The Connecticut Real Ale Festival takes place on Sunday January 27 at Brewport in Bridgeport. All casks are prepared expressly for the Connecticut Real Ale Fest. Tickets are $45 and include entry, a collector’s glass, and two 5 oz. samples and two slices of Brewport’s famous pizza.
On January 22, Amis Trattoria will host the distilling pros from local vodka company, Cylinder Vodka, for an interactive cocktail making and tasting class.
On January 23, These Guys Brewing Company in Norwich hosts a Beer v. Wine Dinner. Owners Ray and Becka are pitted against one another to come up with the best pairing for each of the four courses to be served. The event lasts from 6-9pm and costs $80 per person.
Oak Haven Table & Bar will hold a “2018 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection with Boss Hog & Michter's 20 Year” on January 24.
Connecticut Magazine features a great local vendor who skillfully combines maple syrup and local distilleries.
When people try Maple Craft Foods’ bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup for the first time and taste the all-natural sweetness of the Vermont syrup layered with subtle smoke and caramel flavors imparted by aging in bourbon barrels, their reactions are often visceral, Dave Ackert says.
Watching new fans “ooh” and “ah” their way through this tasting is the best part of the job for Ackert, who owns the Newtown-based company along with his wife Eve, father Paul, and friend Bill Begany, of Begany Design.
Bourbon barrel maple is the company’s flagship product, and though it does not contain alcohol, it is the offspring of the burgeoning craft beer and distilling industries in Connecticut.
Some restaurants transcend time and location, destined to linger in collective memory for decades after their passing. From the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and ’OOs, Basel’s, Robert Henry’s, Roomba and Ibiza, respectively, are still fondly remembered by longtime New Haven residents. Of all the eateries currently operating in the foodie Mecca that is West Hartford, the one destined to linger longest in memory is probably Restaurant Bricco, which chef-owner Billy Grant opened in 1996 at the tender age of 29.
Italian Restaurant Bricco is not Grant’s sole contribution to the Greater Hartford culinary landscape, however. Situated just around the corner in WeHa, Grants Restaurant & Bar, which opened in 2000, has tempted diners with a modern bistro ambiance, elevated American comfort food and spectacular dessert making, while Bricco Trattoria, which opened in Glastonbury in 2010 and has been a boon to the communities east of the Connecticut River, follows a blueprint similar to that of Restaurant Bricco.
The Schoolhouse invites you to a Pinot Noir wine dinner on Wednesday, January 16. Taste 5 elegant Pinot Noirs: one sparkling, 2 from leading producers on the West Coast, and 2 gems from France. The evening will be led by Tyler Colman, Ph. D.. who heads the wine program at their sister restaurant, Parlor Pizza.
Thursday January 17 marks the Greater Hartford International Pinot Noir Festival in Hartford. Hosted by Max Downtown and sponsored by Gillette Ridge Wine and Spirits of Bloomfield, it takes place from 5:30-7:30pm. It is $45 per person.
On January 14, Doro Restaurant Group hosts its first ever food crawl! Enjoy globally-inspired prix fixe menus at Treva, Zohara, and Àvert. It starts at 6:30pm.
On January 17, Terrain Cafe will welcome relaxed and stylish cookbook author Colu Henry to celebrate her gorgeous new book, Back Pocket Pasta, over an amazing meal.
From the made-to-order ice cream billowing with liquid nitrogen clouds and those crazy waffle-like Bubblecones, to the waiting line of people all abuzz and happy customers donning their blue cookie butter ice cream tongues, Milkcraft continues to make its mark on Connecticut’s local and adventurous food enthusiasts. The first Milkcraft opened in Fairfield in the spring of 2016, with a second location popping up in West Hartford one year later, and now a third location marks the brand’s 3-year anniversary with the addition of their soon-to-be-open New Haven locale.
