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Entries in comfort food (144)

Sunday
Dec042016

Outrageous BBQ at Mason Dixon Smokehouse in Stamford

World-class BBQ returns to CT with the homecoming of renowned pitmaster Nestor Laracuente, who is overseeing the kitchen at Mason Dixon Smokehouse in Stamford. When I heard that Nestor was teaming up with Mason Dixon, I was ecstatic, the mounds of his perfectly prepared meats that I raved about at Hoodoo Brown were indelible etched in my memory. Would Mason Dixon fill the void that I have felt for months? Bottom line…yes, the food is spectacular.

Laracuente is a soft-spoken lover of meats and Southern rock who spent years perfecting his craft. After leaving CT last year, he returned to Brooklyn where he spent time with his buddy at Beast of Bourbon in Bed-Stuy. His time was spent experimenting with new rubs, new dishes, waiting for the right opportunity for his return to Connecticut. His newest venture, of which he is part-owner, opened a few weeks ago and it is slowly expanding the menu. 

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Sunday
Nov202016

Soul Tasty Opens in Stamford: Southern Food from the Soul to the Table

Fairfield County offers some of the best food in the country, from trucks to fine dining, and when a restaurant serves food from the soul, it is special, it is uplifting, it makes you overjoyed. Every now and then I visit a new place that fits all these categories. Stephanie Webster, my CTbites partner, and I were looking for a new place for a lunch meeting and we chose Soul Tasty...we wanted to see what the buzz was about. It is located on Main Street in Stamford at the end of a dead end that doubles as the entrance to a pedestrian bridge and parking is incredibly difficult, have patience, it is worth it.

Soul Tasty is the brain-child and dream of Chef Jean Gabriel, Jr. When you walk in, you can feel the love. The walls are brightly painted, a little graffiti on the rear counter pronouncing FEED YOUR SOUL and a colorful menu above the hot trays holding the products of the chef’s homage to the Southern recipes of his grandmother.

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Thursday
Nov172016

“The Super Vegan”-- Two Boots Pizza from NYC brings its Unique Pies to Stamford

As a card-carrying carnivore, I entered Two Boots with some misgivings. This quirky, new pizzeria in Stamford’s Harbor Point was celebrating World Vegan Month, prompting manager Roberta Petit to invite CTbites over for a tasting of The Super Vegan, a totally plant-based "pizzaextravaganza.”    Nothing on the pie comes from a creature.

‘Za without juicy sausage?  Or gooey cheese?  C’mon, this is Connecticut.

"We’re talking salad on a crust," I mumbled to myself as I sat down with Roberta. My immediate resolution: to earn a positive review, the pizza would have to be "great" in its own right, not a pie that was good – as it were -- for a vegan pizza  

No handicaps. No excuses. Nothing less than a party in my mouth.

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Thursday
Nov102016

Winfield Street Italian Deli in Norwalk (sponsored)

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw CTbites’ review of my deli and wanted to express my thanks to them and give their readers an inside view of the deli and my desire to purchase it and transform it into my vision.

In 2015, after years of working late nights at high end spots such as Lambs Club, J House, Barcelona Wine Bar and my own Bistro Seven, I decided I wanted a break from the tiring and often showy restaurant scene. I wanted to serve good food and have a real connection with my patrons, staff, vendors and neighbors, without all the drama in a fine dining restaurant. I wanted something simple where I could be really myself with customers and staff. I heard of Winfield Deli and how a great chef, Pietro Scotti, served amazing sandwiches for over 20 years in this tucked-in spot, and had a blast at it. I wanted that too. I was no fan of delis because they were often dirty with an over-crowded menu, but I thought I could make my own version of a deli and elevate the deli concept to something closer to the Salumerias of Italy. Without pretension, I took over the little spot and gave a small face lift, keeping historic signs and equipment intact.

