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New Haven's Historic Bar Reopens: Welcome Back Anchor Spa

It's back.

Anchor Spa, one of New Haven's most iconic drinking establishments has been brought back to life thanks to Yale alumnus and restauranteur Karl Franz Williams (67 Orange Street, Solomon & Kuff). Renovated with an emphasis on evoking the 1930's spirit of the original Anchor Spa while infusing the space with thoughtful modern touches, Anchor Spa is poised to take its place among Connecticut's most stylish and storied bars.  

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Three Mason Jar Layered Salad Cups via Marcia Selden Catering

Photo credit - Robin Selden for Marcia Selden Catering

This is an anything-but-boring (and super easy!) way to serve a salad on the go.  Perfect for picnics or beach BBQ’s. Buy a case of inexpensive mason jars at the grocery store and start layering with your favorite ingredients and dressings! 

Kale Shrimp Caesar

Yield: 6 Mason Jars


  • 9 C Shredded Kale (1.5 C per Jar)
  • 3 C Shaved Parmesan (1/2 C per Jar)
  • 3 C Croutons (1/2 C per Jar)
  • 24 21/25 Shrimp, Tail Off (4 per Jar)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 T Lemon Juice
  • 8 T EVOO
  • 3 T Parsley, Chopped
  • 3 T Chives, Thinly Sliced
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Caesar Dressing

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Weekly Nibble: CT Food Events & Happenings For July 10-16


Stonebridge Restaurant and Wines and More Milford are teaming up for a 6-Course Wine Dinner on Tuesday July 12.  Dishes include local cheeses, charcuterie, and pine nut pesto salmon.  Some of the wine selections are Mionetto Gran Rosé, Château Les Tourelles de Longueville Pauillac, and Orin Swift Abstract.  It costs $75 per person (tax and gratuity included). For the full menu, wine list, and details, please see:

Fleishers Craft Butchery in Westport is pleased to announce a new Summer Grilling Series!  Each class includes an explanation about cuts of meat, a hands-on burger making tutorial, a look at seasonings and sauces, and of course… eating!  You’ll even enjoy a summer beer.  The first class takes place on Tuesday July 12 at 7pm.  It costs $100 and tickets are available online:

Wednesday July 13 is National Yoga Day.  Celebrate with Half Full Brewery in Stamford at their “Yoga for Hoptimists” evening.  A $16 ticket includes a 50 minute yoga class and open beer taps.  Bonus: Some proceeds will go to help NGO AFESIP Cambodia start a yoga program for women and girls.

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CTbites Invites: Happy Hour on the Kawa Ni Rooftop for $39

Are you still kicking yourself for missing the CTbites Happy Hour on the Patio at Artisan last month?  No worries… CTbites is excited to offer a second chance to celebrate Summer 2016,  this time on the wonderful outdoor rooftop patio of Kawa Ni Westport on Wednesday July 13th from 5:30-7:30 pm      ( Raindate Thursday July 14th )  Buy your tickets here

Overlooking the Saugatuck River, and watching the boats, kayaks and paddleboarders drift by is a special bonus to the evening which for $39 includes Chef Jeff Taibe's creative and delicious appetizers and two beverages of your choice.  Enhancing the patio experience are two familiar faces, Carissa and Maddy, from The Stand Juice Bar. They bring with them both their sparkling personalities, as well as some of The Stands juices and a specialty cocktail blend called "Pick Your Poison", to enjoy while nibbling Kawa Ni's Izakaya appetizers like :

Pork Spring Rolls
Mini Tofu Pockets
Peekytoe Crab Rangoon
Ebi Sticks
Kani Salad
Broccoli Salad

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Prime Opens in Stamford - A First Look

On Saturday July 3, bursts of fireworks illuminated the Stamford sky in honor of the Fourth of July.  Stamford residents also had something else to celebrate; the opening of Prime restaurant. CTbites reported in January that the Huntington, NY restaurant had secured a second location in Stamford. Now, five months later, Prime is bringing its steak, seafood, sushi, and signature dishes to Connecticut.

The Fourth of July is a fitting time for Prime to open its doors. The holiday embodies summer sun and surf.  Those same elements lie at the heart of Prime. The flagship Huntington, NY restaurant boasts harbor views, dock space, and outdoor seating. The new Stamford location promises the same.  Situated in the waterfront space that once housed Dolce Cubano, Prime Stamford is embracing everything that Long Island Sound has to offer. “Boating will be a big factor for us,” says Michael Bohlsen of Bohlsen Restaurant Group, the team behind Prime. He revealed that the Stamford location obtained ten dock slips. Boaters can make a reservation (separate fee may apply) and bring their vessels directly to Prime. They also hired a dock master to oversee the boats.

