Fairfield County has some great bars with good old fashioned bar food…wings, burgers, fries, onion rings, cheesesteaks, with a wide variety of beers. Recently, many have expanded the menu to include tacos, chili, ribs, chicken and other down and dirty delicacies. When I received an invitation to join a media event at Johnny Utah’s in SoNo I was curious, since this bar also features a mechanical bull (spoiler…not happenin’).
Entries in Cocktails (130)
Recently the CTbites team previewed the menu at El Segundo in South Norwalk, the newest restaurant from the talented partners who created The Spread just up the block. The concept: Eat the Street. Intersect some of the world’s tastiest street food at the corner of Washington and North Water in SONO.
What began as a tasting quickly turned into a party ... a coming out party for Carlos Baez, Executive Chef of The Spread, one of the region’s most versatile, yet unheralded, chefs.
The menu flaunts Baez’ extraordinary range -- a gastronomic tour de force featuring over 3 dozen dishes curated from the boulevards and back allies of 27 countries on all seven continents, including barren Antarctica. (More about that selection later)
Anchor Spa, one of New Haven's most iconic drinking establishments has been brought back to life thanks to Yale alumnus and restauranteur Karl Franz Williams (67 Orange Street, Solomon & Kuff). Renovated with an emphasis on evoking the 1930's spirit of the original Anchor Spa while infusing the space with thoughtful modern touches, Anchor Spa is poised to take its place among Connecticut's most stylish and storied bars.
Great news for those looking for a unique outdoor dining spot as we slowly ease our way into the warmer months. The patio above Kawa Ni is officially open for business. What patio, you ask? It may be stealthy, but overlooking the Saugatuck River, and decked with twinkling lights, this small waterside gem is sure to become a go-to spot this summer.
Here’s the deal. The deck is available via stairs next door to Kawa Ni and is open on a first come first serve basis. Diners can enjoy the full Kawa Ni menu casually served in takeout containers, kinda like a picnic. The somewhat hidden door and metal stairs have a vague speakeasy vibe, but it’s really just "another way to enjoy Kawa Ni,” says chef/owner, Bill Taibe.
Enhancing the patio experience are two familiar faces, guest hosts Carissa and Maddy, from The Stand Juice Bar (Norwalk and Fairfield). They bring with them both their sparkling personalities, as well as some of The Stand’s juices and blends to enjoy while looking into the river.
Speaking of ramen, there will be a few cold menu additions diners can look forward to in the upcoming summer months. Chef Jeff Taibe has been working on cold soba dishes, as well as hiyashi chuka, or cold ramen, topped with a variety of local seasonal veggies and proteins.
See you up on the patio…if you can find it.
Recently some members of The CTBites team and I had the opportunity to revisit and sit together at Sugar and Olives in Norwalk to try out the new springtime menu. For those of you who have not yet visited (what are you waiting for?!) Sugar and Olives was established by Westport resident, Jennifer Balin, in 2008. Her goal was, and remains, to educate diners and cultivate the relationship between farms and families. She is committed to serving local food, and nearly all the items on the generous menu come from within the state, including milk, cheese, eggs, fruit, vegetables, beef, pork, poultry and fish, as well as wine, beer and spirits. This three star Certified Green Restaurant serves brunch five days a week and dinner three nights a week.
There's a new roof top in town. Andrew Dominick of Food Dudes reports on Fortina's new Stamford "Pizza Surf Club."
Remember when Fortina Stamford opened and they were supposed to open that sick rooftop that overlooks the harbor, but then it never happened? We do too. And it hurt, bad. Dreams of eating pizza while overlooking the water at sunset while thinking about life were shattered… but WAIT!!!!! Something is happening and it’s happening soon!
The food will be different, and if you paid attention to their Instagram feed you may have noticed some eclectic items like hot dog tacos and stuff like bags of Doritos with jicama, carrots, cucumbers, candied peanuts, gummy bears, pickled pork skin, hot sauce, crema fresca, avocado, the obligatory Parmesan, sesame, and lime. That's a mouthful, and perfect drunk food. We've also heard whispers that they'll be whipping up fish sticks, Kobe beef corn dogs, and other super creative grub.That rooftop space will be Fortina Surf Club, basically a concept within (or on top of?) a concept, and it's going to be lit, homies. And with a name like "Surf Club," it's probably what you think it is...Tiki-style cocktails complete with little umbrellas? Yes.
