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Get A Healthy Start to 2014: CT Resources for Juicing, Healthy Eats & More

You just did it all this holiday season. And by that, I mean...cookies became a food group. Mixing, stirring and shopping had you working your “muscles” (how to polish something, right?). Real exercise resided in the back seat, crammed in between boxes and bags and wrapping paper. Your sanity was also wedged in there, too, now that you think about it. Thank goodness that a new year is upon us because you weren’t quite sure you could take another week, chaotic and fun as it may have been. And yes, there was much good in the holiday season...but it’s all....tiring. So now, after the decadence and gluttony, let’s reset. Recharge. And for the love of Pete, put down that cookie.

Here we offer, as your first gift of the New Year, some great resources, including juice cleanses, yoga joints and healthy eats, to get your body and mind back on track and ready for action in 2014! 

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Reader's Choice Awards from Connecticut Magazine

Connecticut Magazine reached out and you responded—now here are the results of their annual restaurant survey, featuring readers’ favorites in 35 dining categories. Bon appétit!

best in overall excellence

Bernard’s/Sarah’s Wine Bar, Ridgefield

The Spread, Norwalk

The Cellar Door, Ridgefield

best new restaurant

The Spread, Norwalk

Walrus + Carpenter, Bridgeport

Heirloom Food Co.,Danielson



Read The Complete Reader's Choice Awards List on Connecticut Magazine

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Happy New Year from CTbites

This stunning Beef Wellington was created by CTbites contributor, Sarah Green. If you have photos from your New Years celebrations (of a foodie nature), send them to:

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Top CTbites Stories from 2013

From restaurant openings (and closings) to memorable food-centric events and a slew of our own top ten lists, we trolled our analytics to bring you the most widely read stories from 2013.  

Best Brunch in Fairfield County

If there is one thing for sure, CTbites readers love them some brunch. Equally parts meal and ritual, our brunch post stole your hearts with a series of 14 recommendations, mouthwatering photos, and an additional twenty-six reader recommendations in the comments. 

The Best Warm Lobster Rolls on the Connecticut Coast

"Connecticut's signature food may not be New Haven Pizza or Steamed Hamburger.  And it’s certainly not Nutmeg (indeed, not a single nutmeg seed has ever been planted, much less harvested, in the Nutmeg state.

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"Small, Sweet, and Italian" from Sweet Maria's (Waterbury Bakery)

The arrival of the holiday season gives rise to lots of thoughts. Plans for Christmas, and wish lists for gift-giving and receiving rank high at the moment, and interwoven with those is another shared, defining theme—food, as in feasts, finer and heartier fare than in fairer weather and a seasonal amnesty from sweet-treat restrictions.

That’s where Maria Bruscino Sanchez—aka Sweet Maria—comes in.

The owner and baker for nearly 24 years at Sweet Maria’s in Waterbury, a Connecticut destination bakery for cakes, cookies, biscotti and more, Bruscino Sanchez recently released her latest cookbook, and it’s a perfect one both for this time of year and for how we like to live, and eat, now. 

In Small, Sweet and Italian, with 75 recipes and simple, straightforward instructions, “The mini sweet trend takes an Italian holiday with recipes like Cappuccino Hazelnut Cupcakes, tiny Torta Caprese, mini Italian cream horns, cannoli, Bellini and Limoncello cupcakes.”

The word “mini” is the key here; these are small bites that are far more delicious and satisfying than they are filling—meaning you can sample a variety without guilt.

“Mini everything has taken hold of the entire bakery industry,” Bruscino Sanchez writes at the beginning of the book, which, before digging into the recipes, offers an ingredients/pantry section, notes on the necessary equipment, helpful mini primers on baking techniques and even a section on pairing desserts with dessert wines. 

“I grew up in a family where small portions meant a meal to serve twelve!” she writes in an opening section of the new book entitled La Dolce Vita means “The Sweet Life.” “Many of us love keeping up traditions, yet our lifestyles have changed to eat smaller and lighter. By baking minis, you can have it all: flavor, tradition, and variety.”

