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Road Trip to Philly: Food, Bars & Culture

When I told a friend I was going to Philadelphia for a couple days, he said, “second prize, two weeks in Philadelphia.” That old W.C. Fields joke is funny, but two days in this art-filled, foodie city made me wish for two weeks.  There’s lots to explore. Chef-followers will recognize Iron Chef Jose Garces, Top Chef Kevin Sbraga, and empire-building chef Stephen Starr. Locals will tell you about their favorite mixologist Katie Loeb. 

CT Bites readers will discover the American food revolution took root early in Philadelphia, and it’s flourished.  Philly’s vibrant city streets are filled with interesting architecture, art, museums, restaurants, cafes, clubs and bars. Yet, it’s a polite city. People murmur, “Excuse me.” And if they see you with a map in your hand and a befuddled expression on your face, they offer directions. Showing the Brotherly Love is what they do.

Brauhaus Schmitz

The Philadelphia food story begins with the Germans, who first arrived in 1683. Today, lines form out the door Fridays and Saturday’s at Brauhaus Schmitz, which specializes in New German cooking.

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Friday Froth: Sweet, Sour and Stout

You're hungry, but you sit there, getting hungrier, because you don't know what you want to eat. Spoiled for choice, you end up ravenous and choosing the closest, quickest option for an ultimately unsatisfying resolution. An Italian combo sub is good, but Thai would have been better. Barbeque usually hits the spot, but enchiladas suizas are what you were really craving. Sometimes having fewer options can lead to happier conclusions. This week I'm going to give you a few options in three categories, and hopefully it will make your decisions a little easier the next time you're faced with a giant wall of six packs, or a tap list with fifty options.

How about something fruitier to start? A drink almost like a punch, or a cocktail you'd get at a tiki bar? One answer to sate this need is Birrificio del Ducato Frambozschella. This is an Italian beer made with fresh raspberries and lactic acid, then aged in wooden barrels. It pours a deep, dark ruby red, and had almost no head at all as it was poured for me. You'll be able to smell the pH from four inches away and it's sour, but it never threatened to turn my face inside out.

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The Drawing Room in Cos Cob Presents: Artist’s Table Dinner, June 22nd

The Drawing Room in Cos Cob has announced a June 22nd date for the next Artist’s Table Dinner Series event. For those unfamiliar with The Drawing Room, it is an intimate gem, with a small dining room and garden patio that extends the tiny restaurant in the warm seasons and a newly remodeled art gallery in the space adjacent to the cafe.

“The Artist’s Table”, is a seated, plated dinner, with limited seating, situated right in their beautiful gallery, featuring local farms, artisanal cheeses and fresh, local ingredients, which highlight particular artworks and artists in their current exhibit. This Dinner Series is an exciting combination, bringing together art and food lovers and alike.

Their executive chef, Paul Lockely will be teaming up with Bjorn Eicke of Thomas Henkelmann to artfully create a five course dinner inspired by artworks from the current exhibition, "Ebb and Flow."


Each course is well thought-out and inspired by the current collection of artwork in the gallery.  (See menu below)  In other words, each dish is based on a piece of artwork. 

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The Weekly Nibble: Upcoming Food News & Events

Morello of Greenwich launches a new two-course prix fixe lunch menu, which will be offered seven days a week, beginning Sunday, June 15.  It will be available throughout the summer in addition to Morello’s traditional Italian and Mediterranean menu items.

On Tuesday June 17, learn “How to Brew Your Own Beer at Home” at the Cyrenius H. Booth Library in Newtown.  This FREE class will teach you how to brew a beer at home as well as explore its history and different styles.  You will sample four different styles of home brew and learn about different ingredients.  You can sign up by calling the library 203-426-4533 or register here. Participants must be over 21. 

Also on Tuesday, Plan B of Milford presents a Game of Thrones Dinner.  Watch the finale while dining on 6 courses and drinks from the Ommegang Brewery.  $60pp, 6-9pm. 

Enjoy “Taco Tuesdays” at Lola’s Mexican Kitchen in Stamford.  Tacos and Coronitas are just $2 each from 5pm to 10pm.

City Limits Diner of Stamford and White Plains City just debuted its “Burger and Beer Blast” which will take place on Tuesdays.  From 5 p.m. to close, enjoy half priced draft pours of Stamford’s Half Full Brewery with the purchase of any City Limits burger.  

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Fresh Nation Enables Home Delivery for Westport Farmers' Market 

Fresh Nation, the online marketplace for farmers markets, and Westport Farmers’ Market announced they have formed a strategic partnership to provide online shopping and home delivery.  Fresh Nation will operate an online storefront for the Market, providing local consumers with the ability to place an online order from many of their favorite Market vendors and receive same day home delivery from a Fresh Nation personal shopper. 

