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Sunday
May292016

2016 CTbites' Best "10" Burgers in Southwest CT

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY AND HAMBURGER MONTH

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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Saturday
May282016

Nibble: CT Food Events & Happening for Week of May 31-June 5

Please join us for Match Gives: Sunday, June 5 – Friday, June 10. Match will be donating a percentage of sales to support Community Plates, Westport Farmer’s Market, Human Services Council & The Triangle Community Center of Norwalk. Choose from our 3 Course Menu for $40 and/or our regular menu as we showcase local ingredients straight from the Westport Farmer’s Market as well as local farms and businesses. Reservations your table: 203.852.1088 ext.4.

PopShop Market is back!  It will take place on Saturday, June 4th from 10am-3pm at The Warehouse @ FTC and outside lot, 70 Sanford Street, Fairfield, CT.  Peruse items from local vendors while enjoying a cocktail from the full bar or delicious bites from a food truck.  LobsterCraft Lobster Rolls, Brick + Wood Pizza Truck, and the Bodega Taco Truck will all be there.  Plus, The BuzzTruck + Donut Crazy Barare debuting their new collaboration!

For the third year in a row, CTbites has partnered with Chef Frederic Kieffer and Artisan at the Delamar Hotel Southport for an outdoor Happy Hour on their gorgeous patio. Mark your calendars for Wednesday June 1st 5:30-7:30, as we kick off “al fresco” dining with assorted appetizers and cocktails.  Priced at $39, the Happy Hour includes a specialty cocktail and a second cocktail or wine or beer.Buy your tickets here.  

Fleisher’s Craft Butchery will offer Burger Boxes starting May 28.

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Friday
May272016

Friday Froth: Two Roads Hosts Gathering At The Bines

It's unusual for a brewery to have a competitor's beer on tap, so inviting 25 brewers over to pour almost 100 of their beers in your yard is as common as a white buffalo. The part of the noble bison was played this May by Two Roads Brewing, who opened up their hop yard to breweries, food trucks, and almost 900 ticketed guests from around the region. We ate Swiss has browns, we drank the new Two Roads OJIPA, and we did it all among the greenery of rapidly climbing hop bines in Stratford.

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Friday
May272016

Mill Street Bar & Table Launches “Mill Street Speakers” Lunch Series 

On Thursday June 2, 2016, Mill Street Bar & Table and the Back 40 Farm Group, will launch a luncheon series entitled “Mill Street Speakers” with monthly guests speaking at the Greenwich farm-to-table restaurant.   Our first speaker, Jeff Cordulack, Executive Director of CTNOFA (Connecticut Northeast Organic Farming Association), will address the issue of carbon and its effects on our food system.

Geoff Lazlo, Executive Chef and Managing Partner of Mill Street Bar & Table, wants his guests to know where their food really comes from and how it was grown.I am dedicated to sourcing locally and I change my menu almost daily – we walk the walk here,” he told the New York Times recently. Geoff wants people to dig deeper to understand not only the importance of their food sources, but the equally important growing practices on the farms where these foods are from. “Good, sustainable farming practices dramatically affect the taste, nutritional value as well as the sustainability of the foods people eat,” says Geoff , “ so we are thrilled to have CTNOFA’s Jeff Cordulack come dine and talk with our guests about this important topic with a focus on carbon.” 

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Thursday
May262016

Kawa Ni Now Offering Patio Dining in Westport

Great news for those looking for a unique outdoor dining spot as we slowly ease our way into the warmer months. The patio above Kawa Ni is officially open for business. What patio, you ask? It may be stealthy, but overlooking the Saugatuck River, and decked with twinkling lights, this small waterside gem is sure to become a go-to spot this summer.  

Here’s the deal. The deck is available via stairs next door to Kawa Ni and is open on a first come first serve basis. Diners can enjoy the full Kawa Ni menu casually served in takeout containers, kinda like a picnic.  The somewhat hidden door and metal stairs have a vague speakeasy vibe, but it’s really just "another way to enjoy Kawa Ni,” says chef/owner, Bill Taibe. 

Enhancing the patio experience are two familiar faces, guest hosts Carissa and Maddy, from The Stand Juice Bar (Norwalk and Fairfield). They bring with them both their sparkling personalities, as well as some of The Stand’s juices and blends to enjoy while looking into the river. 

