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Monday
May232016

May 26 @ The Westport Farmers' Market: Guest Chef, Bar Sugo

With the fragrance of simmering basil on one end and vendors setting up to the Talking Heads on the other, there was a palpable energy to opening day of the Westport Farmers’ Market last Thursday. And this week promises the same, sans the Talking Heads, perhaps. 

Instead, Julie Moffat will lead a short class in qigong for shoppers who want to destress. Qigong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates posture, breathing, and focused intention. Gentle movements are adaptable for people of all age groups and abilities. Julie’s sessions are hugely popular and we invite you to join her at the market this Thursday, the 26th, from 1:00 to 1:30

Fragrance will once-again fill the air, of course – from the vendors’ booths to the make-shift kitchen of Bar Sugo, this week’s featured chef/restaurant. Bar Sugo is a Norwalk icon that celebrates the art of simple Italian fare using farm-fresh ingredients just like Nona did. Chef Pasquale Pascarella will lead a demonstration at noon on pasta making; get a seat early, what’s not to love about a free sample of handcrafted pasta?

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Sunday
May222016

DiFiore Ravioli Shop: Three Generations of Italian Cooking, In Hartford & Rocky Hill

Most people look forward to taking it easy and traveling in their 60s. But at age 62, Andy and Louise DiFiore had a different retirement plan in mind. They opened DiFiore Ravioli Shop on Franklin Avenue, in Hartford’s Little Italy back in 1982.

Their son Don explains, “My parents were always the home gourmet types. Back in those days, they weren’t called foodies, but they had a lifelong love of food. My dad had been an executive in the office machine world almost his whole life in sales and marketing. And he was probably looking at this more as being a retirement thing for income. Just like a little boutique store. But they stayed with it. My dad would be in the store until he was in his late 80s. And my mom stayed in the store till she was 90. She’s 95 now.”

Then, about five years ago, Don’s father was in a nursing home and his mother was getting too old to run the store any longer. They were going to close it. Then Don’s eldest sister came back home from Chicago to help. “She threw the option at me—do you want to do something with it? Geez, I don’t know.”

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Friday
May202016

Nibble: CT food Events & Happenings for May 22-29

On Tuesday May 24, The Weekend Kitchen in Essex will teach you all about “International Street Food Cooking.”  Chef Jennifer Magrey’s cooking class is inspired by the food carts found around Yale University in New Haven.  Learn dishes like Banh Mi Chicken and Pork Meatball & Pickled Carrot Sandwiches, Grilled Steak Skewers with Chimichurri, Sweet Potato Chaat Bites, and Churros. 6:30-10pm, $75 pp.  

Cheese can be fun and games!  The Greenwich location of the Fairfield Cheese Company invites you to “Wine & Cheese Pairing Round Robin” on Tuesday May 24 from 7-9pm.  Attendees will have the chance to try four cheeses with four wine and rate the pairings.  That exercise will then be used to discuss the basics of pairing.  It costs $50 per person.  

Fleishers Craft Butchery’s will hold a “Knife Skills & Poultry 101” class at their Greenwich location on May 24.  Learn basic knife technique and then use those skills to break down a raw chicken and carve a cooked bird.  It lasts from 7-9pm and costs $100 per person.  

More Farmers Markets kick off their seasons this week!  Old Greenwich opens on May 25 while Rowayton begins on May 27. 

On Thursday May 26, “RiverFare” comes to the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, CT.  Guests can enjoy tasty bites, fine spirits, local beers, and a silent auction all while overlooking the harbor.  Tickets start at $60.  

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Thursday
May192016

CTbites Invites: Happy Hour on The Patio at Artisan for $39

For the third year in a row, CTbites has partnered with Chef Frederic Kieffer and Artisan at the Delamar Hotel Southport for an outdoor Happy Hour on their gorgeous patio and bar. Mark your calendars for Wednesday June 1st 5:30-7:30, as we kick off “al fresco” dining with assorted appetizers and cocktails.  

Priced at $39, the Happy Hour includes a specialty cocktail and a second cocktail or wine or beer. Buy your tickets here:  http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2553071

Chef Frederic is preparing a number of signature appetizers both passed and buffet style to accompany a special summer cocktail created by the talented Artisan bartender team.  

Menu Includes...

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Thursday
May192016

Burger Report: Chef Geoff Lazlo's Burger at Mill Street Bar + Table

Mill Street Bar and Table opened in the Byram neighborhood in Greenwich last October, the brainchild of Executive Chef Geoff Lazlo in partnership with Bill and Leslie King, who head up the organic-centric Back 40 Group. Many in Connecticut know of his work with Bill Taibe at The Whelk in Westport, but his roots with organic gardening and cooking with the finest bounty of the season goes back to his love of gardening and his introduction to the use of these ingredients with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, Michael Anthony at Gramercy Tavern, and Dan Barber at Stone Barns.

