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CTnow

Small Bites: Dining News

Leeanne Griffin

9:10 AM EDT, May 28, 2015

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>>116 Crown, 116 Crown Street, New Haven, hosts an early Father’s Day party in its garden June 17 at 6 p.m. The event features an “around the world” tour of whiskeys and a continental outdoor feast. Tickets are $75. 203-777-3116, 116crown.com.

>>Ski Sundown, 126 Ratlum Road, New Hartford, hosts its 10th annual Brewers Fest June 20 at 4 p.m., featuring tastings of more than 30 local and regional beers, food for purchase from Avon Prime Meats and KC Dubliner’s and live music. A portion of the event proceeds are donated to the Connecticut Brewers Guild. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door until maximum attendance is reached. Designated driver tickets are $20 and include complimentary water and soda. Information: skisundown.com.

>>Hartford Steam Boiler presents the city’s first Farm to Street dinner June 27 at 6 p.m., in partnership with Hartford Prints! ON20 and Hartford Food System. The open-air dinner on Pratt Street features a first course and dessert catered by ON20, pre-dinner cocktails by Onyx Moonshine, beer from Back East Brewery and wines from T. Edward. Guests are encouraged to bring their own entrée. Tickets are $35 for regular admission and $60 for VIP, which includes a private tour of Hartford Food System’s urban farm. Information and tickets: hartfordprints.com/farmtostreet.

>>Carbone’s Kitchen, 6 Wintonbury Mall, Bloomfield hosts its annual “Serata di Cibo” celebration of food and wine June 1 at 6 p.m. to benefit Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Guests will enjoy Italian hors d’ouevres, fine cheeses and antipasto items, a carving station, pastas and desserts, along with wines. Cost is $75; make reservations at connecticutchildrensfoundation.org/serata or call 860-837-5722.

>>Blue Plate Kitchen, 345 N. Main St., West Hartford, hosts an LGBT patio party June 2 at 8:30 p.m., a social event with drink specials and happy hour bites. 860-906-1419, bpkwesthartford.com.

>>Chef Billy Grant will host a series of pop-up dinners at Rose’s Berry Farm in South Glastonbury throughout the summer and fall. Each monthly event will have a specific theme: June 12 is “Spring Fling,” July 17 will be “Shells and Scales,” Aug. 20 is “Summer BBQ,” Sept.18 features “Corn and Tomatoes” and Oct. 10 is “Harvest Game.” Tickets are $95. Reservations and information: 860-236-1930, billygrant.com.

>>Max Fish, 110 Glastonbury Blvd., Glastonbury, hosts a Leblon Cachaca dinner June 11 at 6:30 p.m. with special guest Steve Luttmann, founder and president of the spirits company. The Brazil-inspired menu will be paired with cachaca cocktails. Cost is $69 plus tax and gratuity. 860-652-3474, maxrestaurantgroup.com.

>>The annual Taste of Mystic event June 12 to 14 at Olde Mistick Village features tastings from 25 local restaurants, with part of the proceeds benefiting the Mystic YMCA and the Mystic Aquarium. Entrance is free; tickets for food and beverage are $1 apiece. The event runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. 860-536-4941, tasteofmystic.com.

>>Mohegan Sun’s annual Sun BBQ Fest returns June 13 and 14 with barbecue battles, beer, food trucks and vendors, live music and cooking demonstrations. Saturday’s events feature a wing contest in the afternoon and a rib challenge at night, followed by a fireworks display. Tickets are $5 per day; children under 6 get in free. mohegansun.com.

>>Abigail’s Grille & Wine Bar, 4 Hartford Road, Simsbury, hosts a Lagunitas beer dinner June 25 at 7 p.m., with five courses paired with select Lagunitas brews. Cost is $55. 860-264-1580, abigailsgrill.com.

