Friday, November 21, 2014

Viale Italian Ristorante in Bridgeport CT

Some of the best kept secrets in Connecticut are the amazing restaurants found throughout the state.

And one of the coziest places we've found recently is Viale Ristorante in Bridgeport CT!

Viale  Ristorante in Bridgeport CT

Located on Fairfield Avenune in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, Viale Ristorante has been serving fine Italian food since 2005. Walking in to Viale is like stepping back through time, when dining out felt special, food wasn't overly-complicated or pretentious, and the atmosphere was friendly and fun.

Well...welcome to Viale Ristorante, where music is soft in the background, service is fast - but not rushed, and enjoying great food with good friends is encouraged!

We started with some delicious crusty bread (made on premise) and some great red wine. You know you're at a traditional Italian restaurant when a cruet of fine olive oil, and both parmesan and crushed red pepper are on the table when you arrive!

Luckily, we were with a group of six and decided to share appetizers, so we each selected one apiece and passed our plates around!

We ordered some traditional favorites like the Viale Antipasto, Broccoli Rabe, and the day's special a creamy Burrato; some seafood, Calamari Meditteranean and Garlic Grilled Shrimp; and a simple salad, the Iceburg Wedge, that wasn't simple at all! It was packed with a creamy dressing and bacon bits!

Viale Antipasto

Broccoli Rabe

This was the first time I've sampled Viale's Burrata and it was wonderful! So creamy good, made from mozzarella and fresh cream and was the perfect consistancy to mix with the red peppers, fresh tomatoes, and greens served with it.  Did you know that the word "burrata" means "buttered" in Italian.


Mediterranean Calamari

Iceburg Wedge

The shrimp was perfectly prepared and the toasty grilled garlic added a wonderful zest to the dish. And see that beautiful light garlic and herb infused oil? It was mopped clean with some of Viale's baked on premise crusty bread! Mmmmm good!

Garlic Grilled Shrimp

We ordered a wide variety of dinners too! Everything from a pasta, to seafood, to pork, chicken, and beef! That's the great thing about going out with a group of people - you get to see, (and if you're really good friends, you get to sample - chuckle-chuckle) a bit of everything and find out what YOU might like to order the NEXT time you return!


Pork Chops Scarpielo

Look at this rich sauce on the Shrimp Fra Diavlo! Did you know that Fra Diavlo translates loosely to "brother of the devil" - referring to the spicy hot fire from the spicy hot sauce! But don't let the definition scare you off, because we felt that this sauce packed more of a "medium" heat than a super hot fire - and was the perfect blend of spicy goodness!

Shrimp Fra Diavlo

Chicken Gorgonzola

And I absolutely loved my dinner, a beautiful dish of Zuppa di Pésce. Although the name means "Fish Stew" - it's actually a seafood pasta dish.. This one was delicious! The pasta (linguine) was cooked to a perfect al dente (still firm)  - and it was chock full of sweet mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, and scallops, gently covered with a wonderfully light broth-like and flavorful sauce.

Zuppa di Pésce

And look at this beautiful rib-eye, which was char-grilled beautifully, and cooked to a perfect medium rare.

Ribeye Steak

Believe it or not, after all this food we decided we simply had to sample dessert as well, ordering a medley of some of Patricia's made on premise cakes and treats.

Blueberry Creme Roll

Carrot Cake


While each dessert was incredibly good - I'm still raving over the New York Style Cheesecake which was quite possibly the best I've ever had. In spite of being creamy rich - it was also light. Even after all that food, it hit the sweet spot and felt like the perfect ending to a wonderful night with good friends and great food!

Over dessert we toasted happy birthday to me (YES to me!!!) over some sweet dessert wine and my favorite after dinner drink, an espresso martini, with three beans reflecting health, wealth, and happiness in the coming year.

Dessert Wine and an Espresso Martini

It's no surprise that Viale Ristorante is standing the test of time. After almost ten years you know they're doing something right!  Be sure you visit them soon.

Viale Ristorante Bar and Grill
3171 Fairfield Ave
Bridgeport, CT 06605

(203) 610-6193

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Disclaimer: We were invited to this menu sampling by members of Viale's public relations and management team. However, all opinions are our own.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bobby V's Restaurant and Sports Bar in Windsor Locks CT

Promotional Sampling

Last week we took a ride up the I-91 CT corridor to Hartford county to visit Bobby V's Restaurant and Sports Bar in Windsor Locks CT.

