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Entries in Venezuelan (9)


First Taste: El Segundo Opens in Sono Starring The Spread's Carlos Baez

Recently the CTbites team previewed the menu at El Segundo in South Norwalk, the newest restaurant from the talented partners who created The Spread just up the block. The concept:  Eat the Street. Intersect some of the world’s tastiest street food at the corner of Washington and North Water in SONO. 

What began as a tasting quickly turned into a party ... a coming out party for Carlos Baez, Executive Chef of The Spread, one of the region’s most versatile, yet unheralded, chefs. 

The menu flaunts Baez’ extraordinary range -- a gastronomic tour de force featuring over 3 dozen dishes curated from the boulevards and back allies of 27 countries on all seven continents, including barren Antarctica. (More about that selection later)   

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Basso Café Restaurant in Norwalk Adds Wine Bar + New Menu

Several years ago CTbites visited Basso Café Restaurant on New Canaan Avenue in Norwalk and was very impressed with many of the dishes created by Owner / Chef Renato Donzelli. Since that time Chef Renato has maintained his vision of creating a wine bar to complement the food, and that is now a reality as Basso Café Restaurant is now Basso Café Restaurant Wine Bar.

The interior has been updated with large, vibrant paintings along one wall, smaller modern pieces along the other wall overseeing the 60 seat dining area. The lighting is soft and inviting and acoustical tiles have been installed to reduce the noise level. After the recent receipt of a full liquor license, guests can now benefit from Chef Renato’s pairing of wines to balance the vibrant flavors of his cuisine and the rear of the restaurant now showcases the bar area with a selection of personally selected spirits, including organic vodkas. 

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JOJOTO Brings Venezuelan Cuisine to Branford, Opening August 2014

The Venezuelan-inspired Jojoto Restaurant + Bar is opening in Branford this August. Owner Victor Figueroa and Neil Fuentes, our favorite Singing Chef, have teamed up for a restaurant that is "high-energy, Latin infused with authentic Venezuelan dishes."

Jojoto will open in a 40-seat intimate dining room that was previously occupied by Augie's Restaurant. The menu will feature rustic and traditional recipes that take inspiration from the land as well as the nearby shoreline, and include:

Costillas de Res of sofrito and cabernet braised short ribs with polenta, gremolata and truffle essence; Venezuelan BBQ with beef tenderloin, chicken, pork, choice of chorizo or blood sausage, yuca, guasacaca and crema fresca; Hamburguesa Venezolana piled high with lettuce, tomato, ham, queso, avocado, bacon, crushed potato chips, slaw, ketchup, mustard, garlic sauce, topped with a duck egg and served with truffle fries; Pabellon Criollo with rice, black beans, shredded beef and sweet plantains; and Gallinita Rellena, deboned, crispy skin Cornish hen stuffed with leeks and sweet plantain with an orange, lemon grass and honey reduction. Seasonal paella preparations and market fresh fish dishes change daily. 

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Valencia Luncheria's Carlo Arepa Recipe c/o Fairfield County Chef's Table

If you thought arepa's were our of your reach in your own kitchen, think again. This week we are bringing you a recipe from one of the our reader favorite spots—Valencia Luncheria in Norwalk, featured in Fairfield County Chef's Table—featuring one of their most popular dishes, the Carlo Arepa. 

Valencia Luncheria
164 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851 | (203) 846-8009 |

Carlo Arepa (serves 4)

For the chicken filling:

1 (31/2-pound) whole chicken
1 large white onion, julienned
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 poblano pepper, julienned

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Basso Cafe: Venezuela & Italy Meet in Norwalk

When you enter Basso Café you feel transported to a warmer climate with the vibrant colors and art of the Mediterranean. The green walls are adorned with large colorful paintings depicting various culinary delights and the dark wood tables are inviting and offer a calming respite from the hustle and bustle of the day. At the helm of the Basso Café is Owner / Chef Renato Donzelli, who is proud that his dream still thrives after opening at the worst possible time at the beginning of the financial crisis in September 2007. A loyal following and favorable word of mouth allowed him to weather the crisis, and his strong menu has given him continued success. 

Born in Venezuela and raised in Naples, Italy, Chef Renato’s cuisine focuses primarily on Mediterranean flavors with a Venezuelan influence.

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A Sneak Peek @ The NEW Valencia Luncheria in Norwalk

We recently reported on Valencia Luncheria's highly anticipated expansion plan which has this Fairfield County arepa haven moving down the street to a significantly larger location at 164 Main Street in Norwalk. Regulars wondered if the new place would retain the just stepped off the Venezuelan beachside charm of Valencia 1.0, a tiny spot whose uniquely delicious menu has won over locals as well as Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Loyal patrons need not fear. Owner, Michael Young, recently toured CTbites around the new Valencia Luncheria, and all of the rustic and reclaimed touches, bright colors, and the signature wall of plantains, are still in the house. There are, however, some significant upgrades about which you'll want to know. Here's the rundown on what to look for in the new Valencia Luncheria, currently scheduled to open by the end of May.

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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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MASAS: Norwalk's New Arepera

I’m told “Masas” means dough in Spanish.  For very little “dough” you can consume A LOT of dough at Masas Arepera, a new, family-run spot in a tiny strip mall on Westport Ave in Norwalk.  

(Bring some dough, though, because it’s cash only.) 

Place your order at the counter.  Menu items are listed on the wall and for those of us who don’t speak Spanish there is a yellow take-out menu with helpful English descriptions.  (The Venezuelan family and staff are friendly but not much English is spoken.)  Note also that all items may not be available at all times.  (One member of our group had been told on an earlier visit that chicken wasn’t available that day.) So be prepared to go with the flow.  We’re very glad we did. 

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Valencia Luncheria: Venezuelan Beach Food Bargain

Photo: c/o Valencia LuncheriaAlthough my husband and I had done several drive-bys, we dismissed Valencia Luncheria as a divey lunch spot, not worthy of the much-anticipated weekly date night… oh how I regret not getting there sooner.

Stepping into Valencia is like wandering off the beach to grab a bite in a small Latin American, seaside town. In fact, Chef Michael Young (of Habana and Ocean Drive fame in SONO), has dubbed his cuisine “Venezuelan beach food”, and this 16-seat restaurant with its mango-colored walls, heaping plantains, and chalkboard menu listing today’s arepas and empanadas, is a slice of Latin heaven.

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