>>Millwright's has announced a series of collaborative farm dinners at Simsbury's Community Farm this summer, as chef-owner Tyler Anderson joins forces with other Connecticut chefs for special themed meals. Proceeds will benefit Gifts of Love, a local non-profit organization that provides basic needs services to the Greater Hartford community. Cost is $95, which includes food, beverage and tax. Information and tickets: millwrightsrestaurant.com.

>>Thrillist recently named Bear's Smokehouse in Hartford and Windsor as Connecticut's premier on its list of “The Best BBQ in Every State.” Referencing owner Jamie “The Bear” McDonald's barbecue experience as a native of Kansas City, Thrillist notes the restaurant's unique “moink balls” – slow-smoked meatballs wrapped in bacon – and its burnt-ends plate. “Said plate's near-perfection proves McDonald knows a thing or two about the place from whence he came,” Thrillist writes of the brisket chunks. “The Nutmeg State is lucky to have him there.”

Bear’s Hartford location at 89 Arch Street is now serving beer, both draft and bottled. Information: bearsbbq.com.

>>Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 44 South Main St., West Hartford, offers a three-course steak-and-seafood pairing menu through June 28, matching New York strip with jumbo lump crab cakes, sea scallops or king crab legs. Menus start at $44.95 per guest. 860-233-1116, flemingssteakhouse.com.

>>Hard Rock Café at Foxwoods Resort Casino offers a limited-edition “World Burger Tour” menu with fan favorites. The list includes a Guatemala-themed Marimba burger with spiced beans and tortilla straws; a sweet and sour burger with fried onion ring, bell peppers and grilled pineapple; a Lancashire lamb burger with caramelized onions, crispy carrots and mint mayonnaise and a Cuban burger with pulled pork, melted Swiss and sweet plantains. All burgers are $16.95. Information: hardrock.com/cafes/foxwoods.

>>The first New Haven Food Truck Festival will be held May 30 and 31 on the city's Long Wharf waterfront, featuring local food trucks, crafts, live music, rides and amusements and children's activities. Tickets are $5 for adults; children 17 and under are free. Food and beverage are priced separately. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Information: newhavenfoodtruckfestival.com.

 >>Community Table in Litchfield County announced that its former sous chef Marcell Davidsen would return to the Washington restaurant, to take the executive-chef reins from the departing Joel Viehland. The Denmark native trained formally in Copenhagen and has previously worked for Heirloom and the former Bespoke in New Haven. "I'm very excited to take over from Chef Joel, and I have tremendous respect for him and what he has achieved," he said.

Viehland announced in early May that he'd be leaving his post after five years to pursue new opportunities. During his tenure in Washington, he and the restaurant earned several James Beard Award nominations.

>>Connecticut is home to three of the top cupcake shops in the country, at least according to The Daily Meal's recently-released 2015 roundup of the "101 Best Cupcakes In America." The food website named NoRA Cupcake Company of Middletown, JCakes of North Branford and Hardcore Sweet Cupcakes of Waterbury to its list, noting that menu variety, presentation, consistency and artistic creativity all factored into the decisions. See the entire list at thedailymeal.com.

>>Barcelona Wine Bar, 971 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, has introduced a new Sunday brunch. The menu features a selection of its small Spanish-influenced plates and cheese and charcuterie, in addition to brunch entrees like lobster Benedict, fried chicken and biscuits, biscuits and Serrano gravy with sunny-side duck egg, challah French toast with blackberries and vanilla bean-infused maple syrup and hash with spring vegetables or oxtail. Special brunch cocktails include cava sangria with vodka and St. Germain liqueur, and a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar with choice of ingredients and garnishes.

Brunch entrees are $6.50 to $18.50. The menu is available Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. 860-218-2100, barcelonawinebar.com.

>>After earning a "Diners' Choice" award from OpenTable, Besito in West Hartford has announced a prix-fixe dining special for the spring season as a "thank you" to its guests. For $22.95, diners can enjoy a three-course meal, choosing virtually any appetizer, entree and dessert from the regular menu. (The guacamole is not part of this special offer, and there's a $3.95 upcharge for the crab cake appetizer and a $6.95 upcharge for the filet de Res.) The special menu is only available Sunday through Wednesday for parties of 8 or less, and is not available on holidays. Besito is at 46 S. Main St. in West Hartford. 860-233-2500, besitomexican.com.

