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Entries in Lunch (227)

Sunday
Jul292012

Behind the Scenes: Napa and Company's New Chef Marino

Napa and Company in Stamford has a new, very talented chef overseeing its award-winning kitchen. Chef Leonardo Marino is slowly modifying the menu to showcase his commitment of using exceptional ingredients to highlight their natural flavors. Three weeks after assuming Napa’s Executive Chef position, CTbites sat with Chef Leo for this “Behind the Scenes,” review, discussed his passion for food and sampled several of his recently premiered dishes.  

Chef Leo’s devotion to cooking started at an early age as he assisted his mother and aunt in the kitchen; they inspired him to pursue a culinary education.  After attending the Culinary Institute of America, his philosophy of accentuating the natural flavors was further influenced in the kitchens of some of America’s greatest chefs. While working as the Lead Sous Chef for Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin, Ripert asked him to relocate to Washington DC to take the reins of Chef de Cuisine at Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert. Chef Leo returned to New York in 2009 and joined David Bouley at both Bouley and as the Chef of Bouley Upstairs.

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Friday
Jul272012

Great news for fans of Cortina Pizzeria, Norwalk!  

Chef/ owner Pat Pascarella of Cortina Pizzeria (the former Pizzeria Rosso) told CTbites that he is relocating from the current New Canaan Avenue location and re-opening on Wall Street in Norwalk with a larger menu and plenty of seats. During the relocation the New Canaan Avenue location will close on July 29th with the new Wall Street full-service restaurant scheduled to open in September.

The menu at the new restaurant will feature more than Chef Pat’s delicious pizzas (yes, he will feature the CTbites Pizza). He shared a sneak peak of some of the items he is considering and they include various meatballs, (including a meatball sampler plate), a variety of appetizers and salumi, salads including house-made mozzarella and burrata plus an assortment of pasta dishes. When CTbites spoke with Pascarella, he stated, "I am excited about opening the new location where I can expand the menu and offer more choices to my customers.  I also want to price the menu so everyone can come to the restaurant and enjoy some great food at reasonable prices.

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Wednesday
Jul252012

Road Trip: 116 Crown in Downtown New Haven

116 Crown (“One-Sixteen,” as its known to loyal patrons) arrived on the downtown New Haven scene in 2007 with little fanfare, but its impact was immediate and resounding. Nothing quite so chic, so stylish, had been seen in the Elm City. With its lit up green onyx bar easily visible from the street, 116 stood out as a beacon of alternative dining and nightlife, easily distinguishable from the loud clubs and Irish pubs on nearby blocks. A sophisticated crowd sought out the modestly sized space in search of haute mixology creations – extraordinary cocktails containing exotic ingredients – and worldly small plates to nibble on.  The perfectly pitched décor, highlighted by impressive design touches like an iconic bright blue Bang & Olufsen phone at the hostess stand and foot pedal-operated sinks by the bathrooms, and an undeniably hip ambiance perpetuated by a fantastic of-the-moment musical playlist, kept the cool kids coming back. 

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Sunday
Jul222012

Fiesta Atlantic: Authentic Peruvian Fare in Stamford

I’ve enjoyed food from many different countries over the years but funny enough, never from Peru. So with three friends in tow, I decided to try Fiesta Atlantic, a Peruvian restaurant in Stamford. Having eaten Venezuelan and Mexican, I expected a fusion of both. It turns out Peruvian food is indeed a melting pot of different cultures but surprisingly, the food is notable for its Italian and Chinese influences. In the 18th century, Lima was the financial center of a vast Spanish Viceroyalty. Chinese laborers and Italian settlers washed up on its South Pacific shores bringing their own spices and cooking techniques.

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Sunday
Jun172012

Aux Delices Opens in Westport: Great Food for Busy People

Back in Greenwich it was more than 10 years ago that I first walked into Greg Addonizio and Debra Ponzek’s tiny yellow-and-blue striped jewel of a café, Aux Delices. I went there almost every day, unable to resist their lemony ginger tea, inspiring desserts and gourmet take-out items. After I moved to Westport, I literally dreamed about their unbelievably decadent chocolate cake. Now, at long last, my dreams have come true. Aux Delices, which in French means “all the delicious food in life,” has opened a new location...in Westport, centrally located at 1035 Post Road East. With an airy, relaxed French brasserie ambience of copper fixtures, colorful chalkboard menus, and an outdoor patio, it’s the perfect instant getaway. And, while the service is quick and easy, the food however, is anything but fast food-like. With the exception of a few imported specialty items, drinks and cheeses, all foods and pastries are baked on-site, prepared by culinary institute-trained chef Ponzek, who describes her own cooking as “quality, healthy food for busy people.”  

