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Friday Froth: The Good Earth

Someone - I don't recall who, and I'm forced to paraphrase here - once said the amazing thing about books is that a writer who may be hundreds of miles away or hundreds of years dead can speak directly from their mind into that of the reader. A recipes is the same, because what is a recipe but another cook speaking into your head and guiding your hands? A recipe is thus a combination of people and ingredients -  ideas of taste and texture made physical manifest. In this way a chef is the same as a brewer, and a dish is like a beer. 

Artisinal foods and beers are the result of obsessive dedication to recipes using prime ingredients to produce an idealized flavor. How much closer can you get to your ingredients than visting the actual dirt from which they spring? That's the idea behind Victory Brewing Company's Ranch series of double IPAs. 

The name comes from Victory working with family owned hop farms, which are sometimes called hop ranches, as if the hops detach themselves and wander the moonlit world when the humans aren't watching. Victory worked with growers from Roy Farms, Carpenter and Seagal Ranches, and and Perrault Farms, among others, to create this series. 

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The Weekly Nibble: Upcoming Food News & Events

Friday February 28, Frate’s in Darien will hold a complimentary in store wine tasting from 4-7.

Also on Friday, join Chef Tom Devine at Two Steps Downtown Grille in Danbury for a night of Mardi Gras!  The meal includes Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, New Orleans BBQ Shrimp, Carpetbagger Filet Mignon, and Banana’s Foster Flambé.  Reserve by emailing or calling 203-794-0032. $55pp. 

On Saturday March 1, Set Sail with L’escale and the YMCA of Greenwich. The Havana-themed night will feature food from the restaurant, cocktails, wine, and more.  Tickets start at $275.Al’s Warehouse 3 will hold a free wine tasting in the Fairfield Store on Saturday March 1 from 4-8pm.

Another Saturday event: Join Larry McCulloch, winemaker for the Jones Family Farms Winery in Shelton, as he leads a class on making award winning fruit wines.  This seminar will also include a tasting of award winning wines made from apples, pears, blueberries, raspberries and black currants. $40.00 per person.  To register call 203-452-7332. 10am-1pm.

3/1-3/2 is the Maple Sugar Festival Weekend at Stamford Museum & Nature Center.  More Info and ticket purchase here. 

Tuesday March 4 is Fat Tuesday at The Spread in Norwalk! Join them for Mardis Gras inspired cocktails, food, and fun! 

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The Ginger Man Hosts 2nd Annual Great Wall of Stouts

The Gingerman in South Norwalk is hosting their second annual Wall of Stouts running from March 10th - March 16th. They will be taking over 26 of their lines just like last year's event to pull some amazing beer from their private vintage collection.  Vintage bottles will also come out of the back room this year. If you're serious about your Stout, here's where you'll want to be. 

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Rare Beer Night @ Half Full Brewery in Stamford: Catch it Monthly

Rare beers aren't often new beers. This works just fine in the case of a year old bomber of Imperial Stout Trooper, or the '08 Schneider Weisse Aventinus I had at a recent beer festival. It's not so fine when I walk into a bar in February and they're trying to pass off a fall seasonal that came out in August as a craft offering because the distributor gave them a skinny deal on the keg. 

Events like the monthly Rare Beer Night at Half Full Brewery in Stamford are thus somewhat of an exception: rare beer, in this case, is also fresh beer. The fact that forty ticketed guests were met with fruit and charcuterie from Fairway, and cheese plates from Fairfield Cheese Company to pair with the beer, was an added bonus.

The entire staff of Half Full pitches in after work on the third Wednesday of every month to set up tables and seating in the brewery's tasting room for this event, which pairs extremely limited edition Half Full beers with various foods. The event's cheeses were selected by Fairfield Cheese Co. co-owner Chris Palumbo, who was on hand to speak on each of the pairings he made with beers made by Half Full brewers... pardon, "Chief Beer Artist and Chief Beer Scientist," 

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Oscar Party Menu Planning via Marcia Selden Catering

And the Oscar Goes to…

The Oscar’s are right around the corner, a night of glamour, drama and of course food.  This is the perfect night to glam up the house and invite friends over for a dinner worthy of a gold man.

Decorate the house with oversized shiny gold stars and old movie posters.  Rent rich red velvet tablecloths and bust out the good silverware.  This Oscar inspired menu will impress your friends and family and the best part?  Most of these recipes can be made in advance so you won’t miss a minute of the fun! Then call “The Butler” to help serve….Dallas’ Best Oysters Rockefeller, Omaha (Nebraska) Beef Wellington Nouveau, Zero Gravity Potato Gratin, Jumbo Asparagus with Blue Jasmine Vinaigrette, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing Honey Gold Martini. 

