Sign Me Up!


Sign Me Up For:


Our Sponsors

 

 

Our Partners

 


Search CT Bites
Our Sponsors

We Wrote A Book!

Sunday
Nov242013

Mecha Noodle Bar Brings Asian Noodles & Street Food to Fairfield

Post opening tweaks are commonplace during the first few months after a restaurant's opening. With Mecha’s minor changes completed, it now firmly fills the belly rumbling void of Southeast Asian Noodles and street food, popularizing Ramen, Pho and South East Asian comfort food.

Owner Tony Pham, who also owns Pho Vietnam in Danbury, saw an opportunity in Fairfield, to capture the hearts and hungry stomachs of the Fairfield U student bodies by opening a Ramen noodle bar. This small, but cozy, space is an architecturally clean, eye pleasing mix of Modern Asian décor...with a long community table in the center and block style tables around its perimeter. There is some additional seating circling the "bar" with colorful Asian ceramic stools adding some pop and a touch of elegance to this casual space. Pham is committed to keeping his two restaurants a "family affair," and you may be seated, served, or cooked for, by one of his family members! 

When I first visited with Tony in September, Ramen noodles were the main attraction on his menu. Several months later, Mecha’s menu is now representative of Japan’s different regional nuances with the current soup bases including Shoyu, Miso and Chicken.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov222013

3 Fave Thanksgiving Side Dishes via Food Design’s Michael William Batt

Ready to talk Thanksgiving Menus? Food Design's Chef Michael Batt has a few ideas for you:

Michael Batt was recently named a winner on Food Network's "Chopped" program, but is his day job he provides great catering for clients including Ron Howard and Kathy Hilton and caters charitable events of all sizes for The American Red Cross, Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, and more. He has a few favorite Thanksgiving side dishes that have proved tried and true, and Chef Batt  has offered to share his recipe with us. Check out these great recipes for: Sweet Potato puree with Maple Syrup, Vanilla bean, Cinnamon & Orange; Brussels’ Sprouts with Roasted Garlic, & Roasted Baby Carrots & Parsnips with brown Sugar & Sage.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov222013

Fairway Market's Fabulous Potato Latkes Recipe

You don't have to be Jewish to love latkes.  And it doesn't have to be Hanukkah to set aside your fear of frying and indulge in a steaming stack of crisp and creamy sautéed  potato patties slathered in sour cream, applesauce (or even served a la mode).   Indeed, the cold weather holidays offer the ideal excuse to serve warm, welcoming, and festive Latkes.

Fairway Market has brought us a recipe for latkes that is perfect for holiday cooking, secular or sacred, starting with Thanksgiving.  Not only are these yummy pancakes a seasonal treat, but they work wonderfully as a do-ahead.  After frying,  keep the latkes warm in a low oven for up to two hours.  You can also make a day ahead, refrigerate and then re-heat on a cookie sheet for five minutes in a medium oven.

Why are these latkes different than all others?  Rebecca Martin of Fairway, who created the recipe, says there is no secret, but the following steps make the prep virtually foolproof.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov212013

The Weekly Nibble: Upcoming Food News & Events

Mama’s Boy Southern Table & Refuge in Sono hosts a blues brunch on Sundays from 1-4pm.  On November 24 and December 1 you can enjoy the Walter & David Blues Duo. More information here.

On Monday November 25, Barcelona in West Hartford will offer a Thanksgiving Prep cooking class.  Guests can learn to make chorizo stuffing, red chimchurri for the turkey, and more. The class starts at 7pm and costs $35pp, plus tax and gratuity. 

The Spread in Sono will have a pre-Thanksgiving Party on Wednesday November 27. Get the details here. 

Tuesday, November 26 Fairway Market will partner with Fox Radio to hold a food drive to benefit the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County. 8am-7pm. 

On November 30, Breckenridge Beer Company is partnering with the Craft Beer Guild of CT for a wine and cheese class.  The class is $20/person, limited to 12 people due to size.  Class begins at 4PM at Grand Vin Fine Wines of New Haven 28 E. Grand Ave.  More information here.

Red Stone Pub in Simsbury, CT will host a Beer Festival on November 30th from 1-9pm.  There will be live music and a wide selection of craft beers. http://www.redstonepubs.com/1/post/2013/11/beer-festival.html 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov202013

Guide to Catering Thanksgiving in Fairfield County

Thanksgiving is the most anticipated and sometimes the most daunting meal of the year. But, in the end, it is all about food, friends and family. Depending on the number of guests in your party, there are several options for celebrating the holiday that don't involve slaving away in the kitchen for days.  Here are a few resources for those who would prefer to get a little assistance. (Readers: If you know of other Thanksgiving catering resources, please add them.)

