Tag Archives: CT Foodie

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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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….”


A Philadelphia Feast!… In Norwich, CT?

Philadelphia, PA… The city of brotherly love, a wealth of historic sites and stories, and home to one of the most iconic American foods known to man: The Philly Cheese Steak! One of my all-time favorites. Whenever I go down to Philly I am sure to get a cheese steak. I tend to try a different place every time using a method taught to me by a good friend from Philly: look at the people coming out of the restaurant and if you can see grease through the bag… go inside and order yourself a cheese steak. The only problem with the Philly Cheese Steak, I could only get one in Philly. Much like the famed Baltimore Crab Cake or the New England Clam Chowder or so many other great staples throughout the world, anywhere besides Philadelphia that claimed to have a Philly Cheese Steak, lied. I am not saying I have not had some wonderful Steak and Cheese sandwiches, just that they were not Philly Cheese steaks. That is until I was invited up to Norwich, CT to try Philly’s.

Located at 33 Sherman Street in Norwich (down the street from Backus Hospital), when you drive by Philly’s, it is easy to ignore from the outwardly appearance and simply drive on by without even noticing it. That would be a mistake. This has to be one of the best kept secrets in the State of Connecticut. While not much to look at, Philly’s delivers authentic Philadelphia flavors and quality better than anywhere else outside of Philadelphia itself… in fact, it pretty much transports you down to the City of Brotherly Love. Two warnings: 1) There is not really many places to eat. Outside there is a small counter with a few seats, but there are no tables inside, so come expecting to take out or stand at the counter and eat (like I did) unless you get one of the coveted outside spots.


I was lucky enough to have owner Shem Adams (pictured below) there to walk me through the men and prepare me a feast of a tasting course by course. Shem is originally from Philadelphia, which probably explains why he has been able to create something that gave me an unexpected reaction to eating his Philly Cheese Steak, describe a little later (everything in its time).  He first came up to CT in 1994 and then moved up permanently in 1997. After years of going back and forth to Philly just to get a load of his favorite sandwich, Shem decided enough was enough. In 2010  he decided to start Philly’s and spent the year preparing the restaurant to open. When it did in 2011, it was immediately welcomed by the town residents, quickly becoming the place to go for lunch and to have provide the food for local events and fundraisers. Plus, Philly’s delivers to the Norwich area from 11-2 for lunch. Shem was taught the secrets of the true Philly Cheese Steak by his friends back down in PA, and brought the magic up with him.

Anyways, enough already with me rambling on… Let’s get to the FOOD! He started me off with the Buffalo Chicken Fries.

The fries were well seasoned and perfectly crisp out of the frier, topped with a monstrous portion of chopped Buffalo Chicken prepared with a “Doctored-up” Frank’s Sauce (as Shem put it) and a “drizzle” of Ranch Sauce. I started munching away at the sinfully delicious platter, barely getting my complimentary words out to Shem in between bites when Shem stopped me and asked one simple question… “You like ketchup?”. “Of course!” I replied. Shem responded “Put a little on them.” as he slid me the bottle across the counter. This took a great platter of fries to whole different level. The sweet tartness of the ketchup melded into the smooth ranch sauce and simply made me utter one word… “Duuuude!” That’s all I needed to say as Shem smiled knowing full well that my meal was only beginning.

Next up came “The Broad Street Bully”. An accolade winning sandwich (featured as one of the best sandwiches in THE COUNTRY by The Travel Channel), this goliath of meal is packed with Extra Meat (Twice-Shave Rib-eye), provolone, Fried Onions, Mushrooms (though I got mine without), sweet and hot peppers, pickles, and of course… Cheez Whiz.

This overstuffed behemoth could satisfy the hunger of any body, not to mention the fries I had already eaten, but I dug right in…

And after one bite, I, Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur, the man who has probably never stopped talking a day in his life, was speechless. FINALLY, an authentic Philly Cheese Steak NOT in Philadelphia. Every single ingredient melded into the next; there was no need to chew because the meat was sliced so thin it just melted in your mouth; each flavor played off the other creating a simple feeling… comfortable bliss. This was the moment that teleported me out of Norwich, CT and down to Philadelphia, PA. I do not know if I can type the words to fully do this sandwich, so I will type just one, “GO!”. Experience this or any one of the other many different varieties of Cheese Steaks. Quite possibly the most intriguing to me is the sandwich that is 100% Shem entitled “The Barkley”. Made with both steak and chicken, 3 cheeses, and a host of other toppings, this is my next order when I return. Philly’s also offers chicken instead of steak for any of the sandwiches, a variety of hoagies, and can even do a vegetarian option without the steak. One last look at the Fries and Cheese Steak before I devour them and the meat on the slicer ready to be sliced fresh for the next sandwich.

