Want to start an argument…talk hamburgers. This simple grilled piece of ground meat is one of the most polarizing topics in the culinary world. Websites are fully dedicated to hamburgers, magazines run covers and full articles on hamburgers, super-chefs are sent to their knees if their hamburger is not on par with their foie gras, and the backyard griller will season and treat his hamburger like haute cuisine.
Why does a simple patty of cooked ground meat on a bun with toppings generate such love and vitriol, simultaneously?
Let’s start with the meat. There are currently numerous choices…local farm, commercial farm, grass-fed, grain-fed, dry-aged, wet-aged, medium grind, fine grind, single grind, double grind, so many permutations, and so little time. I reached out to Ryan Fibiger of Saugatuck Craft Butchery for some sage advice. His response, “come in and I can show you how our best burger meat is cut, blended and ground.” So one afternoon Ryan gave me a two-hour butchery course as he broke down the front quarter of a cow, combined and ground the cuts, and finally prepared and served two different hamburger blends.
Celebrate Earth Day in Woodbury, CT on Saturday, April 27 at Hollow Park from 11 am to 4 pm. This 19th annual event, sponsored by the Woodbury Business and Economic Development Committee, as well as New Morning Market will feature local, natural and organic vendors and exhibitors. Food vendors this year will include the Caseus Cheese Truck, GZen's G Monkey truck, El Camion, Chet’s Italian Ice, Le Petite France’s fresh crepes cart, Dottie’s Donuts and Annie Bananie ice cream.
“2012 was the first year that the event was held at Hollow Park instead of New Morning’s parking lot area” says Joe Donato, chairman of the Woodbury Business and Economic Development Committee. “It was incredibly well attended, with more than 120 vendors and exhibitors, and over 5,000 guests. We could not be happier.”
The abundance of ramps across Connecticut menus this past week not only signals spring, but also the imminent seasonal collaborations between local farms and the chefs who love them. For Connecticut's farm-loving dining scene, this can only mean one thing—farm dinners are just around the corner.
Why do we at CTbites look forward to these farm dinners so much? It allows us to celebrate and support both the chef as well as the farmer while appreciating the bounty of the Connecticut landscape that we call home (many, but not all of these dinners are fundraisers). With the promise of a new destination and communal seating, diners can enjoy the company of like-minded food lovers. And of course there is the simple and pleasurable act of dining en plein air with grass beneath your feet.
As it is still early in the season, this list of a dozen or so events is in formation, so if you'd like to recommend a dinner or an event we may have missed, please include it in the comments and we will update our list. Whether you look forward to farm dinners as much as we do, or have yet to embrace this seasonal ritual, we encourage you to give one or many a try this year!
Imian Hospitality, in collaboration with Building & Land Technology, announce The Beer Garden @ Harbor Point. Beginning in early May beer enthusiasts will have a new venue to call their own, Stamford’s first ever waterfront beer garden with over 300 seats, craft beer, and food trucks. And now we are excited for Summer.
With a carefully curated roster of 24 craft beers on draft showcasing hard to find ales from Dogfish Head, Captain Lawrence, Curious Traveler and local Connecticut brewers Thomas Hooker, Half Full and Two Roads, it promises to be a beer lover’s nirvana. The Beer Garden will also feature a reserve list of large format bottled craft brews for the true connoisseur. In addition, master mixologist Jason Clark has created a collection of hand crafted American-centric cocktails that provide a refreshing alternative to great beer.
A rotating collection of Gourmet Food trucks slotted along the Beer Garden’s driveway will provide a culinary bounty that will contribute to the innovative and unique character of the Beer Garden. Lobster Rolls & Crab Cakes from Lobstercraft, Wood Fired Farm to Table Pizzas from Skinny Pines, Sandwiches from Hot Off The Grill, Authentic Caribbean from Maddy’s and Gourmet Grilled Cheese from Melt Mobile
"Slow food" takes on a new meaning when applied to me. I am, and always have been, an exceptionally slow eater. A childhood friend of mine nearly landed me in the school psychologist's office after he convinced so many people, including a school administrator, of his theory that I was obsessively chewing eat bite a certain number of times before I'd take the next one. I had to eat in front of an assistant principal before people would let it go. The real reason is I just talk too much. Well that, or I just zone out while wandering along some neural pathway; and I'm nearly always served last at restaurants. It's like there was a secret memo passed around the service-industry: "This man not to receive food until all others at table at least 45% done with their meals."
I talk too much, but I haven't written nearly enough about Two Roads Brewing in my childhood home of Stratford, Connecticut. We're going to work on that today.
New Haven Chefs Bun Lai of Miya’s Sushi and Avi Szapiro of the newly opened ROIA will square off for The Nature Conservancy’s Picnic for Earth after the Rock to Rock Earth Day bike ride April 20 in New Haven.
At the Rock to Rock finish line in East Rock Park at about1 p.m., the two chefs will engage in the second annual “Picnic Battle for Earth, ” a light-hearted, friendly contest to craft the most delicious and sustainable picnic dish.
James Beard Foundation Award–nominated Chef Bun will be defending his hard-earned title from last year’s picnic battle, and he and Chef Avi—who apprenticed under European Michelin star chefs—will be working with a palette of ingredients chosen by Facebook friends of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut and donated by Elm City Market.
CTbites has some big news for fans of James Beard nominated chef Bill Taibe and his Westport restaurants, Le Farm and The Whelk. Guests to both will find exciting changes and a couple of new faces in the kitchen at both of these Westport hot spots. Chef Arik Bensimon (The Spread, Napa) has already settled into Le Farm’s cozy chef's quarters, and Geoff Lazlo (Le Farm, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill Stone Barns) has moved from his post at Le Farm to head the busy kitchen at The Whelk.
CTbites sat down with restaurateur and chef Bill Taibe to discuss the new starting lineup, and get some insight into the future plans for these immensely popular dining spots.
When asked why Bill Taibe chose Arik for Le Farm, Taibe smiles and says "I’ve always been trying to get Arik over to Le Farm." Ever since Bill left Napa where Arik Bensimon worked as his sous, he knew he wanted to cook with him again. “We really clicked from day one,” says Taibe. "Arik has a beautiful elegance and rusticness to his food style. Our food just makes sense together." Having worked together before, the chef and owner already have a strong understanding of each others styles and expectations. Taibe went on to explain that, "sometimes the way I do things is the harder way, and Arik understands, it takes a long time to do things right."
Wilton residents, rejoice! Little Pub's second location is now open at 26 Danbury Road in Wilton. They will offer the same fare, and thanks to a much larger kitchen, will also be offering some new items. Check it out and please let us know what you think!
Michelle Jaffee is up and in her new home away from home at 75 Hillside Road long before the sun comes up. There, she’s busily getting ready for the day ahead creating delightful treats for her wholesale clients as well as the for her new SWEET & SIMPLE BAKERY. You may have seen her brand at your local retail grocer, but now Michelle has a storefront of her own, and her selection of cookies, brownies and cakes, which are available on a rotating basis, is growing daily.
Cookies include, but are not limited to, chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter, sugar, almond butter and thumbprints. If you’re looking for a cake for a Birthday or other special occasion, Michelle offers golden yellow, chocolate, coconut, banana, carrot, lemon, Red Velvet and strawberry shortcakes, as well as a wide selection of homemade frostings, ganaches and fillings.
Sweet & Simple isn’t just your neighborhood cookie and brownie bake shop. They are continually adding items to their menu and now offer dinner rolls, and challah.