Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Michelin Starred, James Beard Award Winning Chef Daniel Boulud Joins Lineup at This Year's Greenwich Wine + Food Festival

The Greenwich Wine + Food Festival presented by PepsiCo will welcome Daniel Boulud to this year’s festival, as well as returning chefs Adam Richman and Mary Giuliani, who will join previously announced chefs Scott Conant and Alex Guarnaschelli. The 2018 event takes place September 21-22 at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich.

Boulud is a worldwide culinary icon, known best for his Michelin-starred restaurant, DANIEL in New York, as well as 19 renowned eateries across the globe, from Miami to Singapore. The French chef and restaurateur, a six-time recipient of the “Best Chefs in America” accolade from the James Beard Foundation, will be honored and dine with guests on Saturday night at the Platinum VIP On-Stage & Lawn Dinner, a separate ticketed event. He will also meet and greet festival-goers during a book signing on Saturday. 

“It is an honor to welcome Chef Boulud to our event for the first time this year,” said Suni Unger, founder and CEO of Unger Media, the parent company behind Greenwich Wine + Food and Serendipity. “With his restaurant DANIEL marking 25 fantastic years, we are happy to be able to join in the celebration. In addition, Chef Boulud reflects the charitable focus of the Festival through his work with various causes, including Ment’or, which is inspiring the next generation of culinary talent.”

The lineup of celebrity chefs continues to grow. Festival favorite Adam Richman, beloved for his Travel Channel series “Man v. Food,” will return to lead a culinary demonstration, mingle with guests at a book signing and host the ever-popular Burger Battle. He’ll be joined by celebrity caterer and author Mary Giuliani, executive chef and author Kevin Des Chenes, and celebrated chef and educator Lindsay Perkins.

“We are thrilled to announce this strong lineup of award-winning chefs. Their passion for their craft shows in everything they do at the festival, from culinary demonstrations to interacting with foodie guests,” added Unger. 

The 2018 Most Innovative Chefs, who will be announced in the coming weeks, and the Festival Ambassador Chefs, who have lent not only their culinary talent but also their enthusiasm for food to the Festival over the years, will provide their gourmet cuisine at the Opening Night Master Chef Wine Dinner, which will honor Alex Guarnaschelli for her innovation and substantial contributions to the culinary world, and welcome Scott Conant and Richman as special guests. Ambassador Chefs will also prepare an exceptional dinner for VIP ticket holders on Saturday.

This year’s Ambassador Chefs include:
  • Mogan Anthony (Village Social) (Friday)
  • Jes Bengtson (Terrain Cafe) (Saturday)
  • Carlos Baez (The Spread / El Segundo) (Saturday)
  • Arturo Franco Camacho (Shell & Bones Oyster Bar / Geronimo Tequila Bar & Southwest Grill) (Saturday)
  • Rui Correia (Douro) (Friday)
  • Stavros Karipides (Famous Greek Kitchen) (Saturday)
  • Geoff Lazlo (Geoff Lazlo Catering) (Saturday)
  • Stephen Lewandowski (Harlan Social / Harlan Publick) (Saturday)
  • Lisa & Steve Maronian (Sweet Lisa's Exquisite Cakes) (Friday)
  • Nick Martschenko (South End / South End Uncorked) (Friday)
  • Mike Pietrafeso (Ada's Kitchen & Coffee / Roost) (Saturday)
  • Debra Ponzek (Aux Delices) (Friday)
  • Brian Reilly (Mecha Noodle Bar) (Saturday)
  • Robin Selden (Marcia Selden Catering) (Friday)
  • Brad Spence (Amis Trattoria) (Saturday)
  • Matt Storch (Match / Match Burger Lobster / nom-eez) (Friday)
  • Bill Taibe (The Whelk / Kawa Ni / Jesup Hall) (Saturday)
  • Luke Venner (Elm) (Friday)
  • Ian Vest (Back 40 Kitchen / Mill Street Bar and Table) (Friday)

Tickets for the Festival All Weekend Pass ($625/ticket) are available today via www.greenwichwineandfood.com or by calling 203.588.1363 (additional tickets including Opening Night Master Chef Wine Dinner, Saturday All Day Pass-General & VIP will be available in the coming weeks). The festival weekend will be held rain or shine, and anyone under 21, including infants or strollers, will not be admitted. Animals are also not permitted.