 

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Sunday
Jun032012

Terrain Westport Garden Cafe: Farm to Table Fare

The construction of Terrain along the Westport Post Road sprouted up faster than a weed; but unlike a weed, Terrain was a welcome sight--desirable and beautiful. I’m unsure who frequents this store, billed as “a shop for eco-friendly growing supplies, home and garden décor” with its $100. terrariums and $2,000. wire tables, but I have noticed a lot of people are eating here. Terrain’s restaurant, the Westport Garden Cafe, with the look of a modern barn in all its refined rusticity--reclaimed wood tables adorned with potted flowers, bulbs suspended from above, and floor to ceiling glass windows--is bright and airy, completely lovely. To match decor, the menu itself is farm-to-table, boasting support for local farms such as Sport Hill, Holbrook, Oakview, The Hickories and Warrups. Alabama chef, Joe Wolfson, Food & Wine’s 2011 People’s Best New Chef from the Gulf Coast, does justice to his ingredients.

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Wednesday
May232012

CTbites Invite: Blue Lemon Cooking Demo & Lunch Recap

Blue Lemon chef Bryan Malcarney can clean, prep and sear a baby squid in just under 10 minutes, all while making small talk with a patio full of hungry diners. In fact, he makes it look pretty easy.

“That’s my job,” the affable chef joked to a lunch crowd last week at a cooking demo organized by CTBites. The lattice and flower enclosed patio was packed with avocational foodies who had jumped at the chance to learn from one of the area’s most established chefs through the CTBites Invites program, which has regular offerings to take people behind the scenes in some of Fairfield County’s most respected kitchens.

 

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Sunday
May062012

Stamford's @Bar Rosso v2.0 Redux

It has been a roller coaster first year for @Bar Rosso in Stamford. Given the renewed level of excitement for this stylish Italian food and wine bar, I decided to return and investigate the buzz. And I am glad that I did. 

The totally revamped menu, designed by the new operating managers Giovanni Gentile and Rosario Procino, presents more casual and traditional Italian selections. More importantly, the new management team has brought in a supremely talented pizza maestro, Giuseppe Quattromini, a trained Italian baker from the Puglia region of Italy, and he is serving one of the best pizza crusts I have ever tasted. It was thin, yet crispy and strong enough to hold the toppings without folding; soft, light, and airy in texture, baked in a traditional 750-degree wood burning oven. The end result was outstanding.

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Sunday
Apr012012

Opening Night at Elm Restaurant in New Canaan

At 5:44PM on the first day of spring, March 20, 2012, the kitchen at elm Restaurant in New Canaan hummed to life as it received an order from the dining room. This was no ordinary order, it was the restaurant’s first. The order ticket began…Appetizers – 1 grilled Spanish octopus, 1 citrus cured hamachi, 1 local lettuces from Millstone Farm, 1 roots, shoots, fruits and leaves, and 1 soft farm egg ravioli… elm was officially open. The outstanding staff that Chef Brian Lewis had assembled sprang to action. The months of planning, the weeks of training, the hours of preparation were now tested as the guests arrived and the orders placed.

 

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Sunday
Apr012012

Melt Mobile Grilled Cheese Truck Opens in Stamford

If there’s one thing consistent with trends, it’s that followers will do anything to get in on the action to stay, err, well, trendy.  This was evident yesterday at the opening of Melt Mobile, a new gourmet grilled cheese truck, parked smack in the middle of downtown Stamford’s Landmark Square. 

Backed by Bobby Flay as part of his new “Food Project” reality show, what was started by two fierce women as a paddy wagon, one with an entrepreneurial background, the other, a trained French Culinary Institute chef and former restaurateur, is now a “permanent for now” gourmet food trend in the form of a food truck. Two trends in one, food truck and gourmet comfort food.  And as I mentioned about those followers… 

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