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Sono Baking Co: 5 Tips for Perfect Pie Dough

Pie baking is a both a science and an art, and John Barricelli of Sono Baking Company knows all the tricks. John has been baking the old fashioned way at Sono Baking Company since the very beginning, no short cuts, just fresh ingredients and skill that comes from a lifetime covered in flour. 

As part of our Invites program, John Barricelli hosted two "Pie & Dough Making" classes for aspiring bakers. Guests arrived donning aprons and toting rolling pins. Here's what we learned:

5 Tips for Perfect Pie Dough

Tip #1: Calibrate your oven's temperate & make sure that your oven is level.

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Plan B Burger Opens in Stamford: Burgers, Bourbon & Beer

The B's in “Plan B Burger” are Burgers, Bourbon, and Beer.  Add another for “Big”.

The huge Stamford branch of this high concept Connecticut restaurant franchise opened this week in the Town Center, and the spectacular interior of the vast 4500 square foot space immediately announces "This Ain't Five Guys."  No peanut shells here. And a far more high end burger.

Reclaimed wood walls.  Blown glass lights.  High tin celings.  Meat hook lamps. A wrap around bar, brimming with beer and booze.  Plan B transports an old-fashioned American saloon into the  21st Century.   Walk in and you know some two-fisted eatin' and drinkin' could happen here. All that's missing are sarsaparilla and swinging doors. 

The eats and drinks.... by the B's.

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Stanziato's Dinner @ Holbrook Farm

Get excited. Stanziato's Pizza in Danbury is teaming up with Holbrook Farm for the Danbury pizzeria's first farm-to-table event held on the Bethel farm, Sunday, September 16, 2012 from 4 to 7pm.

Each $60 ticket includes soup, salads, appetizers (plated), wood-fired pizza from Stanziato's new truck (served family style) as well as non-alcoholic beverages and local beer/wine,.  Virtually all of the ingredients will be sourced from the farm. You can also count on live music to round out this late summer evening.

Stanziato's has accumulated a cult following of pizza lovers across northern Fairfield County who know its Neapolitan-inspired pizza menu of white and red pies by heart. If we've ever spoken about pizza, chances are you have heard me swoon about the Soppressata and Chilies pizza that stole my heart. The CIA-trained Chef Stanczak's talents don't stop at the wood-fired ovens, his salads and soups have their own fan club as well, a perfect foil for an evening dinner on the farm.   

Tickets are limited so grab some friends and be sure to get yours soon.

Where:  Holbrook Farm – 45 Turkey Plain Road, Bethel, CT 06801

Time:  4-7pm

Tickets: $60 per person, purchase online at

Questions: Call Stanziato's at 203.885.1057 or email

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Southwest Café in Ridgefield Turns 25

Southwest Café in Ridgefield will be celebrating their 25th anniversary this month. They kick off the festivities as host their 6th annual Southwest Cafe Margarita 5k on Aug 4, 2012. (Trust me, it's a blast. I've run it in the past and the relatively flat course and festive evening crowd makes it a fun race).

In addition to the race, the restaurant invites all for an evening of music and their signature southwest fare. Inspired by the anniversary, Southwest is doing 25 nights of giveaways through August 25. For every 25th person to walk in the door, you can expect prizes such as a free margarita to free lunch for the month of August.

And a fixed price $25 new mexican entree, chocolate decadent cake and classic margarita for aug & sept Monday through Thursday evenings. For more information about these events and to register, visit

[Photograph courtesy of Todd Brown]


Harlan Social Opens in Stamford's Harbor Point

Steven Lewandowski knows something about breaking new ground. He worked at Montrachet, Drew Nieporant’s’s transformative French restaurant that ignited a dining renaissance in once grim Lower Manhattan.  

"I think we can change the game here, too," Lewandowski told CTBites during a recent preview of his new Harlan Social at Harbor Point, the amazing redevelopment project now bourgeoning on Stamford's South Side. 

"When we first checked the area, it was a bit desolate. Like Tribeca when my friend Drew came in there. But when I saw that Fairway was here, I just knew this would be a good home for us, too. 

Fade Out. Fade In. One year later. 

