Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Decade of my Life Has Been Spent Craving Pepe's Pizza

Pizza, you make me a happier person.

It has been a very long time since I've written a blog post. Last year, I got into a groove and really stayed on top of updating it. Then, I got busy with other work, and life, and the many excuses we all make when we're not getting everything done. 

But if there's one thing that can bring me out of hibernation, it's pizza. In this case, one of my favorite pizzas: Pepe's! The first time I experienced Pepe's was at their Fairfield location, nearly ten years ago, and the pizza had been much-hyped.

I am happy to say I was not in the least bit disappointed. Thin (but not too thin - no droopy crust to be found here), toothy crust with just the right amount of char at the edges (a result of hot hot hot coal firing) and fresh tangy sauce. The restaurant's original location is in CT's pizza mecca, New Haven, with other outposts in Manchester, Danbury, Uncasville, and West Hartford, CT as well as Yonkers, NY.

The much lauded white clam pizza
Anyone who tells you about Pepe's will mention their famed white clam pizza. I certainly recommend giving it a try, as it's a classic, but my favorite is chicken and spinach. It's a combination I never order anywhere else, but Pepe's is just so good. Trust me, you'll like it. 

I've had the pleasure of consuming excessive quantities of Pepe's Pizza in Manchester, Danbury, and Yonkers in addition to my original experience in Fairfield. Every time has been amazing. They use the same exact pizza oven in every location, so you get the same great crust no matter where you go.

If you don't want to take my word for it, there are many, many others who have sung Pepe's praises. Huffington Post named them one of the reasons CT is heaven on earth, the Daily Meal ranked them among the 35 best pizza destinations in America, and Thrillist gave them the title of best in the state of Connecticut, to name just a few. 


Click here for all Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana locations
Follow them on Twitter: @pepespizzeria and Instagram: @frank_pepes_pizza

Photos by Tom McGovern 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Most Innovative Chefs Announced for Master Dinner at Greenwich Wine + Food Festival

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Greenwich Wine + Food Festival is my favorite event of the year.

Part of the festivities is a celebration of the year's "Most Innovative Chefs" and the lineup, announced today, is full of talent. Check out all the details below, as well as links to get your tickets.


The sixth annual GREENWICH WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL, presented by Serendipity magazine (www.serendipitysocial.com) and benefitting Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and The Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation, has announced the ten local chefs who have been named to this year’s class of Most Innovative Chefs. These culinary stars will be honored at the Master Chef Dinner on Friday, September 23, where they will prepare their unique dishes and interact one-on-one with festival guests.

The 2016 Most Innovative Chefs include:
Mogan Anthony, Village Social, Mount Kisco, NY
Carl Carrion, Cask Republic, South Norwalk, CT
Albert DeAngelis, Eastend, Greenwich, CT
Constantine Kalandranis, 273 Kitchen, Harrison, NY
Michael Kaphan, Purdy's Farmer & The Fish, Salem, NY
Geoff Lazlo, Mill Street Bar & Table, Greenwich, CT
Brian Lewis, The Cottage, Westport, CT
Tony Pham, Mecha Noodle Bar, South Norwalk, CT
Robin Selden, Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning, Stamford, CT
Bobby Will, Saltaire Oyster Bar, Port Chester, NY

“This year’s class of honorees continue to push the envelope on fresh, creative, unique fare for local foodies lucky enough to live or work in Fairfield and Westchester Counties,” said Suni Unger, Founder & CEO of Unger Publishing and the Founder & CEO of Greenwich WINE+FOOD Festival. “Each year, we assemble our group of alumni chefs who have been honored in past years to flag for us whom they feel are making their mark in the local culinary world, and once again, this year’s group of talent makes dining out an experience of its own.”

“To enhance our celebration of the best in the area, we also decided this year to invite our talented Ambassador Chefs to join the Friday event, offering more options for guests to sample the innovative dishes served at area restaurants,” continued Unger.

The celebration of local and national talent will continue with the Saturday Festival, the center of the entire GREENWICH 2016 WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL.  This day-long event will offer tastings and demonstrations from more than two hundred of the area’s finest food, wine, spirits and product vendors in the main Grand Tasting Tent, as well as the Burger & Beer Tent, Master Griller Tent, the first annual Ultimate Sandwich Take-Down and Taco Party! Culinary demonstration tents and stages will house cooking presentations by celebrity chefs, including Marcus Samuelsson (“Chopped,” “Iron Chef” and winner of “Top Chef Masters”), and local talent. Guests will also enjoy sommelier presentations, celebrity chef book signings, Q&A sessions with top food and beverage talent, the fifth annual Burger Battle, the third annual Top Bartender’s Showdown and a live musical performance. VIP ticket holders ($375 per ticket) will enjoy a Sustainable Dinner by the water’s edge, prepared by local chefs featuring locally-sourced, sustainably-produced ingredients under a private tent with premium liquor, wines and beer service, secluded lounge areas open throughout the day, private restrooms and a premium viewing area for the evening’s musical performance. 