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Sun WineFest 2014 @ Mohegan Sun: The Recap

Mohegan Sun’s annual WineFest is my Super Bowl.  Before the big game, football aficionados took to twitter in anticipation of the showdown.  I, too, waged a full out blitz on social media- enthusiastically counting down til I could try some great wines and see my favorite chefs back in action!  For the Super Bowl, avid fans suited up in team apparel and NFL jerseys.  I also donned some fancy getup; my yearly uniform is a pink shirt bedazzled with “Wine Diva” and a sparkly headband.  Some people love calfskin; I love food, wine, and fun.

From the moment I entered the Convention Center, it was apparent that this year’s festival was bigger than ever.  Media members are granted an additional hour to peruse the venue.  Last year there was a handful of us and it was easy to get a preview of what was to come.  This year, however, it seemed that people everywhere were vying to cover the event.  Media members were elbow-to-elbow before the doors even opened to the public.  It was an extravaganza!

The SunWineFest’s signature event is its Grand Tasting, which spans the weekend. 

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Valhrona Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta, Salty Caramel, Malt Ice Cream Shake via Parallel Post 


Parallel Post in Trumbull is currently celebrating National Chocolate Lover's Month during February, and will also honor American Chocolate Week during the week of March 17th.  Parallel Post is overseen by James Beard nominated Chef Dean James Max, and serves up modern-American cuisine focused on seasonal ingredients. To celebrate the joy of chocolate, Chef Max will be sharing a few of his chocolate inspired recipes with CTbites, the first is this amazing Valhrona Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta, Salty Caramel, Malt Ice Cream Shake. Yes please!

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[Live Event] A Taste of Innovation: From Farm to Table

Join the Yale Sustainable Food Project for A Taste of Innovation: From Farm to Table, a conversation on innovation in the agricultural value chain. Moderated by Mark Bomford of the Yale Sustainable Food Project, this panel of entrepreneurs and authors will explore some of the ways that we can redesign our current food systems and how to develop the regenerative food systems of tomorrow.

The event is free and open to the public, held at Yale School of Management at 165 Whitney Avenue, Room 220, in New Haven, CT. Watch the event live on February 25 at 11:45 am.

Speakers include: Joe Dobrow, Author of Natural Prophets: From Health Foods to Whole Foods; Patrick Horan, Waldingfield Farms; Dan Horan, President and CEO of Five Acre Farms; Moderated by Mark Bomford, Director of the Yale Sustainable Food Project.


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Kibberia Restaurant Brings Middle Eastern Cuisine to Westport 

In September, Westport welcomed KIBBERIA Restaurant and Cafe to the Post Road serving traditional Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine. Kibbe, a Levantine dish made of bulgur, minced onions and ground beef, is a staple in many Middle Eastern kitchens, and  KIBBERIA serves KIBBE and an enormous variety of other Middle Eastern dishes, always fresh, always home-made (except for the Pita Bread)  and very tasty! You have to excuse the packaging and get right down to the food… Cafeteria style with paper bowls for soup does not scream “GOURMET” by any means. But the food is the thing...and KIBBERIA does not disappoint.

Westport is KIBBERIA’s second location (the other has been a huge success in Danbury since 2011) owned by Lebanese-born Nick Iskander and co-owner and head chef Carole Iskander. She is cooking for a packed, Westport crowd every day but Sunday. From moms with kids to business people out for a healthy, quick lunch to vegans to carnivores KIBBERIA provides a healthy, hearty, Middle Eastern meal that suits any palate.

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Cocktail Contest: Win Dinner for 2 @ Baró in Fairfield

WIN a FREE Dinner for two @ Baró New World Cantina in Fairfield. Here's how...

It's time for another cocktail throw down! Baró  New World Cantina in Fairfield has decided to trust the fate of their new specialty cocktail to the naming skills of our CTbites readers.  If your cocktail name is selected, you will win a FREE DINNER FOR TWO at Baró in Fairfield (cocktails included). 

Here are the ingredients for the cocktail in need of a name:

1.75 ounce Flor de Cana 7-Yr
1 ounce simple syrup
.75 lime juice
.5 grapefruit juice

Swizzle with crushed ice, top with two dash angostura bitters and Pina leaf.

Post your submission below (include email). We welcome input from readers. If you see a name you your vote!

May the best namer win!! Good luck.

The winner will be announced on March 10th

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