Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Papapocalypse is upon us

If this is an omen of the culinary future for Stamford, then I hope the world does end on December 21st.  With more than 50 other, better, and most importantly, locally-owned pizza places to choose from, why would anyone go to this corporate cardboard factory?

You could literally shoot at a map of Stamford with this classic Ninja Turtles toy and hit a better pizza place.  Heck, you'd be better off shooting one of these plastic pizzas into your mouth than eating at Papa John's.


Please, people, I beg you not to give any of your pizza money to Papa John's millionaire, private-golf-course-having CEO.  Spend it at one of the fine mom-and-pop establishments in town.  Check out the Stamford Pizza Tour site for a nearly complete list.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The next big thing: Saigon Cafe

If you like being able to say you knew about something "before," then you need to get to Saigon Cafe now, because this place is going to be big.  That's right, Vietnamese food has finally come to Stamford!

It's a tiny (four tables) spot on the nondescript east side of Atlantic Street, serving deli fare like chicken cutlet sandwiches and tuna wraps, but the real reason to go is the Vietnamese food!  At Saigon Cafe, you can enjoy Vietnamese staples such as Phờ and bánh mì, the delicious baguette sandwiches that foodies in NYC drool over.

I had the #10 sandwich - pork pate and Vietnamese cold cuts - and it was awesome.  The cold cuts and pate were tasty and savory without being salty, and the pickled veggies at the bottom gave it a cool crunch.  I'm already planning on running down the whole bánh mì menu!

PS: Before you gorge on turkey and cranberry sauce this Thursday, head down to Shippan for the Shippan Turkey Trot!  It's a zany costume race that raises money for the Shelter for the Homeless on Pacific Street.  Bonus: you can get one more use out of that Edward or Jacob Halloween costume before Twilight is forgotten forever!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Your new plans for Friday and Saturday

Since it's either hurricaning, snowing, raining, or just generally miserable out, here are two fun things to do that'll cheer you up, or at least give you a break from packing the U-Haul for California!

Tomorrow, Rodizio Grill and The Melting Pot are holding free "Taste of the Holidays" lunch events from 12-3!  Come on in to enjoy some complimentary dishes and drinks, and talk to their party planners and general managers about hosting your large holiday parties at these two meaty, melty restaurants!

Then on Saturday, everybody's favorite video game store, Retro Games Plus, will take part in The Block Party, a fundraising event to benefit Make-A-Wish Connecticut and The b-Cause Foundation.  It's a big LEGO-theme event featuring workshops, expert model builders, a shopping boutique, and more!  Retro Games Plus will be hosting a small arcade with several video game systems (X360, PS3, N64 and Gamecube) set up playing LEGO-related video games.  LEGOs, video games, and a good cause!  The Block Party will be from 10 am-4 pm at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Go wild at Rodizio Grill!

OK, so you've been to Rodizio Grill and tried the maminha (tri-tip sirloin).  You've tried the picanha com parmesao (sirloin with Parmesan cheese).  You've even been adventurous and tried the salad bar.  Looking for something new to try?  Well, you're in luck because October is Wild Game Fest!

This is your chance to try rattlesnake-rabbit-jalapeño sausages, Kurobuta (Japanese wild boar), and bison chili!

Left: Linguica (Brazilian sausage), available year-round.
Right: The aforementioned and delicious rattlesnake-rabbit-jalapeño sausage.

Now, you'd better hurry in because once Halloween hits, Wild Game Fest is gone.  Heck, the bison chili is so popular that I didn't even get to try it!  Maybe they'll whip up a fresh batch just for me.  Rodizio guys?  Anyone?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Retro Games Plus celebrates one year!

If you grew up in the late 70s or early 80s, then you surely have fond memories of Atari, Coleco Vision, Nintendo, Genesis, Super Nintendo, and all the other great systems from the golden age of home video games.  Even if your memories consist of hour after frustrating hour rescuing that darn princess, you still need to check out Retro Games Plus in Westport!

To celebrate their one-year anniversary, they're holding a customer appreciation sale this Saturday - everything in the store will be 20% off!  There will be free soda and pizza as well as a Donkey Kong high score competition - the winner will receive a $40 store credit.

If you haven't been to Retro Games Plus yet, this is the perfect time to go!  They have games and systems going all the way back to Pong and Atari, and their prices beat the pants off of a certain national video game store chain.

Check out their Facebook page for all the information.  I'll be there - look for the guy with the awesome Power Glove.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Food news! Is there any other kind that matters?

Yay! - I finally found out where Dinosaur Bar-B-Que will be!  I'm pretty sure that steel structure is the cage to hold the dinosaurs before they're barbecued.  If you can't wait (like me), you can sample their stuff at the Harbor Point block party on Saturday!

Boo! - Chili Chicken and Spazzio are gone.

