Chattin’ with Brenden

Whenever we can, we try to eat healthy. However, with so many delicious food options, we’ll admit that we don’t ALWAYS stay true to our word. A few weeks, Food Network aired an episode titled “Healthy Rivalry”, in which Private Chef Brenden Darby displayed his culinary talent in the kitchen. We caught up with Brenden to learn more about him.

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Chef Brenden Darby. Picture courtesy of @BrendenBDarby, Twitter. 

FP: Tell us about your experience on Chopped. What did you learn from being on the show?

BD: Being on Chopped was a funny experience. The people who shoot the show are a well-oiled machine. They are really good at making sure you know exactly what’s going on and that the only surprises that you encounter are in the kitchen. That being said, once the actual competition starts you totally forget that there are 30+ people on the opposite side of the room filming you. At one point someone was telling me to put out the fire at my station. I looked up and was astonished at all the faces only a few inches away from me!

FP: We can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes in the Chopped kitchen! When you’re at home, what are some of your favorite meals to cook for yourself? (Or for friends?) 

BD: Truthfully, I hardly ever cook for just myself. 99 percent of the reason I love to cook is because I get to do it for other people. I have recently become a closet vegetarian just because I feel better eating veggies. I love soups! I could eat soup for the rest of my life. When I lived with my Grandma while I staged at Yoshi’s she made me Portuguese soups every morning.

FP: We hear SF is a tremendous foodie destination. Where are some of your favorite places to eat in the city?

BD: The best places are always changing but I love wandering 24th street below Mission Street. I have noticed a lot of really good Hawaiian food and really good basque food.

FP: We definitely need to come check out the food scene in SF! What are some of your guilty pleasures? We call them foodie pleasures, hence the name ;)

BD: Cheese! I can not get enough of it paired with a good Netflix show and I am in for the night.

FP: Did you say cheese?! Kristina would agree. Name some chefs you would enjoy cooking in the kitchen with and why.

BD: The lady who makes tamales a block from my house. She never says a word back to anyone who buy temples from her and it has become my life goal to make her smile.

My Grandma because she always teaches me something new that I had no idea even existed

FP: If you could get on a plane tomorrow and visit any place just for its food, where would it be? 

BD: I am really interested in doing this adventure called the rickshaw run in India. You basically travel through all of India racing on a tricycle. It seems amazing.

FP: That does sound fun! Add some Indian cuisine and it’s a great trip. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? What are some of your non-cooking interests and hobbies?

BD: I would be doing something visual. One of my favorite parts about food is the colors. I would also like to make a movie about food some day so we will see.

FP: Thank you for your time, Brenden. We wish you continued success!

8th Annual Chocolate, Dessert and Wine Lover’s Evening

Last year, we celebrated Valentine’s Day early at the Chocolate, Dessert and Wine Lovers Evening in Stamford, CT. Tickets are now on sale for this year’s event, which will be held on Thursday, February 4th from 6-9 PM at the Stamford Marriott and Spa.

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“The Chocolate, Dessert & Wine Lover’s Evening has become a beloved community tradition, and an important fundraiser for the shelter,” said Andrew Barer, Director of Development.  “This enjoyable evening offers a chance to raise a glass with friends, while tasting some delicious chocolate and desserts, but it also raises vital funds for Pacific House emergency shelter, which serves the communities of Fairfield County, especially Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan.”

Although we can’t make it this year, we know that all attendees are in for a treat. Tickets are on sale now for $45/individual or $80/pair. All proceeds benefit the Pacific House. Visit www.shelterforhomeless.org/chocolate to purchase tickets. Please let us know if you stop by!

The Chocolate, Dessert & Wine Lover’s Evening
Stamford Marriott & Spa
243 Tresser Boulevard
Stamford, CT 06901

Tap Time

Over the last few months, we’ve learned about Growlers Beer Bistro, a local pub in Tuckahoe, NY. We’ve featured a few of their events, including the Feast of the Seven Dogfishes, on our blog. After attending yoga one Sunday morning, we decided to treat ourselves for a late brunch and check out the space for the first time.

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Growlers is located in an industrial building and as you enter, it immediately feels like the perfect place to catch a game over craft brews and food or to enjoy a casual meal with friends. After looking at the beer list and asking for a recommendation, Kristina started the meal with a Allagash White, which is always a refreshing choice. We were surprised and deeply appreciative when we were treated to a flight with each selection offering something unique; it was a great way to sample some of the options available at Growlers.