>> "Worth Tasting," a series of downtown culinary walking tours in New Haven, begins its season May 9. The four-hour tours, led by food columnist and hospitality professor Stephen Fries, include stops at nine different restaurants and eateries in the Elm City. Tours kick off at 10:45 a.m. from the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale, where guests will receive a goody bag of Connecticut food products.

Other upcoming tours will be held on June 20, Aug. 1, Sept. 12, Oct. 24 and Dec. 5. Tickets are $59 apiece, except for the December tour, which is $69. Reservations are required. Call 203-777-8550 or 203-415-3519, or visit stephenfries.weebly.com.

>>GoldBurgers in Newington, fresh off a James Beard House appearance in March, hosts four dinners at neighboring Eddy Farm. The BYOB events on June 21, July 23, Sept. 3 and Oct. 4 will feature a "hearty take on farm fare," with local sourcing and a variety of courses. Tickets are $75 and are available at the restaurant at 1096 Main Street. eddyfarmct.com.

>>Friends of Boulder Knoll, a non-profit community farm, will host its annual Farm to Table Dinner on August 27. Chef Jason Sobocinski of Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro prepares dinner with ingredients fresh from the farm, and the event also features beer from Black Hog Brewing Company, drinks and live music. Tickets are $100 before August 1 and $125 after that. Proceeds support the farm's environmental education programs. Information and tickets will be available at friendsofboulderknoll.com/dinner.

>>Wingstop, a Dallas-based chain of chicken-wing restaurants, has debuted in Connecticut with its first restaurant in Hartford, at 550 Farmington Ave. Another Wingstop will open in Vernon at 35 Talcottville Road in mid-May, and a third is planned for Storrs later this year. Wingstop's menu features classic and boneless-style chicken wings and strips in a variety of sauce flavors. Information: wingstop.com.

>>Max Restaurant Group has announced its Chef to Farm dinner schedule for the 2015 season, with a variety of themed alfresco dinners at locations throughout the state. Events include seasonal dinners featuring local seafood, corn, tomatoes, vegan fare and brunch at venues like Rosedale Farm and Vineyard in Simsbury, Graywall Farm in Lebanon and Sub Edge Farm in Farmington. Tickets range from $45 to $115. Information: maxcheftofarm.com.

>>Altanaveigh Inn, 957 Storrs Road, Storrs, has introduced a new Sunday brunch, served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The a la carte menu items include creme brulee-style bread pudding French toast, roast beef hash, a farmers' market scrambler egg dish, sirloin steak and "cheezie" eggs and salmon cakes Nicoise. Entrees are $12.50 to $18. Information: 860-429-4490 and altnaveighinn.com.

>>Wasabi Modern Japanese Cuisine & Lounge has opened at 1155 Tolland Turnpike in Manchester, featuring traditional Japanese sushi and hibachi dishes. It's open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. 860-432-4665, wasabiman.com.

 >>The Dinners at the Farm dates have been announced for the 2015 summer season. The 10 open-air dinners will be Held at White Gate Farm in East Lyme and Barberry Hill Farm in Madison. Started in 2007, the summer dinners feature six-course feasts with foods that are fresh and seasonal, and cooked alongside the fields from which they come. Proceeds benefit five non-profit partners, CitySeed, CT Farmland Trust, The New Connecticut Farmers Alliance, Working Lands Alliance and Region 4 Schools' Get Fresh 4 School Healthy Lunch Initiative. Under the direction of River Tavern's Jonathan Rapp and the Farm Dinner Team, dinners this year will be held at Barberry Hill Farm each night from July 22 to 26 and at White Gate Farm from Aug. 5 to 9. Information: dinnersatthefarm.com

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