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Graze

Graze

http://www.grazedelivered.com

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Graze(Click to enlarge)

So this goat farmer walks into my house…

That could be the beginning of a great joke or a bad porn flick. But it’s neither. It’s actually true. He comes to my home on Monday mornings and delivers fresh milk, eggs, chef-prepared meals, and other organic treats directly from artisanal farms in Vermont. And the price? No more than what you’d pay at Whole Foods.

Graze, the brainchild of Christy Colasurdo, a Westport mom and former New York magazine editor along with husband, Doug, and Vermont friends Julianna and Steve (a former CFO of Heineken Americas. Yes, male readers: beer) allows Fairfield County-ers to enjoy delicious farm-to-table foods to which they would otherwise have little or no access (farmers aren’t necessarily great marketers and, to be fair, vice-versa).

Chef Neil whips up a weekly menu of prepared foods, including a soup, adult dinner, kids dinner, grain salad, vegetarian alternative, tea bread, cheese, and much more. His meals and soups are beautifully prepared from local ingredients (Misty Knoll chicken, grass-fed angus beef, freshly picked vegetables) and are surprisingly, and refreshingly, well-seasoned (whoever decided that organic meals must be low-sodium should be locked into a room of hungry pre-schoolers. And their moms.)

Christy tells me, “We have taken great pains to make sure every ingredient we use and every product we sell is not only delicious and nutritious and wholesome, but also sustainably and humanely produced. (We) work with small farmers who know and love their animals and treat them with respect.

Click to read the rest ... "Graze"

Dining     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport    
Wednesday, April 09, 2014 • Permalink

The Little Barn

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1050 Post Road East, Westport

Opened by Kevin McHugh, co-owner of Spotted Horse and Grey Goose, I imagine the conversation he had with his Little Barn partner, Scott Beck, went something like:

McHugh: “I’ve had heaps of success naming eateries after farm animals.”

Beck: “But the only ones left are Pig, Cow… maybe a Housecat, a Rat.”

McHugh: “Right. Which one makes you hungriest?”

Beck: “Not… none.”

McHugh: “Hmm…”

Thus, The Little Barn was born.

The Barn, made from reclaimed almost everything, has a collection of perfectly worn license plates and a neon “Liquor Store” sign. These touches evoke a cozy “Aw, shucks” roadhouse environment, belied by the high-end bar with a parade of designer cocktails and wonderful gastro-pub fares. Which, of course, is irresistible to those of us who enjoy fraternizing redneck-style without actually involving rednecks.

The basic kids (“Half Pints”) menu appeals to, like, kids.

Robin’s note: The cocktails, concocted from fresh juice and top tier liquors are good, if inconsistent. The margaritas are sweet. Very sweet. I kept looking over my shoulder, expecting to be attacked by a flock of hummingbirds.

Their Specialty: Chicken Pot Pie

What You Should Eat: Excellent burgers and kale salad, Fish ‘n’ Chips, and pulled pork.

What You May Not Know But Should:
  - The chefs are flexible and happy to monkey around with your entrée. So if you want chowder on your chicken wings or bacon on your baby backs, just ask.
  - No entrée is over $20
  - The location used to Dairy Queen, then a lousy diner, then Swanky Franks. Some people remain wistful about these restaurants.
  - Beck and McHugh are proud Staples grads.
  - No reservations accepted.

Dining     Bars + Baristas     Westport    
Thursday, March 13, 2014 • Permalink

Spotted Horse Tavern

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26 Church Lane, Westport

Spotted Horse Tavern - with a lively bar, delicious food, and consistent service - has won over the hearts of foodies and divorcées alike. Painstakingly re-constructed from a dilapidated (“historic”) home, the tavern-chic interior compliments the upscale American comfort food and moderate prices. There’s no kiddie menu, but the entrees are palatable for picky nippers and the generous pours from the bar help increase tolerance levels among adults dining with them.

So come for the cozy meals and big cocktails, then migrate to the bar to watch men dust off their pick-up lines for women in short skirts.

Robin’s note: It’s not, technically, a cougar bar: older women are not trawling for wide-eyed innocents here. Our experiences indicate it’s more of a manther bar, even though I cringe at perpetuating the term “manther.” (Pumale? Catamant?) But an occasional lonely-heart one-liner doesn’t detract from the fun.