Fresh Nation delivers fresh food direct from farmers markets to consumers, by bringing local farmers markets together into a convenient online shopping destination, enabling farmers and food makers at the markets to reach new customers who do not normally make it to the market.  The company employs trained food shoppers to go the markets and personally fill customers’ online orders.  After receiving orders from Fairfield County residents for Thursday delivery, Fresh Nation fills these orders at the Westport Farmers’ Market and drives them directly to customers’ homes. 

“We are committed to bringing the freshest and best foods from the Westport Farmers’ Market to all members of our community,” said Lori Cochran

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Dad’s & Grad’s Ultimate Grilled Pizza Party w/ Recipes from Marcia Selden

Time to celebrate your special Dad (June 15th ~ Father’s Day) or your fabulous Grad!  There’s no better time to fire up the grill and throw a party.   We've got a great salad to start… our grilled romaine with a blue cheese and bacon vinaigrette. 

Another one of our favorites things to make, at Marcia Selden Catering, are grilled pizzas.  The varieties are endless. It’s a little different and who doesn’t love pizza! This is a rare treat.

As for the pizza, if you don’t want to make your own dough, most stores sell great pre-made dough to make it real simple. Buy (from a good salad bar) or make lots of the toppings.

The best way to set yourself up for success is to arrange all of the toppings in bowls on a table by the grill. Guests can simply choose their toppings and grill up the pizzas on the spot.

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BBQ, Music & Fun @ Sun BBQFest June 20-22nd at Mohegan Sun

Warm up with a weekend of tasty BBQ, live entertainment and fun for the whole family at the SUN BBQFEST June 20-22nd @ Mohegan Sun. Sink your teeth into some of the nation's best barbecue with festivities including a team BBQ competition, beer trailer, live music plus an extraordinary fireworks display! Kick off your summer with a guaranteed chillin' & grillin' good time!

Click here for a complete list of vendors. 

Don't miss the Wing Competition on Saturday June 21st!

Vote on the best wings from 1:00pm - 3:00pm at the judges tent. Purchase a set of tickets at the tent for only $5 and try 5 delicious wing samples. Vote on your favorite and help us crown the winning Wing Team!

This event will benefit The Operation BBQ Relief. Find out more about their efforts here.

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Community Table in Washington: A New Bar and Expanded Dining Room

Community Table, the Washington, CT restaurant that should be on every serious gourmand’s bucket list, debuted a stunning new dining room and bar this week, kicking off its high summer season with its signature rustic modern style.

The four-year old restaurant continues to set itself apart by a seasonally-driven New Nordic-inspired menu. Its talented team, led by James Beard-nominated Executive Chef Joel Viehland, has helped to establish Community Table as one of the region’s best restaurants.  

The new dining room and bar, designed by architect Peter Talblot working closely with owner Peggy Anderson on the design vision,

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Farm to Table @ Bailey's Backyard in Ridgefield

Bailey’s Backyard opened in 1999, the brainchild of Chef Sal Bagliavio, who oversaw the kitchen for fourteen years. Wanting to spend more time with his family he hired Executive Chef Forrest Pasternack in early 2013 to develop a farm-to-table menu, focused on locally produced ingredients.

Born and raised in Western Connecticut, Chef Pasternack’s love of fresh ingredients developed at an early age. His childhood included picking vegetables, fishing the waters of Nantucket Sound, and digging clams in Chatham, Mass.: all to enjoy at family dinner. This passion was both enhanced and refined when he graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America. Post-graduation he sharpened his culinary skills at some of New York’s finest restaurants, including Zoe with Chef David Honeysett, the BLT Restaurant Group with Chef Laurent Tourendel, Eats on Lexington with Chef Jeremy Spector, Employee’s Only and The Brindle Room. His passion for the farm-to-table movement inspired his menus at The SOHO Grand Hotel in lower Manhattan and Terra Restaurant in Greenwich. Since joining Baily’s Backyard, he has dazzled guests with creative combinations and bold flavors.

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Recap: Bar Sugo Wins The 2014 Meatball Challenge 

It was a great evening for a great cause. Over 100 people converged on the Factory Underground to settle a contest among eleven local chefs, who makes the best meatball. Each chef created their version of the Italian classic and creativity was evident in many. 

There was a a meatball perched on BBQ pork and beans, an fantastic arancini with a meat sauce, an interpretation of a gyro and a Mexican version.

In the end the guests voted and the winner was...

Bar Sugo - Winner 2014 Meatball Challenge

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