How often does one get to visit a vineyard that’s blanketed by crisp white snow, or highlighted by a fiery autumnal backdrop, making it even more magical than it already is? Nestled in the shoreline town of Clinton, about a mile beyond the hustle and bustle of the outlet shops is a charming vineyard that boasts over 20 acres of grapes as well as their bountiful fruit, vegetable and herb gardens. One might not consider Connecticut to be wine country, but Chamard Vineyards Farm, Winery, & Bistro is worth noting. Established in 1983, Chamard’s winning Estate Reserve wines are exclusively made in their winery, and can be enjoyed in their Tasting Room or in their dining room. The bistro offers a creative farm-to-table menu featuring a French inspired American menu. Their Chardonnay and Merlot are very good.
Entries in Lunch (195)
Wah Lah is the ideal lunch location for a cozy cup of soup or a delicious pressed sandwich, with a side of small town charm. A fast-casual restaurant that focuses on the holy lunch trinity of soups, sandwiches, and salads, Wah Lah sets itself apart thanks to its amiable and talented owner-chef Keith Burke, and a well-executed and consistent menu that honors classic and wholesome recipes.
Keith opened Wah Lah in 2010. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, he worked in the foodservice industry for 14 years, traveling across the country before deciding to change his pace and put down roots in the small Connecticut town of Bethel. The fast casual dining concept appealed to him, and he decided to marry that approach to the lunch-friendly category of soups with salads and sandwiches soon following.
Wah Lah’s menu is a list of eight to twelve soups made fresh daily
The New Haven outpost of Harvest Wine Bar is the fifth restaurant for siblings Kleber, Nube, and Vincente Siguenza, the the trio behind Cava in New Canaan, 55 Degrees in Fairfield, Scena in Darien, and sister restaurant Harvest Wine Bar in Greenwich. CTbites reviewed the Greenwich location almost a year ago, and many of the same culinary observations apply to this newly opened New Haven outpost on Chapel Street. I stopped in recently to experience the restaurant’s $19 two-course prix fixe lunch, perhaps one of the best downtown lunch options among New Haven’s fine dining restaurants.
Very shortly, Fritz Knipschildt, owner of Chocopologie, will be swapping his old 12 South Main St. location for an up-to-date Chocopologie at 133 Washington St.
The new Chocopologie has maintained some aspects of the old café like the European flair (yes, I’m thinking about the savory buckwheat crepes), the open chocolate-making station, and their trademark exposed brick walls. But don’t be fooled; the light-washed wood flooring, trendy antique furniture, and a simple chalkboard menu point to a decidedly new style. Knipschildt described the new restaurant’s theme as “doing less with more.”
Their “less is more” thinking has inspired their chow as well. Knipschildt and Manager Joseph Trepanowski are not fans of the nuevo, hipster movement, and said that “these hipster places put on good faces but it’s a facade,” adding that they want to be cool but have substance.
A primary focus of the 133 Washington St. location will be the espresso.
Chef/Co-Owner Matt Storch says, The Chelsea has made “some really delicious additions to the menu this go around, we wanted to create a unique menu that makes us stand out as having some of the best and most diverse food in Fairfield." The Chef de Cuisine, Eric Felitto, has worked in The Chelsea kitchen almost since its inception, and has moved up the ranks to assume this new role. Felitto has a great background in Asian Cuisine, and this passion influenced many of new menu items such as the China Ribs & Vietnamese Chicken Soup. For lunch, we loved the bánh mì inspired Porchetta Sandwich, slow roasted crispy pork, on a soft roll. Eric has also worked closely with Chef Matt Storch to perfect some of the exciting new dishes you can see pictured above and described below.
If you love the cozy, familiar space of The Granola Bar for your lattes, lunch or gluten free baked goods, well, you can now love them for another good reason. Dinner—is served! With beloved Chef Jes Bengtson at the helm of The Granola Bar’s kitchen, a full menu of healthy, delicious items, familiar, new and seasonal, are now available to you and your family Wednesdays through Saturdays.
Owner Julie Levitt speaks passionately about her mission of bringing a healthier food movement to focus, and the restaurant’s kitchen has no fryers…or even a stovetop! The produce is organic and whenever possible, locally sourced, a nod to Levitt’s commitment to support local farms. The menu aims to capture the tastebuds of every member of your family at a favorable price point, so when you have that pang of guilt for not having the time to cook and put dinner on the table, TGB is the locals’ no brainer.
There are some new additions to the menu, such as Candied Turkey Bacon Deviled Eggs, which were divine.
Sono Baking Company is officially open for business at their new Darien outpost. Guests can drop in and sample John Barricelli’s expansive baked goods menu, or sit down after ordering counter side and dig into both breakfast and lunch. I know what you’re thinking…yes, he remembered the espresso machine. Excited? We are.
Conveniently located on 49 Tokeneke Road right across from the Darien train station, Sono Baking Co. is the perfect spot to grab an impeccably baked croissant or egg sandwich and a quick latte on the way to the train. Open 7AM to 7PM, this beautiful sun soaked interior also offers guests comfortable seating where one can relax and order from their menu of soups, paninis, quiche or special weekend pancakes.
Whenever the owner of a restaurant that serves great food announces a second location, I am excited to see where this second venture will lead. After hearing that Greer Fredericks, the co-owner of Mama’s Boy in SONO, was opening JAX around the corner on North Main, I couldn’t wait for my first visit. JAX opened a few weeks ago and currently serves a wide range of breakfast options, plus a tremendous selection of creative sandwiches at lunch. It is also placing the final touches to its soon to be released take-away dinners, and awaiting the delivery of its ice cream machine.
Located just south of the SONO theatre, the interior is completely redesigned, accented with a red painted art nouveau ceiling and lots of wood throughout…it is definitely the sister restaurant to Mama’s Boy.
It’s been just over a month since Garelick & Herbs opened its newest, and second Westport, location in the Saugatuck section of Westport with the familiar food favorites and a slightly more industrial vibe than its other locations. It's the most recent food establishment to open just below the new luxury condominiums, sharing the small section of town with Craft Butchery, The Whelk, and Saugatuck Sweets.
Many favorite dishes from the other locations are available, including an array of bright and beautiful salads (a crowd pleaser is the ever popular Kale and Quinoa). Also tempting are their prepared fish, chicken and meat entrées. Numerous pre-packaged pastas, sauces, soups and salads, as well as their selection of breads and cheeses are ready for purchase, whether to the beach or for a quick easy dinner. Their same, dangerously decadent, selection of sweets grace the counter by the register. For customers looking for a sandwich, Garelick offers Paninis, breakfast sandwiches and omelets. The space includes a large, brightly lit, dining area with plenty of comfortable seating, plus an e and coffee bar, more baked goods and delicious oatmeal; or enjoy outdoor seating.
Qdoba Mexican Grill is now OPEN in Westport in Playhouse Square. Qdoba is a fast-casual Mexican restaurant, serving up the kind of quick meal you can feel good about eating...or feeding your kids. Qdoba serves burritos made in the San Francisco burrito style, tacos, quesadillas, taco salads, 3-Cheese Queso, Queso Diablo, tortilla soup, Mexican gumbo, and darn good fresh guacamole. Sure, there is some more authentic Mexican food to be had in Fairfield County, but in the "fast food" category, Qdoba is right up there.