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Dere Street: Newtown’s Crossroads of British and Italian Cuisine

High atop a hill, near Newtown’s historic flagpole, lies the intersection of Church Hill Road and Main Street. And there, you’ll find an entirely different type of intersection—one where British and Italian cuisines meet. The concept was inspired by the original Dere Street, an ancient Roman road in Northern England, built in the first century A.D. To honor this historic place where British and Roman cultures intersect, the two cuisines are now celebrated at Dere Street in Newtown.

Past the 1800s building facade, it’s contemporary, whimsical and positively humming with other diners and imbibers. Home to 28 different gins, an abundant “British wine list” of single malts, beer and a selection of cocktails so unique, you’d be wise to arrive thirsty. Bring your appetite, as well as an open mind. If you’re a gin lover, this is the closest spot to heaven on earth you’ll find anywhere near here. And if you’re a vodka drinker? Well, they do have one brand, just in case they can’t convert you. Keeping with the British theme, it’s Broken Shed from New Zealand, a former colony. But they’d sure love to try to turn you on to gin.

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Kent Falls Brewing Begins Bottle Sales At The Farm: A First Look

If, in an alternate world, you'd bought stock in Kent Falls Brewing Co. the first time you read about the small, Connecticut based brewer here on CTBites, you'd be rich by now. The brewery isn't actually public in the financial sense, but it will welcome the public to its farm in Kent, Conn. for the first time on June 11. Kent Falls beer has previously only been available on tap, in bottles at a few shops, and at single farmer's market. All that changes this summer, and anyone up for a drive to the NW corner will be able to buy it bottled at the source, Saturdays from 11a.m.-5p.m., with a focus on special releases like brewery-only IPAs and barrel aged beers. A special bottle release is planned for the grand opening on the 11th.

Kent Falls has seen its popularity skyrocket lately and, as I've said several times before, the beer justifies the acclaim. The announcement of their new retail sales plan ended up being just the push I needed to finally visit their brewery and the working farm in which it's seated. Here is your first look.

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Embody Fitness Gourmet, Guest Chef @Westport Farmers' Market June 9

The approaching summer solstice signals the beginning of summer and in many traditions, the healing of self and soul. For some it is a time for purification and renewal of energy. For the Westport Farmers’ Market, it is the perfect time to feature Embody Fitness Gourmet as this week’s guest chef/restaurant. 

Embody, with its first stand-alone location on Riverside Avenue in Westport (there are two other locations inside Equinox and the YMCA in Darien) is on a mission to “create sustenance to optimize fitness through simple foods and nutrients that are consciously sourced and crafted.” With a menu that includes “Uppity” and “Vitality” juices, “Nutty”, “Spiced”, “Classic”, and ”Exotic” blends, vibrant breakfast and salad bowls, and original, handcrafted granolas and bars, Embody’s goal is nothing short of “creating a shift to a more food-conscious preservation of self.” We can’t wait to see what healthful and delicious elixir they create for shoppers this Thursday. Get a seat early; the chef demo begins at 10:15. 

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Best Doughnuts in CT 2016: Friday June 3 is National Doughnut Day!

Happy National Doughnut Day. Yes, it’s a recognized national holiday, and CT has great doughnuts for sweettooths ready to celebrate. Here are places serving delicious ones...if you have a suggestion for a shop we missed, please let us know below. 

Uncle Leo’s, Redding

Tony's Square Donuts, New Haven

Donut Crazy, Shelton, Stratford. Bridgeport (nom-eez)

Speedy Donuts, Norwalk

Whitney Donut & Sandwich Shop, Hamden

Lakeside Diner, Stamford

Beach Donuts, Old Lyme

Darien Doughnut, Darien

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Nibble: CT Food Events & Happenings For Week of June 6-13

The Coventry Farmers' Market at Hale Homestead kicks off its latest season on Sunday June 5 from 11-2pm and continues every Sunday through October 20.  Local vendors like Lazizah Bakery, 18th Century Purity Farms, and Wayne's Organic Garden are all returning for the upcoming season! 

In lieu of SoNo Restaurant Week, Match Restaurant has decided to give back to the local community with a special “Match Gives” menu.  From Sunday June 5 to Friday June 10, enjoy a 3-course menu for $40 featuring local ingredients from the Westport Farmers' Market and surrounding farms.  A percentage of gross sales will go to support Community Plates, Westport Farmers' Market, Human Services Council, and The Triangle Community Center of Norwalk.

Fire Engine Pizza is also helping the community with “Monday Matters” on Monday June 6 starting at 11:30am.  Up to 20% of Monday's sales will be donated to Camp Rising Sun, a camp for kids with cancer.

On Wednesday June 8 from 6-9pm, Two Roads Brewery invites you to “Drink n’ Draw.”  An instructor will guide you through painting a Two Roads Brewery glass.  $40 gets you all your painting materials and your first beer.   

