As a busy mother who values the rare opportunity to eat out, sometimes I admittedly play it safe by sticking to local favorites. While I love trying new restaurants and do consider myself part of the "live to eat" camp I haven't had much incentive to leave my comfort zone... until recently.
Entrée Nous (a play on the French translation meaning "between us") - Fairfield County Edition 2016, is a small hardcover book featuring 12 popular restaurants at varying price points. The slim, passport-like book fits easily into almost any handbag. Inside you'll find beautiful photographs and descriptions of each restaurant's decor and cuisine. You'll also find a featured charity and person of significance within the food community. Each participating restaurant will offer one complimentary entrée (you must order two) and once your entrée has been delivered, the restaurant will stamp or sign the page - much like a passport.
The best part about the book is that it doubles as an excuse to make time for friends and family and to visit a restaurant that might not be on your radar. It's a win-win for the local community.
Entrée Nous is the brainchild of Elizabeth Menke, an investment banker turned entrepreneur from the Twin Cities, who currently resides in Weston with her family.
With family roots in Germany, Menke recently had the opportunity to live abroad in Berlin. "While at a local food expo there, I came across a similar concept that I immediately knew would resonate back home," explained Menke, when asked about her inspiration. "I came home and hit the ground running. My goal has always been to foster positive experiences and community, over food."
In selecting the restaurants Menke focuses on food and décor. She strives to seek out those restaurants that are innovative, creative and have a certain aesthetic and appreciation for design. Additionally, each restaurant must bring something unique to the table so that no two are alike.
This year's edition features such favorites as Barcelona, Elm, Kawa Ni or The Spread. (I can't believe I've only been to two of these four local culinary favorites. My parents are regulars at The Spread because they're much cooler than me) and I haven't been to New Canaan in years. It's definitely time to branch out.
While the current edition focuses on Fairfield County, residents of the Twin Cities - where Menke is from - can soon look forward to its very own edition. According to Saveur, Minneapolis is the "next big food city," with 12 area bakers and chefs named as semi-finalists in the James Beard Foundation Awards.
Volume Two will launch in time for the holiday shopping season. Through September, The Entertaining House readers can use special code "EHPERKS" to purchase Entrée Nous -Fairfield County Edition 2016 at nearly half off, and in turn, will receive a 10 percent off coupon to pre-order the 2017 Edition. While the first edition expires December 30, 2016, there are still nearly 4 months left to enjoy this truly unique experience.
Entrée Nous has quickly become my new signature gift. When you get your hands on this little book, trust me, you'll want one too. As Menke aptly pointed out, who doesn't love a gift that's experiential in nature, too? We would have to agree!