Wednesday, June 13, 2012

BK Bacon Sundae

In the past few years, McDonald's has gotten rid of "Super Size," Wendy's has expanded its salad menu - even Taco Bell has created something called the "Fresco Menu."

Burger King is giving them all the finger and introducing the Bacon Sundae. I applaud BK for having the balls to introduce a dish like this during our current "obesity crisis" climate. I believe in the consumer's right to order terribly unhealthy garbage if they're so inclined - mostly because I'm often inclined.

Hell, I'll try it. Will you?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Captain Lawrence (New & Improved!)

Back in September, FPB visited the Captain Lawrence brewery. Since then, Captain Lawrence has moved from its old digs in Pleasantville, NY, to a bigger facility in Elmsford. This provided me with a great excuse to go drink beers fresh from the source. After all, we may have reviewed the Captain Lawrence brewery, but we haven’t reviewed THIS Captain Lawrence brewery.


In the old brewery, you could sample each of CL’s on-tap beers for free. In the new brewery (newery?), you pay $2 for a tasting glass (which you keep when you go home), and drink for free from that point forward. It’s definitely worth it if you can scrounge up the two bucks.

Drink beer, take home a souvenir. Hey, that rhymes!

The outside of the old brewery was a parking lot. Parking lots are cool and all, but the new brewery has a picnic table area and a bocce court, so you can drink while getting a tan.

Joanie loves Bocce.

The old brewery had no food. The new brewery has food. You can order a selection of local meats, cheeses, nuts, and jerkies while you’re sippin’ samples.

In addition, the tasting room has more than tripled in size, and the new facility is big enough that the brewers are able to put experimental brews on tap from time to time.

With the new changes in place, Captain Lawrence is an even better spot to do a little Saturday day-drinking. Bring friends, eat, drink, and be merry. Oh, and make sure you bring a growler – at 10 bucks a fill (and $11 for their Imperial IPA), you’ll be glad you did.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Sales on Sunday!

A little less than a year ago, we gave you the lowdown on the 20% hike in CT state alcohol tax, and we ended the post by raving like lunatics about the fact that Connecticut was one of two states left in the Union that didn’t allow Sunday liquor sales.

Well, it worked. Governor Dannel Malloy, having read our blog post, was so moved and enlightened that he immediately began pressing the state for change. The result was this past Sunday – the first ever Sunday for CT State liquor sales.

You’re welcome, Connecticut. 

Ryan's first Sunday six-pack. It tasted like liberty.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DeCicco's Ardsley

For a beer dork, crossing the border from Connecticut to New York is akin to hopping over the Berlin wall and landing in Allied West Germany. A mere 15 minutes from the Nutmeg State, New York’s beer distribution list includes several amazing breweries you won’t find anywhere in CT. Like Founders. Green Flash. Sixpoint. Anderson Valley. You catch my drift. Lots of good stuff.

In addition, Westchester county is littered with places to get a growler filled – the only place I can think of in Fairfield county is the eternally disappointing SBC. So, when I heard about DeCicco’s, from my next-door neighbor and fellow beer-thusiast, I felt compelled to check it out.

 DeCicco's is Italian for "Yummy Happy Beer Place."

First things first - DeCicco’s is not a liquor store. It’s actually a family-owned, slightly high-end grocery store in the vein of Whole Foods. (At least that’s the impression I got while I was sprinting towards the beer section). However, I hadn’t driven to Ardsley, NY for kale.

The DeCicco’s beer selection, in terms of number of options, is on par with some of the better liquor stores in the Fairfield County area. The difference is the inclusion of the excellent breweries I listed earlier, and the 10-tap growler station.

Did I mention there's cheese at the growler station? There's cheese at the growler station.

On this day, I filled a growler with Troeg’s Nugget Nectar, grabbed a bottle of my beloved Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, and snagged a 4-pack of Founders Imperial Stout. None of which, mind you, can be purchased in Stamford. Not a bad haul for a 30 minute drive.

My only complaint would be the fact that my girlfriend’s mom’s maiden name is DeCicco, and yet I didn’t get a family discount. Very disappointing. Other than that – the store kicks ass, and you should check it out.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Fat Cat Pie Co

Norwalk, CT = the worst website ever. Seriously.

As we all know, and as the Stamford Pizza Tour folks constantly remind us, Stamford is saturated with pizza places. There’s a slice for every occasion – Colony when I crave that salty, greasy, deliciousness, Coalhouse when I want to enjoy my pizza with an amazing beer, Remo’s for that classic, fresh, saucy feel, and of course that place around the corner that delivers for those times when I can’t seem to pry myself off the couch. With all of these amazing choices, and many more, why would I leave Stamford for a piece of pizza? Fat Cat Pie Co in Norwalk is one reason.

I like thin crust pies. Fat Cat’s crust is about is thin as it gets. Thin Lizzy would endorse it. In fact, they probably give you the least amount of substance possible for a 13” pizza. You’d be disappointed if you tried to share a pizza with someone, as you’ll have no trouble putting one back on your own. Although small, the crackery crust gives the pies a nice snappy crunch, and just enough support for a thin layer of sauce, and a light sprinkling of cheese and toppings. It’s a minimalistic pie, and it’s not exactly a bargain.

