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We are having a 60th birthday party for my mother next weekend, and am looking for a decent bakery in the Fairfield County area (specifically Trumbull/Fairfield/Westport) to pick up a cake.

Unfortunately, we are flying up from DC, so no chance of bringing a homemade one up there on the put-put plane...and my parents don't bake (my husband almost died when he found that we had no measuring cups and the measuring spoons were all in chinese...).

Thanks!

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Westport; Greenwich

Ok, word from home (Finally!) is 'Great Cakes' in Westport. Fortunately, it's supposed to be very good since nobody knew of any other places in that area (waiting to hear back from an uncle in Trumbull).

Might be a bit far, but there are a few very good options in Greenwich, such as St. Moritz and The Black Forest Pastery Shop, and Versailles. That's a good 15-20 minutes or so down 95 from the very South edge of Fairfield, at which point you'd have driven right by MY favorite bakery, Angela Mia in my hometown of Norwalk! Better Italian pastry and cookies than cakes, though. Also 'Michaelina' in Wilton!

Not sure how the logistics of general aviation works, but since it sounds like youre flying yourselves, you could always land in Danbury to get to Wilton and Norwalk area, or White Plains to get to Greenwich! Probably be an expensive cake run....

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Trumbull

Thanks Shogun! In my unreliable internet research ("fairfield" "westport" and bakery" on google), I also came across Great Cakes. I'm glad to have confirmation that it is the place to go to. I will report back.

My mother consistently buys cakes for Thanksgiving at Frances Bakery, which appears to be the main one in Trumbull. It gets raves there, but every cake I've had has just been overly-sweet fruit-filled cakes.

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Stamford

Wow, St. Moritz, a blast from the past. I grew up in Stamford, CT and we always went to St. Moritz for the best chocolate Moose cake. They also had perfect chocolate moose that came in glass bowls. I think you were supposed to return the bowls (maybe for more chocolate moose), but we kept the bowls and bought more. My dad still uses them.

Now, I haven't had it since the early 1990's, but for an old school classic bakery, that might be the place.

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Great Cakes was a big hit! We had the marble cake with chocolate mouse, which was moist and delicious. The bottom of the cake was thin crunchy chocolate layer, which was a nice touch. The decoration was beautiful-- delicate tiny pastel flowers around the border, well-suited for a 60th birthday cake for my mom.

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West Hartford

I had a good dinner once* at Lemongrass in West Hartford. Looked like there might have been other good places in that general area. The chicken Panang curry I had was better than anything I can recall having around here. My usual request of 'extra spicy' proved to be unnessesary and indeed likely ill-advised in retrospect! ph34r.gif

Lemongrass
7 South Main Street
West Hartford, CT 06107
860-233-4405

*I only went once. I didn't go multiple times and have but one good meal

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Hartford; West Hartford

I had a good dinner once* at Lemongrass in West Hartford. Looked like there might have been other good places in that general area. The chicken Panang curry I had was better than anything I can recall having around here. My usual request of 'extra spicy' proved to be unnessesary and indeed likely ill-advised in retrospect! ph34r.gif

Lemongrass
7 South Main Street
West Hartford, CT 06107
860-233-4405

*I only went once. I didn't go multiple times and have but one good meal
Lemongrass is a good bet. Also in WH Center, Grant's does a good job of "Modern American", and Max's Oyster Bar is a nice spot, if you can wade through the throng of Desperate Housewives at the bar.

In downtown Hartford, try Max Downtown, Pastis, or Peppercorn's. If you have already been - where did you decide on?
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West Hartford

We ended up not eating out while we were there... my friends and I cooked at their house. We did do take-out sushi from a place in West Hartford that was really not bad, surprisingly. (I don't remember the name, unfortunately.) But the last time I was there, a couple of years ago, I ate at Red Plate, downtown. It was fine. Nothing special, but they had decent pizzas and good beer on tap.

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Hamden

We took the boy up to Hamden CT to visit Quinnipiac Univ. and had lunch at Luce. Owned by Ralph and Anna Iannaccone, the Chef is Lucian Iannaccone.

The first thing to say is that the wine list is fantastic. About 40 pages long, with a whole page of Gaja, 6 years of Ridge MonteBello available (the '94 was $125) and everything well priced. The food was wonderful.

