Tag Archives: Connecticut

2017 CT TACO FESTIVAL!!!! – Free Ticket Giveaway

Yes, you read that right. A festival that is all about TACOS and I have 2 free tickets that could be yours (details below)! And you know what else, MaurPowerFoodie is going to be your MC all day at the festival. Join me, Rey Mysterio, Jerry “The King” Lawler, VAP Events and all of the wonderful vendors for the best fiesta of the summer at the Connecticut Taco Festival on Saturday, August 26, 2017 from 10 AM to 8 PM! Ages 5+

 

If you want to win tickets, here is how:

Each person can earn entries 5 ways and the winner will be selected at random. You can earn entries as follows:

  1. Like Connecticut Taco Festival, MaurPowerFoodie, and VAP Events on facebook, and share the CT Taco Festival event, being sure to tag Connecticut Taco Festival, MaurPowerFoodie, and VAP Events (1 entry)
  2. Follow MaurPowerFoodie.Wordpress.com and leave a comment on this post saying why you should get tickets (1 entry)
  3. Follow @CT_TacoFestival and @MaurPowerFoodie on Twitter and Tweet about the event tagging @CT_TacoFestival and @MaurPowerFoodie in the tweet (1 entry)
  4. Follow @connecticuttacofestival and @MaurPowerFoodie on Instagram and post a pic of some of your favorite tacos tagging @connecticuttacofestival and @MaurPowerFoodie on Instagram (1 entry)
  5. Donate to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer here! (1 entry for each $10 donated)

All entries must be in my 11:59 PM on August 18th and then the winner will be chosen at random on August 19th.

More information on the event below!


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ADVANCE TICKETS AVAILABLE here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/connecticut-taco-festival-tickets-35227922665

Featuring:
Gourmet Tacos from Restaurants & Food Trucks
Frozen Margaritas, Tequila & Mexican Beer provided by Bumski’s
Lucha Libre Mexican Wrestling feat. REY MYSTERIO
Taco-Eating Contests with $1,000 CASH GRAND PRIZE!
Final Taco-Eating Contest JUDGED BY REY MYSTERIO & JERRY LAWLER
Live Music & Performances, including a Mariachi Band, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Brookfield, Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Yale and local music
Kids Activities & Vendors!
Submit vendor inquiries to CTtacofestival@gmail.com

Restaurants include:
Panchos Tacos
El Coyote (Monroe, Brookfield, New Milford, Jackson Heights and Forest Hills)
Rubamba restaurant (New Haven)
Hacienda Don Manuel (Brookfield)
Mezon – Tapas Bar & Restaurant (Danbury)
Tigers’ Den (Ridgefield)
Puerto Vallarta Restaurant – Danbury
Agave Mexican Restaurant Danbury CT

Food Trucks include:
HAPA Food Truck
Brazilian gula grill (South Windsor)
Pork Friends And Company LLC (Meriden)
Kathy’s Kitchen Catering & Events, LLC (Sandy Hook)

Sponsors:
townvibe
Conaway Design
Real Estate Photography NYC

Lodging:
Hotel Zero Degrees (203) 730-9200
15 Milestone Rd, Danbury, CT 06810
Mention “CT TACO FESTIVAL” BLOCK. To guarantee your room, make reservation by 7/28
Shuttle Service Available with advanced scheduling
http://www.hotelzerodegrees.com/
Discounted Room Rates:
King $119
Double $139
Executive $200

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CT Chefs Challenge 2015 – MaurPowerFoodie Competes! #CTChefs

That’s right. As you may recall from an earlier post, I have been selected as 1 of the 8 chefs to compete in this year’s CT Chefs Challenge on September 18, 2015, the 5th annual showing of the event.

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This is going to be one intense challenge as I take on 7 of the best chefs CT has to offer. Just check out this list of the competitors:

Mark Vecchitto – Seehund German Pub: 2014 Winner
Adam Bedini – StrEATery
Justin Kern – Meeting House Pub
Trevor McGrath – YooNeke: Hells Kitchen Season 9
Carlos Baez – The Spread
Joshua Morosi – A Chef’s Choice
Jason Maur – MaurPowerFoodie: MasterChef Season 3
Carol Koty – The Waterview and Lockwood Lodge: World Food championship competitor

Now Carol and I go way back, and I am psyched to cheer her on (for 2nd place after me). But the competitors aren’t the only amazing part. The event will be hosted by the unstoppable Chef Plum of PlumLuvFoods (you may recognize him from The Taste, Guys Grocery Games, Cutthroat Kitchen, and more) and judged by Chef Derrick Prince (Master Chef Season 2), Judy & Joy (who have made their rounds throughout the culinary world), Ken Tuccio (Welcome to CT), and more! Not to mention my buddy’s over at OmNomCT covering everything on Social Media. It is just ridiculous, in the most amazing way!