80% of New Year’s resolutions don’t make it to February. Yeeks. Sorry. Not to start our 2019 Healthy Eating Guide off on a negative foot or anything. Are you determined, though, that this will be the year that you finally cut the junk, cut the excuses, and buckle down so you don’t have to move that ol’ belt buckle? We thought so and therefore, we’d like to give you a leg up on throwing that 80% statistic to the ground and showing it who is boss. When you surround yourself with the healthy stuff, it makes it easy to enjoy the healthy stuff, so that said, we’ve got a nice long list of inventive, delicious, inspiring spots that are serving up food that will help you cruise into February with your head held high.
Connecticut Magazine recently sited Gaudi Tapas and Wine as one of their favorite restaurants for 2018. We thought you should take a look…and taste.
Saray Ruiz saw something in the little house-like building off Route 37. The one with the small parking lot and everyday architecture. The one others drove by thousands of times without a second glance.
I’m going to open a restaurant there one day, she’d tell her twin sister, Noemi Ruiz, and anyone else who would listen to her dream. “It’s not going to happen,” Noemi would say.
At the time, a few years back, the spot was home to a Mexican restaurant. Saray had a feeling that would change and thought the cozy spot could host a restaurant inspired by her childhood in Lleida, a small town in the Catalonia region of Spain, within driving distance of Barcelona. This past fall, when she and her once-skeptical twin opened Gaudí Tapas and Wine, her dream became a reality.
And what a dream it is.
A few years after opening Liberty Rock Tavern in the Devon section of Milford, Chef Dan Kardos now has his sequel. A stone’s throw from Sikorsky—and 10 minutes from Liberty Rock—is Kardos’ new concept, Oar & Oak. For Stratford residents, there’s that “Oh, yeah…” moment, but if you’re not from around there, the restaurant’s name is a play on words—it’s in Stratford’s Oronoque neighborhood.
Much like Liberty Rock, Oar & Oak is very much focused on the area’s locals. “I want it to grow slowly, and become a neighborhood hangout,” Kardos said. “It used to be the original Parker Eatery—a favorite around here—so we freshened it up and gave it a new look.” The woodwork, brick walls, hanging lights, and periwinkle/grey/white tones in the space contribute to Oar & Oak’s casual, come-as-you-are vibe.
Just before the holiday season, there was a loud roar in Downtown Fairfield, and it had nothing to do with townspeople getting set for a hiatus from work. The cheers and applause was all for local chef Eric Felitto, who crushed the competition on The Food Network’s popular show, Chopped.
The at-capacity viewing party for Felitto’s episode was held at The Chelsea, where he has been the executive chef since mid-2013. At the screening, locals made noise for Felitto while watching him on a 100-inch projection screen, and they witnessed him cook to one of his strengths…breakfast.
We just had to share this great article from Best Things Connecticut, highlighting the 10 Best Places for Dessert in Connecticut. It’s a solid list. Check it out.
If you find yourself craving something sweet or really need to treat yourself after a tiring day, don’t worry as the Nutmeg State has numerous places to grab a decadent treat. Look at the glorious array of colorful baked goods behind the glass counters, place your order, and sink into a cozy spot to enjoy anything from cupcakes to Italian and French pastries to traditional German sweets. With a little cup of coffee or tea to balance out the sweet, you’ll sure be feeling refreshed in no time.
AMG Catering kicks of its Winter Classes with “A Tribute to Anthony Bourdain – Global Journey of Appetizers” on Tuesday January 8. The menu includes Shrimp and chorizo “bites,” Tuna “poke,” Greek meatballs with Tzatziki sauce, and Mini Jamaican beef patties. It costs $90 per person and runs from 7-9 pm.
Beginning January 9, B.GOOD will roll out its new winter seasonal menu. It includes a Citrus & Avocado Salad, Maple Roasted Carrots and a Mocha Protein Smoothie.
Stew Leonard’s of Newington will have a Rainbow Madness Culinary Class for Toddlers on Monday January 7 and again on Saturday January 12. Kids ages 2-5 will make rainbow cupcakes and rainbow marshmallow dream bars. Along with that, each child will paint a rainbow canvas to take home.
