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Friday
Nov042016

25 CT Restaurants & Venues for Holiday Parties

Halloween has come and gone and November is officially here!  As you admire your bounties of candy, indulge in all things pumpkin, and embrace fall’s chilly temperatures, don’t forget to consider your holiday parties!  Connecticut has a number of restaurants and venues that are sure to make your special occasions memorable.  From private dining rooms to ballrooms to event planning teams, these 25 places will help you get your party on!

  1. South End, New Canaan: South End in New Canaan has a private dining room that can seat up to 20 guests.
  2. La Zingara, Bethel: La Zingara and its upstairs ECCO Rooftop both accommodate private parties. They have done everything from pig roasts to wine dinners.
  3. Union League Cafe, New Haven: Union League Cafe in New Haven has a number of event spaces. Whether its corporate of personal, their team is ready to assist you.
  4. The Loading Dock, Stamford: Industrial meets chic at The Loading Dock in Stamford. With a number of spaces, it's a great place to plan your next event.

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Thursday
Nov032016

Dinner At Miya's: Sustainable Sushi + More in New Haven

This is probably as close to “Dinner at The White House” as I will ever get.  On this, the week before the ELECTION, I headed up to Miya’s for their New Haven Restaurant Week 2016 White House Champions of Change dinner. 

Miya’s is a well-known sushi spot a few blocks west of downtown New Haven that has been serving creative and sustainable seafood, foraged ingredients, and plant-based dishes for over 30 years.  James Beard nominated innovative chef/owner Bun Lai, has been creating and cooking alongside his mother for much of the 30 years Miya’s has been open. (See Foraging with Chef Bun on CTbites)

New Havens Restaurant Week, which runs from 10/30- 11/4 gave Bun the opportunity to offer the menu he and his mother created for President and Mrs. Obama at last months White House Champions of Change Dinner. He was one of only twelve Sustainable Seafood honorees and the only chef awarded this respected award. While this menu is only available for a limited time, many of these dishes are available on Miya's regular menu. 

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Wednesday
Nov022016

Nibble: CT Food Events For Week of Nov 6-13

Olea will host a Georges Laval Champagne Dinner on Monday November 7.  Chef Manuel Romero will prepare a special menu to complement four premium champagnes.  It costs $195 per person, inclusive. 

Greenwich will have its 3rd Annual Restaurant Week from November 11-20.  Festivities begin on Thursday November 10 with an opening night party at J House.  Then visit participating restaurants like Aux Delices, The National, Tarry Lodge, and Back 40 for prix fixe menus and specials.   

The Perrot Memorial Library hosts Kate Perla, author of Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City, on Wednesday November 9 at 7:30pm.  Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Bon Appétit.  Her latest work is part cookbook part travel memoir.

On Thursday November 10, Basso Café in Norwalk invites you to an Italian wine dinner.  Chef Renato Donzelli will prepare five courses to complement wines selected by Wine importer and Wine & Spirit Trust graduate Larry Smith.  It costs $85 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

On November 10, Chef Matt Storch and CTBites’ own Stephanie Webster will give Y’s Men of Westport/Weston the inside scoop on the Fairfield County dining scene. 

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Tuesday
Nov012016

Two Roads To Build Second Brewing Facility & Tasting Room

Two Roads Brewing of Stratford has announced their plans to add a 25,000 square foot expansion to their brewery specifically to create sour and barrel-aged beers. Situated on 2.5 acres of newly acquired land adjoining the existing brewery's hop yard and music venue, the brewhouse will have a 120-person capacity tasting room overlooking both the brewing operations, and a wetlands preserve. 

Sour beers such as Framboise Noir Black Raspberry Lambic, Urban Funk Wild Ale made with yeast from Superstorm Sandy, and Worker’s Stomp White Wine Barrel-Aged Saison will see increased production, along with Hexotic Tropical Lambic, which won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado this October. Hexotic spends 28 months in oak, and was fermented with "Brett C" (brettanomyces clausenii). Six different types of fruit were added during fermentation, including orange, passion fruit, mangosteen, soursop (aka gaunabana), guava, and mango.

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Tuesday
Nov012016

The Westport Winter Farmers’ Market Opens Nov. 12th At Gilbertie’s

Folks in Fairfield County have no need to put away their farmers’ market bags or head to the grocery store just yet. For while the temperatures might be dipping and leaves dropping, farm-fresh food is still in abundance. The Westport Winter Farmers’ Market will return for its 6th season to Gilbertie’s greenhouses at 7 Sylvan Lane beginning Saturday, November 12th and continuing through March 11th from 10 to 2. 

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Tuesday
Nov012016

An Interview w/ Chef Zac Young, PieCaken Creator + more!

