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Branford, New Haven, and Stratford Restaurant Weeks Hit Mid-April

28 Mar

We told you about the 1st Annual Stratford Restaurant Week at the start of the week, but you’ll be happy to know that there are lots of other options for branching out and trying new spots throughout the middle of April, too.  So, let’s break these restaurant weeks down in order from Branford, to New Haven, and then to Stratford:

April 6-12, 2014

April 6-12, 2014

First up is Branford Restaurant Week, make sure to enter for a $25 gift card good at any of the participating restaurants.  Secondly, check out the selection of restaurants that will feature specials, deals, and prix fixe menus.  Third of all, don’t forget about Stoney Creek and Thimble Island breweries, both in Branford.  Make a day of it!

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3rd Annual OmNomys: Celebrating the Best in Food in Fairfield County, 2013

18 Dec

Logo for OmNomys

Can you believe that this is the third year of the OmNomys?! For those of you new to us this year, we like to eat a little food every now and then (riiight), and keep track of the best of the best to celebrate at the end of the year. In 2011 and 2012 we were lucky enough to dine on some amazing food throughout Fairfield County, but we feel like 2013 really upped the ante with some fantastic new spots opening up!

So here it is, the 2013 OmNomys…the best food we’ve eaten in Fairfield County in the year 2013 (not necessarily ever, just in 2013)!  If you noticed one of your favorites that wasn’t on the list, it doesn’t mean it’s not awesome…it just means we may not have eaten there in 2013 or we happened to eat somewhere just a little better this year.  But hey, there’s always 2014, so tell us where we need to hit up for next year’s list!

Best Ambiance: Dolce Cubano, Stamford

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The Best Warm Weather Outdoor Dining Restaurants in Fairfield County

10 Apr

Updated on 5/26/15

Winter is only one season, but why does it seem so long?  Perhaps this year we can blame it on Punxsutawney Phil who promised an early end to winter, but lied?  Yeah, never trust a rodent, that’s what momma always said.

But, look, we’re beyond it all now!  The weather has turned, we’re at the start of spring, and we can actually feel the sun’s warmth.  By now, you’ve probably already lit up the BBQ and cooked up a storm.  And, you’ve probably been thinking about eating out(side) at a restaurant to enjoy the great weather.  So, we decided to put together a nice list of restaurants in the area that we like that have either al fresco (outdoor) dining or open air diningPerhaps you have an amazing restaurant to add that we missed?  Let us know!  Taco Bell doesn’t count, though. ;)

Enjoy the beautiful weather people…you earned it!

Bethel

Ecco rooftop bar/eatery on top of La Zingara

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2nd Annual OmNomys Celebrates 2012’s Best Food in Fairfield County

30 Dec

Logo for 2011 OmNomys

Last year we brought you the 1st Annual OmNomys:  awards that celebrated the Best in Food in Fairfield County.  Well, we couldn’t just let another year go by without giving out a new set of awards, could we?  No, we can’t.  That’s why we’re writing this post. But first, a quick refresher course on the OmNomys:

We only select restaurants that we’ve been to in 2012, so it’s important to remember that the restaurants here are not necessarily the best EVER, but the best we had in 2012.

• If you don’t like this list, that’s cool…whatevs.  It’s just our favorites of 2012.  You’re welcome to create your own or comment below and let your love of local restaurants show.

Best Ambiance: Dolce Cubano, Stamford

Sleek and sexy red leather (like Zaza) can be found throughout Dolce Cubano, one of Stamford’s newest hot spots.  Combine that with a chill bar (inside and outside) and waterside dining and you’ve got the perfect spot to hit up. Don’t forget the fireplace, either.  

Best Asian:  Bambou Asian Tapas & Bar, Greenwich

We don’t typically eat much Asian and have cut back on our sushi intake for 2012.  That being said, we’ve had some decent sushi, but a recent meal at Bambou was quite impressive.  The sushi rolls were very creative, especially a roll that featured goat cheese, mango, and salmon wrapped in a crispy spring roll.  Also, the steamed veggie dumplings were some of the best that we’ve had with nice chunks of fresh vegetables wrapped up in a thin layer of rice paper.  And, the desserts (which isn’t typical for an Asian restaurant) were fantastic.

Best BBQ Sides:  Bar Q, Stamford

We love the concept behind Bar Q, owned by Bob LeRose of Bobby Q’s in Westport:  tapas style bbq.  Well, along with a bbq menu to sample in small doses, you can get some great sides and fixins’ to go with your meat.  Some of our favorites are the chicken and waffles, fried green tomatoes, fiesta cornbread, hush puppies, baked jalapeno poppers, and mac & cheese.  Although we were torn about our first visit, each visit thereafter seems to get better.

