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WUJI Food Ain’t Nuthin to F@$k With – Review, Greenwich

30 Jan

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Yeah, so, we referenced WuTang lyrics, we couldn’t help ourselves, it was too easy. But seriously, WUJI in Greenwich was full of surprises that truly did make it “nuthin to f@$k with.”

The first surprise is we went there on a Tuesday night and the dining room was packed. Random? Or was it because the food is really that good? We were about to find out . . .

Second surprise: At a Chinese restaurant it’s rare to get a free starter (like bread) to snack on at the table while you peruse the menu, but imagine our delight when out came some crispy and flaky fried noodles with your choice of duck sauce, mustard, or soy dipping sauces. Yum! Continue reading

Mason Dixon Smokehouse: Drawing a New Line for BBQ – Stamford, CT

29 Dec

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Update: We have a few things to report on right now:

  1. Nestor left Mason Dixon in early January. He does have future plans and things in the works.
  2. Mason Dixon was closed yesterday for mechanical issues, but they are up and running and are open for lunch right now.
  3. The new Pitmaster, Ryan Cuber, has been working with Nestor since opening and had a BBQ catering company of his own, Savory Smoke Catering.
  4. Ryan left and, soon after, they closed for good.

Once upon a time, Mason Dixon was a line that clearly divided the North and South, but now–in Stamford–Mason Dixon is a Smokehouse that clearly divides killer BBQ from, um, well, pretty much all the rest. Yup, as we shared back on October 1, Pitmaster Nestor Laracuente was on a mission to open up a new BBQ joint, a joint that would clearly draw a new line for BBQ in Fairfield County. When we discovered the Brooklyn Pit Rat chose to open that joint in our very own Stamford, we were thankful AF we were on the right side of the line.

So while we were eager to get in there as soon as it opened, we like to give a restaurant a few weeks to work the kinks out before we review. As you can imagine, the suspense was killing us, even more so because we follow their hot, meaty, BBQ porn laden Instagram account . . . ooooh yeaaaahhh . . . ok, we digress. So yes, we finally dropped in with our friend Nicole and her friend Justin and took down pretty much EVERYTHING from cocktails, to sides, to apps, and of course to the MEATS. So, let’s break it on down: Continue reading

Tablao Brings Spain Back to SoNo in a Big Way – Review

18 Oct

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Big, bold flavors perfectly executed. Fun and lively vibes. That’s what we took away from a recent visit to Tablao, a new Spanish-Mediterranean tapas and wine bar that opened at 86 Washington Street in SoNo back in May. In fact, we enjoyed it so much we can’t wait to go back to this hotspot again. What made it such a nice experience, exactly? Well, you’ll just need to read our review to find out. Continue reading

It’s ’bout Time We Dined @ Sugar + Olives: A Review of a Farm-to-Table Mainstay in Norwalk

9 Jun

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We have a huge “must try” restaurant list that seems to get bigger and bigger every month with all the awesome new restaurants opening up around here. So you can imagine how sometimes restaurants that have been around a while that we’ve been meaning to try, somehow end up getting pushed back. This is exactly what happened with Sugar & Olives in Norwalk . . . that is until we finally got our acts together and booked a table a couple of weeks ago. I mean we’re suckers for legit (and local) farm to table, so it’s pretty embarrassing that we waited so long.

How long exactly? Well, we were instantly psyched about Chef Jennifer Balin’s concept when she opened Sugar & Olives . . . that was even before OmNomCT was born! Whoa.  Her concept centered around being a dependable go-to spot for farm-fresh food, whether it was in the form of dining at her restaurant, picking up some eggs or milk within the tiny market inside, or for cooking classes which she hosts regularly. Then, the cherry (or should we say garnish) on top was when they added their new mixologist, Chris Grimm, who has quite the reputation for his creativity behind the stick.

