Archive | Westport, CT RSS feed for this section

First Tastes of Dinner + New Menu at The Granola Bar- Westport, CT

31 Oct

Who knew when Dana and Julie started making and selling their OATS Granola a few years back that today they’d have a successful restaurant that people religiously flock to for breakfast and lunch? Of course, when you meet them and experience their passion, energy and strong work ethic you aren’t at all surprised. And, when you add the talented Chef Jess Bengston to hold down the kitchen, The Granola Bar really becomes a sure bet!

As if The Granola Bar wasn’t already rocking in its first year of business, there are some exciting changes to help take things up a notch starting Wednesday, November 5. Brace yo’selves because The Granola Bar will be open for dinner with extended hours of 7 am until 9 pm Wednesday through Saturday and regular hours 7 am -5 pm Monday and Tuesday, and 8am -4pm on Sunday.

In addition, they’ll be rolling out their third menu change since they opened, and spoiler alert, this new menu is awesome! Chef Jess shared that the inspiration behind these changes had to do with what was fresh and in season, which you can definitely see when you look at some of the dishes on the menu like their new amazing grilled cheese sandwich: The Post Road. This was one of the dishes that we tried on Wednesday during a preview tasting . . . and it also ended up being one of Chef’s favorite new items. She shared with us, “Anything that I’ve had total control over where I’ve made and worked with the ingredients is exciting to me like my apple butter. The soup is also something that I’m super excited about.”

Continue reading

Gettin’ Schooled at Karen Brownlow’s Chop Shop Cooking Class in Westport

11 Aug
Karen operates Chop Shop classes right out of her beautiful kitchen

Karen operates Chop Shop classes right out of her beautiful kitchen

With Fairfield County’s active food scene, it’s no problem trying a new restaurant whenever you want.  But, sometimes you might want more than a meal out.  Maybe you want to take those restaurant-quality dishes home with you to make whenever you want.  Again, there are certainly many cooking classes that you can try out here in the 203, but many are simple meals or involve basic skills.

Some of the steps involved in making a great ceviche

Some of the steps involved in making a great ceviche

So, we were very excited to learn about Karen Brownlow of Chop Shop Cooking.  She loved cooking for friends and at parties so much that she decided to study cooking at The New York Restaurant School in Manhattan.  Seeing her talent, they kept her on in their catering department and became one of their head chefs in charge of the many events that they cater.  From there, she worked at Abigail Kirsch and even started her own catering company.  As her life got busier and she wanted to spend more time with her family, she decided to stop catering, but…and here’s where Chop Shop came in…but, her friends convinced her to start cooking classes.  And, so Chop Shop Cooking was born!

Continue reading

From Catering Intern, to Chopped, to Kitchen Pro: an Exclusive Interview with Hannah Bukzin of Westport, 14

20 Jul
If only she'd be lucky enough to get tomato as a basket ingredient.  It'll probably be something like Spam or blood pudding.

If only she’d be lucky enough to get tomato as a basket ingredient. It’ll probably be something like Spam or blood pudding when she competes on Chopped!

Think back to being a teenager and try to remember the things that you accomplished.  Maybe you had a job and maybe you did a few great community service projects, but let’s be honest.  You probably spent 1/4 of your time playing video games and hanging with friends, 1/1000 of those years doing HW, and 1/2 just putzing around.  But that’s not the case with Hannah Bukzin, 14, of Westport. She has already done some amazing things like win The Marcia Selden Ultimate Dinner Party Contest with Judges Marcia and Robin Selden as well as “Sweet GeniusRon Ben-Israel.  Also, she recently kicked off her summer internship with Robin, Marcia, Jeffrey, Nicole and the amazing crew at Marcia Selden Catering and has been having a great time.  And, yes, she’ll be on a little show airing 7/29 at 10 on Food Network that you might have heard of:  Chopped.  Hannah’s episode is Part Three of the Teen Tournament, so if she goes on to win she’ll face the three other winners at the Finale on 8/12 and pull in a $25,000 culinary school scholarship.  

