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(Om + Nom) x (Brick + Wood) = ♥ in Fairfield, CT

12 Jan

Brick Wood Pizza Oven EatOmNomCT

Look, there are tons of Italian restaurants in CT, especially in Fairfield County. Some of ’em you can love, some you can just like, and some you can say aren’t even as good as Olive Garden (and that’s saying something). Well, after our press dinner we think Brick + Wood, the newest Italian spot to open in Fairfield in November 2014, is one you can love. We’re gonna break down the reasons why . . .

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Matsu for Monster Good Sushi – Westport, CT

5 Jan

When we lived in Westport back in ’04, we became rabid sushi eaters. A typical week saw us picking up or getting sushi delivery at least twice a week. You might say we had a problem, though we’re sure Matsu Sushi didn’t think so since we usually got it from them! They were not only conveniently located right down the street, but their sushi was always fresh and delicious.

But, it’s been a loooong while since we’d been, so long in fact that we hadn’t realized that when we were invited to check out Matsu, that this was the restaurant we had always ordered from. Quite a happy coincidence!

Parking was very easy across the street at the Library (which we *think* is legal after hours, but we can’t be held accountable if not, lol). That particular night we had the pleasure of dining with one of the owners, Paul Teoh and his partner. They took us through their menu, their history, sushi culture, and seemingly every single dish on their menu.

So let’s dive in…

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Go Old-school Italian (for Better or Worse) at Viale, Black Rock

9 Dec

Although we’ve always been obsessed with discovering and sharing great places to dine out in CT, back in 2006 (when we lived in Black Rock) we were just developing our professional eating and dining abilities. We’d check out the hottest spots in the area, and (of course) we’d also try out the newest restaurants. One such restaurant was Viale, which we saw being built, start to finish. Ever the intrepid explorers, we had a meal during the first few weeks of their opening. While we didn’t remember all the details of our first meal so many years ago, we do remember the meal to be decent, but no amazing.

Now, fast forward to a few weeks back when we were invited to come in and try Viale again. We were very interested to see if things were the same or if they’d improved, especially now that we have so many great places to compare it to.

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Washington Prime in SoNo Premieres Sunday Prime Brunch Buffet

12 Nov

Washington Prime Buffet Menu

There are few things in this world that excite us more than brunch. It’s all about being too lazy to wake up for breakfast and just letting a lazy Sunday drag on. And, most importantly, it’s all about the food. All about the mixture of sweet, savory, salty, and meaty, together as one. Yeah, and drinking . . . you can’t forget the cocktails at 11 am, either.

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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.”

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Mole Stout OmNomCT Collabo + Casa Villa @ Half Full Rare Beer Night

7 Oct
The first stages of the Half Full Mole Stout

The first stages of the Half Full Mole Stout

Patience. Overwhelming, meticulous, and methodical patience. That’s what we discovered Jen Muckerman, Headbrewer at Half Full, has as we brewed a beer together. A serious scientific and orderly mind that moves her to create an arsenal of beer on tap at the brewery and for distribution. And, a nice little side effect was some of that rubbing off on us…yeah, we know: patience is a virtue and stuff.

It all started back at Dinosaur Bar-b-que after the Rare Beer Night on the SoundWaters boat a few months back. Jen said we should do a beer together so we were like…damn right, son! We talked about it for hours and hours. We didn’t want to do a standard kind of beer…it was going to be for Rare Beer Night after all: a monthly event highlighting nanobrews made by Jen, Jon, guest brewers, and the brew crew. Our immediate thought was to make it somehow food based, but still accessible and highly addictive. We settled on creating a dark stout made with typical mole ingredients, inspired by our favorite mole dish at Casa Villa in Stamford, CT.

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Win 2 Tix to Hoptoberfest Craft Beer Fest + Wing Contest in Shelton

30 Sep

Hoptoberfest CT

We’ve grown to become very picky about our hot wings. Seriously, like super picky.  We’ve had some awesome wings around the state, so we’re always keeping a mental wingopedia when we try new ones. So, we’d like to help you to add more wings to to that wingopedia in your noggin with two free tickets to Hoptoberfest Craft Beer Festival & Wing Contest! All you need to do is tell us how you like your wings here, on FB, or on Twitter using #Wingopedia. If we were entering (which we aren’t, that’d be mean if we won our own contest!), we’d say something like, “I like my wings spicy.  Like, actually spicy…not fake spicy.” The contest starts now and goes until Friday (10/3) at noon when we’ll announce the winner on our FB page and Twitter feed. 

Here are the deets for Hoptoberfest…and note that if you get your tickets online, they are still pretty affordable at only $25:

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Guten Grog 2014: Guide to Beer Fests + Oktoberfests in Connecticut

9 Sep

It’s hard to beat a crisp fall day.  Sweat isn’t pouring down your face and stinking up your clothes, there is excitement in the air, and…well…beer takes center stage.  (Then again, in our lives, beer always takes center stage.)  There are Oktoberfest beers, brown ales, and pumpkin beers as the last of the summer beers are drunk.  And, you better believe fall time means that Oktoberfest and beer festivals are in your plans.  Lucky for you we have been keeping track of all of these events throughout Connecticut and we proudly present them to you right here.  Prost!