When we finally arrived for dinner (yes, they’re much more than just a lunch/brunch spot), Chris greeted us and showed us right to our seats. The first order of business? Yeah, you know us so well . . . drinkey times! Here’s what we tried:

Esmerelda cocktail at Sugar & Olives in NorwalkEsmerelda: Chris shares, “The Esmeralda is Tequila Blanco, Grapefruit Liqueur, and Lime Juice, in a Mezcal rinsed glass, garnished with ground black pepper.” This was refreshing, vibrant, and has a juicy gush from the grapefruit liquer and the lime. Very nicely balanced and a definite must order if on the menu.

Gold Rush cocktail at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTGold Rush: Kristien went gaga for the one. Again, this drink was very well-balanced with bourbon, lemon juice and honey syrup. The sweetness from the Red Bee Honey made in Weston marries so well with the bourbon. Really just the right amount of kiss from the honey, making this a drink we’d just sit with and drink all damn day.

Ramp Gibson: Apparently, ramps aren’t just for dishes and for seeking after like the rarest kind of Pokemon. The ramps in this drink were pickled at their peak and add a strong kick and wildness to this drink. That garlicky-spicy punch blends in nicely with the gin which comes through as a slightly stronger flavor. This is Chris’ play on a dirty martini, mixed with gin, dry vermouth, ramp brine, and pickled ramp. Super creative, super tasty!

Il Palio cocktail at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTIl Palio: There is an undertone of cherry going through with bourbon up front making a nice Manhattan. As the drink melts more it evolves into a Boulevardier. Chris uses a Campari ice cube, bourbon, sweet vermouth, and housemade orange bitters with this drink. Definitely a fun and interactive experience, with a nice balance to make it well worth the wait.

Chet Baker: The rum is up front, a fun drink, with a nice punch, but like his other drinks, not overpowering. Chris describes it as a, “Cool cross between a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned, using dark rum as the base ingredient, instead of whiskey. Dark Rum, Sweet Vermouth, Honey Syrup, on a big rock”

While we were there we serendipitously ran into Chef Bill Taibe of The Whelk and Kawa Ni with his wife and they asked us to join them and their friends, Lori Cochran from Westport Farmers’ Market and her husband . . . and that’s when the feasting began. 

Up first? Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Radicchio, topped with a Pomegranate Molasses Dressing. It was fresh, bright green, bright citrusy, and the pumpkin seeds added a nice tastiness. Exactly what you’d expect from a fresh Brussels Sprouts salad.

Taco platter at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTThen, Tacos Featuring Fish, Chorizo, and Veggie. Although we thought this dish would be three tacos, one taco filled with each of the aforementioned fillings separately, it actually was a mixture of all three fillings in all three tacos. Surprisingly though, it worked. The fish was moist and delicate, the veggies had a nice bite, and the chorizo added a fatty, smokey tenderness. The Cesar’s special sauce also had a solid kick, so if you like a steady slow heat, this is it. Overall, we were very happy with this dish.

 

Our next course (you know we can eat a massive amount of food, right?) was a series of the Chocolate Bread Toasts. Yes, we know, you’re wondering . . . chocolate bread? Does it work? Yes, it sure does, especially because it’s not even sweet, with just a hint of that real cocoa taste peeking through. The first we had was the Pea + Leek which featured a silky and gentle puree of pea and leek, topped with a vinegary and garlicy bite of foraged and pickled ramps. We did like this one, but did want a little more flavor punch in the puree. The Bacon Jam toast, however, is where it’s at. That jam was savory, smoky, with the cocoa playing nicely off of it. It was all topped with a perfectly cooked sunny-side-up duck egg that just oozed out all its fresh deliciousness onto the bacon. And, we also tried the Sun Dried Tomato toast that had a beautiful fresh and slightly-acidic bite. Rounding it all out and playing so well with the tomato-forward tapenade was a generous portion of goat cheese that cut the acid and added a nice creamy tang.

Trout a la plancha at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTWhile we were waiting for our other dishes to come out, Chef Balin brought out the Whole Trout a la Plancha, served over quinoa paella with lemon beurre blanc. The fish was moist and wasn’t dry one bit, but it really lacked seasoning or any flavor really. In addition, the quinoa underneath also lacked flavor, offering nothing but a texture contrast to the delicate fish. We didn’t eat much of this because we wanted to save room for dishes that ended up being far superior.

