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Basso Cafe in Norwalk

I finally made it over to this place, since it's been on my list since I read about it in the NYT. I'm sorry to say, I was somewhat disappointed. I agree with jfood, that the waitstaff is more than eager to please, so the service was very good. When we got there, there was just one other table having dinner. More people would have added to the atmosphere.

Overall, the meal was fine, but nothing grand, and it's expensive. The one thing I was looking forward to was dessert...this Tres Leches Cake that everyone seemed to be raving about. I found it gritty and overly sweet and totally unappealing. Is it supposed to be that way? Honestly...I actually made this cake once...followed a recipe I got off the Internet. I thought mine was much better. But, I admit I don't know what it should taste like.

Since there hasn't been too much recent chatter about the place, I wonder if anyone else has been there and what their experience was. Maybe I need to give it another try. And, order the Lava Cake next time.

Norwalk's Oyster Fest >Which food tents do you

As soon as I enter the OF for the first time, I usually head straight over to the funnel cake tent. It doesn't matter what time of day or night...I just have to have one (just a little bit of sugar, please). I've sampled many of the other offerings, from ribs to brats to stuffed clams. It is what it is...festival food. I don't expect gourmet, so I'm never disappointed, and it's usually all tasty. See you at the Funnel Cake tent!

What to do with Halloumi Cheese?

As the ads say..."the cheese that grills". How weird is this stuff?

I made it once after a friend told me about it. Buy it, slice it, flour it, fry it in a pan. It's pretty good, but I want to see how others prepare it. Any tricks to grilling it? What do you serve with it?

Jul 29, 2008
sonofoodie in Cheese

Thai Cooking Lessons?

Have you considered looking at some of the courses offered at the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park, NY or Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. ICE offers a huge recreational division, including a course on Asian cooking (one of many in this category.

or just search on your own at,

You might get lucky and find something more local, or at continuing educational programs at local colleges. If all else fails, go with ICE. They have crash courses (sometimes just a couple of hours) on everything and are fairly inexpensive.

ISO sangria recipe

You can find lots of different recipes online, but it really depends on personal tastes. I really enjoy the red-wine Sangria they serve at the Barcelona restaurants in Connecticut, so I asked for the recipe. Of course, they weren't going to give me the actual recipe, but they gave me some general ingredients.

Here is a basic recipe to follow. Feel free to adjust it: 1 bottle borseo (red) wine, 1/2 c. orange juice, 1/2 c. liqueur 45, 1/4 c. brandy, 1/4 c. amaretto, 1 unpleeled sliced orange, 1 unpeeled Granny Smith apple in skinny wedges, some club soda or sparkling water. Mix all together in a pitcher and refrigerate. Serve over ice with fresh slices of orange.

I hope this helps.

Jul 10, 2008
sonofoodie in Wine

Who are the great food writers, past & present?

Pretty much all of the above, plus...

John T. Edge ( America Story series)
Coleman Andrews (Everything on the Table)

Mar 13, 2008
sonofoodie in Food Media & News

Loose Teas

If you can't find a store, you can be sure and get a great number of excellent selections mail order. Some even offer organic choices. Here are a few I order from:

(Silver Tips has a shop in Tarrytown, NY, that I've traveled from CT for. It's relatively easy to find and may be worth a "road trip" for you) Good luck!

Knife Sharpening in SW CT

I think there's a guy who goes around in a van to all the local restaurants and sharpens knives. I went to the shop when it was on Cross Street in Norwalk, but that has since closed. You could try calling him...R J Mase, Knives & Cutlery Retail at 1 Testa Place, Norwalk, CT 06854. (sorry, I don't have the number) They could probably tell you how to get your knife fixed/sharpened.

Any recs for finding Thai ingredients in Fairfield County?

I agree with sibeats. And, they do have kaffir lime just need to ask for it. I've gotten it there many times.

