Tag Archives: BYOB

CT Food News, Vol. 33: Cheesetopia, Tastings, BYOB, Contests, Props, #CTbeer + More

26 Mar

Here we are with the first full week of spring, so you better get yourself in gear, get out there and conquer the world. We’ve got a ton of dinners, events, deals, contests, national recognition props, and beer news to getcha going.

p.s. Don’t look at Saturday’s forecast.


Events

3/26-4/5 Neighbor to Neighbor is hosting a PB&J Food Drive, arguably one of the coolest things ever. Brings jars of peanut butter to Diamond Hill U.M. Church in Cos Cob and bring jars of jams and jellies to Little Pub Greenwich.

3/27 Harry’s in Fairfield is hosting a Left Hand Brewing beer tasting from 4-7. They’ll be sampling their Milk Stout, Black Jack Porter, and Milk Stout Nitro.

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Eat for Equity Picnic @ Agnew Apple Orchard to Benefit Greenwich Land Trust

28 May
New Eat for Equity Stamford Logo

E4E is back!

We are excited to announce that Eat for Equity has planned its second dinner of the year.  This time, they are taking things a little bit past the city limits into Greenwich.  Dinner will be served on Saturday, June 14, from 4-7 pm on the beautiful Agnew Apple Orchards.  What?  Greenwich has an orchard?  Awesome!  Even cooler:  you’ll be having a picnic on that 6.7 acre piece of land, enjoying some great food, drinks, and making some new friends.  Make sure to reserve your spot by signing up here…and bring some people with you, too.  The more, the merrier.  

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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)

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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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

Fall in Love (Again, Over and Over) with Cheese this Fall at Fairfield Cheese Company

28 Aug

Cheese makes the world go round.  If you disagree, then you shouldn’t be reading this.  See, Fairfield Cheese Company (see our post) has created a load of cheesy goodness in store for you this fall.  If you haven’t stopped by their awesome store in Fairfield, now’s a great time.  See, they’ve just been named the winners of the 2012 Best Cheese Selection by Best of Connecticut.  But, that’s not all.  They are also featured in Food & Wine Magazine as one of the top 5 cheese shops in the entire country by Laura Werlin.  As if this isn’t enough, they’ve got an amazing variety of fun events happening.  So, check ‘um out for the first time or come back again to fall back in love with cheese:  

Fromage Friday

#FF #cheese #byob #heaven  Yup, it’s everything great about the world, every single Friday this fall from 5-8 pm.  Fromage Friday begins September 7 and will cost just $10.  In return, you’ll get to nom away on lots of gourmet cheese.  They will also provide empty glasses for you.  For what, you ask?  For your wine or beer, duh!  Let’s sweeten the deal a bit:  get your liquid goodness next door at Harry’s, tell them you’re a part of Fromage Friday and get a 10% discount.  Now, you can’t pull this on Swiss Cheese Saturday, Stracchino Sunday, Mascarpone Monday, or Turophile (means cheese lover, we looked it up and stuff) Tuesday.  This deal is only live during Fromage Friday, punks. Continue reading

Typico Venezuelan breakfast is more like extraordinaria! Valencia Luncheria–Norwalk, CT

27 Mar

Holy Frijoles and Chorizo Batman!

Typico, Not So Typical in CT!

Update:  Michael Young has opened up Bodega Taco Bar in Fairfield.

Going to diners for breakfast is such a CT/Long Island kinda thing to do.  It’s not to say that diners aren’t great, they are comforting, dependable, and just damn good.  But, sometimes you have to branch out and try new things.  So, we decided to add some spice to our breakfast by heading to Valencia Luncheria–one of our faves for lunch and dinner, good, down-home, Venezuelan.  We walked in just in time to get a table, though it took quite a while for our waitress to take our order.  It’s understandable, though, because it was just her taking orders and serving.  When we got our meal we were dying of hunger and dove in, but not before taking some good pics.  You know, that might be the hardest part of having OmNomCT:  delaying our needs and gratifying our hunger just to get some good photos. We like to call it our “saying grace.” :)

Well, let’s get down to it.  I ordered the Red Smitty tortilla wrap and it came out much like a burrito, but cut in half.  Gooey cheese lined the inside of the tortilla, surrounding beautiful and smoky chorizo.  You could taste that they had grilled the chorizo which gives even deeper flavors to the wrap.  Throw in some chipotle for additional smokiness and my add-in of black beans and you’re almost there.  The real star of the Red Smitty was the egg, though.  It was light and fluffy and had such a fresh taste to it.  Unable to resist one of my favorites, I asked for plantains on the side and they were fried very well and oh-so-sweet.

Our waitress also gave us a bowl of rice and beans out of confusion, but who are we to deny a challenge?  I took that opportunity to try their two sauces:  a hot and spicy chipotle sauce and a puréed cold vegetable sauce.  The red sauce was smoky and had a really good heat behind it–definitely not subtle.  The green (vegetable) sauce was chunky, but not too thick, and had lots of fresh flavor playing off the cilantro.  Kristien went wild with these sauces in her dish (which she absolutely loved):  the Typico Breakfast.  In Costa Rica, they call this Tico Pinto.  As she dug her way through the eggs, over easy, beans and rice, and plantains we talked about how much we missed being in Costa Rica and how much we loved the food. Valencia, though, took us back.