Oktoberfests


Beer Garden SoNo’s Oktoberfest, 1st Annual

Location:  Oyster Shell Park in Norwalk, CT

UPDATED! Date and time: 10/4 10/5 from 12-5

Cost: 1) General Admission is $10 with code IWANTIN or $20 at the door.  This gets you entrance, live music, food truck access, free bottles of water, and a chance to purchase beer.

2) The Beer Drinker is $30 with code GIVEMEBEER or $59 at the door.  This gets you entrance, live music, food truck access, free bottles of water, a commemorative tasting glass, and unlimited tastings from 12-5.  You can also buy beer, but you’ve got unlimited tastings!  Come on now!

3) VIP Access is $105 with code CANTSTOPWONTSTOP or $211 at the door. This gets you in an hour early, gets you unlimited tastings with a bigger 10 oz tasting glass, you can skip lines, you get a reserved table for singing beer songs, water, live music, food trucks, and you get to take part in The Beer Garden SoNo’s after party!

Description: Achtung, baby…the Beer Garden in SoNo is throwing a major par-tay at the beautiful Oyster Shell Park right in Norwalk. There will be beer, there will be music, and there will be food trucks, so we’re not really sure what else you need.  ;)  But, if you want some deets, here they are:  Blind Pug Ales, Shock Top, Widmer Bros., Goose Island, Hooker, Blue Point, Paulaner, Palm, Radeberger, Heineken, Guinness (they’ll be debuting a new beer), Strongbow, Newcastle, and more along with some great food trucks like Grab Your Balls, Cowabunga, One Bro Pizza Co, Tacos El Azteca, and Caseus. If all of that seems too overwhelming, they’ll have a digital guide that can take you from beer to beer and get you to where ya need to be.  While all the drinking and eating is going down, check out One Bad Oyster, The Adam Currie Band, Tim Currie’s Motown Band, and Beach Avenue who you might know from America’s Got Talent!  Deals go on until 9/26, so snag ’em while the snagging’s good. Children 13 or younger are free, btw.  A portion of sales will be donated to the Whittingham Cancer Center, too, so cheers to that!

Milford Oktoberfest

Location: Rotary Pavilion at Fowler Field, 1 Shipyard Lane in Milford, CT

Date and time: 9/27 from 12-9 pm

Cost: $10 per person, 16 and under free

Description: Sponsored by the Devon Rotary, the Milford Oktoberfest is one of the most popular scenes in the area.  There is a German biergarten, music from HitList, Rumrunners, and an authentic German band, a bratwurst eating contest, and even things for the kiddies to do while you get a refill.  And, food wise, you’re set with plenty of German goodies as well as some classic American dishes if you’re sausaged out.  Get your tickets at the gate or ask a Devon Rotary member, or call up Scott Moulton at (203) 306-5172 for more info.  

Oktoberfest on the Meadow, 4th Annual

Location: Stamford Museum and Nature Center in Stamford, CT

Date and time: 10/17 from 7-10

Cost: $60/$75 for non-members in advance or $70/$85 for non-members at the door (21+)

Description: SM&NC is one of our favorite places in Fairfield County and it’s also home to a great harvest festival weekend.  The ultimate kickoff to the weekend of cider making and family fun is celebrating fall and beer at Oktoberfest on the Meadow.  Plenty of great German brews will be flowing with live music from Green Eyed Lady.  Plus, it wouldn’t be an Oktoberfest without lots of great German food, and that’s what you’ll get with Old Heidelberg providing the delicious grub.  Oh…did we mention the S’mores bar?  Hell yeah.

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Ease into Fall w/ Fairfield County Farm Workshops, Dinners, and Events

3 Sep

Farms are what keep us rooted to our humble beginnings, they keep us in touch with nature…farms are what keep us alive.  And, while most people probably only have surface level interactions with farms by purchasing their foods at stores or getting a bit closer to the source by visiting farmers’ markets, farms have lots going on behind the scenes.  The sowing, the planting, the watering, the manicuring, and the picking.  And, there are plant-y of other things going on at farms, depending on the season.

So, this is where we leave you:  some great events, workshops, and dinners at farms in September and October for you to dig.

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What’s in a name…a review of Salsa Picante – Port Chester, NY

2 Sep

…that which we call a Mexican restaurant by any other name would taste just as amazing. Right?

See, we heard about Salsa Picante in Port Chester well before it opened a little over a month ago, but we didn’t really give it any thought because the name made it sound like the same ‘ole, same ‘ole quick service Mexican joint. But then, like magic, we were walking down the street in Port Chester and the new spot caught the corner of our eyes. We peeked in and saw that it seemed to be more than what we thought it was, so Danny ran in to snatch a menu and Kristien immediately whipped out her phone to see what the word was on the street. Both searches turned out to be fruitful as the menu looked ah-mazing and people were RAVING about the food online. So, naturally you know what we had to do next…

The very next day (Sunday to be exact) we headed on over early, around 6PM…which we’re glad we did because by 6:30 there were people lining up outside to get in.  To be fair, the restaurant itself is pretty small fitting about 30 people. It has a simple, casual, cafe type feel with Mexican art work all around the darkly painted walls.  The sounds and sizzles of the grill are heard through the open kitchen and the chachacha of drinks being mixed are like music to diners’ ears.

