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10 Questions with Chef Carey Savona of Heirloom

Carey Savona is the Executive Chef of Heirloom at the Study at Yale in New Haven and the Head of Culinary Development for Study Hotels. Heirlooms's self-described "American-heritage" approach to cooking, leveraging small batch growers and neighborhood artisan suppliers, makes it one of our favorite New Haven haunts.

A tireless force in the Connecticut food scene, Chef Savona is passionate about seasonality and the city of New Haven. He earned his kitchen stripes working alongside some of the most talented chefs and restaurateurs in the country. Savona has lived and cooked in San Francisco, Connecticut, South Florida and in New York City where, with Drew Nieporent and the Myriad Restaurant Group he earned Two Stars from Frank Bruni of the New York Times for his work at Mai House in Tribeca. 


If you had unexpected guests arriving at your home for dinner in 1 hour, what would you whip up? 

Spaghetti Carbonara.  We always have pancetta, guanciale or bacon.  Always eggs and good cheese and parmigiano or pecorino is part of that repertoire.   Carbonara is great anytime.  Better for breakfast or after a night of too much wine.  Is there such a thing?

What is the last dish you cooked for yourself? 

Last dish at work was spaghetti with olive oil, parsley, chilies and pecorino.  Eaten out of a mixing bowl, quickly huddled next to a stove as we began to get hammered with dupes.  Last dish I made at home was an egg and cheese sandwich for my wife (Alison Savona) and I that we shared over coffee before we both left for work.  Best and saddest part of my day.

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Must Try: Pho Mai Vietnamese in Bridgeport

“You know how to eat that?” asked the kindly woman as she set a steaming bowl of soup before me at Pho Mai.  Did I know how to eat pho? To handle the chopsticks and spoon? To lift the long noodles from the big bowl of broth without slapping myself in the face with a wet noodle? I’ve learned over the years.  But Vietnamese food can be perplexing to the uninitiated. It’s hands-on. 

Pho Mai makes the best Vietnamese food I’ve found in Fairfield County. It’s been open for about a year, and it’s worth a jaunt to Wood Avenue in Bridgeport (across from the Wood’s End Deli) to enjoy the fresh, herb-filled, sweet, sour, and fermented flavors of Vietnamese food.

Pho Mai’s red awnings strike a cheerful air on a bleak corner. Inside, the place is spic and span clean, with freshly painted yellow walls. Big orange fish swim back and forth in an aquarium that bubbles soothingly. The restaurant has been near empty every time I’ve been, and that’s a shame because the food here is seriously good, and it’s a great place for a weekend lunch with a group of friends.

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The Bedford Posts' Pork Chops w/ Grilled Cherries & Wild Mustard Greens

Despite the inclement weather this year, Memorial Day weekend always harkens the launch of grilling season. Chef McMillan, of The Bedford Post in Bedford, NY is no stranger to a fiery hearth, so we've asked him to ring in the season with a recipe from the restaurant.

Chef McMillan recently conducted a series of grilling themed dinners at The Bedford Post and as a locavore, he and his staff have taken to foraging the property for ingredients to use on their menu. Hence the use of Wild Mustard Greens and Nasturtium seen in this recipe for Pork Chops with Grilled Cherries, Wild Mustard Greens, and Nasturtium Leaves. 

Happy Grilling!

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Friday Froth: Nepenthia, Part 1

"Nepenthes pharmakon," its says in the Odyssey. Literally: "anti-sorrow drug," or "... a drug which eased men's pains and irritations, making them forget their troubles." 

Smiles abounded on a hill in the woods of Oxford, Connecticut, as B. United International opened both its doors and taps on a brilliantly sunny day this May for Nepethia, a one-day event. The beverage importer's stated mission is to bring the most spectacular examples of low volume, hand crafted beer, mead, cider, and sake from around the world to the U.S. The collected industry representatives (and I) weren't there to forget, though. There was too much to learn. 

I've mentioned B.United, and the beers they import, more than a few times here on CTBites, and they've been an impressive lot.

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SONO Restaurant "Weeks" Start June 3rd

It's that time of year again. Sono Restaurant Week is back from June 2-16 running for two delicious weeks this year. Why 2 weeks? Scott Beck of Match Restaurant responded "Every year we have gotten feedback from people that wished that we could extend Restaurant Week for an additional week so that they might get to go to more than one place so we decided to give it a try."

