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Thursday
May192016

Burger Report: Chef Geoff Lazlo's Burger at Mill Street Bar + Table

Mill Street Bar and Table opened in the Byram neighborhood in Greenwich last October, the brainchild of Executive Chef Geoff Lazlo in partnership with Bill and Leslie King, who head up the organic-centric Back 40 Group. Many in Connecticut know of his work with Bill Taibe at The Whelk in Westport, but his roots with organic gardening and cooking with the finest bounty of the season goes back to his love of gardening and his introduction to the use of these ingredients with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, Michael Anthony at Gramercy Tavern, and Dan Barber at Stone Barns.

While the Executive Chef at The Whelk, his burger received my “Best of…” in 2013 and with his newest adventure firmly established in the Fairfield County culinary landscape it was time to see if his newest creation was as great…IT WAS!

Chef Lazlo’s latest rendition is the “8OZ PASTURED BEEF BURGER,” described on the menu to include house-made mustard, aioli, Cheddar cheese, served on a potato-brioche, and served with hand-cut fries.

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Wednesday
May182016

Judy's Bar + Kitchen Opens in Stamford with Low Country BBQ

Judith Roll, creator of the popular Tabouli Mediterranean Grill in Stamford, felt that the dining neighborhood north of Bullshead was underserved.  “The area needed something a little hip,” she told CTBites recently.  “So I thought, take a chance, and try Barbecue.”

As if by wizardry, wisps of sweet hickory smoke were soon wafting over High Ridge Road, not far from the Merritt, as Judy’s  Bar + Kitchen opened its doors to a diverse (and hungry) local crowd.   

Even though she bills her dinner dishes as “Low Country,” Judith made no pilgrimage to Memphis and Carolina to study the nuances of time, temperature, cuts and woods.  Rather she stayed in the neighborhood and developed her menu out of a culinary sensibility honed at CIA and the kitchens of gifted chefs like Wolfgang Puck. 

“Simple and fresh are my style,” she says.  “Good meat, cooked low and slow, what more do you need to know?” 

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Wednesday
May182016

The Pine Leaf Opens in New Milford with Chef Joel Viehland

 

The Pine Leaf opened this week in New Milford under the leadership of chef/owner and three-time James Beard nominee, Joel Viehland. Located along the Aspetuck River, The Pine Leaf will be serving what they describe as "simple, light breakfasts and fresh, seasonal lunch fare" with a focus on organic and local ingredients. 

For those of us who know and love Viehland's cooking from his time at nearby Community Table, (check out our 2013 restaurant review of CT), this is definitely an opening we have been eagerly anticipating. We look forward to exploring New Milford's newest breakfast and lunch hot spot. In the meantime, check it out and let us know what you ate and what you think!

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Tuesday
May172016

Battle of the Chefs Culinary Showdown At Founders Hall June 5 

On Sunday, June 5, from 4-7 pm, three chefs will match sharp knives and quick wits in an exciting culinary showdown to benefit Founders Hall in Ridgefield, CT. Chefs Beck Bolender (One Twenty One, North Salem), Frank Bonnaudet (Sucré Salé, Ridgefield), and Jehan S.de Noüe (formerly Chez Noüe, Ridgefield, now JSN Catering and Albano Appliance, Pound Ridge) will open a basket of surprise ingredients in front of an audience of over 200 and, in just 60 short minutes, compete to create the winning entrée.

A panel of food experts, including John Barricelli of SoNo Baking Company, master chef Ron DeSantis, director of culinary excellence at Yale University, and Brendan Walsh, dean of culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America, will judge the chefs on their creativity, craftsmanship and culinary results. Amy Kundrat, executive editor of the award-winning regional food blog CTbites will once again referee this showdown.

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Tuesday
May172016

CTbites Joins Lidia Bastianich Shooting Her TV Series Lidia's Kitchen

It feels like an ordinary morning in South Norwalk.  Restaurants are opening their doors and a few pedestrians have started to meander down Main Street.  People are easing into their daily routines.  There is no fanfare or paparazzi… no indication that culinary legend Lidia Bastianich and her team have quietly taken over Clarke Kitchens to film the latest season of Lidia’s Kitchen!

Lidia Bastianich’s extensive career is filled with an array of accomplishments.  Her four New York City restaurants, Felidia, Becco, Esca and Del Posto, as well as Lidia’s Pittsburgh and Lidia’s Kansas City, have received widespread acclaim.  She also joined forces with her son Joe Bastianich, Mario Batali, and Oscar Farinetti to open Eataly, an Italian food and wine marketplace.  In addition to her achievements as a restaurateur, she is an Emmy award-winning public television host, cookbook author, broadcast production company founder, and businesswoman.