I started with Traditional Dru-Cured meats, prosciutto, soppessata and mortadella served with provolone Auricchio, fresh bocconcini mozzarella and grilled eggplant. For my entree I had Ucelletti Ticinese, veal rolled with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, pignoli nuts, Gorgonzola cheese, in a fresh tomato and wild mushroom cognac sauce. It was sublime. My son started with mini crabcakes with a dijon sauce then had the Rissotto Pescatore, morsels of shrimp, scallops, calamari, lobster and Mediterranean clams simmered in a light tomato stock with Arborio rice. My wife had the Insalata di Spinaci, baby spinach salad with crispy pancetta, walnuts, caramelized onions, Gorgonzola, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. She then had the Bucatini Calabrese, over-sized spaghetti, thinly sliced eggplant in a pomodoro ragout, topped with dry ricotta chese and bsil.

Since it was lunch, we only ordered a half bottle of wine, but at $19, the 2004 Merryvale Chard was very good. Service was excellent and efficient and the restaurant is very pleasent, formal but not fussy.

The dinner menu is a little more expensive, with beginning plates running from $6-13, and the entrees in the $20-25 range.

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New Haven

I just found out that I have to go to Norwich, CT for a social event for my business. And my wife is willing to go. Norwich is about 50 miles from one of the best meals I have ever had in my life: on Wooster street in New Haven. My wife has heard me rave about this for over 13 years. In two weeks she will finally, with me, experience Pepe's or Sally's pizza....(whoever's line is shorter).

Equal to a visit to any Michelin three star!

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Hartford; New Haven

I just found out that I have to go to Norwich, CT for a social event for my business. And my wife is willing to go. Norwich is about 50 miles from one of the best meals I have ever had in my life: on Wooster street in New Haven. My wife has heard me rave about this for over 13 years. In two weeks she will finally, with me, experience Pepe's or Sally's pizza....(whoever's line is shorter).

Equal to a visit to any Michelin three star!
Ah, Frank Pepe's. My mom grew up in New Haven and she comes from a Pepe's family, to the point that they didn't always have to wait in line for a table. We would always get takeout on family visits and my mom has been known to get a pie half-baked to bring back to NJ to finish up there.

I had a conference this year in Hartford, so my coworker friend who grew up in CT and I took 5 of our coworkers to Pepe's. We sat at the front large booth, ordered way too much pizza (bacon and mozzarella was a must order for me) and drank Foxon Park grape soda. I walked/waddled out of there with blackened fingers and a burned roof of the mouth, but I was in heaven. wub.gif

Joe, I envy you. Enjoy!
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Fairfield; New Haven

My wife and I had lunch today at Frank Pepe's. First, they have opened a NEW Frank Pepe's in Fairfield, CT with a NEW coal oven.

http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.as...3491&RefID=3537

It only opened three weeks ago so much of the world does not know about it yet. We have not been but somehow I must confess to a really ambivalent reaction to a "new" Frank Pepe's. I also felt somewhat uneasy standing in line, waiting for their 11:30AM Friday (and Saturday) opening. I should note that there were approximately 40 people in line for this; at 1:00 when we left there were a half dozen empty booths.

My wife and I had three pizzas (Hey, this is Pepe's!): a medium bacon and onion, a medium all pepperoni half onion, and a fresh clam pizza. We agreed the best was the bacon and onion. It's crust was in the oven a few seconds longer than the other two and a bit crisper. The clam pizza was equal to any I've had in over 20+ years of going there and the pepperoni was a bit undercooked. Still, the edges of the blackened crust of all three were fantastic.

When we finished satiating ourselves we found we had about one and a half of the pizzas left and brought them home. We drove straight back from New Haven to Reston, leaving New Haven at 1:00, arriving in Reston at 6:45. A friend has an 18" pizza stone which we heated in a 450 degree oven. With the stone blistering hot we placed the remaining pizza slices on it and baked them for about two minutes.

1. Both of the pizzas which had tomotoes (either pepperoni and onion or bacon and onion) were NINETY PER CENT AS GOOD AS WHAT WE HAD IN NEW HAVEN SIX + HOURS EARLIER. Serious. Maybe even 92 and 1/2%.

2. The clam pizza was 75% as good, only the slightly tough clams detracted from it while the crust matched the tomato topped pie.

Point: After twenty + years of annually stopping at either Pepe's, Sally's or Modern I know now that I can get a FULLY BAKED pizza and bring it straight home, continue to bake it on a pizza stone for about two minutes in a hot oven and it will be damn near as good as what I had in New Haven fresh from the oven.

Yes, Pepe's at 90% blows away Two Amy's, Paradiso, Ledo's, Pizza Pantry and any other pizza joint/restaurant/carry out south of Trenton. I am convinced of this statement. Excuse me while, as I type this, I take another bite.....

