Nouveau NOLA: 7 Top French Restaurants in New Orleans

Think the Nola is all about beignets and hurricane cocktails? Think again. Southern hospitality extends to an air of refinement when it comes to the jackets-encouraged dining scene, and there’s no shortage of fine French fare in the Big Easy, especially in and around the aptly named French Quarter. Check out these top French restaurants in New Orleans for an elegant experience that’s full of flavor. Restaurant August With platings every bit as stunning as August’s crystal chandeliers, soaring ceilings, and lush fresh floral arrangements, the setting is every bit a feast for the eyes as what comes out of chef John Besh’s kitchen. The Louisiana native and James Beard Award winner — whose staff has also has been nominated for outstanding service — wows those who come here for special occasion dinners with locally-grilled peach salad, the most refined of shrimp etoufees, and, from the degustation menu (items from […]

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Fall RoadTrip Along I-95 on the Way to Connecticut’s Casinos

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Inspired by a recent inquiry from a local chef, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite places to take a flavorful break on the way to or from Connecticut’s casinos. No need to gamble on where to stop for a bite; the southern shoreline towns along I-95 dish up some amazing food—from banh mi to seafood, donuts, Greek specialties and more. 

Branford

You’ve heard us say it before, but the recommendation bears repeating: look no further than Takumi Sushi, Ramen & Lounge for the finest sushi and ramen around!

Madison

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Hit up Pho Madison for all sorts of Vietnamese. Not a fancy place whatsoever, but their banh mi rank among the top statewide and their noodle dishes are excellent.

Note: Across the street, you’ll find the Madison outpost of Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale (seen above)—the more clam shack-style joint of this shoreline landmark. You order at the counter, then can sit inside or outside. But for fried oysters, you’ll need to head to Westbrook. Or New Haven.

Westbrook

Speaking of … Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale is place to go for a fried scallop roll, their lobster rolls are also noteworthy and, along with their New Haven location, they serve fried oysters. On a side note (get it?), their cole slaw is crazy good.
 

Clinton

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On a clear day, you can’t miss Lobster Landing. That is, unless you don’t care for lobster and hot dogs or sausage and peppers aren’t your thing, as that’s pretty much the extent of the menu. This no-frills little lobster shack, directly on the water with picnic tables, is an experience not to be missed for any lobster lover near the shore. And you can BYOB.

Old Saybrook

Saybrook Soup and Sandwich gets top billing for standout soups, sandwiches and salads. A certain fan attempts to convince them to open a Middletown outpost whenever she visits. In fact, said fan often strategically books appointments in OS at mealtimes so she can stop in. Even their cookies and desserts are “yummmey”—note their website:

Make the effort to seek out Som Siam East, a tasty little Thai spot somewhat hidden in an abandoned mini golf course just off 154, onto Route 1. Their lunch specials are an especially fine bargain, but you’ll find something good to eat all day here. And by now, their herb garden growing just outside the window must be blooming like mad!

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Alforno offers excellent pizza, salads, Italian in general. As a picture is worth a thousand words, let’s let their pizza do the talking. But take note of their hours as they close between lunch and dinner.

If you are craving a beer and some snacks, Penny Lane Pub is another great stop in Old Saybrook. Their sweet potato fries are killer and come with a perfect dipping sauce. Wash it all down with a locally brewed craft beer or beer flight.  http://pennylanepub.net/

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The coffee at Ashlawn Farms Coffee is pretty tasty and they’re conveniently located in the train station. Beyond coffee, their oversized sausage biscuit sandwiches are ridiculously good—as are many other options for breakfast or lunch.

Mystic Market South is another favorite stop for a quick, but very tasty, lunch. Located near the entrance to I-95, Mystic Market has prepared soups, made to order sandwiches, and ready-made salads. Their house-made roast beef sandwich is a favorite. Their bakery is also well stocked and the coffee selection, including cold brew Stumptown, is spot on for a hot day.

East Lyme

Open super early, Flander's Donut and Bake Shop is the best local spot for donuts, and perhaps one of the best donut shops in the state. The crumb donuts are a bite of perfection and the price is right.

La Belle Aurore is a casual farm to table spot. Their brunch has so many delicious options, it’s difficult to choose what to order. The farm stand vegetable hash and challah French toast stuffed with gooey cream cheese and berries are mouthwateringly good.

Located on Main Street in the quaint village shoreline of Niantic, Lillian's Cafe is a delicious gourmet stop not too far from the highway. It has lovely indoor and outdoor seating areas and their daily menu selection is quite extensive. Their salads that utilize in-season ingredients and the scallops also get two thumbs up.

Waterford

Caffe NV and the Caffe NV Bakery and Market (across the street) are great options if you are looking for a Mediterranean meal. The main restaurant (Caffe NV) has great Greek food that tastes like it was cooked in a Greek grandmother’s kitchen (but maybe even better!). It’s a perfect option for a relaxing sit-down meal. The spinach pie, chicken souvlaki, gyro and other sandwiches are worth stopping for. Be sure to save room for some Greek pastries at the end of the meal. Across the street, the bakery sells tasty baked goods and also has coffee, breakfast and light lunch items for more of a quick stop.

If you are passing through Waterford in the morning, The Shack is a local favorite spot for breakfast. Their fluffy blueberry pancakes and grilled muffins are not to be missed. And who doesn’t appreciate when the coffee keeps flowing as you eat your meal?

