Monday, July 27, 2015

2nd Runner Up in New Haven Living's Best of New Haven!

So...

This just happened!

We just found out we are the 2nd runner up in the Best Blogger category in the New Haven Living Magazine's online Reader's Poll!




I keep thinking of my pageant days (but I was never in a pageant) and remembering that if the winner isn't able to fulfill her duties then we all move up a place - which moves me to first runner up, and we all know what that means!

Yup! #2 needs to try harder!

Just kidding! I am honored to even be mentioned in anything New Haven Living related!

Congratulations to EVERY ONE in EVERY CATEGORY for their Win - Place - or Show!

See more here ==>> http://www.courant.com/new-haven-living/

And thank you EVERY ONE who voted!




Thursday, July 23, 2015

Celebrate National Tequila Day - Friday, 7-24-15 in Fairfield County

National Tequila Day is Friday July 24, 2015

Photo Source: MaxExPR


And you can get your tequila fix at Fairfield County’s Bodega, Geronimo and Paloma Restaurant and Tequila Bars


“Let us be your tequila story” is Geronimo’s mantra – and let’s fess up, as we all have one!

This Friday, July 24th, is National Tequila Day. Whether you’re a mezcal (also spelled ‘mescal’) lovin’ slow-sipper or a heat infused jalapeno margarita party-goer, National Tequila Day will be adding to the summer fun at some of the area’s most progressive tequila joints.

Bodega Taco Bar in Fairfield and Darien, with a reputation for its innovative take on handcrafted Mexican street food, 100+ deep tequila offerings, and its edgy design will be offering $6 Bodegaritas, $5 Fireball Tequila and a high-octane night featuring the lovely Patron Tequila Girls offering tequila tastings and giveaways. The kitchen will be getting in the fun with over-the-top menu specials too!
 Bodega Taco Bar Heritage Square 
|1700 Post Road | Fairfield, CT
 980 Post Road |Darien, CT

Paloma in Stamford, Harbor Point’s waterside restaurant and gathering place, will be feature half price tequila “shots”, a creative tequila cocktail menu, and specialty tacos including; shrimp tempura , habanero bbq venison, snapper tartar , and ancho brined lobster. Beverage Director Olie Berlic (seen here making tequila based cocktails on Better Connecticut TV) created this tequila forward menu for Paloma with simple preparations and the use of premium ingredients at the forefront. Our faves include; The Ginger Snap - spicy tequila, muddled fresh ginger, lemon and lime, luxardo maraschino and egg white, shaken and frothy; Tommy's Margarita - silver tequila, fresh lime and agave; and the Grace – passion fruit nectar, fresh lemon, orange blossom, sugarcane, Casamigos Silver Tequila and Champagne Vollereaux.
Join Paloma 
Thursday, July 23 and Friday July 24.
 15 Harbor Point Road |Stamford, CT

Geronimo in Fairfield, coming in at over  400+ bottles of tequila, celebrates National Tequila Day by paying homage to Casa Noble Tequila and their award winning Anejo, Resposado and Crystal Tequila – served neat or otherwise. This ultra-premium tequila is made from 100% blue agave and certified organic. Chef Tim Scott will also be featuring Casa Noble Tequila braised oxtail tacos.
Hang out on Geronimo’s large patio 
which overlooks a bustling downtown Fairfield scene.
 2070 Post Road | Fairfield, CT

 Fun and informative tequila facts:

