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Entries in comfort food (114)

Sunday
Aug242014

Walrus + Carpenter Burger: The Bar is Raised in Bridgeport

A good friend told me that the WC Burger served at Walrus + Carpenter in Bridgeport near the Fairfield border was the best burger in the area. Those are strong words from someone I trust so I drove one evening and grabbed an outside table.

The menu is divided into several categories and each reads like a who’s who of comfort food. I was pleasantly impressed when I saw that the chef gave top billing in the Large Plates section to “WC Burger + Fries - Smoked mayo, bacon, bourbon onions, cheddar.” It was a simple decision and I ordered the burger medium-rare.

The burger was served on a metal tray accompanied by fries and small mound of pickle slices. There was a crisp char on the exterior and the texture of the interior was soft. I sampled the meat; it was rich in flavor, reminiscent of grass fed, the medium grind was still loose and it was moist without being overly juicy. It was an excellent patty. The first topping I tasted was the Bourbon onions.

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Sunday
Aug102014

Kawa Ni: An Exclusive First Look at Bill Taibe’s Izakaya-inspired Restaurant in Westport

CTbites was invited for an exclusive first look inside Chef Bill Taibe’s new restaurant, Kawa Ni, in Westport’s Bridge Square this week. Kawa Ni means “on the river,” an apt name for a restaurant in Saugatuck whose cuisine and service will take its cues from the informal Izakaya joints found in the Japanese cities of Kyoto and Osaka.

Is it an american restaurant with japanese aspirations? Or is it a japanese restaurant with american inspirations? Both, says Taibe, who distills his love of post war japanese culture and a farm house style approach to japanese food within the walls of the intimate Kawa Ni.  

Equal parts food and drink, with a capital F-U-N atmosphere, the 40-seat Izakaya-inspired restaurant will get the party started by the end of the month.

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Tuesday
Aug052014

LobsterCraft Opens in Darien - A First Day Look

LobsterCraft opened its first storefront location today at the entrance to Rowayton on Tokeneke  Road, serving the same menu that many of our readers enjoy from its trucks.  

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Thursday
Jul312014

Burger Alert: The Spread "Cheeseburger"- Best Bar Burger in FFD CTY?

Executive Chef Carlos Baez assumed the helm of The Spread in SONO a year ago and the menu now completely reflects his vision of flavor and textural combinations. After a movie we decided to enjoy some of his light bites, and when they asked if I would like to try his new burger combination, I quickly agreed.

Chef Baez's "CHEESEBURGER" starts his fantastic combination with a large patty of grass-fed Kobe beef. He melts a few slices of a mild white Cheddar cheese over the patty and then tops the cheese-covered patty with house-made pickled jalapeño peppers, a few slices of crispy bacon, a little shreaded lettuce, a swath of spicy mayo, all encased in a sesame seed bun. The meat was loosely compressed to maintain its medium grind, and the cheese was a delightfully smooth addition. These two ingredients, alone, would have created a fantastic cheeseburger, but Chef Baez elevated the flavors and achieved a perfect balance of salty-spicy-sour with the pickled jalapeño peppers complemented by the bacon. The addition of the spicy mayo was a great finish. The bun was mild in flavor and did not fight with any of the other flavors. This was one great burger.

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Sunday
Jul272014

Kids Bites: The Grilled Cheese Eatery in Westport

Author, Hannah Bukzin, is a 14 yr old Staples high school student with a passion for cooking. Hannah has her own blog "Small Chef in a Big World,"and is a contestant in the 2014 Chopped Teen Tournament on The Food Network. 

It’s all about comfort food.  Everyone has that one dish that makes them feel right at home and for me ...I love nothing more than a simple grilled cheese with some tomato soup.  Classic, right?  Featuring 13 grilled cheeses with over 10 add-ons, I think the Grilled Cheese Eatery in Westport fits the bill.  Tucked away right next to the former Great Cakes, the Grilled Cheese Eatery offers a casual dining atmosphere with amazing food.  Owners Ivanina and Henri Donneaux opened this venue after their much deserved success with their location in Fairfield

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Wednesday
Jul232014

New Eli's Tavern in Milford Dazzles With Gastropub Delights via Connecticut Magazine

Eli’s Tavern ups the culinary ante by embracing the gastropub ethos and brining in a talented youngchef, David Brooks, a Culinary Institute of America graduate who did an internship at the legendary Le Bernardin in New York City and previously owned Judie's European Bakery in New Haven (so “the desserts are out of this world,” Fitzsimmons says).