With all of that said, you might be wondering why I just told you to venture outside the nest to try it. Because Fat Cat’s different. It feels more like a wine bar than a pizza place. It’s a dimly lit open room with exposed brick walls and a chill vibe. They have a decent selection of wine and usually a few unexpected craft beers on tap, accompanied by a decent bottle menu. Unlike most pizza places, it’s unlikely that you’ll see Fat Cat overrun with children and families. The ingredients are fresh, all organic, and they serve tasty salads, cheese, fresh baked local breads and delicious coffee. So go ahead, give it a try when you’re looking for something a little different than your old standbys.

They give you variety of Penzey's spices to top your pizza

Here’s our recommendations:

Nona Massini’s sliced meatballs – real, tasty, meatballs. Not just a clump of ground beef.
Seasonal spicy peppers – these fresh peppers add a lot of zing to your pie. Moderate heat.
Breakfast pizza – Local eggs and cheese on a buttered pizza crust.


Fat Cat Pie Co on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Station Eats

Station Eats | Menu
Stamford, CT

Somewhere between McDonald’s and Mackenzie’s; between Burger King and Burger Bar, exists a space. Let’s call it the High End Burger Shack. (HEBS). The HEBS business model has been exploding in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why.

Say you want a nice, juicy burger. (In other words, say you’re me, at any given time). You don’t want to do the whole sit-down dinner thing with a wait staff, and a hostess, and tipping – I mean, it’s just a damn burger. But at the same time, you don’t want one of the synthetic sodium grenades you’d get at a fast food place. 

So, what’s the solution? Five Guys. Shake Shack. In-N-Out Burger (I will have it someday, dammit!). The solution is the HEBS. The wonderful little grey area between eat-in and take-out. The perfect beefquilibrium.

I love the HEBS. It’s my kind of place. So when I found out that Station Eats had opened in downtown Stamford, and had already received ringing endorsements from our comrades at OmNomCT, I just had to check it out.

High-end FoodPlusBeer photography strikes again.

The interior looks, well, like a HEBS. It’s stylishly designed, with the menu written on the wall in huge letters, so you can read it clearly, regardless of how drunk you are. The order process works more like Subway or Chipotle than Five Guys – you tell ‘em how much meat & cheese you want up front, and then walk your cooked burger through the topping station. It’s a perfect opportunity for impulsivity (OOH! I want jalapeños, too!)

I ordered a double cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, oni…wait, you don’t care what I got on my burger, do you? It’s okay, I wouldn’t care what you got on yours either. The point is, they’re made to order and you can get whatever you want. Same with the fries – you can get them with cheese, chili, Station Eats signature sauce, whatever your clogged little heart desires.

Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast.

I also ordered the U-Turn, one of Station Eats’ “Hi-Octane” shakes for grown-ups. Chocolate ice cream, Oreo chunks, and bourbon - it’s like breakfast at Charlie Sheen’s house.

The burger was everything I could have expected – juicy, fresh, and tender…due in no small part to the fact that their meat is organic, and grass-fed, and locally sourced, and all that good stuff. The fries were perfectly hot, crispy and potato-ey. The shake had just the right amount of bourbon where its presence was felt, but it didn’t overpower the chocolate.

It was a perfect HEBS experience. Oh, yeah - did I mention that we were sitting on one of the picnic tables on their ROOFTOP DECK? Burgers and fresh air – what a combo. Just imagine what this place is going to look like on Alive at Five nights this summer.
It’s a good time to be a burger junkie. Long live Station Eats. Long live the HEBS.


Station Eats on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coalhouse Victory Bacon Beer Dinner

At FPB, we love bacon. We love beer. We love dinner. So it’s no surprise that we would love a bacon beer dinner.

That’s exactly what we were treated to Monday night at Coalhouse Pizza (our review) - five delicious courses featuring everyone’s favorite cut of piggy. Five hoppy delights from the excellent Victory Brewing Company out of Downington, PA. The pairings, meticulously crafted by our blogger buddies over at OmNomCT, were a wonderful work of bacony, beery art.

In a normal review, this would be the part where I’d go through each of the recipes and each of the beers. However, on a night where we ate like Timothy McVeigh minutes before his execution, I think I’ll spare you the details. Instead, I’ll run through some quick highlights.

-The bacon blues salad gave new life to the phrase “beauty in simplicity.” It was also paired with Victory Headwaters Pale Ale, which kicks all kinds of ass.

-The Hawaiian Pizza with thick-cut bacon and habañero (Did I have to google “Spanish ‘N’ and copy and paste it just now? You bet) peppers was surprisingly delicious and balanced, and would probably be added to the menu permanently if Gerard could think of a Hawaiian blues song. (Dick Dale – Misirlou?).

-The Victory Storm King Stout Butterbeer was a really inventive, different, and delicious way to incorporate the beer into the dinner. Kudos to OmNom (and Harry Potter) for thinking outside the box on this one.

