The 4th Annual Greater Valley Restaurant Week Is Coming Soon!

I like to eat out a lot as I’m sure you know if you follow along with my dining adventures. I have my favorite, go-to restaurants, but I also enjoy trying new restaurants whenever possible. But let’s be honest, eating out all the time can become expensive. So one of my most favorite things, as both a food blogger and a foodie, is to participate in restaurant week!

I love, I mean LOVE restaurant week because it’s the perfect opportunity to try a few local restaurants I haven’t had a chance to try yet, and there are often prix-fixe menus aka you get to try a few different things off the menu the establishment is featuring and it’s budget friendly. That’s a win-win in my book!

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I’m excited to share that there is a restaurant week coming your way in one week – the Greater Valley Restaurant Week! From October 6-10th you can enjoy some of your local favorites or visit the restaurant you’ve been meaning to try!

The list keeps growing, but so far particpating restaurants incude:

Ansonia

Crave

Beacon Falls

Molto Bene

The Pantry

Derby

Archie Moore’s

500 Degrees

House of Bones BBQ

Oxford

121 Restaurant & Bar

Seymour

Hot Tamale Mexican Grill & Bar

Tavern 1757

Shelton

 Ari Bella

Baingan

Bricks & Barley

Center Street Social

Draft House

Focaccia’s

Il Palio

Giove’s Pizza Kitchen

La Scogliera

Red Lotus

Vazzy’s Cucina

Verace

Be sure to check back for updates to the growing list of restaurants and I’ll be posting about places I try!

For further information be sure to check out the Greater Valley Restaurant Week 2014 website (click here)!

 

 

 

*Image from greatervalleyrestaurantweek.com*

Greenwich Wine + Food Festival 2014: The Food Event You Don’t Want To Miss!

The 2014 Greenwich Wine + Food Festival is here! From September 25-27th you can enjoy food, wine, beer, cooking demos, live music, and the best part of all – this three-day event benefits Paul Newman’s The Hole In the Wall Gang Camp!

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Presented by Serendipity, the Greenwich Wine + Food Festival will take place rain or shine at the Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich. (Please note, you must be 21 or older to attend all festival events, and infants and strollers are prohibited per Greenwich Wine + Food Festival’s website.)

Tickets
The Greenwich Wine + Food Festival offers an array of different ticket options depending on how many days you plan to attend the festival, as well as how many events you plan to partake in each day. Please see the Greenwich Wine + Food Festival (click here) to choose which ticket(s) are best for you.
If you aren’t a foodie (I know, what am I saying??), there’s still something for you – a live concert on Saturday featuring The Bacon Brothers, Ian Murray Band, and Alabama! Just look for the Night General Ticket on the website.

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What events can you expect to see?
Head over the Greenwich Wine + Food Festival’s website for the full schedule, however you can expect such events as:

Thursday

Oysters & Wine with Castello Banfi wines and L’escale’s finest oysters from 6:30-8:30pm where guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres and premium liquor & exclusive gift bag.

Friday

From 6:30-10:30pm you can partake in the Most Innovative Chefs Gala with Geoffrey Zakarian, Jean-Georges and other awarded chefs. This evening includes cocktails, a tasting menu prepared by the Most Innovative Chef winners and Chef Jean-Georges, and an exclusive auction.

Don’t forget to close the evening with live music by The Marshall Tucker Band. (The website notes that attire is casual chic and reminds you to wear shoes appropriate for the grass.)

Saturday

If you cannot attend all three days of the Greenwich Wine + Food Festival you might want to consider attending on Saturday, which is jam packed with plenty of events to choose from.

Celebrity Sommelier and Mixologist Tent, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, 30 — 40 minute demos.

Balducci’s Demo Tent ONE and TWO presented by Aitoro & Blue Star, 1:00-4:00pm, half hour demos.

Book Store, have your favorite cookbooks signed from 1:00-4:00pm! Books will be available for purchase.

BBQ Pit Masters’ Tent, 3:00-8:00pm

VIP Tent Celebrity Stage, 3pm, featuring “The Singing Chef” Neil Funtes

Top Bartender Showdown presented by Ketel, 3:30pm

Fourth Annual Celebrity Judged Burger Battle, hosted by Adam Richman, 4:30pm

Culinary Village, 12:00-5:00pm, Gourmet tastings by 100+ food, wine, and spirit vendors! See the Greenwich Wine + Food Festival site for a complete list (and some vendors are listed below).