Well, we had a chance to talk with Hannah about cooking, her favorite foods, what it’s like working with adults, interning, and more.  Here we go:  

When did you first realize that you loved cooking?
So, when people used to ask me this question I said, I’m not really sure.  But after some deep thinking I realized that it was probably around 6 or 7 years ago.  I was going through a stage where I only ate pasta and lettuce (as I used to say, a salad) for dinner.  I started realized what other people were eating and there were other foods out there!  I decided it was time for me to make a change, and voila!  I made my first piece of tilapia with some sautéed carrots.  I still have the photo!  My, have I come a long way from that.  
What’s your favorite dish to make, whether it’s simple or complex?
I get asked this question a lot and it’s really a difficult choice.  I love experimenting with different flavors but if I had to choose it would definitely be a marinated skirt steak with a homemade chimmichurri sauce- roasted potatoes on the side
We can’t get enough Latin food, but how about you?  What’s your favorite cuisine? 
Ironically I actually really like Latin food too!  I can tell you I love to eat Italian food better than anything else!  Cooking wise, though, I would say its not my favorite cuisine that matters as much as my style – classic dishes with a modern twist.  This can go with any and every cuisine that I cook.

The dreaded Mystery Basket!!! Photo from Foodnetwork.com

What are some of your favorite restaurants in the area?

I definitely love Local and Geronimo’s in Fairfield.  If I’m looking for comfort food its Grilled Cheese Eatery all the way—but I can’t eat there too much!!
 
What’s one thing that people really don’t understand about you being young and a protegé in the kitchen?
Wow, a protegé?  I didn’t know I qualified!  Well, it’s really difficult to understand how much it really takes to put yourself out there in the kitchen.  Many people I have worked with have strong personalities (which I love) and are much older than me.  It is difficult to sometimes stand out and really show that I am not just another annoying kid who walks in thinking she knows everything.  Despite this, I am lucky to have worked with some amazing people who have made me feel welcome and make my job of “being an adult in the kitchen” much easier.
How has the internship at Marcia Selden Catering been going? What are some of the amazing things that you’ve been doing there?
This internship is one of the best things I have ever done in my entire life.  I am so lucky and grateful for this amazing opportunity to work with fantastic chefs and people.  They definitely threw me right in!  I am doing things that I never knew that I could do—I told my mom that this isn’t an internship where they are babysitting me.  The chefs in the kitchen, Robin and Marcia are counting on me to put out great food that represents Marcia Selden Catering Company in the light they deserve.  I have done everything from plating up to-go meals to prepping for a wedding tasting.  Who knows what is coming next?
How did it feel to be selected for Chopped Teen?
It was absolutely amazing!  A once in a lifetime opportunity.  All I did was send in an application like thousands of other kids and I was elated when they called me!
Your episode will air on 7/29, but we’re wondering if you’d share anything that you learned from competing against the three other teen chefs and being on tv? 
Unfortunately, I can’t make any comment on the show but I did meet some amazing people and I can’t wait for it to air (even though I won’t watch it)!

We can’t blame Hannah for not watching!  The tension is already too much for us to bear, and we didn’t even compete.  If you can’t watch live or if you don’t have a DVR, you can also watch her episode on 7/30 at 1 am, 7/31 at 11 pm, 8/1 at 2 am, and 8/2 at 6 pm.  Lots of luck Hannah!

Kickin’ It (Latin) Root Down at Tierra in Westport: CT Restaurant Review

8 Jul

When we hear about new restaurants, we get excited. When we hear about new Latin restaurants, like Tierra in Old Town Hall in Westport, we get really excited. Tierra (which opened in mid-June) is a bit hard to find at first, located to the right side of Spruce at 90 Post Road, close by Urban Outfitters, and by the parking lot off of Jesup Road.

Like good ‘ole Americans, we went there with our friend Christine on the Fourth of July (woo hoo South ‘Murica). Looking around, the bar to the left was warm, classic, and comfy with a huge loungy couch behind it. In the back there’s a private room with a nice wine rack wall and a fancy, shimmering chandelier. The main dining room features the same kind of vibe with a few tables and a side area with a view of the open kitchen.

