Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Beach House Cafe in South Norwalk CT

Social Media Promotion: Sponsored  

Brunch at the Beach House Café in South Norwalk CT

There's a new restaurant serving up a delightful brunch in South Norwalk CT - the Beach House Café of SoNoLocated right across the street from The Maritime Aquarium and Museum and the Norwalk Seaport Dock, the Beach House Café features some delicious offerings for brunch on Sundays that are sure to please. We received an invite last week to sample restaurateur Kane Xu's new brunch menu. Fairfield county foodies may remember Xu from the popular French-Asian Fusion eatery in Cos Cob, Nuage). Xu re-opened the Beach House Café in Old Greenwich in the fall of 2016, and also took over South Norwalk’s low-country cuisine locale, Mama’s Boy. Xu made the bold move to convert SoNo's well know Mama's Boy Restaurant and Southern Refuge into another seafood themed Beach House Café, the Beach House Café of South Norwalk!
“As bold as it may have seemed to some, for me it made perfect sense to create a seafood restaurant being located in a coastal community, just steps away from the Maritime Aquarium and the Seaport Dock,” explains Xu, “And the seafood concept is really where we shine.”

The Beach House SoNo is nautical in theme, taking a page from an ocean-side hotel bar and restaurant. Dockline roping drapes above the reclaimed wood-paneled bar. Massive boating prints, hanging canoes, mounted oars, and dock master lanterns complete this waterside retreat. 

Sunday brunch, also featuring live music by local artists, and private party capabilities round out the Beach House Café experience. On his brunch menu, Xu also kept some of the 'southern favorites' that the location was well known for, like Fried Green Tomatoes, Chicken and Waffles, and my personal favorite, Shrimp and Grits. 

Here are some of the items we sampled - starting from their creative cocktail menu!

Although I'm typically a Bloody Mary Brunch person, and the Beach House serves a killer one called "Ring of Fire" (uh, YUM!) on this particular day I thought I'd go with something a bit more fruity, selecting the Blood Orange Margarita! Definitely a great choice - smooth and frothy and the perfect tang to clear the palate and start the day!

Beach House - Blood Orange Margarita
Blood Orange Margarita
Jose Cuervo Tequila, Thatcher's Blood Orange
Tripe Sec, Fresh Lime 

Here are some of the offerings that my tablemates selected - starting with the aforementioned staple at brunches, the Ring of Fire Bloody Mary.

Beach House - Ring of Fire Bloody Mary
Ring of Fire Bloody Mary
House Bloody Mary Mix - Jalapeno Peppers
(also available by the pitcher)

If that Bloody Mary causes too much 'heat' - how about a cool Coconut Mojito to simmer down the fire?

Beach House - Coconut Mojito
Coconut Mojito
Cream of Coconut, Captain Morgan White Rum
Malibu Rum, Muddled Fresh Mint with Lime, Club Soda

If you prefer something a bit lighter, how about the crisp and clean "Dutch Boy"?

Beach House - Dutch Boy
The Dutch Boy
Ketel One Vodka, Fresh Lemon
Simple Syrup, Champagne

Prefer bourbon and whiskey? They have the Nutty Bulleit and the Best Dang Manhattan. Both made with Bulleit bourbon.
The Beach House - Best Dang Manhattan
Best Dang Manhattan
Bulleit Bourbon, Cocchi,
luxardo brandied cherry

Another traditional brunch drink is the Mimosa, and at The Beach House, they're almost bottomless. Pay $9.50 for your first glass, and refills are only $2.00 (prices are from March 2018). 

Beach House - Mimosa
Almost Bottomless Mimosa

Another table favorite was the Pear Necessity - another great way to start a brunch day!
Pear Necessity
Absolut Pear Vodka, Elderflower Liquer
Pear Nectar, Champagne

After sipping and getting caught up with one another over cocktails we moved on to our tasting portion of the day, starting with a delicious 'charcuterie' or Meat and Cheese Plate. This fun platter would be great any time of day to sip some cocktails and nibble on some fun flavors!

