Thursday Night on Elm Street

While working in Norwalk, CT, the hungrier half of FP (Allen) has been introduced to the culinary scene in nearby New Canaan, CT. First, he learned of Good 2 Gourmet, which offers delicious prepared foods. From Rachel Lampen’s CT Taste Tours’ Twitter account (@CTTasteTours), he next learned about elm, a popular destination for fine cuisine in New Canaan. On a recent Thursday, Allen and a friend visited Elm Street in town to see what the buzz was all about.

The first thing you notice when you walk inside elm is its welcoming feel. Fine artwork line the walls and the open-kitchen setup allows for patrons to get a up close glimpse on how their meals are being prepared.

We started with tuna tartare, risotto with mushrooms and creamed kale as our appetizers. The tuna tartare was well prepared with the soy mustard giving it a nice flavor. Both the risotto and creamed kale were creamy and delicious serving as perfect comfort food for a rainy night.

Four our main entrees, we ordered the roasted chicken and the rigatoni. The chicken was cooked nice and tender. While I normally don’t eat chicken skin, the way it was presented, I had to give it a try. Rather than normal oily chicken skin, it tasted like soft bread.

I tried some of my friend’s rigatoni and discovered the nduja (salami) sprinkled throughout gave the dish nice spicy kick to compliment the different creamy cheeses blended together.

With barely any room for dessert, we gave in and ordered zappolis and ice cream to share. The zappolis were delicious, a modern spin on an old Italian classic dessert.

Executive Chef Luke Venner was kind enough to take time out of his busy night to speak with us and share some of his cooking expertise. From the beginning, the service was outstanding as both the server and host checked on us throughout the evening. I can see what the buzz is all about with elm and plan to bring the other half of FP (Kristina) back to dinner! You should also and you’ll be glad you did.

Elm Restaurant
73 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT 06840

Harvest Dine-Around 2015 Recap

With Thanksgiving around the corner,  it’s the season to be thankful. Many are thankful for the work of Part of the Solution (POTS), a non-profit in the Bronx, which serves as a “one-stop shop” in assisting low-income individuals and families move from crisis to stability.

Recently, we attended Harvest Dine-Around, the annual POTS fundraiser, which took place at the Hampshire Country Club in Mamaroneck, NY. We tasted food prepared by some of the area’s best known country clubs including Bronxville Field Club and Wykagyl Country Club featuring food from Baldor’s.

Along with delicious food, we had the opportunity to meet baseball great and former Met Rusty Staub! Not only was he a star on the baseball field, Mr. Staub is also the president of The Rusty Staub Foundation, Inc., which has raised over $17 million over the years. In collaboration with Catholic Charities, the Foundation supports emergency pantries that serve more than 800,000 meals per year.


Foodie Pleasure with Rusty Staub!

We always enjoy supporting good causes and organizations. A big thank you to Maggie Boon for inviting us to Harvest-Dine Around- we definitely plan to visit POTS at some point in the near future to volunteer our time. For information on POTS, visit their website. You’ll be thankful you did.

Click here to check out POTS’ Flickr feed for more pics from Harvest Dine-Around!

Wine and Dine at Basso Cafe

Having attended previous Greenwich Wine & Food Festivals and Moffly Media’s Best of Gold Coast event over the past few years, we know that Fairfield County has a lot to offer when it comes to fine dining. One place we’re intrigued about is Basso Cafe in Norwalk.


Basso Cafe first opened its doors in 2007. For the past eight years, Chef Renato Donzelli’s vision was to launch a bar, to compliment the restaurant. His dedication has finally paid off, having recently been granted a full liquor license. The modern, recently renovated 60-seat restaurant, serves outstanding fine dining cuisine such as Tuscan Grilled Chicken and Melanzane alla Parmigiana. Chef Donzelli’s dishes are a nod to his Southern Italian family with accents toward his South American upbringing. His food consistently receives great reviews in Zagat and The New York Times. Most recently, Chef Donzelli was honored as one of the “Most Innovative Chefs” by Serendipity Magazine during its annual event, the Greenwich Wine and Food Festival.

Chef Renato Donzelli

Chef Renato Donzelli

Chef Donzelli says: “The bar culture is huge in Europe and because I am a perfectionist with my dishes, I need our wines, beers and cocktails to enhance your dining experience. Now that I am licensed, I look forward to hosting wine pairing dinners and inviting in guest beer and wine experts. Our customers already receive great food and service, so I am especially excited to extend that to our bar.”

On Thursday, November 19th, we’re looking forward to attending Chef Donzelli’s bar preview party sponsored by Broken Shed Vodka. We look forward to enjoying cocktails and bites while meeting fellow food enthusiasts. We hope to see you there!


Bar Basso Cafe
124 New Canaan Ave
Norwalk, CT 06850

Taste of Croatia

If you’re a FIOS customer in the Westchester area and enjoy food, you probably find yourself watching Restaurant Hunter from time to time. Host Rob Petrone (along with Amanda Prince) visits different towns in the county and stops by select restaurants. In one episode, Rob ate at Dubrovnik, a Croatian restaurant in New Rochelle. We’ve driven by the restaurant many times, always intrigued by the thought of Croatian fare. After watching the episode, we decided to check it out.

We made reservations for 6pm on a recent Saturday night- good thing we did. The restaurant was quite busy when we arrived and it continued throughout the evening. Having never eaten Croatian food before, the menu was very appealing. From appetizers such as octopus salad to grilled jumbo shrimp and entrees including grilled salmon and filet mignon, it was hard to decide on what to order. Eventually, we decided on the chicken soup (not pictured) and grilled octopus for our appetizers. The octopus was cooked perfectly and the salad provided a fresh citrus alternative. It was a cool autumn evening so the chicken soup was comforting.

