CTbites’ James Gribbon Talks Beer on CT Style


You never know where you're going to see CTBites. This past week our own food writer and "Friday Froth" beer columnist James Gribbon was invited to make a guest appearance on Channel 8 afternoon talk show CT Style to talk about great spots to have a beer outside. Summer may be winding down, but there's still plenty of time to enjoy a drink in the fresh air.

Some of his favorite spots included the beer garden and hop yard at Two Roads in Stratford, The Hops Company beer garden, the yard at BAD SONS in Derby (with a nod to take out wings from nearby Dew Drop Inn), and road trips to OEC brewing in Oxford, and Kent Falls farm brewery. 

Watch the whole video below, and keep an eye out for James appearing on CT Style in the future. 


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The 50 Best Restaurants for Kid-Friendly Dining in Canada 2018, According to OpenTable Diners

Many road trips and family vacations take place during the last few weeks of summer when there’s a gap between camps and summer programs and the start of the school year. Whether families are embarking on adventures or enjoying local downtime, we’ve got them covered with the 50 Best Restaurants for Kid-Friendly Dining in Canada 2018 to help find quality dining in kid-friendly environments. Restaurants from coast to coast round out the list, with Ontario having the most restaurants featured (22), followed by Alberta with 13 and British Columbia with 10. Quebec (4) and Manitoba (1) also have establishments in the top 50. “Eating out with children exposes them to foods they may not otherwise get at home and helps families connect and socialize, but parents often don’t know where to go,” said Danielle Binns, nutritionist and family restaurant consultant. “It’s easy to fall into a routine of meals at […]

The post The 50 Best Restaurants for Kid-Friendly Dining in Canada 2018, According to OpenTable Diners appeared first on OpenTable Blog.

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Winner of The MECHA Cocktail Naming Contest Is…


Congrats to Stefanie, who came up with the winning name for the MECHA Cocktail Naming Contest: Pok Pok Shakur.

Kudos to all of our readers on creating some truly inspired names. We will be back soon with another chance to win. 


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CTbites Chef Demo Tent @ 11th Annual Blues Views and BBQ September 1-2


The Westport - Weston Chamber of Commerce and DBD Productions announces the 2018 Blues, Views & BBQ Festival, with a Labor Day musical weekend lineup that includes musical headliners Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Fantastic Negrito, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Carolyn Wonderland and more on the Levitt Pavilion stage. BUY TICKETS HERE 

Connecticut’s premier music and food festival is celebrating 11 years of delivering soulful, southern inspired food, music and family fun to the banks of the Saugatuck River in beautiful downtown Westport. A weekend experience that never disappoints the sellout crowds, this signature end of summer event is set to deliver another standout year.

This year Blues Views and BBQ will feature 20 bands, hours of family fun at the famous Imperial Jam with the bounce park, Touch a Truck, airbrush tattoos, pie and rib eating contests and our second stage showcasing local and family friendly musical entertainment all day long.  The festival will be held in the Imperial Ave commuter lot in addition to the Levitt Pavilion. 

Don’t miss the KCBS BBQ competition, and CTBites returns on Saturday 9/1 with cooking demos providing culinary inspiration. 

CTbites Chef Demo Tent Lineup

12 Noon-Chef Jonas Daniela from Amis Trattoria

1 pm- Chef Pietro Scotti from Da Pietros Restaurant 

2 pm- Chef Carlos Baez from The Spread and El Segundo

3 pm- Chef Jess Bengston from Terrain Garden Café  

4 pm- Chef Adam Roytman from Bar Sugo

There will also be a variety of food trucks serving everything from BBQ to Grilled Cheese to Lobster Rolls from such popular vendors such as Bobby Q’s, Melt Mobile, Boothbay Lobster Co., A&S Fine Foods, Trolley Dogs, The Belgian Bus and More! There will be cocktails from Tito's and Knob Creek in addition to beer from New Belgium.

Tickets are priced from $15 for admission just to Imperial Jam to $90 for Levitt Live weekend access. For more information and full musical guest lineup visit:



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Barbacoa Smokehouse Opens in Fairfield: Casual Customized BBQ


Barbacoa Smokehouse is one of the most recent restaurants to grace the Fairfield food scene. The smokehouse marries modern technology with a rustic and relaxed setting. Kiosks replace waiters, though Ambassadors are on hand to help and answer any questions you may have. 

