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.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Brunchin’ at Bareburger

Totally brunchworthy.

We're feelin' those weird photos. Animal heads on people! Yasss!
It’s kind of crazy to think that I’ve only ever been to a Bareburger one time. I went to the Ridgefield location shortly after they opened to check the hype, but never reviewed it because I only had a burger, fries, and one of their homemade sodas. The result? It was good. I didn’t jump out of my chair but the burger was solid enough where if I had it again I wouldn’t be upset.

The buzz about Bareburger in Connecticut, and from people I know and trust, is that it’s hit or miss, sometimes good, sometimes pretty average. Recently, the Food Dudes were invited to check out the recently opened Stamford location and we jumped at the chance to not only try a place we heard had some inconsistencies, but also to try their brand spankin’ new brunch menu.

We can sum this experience up in two words…Pleasantly surprised. 

Brussels sprouts with lemon juice and manchego. Fragrant and a good pungent punch from the cheese.  

Sprouts out the bowl = sexy
For this review we stayed true to the brunch theme so there are NO BURGERS mentioned here, although we would’ve downed more than one, I’m sure of it. We strayed from the brunch section just the once and it was for the Brussels sprouts (worth it!).  

Starting brunch with booze is always optimal. If you’re a fan of bloodys, Bareburger offers three: Bloody Veggie (vodka, house bloody mix, fresh horseradish, giardiniera), Big Bear Bloody (with peppered salami instead of giardiniera), and Bloody Maria (with tequila instead of vodka, served with a jalapeño popper). Damion and I opted for Old Fashioneds and thought they were solid overall, but could have used a bit more strength. Then again, it was barely 1 p.m., and we’re not drunks. Rob stuck to the brunchy drinks and went with a Salty Dog, an ice cold, refreshing grapefruit and vodka concoction with a salted rim. Worth noting about the drink menu is the decent craft beer selection available in 20 oz, 34 oz, and…wait for it…60 oz! FTW! Probably don’t drive if you do the 60, just sayin! 

Lots of #yolkporn. That's love.

More love.

The ultimate breakfast sandwich? We think so.

After we downed the Brussels sprouts we tried four different dishes. The breakfast sandwiches are musts at Bareburger. The Morning Commute was a simple sandwich with a perfectly cooked and runny sunny side up egg with melted aged cheddar on brioche, and for most that would be a suitable breakfast most mornings. On weekends though, and when you’re nursing that mean hangover, you NEED the Cuckoo’s Nest (onion ring fried egg, brisket & potato hash, cheddar, and habanero mayo on brioche). It’s as good as you think it would be and if it leaves you feeling guilty, who the hell cares? Brunch calories don’t count. This crispy, meaty, melty monster is already one of my favorite breakfast sandwiches ever, anywhere. 

More yolky goodness.

That's what's under there. So damn good when you mix it up a bit and spread that golden yolk.

Just gonna leave this here.
Aside from breakfast sammies, you can get a classic-type plate like the Hungry Bear (three eggs, French Toast, meat choice, potato choice) or the Hungry Cub (two eggs, meat choice, potato choice), and Bareburger has a handful of kid’s menu options. If you’re a Food Dude, you go right for the Fried Chicken & French Toast (maple syrup and candied pecans), basically a mockup of chicken & waffles. The French toast was thick cut, battered nicely, but cooked through the way it should be. The boneless white meat chicken was crispy and juicier and more tender than I thought it would be. If that dish was the Food Dudes’ consensus pick, my personal fave was the Hash Sheesh (two sunny eggs, brisket, potatoes, sweet potatoes, habanero mayo, picante relish). I just happen to really like hash bowls and this one worked for my taste buds with spice, lots of yolk, and meaty chunks of brisket.

Shake flow!

Damion out here straight gettin' it!

Bananas Foster shake!
We came away impressed with Bareburger’s brunch and can’t really speak about burgers this time around. We didn’t find a whole lot wrong here, except our drinks did take a while to come out, but after that the service seemed to hit a nice stride. If you decide to go and indulge in a brunch similar to ours, at least finish it off proper with a thick milkshake and then go home and partake in a weekend nap. You earned it.

21 Harbor Point Road
Stamford, CT 06902
(203) 890-9686
Instagram: @bareburger_ct

Photography by Damion & Andrew

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The bartaco Do-Over

Sometimes third or fourth impressions are better than the others.

 A few years back I was pretty critical of bartaco and if I’m judging myself I was harsh. The short recap of that rant piece was based on people (some that I personally know) who raved about party/beachy vibe taco joint as if it was the best taco in the world. I took exception to that and flipped out a bit. To further back up my wild words, I mentioned—to a degree—that I hadn’t had over-the-top awesome food there in previous visits. After that I just stopped going.
But… life is about giving things, people, concepts, and ideas another shot. I’m always open to that even though there are plenty of women out there who will tell you I’m as stubborn as an angry bull, and that’s putting it lightly. 

Mini "Polaroids" were a nice touch! Ha! Love it!
With bartaco, I actually jumped at the chance to return after a 2+ year hiatus from their food. The added incentive was that my pal, Adeline arranged the dinner and I knew she’d knock it out of the park with a good, fun experience, and she did. The few passed sides and chips with guac or salsa (or both) set the tone for a casual night out that felt more like a meetup than a blogger’s dinner. It does help that some of us know each other but still. And the margaritas to kick the evening off…never bad ;-)


Salt? No salt? I don't have a preference. I like booze tho.