Platanos, Por Favor! For the Gringos, That’s Plantains

If you come here, you come here for the amazing food, the freshly made juices, and the authenticity.  It’s one of the best dives in Fairfield County for sure. Service might be slow, but if you can get past that, you’ll keep coming back. Also, coming in at just $20, this was a pretty damn cheap meal.  It’s also BYOB, so bring $5 for a bottle ($10 for 2 or more) with a nice deep South American red to go with the food here. Jennifer Young (her husband Michael is the chef extraordinaire here) explained, also, that there is no fee for bringing in your cerveza!  You hear that Food Plus Beer?  Just remember, cash only!  Oh, and hey, guess what?  Guy Fieri was here!

Valencia Luncheria

Noms:  4.5

Cost:  $$

Address:  164 Main Street

Norwalk, CT

Phone:  (203) 846-8009

Website:  http://www.valencialuncheria.com

Valencia Luncheria on Urbanspoon

Fresh ingredients + fine food + fellow foodies = A fantastic Friday! Nicholas Roberts Gourmet Bistro, Norwalk, CT

18 Jan

In a very unsuspecting spot in Norwalk  you’ll see an ordinary looking sign inviting you into an ordinary looking place in an ordinary looking strip mall.  But things aren’t so ordinary at Nicholas Roberts Gourmet Bistro, they’re more like extraordinary.  On our most recent visit, we had to wait a bit. But, for good food, we don’t mind, especially when we’re with good company on a double date (which you know we love). Our double date this time was with the lovely Alicia, a fellow stellar food blogger, and Renato Ghio, cameraman, and producer extraordinaire for their company, RmediA, who happily waited with each other while I spent 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot. Yeah, warning: parking is very limited.

Once a table freed up, our waiter seated us.  After seeing us all talking and talking and talking, the waiter swooped over to focus us and get us on track.  Every ounce of my being was begging for the Hangar Steak Frites that I got last time, but I’m proud of myself for choosing something different.  I decided to start off with the Napoleon of Sriracha Tuna Tartar & Avocado, followed that up with the Arugula & Parmesan Salad, and then end with the Coffee Rubbed & Stout Braised Short Ribs of Beef. Kristien started with the–surprise!–Beet & Goat Cheese Terrine, shared the salad with me, then finished off with my beloved Hanger Steak Frites. Renato started with the same (and seemed to enjoy it by how quickly he put it away… hey, I’m not judging, I did the same) and Alica started with the Crawfish Beignets which she said were very delicious, especially with the cajun aioli to give it a kick!

For me, the tuna came out, served nicely, with some avocado sandwiched in between the layers of goodness.  Throw in some tortilla chips on the side for scooping, and I had a great meal starter.  Now, the real trick to this meal was to try new bites of flavors with each chip.  I always got some tuna and avocado on the chip, but I also threw on some of the tangy daikon that was served on the side. Amazing flavor combos.

We were washing our meal down with a lovely bottle of Petite Petit and a reliable Spellbound Cabernet Sauvignon.  Nicholas Roberts is BYOB, so make sure you bring lots of the sweet, sweet nectar of the Gods to get you through all your courses. Another great thing about Nicholas Roberts is their approach to food.  They get their food as locally as possible, and support sustainable and organic farmers.  This is why, I believe, the food tastes fresher and better here.  Getting back to the meal, we had a great salad that was cut deep with the salty and crunchy goodness of fried pancetta.  The pancetta, itself, was worth ordering this salad, but the arugula, parm, and delicate lemon vinaigrette held it all together.

So, let me introduce you to the star of the meal:  Coffee Rubbed & Stout Braised Short Ribs of Beef!  There was a knife right in front of me, but let me tell you, there was no need for that silly thing.  The meat peeled away, so juicy, so delicate, as I gently slide my fork into this fine cut of meat.  Resting on top were roasted tomatoes, while below was a healthy helping of mashed potatoes.  Bringing it all together was a meaty, earthy gravy that kicked in lots of flavor, but wasn’t too overpowering.  The only thing that I wanted more of was a texture contrast because everything was soft or delicate.  Still, I would order this again.

Kristien’s steak was amazing, once again.  As she struggled to finish the meal, our very friendly waiter came by and threatened her:  “You have to finish the fries.  That’s the rule of the house.  We’re famous for our fries.”  He’s definitely right, so I took it upon myself to help my wife complete her goal.  If I need to take one for the team, I’ll take it to the gut.  These fries, these fries, these rosemary seasoned fries that entice you even as you walk in the restaurant.  Oh, it’s a dish you need to try. Renato seemed to thoroughly enjoy his dish, which was the duck special and Alicia loved the Black Pepper Spiced Pecan Crusted Pork Loin with OMG mac & cheese, fried leeks, and brussel sprouts which she said were cooked to perfection.

