Tag Archives: Joe Bastianich

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


MasterChef – One Year Later; Avon Walk For Breast Cancer; A Special Foodie PenPal Package; and a MAURPOWERFOODIE GIVEAWAY!!!

Last night marked the premier of MasterChef Season 4, and I could not help but feel a rush of nostalgia, as it was just 1 year ago that I was going through the excitement of being one of the top 100 in Season 3. From news appearances to interviews and features in papers, tribunes, websites, and magazines, it was an amazing time. An experience I am so fortunate to have had, and the birth of MAURPOWERFOODIE! Can’t believe that this was but 1 year ago…

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I still have not worn that shirt since the show. But I did do something else for the first time since being on the show. I used the ingredient which quite arguably sent me home… Black Garlic.

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For my dish on the show, I decided to use a smear of black garlic on the plate for presentation and too add a depth of flavor. This did not go over well with the judges (the infamous skidmark remark) and in retrospect was a horrible use of the ingredient. Well I decided what better way to pay tribute to the amazing experience I had on the show and how far I have come since by using Black Garlic the right way in order for a MasterChef Season 4 Premier/Season 3 1 Year Anniversary Dinner. So last night I had my friend Alyssa over for dinner and the show. And the meal was fantastic. Black Garlic Rubbed Steak, Black Garlic Butter Corn on the Cob, and Loaded Smashed Baked Potato. As you can see, Alyssa enjoyed it thoroughly:

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MasterChef was a huge step on my culinary journey and has led me towards many things. As for last night’s premier… what a great episode! Definitely some amazing talent this year, some unfortunate flops, the judges were on top of their game in both entertaining and giving some solid critiques. So happy to see my boy Luca Manfe from Season 3 back after his heartbreaking elimination last year and can’t wait to see what he does this year to redeem himself. One thing some of you may remember me conquering after MasterChef was walking 40 MILES for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer!

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Well, I am happy to announce that I am walking again this year 🙂 I have a fundraising goal I have to make of $1800.00, so please, help me out and make a donation to help put an end to Breast Cancer. And be sure to see below how your donations can help you win today’s MaurPowerFoodie Giveaway!

Speaking of that giveaway… I decided to do it because my Foodie PenPal whom I sent a package to last month, Judy Thompson, was nice enough to actually send me one back. So I figured to pay it forward, I would give away a PenPal box just like the one I sent Judy to one of my luck followers. First things first, what did Judy send me? An amazing collection of snack foods: Chocolate covered marshmallows, Chocolate covered potato chips, Chocolate covered cherries, caramel waffle crisps, and almond biscotti. All of which were delicious and have since been devoured.

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Which brings us to what you have all been waiting for… the GIVEAWAY! Your own MaurPowerFoodie PenPal Box, featuring some of my favorite snacks and ingredients and pictured below:

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So, how do you win??? Easy! All you have to do is go to the Giveaway post and follow the simple instructions.

There you have it! It is as easy as that to earn anywhere from 1-8 entries for the MaurPowerFoodie PenPalPackage, and the drawing will be done June 21st at 8:00 PM EST, so be sure to ENTER NOW!!! Winner will be contacted by e-mail to make arrangements to get your address to send your prize to 🙂 Good luck everyone.

Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing off. Can’t wait to see who the winner is 🙂


MasterChef: Premiere Day – Morning News Appearance and Interviews

Well, it is finally premiere day for MasterChef season 3 and that means A LOT of publicity going on!

First and foremost, I was on the FoxCT morning show earlier today doing a cooking demo and interview about my time on the show. It was a lot of fun and featured pulled pork, a deliciously refreshing cocktail, and my Bacon, Garlic, and Egg Fried Rice. Thank you so much to FoxCT for having me. Watch the video of my demo and interview here.

Also on the show that morning fellow contestant and good friend Arnaud Bourgeois, a pilot from Woodbury, CT.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! There was also a featured article and in depth interview posted today on abovethelaw.com. Find out some of my thoughts and feeling on the judges, my fellow competitors, the experience, and my future in the culinary world. Also published today was a brief article in the ABA Journal.

AND YET THERE IS MORE!!! This is a two night premiere… so tonight I will be tweeting live from my house as I watch the episode, but tomorrow I will be tweeting live from a premiere party in Boston with fellow contestants (including my dear friends Aj and Anna Rossi, the first husband and wife duo in the top 100), contestants from previous seasons, and of course, the press. I will post pictures and talk about the party shortly afterwards.

Well, until next time this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing off! Enjoy the premiere everybody… I know I will.


One Last MasterChef Update!

Tomorrow is the premiere of season 3 of MasterChef on Fox. Be sure to look for me as I try to earn an apron from Chef Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Chef Graham Elliot, three of the toughest critics there are. The show premieres tomorrow (June 4th)  night at 9 PM on Fox. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!!! For those of you in CT, be sure to tune in or set your DVRs for tomorrow morning at 9 AM for the CT Local Morning Show. I will be on doing a cooking demonstration of my Bacon, Garlic, and Egg Fried Rice and one of my Pulled Pork recipes, as well as doing an interview on the show. There will also be a feature about me on AbovetheLaw.com posted some time tomorrow.

Will Chef Ramsay’s disapproval of my plating be my downfall? Do I earn a coveted apron, or do I have to settle for top 100 out of over 50,000 amateur chefs across the Country? Will I wear the same outfit on the morning show as I did on MasterChef, seen above? All of these questions and so many more to be answered tomorrow. Tune in!

Also, for more news on the show and some more preview pics be sure to check out my other update posts: MasterChef on Fox… An Update and MasterChef Season 3.

Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing off. See you on TV tomorrow. Enjoy!


MasterChef on Fox… An update, some pics, and a preview!

Hey everyone!

As you may recall me mentioning in an earlier post, I was recently in California filming as I was one of the top 100 Amateur Chefs selected from all over the country to compete on this year’s season of MasterChef on Fox! The show premieres June 4th. Be sure to tune in to watch me compete.

Well, there was an updated preview, and that’s right, I, the MaurPowerFoodie, was in it a few times.

Watch as I listen and take in the Judges’ Opening Speech!

Then see me again as I am cutting and preparing my dish!

See my home-made stove top smoker!

See me get the crowd revved up as I finish cooking!

See me present my dishes to the Judges: Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Graham Elliott

And finally… See none other than Gordon Ramsay tear apart the plating of my dish!(Not gonna lie, this was tough!)

 

Was the dreadful plating enough to be my downfall, or did the quality of the food prevail? Find out on MasterChef this season, June 4th, 9 PM, on FOX.

At the very least  we know I was not the worst dish in the competition (also featured in this clip!) You can see the entirety of the preview clip and a list of all 100 finalists here!


Master Chef Season 3

I am extremely excited to finally be able to announce that I was selected as on of the top 100 amateur chefs in the country and was granted the opportunity to compete on MasterChef. The show premieres on June 4th at 9 PM. It was an amazing experience for which I will always be grateful, not only for the step it allowed me to take on my culinary journey, but for the amazing people I met and have become such a huge part of my life. To be able to cook a dish for Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Graham Elliot was a true honor. What did they have to say? You will have to tune it to find out.

Please be sure to check out the premiere and keep your eye out for me, Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur.

For more information, be sure to check out the official press release or Fox’s MasterChef page.