  1. In Mexico, Tequila is enjoyed neat: without lime and salt When it comes to lime and salt with their Tequila, Mexicans go for margaritas. Shots of tequila are drunk without the extras.
  2. Tequila is closer to lilies than cactus Many believe Tequila is made from cactus, but the Agave plant is actually in the lily family and not the cactus family.
  3. All Tequila is Mezcal, but not all Mezcal is Tequila Mezcal is a distilled beverage made in Mexico from Agave. Tequila is made from Blue Agave in the Appellation of Origin: Tequila Territory, primarily the state of Jalisco
  4. Tequila is made of at least 51% Blue Agave Although Mezcal can be made from the 100s of different Agave varieties, tequila must contain at least 51% of Blue Agave and many believe it should be 100%. Tequila consisting of less than 100% Blue Agave are called Mixto.
  5. It takes 8-12 years for the Blue Agave plant to mature enough to make Tequila
  6. Tequila is made from the heart of the Blue Agave plant, called piña. The pina may weigh up to 200 pounds when harvested.
  7. Worms are prohibited in Tequila bottles but may be present in Mezcal By law worms are prohibited in Tequila bottles. Agave Snout Weevil or the caterpillar phase of the Hypopta Agavis Moth may be in Mezcal bottles. They used to be included to prove the proof and/or presence of agave.
  8. Tequila has terroir Tequilas from agave grown in the highlands north of Guadalajara are fruitier and floral; whereas those from the valleys are earthier, and may be a bit spicier.
  9. Much of the work in making Tequila is done by hand Agave is hand selected for harvest and collected by hand. In premium Tequilas, the pulp is extracted from the fiber in large stone bowls by humans after being ground down in the tahona.
  10. Color is NOT a guarantee of Tequila quality Tequila turns color from aging in barrel or by the addition of color additives. A premium white tequila will taste much better than an artificially colored young tequila.
  11. The three main categories of Tequila are: 
  • Blanco - Un-aged and bottled within two months of distillation
  • Reposado – Aged between two-twelve months in barrels
  • Anejo – Aged between 1-3 years in small oak barrels Two additional categories seen include: 1.Joven or Oro – mixture of Blanco and Reposado tequilas
  • Extra Anejo - Aged 3-5 years in oak barrels




 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Seafood Summer Happy Hour at Parallel Post in Trumbull CT

It's summer time in Connecticut and that means seafood specials and spectacular happy hours!


One of my favorite places to sit back and relax for happy hour is Parallel Post in Trumbull CT!



They have it all. Plenty of parking, comfortable seating, and delicious food and drink!

This summer, from now through August 30th, they are launching their "Seafood Summer Happy Hour" specials, which will be available now Monday-Friday from 4 p.m.- 7 p.m.

And, they're featuring a different item EVERY DAY! 

What does that mean for you? Well how about these delicious items...

PEI Mussel Monday
featuring mussels by the pound steamed in a lemongrass broth -
priced at $8 per pound




Mini Fish Taco Tuesday 
featuring mini fish tacos with local wild striped bass served with fire roasted salsa and lime crème fraîche - 
priced at $3  per taco


Norman Bloom’s Grilled Oysters  Wednesday
with lemon butter, pecorino romano and Benton’s bacon
available every Wednesday -
priced at $1 per oyster



Mini Lobster Roll Thursday
featuring mini lobster rolls served with Long Island Sound lobster with housemade lemon mayo, fresh herbs -
priced at $4 per lobster roll


















Local Raw Bar Plate Friday 
featuring 2 oysters, 2 clams, and 2 shrimp served with saffron mignonette, 
cocktail sauce - 
priced at $9






180 Hawley Lane, Trumbull CT 06611
Phone/Reservations  203-380-6380
Located in the Trumbull Marriott - Merritt Parkway

Follow them on twitter: https://twitter.com/ParallelPostCT


 visit www.parallelpostrestaurant.com for more information





Sunday, July 12, 2015

ChowdaFest Connecticut moves to Sherwood Island for October 11 2015 Cook-Off

New location! Same rules! You be the judge! ChowdaFest CT!


Chowdafest, presented by Stop & Shop, officially announces their 2015 competition will be held Sunday October 11th at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport CT.

EVENT DETAILS:

Sunday October 11, 2015     11AM - 3PM
Sherwood Island State Park - Westport, CT
Conveniently off exit #18 off I-95


Adults $15

Kids (6-12) $5
and FREE Parking!

The convenience of the park with its own highway exit and three lanes both in and out of the park was a major factor in the relocation decision from Norwalk where Chowdafest was held last fall.




