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Sunday
Jul282013

Delicious Dives: Los Poblanos, Mexican in Norwalk

One bite into the tacos al pastor at Los Poblanos, and my husband and I looked up at one another in amazement. Whoa, this is really good. Tender plump bites of orange-hued pork shoulder, coated with ground chiles and herbs, mixed with bits of sweet, juicy pineapple. The flavors melded, cooked together to just the right moment. Warm, soft homemade corn tortillas. The pork topped with minced fresh raw onions and cilantro. 

The exterior didn’t prepare us for food made with such care. I mean, I love discovering a little Mexican hole-in-the-wall. When I noticed a handmade sign for Los Poblanos hanging outside what was still at that point Hubba Luncheonette, in a dingy little strip mall in Norwalk (cattycorner to Penzy’s), I took a quick left turn. The transformation from American breakfast place and luncheonette to Mexican, in terms of décor, at that point was shiny tourist posters of the Puebla region of Mexico. Since then it’s brightened up. The walls are painted cheerful contrasting colors, orange, green and red. The place is small and simple, with four booths, and a couple tables for two. 

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Friday
Jul262013

Friday Froth: GermaNY

NPR recently had a piece by Joel Rose about the booming booze business in New York, focusing partially on one of my favorite distillers, Tuthilltown Spirits. Their rye (as experienced in Manhattan form) has gotten me through the darker portions of several recent winters. The gist of the piece is the birth of craft distillation after the industry's wrongful execution by the dullard proponents of the Volstead Act. The second coming of legal hooch in America, post-Prohibition, had a tremendous amount to do with first generation immigrants, especially Germans, who brought old-world recipes to a thirsty nation. The foundations they laid have paired beautifully with the American penchant for ignoring inconvenient rules, and the two together have produced our current boom in craft distillation and craft beer, which has begun (somewhat ironically) to echo in Europe. 

Let's take a look at some of the excellent brews, New Yorker, German, or otherwise, with which we may satiate our parched palettes this summer. 

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Thursday
Jul252013

Best Places to Grab a Picnic or To-Go Meal in Fairfield County CT

A tisket, a tasket...a lovely picnic basket. Or possibly just a simple, perfect, brown bag lunch. A lunch wrapped to eat by the seashore (sand not included), one to eat while lounging on a blanket in the grass listening to an outdoor, evening concert or one stuffed into a backpack for your long, summer hike. What is it about eating en plein air that is so fabulously enjoyable? Whatever your destination, here are a few suggestions for acquiring the perfect to-go meal....

Share your favorite To-Go spots by leaving a comment below:

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Wednesday
Jul242013

Summer Cocktails from Luxe Modern: Ginger Smash

LUXE Modern Wine & Cocktails in Westport has been serving up a curated selection of over 45 wines and inventive Craft cocktails since January of 2012. Under the keen direction of owner Robert Reilly, Luxe has established itself as a go-to spot for beverage aficionados in Fairfield County and beyond. 

We recently swung by Luxe and asked Robert to whip up a few of his favorite summer cocktails. CTbites will be running a series of these recipes, the first of which is the beautiful Ginger Smash, (seen above). Try one of these out for your next party..they are sure to be an instant hit. 

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Tuesday
Jul232013

Steam Coffee Bar Opening at Greens Farms Station in Westport 

It’s full steam ahead for Briana Pennell and Chris Barrett, who are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their La Marzocco espresso machine, as they plan the opening of their first location of Steam Coffee Bar at Greens Farms Train Station at the end of the month.

Steam will exclusively brew the locally renowned Raus Coffee and take iced coffee to a new level, serving drinks such as “Cold Roman, Roman Navel and Roman Kiss.” The new shop will also serve Arogya tea, an organic tea vendor based in Westport, and a variety of local baked goods and breakfast items from the area, including several gluten-free choices. Fresh-pressed, organic juices from The Stand and local Connecticut milk from The Farmer’s Cow are among the other area favorites on the menu. 

“We pride ourselves on using only the freshest ingredients and highest quality products,” said Pennell. “We love supporting the small business community and we’re very excited about sharing the best of what’s around locally with the commuters and our neighbors in the Green's Farms area.”

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Tuesday
Jul232013

BONDA Takes Dinner Outside: En Plein Air Recap

“En Plein Air” is a French expression which means "in the open air"…and on July 10th and 11th, BONDA Chef/Owner Jamie Cooper braved the threat of thunderstorms and hosted two dinners at the Greenfield Hill Grange #133 in Fairfield, one of only five Granges left in Fairfield County. 

