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Friday
Nov152013

Maple Bourbon Old Fashioned Recipe via Saugatuck Grain & Grape

The "cocktail" found its place in literary history in 1806 in the May 6 issue of The Balance and Columbia Repository being defined to a confused reader by the editor as "Cock-tail, then is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters. It is vulgarly called a bittered sling...". Over the next thirty years or so, this definition became the "Old Fashioned" cocktail and was more of a way to make a drink than just a name for one. Taken by definition, if you use just those ingredients, you can make a Gin Old Fashioned, a Tequila Old Fashioned and so on. There was never any fruit or club soda involved in the original definition. That version seemed to pop up somewhere after Prohibition. Being the "back to basics" kind of guy I am, I don't use fruit or club soda in my Old Fashioned either. 

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Friday
Nov152013

Friday Froth: Two For Two


There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night

The wind outdoors stings in little nips - a puppy with needle-like teeth. The light is ruddy and beautiful in the early afternoon, but it arrives flat, and it provides meager heat. Nature, having provided, is exhausted. We'll have to see ourselves through this night.


Did grim darkness inspire the brewers up the highway at Two Roads Brewing Co. to create an inky ale and name it Route Of All Evil? Who is this hellish clown, and why am I suddenly afraid of tricycles? Time for a stiff drink.

"Ales From The Crypt" says the label, and this beer pours almost dead black. The barest hints of red appear at the edges where the bubbling solution allows weak trickles of light to pass through. Fear of the dark begins to fade, though, as you notice a thick, tawny head bubbling up from within this Evil, and there's not much - cold, dark, or otherwise - that can't be overcome through the application of seven-point-five percent alcohol.

The head leaves a sticky, bubbly lacing on the glass, and there's a clean and malty smell with just a suggestion of hops. The first swig is sharp with slightly acerbic, darkly toasty grain. The eyes can play tricks in the dark and tell the mouth to expect a heavy weight, but this beer's surprise is its light mouthfeel. There's no viscosity here, and large spherules of carbonation burst on the tongue. Route Of All Evil is a counterpoint to silken nitro stouts or the caloric feast of many winter ales currently hitting the market.

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Thursday
Nov142013

Tacos El Azteca Truck in Norwalk

The Scene – Sitting at a red light at the intersection of Cross Street (Route 1) and Main Street (Route 123) in Norwalk. One of my favorite lunch spots, Nicholas Roberts sits vacant over my left shoulder. On the northeast corner a converted Meineke Shop with a hand-made sign indicating it was now a CT Inspection site (I thought we did away with those). But there was something calling me into the lot, a brightly painted food truck…and a good number of customers eating and ordering at its side window.

The Decision - Sometimes you just gotta go with your gut and give into temptation. So I pulled in, approached the truck and looked at the menu…Tacos, Quesadillas, Burritos and Tortas. I looked at all of the plates that the others were enjoying and they were overwhelmingly tacos, and it appeared that four occupied each plate. Go with the flow... so I ordered beef, pork, tongue and head, all for $7. Included in the price were a small container of green sauce, a few lime wedges and a whole Jalapeño pepper.

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Wednesday
Nov132013

The Weekly Nibble: Upcoming Food News & Events 

On Saturday November 16, Nicholas Roberts Fine Wines will hold its annual Harvest Tasting to benefit Turning Wine Into Water.  The event will take at The Avenue Gallery in Norwalk, CT and last from 5-8pm.  Suggested donations range from $35-$500 depending on which portion of the events guests wish to attend.  Click here for more information or to reserve a space.

On Tuesday November 19, New Canaan Wine Merchants will offer a wine & cheese class titled “Seasons Cheesings!   Owner Jeff Barbour will team up with Erin Hedley of Artisanal cheeses to let guests learn and taste holiday pairings.  It lasts from 7-8:30pm and costs $25 a person. Sign up or get additional information here.

Harlan Social is holding a wine dinner on Wednesday November 20.  It will feature: Wines from Celani Family Vineyards in Napa, California; Cocktail hour at 6:30pm; 5-course dinner at 7:15pm. Seats are limited and available for $175 a person.  To see the menu, make a reservation, or find out more, visit http://www.harlansocial.com/index.html.

It's time to order your Thanksgiving Pies & CakesSono Baking Company & Michele's Pies are accepting orders NOW!

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Wednesday
Nov132013

‘Tis Truffle Season …The White Stuff Has Arrived

So usually when one speaks of “the white stuff”…they mean snow…, which New Englanders know, will at some point be headed our way… But true food experts think “white truffle” when they hear “the white stuff”…and yes…white truffle season is also upon us.

A subterranean fungi, “truffles” are round, warty, and irregular in shape and vary from the size of a walnut to that of a man's fist. The French black truffle from the Perigord region of southwest France is popular shaved over pizza and pasta and as an additive to butter and in making foie gras. 