Harbor Point is booming and Lewandowski is about to find out if his multimillion dollar bet was on the money.. On August 7th, Harlan Social opens its doors, the first high end restaurant in HP. ("Harlan" is his son's first name, "Social" because the restaurant will be a gathering place for the thousands of people who will soon live, work, play ... and, yes, EAT ... in Harbor Point.)

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Barcelona Chef Proto: Hanger Steak w/ Truffle Vinaigrette

Truffle fans, listen up. Barcelona Restaurant has begun importing the "good stuff." Teaming up with an international purveyor of this Italian culinary treasure, Barcelona is now offering private label white truffle oil and truffle shavings (slivers, packed in juice). 

Wondering what to do with these fabulous fungi? Frank Proto, Executive Chef at New Haven's Barcelona Restaurant has just the recipe: Truffle Vinaigrette, using black truffles and white truffle oil. This vinaigrette is delicious on hanger steak as presented in the recipe above, but really, what wouldn't truffle vinaigrette be good on? 

These exotic woodland delicacies are available to food enthusiasts through Barcelona’s already active “marketplace” on their web site. 

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The Schoolhouse Farm to Fork Dinner Goes on Sale Aug 2nd

The Schoolhouse has just announced that reservations for the August 22nd Farm to Fork Dinner will open at 10AM on Thursday, August 2nd. Please email request for seats to beginning at 10AM on August 2nd.

The dinner will be Wednesday, August 22nd at Millstone Farm, located at 180 Millstone Road, Wilton, CT. A farm tour will begin at 6:00PM with a farm fresh family style meal beginning at 7:00PM. The cost is $126.35 which includes tax & gratuity and featured drinks. BYOB is welcome. With the fantastic weather this season, the variety of fresh vegetables will be outstanding. They will also be featuring a specially selected wine and creative cocktails at this event.  

All tickets are non refundable, however, you may give your spot to someone else. Space is limited and the dinner will happen as scheduled, rain or shine. 

Please email your reservations after 10:00AM on Thursday, June 21st to


Invites Recap: "Happy Hour" @ Dressing Room

As you enter Dressing Room, it is the perfect combination of elegance and charm that attracts you.  When you sit down, it is the warmth that settles you in.  After you have eaten, it is the substance and quality that relaxes you into a food inspired ‘coma.’  Once you have left, it is the overall magnanimity of the Dressing Room restaurant that will entice you back.

Recently, CT Bites sponsored an event at the Dressing Room, known as “Happy Hour on the DR Patio.”  The evening was used to promote that which head chef/owner Michel Nischan has set as his restaurants overarching ideal, comfort.  From the specialty cocktails, to the stunningly made hors d’oeuvres, this is the type of happy hour that I would be a regular at.

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Ad: What's In Season @ Walter Stewart's Market 

With summer in full swing there are even more reasons to shop Walter Stewart's Market, a fixture in downtown New Canaan since 1907. This family run grocer features not only outstanding customer service and a great selection of everyday needs for your family, but also local producers and hard to find specialty goods in every aisle.  

Can't get to the farmers' market? Browse through Walter Stewart's produce section where local CT farmers from Wagner Farm in East Windsor, Millstone Farm in Wilton, and Dzen Farm in South Windsor, are delivering the very best of the CT harvest. What's in season right now? Here is the lineup: corn, yellow and green squash, green beans, blueberries, apricots, sugar plums, and green cabbage. Beautiful beefsteak tomatoes will be coming soon. 

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Behind the Scenes: Napa and Company's New Chef Marino

Napa and Company in Stamford has a new, very talented chef overseeing its award-winning kitchen. Chef Leonardo Marino is slowly modifying the menu to showcase his commitment of using exceptional ingredients to highlight their natural flavors. Three weeks after assuming Napa’s Executive Chef position, CTbites sat with Chef Leo for this “Behind the Scenes,” review, discussed his passion for food and sampled several of his recently premiered dishes.  

Chef Leo’s devotion to cooking started at an early age as he assisted his mother and aunt in the kitchen; they inspired him to pursue a culinary education.  After attending the Culinary Institute of America, his philosophy of accentuating the natural flavors was further influenced in the kitchens of some of America’s greatest chefs. While working as the Lead Sous Chef for Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin, Ripert asked him to relocate to Washington DC to take the reins of Chef de Cuisine at Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert. Chef Leo returned to New York in 2009 and joined David Bouley at both Bouley and as the Chef of Bouley Upstairs.

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