Cotto: The flavor of Roma Italia in downtown Stamford

Cotto Stamford

If you are seeking classic and authentic Roman style cuisine, then a visit to Cotto in hip downtown Stamford Ct. is a must.   Designed as a tapas style wine bar with both small and communal style tables, this trendy eatery features an exposed brick wall, vaulted ceiling of wood, and a wall covered with vintage photos of the owner’s mother, Simonetta Simeoni  who was a actress and model in Italy in the 1960s.  The photos and the communal tables as well as the tapas theme strongly reinforce the tradition of eating together as a family.    There is a relaxed and comfortable vibe at Cotto.

 

There are 400 wines from which to choose and many are from Italy, and there is a selection of domestic and International varieties as well.  The master mixologist behind the bar at Cotto serves up some creative and interesting cocktails featuring fresh ingredients and the finest spirits.  You can ask for suggestions from the sommelier or the bartender for the correct pairing with your meal.  We sampled the Blackberry Crosta with cognac, Grand Marnier, blackberry in a orange garnished glass, and the Thyme of the Season a concoction of thyme infused gin, pear nutmeg compote and ginger beer.  Very creative and tasty.

The dining options for dinner are large and wide. There is traditional antipasto, and a mozzarella bar to start your meal.   Menu selections range from pizza, tapas, fantastic house made pasta,  fresh fish, salads, and of course meat selections including chicken, lamb, and beef.  There is something for everyone.  Below are some of the items we sampled. All were delicious.

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Grilled Calamari in Piccata Oil and Balsamic Glaze

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Arancini Four Cheese Rice Balls

If you are seeking an great food and wine in an authentic atmosphere that makes you feel you have escaped to a wine bar in a side street of Rome, then you must stop in and enjoy the wine and food at Cotto.   Ciao!

Cotto

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51 Bank Street  Stamford Ct.     tel.  (203) 914-1400

web:  http://cottowinebar.com/

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19th Annual Hudson Valley Food and Wine experience returns April 5th

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The 19th Annual Hudson Valley Food and Wine Experience returns on April 5th 2017 from 6 to 9 pm.   The event is a special  event  with food and wine tasting, silent auction and a raffle drawing.   You are invited to enjoy tasting from restaurants, wineries, and artisan food providers from the Hudson Valley.   All proceeds from the event benefit the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center.

Some of the restaurants participating will be Char Steakhouse, Clock Tower Grill, Crabtree Kittle House, The Dessertist,  Dream Cakes Bakery, Freight House Cafe, Hardscrabble Cider, Traditions 118 Restaurant, Peter Pratt’s Inn,  White Cliff Winery, Brotherhood Winery,  Warwick Valley Winery and many more.   Music will be provided by the Westchester/Putnam  Youth Symphony.

The event is  to benefit the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center.  The center provides education, advocacy and services to the community in order to provide a safe environment that works to eliminate violence and promote gender equality.

So plan to come out and support a great cause and enjoy wine and food from local Hudson Valley restaurants and providers.

The event will be held at Villa Barone Hilltop Manor,  466 Route 6, Mahopac, New York .  Cost is $75 per ticket and is tax deductable.

 

For tickets and information:

Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center      tel.   845.628.9284

http://www.pnwwrc.org  or email   info@ pnwwrc.org

 

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Sunday Brunch under the Palm trees at Winfield’s

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Sunday Brunch is a great meal and a good way to spend quality time with family, friends of that special someone.  While there are many restaurants offering fine Sunday Brunch options, I had to pleasure recently to enjoy a fabulous brunch under the palm trees, market umbrellas and tropical plants at Winfield’s located at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Greenwich.

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Atmosphere can really set the mood for a meal and the sunlit atrium at the Hyatt is perfect.  Lush gardens with tropical plants, soaring tall palm trees, and a running stream with a waterfall is the perfect oasis for a special brunch.

The assortment of menu options is many and there is something for everyone.  We started with mimosas which really whet our appetite for the meal ahead.  Bloody Mary cocktails are also available.

 

There are several manned stations where you can select from a carving board, an omelet  station, and even a crepe station where I chose for a refreshing and light fruit filled crepe.

Of course all the favorites are there including eggs, sausauge, bacon and more.  To my delight was a wonderful  seafood bar of clams, oysters, and cooked shrimp which were nicely displayed in metal boats.  There is also sushi, a salad bar and a selection of breads, rolls and muffins.

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If you have room there is a nice dessert selection including fruit, cakes and a chocolate fountain.

Winfield’s at the Hyatt Regency is not just another place for  Sunday Brunch.  It is a very special atmosphere that is not just for special occasions, but for any Sunday.  Brunch for adults is $59.  Please inquire with the restaurant for holiday prices.