"There are 15 restaurants participating this year which is largest number of restaurants we have ever had so everyone is pretty excited" says Beck.  SoNo also has some great new restaurants such as Nola Oyster Bar, Mama's Boy Southern Table, Estia's, and The Spread, for people to try. And, of course all the staples in SoNo are participating again. People can check out the list of all the participating restaurants and their Restaurant Week menus online at www.connecticutrestaurant.

You can view the complete list of participating restaurants below. Happy eating...

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Stamford Museum Annual Wine & Food Tasting June 7

The Stamford Museum & Nature Center will hold its 16th Annual Wine Tasting on Friday, June 7 at 7 pm. The SM&NC will celebrate with a night of fine wine tastings, enticing silent auction items, delicious bites from local caterers and restaurants, and live music with Jay & Ray.

All of the wines for the evening will be provided by BevMax.  Participating caterers and restaurants include: Marcia Selden Catering, A·S Fine Foods of Stamford, California Pizza Kitchen, Catering by Christine, Chiappetta Olive Oil, David's Soundview Catering, Festivities, Harlan Social, Valencia Luncheria, Napa & Co, plum plums, Olio, Station Eats, Susan Kane Catering, The Fez, Wave Hill Breads Bakery & Café, and Wise Guys. Desserts will be provided by: EOS, DiMare Pastry Shop, illy caffé, Le Pain Quotidien, Sweet Lisa's Exquisite Cakes, and Tabouli Grill.

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Artisanal Honey Tasting w/ Red Bee Honey's Marina Marchese

In celebration of National Pollinator WeekSlow Food Metro North, Audubon Greenwich, and the Fairfield Green Food Guide are pleased to present Taste the Terroir of American Honey. Honey bees play a vital role in our food chain, pollinating one-third of the food we eat and producing a wide range of artisanal honeys. On Saturday, June 22, from 4-6 pm, Red Bee Honey founder, beekeeper and author Marina Marchese will take guests on a tasting journey to discover the unique sensory qualities (terroir!) of 7 single varietal U.S. honeys featured in her latest book, The Honey Connoisseur, and how to best pair them with food. 

Rare and coveted for its distinctive flavor profile – floral notes with warm hints of baking spices and anise – sourwood honey is a national treasure cataloged on Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste. Marina Marchese will be celebrating this regional honey plant’s contribution to biodiversity, while honoring Slow Food USA’s work to promote and preserve it, with a special tasting of an award-winning harvest of sourwood honey.

Celebrate the Launch of The Honey Connoisseura new book by Marina MarcheseFounder of Red Bee HoneyCo-authored with Kim Flottum, Editor of Bee Culture Magazine.

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Raus Coffee to Debut New Drink at Westport Farmers Market

Raus Coffee will debut its newest iced espresso drink, the Roman Navel, at the opening of the Westport Farmers’ Market on May 23. The new drink was inspired by a trip to Seattle’s Café Vita, where Raus Coffee founder Donny Raus became smitten with the Medici, an espresso-based chocolate and orange drink. The success of the flavor combination compelled him to recreate it using his own approach. The Roman Navel is the third product in Raus’s award-winning espresso product line.  

Donny and I met recently at the soon-to-open Steam Coffee Bar in Westport, so he could give me a sample of this newest obsession. So I had a baseline, I also grabbed his other two iced espresso-based drinks, the Roman Kiss and (my old personal stand-by) the Cold Roman. 


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Bottlerocket Hosts Yoga + Wine/Craft Beer Tastings

Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit and Maggie Converse of Pop Up Yoga are teaming up to bring fun and flavor to Westport this summer. Converse will lead a one-hour open level yoga class at Bottlerocket every Saturday in June 4:30 to 5:30. Participants will then enjoy a casual tasting of summer wines and craft beer. Individual classes are $25, and a 4-class package for $85.

Participants should wear comfortable clothes in which they can move and bring their own yoga mat. The open level, alignment-based class is suitable for beginners as well as more experienced yoga practitioners. You can even feel free to bring your dog! Tickets are available at

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PastaPresta Opens at the SoNo Marketplace

The SoNo Marketplace—with its hive of local food purveyors, artisans,  weekly farmers’ market, and plans for a summer beer garden—may be best argument to never set foot inside a supermarket again. I was recently lured back to the Marketplace by the opening of PastaPresta, a new fresh pasta vendor anchoring the entrance of the market’s vast 50,000 square-feet.

One evening of fresh pasta and market nibbles, and a closer look at the people behind the market later, I was reminded why this culinary hub deserves a regular visit and why, despite its recent vilification, gluten is good (maybe great).

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