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Discover Bethel Restaurant Week

Bethel is where in Connecticut? Fairfield County? Yes and yes.

The Bethel Chamber of Commerce is hosting their first-ever Discover Bethel Restaurant week from February 27 through March 4 with participating restaurants offering prix-fixe specials for breakfast, lunch, dinner and take-out. Menus and participating eateries can be found on the Bethel Chamber of Commerce website.

This tiny town sandwiched between Redding, Newtown and Danbury boasts a few great places we've written about such as The Sycamore and Pizzeria Lauretano, as well as a few others firmly on our to-do list. 

So if you find your passport and make your way up to Bethel (for the record, I'm allowed to make this joke because this is my 'hood) my recommendations are: pizzas at Pizzeria LauretanoLa Zingara for one of the best Northern Italian meals in Fairfield Countysoups at Wah Lah Soupsespecially the Chicken pot pie; and my go-to train snack is always a scone and a cup of Redding Roasters coffee at Daily Fare

And although it's not officially on the list of participating restaurants, you'd be remiss if you didn't stop by The Sycamore on your way home for their thin French-style burgers and a root beer float. You'll need to sustenance to return home after your long journey, after all.

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Top Fairfield County Chefs @ The James Beard House

Get ready to grab the phone. On May 23rd, six of CT's top chefs have come together to create a meal highlighting some of the best cooking Fairfield County has to offer. The prestigious James Beard House in New York City will play host to this ensemble featuring a 6 course dinner with paired wines and a cocktail reception to start. You wont want to miss this. 

Let's take a moment to run through the roster: Matt Storch (Match), Bill Taibe (Le Farm & The Whelk), Arik Bensimon (Napa & Co), Tim Labant (Schoolhouse at Cannondale), Lisa Storch (Catch a Healthy Habit), and Fritz Knipschildt (Knipschildt Chocolate and Chocopolgie), with wine and cocktails provided by Saugatuck Grain and Grape. 

The price is $130 for James Beard members and $170 per person for non-beard members.   Please contact the James Beard House for reservations.  212-627-2308.

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Jason Sobocinski of The Big Cheese @ Fairfield Cheese Co.

TV personality, restaurant owner and cookbook author Jason Sobocinski will be appearing at Fairfield Cheese Company on Saturday, March 3rd. 

Sobocinski, who has recently authored his first book, CASEUS FROMAGERIE BISTRO COOKBOOK, will be on hand between 1:00 and 3:00 pm for a book signing and macaroni and cheese sampling.

Overflowing with signature recipes, mouthwatering photos, and tons of personality, this visually stimulating cookbook showcases a hot young chef’s zealous pursuit of pleasure through artisanally produced products. Jason Sobocinski’s landmark New Haven, Connecticut, bistro is known for its cheese-oriented menu with a classic French twist; a funky atmosphere with an educated palate. 

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Christophe's Crepe Truck in Fairfield: Ooh La La! 

Food trucks have been a growing trend for the last few years. The L.A. Times reported on one of the first food trucks to gain massive popularity, a fusion of Korean, Mexican, and barbecue back in 2009. And a recent article from USA Today about food trends in the U.S. hailed the food truck, what was once the “roach coaches” for construction workers at lunch time, as the hot new thing. 

But the street-side vendor is certainly nothing new. New York City has been rife with dirty water dogs. And, you can’t turn a corner without bumping into a falafel stand. Roam the urban alleyways from India to Vietnam and some of the tastiest foods can be had from street vendors. Although, be sure to bring your Pepto-Bismol with you. 

Here in Connecticut, we’ve got coffee trucks, cupcake trucks, even a cheese truck. Quel surprise! Fairfield is now home to a freshly made crepe and waffle truck., Christophe's Crepes


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Chocolate Inspired Dinner w/ Chef Knipschildt of Chocopologie

Join Fritz Knipschildt of Chocopologie, and CTbites on March 13 as we indulge the master chocolatier and chef in realizing his vision for a perfectly decadent meal. Inspired by Valentines Day, this intimate dinner will feature five courses infused and/or influenced by Fritz's passion for chocolate. Each course will be paired with wine or spirits and will conclude with a tour of his SoNo chocolate factory.
This event will be held privately at Chocopologie Cafe's SoNo location on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 and is $80 per person.  View the complete menu below OR Purchase now and surprise your loved one as a Valentines Day gift.