A special ticketed event, Saturday VIP Pass with Intimate Dinner featuring Marcus Samuelsson and Red Rooster Harlem, will give attendees the opportunity to enjoy the best of Harlem in a waterfront setting, featuring the roots of American cuisine from award-winning chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Marcus Samuelsson. Guests at this seated dinner with table service (6:30-8:30pm) will also enjoy the evening’s musical performance from private tables on an elevated stage ($525 per ticket) or from reserved, lawn table seating ($450 per ticket).

Visit www.serendipitysocial.com for more information and updates about the event schedule, participating celebrity and local chefs, musical talent and more. 

Tickets are now on sale via http://serendipitysocial.com or by calling 203-588-1363. The event’s Facebook page,https://www.facebook.com/GreenwichwinefoodFestival, will also announce restaurant participants and schedule updates.

The event will be held rain or shine, and anyone under 21, including infants and those with strollers, will not be admitted. Animals are also not permitted.

GREENWICH 2016 WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL
The GREENWICH 2016 WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL is a multi-day event that benefits The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a nationwide organization dedicated to providing healing to children and their families coping with cancer, sickle cell anemia and other serious illnesses, as well as The Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation.  The festival is presented by Serendipity magazine, along with PepsiCo, Citi and Stamford Lincoln.  Other official sponsors include Coldwell Banker Preview International, Pure Leaf, Cabot, Stamford Tent, Whole Foods, Westy, Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits and Wusthof.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Stay Home on Cinco de Mayo and Make Some Awesome Guacamole!

I'm a relatively social person, but I have never gone out on Cinco de Mayo. Too many people, too many of them intoxicated to an unpleasant degree...I hate waiting for drinks and battling crowds! So I always stay home, margarita in hand, with snacks to share. 

This year, I'm loving Chef Prasad Chirnomula's Oaxaca Kitchen guacamole from the comfort of my own home! You may know Chef Prasad from his other locations as well, Thali (my favorite place for Indian food), Thali Too and INDIA.

Luckily for me (and you), he was willing to share the recipe!

INGREDIENTS
  •  2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1-2 Jalapeno chiles, stems and seeds removed, chopped to small dices
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 to 1 whole fresh lime juice (Based on personal taste and size of limes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
  • Thin slices of red radishes for garnish. Serve with tortilla chips or sliced cucumbers.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of finely minced garlic and roasted (Optional)
METHOD
  • Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avocado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.
  • Using a wooden ladle, mash the avocado. (Remember to leave it a bit chunky and fully mashed)
  • Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt  and mash some more. Chili peppers vary in their hotness. So, start with a half of one chili pepper.
  • Before serving, add the chopped tomato to the guacamole and mix and garnish with radishes and some more chopped tomatoes and cilantro.


Executive Chef:  Prasad ChirnomulaAssistant to Chef:  Balu Sagadevan

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Beating the Winter Blues at Watson's Catering in Greenwich, CT

Watson's Catering and Events is a little gem tucked away in the woods of Greenwich's Glenville neighborhood, and I had the pleasure of receiving an invitation to their recent "Beat the Winter Blues" themed cocktail party co-hosted by CTBites. I was excited to try their food, as they've been voted “Best Caterer” in Greenwich by the readers of Greenwich Magazine four times since 2010. 

The evening had a playful "doctor's orders" theme with prescription pads printed with recipes for the various dishes, and cocktails served in pill bottles. My favorites bites of the evening were mini "onion soup" grilled cheeses and tiny tuna tacos.

The party really was a cure for the grey doldrums of winter; bright, fun, filled with happy guests and bloggers, food, and even a cocktail ice luge!

I brought my friend Jay, who snapped some pictures, shared below (follow him on instagram for lots of tantalizing food shots from Connecticut and NYC).

These cocktails will cure what ails you!
I ate a lot of these. I have no shame. Delicious.

Nothing beats the blues like an ice luge, right?


Watsons Catering and Events is located at 1 Glenville St., Greenwich CT, 06831
Follow them on Facebook and Instagram