 

Winfield’s at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich

1800   East Putnam Ave (US Route 1)  Old Greenwich, Ct.           tel. (203) 637-1234

web:  https://greenwich.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/winfields.html

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Dessert and Chocolate Lovers Tasting event on March 31st to benefit Pacific House

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Do you love music, dessert and chocolate?  Then there is a great event coming up on March 31st  at 7pm and for a good cause as well.  The Ninth Annual Pacific House Dessert and Chocolate Lover’s Tasting event will be held at the beautiful  Hyatt Regency Greenwich hotel.    Guests to the event will be able to sample and enjoy  in desserts and chocolates from over 50 of the area’s best bake shops, chocolatiers and restaurants.

Guests to this special event will also enjoy not only sweets but they will be entertained by live music as Pacific House kicks off its very first benefit concert, “To Each His Home“.  The concert will be a collection of young talented musicians from area high schools.  The evening of music and delicious desserts is a fundraiser for Pacific House Young Adult Program.   The proceeds of the evening will go to assist and end young adult homelessness.

For more information and Tickets which begin at $50 and are available in advance at : 

 http://pacifichouse.org/support-our-work/dessert-and-music-event

See you there !

About Pacific House:

The Pacific House Young Adult Program aims to get the 200-300 homeless young adults in lower Fairfield County on track for a brighter future. We find these young people housing, and connect them with employment, education, and support services that prepare them for adulthood. We’ve hired a specialized case manager, initiated new programs, and created a dedicated living space at our emergency shelter.

Hyatt Regency Greenwich

1800 East Putnam Avenue  Old Greenwich Ct.

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Winery at St.George: Wine, food, and music in a unique atmosphere

 

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There are few restaurants you can visit in the area that can be described as a “hidden treasure”.  The Winery  at St. George in Northern Westchester is just one of those special places.  This unique space inside a restored decades old stone church is a restaurant, wine bar and musical venue. The warm colors and  decor give the place a special and inviting aura that makes one instantly comfortable.  It is so special and so very different, it will be a location you will want to return to again and again.

From the moment you walk through the heavy wooden arched doors and into the main room you know you are in a special place. High ceilings with arching wood trusses,  stained glass windows, a belfry,  and a warm color palette greet you.  The space has tables for dining,  couches and chairs for gathering with friends, a fireplace, and a long bar that serves wine and beer.   At the end of the main hall where the altar once stood is the stage that is the home for some fabulous and unique entertainment.

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Stage

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Comfortable seating to gather with friends and enjoy wine

The Winery at St. George combines a number of qualities that will make you want to visit.  It has a unique atmosphere like no other in the area, a fantastic wine selection (40 wines by the glass), great food  and service and it serves as a  showcase for fantastic  entertainment .

The evening I visited was a real treat as appearing on stage was Andrea McArdle, who originated the role of Annie in the Broadway musical of Annie back in 1977.  Ms. McArdle gave a wonderful performance as she sang both songs from Broadway as well her own personal favorites.  During the performance she spoke to the audience and shared stories from her long career.  It was a real intimate evening of music in this special venue.    The sound and acoustics of St George are  well balanced and clear.

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Andrea McArdle

The bar serves a wide selection of white and red wines which are available by the glass and by the bottle. The menu also features a wine and chocolate pairing which looked interesting and we hope to try on a future visit.  Champagne by the bottle is also offered.  There are also 7 different types of beer available.

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The food was excellent. There are tapas, entrees and desserts on the menu.  Wine pairings are thoughtfully suggested on the menu with each dish to assist in your selection.   We decided  to sample some tapas from the extensive tapas menu.

We started with the Southwestern Style Chicken Spring rolls served with a black bean paste.  The rolls were light and crunchy with a hint of spice but not too hot.

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Southwestern Style Spring Rolls

We moved on to the Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna with pickled ginger, wakame salad, and wasabi aioli.  This was a wonderful dish and the presentation on a long glass plate was quite pleasing.

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Ahi Tuna

Our next tapas was the Maryland Style Crabcake with jumbo lump crab meat, southern mirepoix and lemon farm to table sage aioli.  The crabcake was quite large and would be great for one or to share and the mixture of ingredients was delightful .    We followed that up with  Butternut Squash Ravioli  in a almondine cream sauce topped with toasted almonds that was fresh, nutty and very tasty.  A good vegetarian dish.

Our last dish was the Vegetarian Flat Bread with Fresh mozzarella, bruschetta, farm to table fresh basil and balsamic reduction.  A filling selection filled with flavor that is great to share.  The tapas run from $!0 to $15 with one dish at $20.

There is dessert available and  we sampled the Sweet Potato Maple Layered Cheesecake which was a fine way to round out our meal.

With its combination of fine food, wine selection , attentive service and an atmosphere like no other in the area, The Winery at St. George is the place to go.  It is great for date night, hanging out with friends, and of course enjoying the great entertainment.  Check the website for upcoming events and bands performing at St. George.

A very special event is coming to the Winery at St George.  ANNIE TURNS 40 – The Broadway Musical Annie Turns 40 in April. On April 30th 2017  for an unprecedented event that, for the first time, unites the original Broadway cast of orphans and Annies as they reminisce with untold stories, music and more. Scheduled to appear – Andrea McArdle, Shelley Bruce, Sarah Jessica Parker, Allison Smith & Alyson Kirk. See the website for more details and ticket information to this very special event.