-Kyle spilled water all over Kristien from OmNom. I feel it’s my duty as a ball-buster to mention this in the post.

All in all, it was a fabulous night and one my arteries will never forget.


P.S. - For nostalgia's sake, check out our writeup of the Oskar Blues beer dinner, which took place nearly a year ago to the day.

Oskar Blues Beer Dinner

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Louis Lunch - The First Hamburger Sandwich

I have been to the Empire State Building. I have seen Independence Hall. I have stood on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial and climbed the Statue of Liberty.

And now, I have eaten at Louis Lunch.

For as long as I can remember, cheeseburgers have been my favorite food. I love them. I cherish them. “Super Size Me” made me hungry. So walking into Louis Lunch, the self-proclaimed birthplace of the cheeseburger, was a sort of religious experience for me. As an agnostic fat kid, Louis Lunch is my Bethlehem. Or something like that.

You walk in the front door of Louis’, and…that’s it. You’re at the counter. The interior has been carved up by generations of carnivorous drunks and college students. The tables and booths are bizarrely small, lending some support to the notion that we as Americans have ballooned up over the past 100 years. The grills are upright gas cookers that have been in use by the restaurant since 1898. You’ve never seen anything like them and you probably won’t ever again.

When it comes to ordering, the only thing you can order is a burger. The only toppings are tomatoes, onions, and some sort of cheese spread. The burger is served on white toast. Ask for ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce or anything else and you are excommunicated.

As for the taste – the burgers are super juicy and tender, and you can tell the meat is high quality as they grind their own beef in-house. The toast lends a satisfying crunch and the tomato and onion add cool, crisp texture and a little bit of extra zing.

Is it the best burger I’ve ever had? No – although it’s a damn good, freshly made, satisfying sandwich. But the real charm is in the atmosphere. The history. You’re sitting in a tiny little shack, right next to the grandson of the man who invented the cheeseburger. He’s using the weirdest grill you’ve ever seen. He refuses to use condiments or expand the menu. And yet the line is still out the door. Stubbornness in the restaurant business is refreshing to see sometimes - Louis Lunch believes in doing things a certain way, and that’s just how it’s gonna be.

More power to ‘em.


Louis' Lunch on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Beer bet for the NFC Championship

Just a friendly football rivalry between two great brewers:

"A friendly wager has been placed between Brooklyn Brewery and Anchor Brewing Co. that our respective hometown teams will win the National Football Conference game this Sunday.

John Dannerbeck, president of Anchor Brewing Co. of San Francisco, and Steve Hindy, president of Brooklyn Brewery in New York, have agreed to pour the other brewery’s beer and outfit their brewery tour staff in jerseys from the opposing team for a week if their team loses the title game in San Francisco on Sunday. The brewery chiefs will wear the jerseys of shame as well.

“We are very confident that the 49ers will come through for us and we will not have to suffer this humiliation,” said Dannerbeck. “We beat the Giants earlier this year, and I am sure we will do it again.”

“The Giants have come together in an impressive way since the post-season commenced,” said Hindy. “We think Eli Manning and his team are going to avenge that earlier loss and move on to the Super Bowl.”

May the best team win!"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beach Burger

“Well, well, well, look who decided to get off his lazy ass and write a blog post...”

Whoa. No need for name-calling, anonymous snarky reader. I happen to have been going through a lot of stressful and important st…okay, I’ve been lazy. Sorry about that. Please accept this post as my apology. 

 Suck it, Ansel Adams!

I know what you’re thinking. Why am I blogging a place called “Beach Burger” in January? I’ll tell you why. Burgers are not seasonal. I like burgers on the beach. I like burgers by the fireplace. It really doesn’t matter. It’s about the beef, not the motif. (I’m trademarking this.)

We walked into the joint and were immediately greeted by steel drum music – the unique island sound featured in “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid, and of course, all the Girls Gone Wild commercials. A good start.

The interior had a warm beach-town feel to it, like something out of LBI or Cape Cod, complete with buoys, nautical ropes, and starfish. My attention, however, was turned to the four or five flatscreen TVs mounted above the register, showcasing the various menu items.

I chose the Bynum Burger, named for Marc Anthony Bynum, the celebrity chef who worked with the owner to create Beach Burger’s menu. The burger consisted of a juicy, high-quality beef patty, tender pulled pork, crunchy onion strings and tangy BBQ sauce. In a word – awesome. One of the best burgers in the area and certainly worth the trip.


The fries, however, stole the show for me. They’re hand-cut in the kitchen, fried perfectly golden brown with just the right about of crispiness, and topped with the right amount of sea salt. Right up there with Five Guys (note: this is a very good thing).

Looking at the menu, there are a ton of reasons to come back. They have fried seafood (filling the void left behind by Overton’s seasonality), a unique selection of homemade milkshakes, and of course, more burgers (including one with fried oysters on it!)

If you’re in the area, stop by. If you’re not in the area, stop by anyway. It’s worth it.