Small Bites: Dining News


11:44 AM EDT, October 15, 2013


>>More fast-casual quick-service Mexican food comes to Manchester, with the opening of Pancheros Mexican Grill at 350 Buckland St. The menu offers burritos, tacos, quesadillas and salads with marinated grilled steak, seasoned vegetables, chili-tamarind chicken and carnitas, along with a variety of salsas and sauces. Pancheros makes and presses its tortillas fresh on site at each location. The Manchester restaurant will be open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 860-644-4447, pancheros.com.

>>Manchester also welcomes Maggie McFly's to 194 Buckland Hills Drive, the fifth restaurant in the Connecticut chain. Maggie McFly's features 40 draft beers, a variety of wines on tap and an expanded menu of craft cocktails, along with a wide-ranging menu of comfort fare. 860-432-8255, maggiemcflys.com.

>>A year after earning props from The Daily Meal for its famous "dirt wings," J. Timothy's has made another national list for "America's finest fowl." Thrillist has named the Plainville restaurant and bar as one of its "21 Best Wing Joints In The Country," noting the unique preparation of its signature dish. The restaurant is at 143 New Britain Ave. 860-747-6813, jtimothys.com.

>>The Chocolate Expo comes to the Connecticut Science Center Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with tastings and sales of chocolates, baked goods and specialty foods. Admission is $19 for adults; $14 for youth ages 4 to 17. Science center members' admission is $15 for adults, $10 for youth. Ticket prices include both admission to the expo and available Science Center exhibits. Information: thechocolateexpo.com.

>>La Petite France, 967 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, hosts a French wine tasting with West Side Wines on Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. Mini appetizers, sandwiches and desserts will be served. Cost is $29.90. Information: 860- 231-9255 and lpfcafe.com.

>>Max Downtown in Hartford and Max Tavern in Springfield will be holding respective "Teddy Bear Tea" and "Teddy Bear Brunch" events in December.

Max Downtown will host its event on Dec. 6 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Cost is $30 for adults and $25 for children under 12 and includes a cupcake and popcorn bar, candy buffet, treats, photos and a signature MAX bear.

At Max Tavern, brunch will be held on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon. Cost is $30 for adults and $25 for children and includes a gourmet brunch, cupcake and popcorn bar, candy buffet, dancing and games, a signature MAX bear and photos.  Children are asked to bring a new unwrapped toY to the event to be donated to the CT Children's Medical Center and Ronald McDonald House.  Information for the Hartford event: 860-522-2530. Information for the Springfield location: 413-746-6299.

>>Bakery Relocates:  In case you haven't noticed, West Hartford's A Little Something Bakery retail store on Park Road, West Hartford, has closed.

Owner Beth Bolton has moved the operation to 485 New Park Ave. where she will concentrate on her wedding and special occasion cakes, as well as her signature cupcakes that will be sold at A. C. Peterson's on 240 Park Road.

"I am giving up the retail," said Bolton whose new location is now up and running for special orders only and retains the old name. "We were at the point where we couldn't keep up with the cake demand and it made good business sense when we looked at the numbers to close as a retail store and concentrate on that."

But for faithful customers who were diehard fans of her dirt bombs and scones, Bolton is offering hope.

The plan, she said, is to open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the new location and offer some select breakfast items. Information: 860-586-8711.

Farmington has also lost another restaurant. The Stonewell & Wine Bar on Route 6 closed its doors. The restaurant, which opened in 1989, was owned by Niki and Stelios Koutevides, parents of former New England Patriots linebacker Niko Koutevides.

>>Max Downtown, 185 Asylum St, Hartford, will hold a wine dinner on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. Hosted by new executive chef Christopher Sheehan and sommelier Justin Gavry, the four-course dinner will feature wines from the MAX wine cellar. Menu includes a shellfish chowder, Marwin Farm duck tasting, 38-day dry-aged rib eye and honey crisp apple tart. Cost is $125 per person plus tax and tip. Information: 860-522-2530.

>>Fleming's Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 44 S. Main St., West Hartford, introduces an extended version of its "5-6-7" happy hour, with $9 food and drink specials from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly. Plates include bar a la carte items like housemade burrata, filet mignon flatbread, lobster lettuce wraps, ahi tuna tacos, short rib empanadas, a Prime burger with cheddar and bacon, cinnamon-dusted doughnuts and a deconstructed Balvenie s'more. Drinks include select wines, specialty cocktails and single-malt scotches. 860-233-1116, flemingssteakhouse.com.

>>The Blue Elephant Trail, 7 S. Main St., West Hartford, and The Elephant Trail, 85 E. Main St,, Avon, will be raising funds for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Nov. 16 to 23. The fundraiser is in honor of general manager Sohors Tek, who died of the disease in 2012. Each restaurant will donate 30 percent of sales from Sohors' favorite menu items (mango sticky rice, loc lac, chili salmon and several beverages) to the organization. On Nov. 23, the Avon restaurant also hosts a Thai cooking class at 10 a.m. Cost is $90, and a portion of proceeds will be donated. blueelephanttrail.com, theelephanttrail.com.

>>Baci Grill, 134 Berlin Road, Cromwell, hosts its annual Fall Wine Fest Nov. 14 at 7 p.m., featuring 16 wines and multiple dining stations. Food offerings include apple bourbon pork with semolina fried onions, beef brisket, corn and cheddar biscuits, pasta and desserts. Tickets are $42, inclusive of tax and gratuity. 860-613-2224, bacigrill.com.

