COOKING UP AN ALL-PRO CARIBBEAN BREAKFAST AT CAFÉ TURNIER IN NORWALK

 

Café Turnier

115 Main Street, Norwalk, CT

www.cafeturnier.com

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We’ve been wanting to try Café Turnier for a long time, because I go to music school nearby.  Today we did… and we were not ready for the fun we were about to have!

Café Turnier serves traditional Caribbean foods with a little twist.  They also serve all sorts of sandwiches that you would find in most places… but also with a twist.  What makes Café Turnier so different and good is its owner Ernst “Ernie” Turnier.  Mr. Turnier, is Haitian, Dominican and Cuban, he was an amazing high-school and college football player who made All-Conference twice, he gives back to his community by giving food every week to his church’s food pantry, he’s been featured on TV and best of all… he is an amazing cook!

The first thing you notice when you walk in, is there is a lot of football trophies, Mr. Turnier’s football jerseys from when he was a linebacker and running back at Pace University, and lots of articles about the Café.  It’s very comfortable and they even have an old Pacman and Galaga arcade game!

We asked Mr. Turnier to cook us a real Caribbean breakfast… he wound up making us a whole day’s worth of food… And WE ATE IT ALL! Here’s what we had:

IMG-20130714-00191IMG-20130714-00192Homemade Empanadas with fresh and very smooth GuacamoleIMG-20130714-00195IMG-20130714-00194

Banan-Pressé which are pressed and fried plantains with Mr. Turnier’s Special Pickled Vegetables – the vegetables were a little spicy and went very well with the plantains.

IMG-20130714-00198Codfish, Eggs and Boiled Plantains - So delicious, I didn’t know what to eat first. As I’ve said before, I’ve always wanted to have fish for breakfast!  The boiled plantains taste nothing like the plantains we had earlier!  So good!

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Finally, another of Mr. Turnier’s specialties, The Haitian Patty.  Which takes about half hour for him to make because he bakes each one fresh.  It’s super crispy and flaky and has juicy tender chicken on the inside.  Now we were very full!

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I spoke with Mr Turnier, and asked him, “What inspired you to cook?”

“Well, I like to say that I’m a fat-boy at heart, I love to eat.  I grew up in a neighbor hood where my friends and family cooked traditional food , but always a little differently, that inspired me to try new things.”

“Also the only two things I watch on TV are ESPN and The Food Network!”

He also talked to me about how important it is to always “chase your dreams”. He even has a sign in the restaurant that says that. Just like he did to become a great football player, Mr. Turnier worked hard to build the Café with his dad to make this dream come true.  

He also told me about how important it is to listen and learn from others.  

“A Jamaican man once told me, “Even the fool has something to say”

I also asked, “What is your favorite item on the menu?”

“My favorite is Legume, a traditional Haitian Stew with all sorts of vegetables and some pork in it”

I’m definitely coming for dinner to try that sometime!

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Thanks Mr. Turnier!

FOOD  * * * * *  (5)

SERVICE  * * * * *   (5)

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