Chango Rosa Eclectic & Creative Pan-Latin in Hartford (+ Killer Tacos)

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Ramin Ganeshram

There are a lot of good reasons to head to Hartford. I’m particularly love with the collection at the Wadworth Atheneum Museum of Art and its former director’s hoax-house mansion—two of the many things to do in Connecticut’s capital city where you can visit the home of quirky American satirist, Mark Twain.

No less unusual but equally inspiring is Chango Rosa a pan-Latin fusion restaurant in downtown Hartford situated within walking distance of State Capital Park across from Union Station.

Featuring an eclectic pan-Latin inspired menu and vibrant, fun décor Chango Rosa is less about authentic Latin foods and more about creatively using Latin ingredients and cooking methods as inspiration.

“We want our cooks to be cooks and our mixologists to be mixologists.  We want them to explore their creativity first,” says David Gilmore, Chango Rosa’s Executive Chef, formerly of Infinity Bistro. “For me that’s about experimenting and finding unique ways to get the best out of the ingredients and flavors.”

Congrats To James Beard Awards Semifinalists: Brian Lewis & Tyler Anderson

Features Awards

Stephanie Webster

The James Beard Foundation announced today its list of Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists for the 28th annual James Beard Foundation Awards. Selected from a list of more than 20,000 online entries, the prestigious group of semifinalists in 21 categories represents a wide range of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations nationally and in ten different regions across the U.S., to the best new restaurants, outstanding bar programs, bakers, and rising star chefs 30 or younger.

CT has two semifinalists for Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY State, RI, VT). 

Congrats to  Brian Lewis, The Cottage, Westport, CT and Tyler Anderson, Millwright’s, Simsbury CT!

Winners of the 2018 James Beard Media Awards will be announced on Friday, April 27, 2018. Good luck to out local CT chefs. The honor is well deserved.  See this year’s full semifinalist list at

Nibble: CT Food Events For Week Of February 18-25

Features Events

Emma Jane-Doody Stetson

South Avenue in New Canaan now offers butchery classes!  The first installation is called “Half Pig” and will take place on February 20 at 7pm.  Participants will go home with meat and a South Avenue Butcher certificate.  It costs $90 per person. 

 “Taste of Stamford” returns Thursday February 22 from 5:30-8:30pm.  The Crown Plaza Hotel in Stamford will serve as the backdrop for local chefs, restaurateurs, and distributors in Fairfield County!  VIP & General Admission tickets are available online starting at $70. 

“National Margarita Day” is February 22, and Bartaco West Hartford is celebrating by releasing a new margarita each week in the months of February and March.  Plus, remember to visit them on the 22nd for margaritas, tacos, and fun!

Washington Prime SoNo invites you to a Duckhorn Wine Dinner on Tuesday February 20 from 7-9:30pm.  A 5 course dinner will be paired with wines from this renowned Napa winery.  The evening costs $95, plus tax and gratuity.  Tickets can be purchased at the restaurant or over the phone at (203) 857-1314.

Now you can help Stamford’s Ferguson Library while eating at Judy’s Kitchen + Bar.  On Wednesday February 21, from 11am-9pm, 15% of Judy's sales will be donated to The Ferguson Library's Go Fund Me page to raise the money needed to install a new floor.  For more information on the project, visit here.

Celebrating The Chinese New Year in CT

Features Chinese Holiday Homepage

Stephanie Webster

The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it’s been called since the 20th century, remains the most important social and economic holiday in China. Originally tied to the lunar-solar Chinese calendar, the holiday was a time to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. It was also a time to bring family together for feasting. Several CT restaurants will be hosting special celebrations. Ring in The Year of the Dog at these local spots. Chinese New Year officially begins on February 16th, and ends on March 2nd.

Stew Leonard's Unveils New Pastry: The Cannoli Chipwich

Features Dessert Bakery

Stephanie Webster

Big pastry news just in from Stew Leonard's and The Hour. 

Cannoli fans should head to Stew Leonard's to grab the store's newest concoction on the shelves in Danbury and Norwalk.

The Cannoli Chipwich is two freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with creamy cannoli filling piped between them; the edges are rolled in mini-chocolate chips and then the whole thing is dusted with powdered sugar.

The chipwich is the brainchild of Jake Tavello, Store Director at Stew's in Danbury and the grandson of store founder Stew Leonard Sr. According to a spokesperson, Tavello and the Danbury bakery team were discussing new ideas for the bakery and decided to pair two of the store's most popular items:  chocolate chip cookies and cannolis.