The restaurant’s concept is the brainchild of Westport’s Clare Powel and Nigel Bradley, who both love to be in the kitchen. It began with a few experiments at home as the two toyed around with various seasonings and meats. Claire urged Nigel to open a restaurant and taking her suggestion seriously, he began his thorough research into various software programs and cookers. To their knowledge, no concept quite like theirs exists. While she kept her day job at Deloitte, Nigel rolled up his sleeves and shifted his efforts to the physical location, doing much of the handiwork himself. 


So how does a restaurant with no menu yet tons of options work? The idea is that each customer can create something unique. Certain to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z-ers, this digital-age friendly way of ordering your food is incredibly easy to use. If you can get cash from an ATM, you can order your meal! The touch screen computer guides you through the process quickly and seamlessly in four easy steps. 

 Photo: Courtesy of Barbacoa

Photo: Courtesy of Barbacoa

Step 1. Pick your meal – choose from a multitude of selections including sandwiches, wraps, salads, bowls, just meat, loaded fries, loaded nachos or a quesadilla

Step 2. Pick your protein – select grilled chicken, hamburger, shrimp, filet mignon of tofu! Or select smoked brisket, filet mignon or pork.  

Step 3. Pick your BBQ sauce – some hot, or some not.

Step 4: Pick your toppings – artichoke, avocado, corn, cucumbers, guacamole, lettuce, spinach, pico de gallo, peperoni, red/yellow peppers, sour cream, shredded cheese and tomatoes. 

You can eat on-site or order for take-out. Dishes are made to order within 15 minutes. 


Last weekend, armed with my hungry troop of three ranging in age from 13 to 19, we decided to give this new interactive eatery a try. Ordering our meals was easy and fun and everything was delivered within the 15 minutes promised. 


My daughter ordered a burger which was well-cooked (as she specified) and flavorful. To hers she added roasted garlic, lettuce and avocado. Her only regret was not adding some of the other toppings available. My oldest son went for a quesadilla with smoked pork and brisket. The meat was so incredibly tender and we were quite unexpectedly surprised. To that he added sauce on the side, scallions, guac and sour cream. My 13-year-old son also opted for the quesadilla, but he went for the smoked pulled pork and grilled chicken. He was not at all shy with his toppings, selecting chipotle BBQ sauce, sour cream, scallions, shredded cheese, guac, corn off the cob, avocado, pepperoni and seasoned white rice. I tried a bite of his too… DELISH! 

 Photo: Courtesy of Barbacoa

Photo: Courtesy of Barbacoa

I ordered a salad for the sake of being healthy, adding grilled shrimp, artichoke hearts, corn off the cob, pico de gallo, cheese, scallions, guacamole and the peppers. It was really good, don’t get me wrong, but boy did it pale compared to my kids’ selections! For those who work nearby and want something on the lighter side, for less than $7, one can grab a very nicely sized salad for lunch.

My kids ordered the fries and onion rings and which were flavorful and crispy, and spot on!


Tasty and flavorful, Barbacoa offers something for everyone, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, at prices that won’t break the bank. With no freezer on premise, just two freestanding refrigerators for protein and produce, deliveries here are frequent. You won’t see food processors or similar appliances either. All vegetables are hand cut – for onion rings, fries, corn off the cobb, and tomatoes for the house-made salsa. Even the fruit for the frozen drinks is cut by hand. The barbeque sauces and dry-rubs are also house-made. 

 Photo: Courtesy of Barbacoa

Photo: Courtesy of Barbacoa

The casual eatery is family-friendly and perfect for both Fairfield and Sacred Heart University students looking for a budget friendly place. With free WiFi, students can settle in with their meals and laptops. Those over 21 can make their way to the generously sized bar area. Although I didn’t have any, the couple at the bar raved about their frozen drinks. 

Whether you chose to eat on premises or order for take-out, the service is fast and efficient. There’s plenty of parking and the proximity to Fairfield Metro is ideal for commuters who can place their orders from then swing by to pick up dinner on their way home.

Barbacoa is a really fun concept. Welcome to Fairfield!