Main Stage with Kerry Degman, country music’s rising star, and Kathie Lee Gifford with GIFFT wines by Scheid Family Wines of Monterey, California, 1:30-2:30pm.

Food Truck Corner – experience the area’s BEST food trucks.

Tequila & Tostadas! with Aarón Sánchez presented by Casamigos Tequila, 6:00-8:00pm

Front Stage Box Seats with Dinner by Red Rooster Harlem! 6:30pm

VIP Tent Ambassador Chefs Dinner, 6:30-8:00 pm
“An exclusive culinary feast at the water’s edge by award winning chefs: Rui Correia of Douro, Bill Taibe of The Whelk/ Le Farm, Frederic Keiffer of L’ecale, Rafael Palomino of Sonora Café & Bistro Latino, Debra Ponzek of Aux Delices, Clifford Crooks of BLT, Eric Gabrynowicz of Restaurant North, Eric Korn of Good-Life Gourmet, and Tim LaBant of The Schoolhouse at Cannondale.”

This year’s participants will include (list is subject to change):

Food Vendors

121 Restaurant North Salem,New York
Barcelona Greenwich Connecticut
Baro New World Cantina Fairfield, Connecticut
Mezon Danbury,Connecticut
Bar Sugo Norwalk,Connecticut
Bare Burger Coming to Stamford,Connecticut
Bobby Q’s Westport,Connecticut
Benjamin Steakhouse Westchester,New York
Cathy’s Biscotti White Plains,New York
Cayman Islands Dept. of Tourism N/A
Char Greenwich, Connecticut
Connecticut Cookie Co. Bridgeport,Connecticut
Cook & CraftOld GreenwichConnecticut
Cos CobberCos CobConnecticut
Da GiorgioNew RochelleNew York
Dan Rooney’sYonkersNew York
Dinosaur BBQStamfordConnecticut
Emmi Roth USANew York
Fairfield Cheese CompanyFairfield and GreenwichConnecticut
Fire Engine Food TruckBridgeportConnecticut
Fjord Fish MarketCos CobConnecticut
GabrielesGreenwichConnecticut
Good Karma Crunch, LLCN/A
Green & TonicGreenwichConnecticut
Harvest Wine Bar & RestaurantGreenwichConnecticut
Cava Wine Bar & RestaurantNew CanaanConnecticut
Scena Wine Bar & RestaurantDarienConnecticut
55 Wine Bar Wine Bar & RestaurantFairfield Connecticut
Hudson GrilleStamfordConnecticut
Johnson Food TruckMamaroneckNew York
Kelly’s Four Plus GranolaNew CanaanConnecticut
Little PubCos CobConnecticut
Mike’s Organic DeliveryFairfield/Westchester Counties
Morello BistroGreenwich Connecticut
NoMa SocialNew RochelleNew York
Parallel PostTrumbullConnecticut
Pinch American GrillYonkersNew York
Plan B BurgerStamford Connecticut
Preppy Pig BBQRhode IslandNew York
River House Bar & GrillPort ChesterNew York
Roger Sherman InnNew CanaanConnecticut
Ruth Chris SteakhouseTarrytownNew York
Schweid & SonsCarlstadtNew Jersey
Simply Delicious CateringNorwalkConnecticut
SonoraPort ChesterNew York
Tea-rrific Ice CreamNorwalkConnecticut
The DessertistCroton-on-HudsonNew York
The Flavored OliveMeridenConnecticut
The GingermanGreenwichConnecticut
The Granola BarWestportConnecticut
The Mumbai Times Indian CuisineCos CobConnecticut
The Purple Pear by TinaWillingtonConnecticut
The Restaurant at Rowayton SeafoodRowaytonConnecticut
The SpreadSouth NorwalkConnecticut
TomatilloGreenwichConnecticut
Versailles BistroGreenwichConnecticut
Villa ItaliaStamfordConnecticut
Whipped Up LLCWestonConnecticut
Wendy’s WeeniesGreenwichConnecticut

Beer + Wine + Spirit Vendors

American Harvest
Basil Hayden
Bloody Good Products
Blue Point Brewery
Buon Cello
Captain Lawrence Brewery
Casamigos Tequila
Cockspur Rum
Czechvar Premium Czech Lager
Daura
Estrella Damm Daura
Estrella Damm Inedit
GIFFT Wines
Goose Island
Half Full Brewery
Ice Wine Exclusives
Iceburg Vodka
Jim Beam
Ketel One
Knob Creek Rye
Leaf Vodka
Leinenkugels Orange Shandy
Long Trail – Otter Brewery
Makers 46
Martin Millers Gin
Miami Beverages
Murphy’s Stout
New Planet
Ninety+ Cellars
Old Greenwich Fine Wines
Pinto’s Pino
Quintessential Wines
Shaw Vineyard
Shock Top
SpikedSeltzer
The Wine Press
Tiger Beer

Disclaimer: I have been invited to attend the Culinary Village event (Saturday), however all opinions and views expressed herein are my own.