Where Do Local Chefs Eat Out? Chef/ Owner Stephen Lewandowski of Harlan Social, Harlan Publick & Harlan Haus

Features Interview Chef Chef Talk Interview Celebrity Chef

Jessica Ryan

We continue our series, "Where Do Local Chefs Eat Out," with Chef/ Owner Stephen Lewandowski, who owns Harlan Social, Harlan Publick, and the recently opened, Harlan Haus in Bridgeport. 

On the rare day or night you’re off from the restaurant where do you prefer to have dinner (If home what is your meal or food of choice)?

Tough question. I have 4 kids and when I do have that night off I like to hang with them and my wife so initially I would say we stay home and I will cook. My kids love chicken marsala so I tend to make this with penne pasta and an arugula salad. Simple but the kids love it. If we go out the kids really enjoy Sakura in Westport because of the hibachi. We have a good time and the staff is so friendly. We have been going there since we moved up here 5 years ago

Giveaway!! WIN FREE Tickets to Whiskey Social on March 24th

Features Giveaway Events

Stephanie Webster

GoodWorks Entertainment presents their third tasting event: WHISKEY SOCIAL. WHISKEY SOCIAL will take place on Saturday, March 24, 2018 from 3 PM until 6 PM at The Warehouse at Fairfield Theatre Company (70 Sanford Street in Fairfield, Connecticut). 

CTbites is GIVING AWAY 2 FREE TICKETS to Whiskey Social. To win, tell us why you NEED to go in the comments section below, and make sure you are a CTbites Newsletter Subscriber! 

Socialites will be able to relish in the exclusivity of sampling from an internationally curated selection of 150+ types of whisky, rye, scotch, bourbon, aged rum, and mezcal. Ordinary New Haven’s mixologist, Tim Cabral, will be in the room crafting samplers of his distinguished cocktails. With the purchase of a ticket, socialites will be invited to savor an array of delicious local fare including a mac and cheese bar, meat and cheese station and dessert bar by Garelick and Herbs of Southport as well as famed pulled pork sliders by Custom Meats of Fairfield. The tunes of a live band will carry throughout the social while couches provide lounge and whiskey barrels scatter the floor for the perfect festive setting.

Caffé Social Brings Great Breakfast to South Norwalk

Restaurant Breakfast Brunch Lunch Comfort Food American Coffee Dessert Kid Friendly Norwalk SONO Homepage

Andrew Dominick

A short while back, fellow CTbites writer James Gribbon sent me a text. He asked, “Where’s a good place to get breakfast in SoNo?” I replied with, “There aren’t many. SoNo Baking Company and SoNo Harbor Café. That’s probably it.”

Unless it’s a weekend and restaurants are serving brunch, breakfast in South Norwalk is scarce. I’m not talking wheat grass juice or a pastry at one of the Latin places on South Main Street, when I say “BREAKFAST” I mean eggs, pancakes, and bacon. I want a sit-down place where I can get wired on quality coffee and clean up maple syrup drizzles with that last chunk of sausage.

Wallingford Teen Competes on Rachel Ray's “Cook Your Way to Culinary School” Competition

Features Local Artisan Kids Events

CTbites Team

Four young aspiring chefs are one step closer to making their dreams of attending culinary school a reality after being named finalists in Rachael Ray’s “Cook Your Way to Culinary School” competition.  On Tuesday, February 13th,  Jules Esposito, an 18-year-old high school senior from Wallingford, CT, will be cooking to win! She has had her sights set on culinary school since the 2nd grade. She started a baking blog in middle school and is part of a culinary program that has allowed her to manage a food truck and cater events.

Nibble: CT Food Events For Week of February 11-18

Features Events Homepage

Emma Jane-Doody Stetson

Grano Arso Restaurant will have a wine dinner with Eric Railsback from Lieu Dit Winery on February 12. Chef Joel Gargano has created a four course family style meal to complement the wines.  It costs $99 per person and tickets are available online. 

Peaches Southern Pub & Juke Joint is celebrating Fat Tuesday on February 13.  The Mardis Gras festivities include live music from the New Orleans Beatniks from 6-10pm.

Brewport in Bridgeport now offers gluten-free pizza crust!

The Spread’s new Greenwich location is now open Monday-Friday for lunch.

Hardcore Sweet Cupcakes in Watertown will have a “You’re The Mac to My Cheese Class” on February 13.  Chef Jason McKenzie will show you how to make cheesecake, a mini heart cake, and “BoHo Mac and Cheese.”  The class costs $65 per couple and includes two drinks. 

