Restaurant Reviews

Take Cafe Lola Home With You This Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19th, 2009 | Cooking, Restaurant Reviews | 1 Comment

Here’s something wonderful to look forward to this Thanksgiving - someone ELSE cooking! HA!

Cafe Lola in Fairfield, CT has a spectacular Take-Out menu full of wonderful side dishes and desserts. You can even bring your OWN serving platter, bowl or dish to fill. All you’ll have to do is re-heat.*

Look for the ‘&’ sign below for the items to put on your own platter.

*One small teensy caveat… you’ll have to roast the turkey yourself. But that’s easy. ;)

Henri will prepare all the appetizers, side dishes and desserts. They will be ready for you to pick up Thursday morning! That could provide you with the luxury of ‘acting’ like the hostess and spend all the extra time taking care of yourself and the guests.

Menu:

Lola’s Own Smoked Salmon Platter (serves 6) $48&

Served with chopped onions, capers, eggs, creme fraiche and black bread.

Vegetable Crudites with Boursin Dip (serves 6) $25&

Hot Vichyssoise Soup (1qt - serves 3) $12

(For those of you who don’t know, this is a wonderful pureed, cold soup made with potato and leek.)

Chestnut, Celery and Sage Stuffing (serves 6) $24&

Sage Gravy (1 pt, serves 6) $10

Henri’s Fresh Cranberry Sause ‘a l’Orange’ (1 pt, serves 6) $10

Whipped Butternut Squash with White Truffle Oil (1 qt, serves 6) $15

Mashed Potatoes (1 qt, serves 6) $9

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (1 qt, serves 6) $15

Fresh Green Beans with Crispy Shallots (1 qt, serves 6) $15

Potatoes and Yams “au gratin” (serves 6) $15&

Henri’s Mom’s Belgian Chocolate Mousse $5pp&

To order, call Cafe Lola at 203.292.8014

or email info@cafelolarestaurant.com by Tuesday, November 24th and pick up Thanksgiving Day before 12pm NOON.

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Molto - Italian Tapas & Mozzarella Bar: A Wino Restaurant Review

Monday, October 5th, 2009 | Favorite Wine Destinations, Restaurant Reviews | 7 Comments

Within one week alone, about four of my quintessential foodie friends recommended that I try Molto. ‘Why?’, I said. (I don’t generally eat pizza.) ‘It’s different and the food is amazing’, they said. Feeling that it’s my civic duty to go out and investigate, I did. What I found was beyond my expectation.

This is not your run-of-the-mill pizza place or Italian restaurant. Sure, they have your classic Bolognese, pizza, antipasti, pasta and Tiramisu. But here’s what sets Molto apart from the rest of the restaurant rat-race: MOZZARELLA! Located right in the heart of downtown Fairfield (and next to the TREK store), is Molto. Molto is Italian for ‘Extremely’. Well, they should have named it Molto Stupore! Il cibo era sorprendente!

Walking in was an experience in and of itself. A bustling crowd surrounded the endless bar, and classic Italian music sang in the background. The ceilings are high, the lighting is dark and sultry, the red leather seats at the bar make you feel as if you’re walking back in time into a 1940s or ’50s Italian Bistro/Diner. A row of tables and dinettes for patrons adorn the left side, while a white marble-top bar spans the right through the entire length of  the restaurant (36 feet of solid Carrara marble, to be exact). No line went unnoticed. The satiny black walls with blood-red leather, grommet edges and jet-black chandeliers are a sight to be seen. I was captivated by a huge movie screen on the far wall of the restaurant, where a black & white foreign film was projected. This only added to the aesthetics. Large vintage Italian prints fill the space of the room. The bar is beautiful with its large array of wine bottles, arches and mirrors. It’s trendy, cozy, eclectic and simply, very cool.

The menu does not fall short of the atmosphere here. It’s a large menu, but segmented well with choices for all to go around. Tapas, Pizza (thin / NY Style crusts), Pastas, Seafood, Meat… you name it! If you want a full sampling of the menu, it’s best to go in small waves. Dinner started with one of the house-made artisanal mozzarellas - Burrata - a soft and creamy, milky mozz, served on a plate with prosciutto, marinated eggplant and roasted red peppers. This was nothing I’d ever tried before. A very smooth texture, creamy and light. It paired very nicely with my Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio. For next time, I will have to try the smoky mozzarella and the bufala.

Something new for me were the Italian tapas. I’ve had my fair share of Spanish cuisine, but Italian? A wonderful portion for two of Grilled Shrimp, served nicely charred, but tender, accompanied a baby green salad lightly dressed. The Calamari Mediterranean was sliced long, sauteed in olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, some small red chilies and served with small cannellini beans. The flavor was tasty with a bit of a kick. I’m dying to get my hands on a Lamb Paillard for my next visit and the Sauteed Artichokes.

OK - PIZZA, very important here. The options were endless and i was tempted to get my hands on the California style that incorporated avocados! Alas, my weakness for spicy things took over my taste buds. Scarpiello Thin Crust Pizza it is! In one word: Distinctive. Mostly because you could literally taste each individual ingredient. It was really quite amazing. And, it was NOT heavy; a big plus in my book. It was just crusty enough with a slightly doughy middle, sausage, hot cherry peppers, fresh mozz and light tomato sauce. Not overdone; not too simple; just right. My wine pairing was a vibrant Montepulciano that really brought the oregano flavors to life. The wine helped to offset the spiciness of the peppers, but held up to the earthy flavors of the sausage and tomato sauce.

