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Entries in Seafood (74)

Wednesday
Aug102016

Oyster Tour with Norm Bloom and Son of Copps Island Oysters

National Oyster Day may be one of those silly made up holidays, but this past National Oyster Day, which fell on Friday August 5th, will always be remembered as the day I joined Norm Bloom and his family from Copps Island Oysters for an afternoon filled with an education in oysters, a tour of their oyster farms and most exciting, shucking and slurping. Organized by Earthplace, Westport’s non-profit nature center for environmental learning and specifically in support of their Harbor Watch program, a group of ten arrived on yet another sparking summer day.

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Tuesday
Aug092016

A Taste of Boothbay Lobster Company In Stamford's Harbor Point

As we first reported last year, Boothbay Lobster Company wanted to bring the “wicked fresh" Maine seafood shack experience down the coast to Harbor Point in Stamford. Fade out. Fade in. The evocative new restaurant has just opened. At a recent tasting for the media, CTBites had a chance to discover what has been gained and lost in translation.

For starters, we were curious about the Down East take on Connecticut’s indigenous warm, buttered lobster roll. Before crafting their version, co-owners David Galin and Willie Craig examined and tasted our local renditions. They sampled bread, garnishes, butter portions, even weighed the meat in every roll. At Fairway Market, Galin unexpectedly found a commercial potato bun (Martin’s) that enjoyed great taste and structure. However, it was side loaded, not top cut, like most Connecticut lobster rolls. “I know it’s not totally traditional,” Galin explained, “but a potato roll seemed perfect. In Maine, we love our spuds.”  

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Sunday
Jul312016

TerraSole, A Small Italian Eatery in The Heart Of Ridgefield 

Unless you’re a resident of Ridgefield you might not be familiar with TerraSole, a small Italian eatery in the heart of Ridgefield. But I feel it is my job to extol the virtues of this sleepy little gem that has been part of the town’s landscape since 2007, and is poised to enter its second decade with quiet confidence. I was invited to join a group of writers and editors to visit TerraSole and nearly declined. Am I ever glad I went!

When the weather is nice, diners can now sit outside in the newly completed terrace. The pale blue interior is simple yet charming. It is the food that takes center stage and rightly steals the show. While locals are avid fans, non-locals should take note. This charming yet understated destination is well worth the drive.

Owner Pietro Polini, who hails from Puglia and moved to the states in 1999, infuses the region’s flavors into his dishes.

 

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Thursday
Jul282016

Citarella Greenwich - Fresh from the Dock to your Table

“I’ll meet you at the front gate at 5am.”

This email, which I received from Joe Gurrera, the owner of Citarella, required setting the alarm for 3:30am, grabbing two cups of coffee and driving the hour to the Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx. Visiting the new Fulton Fish Market was something I have always wanted to do, mingle with the best purveyors of the freshest and best selection of fish, just hours before it arrives at stores and restaurants in preparation for the day’s fare.

The history of Citarella dates to 1912, when a small fish shop opened in Manhattan. Over seventy years later, in 1983, Joe Gurrera purchased the shop and Citarella was born. Joe’s passion for fish started when he was a small boy venturing, in the dead of the night, to the original Fulton Fish Market. It was during these nightly excursions that he educated himself on the various fish and, more importantly, how to choose the best of the best.

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Sunday
Jul242016

Best Warm Lobster Rolls in Connecticut: 2016 Updated Edition

Enough of the Lobster Salad roll vs. Warm Lobster roll debate.   After all, when dining on whole steamed lobster, only a land lubber would first chill the meat, lather it in mayo, and sprinkle on some celery. Whole lobster is best devoured warm and buttery.  Just like a Connecticut Lobster Roll. Our state lays claim to the warm lobster roll because it was first created at a Milford café named Perry’s sometime in the twenties.   Elsewhere in New England, warm lobster rolls are rarely served.

Since 2014 CTbites has celebrated summer with a survey of Connecticut Lobster Rolls available along the shoreline.  We stand by our past evaluations since those versions of rolls remain relatively consistent from year to year.  After all, the three simple ingredients of a warm lobster roll -- bread, butter, and meat – never change.  Such variables as doneness, toppings, and cuts are not an issue.

So for 2016, at the suggestion of readers, chefs, and staff, we add a dozen new restaurants, trucks, and drive-ins to the 2015 portfolio. This list represents the NEW additions. 

And CTbites even ventured mid-state, far from the shore, for one of the best lobster rolls in Connecticut.  Which is where we begin …

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Wednesday
Jul202016

Sneak Peek at Boothbay Lobster Company in Stamford, Something Wicked Fresh This Way Comes

Every start-up dream begins with two words:  what if?

Once upon a time, David Galin and his buddy George Craig fantasized opening their own unique restaurant. But they were young and fate was very fickle. So each forged a highly successful non-culinary career -- in academics (David) and finance (George).  A generation later, the two pals found themselves fishing up in Maine; and on a sudden whim, once-upon-a-time magically became now.