Alright, let’s get into the drinks.

Before we did much of anything, we ordered some drinks. Lucky for us they got their liquor license just about two weeks before we visited.  That means they had margaritas, sangria, basic cocktails, wine, and beer available!  We went with margaritas for Kristien, sangria for Dan.  The margarita is made with house tequila (though we upgraded to Patron), Cointreau, and freshly squeezed lime and orange juices (we watched the bartender squeeze them by hand). It was a very simple, but well-balanced, fresh tasting margarita. Dan’s White Sangria was light, refreshing, and just sweet enough with a nice peachy undertone from the Schnapps.  Dan later got the Red Sangria (because you HAVE to try both, duh) which, again, was nicely balanced and not too sweet.  We later talked with owner David Dolores who shared that the sangria is made with at lest five different kinds of liquors, making them very complex.

Onto La Comida!

There was definitely lots of options to choose from on the menu like appetizers, tortas (sandwiches), burritos, and lots of classically authentic Mexican dishes.  We decided to start off with their Ceviche Misto, which was good, but we had two major issues:  they were pretty heavy on the lime so it was very acidic and, perhaps because of that, the fish had a bit of a mushy consistency. The shrimp and calamari, though, had a good consistency. Here, too (like the Margarita) it was very simple and traditional.  We also tried one of the specials for that day:  a lobster quesadilla.  The lobster, actually, wasn’t overcooked and had a nice consistency.  While we know lots of people say it’s a horrible sin to pair cheese with seafood, we have to say that it worked nicely here with the crispy tortilla and melty cheese playing off the lobster quite nicely.

Elote at Salsa Picante in Port Chester, NY

Next up is one of our favorite dishes from Latin spots, Elote.  They served two corn on the cobs with mayo, Cotija cheese, and chili powder.  David was accommodating with Dan’s loathing of mayo and kept it off of his ear.  The corn was spicy sweet, and rich from the cheese and mayo, just like we like it. The only issue was it was just warm rather than hot.  We would have preferred it to be hot, if not steaming. We also love those charred grilled marks on the corn, which we didn’t see.

For our entrée we decided to share the Taco Platter.  You got your choice of any 3 tacos meats plus onion, cilantro, lime, rice and beans, tortillas, and guacamole.  When the dish arrived, we were so excited:  it’s essentially “Do it Yourself Tacos”!  David explained to us that this is how they do things in Puebla, Mexica where he’s from:  family style, just like us Italians!  We had decided to go with the fish (tilapia), Carne Asada, and Al Pastor tacos because, well, those are some of our favorite flavor combos.

Fish (tilapia) taco at Salsa Picante in Port Chester, NY

First up was the tilapia that came out red (from paprika), moist, and delicate.  We made ours with cilantro, onion, radish, lime, and a touch of their orange sauce.  Then we both made our own Carne Asada tacos!  The beef had nice grill marks, giving off even more flavor.  We threw everything on this taco, using the smoky red sauce on one and the orange sauce on our seconds.  And, finally, we made our Al Pastor tacos. Unlike most variations we’ve had, you can actually taste (and see) the pineapple along with the pork…which we loved!  We decided to make ours with cilantro, onions, lime, and the orange sauce, though the red sauce did help to highlight the pork even more, too. We had enough meat and toppings to make 6 tacos each and even asked for more tortillas so we could make two more tacos at home. All in all a tasty (and again, simple and traditional) dish!

And last, but never least, dessert.

We couldn’t decide which to go with, the Quatro Leches (ooo that’s one more leche than normal) or the Churros. So guess what? Yeah, we did both…don’t judge!

The Quatro Leches was ridiculously moist, and only a little sweet unlike most we have that hurt our teeth. The chocolate syrup on top gave it a nice little warmth/depth. Honestly, this was one of the best we’ve ever had.

The Churros were stuffed with cream and Cotija…OMG. They were super crispy on the outside and oh so ooey gooey on the inside.  Man, that cheese really sent this dessert over the top. Yum!

So, would we say Salsa Picante lived up to our expectations of its name, or did it far exceed those expectations? Well, if you’re looking for a traditional, simple, affordable, authentic Mexican experience that is a major step up from quick service Mexican spots, then this is most definitely a great place to go. If you’re looking for modern twists, fancy cocktails, a hopping ambiance, and complex flavors, you can stick to one of our other fave trendy Mexican spots, like Bodega.

Noms: 3.25

Cost: $$-$$$

Address: 110 Adee Street.

Port Chester, NY 10573

Phone:  (914) 481-5488

Salsa Picante on Urbanspoon

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