So I had some delicious food already under my belt (and pushing it out with each bite) but my feast was still not over. Next came something completely foreign to me: The Original Tarantini Panzarotti. Made by Shem’s friend Leo from Camden, NJ (right outside of PA), this was something I had never heard of yet tasted.

What’s inside that crispy, fried homemade crust? Quite simply, mozzarella and home-made sauce. This is your basic childhood pizza bite ON STEROIDS! Freshly fried with a flavorful crispy fried dough on the outside, the inside is filled with oozing, melted goodness.

If you want a trip back to your childhood, this is how you get it. I don’t know if I can go back to pizza bites after having these, but I may start trying to make them myself, though I am sure it will take me some time to get them as perfect as these.

And of course, what meal would be complete without dessert? Certainly not this feast. But for dessert we went off menu! I have been given permission to share with you one of the secrets of Philly’s: Fried Philly Bread!

As I said, this item is not on the menu, and actually not even available every day. When you go, ask for it. If they don’t have it that day or have sold out (which they do fast), GO BACK FOR IT! This is a fried cinnamon spice baked bread that is then fried to the point that there is a crispy, cinnamony outer crust, but the inside is still super moist and fluffy. The cake is then topped with vanilla ice cream and a house-made butterscotch sauce. Far from the healthiest way to finish a calorie packed meal, it was certainly the best way I can think of to end the feast. I devoured the dessert down to each spoonful of that butterscotch sauce. Also, be sure to try one of the many flavors of one of Philly’s favorite drinks, Jarritos. I went with Fruit Punch and am going to get Pineapple next time.

Quite simply put, do not miss out on this hidden treasure of Connecticut. Thank you not only to Shem (pictured below with me), but to the rest of the staff at Philly’s Marlon (pictured below, original customer and new employee), Ed, and Evan, for an amazing meal. You certainly showed me why Philly’s is the true replication of the City of Brotherly Love.

I also talked to Dave, Jess, & young Jamie who were enjoying their Barkleys and Fries. Dave had been many a time and bragged to Jess of the quality of these sandwiches, and Jess was not a believer… Until, like me, she took one bite. They all gave the food two thumbs up as their mouths were too full to comment fully. But did manage to let me know they will back… A lot! I know am looking forward to my return visit. Be sure to check out their website, friend them on facebook, and follow them on twitter. Call for your order (860)912-1057 and be sure to tell them MaurPowerFoodie sent you.

Until next time, this is Jason “Maur Power Foodie” Maur signing out. I am going into a food coma now.

Philly's CT on Urbanspoon


Tres Leches Cake… MaurPowerFoodie Style!

I was never one for the traditional cake. I always wanted an ice cream cake, or a cannoli cake, or a lava cake. Regular cake just always seemed to dry and mundane. That is until I stumbled upon my first Tres Leches Cake. Moist, flavorful, delicious, and simply right up may alley. Well recently I thought, “Why only have this special treat when I go out?” And so I set to work to create my perfect Tres Leches Cake recipe… And I did! I put my own twist on this classic Brazilian dessert, and instead of simply a vanilla cake with whipped frosting, I make a citrusy Orange-Vanilla cake with Cherry Whipped Cream. Don’t worry, even if you are not a baker, just follow these instructions and you will be fine… in fact, you will be the talk of the party! (like I was this past Easter when I made it)

Alright, so here goes…. First the Ingredients:

  • For the cake:
  1. Vegetable oil
  2. 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 4 ounces of room temperature, unsalted butter
  6. 1 cup sugar (fill the measuring cup a little of the brim on this one 😉 If you like it sweet )
  7. 5 whole eggs
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons orange extract
  10. 1 tsp lemon juice
  • For the glaze (aka The Three Milks or Tres Leches):
  1. 1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk
  2. 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  3. 1 cup half and half
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 teaspoon orange extract
  6. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • For the Whipped Cream
  1. 2 cups heavy cream
  2. 1 cup sugar (again, fill it a little over the brim)
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 3 tablespoons cherry juices (juice from a jar of maraschino cherries)
  • Top of the cake
  1. 1 lemon (for zesting)
  2. 1 jar maraschino cherries

There you have it. Now that you have all of the ingredients, let’s put this bad boy together. Starting with the cake batter:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly oil and flour a 13″x9″ metal pan.
  3. Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for about a minute until fluffy.
  4. Decrease the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the sugar.
  5. Add one egg at a time, allowing it to mix thoroughly before adding the next egg.
  6. Add the vanilla extract, orange extract, and lemon juice.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk together your flour, baking soda, and salt.
  8. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the stand mixer at a time, allowing the ingredients to mix before adding the next batch.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  10. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and set aside and let cool for about 5 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, it is time to make the glaze! Here goes:

  1. Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, half and half, vanilla extract, orange extract, and lemon juice.
  2. Take the baked and cooled cake and using toothpicks or a fork, perforate (poke) the cake to create tiny little points for the glaze to seep through.
  3. Pour the glaze on top of the cake. (this will look like it might overflow, but it won’t)
  4. Let the cake sit until the glaze has soaked in and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 6 hours, overnight is better)

Finally, now that the cake has sat and absorbed all that moist goodness, it is time to make the whipped cream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, whisk together on medium-low the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and cherry juice.
  2. As stiff peaks begin to form, increase the speed and whisk until thick.
  3. Spread the whipped cream over the cake.
  4. Place cherries on top of the whipped cream as desired.
  5. Zest your lemon, and sprinkle the zest over the cake.

That’s it! Now let’s take a gander at how it looks 🙂

Then simply enjoy it with your friends, family, coworkers, or whoever else you want to impress until it looks more like this:

I hope you all enjoy this delectable dessert as much as I do. Until next time, this is MaurPowerFoodie signing off.


The Best Burger in Connecticut?

In a State that hosts some iconic burger restaurants, from Louis’ Lunch (purported home of the original hamburger sandwich in the USA), to Ted’s (home of the World Famous Steamed Burger), to Bobby’s Burger Palace (burger restaurant of Celebrity Chef Bobby Flay), you would think there would be much debate as to who has the BEST burger in the state. Well, if you ask me… It’s none of them (Sorry Bobby… You’re still my culinary role model). My favorite burger comes from a small place in Newtown, CT called Pub 25.

To me the quintessential meal is the burger. I love them. Whether it be a beef burger, bison burger, chicken burger, shrimp burger, whatever, I love to eat them and I love to cook them. So it should come as know surprise I also have searched for the absolute best burger wherever I go. Luckily for me, in CT it is only one town away. Made from a mixture of Short Rib, Sirloin, and Chuck, this burger blows my mind. I get it topped with bacon, cheddar, a fried egg, and Pub 25’s very own fried pickle chips. Juicy, flavorful, fresh, and quite simply amazing.

Well, today I got a special treat… A behind the scenes look into the making of this masterpiece. Join me as MaurPowerFoodie goes video style on location at Pub 25 with Chef Charlie Pfeiffer…

To go along with their taste-bud tantalizing burger, co-chefs Charlie Pfeiffer and Andrew Eriquez have created a gastropub menu that features home-style favorites with a twist. From homemade potato chips with a Gorgonzola sauce, to smokey wings, to ceviche, to a killer bowl of chilli, to fall apart ribs, to meatloaf that would rival your mother’s… this place does it all, and does it all well. Throw in reasonable prices, a great bar atmosphere, a beautiful outdoor patio, and that burger… Pub 25 is the winning combination in my book. Today, in addition to our burgers, we tried the Chicken Quesadilla, topped with a jalapeno sour cream… All I can say is check it out for yourself, and yes it does taste as good as it looks.

Located at 266 South Main Street; Newtown, CT, Pub 25 is definitely a spot to not only try, but return to… again, and again, and again. Chances are you will see me there chowing down on another burger and enjoying an cold beer. Thank you to Manager Phyllis Gavin for allowing me to come and take a look behind the scenes of what, in my opinion, is the Best Burger in Connecticut. Why don’t you head on down and try it out for yourself?