For our meals, we ordered the Rosemary Chicken Burger and Growler’s Cheeseburger. Nothing beats watching football and eating a delicious burger! Both sandwiches were cooked just right with the meat tender and tasty. The arugula in the chicken burger added a peppery kick to the sandwich.

We look forward to returning to Growlers next time we’re in the mood for happy hour as well as for trivia or another special event. Have you been to Growlers? Tell us about your experience there or at another favorite pub in the comments below!

Growlers Beer Bistro
25 Main Street
Tuckahoe, NY 10701

 

Holidays Up North

Like everyone else, 2016 is in full gear for us. It’s back to the grind with work, being active (after all that holiday eating!) and bearing the cold temperatures of winter. In the past few week, we’ve enjoyed reading other fellow food blogger’s recaps of their 2015 including Katie Schlientz sharing her top dining experiences on IntoxiKate and Adeline Jessica revealing her favorite selections in Fairfield County. We weren’t able to recap our 2015 experiences as a road trip to Michigan (yes, we drove from NY to MI!) to celebrate the holidays with family and friends kept us busy. However, it didn’t stop us from eating on our trip, of course.

Our many stops while visiting Sutton Bay and meeting up with friends in Traverse City included dinner and drinks at The Franklin, tastings at both Suttons Bay Ciders and Right Brain Brewery and a late lunch at Rare Bird BrewPub. Don’t worry, we didn’t squeeze this all into one day. ;)

At The Franklin, the clam chowder was delicious and a perfect compliment to a salty pretzel. Of course, the salty pretzel was the perfect compliment to a few choice beverages!

Suttons Bay Ciders provided a cozy environment with a fireplace and dartboard, which we enjoyed while tasting various ciders. It also offers a great view of the bay.

With a name like Right Brain Brewery, how could you turn down a flight of drinks with names such as Thai Peanut, Fat Lad and Naughty Girl Stout? While we admit that we prefer Thai food on the plate instead of in the glass, it was fun to try so many unique combinations.

After drinks at Right Brain, a late lunch at Rare Bird was fitting. Appetizers such as truffle fries and hummus was enjoyed by all at the table. On a relatively cold day, Allen enjoyed the hot chicken soup and curry marinated chicken that had a bit of spice to it.

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When in Suttons Bay, pizza from  Roman Wheel and brunch at the VI Grill, Leelanau County’s oldest tavern, are both musts.

Before we headed back to NY, we made sure to make a stop in Auburn Hills to check out a Pistons game and enjoy stadium food. We even saw the Pistons get a W!

What were your holiday highlights? Share some of your best experiences (travel, food, etc.) with us by emailing foodiepleasure@gmail.com or reaching out on Twitter (@foodiepleasure). Wishing everyone a healthy and delicious 2016!

‘Tis the Season

December is here which means a couple of things- cold weather, the holidays, and many food traditions to indulge in. If you’ve had your fill of cookies, though, and are in the mood for something on the savory side, read on for a delicious event happening in Tuckahoe, NY.

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On Thursday, December 17thGrowlers Beer Bistro will host its fourth annual Feast of the Seven Dogfishes – an event that celebrates the holidays, craft beer and a traditional Italian custom. Every Christmas Eve, Italians gather for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a meal consisting of seven seafood courses, each one more savory and delicious than the one before. In addition to offering seafood additions to its menu for one evening, Growlers will serve seven distinctive Dogfish Head beers on tap.

Sam Calagione, President and Founder of Dogfish Head, was an originator of the craft beer movement. Just like the holiday recipes that families enjoy just once a year, the Dogfish Head brews to be served at Growlers are rare and special, each for different reasons. The following beers will be offered: Midas Touch120 Minute IPAFort, Dogfish Head’s 60 and 90 minute IPAs, Piercing Pils and Indian Brown Ale.

‘Tis the season to bring people together and celebrate. Growlers’ Feast of the Seven Dogfishes promises to do all of that and more, providing attendees with an opportunity to greet the holidays with delicious food, good friends and great beer. We hope to see you there!

Feast of the 7 Dogfishes
Thursday, December 17, 7-10pm
@ Growlers Beer Bistro
25 Main Street
Tuckahoe, NY 10701

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.

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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!