“We've become a true destination event attracting thousands of food lovers from all over New England including bus tours so making it easy to get to and from Chowdafest was a priority” said Jim Keenan, event director.  “We're excited showcase Connecticut's oldest and finest state park.  I'd like to thank the park authority along with the Friends of Sherwood Island, a non-profit association dedicated to preserving and improving Sherwood Island, in helping secure the park for this marquee event.”

This year's Chowdafest competition will feature restaurants from every New England state, twelve states in total.  The Chowdafest invite committee continually attends local and regional chowder competitions, stays atop of restaurant reviews plus visits restaurants all year long to find the best competition.  “When you accept an invitation to compete in Chowdafest, you know you're going up against some incredible culinary talent which is important if you're to be called best chowder, soup or bisque in New England” Keenan added.

The competition level has never been higher as it now includes America's #1 Chowder.  According to DishTip.com, Pike Place Chowder from Seattle is generally acknowledged as America's #1 chowder as no restaurant competes more on a national level and wins so many awards as they do.  “We started winning city-wide competitions, then state-wide competitions and finally competitions up & down the west coast but everyone said that's nice but can we beat anyone from New England?” said Larry Mellum, founder and owner. “That made us wonder whether we could.  We entered the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport RI and won that three times, even getting enshrined into their hall of fame.  Now the question is can we win at Chowdafest?  This looks to be a very competitive field. We honored to be included.” said Mellum

Pike's competition in the New England clam chowder category includes Donovan's of Norwalk CT who is defending their title for the fourth straight event, Dunville's of Westport CT who is entering this category for the first time having won the Traditional category, rookie Little Barn of Westport, the infamous Luke's Lobster of NYC, O'Neil's of Norwalk CT who placed 2nd last year, first timer Olio on Hope from Stamford CT, the popular Rory's of Darien CT and local favorite The Restaurant at Rowyaton Seafood plus new comer Shell & Bones of New Haven.

Chowdafest has a separate category reserved just for Manhattan (red) and Rhode Island (clear) chowders.  “The competition in this category has gotten personal” said Keenan.  The category includes restaurants from Rhode Island and Manhattan defending the honor of their namesake chowders.  “No one makes a better Rhode Island chowder than someone from Rhode Island” said Perry Raso of Matunuck Oyster Bar in South Kingston RI who are no stranger to winning chowder competitions. Rounding out the Rhode Island chowder competition includes shoreline favorite Bill's Seafood of Westbrook CT, the popular Finn's Harborside from Warrick RI, new comer Chefs' Table of Fairfield CT and local favorite Uberti's in Stratford CT.

The Manhattan side of this category gets even more competitive. It includes The Soup Spot of West 31st Street, NY defending Manhattan's honor against an award winning list that includes Vermont's Reservoir Restaurant and Tap Room, recently named best Manhattan clam chowder in New England by Yankee Magazine.  It also inlcudes three time defending Long Beach Island Chowderfest champion Stefano's plus defending champion Gray Goose of Fairfield CT. Grow, a soon to be opened new restaurant in Shelton owned by Liquid Lunch and will be using their Manhattan clam chowder recipe that came in second the past two years featuring fresh produce from Stone Garden Farms in Shelton .

Six of the ten restaurants are new to the Creative Chowder category and will put defending champion, The Spread in Norwalk, to the test.  Reigning Mystic chowder champion, Octagon Steakhouse, has a culinary pedigree that makes them a strong contender to win it all.  Vermont Chowder champs, Our House Bistro from Burlington along with award winning Smithsonian Chowderhouse from North Hampton MA won't make winning easy for anyone.  The competition also includes The Chelsea from Fairfield, a three time category winner Ginger Man of Norwalk and Greenwich, Ri Ra Irish Pub of Portsmouth NH and Portland ME, the highly acclaimed On20 from Hartford, a multi-Chowdafest-winner SBC of Southport, Milford and Brandford plus Simply Delicious of Norwalk.

