Wish you could throw a party in your own home, where people could meander from room to room to avoid that stuffy, restaurant feel? Hate being stuck at some long, rectangular table where the only person you are speaking to is the one right next to you? (You know, the one that you had been trying NOT to get stuck with.) Want to be relaxed and enjoy the food with your guests while someone else prepares, serves, and cleans up? Want to stop worrying about the red wine spilling on your white sofas? Tired of stressing about the fancy gadgets in your medicine cabinet that people might discover while they “powder” and snoop? Have your (organic) cake and eat it too at Jennifer Balin’s eclectic and fabulous “space” in Norwalk. SUGAR and OLIVES is the name and quirky and sensational is the game!
Entries in Catering (25)
It was a sunny September morning, and I was headed to Orange CT for a hot date at a golf tournament. No, this was no golf pro - I was meeting up with the cooking team of The Big Green Truck Pizza. For those unfamiliar with this meal on wheels, The Big Green Truck is a stroke of catering brilliance…a vintage truck outfitted with a wood fire brick oven that goes where the party is. Not only do they serve up a meal that pleases every age, but the food prep stays out of your house - no fuss; no muss. And if this is not enough, there is the entertainment factor of watching a team of three construct up to 60 pizzas an hour and toss them into a fiery furnace. Pizza, salad, gelato from Gelateria Giuliana (a local fave)…perfect party pleaser. On the day I visited, they were serving up some of their renown New Haven-style brick oven pizza near hole #5 at the Orange Hills Country Club.
My husband spent a good deal of his youth in Mexico City and has always claimed that his favorite meal is a Mexican meal. Not me. Until last week, I must admit that Mexican food had always been my least favorite option when choosing to eat ethnic. It always seemed too heavy, too cheesy, too beany, (and yes, too gassy!) So I was skeptical when my foodie friend (who got a tip from a ctbites reader) and I entered Los Molcajetes (211 Liberty Square) in South Norwalk for a lunch-time feast. The restaurant is located in a non-descript strip mall, just before the bridge that takes you to the Norwalk Aquarium. Nothing spectacular about that. The tables are Formica and the décor consists of enormous posters of Aztec warriors, gods, calendars, etc. Again, nothing spectacular. The menu is “muy grande,” which I also took as a warning sign. O me of little faith! We have been back three times this week.
Last Saturday night we followed an anonymous tip from a ctbites reader...a reader I need to thank. Apparently, in a small shopping center off Main Street in Norwalk sat a food gem, a hidden treasure with beautifully prepared organic and local sustainable produce..or so this reader said. The restaurant was Nicholas Roberts Gourmet Bistro. The restaurant's web site revealed a catering company open for breakfast, lunch and Thur.-Sun. dinner dining. We were skeptical as we pulled up to the non-descript exterior, flanked by Hot & Speedy Pizza. However, as we walked past the glass case of wonderful looking prepared foods, the thrill of finding something undiscovered was upon us. We were directed to a casual but pleasant dining room with about 10 tables. Candles and trees donned with Christmas lights provided relaxed lighting, while chalk signage covering several black board painted walls gave a whimsical flourish to this minimally designed space. We handed over our wine (as it is BYOB) and hoped for the best. Spoiler alert....It was one of the most inventive and delicious meals I have had in Fairfield County. If this is the first you are hearing of Nicholas Roberts..make this your next meal out.
Although my husband and I had done several drive-bys, we dismissed Valencia Luncheria as a divey lunch spot, not worthy of the much-anticipated weekly date night… oh how I regret not getting there sooner.
Stepping into Valencia is like wandering off the beach to grab a bite in a small Latin American, seaside town. In fact, Chef Michael Young (of Habana and Ocean Drive fame in SONO), has dubbed his cuisine “Venezuelan beach food”, and this 16-seat restaurant with its mango-colored walls, heaping plantains, and chalkboard menu listing today’s arepas and empanadas, is a slice of Latin heaven.