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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.

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Harbor Brew Fest 2014 Tickets on Sale Saturday, 6/21

20 Jun
Picture yourself here...what, you're dunk already?

Picture yourself here…what, you’re dunk already?

That’s right, tickets to one of our absolute favorite beer fests in the tri-state, Harbor Brew Fest at The Ball Park @ Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, go on sale June 21 starting at 9 am.  Tix are $40 for GA ($50 at the door if any tix are left) and $60 for the Brewer’s Special, which gets you in an hour early and gives you access to a special tented area for exclusive and rare tastings.  You can also get your tix at Harry’s (they help to make this festival so freaking awesome!) in Fairfield.  

9/20:  mark it down!

9/20: mark it down!

If you went last year and thought they had an amazing selection of craft and local beer, then prepare to be blown away. Seriously, brace yourselves. That’s cuz this year on 9/20 from 12-5 (1-5 for GA), there will be over 100 breweries on hand!  And, whereas there was one giant tent filled to the brim with CT breweries down on the field, prepare for more on that green green grass!

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CT Food News, Vol. 9: Hot Dogs, Cocktails, Free Oysters, Trux, Cooking Classes, Festivals, and More…

18 Jun

Well, what can we say but there’s a whole helluva lot going on in and around Fairfield County over the next two weeks.  So, in addition to our regular posts, we’ve gathered up some major highlights of things going on such as awesome events, special meals, beer news, beer dinners, cooking classes, farmers’ markets, festivals, ways to give back, and we give some props to a city in CT that just got some major press.  Check out more events here, too.

Cool (and Chow) Down

6/18-6/20:  Chef Storch of Match continues his themed lunches, this time with “Super Duper” Match.  And, if you’re wondering…yes, he’s featuring some of the greatest dishes from Super Duper Weenie:  the best hot dog joint in the world.  Check out Match’s FB page for the menu.

6/19:  The Chelsea in Fairfield is takin’ things back to ‘Nawlins with food and drink specials, mon cherie.  This is all in celebration of Marc Broussard hitting up Fairfield Theatre Company that day.

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CT’s Biggest Food Truck Festival EVER, ever, ever: 1st Annual Connecticut Food Truck Festival

17 Jun
Set aside July 19 and 20...now...seriously...we'll wait...

Set aside July 19 and 20…now…seriously…we’ll wait…

Update:  the festival organizer changed the price for tickets to $5.  Bring your ticket back on Sunday and pay only $2 admission! 

Connecticut peeps really like their food trucks.  And, on July 19 and 20 from 11-7 on both days, CT peeps are gonna fall straight up, head-over-heels in LOVE with a helluva lot of food trucks at the The Connecticut Food Truck Festival at the North Haven Fairgrounds.  Although the final details are still being worked out, there are already a few dozen trucks that have been signed up, with 40-50 expected by the time of the festival.  That brings this festival into the record books here in CT as the biggest food truck festival.  The previous record was at Westbrook Tanger Outlets with about 20 food trucks, and the recent RBS Food Truck Festival clocking in at 15.  And, the top record will soon be broken with an estimated 33 trucks at the Hamden Food Truck Festival…still not as big as the CT Food Truck Fest, though.  

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Where to Eat + Drink with the Stereotypical Dad on Father’s Day

10 Jun

Here in ‘Merica we celebrate Father’s Day by honoring the guy who put us into this world. The man who sticks his hand in his pants when he’s watching sports on TV. The remote control hog. The beer guzzler. The guy that fixes all the broken stuff in the house. The golfer, the fisherman, the any other Hallmark stereotype you can imagine guy.  Yep, it’s the good ‘ole American dad’s day, so to honor him this Sunday, June 15, we’ve put together a list of places you can take your stereotypical dad to indulge in the things he loves most…

If BBQ is your super dad’s kryptonite, try:

1) Dinosaur Bar-b-que, for the dad that wants to sit back and get fat.  So your dad just wants to sit on the couch and chew the (pork) fat all day? Hey, we’re not judging…who wouldn’t?  You go right ahead and enable him by ordering up some BBQ’ed goodness to take home.  Some particularly gluttonous options include:

Ribs, brisket, pulled pork, rice and beans, coleslaw, corn bread...wow.