Greenwich Wine + Food celebrates community, charity, food, beverage and more in the Connecticut and New York area with multiple events throughout the year, including theGreenwich Wine + Food Festival presented by PepsiCo, the Serendipity Golf Classic presented by Pure Leaf Iced Tea, and the Serendipity Fun Run presented by Aquafina. The 2018 beneficiaries include the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and the Town of Greenwich Parks & Recreation Foundation and Ment’or. Greenwich Wine + Food is a part of Unger Media. For more information, visit www.greenwichwineandfood.com.

The Greenwich 2018 Wine + Food Festival presented by PepsiCo is a multi-day event celebrating the area’s rich culinary landscape and showcasing innovation in the food and beverage industries. It will benefit multiple charitable organizations including the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, the Town of Greenwich Parks & Recreation Foundation and Ment’or. Sponsors to date include 90+ Cellars, Alfa Romeo, Budweiser, Coldwell Banker, Don Julio, Empire City Casino, Filippo Berio, Hospital For Special Surgery, Hotel Zero Degrees, Ketel One, Kim Crawford, Lifewtr, Meiomi, NuKitchens, Pepsi Zero, PepsiCo, Pure Leaf Iced Tea, Rudy’s Limousine Service, Ruffino, Serendipity, Stamford Marriott, Stella Artois, Unger Media, Westy Self Storage and Whole Foods.*  For more information, visit www.greenwichwineandfood.com.

Press Contact:
Shelley Kapitulik
Splash PR for Greenwich Wine + Food


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Easy and Healthy Pasta Salad with Shrimp

This is one of my favorite recipes for feeding a crowd. It's light and healthy, but totally filling and crowd-pleasing. The only time consuming element is all the chopping...but once that's done, you pretty much just toss it all in the pan and let the flavors combine! It's an astonishingly forgiving recipe; you really don't have to measure anything...just eyeball it or adjust based on your personal preferences.

Cavatappi with Shrimp, Veggies, and Bacon 


  • 1/2 lb Cavatappi
  • 1/4 lb shrimp, cooked
  • 1 1/2 cup baby peas
  • 1/8 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes 3 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBS capers, rinsed and minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, diced
  • Freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and dried basil to taste
  • Approx. 1/4 cup olive oil 
  1. Boil water for your pasta, which you'll add at the end.
  2. Pour some of the olive oil into a medium saucepan and heat until shimmering over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the chopped onion and saute till slightly transparent, then turn up the heat and let the edges get a little brown.
  4. Add the peas, give them a stir.
  5. Now is a good time to add your seasonings; just keep sprinkling and tasting till it tastes right to you! I usually use half a teaspoon pepper flakes, a teaspoon each of oregano and basil, and several generous turns of the pepper grinder.
  6. Now throw in the artichoke hearts, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, and bacon. Stir it all together, add some more oil if needed (remember, you'll be adding pasta so it will "use up" a lot of the oil as it gets coated).
  7. Make sure the heat isn't too high; you don't want the bottom to burn. If it starts to stick or look like it might burn, just splash some white wine in the pan to deglaze it (and then pour yourself a glass!)
  8. Now you can cook your pasta; I let it boil for 7 minutes, cook longer if you don't like it al dente.
  9. Lastly, add the bacon, shrimp, fresh cherry tomatoes, and garlic. These don't need to cook much, so by the time the pasta is done they'll be fine.
  10. Drain the pasta, add it to the pan, and stir it all around! Drizzle a little more olive oil if needed (if you're feeling indulgent, white truffle oil REALLY pops the flavors). 
 You're done! It'll serve at least 4 people, especially with a salad and bread. Enjoy in good health and good company.

