Monday, September 28, 2009

"You don't know anything until you've gone broke once."

Don't have acres of time until my battery dies (stupid plug converter set with two prongs instead of three!), but I was able to sign on long enough to refer you to this interesting article from The Advocate on the downtown Stamford real estate market (and particularly Trump Parc), including the priceless quote above. I suppose everything is priceless when you're broke. Pip pip cheerio and such from jolly ol' England - will do what I can to update the blog in absentia.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

And I'll see October...

Off to the UK for a business trip - check back next week!

"A trick is something a whore does for money..."

So says Gob to Michael in an episode of Arrested Development where he explains that he doesn't do magic tricks, he does "illusions."

Get your local dose of magic - whatever you choose to call it - by watching "David Copperfield: An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion" at the Palace Theater on Tuesday, September 29th - two shows - 5:30pm and 8:30pm. If you go I'd like a full report on the definition of "intimate."

(photo from JessAndTheCity,

Friday, September 25, 2009

Scheduling your Scare

As we round the bend toward Halloween, seems like a good time to think about what's on tap locally for the season. Connecticut Plus has a good list to start us off. Some of these are a bit of a hike, but a legit haunted house is worth the effort.

The Stamford Nature Center features both Pumpkin Patch Weekends and a Harvest Festival on October 18th.

Heading into NY, The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze in the Hudson Valley with a display of over 4,000 pumpkins (some real, some fake, but all impressive) is worth checking out.

If you are looking for something a little more dance-on-the-bar-ish, Hula Hanks has a Hulaween party featuring a costume party with prizes. If you book ahead (by calling 203.316.0278), you get $2 drinks between 6 and 8pm. Cheers to that!

(photo from madmolecule,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stay Classy Stamford (Now with Irony)

So I recycled the name of the post, but in fairness, the first time it was to publicize the symphony. Now, for instance, it's about the following report from WTIC 1080:

A Karaoke singer was punched, kicked, and had her hair pulled by six women at a performance in Stamford.

"Karaoke ought to be fun, and not end up in a fight, but this one did," said Stamford Police Lieutenant Sean Cooney.

The last time I went out for karaoke, there were tambourines and videos featuring acid wash denim and mullets, but no ass kicking. Perhaps this is controversial, but I would like to formally advocate an ass kicking free karaoke policy for Stamford from here on out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Duo Cut in Half (Solo?)

Duo has a ridiculously sweet deal for the week to celebrate Back to School season. From Tuesday, Sept. 22nd to Saturday Sept. 26th, all Duo sushi, sashimi, rolls and even specialty rolls are available for 50% off of menu prices.

Duo recently made my Top 8 restaurant list, and deals like this help glue it into place towards the number one spot.

I've said it before, I'll say it again - Duo is not to be missed.

(photo from Loozrboy,

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hey Stamford, Quit Burglar-ing Yourself

Although violent crime is down in many cities, the Stamford Advocate reports that local violent crime increased by 16% from 2007 to 2008. Burglaries and larcenies are up elsewhere in the U.S., and Stamford didn't buck the trend, seeing property crime rise 13% in the same period.

Apparently we compare favorably to Hartford and Bridgeport, but at 390 violent crimes in 2008, there is room for improvement. The article suggests that 2007 budget cuts put patrol officer numbers down to minimum levels - certainly couldn't help. Write it up as reason #5489 that it's time for this economy to pick itself up, dust itself off and get the frick back to work.

(photo from bixentro,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Flowers for Showers

Today, I co-hosted a baby shower for two former colleagues. Always eager to promote local business, I made a concerted effort to buy my party prep from local folks.

First, I went to All Things Floral for an arrangement of pastel roses, lilies and snapdragons. The florist created an elegant display wrapped in coordinating tissue paper and housed in an easy to carry box. Not only was the product just what I wanted, but they let me pick up the flowers on Sunday (when they're closed) to accommodate my schedule.

Second, I went to Schakolad Chocolate Factory for party favors. I found baby-themed chocolate lollipops that fit the bill entirely. When the store display had a fewer chocolates than I needed, employees looked high and low until they found more. They also offered to make a few extra. I got 10 favors for about $20 - a reasonable price for a charming little takeaway.

Lovely way to welcome each guest; local money to reinvest.