YAY!! - October is wild game month at Rodizio Grill!  Specific game is TBA, though I'm hoping to eat a meal that would make Ron Swanson proud.

Boo? - Saltwater Grille is beyond gone.

Yay! - There's an Egyptian festival on Sept. 22-23 with food, music, vendors, and more!

Boo! - Port Chester is getting a Whole Foods.  I'm not booing their good fortune, but once New Canaan gets a Whole Foods, then every town near Stamford will have one.  Thanks to the whiners who helped kill the proposed store at Bull's Head, I have to go to Darien to buy organic, non-GMO, humanely-raised, grass-fed, cage-free oatmeal.

Yay! (not food-related, but still cool) - Speaking of Port Chester, the historic Capitol Theatre has been renovated and has re-opened its doors as a rock palace!  They have some seriously awesome acts coming to the P.C., so check it out.

Yay? - Trader Joe's is coming to the old Borders store on High Ridge Road.  I know a lot of people are excited about this, but I'll wait and see.  I went to the Darien store a few times, and each time, I found something moldy or stale among my purchases once I got home.

Superboo!! - There's nowhere to buy fudge in Stamford.  There's a little candy store in my hometown of Northport, New York, where you can buy rock candy, fruit slices, Lemonheads, Big League Chew, and big honkin' pieces of fresh fudge.  I want this in Stamford!!  If elected mayor, I pledge to bring in a candy store, a cheese shop, and a bakery.

SUPER DUPER MEGA YAY!! - Oktoberfest finally comes to Stamford!  Dust off your lederhosen for the Stamford Museum & Nature Center's Octoberfest on the Meadow on Friday, October 19.  It'll feature food, Oktoberfest beers, and live music.  If elected mayor, I also pledge to bring a German-style bierhall to Stamford!  Prost!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bar Q + Restaurant Weeks = 10,080 ways to enjoy the best BBQ in town!

15 snacks x 12 BBQ selections x 14 Fixins x 4 desserts = 10,080 different combinations, all for only $12.12!*

*You don't get all 10,800 combinations for $12.12, just one combination.  But don't worry, you can't go wrong with choices like spicy pork empanadas, chimichurri skirt steak, and fiesta corn bread!

Any math teachers out there?  I need to know how many times I need to go to Bar Q next week to try everything on the menu at least once using the one-from-each-category method.  I think it's some kind of formula like 15(n-1)x12(n-2)x14(n-3)x4(n-4), but 10th grade algebra was a looong time ago.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ups and downs

Going up: an installation about VHS tapes at Franklin Street Works.  From September 6-October 14, come check out VHS: The Exhibition.

I'll let FSW explain: "Artworks will be accompanied by ephemera from 80's-era home video culture, such as the glitchy computer-generated, anti-corporate corporate spokesman Max Headroom, to give a broad perspective on the cultural shifts created by this technological phenomenon in entertainment, life, and art."

As a movie buff who grew up in the heyday of the VHS tape, this exhibit is a nostalgic trip for me.  I still have a ton of VHS tapes, most of them horror movies I bought from the local mom-and-pop store that was crushed by Blockbuster in the 90s.

In other news...coming down: Saltwater Grille and the office building connected to it.

Hey, maybe they're clearing a permanent home for Melt Mobile!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Epilogue: Fairway Firefighter Cook-Off

Not only did the winning team from Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol win a $500 Fairway gift card, and not only did they win a giant trophy, but they also got to select a charity to benefit from a Fairway shopping night, where a whopping 25% of that night's profits go to the charity.  Cos Cob selected Neighbor to Neighbor, an organization that provides food, clothes and other necessities to families in need.  The big night is tomorrow, Wednesday, July 25th, from 4-9 PM.  So head down to Fairway to get some delicious food and help out a great cause!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Melt Mobile Mania!

Someone must have asked the lovely ladies behind Melt Mobile very nicely, because they'll be working the grill next Monday, which is usually their day off.  As if that weren't awesome enough, they'll be in my office complex!!  That's right - this little slice of heaven on wheels will park between 250 and 262 Harbor Drive on Monday, July 16, from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM!  I plan on camping out Sunday night like I'm waiting for a warm, edible iPhone 5.

And while visions of Gruyere are still dancing in my head, I'll sit down to watch their episode of "3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay" on Friday, July 20th at 10 PM on Food Network!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Awesome stuff to do in June

Happy first day of summer!  It's 97 degrees!  I love the heat - I'll take it any day over a snowstorm.

It won't be 97 degrees this Saturday for the Beautiful Morocco Festival in Mill River Park!  This colorful extravaganza will feature music, food, henna tattoos, fashion, and, best of all, camel rides!

