Small Bites: dining news and events

The Max Cares Foundation hosts its fourth annual “Roasts for the Holidays” campaign to raise funds to provide quality holiday meals for several shelters and kitchens in greater Hartford and Springfield.

Through Dec. 18, guests who visit any of the Max Restaurant Group restaurants in Connecticut and Massachusetts will have an opportunity to make a donation to the Roasts for the Holidays fundraiser when they receive their check or when they order takeout. In addition, Max Cares Foundation will be holding a holiday meal bag distribution event to provide a complete dinner to 500 area households.

Total gifts to the campaign will be matched up to $20,000 by Max Cares Foundation, doubling its commitment from previous years. Additional tax-deductible donations will be accepted at maxcaresfoundation.org.

“Hot Chocolate and Chill,” a multi-week series on Pratt Street in Hartford, kicks off Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. Sorella Restaurant, in partnership with Blue Haus Group and WMGNA, LLC of Farmington, will offer a special menu with seasonal soups, chilis and a variety of boozy (and non-alcoholic) hot chocolate and ciders. Blue Haus Group will be providing socially distanced seating, music, heaters and outdoor games. The event is expected to run weekly on Wednesday evenings.

Cava Restaurant, 1615 West St., Southington, has added to its annual elaborate Christmas decoration display with a temporary 2,700-square-foot building in its parking lot, featuring a “Polar Express” theme with a life-sized train inside. The indoor dining rooms are decorated with various themes, including Willy Wonka, Little Mermaid and James Bond. 860-628-2282, cavact.com.

Union Kitchen, 43 LaSalle Road, West Hartford, offers a Chanukah to-go meal from Dec. 10 to 18, featuring potato pancakes, brisket croquettes, braised beef brisket, herb roasted carrots, roasted baby potatoes and sweet noodle kugel. Donut Crazy provides sufganiyot. The meal is $65, packaged in portions for 4. Same day order is available, with one hour notice required. 860-598-8000, unionkitchenct.com.

Cafe Louise, 1156 New Britain Ave., West Hartford, offers a Hanukkah catering menu, with appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts. Items include potato and sweet potato latkes, chicken liver pate, potato and onion kugel, golden raisin noodle kugel, slow roasted short ribs, “tzimmes” chicken and lamb shanks with pomegranate and walnuts. Place orders 24 hours in advance. 860-561-0160 or 860-977-0356; louise@cafelouise.com.

The Kitchen at Forge City Works, 559 Broad St., Hartford, offers Hanukkah specialties as part of its weekly “Fill Your Fridge” boxes. The prepared foods box ($120) and the standard full box ($170) both include matzo ball soup, beer-braised brisket with sides (including potato pancakes) and chocolate babka. pickup.kitchencafe.org.

[From CTNow] Opinion: Restaurants are where memories are made. We are losing more than places to eat if they close because of coronavirus. »

The Mark Twain House & Museum partners with Black-Eyed Sally’s for a virtual event with author Jana DeLeon, “Merry Swapmas,” on Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. DeLeon, author of the Miss Fortune Mysteries, appears with playwright Jacques Lamarre to talk about such titles as “Swamp Santa,” “Louisiana Long Shot” and her latest, “Gators & Garters.” Tickets are $5, and Black-eyed Sally’s offers a takeout dinner for two for $45, with Louisiana gumbo, low country shrimp and grits, Southern fried chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens, cornbread with honey butter and bourbon pecan pie. Pick up between 4 and 6:30 p.m. eventbrite.com/e/merry-swampmas-dinner-tickets-131224129905.

Nantucket’s Cisco Brewers will launch its first Connecticut location in spring 2021, as part of the new The Village development in Stamford. The Village is a “large-scale, indoor-outdoor, premium work-play environment bringing together best-in-class companies from the worlds of content and media, brands and marketing, social and experiential, and finance and investment,” located on the waterfront.

Wheelhouse, ITV America and Cisco Brewers are set to be anchor tenants when The Village opens officially next spring, and The Village will also partner with food company Mike’s Organic, a premier farm-to-home delivery service and organic market. Information: thevillagestamford.com.