Lovely Lamb Burger at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTUp next we tried the Lovely Lamb Burger, made with May-Tag Blue, caramelized onions, ancho chile ketchup, leaf lettuce, all topped with an English muffin and served with roasted carrots. The lamb was top quality and had that exciting wild and gamey undertone that was powered up with the bold fattiness of the cheese, and toned town with the slightly sweet and spicy ketchup. A must order, no doubt.

The Pulled Pork Ragout also caught our eye, so you know what we had to do. The ragout itself was rich, earthy, and had a nice spice undertone with flavors like cinnamon and clove. The pork inside was cooked just perfectly and flaked off well, too, jiving well with the sauce. And, the nice touch for us was the creamy, cheesy, and silky polenta underneath. It cut into the richness of the sauce and brought even more complexity to the dish. Very nice.

Chic pea busted scallops at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTAnd, we rounded out our meal with an order of the Chic Pea Busted Scallops, served with lentil stew and ramp oil. This, people, was a legit dish. There was this amazing crust on the outside with some extra crispy bite from the chic peas, while on the inside it was that perfect cook with a little bit of give to it. The lentils were cooked nicely and the ramp oil brought out a garlicy explosion to the dish. This dish was fun, was fresh, and was a nice play on textures, which we’re real suckers for.

Olive Oil Cake at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk CTWell, the meal might have been over, but we still had dessert on the way . . . and you know it’s kind of like a second meal, right? Chef Balin was so blown away, she asked if we were hiding food somewhere . . . um, yeah, in our freakin’ bellies. So, up first we really needed to check out the Citrus Olive Oil Cake because, well, Citrus Olive Oil Cake. How do you NOT order the potentially moistest, not too sweet thing ever, especially when there’s a note on the menu that says, “THIS IS GOOD”? Well, we agreed. The cake itself was exactly what we hoped for: moist, but not too sweet, and the citrus came through so well with a nice toasty nuttiness to finish it off. For us, though, the thing that just took this dessert over the edge was the mascarpone cream, which added a nice tart bite and richness.

We wrapped up the meal with some dark and bold French press coffee that you can order in three sizes . . . oh, and a cookie. How could we resist a cookie? Especially Mexican Chocolate Cookie! It was delightfully dense, yet moist, chewy, and had notes of cinnamon running throughout the chocolate chips. YUM, we want again right now as we write this.

Final Thoughts

We are very happy that we FINALLY had the chance to check out Sugar & Olives. The space itself is great, super cozy and chill. It has a big patio, a warm and comfy bar, and a small market of milk, eggs, and other produce and products. Also, there’s a large space for events and parties off to the side as you enter, there’s a beautiful kitchen where you can take cooking classes, and plenty of tables in the main and side dining room to accommodate everyone.

In terms of what Chef Balin is putting out, it’s harder to get any closer to the farm than what she’s doing at Sugar & Olives. Just look at some of these producers that she works with: Arethusa Dairy Farm, Homefront Farmers, Speckled Rooster Farm, Fort Hill Farm, Millstone Farm, Sport Hill Farm, and Ox Hollow Farm. And, mix in the spot-on, creative, and well-balanced drinks of mixologist Chris Grimm, and that makes it a nice place to check out. With the majority of the dishes being solid in terms of flavor, balance, and how they were cooked, we feel like this is a great place to check out when you’re looking for real, fresh, and rustic flavors. We need to head back for brunch too!


Note: While some of what we ordered was given courtesy of the kitchen, the thoughts, comments, and observations in this post are our own . . . cuz that’s how we roll.


Sugar & Olives

Noms: 3.75

Cost: $$$

Address: 21 Lois Street

                 Norwalk, CT 06851

Phone: (203) 454-3663

Contest for 2 Tickets to Grand Tasting Village @ Westchester Magazine’s Wine + Food Festival 2016!

26 May

 

Update: we picked a random entrant from our Facebook contests and we’re excited to announce that Eric Strom will be taking along Lisa! Congratulations and thank you to everyone for entering. Still some tix left if you didn’t win!