Next Saturday, check out the opening of Franklin Street Works' newest exhibition, "These Transitional Spaces."  The show "asks us to enter other times and places through a combination of what an artwork suggests and our psychological and visual responses to those images and objects." 

And now for some awesome news: The Most Expensive 9 American Cities.  Spoiler alert: We're number six.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

And the winner of the Fairway Fire Fighters Food Face-Off is...

Yesterday, I had the privilege of not only attending Fairway's Second Annual Fire Fighters Food Face-Off, but actually judging the competition!  Not a bad gig, I must say!

The three fire departments vying for the grand prize of a $500 Fairway gift card were Noroton Heights, Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol (which sounds like an awesome Chuck Norris movie), and Stamford's own hometown heroes from the Belltown Fire Department.

Also up for grabs was this giant trophy featuring a miniature chef and three miniature firefighters!

My fellow judges were Jodi Helman from jodi's kitchen and home, Mike McGowan from WEBE 108, and Fairway's own Mitchel London.

The three dishes were burgers, ribs, and vegetable skewers...but there was a secret ingredient each team had to incorporate into the burgers - poblano peppers!  Poblanos are pretty mild peppers, but then again, I eat habaneros whole.  Good thing Noroton Heights brought their truck!

Here are some warm-up shots before the real action begins:

A giant bowl of BBQ, yes please!

I had veggies, so by definition, it was a healthy meal.

I want my baby back, baby back, baby back, baby back.

I guess firefighters are never truly off duty, and thank goodness for that.

I can definitely see Chuck Norris and his Fire Police Patrol driving
one of these through the front door of the bad guys' hideout.

Now onto the food!

First up were the burgers.  I should add that each item was only identified by the team number, so we were judging blind.

Team 2 brought it strong right off the bat.  This bad boy had gorgonzola cheese, onions, roasted poblanos, and a honey-mustard-ish sauce, with some hot chips on the side.  The meat was perfectly cooked - hot and juicy.

Team 3's burger had BBQ sauce, chopped poblanos, and something that I thought tasted like thousand island dressing (the main ingredient in McDonald's secret sauce).  The meat was also very nicely cooked.

The food was coming at us fast and furious, so I forgot to take a picture of Team 1's burgers.  That's right - burgers.  They kind of misunderstood the contest and gave each of us two halves of different burgers.  One had cheese, roasted poblanos and a slice of ham!  It was pretty tasty, but the ham was a little odd and distracting.  The other one had bacon and cheddar in it.  Need I say more?

My winning burger: Team 2!

Next up was our meat intermission: the veggie skewers.

Again, I forgot to take pictures, but here's Team 1's skewer.

All three skewers were pretty similar.  In all fairness, there aren't that many vegetables that will hold up on the grill, but each skewer had a little yummy twist.

My winning skewer: Team 2, I think.

And now for the main event...the ribs!!

Not pictured: Team 1's ribs, and that's a shame because they were really darn good.  Remind me to fire my photographer.

Team 2's ribs were next.

To be honest, they were kind of tough.  The meat didn't come off the bone that easily, and the sauce was just decent.

Finally, Team 3's ribs.  Feast your eyes on this!

Scallions, pineapple, a nice, dark glaze...yeah, these were my winning ribs.  The sauce had a subtle sweetness and just a little bit of kick.  I also correctly picked out a hint of beer!  The chef is Canadian, so I hope it was Labatt's.

One more picture:

So...the moment you've all been waiting for...

The winner was...

Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol!!!

In addition to their humongous trophy, they won a $500 Fairway gift card, and the charity of their choice will get a Fairway shopping night, where the charity receives a portion of the sales from that night.

Perfect weather...good times...good food.  I hope I'm lucky enough to be invited back next year!  The only thing that could top this year's competition would be ribs made by Chuck Norris' Fire Police Patrol.  I've heard that Chuck Norris doesn't use rubs or spices - he roundhouse kicks the flavor onto his ribs.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Eat, drink, and watch horsies this Saturday!

Are you a person who eats?  Do you like good food?  If you answered yes to both of these questions, then cancel all your plans for Saturday and go to the Second Annual Fairway Firefighters Food Face-Off!  This year's competition features firefighters from Noroton Heights Fire Department, Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol and Stamford Volunteer Fire Department cooking up their tastiest ribs, beef burgers and vegetable skewers.  There will be free samples, giveaways, and music!  The festivities begin at noon.

After that, take your private helicopter, jetpack, or teleporter to Serendipity Magazine's "Horsing Around for Charity" event at the Greenwich Polo Club.  There'll be food, music, wine, microbrews, and activities for the kids.  The proceeds from the event will support Pegasus Therapeutic Riding, a non-profit that provides equine-assisted activities and therapies to children and adults with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities.