Bobby V's, who only recently opened in January 2014, is a joint partnership between Sportech Venues, Inc., Winners, and CT native and baseball legend, Bobby Valentine.

The Executive Chef is Jordan Stein, well known in the greater Hartford area from the Pond House Grille.

From the moment we walked through the door - we were wowed! The place is enormous, with seating for 300, a huge bar and dining room, a private meeting room, and a golf simulator room.

In addition, for the sports enthusiasts, there are over 70 television sets around the perimeter of the restaurant, and most booths have their own television monitors. There is even one television that is over 17 feet high, one of the biggest in New England! It's like the ESPN control room in there!!! IN-CREDIBLE!

Amazing! Bobby V's is definitely THE place to watch a game or sporting event!

And thanks to executive chef Jordan Stein, they have a menu that is equally crowd pleasing, as well as some innovative cocktails that you simply must try

Here's some of the items we sampled at this tasting event.

We started the night sharing a flight of two signature cocktails, the first the Cracker Jack Martini made with my favorite Onyx Moonshine, as well as a flight of Cranberry Margaritas.

Cracker Jack Martini Cocktail 

Cranberry Margarita

Sides, Salads, Small Plates and Sliders:

We then sampled several appetizers, small plates, and sliders, starting with the Asian Chicken Salad, Calamari, two types of artisan Chicken Wings, Flatbread Pizza, Seared Ahi Tuna, and the Filet Mignon Slider.

Asian Chicken Salad
chicken, napa cabbage & spinach mixed with bell peppers, 
carrots, red onion, cashews, wonton croutons & spicy peanut dressing

Calamari Sticks
rice flour dusted with sweet chili & snappy lime dipping sauces

Crispy Golden Wings with Habanero Mango Sauce and Sticky Soy Sauce 
Other Sauces Available: buffalo, chipotle bbq, maple mustard, roasted garlic & parmesan 
Dry Rubs: west indian jerk, mesquite bbq, pastrami

Broccoli Cheddar Flatbread
thin layer of mashed potatoes loaded  with broccoli
and melted cheddar cheese 

Filet Mignon Slider
 with arugula & house made 'bacon & onion' jam 

Seared Ahi Tuna
asian slaw, citrus ponzu & wasabi drizzle 

For entrees we sampled the Pork Tenderloin and the Seared Scallop Dinner.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin
grilled pork tenderloin with butternut squash, pears &
spinach, topped with caramelized onions 

Pan Roasted Scallops
pan roasted day boat scallops, with creamy
white truffle polenta & asparagus 

Our meal concluded with some amazing desserts, the White Chocolate Napolean, and the S'mores Fondue for two!

White Chocolate Napolean
white chocolate mousse with chocolate crackers
& berry coulis 

S'mores Fondue for Two
rich chocolate fondue with toasted marshmallows and
graham crackers for dipping 

Bobby V's Restaurant and Sports Bar is a welcome addition to the greater Hartford area! Whether you're there for the sports aspect - or to indulge in some really great food, I promise you that Bobby'Vs won't disappoint!

Chef Jordan Stein's delicious creations - and Bobby V's entertaining atmosphere guarantee a WIN-WIN!

Bobby V’s Restaurant and Sports Bar
11 Schoephoester Road
Windsor Locks, CT


Follow them on Twitter:  @bvssportsbar

Follow them on Instagram: @Bobbyvsrestaurant

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It's Tee Tie at Bobby V's Restaurant and Sports Bar in Windsor Locks CT

Disclaimer: We were invited to this menu sampling by members of Bobby V's management and marketing team, however, all views are our own.

Bobby V's Restaurant & Sports Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Harbour House Restaurant in Mystic CT

Last weekend we joined our friends Wendy and Greg from Connecticut Lifestyles to visit the Harbour House Restaurant located at the Inn at Mystic.

We were thrilled to be joining them as their guests, as the Harbour House Restaurant was the winner of the August 2014 Open Table Diners’ Choice Award, which is awarded by patrons who have used Open Table to book reservations. Each month, the Diners’ Choice lists are featured on the Open Table website.

The Harbour House features fresh, seasonal and local cuisine served in one of Mystic’s most spectacular settings, the beautiful and historic Inn at Mystic.

Here's a pictorial of some of the foods we sampled on our visit.