Speaking of the kitchen, a husband and wife team run the kitchen and own it along with Chad Whited (and Laura Luce) who was there that night to help out. We first met CIA grad Chef Sue Torres, who is half Italian and Puerto Rican. She’s had an amazing amount of experience with Nuevo Mexicano fare including working at her own Suenos, Arizona 206, Rocking Horse Cafe, and Hell’s Kitchen.  We met her during our dinner as she went around from table to table to see how everyone was enjoying the food. Next was chef Darren Carbone, who comes from Columbia with an Italian-American upbringing. His impressive resume includes a CIA degree like his wife, and heading the kitchens at Super Linda, Rosa Mexicano, La Verdad, El Vez, and Alma de Cuba.  Ok, ok, you’re probably getting anxious to know about the food, so vamos, vamos.

Continue reading

Insider’s Look at NEAT of Westport: Part Cafe, Part Cocktail Bar, 100% Awesome

7 Jul
Uppers and downers all in one spot!

Uppers and downers all in one spot!

Espresso NEAT has built a reputation in Fairfield County as being at the top of their game.  Year after year, they’ve been awarded best cafe and best coffee, and after you’ve gone there, you can see why.  Owner Rachel Haughey and her crew pick their coffee beans with care and perform routine coffee cuppings to ensure that only the best quality coffee will be served at their Darien hotspot.  And, that quality comes through big time.  Add in their other options like tea, espresso, coffee, salads, snacks, breakfast goodies, and sandwiches, and you’ve got the perfect spot to hang out or grab a quick bite.  

So, to Rachel, it was only natural to take Espresso NEAT into the next phase of evolution by opening up a brand new restaurant that was part cafe and part cocktail bar.  The new venture, NEAT, will open up in the National Hall Campus in Westport in early August.  Working with Rachel in this venture will be owner of Experience Hospitality, Bobby Werhane, and Managing Director Kevin Daniel Lalumiere. Both Bobby and Kevin are locals, too, with Bobby coming from Westport and Kevin from Fairfield.  Kevin and Bobby unite Rachel’s expertise and cafe experience with an amazing resume of bars, restaurants, and shops.  The team at Experience Hospitality helped to bring some amazing restaurants into NYC like Spasso, dell’animaL’artusi, and Johnny Utah’s, adding an even more rounded background to the structure of NEAT.  

Continue reading

CT Food News, Vol. 8: Rare Booze, Beer, Trux, Festivals, + Fun

12 Jun

 

Old news is not new news, people…that’s why we’re getting ya some of the freshest nomworthy bites of food news for Fairfield County (and beyond) for this weekend and next week, too.  This week we’re talking booze, br/lunch, food news, food trucks, festivals, farms, and farmers’ markets.  Full event listings here.  

Beer and Liquor Get Ya There Quicker

6/13:  Harry’s in Fairfield is hosting “Harry’s Open that Bottle Event” that will feature rare and exclusive Scotches, Ryes, and Bourbons that they’ve been stocking up on over the past few months.  Sample these awesome spirits from 5-8 and get some (or something similar) for yourself or dad this Father’s Day.

6/19:  Jack’s Abby launch party with co-founder Sam Hendler at 7 pm, held at Cask Republic Stamford.

Coalhouse Pizza in Stamford will also soon carry Thimble Island of Branford AND Jack’s Abby.  What what?
Continue reading

Nomworthy Bites of CT Food News, Vol. 5: BBQ, Memorial Day, Brews, Tastings + More…

21 May

 

Again, there’s so much going on this week and next week, that we wanted to get a whole slew of events out there for ya.  Don’t ever complain that there’s nothing to do here in Fairfield County!  Also, don’t forget to enter our FB contest to win 2 tickets to The Meatball Challenge of Fairfield County, valued at $120.  The contest ends Friday, so make sure to enter ASAP!  

May 21:  Barcelona Stamford is hosting a new series of events called “The Cocktail Classroom.”  This month’s class is called Whiskey Creations.  Okay, sold!  Check out how to make some great cocktails with whiskey while Executive Chef Scott Quis pairs them with some yummy bites.  Cost is $35 per person.