Their specialty: Lobster & Avocado BLT, Maine mussels, “Under a Brick” Grilled Half Chicken

What you should eat: Lobster BLT, Atlantic Salmon

What you may not know but should:
  - Parking is a teensy problem, but drivers who illegally park in the neighboring pre-school lot seem to have created an unsustainable solution
  - The Spotted Horse is owned by the same people who own The Grey Goose in Southport and The Little Goose in Fairfield
  - Food is organic and locally-sourced
  - Live music on Thursday nights

Dining     Bars + Baristas     Westport    
Thursday, March 06, 2014 • Permalink

Post 154

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154 Post Road, Westport


As recently as two years ago, I stood in line in the Post 154 building* in late December with three heavy boxes, two whining kids, and a migraine in a pear tree. So sipping a cosmo in roughly the same area is oddly satisfying, like yelling in a library after-hours or muttering inaudible threats to DMV workers.

While the space is lovely and conveniently located, the Latino-Italian-Portuguese fusion fare – many small plates and large plates - is inconsistent. Some love it, some don’t. But the bar is large, the atmosphere is inviting, and the mood is festive.

* Westport’s old post office.

Robin’s note: The drinks, like the lines at the post office, vary with each order.

Who you’ll see eating here: Families with tween kids, couples 35-65 years old, groups of women and men.

Their specialty: Golden Corn Bisque, Duck Confit Taquitos, Portuguese Octopus

What you should order: Heirloom Tomato Salad

What you may not know but should:
  -  Happy hour lasts from 3:00-6:00 M-F, with drink and appetizer specials.
  -  On Friday nights their house band “Swirl” does just that.
  -  The outdoor terrace, cold and creepily deserted in the winter, is lovely in the summer.

Dining     Bars + Baristas     Westport    
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 • Permalink

Have Kids, Will Eat

Eating at Bertucci's

Dining Out with Kids

Last Thursday my husband was forced to enjoy cocktails and a swishy dinner in NYC with fellow workfolk. Again. Normally he declines the dinner invitation so he can have a late dinner with his wife. Which would be so sweet if it weren’t for the fact that his wife has to make and clean up after said late dinner. So… yeah. Fun.

But this night he accepted the dinner invitation, creating a free evening for me and my three angelic offspring.

As luck would have it, all three were wearing outfits that neither embarrassed nor confused me. So I dolled myself up a bit in preparation of a nice meal at a kid-friendly restaurant like Rizutto’s or Bertucci’s.

Now, if you don’t currently have kids I should explain: dirty and snot-smeared is the new black, and taking children to dinner is the new nightclubbing. When you have kids, your old life doesn’t “change” so much as it ceases to exist. Kids become your life, and you learn to appreciate small things such as sitting on a dry toilet seat or having someone else wash your dishes.

Anyhoo, back to dinner with the kids. We settled into a booth and placed our order without incident. We all had reasonably tasteful outfits, adequate table manners, and the kids weren’t screaming fart jokes. And–-I swear I’m not lying—my oldest son shared something about his day at school!

The older couple next to us complimented me on my well-behaved children, which made me smug and generously sympathetic of parents with less tame charges.

Click to read the rest ... "Have Kids, Will Eat"

Dining     Kids in Tow     Westport    
Monday, November 28, 2011 • Permalink

Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant

18 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich
222 Summer Street, Stamford
4180 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield
63.65 North Main Street, South Norwalk

Well, that was skeevy.

Before I dive into details, two things:

  1.  Barcelona is a delicious and delightful wine bar/tapas joint with a fun, noisy vibe.
  2. After reading this write-up, the new (and very kind) general manager of Barcelona SoNo, who was not aware of a certain employee’s behavior, contacted me to apologize. He was very concerned and expressed intolerance of such behavior. As of this writing, I’m confident that certain Barcelona employees will never hit on a patron—or, perhaps, anyone—again.

Robin’s note: One of the managers hit on me. Not in a flattering or coy way, but in a “God, it’s getting late and I haven’t picked up a chick yet” way. So here’s the story: I and 5 of my girlfriends go for drinks at Barcelona SoNo. We meet at 9:00 and there are several tables of women having birthday parties, drinks, whatever. When I ask a manager for the location of the restroom, he holds out his arm to escort me to a set of two doors in a narrow corridor across from the large glass wine refrigerator. I half-heartedly take his arm, then slide my arm back because it’s so queer.

An hour later I’m up again to use the facilities (I drink a lot of water when I tipple) and find both bathroom doors locked.

