About Us

Writer, sports nut, martial artist, boxing enthusiast, craft beer fanatic, movie geek, all around fun guy. I bring it. I am Andrew Dominick.

Graphic Artist and former bartender, with a hint of amateur magician and poet, I appreciate the value of a good home cooked meal and always save room for dessert. I am Robert Koch.


Marathon runner, big fan of traveling, outdoor enthusiast. I love staying active as well as eating all kinds of food. In other words, "I keep things balanced." Huge fan of southern cooking. I am Damion Patrignelli.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Busy as a Blogger at Red Bee Honey



This was a sweet invite :-) 



Several weeks ago I replied to a thread posted in the Connecticut Bloggers Facebook group about a limited invite to Red Bee Honey in Weston, Connecticut. I’m certain I was one of the first to respond with a “like” and a comment, and when I was chosen to tag along I let out an enthusiastic “yissss!” That right there is the excitable version of the word “yes.” 





I won’t pretend to know any REAL specifics about what goes on at a honey bee apiary except that honey is collected. While I may not know the ins and outs of the beesness, I have secretly always had an interest in beekeeping and have even entertained the idea of taking a class or two just to fulfill my own curiosity. Whenever I saw anything about bees or honey or both on TV, I always watched and thought putting on the suit with the screened head cover looked cool since you’re right in the thick of it. Something about it all seemed so exhilarating. I also love honey and use it on a variety of foods (yeah, I cook), so knowing what goes on at an apiary is fascinating because you get to know where your food comes from and the work that goes into it.

Was I excited? It’s pretty obvious, and in a very nerdy way.

On the day of the Red Bee experience I packed up my camera and ventured out into the thick, humid air with jeans on—hey, I’ll be honest, I was just hoping not to get stung anywhere up the leg openings if I wore shorts.

I sped on over to Lyons Plain Road, where I had driven many times over and never realized Red Bee was right there. I didn’t really know what to expect. I wanted to learn, taste some honey, and get up close and personal with the bees. I did all three. 







I swung my car door open by Red Bee’s gate and was immediately greeted by a pack of egg laying chickens, but like a lot of chickens, I was told there are 30. After I spent time trying to chase them with my camera, and was able to focus again, I met owner Marina Marchese and Kristine Nora (who seems to do a little of everything at Red Bee). They told me to walk around the “farm” and off I went.

First, I checked out their brand new barn that’s filled with a bunch of honey-based products (everything from honeycomb and wildflower honey to lip balm and skin care) and the back area where they bottle and pack their goods. On the grounds there’s a good sized garden, a pond (saw frogs!), and a bunch of bee hives and got pretty close even without a suit and without getting stung—yet. I got briefly acquainted with Marina’s trusty barn dog—appropriately named Honey—and grabbed a glass of prosecco. 









The other bloggers and I then gathered by the chicken coop for a briefing on what goes on at Red Bee, how things got started, and some bee facts.

Mind Your Own Beeswax!


  • Marina got in the bee biz after hanging with a friend who had Italian honey bees on his property. She told us she was “free at the time, and didn’t have a boyfriend, so why not?”
  • We need bees more than some of us may realize. Fruits, veggies, some nuts, and even coffee all require pollination. See? Not just about that honey, honey.
  • Bee Sex Talk: Male bees (or drones) mate with the queen and die right after. Damn, homie, that’s harsh. Queens can store sperm and selectively release it during her life span (2-7 years), laying around 2,000 eggs per day. Drones pollinate and gather nectar, female bees (workers) make the honey.
  • Red Bee sells bee pollen and we were told it acts as a vitamin. You can take it every day but may need to build up a tolerance since you can develop a reaction.
  • Honey is great for runners. The simple carbs, and pure forms of glucose and fructose are easily absorbed by our bodies and is a terrific energy source. Think of it as a natural substitute for those gel packs.
  • A spoonful of honey may not cure the common cold, but it is a remedy for quick fix relief. 
  • Red Bee's products are used and can be purchased at a bunch of local restaurants and specialty stores including: The Whelk, Artisan, Tarry Market, Fleisher's Craft Butchery, Fairfield Cheese Co., Olivette, New Canaan Olive Oil, Harbor Harvest, and Murray's Cheese in NYC.