The opening party at Pizza Surf Club goes down at Fortina Stamford (120 Washington Blvd.) on Sunday, April 17 at noon. Take note: Pizza Surf Club will be open daily from 12 p.m. - Close after this Sunday, weather permitting.
It is rumored that the saketini came into being when chef Matsuda San, arriving in Queens for the World's Fair in 1964, unveiled a primitive version of the cocktail. Craig Ventrice, mixologist for Kawa Ni in Westport uses fresh spring sugar snap peas and a hint of lemon in his recipe, giving a vibrant (and slightly addictive) twist to this classic drink. Can't make it to Westport? Craig has been kind enough to share his recipe below.
It’s time for a bit of trivia! What was Bridgeport’s first Mexican restaurant? What was the first Mexican food truck in the state?
The answer to both questions is the same and it might surprise you: Taco Loco! The restaurant, which now lies on Fairfield Avenue in Black Rock, opened its doors in 1982 by bothers Miguel and Louis Tomasio. Originally, Taco Loco functioned as a small taco shop located on Main Street. It served inexpensive Mexican Food late into the night. As demand grew, the business transformed from counter service to a full scale restaurant. In 1985 Miguel added a food truck and they moved to their present-day location in 1989. Taco Loco currently seats 100 guests, has a four season patio, and a coveted food truck.
Now, in 2016, Taco Loco is about to undergo another evolution! Miguel, along with his son Zachary Tomasio, are releasing a brand new menu aimed at “authenticity and quality.” With a background in marketing and a fresh perspective, Zachary is ready to explore the latest trends and additional avenues of business.
Approaching this gleaming 1968 Airstream, one is met by the two welcoming, smiling souls who commandeer this shining new-fangled-but-vintage food truck. You also can’t help but remember a particular (vintage?) REM song...Shiny Happy People! Or at least, that’s what stuck in my head (and I believe I just showed my age)-how could it not?
Waiting to find just the right Airstream and then taking the better part of a year to refurbish it themselves with ol’ fashioned grit and many a YouTube instructional video, Kathy and Michael McGovern have launched Baked and Sauced, a food truck like none other in our fair state. This once shag-rugged, pleather-filled Airstream has now been lovingly strung with sparkling lights, adorned with sweet flowers in Mason jars that sit upon the serving window, and a charming seating area that serves as a lounge for guests. Picture your ultimate grown-up clubhouse and you get the picture. Add to this charm the fact that this Airstream has...a liquor license.
Serving saucy desserts and craft cocktails, this truck is serving to the over 21 crowd (and bring I.D., they card)!
Alcohol is a poison. Well, that escalated quickly. But, let’s face it, it’s delicious, we like drinking it, and as long as we are responsible, in its consumption, there’s nothing wrong with a little fun. But, in this new era of gluten-free, non-GMO, organic, fair trade, free-range, everything, trends are making their way into the alcoholic beverage world, as well. And, as the makers of all things cocktail, we need to embrace the fresh and healthy, as well as the indulgent.
I take the same approach to cocktail design that I take to cooking a meal. Always source, and use, the best ingredients you can. Remember, “garbage in, garbage out.” While pasteurized, from-concentrate, juices are easy to obtain, squeezing, or juicing fresh, is always preferable. But the effort doesn’t stop there. Freshly picked strawberries, grown locally, should be chosen over store-bought. Citrus can be easily found in the supermarket, but a local market, or small distributor, will always have fresher, more vibrant products. A good rule of thumb is to think small, and work your way larger. Using fruits and foods in season, will always lend a better product, than not. Seasonal cocktail menus (as well as food menus,) at restaurants and bars, change seasonally for this reason. A strawberry margarita looks out of place on January’s drink list, but lands right at home in July.