Meat & Cheese Plate
prosicutta sopressata and capocolla, marinated olives
house select gourmet cheeses
On our visit this meat and cheese plate included a blueberry and vanilla goat cheese that was out of this world good! I couldn't get enough of it - and I'm on the search to find some or recreate it myself!

Then it was time for some starters and small plates like brunch wontons, deviled eggs, and tuna tartare

Beach House - Brunch Wontons
Delicious Brunch Wontons
with cream cheese, lightly fried with pepper jelly

Beach House - Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs

Beach House - Tuna Tartare
Tuna Tartare
avocado, scallion, masago, spicy sesame soy

After whetting our appetite with these delicious teasers we moved on to the plate portions of the brunch menu, sampling an Organic Salmon BLT, Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs with Sausage Gravy, Chicken and Waffles, Crab Cakes Eggs Benedict (!!!), and a southern favorite, Shrimp and Grits!

Beach House - Salmon BLT
Organic Salmon BLT
Grilled salmon, lettuce and tomatoes, bacon,
dressed with cilantro jalapeno aioli,
served with french fried

I love that the Beach House had so many classic southern dishes on the menu, while adding their fresh new spin on the flavor profiles.

Beach House - Chicken fried steak with sausage gravy
Chicken Fried Steak
Tender pounded 'chicken fried' steak (breaded and country fried)
Smoked paprika pork sausage gravy, breakfast potatoes
sunny side egg

Beach House - Chicken and Waffles
Chicken and Waffles
marinated country fried chicken,
fresh made waffle, habanero jelly,
Brookside Farms Maple Syrup

Oh - the Crab Cakes Benedict was a DREAM! This crab cake nestled under the Eggs Benny was a surefire way to win my heart over! As much as I love a classic eggs benedict - this version was equally delicious with a sweet little crab cake accompanying the poached eggs. There was also a "Lobster Benedict" version available that substituted a grits cake with the lobster. 

Crab Cakes Benedict
Poached Eggs, hollandaise, baby greens
Crab Cakes

And how about this creamy delicious bowl of Shrimp and Grits

Beach House - Shrimp and Grits
Shrimp and Grits
Slow Cooked Grits, Smoked Tasso (pork) Spring onions
Pimento Gravy

Moving on to our finale tastes of the day were two incredibly good desserts, a Pistachio Cake with the perfect balance of pistachio flavors, and a decadent Gorilla Bread (which is actually on the starter menu - but would make for the perfect "happy ending")

Beach House - Pistachio Cake
Pistachio Cake

Gorilla Bread
Cinnamon Roll filled with cream cheese,
dulce de leche sauce, praline pecans

I cannot begin to describe how wonderful everything we sampled was, and I'm so glad I'm ending with the Gorilla Bread because it was truly one of the highlights of our sampling. Light and fluffy and so decadently delicious, I could have it as a starter, as a dessert, or anything in between. It was definitely soooo good - and the 'exclamation point' to a fun brunch at the Beach House!

Be sure that you visit the Beach House Café in South Norwalk soon! 

Beach House - SoNo

19 N Water Street
South Norwalk CT 06854

Disclaimer: We were invited to Beach House So No by members of their management and marketing team, however, the opinions expressed are entirely our own.

©  Home Place 2018

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Social Media Promotion: Sponsored  

Sunday Brunch at LUCAS LOCAL

If you haven't noticed by now, a good weekend brunch is one of my favorite ways to gather with friends or family. There's just something about a late morning / early afternoon get together that simply demands casual food and fun! When I received an invite to a sample tasting of some of the items featured on LUCAL LOCAL Oyster Bar and WoodFire Cookery'Brunch Menu I knew I would be in for a treat!

And I sure was! At first I was a little surprised by the name pairing of "oyster bar" and "wood fired" - as one name implies 'seafood'  and the other 'meat or chops' - but after talking with owner Vince Capelletti, it all began to make sense. I mean, really, who doesn't love seafood on a wood fired grill? That delicious wood fired smokiness enhances any protein it meets! And who doesn't want to visit a restaurant with a great land and sea combo?!!