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CTbites Pizza Contest: Design Pizzeria Rosso's 2012 Pie

What were they thinking? I can do better than that? Why didn’t they use sausage? You wanna put pineapple on that pizza? What is Thai pizza anyway? These are typical statements that spark debate on the perfect combination of ingredients to place on a pizza.

And now the readers of CTbites will have the opportunity to create the CTbites 2012 Pie that will be featured on Pizzeria Rosso’s menu. So welcome to: DESIGN PIZZERIA ROSSO’S “CTBITES 2012 PIE COMBO.”

The rules are pretty simple. Submit the toppings that you think will create the primo, perfect, over the top pizza pie. At midnight on February 27th the entries will close and a small team of pizza lovers will choose the five finalists. (Try to be as specific as possible as the Editors of CTbites have told me these judges are not the sharpest knives in the drawer.) These final five combinations will compete in a “Pizza Throwdown” at Pizzeria Rosso (Exact Date will be posted when the Finalists are announced). The winning pie will go up on Pizzeria Rosso's menu as the "CTBites 2012 Pie Combo.

So get those ideas submitted and have the chance to see one of the best pizza makers in Fairfield County turn your idea into reality and a chance to see your name next to the CTBites 2012 Pie Combo.

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Olivette: EVOO Tasting Room & Retail in Darien

Alina Lawrence opened her wonderful olive oil tasting room and retail shop, Olivette, in Darien days before the New Year, resolving to bring freshly pressed, single varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oils and brilliantly flavored vinegars to Fairfield County.  I recently spent a delightful 2 ½ hours sipping and slurping my way around the room, grateful for her resolution. 

If you are looking for true Extra Virgin Olive Oil, with all its health and culinary benefits, the grocery aisle is a convenient place to shop, but may not be the best place to find what you are seeking. Tom Mueller, has written extensively on the perils of purchasing olive oil, and recently published Extra Virginity, The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. To sum up his work briefly, the oil industry is fraught with fraud, and we are not always getting what we expect in the bottles we purchase.  

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Prasad Chirnomula Recreates James Beard House Dinner

Chef Prasad Chirnomula is bringing his James Beard House dinner to The Clarke Culinary Center in South Norwalk, CT on Thursday, March 15, 2012.

From Mole to Masala, Chef Prasad's menu weaves together the cuisines of India and Mexico reflecting his Connecticut restaurants, Thali and Oaxaca, providing a unique opportunity to taste the ingredients, spices and spirit of both Mexico and India. This event is $200 per person and pre-registration is required.

"We are very excited about this unique and intimate evening," said Marco Barallon, manager of The Clarke Culinary Center and Clarke showroom in South Norwalk, CT. "This is going to be a wine dinner like nothing you've ever experienced."

In this Clarke event entitled, "Journeys of Cultures from the James Beard House," Chef Prasad is recreating the dinner he prepared when he was invited to cook for an audience at the site of the James Beard Foundation in New York.  Seating is limited and preregistration is required online at ClarkeCorp or by calling 800.842.5275.

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And the Winners of Chowdafest 2012....

Congrats to all the winners of the 2012 Chowdafest. A great time was had by all and 2012 set records for both attendance and donations. If you missed it or simply didn't hear who won, compare these top picks with your taste buds. 

Classic New England

1st:  Mansion Clam House (first to repeat in the same category)

2nd: Rory's (their first top 3 finish)

3rd:  O'Neill's (their first top 3 finish)

Creative Chowder

1st:  Ginger Man (a two time champion now plus a 2nd for same entry)

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Travel to Tuscany for the Week w/ Chef Pietro Scotti

Join Westport's beloved chef, Pietro Scotti, for a unique, hands-on cooking experience in the magical region of Tuscany Italy on Friday April 27- Friday May 4,  2012. We’ll supply the aprons, just bring your culinary curiosity, appetite and love for Italy for a very special 8 day/7 night culinary and cultural adventure. This intimate journey will be limited to a maximum of only 14 participants.  Whether your preference is to spend time creating in the kitchen with Chef Pietro and/or to have unique access for exploring the secrets of Tuscany, this is your dream journey. 

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