Friday, July 19, 2013

The Downes Building is coming down

In another blow to what's left of Stamford's pre-urban renewal architecture, the Downes Building on Atlantic Street is slated for demolition.

As you can see on the demolition notice, the new building will be "mixed-use," which probably means that the ground floor will be retail and the upper floors will be residential.  Based on recent trends, I figure the ground floor will eventually house:
- a bank
- a Starbucks
- a CVS

The upper-floor apartments will most likely be rented out to:
- hedge funders
- financial workers in blue shirts and khakis
- UBSers
- RBSers
- All of the above

On the bright side, at least Chinese Mirch is safe.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Porkpocalypse - a requiem

Day one of the Porkpocalypse began like any other.  It was hot.  I was hungry.  Luckily for me, it was also the day of the Fairway Firefighters Food Face-Off, so I went to Fairway to judge some burgers, kabobs, and ribs!

Belltown, Cos Cob, Noroton Heights, and Westport were all in the house, cooking up some deliciousness.  But first, here are some appetizer pictures:

Lovely flowers made from tomatoes...

...and lemon peels.

Fairway's version of the Wheel of Fish.

Fire!  Fire!  Hehehehe!

I don't get it.  Show your su-bra-ort?  Is it a riddle?

The hardware.  This trophy is huge.


Speaking of food, the first course was burgers - into which the competitors had to incorporate the surprise secret ingredient: chorizo!  In no particular order, the four burgers we tried were:
- blue cheese and chopped chorizo
- cheddar and sliced chorizo
- guacamole and chorizo
- pineapple, onion, and chorizo sauce

They were all delicious, with the guacamole burger being my favorite.  I should add that I'm a huge guacamole fan.  Put some guacamole on a copy of War and Peace and I'd probably eat it.

Oh yeah, I was too busy eating to remember to take pictures of the burgers, plus burgers tend not to look as good in pictures as they taste.

Next up were the kabobs. They could either be chicken or veggie kabobs, though some of the teams mixed things up and did both.  They were all very good, with one WOW.  Again, no pictures...too busy eating.

And now for our main event: ribs!  With pictures this time!

OK, how about three delicious, slow-cooked ribs?

This beautiful trifecta was the consensus favorite among all the judges.  One of the chefs told us the secret: they cooked them at 200° for TEN HOURS!  He said he got up at 2 a.m. to turn them.  Now that's dedication!

For your intermission entertainment...The American Bombshells!

And this year's winner of the Fairway Firefighters Food Face-off is...COS COB!  Back-to-baby back champions!

In addition to another huge trophy, Cos Cob's bravest won a $500 Fairway gift card and a charity shopping night, where a charity of their choosing will receive 25% of Fairway's profits that night.

So...having survived day one of the Porkpocalypse, I retired to my shelter to await the challenge of another day.

Challenge accepted!

I'd been looking forward to Pork in the Park for MONTHS.  Delicious BBQ in the newly revitalized Mill River Park...what's not to love?  Well, a lot.  I'll be honest; I was disappointed with PITP.

My biggest issue is that you had to pay to get in, and then you had to pay for food.  It was good food - Bar Q, crepes from Volta, Fryborg, Hot off the Grille, and more - but I could try them any other time without a cover charge.

There was also a BBQ contest, with the winner being crowned the Connecticut BBQ champion, but the contestants were only cooking for the judges.  I've been to chili contests where you pay an entrance fee and then get to taste all the chilies, and I kind of thought PITP would be more like that.  So I paid $10 to watch people cook BBQ?  Kind of a bummer.

Don't get me wrong - it wasn't all bad.  There were games for the kids, good live music, and hot sauce vendors (I bought some ghost pepper sauce - oh yeah), but I hope they can put together a better experience for next year's festival.

Well, I made it through the Porkpocalypse - stuffed, a little sunburned, but otherwise unscathed.  I look forward to what the future holds in this bacon- and sauce-covered new world we've created.  Only the strongest can survive.  So eat up, my friends.  Eat up.

PS: Speaking of chili contests, they had one at SoNo Marketplace back in April.  I started writing about it but then got sidetracked, so look for a few catch-up posts soon!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I'm back! And I'm "pigging" out next weekend!

July 13th and 14th are going to be fun days here in Stamford if you're a connoisseur of pork!

First up on Saturday is the Fairway Firefighters Food Face-Off at Fairway Market!  Once again, teams of local firefighters will compete in a BBQ throwdown for bragging rights and a $500 Fairway gift card.  Each team will grill up ribs, burgers, and veggie or chicken skewers. This year's competitors are returning champions Cos Cob, along with Noroton Heights, Westport, and Belltown.  The competition begins at 12:00, and there will be free samples, giveaways, contests, and more!

To whet your appetite, here's my photo-filled post about last year's contest: And the winner of the Fairway Fire Fighters Food Face-Off is...

But wait, there's more!  On the day of the contest, the teams will be given a secret ingredient that they must incorporate into their burgers!

But wait, there's still more!  One of the contest judges will be none other than Yours Truly!  This is your chance to finally meet the mysterious man behind Streets of Stamford.  I can't promise that I won't get barbecue sauce on you, however.

Once you've awoken from your food coma on Sunday morning, head down to Mill River Park for Pork in the Park!  Pork in the Park actually takes place on Saturday and Sunday, but I'm only one man - how much tasty pork do you expect me to eat??  Whichever day you attend (or both!), this festival sounds awesome.  There's a BBQ competition sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society, music, and fun activities for the kids!  It also helps a good cause, as all proceeds from the festival will support the Mayor's Youth Empowerment Program.

Huh - I can't believe I made it through the whole post without one pork-related pun.  I'm such a ham!