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Thursday
May092013

UPDATE: American Craft Beer Week in CT 

You may have already seen our original post on American Craft Beer Week in Connecticut, and we'll keep you updated as we learn about more events. 

Our first update comes from the folks at The Ginger Man in South Norwalk, who have recently announced a week's worth of food and beer specials. Highlights include The Great Wall of Hops (Mon.), wherein IPAs will take over the brass wall of taps, followed by a home brew demo night on Tuesday. Thursday will feature barrel-aged and vintage beers, Friday's special is a bucket of five American craft beer cans for $20, half price large-format bottles of the same for Sunday, and a cask ale and BBQ event on the patio for Saturday. See complete details on food and drink specials below the jump. Cheers.

Second, the folks at CT Beer Week have a massive list of updates on their events page here. Scroll down for a list of 35+ events and specials around the state. Mouse over each individual event, and a bubble will pop up with links and details.

Wednesday
May082013

Community Plates Launches in New Haven: Sign Up to Rescue Food

You’ve heard us talk about Community Plates before. In fact, CTbites readers make up almost 80% of Community Plates’ volunteer driven work force delivering rescued food to those in need in Fairfield County. Well now we need to reach out to our New Haven readership to do the same. Community Plates has recently announced their New Haven launch and they need your help. 

Community Plates is a non-profit organization that connects food to people in need of it, by rescuing good food that would otherwise be thrown away and delivering it to hunger relief agencies. Community Plates has lined up food donors in New Haven and is adding more every day, but they need your help to complete the direct transfer of the food to those who need it. They are hoping to sign up 100 food runners by the end of May 2013. Be a part of the solution and sign up here. 

To be involved with the Community Plates initiative, volunteers are asked to commit to just one food run or bin collection a month (15 – 20 minute effort). It’s simple. Just pick up a few bins at your local restaurant or grocery store and drive them to a receiving agency, such as a food pantry or soup kitchen. 

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Tuesday
May072013

Coffee Classes at Espresso NEAT in Darien

Everyone has their favorites, and Espresso NEAT is definitely one of our favorite coffee places here at CTbites. Now with two locations (Darien, and a small shop in Greenwich), their devotion to the craft of caffeine delivery is bar none.

In addition to fueling their customers, they are also offering a series of educational classes for the month of May

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Tuesday
May072013

Tips for Great Grilled Cheese from Chef Jason Sobocinski of Caseus

King of the Grilled Cheese, Jason Sobocinski is the owner and founder of New Haven's innovative cheese-centric gastropub and cheese shop  Caseus Fromagerie Bistro. Here are his tips for the perfect Grilled Cheese sandwich. 

The crispy and the melty are no more typified than in America's greatest culinary accomplishment, the Grilled Cheese! Who thought up such a wonderful combination, to put bread to butter then heat with cheese till melted? Pure culinary Genius. 

The first signs of what we know as the Grilled Cheese sandwich surfaced around the 1940's. Sliced white bread was used often with cheese melted open faced called cheese toasties in England and was a popular dish to make in U.S. Naval galleys. These toasted melted precursors of what we now know where easy to make and super satisfying...did they come from the English Welsh Rarebit or the French Croque Madame? I'm not sure, but I do know that now more than ever this nostalgic sandwich has become increasingly popular and more and more refined. Is it because it's simplicity and comfort evoking qualities? Again, not sure but I know how to make a seriously great GC and here are some of my tips and stellar condiment suggestion to bolster your next crispy melty endeavor! 

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Sunday
May052013

Top 10 Bar Burgers from Greenwich to New Haven 2013

Over a year ago CTbites decided to create as comprehensive a guide as possible for this year’s Best Burger review. During that time, I visited over sixty local chains, bars, fast food joints, and restaurants, grabbed a seat, looked at the menu and placed my order. Over sixty patties of ground meat were prepared on a griddle, grill, or flat-top, and thousands of French fries were plunged into oil. The meat was seasoned, the rolls were sliced, the toppings were placed on the patty and the fries seasoned.

When each arrived at the table, it was sliced to check for doneness, a piece of meat pulled and tasted and the competition officially added another competitor. Each of the toppings was individually tested and finally the burger, toppings and bun were viewed as a single entrant. Many did not make the grade on seasoning, some failed on doneness, others on taste and others due to toppings. A very simple process for a very simple product, but the sheer variability of my reaction to the end result ranged from a huge smile to a grimace. Some I craved for more, while others earned a few tentative tastes and I asked for the check.

This year we decided to present the burgers in two categories, “Bar Burgers” and “Restaurant Burgers,” believing it unfair to compare a $7-12 burger with a $20+ burger.

With only three repeat locations from the 2012 list, here are the… Top-10 “Bar Burgers” from Greenwich to New Haven. Happy National Burger month!

