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Entries in Lunch (204)


Norwalk's Valencia Luncheria is Moving!

Valencia Luncheria customers will never have to wait in line again” says Michael Young, owner of the Norwalk eatery that has achieved cult-like status in the minds and stomachs of Fairfield County diners. After 6 years of arepa driven success, Valencia is growing up and getting bigger...much bigger in fact. Michael Young tells CTbites that Norwalk's Valencia Luncheria will be moving to a new location, possibly as soon on April 1st (no joke) just 600 feet down the street. While the menu and look and feel will not change, the address will.  Put it in your nav systems; 164 Main Street will be the new home to Chef Young’s authentic Venezuelan beach food. 

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Cactus Rose Cantina -- Santa Fe Meets Wilton 

“What’s a nice Greek girl like you doing running a place like this?” I ask Maria Pertesis, who with her mother Katrina, has just opened Cactus Rose, a vibrant new Southwestern themed cantina in Wilton.    “My family has owned a Greek diner in Fairfield for almost 40 years,” she offers. “So my mother and I wanted to try something new and exciting.”  

And that’s exactly what these amazing women have wrought.  Under their husbandry, the former Mediterranean Grill in the Wilton Center has blossomed into a fun-filled, warm, and welcoming hacienda. Indeed, the restaurant came up almost overnight, as if itself a desert flower.

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The Whelk in Westport: A First Look & Taste

Friends and family were treated to a sneak preview of The Whelk, Bill Taibe's latest venture in Westport on Wednesday evening.  Steeped in the sea with unmistakable flashes of leFarm's seasonal luxury, The Whelk is poised to establish Saugatuck as the culinary center of Westport, and perhaps Fairfield County.

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Kids Review: The Melting Pot

Lily Schaeffer is one of our junior reporters. She in the sixth grade and lives in Darien.

How many times have you wished you could try something new and different for dinner but you didn’t know where to go or what to get?  The solution is fondue! You can get freshly grated and melted cheese fondue or rich delectable chocolate fondue for dessert at a restaurant right in Darien, The Melting Pot is located at 14 Grove Street.  At The Melting Pot, you will arrive to a beautiful flowing fountain right outside the door and enter the restaurant to find a welcoming modern atmosphere perfect for a chilly fall night.  The friendly staff will greet you and fill you in on the menu options (we chose lightly spiced cheddar fondue).  Another exciting feature is  after you have ordered, your food will be thrillingly made right before you eyes at your table.  You can sit back and dip delectable tidbits in strategically made melted cheese.   Did I mention the dippable items come in a bottomless supply? 

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Carpe Diem Opens w/ Northern Italian in New Canaan

Food lovers of New Canaan rejoice! Carpe Diem, a Northern Italian inspired restaurant by Alan Basaran, has opened and the housemade pastas are delicious. As CTBites presented earlier, Basaran, a North Stamford resident and owner of Carpe Diem Restaurant in New York City, is excited about creating delicious Northern Italian cuisine in New Canaan, his wife’s hometown.

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Bill Taibe's "The Whelk" Opens in Westport in 2 Weeks

Up until yesterday, if you had asked Bill Taibe for the name of his new Westport based seafood restaurant, he'd tell you what he told the town when they needed a name for the phone directory, "The oyster place in Saugatuck." But as of this morning, this seafood haven has been given a brand befitting its waterfront surroundings in Westport's burgeoning restaurant scene. "The Whelk" will be opening in roughly two weeks, and the restaurant is poised for its first round of guests. 

The interior reflects the clean lines of a beautiful ship with beadboard paneling, industrial metals, and warm woods, but despite the seafaring undertones "there is a sense of responsible kitchiness here. We didn't want to go obvious nautical," says Taibe. He describes The Whelk's clean architectural interior as "The South of France meets Maine." Green park bench inspired seating runs the full length of the sunlit dining space and 2 high communal tables stand proudly behind the white marble bar. In keeping with Taibe's passion for local sourcing, everything in the restaurant was made in the USA. 

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Rizzuto’s Italian Kitchen in Stamford

Rizzuto’s Italian Kitchen opened in Stamford this past November as the fourth location in Bill Rizzuto's casual Italian dining concept. With restaurants already in Bethel, Westport and West Hartford, tireless and engaging owner Bill Rizzuto chose the Stamford spot (near the Greenwich border) embracing the open space with tri-level dining, a formidable bar and a central beamy oven. Interested to see how they adapted to their Stamford address and eager to try our hand at making our own pizza, we dropped by for a behind-the-scenes look at their kitchen, the new gas-powered pizza oven and what objects of our affection that oven could create for us hungry souls.

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Hope Pizza in Stamford: Best Greek Pizza in Western CT?

"Gooey," that's what my late great mother craved in her pizza, and this woman loved food more than any person I've ever known. ("Don't talk to me," she would admonish. "I'm eating."}

Well, Mom would have devoured the pizza at Stamford's Hope Pizza, maybe the best of the thirty some Greek pizzerias hidden throughout Fairfield County. What makes Greek pizza gooey is what distinguishes it from the more heralded Connecticut Italian pizzas. Bearing no New Haven char, Colony heat, Batali chic, much less any passionate defenders or detractors in the food press or blogosphere, Greek Pizza flourishes under the radar, boasting few fancy frills, though, admittedly, more oil.

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Volta: Fun Euro Fare on Stamford’s Spring Street

Spring Street, all of a block long, was once anchored by Bennet's Steak House and Andy Robustelli’s World Travel services. Both were venerable downtown institutions, but dowdy matrons against the vibrant young rialto of restaurants and bars around the corner on Bedford Street. In their place Spring Street this year welcomed Mary Schaffer's luxe Italian Bar Russo and Giovanni Gentile's sleek euro-style café, Volta.

Designed by Giovanni himself, Volta’s pop interior complements the hip crowd, who one recent night were dining on such kewl stuff as brie and bacon crepes, grilled vegetable tartines, duck confit salads, and  creamy sweet potato vichyssoise.  With an Amy Whitehouse track in the background, “My life a wreck you’re making,” a beguiling model delicately sampled a gelato stracciatella while her debonair date sipped Remy XO.  

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The Whey Station Grilled Cheese Truck in Middletown

Jill Moskites works the grill while her husband, Josh, takes lunch orders from a hungry crowd.  It’s a cold Wednesday afternoon in October, perfect for what The Whey Station is serving up -- gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, hearty, “truckmade” soups and specialty hot dogs.  Fortunately for all of us, The Whey Station is the newest local addition to the handful of food trucks hitting the streets.

It’s a new endeavor for the Moskites, who until recently were familiar faces at their family’s gourmet foods shop, The Wild Raspberry in Cromwell, and together they have about 19 years restaurant and specialty foods experience.

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