Tag Archives: Fairfield County Food Blog

CT Beer + Food News, Vol. 20: Save Ferris, Chiles, Cocktails, Exciting Brews + Exclusive Events

11 Sep

Before we get started with our weekly beer, food, and event news for the 203 (and beyond), we’d like to just thank you all for reading.  Over the past few years we have seen our blog grow so much, but we couldn’t do it without you.  Literally, we couldn’t do it without you.  Look, without you we’d just be writing all of this with only 1 page view, maybe 2 if we both looked at what we posted.  Well, thanks again.  Always feel free to ask us questions or send event and info our way.

-Dan and Kristien

Events + News

9/12 SAVE FERRIS!  Ohhh yeahhh, chicka, chicka..chickachaka!  Java Westport will be playing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at 7 pm on their big screen, so get your best Rooney voices ready and practice your driving to avoid any mishaps like driving your dad’s car off of a giant cliff.

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CT Food + Beer News, Vol. 14: Dinners, Events, Lots of Openings, Booze, and More…

24 Jul

After that unseasonably cool week, you knew what was bound to happen.  Yes, the inevitable heat, sticky, hazy days of summer are back, but remember the alternatives.  If anything, we should be grateful for the hot weather because it gives us a reason to drink our body weights worth of beer and booze, and it gives us a chance to eat outside under umbrellas or the stars.

So poetic…okay, let’s go:


7/24 Everybody’s favorite barista/owner/awesome-person Leyla Dam of Lorca will be talking about coffee on the third floor auditorium of the Ferguson Library from 4-6 today.  She’ll talk about the process of making coffee from bean to cup and she’ll have samples, too!

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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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A Cheeseaphobe Dips into The Melting Pot – Darien, CT

18 May

So, don’t hate…I have an aversion to most cheeses and because of that never tried fondue.  So you could understand my apprehension, then, when we were invited to try out the seasonal menu called Big Night Out America at The Melting Pot.  Melted cheese…in a pot…dipping stuff in it.  I didn’t know how I’d deal, but part of being half of OmNomCT means pushing the boundaries of comfort and the usual.  So, I went into the meal, brave, head held high, and ready to conquer the meal.  Kristien tried to convince me that fondue wasn’t just about cheese, so imagine my relief when I found out she was actually telling the truth and wasn’t just trying to trick me so she could have all the cheese to herself.

We were seated in a nice and cozy booth with a hot plate mechanized robot thing installed right in the table. Our sever Josh told us all about the menu and how the meal works.  As we waited, James Layfield, co-owner with his parents Will and Carol, came by and greeted us.  We had seen James briefly at the Rodizio pre-opening (co-owner there also). It seemed that the second he left, we saw our server come by with dishes of cheese and mix-ins.

First Course:  Cheese Fondue ala Boston

The first part of the tasting menu was fun, but obviously scared me.  Although we could have gone with any cheese combination on their menu, we decided to stick with the Sam Adams Boston Lager cheddar cheese, emmenthaler cheese, and onions.  It was a nice and mild fondue with the beer flavor really showing through.  The dijon and bacon didn’t come through at first, but when you stirred things up the flavor rose up.  We tossed in lots of Tabasco sauce to kick things up, too.  That being said, I enjoyed it, actually.  Kristien, though, thought it was okay…going back she’d go with some stronger cheese combos and decided she doesn’t like beer in her cheese.  We dipped nearly anything that you could imagine:  carrots, cauliflower, brocolli, apples, and bread.  We liked most of the dip-ins, but the bread was a bit disappointing because it was dry.  So, look, I survived and actually enjoyed the dipping.  Chalk one up to me.  Mommy, are you proud of your Danny?

Second Course:  Salads

We have to say that we were really happy with the salads that came out for us.  Kristien had a fresh salad that came with lots of pears, gorgonzola, and pecans.  The dressing was light, not too sweet, and had just the right amount of raspberry taste to set off the ingredients.  I had the Spinach Mushroom Salad with fresh spinach, wonderfully smoky and chunky bacon, nicely chopped tomatoes, and a dressing that you get to pour on yourself.  That Burgundy Shallot Vinaigrette dressing  is killer.  It was a nice palate cleanser, getting you ready for the next portion of the meal.