Honey Pairings! 
(Top of plate going clockwise, and honey from left to right)

Linden honey - goat cheese, pollen, lemon zest, walnuts, mint.

Red berry honey - blue cheese and dates.

Crystallized honey - apples and tahini 

Blueberry honey - brie and blueberries

Buckwheat honey - roasted tomatoes and balsamic





To escape the heat, and fill our bellies, we went back inside the barn to the second floor for a honey tasting/food pairing and a light lunch of cucumber sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, salad, and breadsticks. The bonus was that we got to try (guzzle) the collaboration beer of Red Bee’s honey and Half Full Brewery’s kolsch that I simply couldn’t get enough of. We easily went through a few 32 oz. crowlers (that’s a can growler!) of the slightly sweet, highly carbonated, but light brew. 






Newest Avenger: Bee Suit Drew




Finally, for me, it was the moment of truth. I got to put on the bee suit and get REALLY close to the hives. Anything for a photo, right? It was steamy in the suit but it was kind of exhilarating and there was a weird feeling of vulnerability even though I knew I was virtually safe. I escaped that day with one sting while I took my suit off, probably from a honey bee that landed and stayed on the suit. That single sting is a win, I totally expected to leave Red Bee with at least two.

On my way out I stayed and chatted with Marina and Kristine a bit more and found out they’re doing a honey harvest a week into August. They invited me back to actually open the hives and gather the sweet stuff. Interested? Yeah, you betcha. I’m practically buzzing at the chance to go back.

For more info, especially regarding visits to the apiary and other events, please visit Red Bee online at http://www.redbee.com/, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Taste of Tapas at Tablao



They’re new. Tried a few things. Consider this a quickie ;-)


Tablao Wine Bar & Restaurant is brand spankin’ new in SoNo and located in a space where many before it have fallen flat. Hopefully something can finally stick in that spot and I have high hopes for this newcomer. I recently went to check it out with my blogging buddy that you may know as the Fairfield County Foodie. We ordered one drink each, a foursome of small plates, and one dessert on a quiet, but steamy Monday night.

First Impression

It’s a cozy setup, nothing too fancy, but nothing too casual either, it’s kind of in-between and not at all stuffy. I’m digging the summer vibes of them having the windows open with the A/C blasting inside. I could totally see coming here when I don’t want to be bothered with my usual South Norwalk haunts or for a quieter night out.


What’s Cool?

They serve a good size late night menu from 10 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays it runs from 10 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. Don’t even try to act like you don’t look for some late night grub!


So What’s Good?


FC Foodie and I both opted for a classic Old Fashioned. Tablao’s version was smooth and strong, just like I like ‘em! Two of the small plates were a big hit, especially the empanadas. They come in twos so we opted to get one chicken, one beef. The dough was fried to perfection, cooked through, but not overdone. The fillings in both had a pop of Spanish spices and there was plenty of meat too. Props for making a chicken empanada taste so damn good where many places fail to make that happen.




The shaved Brussels sprouts salad (white truffle vinaigrette, black truffle shavings) on top of a fried risotto cake was on point too, and I was nervous with all the truffle, but in fact, it wasn’t overkill. The end result is a fragrant, earthy dish, with some crispy creaminess from the risotto cake. 


The tres leches cake that we split for dessert was a good execution if you’re looking for a dessert that won’t put you into a sugar induced coma after the crash. The whipped cream frosting was light, and the milk-soaked cake really earned high marks from both of us.

And yes, the price was great too. $35+ each for what we ordered wasn’t half bad.


Just OK


The hangar steak was one I REALLY wanted to like but I would’ve liked more garlicky punch from the fresh chimichurri and a little less doneness than medium. Medium rare to rare on a hangar would be ideal.  



:-( 


The only thing we didn’t enjoy were the pork medallions (toasted bread, tetilla cheese, piquillo peppers). The pork wasn’t super flavorful, and the bread could have been slightly crunchier, the cheese, however packed a slightly pungent punch.


Final Thoughts

The potential is there. The price was awesome. And I had enough good stuff to want to return for a full meal. That paella is calling my name!

Tablao
86 Washington Street
Norwalk, CT 06854
(203) 939-9602
Instagram: @tablaosono