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Terra Ristorante Opens Today in Danbury 

Terra Ristorante, a Northern Italian restaurant located in the heart of downtown Greenwich, is opening its second location in Danbury, CT, the eighth restaurant for the Z Hospitality Group. Over twenty-five years ago, founder and owner, Ramze Zakka, opened Terra in Greenwich, the first of his eight eateries, to fulfill his dream of owning a restaurant that serves simple and delicious food in a more relaxed alternative to the already existing white glove and fast casual restaurants. Terra was a bistro that introduced authentic Northern Italian food where guests would feel like they were transported to Florence for a genuine dining experience. Everything from food and beverages to Italian music has been carefully curated to achieve this goal.

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Pho 99: Magic Number for Pho in East Hartford and Wethersfield

My magic number for pho is 99. There are those who say 501 is better. I say, are you sure? Because, though I used to eat there back in the day, now my money's on Pho 99 all the way. Friendly service, clean, and more varieties of spring rolls than anywhere else I know. For me, it’s the pho gold standard. Not to mention, Chef Peter Nguyen is a sweetheart of a guy who takes pride in what they serve in his restaurants. The smiling man with the infectious laugh is the heart, soul, chef and secret recipe holder within the Pho 99 kitchen.

“The soup is a BIIIIIIIIIIIG secret! No one, family even--Mary’s (his business partner’s) husband don’t know! My wife don’t know! My cousins—don’t know! There’s a lot of businesses like us who come ask, what the heck are you doing? Unbelievable! What you put in there? I say, I do the same as you do!” Peter smiles, knowing full well what he does separates him from the pack and is absolutely not the same.


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Rye House to Add to the Eclectic Port Chester Dining Scene

The folks from Rye House wanted to share some recent updates. This is not a CTbites review but a head's up to restaurants in the area. 

Located in a historical building, circa 1890, whose antique brick façade and grand door arches frame the corner of Willett Avenue and North Main Street in the New York City suburb of Port Chester, Rye House (opened in 2015) is named after the American distilled spirit and the spirit of an American neighborhood tavern. Spearheaded by Our House Hospitality, whose eating and drinking establishments include the original Rye House and Sala One Nine, Tapas Bar & Restaurant, both located in the Flatiron district of New York. Rye House Port Chester pulls no punches – instead, it offers a break from the norm, with good food and drink at the forefront.

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Nibble: CT Food Events For Week of January 9-16

The Stand Juice Company has tips for you to start off the new year right!  For the month of January, follow @carissa.of.the.stand on instagram for 30 days of wellness tips!  She’ll cover everything from fitness to nutrition to beauty products.

Fleisher’s Craft Butchery presents Beef Butchery 101 at their Westport location on January 10.  The two hour class will cover the four primal cuts of beef, butchery, preparation, meat quality standards, and more.  The class includes a complimentary drink and snack from the kitchen.  It costs $125 per person. 

Prime in Stamford celebrate 1 year in business with a three-course $50 price-fixed dinner – $65 with paired wines (selected by beverage director Paulo Villela), available for TWO weeks – Monday, January 9th through Sunday, January 22nd. View menu here.

Sierra Nevada beers are tasty… and also sustainable!  On January 10, The Beer Collective in New Haven invites you to a Sierra Nevada Sensory and Sustainability Seminar.  In addition to learning about what it means for a brewery to be LEED certified, you will learn to spot imperfections in beer like oxidiation.  Tickets are $35 per person.  

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Colchester’s Cato Corner Farm Expanding its Artisanal Cheese-making Operation via CT Magazine

Colchester cheesemaker Mark Gillman has a lot of irons in the fire. For one, he and his business partner (and mother) Elizabeth MacAlister were recently awarded two significant grants: one from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the other from the state Department of Agriculture. The combination of these awards will fund important functional changes at Cato Corner Farm, their 75-acre, 45-cow cheesemaking operation.