Barbacoa Smokehouse 665 Commerce Dr, Fairfield, CT 

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Last Blast of Summer: OpenTable’s Most Epic List of Restaurants for Heirloom Tomatoes

These last few weeks of summer send chefs scrambling for what’s left on the vine. The scent of tomatoes just picked, sliced thick on BLTs, diced atop freshly stuffed tacos, or layered on a platter and dressed in olive oil, salt, and pepper, there’s nothing like a fresh heirloom tomato to make a dish sing with flavor. Here are a few dozen of our favorite restaurants for heirloom tomatoes on OpenTable. Bouchon Bistro,  Las Vegas, Nevada, and Yountville, California Under the brilliance of Thomas Keller’s restaurant empire, chef de cuisine Josh Crain crafts an equally memorable salade de tomates for the Bouchon family of eateries. He makes his heirloom tomato salad with burrata cheese, English cucumber, pine nuts, young basil, and a parmesan vinaigrette. Make a reservation at Bouchon Bistro. The Salted Vine Kitchen + Bar, Squamish, British Columbia Among the menu of small plates and spectacular views, at The Salted Vine […]

The post Last Blast of Summer: OpenTable’s Most Epic List of Restaurants for Heirloom Tomatoes appeared first on OpenTable Blog.

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How to go from Culinary Olympian to podcast host

by Jocelyn Tolbert

ACF Chef, award-winning author, speaker, producer and Culinary Olympic Gold Medalist Chef Charles Carroll is currently the Executive Chef of River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. But, since last September, for a few hours a week, he’s been the voice of a growing portfolio of podcasts: “The Recipe Podcast: Celebrity Secrets to a Successful Life,” “The Recipe Unplugged” and, soon, “The Gourmet Club Live.” We talked with Chef Carroll about how all this got started and where he sees it going next.

How did you get started doing a podcast?
It’s kind of a funny story. My third book was released last October. … I partnered with John David Mann, and part of the promotion for the book was for the two of us to do 50-60 podcast interviews. It’s a very busy schedule, [and every one was] a 30-minute to one-hour interview. Typically they ask you to call in on your computer, and the first one we did didn’t sound very good. I bought a microphone. Then I got a filter for it and I started making sure the sound was good, fooling with the settings. The next thing you know I wanted to get a better headset. That’s when I realized, “This is pretty cool. I’d like to do this and have my own guests.” And within two months, I had a small makeshift studio in my house.

We did that for eight or nine months. We had a blast. It was me and my assistant in the makeshift studio. Then we tried to do a better show, and I remembered that one of my sous chefs used to be in radio, so we got him involved. Fast forward to today where, in early July or end of June, I moved the studio out of my house and built a new studio in my lawyer friend’s office building down the road. We sound-proofed it and we have a small green room.

You’ve been doing them on-location, too, right? One of your most recent shows was recorded at ACF National Convention and Show in New Orleans.

We took the podcast to Malaysia to the Worldchefs Congress and did 12 shows there with all the celebrity chefs, and that just spun us into a whole new dynamic. I did that with a mobile recorder, which was pretty good.

And you’d never done anything like this before?
I didn’t even know what a podcast was 10 months ago. Then I started doing research. Now there are six different podcasts that I listen to. I haven’t listened to the radio in almost a year.

What podcasts do you listen to?
The Joe Rogan Experience is one of the ones I’ve kinda modeled my show after. … And there’s another one called Reinvention Radio. There’s another comedy show I like that completely takes you to another area, but I won’t name that one because it’s kinda rough.

The beauty behind all this is that it’s in everybody’s pocket. You go to the gym, you go to the grocery store, to the car, whatever you’re doing.

So on all these shows, you don’t just talk to chefs, right?
We’ve done it with movie stars like Luis Guzman, comedians, actors from “The Walking Dead.” We’ve had celebrity chefs — Dean Fearing, Robert Del Grande, Norman Van Aken, Graham Elliot. Any celebrity of any walk of life, that will go on “The Recipe.”

Then we have the “unplugged” version — that’s just [me and the podcast staff] around the table. That’s current events or anything crazy. It’s a little grittier. And then the third show we’re developing is called “The Gourmet Club Live.” That show is meant to always be a guest in-studio. It’s meant to be hospitality-driven.

[“Gourmet Club Live” and “Unplugged”] will be live-streaming soon.

What’s your goal with these shows?
It doesn’t pay the bills. It’s more of a hobby. It’s been a bit of an expensive hobby but now it’s paying for itself. I’m proud to say I own every HDMI cord that’s in there. Now that we’re live-streaming, I have full intention that this time next year, our audience will be doubled, tripled, and sponsorship becomes more expensive so [the five other people I have working on the show] can get some benefits.

