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23

Apr

The Life and Wines of Mike Grgich: Tastings, Show, and Judgment in Paris Tie-in @ Stew Leonard’s Wines - Norwalk, CT

The Life and Wines of Mike Grgich: Tastings, Show, and Judgment in Paris Tie-in at @SLWineNorwalk‎ @GrgichHills

The Life and Wines of Mike Grgich

Awesome event for the oenophile!

On May 24, 1976 a group of 11 judges sat down for a blind tasting of red and white wines in Paris, looking to see if French or American wines were better.  The first battle was six California Chardonnay against four French Burgundies, followed by six California Cabernet Sauvignon against four French Bordeaux.  Nine of the judges were French, one was British, and…

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Perhaps one of the finer things in life is sitting back with a great book, drinking some wine, and savoring some food.  If this is your kinda heaven, then you’ll definitely want to stop by The Ferguson Library in the heart of Downtown Stamford for a special event with Chris Bohjalian on 4/28/14.  This New York Times bestselling author (his most recent is The Light in the Ruins) has penned seventeen books, nine of them populating the coveted NY Times list.

Tickets to the talk and tasting are $15 (proceeds to benefit the library) and are extremely limited, so make sure to get your tickets right away.  Doors open at 6:30 for a wine and food reception provided by Asiana Bistro, Capeesh? and Zody’s 19th Hole.  Chris Bohjalian then takes the podium at 7 with a book sale and signing afterwards.  

This will be a great event if you’re a Chris Bohjalian fan…or an avid reader in general.  Also, you’ll have a chance to try out two of Stamford’s newest restaurants:  Asiana Bistro and Capeesh?.  

 

Bestselling Author Chris Bohjalian at Ferguson Library w/ Wine + Food Reception from 3 Area Restaurants Perhaps one of the finer things in life is sitting back with a great book, drinking some wine, and savoring some food.  

Yeehaw! Ridgefield Gone Country BBQ Festival Spans Two Days

Yeehaw! Ridgefield Gone Country #BBQ Festival Spans Two Days #CT @KCBBQSOCIETY @NEBSBBQ @KICKS1055‎

Oh yeah!

Oh yeah!

Dagnabbit, Ridgefield’s done and gone all country up in this here place!  Yup, yup…check out The Ridgefield Gone Country BBQ Festival on May 3 (11-9 pm) and May 4 (11-5 pm).  Entrance is $10 for adults, $5 for students 12-18, and $0 for children under 12.  Proceeds from Ridgefield Gone Country BBQ Festival go to The Ridgefield Rotary Club, who is putting on this event with the…

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22

Apr


When we hit up any restaurant, the first thing we do is check out the drink options.  We need to chill, we need to set the mood, and we need something great to go with our meal.  Whether it’s beer, wine, liquor, cocktails, or something exotic like sake, the drink menu is key to a great meal.  And, while drinks menus can complement meals nicely, they also need to be strong and varied enough for people who just want to hit up the bar.

Verified proof...

Verified proof…

Making all of this come together is no easy task, just ask Jeff Marron. He was just appointed Beverage Manager at Chef Bill Taibe’s locally and nationally celebrated restaurants, leFarm and The Whelk. You might be familiar with Jeff for his insanely in-depth knowledge of wine, beer, and spirits through Saugatuck Grain + Grape of Westport. You might have also tried his barrel aged cocktails (he is the master of the Negroni) at Bar Sugo or other restaurants, and you might have also had his drinks at Luxe Modern Wine & Cocktails.  There at Luxe he is finishing up his role as Beverage and Food Director.  And, now with all of these skills, experience, knowledge, and passion for drinks, he makes his mark on Westport yet again.

So, come along and let’s dig a little deeper into the evolution of Jeff Marron, his thoughts on working with the chefs and staff of leFarm and The Whelk, his role as Beverage Manager, his approach to drinks, and some of the things he has planned for Chefs Bill and Jeff Taibe’s upcoming Japanese-style pub.


1)  Fairfield County knows you for being behind the stick at Luxe and an owner at Saugatuck Grain & Grape, but have you had other jobs in the drink industry that helped bring you to this point?