Just down the road from Caffe NV, Supreme Pizza is a very casual pizza spot that’s ideal for a grinder to go. The meatball grinders here are SO good, with a perfectly toasted roll and heaping of meatballs. The homemade rice pudding is also one of the best in the state.

New London

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The Seehund is great for German/pub food and an interesting beer selection. In fact, we love them so much, we told you all about them last year.

Lazy Leopard Thai Cafe serves both Thai and sushi. You can order from both sides of the menu. So far, we’ve been in a Thai mood on each visit, so we’ll have to try some sushi on our next visit. Their Thai is great! They also close between lunch and dinner, so watch the hours here.

We keep going on and on about Berry's Ice Cream and Candy Bar, but it is so good! Berry's has amazing ice cream, but their milkshakes steal the show with flavors like Thames Thin Mint. The staff is also super friendly and are happy to make suggestions for more experimental combinations.

Muddy Waters Cafe is a local meeting spot that you really can’t miss while visiting New London. Grab a grilled muffin or breakfast sandwich and a coffee and snag a table on the deck overlooking the Thames River. 

Groton

When heading to the casinos, Paul's Pasta isn’t too far from the highway and is an incredible Italian restaurant that focuses on freshly made pasta. The chicken alfredo pasta is divine and their garlic bread is just as good. The fact that they offer some dishes in half portions is the cherry on top if you want something a bit smaller than their usual massive portions.

Did we miss any of your favorite foodie stops along I-95 to the casinos? Let us know in the comments.

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Flair Metal: 9 Delicious Dishes Served in Cast Iron Cookware

We’re entering a new iron age. That’s because chefs are turning to classic cast iron skillets as a way to prepare and present their fare. Here are nine dishes served in cast iron cookware featuring flair metal that’s as fetching as it is functional. Roasted Octopus at Urbana, Washington, D.C. We’re a sucker for this dish. Oh-so-tender tentacles star in the sizzling sensation. The meaty curls sit atop fingerling potatoes and spicy garlic sausage dressed with lemon aioli. Make a reservation at Urbana. Buttermilk Biscuits at Meril, New Orleans Louisiana A good biscuit is hard to find. This is a great one. Plus, it comes topped with foie gras butter (Hey, Emeril, can you please ship us some of that?) and blackberry preserves. Make a reservation at Meril. Mussels a La Plancha at Lulu Kitchen & Bar, Sag Harbor, New York Simple and succinct. New Zealand mussels are dressed with […]

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Kala Bistro Opens in North Haven From Olea Chef, Manuel Romero

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Though open for just two weeks, Kala Bistro has already attracted a small throng of regulars. The night we dined, the staff recognized more than half the patrons, greeting them warmly, like old friends.

Our server, Rose Ledee, pointed out a couple at a table on the patio. “This is the third time they’ve come in the past week!” she gushed, proudly. 

In contrast to the formal, fine dining of Olea, Manuel Romero’s acclaimed Spanish hot spot in downtown New Haven, his new restaurant is suburban, relaxed, and very much a part of a bustling neighborhood that borders North Haven and Hamden. Lower-keyed (and lower-priced), the bistro menu is far more global and just as scrumptious. 

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Consider the Bao Pork Belly, the epitome of Chinese dim sum. The sweet, soft bun pillows a slice of savory, chewy pork belly, their contrasting textures framed by a crunchy cucumber disk, tart pickled carrots, briny hoisin, and mustard seeds. Despite the complexity of flavors, Chef Romero has created a sandwich that tastes surprisingly simple and subtle. 

n.b. This seems to be the Year of the Sandwich. For instance, Bon Appetite has crowned a humble sandwich shop in New Orleans as the Best New American Restaurant of 2017. Appropriately, Kala’s au courant menu features a number of tasty sandwiches.

To wit: the Shrimp Roll. Romero whips up a tasty salad of wild shrimp, mayo, celery and old bay, and piles it inside a toasted dinner roll. Homemade salty potato chips complement the uncomplicated and well balanced roll. Again, unfettered simplicity is Kala’s hallmark.

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That light, sure touch extends across the menu. Another small plate, a fluffy salted cod fish mousse, seemed ethereal in texture, the puréed bacalao dotted with capers, chives, and red bell pepper. The dish may be meant to be eaten with a fork or spoon, but in the spirit of Kala’s playful vibe, we deployed a square of griddled toast to scoop up the creamy dip.  No spills and thrills. Just nuances and notes.

Though much of the cuisine may be global, a few of Chef Romero’s dishes are distinctly Spanish. For instance, the Potato Omelet is an homage to traditional Spanish home cooking. An egg crepe envelops a creamy potato mixture flecked with onion, bell pepper, and sweet piquillo pepper. We dipped each bite into a puddle of aioli sauce, suddenly transported to a cottage along Spain’s sun splashed coastline. 

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 In fact, the restaurant’s name -- Kala -- honors the hidden coves and powdery beaches on the Isle of Ibiza, where Romero frolicked as a kid.

Another national classic, the Piquillo Pepper, a small, sweet chili, comes stuffed with yellowfin tuna. The shape of the Piquillo (which means “small beak” in Spanish), forms a natural vessel for seafood, meat, or cheeses. The fish is marinated with an escabeche, a vinegary sauce augmented with carrot ginger puree, rendering the chopped tuna into a tartare like consistency, flavored with sweet chili.

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The skin-on fillet of trout arrived resting on a bed of buttery Lyonnaise potatoes and sweet shallots, its flavor embellished by a sharp Dijon mustard sauce. The crispy bite of the skin nicely accented the delicate trout flesh, unblemished with any gamey notes. Cooking fish relies somewhat on precision, but more on intuition. Kala’s trout was grilled to perfection, best done by instinctive timing.

