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Wednesday
May252016

The Uber-Guide to Connecticut’s Asian Markets

“From wonder into wonder existence opens,” said Laozi, the founder of Tao Buddhism.

He might have been speaking of the joys of the table, so central to Asian culture for millennia---and to Connecticut foodies today. 

Almost 160,000 people of Asian descent call Connecticut home, and a considerable number of grocery stores in the state support the diverse cooking traditions of China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. True to both their Asian roots and the universal principle of making the best of fresh ingredients, quite often the most modest such store will have a produce section and a fish section---in one case, at least, featuring live fish.

Your guide to the best East and Southeast Asian markets of Connecticut appears below.

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Tuesday
May242016

Melt Mobile Announces Launch of "Cheesy" Franchise 

Melt Mobile has just announced the launch of a franchise opportunity for budding entrepreneurs looking to break into the food truck business. Franchisee operators will be able to license Melt Mobile’s name and business model, and under the guidance and expertise from Darlene and Diana, carry on this scrumptious dairy infatuation grilled between two slices of buttery bread, further reinforcing that we all just need to Take it Cheesy.

It was March of 2012. Food Network’s new reality show “3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay” followed entrepreneurs Darlene Andersen and Diana Hall through the grueling task of launching a food truck business. The process was caught on film, there for all to see – the good, the bad, the soggy bread and the burnt cheese. But that was fine by Darlene and Diana.

“It might not have been pretty,” recalls Darlene of the not-so glamorous side of reality TV and the reality of the food biz, “But everybody got what they wanted out of it. And that’s just how business works.”

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Tuesday
May242016

Tips To Create The Perfect Outdoor Dining Space w/ D2 Interieurs

Fire up the grill! Spring is finally in full bloom and summer is just around the corner, it’s the season for backyard barbecues and pool parties. 

There’s more to summer entertaining that meets the eye.  Below are our tips to refresh and transform your outdoor space.  Whatever you decide to do, D2’s ideas will make your home the go-to for alfresco fetes. 

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Monday
May232016

May 26 @ The Westport Farmers' Market: Guest Chef, Bar Sugo

With the fragrance of simmering basil on one end and vendors setting up to the Talking Heads on the other, there was a palpable energy to opening day of the Westport Farmers’ Market last Thursday. And this week promises the same, sans the Talking Heads, perhaps. 

Instead, Julie Moffat will lead a short class in qigong for shoppers who want to destress. Qigong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates posture, breathing, and focused intention. Gentle movements are adaptable for people of all age groups and abilities. Julie’s sessions are hugely popular and we invite you to join her at the market this Thursday, the 26th, from 1:00 to 1:30

Fragrance will once-again fill the air, of course – from the vendors’ booths to the make-shift kitchen of Bar Sugo, this week’s featured chef/restaurant. Bar Sugo is a Norwalk icon that celebrates the art of simple Italian fare using farm-fresh ingredients just like Nona did. Chef Pasquale Pascarella will lead a demonstration at noon on pasta making; get a seat early, what’s not to love about a free sample of handcrafted pasta?

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Sunday
May222016

DiFiore Ravioli Shop: Three Generations of Italian Cooking, In Hartford & Rocky Hill

Most people look forward to taking it easy and traveling in their 60s. But at age 62, Andy and Louise DiFiore had a different retirement plan in mind. They opened DiFiore Ravioli Shop on Franklin Avenue, in Hartford’s Little Italy back in 1982.

Their son Don explains, “My parents were always the home gourmet types. Back in those days, they weren’t called foodies, but they had a lifelong love of food. My dad had been an executive in the office machine world almost his whole life in sales and marketing. And he was probably looking at this more as being a retirement thing for income. Just like a little boutique store. But they stayed with it. My dad would be in the store until he was in his late 80s. And my mom stayed in the store till she was 90. She’s 95 now.”

Then, about five years ago, Don’s father was in a nursing home and his mother was getting too old to run the store any longer. They were going to close it. Then Don’s eldest sister came back home from Chicago to help. “She threw the option at me—do you want to do something with it? Geez, I don’t know.”

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Friday
May202016

Nibble: CT food Events & Happenings for May 22-29

On Tuesday May 24, The Weekend Kitchen in Essex will teach you all about “International Street Food Cooking.”  Chef Jennifer Magrey’s cooking class is inspired by the food carts found around Yale University in New Haven.  Learn dishes like Banh Mi Chicken and Pork Meatball & Pickled Carrot Sandwiches, Grilled Steak Skewers with Chimichurri, Sweet Potato Chaat Bites, and Churros. 6:30-10pm, $75 pp.  

