Tag Archives: food

Beaujolais & Beyond: Food, Wine, and Auctions for Fairfield Chamber Fundraiser

7 May

Who’s ready for some wine?

Take some great food, throw in some wine, and add in a dash of silent and live auctions and you’ve got Beaujolais & Beyond.  This fun (and tasty) fundraising event will help to benefit The Fairfield Chamber of Commerce.  What?  You think that all the awesome stuff and support that they give to the community is free? $60 dollars gets you a ticket if you pre-register or pay $70 at the door on 5/17 starting at 6 pm at The Westport Inn.  So, get your tickets online now and use the extra money to bid on some great finds during the event.

We are excited at the prospect of trying out 55 Wine Bar & Restaurant, part of the Scena Wine Bar and Cava restaurant group.  To be honest, we’re also very excited for some Moe’s!  I spent a few years in Atlanta and we had Moe’s there.  As soon as you open the door, the staff yells out, “Welcome to Moe’s!”  Danny and I are a bit jealous, though, because Fairfield gets a Moe’s while we’re left out of the mix in Stamford.  <Hint, hint>  And, of course, we’re excited to try the other restaurants!  You never know when you’ll be inspired by a dish that you sample at one of these events.

Zee Food:

Pietro Scotti of DaPietro’s

55 Wine Bar & Restaurant, DaPietro’s, Eramosa, Fairfield Cafe, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and The Pantry.

Zee Wine:

Casa de Vino

Beaujolais & Beyond

Thursday, May 17 from 6 to 9 pm.

$60 per person/$70 walk-in

The Westport Inn

1595 Post Road East

Westport, CT

A weekend of decadence with drinks, food, art & more at the Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Weekend

26 Apr

Well, we know if you’re reading our blog you clearly love food, wine and beer, so we KNOW you’ll be all about Westchester Magazine’s 2nd annual Wine & Food Weekend coming up on May 17-20 at The Ritz Carlton Westchester in White Plains. Ritz Carlton, oooo fancy.

But don’t worry, with events like the BBQ, Burgers and Beer Bash on Thursday, this weekend is anything but stiff. Well, except maybe the cocktails. Whether you’re stuffing your face with yummilicious food from over 30 of the best local restaurants and downing glasses of wine from over 200 world-class wineries at the Grand Tasting, or learning to make prohibition cocktails, or checking out local art at the ARTSBash, you’re guaranteed to have a great time!

Check out the full schedule, prices and packages below. For tickets visit the event website here.

Hope to see you there- we’ll be the ones with some sort of food or drink attached to our lips at all times. We’ll wink at your or something – but less creepy.

Thursday, 5/17
7:30PM – 11PM: Burgers, BBQ & Beer Bash – $50.00
Friday, 5/18
6PM – 9PM: ARTSBash – $75.00
Saturday, 5/19
11:30AM – 4PM: Grand Tasting – $85.00
12:00PM: A Tour Through Tuscany Wine Seminar with Kevin Zraly – $25.00 
1:15PM: Crystal Clear, Does the Glass Make A Difference? Wine Seminar – $75.00
2:30PM: Modern Mixology: Bringing Cocktails Home Cocktails Seminar – $25.00
6:30PM – 10:30PM: Winemakers Dinner – $150.00
Sunday, 5/20
11:30AM – 2PM: Sparkling Sunday Brunch – $50.00
12:00PM – 4:30PM: Grand Tasting – $85.00
12:30PM: Wines of Bordeaux Wine Seminar with Kevin Zraly – $25.00
1:45PM: Prohibition Cocktails Clinic Sprits Seminar – $25.00 
3:00PM: Majestic Terroir of Sonoma Wine Seminar – $25.00
Grand Tasting Combo: Grand Tasting Saturday & Sunday – $160.00 
VIP Pass: Package above + 1 Wine Seminar each day, Winemakers Dinner & Sunday Brunch – $400.00 

Our dish on 14 dishes at Cactus Rose Cantina- Wilton, CT

17 Apr

*Click a picture to start the gallery*

We had the fortunate opportunity a few months ago, thanks to local foodie and PR extraordinaire Linda Kavanagh, to enjoy  a complimentary press dinner at Cactus Rose Cantina in Wilton, CT that would prove to be a record breaking number of courses. And now we want to share that experience with you. Here’s how it went down:

We were struck by how bright and fun the interior is, with beautiful, bright tiled mosaics along the walls, perfect lighting, and an adorable fireplace. They even have a fireplace outside on their huge patio that’s perfect for kind weather dining. You could really tell both owners, Maria Pertesis and her mom Katerina love what they do too because they’re usually found greeting guests, making the rounds, asking customers how the food is, talking, chatting, and even helping to bring dishes to tables from time to time. We love when we see that!