(photo from foodistablog,

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Butterfield Burn and Learn

Last night my neighbors and I ventured out for a late happy hour at Butterfield8. It was packed but we snagged a patio table and filled it up with food and drink. With a skillet of nachos a few inches away, I swiveled around and burned the holy hell out of my arm.

Is it entirely my fault? Absolutely, but when I politely mentioned it to the waitress she handled it magnificently. Not only did they take 25% off of the tab, but the chef came out of the kitchen with burn cream in hand. Anyhoo, good customer service on a busy Friday night will never go unnoticed by me.

(photo from striatic,

Friday, September 18, 2009

Restaurant Top 8

Ok J from CT, you're on. Here is my own Stamford Restaurant Top 8 in no particular order:

1. Telluride - Clever menus, dark lovely ambiance and cocktails that don't skimp

2. Napa & Company - Fresh ingredients, innovative preparation and a glorious wall of wine

3. Tawa-Indian Cuisine - I pretty much said it here

4. Barcelona Restaurant & Winebar - I pretty much said it here

5. Duo - Fine (literally) raw materials, thoughtful presentation in an elegant modern setting

6. Eos - The New York Times pretty much said it in the link in here

7. g/r/a/n/d - Three words: bar changes color. Have had excellent seafood and pasta dishes here, and it's no stranger to a long stemmed glass with some worthy contents

8. Republic Grill Asian Bistro - Quality Asian bistro with dishes as visually interesting as they are tasty - check out their strikingly sexy website

Disagree? Once again, you are formally invited to bring it. Show your work.

(photo from orangachang,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Local Top 8

Budget Travel highlighted eight places each American citizen should see. Inspired by that model, let's think of the eight places you should check out in Stamford:

(1) Cove Island on a sunny day
(2) The Avon Theater
(3) The Stamford Nature Center
(4) Napa Restaurant
(5) Palace Theatre - Stamford Center for the Arts
(6) Summer Street during the UBS Parade Spectacular
(7) Landmark Square when Santa straps on the rappelling gear
(8) Columbus Park during Alive@5

Alt suggestions? Bring it.

(photo from rafaj,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Look Under the Hood for the Greater Good

Come see some beautiful Italian sports cars at Stamford's Italian Center on Sunday, October 4th from 11-4pm. The Fifth Annual Festa di Ferrari Concours features vintage and new models on display plus a silent auction, refreshments and Ferrari goodies for the fans.

To the right, check out a snapshot from last year's event and here, you can see a few more from their gallery.

The event is free, but donations and auction proceeds will benefit The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of CT Inc, The Healing Hearts Pediatric Therapy Center and the Marine Corps League. For details, go to the event website or contact Paul Bova, Connecticut Chapter President, Ferrari Club of America, New England Region at 203-329-9710 or

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Decency Begets Decency

The title comes from Curtis Sittenfeld's "American Wife" - it's what the main character, the nation's semi-fictional first lady, truly wants her daughter to learn about life. It's an ideal for which we all should strive.

If you're looking for a place to make a difference, there's nothing more fundamental than food and The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County serves an important community function. Food banks always get tons of contributions during the holidays, but with Thanksgiving and Christmas still a good ways off, now is the time they really could use your help. If you're lucky enough to be bringing home the bacon in this brutal economy, share a little ham hock with those who need it most.

(photo from sterlingpr,

I hope they serve snozzberries

Very cool event at the Bartlett to honor Gene Wilder and his wife. At between $125-250, tickets are pricey - no question - but you get to enjoy an auction, music, dancing and the company of an incredibly funny man. The event, the 3rd annual arbor*eating gala, will take place on September 26 from 5:30-10pm.

(photo from OliBac,

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sweet and Cho Down

If you like your comedy a little bit blue, head up the road to see Margaret Cho at the Fairfield Theater Company. She'll hit the stage twice - once at 7pm and again at 9pm on Tuesday, Sept 22nd. Enjoy some choice - but ridiculously tame - Cho-tations:

Monogamy is so weird. Like when you know their name and stuff.

I think that gay people should have the right to get married by Elvis like everybody else.

If I'm talking to a guy who's straight and cute and single, I'm like, "Are you a unicorn?"

A Korean reporter once asked me, "Do you think your Korean parents are ashamed because you talk about what you talk about on stage?" I said, "I don't think they're ashamed because they're Korean. I think any parents would be ashamed."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In Memory of Annie Le

Wishing strength and comfort to the family and friends of Annie Le who (if reports are correct) we lost far too soon.

