Tag Archives: paleo diet

New Paleo Cafe Seasons Saugatuck

Cindy Hartog is a formally trained chef. She moved to Westport in 1990 for her husband Mark’s job — he’s deputy director of Westport EMS — and built her own thriving kids’ cooking classes/birthday party business called Cindy’s Sous Chefs.

Two and a half years ago though, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. She lost interest in cooking things she could not eat. She concentrated instead on foods that did not make her sick.

Three months later Cindy’s middle daughter Danielle — herself a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America — was diagnosed with a different autoimmune disorder.

Danielle and Cindy Hartog

They searched fruitlessly for ways to fulfill their fondness for gourmet food.

So they set about creating their own place. They wanted it to be warm and welcoming — not, Cindy says, “a stark ‘health food’ place.”

They found space in Bethel, but it did not work out. Then, online, they spotted a vacant storefront right here in Westport.

This Tuesday (June 6) — next to Dunville’s on Saugatuck Avenue — they’ll open NewBrook Kitchen + Artisan Market.

It’s a “paleo cafe”: no gluten, milk, soy or corn.

But that does not mean there’s no flavor or creativity.

In fact, the menu — to eat in or take out — sounds mouth-watering.

There are 3 salads daily, each with a protein like chicken, steak or salmon. Sandwiches are served with paleo bread, baked in-house. There’s soup, cookies, nut milk coffee and vegan ice cream. Cindy makes desserts with coconut — not white – sugar.

Several Saturdays a month, Danielle will cook savory 4-course meals, served at a communal table. She describes a 16-hour braised short ribs with onions, carrots, wine and a good beef stock — without flour or corn starch. It’s served with a vinaigrette berry salad, and almond cake.

The “Artisan Market” part of NewBrook Kitchen offers handmade jewelry, candles, scarves, and gourmet chocolate.

The official opening is Tuesday (with samples all day).

Cindy and Danielle Hartog, in their new space.

And the name?

Cindy’s father — who died 12 years ago — was a self-made man. He named his 2 businesses after their 2 sites: New Jersey and Brooklyn.

NewBrook Kitchen is an homage to him.

And a great destination for anyone looking for fresh, well-prepared and very flavorful paleo food.

Matt Debenham’s Clean Treats

Eli Debenham is a Staples High School sophomore. His dad, Matt — a fiction writer and teacher — recently branched out into the brownie-baking-and-selling business.

Not just any brownies.

Paleo brownies.

Matt Debenham

Matt Debenham

He got into it via his wife’s thyroid specialist. It took 5 months to come up with a recipe that didn’t taste like a caveman who’s been dead for 35,000 years.

Baking — and selling — brownies (paleo or obesity-o) online is not easy. Matt learned about commercial kitchens (he uses one in Saugatuck, at night). He learned about bar codes, labels, shipping, and thousands of other quasi-related-to-baking things.

But Clean Treats is up and running. So is the Clean Plate Club, a food blog for paleo eaters. (Gluten-free ones too.) It features recipes, links to kitchen equipment, and posts about visits to free-range, chemical-free farms.

Matt’s is an interesting story, about something that (of course) morphed from a sideline hobby into a full-fledged, taking-over-his-life business.

Yet many other Westporters have similar tales. Why is this one “06880-worthy”?

A Clean Treat brownie.

A Clean Treat brownie.

Well, it involves food, which everyone loves. Desserts, especially.

Matt’s doing all the right things, marketing-wise.

And Eli asked me to write about it. It’s his Christmas gift, from a son to his dad.

Merry Christmas, Matt! I’m sure Santa will love those Clean Treat brownies you leave out for him on Christmas Eve.