While the Executive Chef at The Whelk, his burger received my “Best of…” in 2013 and with his newest adventure firmly established in the Fairfield County culinary landscape it was time to see if his newest creation was as great…IT WAS!

Chef Lazlo’s latest rendition is the “8OZ PASTURED BEEF BURGER,” described on the menu to include house-made mustard, aioli, Cheddar cheese, served on a potato-brioche, and served with hand-cut fries.

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Wednesday
May182016

Judy's Bar + Kitchen Opens in Stamford with Low Country BBQ

Judith Roll, creator of the popular Tabouli Mediterranean Grill in Stamford, felt that the dining neighborhood north of Bullshead was underserved.  “The area needed something a little hip,” she told CTBites recently.  “So I thought, take a chance, and try Barbecue.”

As if by wizardry, wisps of sweet hickory smoke were soon wafting over High Ridge Road, not far from the Merritt, as Judy’s  Bar + Kitchen opened its doors to a diverse (and hungry) local crowd.   

Even though she bills her dinner dishes as “Low Country,” Judith made no pilgrimage to Memphis and Carolina to study the nuances of time, temperature, cuts and woods.  Rather she stayed in the neighborhood and developed her menu out of a culinary sensibility honed at CIA and the kitchens of gifted chefs like Wolfgang Puck. 

“Simple and fresh are my style,” she says.  “Good meat, cooked low and slow, what more do you need to know?” 

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Wednesday
May182016

The Pine Leaf Opens in New Milford with Chef Joel Viehland

 

The Pine Leaf opened this week in New Milford under the leadership of chef/owner and three-time James Beard nominee, Joel Viehland. Located along the Aspetuck River, The Pine Leaf will be serving what they describe as "simple, light breakfasts and fresh, seasonal lunch fare" with a focus on organic and local ingredients. 

For those of us who know and love Viehland's cooking from his time at nearby Community Table, (check out our 2013 restaurant review of CT), this is definitely an opening we have been eagerly anticipating. We look forward to exploring New Milford's newest breakfast and lunch hot spot. In the meantime, check it out and let us know what you ate and what you think!

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Tuesday
May172016

Battle of the Chefs Culinary Showdown At Founders Hall June 5 

On Sunday, June 5, from 4-7 pm, three chefs will match sharp knives and quick wits in an exciting culinary showdown to benefit Founders Hall in Ridgefield, CT. Chefs Beck Bolender (One Twenty One, North Salem), Frank Bonnaudet (Sucré Salé, Ridgefield), and Jehan S.de Noüe (formerly Chez Noüe, Ridgefield, now JSN Catering and Albano Appliance, Pound Ridge) will open a basket of surprise ingredients in front of an audience of over 200 and, in just 60 short minutes, compete to create the winning entrée.

A panel of food experts, including John Barricelli of SoNo Baking Company, master chef Ron DeSantis, director of culinary excellence at Yale University, and Brendan Walsh, dean of culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America, will judge the chefs on their creativity, craftsmanship and culinary results. Amy Kundrat, executive editor of the award-winning regional food blog CTbites will once again referee this showdown.

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Tuesday
May172016

CTbites Joins Lidia Bastianich Shooting Her TV Series Lidia's Kitchen

It feels like an ordinary morning in South Norwalk.  Restaurants are opening their doors and a few pedestrians have started to meander down Main Street.  People are easing into their daily routines.  There is no fanfare or paparazzi… no indication that culinary legend Lidia Bastianich and her team have quietly taken over Clarke Kitchens to film the latest season of Lidia’s Kitchen!

Lidia Bastianich’s extensive career is filled with an array of accomplishments.  Her four New York City restaurants, Felidia, Becco, Esca and Del Posto, as well as Lidia’s Pittsburgh and Lidia’s Kansas City, have received widespread acclaim.  She also joined forces with her son Joe Bastianich, Mario Batali, and Oscar Farinetti to open Eataly, an Italian food and wine marketplace.  In addition to her achievements as a restaurateur, she is an Emmy award-winning public television host, cookbook author, broadcast production company founder, and businesswoman.

Bastianich has chosen Norwalk to film 26 episodes for the fourth season of Lidia’s Kitchen.  The television series, which is sponsored by Cento and Grana Padano, will air on PBS Public Television Network starting October 8, 2016.  Each 30 minute episode revolves around a certain theme or ingredient and presents recipes based on it.

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Monday
May162016

Wright's Steakhouse Opens May 16 in Centerbrook, CT

Brought to you by the folks behind River Tavern, Otto Pizza and Dinners At The Farm, Wright's Steakhouse will will open on May 16 in an old Victorian in Centerbrook, CT. A peek at the menus hint at a vibrant take on the traditional steakhouse, here is an early peek at the dinner menu and the smaller bar menu.

For more information, visit: www.wrightssteak.com

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