The Soup & Bisque category features many past Chowdafest favorites including Cask Republic of Stamford and New Haven, Liquid Lunch of Shelton and Milford, Local Kitchen and Beer Bar of Norwalk and Fairfield, Old Post Tavern of Fairfield, Parallel Post of Trumbull, defending champion Soup Thyme of Monroe  plus Tikkaway of New Haven who had the highest rated bisque last year.  New in this category is Sam's American Bistro of Stamford, Geronimo of Fairfield and New Haven plus Osteria Romanna in Norwalk.  This category is wide open as the talent and creativity are so high that there is no clear cut favorite.

Chowdafest raises funds for Community Plates, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating hunger through the rescue of food from restaurants, grocery stores and farms.  Attendees pay to be a judge.  Kids and adults alike get a spoon, ballot and pencil, then experience unlimited sampling rating each chowder, soup and bisque they try.

Adult tickets are just $15 and kids (6-12) $5.

Parking is FREE.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased on-line at www.Chowdafest.org.

For additional information about Chowdafest, please visit www.chowdafest.org or email event director, Jim Keenan at chowdafest@gmail.com

Chowdafest, presented by Stop & Shop, is sponsored by: AAA Northeast, Aquafina, BlumShapiro, Cabot Creamery, City Carting, CT Bites, Dunkin Donuts, HamletHub, Kids Helping Kids, MINI of Fairfield County, New Milford Farms, Ocean Spray, OmnomCT.com, Pepperidge Farms, Peapod, PEZ, Sustainable America, Tostitos, The Beat Magazine, and more!



CT Blogger Meetup Celebrating Stop and Shop's Savory Magazine

At least a couple of times a year members of the CT blogging community get together for some "lunch & learn" type meetups!

This month we gathered to celebrate the launch of Stop & Shop's new magazine, "Savory" and sample some of the food made with recipes from the magazine!


I spoke with Wendy from ConnecticutLifestyles.com who was hosting the event and told her I would love to help and make some of the foods. BUT when I went to pick up a copy of the magazine...my local Stop and Shop didn't have copies left!

No worries - because the magazine is also available ONLINE!

Yup! all the recipes and everything that you would find in the magazine are also available online! YAY!

(Link to the downloadable summer June/July 2015 issue => HERE)

Here's some of the items we created and adapted from the June/July Stop & Shop Savory Magazine! So many of these recipes are perfect for summer picnics, barbecues, and dinners!

The Watermelon Margarita. 

I adapted this recipe by adding pink lemonade and sour mix and made the entire pitcher without alcohol so that everyone could enjoy. We then made each real margarita to order in a mason jar glass and used 1 oz Sauzo Blue Agave Tequila and 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier. We garnished with a lime wheel, blueberries, wedge of watermelon and a fresh sprig of mint.

Watermelon Margarita

Tomato Tulips

These tomato tulips were super easy to make! Again, I adapted the recipe just a bit as it called for Roma tomatoes and I substituted grape tomatoes so they would be just the perfect "pop one right in your mouth" size!

Tomato Tulips

Grilled Caesar Salad


This was delicious! We all know that grilling vegetables brings out their inherent sweetness, and this was true for those delicious salad fixings! Again, I adapted the recipe and used grape tomatoes (the recipe called for clusters of "on the vine" tomatoes).

Grilled Caesar Salad.

Grilled Skewers


Greg from CT Lifestyles put together this great assortment of skewers! There were beef, chicken, and shrimp, grilled with a variety of vegetables and fruits!


Grilled Skewers

Grilled Corn on the Cob


Another great item Greg created from the Savory Magazine was Grilled Corn on the Cob

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Watermelon Pops


Finally, for dessert Greg and Wendy made the Watermelon Pops! These were so great! Perfect for a hot summer afternoon!

Watermelon Pops

Big thanks to Stop and Shop for providing some of the food for our meetup and to Wendy and Greg from Connecticut Lifestyles for hosting us!

Bloggers and writers in attendance were Christine from Charged, Cecilia from Snap Happy Foodie, Michelle from She is Going Places, Monika from My Haute Blog, Rosa from Lady Diana Pearls, Jane from RoadFood, and Jessica from The Entertaining House.


