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Top 10 Craft Cocktails in lower Fairfield County. Go-to spots for killer cocktails. 

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Thursday
Nov152012

The Story Behind Fat Cat Pie Co. in Norwalk CT

As an English enthusiast, I am always looking for meaningful ways to explain the concept of “irony.”  It is perhaps the most misunderstood word in the English language.  Although Alanis Morisette’s single “Ironic” proved catchy, it helped propagate the phony notion that irony must be linked to coincidence or misfortune. Irony is actually a simple “incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.”  Examples include a traffic officer avoiding parking tickets or the demise of “unsinkable” Titanic.  But the best embodiment of the term is certainly the Fat Cat Pie Company This venture, led by Mark Ancona, Anthony Ancona, Suzanne Ancona, and Mike Pelletier, is a dazzling display of all things unexpected.

 

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Wednesday
Nov142012

Connecticut Burgers Go National via “A Hamburger Today”

For those who love hamburgers, The Spotted Horse Tavern in Westport offers two pre-designed alternatives. The Saugatuck Craft Butchery Burger is a simple hamburger with lettuce and tomato with additional toppings available (major recommendation is the bacon) and the Black Truffle Burger includes one of my new favorite additions, a fried egg. Both offer incredibly delicious meat from Westport’s own Saugatuck Craft Butchery.

Now the “Hamburgers of Fairfield County,” as well as Connecticut, will receive justifiable attention nationally in America’s most widely read hamburger review site, A Hamburger Today. My first review focused on a long-standing favorite in New Canaan, Cherry Street East and my most recent entry presented Westport’s new entrant, The Spotted Horse, where guests can enjoy hamburgers in a relaxed and vibrant atmosphere.

“The highlight of the burgers is the incredible meat; it's one of the most flavorful patties I've ever tasted;

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Wednesday
Nov142012

Special Holiday Market Nov 21 @ Westport Farmers' Mkt

Special Holiday Market to be held on Wednesday, November 21st at The Westport Farmers’ Market

The summer season may be over but that won’t stop the folks at The Westport Farmers’ Market from bringing you the very best around, especially with Thanksgiving just around the corner. For the first time in its history the WFM will is offering a special Holiday Market! The market will be held on Wednesday, November 21 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. in the Imperial Avenue Commuter Lot. 

Why deal with the crowds and the chaos…the hectic, miserable, overcrowded grocery stores when you can come to the Westport Farmers’ Market to find the very best selection of the most local, freshest and best ingredients around?  Dazzle your family and friends with the most delicious Thanksgiving meal yet!  The Westport Farmers’ Holiday Market is one-stop shopping at its best!

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Tuesday
Nov132012

Calling All Pepperheads: Salemme Peppers

If you are the type who scoffs at the red pepper flakes provided at the local pizza parlor, screwing off the top to be able to pour the maximum number of flakes on your slice while saying loudly enough for tables nearby to hear, “Ha!  You call this hot?”, then you really need Tom Salemme.

Along with his extended Italian family residing in and around Cheshire CT – and to be fair, Brooklyn - Tom keeps the Salemme tradition going. It started a couple of generations ago, great-great-grandparents growing peppers for their own use, but friends and neighbors had to have some, too. 

The tradition lived on long after the first and second generations passed away and the family farm was sold. Salemme peppers stayed, sowed and harvested on local farmland owned by T&D Growers, dried in nearby greenhouses, and, finally, the tiny peppers are plucked by hand from the dry plants at long tables in Tom Salemme’s backyard on an autumn afternoon.

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Tuesday
Nov132012

The Mind of Chef Debuts on PBS

For a limited time on PBS.org, you can stream the first four episodes of the PBS series narrated by Anthony Bourdain, The Mind of a Chef. The focus of the first season is chef David Chang of Momofuku fame who takes the viewer on a tour of a few of his favorite things including ramen, the chef's love of pig, his path as a chef and Spain. 

In the series premiere, "Chang dissects the roots of his passion for ramen dishes and tsukemen on a trip to Japan." The episodes capture the playful curiousity of Chang and insight into what makes him tick as a chef. The editing and background music may be a bit wonky, but the episodes are as addictive as the MSG-laden instant ramen that Change demonstrates how to eat raw.

The first four series on now on PBS.org until November 23. 

Watch The Mind of a Chef - Preview on PBS. See more from PBS.

Sunday
Nov112012

Quattro Pazzi: Molto Popular... In Stamford & Fairfield CT

"Good food. Good prices. People will come." That was the recipe for success my Russian Grandfather formulated when he opened his world-famous Indianapolis delicatessen a century ago.