Rosie in New Canaan can handle all your Thanksgiving needs. A full menu of classic sides such as Rosie’s homemade herb gravy, haricots verts with shitakes, & celery root apple fennel soup. Call (203) 966-8998. 

Le Farm/ The Whelk will be closed on Thanksgiving, but will be offering LeFarm's Whipped Chicken Livers with bacon marmalade and/or The Whelk's Smoked Trout Dip to serve your family and friends for the holidays! Call to order: (203) 557-3701

Aux Delices in Greenwich and Westport can prepare your entire Thanksgiving meal. They will be open from 8:00 am - 6:30 pm Wed., November 27th and offer everything from turkeys in varying sizes, soups, sides and dessert. View the full Thanksgiving menu here. 

Sugar & Olives: Everything but the turkey...but everything is REALLY tasty. Fig and Apple Stuffing Muffins, Pecan and Bourbon Turkey Glaze, Brussels Sprouts w/ Pomegranate Molasses + Duck Bacon. Call for more information: (203) 454-3663

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov202013

My Signature Dish: Chef Scott Ostrander from Mama's Boy in SoNo

"My Signature Dish" is a new CTbites column featuring a rotating cast of chefs, and the dishes that define their cooking style, or simply make them happy to fire up the oven. 

We looked forward to learning about what Scott Ostrander had chosen as his signature dish at Mama’s Boy in SoNo, a Connecticut restaurant featuring Southern cooking and cuisine. But he was reluctant to tell us much about it.  “We’re dealing with some major issues,” he confided.  “Trying to dodge disaster.”

Issues. Disasters.  Great.  The stuff of a good story.   We urged him on.  But Chef Ostrander demurred. “I just can’t get into it right now,”  he apologized. 

The next time we met, the chef was all smiles.  Problems solved.   Scott shared the back story, one that reveals how a gifted chef deals with and solves both business and culinary challenges.

His new signature dish at Mama’s Boy is Crisp Pork Shank, an osso bucca-like braised pork shank with a dramatic Southern twist. Traditionally, slowly simmered meat is tender, juicy, and deeply flavored.   But its soft texture is monochromatic.   For his shank, Scott wanted contrapuntal textures.  Soft.   And Crunchy.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov192013

4B Festival: Beer, Bourbon, BBQ, & Bacon Converge in New Haven

The 4B Festival announced the area’s first of its kind festival of specially curated beer, bourbon, barbecue and bacon is coming to New England. Happy Holidays to me!

4B concepted this indulgent experience in honor of two cornerstones of American heritage – fermented grains and salted meats – and to help drive local businesses and tourism. A portion of proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships will go to the CT Craft Brewers Guild to help support local businesses.

From microbrews to pork belly, the 4B Festival will bring together national and local purveyors all in one place to offer the most delicious and creative samplings to “4B” aficionados, all highlighted with musical performances, interactive art displays and live competitions among home brewers, BBQ taste tests and a bacon eating contest for the real meat eaters. From food samplings from pit masters, chefs and restaurants to bacon-infused treats to tastings at beer and bourbon stations with a souvenir shot glass.

“After family there are very few important things in life, and we’ve narrowed them down to these four - Beer, Bourbon, Barbecue & Bacon,” said David Salinas

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov172013

Cooking with Fire: Fortina in Armonk

Cooking with wood fire has a preternatural, almost primal appeal. You could argue that as cavemen, it was our first foray into comfort food. The intense heat and smoke has the power to transform otherwise unassuming ingredients. The six-month old Fortina in Armonk, begins with this deceptively simple ethos–Italian food, cooked simply, in wood fired ovens–and elevates it with a thoughtful culinary execution and a familiar, if familial, disarming vibe.

There is a complexity to the simplicity,” said Rob Krauss, one of Fortina’s three partners along with John Nealon and Christian Petroni, nailing what makes the restaurant’s cuisine tick. I’m fairly certain Krauss is also referring to the restaurant’s team, an extended family of sorts that works equally hard at the food as they do cultivating the culture at Fortina

More than the sum of its wood-fired parts, Fortina relies on the culinary prowess and Italian heritage of partner and Executive Chef Christian Petroni, formerly of Barcelona Greenwich, as both muse and ringleader. “My background is Italian, I grew up spending summers in Ponza. One of my favorite restaurants is Peasant. As a young cook, Frank de Carlo was an inspiration as a chef. I was intrigued by cooking in wood ovens. There is something about it that is so gratifying. It’s a beautiful thing.” Along with chef de cuisine Jodi Bernhard, formerly of Barcelona, the kitchen has the creative chops responsible for its daily printed menu.

 

Click to read more ...

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. 

Click to read more ...

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.

Click to read more ...