Pub 25 on Urbanspoon

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


Ten Asian Bistro – Trumbull, CT

Tonight I dined for the first time at Ten Asian Bistro, located in of all place, the Trumbull Mall. Ten just recently opened, so I have been looking forward to trying it as I am a lover of Asian Cuisine. I must admit, I was extremely pleasantly surprised.

We started off with a selection of many different dumplings for our appetizer.

We had four different types of dumplings: Shumai (steamed shrimp dumpling, far left), Gyoza (fried beef dumpling, center), Dim Sum (steamed pork and shrimp dumpling, far right), and a Fried Duck Dumpling (served with a soy ginger glaze, not pictured). I don’t know about you, but dumplings are one of my favorite types of food…. so flavorful and great for tastings. The Dim Sum and Shumai were among the better dumplings I have had. The Dim Sum was extremely flavorful, yet rich and heavy. The Shumai had a beautiful sweetness and were perfectly cooked.  The Duck Dumplings were something very different. I had only had Duck Dumplings one other time (at Rickshaw Dumpling Bar) and was not impressed there. At Ten, they were delicious. You could taste the fatty goodness of the duck and the soy ginger glaze complemented it well. The Gyoza was tasty, but a little bit bland for my taste. They were perfectly cooked and enjoyable, but I would have liked a bit more seasoning. Overall, the starters were a delight, and extremely filling. Why we ordered four appetizers for two of us? Because they looked, and turns out tasted, fantastic.

Next came the entrees! We had Beef Lo Mein and Crispy Duck with Pineapple Fried Rice.

The Lo Mein was excellent… flavorful, well cooked, and large portion. However, the star of the entire meal was the duck! To begin with, the Bok Choy, of which I am usually not a huge fan, was phenomenal. Very simply, yet elegantly prepared by being sauteed in some garlic with a bit of ginger and soy. Add to that a quite tasty pineapple fried rice, and you have two wonderful sides. But the DUCK!!! This was the best prepared piece of duck I have had that I did not prepare myself or was not a duck confit. The skin was perfectly crisp, and yet the meat was tender, flavorful, rich, and quite simply delicious.

Finally, what meal would be complete without the dessert. While the waitress recommended the Tempura Ice Cream (usually one of my favorites), I was drawn to a trio of chocolate. I will say, I was misled by the description of the dessert. It was described as a dark chocolate ganache, milk chocolate mousse, and white chocolate mousse topped with dark chocolate shavings. I was expecting a trio, kind of like a tasting plate of the three different chocolates. What I got?

Something similar to a chocolate terrine. Don’t get me wrong, it was well made, tasty, and a great end to a meal I look forward to having again, just not what I expected. The whipped cream was a bit messy when it came to the plating, but that did not deter us from finishing the whole thing.

Overall, the food consisted of many shining stars and I look forward to my return visit. My one complaint, while the internal atmosphere was very nice, elegant, and enjoyable… as you look out the main window, since it is in the mall, you see a mall hallway and a bright Ruby Tuesdays sign. In the end, that did not matter in the least. I highly suggest giving Ten Asian Bistro a try. Let me know what you think.


One of my favorite tricks… The too much pasta sauce in too little time dilemma!

I don’t know about you guys, but I absolutely love pasta. However, I have become spoiled and only eat homemade sauce. Making sauce tends to be a long process so I usually make extremely large batches and freeze it in separate containers. These containers tend to be enough sauce for at the very least feeding 6-8 people pasta, usually more. This creates a problem… sometimes it is just me or me and one other person AND sometimes I don’t have time to defrost a container of sauce, yet make a whole new batch, so I developed a really quick 15 minute pasta sauce that is absolutely divine. You ready?

Here goes….

First the ingredients: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 small can tomato paste, 2 ripe tomatoes or 1 carton of ripe cherry tomatoes, 1 onion, 1 Bay leaf, 2 fresh basil leaves, 2 fresh sprigs of rosemary, 4 segments of garlic clove, 1 habanero pepper, garlic powder, a bottle of Bordeaux (optional).

That’s it! Nice and easy. Now for the process.

1) Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan. Continue reading