Biagio “Gino” Riccio must have channeled Grandpa. His jam-packed Quattro Pazzi restaurants in Stamford and Fairfield are testimony to what happens when you serve delicious fare at fair prices. People flock … making QP one of the most popular Italian restaurants in Connecticut. (In fact, over 5000 CTBites readers voted Quattro Pazzi as the best Italian in Fairfield Country.)

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Sunday
Nov112012

Bodega Taco Bar Opens in Darien

The upscale, inspired Mexican street food and vibrant bar scene that Bodega has ushered in to Fairfield, has migrated south, opening in Darien this past weekend. The trio behind the original Bodega—Michael Young, Luis Chavez and Mario Fontana—have continued to perfect a brash menu that embraces the Americas, skewing from South America to North, and settling centrally on Mexico. In a markedly larger setting, the new Darien outpost has successfully duplicated much of the same menu, from antojitos to mezcal, with a few noteworthy additions. Bodega will be officially open starting Monday, November 12 at 5 pm for dinner, and will be open 6 nights a week Monday through Saturday, and open for lunch and brunch beginning January 6, seven days a week.

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Saturday
Nov102012

Visions of Gingerbread @ The Stamford Museum Opens Nov 17

CTbites is proud to be the media sponsor for Stamford Museum and Nature Center's “Visions of Gingerbread: The Sweetest Architects” exhibition. 

Every year, I buy one of those boxed gingerbread house kits and my kids and I go at it. We glop it together with that glue-like petroleum by-product substance that they call icing, we decorate with the stale jelly beans and mini gum balls they provide, and we call it a day. It’s fun and the kids enjoy it. Do yours? If so, head to the Stamford Museum and Nature Center (SM and NC) this month and next to see how the pros do it. “Visions of Gingerbread: The Sweetest Architects” is the name of the exhibition that the museum is presenting as both a showcase for local bakers and as a fundraiser for the SM and NC.

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Friday
Nov092012

Friday Froth: What's New?

Every day is like waking up in a new place when you're a beer fan. The craft beer scene continues to hit higher plateaus. Brewers and beer artisans no longer seem content to simply produce a great beer in a recognizable style, they're reaching out into the realms of winemaking, distillation and cooking just to see what they can offer, what they can contribute to zymurgy. I've mentioned the experimental barrel-aging going on with B. United's Zymatore Project, but every stumbling step seems to put me mouth to mouth with a pint of inspired brewing. It's like the Seattle music scene in 1990, or Parisian cafes in 1870: artists are communicating with artists, experiencing each others' product, and reconsidering what they can produce. 

Yesterday I had a Rogue Chipotle ale. Yes, yes, I know: chipotle has been done, done to death, buried, reanimated in a unholy ceremony using two parts voodoo and one part Guy Fieri's wrist band, and been put down and buried again, but there I was, having to recalibrate what I thought about beer.

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Friday
Nov092012

Don't Miss New Haven Restaurant Week...November 11-16

Recognized for its remarkable restaurants and culinary scene, New Haven will host the 9th NEW HAVEN RESTAURANT WEEK presented by Citizens Bank from November 11 – 16, 2012. This year, 33 of the city’s most sought-after restaurants will open their doors, and their hearts, with prix fixe menus costing $18 for lunch and $32 for dinner. Set menus and prices will include an appetizer, entrée and dessert (tax and gratuity are not included.)

Restaurants participating in November’s NEW HAVEN RESTAURANT WEEK  include: 116 Crown (Bar, Kitchen & Cellar), Adriana's Restaurant & Wine Bar (Northern Italian), Anna Liffey’s (Authentic Irish), Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar (Spanish Wine Bar), Basta Trattoria (Southern Italian), Bentara (Spicy Malaysian), Carmen Anthony Steakhouse (American Steakhouse), Caseus (Fromagerie & Bistro), Christopher Martins (Modern American & Italian), Geronimo (Southwestern), Goodfellas Restaurant (Regional Italian), Heirloom (Coastal Farm), Ibiza (Creative Spanish), Istanbul Café (Authentic Turkish), John Davenport’s (Contemporary American), Kudeta (Asian Fusion), L’Orcio (Contemporary Italian), Miya’s Sushi (Creative Sushi), Oaxaca Kitchen (Contemporary Mexican), Old School Saloon and Bistro (Continental Cuisine),  Pacifico (Nuevo Latino), Press (Artisan Pizza), Sage American Grill & Oyster Bar (Contemporary American), Soul de Cuba Café (Cuban), Temple Grill (American Casual), Thali (Regional Indian), The Cask Republic (American Tavern), The Kitchen Table (Sustainable American), Tre Scalini Ristorante (Regional Italian), Union League Café (Parisian Brasserie), Zafra Cuban Restaurant & Rum Bar (Cuban), Zaroka Bar & Restaurant (Fine Indian) and Zinc (Modern American).

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