I continue to believe after several decades of exhaustive research and several million well invested calories that Frank Pepe's has the best pizza on earth with, possibly Sally's, two blocks up the street, a very close second. Third may be the original Frank Pepe's which is called The Spot. And, yes, I have been all over New York, Naples and Chicago. Fourth may also be in New Haven (no, I have never run for office there) at Modern.

If a new Frank Pepe's in Fairfield is as good as the original as Jane and Michael insist there may be hope for finding a community that will allow a NEW coal oven and perhaps authentic New Haven pizza outside of New Haven. Even if the water for the crust has to be bottled and brought in....

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Hi, I am off to Providence next week. Any suggestions of restaurants? I am staying at the Courtyard Marriott near the State House. will be there Saturday to Monday. I will have a car, but we may not want to drive too far. I have been to Newport before, but need to be in Providence for work.

Thanks!

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Providence

Al Forno for a serious dinner-it has a national reputation and is generally considered Providence's best restaurant. Federal Hill has excellent Italian, better than, say, Little Italy in Baltimore and arguably equal to Philly's South Street area. A GREAT pizza joint called Caserta's is well worth searching for. Howard Stern used to bring Caserta's pizza to D. C. when he started at DC 101 in the early '80's. For incredible shore ambience the Lobster Pot is about five miles outside of the city (across the harbor from Newport) but well worth a trip. Sit outside on the terrace. Fantastic atmosphere and surprisingly good food. Superb steamers. Superb!

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Providence

Well, I made it to Neath's on Saturday, work didn't allow a good dinner Sunday night. Neath's specializes in seafood and the chef is Cambodian. we enjoyed the food, which was sort of French-Asian. We started with littleneck clams in a lovely broth that was very fragrant.

We then had a scallop special (on julianned veggies and fresh fiddle heads, so New England) and an amazing seared Tuna with rice noodles. We finished with a chocolate filled wanton and ginger ice-cream.

The setting was lovely, overlooking booming Providence.

We were able to steal away for a quick lunch at Julian's in Federal Hill on Sunday. It is a great local joint and they have a fantastic house-made ketchup. It was so good we were dipping bread into it. They used lots of fresh ingredients in what we ordered.

I would go back to get some more classic seafood or Italian. There were lots of great restaurants to choose from, just no time! I wanted to try Al Forno, but we were limited with both time and budget. a friend said it is not as good as it used to be.

They have some sort of installation a few times a year called water fire (http://www.waterfire.com/) where they light little fires along the river. It was not going on this weekend, but locals told us it is kind of cool.

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Noank (near Mystic)

...and so that naturally begs the next question....why not? biggrin.gif and Grover and I will know in a couple of weeks. This weekend, Mystic, CT, next weekend Pomme...

Near Mystic: Abbott's Lobster Pound, the southernmost genuine Maine lobster pound on the east coast. It's in Noank, only a few miles away.

http://www.abbotts-lobster.com/pictures.html

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Near Mystic: Abbott's Lobster Pound, the southernmost genuine Maine lobster pound on the east coast. It's in Noank, only a few miles away.

http://www.abbotts-lobster.com/pictures.html

That's where we're headed for lunch (lobster rolls) on Friday and then next door to (no joke) Costello's...for dessert...but I'm really looking for someone who's been to Pomme so I know whether I should venture that close to C'ville and not go to C&O.
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New Haven

When surface temperatures dip below freezing for a week or so, the ground becomes too hard and frozen for the diggers to go out raking clams. And a small sign goes up in the front window of Frank Pepe's on Wooster Street: "sorry, no clams today" surrounded by little frowny faces. This says a lot about the freshness of the shellfish.

Pepe's opens at 11:30 most days, which gives it a leg up on accessibility over Sally's up the street, which only opens for dinner at 5pm. Once you make it out of the self-organizing queue, the guy just tells you your table number and you seat yourself. The menu is straightforward: a list of pizza toppings, and beverages. There are no precious appetizers or sides. There is only the main show, and it's all anybody needs. The open kitchen space reveals the biggest damn pizza oven I've ever seen, possibly dwarfing even the one at Lombardi's, where up to two pizzaioli manipulate the pies from sweet spot to sweet spot using the most improbably long-handled peels I've ever seen...they must have five feet of handle on them.