Speaking of ramen, there will be a few cold menu additions diners can look forward to in the upcoming summer months. Chef Jeff Taibe has been working on cold soba dishes, as well as hiyashi chuka, or cold ramen, topped with a variety of local seasonal veggies and proteins.  

See you up on the patio…if you can find it. 

Thursday
May262016

Win Tickets for Ridgefield's Battle of the Chefs Event on June 5

Battle of the Chefs returns to Founders Hall in Ridgefield on Sunday, June 5 from 4 to 7 p.m. and CTbites has a pair of tickets to give away to one lucky reader. The stadium-style culinary showdown event will feature Chefs Frank Bonnaudet of Sucré Salé in Ridgefield, Jehan S. de Noüe of JSN Catering, and Beck Bolender of One Twenty One in South Salem, with CTbites' Amy Kundrat as host.

We are GIVING AWAY 2 seats to the June 5 Battle Of The Chefs event (a $200 value). We will randomly select 1 lucky winner with a pair of tickets. To enter for a chance to win, please post a comment on this story (you must include your email and name when commenting) telling us what you think the secret ingredient should be. All comments will be considered made before the end of the day, June 2. Winner announced on June 3.

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Thursday
May262016

Getting to Know FRESKOS Modern Greek Food in Hamden

During my first job out of college, I frequented a diner for what became a weekly Greek salad lunch ritual. That may have been over ten years ago, but it inspired a life-long love affair with the dish. So when a friend suggested trying out newly opened FRESKOS in Hamden, I jumped at the chance to try their greek salad and was happily met with a heaping bowl filled with romaine lettuce and topped with chopped cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, stuffed grape leaves, and a big block of feta. Served with warm pita, and greek dressing, I have finally found my local antidote to that Greek salad craving.  

FRESKOS is a modern Greek fast casual restaurant, that leans towards light and fresh Greek dishes such as souvlaki and gyro sandwiches which are served with warm pita, red onion, tomato, tzaziki, and dill. In addition to sandwiches, FRESKOS focuses on seasonal salads and soups, such as the avgolemono soup, a traditional Greek soup with a chicken broth base filled with lemon, egg and rice. A FRESKOS original is a Greek Pita Pizza, which struck me as an apt Greek interpretation to its pizza-loving location just a stone's throw from New Haven.

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Wednesday
May252016

The Uber-Guide to Connecticut’s Asian Markets

“From wonder into wonder existence opens,” said Laozi, the founder of Tao Buddhism.

He might have been speaking of the joys of the table, so central to Asian culture for millennia---and to Connecticut foodies today. 

Almost 160,000 people of Asian descent call Connecticut home, and a considerable number of grocery stores in the state support the diverse cooking traditions of China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. True to both their Asian roots and the universal principle of making the best of fresh ingredients, quite often the most modest such store will have a produce section and a fish section---in one case, at least, featuring live fish.

Your guide to the best East and Southeast Asian markets of Connecticut appears below.

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Tuesday
May242016

Melt Mobile Announces Launch of "Cheesy" Franchise 

Melt Mobile has just announced the launch of a franchise opportunity for budding entrepreneurs looking to break into the food truck business. Franchisee operators will be able to license Melt Mobile’s name and business model, and under the guidance and expertise from Darlene and Diana, carry on this scrumptious dairy infatuation grilled between two slices of buttery bread, further reinforcing that we all just need to Take it Cheesy.

It was March of 2012. Food Network’s new reality show “3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay” followed entrepreneurs Darlene Andersen and Diana Hall through the grueling task of launching a food truck business. The process was caught on film, there for all to see – the good, the bad, the soggy bread and the burnt cheese. But that was fine by Darlene and Diana.

“It might not have been pretty,” recalls Darlene of the not-so glamorous side of reality TV and the reality of the food biz, “But everybody got what they wanted out of it. And that’s just how business works.”

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Tuesday
May242016

Tips To Create The Perfect Outdoor Dining Space w/ D2 Interieurs

Fire up the grill! Spring is finally in full bloom and summer is just around the corner, it’s the season for backyard barbecues and pool parties. 

There’s more to summer entertaining that meets the eye.  Below are our tips to refresh and transform your outdoor space.  Whatever you decide to do, D2’s ideas will make your home the go-to for alfresco fetes. 

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