Wait . . . what? Two giveaways in one day? Yup, that’s happening . . . especially because we partnered up with Westchester Magazine! Earlier we announced a giveaway for the Burger & Beer Blast and now we’re announcing that you’ve got a shot at winning two tickets to the Grand Tasting Village on 6/11 from 12-5. Tickets are normally $75 or $125 for VIP, but if you stick with us, there ain’t no cost at all! On Saturday there will be an amazing amount of restaurants giving out signature dish samples that span Fairfield, Westchester, Hudson, and NYC. Also, there will be plenty of wine, beer, and drinks! Oh, and don’t forget all the chef demos from the likes of Chefs Michael Psilakis and Donatella Arpaia, as well as Kathie Lee Gifford and Joy Bauer. For more info check out our post from earlier this week or the official Westchester Wine & Food Festival site. Continue reading

4 Food + Drink Packed Days @ 2016 Westchester Wine + Food Festival 

19 May

Westchester  Magazine has a ton of great events planned for you June 8-12 this year with the Westchester Wine & Food Festival! Whether you’re all into desserts, fashion, burgers, beer, wine, or just want to stuff your face with some of Westchester, Hudson, and Fairfield County’s best food, there’s an event going on that you’ll love. Get more info here and your tix here and read on for the meaty details:

Wednesday, 6/8: Fashion Food & Wine

Stop by the Bloomingdale’s in White Plains from 6-8 for a fashion show and a hand-picked food and wine pairing from wine expert Kevin Zraly and Sonora chef Rafael Palomino. Tickets are just $25 and that includes a $25 Bloomingdale’s Gift Card and Gift Bag. Plus, there are some great incentives for people who get some shopping done during the day! Other participating restaurants include The Dessertist, KEE Oyster House, Samosa Shack, The Wooden Spoon, and Wild Ginger.

Thursday, 6/9: Burger & Beer Blast

Stop by Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla from 6-10 and get your burger, food truck, dessert, beer, and drink fill! Tickets are $75 and include unlimited beer/wine/spirits and food items. And, you know it’s gonna be some great food with Schweid & Sons providing the best, top-notch beef! Some of the participants include 5 Napkin Burger, Bareburger, Campagna, Coals Pizza, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Fortina, Little B’s Burger Bar, Madison Kitchen, Peekskill Brewery, Piper’s Kilt, Pow! Burger, Prime 16, Rye House, X20 Xaviars on the Hudson, DoughNation, Souvlaki Truck, Walter’s Hot Dog Truck, Artuso’s Pastry Shop, and Beascake’s Bakery & Breads.

Friday, 6/10: An Evening with Westchester’s Tastemakers

Get ready for some amazing food from some of the most celebrated chefs in Westchester and the Hudson Valley! This event is happening from 6:30-10 at The Ritz Carlton in White Plains and costs $125 or $175 for VIP which includes a 5:30 early entrance. In addition to each chef’s signature dishes, there will be plenty of excellent wines that have been selected to complement each dish. We’re talking about chefs from Polpettina, Harvest on Hudson, The Cookery, L’inizio, Restaurant North, The Ritz-Carlton, An American Bistro, Purdys Farmer & the Fish, X20 Xaviars on the Hudson, Moderne Barn, RiverMarket Bar & Kitchen, Crabtree’s Kittle House, Tarry Lodge, The Inn at Pound Ridge, Sonora, Fortina, MP Taverna, BLT Steak, Campagna, Saltaire Oyster Bar, and dessert from Blue Tulip Chocolate, Coffee Labs Roasters, Lulu’s Cake Boutique, and Penny Lick Ice Cream Company.

Saturday, 6/11: Grand Tasting Village

From 12-5 you’ll be checking out some of the most amazing samples of food right at Kensico Dam Plaza. Entrance is $75 or $125 if you’d also like access to the Connoisseur Tent that has high-end food and wine. In addition to restaurants providing samples, there will be chef demos that include Michael Psilakis, Donatella Arpaia, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Joy Bauer. Some of the restaurants include Amore Cucina & Bar, Bar Sugo, Blue Moon Mexican, Chutney Masala, Clock Tower Grill, Elia Taverna, Kishuya Ramen, NoMa Social, Rosemary and Vine, Rye House, Serafina, The Taco Project, WUJI, Zuppa, and more.