Images from Greenwich Wine + Food Festival

Catch Robeks Melon and Mint Smoothies Before They’re Gone!

Robeks special seasonal smoothies are here until September 28th and you don’t want to miss them!

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(Photo from Robeks.com)

Made from primarily locally sourced produce, Robeks is offering three seasonal smoothies:

Cantaloupe Cooler made with fresh cantaloupe, fresh mint, pineapple chunks, 100% natural orange juice, pineapple sorbet, and a splash of apple juice.

Wailea Watermelon made with fresh watermelon, fresh mint, ripe strawberries, pineapples chunks, 100% natural raspberry and pineapple sorbet, and a splash of apple juice.

Mojito Melon is created with fresh, chopped mint with raw watermelon, raw cantaloupe, and raw cucumber.

But if melon isn’t your thing, Robeks has a full menu of smoothies and juices for you to choose from. Also, did you know that Robeks has the ability to create and tailor smoothies and juices to your needs offering countless options? That’s right – for example you can have your smoothie made with almond milk, soy milk, greek yogurt, regular yogurt, or even dairy free if you prefer. Ask your Robeks mixologist if you need help tailoring your drink, and also for supplement recommendations which you can add to any smoothie or juice.

As Robeks says, “healthy never tasted this good!” and I couldn’t agree more!

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On the menu you can expect to find smoothie “Classics” such as Strawberry Banana, “Fan Favorites” like the Hummingbird (passionfruit, mangos, strawberries, bananas, orange sherbet), “Power” smoothies with whey protein, and “Fresh Squeezes Juices” like the Evergreen (kale, cucumber, celery, spinach, apple, lemon) and the Crazy Carrot (carrot, beet, celery, cayenne pepper) and many more options. Don’t forget smoothies specialized just for the kids! One of the most popular is the PB&J Delight (raspberry juice, peanut butter, strawberries, blueberries, non-fat yogurt).

I recently had the opportunity to visit Robeks in Westport and learn more about their products from the regional director of Connecticut and Southeast New York: Katrina Bickford. As we talked about Robeks juices and smoothies we sipped on the Tropi-Kale (pictured above) and I tried a shot of wheat grass for the first time.

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Did you know that one shot of wheat grass (one ounce) is the equivalent to eating two and a half pounds of green leafy vegetables? I wasn’t aware of the benefits of wheat grass until my visit to Robeks! If you’re wondering what wheat grass tastes like, it does essentially taste like, well, grass. However, the flavor is subtle and something I plan to order regularly now when I visit Robeks. 

 

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Robeks has locations throughout Connecticut in Fairfield (Black Rock and Post Road), Westport, Darien, Norwalk, Stamford (3 locations), and Greenwich (Cos Cob).  

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Disclaimer: I was invited by Robeks to visit and sample their smoothies, however all the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Join Parallel Post and Onyx Moonshine for a Prohibition Era-Style Dinner RESCHEDULED for Setember 11th

Parallel Post has announced they will be pairing up with Onyx Moonshine, the 2014 International Craft Award winner and the first legal ultra-premium moonshine brand home based in East Hartford, Connecticut, for a dinner pairings event on September 11th!

“This debut collaborative effort will provide guests with a unique opportunity to savor an exclusive culinary menu accented with Onyx Moonshine flavorings including the original Onyx Moonshine, Sweet Stash, Onyx 111, Apple Honey Infusion, and Cape Cod Cranberry.”
 
From 5-8pm you can experience a speak-easy atmosphere and a five course tasting menu flavored with varieties of moonshine as well as glass samplings by Onyx Moonshine as you learn about the once outlawed liquor. Additional cocktails will also be presented by Parallel Post’s resident mixologist, Greg Genias aka “Bootleg Greg.”

Chef de Cuisine, Ali Goss and Executive Chef, Chris Molyneux of Parallel Post will create a menu for the event that “focuses on localism and follows the philosophy that natural and sustainable products, and responsible farming, are the key components in ingredient selection.” You can expect Onyx Moonshine-infused dishes will be featured such as Drunken Scallop Ceviche, Gilbertie’s Fall Harvest Salad with cape cod cranberry moonshine vinaigrette and Prohibition CanapĂ©s.

