Let’s just put it out there now…we haven’t had the best of luck with celebrity chef restaurants over the past few years, with the exception of Gordon Ramsay’s Maze and Michael Psilakis’s Kefi both in NYC. More often than not we’ve had disappointing meals like our experience at the recently closed Primary Food & Drink by Graham Elliot and at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in Las Vegas. We’ve found that a celebrity chef putting his or her stamp on a restaurant and menu doesn’t guarantee anything. So, you’ll have to forgive our skepticism when Aarón Sánchez made plans to open up Paloma in the Harbor Point area of Stamford (where The Beer Garden used to be). Would Chef Sanchez, from Chopped and Cooking Channel’s Heat Seekers (with partner in crime Roger Mooking), be a rare exception?
Well, you better believe we wanted to find out ASAP. We just so happened to see an ambiguous announcement on Harbor Point’s Facebook page Saturday evening so we made a bee-line for Harbor Point to see if it was really open. To our delight it was a soft opening and we were lucky enough to get a table. SCORE! So, let’s get down to biz-natch… Continue reading
Here’s Tierra’s version of the margarita…excellent.
Make sure to add the egg…it’s sooo necessary!
Beautifully prepared and contrasted
Make sure to ask what the season ceviche is when you’re ordering.
Abstract art never looked so damn good
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.
Yes, that IS Dogfish 90 Minute that you see…along with 49 other selections…
After a beautiful day of running (and who are we kidding, walking) the Half Full 5k, we settled down and did what any healthy people would do: eat food from Vanchetta, Melt Mobile, and Lobstercraft, and drink our fair share of Peach Wheat, Toasted Ambers, IPAs and Bright Ales. Yeeeeah, and, what better way to celebrate an arduous 5-hour day of drinking and eating than having more beer at World of Beer, which conveniently happened to open for the first time JUST as the Half Full 5k beer fest ended?!
Now, we’re not normally a fan of chains, but our love of beer wins out on this one. Just like the rest of Fairfield County, we’ve been anticipating the opening since we broke the news in late September. So when we finally had our chance, we beelined through the door for a seat right by the bar and tap list (smart!), and the TVs so we could enjoy the Greece vs. Costa Rica game. Speaking of games, there are helluva lot of TVs, so this just might turn into your new favorite place to watch a game. And, they will regularly have live music, which we got to enjoy after the game from Mark Zelenz, of Short Bus with his own band, The Easy.
Huge desserts here at Barrique…
Just one of 5 different mussel varieties up for munching
Is it weird to order tentacles?
This is one dish not to skirt around…
Bread, goat cheese, prosciutto…can ya really go wrong?
As long as we’ve been in Stamford, Chez Jean-Pierre was an instution on Bedford Street. There was rarely a day when the bistro wasn’t packed and never a beautiful day the front doors weren’t open to let the fresh air in. A collective sigh rose up, though, when Chez Jean Pierre closed last year. But then, like a beacon of hope, soon after, there was a sign up: Coming soon, Barrique Bistro & Wine Bar. When we inquired (like good food bloggers do) we found out that the brand new part French, part Italian spot was being opened by owner and Executive Chef Louis Barresi who also has Doppio Greenwich, Huntington, and West Village.
Update: we have been back a few times since our review and we have had mixed results. At times we have good service, at other times service is spotty and slow. During our last visit, the food wasn’t as good as it used to be. The burger, in particular, was bland, mushy, and disappointing while the chicken sandwich was also bland and uninteresting.
Last year when we heard that Heartland Brewery was opening up a new brewery in Port Chester, we darn near jumped for joy. First off, we live just a few minutes away. Secondly, we think that Port Chester is the most underrated place in our area and were psyched for people to show it some love. And thirdly, mmmm, beeeeeeer.
Now, a few months back we got a little worried and upset when we learned that it wasn’t actually going to be a brewery, but our frown got turned upside down when we learned that it would become a beer hall and a beer garden with beer pumped in from Heartland Brewery. So, when the weather this past Saturday turned out to be beautiful, we knew what we had to do…
The back room at Bailey’s Backyard also opens up to the outside for warmer weather…
It’s been a year since Sal Bagliavio and Executive Chef Forrest Pasternack worked together tirelessly to give Bailey’s Backyard a new vibe, a new focus on local food, and a new soul. When we went for a pre-opening dinner back in April 2013, we were excited to see what Chef Pasternack was up to since he left Morello Bistro in Greenwich, where we first met him. Our experience was amazing and we came back lots of times alone and with friends and family. We came with our buddies Renato and Alicia, Jay and Ali, and even Kristien’s parents…closing the place down each time. We even sent friends and colleagues, like Ashley and Rudy, Kristien’s hairdresser Ashley, Fran, Kelley & Mike, and many more… all who reported back with RAVE reviews. So, we couldn’t say no when we were invited back for a special writer’s dinner to introduce us to the spring drink and food menu, using local, in season ingredients.
Lucky us got the chance to literally taste almost the entire menu, and lucky you, we’re going to share all the juicy details! Let’s take each dish in order of menu headings. Here we go…
Roasted Tomato Soup
Red Eye Revival made with Whistle Pig
Grilled Local Calamari
Crusted Nantucket Fluke
Rabbit Ragu at Artisan
People throw around big words all the time, so much so that they begin to lose their meaning. Foodie, farm to table, organic, handmade, and artisan (to name a few). It’s not that we hate these words or what they stand for, but take artisan for example…brands like Lays hijacked the word and weakened the cache it carries with machine-created artisi-ficial products. With that being said, there’s a restaurant set away in the Delamar Hotel called Artisan that actually lives up to its name.
In style, it’s sleek, modern, and comfortable, while the food is American at heart, though it is inspired and influenced by a classically trained French chef, Frederic Kieffer. Along with working at various restaurants in Paris, he has also worked at Windows on the World, C’est si Bon, Gaia, and l’escale, Artisan’s sister restaurant. And, you can add another feather to his cap: gardener. That’s because he manages, grows, and helps to pick herbs in the Artisan patio garden. Rosemary, Genovese Basil, Sweet Thai Basil, chives, lemongrass, parsley, Italian Parsley, and other herbs are all at Chef Kieffer‘s disposal throughout the summer and fall. And, because there isn’t an infinite amount of space at Artisan and the Delmar, they get a big portion of local produce from Gilberties Farm in Westport, even planting some of their own veggies and herbs there. Now that is artisan: cultivating and creating beautifully finished products by hand.
Flights at Coalhouse Pizza in Stamford CT
American Craft Beer Week goes from 5/12 to 5/18 this year and it coincides exactly, as we previously shared, with the first of two CT Beer Weeks. So, it’s no surprise that Coalhouse Pizza in Stamford is up to some hoppy goodness for this time…and, well, the entire month, and well…every single day of the year. Truly, Gerard is devoted to tapping the best craft and CT brews. Here are some of the great things planned for this May at Coalhouse Pizza in Stamford…
Todd Ruggere of the CT Pour Tour Visits and Rare Beer Raffle