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Chowdafest 2013: Chef Lineup has been Announced


Chowdafest 2013 is just around the corner. 10,000 chowder and soup lov'n fans are expected to come out and help set a record donation to Connecticut Food Bank while enjoying some of Connecticut's best soups, chowders and bisques at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. The uniquely football-themed chowder and soup competition will take place on "SOUP"er Bowl Sunday Feb. 3rd from 11:00-4:00 at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, and YOU are the judges! The final lineup of chefs has just been posted, including names such as... Bloom Brothers Oysters, Bodega Taco Bar, Nicholas Roberts, & Southport Brewing Company.

See the full list below:

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February Baking Classes at Scratch Baking in Milford

On the heels of a sold-out January class schedule, Scratch Baking in Milford has expanded their class offerings for February to include Croissant 101, Artisan Breads I & II, Treats for your Sweet, Valentine's Day, Breakfast Pizza & Quiche Basics. To reserve your spot, call 203.301.4396 or email Scratch.

Croissant 101

Croissants are one of the most awarding pastries to make. Learn the in’s and out’s of croissant making in this three-hour class. We will demonstrate how to mix croissant dough and laminate croissant dough and then for the best part, hands-on croissant making. You will learn how to make croissants, pain au chocolat and the very popular monkey bread. Don’t worry, you will be getting a goody bag with these pastries for tomorrow’s breakfast.. that is if you can wait that long!

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Bedford Post’s Signature Spiked Hot Chocolate

Meng Chiang, Beverage Director at Bedford Post has created a savory spiked hot chocolate that will warm you up on even the chilliest of winter days.  Inspired by a chocolate truffle, the decadent drink is a twist on traditional hot cocoa with Stolichnaya Vodka Salted Karamel and raspberry framboise.  A swirl of White Godiva Liqueur Whipped Cream and a sprinkling of chopped macadamia nuts on top are sure to satisfy any sweet-tooth.  

Bedford Post’s Signature Spiked Hot Chocolate

1 cup of hot chocolate, preferably dark chocolate or salted dulce de leche

1/2 oz Stolichnaya Vodka Salted Karamel

1.0 oz Clear Creek Distillery Raspberry Framboise

Topped with White Godiva Liqueur Whipped Cream, chopped macadamia nuts optional

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Off the Vine Wine & Spirits Opens in Norwalk

“Come on in. I just finished putting the wine away about an hour ago,” says John Noakes as I enter Off The Vine Wine & Spirits, a wine shop in Norwalk. “I had about 100 cases just sitting in my basement.” 

Off the Vine is a work in progress; a paint brush lies in the corner waiting for use and the shelves have a few empty spaces awaiting bottles.  Still, Noakes is well on his way toward reopening the store in its new location.  The shop, previously situated on the corner of Spring Hill Avenue, is moving across town to Winfield Street.  The space has its own legacy.  It once housed the original location of Fountainhead Wines before it became a part of Fat Cat City on Wall Street.

Off the Vine is a relatively small operation.  Noakes owns and works in the store full-time and has two people who assist him part-time.  The new location is physically petite as well, even more so than the previous shop.   Don’t let the size fool you though.  The shop offers an enviable collection of boutique wines.

“Having a small store poses its challenges, but it makes it so that your taste has to be spot on,” explains Noakes.  He strives to offer only the best products to his customers and tries to find unique, small production wine.

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Cooking Class @ Bernard's in Ridgefield

Class is in session @ Bernard's in Ridgefield. Join Chefs Chef Bernard and Sarah Bouissou on Tuesday, January 29th for an evening of cooking and education as they teach you how to prepare a wonderful 4 course meal. Hors d’oeuvre, appetizer, entrée & dessert will be demonstrated, along with many helpful tips and tricks throughout the evening. Then, the best part, guests will sit down and enjoy the meal they have prepared. 