Capelletti's love for great food and a relaxed atmosphere 'bistro' all comes together at LUCAS LOCAL! The ambiance is an elevated seaside tavern style - and all re-purposed! The floors are comprised of beautiful wide wooden planks from the barns of nearby tobacco farms from over 100 years ago. Walls have been knocked down, opened up, re-arranged, and re-positioned to expose the original wood stove from the building's former home, and some cute little dining nooks.

Lucas Local Fireplace
Exposed Fireplace Hearth
LUCAS LOCAL Oyster Bar and WoodFire Cookery

In addition, there are the most incredible slated wooden and steel chairs, that were made to be super comfortable (they were!!), and a church pew salvaged from an New Haven church.

Lucas Local Chairs
Wood and Forged Steel Chairs - So Comfy - Honest!!
Lucas Local

Lucas Local Church Pew
Re-purposed Church Pew
Lucas Local
Now that you've seen a bit of the decor, let's highlight some of the delicious food and drink we sampled. 

Of course, for brunch, you must start with a Bloody Mary, and I took bartender Sarah's suggestions, and ordered her  "Bacon Me Crazy" prepared with bacon, shrimp, mushrooms, celery, and kalamata olives, and had some super-spicy spices on the rim. 

So. Dang. Good.

Others at the table sampled signature cocktails like their Mermaid's Garden, Tito's Moscow Mule, the Sappy Old Fashioned, and the French 48.

Sappy Old Fashioned
Taconic Distillery, Maple Bourbon, Maple Foam
The Mermaid's Garden Cocktail
Sombra Mezcal, St. Germain, lavendar bitters, lime foam

Yup, some pretty good cocktails and a really fun cocktail menu!

Moving on to our food sampling, we stayed with mostly the seafoods that were featured on their brunch menu, like...

'Clear broth' Rhode Island Clam Chowder. 

Lucas Local RI Clam Chowder
Rhode Island Clam Chowder
Point Judith Little Necks, Potatoes,
Fresh Herbs, Clear Broth

and Oysters Oregano - a hopefully soon to be brunch staple.
Lucas Local Oysters Oregano
Oysters Oregano

How about this take on Eggs Benedict? Made with some delicious lobster!

Lobster Eggs Benedict
Fresh House Cured Bacon, Poached Eggs,
Hollandaise, Potato Hast and Lobster

Some savory Linguine and Clam Sauce!

Linguine and Clams
Rhode Island Little Necks, Fresh Oregano, and Garlic Infused Oil

This beautifully  plated octopus was as amazing as it looks!

Fire Kissed Octopus
Roasted Eggplant and red pepper hummus,
crisp garbanzos, lemon infused oil

And my favorite brunch staple - Shrimp and Grits!

Down South Shrimp and Grits
Grilled Shrimp
Stone Ground Course Grits, Poached Eggs

Some dreamy good waffles!

Waffle Love
Bourbon Maple Syrup, Vanilla Ice Cream,
House Cured Bacon
Fresh Fruit

Everything we tried was so good! We can't wait to return and try some more items from their brunch menu -- and to return for a nice relaxing weekday lunch or dinner. Be on the lookout for their soon to be opened front patio for some summer dining pleasure!

Note that many of the items we were served were sample size portions so your portion sizes may differ.

Be sure you visit LUCAS LOCAL Oyster Bar and Woodfire Cookery soon!

LUCAS LOCAL Oyster Bar Woodfire Cookery

48 S Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470

We were invited to LUCAS LOCAL Oyster Bar and WoodFire Cookery by members of their management and marketing team, however, the opinions expressed are entirely our own.

©  Home Place 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

Foxwoods Resort Casino to Host Budweiser Clydesdales





Foxwoods Resort Casino hosts the Budweiser Clydesdales
Internationally Beloved Budweiser Horses to Make Southeastern Connecticut Debut

Join the fun at Foxwoods® Resort Casino, the premier resort destination in the Northeast, where the iconic Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales, in conjunction with Levine Distributing Company, are scheduled to make their public Southeastern Connecticut appearance. 

