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Top 10 Craft Cocktails in lower Fairfield County. Go-to spots for killer cocktails. 

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Thursday
Mar262015

La Zingara in Bethel Launches a New Cocktail Program

Photo: La ZingaraLa Zingara in Bethel will launch a new cocktail program beginning April 1 with a menu spanning classic cocktails to their own crafted creations. The backbone of the new menu will be rooted in house made ingredients, including syrups, grenadine, fresh-squeezed juices, and (a handful of) bitters. In addition to the new cocktail program, Ecco Rooftop Eatery & Bar (located just above La Zingara) will reopen on April 1 as well.

"We are finally bringing La Zingara up to par on the cocktails that we have been doing on the [Ecco] rooftop for a while now. We are looking to bring the same quality that we bring to our food. Clean, simple drinks that utilize what is in season. Twists on the classics," said Lisa Tassone, La Zingara and Ecco owner.

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Thursday
Mar262015

Bistro Mediterranean Opens in Norwalk: Tapas With Bold, Rich Flavors via Connecticut Magazine

Tapas remain such a hot trend that restaurants with no hint of Spanish heritage are salting menus with small bites and petite plates to share, partly because it’s so appealing to begin a meal with several appetizers (or to make an entire meal from a succession of tapas), and partly because small plates equal big business.

No harm in the best of one culture being imitated and adopted—but there’s also nothing like experiencing tapas in an authentic environment, prepared by a talented chef and served in an atmosphere that embodies a European cadence, with passion to delivering a superior dining experience the hallmark.

When all of that rings up at what can only be declared a bargain price—especially when contrasted with the threshold costs of fine dining in Connecticut circa 2015—it amounts to a mandate for discovery.

In this case, the restaurant to seek out is Bistro Mediterranean and Tapas Bar, which opened its third location earlier this year on Route 1 in Norwalk. The original is in East Haven, and thesecond bistro opened in Westbrook a year ago.

Read the complete review at ConnecticutMagazine.com 

Wednesday
Mar252015

Christian Petroni of Fortina Pizza Shares Mom's Easter Pie Recipe

When we asked Fortina's Christian Petroni  to share an Easter recipe, he turned to an Italian classic...his mother. Much of Petroni's culinary inspiration is derived from a richly food-centric childhood just outside of Naples, and this Easter recipe is no exception. Christian's mother's cooking can often be spotted on the menus of Fortina Pizza (Armonk, Ryebrook & Stamford coming soon), and now on CTbites. Thanks to Fiorella & Christian Petroni for sharing a little bit of their holiday with this ultimate comfort food Recipe for Easter Pie. What type of "pie" you ask. This recipe features: salami, sweet provolone, ricotta and eggs...enough said. 

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Tuesday
Mar242015

Autism Bites Comes to Fairfield County April 2nd

As if you needed an excuse to eat out, starting April 2nd (World Autism Awareness Day), and running ALL month long, the following restaurants will donate a percentage all food/beverage sales to Autism Speaks! YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO TO EVERY RESTAURANT! (Just pick four: breakfast… lunch… dinner… and après drinks.) Your appetite supports Autism Speaks! Eat out all month and help children and adults with Autism.

Autism Speaks is the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism.

View the complete list of participating restaurants below. 

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Tuesday
Mar242015

Passover Dessert Shopping Guide via Kosher Like Me Blog

This incredible guide to all things Passover dessert comes from one of our fellow writers, Liz Rueven, of Kosher Like Me. This is the uber guide for those who wish to BUY, not cook their Passover sweets. Amen. 

I love it when my readers tell me what they need! So when M. phoned to ask where oh where should she buy her Passover desserts, we took the challenge and got to work looking for the best of the best.

For those strictly kosher or not so much, those on the west side or the west coast, we’ve got your  freshly baked, professionally made Passover dessert options covered.

Read the complete article: Leave the Passover Baking to the Experts.

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Sunday
Mar222015

Washington Prime 2.0 - Chef Howard McCall Jr. Brings Comfort Food to SONO

Patrons of Washington Prime will find comfort in the cuisine of its new Executive Chef Howard McCall Jr. This unassuming chef is not new to SoNo nor the kitchen at Washington Prime; he started in the kitchen at Barcelona twenty years ago and was the opening Sous Chef at Washington Prime last summer. Prior to joining Washington Prime he oversaw the kitchen at Mint restaurant in North Carolina which influenced his new Southern style cuisine.

