Small Bites: Dining News

>>Kathy Benjdid, chef/owner of Tissa's Le Souk du Maroc in Old Saybrook, will teach two hands-on cooking classes Feb. 9 and March 10. The classes will meet at 7 p.m. at a commercial kitchen at 52 Middlesex Turnpike, Essex. The February class will focus on Sicilian cooking, while the March class will feature vegetarian tagines. Cost is $50 per class. Information: 860-395-1781.

>>The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa will host a series of weekend food getaways focusing on different cuisines from around the world. The Food Lovers Weekend Getaways begin with an Italian Winter Holiday Jan. 30 to Feb. 1. Leslie Tripp, executive chef of the inn's restaurant, Fresh Salt, and special guest, Mary Tagliatela, the inn's matriarch, will treat guests to special menus prepared from local ingredients and a full day of hands-on cooking lessons.

>>The Italian weekend will feature dishes such as Pumpkin Risotto, Slow-Braised Beef in Chianti, Local Cod Fish Puttanesca, and an assortment of pastries. The Taste of New England program Feb. 20 to 22 will cover the importance of apples in New England cuisine and include tastings of local cheeses, wine, craft beer and chowders. The Tour De France March 20 to 22 will focus on French cooking techniques and regional dishes such as bacon-onion tart and truffled chestnut soup.

Overnight packages begin at $698 per couple and include a two-night stay, welcome reception, breakfast at Fresh Salt, full day of hands-on learning and lectures from the Executive Chef, lunch, dinner and gala on Saturday evening, and brunch on Sunday. Information: 800-243-0212 or www.saybrook.com.

>>Morton's The Steakhouse shuttered its Hartford location after serving its final dinner on New Year's Eve, citing a shift in market demographics. Pond House Grille in Glastonbury, a sister restaurant to Pond House Café, has also closed, and gift certificates will be accepted at the West Hartford location. Anchor Bar in New Haven shut its doors abruptly on the night of Jan. 4 after nonpayment of rent, according to its landlords Yale University Properties.

>> It's time again for the Taste of Hartford promotion, with special prix-fixe menus at more than 30 city eateries. Restaurants will serve multi-course menus for either $20.15 or $30.15 Jan. 19 through Feb. 1.

The discount dining event, held twice a year, is a partnership between the Greater Hartford Arts Council and CTnow.com. For a list of participating restaurants and their menus, visit ctnow.com/tasteofhartford.

>>Six venues in western Connecticut are once again participating in the Litchfield Hills Winter Wine Trail promotion. Pick up a registration card at any of the following wineries and have it signed at each location before March 29. Those who visit all six wineries will be entered to win prizes.

Participants are DiGrazia Vineyards, 131 Tower Road, Brookfield; Haight-Brown Vineyard, 29 Chestnut Hill Road, Litchfield; Hopkins Vineyard, 25 Hopkins Road, New Preston; Jerram Winery, 535 Town Hill Road (Route 219), New Hartford; Miranda Vineyard, 42 Ives Road, Goshen; and Sunset Meadow Vineyards, 599 Old Middle St., Goshen.

For more information on the Litchfield Hills Winter Wine Trail, call 860-201-4654. Contact each winery for updated hours prior to visiting.

>>Max's Tavern, 1000 West Columbus Blvd., Springfield, hosts a "Cabs & Slabs" wine dinner Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m., featuring steak courses paired with Cabernet Sauvignons from Napa Valley and Sonoma. Master Sommelier Michael Jordan from Jackson Family Estates will be a special guest. Cost is $115, plus tax and gratuity. 413-746-6299, maxtavern.com.

>>Coyote Blue, 1960 Saybrook Road, Middletown, hosts its annual Mid-Winter Game Festival through Jan. 31. Offerings include a southwestern duckling quesadilla for $10.95; elk, buffalo and wild boar chili for $6.95; venison and green chile stew with spaetzle for $17.95; venison schnitzel with spaetzle for $21.95; alligator tamale crepes for $17.95; chipotle buffalo burger for $11.95; and duckling confit quesadilla for $16.95. These items (and the regular menu) will be served Tuesday through Friday starting at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. The restaurant is closed Super Bowl Sunday. Information: 860-345-2403, coyoteblue.com.

>>Madison Beach Hotel,  94 West Wharf Road, Madison, hosts a whiskey and game dinner Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. Courses of rabbit tenderloin, cherry wood smoked partridge, elk strip loin and a cherry Manhattan tart (along with hors d'oeuvres of buttermilk quail, foie gras torchon and duck "poppers") will be paired with selections from Single Cask Nation. Cost is $89 plus tax and gratuity. 203-350-0014, madisonbeachhotel.com.

>>Vito's By The Water, 1936 Blue Hills Ave. Ext., Windsor, hosts a Scotch and game dinner Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. Courses, including wild game charcuterie, elk sausage, yak slider and French-cut venison lollipops, are paired with various scotches. Cost is $80 plus tax and gratuity. 860-285-8660, vitosbythewater.com.

 >>World of Beer, a chain of craft beer-focused taverns with locations in 20 states, will open its second Connecticut franchise this month. The 4,000 square-foot space at 73 Isham Road (Blue Back Square) will feature 50 rotating taps and more than 500 beers by the bottle, the company said, partnering with Connecticut breweries like Two Roads, Olde Burnside and City Steam.

"Tavern fare" served at lunch and dinner includes beer-infused bar bites (German pretzel with beer cheese, black and tan onion rings, Guinness brat sliders) and flatbreads, burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads. Beer pairing suggestions are listed alongside food items on the menu, and the tavern also features wine, spirits and cocktails. For more information, visit worldofbeer.com.

>>Majorca is now open at 2074 Park St. in Hartford, in the space formerly occupied by O'Porto. The menu features Spanish and Mediterranean-influenced fare, including tapas. Information: 860-231-1003.

>>Southington's Sixpence Pie Company is among 20 restaurants and food vendors scheduled to appear on the upcoming season of CNBC's "Restaurant Startup." The show premieres Jan. 13 at 10 p.m. Information: cnbcprime.com/restaurant-startup.

>>Barley Vine, 182 Main St., Bristol, hosts a beer and bourbon dinner Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. Each course features a pairing of Black Hog beer and a specially chosen bourbon. Cost is $65 a person, or $120 for two people. 860-589-0239, barleyvinect.com.

>>Celebrity chef, baker, author and TV reality show host Buddy Valastro has announced he will open one of his famed Carlo's Bakery at Mohegan Sun in 2015.