You can find all these recipes by downloading the Savor Magazine  => http://cdn.peapod.com/site/61/0/0/0/a37a776d-afb4-4de1-aa5b-dc6cd2e9c505.pdf)

or using the recipe search feature on Stop and Shop ==> http://stopandshop.com/

Happy grilling with Stop and Shop this summer!!


More pictures from this event on the Home Place Facebook page HERE - and while you're there, don't forget to 'like' us!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Paragon Dinner Pairing with Quintessa Wines


The beautiful Paragon Restaurant at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut was the location of a recent wine pairing dinner, celebrating the wines of Huneeus Vinters and featuring the Quintessa Winery.


Upon arrival we were greeted with a glass of Flowers Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast 2013) and enjoyed some delicious passed hors d'oeuvres



Welcome to Paragon Restaurant at Foxwoods


Passed Hors d'Ouvres & Wine Pairing


Our small bites course was a wonderful pairing of wine and appetizers. Each one was delicately prepared to offer the perfect blend of flavors in each morsel.


Flowers Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2013 

Winemaker Notes: Light straw hue. Lively aromas of Meyer lemon zest and lime blossom are underscored with hints of crisp Comice pear and crushed, coastal stones. The palate confirms the nose and is heightened by a driving minerality and vibrant acidity that carries through on the lingering finish


Paragon Restaurant - Small Bites (passed)


Paragon paired this crisp Chardonnay with four delicious small bite appetizers. While each was delightful, my personal favorite was the Point Judith Skate Wing, the subtle heat from the Chili Anchovy Paste was amazing and made for a nice contrast with the bright flavored wine.



Left: Reister Farms Lamb with Toasted Barley, 

Top Right: Crunchy Scottish Highland Grass Fed Lemon Meatballs, 

Middle Right: Chilled Bomster Scallop with Passion-Bamboo Rice, 
Bottom Right: Point Judith Skate Wing with Chili-Anchovy “Paste”, 



First Course - Salad & Wine Pairing


Our first course consisted of a beautifully presented seafood salad with a hearty red wine.


The Prisoner Red 2013


The Wine Advocate: “This dense, full-bodied, opulent red reveals gutsy, rich, peppery, meaty, blackberry, black currant and licorice notes.  A savory, lusty, heady red.” 


Paragon Restaurant: House Gin Cured King Salmon Salad


The salad was not only beautiful, it was hearty and deliciously briny, with a nod to Paragon's Italian roots with hints of Mediterranean flavors.


House Gin Cured King Salmon with two hour pickled veggie slaw, parsley oil, smeared capers



Second Course & Wine Pairing


We kept with the pairing of reds with seafood dishes for our second course.


Faust Cabernet Sauvignon 



The Wine Advocate - "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Faust is designed as a second wine so that only the top lots end up in the Quintessa. It exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, sweet creme de cassis fruit, chocolate, licorice and underbrush characteristics in a delicious, fruit-forward, open-knit style. Enjoy it over the next decade or more."


Paragon Restaurant:  Town Dock's Monkfish 


The Cabernet Sauvignon paired beautifully with Paragon's Monfish.


Town Docks Monkfish, with razor clam hash, house bacon, summer corn-saffron bouillabaisse




Entree Course & Wine Pairing

Quintessa Red 2011

Connoisseurs' Guide - "Deep, beautifully focused, ripe currant fruit teams with lovely oak sweetness from beginning to end here, and, while the two are stunning and as neatly fit as can be, the wine goes beyond fruit and the barrel with layers of dusty soil and mineral complexities running its length. It is both substantial and uncannily sleek and light on its feet, and it is structured as to age famously. Its tannins are ample yet fine enough to allow mid-term drinking, but we have every reason to believe that this outstanding offering will only grow better and better over the course of the next ten years."

Another successful pairing with Chef's delicious veal offering.