Ribs, brisket, pulled pork, rice and beans, coleslaw, corn bread…wow.

King of the Grill:  special cut ribs, bone-in chicken quarters (1/2 white, 1/2 dark), 2 sides, cornbread ($99.95 for 6, $189.95 for 12, or $279.95 for 18).

Father Knows Best:  choice of 2 bbq meats, 3 sides, cornbread ($109.95 for 6, $199.95 for 12, $299.95 for 18).

Pitmaster Pro:  choice of 3 bbq meats, 3 sides, cornbread ($129.95 for 6, $249.95 for 12, or $375.95 for 18).

Make sure to place your order 48 hours in advance by calling (203) 517-3273 or e-mailing stamcatering@dinobbq.com.  Any package also gets your dad the Dinosaur Bar-b-que Cookbook for the days when he doesn’t feel so lazy.

2) Saugatuck Craft Butchery, for the dad that thinks he can do it better himself.  A great grillmaster like your dad knows that amazing BBQ starts with the meat, that’s why you’ll need to take daddy dearest to Westport.  He’ll have a killer selection of ribs, chops, special cuts, and custom ground sausage.  Make his life super easy by calling them up at (203) 226-6328, placing an order, then picking it up for him so he’s ready to grill all day long.


If your dad’s eyes light up at the sight of good beer , try: 

1) Two Roads tour and tasting if you’re staying closer to home.  Your dad’s had Two Roads‘ beer from the store and at the bar, but WHAT? He’s never been to Stratford to see where the magic happens?  Well, get him down there on Father’s Day and prove your love.  Dad’ll have plenty of time because they are open from 12-7, with tours at 1 and 3.  Added bonus:  The Local Meatball food truck will be on hand… so he can stuff his belly too.  Note that no minors are allowed in the tasting room or beer garden.

Dads love bocce!

Dads love bocce!

2) Captain Lawrence Brewery, if you’re up for a quick field trip.  Your dad’s already a Connecticut beer pro? Well, blow his mind with something new by taking him on down to Captain Lawrence Brewery in Elmsford, NY.  There’s plenty of (really good) beer to sip on, nice bites of food to pick from (plus Village Dog will be there), and they’ve got two official sized bocce ball courts.  That’s a full day of Father’s Day entertainment right there! Hours are 12-5 with tours at 2 and 4.  And, just because they love dads so much, they’ll have 11 test batches that your dad can vote on that will stay in production at the brewery.  


If your dad likes to be referred to as The Captain, try:

1)  Dolce Cubano, for a manly dock n’ dine day.  Dad can dock his boat up right outside Dolce Cubano and either call them up for dine-in service right on your boat, or just head up to the restaurant to enjoy some tasty cocktails and creative spins on Italian and Latino dishes. Be sure to get the butternut squash and lobster gnocchi. It will rock your dad’s world!

Dad will be your greatest fan if you take him to Dolce...

Dad will be your greatest fan if you take him to Dolce…

2)  Captain’s Cove for fun for the whole family.  If Dad wants to make it a fun-filled family day, let him boat out to Bridgeport and dock at Captain’s Cove.  There he’ll have his bounty of fresh or fried fish, plus plenty of other options like shopping, music, and handmade boat races for the family.


If your dad can quote every line from Caddyshack, try:

Sterling Farms, for the dad that (thinks he) can golf.  You can play through the course with dad*, or if dad get’s a little too serious for your emotional health, you can be his caddy for the day.  Either way it’s a win-win because when you’re done, you can both enjoy a full lobster dinner at Zody’s, which just opened right by the driving range.