>>Oyster Club, 13 Water St., Mystic, and Engine Room, 14 Holmes St., Mystic, plan a schedule of monthly Sunday Supper Series. The next event is at Engine Room Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m., featuring a "whole hog" dinner with five courses of pork in a "cooking class" feel. Cost is $65. Information and reservations: 860-415-8117, engineroomct.com.

>>Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point Inn & Spa is featuring a special Girls Night Out three -course prix fixe menu for $29.99 every Thursday. Information: 860-395-2000 or Saybrook.com.

>>La Petite France, 967 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, hosts a  wine tasting with West Side Wines on Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. The event, which is $29.90, include tastings, mini appetizers, sandwiches and desserts. Information: 860- 231-9255 and lpfcafe.com.

>>Tuscany Grill in Middletown has added a fall menu. Signature entrees include herb chicken, pan-seared scallops, grilled salmon and grilled pork tenderloin. Entrée prices range from $19 to $25.Tuscany Information: 860-346-7096 and tuscany-grill.com.

>>Metro Bis chef/owner Christopher Prosperi will visit the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum on Nov. 16 for a Thanksgiving-inspired dinner and program.

Prosperi will discuss his own Thanksgiving experiences as part of the afternoon that will also include an reenactment of the first Thanksgiving that will includes a 1700s-themed menu including venison pie and roasted goose and turkey, side dishes and dessert prepared by J Restaurant in Hartford. Wine will be served, tours of the museum will be offered and individuals portraying Mr. and Mrs. Silas Deane will also be on hand to answer questions.

Tickets for the 18th-century Thanksgiving Dinner are $85, and include the reception, 18th-century music and an optional tour of the three historic homes at the museum following the event. Reservations are required. Information: 860-529-0612.

>>Mark your calendars for spring. A new food and wine festival, Savor - A Celebration of Wine, Food & Spirits, presented by Foxwoods Resort Casino, will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center April 10 to 11.

Savor will include grand tastings, samplings of signature dishes from Connecticut's leading chefs, a Savor in Style charity gala and food demonstrations.

Guest chefs will include Robert Irvine, host of "Restaurant: Impossible" on Food Network; Mary Ann Esposito, creator and host of television's longest running cooking series, "Ciao Italia" with Mary Ann Esposito; and Elizabeth Falkner, a James Beard Foundation Award nominee and Iron Chef America favorite.

A portion of the proceeds from Savor benefits Helmets to Hardhats, which promotes careers in the construction industry to individuals leaving military service or serving in the military Reserves or National Guard. Information: SavorCT.com

>>The annual Chocolate Expo will be Dec. 7 at the Connecticut Science Center from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hundreds of chocolate treats will be featured as well as gift items. Information: CTsciencecenter.org


  >>Foxwoods Resort Casino is offering half-price bottles of red or white wine every Thursday at its signature gourmet restaurants Paragon, Al Dente and Cedars Streak House. On Sundays, the offer is good on a bottle of white wine at each of the restaurants. This special wine offer is available to all guests 21 years of age or older with the purchase of two entrees. For reservations, please call Foxwoods at 860.369.9663 or visit Foxwoods.com/dining.

>>The newest restaurant concept to come to Mohegan Sun encourages diners to play with their food. Sticks & Stones will open in the Casino of the Sky in late 2014.

Fondue-style options feature meats, vegetables and seafood, to be dipped into broths, sauces and cheeses. Diners can also cook their own proteins on a sizzling hot rock at the table, and a "molecular bar" employs scientific techniques for unique cocktails, according to a news release. The restaurant will seat just under 300 people. Information: sticksnstonesgrille.com.

>>Another fast-casual burger chain is heading to Connecticut, courtesy of the Mohegan Tribe. The state's first Smashburger is set to open in early December at the Waterford Commons, with plans for more in Eastern Connecticut, Western and Central Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The chain has more than 280 locations in 32 states and five international countries. Information: smashburger.com.

>>The Hungry Tiger, 106-160 Charter Oak St., Manchester, is offering a new menu with daily specials including a fajita dinner plate on Monday from 5 to 10 p.m. for $10; Tuesday burger and brew for $10; sirloin steak dinner for $15 on Wednesdays; and wing night and beer for $20 on Thursdays. Sunday breakfast is also served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m with 16 ounce, $7 Bloody Marys. Information: 860-649-1195 and thehungrytiger.com

 >>Vito's Pizzaria in Wethersfield and Vito's By The Park in Hartford each offer Monday wine specials, with select bottles available at half-price after 4 p.m. in Wethersfield and half-price off any bottle (including reserve list) in Hartford. vitosct.com.

>>Happy hour specials at Peppercorns Grill, 357 Main St., Hartford, include $4 well drinks and $4 red and white house wines, along with a blood orange prosecco cocktail with Onyx Moonshine and a prickly pear martini for $6. Food deals include $2 oysters, a rotating "ravioli of the moment" for $4 and lobster canapes with arugula and truffle aioli for $5. Happy hour runs weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. Information: 860- 547-1714 and peppercornsgrill.com.

>>For those attending the new season of shows at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Peppercorn's Grill, 357 Main St., Hartford, has a special offer: Show your tickets and receive 20 percent off their entrees. Information: 860- 547-1714 and peppercornsgrill.com.


  Send restaurant news at least 10 days before publication to MaryEllen Fillo at fillo@courant.com and Leeanne Griffin at lgriffin@courant.com.