What’s coming down the pipeline?
We’re just getting the live streaming set up, but we’ve had Def Leppard on the podcast in the past and they’re coming to Houston in September. I’ve been talking to Phil Collen, he’ll be on “Celebrity Secrets.” I look forward to the “Gourmet” show being really exciting, now that people can see what we look like and we’re going to start giving away prizes and gifts.

You’ve interviewed so many chefs and celebrities now. What’s been your favorite bit of advice or story that you’ve heard?
There’s been so many really awesome interviews. Lou Holtz, the coach from Notre Dame. Brian Dwyer, the gentleman that cheated death — very inspirational answers. That was back when we were still trying to get the sound figured out. It’s been a lot of fun listening to them all, especially the celebrities.

One of the most profound things that has stuck with me is just to be okay with the journey. And I think that rings true with a lot of our celebrities because everybody has challenges, even the most wealthy people in the world. And everything that’s going on with mental health — even people who seem like they had everything they needed, maybe they didn’t. Just be okay with it, let it bump you into the direction you’re going in.

Anything else you want to say?
Put me in your pocket. Download the show. I’d recommend you listen to the newest ones and then go backwards.

The post How to go from Culinary Olympian to podcast host appeared first on We Are Chefs.

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Mystic’s Grass & Bone Can Be Your New Sandwich Shop & Butcher via CT Magazine


Connecticut Magazine shares a unique find in Mystic. Half sandwich shop, half butcher, these guys know a thing or two about meat. Check it out. 

A sandwich is a common thing. Delis and grinder shops can be found throughout our state. But once in a while a new sandwich comes along and causes us to look with fresh eyes at this most classic of foods. Down in Mystic, the brains behind the operations at seafood-focused Oyster Club and burger-centric Engine Room have launched a new venture called Grass & Bone, structured around making the best sandwiches they can, with the freshest, most locally sourced ingredients they can muster.

How fresh is the meat that goes into the sandwiches? Most of it is sitting in large fridges out on the floor of the restaurant, lit up for the whole restaurant to see, just feet away from diners eating their sandwiches. The result feels a bit like eating in an old-fashioned deli, but with gussied-up surroundings.

This unusual setup is because, in addition to a gourmet sandwich counter, Grass & Bone is a full-service butcher shop. The place is not for those vegetarians who blanche at the sight of raw meat. Behind the counter where one orders, a massive rotisserie spins with whole chickens. Patrons can stop in just to pick up a chicken to go. A whole chicken is $16, a half-chicken is $10. With a couple of the wholesome, old-fashioned, country-cooking sides (including mashed or roasted potatoes, macaroni salad, corn bread, all $5) one can leave the restaurant with a home-cooked meal for a family of four for under $35.

Grass & Bone 24 E. Main St., Mystic 860-245-4814, grassandbonect.com

Read the complete article at Connecticut Magazine.

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Tix on Sale! Kitchen Crawl 2018 Culinary Fundraiser: 4 Fabulous Chefs/ Mixologists + 4 Designer Kitchens


Experience 4 of CT's hottest chefs in 4 of Westport's most beautiful designer homes, while helping to feed the hungry in our community. SAVE THE DATE: September 29th. Tickets are now on sale for the 2nd annual Westport Kitchen Crawl.

Here's how the Kitchen Crawl works. Guests purchase a $85 ticket and proceed to 4 different Westport houses, where chefs from The SpreadMecha Noodle BarMatch Burger Lobster, and Jesup Hall will be cooking just for you. Cooking demos and specially prepared bites will be enjoyed alongside wine and beer provided and paired by Stew's Wines... all in spectacular designer kitchens. This year, the chefs are bringing their mixologists so get ready for some killer cocktails. 

All proceeds benefit Food Rescue USUsing technology, Food Rescue US empowers communities to reduce hunger and food waste through direct-transfer food rescue. Our vision is a hunger free and food waste free America.

Kitchen Crawl has been a sold-out event the past two years so don't wait to get your tickets!

Kitchen Crawl isn't just a fun event - your support makes a difference to our mission. Every $1 rescues 12 meals for people in need. If you can't make the event, consider donating.

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Nibble: CT Food News & Events For Week of August 19-26


Hartford Baking Company is turning eight and has decided to break out the bubbly to celebrate!  On September 1st, the West Hartford Center location (965 Farmington Ave, West Hartford) will be launching beer and wine sales and expanding their operating hours until 10 pm nightly.  A roster of small plates will be added to the menu to pair with the beer and wine selections.

