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2014 CT Food Lover Gift Guide. We've got the perfect gift the foodie in your life. 

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Excellent New Fall Menu @ Harlan Social in Stamford

Two years ago Harlan Social opened as a part of the Lockworks project in Stamford amidst questions on whether the area would support the restaurant or whether the restaurant investors and the developers were visionaries. Two years later Harlan Social’s success shines as a local hang-out, an after work meeting spot, and a destination restaurant.

Harlan Social was the brainchild of Owner & Executive Chef Steve Lewandowski, who was previously the Sous Chef at Manhattan’s Abby restaurant, Gotham Bar & Grill, and Fantino in the Ritz Carlton before joining Tribeca Grill and becoming its Executive Chef. Currently overseeing the kitchen is Executive Chef Michael Sobelman, whose resume includes Sardis and Tribeca Grill with Lewandowski.  When Harlan Social opened Lewandowski immediately reached out to Sobelman to join him and oversee the kitchen.

Harlan Social recently introduced its new Fall menu and CTbites visited to sample some of the new additions.

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Scratch Baking's Loaf of the Week Program

THE winter CSA for your bread box is BACK with Scratch Baking's Loaf of the Week club. Beginning on January 9, 2015 for 8 carb-filled weeks, Scratch Baking in Milford is kicking-off their third annual "Loaf of the Week" clubParticipants, or "loafers," receive a surprise bread and spread each week, paired with a recipe.  

Scratch Baking's manager Alex Malaspinas chalked the success of the program up to Scratch's community-minded approach:

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Winter Cooking Classes @ The Schoolhouse at Cannondale 

If you're still looking for the unique gift for that special person. Give them a memorable experience that is both fun & useful. Sign them up for a cooking class at The Schoolhouse at Cannondale Restaurant in Wilton Ct. In fact, sign up with them. Chef Tim LaBant & his staff will be sharing their years of experience each Tuesday evening beginning in February. You'll also savor the finished culinary delights after the class. The schedule and focus for each evening is as follows:
February 3...Winter Braising and knife skills
February 10...Appetizers and ingredient pairing guidlines
February 17...How to prepare our most favorite soups and stocks
February 24...Duck cookery and grain preparation
March 3...Fish cookery;  wet and dry cooking methods.When to use each method

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Friday Froth: Around A Square State With Stubborn Beauty, Black Hog and Overshores

What shape is Connecticut? Kind of a cleaver-shape, I think. I live down in the that cleaver's handle - along with you, by statistical probability - and the myriad horrors of highway travel in Connecticut tend to keep me there, but I'm wired to explore. If Lando can escape the Sarlacc, I can get out of Fairfield freaking County. 

This is especially useful as I paddle my canoe up the rivers of craft beer this state has to offer, because breweries don't usually spring up next to yacht clubs, son. Train that spyglass further afield, and you'll spot Stubborn Beauty Brewing Company in increasingly craft beer dense Middletown, Black Hog Beer Company in Oxford, and Overshores Brewing Co. in East Haven. It's about time I gave each of them their due. 

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Weekly Nibble: Italian Wine Dinners; New Farmers' Market; Beer Conn. +

Tuesday December 9, Local in Fairfield will team up with Allagash for a “Casual Beer Dinner.”  Enjoy 5 dishes like bacon cheddar risotto alongside delicious brews.  You can even enjoy Founders Breakfast Stout a la mode for dessert!  $45 per person, 7pm.

Wine lovers can also attend a great event on Tuesday.  Golden View Firenze of Greenwich will host a Castello di Monsanto Wine Dinner from 7-9pm.  $65 per person, plus tax and gratuity.  Menu and reservations here. 

Tuesday is Burger Night at Darien Social. Every Tuesday there will be new burgers, specially created by their Chef, at great prices.

Freshii, with a location in Westport, is pleased to announce a Kids Eat Free initiative, aimed at helping kids eat healthy more often.  Check their website for news on the launch. 

On Thursday December 11, Terrain of Westport invites you to a Winter Beer Pairing Dinner with Two Roads Brewing Co of Stratford.  The four course dinner costs $48 per person, plus tax and gratuity.  Reservations are required.  Please call (203) 226-2750 to reserve your seats.