Decadent, delicious, delightful BUTTER in Norwalk

MLC. Thanks for the note on the butter. I go to this market/deli frequently...usually to pick up cold cuts, sausages and German or Polish candies. All their meats are fabulous. I do enjoy trying the different varieties of sweet (unsalted) butter from other countries. I can find them at Balduccis, Whole Foods, etc., and they are often very expensive. It's worth it sometimes, when I'm baking something that requires a higher quality butter. I will make a special trek over there soon to try out this butter that you have "died and gone to heaven" for.


I signed up to test recipes about six months ago. I have tested approximately half of the ones they have sent me. Sometimes, time does not allow. Others, I didn't want to spend the money on ingredients, and some I just plain don't care for.

It's sort of fun, but there's no way to tell if I've impacted the way a recipe gets published. (Realizing, of course, that I am probably one of hundreds that do the testing) I don't really know how the survey gets researched. It's interesting, though.

Jan 24, 2008
sonofoodie in General Topics

Soul Food-Westchester and Fairfield Counties?

I've never been to this place in South Norwalk, but I've heard good things.

And, hey it brought Al Roker running.

To Nuke or Not to Nuke, That Is the Question

I am also without microwave, like Adam. There is a microwave at my office, though, and I occasionally do heat up soup for lunch. I find it useful, when I need lunch fast. But, generally, at home I find it takes no more time to cook things on the stovetop. And, roasting, baking, broiling, sauteeing...even grilling, well there is no substitute for a traditional oven and stovetop.

I'm not anti-microwave...I just don't have one. And people are always surprised when I say I don't even want one. It's not just the end product I'm interested in. It's the journey of a well thought out and lovingly prepared meal.

I like the idea of using it to kill the bacteria in my sponges, though. But then again...I just throw mine in the dishwasher.

Jan 18, 2008
sonofoodie in Features

Let's talk about biscuits!

FWIW, here is a recipe that was posted in F&W, by the loved Southern cook and cookbook author, Edna Lewis.
I would agree that the least amount of mixing and kneading makes the fluffiest biscuits.
Best of luck!

Jan 16, 2008
sonofoodie in Home Cooking

Bye bye Lord & Taylor, hello Whole Foods?

I like having my cake and eating it too. Like SweetPea914, I like to shop at the L&T in Stamford and not deal with the mall. But, I like WF, too, and welcome more locations to choose from. It would be sad to see L&T go bye-bye, so let's hope they save it.

"Waitress" the Movie--All Those Pies

I just rented this DVD last night. Wow, was this a great movie, or what? The "bad husband" bit was really disturbing, so I had to keep telling myself "it's just a movie". I am a happy pie maker, so I can see how Shelley made this movie feel right.
My favorite pie would be "I Wish It Was Summertime And Bursting With Raspberries Bubblin' Pie" with a cinnamon crust. Thanks for the post!

Jan 08, 2008
sonofoodie in Food Media & News

Cheese Shops in Connecticut

try this one...
(the web address should end with "html" only
)BTW, looks good.
There are a couple of decent cheese shops in the Fairfield County area. There is the Darien Cheese Shop and Westport's Mirabelle. Both shop owners seem very knowledgeable and helpful.

Violette Royale

MikeG. In case you haven't found Violet liqueur yet, here's a source...I just ordered a few flavors online, myself. There are lots of flavors to choose from.

Dec 26, 2007
sonofoodie in Recipes

Baker's supplies in Fairfield County?

I've made this...but not in awhile. REALLY good, and with addition of zest, that's my favorite! I find most all Barefoot Contessa recipes are simple and delicious. Thanks for the reminder.

Baker's supplies in Fairfield County?

Elizzie. Here's another online source for Baking least, I think this is what you're looking for. Search Baking Needs.

Baker's supplies in Fairfield County?