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Now for the question on everyone’s mind, what will I be making? I am not going to give it all away, but I am sticking with my BBQ roots, but with an extreme upscale twist. Going to be killer, especially thanks to the help of the Chef/Owner of Bar 140 in Shelton, CT, Joe, who has agreed to Sous Chef for me.

The event is taking place at the Lincoln Culinary Institute in Shelton. You can purchase tickets here!

COME OUT FOR THIS! It is going to be one hell of an event and you do not want to miss it.


Saucy n’ Sauced Up: BBQ and Beer Bashes in Danbury, Stamford + Ridgefield Coming Soon

Looking for some great BBQ events coming up? Check these out!

 

Saucy n’ Sauced Up: BBQ and Beer Bashes in Danbury, Stamford + Ridgefield Coming Soon.


Tarry Lodge – New Haven, CT

New Haven, CT has become one of the greatest spots in CT for quality food from a great variety of cultures. But when talking about New Haven food, the Nation knows it for one thing… Pizza… or since I am in CT I should say Appiza. When bringing a new pizza restaurant to town, it is important to bring something unique, something different, something fresh. That is exactly what Tarry Lodge delivers.

Chef Drew

One of the restaurants from the great minds and talents of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich (for those who do not know, I have a “history” with Joe Bastianich) , alongside Andy Nusser and Nancy Selzer, the team has done it again. First thing done right, get the right Chef. They have done this with a friend of mine, whom I met while he was the Sous Chef at Tarry Lodge in Westport, Executive Chef Andrew Marsilio.  Chef Drew has combined his training and experience to carry out an amazing menu with the skills of a master. Speaking of the menu, they got that right too. This classic Italian menu celebrates the tradition of taking fresh, quality ingredients, keeping it simple, plating them beautifully, and cooking them perfectly. Along with the plating presentation, add a great ambiance (albeit a tight fit when the restaurant is packed), and a quality wine list (which it better be with Bastianich on the team) and my friends, you have yourself a restaurant that will strive in the bustle and hodge podge that is New Haven, CT.

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Alright, onto the food. First, I must than Chef Drew for sending out a couple extra courses beyond what I ordered for me to try (the Octopus and the Tiramisu). But, let’s start with the beginning.  We started of with the Heritage Pork Polpette (meatballs) and Chef’s Octopus.  The Polpette was seasoned to perfection. A simple tomato sauce, some aged grated cheese, salty and savory with just a touch of sweetness fresh ground pork.  The only issue, it was served next to my favorite thing I ate all night, the grilled Octopus. I love octopus… when it is cooked right. So often, even the best of chefs overcook Octopus, leaving it rubbery. Not at Tarry Lodge. Not only was the texture buttery and tender, but the  acid of the lemon, the squid ink, and the touch of spice from the shishito peppers truly brought out the best in these tentacles. I wish my photo had come out so you could see the vibrant colors and artistic plating on this one too, but just trust me, the fact that you eat with your eyes first only helped enhance this dish. Onto our entree…

Guanciale pizza

As I said, when doing pizza in New Haven, it not only has to be great pizza, it has to be unique. Pizza does not get more unique than this house specialty Guanciale pizza. Guanciale is an Italian cured bacon made from pork cheek. Similar to a pancetta, but with a much stronger flavor, it only makes sense to pair it with the bold, earthy tones of black truffles. Many people in the food world talk about the different flavor palates, one of which that escapes most people is Umami. The savory, earthy goodness from truffles is my perfect example of Umami. Add in the salty guanciale, melted cheese, a lightly seasoned, crispy crust, and the rich egg yolk and you have a truly decadent, flavorful pizza. Every ingredient working with the other ingredients in harmony to create a depth of flavor that enhances with each bite. I want to try the other pizzas here too, but am hard pressed not to order this every time I go.