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The duck confit cassoulet is listed on the menu as “Kala’s version.”  Yes, the baked duck is served with the standard bacon, herbs, and creamy white beans. But Romero replaces the traditional garlic sausage with boudin noir, a soft and juicy French blood sausage -- sourced out of New Jersey -- that literally melts in your mouth. Rich, hearty, and very comforting, the casserole of duck, beans, and sausage was the most robust of any of the dishes that we sampled. 

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On reflection, perhaps the best description for the entire experience might be “Homey,” an apt signature for this warm and welcoming bistro. Like most of the customers that evening, we will surely be returning to the neighborhood.

The tasting was provided gratis by the restaurant, which in no way influenced this review

          1990 Whitney Avenue, North Haven          203.889.2275                        kalabistro.com

[Photographs courtesy of Kala Bistro and Mara Lavitt]

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Best Desserts in Connecticut: Happy National Dessert Day!

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You are going to hate us. But then, after careful consideration, you’re going to really love us. A lot. It’s National Dessert Day and well, we just *had* to gather a deliciously lengthy list of desserts from all over the state. CTBites readers and staff weighed in and we have just the thing to squelch your craving, ease that long day, or just enjoy for the sweet heck of it. We happen to notice, though, there are a lot of bananas and bourbon on this list in all different forms. Is that the magic combination for culinary comfort and delight?? Happy desserting, everyone!
By county…

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Fairfield

Brasitas

Norwalk, Stamford

www.brasitas.com

Tres Leches Cake-“Milk cake” and just that…three types of milk (whole, condensed, evaporated) make for a milky, soaked cake that is stacked and sweet. Topped with whipped cream, just in case you weren’t getting enough dairy with your dessert.

Cafe Dolce

345 Main Ave., Norwalk

www.cafe-dulce.com

Dobos Cake-A Hungarian 7- layer extravaganza: layers of sponge cake with chocolate buttercream and topped with caramel. Gorgeous and delicious. Times 7. 

Carl Anthony’s Trattoria

477 Main St., Monroe

www.carlanthonys.com

Bananarama (no relation to the 80s band)-A warm banana-caramel cheesecake-that alone should be enough-but with bruleed banana, caramel and chocolate ganache to add that perfect, chocolatey touch.

DiMare Pastry Shop

12 Largo Drive South, Stamford

Double Temptation Cake-Delicious Devil’s Food cake, creamy chocolate mousse, and smoothy and rich cheesecake, all stacked together in a perfectly sinful (we had to say it) forkful.

Donut Crazy

various locations

Insanely outrageous donuts with flavors including Caramel Apple, S'mores, PB & J, and Blueberry Butternut. Pastry chef Susanne Berne goes above and beyond with this breakfast and desserts favorite. 

Drop and Fry

464 Shippan Ave., Stamford

www.dropandfry.com

Various ice creams, wrapped in pound cake, FRIED, and then, if the wasn’t decadent enough, topped with anything from powdered sugar to cookie dough to Kit Kats. 

El Segundo

3 North Water St., Norwalk

www.elsegundosono.com

Churro Sundae-Swirly vanilla and coffee ice cream, topped with house made candied pecans and, wait for it…sugary churros *filled* with Dulce de L eche shoved in there, too. 

Fat Cat Pie Company

9-11 Wall St., Norwalk

www.fatcatpie.com

Butterscotch pudding-Creamy, dreamy, you-don’t-want-to-know-the-ingredients-list bowl of goodness. Just like Mama used to make, but waaaay better (ssshh, don’t tell her).

Ferris Acres Creamery

144 Sugar St., Newtown

www.ferrisacrescreamery.com

Cow Trax-Vanilla ice cream with swirls of peanut butter and caramel, complete with mini chocolate chips. 

Note: The window closes for the season on Oct. 30th but they will still be taking holiday orders. Go to website for order forms.

Gelatissimo

26 Forest St., New Canaan

www.gelatissimoartisangelato.com

Creamy Coconut-Silky, make-you-remember-your-trip-to-Italy gelato, coconut gelato with shredded coconut floating throughout.

HooDoo Brown BBQ

967 Ethan Allen Hwy., Ridgefield

www.hoodoobrownbbq.com

Banana Bourbon Cream Pie-The crust is made with Nilla wafers (there’s a happy blast from the past), creamy custard banana bourbon filling with fresh bananas, with a big ol’ layer of house made whipped cream and crumbled Nillas on top.

Hub and Spoke

3001 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport

www.hubandspokect.com

Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie-A chocolate wafer crust (hence the black bottom) filled with pastry cream and fresh bananas, topped with whipped cream and, of course, chocolate sauce

La Zingara

8 PT Barnum Square, Bethel

www.lazingara.com

Tiramisu-Espresso and brandy soaked ladyfingers, layered with a mascarpone mousse and crushed chocolate. You know the drill. But it’s always good to know where to find a good Tiramisu.

Le Penguin

Greenwich, Westport

www.lepenguinbistro.com

Tart Tatin-Caramelized warm apple tart (but it’s upside down, that’s what makes it special. Those delicious cooked apples are on top) with vanilla sauce. Perfection during fall and winter. Or spring and summer. 

Marly’s Bar & Bistro

101 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton

www.marlysbistro.com

Macy's Mousse-A rich combination of dark and milk chocolates that is a true chocoholics creamy delight. And what’s not to like about that?