Geronimo Tequila Bar & Southwest Grill, with locations in Fairfield and New Haven, has introduced a new two-course lunch menu, with choice of chicken tortilla soup or asado salad and two tacos (with choice of salmon, pulled pork or veggie.) The lunch menu is $20 and is available for both dine-in and takeout Monday through Thursday from noon to 3 p.m.

Geronimo has also announced a new happy hour, with half-priced sangria, margaritas and wine by the glass; $2 Tecate cans and snacks from $1 to $3 (chips and salsa, pork sliders, yucca fries.) geronimobarandgrill.com.

Camacho Garage, 36 Fountain St., New Haven, introduces a new happy hour, available Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. Specials include half-price sangrias and margaritas, $2 Tecate and Tecate Light, $4 curly fries, $3 Mexican hot dogs and $2 chicken tinga tostadas. 203-691-1969, camachogarage.com.[From CTNow] ‘Escape room meets dinner theater’ event coming to Hartford’s Goodwin Hotel »

Shell & Bones Oyster Bar and Grill in New Haven has launched the Shell & Bones Marketplace, offering seafood and shellfish selected by the restaurant’s fish monger, as well as pantry staples and bottles from the sommelier-curated wine cellar, packaged for curbside pick-up seven days a week between noon and 9 p.m. Order at 203-787-3466 or market@shellandbones.com.

The restaurant has also introduced a new happy hour, with $5 cocktails, $5 wines by the glass, $1 featured oysters or littleneck clams, and other snacks for $2 to $4. shellandbones.com.

River: A Waterfront Restaurant & Bar, 100 Great Meadow Road, Wethersfield, has introduced a new breakfast menu on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 to 11 a.m. Dishes include omelettes with toasted baguette, breakfast sandwiches, Belgian waffles, pancakes, steak and eggs and a River benedict. Items are $4.50 to $15. 860-257-3344, riverontheriver.com.

Barcelona Wine Bar has introduced tableside gin and tonic carts at its Connecticut locations in Fairfield, Norwalk, Stamford and West Hartford, with bartenders mixing up several varieties of the cocktail right at the table. The menu features a classic Barcelona G&T, with Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic, grapefruit, lime and jasmine; and others with “fruit,” “leaf,” “flower” and “root” flavor profiles. barcelonawinebar.com.

Bartaco, with locations in Stamford, West Hartford and Westport, has introduced four new fall cocktails: the Lilikoi Daiquiri, with aged rum, lime, grated nutmeg and passionfruit; the Caipirinha Sanguina with Brazilian cachaca, lime and blood orange; the Oaxacan Sunshine with Libélula tequila, Suze, passionfruit, muddled tangerine and lime; and the Hibiscus Mezcalita, with Libélula tequila, Banhez mezcal, blood orange, lime, ginger agave simple syrup and hibiscus tea.

Bartaco is also offering new taco packs for parties of 4 or 8, and its new #bartacosecret roasted Brussels sprout taco, with roasted honey chipotle sprouts, has a charitable angle: $1 from each taco will be donated to No Kid Hungry. The sprout taco is available through Dec. 7. bartaco.com.

New Haven officials recently marked the grand openings of several new restaurants in the city: the new Delaney’s Restaurant & Tap Room at 883 Whalley Ave., which reopened in a new building after a fire 5 years ago; Pistachio Café at 911 Whalley Ave., a venture by artist and architect Mohamad Hafez; and El Segundo at The Audubon at 367 Orange St., which features global street food.

Farley Mac’s is now open at 1616 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury. Owner Kevin Farley opened the comfort-food restaurant in late July in the former Thai Ocha space, offering familiar fare like nachos, wings, flatbreads, grilled cheese bites with tomato soup, salads, sandwiches and burgers. Other plates include pub salmon, shepherd’s pie, meatloaf, fish and chips and sirloin tips. Soups, salads and appetizers are $4.99 to $13.99; sandwiches and burgers are $10.99 to $13.99; plates are $12.99 to $18.99. Farley Mac’s also features a lineup of specialty cocktails and craft beers.

Farley Mac’s is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Happy hour runs from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Bloody Marys are $5 on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 860-325-5162, farleymacs.com.

Send restaurant or food news at least two weeks before publication to Leeanne Griffin at lgriffin@courant.com.