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Elm Restaurant's Lil' Foodies Event w/ Chef Brian Lewis

Asher is an 9th grader at Fairfield Country Day School. He has a true passion for food and started his blog, AsherZeats, in September of 2012. 

“A little chocolate a day keeps the doctor at bay”

I recently had the absolute pleasure of being a part of a unique experience called Lil’ Foodies. During this special event,  Brian Lewis, the chef/owner of well regarded restaurant, Elm, and his wife Dana, guided a group of children from the age of 8 to the age of 16 through a culinary extravaganza. All for the fantastic price of… nothing!

Our first stop on the journey was the New Canaan Farmers Market. During this time, Chef Lewis generously bought for us the freshest ingredients the market had to offer. We obtained fresh, crisp, juicy apples (of all varieties), a heap of straight from the ground fingerling potatoes, brightly vivid purple cauliflower, and much more.

Chef Lewis taught the group about the importance of supporting local organizations and also about picking the freshest foods from the stands.

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Luxe Wine Bar to Re-Open Soon in Westport 

Luxe Winebar (aka Luxe Modern Wine & Cocktails) at 190 Main Street in Westport will soon re-open on under new ownership. Former owner Robert Reilly has passed the torch to new owner, Dave Morton. The two are working together to make improvements to the menu and interior of the bar, while keeping things the way patrons liked it.

“We had a loyal customer base that was disappointed to see LUXE had closed temporarily,” said former owner Robert Reilly. “Dave and I hope they’ll come back and find LUXE better than ever.

Morton is working to make the setting warmer and friendlier, plus adding on menu items to complement the existing cheese and charcuterie. “The cheese and charcuterie have been well received,” Dave Morton says. “I want to give people even more options to choose from. New items will include desserts and chocolates from neighboring businesses, plus other wine-friendly noshes like hummus and pita chips, and olives.”

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Dinners At The Farm 2014 Schedule Has Been Announced!

This just in from Dinners at the Farm:

Temperatures are brisk, the holiday season is upon us and looping holiday music is everywhere, but that's no reason not to drift off into summer daydreaming. To help with that, we're happy to announce our 2014 schedule of farm's our 8th season! We look forward to having you join us for our annual summertime, open-air feasts in the fields where our talented chefs cook-up mouthwatering dishes, on site, with just-from-the-earth food. In fact, plan on enjoying six or seven courses in one seating featuring local poultry, beef, pork, seafood and seasonal vegetables galore. Plus, our chefs cook a different menu every night, no two nights are the same. We're only hosting 10 dinners in 2014. If you're a veteran farm dinner guest then you know these dinners sell-out fast. As with every year, we'll be donating $20,000 to our longtime beneficiaries: CitySeed, CT Farmland Trust, Working Lands Alliance, The New CT Farmer's Alliance and Region 4 School's healthy lunch initiative.

Purchase your tickets here.

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Foodie Gift Guide: CT & Beyond...Part II

The turkeys are gone and the radio stations have started playing seasonal tunes... The holidays are officially here!  If you're looking to gift friends and family with awesome foodie presents and local treats, we've compiled some of our favorites for your perusal. We also enlisted the help of a prominent local chef, Mario LaPosta of Tarry Lodge in Westport, CT who offered his picks. 

Here are a few more gifts for your foodie loved ones. [See our Ultimate CT Gift Guide Part I here].

Happy holidays... And happy shopping! 

Cranberry Walnut Olive Oil, New Canaan Olive Oil

For that one foodie in your life that seems to already have everything – consider shopping at newly opened New Canaan Olive Oil. Their wide assortment of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Vinegar flavors will entice even the most spoiled cooks, specifically their Cranberry Walnut Olive Oil. Great for salads or sautéing veggies, this seasonal flavor will add a toasty and tangy taste to any dish. And for our beloved bacon lovers, try their Bacon Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil – an easy way to add bacon flavor to almost anything! 

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CTbites Invites Recap: Sushi and Sake Tasting w/ Oktopusake, Matsu & Bottlerocket

The upstairs loft room at Westport’s Matsu Sushi was the scene of the most recent CTbites Invites Sushi and Sake Tasting on Wednesday 11/20.   CTbites Invites is an exclusive feature that offers unique “curated culinary experiences” to CTbites readers, that are both tasty and informative, and this evening was no exception. The twenty-six very spirited attendees enjoyed an evening presented by Matsu Sushi owner, Paul Teoh,  Bottlerocket Wines & Spirit representative Rachel  Halperin, and Chris Dircks, creator of Oktopusake, a new small batch sake made in New Haven currently still in launch mode. 

Each guest was greeted with a signature Blue Saketini, a potent drink made with Vodka, Sake, and Blue Curacao topped with fresh shredded cucumber sticks. 

