Tag Archives: Ridgefield CT

Weekend Wine + Craft Beer Tasting Extravaganza at Ancona’s in Ridgefield + Wilton

22 Nov

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Drinking might be the most undervalued and talked about aspect of Thanksgiving that makes it great.  Ya feel us?  Sure, we know all about the pumpkin pie, the turkey, the stuffing (dressing?  psshhh), the cranberry sauce, and that deliciously weird green been casserole…but the drinks really help to make the meal complete.  Plus, getting through a few hours with your wacko family probably requires some heavy drinking.  We’re just saying…

So, look:  all that wine and great beer (no crap beer allowed on the Thanksgiving table) needs to get to your house somehow.  But, where should you go?  We’ve got the perfect answer:  Ancona’s in Ridgefield and Wilton.  For this weekend on 11/23 and 11/24 from 12-5 pm they’ll be hosting Tom Turkey’s 2 Day Tasting Extravaganza.

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Bailey’s Backyard Gets Farm-to-table Remake and Gains Chef Forrest Pasternack – Ridgefield, CT

22 Mar
Tarragon growing at Bailey Backyard's Own Garden

Tarragon growing at Bailey Backyard’s Own Garden (photo courtesy of Forrest Pasternack)

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Update:  Bailey’s Backyard is now open…read our review.

Elevating local ingredients.  That was the recurring theme to a recent talk we had with Forrest Pasternack, Executive Chef at Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield.  We talked about Forrest’s amazing cooking a few months ago when he was Executive Chef at Morello Bistro in Greenwich, but he’s moved onto greener pastures…literally.  He’s been working with Sal Bagliavio, owner of Bailey’s Backyard to not only refocus the menu, but also to rework the philosophy, the heart, the body, and the soul of the restaurant as it undergoes some major changes.  While the restaurant is closed right now for renovations, you can expect an opening around the middle of April.  Let’s look a bit closer into how Forrest plans to inspire diners, fully embrace the philosophy of farm-to-table, get the community involved, and spread the love of all things local across Connecticut.

Planting the Seeds:  A Fresh Start, a Local Approach

Forrest knows Ridgefield. He grew up there and for a long time he’s been looking to get involved in the local food scene of a community and elevate the ingredients found nearby. With great excitement he shared, “I want to offer a showcase for local ingredients.” And, yes, he’ll be doing that…and not in your typical way, either. He’ll literally be planting seeds with his sous chef in the restaurant’s garden courtesy of Veronica’s Garden, will help nurture the seedlings, will reap the veggies, then will feature them in the dishes. For everything else, the staff will gather the freshest veggies, herbs, meats, and supplies every week from local farms. Some of the farms they plan to visit are Veronica’s Garden of Ridgefield, The Hickories of Ridgefield, and Maple Bank Farm of Roxbury. As for meat, he’s going local too such as Greyledge Farm in Roxbury. Even the wine menu at Bailey’s Backyard will be almost entirely local, with lots of Long Island and Connecticut vineyards showing up like Lieb Cellars (we love the wine and the vineyard itself) of Mattituck, NY; Millbrook Winery in Millbrook, NY; and DiGrazia of Brookfield, CT.

Farm pics

The Greenhouse at Maple Bank Farm in Roxbury, CT (photo courtesy of Forrest Pasternack)

Watering the Seedlings: Nurturing the Restaurant, Nurturing the Community

Forrest told us that he wants to be a real driving force in the community in regards to food.  By keeping the menu at Bailey’s Backyard local, he’ll be helping to reach that goal.  In addition, he was sad to see that the farmers’ market in Ridgefield went away so he’s going to do whatever he can to try to bring one back.  But, it’s not just Forrest who is nurturing Bailey’s Backyard.  Chef Pasternack shared, “Sal, the owner, really understands food and he knows farms.  He knows local wineries.  And, whether people know it or not, he’s been a proponent of farm-to-table philosophy for a long time.”

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5 Connecticut Towns Make New England’s 25 Best Food Towns List

25 Feb

New England's 25 Best Food Towns

New England is an excellent place to be if you like to eat.  We get the rewards of being so close to the water, having plenty of farms, being steeped in tradition, and having a great crop of chefs who are pushing culinary boundaries, too.  And, now, we get our own list from GoLocal!

They put together a list of some of the best places in New England that you’ll need to hit up if you want some great food.  Their technique in finding the towns was very unique:  they looked at ratings, James Beard awards, Diamonds from AAA, Stars from Mobil/Forbes, and other awards from national papers, magazines, and press.  In addition, they look at what the local food scene was like, which included culinary programs, culinary schools, cooking classes, farmers’ markets, and food and wine events.

After crunching the numbers and doing their research, they created a list of the New England’s 25 Best Food Towns for awesome food.  We’ll focus on the five place in Connecticut that made the list, highlighting what they liked the most.  Unfortunately, Boston came in at #1.  At least they can be #1 at something…ouch.  Sorry Red Sox fans.

#21 Ridgefield, CT

They cite The Stonehenge Inn’s Restaurant as their main inspiration for keeping 4 AAA Diamonds and receiving other critical acclaim.  Also cited is the great food and cooking classes at Bernard’s Restaurant and Sarahs’s Wine Bar in an historic inn, and they also offer terrific cooking classes.

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