Gnocchi

The other entree for us that evening, my personal favorite pasta dish to order when I go to a good Italian restaurant, Gnocchi. At Tarry Lodge, they prepare their gnocchi All’ Amatriciana, which is in a sauce made with the above raved about guanciale, tomatoes, and pecorino cheese. If you are looking for something to compare it to, the closest I could give is a non-creamy vodka sauce. Though, as above mentioned, guanciale has a very bold flavor, so it shines through in this sauce. But the star of this dish is the gnocchi itself. Not only are the dumpling flavorful, they are as pillowy as I imagine a cloud to be, literally melting in one’s mouth. As full as we were after all this, it was time for dessert, so we ordered the flourless chocolate cake…

chocolate cake

Fresh cream on top, pistachio crumble, and rich chocolate cake, with no flour (that means it is healthy, right?… cause we ate the whole thing). Creamy, velvety, goodness. Definitely enough for both of us to finish off the meal…OH WAIT! Chef sent out another dessert….

tiramisu

TIRAMISU! Now I am extremely cautious in ordering tiramisu. Most places either soak the lady fingers in too much espresso and that is all you can taste, or cover it in so much cream that it is almost not a cake…. or both!. I think as you can see above, Tarry Lodge does neither. They serve up a classic, traditional, simple tiramisu and the 3rd best tiramisu I have ever had. The first was made homemade for me in Italy when I toured through the Country with my choir when I was 16.  The second was at a celebrity chef dinner in Chicago this past October (though that one was admittedly far from traditional, with a butter toffee crunch on the bottom), and then comes Tarry Lodge. Traditional with a capital “T” there is just a hint of espresso, a perfectly sweet mascarpone, moist ladyfingers throughout and topped with fresh cream. I couldn’t ask for more… even though I wanted to. In fact we were so full, and our neighbors at the next table, a very nice couple with whom we had a great conversation throughout the dinner, was staring so intently at it when the brought it to our table, we even offered them a bite, which they enjoyed thoroughly with us.

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Thank you so much to Chef Drew, general manager Steve Bayusik, the amazingly attentive waitstaff, the kitchen crew, and everybody else at Tarry Lodge for a meal not soon to be forgot. In fact, I will be back tomorrow night for dinner with some friends before a show to share the experience. As for you Joe Bastianich, consider the hatchet buried… I forgive you for rightfully kicking me off MasterChef for a terribly plated dish. My skills have improved greatly, maybe I will see you again, but all I really have to say is thank you. Thank you for helping to ignite a true passion food in me, thank you for continuing to help create fantastic restaurants for me frequent, and thank you for dinner… wait, I thought they said the next one was on you… oh well, I’ll still be back there tomorrow. Go enjoy a night at Tarry Lodge with Chef Drew and the crew. If you see me there, don’t hesitate to say hi, but don’t be offended if you find me in a food coma at the end of the meal. Till next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing out.

 

Tarry Lodge Enoteca and Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


Two Roads Tap Takeover at the Tavern

Looking for a fun night out this week? Come join me this Wednesday at Tavern in Monroe, CT for the Two Roads Tap Takeover. The first of what is planned to be many tap takeovers, this features a flight of 4 different Two Roads Beers and a small plate to go with each one for just $22.00.

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Four beers, mac and cheese, shrimp, smoked salmon and fried fish! What more could you ask for?

 

There will be open seating but Tavern is suggesting you make reservations. Call 203-880-5007. Also check out the Facebook event here.

 

Hope to see you there, but if I don’t, no worries, I will be telling you all about it. Till next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur, signing off.


Pork in the Park – Stamford, CT – Cooking Demo!

That’s right everybody… I will be doing a full out cooking demo at this year’s Pork in the Park BBQ Festival in Stamford, CT. Definitely come check out the entire festival this weekend. There will be other amazing cooking demo’s. Fabulous food and drinks, and perhaps the thing I am most excited about… A KANSAS CITY BBQ SOCIETY SANCTIONED COMPETITION!!!!!

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Festival Dates & Times

Saturday, July 13, 11am – 8pm​​​​

Sunday, July 14, 11am – 5pm​

Admission costs

$15.00 for adults

$5.00 for kids.

