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Saturday
Oct192013

Marcia Selden's Contest Winners Throw Down "Chopped" Style w/ Ron Ben-Israel

Last Wednesday night, the 3 finalists of the CTbites/Marcia Selden Ultimate Dinner Party contest met for a "CHOPPED"-style cook-off at the GORGEOUS Marcia Selden headquarters in Stamford. Marcia and daughter/partner Robin along with celebrity chef and "Sweet Genius" host Ron Ben-Israel were the judges and...Oh, what a night!

The three lucky finalists were Lisa Eppley of Darien, Krystle Ang of Stamford and Hannah Bukzin of Westport, aged 13...no, really! They came, they saw (by way of a thorough tour of the facility by Jeff Selden, son/partner of Marcia and the ever-fabulous Chef Nicole Straight) and they made their way to the kitchen with high hopes of conquering that grand prize - a Gourmet to Go meal delivered to the winner's home, some cool Marcia Selden swag and, most importantly, the honor of the win!

So the timer was set for one hour, the contestants were told the rules - open the baskets to find the three mystery ingredients, make any dish you like as long as all three ingredients are present and have the dish presentable for the judges in exactly one hour - and the challenge began. And for the mystery ingredients? Drum roll please!!! 

Ritz Crackers - Chick Peas - Strawberry Pop Rocks Candy 

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Friday
Oct182013

Friday Froth: A Pale Wolf Approaches

I do a lot of talking about Brooklyn beers in this space, between the eponymous Brooklyn Brewery, Sixpoint, He'brew/Coney Island etc. - and more on that later - but today we're going to start by kicking it up to the Boogie Down. The Bronx gets a lot of respect as the birthplace of hip hop and the home of Bullwackie's distinctly NYC dub, but if you know anything about the foodie scene outside of Arthur Avenue in the borough, you know more than me. I like to keep my eyes and ears open, though, and my mind well lubricated, so it wasn't too long before I was on the scent of a new brewer out of Port Morris. 

The Bronx Brewery's flagship beer is called Bronx Pale Ale, and was slapped down on the bar top before me in an industrial looking one-pint can. I personally like the stripped down appearance of the silver and black can, and immediately noticed the brewery had followed the trend of printing the beer's ABV, SRM and IBUs right on there, but they had taken it a few steps further and included the Pale Ale's Original and Final Gravities. 

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Friday
Oct182013

"How We Eat" Discussion Series Hosts Jane Stern of Roadfood.com October 23rd

Restaurateurs, farmers, and chefs speak about their world of culinary expertise as part of How We Eat, Ridgefield Magazine’s year of discussions with prominent locals in the food industry. 

Jane Stern, RoadFood author, magazine writer who commands a large following on the topic of road food roadfood.com, will talk about food and dining as cultural anthropology. Putting what we eat into the context of culture, history, and attitudes. This talk will be held on October 23, @ 7 pm

Events take place at the Prospector Annex, 454 Main Street, Ridgefield, until the main theater is completed in summer 2014, when they will move to the main theater on Prospect Street. To reserve a free seat, contact Julia Reis.

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Thursday
Oct172013

Prime 16 Tap House & Burgers Hosts Connecticut Tap Takeover Oct. 23

Prime 16 Tap House & Burgers, located at 464 Boston Post Road in Orange, Connecticut, will be hosting a Connecticut Tap Takeover on Wednesday, October 23 at 5pm.

Twenty of Prime 16's thirty taps will be pouring all local, all Connecticut beers the night of October 23rd. Come meet over a dozen brewery reps and brewmasters from some of Connecticut's best breweries. Scheduled to attend are reps and brewmasters from Beaver, Cavalry, Charter Oak, City Steam, George Washington, Half Full, New England, Olde Burnside, Stony Creek, Two Roads and Weed (and more!)

This event featuring Connecticut beers is especially one to attend as many of these brewers don't have their own tasting rooms. It's an ideal opportunity to taste local beers and speak to the brewers who've created the brews on a one to one level.

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Thursday
Oct172013

Locali Pizza Bar and Kitchen to Open in New Canaan

The intersection of Locust Avenue and Forest Street in New Canaan will be in full restaurant mode again in a few weeks when Locali Pizza Bar and Kitchen, a tribute to Napolitano pizza and small plates, opens in the space that formally housed Kouzina. The restaurant is brainchild of Joe Bueti, whose previous restaurants include 121 in North Salem, Strega in Pleasantville and his current location in Mt. Kisco, Village Social. Bueti is teaming with business partner Anthony Legato in this new venture. Overseeing the kitchen is Chef Mogan Anthony, the current chef at Village Social, and a former participant on “Chopped.” Chef Mogan’s background includes working under Chef Jean Georges Vongericthen in three different locations and a stint at the Bedford Post under New Canaan elm restaurant’s Chef Brian Lewis. The redesign is fully in process and their aim is an inviting, more intimate atmosphere that will deliver classic food and Neapolitan dishes.

