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CTbites Staff Picks for TOP EATS OF 2012

It's that time again...time to reflect on the year that has passed, and look forward to what is yet to come. For the food obsessed in Fairfield County, 2012 was a stellar year. The restaurant scene literally exploded with some very notable openings, and 2013 promises to continue the trend. 

As we say good bye to 2012, we asked the CTbites Team to list the restaurants at which they spent the most time eating throughout the year. What you see below are the STAFF PICKS for TOP EATS OF 2012.

Let us know your favorite spots as well.

Happy New Year from CTbites

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Cooking Classes w/ "Dinners at the Farm" Chef Rapp

Want to cook effortless, mouthwatering dishes for your guests this holiday season or anytime? Then register today for White Gate Farm's series of Farm Kitchen cooking classes featuring the Dinners at the Farm Chef Jonathan Rapp on January 8, 9 or 10 -- Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday --  3:00 to 9:00 pm. Chef Rapp will be coming down from his red truck where he orchestrates his magical dinners during the summers, allowing for a hands on cooking experience. 

COOKING FROM THE GROUND UP, is Jonathan's simple fresh approach to cooking in season. Learn uncomplicated farm-to-table cooking by first heading out to the fields and greenhouses with Jonathan and White Gate farm manager Susan Mitchell. Gather beautiful organic produce for the evening's four-course menu that students and chefs develop together. Then it's back to the kitchen where the team will prep and cook. Finally, participants will sit down together with some exceptional wine and enjoy the "fruits" of their labor.

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10 Questions w/ Chef Mario LaPosta of Tarry Lodge

Mario LaPosta is the self proclaimed "pizza obsessed" Chef @ Tarry Lodge in Westport. Here are a few things you probably didn't know about this pizzaioli whose Margherita pizza placed in the top ten of the world pizza championships.

Plus: Don't miss Mario's recipe for Mussels En Scapece. Marinated Mussels with wine, saffron and red wine vinegar (seen below). 

If you had unexpected guests arriving at your home for dinner in 1 hour, what would you whip up? I would make homemade sauce and meatballs. Sunday sauce is something that my family has been blessed with making exceptionally well; it is easy to make in an hour by substituting meatballs instead of slow cooking beef or pork.

What is the last dish you cooked for yourself? Turkey Chili, in an effort to lose weight so I can fit into a tux on my wedding day, and in honor to watching my Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

What are your guilty pleasures in terms of food? I dream about food 24/7 so everything tends to be a guilty pleasure for me, but I like the combination of sweet and savory; Pork Belly with Apple Mostarda at Tarry Lodge and Foie Gras with Cinco Cebollas at Casa Mono represent this best.

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The Spread Hosts A "Mad Men" New Years Eve Bash

Still trying to figure out how to spend New Years Eve? Hmmm...What would Don Draper do? The Spread is hosting a Mad Men themed event that sounds like the perfect combo of good food and good fun...Here's the lineup.

7-8:30 pm Cocktail hour/Raw bar: Specialty drinks from late 50's/early 60's; Blue point oysters and anything else Chef Arik Bensimon finds fresh from the sea.

9-11 pm 5 course dinner: Black bass carpaccio, Cabbage and chanterelles, Lobster Thermidor, Roast lamb,  Cheese course; Dessert

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DAVIDsTEA Opens in Westport

On the twelfth night of Christmas, my true love brewed for me,” 1 buddha’s blend, 2 matcha matsu, 3 long life oolong, 4 la la lemon, 5 chocolate orange...and so the song goes. New to Main Street in downtown Westport, just in time for the holidays, is DAVIDsTEA, a Canadian company started by two cousins who wanted to introduce the masses to the ancient world of loose leaf tea in a fun, modern environment. Initially successful in Canada with over 80 stores, the cousins decided to set up shop in the U.S. with Westport following the likes of NYC, Chicago and San Francisco.

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CTbites Invites LAST MINUTE Holiday Gift Ideas!

