Category Archives: Restaurants

Extras! Extras! Needed At The Duck!

John Francis Sullivan is a Westport native, Staples grad, and Los Angeles filmmaker. His next project is “Taste of Life” — a romantic comedy about a single dad who meets online dates at the same comedy club/cabaret/restaurant.

On Thursday, he needs a few extras for a scene he’s shooting.

Okay — full disclosure: The scene is part of his crowd-sourcing fundraising on Indiegogo.

Still, it’s a chance to kinda/sorta be in a movie. Plus, it’s at the Black Duck — and Sullivan is offering a free drink or two.

If you’re interested, head to the Duck this Thursday (July 9) at 6 p.m. Look for the cameras. Sullivan will take it from there.

Action!

You can be a star!

You can be a star!

 

Christy Colasurdo Celebrates Connecticut’s Farm Tables

Christy Colasurdo  says her son Charlie was “somehow born to be a farmer and environmentalist.” To ensure that other kids would have a place to learn where their food comes from, how to care for animals, what it means to recycle and compost, and just spend time in nature — Christy got involved with Wakeman Town Farm.

While Charlie apprenticed at local farms, Christy — a former New York magazine editor — began writing about the farm-to-table movement. That led to her launch of Graze (now called The Simple Scallion), a service that delivers milk, eggs and the like from small farms to people’s front doors.

Christy Colasurdo

Christy Colasurdo

Christy admires and respects the endless hours of hard work farmers put in: working the land; handling weather, pests and disease; marketing their products; packing and unpacking wares at farmers’ markets, and (these are not farmers of yore) navigating social media to educate people about good seasonal food.

While getting Graze off the ground, Christy met Tracey Medeiros. She’d just published a book about Vermont’s farm-to-table scene.

Christy described Fairfield County, where fantastic chefs are partnering with local farmers, fishermen, oystermen and honey connoisseurs.

A new book was born. Christy identified restaurants, chefs and farmers, then wrote the profiles. Tracey and a tester tried hundreds of the chefs’ best recipes.

A year and a half later, The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook is a beautiful homage/culinary travelogue. From Greenwich to Groton, Norwalk to Litchfield, Christy and Tracey tell great stories, using intriguing stories and stunning photos.

And, of course, mouth-watering recipes.

Preparing a recipe at the Westport Farmers' Market. (Photo/Oliver Parini)

Preparing a recipe at the Westport Farmers’ Market. (Photo/Oliver Parini)

Among the local places and recipes:

  • The Whelk and Le Farm (deviled eggs with cornmeal, fried oysters and pickled red onion)
  • Blue Lemon (fresh peach tart)
  • Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens (Brussels sprouts and petite edibles)
  • Saugatuck Craft Butchery (slow-roasted porchetta with cilantro and smoked paprika; dry-aged steak tartare crostini with pickled garden turnips)
  • SoNo Baking Company and Cafe (strawberry frangipane tartlets; caramel-apple tart)
  • Tarry Lodge (rosa bianca eggplant caponata)
  • Terrain (salt-roasted beets with blood oranges, pistachios and goat cheese salad)
  • Westport Farmers’ Market (various vendors)
  • Wakeman Town Farm (chipotle veggie chili)

Christy Colasurdo book“The chef/farmer relationship often goes unheralded,” Christy says. “Yet it’s exponentially more difficult for a chef to source from small local and organic farms and fishermen than from a large commercial supplier.

“It’s a lot easier to let the Sysco truck pull to the back door,” she adds. “Instead, they get out to the farmers’ market. They take ‘field trips’ to local organic farms. They forge old-fashioned relationships with their suppliers that often include bailing out a farmer with too much zucchini or kale, or asking the farmer to plant special crops like Peruvian purple potatoes or Asian specialty greens, just for their restaurants.”

The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook is available at Terrain and Barnes & Noble. This Thursday, July 9 (10 a.m.) there’s a talk at the Westport Library. At 10:45, Christy and Tracey will stroll over to the Farmers’ Market. Local farmers and vendors featured in the book will be introduced, and Tracey will give a recipe demo using fresh market produce.

Get set for a delightful, delicious day.

Pulling Into An Actual Parking Spot Is So Overrated

For most Westporters, yesterday evening was a chance to relax just a little bit longer, after a wonderful Independence Day weekend.