Continue reading

Celebrate CT Beer Week with Todd from CT Pour Tour at these nearby spots

12 May

Yes, we know it’s American Craft Beer Week.  Everybody’s been advertising it, everybody’s been talking about it, everybody’s been hyping it up, but how about we show some local love, too?  Share the fact that it’s CT Beer Week (5/12-5/18), share your favorite Nutmeg brews, drink some, support local business, local crafters, local brewers.  Do it right, son! ;)

Continue reading

Live Local this Summer at Westport Farmers’ Market

7 May
Live local this summer season

Live local this summer season

The Westport Farmers’ Market (we love how they use the apostrophe in the correct place, btw) is back for some more action with the kickoff of their 2014 summer season.  This is their 9th summer season and with everything they have planned for the coming months, this will probably be their best season ever.  WFM takes place at 50 Imperial Avenue from 10-2 pm every Thursday, starting on 5/22 and going all the way until 11/6.

Some highlights for this season include:

• Produce, products, and meats from a huge list of vendors (full list below)

Lobstercraft is in da house!

• Local chefs will have weekly demos, highlighting local food from 10:15-11 (list coming soon)

• Demos on healthy living, food prep, butchering demos from Craft Butchery, and more

• WFM has a local non-profit host each week, raising vital funds for nearly 30 organizations.

• Artist Alley will feature some of the area’s best artists the first Thursday of each month.

Vendors at Westport Farmers’ Market Summer Season, 2014

The Local Catch – Charlestown, RI
Two Guys From Woodbridge- Hamden, CT
Sanskow’s Beaver Brook Farm – Lyme, CT
Skinny Pines, LLC – Easton, CT
Riverbank Farm – Roxbury, CT
Sono Baking Company – South Norwalk, CT
Fort Hill Farm – New Milford, CT
Beltane Farm – Lebanon, CT
Arogya – Westport, CT
Woodland Farm – South Glastonbury, CT
The Stand – Fairfield, CT
Boxcar Cantina – Greenwich, CT
Sport Hill Farm – Easton, CT
Oxhollow Farm – Roxbury, CT
Huckleberry Artisan Pastries – Bridgeport, CT 
Rose’s Berry Farm – Glastonbury, CT 
Raus Coffee Company – Stamford, CT
Mystic Cheese Company – Mystic, CT
Aradia Farm – Southbury, CT
Sugar & Olives – Norwalk, CT
Wave Hill Bread – Norwalk, CT
Muddy Feet Flower Farm – Ashford, CT
Backy 40 Kitchen – Greenwich, Ct
Simply Delicious – Norwalk, CT
OM Champage Tea – Bedford, NY
Silvermine Apairy – Norwalk, CT
Rotating 
Doc’s Maple Syrup – Woodhill, NY
Flour City Pasta – Fairport, NY
Pastabilities – Redding, CT
Food in Jars – Redding, CT
Molly & Murphy – Trumbull, CT
Greenwich Food Company – Greenwich, CT
CT Hoardable Hot Sauce – Springdale, CT
Garden Fresh Baby – Fairfield, CT
Festivities – Norwalk, CT
Izzi B Desserts – Westport, CT
With Love From The Cupboard – Westport, CT 
Olive Oil of the World – Westport, CT
Lobstercraft – Norwalk, CT
Carrot Top Kitchens – Redding, CT
Drink More Good – Beacon, NY
And an ice cream/icee vendor to be announced…

 

Taste of Westport: a night of food + drinks to raise money for CLASP

21 Apr

Taste of Westport is back with their annual fundraiser that directly benefits CLASP, a nonprofit that provides homes and services for adults with autism and developmental disabilities.  This year there’s an amazing variety of restaurants and drink providers including spots in Westport and all over Fairfield County.  The event happens on 5/1/14 from 6-9 pm at Westport Inn right in Westport.  Tickets are $75 prepaid via PayPal or by contacting Robin at (203) 226-7895 or $80 at the door.  Once there, taste some food, drink some wine, sip on some cocktails, and try to win some of the great silent auction items that are up for grabs.

Here are 26 delicious reasons to come to Taste of Westport this year:

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: