Tag Archives: locavore

Fresh Dine brings freshly made meals to your door with local love

18 Nov

Chef Peden and Maureen of Fresh Dine at the New Canaan’s Farmers’ Market, from Fresh Dine site

Like many locals, Maureen Shankar and Chef Lauren Peden (chef/owner of Simply Delicious catering) went to the New Canaan Farmers Market last weekend.  But what was different about their trip was the fresh ingredients they were shopping for weren’t for them…they were for their new farm-to-chef-to-door service called Fresh Dine.

Delivered meals from FreshDine

Meals come in recycled and recyclable materials

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Bailey’s Backyard Hosts Local Farmers for Ultimate Farm-to-table Dinner

28 Oct

It’s always a strange moment.  

Invariably, people will ask us what our favorite restaurants are when we meet them or when they discover we have a food blog.  Although we spend countless hours writing about some of the best places in Connecticut and trying new places, our minds always seem to draw a blank.  But, then, we remember some of the best meals that we’ve had.  And, one of those places that we always mention to people is a quaint little restaurant in Ridgefield called Bailey’s Backyard.  We’ve been there three times already and plan to come back three hundred more times.  

Bryan Walsh is not only the mixologist, but is also in charge of the drink program at Bailey's

Bryan Walsh is not only the mixologist, but is also in charge of the drink program at Bailey’s

You might remember back in March we interviewed Executive Chef Forrest Pasternack (formerly of Morello Bistro in Greenwich) and we saw how deeply devoted he and Sal Bagliavio (the owner of Bailey’s) are to the farm-to-table principle.  Yes, we know that word gets thrown around and is quite overused.  But, at Bailey’s Backyard it’s a literal interpretation.  Forrest and staff hit up the local markets and visit nearby farms to build their menu on a daily basis.  

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OmNomCT Named Local Food Champions by Fresh Nation

9 Oct

Fresh Nation is a new service, based out of Stamford, that pools together local resources to give you a central place to find the best and freshest local food.  Just type in your zip code and you’ll see an amazing list of places to help you keep it local!  And, just a few months ago, they began delivering food from farms, markets and artisan producers right to your door throughout Fairfield County and now parts of Westchester.

Because being local and keeping things in the community matters so much to Fresh Nation, they began a campaign to celebrate Local Food Champions.  These are people who work hard at bringing awareness to good food in our region and who constantly emphasize the idea of keeping things local within our own communities.  We have believed in this for a long time and hopefully you’ve noticed that we often focus on food, producers, and restaurants that highlight the amazing produce, meats, and products that are made here in Fairfield County and Connecticut.  And, to be honest, we’re honored that Fresh Nation would not only recognize this, but also put us up on their list of Local Food Champions that include the CEO and founder of Fresh Nation, Tony Lee, Analiese Paik of Fairfield Green Food Guide, Alicia Ghio of Local Food Rocks and The Natural Princess, and Lisa Corrado of Lisa Corrado Nutrition.

To help keep the community close together, you’ll also be able to visit the Local Food Champions blog feed to keep up to date with what’s going on in Fairfield County and Connecticut.  We’ll all keep you updated on how you can continue to keep it local.

If you’d like to learn more about Fresh Nation, check them out by visiting their site, and if you’d like to learn about their delivery options to Fairfield County and some Westchester County towns, check it out here.

Thanks again Fresh Nation.  We’re blushing.

Stamford Summer Restaurant Weeks Goes Local w/ Farm Fare

7 Aug

Hand it to Stamford Tables and the local restaurant community to change up their popular restaurant weeks.  It’s not that they’re not working, it’s that they want to constantly make them better every single time.  Some of the great additions have been turning the experience into weeks (not just a week), Stamford Hospital’s Kids Fans’ 5-2-1-0 program that gives healthy food options for kids at participating restaurants.  We all try to be one of the first 3,000 restaurant week nom-ers because we know that we get a voucher for a small popcorn from the Avon with any movie ticket purchase.  And this year, from August 19 – September 2, a bunch of the restaurants are going local with their menu, highlighting produce from local farms.  We’re talking about Hubbard Heights Farm, Stamford Museum & Nature Center, Domus, and the Green Up Group!  Restaurants participating in the local farm food program are noted below with an  and those participating in the 5-2-1-0 program (kids 12 and under are $6.95 or $9.95 for a healthy lunch) have an *.

So, please check back as we add more 2013 Stamford Summer Restaurant Weeks menus and why not set up reservations now?  Just do it, trust us, this is a busy time of year and tables go fast.

$10.13 Lunch or $15.13 Dinner

*  Bobby Valentine’s Sports Gallery Cafe (Restaurant Week Menu)

*  Fin II Japanese Restaurant

*  Tiernan’s Bar & Restaurant

$12.13 Lunch or $20.13 Dinner

Bar Q Stamford

*  California Pizza Kitchen

*  Capriccio Cafe

*  Cotto Wine Bar (Restaurant Week Menu)

Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant (Restaurant Week Menu)

  Kujaku Japanese Restaurant

Lola’s Mexican Kitchen

*  Lucky’s Classic Burger

*  Quatto Pazzi

*  Remo’s Brick Oven Pizza

*  SBC Downtown Restaurant and Brewery

Tengda Asian Bistro (Restaurant Week Menu)

*  Volta Gelateria Creperia

$20.13 Lunch or $30.13 Dinner

Aria

*  Bar Rosso

Barcelona Wine Bar

Capital Grille (Restaurant Week Menu)

*  Columbus Park Trattoria

Emme of Capri (Restaurant Week Menu)

*  EOS Greek Cuisine (Restaurant Week Menu)

*  Hudson Grille (Restaurant Week Menu)

*  Kona Grill

Mitchell’s Fish Market (Restaurant Week Menu)

Morton’s, The Steakhouse (Dinner Only)

  napa & co. (Restaurant Week Menu)

*  Patrizia’s of Stamford (Dinner Only)

  Rodizio Grill Brazilian Steakhouse

ZAZA Italian Gastrobar

Elevated, True Farm to Table at Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield, CT: Restaurant Review

2 May
Some of the veggies that Forrest has pickled for sale

Some of the veggies that Forrest has pickled for sale

When we talked with Forrest Pasternack (former Executive Chef of Morello Bistro in Greenwich) a few weeks ago, we couldn’t help but get excited about what he and owner Sal Bagliavio had planned for the reopening of Bailey’s Backyard.  A farm-to-table restaurant that would live up to its name, built from the ground, the farm, and garden up.  A restaurant where the chef actually visits local farms and buys food from them.  A full and complete embrace of what farm to table means.  And, after visiting Bailey’s Backyard a few days before opening and being treated to a special preview menu, we know our excitement was well warranted.

The Menu

The menu is pretty easy to handle, fitting on just one (large) page.  In terms of what to order, it’s divided up into a few sections:  snacks, sides, greens, starts, mains, and desserts.  Of special note is that this is a great restaurant if you’re looking for fresh vegetarian options.  You can order whatever you’d like, or have a 3 course meal (starter, main, and dessert) for $27 ($39 with wine pairing) or a 4 course meal (greens, seafood starter, main, and dessert) for $38 ($50 with wine pairing).  In addition, you can even have the special Chef’s Tasting which is a seven course tasting menu for a very reasonable $65 or $95 with wine pairings.  No tasting menu will ever be exactly the same because it’s built daily based on what’s fresh and from the farms.

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Harvest Wine Bar + Restaurant Brings Modern American Farm-to-Table to Greenwich

24 Jan

Update:  Harvest is open and here’s our review!

The rows of plants seem to stretch on endlessly on harvest day.  Within a few hours, months worth of hard work and devotion will come to fruition as all the veggies and fruits are gathered.  Hundreds of fresh tomatoes, corn, apples, and more will soon hit up the farmers’ markets, the stores, that cute little stand set up in front of the farm, local restaurants, and will eventually end up right on your plate.

This is the kind of imagery that owner Vicente Siguenza and Chef Eben Leonard of Harvest Wine Bar & Restaurant want to convey.  If you’ve been following our blog, you might remember those names.  Yes, Vicente is one of the owners of the classic go-to spots that we know as Cava in New Canaan, Scena Wine Bar & Restaurant in Darien, and 55 Wine Bar & Restaurant in Fairfield (we wrote an article for CBS about all of them, too).  As for Eben, you might remember his work as chef at Scena.  While we have love for their takes on Italian dishes (two years of OmNomy wins) and can’t get enough of their gnocchi, we’re really interested in what Harvest has to offer.

The new spot at 372 Greenwich Ave. (former home of La Brasserie and Le Figaro Bistro de Paris) in Greenwich will focus on Modern American food, put together with love and attention, and will be held together with deep roots to the earth with a farm to table experience.  In fact, they refer to the experience of eating at their restaurant as “farm to fork” dining.  According to Eric Gendron’s article for Greenwich Daily Voice, they will have an extensive wine menu of over 300 bottles, a beautiful wood-fired grill, will have small and large plates, and will also offer charcuterie options.  Sounds like our kind of place.

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Ocean to Table Sushi that Is Seriously out of this World! Miya’s Sushi – New Haven, CT

12 Nov

Our fascination with Miya’s Sushi and Chef Bun Lai began when we had our first bites of their sushi at The Whole Hog fundraiser for Wholesome Wave.  Bun’s uniquely awesome personality really came through when he talked to us about harvesting his own seaweed and how everything in the sushi roll was made.  We could tell that he had a deep passion for food and keeping things local, which is exactly what made us want to travel into New Haven to check out Miya’s.