That's right! The Budweiser Clydesdales will make their debut at the resort’s Grand Pequot Tower at 5:00pm on March 22nd, 2018

The one-of-a-kind experience will feature eight magnificent Clydesdale horses participating in a parade across property so Foxwoods guests can experience their grandeur like never before.

The Budweiser Clydesdales, the symbol of quality and tradition for Anheuser-Busch since 1933, will first appear outside of the Grand Pequot Tower at 5 p.m. to be unloaded, harnessed and hitched to the famous red beer wagon for the parade. 

An Anheuser-Busch Ambassador will be onsite to share the upkeep and hitching process that goes into caring for this special breed of horses in detail. Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler and Foxwoods Resort Casino President and CEO Felix Rappaport will receive honorary horseshoes commemorating the rare visit.

“We are honored to host the legendary Budweiser Clydesdales at Foxwoods Resort Casino for their area debut, continuing our mission to offer unique experiences that reach beyond our guests’ expectations and imaginations,” said Monique Sebastian, Vice President of Entertainment and Entertainment Marketing at Foxwoods Resort Casino. “These beautiful horses are timeless symbols of American culture and beloved across the globe and this special event promises to be something Foxwoods’ guests will never forget.”

The Clydesdales’ appearance at Foxwoods is one of hundreds made annually by the traveling hitches, which were first brought to America in the mid-1800s. Horses chosen for the Budweiser Clydesdale hitch must be at least three years of age, stand approximately six feet at the shoulder, weigh an average of 2,000 pounds and have very specific color characteristics. The “Gentle Giants” each consume as much as 20-25 quarts of feed, 40-50 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day.

This event is free and open to the public. The most convenient parking available for this event is the Grand Pequot Self-Park Garage located off Grand Pequot Boulevard. 

In the case of inclement weather, the Budweiser Clydesdales horses will be rigged and remain under the cover at the Rainmaker Casino valet for patron viewing. 

For more information on this special event, please visit:


350 Trolley Line Boulevard
Mashantucket, CT 06338

About Foxwoods Resort Casino

Since 1992, Foxwoods Resort Casino has offered guests The Wonder Of It All as the premier resort destination in the Northeast. As the largest resort casino in North America, Foxwoods offers a vast array of gaming in six casinos; AAA Four-Diamond hotels, restaurants from gourmet to quick service, world-renowned spas, award-winning golf, state-of-the-art theaters, exclusive retailers and free-to-play online casino games at Perfect for both recreation and business, Foxwoods provides modern and versatile convention and meeting space to infuse new life into any meeting or event. Foxwoods Resort Casino is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. For a comprehensive look at Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation visit

About Budweiser

Budweiser, an American-style lager, was introduced in 1876 when company founder Adolphus Busch set out to create the United States' first truly national beer brand – brewed to be universally popular and transcend regional tastes. Each batch of Budweiser stays true to the same family recipe used by five generations of Busch family brewmasters. Budweiser is a medium-bodied, flavorful, crisp and pure beer with blended layers of premium American and European hop aromas, brewed for the perfect balance of flavor and refreshment. Budweiser is made using time-honored methods including "kraeusening" for natural carbonation and Beechwood aging, which results in unparalleled balance and character.

New Haven Restaurant Week - Spring 2018 Edition #NHVeats



APRIL 8-13, 2018

Prix Fixe Options 
Plus Discounted Parking 

Follow the fun at #NHVEats

New Haven Restaurant Week returns this spring in a BIG way -  celebrating its 10th anniversary!

The spring New Haven Restaurant Week will be presented by KeyBank, and will take place from April 8-13, 2018. The bi-annual Restaurant Week will be made all the more super special with the line up of restaurants that are featured! 

With 30 participating restaurants, diners will have the opportunity to experience a variety of New Haven’s finest epicurean talents at an exclusive rate.