Best BBQ Meat:  Dinosaur Bar-b-que, Stamford

Although Dinosaur Bar-b-que is a newcomer to Connecticut, they’ve been pumping out awesome bbq for years at their other locations.  The pulled pork is tender and juicy, the brisket is smoky with that perfect pink smoke ring, and the ribs are juicy and delicate, coming off the bone with a slight tug. And their chicken wings, well… see that section below. 

Best Beer Selection:  The Ginger Man, Norwalk

With more than 50 beers on tap, The Ginger Man in the heart of SoNo is a great place to hit up.  When you’re there, check out their creative specials, different each night and be sure to also try their monthly beer dinners.

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¡Mangia y Beve Bueno at Dolce Cubano! Waterfront of Stamford, CT

18 Dec

Dolce Cubano Collage

Update: Dolce Cubano is now known as just Dolce and features just Italian food. We haven’t stopped by yet for the new menu yet, so remember that our review is for when it opened.

As we walked up to Dolce Cubano for a late night dinner, we were struck at how beautiful the restaurant looked.  Trees were lit up for Christmas, music was spilling out, and the enthusiasm from people inside couldn’t be contained.  We quickly found a seat and got down to business.

The vibe and heart of Dolce Cubano is an Italian heart with a Cuban soul.  To be honest, we wondered how Dolce Cubano would work with this kind of fusion when we talked with Nick Racanelli Jr. and Sr. months ago (check out our announcement and the before/after post).  Well, after our meal, we definitely understand the meaning.  Here’s the breakdown of a 5 drink and 8 course dinner that we created from the extensive menu.

Let’s start with the food:

First of all, you can make your own meal/snack/feast at Dolce Cubano dish by dish if you’d like.  There’s antipasto, a raw bar, ceviche, salads, sides, tapas, classic dishes, and sandwiches for lunch, too.  There are some great dishes that you might recognize from Zaza Italian Gastrobar, Latino and Cuban classics, and dishes that land right in between Italuban land.  We decided to go with dishes that spoke to the Cuban soul of Dolce Cubano.  Let’s dig in.

Halibut Ceviche with a citrus marinade, onions, and pineapple.  Bright, citrusy, and vibrant.  The halibut, itself, is tender and juicy.  The crunch from the onion and corn layered on top add a nice contrast in texture.  An excellent ceviche.  We’ll have to try the shrimp ceviche next.  They’ll be changing the fish up depending on what’s in season…thanks for alerting us Leslie.

Empanadas with beef and a Cuban red sauce.  The breading was crispy, thin, and didn’t come from a package of frozen junk.  On the inside was well seasoned beef with the added kick of cilantro.  The Cuban red sauce was like a tomato sauce with the consistency of chunky salsa and an added kick of herbs.  It adds a tart, herby, and slighty sweet taste to whatever you dip it in.

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22 Dishes to Try in Fairfield County before the End of the World. Thanks Mayans.

10 Dec

“The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on 21 December 2012.[1][2][3][4][5][6] This date, is regarded as the end-date of a 5125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.[7] Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae have been proposed as pertaining to this date, though none have been accepted by mainstream scholarship.

A New Age interpretation of this transition is that the date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that Dec. 21, 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era.[8] Others suggest that the date marks the end of the world or a similar catastrophe. Scenarios suggested for the end of the world include the arrival of the next solar maximum, an interaction between Earth and the black hole at the center of the galaxy,[9] or Earth’s collision with a planet called “Nibiru”.”  Wikipedia.

In other words, we’re all screwed.  Now, you might be a bit disappointed that the world will end on 12/21/12.  Look, don’t go blaming the Mayans.  They gave us chocolate, the number zero, and an ancient form of chewing gum.  We can definitely let this minor infraction of a planetary destruction that wipes out the human race slide.

Well, we wouldn’t want your world to end if you’ve never tasted some of the best food around in Fairfield County.  So, put these dishes on your check list, eat up, and check ‘um off.  At least when the world ends you’ll be satisfied and will feel like you’ve done something great with your life.  And, if it’s a long and drawn out end of the world, you’ll have plenty of stored fat to survive a few more days while all hell breaks loose.

Darien

1) The pillowy and fluffy gnocchi at Scena Wine Bar

Fairfield

2) Georgia Red Hot topped with sauerkraut, mustard, and sweet relish with fries from Super Duper Weenie

3) The roasted corn with butter, lime juice, cotija cheese and ancho chili dust at Bodega Taco Bar (also in Darien and at Valencia in Norwalk)

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The Barren Before and Epic After of Dolce Cubano in Stamford, CT

7 Nov

Dolce Cubano is now open!  Check out our review of Dolce Cubano.

Back in April we broke the news about the opening of Dolce Cubano Rum Bar & Restaurant (thanks Nick), an Italian/Cuban fusion restaurant and bar that would soon grace the waterfront of Stamford.  People freaked out in excitement:  killer drinks and dishes, views of the Sound and Long Island, and a wicked hot spot…yeah, doesn’t get better than that!

