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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.

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Beautiful Bites of the Caribbean at Cafe Turnier in Norwalk

22 Jan

Cafe Turnier in Norwalk Sign

Update:  we’re sad to report that Cafe Turnier is now closed, though the plan is to now continue catering. (1/29/14)

We’d be willing to bet many of you have a mental to-eat list of restaurants you want to go to.  And, we’d also be willing to bet that on that list, you don’t have many unsuspecting little hidden gems. Those tiny little, hole-in-the-wall hotspots that not a lot of people realize are amazing. After all, that’s why they’re called hidden gems. Well, our list had one of those spots on it, Cafe Turnier in Norwalk,  and we finally had our chance to hit it up.

Owner and chef Ernst “Ernie” Turnier was kind enough to invite us in to meet up, talk, and try out some dishes.  Who were we to refuse such an invite?  And, who were we to refuse when Ernie asked us if we liked spicy food and if we loved Haitian and Caribbean food?  Duh, duh, and more duh.

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Win(e)d Down and Paint Away @ Soon to Open Pinot’s Palette – Harbor Point, Stamford

24 Sep

Update:  Pinot’s Palette will open on December 14!  Use discount code “Neighbor” for 25% off classes to celebrate their first month in business! 

The Harbor Point area of Stamford has grown immensely over the past couple of years, but there’s still so much more on the way.  Yes, there are plans for lots more restaurants and there’s also a great new spot that’s slated to open in the middle of November.  We’re talking about Pinot’s Palette, located at 2200 Atlantic Street, #109.

Pinot’s Palette was started in Houston back in 2009 and will soon have expanded into 24 states, including Connecticut of course.  People sign up for two or three ($35 or $45) hour painting classes and bring along plenty of good wine.  While you sip, you paint…and snack.  As simple as that.  Pinot’s Palette will provide the art supplies and apron, the plates for any treats you bring, and will give you the wine glasses for the good stuff.  In terms of who can attend, they want everybody to feel comfortable…experienced painters or not.  Their slogan is, “Paint.  Drink.  Have Fun,” after all.  Plus, when you’re done painting, you get to take your pièce de résistance home with you.  

While you can set up an appointment for any time that’s available, you can also host private parties, birthday parties, or attend one of their Date Nights or Girls Night Out.  What, no Lumberjacks Wearing Plaid Night Out?  Either way, Pinot’s Palette will be a fun place to go with friends to explore your artistic side and also relax with some great drinks.  November can’t come soon enough!

For more information, you can e-mail Owner Chad Smith or Studio Manager Joanne Christena Amico at stamford@pinotspalette.com.  Also make sure to check the Pinot’s Palette Stamford site for updates.

Pinot’s Palette

2200 Atlantic Street, #109

Stamford, CT (Harbor Point area)

Stanziato’s Serves Up Killer Pies and More in Danbury, CT

17 Sep

Look who got off their lazy assez (we are using z’s in honor of Matt Stanczak who loves to use them) and headed up to Danbury to not only visit some great friendz, but also check out a restaurant that we’ve been dying to try.  Yeah, that would be uz visiting the house and famed garden of Renato and Alicia Ghio…who we like to call our couple twinz because we have so much awesomenezz in common.  We’ve done a lot of nomming together:  we visited Nicholaz Robertz together, they came for the Victory Brewz N’ Bacon dinner at Coalhouse, we chomped on some wicked Mexican at Panchoz Tacoz in Danbury, so we figured it was about time to take thiz to the next level.

The restaurant we decided that we all needed to hit up together…you guessed it, Stanziato’z!  Kristien’z friend and coworker, Jay, only told us to go like, ooooooh two yearz ago. And, we were reminded again just weekz before when we were sitting next to Matt (the owner) at Chef Bick’z farm-to-table dinner at Hollbrook Farmz.  So that seemed to be the final sign to get our buttz in gear and try it out.  Pluz, it didn’t hurt that Renato and Alicia said they had a gargantuan bottle of Ommegang Three Philosopherz that they needed help with.  Yeah, we’re good friendz like that.

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Get your wallet ReAdy for some ReAlly tasty pizza. ReNapoli, Greenwich

23 Jul

DSC_2834

We love discovering new neighborhoods, especially the new restaurants within those new places.  We do have a food blog after all!  One day, a few weeks ago, we went off exploring throughout Greenwich.  Specificallly, we hit up all the parks and beaches to see where our new shiny park passes could get us.  On our way into Tods Point, we discovered Old Greenwich for the first time…home of Garden Catering and ReNapoli to name a few!

Burrata at ReNapoli in Greenwich, CTSo, we took note of ReNapoli, did a little research and decided to give it a shot when we were in the mood for some pizza.  We learned it was BYOB (with no corking fee, FTW) so we grabbed a nice bottle of red and headed straight over.  Now, as we said, we did a little research beforehand and found out just weeks before, pizza maker Bruno DiFabio had teamed up with Bob LeRose of Bobby Q’s to create a pulled pork pizza.  This pizza of legend took top honors and won first place at the Greenwich Town Party.  And, DiFabio himself is quite the legend, tossing his pie into the ring and winning 3 world pizza championships.

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Wined Down Fridays: Painting and BYOB at The Giggling Pig

20 Mar

Pic from The Giggling Pig Site

Living Social has a great deal going on now at The Giggling Pig in Shelton.  For just $12 (normally $25), you’ll get to take part in a Paint & Sip BYOB painting class.  These fun events where you bring your own bottle are held every Friday from 7-9 pm.  You don’t need to bring any supplies at all, either!  Artist Gail Bell, a landscape painter, will be hosting the class.  If this is something you really love, there’s the option to sign up for the entire month, too.  If you do that, you’ll get $5 off each class.  Quite a nice deal!