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The Winery at St.George

1715  East Main Street Mohegan Lake NY    tel  914.455.4272

website>>  http://www.thewineryatstgeorge.com/

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Rumors: a hysterical Neil Simon play at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

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A very funny play “Rumors” written by Neil Simon is bring laughter to the Ridgefield Theater Barn in Ridgefield Ct.  Rumors is the only farce written by Neil  SImon whose credits include “Lost In Yonkers”,  “The Odd Couple”, “Goodbye Girl”, “Biloxi Blues” and more.  The audience on opening night was laughing throughout the two act play which runs approximately 2 hours.

The play is set in at a home in the New York City suburbs where a tenth wedding  anniversary party is to take place.  As the guests begin to arrive, they start to discover some odd things going on in the house.  The host has been shot in the head and is bleeding upstairs, his wife is missing and cannot be found and the help who should be preparing for the party are missing as well.  A real mystery.  Add to that a cover up of the shooting  by the guests. One of the guests who is running for State Senate, and he wants to avoid any scandal.  Throw the police into the mix, and you have the recipe of an evening of who done it meets over the top comedy.

 

The production features the direction of Scott Brill and the show producers are Pamme Jones and Paulette Layton.  The cast is wonderful and has great energy as you will see.  The cast of Jody Bayer (last seen at the Barn in Calendar Girls,  the hysterical Duane Lanham (also seen in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Wreck the Halls on the Barn stage), and the talented Deborah Burke, Kristin Gagliardim Rick Haylon, TIm Huebenthal, Leigh Katz ,Daniel Mulvilhill ,Matthieu Regney and Chhandra Som.

 

The Ridgefield Theater Barn is a fun venue.  It is small, only 70 seats and you sit at round or rectangular table and you can bring in your own food and wine to enjoy prior to the performance.  A great place to enjoy some local theater.

The best part:  tickets are only $24 and makes for a perfect date night.  The show is on Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm.    The show runs through March 25th.

 

Ridgefield Theater Barn 

37 Halpin Lane  Ridgefield Ct

for tickets:   ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org

 

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Rye House: fine food and drink in the heart of Port Chester

 

Rye House takes its name  from the spirit  rye, and not from the neighboring town.  Rye House in Port Chester is a fine gathering spot for friends or couples looking for a hip and relaxed place to drink and dine.   The owners also own the Rye House in the Flatiron district of Manhattan yet this location has created its own identity with an expanded menu.  The Rye House has been described as the “elevated American tavern”, combining the friendliness and warmth of a tavern with upscale food and a vast selection of drinks and innovative cocktails.

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The interior of this vintage brick building on the corner of Main and Willett in downtown Port Chester is a warm and inviting space.  In a prior life the space housed for many years an upscale clothing store but had been shuttered for some time.  The new owners have breathed life into the space with new large windows that let in the streetscape, and use lots of wood, exposed beams hardwood floors and warm tones to give the space an honest yet familiar tavern experience.  Downstairs is a separate space perfect for music or private events.

The bar has a very extensive list of whiskey, rye and bourbons as well as the usual menu of spirits  The whiskey and bourbon list is so extensive I stopped counting  after 100 different varieties.. There are 10 beers on tap and another 12 available in bottle or can. Signature cocktails are also available under the supervision of Sara, their master mixologist.

Prior to dinner we sampled some appetizers including the Fried Pickles served with buttermilk ranch dressing,  Truffle Grilled Cheese (fontina cheese, and black truffle) which was amazing and the spicy Voodoo Shrimp with creole remoularde.     For a cocktail I tried the Clara Bow, which  featured bourbon, house made grenadine and mint.  I usually do not drink bourbon, but this was one fine cocktail.

After being sat at our table we decided to sample some appetizers.  We sampled the Baby Beets Salad with pomegranate, and greek yogurt which was a healthy choice.  We also sampled G-Ma’s Meatballs and marinara which was a nice comfort food.  We then moved on the Spicy Chorizo Tacos with pineapple which was delicious. We also enjoyed the Hamachi Cerviche.   A nice pairing with the apps was Driftwood Ale from Montauk Brewing.

 

Main course:  we sampled a few items from the entree menu and  they were all winners.  The Pan Seared Branzino was excellent covered in sprouts and spaetzle.    The Carolina Shrimp and Grits was a real comfort food and was a favorite.  This dish seems to be in more restaurants lately and we are happy about seeing more of this comfort food.   We complimented our entree with a wine pairing of a white wine from Long Island White Blend of Mattituck..

 

Dessert included a Artisanal Hudson Valley Cheese Board  and  the Chocolate Lava Cake  served with Longford’s ice cream.  Both were delicious and a great way to end the meal.

Rye House is a great spot to gather with friends or for date night with a nice blend of food and a wide selection of cocktails, wine and beer.

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Rye House Port Chester

126 North Main Street Port Chester NY      tel: 914.481.8771

https://www.ryehousepc.com

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