Paragon Restaurant:  Naturally Raised Veal Tenderloin



Naturally Raised Veal Tenderloin, with late season morels, local asparagus, rich cabernet-marrow glace



Finishing Course Dessert & Wine Pairing


Thorn Merlot 2012



Winemaker's Notes: Deep purple in color, releasing aromas of black cherry with hints of cedar and pencil lead. Dense flavors of dark fruits and rich plum are framed by velvety tannins and a lush finish.

Dessert: Organic Chocolate Crémeux pistachio sable, roasted cherries, vanilla tonka bean cream, pistachio chantilly

From start to finish this was a wonderful wine pairing dinner. Each wine was described in detail by the Huneeus team, and each course was not only delicious and plated beautifully, but any questions about preparation were promptly answered by by Renato, our knowledgeable waiter. 

This was my first time dining at Paragon, and it most certainly will not be my last. The atmosphere was quite lovely, service was impeccable, food was fabulous, and the views from the 24th floor are indescribable.

In addition, the wines were thoughtfully selected to accompany each course perfectly.


A memorable wine pairing dinner!

Kudo's to Foxwoods Paragaon and Huneeus Vintners for a wonderful event!


Paragon Restaurant
24th Floor - Grand Pequot Tower
Foxwoods Resort Casino
350 Trolley Line Boulevard
Mashantucket, CT 06338-3777

1-800-369-9663

http://www.foxwoods.com/paragon.aspx

For more on the Quintessa Winery visit: https://www.quintessa.com/

For more on the Huneeus Vintners visit: http://www.huneeusvintners.com/


Disclaimer: We were invited to the wine pairing by Foxwoods management and marketing team, however all opinions expressed are our own.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Paloma Grill in Stamford CT

Social Media Sampling

Last week we received an invite to head up to Stamford CT to sample some of the Latin-infused menu at Paloma Grill. The restaurant is located on the water in the Harbor Point area, an up and coming section that boasts several restaurants, clubs, and eateries.

In addition, the restaurant is owned by Chef Aarón Sánchez, of Food Network fame.

Paloma Grill in Harbor Point - Stamford CT

The menu features a wide array of offerings, from whole roasted cuts of meats, to an extensive raw bar, ceviche, grilled seafood, and a slew of of shareable plates. 

Of course, we started with some of Paloma's classic and contemporary cocktails made from a wide selection of handcrafted spirits, including tequila, mezcal, pisco, cachaca, and rum. 

Cocktails at Paloma Grill in Stamford 


Paloma Margarita
Lime and Orange house tincture, hibiscus nectar, gran mariner, silver tequila

After sipping on cocktails we began sampling some of the great appetizers and shared plates available at Paloma Grill!

Here's a photo tour featuring some of our offerings of the night....

Seafood Tostadas
Crab Salad
and Glazed Shrimp - both delicious!


 Snapper crudo (top left) and lobster ceviche (top right)
Bottom: queso fundito skillet with mushrooms

Albondigas, meatballs with chipotle broth,
brightened flavor with mint, and cojita cheese

Mexican street corn
with chipotle crema and cojita cheese


Garganelli pasta with chorizo

The pasta dish was the only 'miss' of the night for me as it was a bit too heavy in seasoning for my flavor preferences.

Then we moved on to our entrees! Favorites were the amazing Short Ribs and the moist and flavorful Cuban Chicken.

Camarones Mojo de Ajo


Short Ribs of Beef with ancho cacao rub and vegetables


Cuban Chicken with a side of tamarin fried rice

Dessert was a double win with the light churros and the creamy deliciously rich salted caramel cheesecake parfait.

Churros with dulce de leche rolled in cinnamon sugar


Salted Caramel Cheesecake Parfait


We loved Paloma and Chef Sanchez has a winner with this location directly on the waterfront at Harbor Point with amazing views. The restaurant features both indoor and outdoor seating, along with a private dining room and bar dining options for larger parties.

A salute to Chef Nanyo - Thank you for a delicious dinner!

Paloma Grill
15 Harbor Point Road
Stamford, CT 06902
203.998.7500


http://www.palomagrill.com/home

Disclaimer: We were invited to Paloma Grill by members of Paloma's marketing and management teams, however, all opinions expressed herein are entirely our own.

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