Match

98 Washington St., Norwalk

www.matchsono.com

A stack of just baked, warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies accompanied by just the right amount of peanut butter gelato and whipped cream. And kids have all the fun? I think not.

Michele’s Pies

666 Main Ave., Norwalk

www.michelespies.com

Apple Caramel Crump pie-Generous crumb topping, super sweet and tender apples piled high and a good drizzle of caramel on top. Lordy.

Mr. Frosty’s Ice Cream

6 First St., Norwalk

www.mrfrostyicecream.com

Apple Waffle Sundae (seasonal)-A warm Belgian waffle topped with locally made vanilla ice cream, caramelized apples, gooey hot caramel, cinnamon crumb, and fluffy whipped cream.

St. Moritz Bakery

383 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich

www.stmoritzfgreenwich.com

Sarah Bernhardt chocolates-Named for a French actress who starred in “Hamlet”, these are almond macaroons, topped with a silky chocolate filling and then enrobed in melted chocolate. Truffle-esque, but different. And better.

The Common Bond Market

40 Huntington St., Shelton 

www.thecommonbondmarket.com

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes-Chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream, topped with chocolate ganache and mini marshmallows. And guess what? They are gluten-free and vegan.

The Schoolhouse at Cannondale

34 Cannon Rd., Wilton

www.schoolhouseatcannondale.com

Chocolate soufflé for two-Rule #1: Share with a friend who knows how to share. This fluffy dream of a dessert comes with dark chocolate sauce to drizzle in and sweet cream ice cream on the side for that hit of cool (flavors vary night to night).

Valencia Luncheria

164 Main St., Norwalk

www.valencialuncheria.com

Nutella and Cream Cheese Empanadas-Warm Nutella. Gooey sweet cream cheese. Crack open this crispy empanada and both come oozing out. There’s really no more that needs to be said.

Walrus & Carpenter

2895 Fairfield Ave., Black Rock, CT

www.walruscarpenter.com

Walrus Pie – Buckle up, baconophiles and sugarholics. The crust is a bacon-chocolate chip cookie, the middle is peanut butter ice cream and all over everything is bacon crumble, bacon candy, and chocolate. Eating is believing. 

Washington Prime

Georgetown, South Norwalk

www.washingtonprimect.com

Bananas Foster Cake-Everything you love about Bananas Foster, and seriously what’s not to love?…in a cake. Topped with a light icing made of banana liquor and cream and finished with still more caramelized bananas. 

Hartford

Abigail’s Grille & Wine Bar

4 Hartford Rd., Simsbury

www.abigailsgrill.com

Bread Pudding- A banana, peanut butter, and chocolate chip bread pudding, paired with a scoop of J Foster’s chocolate ice cream on the side. It’s got it all and could be considered by some to be a meal on its own.

Atillio’s

775 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury

www.attiliossimsbury.com

Carrot Cake-House made classic carrot cake using a 150-year-old family recipe. Cream cheese frosting on top. The works!

Barcelona Wine Bar

Various locations

www.barcelonawinebar.com

Dulce de Leche Crepes-The French and the Spanish mingle in a most delightful way. Light crepes, rolled up and containing a gooey filling of caramel-y Dulce de Leche and vanilla cream.Topped with a squiggle of chocolate sauce and ice cream. And to think the crepe had you thinking it was a light dessert…

Cake Gypsy

Canton and Avon locations

www.cakegypsy.com

Lemon Coconut Cupcake-A lemon cake complete with lemon filling, frosted with vanilla buttercream and topped with flaked coconut and a candied lemon slice. Lllllove Lllllemon. 

Flatbread Company

In the Shoppes at Farmington Valley, Canton

www.flatbreadcompany.com

Griffin Farmstead Apple Cider Donut Sundae – J. Foster’s ice cream, with two apple cider donuts that have been warmed in their wood-fired oven and topped with homemade maple syrup-sweetened whipped cream

Giuseppina’s Italian Bakery

946 Sullivan Ave., South Windsor

www.italianbakerysouthwindsor.com

Chocolate Mousse Cake-Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate. A chocolate cake with chocolate mousse between the layers. 4 layers of cake and 3 layers of mousse. 7 layers of divine.

J. Gilberts

185 Glastonbury Blvd., Glastonbury

www.jgilberts.com

Carrot Cake-Traditional carrot cake but with a pecan-praline filling, sweet cream cheese frosting and topped with toasted coconut and crème anglaise

The North House 

1 Nod Rd., Avon

www.thenorthhouse.com

Blueberry Cake Pudding-A White Chocolate Blueberry Cake Pudding with blueberry puree, chocolate chunks and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Blueberries are good for you, you know?

Max a Mia

70 E. Main St., Avon

www.maxrestaurantgroup.com

Coconut Layer Cake-A vanilla cake with coconut creme oozing between the layers, toasted coconut topping it generously, all the while, sitting in a lovely puddle of toffee sauce

Max’s Oyster Bar

964 Farmington Ave., West Hartford

www.maxrestaurantgroup.com

Chocolate Beignets-A Chocolate Truffle coated in Beignet batter and fried, then rolled in sugar for good measure. Sugar. Chocolate. Fried. Oh my.