Bastianich has chosen Norwalk to film 26 episodes for the fourth season of Lidia’s Kitchen.  The television series, which is sponsored by Cento and Grana Padano, will air on PBS Public Television Network starting October 8, 2016.  Each 30 minute episode revolves around a certain theme or ingredient and presents recipes based on it.

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Monday
May162016

Wright's Steakhouse Opens May 16 in Centerbrook, CT

Brought to you by the folks behind River Tavern, Otto Pizza and Dinners At The Farm, Wright's Steakhouse will will open on May 16 in an old Victorian in Centerbrook, CT. A peek at the menus hint at a vibrant take on the traditional steakhouse, here is an early peek at the dinner menu and the smaller bar menu.

For more information, visit: www.wrightssteak.com

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Sunday
May152016

Miro Kitchen Opens in Fairfield With Chef From Hapa Food Truck

With much anticipation and excitement Miro Kitchen recently opened its doors on Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield. The new eatery is the collective brainchild of Eugene Kabilnitsky, former owner of Tomato and Basil, and Hapa Food Truck’s Chris Gonzales. I recently sat down with the two to talk about the inspiration behind this creative collaboration.

“My wife and I were both working from home and we found ourselves going to the Hapa Food Truck at least twice a week,” Kabilnitsky told me. “We couldn’t get enough! At the time I was set to open another Italian restaurant at this location and was in the process of hammering out details.” But then he started to wonder whether the Hapa concept might work in the restaurant space. He joked that after visiting the truck 100 or so times he shared his idea with Chris, and subsequent conversations led to the current partnership, and Miro, an expansion of the wildly popular Hapa Food Truck, was born.

The best way to describe the cuisine is to say it is a play on Pacific, Asian and Hawaiian street food with an American twist, mixing the exotic with the familiar.

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Friday
May132016

Weekly Nibble: CT Food Event & Happenings For May 16-22

Mill Street Bar & Table now serves LUNCH from 11am-2pm on Thursdays and Fridays.  Also, $1 Stella Mar Oysters (raw or grilled) will be featured on weekdays from 11am-6pm and weekends 2-6pm.

American Craft Beer Week kicks off on May 16 and lasts through the 22.  Cask Republic South Norwalk is starting the week with a New England Brewing Company Tap Takeover on May 16 at 6pm.  There will be a number of NEBCO beers… including the G-Bot!  

Barcelona Fairfield invites you to a night of “Grilling Outside, Family-style” on May 16 from 7-9pm.  They’ll be bringing out the grill for a family-style meal on the patio, featuring suckling pig and fresh spring vegetables from the garden. 

Have you ever wanted to make your own yogurt?  The Kitchen at CitySeed presents “Get Fermented! Yogurt & Kefir in New Haven” on Thursday May 19 at 5:30pm. 

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Friday
May132016

Friday Froth: Big Fuzzy Double And The Harpooned Whale, New England Brewing

Feel free to argue with me in the comments, but New England Brewing Company is currently the biggest whale in Connecticut. Unlike the white whale which drove Ahab mad and dragged him to his doom, no number of obsessive trackers will soon be bringing it down. NEBCO finished doubling the capacity of its brewery over the winter and in short order released a huge batch of its more sought after beers to multiple bars just in time to coincide with St. Patrick's day. 

My base of operations that night was Walrus+Carpenter in Black Rock because they were having a Van Morrison tribute band, and the list of things I will fight you over is not long, but it includes "Astral Weeks." I was several Supernauts and a long awaited Gandhi-Bot deep when I sensed a disturbance in the force, as if thousands of apps had fired up at once, and looked up to watch a steady trickle of bros and bro-ettes flow in, order no drinks, and peruse not a single menu. They just waited. These, then, were the Untappd zombies. Cannibalistic brain-eating being so 20th century, the horde was utterly uninterested in music, roast pig, fried chicken, or a tap list filled with excellent beer - they wanted cheeeeeck-iiiiinnnnsss. It was five minutes before the hour, and the tap was about to open on Fuzzy Baby Ducks. Thumbs hovered - twitching, aching - over phones.

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Friday
May132016

Opening Day of the Westport Farmers’ Market is May 19: Raise a Glass to Food & Community

Michael Pollan once said, “The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community.” Nowhere is that sense of family and community more alive than at the Westport Farmers’ Market. 

Join your friends and meet new ones on opening day this Thursday, May 19th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 50 Imperial Avenue. Gather in the center of the market at noon to raise a glass of green juice compliments of The Stand, Fairfield County’s premier vegan-inspired food and juice bar. This yearly ritual kicks off a celebration of local, healthful, delicious food, farming, and community, and is where market organizers unveil the year’s Friend of the Market bags. For a yearly contribution of $40, Friends of the Market are the backbone of the WFM, supporting educational and other activities for clean eaters of all ages. In turn, Friends are rewarded with weekly discounts from over 45 vendors. 

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