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

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.

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!

  •  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)
  • 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

Monday, December 28, 2015

Best of Fairfield County Food & Drink 2015

Looking back on 2015, I have so many great memories of fabulous meals, interesting people, fun food-centric festivals, and tempting Instagram posts.

Now it's time to share my picks for the best of what Fairfield County had to offer in 2015 - here's to another year of great eats ahead! If anyone has recommendations for where I should go in 2016, please let me know!

Best Pizza


Frank Pepe's, Danbury, Fairfield, New Haven, Manchester
Obviously they're a gold standard in Connecticut, receiving accolades all over the place. Their white clam pic is the most famous, but I recommend chicken and spinach. Pepe's is the only place where I order that combination, and it's amazing.

Bar Sugo, Norwalk (pictured)
Obsessed. That is all. Check out any of their dishes; you won't be let down.

Best Cocktails 

Because what is food without a drink in hand?

Match, South Norwalk
Great vibe at the bar, too. Really friendly, engaging bartenders.

Best Beer

Two Roads Brewing Company, Stratford
Awesome brewery space and tasting room, plus they have food trucks parked outside.

Best Happy Hour


Barcelona Wine Bar (pictured)

Cheap tapas, cheap drinks - both their amazing cocktails and selections from their wine list, one of the largest Spanish wine collections in the country!

The Spread

Food and drink specials plus $1 oysters on Tuesdays. Need I say more?

Best Italian


Strada 18, South Norwalk (pictured) Check out my review here.

Rizzuto's, Bethel, Westport, West Hartford

Solid, no frills Italian food. My first job in the hospitality industry was at Rizzuto's in Bethel. They have the BEST penne all vodka ever.

Best Seafood

The Whelk, Westport

Best French

Bistro Versailles, Greenwich
Attending a press dinner and was just utterly wowed by everything I tried. Click here for my review.

Best Spanish

Brasitas, Norwalk, Stamford

Best Brunch

Bar Sugo, Norwalk

Yep, they're a winner in two categories.

Best Sushi


Toro, Newtown (pictured)

Ichiro, Danbury

From the outside, you'd not expect it to be good. It's not fancy on the inside, either, but the sushi really is delicious.

Best BBQ

HooDoo Brown, Ridgefield

Absolutely a hands down winner. Crazy good. These guys are the real deal. They also carry a nice selection of CT beers!

Best Outdoor Dining

bartaco, Westport (pictured)

Rowayton Seafood, Rowayton

Best Coffee Shop

Tusk and Cup, Ridgefield

Not only are the lattes great, but they serve the best coffee, Shearwater Organic Coffee Roasters, which is the first organic roaster in Connecticut.

Best Casual Dining


Little Pub, Ridgefield, Wilton, Cos Cob

Redding Roadhouse, Redding
Plus there's a lounge upstairs with a full size (free) pool table and fireplace.

Best Deli Sandwiches


Tony's Corner Deli, Ridgefield (pictured)

O'Neil's, Bethel

Best Food Festival

Greenwich Wine and Food, Greenwich (I didn't take a picture this year; last year's will have to do!)

All photos copyright me, Adeline!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cask Republic in South Norwalk: Way More Than Just Great Beers

Cask Republic, a beer lover's haven with 2 locations in Connecticut, recently opened a 3rd in South Norwalk. Previously The Gingerman, the space has been revamped with a more open floor-plan and a mix of regular tables, communal tables, and a private wine vault in the back that accommodates 4 diners.

Cask Republic retains The Gingerman's impressive selection of beers, and though they have reduced the number of taps from 42 to 37, it's for an exciting reason: they now also offer 10 wines on tap, 4 cocktails, and nitro coffee. Personally, I think 37 taps of beer is more than sufficient!

Cask Republic is ready to expand its reputation from a great place for beer to a great place for food, too. After trying 9 of Culinary Director Carl Carrion's dishes, it's clear they're on the right track.