Present Company

2 Tunxis Rd., Tariffville

www.presentcompanyct.com

Floating Island-No man is an island but a man could use a floating island every once in a while. A soft poached meringue floating in crème anglaise, serve with a Scottish shortbread and crème de cassis

Restaurant Bricco

78 Lasalle Rd., West Hartford

www.billygrant.com

Nutella Pie-Nutella mousse sitting in an Oreo cookie crust, topped with hazelnut caramel whipped cream (as if eating it out of the jar wasn’t decadent enough)

Rooster Co.

1076 Main St., Newington

www.roostercompany.net

Potato Chip Brownie-A chocolate brownie with potato chips *in the batter* for crunch (no nuts!), topped with chocolate bark, a drizzle of salted caramel, and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Tangiers International Market

550 Farmington Ave., Hartford

www.tangiersmarket.com

Baklava-Crispy, flakey, walnut-y, honey-y, sweet. Go get thee a square!

Treva

980 Farmington Ave., West Hartford

www.trevact.com

Local Honey Budino-A Budino, so you know, is an Italian custard or pudding and this one is made with local honey. Served with a side of Fig gelato, sweetness ensues.

Wood-n-Tap Bar & Grill

various locations

www.woodntap.com

Livy’s cheesecake-Made with whipped Mascarpone cheese, this velvety cake has an Oreo cookie crust. Topped with fresh strawberries and blackberries and comes with a trio of delicious sauces: caramel, chocolate and raspberry.

Litchfield

CBBG Dessert Bar

469 Main St., Watertown

www.cbbgdessertbar.com

Slutty Brownies (vegan brownie bars)-Chocolate chip bottom layer, gooey chocolate middle layer and rich brownie layer on top of that. Who said sluts are bad?

Passiflora Cafe, Tea Room & Herbal Shoppe

526 Main St., New Hartford

www.passiflorateas.blogspot.com

Matcha Green Cupcakes-Matcha green tea cupcake with accompanying frosting…and vegan at that!

The Sweet Spot

60 Railroad St., New Milford

www.thesweetspotct.com

Banana Chocolate Vegan cupcake-Banana cupcake with whips of chocolate frosting on top and crowned with a banana chip

New Haven

App’s

283 Captain Thomas Blvd., West Haven

www.appsrestaurant.com

Rice Pudding-House made comforting, creamy pudding topped with a dollop of whipped cream. And no raisins for the anti-raisin crowd!

Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro

93 Whitney Ave., New Haven

www.caseusnewhaven.com

Chocolate Pot de Creme-A rich, chocolate pudding topped with vanilla bean whipped cream (Note:There have been instances of it topped with peanut butter whipped cream or a Swiss meringue, too. Be on the lookout)

Libby’s Italian Pastry Shop

139 Wooster St. New Haven

www.libbyscookies.com

Cannoli-Crisp shells, creamy fillings…plain, chocolate filled, dusted with coconut, chocolate-dipped shells, just dusted with confectioner sugar. Take your pick. 

Middlebury Consignments

1365 Whittlemore Rd., Middlebury

www.middleburyconsignment.com

Limoncello Tea Cake-With a taste of Italy and zesty Limoncello liquor, this spongy tea cake is served with fresh berries and whipped cream.

Nora's Cupcakes

various locations

Just about any cupcake from Nora's creative team is worth craving. Some of our favorites are: Pumpkin Spice Latte, Boozy Breakfast, Mexican Wedding and Mounds. 

https://www.noracupcake.com/

Sugar Cupcakes and Bakery

422-424 Main St., East Haven

www.thesugarbakery.com

Anginette Cupcake-These festive cupcakes taste like an Italian anisette cookie! Anise cupcake with a confectioner’s sugar glaze, and sprinkled with those colorful nonpariels that we all know so well. 

New London

Lis Bake Shop

15 Holmes St., Mystic

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies-A New England staple paired with the seasonal craze. Fluffy, spice-filled Whoopies with a creamy, sugary filling. All hail fall in Connecticut!

NV Coffee Bakery & Market 

40 Boston Post Rd., Waterford

www.nvbakeryandmarket.com

The Elvis Crepe-Peanut butter, fresh bananas and chocolate sauce and rolled within a warm crepe and drizzled with a rich chocolate sauce (just one of about a dozen crepes they make)

Sift Bake Shop

5 Water St., Mystic

www.siftbakeshopmystic.com

Lemon Olive Oil Cake-This is like no olive oil cake you’ve ever seen. A moist lemon olive oil sponge cake with lemon curd, whipped lemon mousse and enrobed in a crisp white chocolate shell. Decorated to the nines and looking like a piece of art

Middlesex

Dagmar’s Desserts

75 Main St., Old Saybrook

www.dagmardesserts.com

Apple Strudel-Apples, raisins, and spices rolled together and rolled together some more. Dusted with confectioner sugar and sliced, it is perfect with a cup of joe.

Hen and Heifer

23 Water St., Guilford

www.henandheifer.com

Lemon Meringue Tart-You like meringue? Well, this tart is literally covered in it. Beautiful swoops of perfectly toasted meringue, completely covering (top and sides) a meringue tart. Let the swooning begin.

Tolland

Victoria Station

91 Main St., Putnam

www.victoriastationcafe.com

Raspberry Mousse Cup-Sort of like Tiramisu but different; Ladyfingers soaked in raspberry liquor with a white chocolate mousse filling. They top this with fresh raspberries, blueberries and a strawberry.and it sits daintily in a white chocolate cup.

UConn Dairy Bar

3636 Horsebarn Hill Rd., Storrs

www.dining.uconn.edu

Husky Tracks- Vanilla ice cream with a fudge swirl and peanut butter cups scattered throughout. All the ice cream is made on premises at their creamery, which was established in the early 1900s. The cows can be seen at the UConn animal barns. They have yet to receive their diplomas.