“New Haven Restaurant Week has become a much-anticipated celebration of our city’s dining scene and KeyBank is proud to once again partner with Market New Haven and participating restaurants to make it happen. We encourage everyone to take advantage of some great pricing to sample New Haven’s terrific culinary offerings.”
-KeyBank Market President Jeff L. Hubbard.
Special two- and three-course, prix fixe menus will be offered at $17 per person for lunch and $34 per person for dinner, excluding tax and gratuity.  

This year’s spring lineup of restaurants will include newcomer, Jack’s Bar and Steakhouse - the City’s only steakhouse - as well as official wine sponsor, Josh Cellars. 

“Josh Cellars, one of the hottest wine brands in America, is proud to be the official wine sponsor of New Haven Restaurant Week. During this time, we will be extending a special offer to patrons.”

-Tina Afonso 
Trade Marketing Manager 
Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits 

Visit to learn more!

As an added incentive, Park New Haven and The Shops at Yale will be offering a special discounted rate of $4 parking throughout the duration of NEW HAVEN RESTAURANT WEEK.  

The offer will be valid at the Temple and Crown Street garages and parking spaces at 255 Crown Street (behind Pacifico) and 161 York Street (behind Harvest) from 4:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m. 

The full list of 30 restaurants for this edition of New Haven Restaurant Week includes all your favorites!

New Haven Restaurant Week Participants:

  • 116 Crown – Mediterranean
  • Adriana’s Restaurant – Italian
  • Atelier Florian - New America/Belgian Flair
  • Barcelona Wine Bar - Spanish Tapas Read HERE
  • Basta Trattoria - Organic Italian
  • Caffe Bravo - Italian
  • Caseus Fromagerie Bistro - Sustainable Cheese-Centric Bistro
  • Cask Republic - Upscale American Fare 
  • Christopher Martin’s Restaurant - American Bistro Read HERE
  • Fornarelli's Ristorante - Italian
  • Geronimo - Southwest Grill
  • Goodfellas Restaurant - Italian
  • Harvest Wine Bar - Modern American Read HERE
  • Heirloom - Coastal Farm Cooking
  • Jack's Bar & Steakhouse - American Steakhouse
  • John Davenport's - Contemporary Coastal New England
  • L'Orcio - Contemporary Italian
  • Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale - Seafood
  • Miya's Sushi - Sustainable Sushi
  • Olea - Spanish, Mediterranean 
  • Olives and Oil - Italian
  • Pacifico - Nuevo Latino Cuisine
  • Prime 16 - Modern American
  • ROIA Restaurant and Café - French and Italian
  • Shell & Bones Oyster Bar and Grill - Seafood, Steak & Raw Bar Read HERE
  • Soul de Cuba Café - Cuban Soul Food
  • Tarry Lodge - Italian Read HERE
  • Tre Scalini Ristorante - Italian Read HERE
  • Union League Café - Contemporary French
  • ZINC - Modern American

About Market New Haven: 
Market New Haven supports jobs and taxes in New Haven through promotion of the City’s thriving dining, shopping, arts, culture and events scene, with a view towards bringing in visitors to generate economic activity.
Market New Haven is a public/private partnership among the City of New Haven, Mayor Toni N. Harp and the Board of Alders, Yale University, Yale New Haven Hospital and the local business community.
Local business community funders include: KeyBank, Knights of Columbus, Citizens Bank, Avangrid, U.I., Southern Connecticut Gas, The Study at Yale, Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. 

About New Haven: 
A vibrant destination whose deep-rooted history has coined it the “Cultural Capital of Connecticut,” New Haven is enjoying renewed fervor. Famed historic sites host lively year-round concerts and events. Acclaimed internationally diverse restaurants, eclectic shopping, cultural adventures and sophisticated nightlife add to the destination’s urban renaissance and dynamic pulse. 

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #NHV.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Recipe: Butternut Shrimp Bisque

Shell & Bones Oyster Bar

Chef Arturo Franco-Camacho's 

Butternut Shrimp Bisque

Butternut Shrimp Bisque - Chef Franco-Camacho - Shell & Bones Oyster Bar
Butternut Shrimp Bisque
Recipe by: Chef Arturo Franco-Camacho
For Shell and Bones Oyster Bar

One of my favorite things about being a part of the Connecticut media and blog community is that I get to go to some fabulous events, meet some amazing people, and sample some delicious food.