Words fail me, but a moment of silence is appropriate.

(photo from,

Don't Punt on the Job Hunt

Are you looking for a new job? Check out the resources at the Ferguson Library.

In addition to books on resume writing and interview skills, there are opportunities for one-on-one consultations with library staff and classes on a variety of professional topics.

The College and Career portion of the website includes good government info, job openings, ideas for education and other helpful materials. They also have a list of helpful job websites that might just lead to your next big gig.

(photo from laverrue,

A Toast to Eos

The New York Times has a glowing review of Summer Street's Eos. I've been a fan since opening day, and the strong positive assessment resonates with me.

I never go without ordering the Tyrokafetri - a feta spread with a kick that brings me as close as I've come to licking a plate in public. I also adore the Lemon Potatoes and the light but soothing Avgolemono - a citrusy chicken soup. I'm a sucker for bright white plates with interesting angles, and Eos features quite a few. It reads consistent with the modern undulating white walls and makes for a clean crisp dining experience.

(photo from St0rmz,

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bark in the Park

Tomorrow - Sept 13th - is PAWS 2nd Annual “Bark in the Park” Dog Walk Fundraiser. It will be from 9am-1pm with a rain date of Sept. 20th. See my earlier post on it here.

A&C on Bedford Today

We just got back from Arts & Crafts on Bedford. Earlier, the crowds were sparse because of the rain, but we left at about 2:00 and the weather had improved. If you're on the fence, you should go - the rain seems to be on the way out.

There are some very cool vendors including Coyne Woodworking (bought my dad a bowl) and James Polisky Art (twisted and amazing; I bought the superhero that sort of looks like my husband and the power hungry bunny). The Imagination Station features a petting zoo with a bunny the size of a beagle. That guy had bigger feet than me! There are musical acts up and down the street and some very excellent people watching. If you go (and have anything deeply meaningful to add), drop me a line.

Never a Borrower Nor a Trender Be

Ok, so we live in the burbs - we can still be aware of a trend or two. We're "cool" - we're "with it" - we're "hip." Well...we can try anyway. Here are a few trends that I've noticed.

- Inspirational rap
- Calling people douche bags
- Being Fall
- Plaid shirt dresses
- Vampires
- Sophisticated cartoons
- Replaying old licks from The Cure
- Pet Halloween costumes
- Blogging

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

She's Crafty, She Gets Around

Do you like arts? How about crafts? How about arts AND crafts? This coming weekend, September 12th and 13th from 11am-6pm, Bedford will be populated by pedestrians, paintings and pottery for Arts & Crafts on Bedford.

Over one hundred exhibitors will be on site to tempt you with handmade goodness. Kids can enjoy the Imagination Station hosted by the Stamford Museum and Nature Center and the Bartlett Arboretum (petting zoo, face painting...the whole nine kid friendly yards).

(photo from _e.t,

What 'cha doin?

Do you have a fabulous event coming up? Tell me about it and maybe (just maybe) I will spread the word. Email me at (Only fabulous events need apply.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hello Cello

The Stamford Symphony sale begins tonight at midnight. Just go to the linked website and click "Buy Tickets" under the event you want.

I hate to tell you this, but your mom says you need some culture.

(photo from fPat,

Coltrane on Canvas

I must confess that I didn’t know who Renee Kahn was, but I genuinely hope to remedy my ignorance by attending “Dance to the Music,” which she will present at 2:00pm on Sunday, September 13th at the Loft Artists Association. There’s an endearing write up of Ms. Kahn on the Association’s blog, and its website describes the show she will introduce. It’s called JAZZ ART SHOW and it features the work of Shirley Binin & Cici that takes music as its muse. I’ve always wondered what “My Funny Valentine” really looks like.

(photo from StuSeeger,

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The SWIRL from Ipanema

There’s something remarkable about seeing people do what they love. People who create their own happiness fill the room with it, and only a hardhearted spectator walks away without a smile.

The band SWIRL is made up of Jimmy Vasilopolous on guitar and Alan Johnson on drums. Jimmy is a teacher and Alan is a lawyer – their minds have pursued different careers, but their hearts are in their music.