The result of the whole formula is well-priced, delicious and hearty tavern fare that’s executed as beautifully as haute cuisine and kicked up more than a notch from pub fare by the chef’s talent and creative twists.

Consider the Philly Egg Rolls from the Small Plates menu. These variations on the classic Philly cheese steak sandwich—with the egg roll replacing the bread—are packed with super-tender and richly flavored (real) steak, onions and cheddar, and then nicely spiced with chipotle aioli. They’re totally addictive—and go great with any of the 18 craft beers on draught.

Another example is the lobster roll. Lots of even the best lobster rolls out there are filled with knuckle and claw meat, but Fitzsimmons says the Eli’s Tavern version contains precious tail meat. Brooks makes the classic fresh and sublime with his foamed hot-buttered corn sauce, and then tops the lobster meat with crisped tortillas to bring some pleasant crunch into the equation—pairing all of that with a piquant purple slaw (and fries).

Read the complete review on ConnecticutMag.com 

Thursday
Feb202014

Rincon Taqueria in Norwalk- A Hidden Gem in Plain Sight 

Rincon Taqueria is the epitome of a hidden gem.

The exterior is fairly non-descript and the interior is one large, open space, but the food is delicious. As you enter there are tables for twenty patrons to the left and behind these tables is a long glass deli case containing large baskets and bowls filled with several varieties of chili peppers. Along the right wall are three six-foot tall refrigerators with bottles of soda, home-canned items and take-away containers, including homemade apple sauce, beef and vegetable soup, cassoulet with duck and pork, duck confit. Taqueria?

The young lady behind the counter asked if I needed assistance. I looked at the wall behind her and saw two large hand-written chalkboard menus with more traditional taqueria fare…Huevas Rancheros, Burritos, Chilaquiles, Tacos, Empanadas, Tamales and a Chicken Quesadilla. I ordered a trio of tacos…a fried fish, a beef and a pork. As it turns out the young lady is one of the owners, Maria Munoz Del Castillo.

As I waited, Maria brought a plate of Frijoles con Arroz. In addition to the slightly spicey rice and black beans, the dish contained a few green beans, corn, scallions, diced red onions and cilantro. It was a very pleasant way to wait for my meal.

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Thursday
Jan302014

The Spread's Poblano & Corn Chowder with Fresh Crabmeat

Get ready to rumble. Chowdafest is this weekend at the Webster Bank Arena, where 28 chefs will battle it out for "best of," and then Superbowl eating goes into full swing. The Spread in Sono under the direction of Chef Carlos Baez, will be competing for the first year at Chowdafest in the "Creative Chowder" category. Chef Baez may be a rookie to Chowdafest but he certainly is no rookie in the kitchen. 

Check out his very simple and delicious recipe for Poblano & Corn Chowder with Fresh Crabmeat. Make it for your Superbowl party or skip the work and sample some at Chowdafest before the big game. 

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Sunday
Jan122014

Pantanal Restaurant & Churrascaria: Brazilian in Bridgeport

The smell of grilling meat perfumes the air on Frank Street in Bridgeport. What’s going on here? This drab residential neighborhood is crowded with cars. And what’s that funky-looking vividly green-and-yellow building? The sidewalk’s striped green and yellow too, the colors of the Brazilian flag.  This is Pantanal, a Brazilian buffet and churrascaria. We’re going in.

It’s Thursday at lunchtime and the place is crowded. We grab plates and try to take in all that’s offered at the cold and hot buffet. We’re overwhelmed, and we’re in the way. Everyone else knows what they want. We’re gawking, and we know we could easily overload our plates with the choice of salads, fruits, hearts of palm, collards, white rice, Spanish rice, mac ‘n cheese, black beans, pinto beans, fried sweet plantain, fried chicken, fried fish and stews. Customers are digging in to those stews. The chicken and okra stew looks intriguing, but I need to exert restraint. I need to focus. I chose an orange-colored stew of smoked pork ribs and white beans. Excellent choice, smoky and deeply flavorful.  

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Wednesday
Dec182013

Bareburger Opens In Ridgefield CT w/ Organic, Grass-Fed Burgers

Connecticut's first Bareburger, the micro chain restaurant known for organic ingredients, grass-fed humanely-raised protein, and sustainable practices, opened this week in Ridgefield. CTbites tagged along on a Friends and Family earlier this week with fellow Ridgefielders and had the chance to meet its trio of partners, Bareburger’s chef, and taste a couple of their burgers (elk and wild boar, to be exact).   

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