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Chef Pat Pascarella of Bar Sugo to Host Cooking Classes

Chef Pat Pascarella of Bar Sugo in Norwalk announced that he will conduct a new series of cooking classes beginning in Jan 2015! For those readers who have visited Bar Sugo and enjoyed his great meatballs, pastas and entrées, these classes will give the secrets for creating some of these delicious dishes at home. 

There are currently six scheduled classes: 

  • Fresh Pasta Workshop – Saturday January 24th at 11:00am
  • Mama's Kitchen: Meatballs 101 – Saturday February 7th at 11:00am
  • Art of Braising – Tuesday March 3rd at 7:00pm
  • Pizza Workshop – Tuesday April 7th at 7:00pm
  • Farmer's Harvest & Feast – Saturday May 16th at 11:00am
  • Cooking with Seafood - Tuesday, June 2nd at 7:00pm

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LobsterCraft in Darien Introduces New Winter Menu & Kid-Friendly Fare

Back in August we reported on LobsterCraft's brick and mortar location opening in Darien. No longer did you have to chase their truck to enjoy its deliciously sought after lobster rolls. As Winter rolls around, LobsterCraft is making some exciting updates to their menu. They're not just a lobster roll joint; they are serving up New England comfort food...and it's good. 

In addition to the award-winning lobster bisque, menu additions include:  hush puppies, clam strips, lobster tacos, lobster salad, clam chowder, and roasted vegetable soup. The new kid-friendly menu includes the Salty Dog, a hot dog shaped like an octopus set on a bun, and Mac-N-Cheese Bites.

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2014 CT Food Lovers Holiday Gift Guide

Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Gift giving-choosing a gift for another person that is resonant of their personality and interests-is a true art. How do we know this? We know this by the sheer number of Yankee Swap and White Elephant parties that we have all attended. You thought those salt and pepper shakers in the shape of ugly, primitive holiday carolers would be perfect for, why? And thus, yet another odd gift enters the rotation of passed-along, re-gifted gifts. On the flip-side, we all hopefully have experienced the joy that comes when we do find that perfect gift. The thrill of watching the unwrapping and the smiles that follow! This holiday season, we would like to help you in your pursuit of That Perfect One....

We bring you the CTbites 2014 CT Food Lovers Gift Guide. Start shopping!

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CTbites' Guide to Happy Hours in Stamford CT

The work day comes to a close and all I can think is “Holy hell I need a bottle of wine …maybe two… maybe three… who’s coming with me?” But where do I go? What places offer specials? What vibe am I feeling? I instantly start googling “Happy Hour Downtown Stamford” but nothing pops up and suddenly I am in a panic, yes a panic. We’ve all been there many times…so I have compiled the ultimate list to help fellow happy hour enthusiasts.

Personal favorites for each day are:

  • Monday - Cotto, with half-priced bottles of wine and delicious tapas it’s the perfect way to ease into a hectic week;
  • Tuesday - Lola’s Mexican Restaurant, Taco Tuesday & Margaritas…need I say more?
  • Wednesday - Brickhouse Bar & Grill, known to many regulars as “wing night” it’s a low-key, delicious and fun way to finish hump day;
  • Thursday – Barcelona, delicious tapas and great deals on a variety of wines, the young and vibrant scene is always served up;
  • Friday – Hudson Grille, come for the happy hour and stay for the DJ, just be sure to bring your dancing shoes;

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Dorie Greenspan Book Signing in Stamford on December 3

Barrett Bookstore is bringing Dorie Greenspan back to Fairfield County to celebrate the publication of her latest cookbook: Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere for a free event at Deane Inc. in Stamford on December 3 at 6 p.m. RSVP (required) to or 203-655-2712.

Wine and treats will be prepared from Dorie Greenspan's new book by Julia Deane of Deane Inc. Greenspan will be on hand to sign copies of the book.

CTbites adores Dorie, read our interview with Dorie a few years ago.

Reservations are required for this free event. RSVP to or 203-655-2712. Deane Inc. is located at 1267 East Main Street, Stamford, CT.

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