We split two pizzas: a small plain with half anchovies, and a small shrimp with half cheese. Washing it down was a liter bottle of Foxon Park white birch soda, made in nearby East Haven with real sugar and a pleasant dearth of artificial coloring. The plain was interesting, a bit more heavily topped with cheese than in NYC, a bit lighter on the sauce, with a fine thin chewy crust with plenty of charred blisters but not dominated by burnt notes. Like most great pizzerias, a drizzle of olive oil across the top helps to draw the flavor out of the spices. The shrimp pizza though....ahhh, that garlicky shrimp pizza was transcendant. The chopped small shrimp pieces cling tenuously to a sauce of chopped garlic and oil, with a fine sprinkling of herbs and crushed red pepper. Forget the cheese - it was an experiment and we all agreed that it was better without. If this is what the shrimp is like, I really can't wait to try their clam pizza.

The price for all this coal-fired goodness? Criminal. Under $8 for the plain/half-anchovy, under $13 for the shrimp. Pepe's 8-slice "small" is rather large for an individual pizza, and is really a medium by my reckoning. How come we don't see Comet Pizza copying this aspect of the New Haven style? wink.gif

Quick summary: the cheese pizza is very good, but maybe not in my top five. The shrimp pizza is fantastic however, and worth a serious detour to try (in our case, 1.5-2 hrs each way tongue.gif ). It's a bold, neighborhood joint kinda pie, not like the delicate clam pizza at Franny's in Brooklyn, but right now those two places are tied for first at the top of my seafood pizza list.

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New Haven; West Hartford

I figured I would be a little controversial and state that New Haven pizza is great, but I don't think it's the best in CT.
I lived in CT for 3 years, and my favorite pizza place was Harry's in West Hartford, CT. I had friends from Yale who drove up 84 to get Harry's.
I love their crust- amazing texture with occasional bubbling.
They also ended meals with homemade Italian ices- loved the pink grapefruit.

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Newport

I'm in Newport, RI, for a press event. I was on my own for dinner last night. This was complicated by the fact that the train was an hour late, so I didn't get to dinner until 9:00PM. In DC this would be a non-issue, but here in New England, they roll up the sidewalks by then on weekdays. So I ended up at the Red Parrot on Thames Street. Here's the link: http://www.redparrotrestaurant.com/.

This place came with great promise. People who actually live here like it. The Stoli martini was perfect. I had what they call Sole on the Rocks, which is really a fillet of some kind of flat fish (probably flounder) on a bed of sea scallops and crab. The sides were a starch and in this case, fresh asparagus. For the starch, I chose red beans and rice.

The bottom line is, don't bother. It's fairly expensive, and the seafood isn't properly prepared. The kitchen didn't remove the abductor muscles from the scallops, meaning it was like eating rubber bands, but with less flavor. The "sole" was OK, but there was little of it, and it was slightly overcooked. The crab apparently came from a package and nobody checked for shell pieces. The asparagus was clearly fresh, but should have been cooked less. The red beans and rice were over-cooked and free of any sign of flavor. It was like eating brown mush.

Ack. Don't go there.

Now, here's where I SHOULD have gone: Scales and Shells in Newport, also on Thames St. Here's the link: http://www.scalesandshells.com/.

I didn't go there last night because they close at 9:00PM on weeknights. I'm told that it's the best seafood in town. A couple of warnings: They only sell seafood, and they don't take credit cards. I'll check them out before I leave town.

Newport is a nice town, but it's filled with overpriced tourist places. There's a t-shirt shop that specializes in Las Vegas T-shirts. On the other hand, the view from my room at the Hyatt on Goat Island is spectacular. And I've been here often enough over the years that the waitress (Suzette) knows exactly how I like my eggs.

Wayne Rash

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Windsor Locks (near Hartford)

Let's pretend you have a late arrival at Hartford Bradley Airport and after checking in at the charming LaQuinta Inn airport hotel decide you want a late night snack. Don't bother with the Burger Kings Ruby Tuesdays and KFCs lining the road, there's a good chance they will all be closed by 11pm.

Instead wander over to the Skyline Restaurant, kitchen open until midnight, the grilled cheese with tomato and bacon is just want you need in a bad greasy spoon kinda away, and they at least have Bass on tap to wash it down. Jukebox ain't bad either.

$4 Martini happy hour from 4:30-6:00pm.

Skyline Restaurant & Banquet
106 Ella Grasso Tpke
Windsor Locks, CT 06096

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Spending the week in Ridgefield with in-laws. Need some escape options. Coffee and bakeries are always good. Interesting markets are fun too. Anything in the Ridgefield/Redding/Danbury area would work. Have gps and could go further afoot.