Bohlsen Restaurant Group believes in exceptional service and crafting a fine dining experience. As a result, they are taking their time to ensure that every aspect of the restaurant runs smoothly. Their Stamford debut has taken the form of a series of soft openings so that they can perfect their approach. They gave a sneak peek to the community with a cocktail party for local neighbors and members of the Chamber of Commerce. They followed up with two days of friends and family dining, for guests of the staff. Prime’s first dinner service took place on Wednesday June 29. Until July 13, Prime will give diners 50% of what they spend (pre-tax and pre-gratuity) on a gift card that can be redeemed in the fall. “We recognize that it’s only a first or second week.  There are a lot of moving pieces and it’s not yet perfect,” says Bohlsen. “The people coming now are a lot of the local people. This is a way to introduce ourselves.”

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Le Penguin Opening Soon in Downtown Westport CT

Veteran restauranteurs Antoine Blech and Anshu Vidyarthi will open Le Penguin in Westport at the end of July.  After enjoying tremendous success in Greenwich for the past three years, the partners (who also own Le Poodle in Old Greenwich) have decided to open a second location. Prior to joining forces in Greenwich, the two men had quite illustrious careers. Antoine’s includes such esteemed restaurants as Spago, L’Orangerie, Le Bec Fin, Le Bilboquet, Le Comptoir, Le Colonial, and Orienta which he co-owned in Manhattan.  Anshu’s includes Los Angeles’ infamous  The Ivy, Brentwood Bar & Grill The Olive as well as the  landmark location of Le Colonial in New York. In 2003, Anshu delighted guests as  Director of Operations of l'Escale in Greenwich.

For those not yet familiar with the menu at Le Penguin one can expect fine traditional French bistro fare with a farm to table approach. Local seasonal ingredients only heighten the quintessential bistro experience. Diners can count on such favorites as escargots, Frisee au Largons, Steak Tartare, Steak Frites, Soupe a l’oignon, Coq au Vin, Tarte tatin, Steak au Poivre and Salade Nicoise  among many other menu selections. “The restaurant experience is much more than the food. It is about the ambiance,” Antoine told me. “We have cheerful restaurants. We like to make everyone feel happy. We even sing Happy Birthday to our guests.” (Something to keep in mind if you prefer your Big Day to slide under the radar!) “The decor is happy

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Guide To The Best Dive Bars In Southwest Connecticut c. 2016

Dive Bars aren’t necessarily dives.

Take Casey’s Tavern in Stamford.  Secluded on a dead end side street just off downtown, its windows are veiled, its entrance shadowy.  What’s behind the curtains? 

Well, step inside and be amazed.  The crowd is convivial, the decor beguiling, and the joint jumping.  A song blasts on the juke, but it’s buried under the laughter and yak.  Behind a highly polished hardwood bar, mirrors and bottles glisten.  Out the back door, a sun-splashed patio beckons.  And on each table – there’s an extensive menu to ponder.

So is Casey’s a dive?  

“No, no,” Seamus Costigan tells us. ”We don’t attract trouble.”   He should know.  Costigan is not only the guy behind the stick, but the affable owner of this Irish pub.  It is said once Seamus meets you, he never forgets your name or your drink.

These days the term “Dive Bar” doesn’t imply bikers, broken bottles and bloody bathrooms.  Rather, a true Dive serves as a neighborhood gathering place, where regulars can dive in*, grab a quick (or long) one at an affordable price,  shoot pool or darts,  argue sports and politics, or just b,s. about life and love.  No one comes in to be lonely … or leaves broke.  

When you belly up to the bar, there’s no need to order.  The ‘keep is already pouring.  

Seamus nods and grins. “I guess we’re a dive bar, then.  I know exactly what time my regulars come in, their drink, and what they eat.”

In a modern Dive, the food is as much a draw as the liquor and the laughter.   So forget about microwaved burgers and dogs, stale chips, or soggy Slices.  The new breed Dive caters to customers who aren’t just thirsty, but hungry for a tasty meal without breaking the bank.   

Gourmet dining? At times.  Complexity, not really.  But solid eats, definitely.  In fact, some dishes are farm fresh and healthy. 

Herewith, we curate the best eats we found at some selected SW Connecticut Dives …


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Weekly Nibble: CT Food Events & Happenings For July 3 - 10

Barcelona’s Stamford and Fairfield locations are open for 4th of July brunch.  Join them in Stamford from 11:30am-4pm and Fairfield from 11am-4pm.

Celebrate July 4 at Sunset Meadow Vineyards.  The grounds will be open all weekend long and also on Monday.  Pair your favorite picnic dishes with their tasty wines.

Ordinary New Haven thinks having a case of the Mondays should be a good thing!  On Mondays, happy hour doesn’t end; it lasts all day long!  Join them for $8 glasses of select wine, $4 Black Hog beers, $8 craft cocktails

The Norwich Farmers Market kicks off its summer season on Wednesday July 6.  Visit them at Howard T. Brown Park, located at 100 Chelsea Harbor Drive, from 10am-2pm.

