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Wednesday
Sep072016

Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival Sept 22-25

Tickets are now on sale for festival events! The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, one of the East Coast’s most sophisticated and anticipated events, returns for its 11th year from September 22 – 25, 2016. Signature events include the Bordeaux Dinner on Thursday evening, the Wine & Rosecliff Gala on Friday evening, Grand Tastings on Saturday and Sunday, the Vintner Dinner on Saturday evening, Newport After Dark on Saturday evening, Jazz Brunch on Sunday and Seminars in The Breakers Stable and Carriage House throughout the weekend.  Tickets are now on sale at www.NewportMansionsWineAndFood.org

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Wednesday
Sep072016

Chef Bill Taibe & Friends Host Millstone Farm Dinner To Fight Food Waste

Join CT Bites and Chef Bill Taibe for a inspiring evening of seasonal food and conversation at Millstone Farm, the area's leader in sustainable agriculture. You'll be inspired by the best chefs in our community while you enjoy a one time only menu to support a cause close to their hearts - fighting food waste and feeding food insecure people of Fairfield County. Tickets can be purchased here. 

 Participating Chefs: Anthony Kostelis, The Whelk | Bill Taibe, The Whelk & Kawa Ni | Carlos Baez, The Spread | Dan Sabia, Lake Kitchawan | Geoff Lazlo, Mill Street Bar & Table  | Jim Eckler, Lake KitchawanMogan Anthony, Village Social & Locali 

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Sunday
Sep042016

Sarah’s on Main in Portland CT: the “Cheers” of Breakfast

On the corner Main and Commerce in Portland is a cozy place that’s the “Cheers” of breakfast, Sarah's On Main—“where everybody knows your name and you’re always glad you came.” If you’re from either side of the river, don’t be surprised if you bump into old friends—or make new ones. I do both each time I go. Whether you find a spot at the counter or grab a table, there’s fresh and local deliciousness with a spin of creativity, courtesy of Sarah Weeden.

What began as a quest for waffles grew into a steady habit of breakfast—and occasional lunch—at my newest home away from home.

Day one, I realized I’d stumbled into a little gem when I tried the BLT Bennie. Served on toasted brioche, it’s sheer perfection of a Benedict, drizzled with Hollandaise. The hash of the day was summer squash and zucchini, which I requested instead of home fries. Thumbs up all the way around.

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Saturday
Sep032016

Nibble: CT Food Event & Happenings for Week of Sept 4-11

Newly opened Aspetuck Brew Lab in Bridgeport will host a Stoked Flame Fest from 2pm til close in their parking lot on Saturday September 10.

Friday September 9 marks the Grand Opening of The Halal Guys in New Haven.  Starting at 11am, 5 grand prize winners can wine free food for one month, the first 1000 guests will receive free swag, and everyone can celebrate the debut of the New Haven location.  Find them at 906 Chapel Street.

Every Tuesday night, join Walrus + Carpenter for a Compin’ + Stompin’ Jazz Jam Session.  The evening features featuring Ian Tait, Scott Packham and Ted Morcaldi playing a mix of swing, modern and fusion.

The 11th Annual Brass City Brewfest comes to Waterbury on Saturday September 10. 

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Friday
Sep022016

Upside-Down Pear + Ginger Cake Recipe from Westport Farmers' Market

Nothing says autumn more than the fragrance of dessert baking in the oven. And this autumn-lover can think of no better dessert to usher in cooler temperatures than Silvia Baldini’s Upside-Down Pear and Ginger Cake. This year, Westport Farmers’ Market goers are in for a special treat – Fort Hill Farm has fresh ginger! 

Fort Hill Farm of New Milford, is a 20-acre farm operating on land leased from The Nature Conservancy/Sunny Valley Preserve. Paul Bucciaglia and Rebecca Batchie operate Fort Hill Farm, which has been certified organic by Baystate Organic Certifiers since 2003 and adheres to the NOFA Farmers’ Pledge manifesto.

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Friday
Sep022016

First Taste: El Segundo Opens in Sono Starring The Spread's Carlos Baez

Recently the CTbites team previewed the menu at El Segundo in South Norwalk, the newest restaurant from the talented partners who created The Spread just up the block. The concept:  Eat the Street. Intersect some of the world’s tastiest street food at the corner of Washington and North Water in SONO. 

