Monday, June 22, 2009

Restaurants: Harborview Market, Bridgeport, CT

Harborview Market, located in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport (adjacent to Saint Mary's by the Sea), has been around for years, but outside of its immediate neighborhood, is perhaps one of Fairfield County's best kept secrets.

The bustling market selling all types of grocery provisions, and also does a brisk restaurant business at both breakfast and lunchtime. Mornings they offer house made croissants (and on weekends, chocolate filled ones too!), muffins, and other baked goods, as well as bagels, pancakes, french toast, eggs, and the like. They also serve a wide variety of lunches, for eat in or take out.
The atmosphere is extremely casual, and there are an eclectic collection of antique-style tables scattered throughout the front of the market where you can eat, or, better yet, in warmer weather you can bring your food outside to one of the many sidewalk tables. Orders are placed and paid for at the counter inside, however staff members will happily bring orders to your table if they are anything requiring more than a minute or so to prepare (like pancakes, etc).

Harborview Market is decidedly "old school", which is exactly what I love about it. There is no pretension, no fussiness, and nothing formal about the entire experience. You feel almost transported back to a simpler time; there is nothing ultra-modern about this place and I think it is perfect just as it is. In this "throw-away" society where we discard and knock down anything that no longer gleams, it is absolutely refreshing to sit and enjoy a bagel at a true neighborhood place where coffee is actually called coffee, it's not odd to share a table with a stranger reading his newspaper, and your view is a residential neighborhood, rather than a shopping plaza or gas station.
Harborview Market
218 Harborview Avenue
Bridgeport, CT
Photos by kHyal, 2008 (via Facebook)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Movies: Food, Inc.

Coming (hopefully) soon to a theatre near this YouTube trailer for a new documentary on the food we eat and why it is making us sick....

Food, Inc. trailer

Monday, June 15, 2009

Restaurants: Garden Catering, Fairfield, CT

Garden Catering, the well known establishment revered for its fried chicken and famous chicken nuggets, has opened an outpost on Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield. It began in the late 70s in Greenwich, and later expanded to Old Greenwich, Stamford, and Westchester County. Now Fairfielders can see what all the buzz is about! One friend, who is originally from Old Greenwich, said "I grew up on Garden Catering chicken bits at their original location and couldn't be more psyched about them opening in Fairfield!"

Breakfast sandwiches are served all day, along with burgers, hot dogs, chili, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and of course, chicken (take out or eat in). Since Garden Catering is known for their chicken, I decided to try their famous nuggets, which are all white meat and hand-cut. These are definitely not your usual chicken nuggets! On the side I got a big order of "cones", which are like fried mashed potato balls (think "tater-tots" that actually taste good), plus some fried zucchini. Everything was a hit with the kids and grown-ups alike. I enjoyed my nuggets sprinkled with their special seasoning (which is similar to a Lawry's-type seasoning), and dipped into the sweet and sour sauce (they also have barbeque and honey mustard).

I'll admit I was a bit skeptical, since I'm not a huge fan of fried food, and generally speaking, avoid any food with the word "nugget" attached to it. However, everything really was delicious--and no trans fats! It took every fiber of my being not to eat the entire container of cones on the car ride home! This is a great idea for a quick meal or a picnic. My friend said it best: "You absolutely cannot beat the huge chunks of white meat nuggets with their special seasoning, especially when you need to grab something for the beach!"

Just be sure NOT to close up those bags and containers in which the food is served...everything will lose its fantastic crispiness! The staff is well versed in all of this, so they will remind you if you forget and begin sealing everything up!

I'm definitely going to go back to try the salads and wraps.....and am glad to have another take-out meal idea up my sleeve! It is also a great idea for a casual party. Check it out!

Garden Catering

2074 Black Rock Turnpike

Fairfield, CT


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Restaurants: Amici Miei Cafe, Bridgeport, CT

I've blogged about my favorite Bridgeport eateries before, and with so many new spots opening in downtown Bridgeport, I'm adding more to my list all the time! Downtown Bridgeport has really become a nighttime dinner destination, and now you'll want to head there for lunch as well!

Today I went to check out Fraiche Burger (997 Main Street), only to find its chef/owner, Marc Lippman, outside with take-out in his hands! Due to circumstances out of his control, he had to push the opening of the very casual burger shop to Monday, June 15th. He did give me a sneak-peak inside and at the menu while my daughter kept herself busy drawing on the giant chalk board that runs the entire length of the restaurant. I'll definitely be stopping by next week, but in the meantime, I asked him where we should eat! He pointed to his take-out boxes and recommended his friend's new place, Amici Miei Cafe, which opened this week on the very next block (957 Main Street). We headed right over.

At first glance, I thought Amici Miei (that's "A-mee-chee Mee-A-ee") which is Italian for "my friends" was a serve-yourself-and-go-sit kind of place, similar to Senor Salsa (formerly La Salsa). The counter at the front was crowded with people, whom I realized later, were just taking food to go. As it turns out, the large booths and smattering of tables are for table service, and we were seated in the back atrium area (a glass covered courtyard, of sorts, which could greatly benefit from some large potted trees or dividers to define the space a bit). The inside decor is very modern, with bright orange walls and black accents. The open kitchen and very high ceilings give the space an urban feel, which lent itself to the overall good vibe of the place.

The menu is casual Italian----pressed panini and tramezzini* sandwiches with a variety of fillings, salads, and thin crust pizzas. The delicious sandwiches came with a nice little pasta and bean salad, and the individual pizzas were generously sized and tasty. Better yet, the entire menu was priced from $4.99 to $7.99! Amici Miei is open for lunch and dinner Mondays-Saturdays. I hear a liquor license is on its way as well!

Amici Miei Cafe
957 Main Street (near the Courthouse)
Bridgeport, CT

*Tramezzini are smaller sandwiches made from sliced bread, rather than rolls.