And they make it look easy. Jimmy’s fingers seemed to float over the strings. The only proof that he touched them was the lovely melody. Alan nursed a beer, greeted admirers and played separate instruments simultaneously and beautifully with each hand. The band’s bright fluid sound made you think summertime might linger in Southern Connecticut. They’re not from Ipanema, but their music evokes the breezy calm of the famous song.

We saw SWIRL at Avenida Restaurant over a late Sunday brunch. As an accompaniment to Mexican coconut French toast and Apple chicken chorizo, it was hard to beat. Avenida keeps their large overhead door open on warm days and SWIRL set up shop adjacent. Between the music and Alan's pink shirt and shades in the sunshine, SWIRL is the poster child for chilling out – and everybody knows it. Even a stranger walking by called out “sounds great!” No question.

(photo from Tracy Hunter,

An Ode to Lord & Taylor

How do I love thee, Lord & Taylor on Highridge? Let me count the ways.

I love thee for having competent sales staff who are polite
I love thy selection of dresses in which I thoroughly delight
I love thee for honoring coupons that I forgot to bring
I love thee for having just the right thing (summer or spring)

I love thee for keeping your aisles clean and neat
I love thee for making my wardrobe more complete
I love thy makeup counters, thy handbags, thy coats
I love so many pretty things the mannequins promote

I love my brand new clothes and regard them with affection
I love that my credit card has ne'er seen your rejection
I love that I'll think of jewels in the display
Until I return again when the cost I can defray

(photo from elyziumfields,

Friday, September 4, 2009

All My Socially Conscious Ladies - Put your Hands Up!

A 19 year-old girl living in New York at the turn of the 20th Century got a group of 80 buddies together to help immigrants in Manhattan’s Lower East Side tackle health and literacy problems.

Her public service ideas caught on and pretty soon women like Eleanor Roosevelt joined in to help. The group grew into other communities and began working towards improvements in nutrition, voting rights, education in the arts, services for the blind, deterring alcoholism, the environment, the criminal justice system and obesity.

It now has almost 300 separate branches all over the world including locations in the U.K., Canada and Mexico. It’s the Junior League – and although it has a pretty staid reputation, it always has done good works in communities where it takes root. The Stamford/Norwalk branch of the Junior League is taking new recruits. Women who want to volunteer can call 203-655-4662 or email to sign up for the provisional class Thursday, September 17th from 7:15pm to 9:15pm.

(photo from goosegrease,

Thursday, September 3, 2009

This Weekend: Maize, Maze and Moussaka

It you are staying local this holiday weekend, there are two events you might want to consider.

(1) The Craft & Corn Maze Festival will be held - free of charge - at Plasko's Farm, 670 Daniels Farm Rd. in Trumbull from Sat the 5th (10-4) to Sun the 6th (11-5). For more information, call 203-261-2414. Bring a date - if you don't like him, lose him mid-maze.

(2) Odyssey '09 is a Greek Festival held at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, 480 Racebrook Rd. in Orange from Fri to Mon (12-10pm Fri-Sun and 12-8pm Mon). Free parking, free admission. Call 203-795-1347 for more info. Couldn't tell you how I feel about St. Barbara but I have always been a close personal friend of baklava.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cig Tax is Big Tax

Two of my favorite people will be sad to read that the State of Connecticut is going to shake an extra dollar out of their pockets every time they buy a pack of cigarettes. On October 1st, Connecticut will raise the state cigarette tax from $2 to $3. A report from the Stamford Advocate suggested that the tax increase will bring in $217 million . Sorry T and J! Thanks for funding our giant giant budget shortfall.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cheap and Cheaper

As if you weren't sufficiently thrilled on the cheap, I'd like to add two additional twirls to your dance card.

(1) Why see Springer when you can see Beethoven's Symphony No.3 “Eroica”? (Which apparently means "heroic" rather than "erotic," but still...) The Stamford Symphony is having a 72-hour sale from September 9th to the 11th. All seats will be available for $45 - even those that generally sell for up to $76. Not such a steep price for some local sophistication.

(2) The Stamford Museum & Nature Center is free o'charge to Stamford residents right when you need to power through that work week - all day Wednesday. Bring along some kind of residency proof (mail with ID, driver's license, official Stamford resident tattoo, secret handshake, etc.) and you're in! Not only that, but by the time you read this, it's probably Wednesday - sweet!