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Diners crawl through New Canaan food scene

Published 11:26 am, Friday, September 6, 2013

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  • Jason Chukel, Claire Peeke-Vout, Jane King and Tim Cantwell enjoyed drinks at Cava during Dishcrawl in New Canaan Wednesday night. The event, which replaced restaurant week, featured small dishes from four restaurants in town. Photo: Tyler Woods
    Jason Chukel, Claire Peeke-Vout, Jane King and Tim Cantwell enjoyed drinks at Cava during Dishcrawl in New Canaan Wednesday night. The event, which replaced restaurant week, featured small dishes from four restaurants in town. Photo: Tyler Woods

 

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Where early man hunted across the vast plains to sustain himself and fuel his functions, modern man crawled through the landscape of New Canaan restaurants for his short rib pansotti and zucchini blossoms.

More than 50 foodies trekked up and down Main and Forest streets to participate in a new addition to the New Canaan food scene on the evenings of Aug. 28 and 29. San Jose-based startup Dishcrawl has cast its net far and wide across the United States and Canada in an effort to capture communities and bring them together over local food.

Last week, Dishcrawl visited New Canaan, where participants enjoyed a four-course journey, one at each restaurant, through the town's culinary landscape.

The crawl featured plates from Boulevard 18, Bistro Bonne Nuit, and Cava Wine Bar & Restaurant and finished off at Baskin-Robbins for dessert. The event brought in some diners from out of town. Tim Cantwell, Jane King, Claire Peeke-Vout and Jason Chukel, all under 30, are co-workers at General Electric.

King heard about the event from a colleague who participated in another town's crawl.

"It's been really fun," she said. "You get to go to different places and try different things."

Over drinks at the dimly lit bar in the back of Cava, Cantwell said, "I would definitely do it again, it's fun. I would never have come up to New Canaan otherwise." His favorite dish was the bacon-wrapped fig at Boulevard 18.

Dishcrawl events have recently been a hit in Greenwich, Old Greenwich and Stamford. The cost for the Dishcrawl in New Canaan was $45 and included a small plate from each restaurant.

At Cava, owner and executive chef Nube Siguenza served salmon tartare on a corn tortilla, short rib pansotti with fresh corn and fava beans, in addition to zucchini blossoms with ricotta and radish filling. She said the theme was summery, seasonal dishes.

"Now that I see it's such a success, we're going to do some permutation of this (with the Chamber of Commerce)," Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tucker Murphy said. "We're going to do something that will knock the socks off people."

The chamber has done a restaurant week in the past. This year Dishcrawl replaced restaurant week, but Murphy would like to host a restaurant inclusive event some time in the winter.

Murphy said the participating restaurants were not making money from Dishcrawl; for them, the appeal lay primarily in marketing and alcohol sales.

The event seemed to be well-enjoyed by all, according to Fairfield County Dishcrawl Ambassador Jesse Leeds-Grant, who said people were talking and mixing throughout.

"The purpose of Dishcrawl is to bring people together over food and wine," he explained.

After a scoop from the brightly lit Baskin-Robbins, some Dishcrawlers chatted in front of the store while others spread out onto Main Street, enjoying their ice cream in the cool, late August night.

twoods@bcnnew.com;

203-330-6582; @Woods_NCNews