In some way or another, every job that I have held in this industry has led me to this point. Whether I was behind the bar slinging drinks or selling wine in wine shops, I’ve always tried to get the most out of it as I could. I’m always willing to learn a new skill or technique. In turn, I really enjoy turning that knowledge around and teaching others what I know.
 
2)  Getting back to Luxe, do you feel like you’ve evolved over the last few months while working there? 
Having free reign to do as I please with the cocktail program at Luxe definitely allowed me to get a little bit more technical behind the bar. Being able to apply advanced techniques during service is a huge advantage over just theorizing how you would employ them. With the help of a few friends and some very patient customers during busy times, I have become a lot more efficient and exacting in my techniques. I have learned a lot about my own strengths and weakness during my time at Luxe.
 
The Nod Jeff Marron

The Nod: Weller Bourbon Carpano Antica Angostura Peychauds Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet Black IPA egg foam

3)  When Chef Taibe approached you to work at leFarm and The Whelk, what thoughts went through your mind?

Initially, I thought that it was going to be a huge undertaking. Going from a smaller, cozy cocktail bar with, essentially, one bartender behind the bar at a time, to having multiple bartenders and multiple busy restaurants can seem like a daunting task. But, being familiar with their food and operations from a customer’s stand point and being friends with Bill and most of the staff already, I knew that I would get the help I need from them to get me up to speed in a short amount of time.
4)  What will it be like for you to work with Chefs Bill and Jeff Taibe, Bensimon, and Lazlo…the same chefs who you have admired and devoured food from?  
I’m really excited to be working with these guys. They are among the most talented chefs in this area, if not in the entire country. I can tell you that I will be working very closely with them and coordinating my cocktail menus with their food menus. I like the fact that both restaurants print their menus daily. This means that I get to frequently change up cocktails and ingredients as new deliveries come in from the farms.
5)  What exactly will the role of Beverage Manager entail?
This is probably the least exciting part of the position from a customer’s stand point. But, for me, I love to collaborate with others. Being a Beverage Manager means that I’ll be working closely with Andrea and Massimo developing the beverage menus. I’ll also be in charge of monitoring inventory levels, seeking out new products to bring in and work with, reordering those products, tasting new wines, beer and spirits with sales reps, running reports, coordinating fresh produce with the chefs, training staff on spirits and cocktails and mixology as a whole. It’s also not just that; I’m a representative of the company. More importantly, it’s my job to make sure all of our guests have a great experience when they dine at the restaurants.
6)  People are very familiar with the food at leFarm and The Whelk, especially how much care is put into the sourcing of ingredients.  We were wondering if you would be taking a similar kind of approach to the drink program…like a farm-to-glass approach?
Absolutely. I will utilize as many locally grown and seasonal products as I can. I like to pride myself on making syrups, shrubs and preserves for use over the winter in my cocktails. Joining the the crew at The Whelk and leFarm will allow me to expand on those ideas with the support of the Chefs Bensimon and Lazlo.
Jeff Marron and Adam Patrick at Luxe Wine Bar

Jeff Marron and Adam Patrick at Luxe Wine Bar

7) We often define restaurants by the food they serve.  One restaurant might be considered Modern American, another might be a Spanish Tapas bar.  How would you describe your take and outlook on drinks…is there even such a thing? 

I’m not really sure if there is such a thing. If it did exist, it may break down to if you’re a cocktail bar or not. Then, you could probably divide up the cocktail bars between being a classic cocktail bar, tiki bar, a place for Margaritas or Martinis, etc. As far as my outlook on drinks is concerned, I am definitely a classic cocktail guy through and through. All my menus have always highlighted the classic cocktails. I like to leave the modern cocktail techniques for that special “off-the-menu” drink for the slower times or a VIP. Those drinks are usually a little bit more laborious and require more time to prepare properly.