Elizzie...I'm a baker, too, and if there is anything "special" I need, I plan ahead and order it online. I don't know of any shops that specialize in baker's supplies, especially ingredients. Globe Restaurant supply has a lot of Wilton stuff, pans, parchment paper, decorating tips and such, and they can order just about anything you might need in that area. But, if it's some unusual ingredient, like this wafer paper, you'll have to go to NYC or get it online. (New York Cake and Baking Co has a website; Good luck, and if you do find a local source, be sure and let us know.

Simple sugar cookies

I have a rolled sugar cookie recipe I use for every occasion, and I also have a huge collection of cookie cutters, old and new. This is for a light and crisp, sweet (but not cloying) kind of sugar cookie. Any basic recipe should work. Time tested tips: refrigerate dough (overnight is best); roll dough a little at a time. Roll as thinly as possible. Bake on parchment lined sheets. Bake for a little less time than required. Cookies should not get brown on the edges, only ever so slightly beige, if even. When they come out of the oven, transfer immediately to rack to cool. Cookies will crisp as they cool. This is probably more information than you need, but I would try it with small batches to begin.
One more thing...I don't usually add salt to my cookie recipes. I've never missed it, and the flavor has never suffered. Good luck!

Dec 03, 2007
sonofoodie in Home Cooking

brunch in SoNo - french bistro?

jfood...I think you might mean Coromandel for the Indian restaurant in SoNo. By the way...where is this French Bistro opening? Is it where the Rattlesnake used to be?
(always something happening down there) Thanks again for your input.

brunch in SoNo - french bistro?

I have never been to Bistro du Soleil, not even for dinner, but they do serve brunch. The menu looks good, and hopefully a chowhound can report back and give you a rating. Here's a link to their brunch menu page:
If you go, let us know how it was.

Edible rice paper in Fairfield County?

I think what you might be looking for is something called oblaten, which is often used in German baking. I've seen sheets of it at Taste of Europe on the Post Road in Norwalk, but not recently. You could always ask them to order it for probably would only take a few days. I recommend researching it's use online, too.
The rice paper wrappers used in Asian cuisine are different. They have to be rehydrated, and are most often used for spring rolls and summer rolls, and they are quite sticky themselves once wet.
There are a number of international delis throughout FC, and I'm sure if you find the right one, they can easily order it for you.

Beloved Food Jingles?

Oh, a kid'l eat the middle of an Oreo first,
and save the chocoloate cookie outside for last.

Nov 09, 2007
sonofoodie in Food Media & News

What is your favorite cheese splurge?

Fresh mozzarella would be interesting, but maybe something less milky, but more a robiola, or another Italian equivalent.

tb...I'm not sure what you mean by "hold the whole thing together". If you weigh down the torta with something heavy, to compress and meld the layers together, and refrigerate overnight, it holds together beautifully.

Nov 09, 2007
sonofoodie in Cheese

What foods do you HAVE to mail order?

I finally tried the "O" Lemon Olive Oil (purchased at HomeGoods). It was good, but not great for that price, about $6. So I went searching on the web again. I came across two other brands, DaVero Sonoma and Consorzio. The DaVero was almost $30 a bottle. At that price, it better come in a goldleaf bottle. Honestly, I can't figure out why it's so expensive. The Consorzio was considerably less, $22 for 6 bottles, so I ordered the Consorzio. It came today, and it is very good. I am betting the quality of the olive oil is not as high as some others, but I'm using it as a flavor enhancer, so I'm perfectly happy with it.

Nov 07, 2007
sonofoodie in General Topics

What is your favorite cheese splurge?

Have you tried making this at home? It's really easy, and it varies from the different pestos used. Layer mascarpone, pesto, toasted pine nuts and creamy gorgonzola (dolce variety)...3 thin layers each. Weight it and refrigerate overnight. You will be greatly rewarded. When you don't have the time, go for the torta!

Nov 06, 2007
sonofoodie in Cheese

What is your favorite cheese splurge?

Yes, I think that was's so good, isn't it?...just the right amount of tang and creaminess.

Nov 06, 2007
sonofoodie in Cheese