The evenings, both sold out events, featured not only Jamie’s signature style of preparing unique dishes using local ingredients and creative seasonings and pairings, but also the 120-year-old Greenfield Hill Grange, a historic nod to the days when local farmers met to trade or sell their produce and livestock.  The Grange, or officially, The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, is a fraternal organization in the United States which encourages families to band together to promote the economic and political well being of the community and agriculture, was truly the “original” Farmers Market!  

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Sunday
Jul212013

Walrus and Carpenter Opens in Bridgeport w/ Killer BBQ & Elegant Sides

Certainly, the food scene in Bridgeport is getting "curiouser and curiouser." And that's a very good thing. No need for a trip down the rabbit hole, however, to experience the marvelous and weirdly wonderful creations at the new Walrus and Carpenter at 2895 Fairfield Ave. The concept (brain child of proprietor Joe Farrell) is this - a slow cook BBQ house that offers haute cuisine sides and a first class beer menu where everything (except for the tequila and the pit master) is made in America.

Usually, American BBQ restaurants offer excellent meats but boring, less than note-worthy accompaniments. Here, the offerings are mostly Texas style -where the meat is slow cooked and fall-off-the-bone tender -and the main courses are paired with elegant slaws, exquisite collards and house made pickle platters. Food is plated, not just put on the plate, and that adds to the special experience. And to elevate your dining further, a fabulous selection of Craft beers by the glass or by the growler.  (Some choices include Green Flash Imperial IPA and Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace.)  The kitchen is led by Executive Chef Paul DiMaria formerly of Community Table in Washington, CT and the food is first class yet at the same time finger-licking delicious. Simply put - it works. 

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Friday
Jul192013

Bodega Taco Bar Celebrates National Tequila Day w/ Freebies For All!

Bodega Taco Bar is celebrating our Best of Gold Coast Win and National Tequila Day at both the Fairfield and Darien locations. Here's what they've got going on...

Wednesday, July 24th is National Tequila Day. Come by this evening and try a sample of paQui' - the newest addition to our high end Tequila offerings. paQui' means " to be happy" in ancient Aztec tongue. "paQui + Bodega means "very happy."

Thursday, July 25 is National Tequila Hangover Day (we made this up). The perfect cure... 2 for 1 breakfast tacos all day & night.

The party continues on Saturday night in both Darien and Fairfield. Come by for a complimentary "Shave Ice" on the sidewalk Mexico City Style.  Toppings include Homemade Strawberry, Tamarind and Mango Marmalades and Hibiscus, Watermelon, Lime and Dulce de Leche Syrups. 

Adults can "spike it" with a drizzle of paQui tequila. What is "Shave Ice"? Come and find out Saturday from 5pm until meltdown.  

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Friday
Jul192013

Update: The Mission to Save King’s Kitchen In Southport

Independence Day – the one day a year when this nation of immigrants pays homage to our founding fathers by flocking to beaches; burger and beer in hand. Unfortunately, the three King brothers, owners of King’s Kitchen - known for serving Southport sustainable beachside fare - spent this July 4th battling to save their business.

Last summer, King’s Kitchen made their debut on the Southport shore, serving locally grown and sourced beach food. The menu features about five items and changes daily – items ranging from lobster rolls and quesadilla with a fennel and caper Russian remoulade, to ox hollow grass-fed burgers and short rib tacos. The brothers also offer an assortment of chips, and a variety of organic juices, including refreshing watermelon lemonade. 

Signs reading “Save the Shack!” cover the cabin that once served as King’s Kitchen headquarters for all food preparation, cooking, and serving. This blue-gray building, located at 1505 Pequot Avenue in Fairfield, was built in 1946. It is both a “historic landmark” and “childhood memory”, according to Hunter King, one of the King’s brothers and partners. 

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Thursday
Jul182013

The Best Ice Cream Shoppes in CT: The Full Scoop

In our recent roundup of supermarket ice cream, we found ourselves invoking adjectives like "Sinful," "Addictive," "Decadent.." etc. ... as if confessing to indulging in craven pleasures by the pint-full. 

But then, who gives a lick?   Especially when an Ice Cream Shoppe offers even greater temptations than any Stop and Shop. Simply put, the ice cream hand churned on site is usually fresher, creamier, denser, richer and, yes, far more seductive than its commercial cousins.  In addition, these family owned shops serve a wider spectrum of original flavors, most sourced locally, than you’ll find on the freezer aisle. 

Plus, is there any place in Connecticut more kid friendly than a scoop shop -- especially for the child inside you? 

So, for you and your family’s summer pleasures, be they guilty or innocent, CTBites has chosen the best local ice cream emporia.

We bring you The Best Ice Cream Shoppes in CT. 

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