One driver though was apparently so stressed, he or she could not be bothered to use a parking space — even though most were empty, in the Saugatuck Craft Butchery/Garelick & Herbs parking lot.

Yes, this is an actual parking job. No, there was no one in the car.

(Photo/Jamie Braun)

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

Did the driver have an immediate need for ice cream at Saugatuck Sweets? A drink at the Whelk?

Most times, these “entitled parking” photos evoke at least one defender, who points out a legalistic or otherwise morally suspect reason the driver may have parked as he or she did.

No one can dream up an excuse for this one.

Independence Day Weekend — In Westport?!

Bill Whitbeck grew up here. His 1st job was cooking burgers at Big Top, where his customers included Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Bill also was a huge Mario’s fan.

He moved far away in the late 1970s. But he still lives in Westport.

Bill sent along a few photos, and explains:

“Happy 4th of July from Westport, Washington! A beautiful evening on the Pacific Coast.”

Westport WA 1

Westport WA 3

Westport WA 2

Red Barn Is NOT Closing

The rumors have swirled for weeks: The Westport Family Y bought the Red Barn. It will be torn down, and used for parking.

The Y is not talking. But the lights were off last night, the parking lot deserted — and Westporters got even more worried.

Red Barn restaurant

You can keep worrying — but only if you wanted to dine there before Wednesday.

The Red Barn is closed because the kitchen is being revamped. They’re adding new ovens, and a natural gas hookup.

It reopens July 8.

At the same place its been all these years: next to Merritt Parkway Exit 41.

You know: Right near the new Y.

The Duck As You’ve Never Seen It Before

You can count on a lot of things at the Black Duck: Great wings. A down-home vibe. Sports on TV.

Almost always, that means men’s sports.

But tonight the TVs were tuned to the Women’s World Cup semifinal.

When Carli Lloyd stepped up to take a penalty kick late in the scoreless match, everyone — including the bartenders and wait staff — stopped to watch.

Black Duck - Women's World Cup

She nailed it. The US added an insurance goal, to beat Germany 2-0.

We play England or Japan on Sunday.

You know at least one place to watch the championship game.

Cops Descend On Westport In Search Of…

…good Italian food.

Forget donuts. In 2015, police officers have a much more discerning palate.

Even so, Celia Offir was impressed — but not surprised — to see motorcycle cops from 4 different towns parked outside Gaetano’s the other day.

Gaetano's

Gaetano’s

Never heard of it? Gaetano’s flies under the radar. But in just a year the Italian deli near Super Stop & Shop has gained a fervent following for fantastic food, great service and a very friendly vibe.

Don’t believe me? Check out these Yelp reviews.

Or just ask a cop from Westport. Or Fairfield, New Canaan or Trumbull.

Steam May Evaporate

An urgent email from Steam — the organic coffee bar at the eastbound Westport train station — says they need $3,000 by Tuesday to stay in business.

So they’re throwing a fundraising party tomorrow (Sunday, June 28, 8 a.m. to 3 pm.) at their place.

They’ll offer food samples, coffee cupping (with local brewer Donny Raus), tea tasting, music and yoga.

A coffee bar is a tough business. The location — the “wrong” side of the tracks, in terms of when most people buy their joe — is not easy either.

But Steam has always been very community minded. This may be our chance to give a little something back, to a hard-working local business.

Steam sign

Downtown Changing Daily

With Bedford Square construction kicking into high gear, Westporters are treated to scenes we’ve never seen.

Like this view of Bobby Q’s patio, from Elm Street:

Bobby Q patio

Meanwhile, across the way in the Baldwin parking lot, workers are busily converting the Kemper-Gunn House into the home of Serena & Lily:

Kemper Gunn house

Want a different view? Developer David Waldman offers 2 drone videos of downtown.

The first (click here) shows the Bedford Square project and environs. The second (click here) is a broader perspective, including the Saugatuck River and former Save the Children property — the next property set for redevelopment.

A view of downtown, from David Waldman's drone.

A view of downtown, from David Waldman’s drone.

Harvesting Mario’s

Renovation work proceeds at the former Mario’s. This afternoon, the interior looked like this:

Mario's interior

The old facade is still up. But signs in the window call the new restaurant — Harvest — “a fresh take on our lifelong commitment to satisfying meals and loyal guests. Custom cuisine from farm to fork.”

The new spot opens in September.

Mario's exterior