Several years ago I sampled Chef Pat Pascarella’s Pasta Bolognese and it was one of the best Bolognese I had ever tasted. Since that time, Pascarella opened Bar Sugo on Wall Street in Norwalk and I have enjoyed many of Chef Pat’s creations. He recently introduced his full-table Pasta Tasting menu and invited CTbites to sample the five courses…from a straightforward tomato and basil to a complex lobster, morel and truffle. The incredible Bolognese that Chef Pat served me several years ago was a prelude to the fantastic five courses that I enjoyed with wine pairings from Sommelier Megan Pacarella.
This Week @ Westport Farmers' Market: Chef Cecily Gans of Staples High School Culinary Arts Department
Cecily Gans is a culinary teacher at Staples High School. What makes her stand out is her commitment to teaching the kids the value of using local ingredients. Cecily spearheads our Gillespie Center monthly meal program where we, WFM, purchase food from our market for to kids prepare and serve the meal to our neighbors in need. She will be the guest chef at The Westport Farmers' Market on May 21st. You can find her recipe for Grilled Scallion, Herb & Goat Cheese Vinaigrette.
A three hour drive to Boston is best broken up by lunch, preferably pizza, and always with a good friend. This is how I found myself at Camille’s Wood Fired Pizza in Tolland with someone as obsessed with pizza as I am.
A strikingly thin and crispy yet solidly constructed crust forms the foundation for Camille’s 11 or so red and white pies. They range from the classic margherita to their signature Billy’s Bianco, a combination of pistachio, cream, goat cheese, ricotta, truffle honey, red onion (pictured). Their spicy sausage and kale was an excellent lunch partner alongside the Bianco, balanced well with savory sausage, spicy chile oil, and slight bitterness from the kale smoothed out by mozzarella.
This past Saturday Fleisher's Westport (formerly Saugatuck Craft Butchery) hosted friends, family and customers old and new to celebrate the next chapter in craft butchery. With a delectable spread from the team at Fleisher's Craft Kitchen, guests enjoyed cheeseburger sliders, smoked pork ribs and chimmichurri chicken skewers along with craft beers from both Connecticut and Brooklyn. The topic of conversation was the recent announcement that Fleisher's Pasture-Raised Meats (since 2004) and Saugatuck Craft Butchery (since 2011) have joined forces to bring the best ethically raised meat to their communities across the Hudson Valley, Brooklyn and Connecticut. Each brings a shared vision, a loyal customer base, and a team of like-minded idealists who believe in the value of their work. With Fleisher's fourth location in Greenwich slated to open this summer, the atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation for a promising future.
SoNo is a dining destination with a variety of culinary flavors to satisfy any appetite. Whether you are seeking delicious ethnic food or new American flavors, SoNo has the taste for your palate. “SoNo Eats” (formerly SoNo Restaurant Week) is a six-day promotion that features the unique and fine dining options available in South Norwalk with Special Prix-Fixe Dining Deals May 31 – June 5
Participating restaurants include: Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant, Burger Bar, Estia’s, Ginger Man, Harlan Publick, Local Kitchen & Beer Bar, Mama’s Boy, Match, O’Neill’s Irish Pub, Oishi Sushi & Izakaya, Quartina Trattoria & Vineria, Strada18 and The Spread. Sponsors include Acqua Panna, Bulleit Bourbon, Casa Noble Tequila, Chopin, Perrier and Tanqueray. For a complete list of menus, visit connecticutrestaurantweek.com.
PLUS...SoNo Eats is holding a social media contest encouraging diners to take photos of their experience and post them on Instagram using the #SONOEATS hashtag for a chance to win over $500 in gift cards to select SoNo restaurants, a five day pass to Saraswati Yoga Joint and the grand prize is a one-night stay at Hotel Zero Degrees in Norwalk.
Imian Partners will open The Beer Garden at Shippan Landing for its second season on May 21st. Imian first introduced the pop-up beer garden concept two summers ago with The Beer Garden at Harbor Point and is credited for invigorating the social scene in Stamford’s South End. The Shippan spot has a significantly more relaxed vibe than that of Harbor Point, but has all the charm and beauty of the perfect summer hangout.