Our starters/appetizers:

A side green salad with house Italian Dressing

Stonington Harbour Bommers
Scallops wrapped in slab smoked bacon
with a pomegranate molasses glaze baked in a brick oven

Our Entrees:

Butternut Squash Ravioli
Butternut squash stuffed raviolis served with a cranberry sage cream sauce
topped with candied pecans

Linguine and Clams
Chopped Fresh Clams tossed with butter, garlic, olive oil, parsley, basil, black pepper
served over linguine

Prime Rib of Beef
Served with mashed potato and vegetable medley

Charcoal Broiled Duck
St.Louis style half duck roasted with honey garlic, fresh thyme, butter and sea salt
Served with mashed potatoes and a medley of fresh vegetables

For dessert, we adjourned to the Harbour House Lounge where we listened to the cool brass stylings of the Mystic Horns, enjoying some rich chocolate desserts, and some dessert/after dinner cocktails.

Dessert and after dinner cocktails in the lounge

Offering a wonderful mix of casually elegant cuisine - mingled with traditional seafood staples, the Harbour House is pure New England cuisine at its finest. From wood-fired pizza from their brick oven, and freshly shucked clams from the raw bar, to gorgonzola-crusted filet of beef finished with a savory malbec demi-glace, there's something for every palate at the Harbour House!

In addition, Harbour House bar features 24 beers on tap along with fun list of signature cocktails.

We are already planning a return visit to spend the night at the Inn at Mystic, enjoy their amazing brunch, and do some shopping in nearby Mystic Village!

For more information on the Harbour House Restaurant, please visit

The Harbour House Restaurant at the Inn at Mystic

Three Williams Avenue
Mystic, CT 06355

Phone: 860-536-8140

Harbour House reservations using Open Table=>

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Little Barn for Casual Dining in Westport Connecticut

Social Media Sampling

Last month we traveled up to Westport CT to visit Little Barn, a great new place that is quickly becoming a "must" dining spot in Fairfield County.

Little Barn - Westport CT
We arrived just in time to enjoy a cocktail and appetizer under the stars on the Little Barn patio while we still could, as CT's fall weather means temperatures are dropping.

I loved the oversized pretzel and the two dipping sauces - and the cocktails were equally delicious! We sampled a few from their specialty cocktail menu, the Blackrock Lemonade, the Pumpkin Mojito, and the Smokey Margarita.
Little Barn Patio
Pretzel with Dip
Blackrock Lemonade, Pumpkin Mojito, Smokey Margarita
We then moseyed inside to the charming dining room to enjoy some appetizers and dinner by a roaring fireplace.

We started with a tuna block, a pan seared sesame crusted Ahi Tuna over smooth roasted jalapeno-avocado puree, topped with grilled pineapple pico de gallo and a bit of sriracha on the side.

Tuna Block

My absolute favorite of the night were the Chicken Thai Lettuce cups made with baby bibb lettuce,
chopped peanuts & hot chili sauce

Chicken Thai Lettuce Cups

We also sampled both the beef and chicken tacos made with different salsa or pico di gallos. Also available are tuna and pork tacos.

Beef Tacos

And although the Kale Salad didn't photograph was crazy good and made with the tenderest leaves of kale I've ever had! The salad was mixed with shaved fennel, dried cranberries, candied pecans and mixed with a zesty red wine vinaigrette.

Kale Salad

The Brussels Sprout Salad was also a winner, made with shaved brussels sprouts tossed with toasted pumpkin seeds, granny smith apples, and dried cranberries in a whole grain honey mustard vinaigrette, and topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Then we moved on to our main entrees, sampling the Meatloaf, the Bratwurst from the Oktoberfest special, the Chicken Pot Pie, and the Ahi Tuna dinner.

Meatloaf Dinner with mashed potatoes and corn

We loved this bratwurst and the tangy red potato salad and cole slaw.

Bratwurst, on a pretzel roll Red Potato Salad, and Cole Slaw

Another winner was the Chicken Pot Pie - chunk full of chicken and vegetables!

Chicken Pot Pie

And the Ahi Tuna was also a hit with the side soba noodle salad.

Ahi Tuna crusted with sesame and wasabi
over a warm soba noodle salad with sweet soy, scallions, and a bit of sriracha. 

We ended the night with some delicious desserts, pumpkin pie, fresh cookie dough bites in chocolate sauce, and an incredible fudgey brownie, all served with a decadent vanilla ice cream.

Desserts at Little Barn

With a menu chock-full of options from salads, to savories, to classic Americana comfort food,
Little Barn is a wonderful place for to meet up for cocktails and great food with friends.  

Little Barn 
1050 Post Road East
Westport, CT 06880

(203) 557-8501

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Disclaimer: We were invited to this menu sampling by members of Little Barn's public relations and management team. However, all opinions are our own.
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