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Friday
May032013

Dinner Underground in Newtown CT with Chef Plum

I wasn’t sure what to expect as we entered the butcher, but were warmly greeted with a glass of champagne by Chef (Chris) Plum himself and were shown to our table.  Butcher’s Best deli and butcher in Newtown, CT has been transformed twice in 2013 to offer 30 lucky diners one of Plum’s "Dinner Undergound" culinary evenings. I was lucky enough to enjoy night #2.  

Chef Plum is a graduate from The Culinary Institute of America with over 18 years of experience. He has worked all over the east coast in five-star hotels and resorts, as well as small neighborhood restaurants. Plum-Luv-Foods was born in 2006 and since then has brought whole farm foods to families, small parties, Broadway actors, executives, Food Network and network TV

Plum’s happy demeanor shines through his food.  His inventive style and clever riffs show both his appreciation for food and simple enjoyment of offering his guests thoughtfully created dishes.  As each course is served, Plum tells us about where the food is from, his inspiration and why he chose to marry the components. 

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Thursday
May022013

Taste of the Nation in New Haven 2013

Join famed Chef Jacques Pepin as the Taste of the Nation New Haven continues to set the bar on the culinary event scene by bringing over 40 of Greater New Haven's most notable chefs and bartenders together under one roof; providing an exclusive opportunity for attendees to mix and mingle with the area's top chefs while savoring their creative food and drink. The event raises important funds in the fight against childhood hunger.  

Taste of the Nation will be held at The Omni Hotel at Yale on May 22nd, 2013, in the heart of downtown New Haven. Tickets are $85 general admission and $150 VIP admission. VIP guests will enjoy private access to our VIP lounge with specialty cocktails and opulent bites provided by Winvian and sparkling wine by Mionetto.

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Thursday
May022013

Wine Gal Abroad: Lebanese Winemakers 

I have an exciting announcement that I can’t wait any longer to tell you… or maybe I should say “KuWAIT any longer to tell you!”  I have left the United States for an indefinite period of time in order to pursue my culinary dreams in the Middle East!  I have accepted the position of Guest Relations Manager at Figs, a restaurant by Todd English, in Kuwait.  The restaurant originated in Massachusetts, but English is bringing branches to new locations.  This will be Kuwait’s second Figs and I have the exciting chance to be involved with it from its inception.

In one of my favorite movies of all times, Sleepless in Seattle, Tom Hank’s friend turns to him and asks, “What do you call it when everything just intersects?”  Tom Hanks shrugs and replies, “The Bermuda Triangle.”  This brief back-and-forth pretty much embodies the past month of my life when a series of improbable events seemed to come together to.  A chance meeting with Chef Todd English at the Mohegan Sun WineFest set the chain of events in motion.  By February I had submitted my resume and one short month later I was signing the contract.  My car is sold, my apartment is for rent, and my clothes are packed.

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Wednesday
May012013

Cooking is Believing. Start Your Kitchen Project at Clarke (sponsored post)

When something seems too good to be true, it typically is too good to be true. However, there is one exception right here in Connecticut: a visit to Clarke, New England's official Sub-Zero showroom and test kitchen in South Norwalk, CT.

While many think a kitchen design is all about cabinetry, discerning home chefs know a new kitchen starts with appliance research. Is a gas cooktop really better than induction? Will refrigerator drawers work in your layout? Can a convection steam oven replace a microwave? Clarke can answer all of these questions and more. 

According to Marco Barallon, Clarke showroom manager in South Norwalk, spending one to two hours at Clarke can save you months of your own research. He should know; he provides many of the private showroom tours at Clarke to educate homeowners about what is possible in their space and how to best accomplish their cooking goals in a new kitchen design. Are you passionate about pastry baking? Do you expect your children to prepare food? Do you have more than one chef in your home? How many dishwashers do you need? Should you incorporate wine storage into your kitchen or pantry?  

Your lifestyle informs your kitchen design and Clarke is a wonderful place to begin the design process.

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Wednesday
May012013

Shake Shack "No Kid Hungry" Shake Sale: Donate $2...Get FREE Shake

Shake it forward!  Starting today, Shake Shack® is hosting the 2nd Annual Great American Shake Sale benefiting Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign.

The Great American Shake Sale is a company-wide cause marketing initiative taking place May 1-31, 2013, at all Shake Shacks—excluding stadiums and international locations.  The goal is to help raise awareness and funds for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign in its effort to end childhood hunger in America.

Throughout the month of May, Shake Shack guests who donate $2 or more to No Kid Hungry will receive a card for a complimentary hand-spun shake—valued at $5—redeemable on their next visit.  One hundred percent of donations will benefit No Kid Hungry. Swing by their locations in Westport or New Haven. 

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