The jewel of Italian gastronomy, the "white truffle" or "trifola d'Alba" comes from the Piedmont region in northern Italy and, most famously, in the countryside around the cities of Alba and Asti. It can also be found in Molise, Abruzzo, and in the hills around San Miniato, in Tuscany.

They are harvested by expert “truffle foragers” with trained dogs or pigs who are able to detect the strong smell of mature truffles underneath the surface of the ground usually during the months of September and October before being sold at “truffle fairs” and released to those craving the delicacy.  Pricing has climbed over the years reaching a high in 2012 of $3000 a pound for the coveted Alba white truffle. 

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Tuesday
Nov122013

Grilled Cheese Eatery Opens in Fairfield: Grilled Cheese Reinvented

Café Lola, the charming French bistro that recently closed its doors after 5 years, has been reinvented with a classic American spin by owners Ivanina and Henri Donneaux.  What is more comforting than the quintessential grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of homemade tomato soup?  These are just a couple of the delicious items being served fresh daily at the Grilled Cheese Eatery, which is nestled among the shops on Fairfield's Unquowa Road near the Old Community Theater.  “Eating habits have changed,” says Ivanina.  “There is less formality when you go out to eat and we wanted to create a place that was more than a special occasion place,” thus the creation of The Grilled Cheese Eatery.  

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Tuesday
Nov122013

18th Century Thanksgiving Dinner at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum

Connecticut Yankees have always taken pumpkin pie pretty seriously—especially at Thanksgiving—according to culinary educator, food journalist and TV chef Prudence Sloane. When the Connecticut River froze early in the fall of 1705, creating what might have been called The Great Molasses Shortage of 1705, the leaders of Colchester, Connecticut, postponed Thanksgiving until enough of the precious brown goo could be shipped in for the requisite pies. Sloane will expand on this delicious topic, and share other Thanksgiving gastronomic tidbits and trivia during her presentations at the third 18th-Century Thanksgiving Dinner at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, on November 17, 2013, from noon till 3 p.m.

Dressed in period clothing, Mr. and Mrs. Silas Deane will host the authentic Thanksgiving feast for up to 130 guests. Dinner will be preceded by a wine reception with light fare and 18th-century music in the musicians’ gallery. Guests can explore the Silas Deane House and engage the Deanes and Sloane in conversation before dinner.

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Sunday
Nov102013

Tommy Juliano of Community Table: The Master of Dessert via Connecticut Magazine

Tommy Juliano is an artist, a magician, a benevolent puppet master with other people’s taste buds—and the man who, if you let him, will shake your faith in the sanctity of dessert menus at your favorite restaurants, even those that rank among the best in Connecticut and beyond.

Strictly speaking, he’s the “new” pastry chef at Community table (Ct) in the Litchfield County town of Washington, where he and Executive Chef Joel Viehland comprise a culinary high-wire act that delivers cuisine rigorously rooted to local ingredients of the highest integrity and inspired in part by the best—and least gimmicky—practices of what’s known as molecular gastronomy; the combination of the cooking arts with scientific techniques. 

They travel in a select coterie of like-minded and similarly talented chefs in Connecticut—Jeffrey Lizotte of ON20 in Hartford and Tyler Anderson of Millwright's in Simsbury are two members—and together these folks guide restaurants that are distinctly different than other “acclaimed” places, and palpably better for those hungry for cuisine that balances deliciously on that high wire at the very edge of the culinary envelope … and never falls.

What does that mean?...

Click here to read the complete article at Connecticut Magazine. 

Click here to read our original article on Community Table.

Sunday
Nov102013

Meriano's Bake Shoppe Introduces Connecticut's First Cannoli Truck in New Haven

The Cannoli Truck from Meriano's Bake Shoppe
Cuisine: Italian Bakery, Food Truck
Price: $3 per Cannoli 
The Highlights: Traditional, Oreo, seasonal flavors
Online: CannoliTruck.com | MerianosBakeShoppe.com

The first time I heard the phrase "Cannoli Truck" I was convinced it was a New Haven urban legend. The city has trucks and carts filled with almost any cuisine you can imagine, but a truck filled with Italian pastries? This seemed too good to be true. Lucky for New Haven, the truck exists, and its pink and leopard-trimmed reality is far superior to any Italian pastry-filled mirage you can conjure.

I discovered the truck early this summer, first as a hot tip from a New Haven friend excited to have a new truck to add to the city’s burgeoning food truck and cart scene. And then as luck would have it, the truck frequently parks in the neighborhood near my New Haven office, so I’m lucky to “stumble” into it, in all its 7 cannoli-flavor glory.

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Sunday
Nov102013

Craft Butchery's Porktoberfest 2013: Thanks for The Memories...