Mini golf at Calf Pasture Beach, for the dad with not enough patience (or skill) to play real golf. Fun for the whole family*, and afterwards you can all hit up Ripka’s Beach Cafe for some kabobs, lobster, or even some raw bar options. Eat there or take it down to the beach and give dad the relaxation he deserves.

*Let dad win or risk revoking your rights to the will.


If your dad prefers the wind in his hair on the open road, try:

The Darien Collector’s Car Show, to give dad something to drool over.  From 11-2 pm at Tilley Pond Park on West Avenue in Darien, you can check out the 9th annual car show that motor enthusiasts look forward to every year.  Admission is just $5 per person, kids 6 and under are free and a portion of ticket sales goes to At Home in Darien. When you’ve checked out all the cars, head over to Estia’s for a hearty, farm fresh brunch, Bodega for the best tacos around, or Meatball & Co for lotsa juciy meatballs.

Rawwr!  Conntuckey Lightning from Two Roads, brewed with corn grits and aged in bourbon barrels.

Let dad have a kickass kinda day!

Dew Drop Inn, for the badass motorcycle ridin’ dad.  If your dad has a bike (and a bonus beard and tattoo), take a trip with him to Dew Drop Inn in Derby.  He can talk shop with tons of other bikers, admire what they’re riding, and/or just drink fantastic craft beers and chow down on some great comfort food, like their steaks, burger, and over 41 crazy chicken wings, like the PB&J or the Parm Butter Bacon Garlic.


If the thrill of competition gets your dad’s blood pumping, try:

Bridgeport Bluefish, for a fun-filled family day.  The game against the Lancaster Barnstormers (“Amish Paradise” theme song?) begins at 1:05…and it’s Jersey Off Our Back Day.  That means that you can bid on actual jerseys worn by players during the game.  Tix are just $11 or $12, so get ’em while the gettings good!  While you’re there, let dad chow down on some peanuts, and Cracker Jacks…and hot dogs…and burgers…and beer.  And, if you’re a savvy kinda family, use Groupon to get 2 tix for $14.50 or 4 for $28.  Also, on 6/16 the legendary Pete Rose will be managing the Bluefish, so that’s another game you won’t want Daddy-o to miss.

This could be YOUR dad! Photo from Bpt Bluefish site.

Chelsea Piers in Stamford, for the dad that likes to sweat.  An active dad’s paradise, Cheslea Piers has a ton of sweat-inducing activity options. For (non-member) drop-in programs, there are batting cages, ice skating, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and more.  When you’re done letting dad get his shots in, check out Just Sprouted Cafe for some lighter drinks and small bites to recharge.

 

 

 

Get you some: Taste of Port Chester and Wilton Are Back for more in 2014

4 Jun

We love tasting events where you get to taste some of the best spots in an area.  They tend to be inexpensive, they have lots of variety, and it’s basically like a Costco tasting spree on steroids.  ‘Nuff said, right?  So, get ready for two great events coming up:  Taste of Port Chester on 6/8 and Taste of Wilton on 6/9.  Check out the deets with us and get yo’self down (or up) there for all the nomworthy food.


Taste of Port Chester

6/8, from 12-3 pm

Registration starts at 11:30 at the Marina on Abendroth Ave.

Tickets are $25 (drinks extra; you’ll get a map for easy food tourism)

Taste of Port Chester is a walking tour (though there are busses available) through CT’s neighboring village.  Once you have your wristband, you can just visit any of the places below (there will be balloons outside) and get samples of their goodies.  We were downtown when this was going on last year and it was a very popular event, so you won’t want to miss this one.  Added bonuses:  your ticket purchase helps to support Port Chester Public Schools and you can walk off all of the calories that you ingest (wishful thinking).