First, spiced lamb empanadas, pork belly mac and cheese, harvest salad, shrimp and grits, braised short ribs, and bacon popcorn from their "Small Plates" menu. The two standouts were the shrimp and grits, which were topped with perfectly cooked shrimp (I'd happily eat a plate of them solo or add to a salad), and the braised short ribs. Topped with a soft cooked egg and accompanied by grilled crusty bread, this dish got gobbled up immediately. Order two; you won't want to share!

Next, some dishes from their "Large Plates" menu: mustard crusted Canadian salmon over green onion risotto, maple brined double cut pork chop, and IPA citrus marinated chicken with jalapeno grits, wild mushrooms, and roasted brussels sprouts.

The salmon was flaky and tender, and the tangy mustard crunch of the crust was a delicious counterpoint. I'm not a fan of risotto, but I'd love this served over the brussels spouts that accompanied the chicken.

Speaking of the chicken...WOW. Who would think that chicken would be a star? Cask Republic's was juicy, perfectly charred, and wonderfully accented by the IPA marinade. I highly recommend it.

Rounding out the meal was a thick cut grilled pork chop so juicy it made a bit of a mess...but that was a good thing. Flavorful, tender, and quickly devoured, this would satisfy any meat lover.

Cask Republic is located at
99 Washington Street
South Norwalk, CT 06854
(203) 354-0163
Twitter: @TheCaskRepulic Instagram: @caskrepublic

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Kicking off Fall with Another Fabulous Fundraiser for Mark Twain Library

What do movie stars, award winning gardens, and a giant spoon have in common? Read on...

Last year, Redding's resident comedian/actor/author Michael Ian Black wanted to do something special for Mark Twain Library. He went to the library's greatest cheerleaders, board members Pam Robey and Jen Wastrom, on a mission to raise funds while celebrating the art of comedy. Thus, the Pudd'nhead Prize for Outstanding Humor, named after the novel by the king of wit and library founder Mark Twain, was born.

The inaugural prize went to Roz Chast, celebrated New Yorker cartoonist and Ridgefield resident known for her wry worldview and humorously neurotic characters. Her prize was presented during a special fundraising gala at InSitu, Michael Marocco's absolutely gorgeous 8 acre Redding property that has been featured in Architectural Digest and Metropolitan Home.

In Situ made for a magical backdrop to a special evening. 
This year, Marocco again offered his stunning property as the gala venue. As was the case last year, supporters of the library spent the evening wandering the extensive gardens, enjoying drinks and live music by the swimming pool, and mingling with celebrity guests including funny lady Janeane Garofolo and the evening's honoree, the endlessly talented and hilarious Ben Stiller.

Stiller accepted his trophy, a giant 4 foot long silver spoon (for eating large quantities of pudding, of course), with amusement, and Black led a Q&A session. Among the highlights was Stiller kindly indulging the audience's request for a rendition of his iconic "Blue Steel" look from his movie Zoolander.

Merriment in the tent as Michael Ian Black presented the Pudd'nhead Prize spoon to honoree Ben Stiller. Top left, from left to right, Janeane Garofolo, Ben Stiller, Michael Ian Black, Jen Wastrom, Martha Hagen-Black, and Pam Robey.
Bottom right, me, with my boyfriend Bill (we like to consider ourselves celebrities).  :-)
The evening was a wonderful success, filled with good company, good will, and good humor, and I am so pleased to count myself among the many Redding residents who support the Mark Twain Library. It is an incredible asset to the town (and beyond), hosting events for all ages and offering a beautiful place to read, study, and relax. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

In its 5th Year, the Greenwich Wine + Food Festival Wows Again

My favorite food festival of the year is Serendipity Magazine's Greenwich Wine + Food Festival, held on the waterfront in Roger Sherman Baldwin Park. It's a beautiful setting for an impressive celebration of the region's best food drink, and chefs. Proceeds benefit the Hole in The Wall Gang Camp, a charity founded by Paul Newman to provide healing for children and their families coping with cancer, sickle cell anemia and other serious illnesses. 