It was finally when we were contacted about Bun Lai and Miya’s Sushi being on a new TV show that we got our butts in gear and headed out to New Haven. Plus, it was the perfect place to celebrate Dan’s birthday! We know that New Haven can seem so far away, especially when you’re in the western part of CT, but it’s really worth the trip!

As we sat down, we learned from our waitress about some basics of Miya’s.  First off, she told us that the staff are trained divers and they were going on a diving trip the following day to get seafood for their rolls and dishes.  The DIY philosophy also comes through when they served us their homemade low sodium soy sauce and their homemade ginger that is just de-vine.

Our strategy was to order lots and lots of rolls so that we could try as many flavors and combinations as possible.  This worked out well because most rolls were sliced into four slices, not an overwhelming amount at all.  We also HAD to order a few drinks because they were so incredibly unique. And, despite all the food and drinks that we ordered, we still ended up spending a bit less than we would at other “comparable” sushi joints.  We say comparable because, well, it’s hard to compare anything to Miya’s anymore after eating there.  Dan felt very zen, so he allowed his poetic side to reign and compose haikus (5-7-5 syllables) for each roll.

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Elm in New Canaan: One of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants in America for 2012!

3 Oct

Congratulations to Elm and Chef Lewis, announced from their FB page!

Well, that pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?  In their 28th year (here are this year’s results) of seeking out the hottest and best new restaurants all across America, Esquire is out with their latest list that has Elm in New Canaan on the list.  To those who have dined here, they’d probably say that this is no surprise.  Chef and owner Brian Lewis has been featured in countless articles and reviews, praising his style and his love of all things local and seasonal.  His gig before Elm was cooking up a storm at Richard Gere’s The Farmhouse at Bedford Post.

As for options eating here, there are so many to pick from:  dinner, chef’s tasting, bar dining (snacks), Sunday brunch, and even Sunday supper.  Perhaps one of the coolest things to do here is go with Chef Lewis on a journey to the farm through his tasting menu.  For $45 you’ll get three courses, paired beautifully for you.  If you have more of an appetite or feel a bit more daring, check out five courses for $75.  Now, this is great, but even more exciting (at least to us, we’re in serious awe of talented chefs) is the Chef’s Tasting Counter.  Saddle on up and enjoy each bite of your tasting menu while you watch all the action go down in the kitchen.  Yes, you’ll see your dishes cooked and prepared right before your hungry little eyes.

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Celebrate Connecticut Farm-to-Chef Week at 65 Different Locations Throughout Our Fine State!

16 Sep

Eating local food shouldn’t have to be something that you seek out and search for.  You shouldn’t have to hunt down a farm to table restaurant or find out which places use local and sustainable food.  Imagine if we kept things local wherever we went to eat.  Imagine the jobs that would be opened up and how the Connecticut economy would thrive.  Well, Connecticut is trying to bring awareness to this and to the vast amount of farms throughout Connecticut by holding the third annual Connecticut Farm-to-Chef Week.  It runs from September 16 until September 22, 2012 at various locations throughout the state.  What’s very interesting about the list of restaurants that are participating is that, well, they aren’t all just restaurants.  You’ll see many schools on this list that want healthier, non-processed, and more local options for their menus.  You’ll even notice a couple of farmers’ markets on the list, too.  We got this info from CT Farm Fresh, if you’d like to check out more from and about them.

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Local Change, One Meal at a Time: Eat for Equity Comes to Stamford, CT

6 Sep

How it all began…

Eat for Equity.  You can find them hard at work in Boston, Minneapolis, Portland, and the Ozarks…and soon you’ll find their ground-breaking, community-minded, locavore-loving, change-making meals in Stamford, Connecticut.  To understand Eat for Equity, you need to understand where it all began.  After witnessing the deadly tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, one of the founders of E4E put a New Orleans style meal together in order to raise money to help out.  Turns out, it was a huge success with 100 people attending.  As the dinners continued, the popularity grew and so did the money that was raised.  Their ideals and their approach to helping bring a fair shot and equity to the disadvantaged spread across the country and the next place on their stop:  The City that Works.

Who they’re helping

E4E helps puts meals together using local ingredients in order to raise money and awareness for groups that fight inequities in education, the environment, health, and opportunities. In addition, they will help local organizations to make short-term changes and to bring about change to the community to bring about self-sufficiency.  Check out all the non-profits that they’ve helped so far. 

The meals

From http://eatforequity.org

Here’s how it works: Continue reading

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