Third Course:  Coq au Vin and Meats

We were able to pick what variety of meat and accoutrements we wanted and what we wanted our meats cooked in–either Coq au Vin (wine), Court Bouillon (broth), Bourguignonne (canola oil), or Mojo (Carribbean bouillon).   We decided to go with the Coq au Vin because it seemed like a heartier option.  For the meats we went with the lobster, buffalo chicken, steak, pork, dumplings, and veggies package.  We were told that you can’t really overcook the food in the broth, but we love our steak mediumish, so we took those out a bit earlier than the others.  When you’ve cooked your meat, you then need to pick which incredibly flavorful and tasty sauces to dip them in!  Here are some suggestions from us to you:

Green Goddess, sour cream and chives:  buffalo chicken and potato

Gorgonzola and cream sauce:  steak

Melted butter:  lobster, mushroom, potato

Curry sauce:  pork

Sweet and sour:  dumpling

Plum sauce: steak

Cocktail sauce:  shrimp


This course, too, was interactive because you’re able to pick your favorite kind of chocolate to dip a helluva lot of stuff in such as your choice of chocolate, Bananas Foster, Flaming Turtle, or Chocolate S’mores.  We went with the Big Night Out special (Chocolate Wildberry Crunch Fondue) and began to salivate, thinking of what awaited us.  Our arsenal for the final course?  Oreo coated marshmallows, graham cracker coated marshmallows, bananas, strawberries, brownies, poundcake, cheesecake, and Rice Krispie treats.  Staring off, we both loved the chocolate because it had such complex flavors.  You first got the hit of smooth chocolate, then a tart berry burst, then finally the creamy, nutty peanut butter started to peak through.  Some of our faves:

Banana:  it was like a banana split in one dip!

Graham cracker marshmallow:  s’mores on steroids.

Oreo marshmallow:  great.  Let it sit for about a minute in the chocolate, turning it.  It’ll turn gooey and will invite you in.

Cheesecake:  so creamy, so awesome, love it.

Beer/Wine Pairings

You can order beer or wine here at pretty affordable prices or you can do the pairing.  When in doubt, always do the pairing.  Someone thought long and hard about what beer and wine goes best with each course, so go with their advice.   We were glad that we got the pairings because they did match up quite well and ended up bringing the flavors out from the cheese, the salad, and the Coq au Vin.  James also told us later that they have had Magic Hat dinners in the past and will be having more.  He also tries to add more beer variety to the menu pretty often, so you can always find some new choices when you return.

Overall Verdict

The Melting Pot in Darien is a great place to take a date, friends, have a party, and just chill out.  You’ll have lots of fun with the interactive elements.  Prices are similar to eating out at a semi-expensive restaurant, but you’ll get good food and you’ll know exactly how the meal is cooked.  No surprises here, you do it yourself.  Service here is also excellent.  Josh was very knowledgeable and made the night fun.  You can also see James Layfield, circulating table to table, asking how things are, and even helping deliver food.  He’s one of the most hands-on owners (that’s a good thing) that we’ve seen at a restaurant.  Another great thing to know is they are gluten-free friendly and are also sensitive about other food allergies.  Just let them know when you sit down.  So, food, price, selection, drinks, and service taken into account, we will definitely return to The Melting Pot.

The Melting Pot

Noms: 3.5

Cost: $$$

Address:  14 Grove Street
Darien, CT 06820
Phone:  (203) 656-4774 
Monday-Thursday: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday:  11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Friday:  5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Saturday:  11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Saturday:  4 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday:  4 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/TheMeltingPotDarien

Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/MPMetroNYWWD

Site:  http://www.meltingpot.com/darien/welcome

Melting Pot Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Downhome Italian fare hits downtown at Rizzuto’s New Locale – Stamford, CT

8 Dec

Antipasto has been proven* to elevate mood and happiness

We were first introduced to Rizzuto’s way back in April at Fairfield County Eats, an awesome event where  you can sample some of the awesome food that Fairfield County has to offer while helping to raise money for the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County.  When we came to Rizzuto’s table we were all over their nice spread of antipasto and various other delectable treats.  It definitely made us want to get out to Westport to try more.  Well, we didn’t ever get out there, but we were excited to find out that Rizzuto’s would open up shop in our stomping grounds where Route 22 used to be.   Ever the rabid restaurant seekers and food mongers, we drove on down and checked things out after just their second day in business.  These are our stories…dong dong.

The Look and Service

There’s lots of exposed brick all around with a TON of room to move around and for tables.  If you’re looking for a place to have a party or a family get together, or just a casual Italian food run, this is your spot. It’s huge and totally laid back, but a nice step up from an eat-in pizza joint. Also, there’s a nice, huge wood fired brick oven in the middle cooking up pizzay-goodness.