Here are all the spots that you can check out:

• A&S Deli:  Italian
• Acuario:  Peruvian
• Aqui es Santa Fe:  Colombian
• Arrosto:  Italian
• Bubbles & Berries:  Juice Bar and Desserts
• Cafe Mirage:  Eclectic, Modern American
• Carvel Ice Cream
• Coals:  Pizza, craft beer, killer sprouts, and wings
• Copacabana Steakhouse:  Brazilian steakhouse
• Cousin Frankie’s USA Grill:  American
• Euro Asian Bistro:  Asian, sushi
• Frankie & Louie’s:  Italian, pizza
• Garcia’s:  Nightclub, bar
• Il Sogno:  Italian
• J.J. Cassone’s:  Bakery
• John’s of Arthur Ave:  Italian
• Kiosko:  Mexican
• Longford’s Own Made:  Ice Cream
• Los Chuzos de Juancho:  Colombian
• Mary Ann’s:  Mexican
• McShane’s:  Irish Pub (new)
• Neri’s Bakery
• Nessa:  Italian
• Paleteria Fernandez:  Ice cream, frozen treats
• Panera Bread:  Cafe, American
• Port Chester Hall & Beer Garden (new)
• Salsa Picante:  Mexican
• Sichuan Pavilion:  Chinese
• Sonora:  Nuevo Latino
• Spadaro’s:  Italian
• Tarry Market:  Gourmet market
• Varmax:  Wine, liquor
• Zeppoleme:  Zeppoles, panini, coffee

7th Annual Taste of Wilton

June 9 from 5:30-8:30

$30 per person at Wilton Chamber of Commerce, Fairfield County Bank, Bankwell, or Wilton Family Y

$35 at the door

Cheaper than an entrée at most restaurants here in CT, admission to Taste of Wilton is a great deal…especially because food and drinks are included.  This year, you’ll want to check out this event all over again so you can try out some of the new restaurants that have opened up and to nom away on your favorites.

Here are all the participants (getting full already):

• Ancona’s Wines & Liquors
• Bianco Rosso Wine Bar Restaurant
• Bistro 7
• Black Cat Grille
• Cactus Rose Restaurant & Tequila Bar
• Fleur de Lis Academy
Georgetown Package Store
• Little Pub Wilton
• Luca Ristorante Italiano
• Marly’s of Wilton
• Pinocchio Pizza
• Portofino Restaurant & Bar
• Stop & Shop
• Sweet Pierre’s
• Sweet Sabrina’s Cake Shop
• The Painted Cookie
• Toozy Patza Pizza
• Village Market
• Vintage Fine Wines (visit their store during the Taste)
• Wilton Pizza

Harbor Brew Fest 2014 Exclusive Details: Food Trucks, Pricing, On Sale Date

16 May

September 20, 2014…that’s the official date of the Harbor Brew Fest at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.  In terms of brewfests, this happens to be one of our favorites.  And, this year promises to be even better with even more beer options and 12 13 14 (count ’em, 12 13 14) food trucks!  You’ll want to save the date now—we’ll wait for you to put it on the calendar now—because this will be an awesome way to spend September 20, 2014.

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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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Que Bueno: Baro Hosts Fundraiser for Community Plates – Fairfield, CT

28 Jan

To celebrate their Grand Opening, Baró in Fairfield is hosting a fundraising event for Community Plates.  In a nutshell, Community Plates is a network of volunteers who rescue food from restaurants and stores, then deliver it to shelters and other places that desperately need the food.  This event is happening on February 19 from 5-9 pm and costs  just $40.  What does that get you?  A signature drink, a complimentary drink, and a plethora of their tapas and tacos.  

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Commence Noming: Darien Restaurant Week 2014: Feb 2-6 and Feb 9-13

22 Jan

Because of the TWO snow storms, Darien Restaurant Week has some new added dates:  2/9-2/13!

Darien is back with another restaurant week from February 2 through February 6.  This time around, the choices are pretty eclectic with some new spots:  we’re talking about Anthony’s Coal Fired PizzaBodega Taco Bar, Cesco’s TrattoriaChuck’s SteakhouseCoromandelDarien SocialEstia’s AmericanJimmy’s Southside TavernMeatball & CompanyRory’s RestaurantScena Wine BarTengdaThe Goose, and The Melting Pot.  

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