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Sunday
Oct302016

DrewbaQ Food Truck: BBQ Sandwiches "Smokin' the Streets of CT"

More barbecue is a good thing, and if you're not on board with this basic fact, then you can just get out of my face. It was with this cardinal rule of life firmly in mind that I hit the road in search of a new truck on the Connecticut food scene - a truck selling barbecue and barbecue accoutrements. The fact that this particular Friday found the DrewbaQ food truck at Veracious Brewing Company in Monroe was a purely unrelated coincidence, to be sure. It would be a grave disservice to you, our beloved CTBites readership, if I did not take full advantage of this entirely unforeseen circumstance so, in humble service to your unending curiosity re: all things food and beverage, I had several beers with my BBQ. So that I might report on pairings, you see. 

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Wednesday
Sep282016

Bedford 234 Burger - Not Bad for a Sunday Brunch

A beautiful Sunday, a leisurely 10-mile bike ride…time to re-charge. Where to eat between Yorktown Heights and New Canaan. I used to love the burger at Meetinghouse in Bedford and have heard some pretty good things about the new incarnation, Bedford 234, so we decided to grab lunch.

It is located right off the square, next to the Bedford Playhouse. When we arrived, tables were set up outside, with a family enjoying their brunch, but a few too many flies and bees forced us into the re-decorated interior. The space is still very Americana with paintings and posters of animals next to the American flag, the small bar area upon entering still has the single TV with the Jets game in full force, and the main dining room was 25% occupied.

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Sunday
Sep112016

Johnny Utah's in South Norwalk - A Fun Time with a Side of Food

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’).

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Thursday
Aug182016

Little Pub Opens Today in Fairfield on Black Rock Turnpike

The Little Pub you know from Ridgefield, Wilton and Cos Cob is opening its fourth location in Fairfield at the intersection of Stillson Avenue and Black Rock Turnpike. This spot has some history as it housed the Angus restaurant for over 70 years. Owner, Doug Grabe says "It's a cute and cozy building in a perfect neighborhood for Little Pub and we’re really looking forward to serving the Fairfield community."

"Little Pub Fairfield will share the traditional old world charm of our other little pubs with thick plaster walls, hand hewn beams, and antique iron light fixtures," says Grabe. In fact, the team re-purposed over 80 vintage beams from their Cos Cob renovation. A massive stone fireplace serves as the focal point for the main dining room, alongside some wonderful pub decor, including a vintage telephone booth.

What is unique to Fairfield is its size. The dining room is over 50% bigger than Wilton, with 130 seats. Grabe says "The bar alone is bigger than our entire Ridgefield footprint." 

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Sunday
Aug142016

Nosh Hound Food Truck Rolls into Stamford: Global Cuisine with Deliciously, Bold Combinations

Nosh Hound Eatery is the newest entry to the Stamford Food Truck scene. When I saw the post by my buddy over at Hey Stamford, I was curious. When I read his praise and a menu that really intrigued me, it had potential, and I decided to drive to Stamford and give it a shot.

Nosh Hound is the brainchild of owners Sam Ralbovsky and Maycie Maringer.  After graduating from the Culinary program at Johnson & Wales University and a three-month cross country food inspired road trip, they returned to Sam’s hometown of Stamford, CT. The two young cooks became enamored by the diverse cooking styles they encuntered on their cross country adventure and wanted to show their passion with a menu of “global cuisine experienced through the medium of sandwiches, snacks, and small bites.”

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Sunday
May292016

2016 CTbites' Best "10" Burgers in Southwest CT

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY AND HAMBURGER MONTH

The thermometer reads 90-degrees, the trees are in full bloom, the birds are chirping and the air is filled with the fragrant aroma of backyard grilling. It must be time for my Annual CTbites’ Southwest Connecticut Burger Review, now celebrating its 5th anniversary.

This year I again took a slightly different approach. Over the years I have rated, and continually update, every burger I eat in CT on a scale from 1-10. To achieve the highest score, the bun-to-bun experience needs to be flawless; meat, cheese, toppings, sauce, and bun, all must work in absolute unison. There are currently thirteen incredible burgers that received a perfect “10.” From two east coast interpretations of the west coast double-double, to a food truck creation served on an Ube bun to several with bacon-onion jam, all of these burgers were spectacular. The 2016 list includes six new burgers while four from last year's list did not make the cut. The final rankings from the the Winner to number thirteen take into account not only the burgers but also the fries or chips.

Here is the CTbites' list of the Best “10” Burgers in Southwest Connecticut.

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