Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SBC Stamford

Southport Brewing Company
Stamford, CT

The night of Cinco de Mayo, FPB and its friends had a brilliant idea: to go out to a Mexican restaurant!

Unfortunately, everyone in Stamford had the exact same idea. It was already quarter past 7, and facing a 45-minute wait for a table at Maryann’s on Summer St., we made the executive decision to change plans on the fly and grab a table across the road at SBC. (And aren’t you lucky?  Lately we’ve reviewed more Mexican than the INS. It was time for something different anyway).

For those who don’t know, SBC is a brewpub, serving standard American fare and a selection of beers brewed in-house to go along with the regular tap rotation. And being that the first location opened in Southport, CT, SBC actually stands for Southport Brewing Company, leading to a crippling case of acronym confusion whereby everyone accidentally calls it Stamford Brewing Company. Let’s just move on.

Being that it WAS still Cinco de Mayo, we all opened with a round of the Margaritas SBC was advertising on its doors - $6 apiece, and you get to keep the cup! The Margaritas were pretty good, though a tad sweet for my taste (and no rock salt – alas). The cup was just a flimsy plastic thing, so we didn’t actually take them home like we would if they were sweet pint glasses or something (double alas?)

For dinner, I split an order of fried calamari and a small Margherita pizza. The calamari was nice and crispy, lightly fried with two different dipping sauces (important for a schizo like me). The Margherita pizza here, though, is really a hidden treasure. I hadn’t had it since I barfed it up after Junior prom (not the pizza’s fault, vodka’s fault), but it was just as tasty as I remembered it (on the way down, at least). Plentiful cheese, juicy tomato slices everywhere, a healthy dose of basil – just a really well-done pie in a fairly unexpected place.

Kyle ordered the Brew Burger. Despite having only two slices of bacon, the flavor was all there. Well seasoned and properly cooked to "medium" meat, smothered in caramelized onions and fontina cheese. The fries weren't too shabby either!

I was so fired up, I decided to order one of SBC’s beers, the English Pale Ale. It was decent, smooth, drinkable, but just kind of unremarkable. Then I tried the IPA that Kyle ordered, and it tasted almost exactly the same. You really have to squint your tongue to notice much of a difference at all. They were like store-brand versions of a good beer - the basics were all there, but they were missing the subtleties and flavors that make a beer "craft". That's probably why they're only $4.50 apiece.

I mean - these beers aren’t BAD, they’re just…meh. And that’s a shame, because SBC has an awesome location, a great layout, good food, and it really has a chance to be the best bar in town, except that the one thing you’d expect a brewpub to have – awesome homemade beer - is missing. It’s like watching LeBron James squander his talent year after year in the playoffs - it’s painful to watch good potential go to waste.

SBC is still a fun place to hang out, particularly during the summer, and we WILL be back…we just wish they’d remember what the B in SBC stands for.



SBC Restaurant Brewery on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tacos Mexico (Norwalk, CT)

Special Cinco de Mayo prelude by Ryan “el Chupacabra” Prescott:

As we all know, Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces in the battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Okay, none of us knew that. Even our beloved Mexican readers didn’t know that. But what we DO know is that in 2011, Cinco de Mayo is a day to eat tacos, drink tequila, and dust off your limited Spanish speaking skills from the 10th grade. One of the best places WE’VE found to do exactly that is at Norwalk’s Tacos Mexico.

Take it away, Kyle!

I first found Tacos Mexico when I was in search of place to watch the 2010 World Cup during my work lunch break. Just like Paul the Psychic Octopus, I have the power to predict the future, and I just KNEW that there would be soccer on a TV in there. OK, maybe I knew because of the’s not a stereotype if it turns out to be true. (Speaking of the name, it's not even correct grammar. How about Tacos Mexicano? Mexican Tacos? Tacos of Mexico? Generic Mexican Restaurant? But I digress.)

Once I got to the place, I was afraid that they might not even have a TV. It's in a very small shopping center alongside four other stores that you'd probably never visit. Nevertheless, I took a seat inside and was happy to find that not only was there a TV broadcasting the World Cup (I'll give points to the Octopus for that) but that TV was situated above a full bar immersed in smells of delicious Mexican cooking. This place was so good that I had to bring Food Plus Beer back to it.

We had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. Generally I take this a sign that the establishment is doing a few things right. Needless to say, we took up stations at the bar. The beer menu was exactly what you'd expect - non-existent. Various Mexican beers were offered in bottles, so we declined and ordered up a few Margaritas ($3.50 during happy hour!). They were great! Tangy with the taste of fresh squeezed lime, followed through with Tequila. We liked that the glass was crusted with both salt and crushed red pepper. Can't go wrong with that!

As for the menu, I dare you to try to find something that costs more than 14 bucks. You can't! The prices are awesome and the portions are generous. Fresh, clean, authentic tasting Mexican cuisine. Ryan and I both ordered Enchiladas and were completely satisfied. The other plates around our table looked equally delicious (a massive burrito and overflowing fajita plate). Everything had that homemade, authentic feel that proves that the chef takes pride in his offerings.

All in all, Tacos Mexico is definitely worth a try. Awesome food, good Margaritas (especially during that killer happy hour), and plus, the soap dispensers in the bathroom are empty Patron bottles. So there.


Tacos Mexico on Urbanspoon

A few local Mexican offerings for tonight (5/5/11):
Maryann’s (Stamford): drink specials, mariachi band and giveaways
Lola’s (Stamford): 5 – 8pm drink specials; 10 – 12am drink specials, dj and band [LAME!]
Red Lu Lu (Norwalk): 4pm – 1am free apps, cash bar, drink specials
Tacos Mexico (Norwalk): drink specials
Maya Rivera (Stamford):  no specials
Viva Zapata (Westport): no specials

Monday, May 2, 2011

Full Sail IPA

Full Sail IPA
6% ABV, 60 IBUs

Forty-Seven self proclaimed “Fermenters of Godlike Nectar” own the Full Sail Brewing Company out of Hood River, Oregon.  These guys have a four day work week and judging by the description on the box, I’m picturing a bunch of hippie and surfer dudes, half of them with long hair, and the other half with longer beards.  

Full Sail IPA is an English style IPA with light citrus and herbal hops with a solid malt backbone.  The initially bright hops fade fairly quickly and this turns into a well balanced easy drinking IPA.  I’d say it’s average and disappointing after reading the phrase “Godlike Nectar”.  This would serve as a great every day IPA or all-night session beer if the price was right but I wouldn’t recommend seeking this one out with the plethora of other delicious and comparably priced IPAs available on shelves in the highly competitive IPA market.