Golden Lamb Buttery

499 Wolf Den Rd., Brooklyn

www.thegoldenlamb.com

Hummingbird Cake-A Southern favorite at this bucolic Northern farm. Pineapple, bananas, spices and a thick, rich cream cheese frosting (but no nuts in this recipe). Perfect with your morning coffee.

Windham

A Cupcake for Later

798 Main St., Willamantic

www.acupcakeforlater.com

Chocolate Salted Caramel-A dark chocolate cake full of creamy caramel filling and frosted with a caramel whipped cream cheese frosting. Topped with satiny chocolate ganache and the perfect sprinkle of sea salt.

Leaf & Flour Bakery

45 High St., Willamantic

www.leafandflourwilli.com

Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting-Lots of layers, lots of autumn spices and lots of gooey frosting. 

Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse

Mohegan Sun Casino

www.mjshconnecticut.com

Baked Alaska-Cool vanilla ice cream enrobed in a flakey brioche which is then swaddled in a light meringue, crisped lightly and topped with candied almonds and sitting in a puddle of sweet caramel sauce. It’s the turducken of desserts. 

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Mon Petit Chou: Seven New Brussels Sprouts Dishes for Fall Flavors

For a long time, Brussels sprouts got a bad rap. They were usually steamed and served without seasoning, rendering them mushy and bland. Thankfully, chefs have learned how to prepare the leafy green veg so they’re tasty and toothsome. Here are seven new Brussels sprouts dishes for the fall. Zentan, Washington, D.C. The name “Peas & Sprouts” is a little misleading, but you’ll be more than happy with what arrives at the table. Brussels sprouts and chickpeas are lightly fried, tossed with shiso-mustard vinaigrette, and topped with garlic chips. Full of contrasting crunches and umami tones, it’s a deeply satisfying dish. Make a reservation at Zentan. BO-beau, San Diego, California Humble Brussels sprouts get elevated. Pancetta, Parmesan, and balsamic port reduction add salty and sweet accents to the green globes. A stirring reminder that pork and cheese can turn even the simplest dish into a rare delight. Make a reservation […]

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Nibble: CT Food Events For October 15-22

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"The Tasty Yolk has debuted its October special. The Local Yolkiel includes local handmade kielbasa and 2 eggs topped with a cheddar cheese beer sauce served on a pretzel bun."

Visit Tarry Lodge in Westport for a Pig Roast on Thursday October 19 at 6:30pm.  The evening includes three courses: pizza to start, the roasted pig and sides, and apple cobbler for dessert.  It costs $70 per person, with an additional wine pairing available for $25 and a beer pairing for $15.  Call 203-571-1038 to reserve.

Bobby Q’s Cue & Co. in Norwalk now offers Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 4-7pm in the bar area.  Join them for $1 off all appetizers and flatbreads, $3 pulled pork sliders, 50 cent wings (minimum of 6), a $10 Cue & Co. “Bar Crack” (pork belly cracklings), and $2 off all beer, wine, bourbon and cocktails.  In addition to Happy Hour, Bobby Q’s Cue & Co. will also offer Trivia Night every Wednesday beginning at 7:30pm and Country Night every Thursday from 9pm to 11pm with drink specials, a late-night food menu, and country line dancing.

All month on First Thing Fairfield County, Ken Tuccio is raising money for breast cancer research to support the American Cancer Society. They’ve teamed up with Letizia's Pizza in Norwalk to create "Gertie's Pie of Hope," named after Dennis Letizia's mothe who passed away from breast cancer. The pizza, created on the air with input from Ken and Fox listeners, is a specialty macaroni and cheese pizza, sprinkled with bacon and breadcrumbs.  Get "Gertie's Pie of Hope"  the whole month of October at Letizia’s Pizza in Norwalk for only $9.59.  100% of the proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.

The Wilton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present its Fifth Annual Fall Restaurant Week which will run from Monday, October 16 through Sunday October 22.  Participating restaurants can be found in Wilton and Georgetown and include Cactus Rose Restaurant & Tequila Bar, Little Pub, Oak and Almond, Washington Prime, and more.

On Monday October 16, ABC (Artisinal Burger Company) invites you to a beer dinner featuring Back East Brewing.  The night begins with a reception and continues with a three course dinner with carefully selected beer pairings.  Tickets are $55 per person.

Also on Monday, Fairfield’s Craft 260 will team up with Lock City Brewing for a beer dinner.  The meal includes three courses and specialty pairings for $60 per person, plus tax and gratuity. 

Washington Prime in SoNo has announced a series of Wine Pairing Dinners.  On Tuesday October 17, join them for an evening featuring Justin Vineyards for $75 per person. 

On October 18, get a sneak peek at Bar Zepoli’s Fall Craft Cocktail Menu.  Guests will have the chance to visit the restaurant, which occupies the space that once housed Napa & Co, for a sampling of Bar Zepoli’s new drinks menu, drink making tips, and a tasting of signature appetizers from Chef Antonio Greco.  They can accommodate just 24 guests in two sessions: 6pm and 7:30pm.  Tickets are $40 each. 