Hors d’oeuvre – Ratatouille & Herb Cheese Tart
Appetizer – Celery Root &Truffle Soup
Entrée Lamb Stew with Creamy Polenta & Roasted Carrots
Dessert – Pear & Almond Tart
6:30 pm – cooking demo of hors d’oeuvre, appetizer, entrée and dessert – the dinner to follow!
$75 per person – beverages, tax & gratuity are additional

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And The Winner of the Sun Winefest Giveaway Is....

In case you haven't noticed...ALL OVER CTbites...people have been throwing their hats into the ring to win a pair of tickets to the SOLD OUT Sun WineFest’s Grand Tasting on January 26th. Readers & commenters...the wait is over. 

The Winner of the Sun Winefest Giveaway is...drum roll please... Gabrielle Barrett.

Thanks to our CTbites community for all of your enthusiasm. Stay tuned for our next Giveaway!

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Eat Indian This Week+ Raise $$ for Sandy Hook

Thali & Thali Too are among the participating Indian restaurants who will offer delicious creative prix fixe menus at vastly discounted prices during the week of January 21-27th. More importantly, each restaurant will be donating 10% of all sales to the Diya Foundation for Children, with all proceeds going directly to Sandy Hook Elementary School and the families of the victims.

We salute the fellow restaurateurs for taking the initiative in supporting their local community. Visit a participating restaurant today to help those in need. Click here for a complete list of participating restaurants.


Ibiza Tapas & Wine Bar Opens in Danbury

Ignacio Blanco and Chef Juan Garcia, the duo behind the successful trio of Ibiza Tapas & Wine Bars in Hamden, New Haven and Northhampton, are opening their fourth location in Danbury. The newest Ibiza Tapas and Wine Bar will be open for regular business beginning this Saturday, January 26 at 93 Mill Plain Road in Danbury.

For more information, call 203.730.8800 or visit

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Elm Restaurant's Chef Brian Lewis Offers Cooking Classes

Chef Brian Lewis and Elm Restaurant in New Canaan are beginning a series of hands-on cooking classes to illustrate the flavors of the season, tempt the palate and teach the aspiring little chefs in the family.

On Wednesday January 30 from 11am to 2pm, Chef Brian Lewis will teach various methods of creating healthy and delicious winter dishes. The recipes will feature winter greens and roots and how best to complement these ingredients with citrus & grains. In addition the main event will prepare a salt-baked Branzino, an age-old technique that creates a moist and luscious presentation. The cost of this event is $90 and includes hands-on instruction, recipes and a three-course lunch.

The second class is schedule for Wednesday, February 20 for the “lil’ chefs.” You can drop off your aspiring chefs (minimum age 9 years old pleas) at 11AM for a three-hour cooking class during Winter Break and Elm will guide them through the making of pasta with tomato sauce plus that good old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies. The fee per child for this class is $45 and includes instruction, recipes and lunch at the chef’s table.

For more information, check out the elm restaurant web site. 

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Bistro Latino: Chef Rafael Palomino Comes to Old Greenwich

Acclaimed chef, author and restaurateur Rafael Palomino recently opened Bistro Latino in the space first occupied by Boxing Cat Café and then Greenwich Tavern in Old Greenwich.  The vast dining room has been done over in dark wood flooring which is flanked by racked walls that flaunt an extensive portfolio of international wines. 

Palomino won his food-star stripes when he opened Sonora in Manhattan almost two decades ago, introducing Manhattan to Nuevo Latino cuisine, and earning raves from the city’s food critics. Sonora's wild success inspired Rafael to bring his unique cooking style to satellite restaurants in New Haven, Tuckahoe, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Sonora now lives in Port Chester.

Despite its name, Greenwich's Bistro Latino is not really Nuevo Latino since the dishes are more of Spain than Latin and South America.  Rafael has created a menu that features European tapas and paella -- which he anoints with flavors from his Columbian and Queens roots. "Spanish bathed in Picante Style," is how the restaurant describes it.  As a result, Bistro Latino is really more about invention than tradition.  

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