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Eating Out

Tacqueria La Michoacana. Check out this delicious dive for authentic Mexican in Bridgeport. 

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CTbites Top Stories of 2011

Between the explosion of farm-to-table dinners, burger joints, taco bars, pizza wars and new restaurant openings in 2011, there was little time left to be hungry in Connecticut. In fact, it's hard to imagine we did anything else but eat. Below are the top ten most-talked about CTbites news stories of the year and some of the most-anticipated openings of 2012

Feel free to add your own thoughts, observations, as well as predictions for 2012 and Happy New Year from all of us at CTbites.

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Glazed Buttermilk Meatloaf via The Parsley Thief

This past summer I was engrossed in a reality cooking competition on the Food Network called The Next Food Network Star.  I haven't seen every season of the show, but typically once I begin watching I get sucked in up until a winner is declared.  

Anyway - a few weeks before this past season began, a friend of mine from high school  contacted me to let me know a fellow graduate from our school would be competing in the upcoming season.  Her name is Mary Beth Albright. Of course I wanted her to win - not just because we share the same hometown, but because after watching the season I was easily convinced she would indeed make a great food television show host.  

While the show was airing, Mary Beth would simultaneously post her personal take on the developments of each week's episode on her blog - occasionally also posting one of her recipes from the competition.  The recipe of Mary Beth's that sparked my interest most was for this meatloaf. I think what sets this recipe apart from the rest is the use of panko breadcrumbs and buttermilk {full fat, if you can find it!}. 

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Beer Talk: The Ginger Man's Beverage Dir. Andrew Hoenig

Andrew Hoenig is the Beverage Director at the Ginger Man, located in Norwalk CT. He knows a thing or two about beer and will be sharing his insights with CTbites in his new Beer Talk column.

“We are all creatures of habit.  We can do most things without even thinking about them; our bodies take charge and do them for us.” When motivational speaker Earl Nightingale said that, he wasn’t talking about our beer drinking habits.  But it rings true; how often do you go to your local package store and pick up the same six pack, go into your favorite bar and order old reliable, or take a look at a large beer menu, get a little frazzled, and just yell out “Blue Moon!” or “Stella!”  I find myself doing it entirely too often as well.

No, I am not drinking Blue Moon or Stella, but too often I find myself sticking to one India Pale Ale (IPA), or even to IPA’s in general.  For most of my 6+ years as a restaurant manager and now beverage director for a group of beer bars, I’ve always had a fondness for hops. 

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Pinkberry Greenwich Opens January 5th w/ Free Fro-Yo



Butchery 101 w/ Craft Butchery: Get Schooled

The expert butchers at Craft Butchery will be kicking off 2012 with a comprehensive butchering curriculum. Owners, Ryan Fibiger (seen above) and Paul Nessel will be providing both hands-on butchery experience as well as lecture and demonstration segments. For cooks and eaters who are serious about their meat, these butchering classes are designed to give attendees an up close look at the techniques that are use to break down pork, lamb or beef into their individual cuts. 

"Butchery 101: Swine" will be held on January 10th and 24th (more information below), but Craft Butchery is happy to customize these classes and demonstrations to create a more consumer or professional chef-focused discussion based on your level of interest. Classes can be done on a half or whole pig, lamb or side of beef. It provides the chance to really experience all aspects of how an animal is butchered and the audience will take home a lot of Craft Butchery's excellent meat. Boys night out anyone?

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Rizzuto’s Italian Kitchen in Stamford

Rizzuto’s Italian Kitchen opened in Stamford this past November as the fourth location in Bill Rizzuto's casual Italian dining concept. With restaurants already in Bethel, Westport and West Hartford, tireless and engaging owner Bill Rizzuto chose the Stamford spot (near the Greenwich border) embracing the open space with tri-level dining, a formidable bar and a central beamy oven. Interested to see how they adapted to their Stamford address and eager to try our hand at making our own pizza, we dropped by for a behind-the-scenes look at their kitchen, the new gas-powered pizza oven and what objects of our affection that oven could create for us hungry souls.

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Shout Out: Your Favorite Dish Eaten in 2011 (in CT)


2011 was a great year for restaurant old and new, underground dinners and farmers' markets. We know you all ate some great food over the past 12 months. 

What were your favorite dishes eaten in CT in 2011? 

One lucky commenter will win a CTbites mug. 


Two Roads Brewing Company to Open in Stratford

Photo: Jeroen van Wijngaarden

Stratford will be home to Two Roads Brewing Co., a large-scale craft brewery scheduled to open in 2012, according to a report. Greenwich resident Brad Hittle, a former executive at Rolling Rock and Pabst Brewing Co. and several partners and investors are backing the project. Referencing the Robert Frost poem, "The Road Not Taken," the brewery will be located at 1700 Stratford Avenue, the site of the former U.S. Baird Corporation. 

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OLA Granola Giveaway


Ok CTbites. We have some delicious Ola Granola to give away to the first person who can post the names of 15 Breakfast joints in Fairfield County. Grab some coffee and start writing....

Small print: These jars break easily, so the winner will need to pick up their booty in Westport. 


Carpe Diem Opens in New Canaan CT w/ Upscale Italian

Carpe Diem, the newest addition to the New Canaan culinary landscape opened ahead of schedule this week on Locust Avenue in the space formerly occupied by 50 Coins. After enjoying several dishes during the last two days, I am incredibly excited to have exceptional Italian food in town. The highlights of my two visits included a creamy Mozzarella di Buffalo paired with roasted red peppers and Prosciutto di San Daniele, a wonderful housemade Spaghetti with shrimp, scallops, mussels, little neck clams, arugula, and radicchio in an organic tomato sauce, housemade Pappardelle Bolognese, a tender and moist Veal Piccatina with a light lemon sauce, and a perfectly prepared prime Ribeye steak. On the sweeter side, I sampled a very complex apple pie as well as a selection of chocolate, vanilla and blackberry Cabernet gelato. All of these dishes were very well executed and I look forward to my next meal at Carpe Diem.  

While a detailed “Behind the Scenes” review is in the works, I would recommend that food lovers of Fairfield County plan a visit to a very special restaurant in New Canaan. 

Carpe Diem 26 Locust Avenue New Canaan, CT 06840 203-594-9599