Yoga meets beer at Stony Creek Brewery in Branford.  Attend “Namaste and Drink a Beer” from 6:30-8:30pm on Tuesday February 13.  Enjoy an hour of candlelit instruction followed by a beer. 

Valentine’s Day is Wednesday February 14, and Connecticut restaurants are offering an assortment of romantic dining options, from prix fixe menus to creative a la carte options to wine specials.  Here are just a few highlights:

Chef Tyler Anderson Opening Spanish Restaurant in the Historic Goodwin Hotel in Hartford

Restaurant Hartford Hartford County

CTbites Team

Chef Tyler Anderson is excited to announce that he has reached an agreement to operate all food and beverage at the historic Goodwin Hotel in Hartford, CT. In a partnership with the hotel’s owners Charles Mallory and Randy Salvatore, Tyler and his team will create a program that works alongside the major redevelopment of the hotel. Charles and Randy have created something very special in the city of Hartford and this team intends to bring something special as well.

10th Pacific House Close to Home Dessert Tasting and Youth Concert Feb 23rd

Features Events

CTbites Team

The 10th Pacific House Close to Home Dessert Tasting and Youth Concert will be held on Friday, February 23rd from 7-10pm at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich.  Tickets are now on sale for this spectacular community tradition that offers incredible desserts and live music while raising funds for homeless youth.  Talented student musicians from area high schools will join together in a night of music to help their homeless peers.

Guests will leave the event having sampled delicious food and desserts from some of the area’s finest restaurants, bakeries and chocolatiers including: A Chef’s Choice, Bad Louie’s Fudge, Chocolate Works Darien, Dimare's Pastry, Filicori Zecchini, Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery, Le Rouge, Little Pub, Longford’s Ice Cream, Pasta Vera, The Granola Bar, Tomatillo.

Han Restaurant in West Hartford: Traditional Chinese Hot Pot

Restaurant Asian West Hartford Chinese Kid Friendly kids activity Lunch

Ramin Ganeshram

Like its sister restaurants SHU in West Hartford and Fairfield, Chef Xinyu Huang HAN is a study in authentic Chinese cuisine, this time focusing on Huo Guo—hot pot—a popular eating experience throughout China.

For the uninitiated—as I was before visiting HAN—hot pot is a method of table-side cooking best described as Chinese-style “fondue” in which meats, vegetables, seafood and even eggs are poached in well-flavored broths before eating. Unlike fondue, which simply coats bread or fruit in cheese or chocolate respectively, diners actually cook their food in the hot pot. 

Community Table Restaurant & Bar To Re Open Spring 2018

Restaurant Openings Washington Farm to Table

CTbites Team

This just in from Community Table Restaurant & Bar in Washington CT...


We are excited to announce that Community Table Restaurant and Bar will be reopening this spring.  We don’t have an exact date yet but, we are hoping to open our doors before Memorial Day and work out any ‘kinks’ before the busy season kicks in.

We have spent the past months contemplating what direction Ct should go in next. We turned to Adam Riess, a Washington native and restaurant consultant, to help us define our goals and offer us options. Though many interesting ideas were discussed, hearing from so many of you who simply wanted Ct to come back the way it was, eventually swayed us to move in that direction. 

85 + Restaurants for Valentine’s Day in CT: 2018

Restaurant Holiday Events

Emma Jane-Doody Stetson

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!  If you’re looking to treat your loved one to a romantic dinner for two, Connecticut restaurants are serving up decadent prix fixe meals, love-inspired a la carte menus, and other sexy specials.  If you and your significant other prefer an alternative to wining and dining, there are also couples cooking classes and catering options if you want to enjoy the evening at home. Here are 85+ Valentine's Day Dining spots for that special day. 