“Twas the night before Christmas, and all thru the house…you suddenly realized you were short a gift for your loving spouse! ”

Even with Macy’s open round the clock till Christmas, who wants to brave the crowds and fight the holiday traffic?

CTbites Invites is offering you LAST MINUTE Holiday Gift Ideas that you purchase online thru our CTbites Invites website and then insert into a holiday card or stuff in the stockings “hung by the fireplace with care” for future use!

Choose from the following gift items: $100 gift certificate good for dinner at five of our favorite restaurants: Barcelona (all six CT locations), BONDADa Pietro’sMatchThe Chelsea

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Christmas Eve Dinner Reservations Still Available

Looking for last minute dinner reservations on Christmas Eve? Celebrate the holidays without dirtying a dish this year and do what we at CTbites do out. According to Open Table, these restaurants are still accepting reservations. Act fast though; many venues are already sold out. Happy eating and happy holidays from CTbites. 


Ridgefield | French  

Gabriele's Italian Steakhouse

Greenwich | Steakhouse


South Norwalk | Contemporary American

Dressing Room

Westport | American  

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An Evening w/ New York Times Wine Critic, Eric Asimov

Who is Eric Asimov? “I’m a shrink,” he informed the group assembled at the Darien Library. “I’m like a priest that people confess to.”

OK, so his description might not have been literal, but as the evening unfolded, it turned out to be strangely accurate.

In reality, Asimov is a respected journalist who writes a weekly column on wine for The New York Times.  He also contributes to their Diner’s Journal blog and created the popular $25 and Under restaurant reviews.  His most recent achievement, though, is authoring a full-length book entitled How To Love Wine, that he presented at the Darien Library on Thursday December 13.

Although Asimov is an established commentator, he still retains the fun wit of an entertainer.  The evening felt like a cross between an educational seminar and a stand-up comedy routine.  As the event coordinators started off the evening by pouring the guests wine, he remarked, “It’s a strategy of mine to get the crowd liquored up.”

Asimov began by outlining the two major impetuses for writing what he refers to as his “memoir meets manifesto.”  First, he wants to introduce people to the growing number of exciting, esoteric wines available in today’s ever-expanding market.  “This is the greatest time in history to be a wine lover,” he announced.  “There are more points of view than ever before.”  He explained that small-scale producers in Europe have produced delicious, yet unknown wines for years.  In the past twenty years, new laws and more adventurous consumers have made it possible to get them here.

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The Spread in SONO: Beautiful Food...Hip Spot

Word of mouth, and great word at that, brought me to The Spread, a spanking new dining hot spot in Sono. Two months young, the restaurant is the result a partnership of four guys, all with two decades-worth of bar and restaurant experience combined, plus one young and very talented chef, Arik Bensimon. Formerly the Executive Chef of Napa & Co., Chef Arik brings the food in this rustic yet hip joint to a level of excellence and seriousness not seen in Fairfield County in some time. The Spread’s menu is global in scope. It represents a range of cultures--Arik’s Moroccan background and French training, the partners' of Costa Rica, Italy, and France with a dash of New York and California in the mix. Indeed, the menu is all over the place, locally sourced and international, but somehow this eclectic mishmash works. Though dishes are simply titled on the menu, they are, in fact, complex and beautifully executed.

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Chocolate Tasting & Tour Giveaway

Winter in Connecticut just got a little sweeter. The Connecticut Office of Tourism is sponsoring a very tasty giveaway we thought you might want to know about. Enter for a chance to win two nights to relax, indulge and hit our very own Connecticut Chocolate Trail. Whether you’re looking to get away with your best friend or to escape with your significant other, now is your chance to win this fabulous free trip for two. 

Grand Prize Details

  • Two night stay at the luxurious Delamar Greenwich Harbor Hotel
  • Dinner at L'Escale Restaurant
  • Two relaxing 60-minute spa treatments
  • Chocolate tasting and tour at the Chocolate Lab at eleven14 Kitchen, including a hands-on chocolate making demonstration and delicious chocolate goodies to take home

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