With unobstructed waterfront views, (and the best seat in town to watch the sunset all summer long), The Beer Garden at Shippan Landing will showcase and rotate its carefully curated list of local craft beers on draft and in cans offering a variety of options. Look for favorites such as Half Full, Broad Brook, Captain Lawrence and more. We also hear that The Beer Garden will be partnering with Half Full to create a signature beer just for the garden. Pretty cool.
An impressive rotating lineup of the area’s best food trucks will also be part of the nightly festivities at the Beer Garden. Stay tuned for details on some of your favorite mobile eats.
The family-friendly environment will include outdoor games such as life-size jenga, corn hole, can jam and beer pong. Entertainment will include live music and special themed-events throughout the summer beginning on Sunday May 24th with a Memorial Day party.
Head's up about The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook, a beautiful new cookbook co-authored by CTbites' contributor Christy Colasurdo, which launches on June 1. The book, a celebration of local food and farms, takes readers on a tasting tour of Connecticut, where you'll meet the state's top chefs and the farmers who provide them with hyper-local provisions. The authors will be signing books at Stew's in Norwalk on Saturday, June 6 from 11-1, so stop by and say hi. Shortly, we will be posting a review of the book, along with an invitation to the book's official launch party, scheduled for Monday, June 8 at Terrain in Westport. Stay tuned.
Millwright’s at the Farm with Guest Collaborators Bill Taibe & New England Brewing Co. on September 10
What happens when you combine two of Connecticut's James Beard nominated chefs, a Connecticut Brewery, a community farm, and a good cause? Millwright's at the Farm, of course! This charity dinner series is held throughout the summer with guest chefs and themes. Chef Taibe will be the guest collaborator on September 10 at 6:30 pm at Community Farm of Simsbury, located at 73 Wolcott Road, Simsbury CT 06070. Price includes tax, food and beverage at $95 per person.
June 11: Chef/Owner James Wayman, The Oyster Club & The Engine Room
July 16: Chef Jamie McDonald, Bears Smokehouse [Theme: BBQ]
August 27: Chef Jeff Lizotte, On20
September 10: Chef Bill Taibe, LeFarm, The Whelk, Kawa Ni, and New England Brewing Co.
September 24: Chef/Owner Billy Grant, grants, Bricco
October 8: Chef Scott Miller, Max Group
Strada 18 in conjunction with Nicholas Roberts and Northeast Wine Brokers invite you to a casual wine dinner featuring the wines of Halter Ranch. It takes place on Tuesday May 19 at 7pm and costs $50 plus tax and gratuity. Each course will be served with a duo of wines.
Also on Tuesday, AMG Catering presents a “Gluten Free The Easy Way” cooking class that includes a 3 course gluten free meal. The class is sold out, but check back for cancellations.
On Tuesday May 19, Toast to Success will benefit Dress For Success of Mid Fairfield County. The evening consists of a wine tasting, hors d'oeuvres, and a silent auction. 5:30-7:30 pm, $40 per person. Reserve tickets or call (203) 610-8570.
City Stream Brewery in Hartford will host an Iron Bartender Competition on Tuesday May 19 from 7-10pm. Hartford area bars/restaurants compete to make the best beer cocktail in just 10 minutes. Prizes will be awarded for taste, presentation and creativity. The event is free and guests can enjoy drink specials throughout the night.
As we go to print on this article, chef, CEO and humanitarian Michel Nischan is in Chicago receiving another James Beard Award, as Humanitarian of the Year. This honor has been bestowed on few, including Art Smith, Emeril Lagasse and the late Charlie Trotter. The award signifies Michel’s commitment to making a difference in how and where we buy food, food education, and Wholesome Wave programs that offer affordable access to all consumers, especially the food insecure.
As a longtime Westport resident, I have fond memories of The Dressing Room next to the Westport Country Playhouse. The buzz surrounding the restaurant when it opened in 2006 was driven by the friendship and collaboration between the co-owners, Paul Newman and chef Michel Nischan and their shared beliefs about food. Together they contributed to Connecticut’s nascent farm-to-table movement, not only sourcing from local farms and purveyors, but also listing their products as part of the menu. Paul could be found there many evenings with his wife Joanne, and family and “sightings” were always a treat to patrons.