  1. Homestead Inn, Greenwich:Thomas Henkelmann's famous French cuisine will be featured on the Valentine's Day menu at the Homestead Inn. The prix fixe menu costs $85, plus beverages, tax, and gratuity.
  2. elm, New Canaan: At elm in New Canaan, enjoy 5 courses for $55 on February 14.
  3. Red Bee Apiary, Weston: On Sunday February 11, visit Red Bee Apiary in Weston for a honey tasting paired with cheese and chocolate. Plus, sip champagne and honey wine.
  4. Millwrights, Simsbury: Millwright's Restaurant & Tavern is celebrating Valentine's Day with prix-fixe menus all week! Join them on Tuesday February 13 and Sunday February 18 for a 4 course meal for $69 per person. On Wednesday February 14-Saturday February 17, it will be $79 per person
  5. Anthony’s Ocean View, New Haven: Anthony's Ocean View invites you to start the Valentine's festivities early, on Saturday February 10, with an evening with an open bar, passed bites, dinner, and a DJ for $79.95 per person, plux tax and gratuity.
  6. Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen: Sunset Meadow Vineyards will offer TWO Types of Wine and Chocolate pairings at Sunset Meadow Vineyards from 11m-4pm on Valentine's Day, February 14.
  7. Terrain Garden Cafe, Westport: One day before Valentine's Day, on Tuesday February 13, join Terrain Chef Jessica Bengtson and Carissa Dellicicchi from The Stand Juice Company for a three-course Valentine’s Day dinner in the Garden Cafe in Westport, CT. You’ll enjoy a full menu of vegan dishes, from hors d’oeuvres to dessert, plus a signature cocktail and wine pairings.

Nibble: CT Food Events For Week of February 4-11

Features Events Homepage

Emma Jane-Doody Stetson

Every Tuesday, The Spread’s SoNo and new Greenwich location offer buck-a-shuck oysters.

On Monday February 5, The Westport Library’s Cookbook Club will take place at Wakeman Town Farm.  The evening will be led by food lover and blogger Yamini Lal, also known as “Fairfield County Foodie.” 

Registration is now open for Bishop Orchard’s CSA.  They have an assortment of options: mushroom shares, flower shares, egg shares, cheese shares, and more! 

The “Boozin' In Your Onesie Bar Crawl” is coming to Hartford on Saturday February 10.  A ticket includes no cover entry for up to 8 venues, an  LED Bracelet indicating when to head to the next venue, a 17oz Elite Color Changing Cup, kick-off party from 12-1:30pm, a 90's party from 1:30-3pm, a “Glow Your Mind Halftime Party” from 3-4:30pm, an after party from 7-9pm,  and so much more!  Be sure to wear your best onesie- there will be prizes! 

Shell & Bones Oyster Bar and Grill is hosting An Evening with Justin Baldwin, founder of Justin Winery, on Wednesday, February 7 at 6pm.  The four-course menu includes Avocado and Crab Toast, Moroccan Shrimp, Pomegranate Lacquered Duck Breast, and Petite Filet of Beef Rossini.  A complementary Justin wine pairing will be served with each course.  It cost $150 per person, including tax and gratuity.

Mohegan Sun’s Winefest Redux...Chefs, Celebs, Wine & Good Times

Features Festival Events Homepage

Emma Jane-Doody Stetson

Do you remember seeing Finding Nemo in theaters?  Or when Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California?  How about when a young rapper named 50 Cent won “best new artist?”  It probably feels like a long time ago… and it was!  2003 to be exact.  And that’s also how long Mohegan Sun’s Winefest has been around.  January 26-29, 2018 marked the FIFTEENTH anniversary of this massive event that brings together celebrity chefs, wine, beer, spirits, food, and local vendors for an entire weekend.  I first attended the festival in 2013 and had the opportunity cover the event on behalf of CTBites for the fourth time this year.

Cheesemonger Subscription Box Launches From Fairfield & Greenwich Cheese Co.

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Stephanie Webster

Fairfield & Greenwich Cheese Company have introduced a subscription cheese box service that curates small batch, artisan and traditional cheeses and delivers them, freshly cut, to the doorsteps of food lovers across the nation.

Cheesemonger Box will curate a selection of small batch and traditional American and European cheeses for monthly home delivery, launched this winter as the first cheese subscription service of its kind.

Founders Laura Downey and Chris Palumbo, co-founders and owners of Connecticut cheese shops Fairfield & Greenwich Cheese Company, are launching the service with the goal of “spreading the cheese love across the country” and empowering customers to “become the expert” on artisan cheese. 

Restaurant Crawl Through Mohegan Sun...Ballo, Bobby’s Burger Palace, Todd English’s Tuscany, Tom’s Urban + More!

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Carissa Chesanek

While heading to Mohegan Sun for the Lady Gaga concert (yes, she was indeed fantastic), my editor at CTBites asked me to check out the casino’s restaurant scene. And not just one or two spots either. She wanted me to work my way through as many as possible. Naturally, I was intrigued. I’ve been to a few of the casino’s restaurants, but there were so many I have yet to experience. So when she asked me to do a restaurant crawl before the concert, I happily accepted the challenge. While I might not have tried them all - Mohegan Sun has a lot of restaurants - I managed to maneuver through a solid few. Here’s how it went.