Will lavish much thanks and possible drinks on anyone who gets me out of the house for an hour or more.

Thanks!

Jennifer

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Hartford


Heading up to Hartford for business in a few weeks. Anybody have anything else to add?
On20, on the 20th floor of 1 State Street (aka The Steam Boiler Building). Note that it's open for lunch only during the week, and dinner Friday.

- Edited to remove recommendations I already made upthread.
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FWIW, the first time I ever had RI-style calamari was at a small place that very well might have invented it called Trattoria del Antuono on Federal Hill in Providence. This was back in the late 80s, before the first Capitol Grille opened in Providence. CG really helped popularize RI-style calamari, but they didn't invent it.

Anyway, the calamari at the Trattoria had tons of kalamata olives. I remember this so well because the olives were not pitted and were really a pain to eat.

Believe it or not I ate there in the early '90s while at Brown and remember loving RI-style calamari!

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Cornwall; Warren; West Haven

After an interesting flight from Seattle, where we flew into Newark, lost power in the Newark airport, changed our rental car reservation and drove to Warren, CT as we knew our flight was going to get cancelled. We stayed for a few days with Hubby's amazing relatives in Warren. If you happen to be there and would like a charming evening, go to the Rooster Tail, the owners know everyone and will talk with you, introduce you to very interesting people and make sure you have a nice evening. The food is good, nothing real fancy, but solidly good. I wouldn't go all fancy though.

We also had a nice breakfast at the Wandering Moose over in Cornwall which has everything a small town breakfast place should have. Great, normal, not quite complete greasy spoon, but pretty close, serve yourself coffee, nice but not overly friendly staff, ahh it reminded me of home. Had some delicious blueberry pancakes and sausage.

We ate most other meals at the house, and those were just really good. Sorry it's an invitation only type of place, but the wine cellar is pretty rocking.

We did have some pizza in West Haven at Zuppardi's which was really good. I ate almost a whole small clam pizza (no cheese) which had extremely fresh juicy clams, with a finger licking good garlicky white sauce, balanced nicely with fresh squeeze of lemon. This place was good. We then headed to the Hartford airport to go back home.

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West Haven


Funny you mentioned Zuppardi's. My uncle was just raving about the white clam there. Our family has pretty much only gone to Pepe's for years and years. I think that will be my next stop once home again.

This was our first time in the area, haven't been to Pepe's but was really pleased with the pizza here, nice thin crust, crispy and sturdy with good flavor. I am fairly picky about pizza crust nowadays, I don't eat much bread- so when I do it needs to be good, I thought the crust itself was really good, but I tend to like it a little crispy, not floppy and thin. I would stick with the clam, I had a bite of Hubby's which was red sauce, mozz and sausage, it was ok, better than many in DC area, but I thought the clam was far superior. He doesn't like clams so we had separate pies. This place isn't like nice... you can get soda by the pitcher, booths and tables, just kind of a joint, in a good way.
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I Was in Ridgefield, CT a month or so ago and had breakfast at The Early Bird Cafe. Solid and busy. They had a pretty good breakfast, but what was notable and I am still kicking myself is a good selection of huevos rancheros and other items you would not expect in, say, Ridgefield CT.  Nothing amazing, but good food, served quickly in a bustling atmosphere and worth a sampling.

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We'll be in downtown Hartford in a few weeks, probably staying at the Marriot. Anybody have any suggestions? Pizza, maybe? I see that there is a Pepe's within driving distance (getting my coworkers into a car might be an issue, with all the "perfectly good" chains within walking distance) - would that be worth it?

Some of my recs upthread from 2006 (!) are still good ones:

Max Downtown (Cityplace II) - still the best restaurant downtown. Bit of a walk from the Marriott though.

Peppercorn's Grill (Main Street) - Higher end Italian since 1989 - the Cialfi family is still fighting the good fight on a commercial strip without many businesses.

Sorella (Main Street) - Casual italian - wood oven pizzas and all pasta is made in house - we have enjoyed this relative newcomer recently.

City Steam (Main Street - across from Sorella) - Casual Brewpub.

Dish (Main Street - same owners as Sorella) - Modern american comfort food - nothing groundbreaking, but not a national chain.

Trumbull Kitchen (Trumbull Street, across from the Civic Center Xcel Center) - Small plates from the Max restaurant group

The Pepe's within driving distance is in Manchester. Would be a quick 15 minute or so drive East of the River.

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