The grants will effectively double the amount of cheese-aging and production space at the farm, support the construction of a cooler specifically designed for blue cheese — which requires storage temperatures about 10 degrees lower than other cheeses to develop its ideal creamy texture without an ammonia flavor — and for a new and improved retail shop.

Another new addition to the farm will be a pasteurizer that will allow milk acquisition from other local farms in order to develop a new line of cheeses.

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Where Do Local CT Chefs Eat Out? Chris Gonzales, Hapa Food Truck 

I've always wondered where the chefs from our favorite local restaurants eat when they finally get some time away from their busy schedules. Do they prefer to go home and relax? Or do they like to go out? If the latter, what are some of their favorite places, locally and beyond? Do they might have any secret hole in the wall places and would they be willing to share these with us? This column will be on ongoing feature. We start our series with Chris Gonzales of Hapa Food Truck

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CTbites Staff Picks for Top CT Eats in 2016

2016 was another great year for restaurant dining throughout CT. We asked the CTbites staff to share some of their most memorable meals, go-to spots and varied dining experiences from this past year.

Here are our favorite meals and restaurants of 2016. 

Jeff "jfood" Schlesinger

My favorite dishes in 2016 ranged from a chicken sandwich to pasta with crab and sea urchin butter. The food was smoked, braised, quickly seared, fried, raw, served between two slices of bread, on a porcelain plate, in a bowl, on an aluminum tray and a paper plate; all were bold and balanced. It was quite a diverse year for me. My Top-10 alphabetically.

Ch’i Public – Tuna Tartare - The diced tuna was encased in a ring of thinly sliced cucumbers, topped with thin wedges of avocado, small mounds of red and black fish roe, micro greens and plated with dollops of wasabi cream, yuzu and cucumber-lime sauce. The array of differing and complementing flavors was flawless.

The Cottage – Wagyu Steamed Buns – Take a couple of sweet and delicious steamed buns, add slices of outrageous fall-apart tender brisket and top with a little spicy Napa cabbage kimchee, a delightful aioli and you have the perfect start to the meal, plus a side of duck fat potato tempura.

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Nibble: CT Food Events for Week of January 2 - 9

El Segundo now serves brunch!  From the Breakfast Burger to the Arepa to Breakfast Poutine, there is much to enjoy on Saturdays and Sundays.

Kick off the new year with some jams at Walrus + Carpenter in Bridgeport.  On Tuesday January 3 enjoy a Compin’ + Stompin’ Jazz Jam Session.  Then on Thursday January 5, the restaurant will be filled with the sounds of Symphonic Bodega.

On Wednesday January 4, the South Windsor Community Center presents “Cooking Up Stories” for children ages 3-5.  Kids can delve into stories, then cook recipes based on them.  Playtime and crafts are included as well.  It costs $100 per registrant.   

Start your new year healthy with an easy vegan cooking class on Thursday January 5.  The Stand Juice Company in Fairfield will teach you how to make one pot dishes for the whole family.  It runs from 7-9pm and costs $45 per person.

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The Cottage in Westport Expands With New Bar & Larger Dining Area

Chef Brian Lewis' The Cottage is spreading its wings just in time for the new year...or rather its footprint, with a beautiful new expanded bar area. Lewis has taken over the adjacent space, once housing a barber shop, and has spent the last few months building out the perfect drink haven. The new bar area will have full service dining at the 10 seat bar alongside creative cocktails, local draft beer and an expanded wine program. Another addition is bartender, Ralph Leon who has been in the business for over 18 years, and has some very exciting new drinks planned for 2017. 


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Falafel Waffle with Israeli Salad Recipe via Marcia Selden 

We’re slightly obsessed with this recipe for Falafel Waffles. They have tons of flavor, lots of color and are a fun and unexpected surprise at any gathering. Whip out that waffle iron and get cooking!

Falafel Waffle with Israeli Salad Recipe

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