Once you've had your fill of ribs, beer, and horses, head downtown to check out the newest addition to Bedford Street: Hudson Grille!  I don't know anything about this place yet, so let's all camp out like we're waiting for Twilight tickets Kathy Griffin the next iPhone!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Glenbrook or bust!

Hey folks,

We got priced out of our apartment near the Tully Center, so we're moving to Glenbrook, near exit 9.  I'll be incommunicado for a while while I box up my Beanie Babies hunting knives, so feel free to check out some older posts.  Heck, this one about the dead spots in downtown is still relevant, since none of them have been filled in, four years later.

On the bright side, our former landlords haven't been able to fill the apartment, so there's that.

I'll be back before you know it with some more fun stuff.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Two fun things to do this week

UPDATE: Oops!  My mistake: A Novel Affair takes place on Thursday, not Saturday!

If you're as happy as I am to see that giant warm circle in the sky (I forget its name), then step out of your house/hibernation cave/panic room and check out these neat events this Saturday!

From 12-3 p.m., head to Mill River Park for the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom festival!  You may recall the dustup over the removal of a number of cherry trees when the makeover of Mill River Park began.  Some people were complaining that they loved seeing the trees in bloom as they drove past the park.  Now's their chance to actually go into the park and see the trees up close!

Once you're done gallavanting in the park, it's a short walk to the Ferguson Library, so you can enjoy A Novel Affair, a food tasting/music/auction event to benefit everybody's favorite downtown booklender.  It takes place from 6-9 p.m. and features food from such local favorites as Barcelona Greenwich, Coromandel, DiMare Pastry Shop, Napa & Co., Remo's Brick Oven Pizza Company, and Tabouli Grill!

PS: Looking ahead to June, the Avon will play host to a certain wacky police academy graduate from the be followed by drinks and dancing at The Blue Oyster, of course.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The melty goodness that is fondue

Cheese, bacon, and chocolate.  What's not to love about The Melting Pot in Darien?

Yes, I realize that The Melting Pot is not in Stamford.  But isn't Darien just like Stamford, but with more six-ton SUVs?

Anyway, on to the food!

The fondue pot, before the deliciousness began.

As you may know, fondue is a meal/activity/experience where you cook your own food at your table.  We went with The Melting Pot's "Big Night Out America" menu, which features selections inspired by different regions of the good ol' U.S. of A.

Tonight's hapless victims: bread, veggies, and apples.

First up: Cheese fondue!  Coming straight outta Boston, it's...

Boston Lager Cheddar Cheese Fondue: Samuel Adams Boston Lager, cheddar and Emmenthaler cheeses accented with Nueske’s Applewood-Smoked Bacon, onions,
Dijon mustard, Tabasco, and scallions.

Just look at that cheesy magnificence.  The bacon was the real flavor highlight here, with the mustard and Tabasco providing some zing.

Next up: Salad from Wisconsin!

 NOT PICTURED: Wisconsin Wedge Salad - an iceberg wedge with Roma tomatoes, Emmi Roth Käse Gorgonzola, Nueske’s Applewood-Smoked Bacon, and Peppercorn Ranch Dressing.  Because I ate it before taking a picture.  What can I say?  It looked good.  And it was.

In case you're keeping score, that's two courses with bacon.

Before we get to the main course, I have to sing the praises of our amazing, super-friendly server, Arielle.  She was knowledgeable, affable, and really enjoyed her job.  Heck, Arielle likes fondue so much she commutes from Manhattan to Darien to work at The Melting Pot - seriously!  If this Louisiana native is your server, you're sure to have a great time.

Now for the dinner fondue!  Sadly, bacon will not be appearing in this performance.

Our cooking medium was Coq au Vin: Burgundy wine infused with
fresh herbs, spices and mushrooms.

Here are the meats and seafood laid out on the sacrificial altar of fondue.
Click on the picture to see all the goodness.

Seasoned Angus sirloin.  Yeah.

Just like a Price is Right showcase that keeps getting better -- who doesn't need four ATVs to go with a catamaran? -- dinner at The Melting Pot is inevitably followed by chocolate fondue!

Inspired by the classic American PB & J, it's...

Chocolate Wildberry Crunch Fondue: Milk chocolate and crunchy peanut butter with a purée of blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

The dessert dippers!  Click the picture above for a better look.

Here are some close-ups of the dippers before they met their fate in a cauldron of warm, delicious chocolate.

Now that you're nice and hungry for fondue, here's your chance to check out The Melting Pot!  I've got three $20 "DIP certificates" for the first three people who email me at streetsofstamford [at] with the correct answer to this trivia question!  Who is this fondue enthusiast and to whom is he returning that fondue pot?

(If you're stumped, there's a clue in the tags for this post.)

(Note: These gift cards are only good at The Melting Pot locations in Darien, CT; White Plains, NY; and Westwood, NJ.)