Read the full article on 

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Easy Winter Breakfast Recipes via Marcia Selden Catering

I think we can safely say winter has arrived. The chilly weather ushers in more opportunities to linger in our loungewear, add an extra log to the fire and settle in for a relaxing weekend breakfast.  Invite a few friends over, heck they can even come in their pajamas! Here are a few of our most favorite make-ahead (sweet and savory) breakfast items including: Impossible to Resist Quick Cinnamon Buns, Ultimate Breakfast Strata, and Cheddar Bacon Buttermilk Scones.


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CTbites Staff & Chef Picks for TOP EATS OF 2013

As food writers, photographers, and chefs, we have the pleasure of eating a lot of really great food. Fairfield County has experienced something of a restaurant explosion over the past year, as new chefs move in and move on, and menus expand. We've endeavored to expand our coverage beyond those borders, seeking to cover more of the state and sharing those experiences that are worth seeking out. Instead of coming up with a top ten list ourselves, we asked the CTbites extended family to share some of their most memorable meals and dining experiences this past year. 

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Bruno DiFabio of ReNapoli's Sfincione di San Giovanni (Sicilian Christmas Pizza)

Bruno DiFabio is the owner and pizzaoilo at ReNapoli in Old Greenwich, and has been making pizza for thirty years. A fact made more interesting when you consider he is only 42.  He has considerable bragging rights with five World Pizza Championship titles under his belt and stints at the famed ovens of Spacca Napoli, Da Michele and Trianon in Naples.

What does Bruno make for Christmas dinner? Pizza, of course. His Sfincione di San Giovanni (Sicilian Christmas Pizza) recipe is below and is a must read for any serious pizza aficionado. This holiday season, make them what they 

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TravelBites: Heading to Miami, Florida? Don't Miss MC Kitchen

By request….CTBites is trying out a new column, TravelBites, for our readers heading out of the great state of CT. These articles will feature popular vacation/business travel destinations for local CT residents, but if you have a suggestion for a TRAVELbites, contact us. 

Our first article features Chef Dena Marino and MC Kitchen in sunny Miami….one of the fastest growing “foodie” hubs in the US.  

Hot culinary spots are opening in hotel restaurants like SLS South Beach with Katsuya or The Bazaar by Jose Andres as well as Soho transplant, Lure Fishbar in the Loews. Funky hipster dining options are popping up practically daily in the emerging fashion and art neighborhoods like in the Design District , Midtown and Wynwood…Miami and Miami Beach has something for everyone.

MC Kitchen, opened a little over a year ago, is the passionate creation of Chef Dena Marino and her friend, Brandy Coletta  Hence, the M and C ).  Chef Dena, who actually hails originally from northern New Jersey, moved to Miami a little over three years from her executive chef position at Ajax Tavern in Aspen to head up the kitchen at the now defunct Danny Devito’s restaurant, Devitos. 

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First Look: The Cask Republic Opens In Stamford

Fans of craft beer and elevated pub grub have a home in Stamford at the new Cask Republic on Summer Street. Lines of draft beer stretch down the bar in the dozens, awaiting pairing with menu items created and overseen by executive chef Carl Carrion. 

The Cask Republic's first, and only other, location is in New Haven, so there shouldn't be too much competition for customers with its second pied-à-terre next to The Fez and across from Buffalo Wild Wings in Stamford. Walk into the new Cask and you'll see a large front room in which a good many tables and chairs are ringed by cushioned booths and myriad framed photographs, with a long black bar dominating the right hand wall. 

The bar, one of two in The Cask Republic, is clearly meant to be the center of both attention and action in this future hub of Stamford nightlife, and features 51 taps poking their way through sheets of copper. Illuminated liquor bottles flank the taps, with gas lamps and Edison bulbs lighting the entire expanse. 

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