Cheese can be fun and games!  The Greenwich location of the Fairfield Cheese Company invites you to “Wine & Cheese Pairing Round Robin” on Tuesday May 24 from 7-9pm.  Attendees will have the chance to try four cheeses with four wine and rate the pairings.  That exercise will then be used to discuss the basics of pairing.  It costs $50 per person.  

Fleishers Craft Butchery’s will hold a “Knife Skills & Poultry 101” class at their Greenwich location on May 24.  Learn basic knife technique and then use those skills to break down a raw chicken and carve a cooked bird.  It lasts from 7-9pm and costs $100 per person.  

More Farmers Markets kick off their seasons this week!  Old Greenwich opens on May 25 while Rowayton begins on May 27. 

On Thursday May 26, “RiverFare” comes to the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, CT.  Guests can enjoy tasty bites, fine spirits, local beers, and a silent auction all while overlooking the harbor.  Tickets start at $60.  

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Thursday
May192016

CTbites Invites: Happy Hour on The Patio at Artisan for $39

For the third year in a row, CTbites has partnered with Chef Frederic Kieffer and Artisan at the Delamar Hotel Southport for an outdoor Happy Hour on their gorgeous patio and bar. Mark your calendars for Wednesday June 1st 5:30-7:30, as we kick off “al fresco” dining with assorted appetizers and cocktails.  

Priced at $39, the Happy Hour includes a specialty cocktail and a second cocktail or wine or beer. Buy your tickets here:  http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2553071

Chef Frederic is preparing a number of signature appetizers both passed and buffet style to accompany a special summer cocktail created by the talented Artisan bartender team.  

Menu Includes...

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Thursday
May192016

Burger Report: Chef Geoff Lazlo's Burger at Mill Street Bar + Table

Mill Street Bar and Table opened in the Byram neighborhood in Greenwich last October, the brainchild of Executive Chef Geoff Lazlo in partnership with Bill and Leslie King, who head up the organic-centric Back 40 Group. Many in Connecticut know of his work with Bill Taibe at The Whelk in Westport, but his roots with organic gardening and cooking with the finest bounty of the season goes back to his love of gardening and his introduction to the use of these ingredients with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, Michael Anthony at Gramercy Tavern, and Dan Barber at Stone Barns.

While the Executive Chef at The Whelk, his burger received my “Best of…” in 2013 and with his newest adventure firmly established in the Fairfield County culinary landscape it was time to see if his newest creation was as great…IT WAS!

Chef Lazlo’s latest rendition is the “8OZ PASTURED BEEF BURGER,” described on the menu to include house-made mustard, aioli, Cheddar cheese, served on a potato-brioche, and served with hand-cut fries.

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Wednesday
May182016

Judy's Bar + Kitchen Opens in Stamford with Low Country BBQ

Judith Roll, creator of the popular Tabouli Mediterranean Grill in Stamford, felt that the dining neighborhood north of Bullshead was underserved.  “The area needed something a little hip,” she told CTBites recently.  “So I thought, take a chance, and try Barbecue.”

As if by wizardry, wisps of sweet hickory smoke were soon wafting over High Ridge Road, not far from the Merritt, as Judy’s  Bar + Kitchen opened its doors to a diverse (and hungry) local crowd.   

Even though she bills her dinner dishes as “Low Country,” Judith made no pilgrimage to Memphis and Carolina to study the nuances of time, temperature, cuts and woods.  Rather she stayed in the neighborhood and developed her menu out of a culinary sensibility honed at CIA and the kitchens of gifted chefs like Wolfgang Puck. 

“Simple and fresh are my style,” she says.  “Good meat, cooked low and slow, what more do you need to know?” 

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Wednesday
May182016

The Pine Leaf Opens in New Milford with Chef Joel Viehland

 

The Pine Leaf opened this week in New Milford under the leadership of chef/owner and three-time James Beard nominee, Joel Viehland. Located along the Aspetuck River, The Pine Leaf will be serving what they describe as "simple, light breakfasts and fresh, seasonal lunch fare" with a focus on organic and local ingredients. 

For those of us who know and love Viehland's cooking from his time at nearby Community Table, (check out our 2013 restaurant review of CT), this is definitely an opening we have been eagerly anticipating. We look forward to exploring New Milford's newest breakfast and lunch hot spot. In the meantime, check it out and let us know what you ate and what you think!

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