This year I covered New England's #1 Chowder Festival, Connecticut's own ChowdaFest held back in October at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport Connecticut. To give you an idea of how big that was, the Food Network was also there covering the event ... and I was one of the event photographers that had to sign an official release form for them to potentially use my photographs from past years!  

While my photos will likely never be used - it was thrilling to be a part of the media coverage for the event.

One of my favorite tastes of the event was the incredibly good Butternut Shrimp Bisque prepared by Chef Arturo Franco-Camacho as his entry for Shell and Bones Oyster Bar and Grill out of New Haven CT.  It packed some amazing flavor, and although it didn't win in the Bisque Category, I felt it was one of the best "tastes" of the day. 

Shell and Bones is one of my favorite places to visit, especially in the warmer weather because of their waterfront views, and, of course, because of their amazing food. But they're not just limited to summer dining, their menu changes seasonally and even on a warm spring or cool fall day you can sit outside and enjoy great company and gorgeous views.

Long time readers will remember my visit for the launch of the 2016 Fall New Haven Restaurant Week and the incredible food that Chef Franco-Camacho prepared on that visit. (Read it HERE)

Chef Arturo Franco-Camacho New Haven Restaurant Week 2016
Samplings from Chef Arturo Franco-Camacho
 for Shell & Bones New Haven Restaurant Week Launch 2016

And as a special treat - I have the recipe for the delicious bisque from Chef's ChowdaFest 2017 entry! That's right - I reached out to Shell & Bone's PR agency who were able to procure the recipe from Chef Franco-Camacho himself, - and I received special permission to share it with all of you!

Butternut Shrimp Bisque

Shell & Bones Oyster Bar & Grill – Executive Chef Arturo Franco-Camacho

Serves 4-6

2 cups Shrimp Shells Stock
1 cup Shrimp Meat, Fresh Cooked

4 cups butternut squash
3 Celery Ribs
2 ea Leeks
1 ea Shallot, minced
1 sprig thyme

1 pinch Black Pepper
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp sea salt

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup half & half

1/3 cup Cognac


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the leeks, shallot and celery with a pinch of salt. Allow the vegetables to sweat for a few minutes. Add the butternut squash and cook for several more minutes, stirring.
  2. Turn the heat up and add the cognac to deglaze the pan, allow the alcohol to reduce to almost to nothing and add the shrimp stock.
  3. Bring the liquid to a boil and then cover the pot and reduce the heat to a low. Allow the soup to simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Carefully transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot. Stir in Half & Half, 1 tbsp of cognac, salt, pepper and cayenne. Add the shrimp meat.
Serve Hot.
Optional Garnish: toasted pumpkin seeds

About Shell & Bones Oyster Bar

Shell & Bones Oyster Bar, located on the waterfront in the historic City Point area of New Haven, Connecticut, offers the finest in seafood and steak, receiving accolades from Connecticut Magazine, New Haven Living Magazine and a “Very Good” review from The New York Times since opening in July 2015.  Acclaimed Executive Chef Arturo Franco-Camacho incorporates fresh and sustainable ingredients to present new takes on classic dishes, including his award-winning New England Clam Chowder, with all soups, stocks, sauces and desserts made in-house.  In addition to its cuisine, Shell & Bones offers an extensive wine and beer list and creative cocktail menu, with several beers, liquors and wines sourced locally in Connecticut.

The restaurant features both indoor and outdoor waterfront dining with an indoor fireplace and outdoor fire pits, complimentary parking and private event space.  Shell & Bones is open for dinner seven days a week, and offers Brunch Friday-Sunday beginning at 11:00am.  For more information, visit  The restaurant can also be found on Facebook (ShellandBones) and Instagram (shellandbonesoysterbarandgrill).   

Shell & Bones

100 S Water Street
New Haven, CT 06519

(203) 787-3466
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