM, we want again right now as we write this.

Final Thoughts

We are very happy that we FINALLY had the chance to check out Sugar & Olives. The space itself is great, super cozy and chill. It has a big patio, a warm and comfy bar, and a small market of milk, eggs, and other produce and products. Also, there’s a large space for events and parties off to the side as you enter, there’s a beautiful kitchen where you can take cooking classes, and plenty of tables in the main and side dining room to accommodate everyone.

In terms of what Chef Balin is putting out, it’s harder to get any closer to the farm than what she’s doing at Sugar & Olives. Just look at some of these producers that she works with: Arethusa Dairy Farm, Homefront Farmers, Speckled Rooster Farm, Fort Hill Farm, Millstone Farm, Sport Hill Farm, and Ox Hollow Farm. And, mix in the spot-on, creative, and well-balanced drinks of mixologist Chris Grimm, and that makes it a nice place to check out. With the majority of the dishes being solid in terms of flavor, balance, and how they were cooked, we feel like this is a great place to check out when you’re looking for real, fresh, and rustic flavors. We need to head back for brunch too!


Note: While some of what we ordered was given courtesy of the kitchen, the thoughts, comments, and observations in this post are our own . . . cuz that’s how we roll.


Sugar & Olives

Noms: 3.75

Cost: $$$

Address: 21 Lois Street

                 Norwalk, CT 06851

Phone: (203) 454-3663

Kent Falls Brewing Opening June 11 w/ Special Bottle Release!

3 Jun

It seemed like such a long time ago when we told you about Kent Falls, a brewery that we believed in with its roots deep in the CT soil. They started off slowly with a few beers and self-distributing to a very select set of restaurants . . . but soon, they had a beast on their hands. People caught on to the Brett-ilicious brews and other funky beers that they’ve put out and distribution grew as well as their popularity. Then, back in February we caught up with Barry who shared they were looking to open soon . . . and now we can share that they will be open next week, June 11!

While they’ll be releasing the full details next week on their site, Kent Falls Brewery shared that they would not only have some of their regular bottles for sale (no on-site consumption), but will also have a special bottle release that day. Also, they are set to remain open on Saturdays from 11-5 during the warmer months. Trust us: you don’t want to drive through those roads in winter!

When we get more details, we’ll let you know, but let’s just say this: it’s such a beautiful brewery and we think you’re gonna fall even more heads over heels for Kent Falls after visiting. 


Here’s more from Kent Falls regarding their opening:

“And to answer a lot of questions that have been coming at us about what the experience will be like when we finally do open, I thought I would share them with you here.  The experience will be similar to  farmer’s market…

  • pre packaged bottles available for sale
  • focused on special releases – brewery only bottled IPAs, barrel aged beers, small batch projects… (distributed brands available as well)
  • no growlers
  • no samples
  • no full pours
  • no on site consumption
  • farm store open on site

…only with a few improvements.

  • increased allotments (9 liter/18 bottle limit per person at the brewery vs 5 liter/10 bottle limit at the farmers market)
  • a wider selection of beer available
  • longer hours and eventually multiple retail days per week
  • self guided farm tours (walk through the hop yard, see animals…)
  • seeing the brewery, ability to ask us about our setup etc…”

Kent Falls Brewing

33 Camps Rd

Kent, CT 06757

Paired Founders Brewing Dinner @ Mill Street Bar + Table (Yes, There’ll Be KBS)

3 Jun

One of our favorite new restaurants in Fairfield County comes from the creative mind of Chef Geoff Lazlo: Mill Street Bar & Table. It’s located just a short hop skip and a jump away from where we’re living and is nestled close by the Greenwich/PoCho border. And, it’s no stranger to anyone who’s been reading our blog, as we’ve given it an exclusive preview before opening, a full-out pigged-out review, and named it Best Burger and Best New American in the 2015 OmNomy Awards.
Continue reading

Walrus Fest ft. Beer’d Brewing, Walrus + Carpenter, Games, Music + More

3 Jun

Hold tight onto those tusks, Walrus Fest is hitting Black Rock for the first time ever on June 26! This new festival brings together a restaurant, a brewery, vendors, charities, community groups, musicians, and more to celebrate not only the Black Rock Community but also the 3 year anniversary of Walrus + Carpenter. Just stop by the corner of Fairfield Avenue and Jetland Street in Black Rock from 1-6 and get your nom . . . and groove . . . on.

Here are some of the emerging details for Walrus Fest: Continue reading

Free Donuts Today @ Donut Crazy + Their New Donut Truck

3 Jun

Yes, it’s a high holy day today: it’s National Donut Day. Not like you really need any more reason to celebrate this blessed pastry, but here’s another reason: Donut Crazy is giving away free ones. You got it, free donuts all damn day (until supplies last) just by ordering a single beverage.  Continue reading

Westport Farmers’ Market Releases Chef Demo Schedule for Summer 2016 Season

3 Jun
Co-founder and chef, Tony Rosenfeld of b. good

Last year we saw how a kickass burger is made right at WFM!

At the Westport Farmers’ Market, you can do a helluva lot more than just shop for the freshest farm-to-market foods and meats . . . there’s always something fun going down. And, specifically, if you come by from 10:15-11 on Thursdays, you’ll catch Fairfield County chefs demoing a dish that you can learn to make yourself. The cool thing? You can pick up the ingredients right there at the market and make it that day when you get home for din din. Continue reading

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