Well, when we first had the chance to visit with Nick Racanelli in April, the restaurant was stripped to the bone.  It’s hard to imagine what a place will look like with everything ripped apart, but for Nick and co. it wasn’t that tough.  He had the vision, he knew.

Lucky for us, Nick invited us back in to see Dolce Cubano and see the massive changes made.  Starting off, the restaurant was pretty lucky during Sandy.  The water came just six inches away from getting into the restaurant and a boat nearly dislodged and crashed through the windows.  Nick weathered the storm (literally), watching the docks sink under two feet of water and move like waves.  The only casualty, luckily, was the awning for the outside bar, now torn in two.

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Dolce Cubano Rum Bar & Restaurant to Spice up Stamford Waterfront

12 Apr

Instagramriffic! Snuggle up to this view every time you visit Dolce Cubano…

Dolce Cubano is now open!  Check out our review of Dolce Cubano.

If you’re familiar with Stamford restaurants by the water, you’ve probably had some food and drink down at Paradise Grill (next to The Crab Shell).  And if you’re familiar with what really great food is, then you were probably disappointed. With such a great spot, it could’ve been so much more! Well OmNom’ers, it will be because Paradise Grill is gone and a new kind of paradise is taking over from Nick Racanelli Sr. & Jr., owners of the beloved Pizzeria Molto Wine Bar in Fairfield and Zaza Italian Gastrobar in Stamford.

Danny checks out the bar, soon to be fitted with carrera marble

Yup, the new restaurant is called Dolce Cubano Restaurant and Rum Bar.  Rum bar?  Oh heck yeah.  When’s the last time (if ever) you hit up a rum bar and you weren’t at some sort of tropical destination? And, in addition to a ton of rum drinks, there will be wine, beer, mixed drinks and dishes of Cuban meets Italian cuisine. Say what? Yeah, a totally unique and totally awesome concept.

At the end will be a swanky lounge area with couches and chairs

Just imagine the delicious classic Italian dishes the Racanelli boys are known for and mix them up with a little sexy, spicy Cuban flare. The menu hasn’t been completely worked out yet, but we can imagine perhaps ingredients like sofrito, lime, corn, and cilantro will be mixed in with pasta, or  spicy pork meatballs even. The possibilities are endless. They also plan to have classic Cuban dishes to spice things up such as various pork dishes, seafood dishes, yucca, plantains and maybe even paella. Oh, and we heard the word tacos mentioned, though it might be off the record! We’re salivating thinking about it! And, just like Zaza and Molto, you’ll be able to order from a large menu of small plates and select entrees.

Lots of room here at Dolce Cubano!

As if the food wasn’t enticing enough, let us tell you about the space and decor! Wow! First, every seat will have a view of the beautiful water with a huge wall of giant floating glass doors (just like at Zaza) that will surely be wide open all summer long for a nice breeze! The decor will be rich, swanky and sexy, just like Zaza and Molto, but with a few Cuban twists to give you that tropical feel. Best of all, there will be plenty of room for you to bring your entire crew. You can start off with some cocktails at the ginormous (I mean it’s ridonkulously huge) oval-shaped, 360° bar to the left when you walk in. Then when my fellow ladies have had enough of standing in your 6″ heels (I know how you roll), you can have a seat near the bar at one of their high-top tables or on a sofa or lounge chair in the swanky lounge area off to the side near the glass doors.  If it’s a beautiful night, you could even just start out at the outdoor bar and patio and enjoy the stars! When you’re ready to sit down and enjoy some tasty dishes, you can grab one of the many sexy red booths along the glass doors, or if you have a larger group, one of the two large u-shaped tables facing outside or the large community table near the cozy fireplace. And if it’s date night, you can snuggle up at one of the more quaint, smaller tables.  No matter what you choose, you can’t lose!

Of course nights will be hot at Dolce Cubano, but they also plan to have lunch and brunch to bring some excitement to your day! All of which will be livened up with upbeat, electronic music and even live bands and DJs on busier evenings and nights.

A view from the outside bar. How do you like your rum?

We are very excited for Nick Racanelli Jr. and Sr. for the summer launch of their new hot spot and we’re excited for ourselves and Stamfordites because it’s going to be awesome!  The location is perfect, there is an endless amount of parking, and the food and drink promises to spice up Stamford quite a bit and the decor will be fabulous! When we find out more info (like when they will open), we’ll let you know.

A special thank you to Nick (Jr.) for meeting up with us and showing us around.

Dolce Cubano Restaurant and Rum Bar

Address: 78 Southfield Ave.

Stamford, CT

Phone:  203-871-0700

Opening:  Summer

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/dolcecubano

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DolceCubano

Dolce Cubano on Urbanspoon

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