Last Thanksgiving, the PieCaken took the world by storm!  A sweet tooth’s twist on the “turducken,” the all-in-one dessert includes Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, and Apple Upside Down Cake layered together with cinnamon buttercream.  Kelly Ripa loved it so much that she featured it several times on her show.  CNN and The New York Times quickly followed suit.  This year, the PieCaken is upping the ante with nationwide shipping!  https://www.foodydirect.com/restaurants/the-piecaken-shop/dishes

CTBites had the opportunity to sit down with the mastermind behind the PieCaken, Chef Zac Young.  Creative and outgoing, it’s fitting that he came up with such a whimsical idea.  Young appeared on Top Chef Just Desserts, was named a “Top Ten Pastry Chef in America,” and currently serves as Pastry Director of Craveable Hospitality Group.  Here are excerpts from our conversation.

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Sunday
Oct302016

DrewbaQ Food Truck: BBQ Sandwiches "Smokin' the Streets of CT"

More barbecue is a good thing, and if you're not on board with this basic fact, then you can just get out of my face. It was with this cardinal rule of life firmly in mind that I hit the road in search of a new truck on the Connecticut food scene - a truck selling barbecue and barbecue accoutrements. The fact that this particular Friday found the DrewbaQ food truck at Veracious Brewing Company in Monroe was a purely unrelated coincidence, to be sure. It would be a grave disservice to you, our beloved CTBites readership, if I did not take full advantage of this entirely unforeseen circumstance so, in humble service to your unending curiosity re: all things food and beverage, I had several beers with my BBQ. So that I might report on pairings, you see. 

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Sunday
Oct302016

Fortina Hosts Holiday Themed Miracle Pop-Up Bars in Stamford & Armonk

Does anyone remember the epically successful and brilliantly over the top kitschy Miracle Bar pop-up from last holiday season? If you do, you'll be excited to hear that Miracle Bar is coming to Fortina, Thanksgiving eve through New Years 2016. "Miracle Bar will literally vomit Christmas and Hanukah," says Fortina's John Nealon. This holiday pop-up will take over the mezzanine in Fortina Stamford as well as a patio tent in Armonk.

Guest mixologists, custom holiday glassware, tons of tinsel, menorahs and cocktails with names like “ The Reindeer’s Revolt,” will created a uniquely fun drinking experience. Pair this with Fortina pizza and you've got yourself a party.

Artist, Raffa Dowling, who created last year's aesthetic is back for 2016, and will be in charge of crafting the pop-ups's rather unique design. Also John McNulty, who brought Miracle to CT (originally a NYC concept) is now playing for team Fortina and will be in on the fun. 

We will bring you more as Fortina gets closer to opening their holiday "Miracles."

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Friday
Oct282016

Nibble: CT Food Events & Happenings for Week of Oct. 30 - Nov. 6

EMBODY Fitness Gourmet is now open at the new Heritage Square complex on Forest Street in New Canaan!  Embody offers a fitness inspired menu, a 14-foot community table, and easy plug-in and charging stations for guests.  This is Embody's third location in Fairfield County, CT.  You can also visit them in Darien and Westport.

New Haven Restaurant Week lasts until November 4.  Popular restaurants like 116 Crown, Miya’s Sushi, Shell & Bones and Olea are participating. 

On Thursday November 3, Fjord Fish Market, Greenwich Cheese, and Fleishers, will host the 2nd annual "Monger Mingle.” This year, guests can get in the holiday spirit by sampling holiday-inspired food from all three.  It will take place THE HUB (160 E Putnam Avenue) from 7-9.

On Sunday, November 6 from 11am-1pm, blogger, photographer, chef, and author Gina Homolka will sign her newest cookbook and #1 New York Times Bestseller, Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow-Cooker Recipes, at Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk

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Thursday
Oct272016

Our First Visit To Donut Crazy New Haven: Open on York Street Today!

If it weren’t for the large neon “Let’s Eat Donuts” sign greeting you as you enter Donut Crazy’s newest location in New Haven, you might think you stumbled into a Yale library. Walls bathed in a Yale blue lacquered paint, a seating area with cozy leather chairs and a couch, and soaring ceilings make the 1450 square foot space seem more spacious and studious than it is. Just beyond this warm welcome is a hub of retail activity and a dining area of small tables, and a well-lit wall of Donut Crazy doughnuts in all their colorful and sugary glory.

“I wanted to give the space a library meets bar feel, not treat it like a typical commercial space, and the blue is a nod to Yale,” explained Donut Crazy owner Jason Wojnarowski.

For those uninitiated into Donut Crazy’s world of over-the-top sugary doughnut confections, this location feels like a giant step forward both in selection and ambiance. All of their baked goods are made in-house in a Donut Crazy Kitchen by an overnight team of bakers. In New Haven, Donut Crazy will offer its typical selection of “Dailies” and “Crazies.”

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