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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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Beer Geeks to Converge @ BeerConn in December!

5 Nov

In a few weeks on December 13, we have a good hunch where you’ll be: at the inaugural BeerConn at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. The brouhaha is so brew-centric that there are actually two sessions: Session 1 goes from 12:30-4 and Session 2 goes from 5:30-9!  Tix are just $35 per person (tax and fees extra), $45 the day of (if there are any left), and just $10 for those saintly designated drivers. You should be able to buy these tickets today, so keep checking their site!

And, as for the drinkable deets, here we go:

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N. Stamford Exchange Club Wine + Food Tasting Fundraiser this Friday

5 Nov

 

Drink wine, eat food, repeat.

Hey, that’s something that we can get used to! And, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing this Friday from 7-10 at The North Stamford Exchange Club’s 5th Annual Wine Tasting. The event, held at The Italian Center of Stamford, is a vital fundraiser for the Exchange Club who uses the money to donate to the Exchange Club Parenting Skills Center, ARI, Stamford Youth Foundation, local fire departments, the Shelter for the Homeless, and the Stamford Historical Society. Tickets are $50 per person, $190 for a Bottle Pack of 4, or $270 for a Magnum Pack of 6 people. You can get tickets here, by calling up Amy Wilmot at 203-667-1202, by visiting Giovana’s Wines & Spirits at 1492 High Ridge Road, or even at the door.

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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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Will Drive for (Good) Food @ Firebox – Hartford, CT

24 Oct

When we grew up in our New York towns a 1-2 hour drive was no big deal. But, since living in Fairfield County for 10 years, 1-2 hours might as well be 20 hours for some crazy reason. Hence why we never seem to make our way up to Hartford to try Firebox, a Modern American Farm to Table restaurant people have been raving to us about for years! But, one random Saturday we had nothing going on so we figured it was about time to make our way on up . . . Continue reading

Why Kawa Ni Is the (Sake) Bomb – Westport, CT

5 Oct

When you’re asked where you want to go out to dinner for your birthday, how do you pick? Do you go for that fancy schmancy place you’ve been waiting for a special occasion to go to, or your favorite spot you know is going to be amazing, or the hot new restaurant you’ve been dying to try? It’s a tough call…I mean, you only get that choice once a year.

Well, when Danny’s birthday came around he didn’t even need to think twice (or once really) as he blurted out Kawa Ni within seconds of asking. See, years ago (before the blog) we spent his birthday at Chef Bill Taibe’s restaurant, LeFarm, and had an astounding meal that featured bacon in every dish. Danny knew going with Bill again along with his brother Jeff would be a sure bet at their new Izakaya pub with Pan-Asian influences. And (spoiler alert) it SOOOOO was!

Jeff Marron runs the bar at Kawa Ni Westport Kawa Ni is located in a somewhat unsuspecting spot, tucked away in the corner of Bridge Square in Westport. It’s small but lively when you walk in, with the bar at the back left and a decent amount of seats throughout for such a cozy spot. The decor is tasteful…not that stereotypically tacky and kitchsy Japanese decor you might expect, but it definitely says modern Japanese food is served here. One random but awesome thing about the restaurant itself to mention in the blog post? Yeah, the bathrooms have the mega-toilet 3,000 or something like that with seat warmers, a bidet, dryer and more buttons that we were too scared to press. As we got comfy in our seats, we occasionally heard the bang of the gong and Bartender and Beverage Director, Jeff Marron, enthusiastically shout out something in Japanese. But more on that in a minute…

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Bistro 7 in Wilton Grand Reopening Party w/ New Chefs + Menu

30 Sep

Bistro 7 in Wilton invites you to their Grand Re-Opening celebration dinner on October 9 with seatings at 5:30, 7, and 8:30. Meals are $39 per person, include a cocktail from the new beverage menu created by Front of House Manager Cristian Caldarariu, and also include tastes of what’s new at Bistro 7.  

So, why exactly are they re-opening and celebrating? Well, there’s a few things going on:

1) Chef Tony Kalmanidis is leaving to start up some awesome food trucks. It’s always nice to give props where props are due.

2) Chef Marcelino Martinez is becoming the new Chef de Cuisine. He’s no stranger to Bistro 7, though, having already been a pastry chef and sous chef there.  

3) Chef Harrison Schaefer will start as the new sous chef.

4) They are revamping the menu for the season, for what’s locally available, and to jive with both new chefs. 

5) Bistro 7 continues its support of local produce and products by working with Debra Sloane of Sloane Farm and Donna Simmons of Pound Ridge Organics among others.  

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7 Local Chefs Compete in 4th Annual Connecticut Chefs Challenge to Benefit The Optimus Foundation

17 Sep

2014 CT Chefs Challenge

Food competition shows are fun to watch on TV, no doubt. There’s lots of excitement, panic, stressful situations, and lots of smack talk going down.  But, you miss out on a key component:  interaction. You can’t talk with the chefs, (even though you might be yelling at the TV and telling them to not cook the pork for any longer, they can’t actually hear you) and you certainly can’t taste all the awesome food that they are making.

Well, you’ve got your chance as the Connecticut Chefs Challenge returns for another year at Lincoln Culinary Institute in Shelton. This year there are seven CT chefs who are vying to win the title of “Best in Show.” The fun begins at 5:30 with a cocktail reception where you’ll learn about The Optimus Foundation (they construct and maintain medical facilities in Fairfield County for communities in need) who this event benefits and you’ll get to down some great small bites to help prep you for the contest.  

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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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