Finally, dessert - Tartufo. They were all out of the Chocolate Lava cake (Shocking!). A hard-coated chocolate-covered ice cream ball with a cherry in the center. Served with fresh whipped cream. Great presentation and a wonderful dessert for two or three. Next time I’m testing the Tiramisu - kind of like the compass of any good Italian eatery, at least that’s my opinion. ;) A Pinot Noir from Lodi, CA was a nice pairing with the finale. Good ripe fruit notes and a bit of jammy strawberry flavor enhanced the dark-chocolate shell. Plus, it was nice to sip on after dinner.

And if you see a quirky, sophisticated gentleman in great, classic, dark-rimmed spectacles sitting next to you, that’s Nick, the owner. Do say hello!

**Lastly, one very important thing to point out: THE PRICES ARE SO REASONABLE I was floored! Thank You to the restaurateurs who are looking out for their customers right now! It’s highly appreciated.**

Move over, Stamford and Norwalk - There’s a new sheriff in town and it’s FAIRFIELD. Time and time again I am impressed with the food movement going on in this area that exists only 20 minutes from home. There is not one other town in my vicinity where I can get some of the best Sushi, amazing French cuisine, wonderful Greek delicacies, Spanish tapas and now PIZZA (all you Pepe’s fans can relax… I’m not stealing your thunder) & Tapas! What next?

Location:

Pizzeria Molto
1215a Post Rd
Fairfield, Connecticut 06824

*MAP*

Hours:

Open 7 days a week, serving dinner nightly from 4pm

**Walk-ins only. Be prepare to WAIT! It can be up to 2 hours on a busy Saturday night. Sunday night held a great crowd and attentive staff.

Cheers,

Kronick Wino

P.S. (Pics next round, I promise… camera broke on the last outing.)

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‘Her Name Was Lola’ - Cafe Lola - A Wino Restaurant Review

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 | Favorite Wine Destinations, Food Pairings, Restaurant Reviews | 3 Comments

I can’t get the song out of my head, but more importantly, I can’t get the sensational experience out of it either. Last night placed me at a new spot in Fairfield, CT right in the exact spot where Pearl Of Budapest stood for YEARS.

Let me introduce to you - Cafe Lola - a small french bisto-style restaurant where the atmosphere is warm, the staff is super friendly and polite and the feel is comfy cozy. My first steps into this basement-style restaurant were drawn into a fabulous bench seat, piled with beautiful French country floral cushions. I kind of felt like I was having dinner in bed, and it was great! Of course the rest of the dining room donned the traditional tables, but were adorned with plush velvet seats scattered amongst the room, lots of white, with red luscious accent pieces, chandelier sconces, black metal against clean, white walls.  It was open, airy, bright with a lightness all about……

Ok, food! So you’ll find a pretty traditional menu of classic french cheeses and charcuterie, pate, and escargot.

The tables are basic white with a nice single spring flower placed in a vase - not stuffy, not boring, just playful and chic. In front of me was a nice little cup of seasoned cashews, pecans and pumpkin seeds. Plus, these great little puff pastries called ‘Gougeres‘ - made with Gruyere cheese and lightly topped with Parmesan.

I’d like to point out the Frisee aux Lardons…… frisee salad with a warm decadent poached egg placed on top, crispy fresh bacon and crunchy house-made baguette croutons. Served with a very light shallot-bacon vinaigrette. They dressed my salad perfectly, so don’t bother asking for it on the side.

This was deliciously paired with French Chardonnay  - Bourgogne Macon Village Michel Picard. Light and fruity, but smooth enough to pair with the smoky bacon and richness of the buttery croutons.  The egg melting all over the salad was just heavenly.

Don’t miss out on their Charcuterie either! A great dish to share with a friend - indicative of any traditional French ’snack’. I feasted on freshly prepared Chicken liver pate, pork pate, cornichon, some dry sausage, crispy baguette toast and spicy Dijon mustard. This was paired with a glass of Bordeaux - a 2005 Chateau de Bonsquet-Cote de Bourgogne.

Finally, dessert only needed one thing - Chocolate. I had the Pot De Creme Au Chocolat paired with, none other than, an espresso. In front of me was a little glass tea cup filled to the brim with dark chocolate. It tasted like the richest chocolate mousse mixed with a bread pudding and fresh whipped cream on top. *sigh* What a perfect little finale……

Some things on the menu for me to try next time are the Salade Nicoise, French Onion Soup (with melty Gruyere on top that I kept smelling around the room…… yum!), steamed mussels and Steak Frites. I was able to get my hand on a few of the house-fries, and WOW! Perfectly crispy, soft in the middle with balanced seasoning. You don’t need to doctor those amazing potatoes with anything! Also, the Macaroni Au Gratin. I’m not going to spoil this one; just go check it out for yourself!

Additional highlights

  • Open for Sunday Brunch 11:30am to 4:00pm
  • Appetizers $8-$14; Dinner $20-$30
  • Chef Henri was a delightful Belgian man who came out to great me and say hello. Just down to earth staff and owners. You feel like family or a long-lost friend here.
  • They also stream Pandora radio full of Madeleine Peyroux, Louis Armstrong and Norah Jones. What’s tannat love about that?? :)

Upcoming Wine Event:

Bordeaux on a Budget at Café Lola

Tuesday, April 21st

Reception at 6:30
Assorted Hors d’Oeuvres
Dinner
$65 per guest
(Tax and gratuity not included)

For Reservations, please call 203.292.8014

www.cafelolarestaurant.com

Cafe Lola
57 UNQUOWA RD.
FAIRFIELD, CT 06824
(FAIRFIELD CENTER, NEAR COMMUNITY THEATRE)
RESERVATIONS
203.292.8014

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