The Antipasto

We really loved the selection of antipasto that’s available here at Rizzuto’s.  One of the best selections in our area for sure! You can select from cured meats, artisan cheeses, or vegetables.  Mere amateurs only get prosciutto di parma, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, or roasted frying peppers.  If you’re a Level 20 Eater, you’d select one of their sharing platters: Rizzuto’s Antipasto Platter, Cured Meat and Cheese Board, or Cheese and Vegetable Platter.  Not wanting to feel super guilty, we got the Antipasto Platter.  We got Prosciutto di Parma, Soppressata Calabrese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pistachio crusted goat cheese, Mediterranean olives, and roasted frying peppers.  This heavenly platter came with honey, a sinfully awesome cranberry mustard, and a well-balanced apricot jam.  The meats were fresh, the cheeses flavorful, the olives had an orange zesty taste, and the peppers were roasted to softness and went nicely with the provolone.  If you don’t have a piece of the fig bread in your platter, be sure to ask if there is some in the kitchen.  It’s just re-freaking-donkulous! The best antipasto platter we’ve had in Fairfield County!

The Pizza

I’m a sucker for rich pizzas.  I had to get the guanciale and potato pizza at Tappo when I saw it, then regretted how heavy it was 3/4 of the way in.  Well, a stubborn Italian doesn’t learn his lesson because the lure of potato and sausage on a pie is just too much for me to handle.  So, I got the sausage and potato pizza that had broccoli rate, roasted garlic, and Parmigiano-Reggiano with it.  The crust was light and fluffy, similar to the consistency of zeppole.  The sausage was great and had a great fennel taste to it, the potatoes were crispy and golden, but the broccoli rabe was a bit overcooked and was bitter.  The pie comes with hot oil on the side…hell yeah.  It’s not that hot, though, don’t worry.  This was a very rich pie, but it was still good.  Like I said with Tappo’s pie, I’d share this with another person.

The Pasta

Kristien ordered Sunday Gravy:  housemade braised veal braciole, meatballs, sausage, all over fettuccine.  The braciole was delicate, fell apart with light pulling, and was cooked well.  The meatballs, on the other hand, were too meaty and solid for Kristien’s taste. She wasn’t into it. She prefers lighter, less condensed meatballs…like her grandma’s or Michael Psilakis’s or Bacchus’s.  The sausage was spicy and full of flavor.  In terms of the pasta, it was served perfectly al dente.  The sauce that held this all together was average, but nothing amazing.  It held its own, though, and held the dish together.


Are you like us and throughout the meal you say, “No, no…we’re not going to have dessert.  We’ve already eaten so much.”  Yeah, that never works.  We gave in when we saw the apple and dried cherry crostata with dulce de leche gelato.  The filling was great and tasted like a burst of fall.  There was an overwhelmingly beautiful cinnamon smell wafting through the air.  The dough, though, could have used a bit more cooking. It was a bit raw.

Overall Impressions

Rizzuto’s in Stamford has the potential to be a main stay of families and casual dinners, although it runs a little expensive for a go-to spot.  There’s plenty of seating, especially for big parties, the service is extremely warm and friendly, and the antipasti is killer here.  Some of the best moments of any meal are spent just omnoming here and there on some meats or cheeses and catching up on life.  In terms of the meals, they are good, but have some room to grow.  We (and our readers) need to remember, though, that this was just their second day in business.  So, cheers to Rizzuto’s.  Many happy years ahead.


Noms: 3.5

Cost: $$$

Address:  1980 West Main Street

Stamford, CT 06902

Phone:    (203) 324-5900

Rizzuto's Stamford on Urbanspoon

Which Pinot Grigio Reigns Supreme? Barone Fini WineTwit Online Tasting.

20 Mar

Which Wine Will Prevail? 1 or 2?

Barone Fini wines and WineTwits have organized an online blind tasting on March 24 from 8-8:30 pm EST.  The tasting will be led by wine producer Giovanni Bonmartini-Fini.  This is a pretty awesome experience to take part in.  You go to the tasting website, register, and get sent two brown-bag-wrapped bottles labeled 1 and 2.  There are still some kits left–22, so don’t delay if you want to take part in this.  $30 isn’t really bad for free shipping and two bottles of Pinot Grigio!  Oh, and you just might win a trip to Venice–Venezia to my paesans.

So, how’s it work after that, what’s up with an on-line tasting?  You’ll watch a discussion on winetwits.com and may even have a chance to ask a question or two to Giovanni!  Also, you’ll tweet your tasting notes with the hashtag #tastingchallenge to @winetwits.  So, you can look through the twitterverse and see what other people think about each wine and which one they prefer.  I wonder what kind of differences in these wines people will notice because the bottle that is not Barone Fini is about twice the cost.  :)  Be sure to follow along with @OmNomCT during the tasting challenge.  If you’re taking part, let us know, and we’ll tweet it up together.

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