Tickets to the Parallel Post hosted Onyx Moonshine Dinner Pairings event are limited and are only available for advance purchase at $75 (tax and 18 percent gratuity not included) for guests 21 & over (valid driver license must be presented upon arrival).To RSVP for the September 11th dinner, please e-mail parallelpostevents@gmail.com.
 

Parallel Post
180 Hawley Lane
Trumbull, CT
203.380.6380.

To be[er], or not to be[er]…Shakesbeer 2014 is this weekend!

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To be[er] or not to be[er]…?

Ok, Shakespeare didn’t write those words, but I’d like to think that he would have fully supported a beer festival created with the goal of reopening the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut.

If you’re from the area (Stratford is my hometown), then you’ve probably heard of the Shakespeare theatre and the many attempts to restore and reopen it over the past twenty years.

This weekend come out and enjoy music, beer, and food!

You can expect to see beer from over 60, yup SIXTY, breweries (see the Shakesbeer Festival website for all the breweries here) including Stratford’s own Two Roads Brewery, and food from:

Vazzy’s Brick Oven Restaurant
High On The Hog
Lobster Craft
The Spud Stud
Laura’s Cupcakes
Zack’s Frozen Yogurt
Firehouse Grill

WHERE:
The American Shakespeare Theatre
1850 Elm Street, Stratford CT,

WHEN: August 23, 2014 from 1pm to 7pm

PRICE: $40 / PERSON
*Must be 21 or over to participate in beer tasting.*

Community Plates Announces Upcoming Fundraiser, “Food For All”

As someone who writes about food, it is something that is always on my mind as I know it is for many of you too. However, for many people food is on their mind due to food insecurity and uncertainty of where their next meal is coming from. We can help change that! Join Community Plates at their signature fundraising event, “Food for All” on October 2, 2014 to help end food insecurity in Connecticut and beyond.

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In case you haven’t heard of them, Community Plates, a direct-transfer food rescue organization is working to end food insecurity in Connecticut and America. Community Plates’ headquarters is in Fairfield, and it also operates in New Haven as well as Albuguergue, New Mexico, and Columbus Ohio with plans to extend to four more markets this year. A volunteer-driven organization, Community Plates connects food donors (e.g., grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, bakeries and other food-service establishments), food runners (individuals who pick-up and deliver donated food) and receiving agencies (e.g., soup kitchens, pantries, etc.) so that surplus food can get to those in need. Using the web and smartphone enabled Community Plates’ GoRescue technology powered by WhenToManage, Community Plates has coordinated more than 700 volunteers and rescued 4.9 million meals to date since their launch in 2011!

 “Community Plates is already responsible for picking up and delivering almost 4 million meals at a value of over $6 Million to food insecure people in Fairfield County.  We’re focused on meeting the need of 110,000 people right here who struggle to know where their next meal is coming from, “ says Kevin Mullins, executive director and co-founder of Community Plates, “The Food for All 2014 fundraiser is our kick-off for our next food rescue season. It’s a lot of fun, the food is amazing, and we do a lot of good in the process.”

Community Plates’ fundraising event, “Food for All” will not only highlight the organization’s goals for the coming year and celebrates its accomplishments, but it will also feature the area’s newest restaurants who will be showcasing their signature dishes and a series of Craft Cocktails  created and presented by Fairfield County’s most innovative mixologists. The fundraiser will also give attendees the opportunity to learn more about Community Plates and their GoRescue smartphone interative food scheduling app that connects food runners to donors to those in need in our community.

You can expect to see the following featured at “Food for All”:

Featured Restaurants (as of 8/11/14):
Azuca Bistro Latino – Stamford
Back40 Kitchen – Greenwich
Bravo – Stamford
Brick + Wood – Fairfield
Craft 260 – Fairfield
Gastro Bar – StamfordHana Tokyo – Fairfield
Johnny Utah’s – Norwalk
Little Barn – Westport
Little Pub – Greenwich
Local Kitchen + Beer Bar – Norwalk, Fairfield
Shearwater Organic Coffee Roasters – Trumbull
Sign of the Whale – Stamford
The Granola Bar – Westport
Walrus & Carpenter – Bridgeport
Washington Prime – Norwalk
Craft Cocktail Bars / Featured Bartenders:
Bailey’s Backyard
Cask Republic / Post 154
Match
Mama’s Boy

 

“Food for All” will begin with a VIP cocktail reception (6-7 PM) featuring Marcia Seldon Catering, followed by the main event (6:30-8:30 PM) which will include featured restaurants, libations, music, dancing and more.  Tickets are can be purchased: www.communityplates.org/FFA14

Thursday, October 2, 2014
Darien Community Association
274 Middlesex Rd, Darien, CT 06820
VIP Reception: 6-7 PM, $100
Main Event: 6:30-8:30 PM, $50
www.communityplates.org/FFA14
 

 I hope to see you there as we help to end food insecurity in Connecticut!