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Wednesday
Oct162013

Freshii Opens in Downtown Westport w/ Healthy Eats for All

I was looking for a quick but healthy bite when I walked into Freshii. Set in downtown Westport next to Starbucks at 1 Main St and also accessible from Parker Harding Plaza. the new healthy fast food cafe opened late September with light, modern, clean decor of green seats and wood tables and a list of organic ingredients on the wall resembling the periodic table of the elements. 

The food matched the setting, with simple but well-balanced and flavorful salads, bowls and wraps including the "superbiotic" with spinach, romaine, chick peas, cucumbers, sundried tomatoes, corn, artichoke hearts, red peppers, red onion and cucumber dill dressing and the "ninja" with edamame, soy nuts, cilantro and asian sesame dressing.  

Catering to almost every dietary restriction and food preference, their rice, quinoa and noodle bowls offer vegan, nut- and gluten free choices such as the "warrior" with brown rice, corn, red onions, cajun spice and ranch dressing.

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Wednesday
Oct162013

Recap: Willett Distilling Visits Bobby Q's for Evening of Bourbon & BBQ

Fire is your friend, and on a cool evening at the end of September, so is smoke. Many a hefty stave of Connecticut oak lent its flavor to platters of pork ribs, sausage and smokey burnt ends of brisket at our latest CTBites Invites event. Blue flame lit hand rolled cigars, courtesy of Connecticut Cigar Company, and the gathered crowd on the rooftop bar at Bobby Q's in Westport was warmed by fire of a different kind, via Willett Distilling

We try to lovingly craft our dinner pairings for Invites events, and few things blend as seamlessly as fall weather, bourbon, and BBQ. The former can excite and sharpen the senses, while the latter two coddle and insulate - an ideal coalescence of need and satisfaction to contemplate through a wreath of fine tobacco smoke under a starry sky.

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Tuesday
Oct152013

Brooklynite Cocktail via Saugatuck Grain & Grape

This is an older cocktail I modified during my research of local honey. Other than the Bee's Knees cocktail, I wanted to find another "staple cocktail" to use with honey from Red Bee Apiary. This is a delicious adaptation on the classic Daiquiri. Instead of using simple syrup, orange blossom honey syrup is used. I have used many rums in this recipe and I keep falling back on Ron Zacapa 23 year old from Guatemala disregarding the recommended Jamaican rum. This particular rum is soft and subtle with a rich molasses sweetness that finishes with notes of light caramel outlined in Madagascar vanilla bean. The flavor profile of this rum is just a perfect balance between the acidic lime juice and the floral orange blossom honey. 

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Monday
Oct142013

Food Highlights from The Greenwich Wine + Food Festival

VIEW JFOOD'S PHOTO GALLERY BY CLICKING ABOVE IMAGE

What a great day at the Greenwich Wine + Food Festival presented by Serendipity Magazine wondering around the grounds, sampling food and wine from 100 different restaurants and wine shops, chatting with chefs, owners and fellow food lovers and listening to the chef interviews in our CTbites’ Blogger Lounge. Fairfield County chefs were well represented and each did our little neck of the culinary world proud. It is impossible to go through each of their offerings but several deserve individual shout outs. [VIEW MY PHOTO GALLERY HERE] In alphabetical order:

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Sunday
Oct132013

Sneak Peek at Greenwich's Golden View Firenze

The culinary landscape in Greenwich expands with the recent opening of Golden View Firenze at 249 Railroad Avenue with its owner, chef and menu direct from Florence, Italy. For many years Tommaso Grasso, owner of Golden View Open Bar overlooking the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, visited friends in the US and they recently convinced him to bring his upscale cuisine and vibe to Greenwich. He persuaded Italian chef Francesco Casu to join him from Florence, and the two have created a traditional and authentic Tuscan menu.

Entering the restaurant, you immediately feel the European influence in the décor. The sleek black and white tables and chairs were imported from Italy and the walls are all adorned with paintings also imported from Italy. The entire space has an inviting European hip ambience and is spacious for the forty guests who will dine on traditional Tuscan cuisine. The entire rear of the dining area is dedicated to the stainless steel kitchen with a Chef’s Counter for four lucky guests.

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