If you’re concerned about being a beginner and not knowing how to paint, don’t worry.  Gail will teach you the tricks of the trade.  Plus, think about it.  Everybody will be drinking wine and beer, so if someone appears to be better to you, blame it on drinking too much liquor.  Or, give those people more liquor so that your skills start to match up!  See, it’s a win-win!

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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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Celebrity Chef Roger Mooking Gets Fired up about Man Fire Food, Cooking, and The Place in Guilford, CT

19 Nov


Everyday Exotic.  Everyday Exotic:  The Cookbook.  Heat Seekers.  Man Fire Food.  Soul Food.

While this is the resume of Roger Mooking in short (or pretty long, that’s a lot of serious kitchen cred), this Cooking Channel star has got the stuff.  Starting off, his show Everyday Exotic shows people how to mix in exotic and exciting ingredients into their cooking repertoire. Then, he made it even easier for fans to cook-up his creative concoctions by creating Everyday Exotic: The Cookbook.  Then along came Heat Seekers, filmed with Chopped pal Aarón Sanchez.  They travel across America to find the hottest foods then they eat them…yes, eat things that could burn holes through metal beams.  That’s not even to mention his award-winning Soul Food album that features slick, chill, vib-ing, R&B.  Oh, and then throw in his brand new show, Man Fire Food:  a show devoted to man’s most primal way of cooking…fire, obviously.

So, Roger just happened to have stopped by a Connecticut restaurant recently, filming for Man Fire Food.  The episode that airs on 11/20 at 10 pm on Cooking Channel (sister channel of Food Network) features The Place in Guilford, CT.  It’s pretty clear why Roger decided to visit Connecticut and, specifically, the Place.  Clams, lobster, seafood, and other New England specialties are served outside from a big hunking grill from April to October.  Here’s the Cooking Channel summary of “Seafood Feast”:

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Letizia’s awesome thin crust pizza: perfect comfort food after nearly blowing up. Norwalk, CT

3 Nov

Ah! Fresh and hot outta da oven! :)

So, a funny thing happened the other day.  Well, not funny…more like crazy, freaky, final-destinationish, poop-your-pants scary, like you almost died scary.  We heard about the craziness going on at the gas stations, so we both decided to fill up our cars wherever we could. We stopped at the gas station on the corner of Hope and Woodway.  Near the end of the fill up, there was a series of huge explosions above the gas station.  Electric sparks from the transformer overhead rained down on the gas station and even lit up some oil that was on the ground.  We freaked out and didn’t know what to do. Fire trucks started to show up. I was done getting gas, but Kristien wasn’t. Kristien was yelling to me, telling me to just drive off and meet her at CVS up the street.  But I had a movie image in my head:  a man, speeding off in a car with his dog, never to see his wife again so I waited until she was done at the pump. Kristien threw cash at the gas attendant and sped off behind me squealing her tires in the process.  Even as we write this, we’re still freaked out and think how close we were to something potentially horrific.  Luckily nothing happened and nobody got hurt. :)

Needless to say, we didn’t stick around Springdale to see if we’d get the power back.  We headed to Kristien’s office to set up camp there for the night.  We dropped off our supplies then headed to the first restaurant that we had in mind:  Letizia’s.  If you want a nice thin crust pie, this is definitely the spot to check out on Main Ave. in Norwalk.  Kristien put the order in:  sausage, hot pepper, and onions…an OmNomCT favorite combo.  We got a large antipasto, too, then headed out to get some wine. I mean, look…you need wine after that.

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Chef Bick Plans Farm to Table Feast for Fall Harvest at Holbrook Farm – 10/14 in Bethel, CT

28 Sep

When we met up with Alicia and Renato Ghio this past May at Holbrook Farm for a farm to table dinner, we knew we were in for something amazing.  Well, for one thing it was ON a farm, the beautiful Holbrook Farm.  It doesn’t get much more farm to table than that, does it?  But, we were also amazed at how fresh, how flavorful, and how well Executive Chef Michael Bick and co. from Some Things Fishy Catering put the meal together.  We enjoyed the refreshments, the appetizers that were passed around, and all the courses that were set before us.  As always, it was great to hang with Alicia and Renato, but it was also cool to talk with the people around us…and find out that we were sitting right next to Fairfield County Foodie!

Well, Chef Bick is back for some more at Holbrook Farm in Bethel.  He’s planned a farm to table dinner on October 14, starting at 4 pm, for $65.  It’s BYOB, so you best believe we’re breaking out the Dom…or Bud Light.  Heresy!  You’ll notice after looking at the menu that the menu focuses in on what’s just been harvested and what’s in season.  Huh, is that what they mean by farm to table? :P  Take a look at this menu and you’ll be pining over the dishes and will be having dreams about them.  If you live south of Bethel, you’ll enjoy one of the most beautiful drives…especially during fall time.  Make your reservations online now, e-mail Chef Bick, or call him at (203) 722-2444.  These tickets are hot and will go faster than Honey Boo Boo Child’s 15 minutes of fame.    

Beverages
Pomegranate-Ginger Aqua Fresca
Apple-Cinnamon Aqua FrescaHors D’ouevres

Grilled Vegetable Quesadilla
Farms stand Vegetables, Arethusa Goat Cheese, and Herb Pesto
Fresh Tortilla
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