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CTbites' Catering Guide to summer Clambakes & Pig Roasts. Let these guys plan your next party!

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Tuesday
Feb052013

Sun Winefest Recap: One Woman's Search for the Best Bottles

It was the calm before the storm.

As I strolled into the SunWineFest before the doors opened to the public, the ballroom appeared almost peaceful.  Exhibitors casually erected their stands and freely moved about the space.  Within an hour, that all changed.  People stood packed shoulder to shoulder and attempted to elbow their way through the throng for tastes of wine.  The crowd surged with energy, and my heart raced with excitement.

For some, the Mohegan SunWineFest is one giant party: an excuse to get buzzed with friends, blow off steam, and sample as many wines as physically possible.  For others, the event is a valuable opportunity to find exceptional bottles. 

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Tuesday
Feb052013

Interview & Recipe with Slow Cooker Author Dina Cheney

Dina Cheney is a Connecticut-based food writer and author of Year-Round Slow Cooker, published in 2013 by The Taunton Press. I recently chatted with her about her latest book, what makes Connecticut a special place for dining out, and her inspiration for fellow food writers. 

As a CT resident, what do you think makes CT a special place for food and dining culture?  I love living in Connecticut! We moved from Manhattan nearly 10 years ago, and I haven't felt at all deprived from a culinary perspective. Being on the coast, the seafood is terrific! I also think CT residents are educated and discerning, so the restaurants and shops that cater to them are top-notch, many quite sophisticated. 

As a mother of two, what are some of your favorite family-friendly places to eat out? So many! We love City Limits and Coromandel. This sounds strange, but—being part Syrian—I love exposing them to Middle Eastern food. So, we enjoy taking them to Safita in Fairfield (plus Shiraz in Elmsford, which is in Westchester County). Other Connecticut favorites are SoNo Baking in South Norwalk for breakfast and The Bedford Post Inn in Bedford (also for breakfast) and ReNapoli Pizza in Old Greenwich.

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Monday
Feb042013

Scenes from Chowdafest 2013 & Winners Are Announced!

Chowdafest 2013 rocked the Webster Bank Arena yesterday with 30 restaurants serving up chowders, soups & bisques to over 3000 eager eaters. Guests held their ballots tightly in hand as they sampled their soup, trying to slurp their way to the winner in three categories: New England Clam Chowder, Creative Chowder, and Soup or Bisque.

Valencia Luncheria, Rory's, Bobby Q's, The Crab Shell and many of the area's top chefs each prepared 25 gallons of Chowda not just for mere consumption, but to raise funds and food for the CT Food Bank. Chowdafest representatives tell us that over 1,200 pounds of food were collected during the 5 hour event. 

The winners of Chowdafest 2013 are just in. Congratulations to...

Donovan's of Norwalk who won the Classic New England Clam Chowder category!

The Ginger Man of Norwalk who won the Creative Chowder category with their sweet potato clam chowder in a tie-breaker by the narrowest of margins, beating out the Brewhouse Restaurant, also in Norwalk who entered a chicken corn chowder.

The Crab Shell restaurant from Stamford who successfully defended their Soup/Bisque crown with their Lobster Bisque. 

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Sunday
Feb032013

Community Table in Washington CT

In the Litchfield County town of Washington, the two-year old Community Table and its team led by Executive Chef Joel Viehland, stands at the center of a tight network of farmers, foragers and discerning diners. Born from agrarian collaboration rather than co-opting it, Community Table was built around the notion that a restaurant serving its community must not only serves its diners, but act with respectful stewardship of the land. This translates to sourcing seasonally, locally and sustainably, as well as pickling, drying, fermenting and composting.

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Sunday
Feb032013

Cocktail Naming Contest: Win Dinner for 2 @ South End

WIN a FREE Dinner for two @ SOUTH END in New Canaan. Here's How...

This is your chance to name South End's new signature cocktail. All you need to do is come up with a catchy name for the drink combining the following ingredients.

"Your Name Here" Cocktail Ingredients:

-House-infused Rosemary Vodka
-Candied Kumquat Simple Syrup
-Fresh Citrus
-Chives for garnish

If your Cocktail name is selected, you will receive a FREE Dinner for 2 complete with the new signature cocktail @ South End in New Canaan. 

Cocktail names must be submitted by February 14th.

Post your submission below (include email).

