FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- It's officially summer and that means sipping, slurping and chewing your way through the best of Fairfield County's seasonal charms.
Here, in no particular order, is a foodie's bucket list specifically for this time of year.
- Stock Up At The Farmers Market: Fairfield County is blessed with lots of great farmers market but two favorites -- and winners of our DVlicious 2016 "Best Farmers Market" contest -- mean grabbing a bag (or three) and heading to the Black Rock Farmers Market and/or the Westport Farmers Market . Each offers its own brand of vendors -- we're partial to Pie Baby and Tipsy Cones at Black Rock and The Bee & The Baker and Raus Coffee in Westport.
- Savor a Lobster Roll: Nothing says summer -- or New England -- like a lobster roll. And yes, opinions vary on where to go. Among the top picks: The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood in Norwalk where you can sit inside with a view of the water or head to the outdoor deck and the old fishing shack that is the Rowayton Seafood Market. There (as well as inside), you'll find hot lobster meat poached in butter, and seasoned with Old Bay and lemon. Just as popular -- you can't beat the water view -- is Knapp's Landing in Stratford where the lobster roll is piled high with chunky meat and buttery goodness.
- Take A Staycation: Feel like you're far far away when you dig into a Venezuelan tortilla called an arepa at Valencia Luncheria in Norwalk. Add a cocktail, then sit back and take in the fiesta-like atmosphere. For an added bonus, grab a seat outside where you can dig your toes in the sand at a picnic table and let the summer breeze whisk you away.
- Scream for Ice Cream: Expect "cow to cone" flavors -- the freshest possible -- at Milkcraft in Fairfield where S'mores Campfire, Vietnamese Coffee, and Sea Salted Caramel attract new fans every day. Another don't miss treat: Ferris Acres Creamery in Newtown where homemade black raspberry, butter pecan, peach and cookie dough are churned out with a farmstand backdrop and the list of mouth-watering flavors goes on and on.
- Plan a Clambake: A host of seafood medleys are yours for the ordering at Fjord Fish Market . Choose from whole lobster by the pound, a lobster dinner or opt for one of three different types of clambakes. Either way, you'll be "lobsta happy." Locations in Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan and Westport.
- Head to the Waterfront: The lively vibe and water view of the Saugatuck River make bartaco in Westport a perpetual charmer. The other key word here is tacos. Served on soft four-inch tortillas, they're filled with an assortment of options -- Baja fish, duck, pork, spicy chorizo, portobello, chicken -- offering all the tastes of Mexico, without the travel hassles.
- Sip Some Lavender Love : Killer B in Norwalk serves a taste of summer meadows with its Lavender Fields Cocktail, made of vodka, limoncello, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and lavender syrup, the latter of which is infused in-house.
- Get Your BBQ Fix: Thick-crusted brisket, crispy smoked chicken and cracklin pork belly are some of the gems at Hoodoo Brown BBQ in Ridgefield. Billed as a classic Texas-style barbecue joint, it also boosts killer cocktails, among them the Front Porch Iced Tea (with smokey peach moonshine and sweet tea), Ol' Smokey Sangria (more moonshine, Three Thieves Cabernet, mixed fruit) and an Old Texas Margarita (Herradura Silver Tequila, Patron Citronage, fresh jalapeno, and honey).
- Be A Peach: It's still a tad early for peach pie at Michelle's Pies in Norwalk -- you'll most likely this variety closer to the end of July/early August but any pie here is worth a detour. So, too, are the pies from Mothership Bakery and Cafe in Danbury though best to call and order what you need.
- Caffeine Up: Fairfield's new Shearwater Coffee Bar’s Cold Brew and Nitro is on tap and perfectly refreshing on hot summer days. Even better: The cold brew is packaged to go if you want to have the same restaurant experience at home. If you haven't tried the nitro -- you're in for a treat. It's their cold brew infused with nitrogen that gets very creamy and foamy on the top, similar to a beer.
- Have Your Cookie Dough And Eat It Too: Stew Leonard's , with locations in Norwalk and Danbury, has perfected edible cookie dough. The product, introduced earlier this year, is made with pasteurized eggs and heat-treated flour making it safe to indulge in. It's also just fun to grab food and hang in Stew's Hoedown.
- Head to the Hop: Cricket Car Hop — a Stratford landmark for more than 50 years — is once again open for business and getting all the buzz. Summer, is, after all, meant for some roadside stand food. Check out the hotdogs, burgers, fries, shakes -- and the nostalgia. The new Cricket features outdoor seating and a drive-thru. Go HERE for earlier Daily Voice story.
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