What began as a tasting quickly turned into a party ... a coming out party for Carlos Baez, Executive Chef of The Spread, one of the region’s most versatile, yet unheralded, chefs. 

The menu flaunts Baez’ extraordinary range -- a gastronomic tour de force featuring over 3 dozen dishes curated from the boulevards and back allies of 27 countries on all seven continents, including barren Antarctica. (More about that selection later)   

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Thursday
Sep012016

Wakeman Town Farm Annual Harvest Fest is Sept. 24th

Wakeman Town Farm Sustainability Center's annual Harvest Fest is on Sat. Sept. 24, a fundraiser to support farm programming.

The evening kicks off with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by dinner and dessert by stellar local chefs (like Gus Christman III of Harvest Wine Bar and Restaurant, Carlos Baez of The Spread, Jon Vaast of Rothbard Ale + Larder, Pietro Scotti of Da Pietro's Restaurant, Alison Milwe Grace of AMG Catering and Events, tapas by Barcelona Fairfield, cheeses by Fairfield Cheese Company, and dessert by Saugatuck Sweets), as well as wonderful wines, a live auction, a great band, and more. It's all to raise funds for Westport's Town Farm! Tickets: www.wakemantownfarm.org. $150 per person. 

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Wednesday
Aug312016

Eastern CT Beer Sampler: A Trip to Beer'd, Outer Light Brewing & Moxie

Last Friday, around the time the afternoon crowd was clicking on last week's column, I was overflowing with the desire to get out of town. A neighbor of mine, a semi-recent immigrant from eastern Europe, was heading home. In the years of our acquaintance I'd only known him to go two places: his day job as a carpenter, and his back yard. His whole idea of Connecticut, his entire concept of the U.S., for all I know, would be worksites, the highway, and a quarter acre of manicured grass. He was utterly unconcerned, but I was tragedy stricken - and determined to get out and do... something.

Just like in a movie script, that's when the phone rang.

"Sorry this is last minute, man," the caps lock Wisconsin accent told me who it was immediately. "But I need a trip to the casino. I got the room paid for, you just bring your liver." 

I didn't really have the money to play with, it was Friday rush hour on I-95, and I try to avoid casinos in general.

"Sure. Let me pack." Let's see what happens, I thought. I am a leaf on the wind.

Although the end results were largely indistinguishable, the casino was marginally more entertaining than feeding those same $20 bills to sea gulls. I was neither keen to go back the next day, nor on the prospect of a two hour, day-wasting drive home. It was my turn to provide the inspiration:

"Let's hit a brewery I know."

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Tuesday
Aug302016

Odyssey Greek Festival Sept 2-4: An Invitation to Share Greek Cuisine & Community

If there’s one thing that the Greeks are known for, it’s warm hospitality. The ancients, believing that the gods walked among us, saw this as a practical matter; the lowliest beggar could be Zeus or Athena in disguise, and so was given a lavish welcome.

For Greek-Americans today, faith and tradition still make hospitality a priority. Just ask the members of St. Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church in Orange, CT, as they prepare to welcome guests to their 36th annual “Odyssey” festival this Labor Day weekend.

The Odyssey Festival takes place at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, 480 Racebrook Road, Orange, CT, 06477. Hours are 12 noon to 10 PM on Friday through Sunday, September 2nd through 4th, and 12 noon to 7 PM on Monday, September 5th, 2016. 

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Sunday
Aug282016

Spiga - Old World Meets New Italian in New Canaan

Spiga Wine Bar opened quietly in New Canaan a few weeks ago, offering a menu that combines old world Italian red sauce cuisine with modern interpretations of classic dishes. As reported in the CTbites Sneak Peek, the new owners redesigned the interior to offer a family focus for early guests followed by a hip environment as the evening progresses. During its opening weekend, my wife and I visited after a movie and then again with friends for a late lunch. On both occasions we were all impressed with the cuisine, but were a little taken aback by the noise. CTbites was subsequently invited by the owners to visit one afternoon to sample additional items, discuss the changes envisioned to the menu and how the owners are addressing the desire of guests to enjoy conversation with friends and family.

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