Nicholas Roberts Gourmet Bistro in Norwalk served as the Fairfield County back-drop for a gathering of over twenty food writers, several courses of food and wine and an abundance of foodie conversation on a recent Thursday evening.
More akin to a restaurant's family meal than sybartic ritual, these blogger gatherings mimic our restaurant muses shared meals before the evening's storm, than mere navel-gazing. Our gatherings offer an outlet to talk shop and let it all hang out within the comfort of our own kind, fellow food writers who can be a notoriously solitary (and at times) picky bunch. And naturally we'll choose to do so in some of our favorite Connecticut establishments. It's a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it.
Those somebodies included Doug of Hungry Travels, a fellow runner/cyclist and blogger who leaves no restaurant unturned in Westchester; Rinku Bhattacharya of Cooking in Westchester, an Indian-centric cooking blog; the energetic and health conscious Jen of GreenChicLife, and fellow CTbites contributor; Nick Caito, photographer extraordinaire and a producer at the Hartford Courant; Liz Mitchell, an editor for Patch in Fairfield County; Matt Scott from New Channel 8; Chris Preovolos, blogger and photographer behind the Lunch Break Chronicles and fellow caffeine lover; speaking of coffee, we also enjoyed the company of Rachel and Will Haughey, founder/owner of Espresso NEAT; the talented Elizabeth Keyser, a contributor to Connecticut Magazine, Fairfield County Weekly and many others; a strong CTbites contingent including Sarah Green, Liz Reuven, Stephanie Webster, and yours truly; and several other food media types, one of whom writes for a prominent publication and shall remain nameless to protect their anonymity.
Enough name-dropping and onto the food. Our evening of elegantly crafted fresh summer flavors began with a too-beautiful-who-could-possibly-eat-it polenta & summer squash napoleon. The layered combination of strong bright flavors included goat cheese, squash, oven roasted tomatoes and was finished with basil oil and balsamic syrup.
The second course, a seared tuna steak with ginger truffle sauce, sat atop an tufted bed of broccoli rabe and black forbidden rice. Mine was gone before you could say, “please pass the Gewurztraminer.”
The intermezzo of fresh watermelon with a dollop of coconut sorbet topped with a sprig of mint was a light and fresh pause before the main course of orange & rosemary marinated rack of lamb cooked to medium rare perfection and served with a mint parsley chimichurri.
Normally at this point in a multi-course dinner, I’m spent. But when I caught a glimpse, followed by a whiff of the farmer’s market peach pie, I knew I could find some more room and perhaps steal a bite from my neighbor. Fresh peaches, a crumbly pecan streusel topping and vanilla ice cream was a divine ending to this fun evening.
With a first meet-up at Miyas Sushi in New Haven over a family style omekase meal, followed by this Nicholas Roberts prix-fixe 4+ course, we’ve set the bar high but I definitely see a cocktail hour or two in our future for our next gathering. If you’re a food writer, blogger or photographer and want to join us at our next gathering, give me a shout. The more the merrier.
(Photography c/o Nick Caito Photo)