8)  It always seems that you are trying something new or thinking about a new way to approach a cocktail.  How do you keep the process of your evolution going and continue to grow?
I’m always looking to get better at what I do. When my sales reps bring me new products to try, I usually try to break out of my comfort zone and come up with new cocktails with those new spirits. I also have a great group of friends consisting of great bartenders, very talented chefs and “foodies.” I get a lot of my inspiration from them. I think we all have similar goals in mind:  better food, better service and better drinks. I believe there is always room for improvement as far as my skills are concerned.
9)  And, looking ahead, as Chefs Bill and Jeff Taibe open up their Japanese style pub, are you set to run the beverage program there, too?
Yes, I am. The cocktails that we will be serving will have a heavy influence from Asian cultures. I’ll be utilizing shochu, soju, sake and teas on the cocktail list. It’s a new style of cocktail for me. But, needless to say, I’m having a blast working on new recipes! Chef Jeff and I have already been discussing how we are going to be using the same ingredients in his dishes and in my cocktails, as well.
In the mix: Jeff Marron talks about his new role as Beverage Manager at leFarm and The Whelk When we hit up any restaurant, the first thing we do is check out the drink options. 

21

Apr

Kentucky Derby Craft Bourbon Class ft. Pappy, Stagg, Taylor, Sazerak, and more @ Harry’s - Fairfield, CT

Kentucky Derby Craft Bourbon Class ft. Pappy, Stagg, Taylor, Sazerak, and more @ Harry’s – Fairfield, CT

Pappy…just ONE of the bourbons that are up for tasting…

There are a few great things about watching the Kentucky Derby.  You get to wear goofy hats, dress like you’re from the 1800s, drink Mint Juleps, and drink away your sorrow with bourbon because you lost all your bets.  But, you can’t just drink any ‘ol bourbon!  Come on, think it through…you need Kentucky Bourbon!  So, to help you stock up…

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Taste of Westport: a night of food + drinks to raise money for CLASP

Taste of Westport: a night of food + drinks to raise money for CLASP #autism #charity #Westport

Taste of Westport is back with their annual fundraiser that directly benefits CLASP, a nonprofit that provides homes and services for adults with autism and developmental disabilities.  This year there’s an amazing variety of restaurants and drink providers including spots in Westport and all over Fairfield County.  The event…

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Win 2 Tickets to PAWS Uncorked: A Taste for Rescue

Paws Uncorked banner

We’ll be there, so hope to see ya…

We told you earlier about PAWS Uncorked:  A Taste for Rescue and we even gave you a chance to get some discounted tickets with the code “OMNOM,” but now we’re back with a chance for you to win a pair of tickets.  Before we get there, here’s a recap:  PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society) does an amazing job here in Connecticut.  They not only rescue homeless pets,…

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18

Apr

1st Annual Charity Chili Challenge Hits Trinity Catholic H.S. in Stamford

You eat, you vote...everyone wins

You eat, you vote…everyone wins

After the past few days of bitter cold weather and that crazy day of waking up to a thick layer of ice on our cars, you know it’s the perfect time to warm up a bit.  And, that’s exactly what the North Stamford Exchange Clubhas in store for you with their 1st Annual Charity Chili Challenge on 4/27 from 1-4 pm at Trinity Catholic High School.  Local residents and…

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17

Apr

Must Attend: Stone and Goose Island Beer Dinners @ Ginger Man Norwalk + Greenwich

Stone cold crazy...

Stone cold crazy…

You know that Ginger Man always does things right with their beer dinners, but here are two dinners with quite a hefty beer lineup.  First up is the Stone Brewing Co. dinner on May 12 at 7 pm at their SoNo location.  Tix are $75 per person and include 5 beers and 5 courses.  In typical G-Man style, they’ll be featuring some hard to find brews:

  1. Go to IPA (cask conditioned)
  2. Ruina…

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16

Apr

CT Beer WEEKS 2014: 2x Big, 2x Brews, 2x Awesome

CT Beer Week 2014

Because one week just wasn’t enough! :)

Last year marked the first ever statewide CT Beer Week, brought together by Connecticut Beer Wholesalers Association.  There was a kickoff with the Rising Pint Brewfest that featured over 70 brewers, plenty of events at breweries, restaurants, and retailers, and even a chance at unlocking the CT Beer Week Badge on Untappd.  

Well, we’re happy to report that…

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