If you already have a bevy of Chinese menus with sauce stains in your house that no longer excite you, Ren Dumpling & Noodle House in Norwalk may just become your new “go to.” Tucked in the corner of a vast shopping plaza in Wilton, Ren Dumpling & Noodle House seems to be far from overlooked. This cozy and clean joint was bustling with hungry customers dining in and picking up takeaway.
Full disclosure: I lived in Hong Kong for five years, therefore, with five years experience consuming copious amounts of dumplings under my belt, my curiosity was piqued although my expectations may have been skewed. Ren isn’t all about the dumplings, however. In fact, the rest of the menu showcases an impressive amount of options you would see on most Chinese menus, with the addition of the odd Thai or Vietnamese dish or two, which seems to be standard these days.
Years of drinking bland and commonplace cups of coffee began to take a toll on Connecticut natives and founders of RISE Brewing Co., Hudson Gaines-Ross, Grant Gyesky, Jarrett McGovern, and Justin Weinstein. In 2014, they decided to take matters in their own hands by hitting the drawing board in their New York City apartments. Bean after bean, one roast and cold-brewing method after another, they finally created a cold brew coffee, making them the founders of RISE Brewing Company. Traversing the concrete jungle with their product, they asked experienced mixologists if it was the real deal. One day, in a Brooklyn café, the espresso machine broke; RISE cold brew came to the rescue, and was a hit amongst the customers. The product became available for purchase in July of 2017.
On December 28th the New London Naval Base will be visited by a fleet of talented chefs who have come together to say Thank You For your Service, the best way they know how; by preparing a BBQ Extravaganza! This holiday celebration is the brainchild of Chef Plum (Restaurant Road Trip, Food Network, Hallmark Channel) who has gathered his fellow chef friends to create a scrumptious and entertaining “chow time” event for the men and women who serve our country.
From Granby to Madison, Kent to Killingly, good eats abound in our beautiful Nutmeg State. It was our task for Hearst Publishing this year to determine the top of the heap, the creme de la creme and the cherries on top of this statewide sundae. So, after an abundance of hours honing in on the gems, we now offer to you our Top 100 restaurants in Connecticut! This list was created for our co-branded Top 100 Dining & Drinks guide we create for Hearst Media. The establishments on this list are not necessarily new, but they do happen to represent the very best CT has to offer for 2018. Our hope is that you enjoy exploring new flavors, maybe discover a new corner of the state that you haven’t visited before, and make memories with new culinary experiences. And hey, please add your favorites in the comment section if they don’t happen to appear on this list. Connecticut is truly brimming with deliciousness.
Note: Limiting this list to 100 was challenging for the team. We lacked the bandwidth to include all of our favorite “delicious dives: and “hidden gems,” but you can find those on CTbites.com.
Chef Robin Selden Featured in FORBES' 11 Trends Reshaping Food And Restaurants In 2018 (sponsored post)Features Interview
Our own CT Chef, Robin Selden, of Marcia Selden Catering & Events, was one of the featured voices Forbes looked to to define the 11 trends reshaping food and restaurants in 2018. Trends included, Cooking with Cannabis, The Greening of Restaurants, Fine Dining Goes Casual, Affordable Wine Lists, Year of the Woman, Oat Milk and more.
Get ready to rock the night away and usher in 2019… New Year’s is almost here! Connecticut restaurants and bars are celebrating with gourmet meals and epic bashes to help you start the new year out right.
Here is a complete guide to 60+ places where you can dine in style and watch the ball drop.
Sick of the same old greasy bar food consumed with flavorless big beer brands while out with colleagues or friends on Friday night? Me too. Skip the ho-hum bar and head directly to The Social, a relatively new spot on Bank Street in New London. Providing a new and much needed hang-out spot, the Social gives diners great food, a family-friendly atmosphere, and an extensive beer list; it definitely knocks it out of the park as a new place to spend Fridays after work or Saturday evenings with family or friends.
Largest Selection of Craft Beers on Draft in Southeast CT
The Social has selected hyper-local, local, regional, and U.S. beers, serving a whopping 50 on draft.