Before we sat, we had some margaritas at the large bar.  They have four signature margarita concoctions, so it was our duty to try them all out, you know?  Danny started with the Dali, a margarita with Sauza 100 yr reposado, triple sec, lime
juice and simple syrup with a splash fresh orange juice.  I had the Apache, a spicy margarita that hit you at the end with a nice heat from the serrano.  All and all, they were pretty delish! We also started with some beef empanadas in a light ranchero sauce and dipped into some vertical nachos that were smothered in chihuahua cheese (no, they didn’t milk the dog, it’s a yummy Mexican cheese), refried black beans, and guac.  Both were hardy apps filling enough if you’re looking to just get a bite at the bar.

As we sat down, we saw the tasting menu, awaiting us like Wonka’s Golden Ticket.  Danny and I didn’t know what to order from the 14 dishes available, as usual. Well, that problem was solved for us because apparently we were trying every. single. one. Holy crap, I didn’t wear an elastic band skirt, haha. Well, let us take you on the tasting tour, so you know what to order when you hit up Cactus Rose.

Seafood cocktail shooters (lobster, crab & shrimp with citrus, chile, & tomato): This was a cross between a ceviche and a seafood cocktail.  Must love cocktail sauce here for sure or you won’t dig this! Seafood was fresh and the chile added a fun kick.

Wilted greens (warm chorizo vinaigrette, orange, jicama, organic sunny side up egg): The dressing was very light and the oranges added a nice contrast with the greens and the crispiness of the jicama.  And the egg?  Well, everything’s better with an egg on it.

Corn & poblano chowder (applewood smoked bacon, potatoes, cilantro): Great chowder (actually won the Critics Choice Award at Chowdafest IV) with chunks of corn and a smooth after heat. The smokey bacon was a really nice addition. This was my favorite.

Tuna tostada (watercress salad, pickled jalapeño, cilantro aioli): A bit too much aioli for us, but the tuna was seared nicely and served with a bright and herbaceous salad.  Good for summer.

Chile relleno (goat cheese, black beans, red chile salsa): Loads of goat cheese, though thicker and milder than the goat cheese Kristien is in love with. It was fried in a batter that was too thick for us. We prefer a lightly fried chile relleno.

Mini wagyu burger (poblano pepper, applewood bacon, Monterey Jack): Cooked close to well, which is more cooked than we like it causing it to be a bit on the dry side.  Shoestring fries were crispy and were nice. Bacon flavor really came through with the thick cuts.

Seared salmon with chorizo cream: All agreed the salmon was cooked great and the sauce was a nice, unique complement.  I was proud for picking up Executive Chef Lisa Varnberg’s use of cardamom in the dish. A unique salmon dish I actually enjoyed, and I usually don’t like salmon.

Grilled lamb chop with New Mexican ratatouille: The lamb chops were cooked appropriately and the ratatouille was good, but we were both hoping for more of a kick and flavor. The lamb was a bit fatty. Definitely not our favorite.

Chile chocolate pots de crème:  Imagine a pudding, lighter than air, just floating into your belly.  Yup, that’s this. Quite tasty!

Leche asado (queso fresco and maldon salt): Think custard, but on crack.  Really filling, so make sure you’ve saved up some room in that gut. Delish!

Banana bandit (banana cheesecake “burrito” w/ chocolate ice cream): Danny’s not a big fan of cheesecake, but even he thought this was a great dessert.  It “stole” our hearts, bah ha ha (yeah, we’re lame).

Jelly doughnuts (strawberry jalapeño jam and vanilla milkshake): Dear sweet beautiful lovely god of food.  Seriously, some of the best donuts that we’ve ever had.  The strawberry jalapeño jam sneaks up on you slowly but just mellows out behind things.  The milkshake was frothy and makes you feel like a little kid again.  This dish has to be ordered.

Final Impressions

Cactus Rose Cantina is a cozy, friendly spot where you could easily kick back while laughing with friends. The drinks are creative and tasty. As for the food, you can expect to find some wonderful gems on the menu and some dishes that don’t quite make the grade. Yes, it can be a bit hit or miss, but if you choose carefully you could have a great experience. And you really can’t go wrong with any of the desserts, so it’s definitely worth trying for yourselves.

Cactus Rose Cantina

Noms:  3.25

Cost: $$$

Address: 5 River Road

Wilton, CT 06897

Phone: (203) 762-8484

Site:  http://cactusrosecantina.com

Cactus Rose Cantina on Urbanspoon

Third Annual Hops & Grapes, Toasts & Tastes to Raise Money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – Norwalk, CT

1 Apr

This is THE event that you don't want to miss!

A few weeks ago we shared the news that local Stamford restaurants were banding together to raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with their Big Night event.  On the heels of that great fundraiser comes the Third Annual Hops & Grapes, Toasts & Tastes event.  Let the drinks pour, the food be eaten, and the money pile up for this great cause.  Hops & Grapes, Toasts & Tastes will take place on April 14, 2012 from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm at Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, CT.  Tickets to the event are $75 or two for $125.  If you go out to a nice restaurant, then that covers the cost.  You’ll be eating and drinking well, but you’ll also be helping out a charity that desperately needs your help.  Also, you can purchase VIP tickets at $100 each or two for $175 that include a souvenir wine glass, LLS Relentless wristband, raffle ticket, and deluxe gift bag.   A silent auction and raffle will also take place, with prizes donated by Hyatt Regency Greenwich, Capital Grille, Brewer’s Hardware, and The Rugg Family.