Photo courtesy of Serendipity Magazine
With events taking place Wednesday through Saturday, the Festival is a feat of planning and coordination, and this was the third year I've had the pleasure of experiencing Saturday's "Culinary Village," a tented smorgasbord of over 150 opportunities to taste the offerings of top restaurants in the area. As was the case the past two years, the tent was packed with an enthusiastic crowd of appreciative eaters, wine glasses in hand (there are plenty of wine, liquor, and beer representatives mixed in with the restaurateurs). 

There were also talks by celebrity chefs, both local and national, including Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian, and Adam Richman. As the day wears on, there's a burger battle (Plan B Burger Bar reigned supreme again this year) and BBQ cook-off, followed by live entertainment, this year by Little Big Town.

The atmosphere this year was one of happy appreciation for such a perfect afternoon. Even in an incredibly crowded tent full of people stopping at random moments to take pictures, bumping into each other, and vying for spots at every vendor's table, there was not a single sensation of tension. Who could be unhappy in the presence of fabulous food, wine, beer, spirits, and a gorgeous view? 

Standout dishes this year were Parallel Post's steak and rosemary potatoes, and Harvest Wine Bar's tuna tartare. I also tried the best cocktail in recent memory, a whiskey based concoction from Rye House in Port Chester. After all that food, I started to fade, and Shearwater Coffee Roasters' organic cold brew was just the pick me up I needed. 

I truly cannot recommend attending this event enough. Over 5500 people attended over the course of the four day festival; make sure you're one of them next year!

Check out my coverage of last year's festival, and 2013's festivities. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Pearls of Wisdom: Oysters 101 from Serendipity Magazine

September is the unofficial start of oyster season. Here’s what you need to know about the popular shellfish, from cooking to slurping. Whether you’re a novice or aficionado, these tips will guide you on how to shop for, shuck and serve oysters.
At a Restaurant
Enjoy them whenever you want: Myths endure about eating shellfish only during certain months of the year. For instance, it is often said that warm weather (aka non-“r” months) would encourage the spread of toxins among oysters. This is no longer a concern. “Most oysters are farmed now,” says Lisa McKiernan, co-owner of Ruby’s Oyster Bar in Rye, NY, and the quality of the water where the shellfish are raised is much more reliable. Still, experts say they taste best during those colder months. So welcome to the beginning of prime time for oysters!
Do some taste-testing: Eating only one kind of oyster is like drinking only one type of wine. “There are literally thousands of varieties,” says Jim Thistle, co-owner of Fjord Fish Market (fjordfishmarket.com, locations in Greenwich, Westport and New Canaan, CT) whose shops trade mainly in Blue Point varieties from Long Island, NY, Wellfleet and Duxbury from Cape Cod in MA and Village Bay from Canada. East Coast oysters are known for their briny, salty taste and meaty flesh. West coast examples, including the popular Kumamoto, tend to be smaller and creamier with a mellow cucumber-like flavor.
Ask if they’re shucked to order: True oyster lovers slurp them down without any adornment. At most restaurants, however, raw oysters are almost always served on a bed of crushed ice, with lemon wedges, cocktail sauce or mignonette sauce (red wine vinegar, shallots and cracked pepper). However you eat them, ask if they’re shucked to order, which McKiernan says is key. “Left out in their shells too long, they dry up.”
Eat them like a pro: “Forks are dainty, but slurping is definitely allowed,” says Drew Smith, author of Oyster: A World History ($30, amazon.com). Just be sure to chew the flesh instead of swallowing it whole, to release the flavors.
Know the facts: The scientific evidence that oysters are actual aphrodisiacs is murky. Still, zinc (which oysters are rich in) has been shown to improve fertility.

This article was reprinted with permission of Serendipity Magazine. This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue. Cover photo by Nicholas Maggio for Serendipity magazine.