Click to read the rest ... "Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant"

Dining     Bars + Baristas     Fairfield     Greenwich     Norwalk     Stamford    
Friday, November 11, 2011 • Permalink

Le Pain Quotidien

382 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich
81 Elm Street, New Canaan

“The Daily Bread” or, if pronounced incorrectly, “The Daily Rabbit,” is a delightful organic café (perfect for lunch) with a European flair that, thankfully, doesn’t extend to its service.

Robin’s note: Le Pain was my home-away-from-home in Manhattan. Wonderful coffee, delicious fare and now – a liquor license!

Who you’ll see eating here: Moms with kids at breakfast and lunch, groups of couples 30-55 years old in the evening, and French ex-pats. No kidding.

Their specialty: Artisan bread and tartines (elegant open-faced sandwiches).

What you should order: Bread and tartines.

What you may not know but should:
  1. Each table has an assortment of their delicious signature jams and chocolate/hazelnut spreads to eat with their bread.
  2. Cafés include one or two large communal tables for those of you who enjoy sitting next to strangers or “meeting new friends.”
  3. It’s an environmentally-conscience eatery, with wood flooring from defunct railway cars and efficiently bio-degradable cups and spoons.
http://www.lepainquotidien.com

Dining     Greenwich     New Canaan    

Tavern on Main

Tavern on Main, Westport

146 Main Street, Westport

This 18th century girls’ school/grocery store is now a charming (some say drafty) restaurant with one of the few decent bars in town.

Robin’s note: The porch is great for people-watching, despite the fact you’re in downtown Westport and not a lot happens after stores close.

Who you’ll see eating here: Couples, with or without their grandchildren.

Their specialty: Salmon brown rice salad.

What you should eat: Grilled Atlantic salmon filet over sweet corn ragout.

What you may not know but should: They’re great for parties, events, and off-site catering. http://www.tavernonmain.com

Dining     Westport    
Thursday, November 10, 2011 • Permalink

The Sugar Bowl

Sugar Bowl, Darien

1033 Boston Post Road, Darien

My husband and I were so excited to discover this wonderful breakfast spot in Darien. Turns out it’s one of the most popular cafés in FC. Who knew? I mean, besides us.

To the handful of you who haven’t been here: the first thing you notice is the Bowl’s festooned with so much holiday gewgaw you may confuse it with a souvenir shop at Mystic Seaport. For each of the past 7 years they’ve decorated for 8 occasions: Memorial Day/July 4, Beach, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day, and Mother’s Day/Spring. Halloween is their biggest undertaking, usurping the time and talent of 4 grown men for sixteen hours. Impressive.

The second thing you notice is friendly staff, swift service, and satisfying food. They make wonderful homemade lemon, apricot, or plum cake and animal-shaped pancakes for the kids (the chocolate chip ones of which contain so many chips, it’s like eating a candy bar with a fork.)

Robin’s note: The third thing you notice, or we noticed, is the large glass candy shelf is not enclosed on the sides, affording certain small children easy access to fistfuls of Nerd Ropes and the like.

Who you’ll see eating here: Young families and loyal locals of all ages.

Their specialty: Bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll, eggs benedict without the hollandaise sauce, and “…we make lots of pancakes.”

What you should order: Chocolate chip pancakes and eggs with grilled tomatoes.

What you may not know but should:
  1. The Bowl has been owned by the same family for 52 years, Bob being the latest in a small string of familial proprietors.
  2. The man who bakes the cakes works at the Bowl on weekends. During the week he’s a sommelier at the River Café in Brooklyn.

Dining     Kids in Tow     Darien    
Friday, September 16, 2011 • Permalink

4 Brothers Pizza

4 Brothers, Westport

Darien – (203) 662-9373
Westport - (203) 341-0505

Sure, we all adore the “wood-fired broccoli rabe/salumi assortito pie with a hint of pesto cream sauce,” but if you want to fire up the margarita machine and gluttonize until your arteries are begging for mercy and your brain cells are about to top the endangered species list, then this is your pizza.

Robin’s note: Pepperoni. It looks like plain but, ooh baby, it’s not.

Who you’ll see eating here: No one. It’s all about delivery.

Their specialty: Pizza.

What you should order: Pizza and grinders.

What you may not know but should: Check the website for coupons. They never verify them, so you can use them as often as you wish.
http://www.fourbrotherspizza.com

Dining     Darien     Westport    
Thursday, June 23, 2011 • Permalink

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