Saturday and Sunday, 6/11-12

There will also be two cooking classes for kids if you want to instill that love of food with your offspring. The two options include Jr. Chefs Academy and Kids: Use Your Noodle.

The Beer Garden @ Shippan Landing to Open for 2016 Memorial Day Weekend

16 May

The unofficial start to summer is just two weeks away . . . and it’s going down at The Beer Garden @ Shippan Landing! Here are the opening dates and times so you can plan your weekend drinking and eating:

5/26-27 open at 3 pm

5/28-29 open at 2 pm

When you get down there by the water (they are located at 290 Harbor Dr. in Stamford), have some drink and beer specials, relax, play some cornhole or beer pong, nom away at the nice selection of food trucks (yes, Hapa will return), and just chill all damn day. 

When we get more details, we’ll let you know, but that should be all you really need right now. ;) 

Here are the details:

Thursday- HAPA Food Truck and Dough Girls

Friday- HAPA, Melt and Dough Girls

Saturday- HAPA, Firehouse Grill

Sunday- HAPA 


Regular hours will be:

Wednesday 4pm-11pm 

Thursday 4pm-11pm

Friday 3pm-close

Saturday 2pm-close

Sunday 2pm-9pm

Achieving Our #foodgoals at Miro Kitchen: A Review

16 May

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It’s important to have goals in life. For some people it’s a successful career, for others it’s to buy a home, or perhaps for some, it’s to travel the world. All those goals are awesome, but we like to focus on smaller, more immediately gratifying goals on our path to those bigger goals. You know, like getting our asses out of bed before hitting snooze for a 3rd time, or hitting Tree House on a rare can release, and, well a loooong list of #foodgoals of course!

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Miro Kitchen is right on Black Rock Tpk.

Well, after we met Chef Chris Gonzalez last year when he started up Hapa Food Truck, we knew his new restaurant, Miro Kitchen in Fairfield, had to be at the top of our #foodgoals list. Continue reading

KAS Krupnikas Honey Liquor Pours into CT; Jet Lag Sour Recipe from Craig Ventrice.

12 May

 

201509 Bottle with new label

This hot new liquor is bursting into the CT cocktail scene. Learn more about it and check out a recipe from one of CT’s best bartenders . . .

 

Here at OmNomCT, we’re always in search of new flavors and ingredients, especially when cocktails are involved. Enter in KAS Krupnikas, a handcrafted and spiced honey liquor. Take one part local raw honey, 10 spices, and citrus zest and you’ll get this 80 proof sweet sweet sunshine. This small batch liquor is made right in NY and comes from an old Lithuanian family recipe. Although it has just entered into the CT market lately, it’s making a big splash, especially at The Whelk and Kawa Ni. (Plus, it did win a tiny amount of recognition by placing in the Top 100 Spirits of the Year by Wine Enthusiast . . . nbd.)  Continue reading

Back 40 Kitchen Makes List of Travel + Leisure Best Farm-to-table Restaurants!

12 May

Can we say how excited we are to see that Back 40 Kitchen in Greenwich was selected by Travel + Leisure as the best Farm-to-table restaurant in CT? They truly embody what farm-to-table is all about: they have their own farm, they use local ingredients in the food and drinks, and they cook from scratch. It’s no small feat to put that much care and attention into the food. 

To read more, click here or here to see the winner from each state. When you do, you might notice that we were quoted by Travel + Leisure! It was an honor to be mentioned and to be asked for our input and thoughts as trusted local bloggers about our favorite spots. Travel + Leisure combed through hundreds of blogs, magazines, and local sources to find the best experts and it was a nice acknowledgment to be a part of this experience. 

Congratulations to everyone at Back 40 Kitchen! When you stop by or make a reservation, make sure to mention that we sent you. :)

Back 40 Kitchen

Noms: 4.25

Cost: $$$

Address: 107 Greenwich Avenue (Park in the area behind the CVS for easy access)

Greenwich, CT

Phone: (203) 992-1800

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