Barcade in New Haven is teaming up with Captain Lawrence Brewing from Elmsford, New York to make a collaborative beer: Simpsons Did It! IPA.  The special brew includes notes of pineapple, making it ideal for the summer months ahead.  They’ll debut it on Thursday June 9 starting at 12pm. 

Step aside rainbow bagels… Stew Leonard’s is helping seniors celebrate their graduations with custom bagels in high school colors!  This June, Stew’s will add color to their signature bagel dough before the dough is rolled together, kettle boiled and hearth baked.  Contact your local store for availability.

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2016 Chef Demo Lineup @ Westport Farmers' Market

The Westport Farmers’ Market (WFM) wants you to fall in love with your kitchen again. While creating a thriving local hub for seasonal food, WFM has selected 20 of the top area chefs and restaurants to show you a thing or two about using the delicious freshness you can find each week at the market.

Fairfield County’s favorite farm-to-table chefs will appear weekly to conduct classes and demos from 10:15 to 11:00 a.m. They will help you learn how to use locally produced, seasonal ingredients found at the market to prepare fresh, easy meals for your family.  Each chef will have printed recipes for you to take home and test out in your kitchen.  Every chef demo will feature a local chef who supports the local food culture, and the WFM. They share WFM’s dedication to real farmers who grow real food. And what they do with it is really delicious.

Check out the WFM 2014 Summer Market Chef Demo Schedule below: 

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INDIA, Farm-to-Table Indian Cuisine, Opens in New Canaan: A First Look

Bold…intense…complex…flavors, these are the words that best describe the menu that Master Chef Prasad Chirnomula is serving at his latest restaurant, INDIA, in New Canaan. Chef Prasad is no stranger to New Canaan, or Connecticut. As the owner/chef of the highly successfully Thali restaurants, he announced several months ago that he was closing his flagship restaurant in New Canaan, desirous of opening a smaller, more intimate, restaurant in town. The interior of INDIA does just that, with a relaxed, sensual feel accentuated with flowing silk curtains engulfing many of the tables.

Chef Prasad invited CTbites to enjoy traditional cuisine from various regions of India, as well as sample many of his creative and inventive renditions from across southeast Asia and Africa. During the visit, this gregarious Master Chef joined us to explain the history, the composition, his vision for the dish as well as the numerous ingredients that were required to meet his high standards. His exuberance was evident in every description, and it translated into each of his creations. After close to twenty different dishes, my appreciation for his talent and the Indian heritage was significantly elevated, this was a culinary adventure. I was also pleasantly surprised when he told us that most are gluten-free, Indian recipes do not thicken sauces with gluten.

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Grilled Pizza with Pea Pesto, Caramelized Onions, Herbed Ricotta & Meatballs

With warmer weather on its way, it's time to clean up that grill and bring on the 2016 grilling season. And really...doesn't everything taste just a little bit better on the grill? Even pizza....

If you've never made grilled pizza, you'll be amazed by how simple it is. We've gone with pea pesto, caramelized onions, herbed ricotta and meatballs for our toppings, but feel free to dream up any accompaniment you wish. Marcia Selden Catering has more great summer recipes coming soon. 

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Eat Justice: Mecha & Mezon Owners Launch Innovative Philanthropic Movement

Visionaries, restaurant owners, and childhood friends Tony Pham (Mecha Noodle Bar) and Richard Reyes (Mecha & Mezon) have embarked on a new philanthropic mission aimed at bringing the community together while fighting for noble causes.

I met Rich and Tony at their new office in the heart of Danbury. The expansive space will serve as a commune for shared ideas, bringing entrepreneurs together. This new project, they told me, is a fun deviation from the fast pace of the restaurant world. Eat/Justice is a movement of restaurants on a mission to transform taste and tradition to pride and progress. Through cause partnerships, creative events and everyday food choices, we work to keep cultural diversity strong, increase access to healthy food and empower the talented restaurant community.

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2016 CTbites' Best "10" Burgers in Southwest CT


The thermometer reads 90-degrees, the trees are in full bloom, the birds are chirping and the air is filled with the fragrant aroma of backyard grilling. It must be time for my Annual CTbites’ Southwest Connecticut Burger Review, now celebrating its 5th anniversary.

This year I again took a slightly different approach. Over the years I have rated, and continually update, every burger I eat in CT on a scale from 1-10. To achieve the highest score, the bun-to-bun experience needs to be flawless; meat, cheese, toppings, sauce, and bun, all must work in absolute unison. There are currently thirteen incredible burgers that received a perfect “10.” From two east coast interpretations of the west coast double-double, to a food truck creation served on an Ube bun to several with bacon-onion jam, all of these burgers were spectacular. The 2016 list includes six new burgers while four from last year's list did not make the cut. The final rankings from the the Winner to number thirteen take into account not only the burgers but also the fries or chips.

Here is the CTbites' list of the Best “10” Burgers in Southwest Connecticut.

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