Grilled octopus

Grilled octopus

For our entrees, we ordered the scallops with pasta and branzino served with veggies. The scallops were soft and tender, the way they should be. The fish was delicious with the mushroom sauce providing the right combination.

Of course, we had to save room for dessert. We asked our server for a recommendation, and without hesitation she suggested the Kremshnita (aka crispy puff pastry with vanilla custard). It was defnitely a decadent way to end our meal at Dubrovnik.

If you’re ever in New Rochelle, we highly recommend stopping by Dubrovnik. You’ll be in for a treat!

Dubrovnik Restaurant
121 Main Street
New Rochelle, NY 10801

Harvest Dine-Around 2015

In 2013, we learned about Part of the Solution (POTS), a non-profit in the Bronx and a mainstay in the community which provides emergency food, social services, and legal representation to low-income families and individuals. In an interview with Executive Director Chris Bean, we learned how POTS got its start and also attended Harvest Dine-Around where we tasted delicious food from country clubs throughout Westchester County.

Harvest Dine-Around 2015

This year, we’re excited to attend Harvest Dine-Around again on Tuesday, November 10. Hosted by the Club Chefs of Westchester and taking place at the Hampshire Country Club, the event will feature this season’s specialty dishes, delicious wines, and scrumptious desserts. All proceeds will go towards programs and services at POTS.

Part of the Solution (POTS)

In addition, this year the event will honor baseball great, restaurateur, and humanitarian Rusty Staub. Following his retirement from the Major League, Staub joined the Mets’ broadcasting team for 10 years. He established the New York Police and Fire Widow’s and Children’s Benefit Fund Foundation, Inc. in 1986 and serves as Chairman Emeritus. The Foundation has raised over $150 million for families of policemen, firefighters, emergency service, and port authority officers killed in the line of duty.

Staub is also the president of The Rusty Staub Foundation, Inc., which has raised over $17 million. In collaboration with Catholic Charities, the Foundation supports emergency pantries that serve more than 800,000 meals per year.

“On behalf of the staff and clients at POTS, we are so thankful to have the Club Chefs of Westchester, Baldor Specialty Foods, and Hampshire Country Club support our community. We depend on events like this so we can continue to help many of the 1.5 million New Yorkers living with food insecurity put food on the table,” Christopher A. Bean, POTS Executive Director said.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at or at the door the night of the Harvest Dine-Around. We hope to see you there!

Harvest Dine-Around
Tuesday, November 12
Hampshire Country Club
1025 Cove Road
Mamaroneck, NY 10543

Taste of Westchester 2015

Join Cerebral Palsy of Westchester (CPW) for A Taste of Westchester; A Food and Wine Tasting Event.  Over 20 of the area’s finest restaurants & top chefs along with a fine selection of wine, beer beverages will be on display for attendees. In addition, two chef demonstrations courtesy of Hive Living Room + Bar and by Rockland Bakery will take place at 7:30pm.

Taste of Westchester 2015

Taste of Westchester 2015

Other participants include:  Angelina’s Ristorante, Antipasti di Napoli, Aries Wine and SpiritsBrother Jimmy’s BBQ, Lola’s Mexican Kitchen, Coffee Labs, Crabtree’s Kittle House Restaurant & Inn, Dolce Vita Catering, Don Coqui, Emma’s Ale House, Hive Living Room & Bar, Longford’s Own-Made Ice Cream, Polar Beverage, Rockland Bakery Inc., Texas De Brazil, The Briarcliff Manor, The Gourmet Taste Catering, The Olde Stone Mill, and Zuppa.

All of the proceeds from this event will benefit CPW’s mission to ensure that children and adults with disabilities receive need services and enjoy activities regardless of the level of their abilities.

Taste of Westchester
Renaissance Westchester Hotel
1186 King Street
Rye Brook, NY 10573

Excitement on Elm Street

Last month, we attended Greenwich Wine & Food and had the opportunity to taste food from some of the area’s best restaurants. One memorable dish was a delicious watermelon tuna tartare from elm restaurant in New Canaan, CT. Led by award-winning Executive Chef, Luke Venner and his talented team, elm has a casual neighborhood vibe, which compliments the versatile menu and showcases the restaurant’s many attributes.

Venner has spent the summer shaping the menu, getting to know the local farms and building up his culinary crew.

Chef Venner says: “elm is an established restaurant so I didn’t want to rush in and change everything overnight. It has taken time to create the simple menu – we didn’t want to pigeonhole our diners or ourselves so choice and daily specials are key. We have a solid front and back of house, we are looking forward to the next phase and the changing of the seasons.”

Luke Venner, Executive Chef at elm. (New Canaan, CT)

Luke Venner, Executive Chef at elm. (New Canaan, CT)

Skilled young Pastry Chef, Kara Koehmstedt is the latest edition to the team at elm by way of NYC where she was the opening pastry sous chef of Enrique Olvera’s Cosme. Her sublime fall desserts include:

Pumpkin Cheesecake with speculoos crumble and formage blanc mousse; and a Boozy Sundae with brown sugar, bourbon ice cream, chocolate, caramel and pecans.

Hailing from a farming background, Venner works with farms in the tri-state area to provide the freshest ingredients in every meal prepared at elm. Some of the farms include Millstone Farm (Wilton, CT), Holbrook Farm (Bethel, CT), Simpaug Farms (Ridgefield, CT) and Blue Moon Acres (Pennington, NJ).

Needless to say, we’re excited to visit elm in the very near future to check out the new menu. We hope to see you there!

Elm Restaurant
73 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT 06840