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.)