Hunt Hill Farm presents summer cooking classes!  On Saturday July 9, Chef Dawn Leahy will create dishes from local Litchfield County Farms to complement bourbon from Litchfield Distiller.  The menu includes bourbon jerk chicken wings with orange aioli, panzanella salad with grilled tomatoes, bourbon barbequed pork tenderloin, grilled seasonal vegetables, and corn cakes with peaches.  It costs $85 per person and runs from 5-8pm.  Register here:

The Keep It Local Regional Farmers Market launches Thursday July 7 at 24 Water Street in Torrington, CT.  Join them for organic produce, ice cream, and crafts from local farms and vendors.  The event, brought to us by the KidsPlay Children's Museum in downtown Torrington and Act Natural Health & Wellness LLC, runs from 4-7pm on Thursdays through October.

Westport’s Wakeman Town Farm will hold its annual Family Fun Day on Saturday July 9 from 12-4pm.  Stop by the farm for food, games, contests, and more.

The Milford Clam Jam arrives at the Milford Clam Jam Grounds, 990 Naugatuck Avenue in Milford, on Saturday July 9.  It is a day full of music by live bands, hot clams, and cold beer.  You can also sign up to participate in a beer pong tournament and Texas hold ‘em showdown.  Tickets start at $28.

CT NOFA’s Annual Meeting & Potluck will take place in Woodbridge, CT on Sunday July 10.  Members and friends can gather at Massaro Community Farm.  The event is free, but RSVP is needed.  Please BYOB and bring a potluck dish.

Max Restaurant Group has a few exciting events this week.  Their Chef to Farm Dinner continues on July 8 at Graywall Farms in Lebanon, CT.  The night, celebrating “BBQ, Blues, and Bluegrass,” will feature local craft beer and classic BBQ dishes.  The evening includes a reception, a tour of the farm, and an al fresco dinner under a tent.

Then, Max’s Farm Festival at Rosedale Farms & Vineyards will take place on Sunday July 10.  The theme is "US Summer Tour: Great Cities, Great Beer, Great Food." Chef Steve Michalewicz of Max Catering & Events and MRG Beverage Director Brian Mitchell will give guests a culinary take on the All American Summer Road Trip.  A $56 ticket includes beer sampling, bites, live music, and a commemorative glass.

Nothing embodies summertime in New England like the lobster!  David Burke Prime Steakhouse, located in the Foxwoods Resort & Casino, has a tank full of live lobsters… some weighing up to 8.5 pounds!  Chef Pedro Avila is using them to create special summertime lobster dishes including a Lobster Taco Trio with lobster salad, fennel slaw, and avocado mousse, Lobster Dumplings served with a lime lobster aioli, Lobster Kung Pao Style with cilantro, lime, peanuts, drawn butter and fluffy steamed rice, and Lobster Angry Style with basil and a kick of spicy lemon chili sauce.  Plus, Mondays are “lobster night” where guests can enjoy a three course prix fixe menu for $39.


Instabites: Brunch in Niantic, Fleisher's Burger, Kent Falls Brewing, Fairfield Farmers' Market, Bill's Seafood


Guide to American Restaurants Open on The Fourth of July

In between trips to the beach and taking in the fireworks, how about enjoying some delicious American fare this fourth of July?  Connecticut has a dazzling array of restaurants dishing up American cuisine.  From juicy burgers to piles of wings to classic lobster rolls, these places are perfect for celebrating the summer holiday.

  1. The Blind Rhino, Norwalk
  2. Barcade, New Haven
  3. Walrus + Carpenter, Bridgeport
  4. Dinosaur BBQ, Stamford
  5. Ted's Montana Grill, Hartford
  6. T.H.C., Derby
  7. Craft 260, Fairfield
  8. The National, Greenwich
  9. Shake Shack, Westport, New Haven
  10. The Engine Room, Mystic
  11. Eli's Tavern, Milford
  12. The Sitting Duck Tavern, Stratford, Trumbull
  13. Archie Moore's, Fairfield, New Haven, Wallingford, Derby, Milford
  14. Johnny Utah's, Norwalk
  15. Plan B, Milford, Stamford, West Hartford, Glastonbury, Fairfield, Simsbury, Milford
  16. Vinny's Backyard, Stamford
  17. Jimmy's Southside Tavern, Darien
  18. SBC, Southport, Milford
  19. Bear's Smokehouse, Hartford
  20. Cask Republic, Norwalk
  21. Pearl at Longshore, Westport
  22. Gates, New Canaan
  23. Match, Norwalk
  24. David Burke Prime, Foxwoods Casino
  25. Harbour House, Mystic