Children under 5 are FREE!​

As for what I will be teaching you all how to cook. I can tell you it will involve a lot of fantastic ingredients, homemade BBQ sauce, some booze in basically each and every element of the dish (tequila, vodka, and beer will all be used), a refreshing twist, and you DO NOT WANT TO MISS IT. My demo is on Sunday the 14th from 12:15-1:00. Please come check out how I put MaurPower on the Plate for a Summer BBQ Spectacular. Here is the jalapeno infused tequila in the making!

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Check out OmNomCT (the people who invited me to demo and a fantastic food blog) for the list and schedule of all the demos! Right before me is another reality TV chef from America’s Baking Competition. PLUS… local chefs and BBQ Competitors. And here is a sneak peek as I begin my prep for this Sunday!

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Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off. Come check out an awesome festival this weekend. I guarantee a great time for all.


The Iron Bridge @ 100 Church Hill – Sandy Hook, CT

Last week I posted a teaser trailer posing a very important question…. Did I find a new Best Burger in CT.  Some of you may remember when I took my trip to Pub 25 for an inside look at the building of my favorite burger in the state. Well, I was told that I had that right there, in the same town there was competition I had not tried yet. The “Home of the Burger & Brew”, The Iron Bridge @ 100 Church Hill.

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So, I  took a trip to the Iron Bridge to try this Burger & Brew deal. First things first, if you are looking for a good deal, this is it. $9.49 gets you a 12 oz gigantic burger, curly fries, a fried onion brick, and a mug of draft beer. It is so much food, I could not finish it in one sitting after starting of my meal with the soup of the day, a sheet crab & corn bisque.

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When Iron Bridge says “Soup of the Day”, you can tell they mean it” Fresh ingredients and made that day. With a little bit of Cajun flare, this bisque had great depth of flavor and just a bit of kick on the after taste. The owner Ray, told me they have one regular who lives all the way up in Hartford and makes the trip just to have this soup when it is on special. After my soup, I knew Pub 25 might actually have competition for its crown, so I took a trip into the kitchen to see where the magic was made. What did I find…?

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…A plethora of fresh, hand formed burgers larger than a fist. These monstrous creations looked great. A little bit leaner than your average burger with a 90/10 ratio, I could still see that a lot of thought, time, and trial went into making these burgers exactly how Ray wanted them to be. The next step in the process is to season and flame grille these babies. Flame grilling gives you great flavor and a nice slight char on the outside. I went back to my seat and waited for the delivery of this…

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Topped with sauteed onions and bacon, by creation was complete. So first I had to go right for the burger. Juicy,  well cooked… This is a great burger. Now, when it comes to burgers I have found there to be two major schools of thought. First, let the meat talk for itself… keep the seasoning light, and just make sure you use fresh, quality meat. This is what Iron Bridge does and they do it extremely well. I would liken this style of burger to the home of the original Hamburger Sandwich in the Country, right here in New Haven, CT… Louis Lunch. Very simple but very tasty. The second school of thought is to try and enhance the flavor of the meat with the right seasoning blend. Big, bold flavors that play with your taste buds. This is the style of the burger at Pub 25. So which is better? I will get to that in a little bit. First, back to this meal. As I mentioned, you also get curly fries (these were pretty standard, but perfectly cooked with a nice crunch but not overdone) and an Onion Brick. This onion brick, to me, was the highlight of the meal. Think crispy onion straws to the EXTREME! They take a bunch of very thinly sliced onions, dip them in a perfectly seasoned beer batter, and fry them together into a brick of unhealthy, fried goodness. Crispy on the outside, and nice flavorful onion on the inside, what makes this special is not only how well it is cooked or how well it is seasoned, but the fact that the batter does not overpower or hide the flavor of the onion. Over all, this was a fantastic meal.

So now, onto the verdict… Did Iron Bridge take away the throne from Pub 25? Well… this all goes back to those two schools of burgers (see how I tied everything together), and my personal preference are those big, bold flavors offered by Pub 25. Just remember, this is a matter of opinion. Iron Bridge still offers a great product and is well worth your trip to try it for yourself and make your own decision. I know I will be back to try some of the other dishes I saw make their way out of the kitchen while I was there.

While Iron Bridge may be “The Home of the Burger & Brew”, it is not the home of my favorite burger in CT. Pub 25 can keep that title…. for now.

The Iron Bridge @ 100 Church Hill on Urbanspoon

Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing off…. “Om Nom Nom… mmmmm…. Burger….”