As of Friday, these are the restaurants, shops, vineyards, and liquor/beer distributors that will be providing samples:

American Harvest Vodka, Back East Brewing Company, Barcelona Restaurant, Bartaco,

BJ Ryan’s BANC House, Butterfield8, Cabot Cheese, Café D’Azur,

Cake Suite, Chocolations, Cupcakes & Milkshakes, Dichello Distributors,

Dina! A Restaurant & Bar, Ducky Life Tea, Karen Harvey Catering, Little Pub,

New England Wine & Spirits, Nolet’s Gin, O’Neills Irish Pub & Restaurant, Opici Wine Company of CT,

Pink Cupcake Shack, Pizzeria Rosso, Regatta Ginger Beer, S. Pellegrino & Aqua Panna,

Savor, Star Distributors, Starbucks, Sweets By Stella,

Wave Hill Breads Bakery & Cafe

Hops & Grapes, Toasts & Tastes

4/14/2012 from 7:30-10:30 pm

Stepping Stones Museum

303 West Avenue  Norwalk, CT 06850

Event tickets $75 or two for $125

Call 203-665-1400 for information or reservations or visit www.lls.org/ct/toastsandtastes

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (From Press Release)

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society®, headquartered in White Plains, NY, with 58 chapters in the United States and Canada, is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. LLS’ mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested more than $750 million in research specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

For more information about blood cancer, visit http://www.LLS.org or call LLS’ Information Resource Center (IRC), a call center staffed by master’s level social workers, nurses and health educators who provide information, support and resources to patients and their families and caregivers. IRC information specialists are available at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

New Italian spot offers inventive menu – Tappo, Stamford

7 Nov

Ah, to try new restaurants, in hopes that you might find the one that becomes your favorite, that jewel to place in your proverbial crown (or something like that).  Tappo, only opened a few weeks ago, and based on our friend Dave’s recommendation, we were really wishing this would be true.  When we arrived, we were struck by how nicely the dining room was decorated.  The space is small, with a limited amount of tables.  We checked in with reservations, but still had to wait, though the hostess was very friendly about it.

To start, we ordered the Insalata di Rucola con Pomodorini e Scaglie:  arugula, cherry tomatoes, and shaved grana.  The lemony/acidic hints of the dressing were cut nicely by the earthy and sharp taste of the grana cheese.  By itself this was a very good salad, but we added the softest, most delicate Prosciutto di San Daniele from their nice menu of Italian meats.  Making this combination ourselves was good and made up for a limited amount of salads to choose from.

For my main dish, I didn’t have much trouble deciding on the Guanciale pizza.  This dish really had everything that I love in the world on it:  browned fingerling potatoes, cured Italian bacon, white cheese sauce, and a sprinkle of truffle oil.  Start with a light, fluffy crust that isn’t too thick or too thin.  It reminded me of the consistency and taste of a zeppole.  All the tastes together synced so well and were amazing.  The only thing that I wished was different was varying textures because everything was soft/chewy.  The Italian bacon was in strips and few parts were crunchy.  If the chunks were smaller and crisped up a little before putting on the pizza, I think this would be a killer dish.  It was a bit hard to swallow when you were down to the last slice, so this is a dish that would be better to be shared.

Ending off the meal, I had a nice thick and strong duo shot of espresso and had two scoops of gelato:  chocolate/hazelnut and olive oil.  The scoop of chocolate/hazelnut was definitely strong and had a nice light hazelnut taste, though there was quite a strong after taste of cinnamon that I didn’t particularly enjoy.  I was left with that “gritty,” “drying” taste that cinnamon can often have.  On the other hand, the olive oil gelato was creamy, fresh, and had that nutty, fruity taste of olive oil.  It was surprisingly good and left me wanting more.

In all, this restaurant has a unique and creative view on Italian food.  The food was great, but the wine was overpriced as compared to the price of the average dish.  We ended up paying $45 for a bottle that would probably cost $15 at a wine shop, and should cost $30 for a restaurant like this.  There was only a handful of wines under $50, the lowest being $35.  The dishes were reasonably priced, though, which brings us to a rating of $$$ out of 5.  Nomability?  We’ve got to give this new Italian a very respectable 3.5 Noms out of 5.  Ciao!

 Also, check out our review on their San Danielle pizza, featured on CBS Connecticut.
Noms:  3.5
Cost:  $$$
Address:  51 Bank Street
Stamford, CT 06901
Phone:  (203) 588-9870
Site:  http://www.tapporestaurant.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001655225989

Tappo on Urbanspoon

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