Guac never lasts long.

 Speaking of drinks, let’s start there. I honestly have always enjoyed bartaco’s boozy libations even when I didn’t love the tacos (more on that soon). Drinks like the Red Sonja, Port Chester Reviver, and Old Thymer (my personal fave) are all new cocktail menu additions and they were thought up and created by Barteca’s Wine & Spirits Director Gretchen Thomas. The focus of every cocktail isn’t just the alcohol part is the use of fresh squeezed juices and fresh herbs. The result? Each element can be tasted and others really pop. Additionally, since bartaco has that Mexi-Cali beach theme they have lots of tequila in stock and fans of the spirit will be happy to know that they only have 100% agave tequila, they also have around 50 or so different types, 20 of those being white tequilas or blancos. That, my friends, is a party. 

(Left) Old Thymer (Four Roses Bourbon, Carpano Antica Vermouth, thyme, lemon, orange, angostura bitters) was strong and herbaceous. (Right) Red Sonja (Olmeca Altos Reposado, byrhh quinquina, ginger, jalapeño, lemon juice, peychaud’s bitters) was sweet, refreshing, and provided some heat from the jalapeño. (Bottom) PC Reviver (Martin Miller’s Gin, cucumber, mint, mango nectar, lime juice) is a balanced cocktail that you could throw back with ease.
Onto the food.
The sides, I’ve never had an issue with those, which was evident by the pound of guacamole I consumed on this night, and by the numerous sweet plantains I devoured. The tacos were my only real issue on previous visits. The reason? I visited when bartaco was in its infancy stage and I thought the basic chicken, pork, or beef with cilantro and onion were just basic. 
Plantains for the win!

Scoop game.

 What’s cool is that bartaco has gotten a whole lot more creative with their tacos. My personal favorite is the pork belly that’s a bit sweet and a bit spicy, but the pork is tender. I’m quite certain I ate nearly half a dozen during this meal. Another notable two-bite taco was the sesame ribeye (jicama kimchi) that captured the Asian flavors quite well. One that was a hit with the group was March’s secret taco—that’s not that much of a secret—the deep fried avocado (pickled red onion, cilantro) that was crispy on the outside with that creamy avocado underneath that you’d expect but somehow still hits you as a nice surprise. If the avocado taco makes the menu permanently it should be a hit with vegetarians and even a few of you meat eaters might sneak one on your taco tray too :-) 
OMG. Pork belly.


Deep fried avocado. HOLY F*CK!

It took me a while to warm up to bartaco and I’m thrilled they’ve evolved and gotten more creative over time. I tried, tried, and tried again and I’m glad I did. bartaco has gained a fan. Tacos, anyone?
Multiple locations (this review was of the Westport restaurant)
Twitter: @bartacolife
Instagram: @bartacolife

See you soon, bartaco :-P

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pizza Surf Club is Coming to Fortina Stamford’s Rooftop

Cowabunga, dudes! 

Remember when Fortina Stamford opened and they were supposed to open that sick rooftop that overlooks the harbor, but then it never happened?

We do too. And it hurt, bad :-(

Dreams of eating pizza while overlooking the water at sunset while thinking about life were shattered… but WAIT!!!!! Something is happening and it’s happening soon!

Fairfield County has needed a Tiki drink spot for a while. About damn time!

Umm...This is boozy Italian ice. Sign me up.
That rooftop space will be Fortina Surf Club, basically a concept within (or on top of?) a concept, and it's going to be lit, homies. And with a name like "Surf Club," it's probably what you think it is...Tiki-style cocktails complete with little umbrellas? Yes.

Hot dog taco? Yes, please!
 The food will be different, and if you paid attention to their Instagram feed you may have noticed some eclectic items like hot dog tacos and stuff like bags of Doritos with jicama, carrots, cucumbers, candied peanuts, gummy bears, pickled pork skin, hot sauce, crema fresca, avocado, the obligatory Parmesan, sesame, and lime. That's a mouthful, and perfect drunk food :-P We've also heard whispers that they'll be whipping up fish sticks, Kobe beef corn dogs, and other super creative grub.

Details about ordering are simple. At Pizza Surf Club tickets have to be purchased for food and beverages and it will be done push cart style; someone will come around, similar to a dim sum restaurant and you can exchange tickets for food & drink. Chef Jared Falco told us that the inspiration for the idea came from dim sum restaurants and street food. He also mentioned that pizza, pasta, and all that good "Bronx Italian" food that Fortina serves can still be had but you have to go downstairs, order and pay for it there, then bring it up to the rooftop since they're keeping Fortina and Pizza Surf Club separate.

Fortina. Rooftop. Fun food. Great tropical drinks. Pizza Surf Club...Let's do this thing!

The party at Pizza Surf Club goes down at Fortina Stamford (120 Washington Blvd.) on Sunday, April 17 at noon. Take note: Pizza Surf Club will be open daily from 12 p.m. - Close after this Sunday, weather permitting.

Be there or be lame af.


 (All photos, except the Ninja Turtles, courtesy of Fortina)