So, onto dessert! Perhaps because Kristien and I looked pathetic after telling us there was no bread pudding left for dessert, our waiter took some mercy on us and stole one piece from a batch reserved for a private party (shhh, they’ll never know).  I like all kinds of bread pudding, and this was definitely one of those kinds.  This is the kind of bread pudding that is thick and heavy, a brioche I believe.  The consistency reminded me of a nice and fat piece of french toast.  Our meal was over, but we weren’t rushed out.  We all sipped on some of New Canaan’s own Zumbach’s Coffee and dragged out the last minutes of freedom before we hit the cold, snowy, and icy streets of Norwalk.  All this together came out to 4 noms, definitely a great, reliable place you could become a regular at.

And while that fantastic double date night had to come to an end, we’re already planning the next one at Plate (now Cello) in Ridgefield so stay tuned!

No reservations

$5 corkage fee per bottle, but no fee if you buy the bottles from Nicholas Roberts Fine Wine.

Noms:  4
Cost:  $$$
 
Address:  75 Main Street
Norwalk, CT 06851
Phone:  (203) 229-0035
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/NicholasRobertsBistro
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/ChefCake
 
 

Nicholas Roberts Gourmet Bistro on Urbanspoon

Farm-to-table dining, unexpected atmosphere – Farmer’s Table, New Canaan

14 Nov

When you walk into Farmer’s Table on 21 Forest Street in New Canaan, it doesn’t look like much… and I kinda like it that way. An open kitchen, butcher block style tables with flickering candles, and even a refrigerated case makes you wonder:  is it a market? A cafe? A fine-dining establishment? Well, the answer is sort of all of the above.  And, being a design minimalist, I can appreciate that ambiguity.

Upon arriving we were immediately greeted by co-owner Lucia. And what a gracious host she was. Warm and incredibly friendly, Lucia introduced us to her partner, Robert Ublaldo, former chef at Tequila Mockingbird, and told us all about their restaurant, and more importantly, the story of their ingredients. Man, I love it when food comes with a story, don’t you?

As farm-to-table obviously implies, much of the ingredients are hand-delivered fresh that week, even that day.  Most of the vegetables come from Robert’s very own farm in Pound Ridge and many of the meats (notably, the Berkshire pigs) come from his brother, John Ublaldo’s farm, John Boy’s Farm, in Cambridge, NY. And, of course, because they aim to source as many of their ingredients as possible from area farms, their menu has been known to change on a whim. So what you see here today, may not be there tomorrow. Ooo, I love surprises!

The menu is small, with no specific type of food dominating. Despite the limited selection, Danny and I had a very hard time choosing between the pork tacos, chicken quesadillas, angus burger, and duck, which all had a very unique twist or two to them. Ultimately, I landed on the angus burger and Danny, the pork tacos (after a VERY strong recommendation from Amy, our super-friendly waitress).

Before we dove into the main course however, we were given a sample of their “famous” butternut squash soup. We both thoroughly enjoyed the soup’s warm undertones of brown sugar and honey with a punch of spiciness from the nutmeg. Next up was some soft and gooey freshly-baked bread made by Robert himself just minutes before.  And lastly, before the feature presentation, a deliciously fresh mixed greens salad topped with beets, tomatoes, walnuts, and my favorite food in the whole world, goat cheese. Not too much of any thing, nor to little, it was the perfect salad. Now, onto the main course. My angus burger was very fresh, perfectly cooked, and topped with incredibly smooth and sharp Vermont Cheddar cheese, between what seemed to be freshly-baked buns.  My only disappointment was that I think the burger could have been more seasoned… actually, it didn’t seem seasoned at all which made what could’ve been the perfect burger, quite bland.

But fret not, because any disappointment the burger brought was completely canceled by trying Danny’s pork tacos. The soft tacos featured fantastically seasoned braised Berkshire pork that melted in my mouth, plump and juicy red and yellow tomatoes, perfectly ripened avocados, lettuce, a twist of lime, and a chipotle sauce on the side that delivered the perfect kick of spice. FANTASTIC! To end the meal, we shared a piece of homemade pumpkin pie that could’ve used a few more spices, but was very creamy and smooth, topped with fresh-made whipped cream, served with just ground and brewed coffee.

The combination of almost perfect food, attentive, kind, and welcoming service, much lower than expected prices, and a quaint atmosphere add up to a total score of 3.75 noms. Juuuuust shy of a 4, but with definite potential to be a 4 or higher as they grow and change their menu.

Note: If you’re dining-in, don’t forget to BYOB, there’s a $10 corking fee. We enjoyed a nice bottle of Foxglove 2007 Zinfandel from Paso Robles. The fruitiness from the dark berries, the kick of herbs, and peppery finish made it the perfect complement to our entire meal.

Noms:  3.75

Cost:  $$

Farmer’s Table
Address:  21 Forest Street
New Canaan, CT 06840-4702
Phone:  (203) 594-7890

Farmer's Table on Urbanspoon

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