The first annual New Haven Cocktail Week kicks off on August 20!  There are 25 participating venues all offering special cocktail lists you can try throughout the week along with 2 tastings and seminars per day.  

Stamford Restaurant Week returns August 20-September 2.  20 Downtown Stamford restaurants are serving up special lunch & dinner prix fixe menus.  Lunch ranges from $14.18 to $22.18 and dinner ranges from $28.18 to $38.18. Stamford Restaurant Weeks are presented by Stamford Tables.   

New at El Segundo, join them for Trivia Night on Industry Night every Monday 7:30pm.  Best Trivia Ever hosts an Epic Trivia Battle alongside global street eats.

The Fairfield Cheese Company wants you to taste “America's Best: The Winners of The American Cheese Society” on Tuesday August 21.  Taste winning cheeses from this year's American Cheese Society competition- alongside some wine, of course!  Tickets are $50 per person.   

On Wednesday, August 22 Danielle Cruz and Chef Renato are taking the stage at Basso café.  Starting at 7:30pm, they’ll perform top 100 hits with a folk feel.

Bareburger Stamford invites you to a Paint n Sip on their patio on Wednesday August 22 at 6:30pm.  The event is $40, with food and drink available for purchase.  RSVP to djevarjian@bareburger.com

Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill in Fairfield is hosting a Clase Azul Tequila Dinner on Thursday, August 23 at 7pm.  Three expressions of Clase Azul Tequila and La Pinta will be paired with a four-course dinner menu, created by Chefs Arturo Franco-Camacho and Alex Morales.  Dishes include Scallop Ceviche; White Asparagus, Smoked Wild Mushrooms, Bacon, Poached Quail Egg and Dandelion Salsa; Ribeye Huarache; and a Chocolate Taco.  Cost is $85/per person, not including tax & tip.   

Project Purple, a non-profit organization fighting to beat pancreatic cancer, invites you to Food Truck Friday on August 24.  Join them in their parking lot, located at 115 Main Street in Seymour, from 11am-2pm.   

On Friday August 24, Rosedale Farms & Vineyards and Max Restaurant Group are teaming up for “Gluten Free,” an evening of dining out on the farm with a menu created for those with a gluten sensitivity.  Along with dinner, there will also be live music by Greg Colossale & Lindsay Semevolos.  Tickets are $115.  http://www.rosedale1920.com/events/chef-to-farm-dinners.html 

The Plainville Fire Company Hot Air Balloon Festival 2018 will take place on August 24 & 25. Check it out at Norton Park!

On Saturday August 25, enjoy a “Party by the Pond: A celebration of Redding’s enduring beauty.”  The festivities include bites by Taproot Restaurant, local brews and wines, a special signature cocktail, and live music.  Tickets are $50 per person.   

The 2nd Annual Hey Stamford Food Festival returns August 25 & 26.  It will feature 40+ Food Trucks, Live national & Regional Musical Performances, a Craft Beer Garden, a Kids Zone, and more.   

The New London Food Truck Festival takes place on August 25 from 6-9pm.  There will be live music on the pier and kids’ activities as well.  https://www.facebook.com/events/172693143526269/ 

The 3rd annual Black Rock PorchFest will take place on August 25.  Don’t miss this incredible day of music, dancing, friends, and neighbors on the last Saturday in August.

On Sunday August 26, The Oyster Club in Mystic presents an “Heirloom Tomato Jubilee.”  Join them from 7-9:30pm at Stone Acres Farm to explore the different sizes, shapes, and preparations of heirloom tomatoes.  http://www.oysterclubct.com/new-events/ 

Summer may be coming to a close, but there’s still time to celebrate.  Sunset Social At Penfield Beach will take place on Sunday, August 26 from 6pm-9pm at Penfield Pavilion.  This year, they’re working with the Cocktail Chemist!  https://www.facebook.com/cocktailchemist 

Bar Rosso delivers!  203.388.8640 to order or check them out on GrubHub! Plus, visit them on Sundays for ½ off bottles of wine.

Tickets are on sale for the sixth-annual Harvest Fest FUNraiser at Wakeman Town Farm Sustainability Center on Saturday September 22. This evening features seasonal fare by local farmers and chefs and signature cocktails by Tito's.  There will also be a silent and live auction.  https://www.wakemantownfarm.org/harvest-fest/

The Tasty Yolk’s August special is here!  “Burrata Bing” incorprates the decadent cheese into a gourmet breakfast sandwich.

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