*Image courtesy of MaxExposure*

Parallel Post’s “Mussel Madness” Is Here!

Beginning on July 31st, you can experience “Mussel Madness” each Thursday at Parallel Post in Trumbull from 5-10pm.

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This “Seafood Summer” promo is happening every Thursday through September 4th and entails all you can eat Spicy Mussels with grilled bread for $16!

Parallel Post
180 Hawley Lane, Trumbull, CT
203-380-6380
ParallelPostRestaurant.com

Photo by Roger Ho-Yen of PTR Photography.

Lobster Hut in Milford Serves Up Lobster Rolls That Rival Cape Cod’s

It really is a simple dish if you think about it – all it requires is a soft roll or bun, butter, and fresh lobster…or lobstah. Yet, somehow it takes just the right skill to produce a lobster roll you want to tell everyone about, a lobster roll that reminds you of lobstah rolls in Cape Cod and Maine.

Are you nodding your head in agreement?

Are you saying, you have to go outside Connecticut for that type of lobster roll?

Well, not anymore!

There’s been a little buzz about a local Foodtruck and their lobster roll so I knew we had to check out Lobster Hut in Milford.

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This is Lobster Hut’s “Extra-large Lobster Roll” which was described to us as essentially being the size of one and a half lobster rolls.20140726-141813.jpg

Let’s talk lobstah roll!

First – the buttah, I mean butter! If you know your lobster roll, you know that means a lot of butter and Lobster Hut has got it just right. The soft bun is buttery and lightly toasted. The Maine lobster is buttery and so, so fresh.

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Aside from being fresh, the lobster was also a little sweet and expertly cooked by the very friendly Lobster Hut staff.
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Lobster Hut serves up Maine lobster in several different forms aside from lobster rolls such as lobster salad and pickeled lobster. The menu also includes clam fritters, fish and chips, fish sandwich, hot dogs, onion rings, and fries.

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Lobster Hut’s location is permanent (despite being a Foodtruck) and they do have several picnic tables with umbrellas so you can enjoy your food right away. Also, if your time is limited, you can call your order in. However, the constant line is short and moves quickly.

Are you craving a lobster roll now?

Hours: Tues-Fri 11-6pm; Sat, Sun 11:20-4pm

Lobster Hut
826 Bridgeport Ave
Milford, CT
203-631-2126
(Located across the street from the Land Rover dealership and Stop and Shop)

How Are You Celebrating National Hotdog Day?

Summer would not be summer for me without one grilled to plump perfection. I used to eat them way too often as a kid, annnnnnddddd I probably still do as an adult.

I prefer Hummel’s (and Hebrew National’s and Nathan’s are tied for second place when a Hummel can’t be found). And my absolute favorite way to eat one is plain, on a slightly doughy bun. Maybe that’s boring, or maybe that’s me being a purist. But, then again, cheese, chili, and bacon do bring a hotdog to a whole new level you have to respect and occasionally indulge in!

In honor of National Hotdog Day and one of my favorite foods, I give you the Windmill hotdog with Windmill’s chili (think Coney Island dogs if you aren’t familiar with this classic Connecticut food spot, which you can read more about here.) When I’m craving a hotdog this is where we go.
20140723-174531.jpgDo you want a hotdog now, cause I sure do!

What’s your favorite way to eat a hotdog?

The Windmill Tavern
400 Hollister Street
Stratford, CT
203-378-6886

CT’s FIRST Annual Foodtruck Festival Is Rolling Into North Haven July 19 & 20!

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This weekend head over to the North Haven Fairgrounds for Connecticut’s FIRST Annual Foodtruck Festival!!

From 11am-7pm on Saturday July 19 and Sunday, July 20 you can expect almost 50 food trucks and carts, live music, a flea market, farmer’s market, and” free fun” for the kids! To read more, check out the CT Foodtruck Festival’s Facebook page.

Admission is $5 and proceeds will help support local CT food banks.

North Haven Fairgrounds
300 Washington Avenue
North Haven, CT

*Photo from CT’s FIRST Annual Foodtruck Festival Facebook page.