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Summer Catering

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

We Wrote A Book!


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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Friday Froth: Winter Update

"You shouldn't be scared of spiders," I remember my mother telling me. "You're much bigger than they are." At the time this line of reasoning seemed like neither a straight line, nor particularly reasonable, but I had no adequate retort at eight years old. Spiders were little, misshapen beasts from hell's own imagination then, and they remain so now. Doubly so, since now I know about things like the Brown Recluse, but that's not important. A spider I can hit with a magazine before turning on my heel and shrieking away. I am millions of times larger than a cold virus, and that hasn't stopped it from kicking my ass. So take that, 1987 Mom. All this is to say I haven't been drinking a lot of beer lately, but here are a few tidbits from the scattershot days in which I've been both awake and able to breathe over the past month.

Sixpoint in Brooklyn literally turns out (at least one) new beer every month. See their single-hopped Spice of Life series for just one example. In that vein, I finally had the Pacifica version which came out in November, and can still be found on tap here and there.

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Food Truck Friday @ Sugar & Olives in Norwalk


Chef's Table Dining @ Fine Food for a Cause Charity Event

Stamford YMCA’s second annual Fine Food for a Cause event is scheduled for Monday, January 28, 6 p.m. at the Stamford Yacht Club. Area food lovers can dine “At the Chef’s Table” and enjoy a four-star, three-course dinner prepared by several of the area’s finest chefs. Restaurants and featured chefs include:

Additionally, the cocktail hour will feature cuisine from Tabouli Grill and Sushi Village, with dessert creations by Chocopologie. Stamford-based Corus, LLC is providing two types of vodka and specialty drinks for the evening.

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