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2016 CT Foodie Gift Guide

Over 20 great local CT gifts for your favorite food lover.

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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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Thursday
Oct272016

The National & Geoffrey Zakarian’s First Year in Greenwich + New Prix Fixe Lunch 

With its new, 3 course prix fixe lunch, The National offers a commodity not always found along “The Ave” in Greenwich: a real bargain.

CTBites was recently invited to sample the new lunch menu, and we’ll fill you in on that delicious deal in a moment. But first, we wondered how the restaurant has evolved since it opened a year ago. So we asked owner and celebrity chef, Geoffrey Zakarian.

"We are never on auto pilot," the restaurateur told us. "And we always listen to the needs and wants of the customers. One change that people are loving is that we put French Fries on the menu. We started with homemade chips, but the fries are a huge hit. Sometimes, it is just those small things that people embrace."

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Wednesday
Oct262016

Eggz Food Truck: Farm Fresh Food on Wheels


Matt Stanczak, the former owner and mastermind behind Danbury's popular Stanziato’s, has just launched the mobile farm fresh kitchen Eggz. Open for business Monday through Saturday at Holbrook Farm, and beginning in November at the Westport Farmers' Market, Eggz will focus on egg sandwiches and other delicious farm fresh offerings with an emphasis on vegetables.

At launch, Eggz has 5 breakfast sandwich on rotation, based on classic offerings with a creative Matt Stanczak twist. The "Crack is Wack" (pictured below) is a combination of soft scrambled eggs, goat cheese, bacon, fig spread, and arugula on toasted brioche. A "Sausage, Egg, and Cheeze" is layers of housemade chicken chorizo, ever easy eggs, Vermont cheddar, and awesome sauce on a toasted brioche. Other playfully named sandwiches such as the "I'll Have What She's Having" and "Bodega Sandwich" feature prosciutto, scrambled or over easy eggs, and layers of Stanzack's fresh homemade ingredients.

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Tuesday
Oct252016

Pizza Master Bruno DiFabio Opens Bronx House Pizza in Stamford

Six-time World Pizza Champion / Restaurateur / Food Network Judge Bruno DiFabio added another gem to his pizza crown with the opening today of Bronx House Pizza Pie at 27 Ryan Street. This is DiFabio’s second location in the Springdale section, following the success of Amore Cucina a few blocks away.

Located on the corner of Camp Ave. immediate across the street from Twin Rinks and the Post office, this latest venture is reminiscent of an old-fashioned neighborhood pizza joint with red booths, a long pizza making area for all to watch and after-school teens hanging and waiting for their names to be called.

The menu consists of three sizes of pizza, small, large and Sicilian, with traditional and non-traditional toppings plus a few “Specialty Pies. The Bronx House caught my eye with sausage and pepperoni). Bronx House’s menu also features a few appetizers, salads, “Foot Long Hero’s” (notice they are not called a wedge), and “Italian Favorites” of Spaghetti & Meatballs, Baked Ziti, Chicken Parmesan, Sausage & Peppers and three chicken dishes.

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