What if they brought the seaside Maine Lobster Shack experience -- and all its Wharf to Table freshness -- to Fairfield County?  

Voila: The Boothbay Lobster Company, a unique concept restaurant at Harbor Point in Stamford, which opens for real next week.  Galin and Willie Craig  (George’s son, a partner in Boothbay, and himself fresh out of college) offered CTBites an exclusive sneak peek at a dream come true.  

“’Wicked Fresh’ is our pledge,” Willie told us.   Pulled fresh from clean, cold Maine waters, the seafood will be rushed by BLC’s refrigerated vehicle down the coast to Stamford.   “We don’t believe in tanking our lobster,” David added, explaining that holding crustaceans in tanks causes the meat to deteriorate, affecting its fresh texture and taste.   “This is why we source from day boats rather than commercial vessels,” he said.  That way he can guarantee that his lobsters haven’t been stressed for a time in the ship’s hold.

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Tuesday
Jul192016

Foraging with Chef Bun Lai of Miya’s Sushi in New Haven

To Forage:  The word forage means to use wander or search for food or provisions. 

So when I was invited to James Beard nominated and passionate foraging chef, Bun Lai’s farm in upstate Connecticut for lunch, I half expected we would forage for much of our meal.  

When I saw on Instagram that Bun and his friend, Greg Grinberg from Actual Food had been diving the prior day for clams for lunch, I knew I was in for a treat. 

Chef Bun Lai is a passionate advocate for sustainable farming and eating and sources much of the food he serves at his New Haven sushi restaurant, Miya’s, from his own gardens, from the wooded forest around his 10 acre farm in Woodbridge, CT and from Long Island Sound.   His popular restaurant has been a New Haven destination for over 35 years, originally opened by his mother, who is still involved today. 

To visit with Bun is a lesson in locally sourced produce, with no pesticides or flavor or color enhancements.  He and Greg described foraging as, “the most natural way of eating… the “gathering” part of the hunter/gatherer”. 

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Tuesday
Jun142016

Road Trip: Exit 4 Food Hall in Mount Kisco

Food halls are all the craze in NYC right now. But in lower Fairfield County, food halls are completely missing and the closest one (the first in Westchester) is in Mount Kisco’s bustling downtown area and is totally worth the 40-plus minute drive to fill your bellies and thus, nourish your soul.

Exit 4 Food Hall opened in February and it’s already a Main Street hot spot. In an area packed with good eateries and ultra-cool bars, Exit 4 is a destination. It’s casual, it’s great for just about any occasion, and with nine food/drink counters there are lots of options for those days when you’re feeling a bit picky. On weekend nights it can get loud, and busy, but that’s part of its charm. There’s a sense of community here and you might even make a few foodie friends while you’re chowing down on food and chugging a brew. I was recently invited to try some of the food and the brew.

 

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Wednesday
Jun082016

CT’s Best Clambakes & Pig Roasts: 2016 Edition

These Connecticut caterers and restaurants will help you make the most out of the fresh, delicious New England seafood with their beautifully prepared clambakes. If you prefer a summertime cook out, we’ve also included places for pig roasts and BBQs. Make summer catering simple and just hire one of these experts. 

Here are CT's Best Caterers For Clambakes & Pig Roasts. 

Capt’n John's Clambakes, Norwalk: For the past 36 years, folks have been enjoying classic New England clambakes from Capt’n John’s.

The Place, Guilford: For those of us who believe the journey is the true adventure, The Place offers a roadside clambake in Guilford. The casual, outdoor seafood restaurant lets you enjoy summer on seats made of tree stumps and tables adorned with fresh flowers.

Fjord Fish Market, New Canaan, Cos Cob, Westport: Fjord Fish Market & Catering debuted new services for the summer! Additions include a Sushi Station, Poke Bar, Shrimp Boil, and roving oyster shuckers.

Clambakes of CT, Shelton: Clambakes of Connecticut garnered praise from Clinton Kelly, one of the hosts of ABC's popular television show "The Chew." He referred to them as "The Kings of Clambakes" and tapped them to participate in the show's 2013 Memorial Day special.

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Wednesday
May252016

The Uber-Guide to Connecticut’s Asian Markets

“From wonder into wonder existence opens,” said Laozi, the founder of Tao Buddhism.

He might have been speaking of the joys of the table, so central to Asian culture for millennia---and to Connecticut foodies today. 

Almost 160,000 people of Asian descent call Connecticut home, and a considerable number of grocery stores in the state support the diverse cooking traditions of China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. True to both their Asian roots and the universal principle of making the best of fresh ingredients, quite often the most modest such store will have a produce section and a fish section---in one case, at least, featuring live fish.

Your guide to the best East and Southeast Asian markets of Connecticut appears below.

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