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Congrats to Chowdafest 2014 Qualifiers

Congratulations to those who earned a spot for Chowdafest 2014. This year there are 10 rookies in the field of 28. Five restaurants are competing in two categories. Almost 40 different towns from Mystic to Greenwich are represented. Below is the list of restaurants participating and the categories in which they will compete.  This might be the most competitive group of chefs/restaurants to date.  

New England Clam Chowder:

Bernard's (Ridgefield) - rookie
Donovan's (Norwalk) - defending champion
Go Fish (Mystic) - rookie
Guvnor's Brewery (Norwalk) - rookie
Mansion Clam House (Westport) - 2 time champ
Old Post Tavern (Fairfield)
Rory's (Darien)
Wood'n Tap (Orange) - rookie

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Blue Hill at Stone Barns Launch Savory Yogurt: Blue Hill Yogurt

There’s a new yogurt in town! 

Dan, David, and Laureen Barber the owners of local farm to table favorite, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, have launched a yogurt line called Blue Hill Yogurt. It is not the average run of the mill yogurt to say the least. It takes yogurt to a whole new experience. Yeah, you are probably saying to yourself “there are so many yogurts out there already. What could they possibly do to set themselves apart from all the rest?“

These yogurts have gone after the savory palette. That’s right, savory! They launched unexpected flavors such as carrot, beet, tomato, and butternut squash this week. The yogurt is made from 100% grass-fed milk, sourced from several small, family owned farms in the Northeast including Blue Hill Farm. The produce is also sourced from the same local farms that supply their restaurant kitchens, Blue Hill in NYC and Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

I was excited when I heard about this new line as I have visited Blue Hill at Stone Barns many times over the years and have enjoyed walking the grounds, seeing the farm in action, and then enjoying an outstanding meal on premise. The pride for quality ingredients, taste, and presentation at Blue Hill is obvious in their yogurt too.

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Shearwater Coffee Roasters: Bringing Organic Coffee to Fairfield County

Americans have a loving obsession with coffee.  We crave our daily fix, whether it is black, iced, with extra cream and sugar, or a shot of espresso.  We crave the aroma, the taste and how coffee brings people together.  However, coffee is so much more than just a beverage; it is a huge global business. 

Ed Freedman of Shearwater Coffee Roasters is in the thick of this global business, but is marking his own stamp on it.  Shearwater Coffee Roasters, headquartered in Trumbull, Connecticut is the first and only USDA certified organic coffee roaster in Fairfield County.  Shearwater bases its business on the three core principles of organic, artisan and altruism.   They pride themselves on being committed to the integrity of organic roasting.   “Organic is not a product line,” says Freedman.  “It’s a way of life and what we do. “  

The coffee plant is often grown with harmful chemicals, pesticides and herbicides. 

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Little Barn Opens Thursday December 5th in Westport

Scott Beck (Match, The Chelsea) and his partner Kevin McHugh (Spotted Horse, The Chelsea), alongside Chef Jeff Spence (The Chelsea) have announced that their new project, Little Barn at 1050 Post Road in Westport, will open this Thursday, December 5th. They will be open for lunch and dinner, and will accept reservations for lunch only. 

Scott Beck was quoted in a recent pre-opening interview as saying,“We’re building a barn, and putting a pub inside," and so they did.

The building, inside and out, features lots of reclaimed red barn siding, 2 spectacular reclaimed roof vents, and a 2 sided stone fireplace in the main dining space. It will cozy up the inside and also warm up the outside when eating or drinking on the outside stone patio. In the summer the bar and dining room have sliding doors that open onto the patio as well which will give it a nice open air feel.   

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Bar Sugo in Norwalk 2.0: Enter Chef Paul Failla

Slightly more than a year ago, restaurant Bar Sugo opened on Wall Street in Norwalk featuring a variety of owner/Chef Pat Pascarella’s fantastic pizzas, meatballs and delectable pastas. Pascarella recently handed the reins of the day-to-day culinary oversight to Chef Paul Failla, and CTbites re-visited to taste Chef Paul’s cuisine and his creative spin to the menu.

Chef Faillia attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park before accepting a position at Burger Bar in South Norwalk. His culinary training continued at Dolce in Norwalk, The Atlantic Grill in Manhattan and The Saltwater Grille in Stamford, where he met Pascarella. He subsequently worked with Chef Dan Kardos at The Whelk and was one of the opening chefs with Chef Kardos at NOLA Oyster Bar.

When Pascarella first approached Failla about joining Bar Sugo, he was looking for a successor to continue his vision of “food that Italians eat every day” while allowing the new chef to add his individual flair to the dishes.


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