Guilford Mooring in Guilford, CT is hosting a Fall Food and Wine on the Shoreline dinner on Thursday, October 19 from 6:30-9:30pm.  Hosted by Guilford’s own Dave “The Wine Guy” Brause, the event will feature a five-course meal, each paired with a wine or cocktail.  Courses include a Chef’s Selection of Cheese and Charcuterie, Seared Scallop Risotto, Pumpkin Bisque with Goat cheese, Short ribs, and more.  It costs $65per person, not including tax & tip.  A donation of $5 from each ticket sale will benefit Relay for Life of the Shoreline, American Cancer Society.  Reservations are required:  

Guilford Mooring also now offers a new Sunday Brunch service from 11am-3pm.

Every Friday in October, John Davenport’s in New Haven will team up with a brewery in a series called “Craft Connection.”  On the 20th, they will welcome No Worries Brewing Company for an evening of menu specials and giveaways.  Visit them from 5:30-7:30pm.

Chop Shop Cooking continues their fall cooking classes with tips for the perfect “Fall Dinner Party” on Friday October 20 from 7-9pm.  http://chopshopcooking.com/schedule.html 

Stony Creek Brewery in Branford will launch their Dia de La Garza brew on Friday October 20.  Join them from 5pm-Close for festivities like a costume contest, prizes, dancing, and music by the Funky Dawgz Brass Band.  $10 admission gets you access and a can of Dia de La Garza upon entry. 

On Saturday October 21, Darien Cheese & Fine Food store will team up with Peter and Rachel Dixon of Parish Hill Creamery in Westminster West, Vermont for a special tasting.  Visit the Darien store, located in the Goodwives Shopping Center, from 10am-3:30pm to try the cheese as well as delicious seasonal smoked charcuterie and Apple and Pear Ciders to pair with the cheeses.

Basso Café in Norwalk has added two dishes to their menu as fall and winter specials.  Try the Homemade Papardelle with butternut squash and sage, pecorino tartuffo, and shaved truffle perigord or the Braised Veal Osso Buco over mashed potatoes and grilled Shallots.

Wakeman Town Farm Kicks off its intimate Chefs’ Dinners on Sat. Oct. 21.  The first installation of the series will feature the chefs of Cask Republic of South Norwalk and will include a four-course feast with a curated list of cocktails, wines, and beer.  Tickets are $90 per person, with $20 from each ticket going toward the farm’s educational programs.  The event is limited to 25 guests, so call Cask Republic soon to reserve your space: 203.354.0163.

The Hartford Yard Goats will hold their first ever Brew Fest at Dunkin’ Donuts Park on Saturday October 21 to benefit the Yard Goats foundation, a Connecticut based non-profit organization dedicated to produce social, educational, and scholarship opportunities for the youth in surrounding communities.  The festival will take place from 1-5pm and is set to include breweries like Ballast Point Brewing Co., Goose Island, Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers, Long Trail, Shebeen Brewing Company and These Guys Brewing Company.  www.yardgoatsbaseball.com

b Restaurants is pleased to announce a new fall/winter menu.  Patrons can now enjoy five new burgers, an entrée, appetizer, sides, two new grain/rice bowls, and six cocktails.  Did someone say Cinnamon Donut French Toast?!

On Saturday October 21, The Linda Clemens Breast Cancer Foundation invites you to the 8th Annual Pink-Gala Masquerade Ball.  It begins at 6:30pm and takes place at the Aqua Turf Club.  Tickets are available at www.lindaclemensfoundation.org.

Two Road’s Roadmary’s Baby Pumpkin Beer is legendary, and this year they are celebrating its release with the first ever Roadsmary's Baby Pumpkin Fest on October 21.  Witness the bottle release, participate in fall themes activities, and watch the film Rosemary's Baby in the Hop Yard.  https://www.facebook.com/events/1534584153287029 

On Sunday October 22, Fleishers Craft Butchery’s Greenwich location will teach you all about “Pork 201.”  The class, which runs from 5-7pm, will cover hands-on knife skills and butchery techniques and include a nose-to-tail butchery demo.  Plus, enjoy a complimentary drink and delicious foods prepared by the kitchen at the end of class.  https://shop.fleishers.com 

Chef Brian Lewis’s Omakase menu has returned to The Cottage in Westport.  The menu showcases his love for Japanese cuisine and uses ingredients from both The Hickories & Millstone farms.  It is $45 and offered Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday in addition to the a la carte menu.  For reservations, call 203 557 3701.

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Fit for a Queen: 12 Royally Good Gin Cocktails to Order Now

While we can’t recall a time when gin was out of fashion, it’s getting a new wave of love from bar managers and mixologists. Heck, even the Queen of England reportedly loves a daily gin cocktail or two (among others). An erstwhile ingredient in herbal medicines, gin has a longstanding connection to British culture, so it’s not surprising that it’s one of her favorites. And, while you may never be royalty, you can certainly feel like it with one of these 12 royally good gin cocktails. La Guapa, Tanta, Chicago, Illinois Celebrated for its pisco sour sip, this Peruvian spot has also got a creative, refreshing gin cocktail that’s expertly blended with CH Lavender Gin, rhubarb, lemon, and sparkling rosé. Make a reservation at Tanta. Pine Trees and Bees, Sea Glass Restaurant and Lounge, Cape Elizabeth, Maine A sip of Maine, this pour is local Ingenium Gin, honey simple syrup, […]

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Walter’s Hot Dogs Opens Today in Stamford’s Harbor Point

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Walter's Hot Dogs opens today in Stamford at 200 Commons Park South at Harbor Point. This 100-year-old hot dog institution is serious business and has ton of accolades. At the Stamford location, customers can expect all the good stuff that’s made Walter’s a popular destination for locals and tourists alike; curly fries, fried potato puffs, homemade hand-scooped ice cream and Italian ice, and funnel cake fries dusted with powdered sugar. Additionally, you’ll be able to enjoy a Walter’s item that was previously only available on their food trucks, the Puffy Dog, a hot dog (or double it, if you dare) served with fried and smashed potato puffs in the bun. 