CTbites was invited to meet the chef and sample some of his new additions to the menu. Chef Howard exudes a soft personality, allowing his culinary talents to speak. His recent changes to the new menu range from a creative American Soul Rolls to a Braised Lamb Shank, plus modifications of previous favorites. Each maintained the focus on the main ingredient with delightful accompaniments…more akin to Southern comfort food.

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Friday
Mar202015

Friday Froth Recap: Maine Beer Co. Dinner @ Little Pub

One of the best moments of my year, every year, is dusk on spring evening when I first hear peepers. Spring seems - perpetually and annoyingly - to be just around the corner until those tiny frogs let me know it has officially arrived, and winter is finally at its end. We're not quite there yet, not that I've heard, anyhow, so sitting fireside at Little Pub with a snifter of fresh Peeper from Maine Beer Company is about as close as I'm going to get. 

Last Sunday I took a drive up Route 7, but not that far up Rt. 7, to attend the event at Little Pub's middle location in Wilton, roughly between their newest outpost in Cos Cob and their home base in Ridgefield. The reason was an evening of beer and food pairing hosted in conjunction with Maine Beer Co., of Freeport, and emceed by Little Pub personnel Dave "Mr. Beer" Newman and Tim "Fuzzy" Foley. MBC's motto is "Do What's Right" and 1% of the night's proceeds would be donated back to the brewery for use in their philanthropic outreach but, again, I was focused on that Peeper.  

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Thursday
Mar192015

Passover Brisket w/ Beet & Bone Marrow Pureé Recipe c/o Chef Arik of Le Farm

When CTbites asked Chef Arik Bensimon of le Farm to create a Passover recipe for our readers, he truly embraced both the request and the holiday. Not only has Arik reinvented the classic Passover Brisket (sorry Nana), but has orchestrated a dish that uses almost all of the ingredients found on the traditional Passover Seder plate. The roasted bone, horseradish, bitter herbs...they're all in there. He has even found a culinary use for the oh-so-sweet Manischewitz wine. 

Whatever holiday you celebrate this spring, add this recipe for Brisket with Beet & Bone Marrow Pureé to your library. It's simply delicious. 

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Wednesday
Mar182015

Outstanding In The Field Tickets Go On Sale Friday March 20th

Mark your calendars. On Wednesday, March 20th, the first day of spring, tickets will go on sale for the 2015 season of Outstanding In The Field. Buy tickets here and do it fast! These go quickly. 

CT will host 3 events this year. The Hickories will host Chef Jennifer Balin of Sugar & Olives on Sept. 8th as well as Chefs Holly Michaud & Scott Ostrander of Mama’s Boy on Sept. 9th. Day 3 will be at Waldingfield Farm with Jason Sobocinski of Casseus Fromagerie & Bistro. 

"Outstanding in the Field is a roving culinary adventure – literally a restaurant without walls." Their mission is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it. The other meaning of Outstanding in the Field is outstanding as in the best. 

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Wednesday
Mar182015

Weekly Nibble: Cheese Making, The Meat Truck, Max Burger, Cask Republic Founder's Night + More

Monday March 23 Carol Lake of Simple Cheese Making and Alina Lawrence of Olivette present a Cheese Making Class at Olivette in Darien. 6-8:30pm. $60 per person which includes wine, a cheese making demo, and tastes of the 3 cheeses made throughout the evening.

Monday March 23 is Founder’s Night at Cask Republic Stamford.  Beginning at 6pm, they’ll serve 20 Founders beers, including some limited brews. 

Paint Nite Greenwich takes place at Gingerman Greenwich on Tuesday March 24 from 7-10pm.  The evening will be filled with food, drink, and painting.

Walrus + Carpenter hosts “Arts + Craft Beers” at 7:30 on Tuesday March 24.  A group of Black Rock crafters will be make no-tangle headphones, paint-swatch bookmarks, and gift hang-tags over brews.  Email afarrell@walruscarpenterct.com for more info.

Barcelona Restaurants have several cooking events to choose from on Tuesday March 24:

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