Fine Print: Tax, tip & alcohol - not included in the Dinner offer

[Photography courtesy of Jane Beiles Photography]

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Friday
Feb012013

Invites: Passover Cooking Class @ Tabouli Grill 

Join Chef/Owner Judith Roll for a 2 hour Pre- Passover "behinds the scenes" cooking class and lunch at Tabouli Grill in Southport on Wednesday February 13 from 10 am-12pm.

Learn how to make traditional Passover dishes like Bubbe's brisket with dried plums and carrots and matzo farfel with wild mushrooms ...even how to make you own matzo... and matzo ball soup! and then enjoy a lunch of your creations! SIGN UP HERE. 

Passover is March 25- April 2, so this gives you time to practice and perfect the menu!

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Friday
Feb012013

Friday Froth: Here and There

Holding my eyeball in my head at an altitude of 36,000 feet was a new experience. I was excited to get out to Utah during ski and Sundance season, yes, but the best part was having finally kicked the cold that had been holding me down like the Hand of the Man since before baby new year started crowning. I was enjoying the novel luxury of breathing through my nose when the plane ascended through 20,000 feet or so and the sea level air pressure trapped in the bone behind my eyebrow went all slumlord and attempted to evict my right eye for the next five hours. I didn't know an ex-cold could turn me into Popeye, but upon landing I did know this: I needed a drink. 

Red Rock Brewery in Salt Lake City is a sort of brewpub which is in many ways along the lines of Southport Brewing Company on our shores. I had never seen one of their beers in a bottle, much less a double IPA, so I ordered one straight away.

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Thursday
Jan312013

New Haven Meatball House 

As a part of our ongoing effort to cover more of the state, we will be publishing more frequent, shorter posts on some of our favorite spots in New Haven, Hartford and beyond. If you have a place you love or would like us to cover, please email us!

New Haven Meatball House

Cuisine: Comfort Food, Late Night Dining, Craft Beer 
Price: Less than $10 (per entrée)
Our Highlights: Chicken meatballs with pesto, beef meatballs with tomato sauce, black garlic mashed potatoes, spiked milkshakes
Hours: Open Daily, Monday - Thursday at 5 pm, Friday - Sunday 11:30 am
Online: Official Website | Facebook 

Four types of meatballs, four types of sauces and three ways to eat them. Do the math and that could keep any comfort food-seeking foodie returning to explore the menu at New Haven's Meatball Shop on Chapel Street. Owner Bob Potter, the man behind New Haven's popular meat mecca, Prime 16, and the East Rock neighborhood tequilar bar, c.o. jones opened New Haven Meatball House in mid-2012.

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Wednesday
Jan302013

Plan B's Chef John Shares 8 Tips for Making Great Chili

Chef John Brennan of Plan B in Milford knows a LOT about making Chili. This is why when it came time to plan my Super Bowl party, I turned to him for advice. Chef John's 8 simple tips will turn your Super Bowl menu into a huge win. Enjoy the game. Enjoy the chili. 

  1. Start by using the best Ingredients. The heart of the chili is the meat that you use. At Plan B we use premium certified humane beef and pork from ranchers that don’t use antibiotics or hormones on their cattle. It’s a simple step, the better the meat…the better the chili.
  2. At Plan B we use a mixture of ground and cubed chuck and ground pork. Think of your chili like a meat ball, the perfect blend of pork and beef can make your chili a success. When purchasing the meat for your chili I suggest finding a local butcher that grinds their meat fresh daily, freshness equals flavor.
  3. Start your chili by sweating your vegetables. Treat your chili like a soup or a delicate sauce and sweat your onions and peppers to release their flavor. I suggest bell peppers and Spanish onions. When doing this be sure to heat your pot at medium to high and keep an eye on your veggies, stirring regularly.

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Wednesday
Jan302013

Harvest Wine Bar & Restaurant Opens This Week in Greenwich

Harvest Wine Bar & Restaurant, the latest venture of the Sigueza brothers, Vicente and Kleber, owners of Scena Restaurant in Darien, Cava Wine Bar & Restaurant in New Canaan and 55 Degrees in Fairfield, opens this week in Greenwich at 372 Greenwich Avenue. With large windows beckoning the guests, the modern interior is dominated by wood, stone and leather. Wood-topped tables are all hand-made and surrounded by leather backed chairs. Individual lights descend from the ceiling to create a whimsical touch to the otherwise masculine décor. The rear wall is half glass and sunsets will create an inviting end to the day to enjoy one of the signature cocktails with many of the fruit and vegetable additions juiced on site.

The menu is best described as “food inspired by the American tradition,” a steak house that meets Little Italy and embraces the sea and the farm to table movement.

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