If you’re new to Walter’s, you obviously need to get out more, but for those few unfamiliar folks, here’s a little background. Walter’s opened in Mamaroneck in 1919 as a hot dog stand, that got transformed into a Chinese-style pagoda 1928, and is now a nationally registered historic landmark. For 98 years and counting, this family-owned business has been cooking-up their own recipe veal, beef, and pork blend hot dogs, that get grilled in a secret sauce, drizzled with their own mustard, and served in a perfectly toasted bun. 

The menu will reflect our trucks and our stand - the classic Single hot dog and Double hot dog, but also our truck specials; the Puffy Dog, Double Puffy Dog, and Bavarian Pretzel Dog (swap out our regular toasted bun with a toasted Bavarian pretzel bun)! We'll have our classic milkshakes but also will be serving soft-serve ice cream in cups and cones which we've never done before! 

UberEATS delivery will be available. We also do it from Mamaroneck and our food trucks. 

They will be open everyday; Sunday - Thursday 11-7:30, Friday and Saturday 11-9:30. 

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ACF Names Three Certified Master Chefs

After an exciting display of culinary expertise, Gerald Ford, CMC, Joseph Leonardi, CMC, and Shawn Loving, CMC, were named to the prestigious group of culinarians known as Certified Master Chefs® (CMCs®) by the American Culinary Federation (ACF). The ACF Certified Master Chef designation is the highest level of professional certification that a chef can receive in the United States. The 2017 exam took place Sept. 30-Oct. 7 at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan.

CMCs with Stafford

“The American Culinary Federation is proud to honor our 2017 class of Certified Master Chefs,” said ACF National President Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC. “The skill, creativity and discipline called for by the exam are considerable, and the experience gained is invaluable to the chefs themselves and to the culinarians they mentor. We are inspired by their commitment to the culinary arts and congratulate them on an extraordinary achievement.”

The newly certified chefs traveled from across the U.S. to test their culinary mettle.


Gerald Ford, CMC, winner of the Les Amis d’Escoffier competition in 2010 and former executive chef of Château Robert in Montgaillard, France, is executive sous chef at The Everglades Club in Palm Beach, Florida.

“The ACF Certified Master Chef exam was by far the single hardest, most intensely demanding thing I have ever done. Regardless of how much preparation I put in prior to the exam, every day I cooked I became a better chef. The entire process will forever impact my career and the way I learn. I encourage the future leaders of the industry to embrace the process and put in the work. Take the test.”


Joseph Leonardi, CMC, captain of the silver medal-winning 2012 ACF Culinary Team USA and 2009 U.S.A.’s Chef of the Year, is director of culinary operations at The Country Club in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

“A lot of time, dedication and sacrifice went into the CMC exam and it all paid off. I’m delighted that I proved to myself that I’m able to do it. I had to be sure I was prepared mentally and needed to believe in myself. I felt confident in my skills and ability because chefs train every day. At the end of the day, it’s just cooking at the highest level.”


Shawn Loving, CMC, is culinary arts department chair at Schoolcraft College. A seasoned culinary competitor, he also served as executive chef for the U.S. men’s and women’s Olympic basketball teams in Beijing and Rio de Janeiro.

“For me, the CMC exam was primarily a test of perseverance by staying connected with my inner self to combat self-doubt. Ultimately, my goal was to give my all to make every meal as if it was my last opportunity to present to the jury. The CMC certification means that I have a responsibility to continue on my quest to be a forever student and culinary professional. My desire to effect the future generations in the most positive and impactful way will guide my future.”


The path to the CMC title requires immense dedication to the craft of cooking and calls upon the candidates to demonstrate their abilities across a broad range of styles and techniques. During the progressive, eight-day practical exam, chefs are tested on healthy cooking, buffet catering, classical cuisine, freestyle cooking, global cuisine, baking and pastry, Continental and Northern European cuisines and “market basket,” a mystery basket of ingredients from which they must prepare a five-course meal.

Chefs are evaluated and assessed by current CMCs and earn points based on kitchen skills, presentation and taste, as well as on the leadership they demonstrate in working with a student apprentice each day. Candidates are required to maintain a 75-point average in order to continue.

Chefs Ford, Leonardi and Loving received their certifications after successfully completing nearly 90 hours of culinary demonstration throughout exam. With the addition of these chefs, there are now 68 current CMCs in the United States.

“The ACF Certified Master Chef designation is a journey of culinary excellence,” said Ron DeSantis, CMC, AAC, MBA, and CMC exam evaluator. “Regardless of the outcome of the exam, each chef becomes a better and stronger culinarian. Having been part of the ACF CMC exam for more than 25 years, I am proud that the chefs of our nation have the outstanding craftsmanship required of this level of certification.”

CMC and CMPC are the culmination of the progressive ACF credentials that enable foodservice professionals to certify their skill, knowledge and expertise at each stage of their careers.

CMCExam Graphic

 

More information on the 2017 exam and the new Certified Master Chefs can be found at www.acfchefs.org/CMCExam. For day-by-day photos of the exam, visit ACF’s Flickr page.

For video highlights, visit the ACF CMC TV page on our website. To see the live stream from day eight of the competition, visit the ACF YouTube page.

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