Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tuesdays Don't Need No Stinking Diet

Keep your Tuesdays Fat and happy by checking out Barcelona's Fat Tuesday Carnival Celebration. They're the experts on fun, and they say: Traditionally considered the last evening of decadence before Lent, Carnivale is celebrated famously in many cities across the globe, including Madrid, Venice, Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans. This party will include wines selected by wine director Gretchen Thomas, passed pintxos by our new Executive Chef Christian Petroni and musical entertainment. Come prepared to dance and party!

Bring your feathers and your beads, and join them at 7pm, on Feb 16th. Shockingly, it's a Tuesday. The drool-inducing menu is on the website here. It will set you back $57/person (which includes tip and tax).

For Reservations email or call (203)983-6400.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"That name again is Mr. Plow"

Mr. Plow might be furloughed for now, but the Stamford Nature Center is giving him cause for hope by welcoming DLTC Landscape Contractors who will create the winter wonderland that the Center calls Let It Snow Weekends.

Every weekend in February - absent crazy weather problems - the Center will feature snow covered hills for snow angels (and snow devils) to enjoy. Come sled, tube or whack each other with snowballs. Warm your fingers and your gullet with free hot chocolate between 10 am and 3 pm in the Overbrook building. All you pay for is general admission.

(photo from D'Arcy Norman,

Friday, January 29, 2010

Slim Gym Info

An astute reader wrote me to find out whether or not the YMCA was a good choice for a gym. The truth is, I have no idea...but maybe you do. The website features badly composed pictures of cute kids swimming and smiling, which is fine and good, but not technically helpful.

There is also a Facebook page with recent photos of a renovation, but not a lot of details. The FB discussion page has questions, but no answers. It seems to me that someone must know something - if it's you...speak up! Don't make me have to do actual work.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wish for Fish Dish

I've been to the Stamford Mall's Mitchell's Fish Market in the past, and to be honest - I wasn't impressed. So when my friend suggested we stop by for dinner and drinks tonight, I was up for it - but carried just a little bit of disgruntled baggage. I'm happy to report, I was pleasantly surprised.

The Grapefruit and Basil Martini didn't jump off the page at me, but it was outstanding. The basil mellowed out the tartness of the grapefruit, and the little bit of pulp offered a hint of warm weather days.

I had the crab cakes, and they did not disappoint. Although I felt a bit guilty at having not one green thing on my plate, I thoroughly enjoyed the pump chunks of crab meat, the corn saute and the sea salt mashed potatoes (*drool*). For a Wednesday, the restaurant was busy, but we snagged a booth fairly quickly and our waiter was as gracious and helpful as an old school stewardess (minus the cute hat).

Glad to report that Mitchell's Take 2 was was worthy of my "thank you."

(photo from kekremsi,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The International Language

What do beautiful memories, love and good books have in common? Nothing - at least not in America - but apparently these are related in France. Learn how by checking out the Avon Theatre's French Cinematheque, a French film festival featuring:

Beautiful Memories (Se Souvenir Des Belles Choses)

Thursday, January 28

Could This Be Love (Je Crois Que Je L'Aime)
Thursday, February 18

The Page Turner (La Tourneuse de Pages)
Thursday, March 25

(photo from gadl,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wiggly Art

The Stamford Museum & Nature Center is putting some ants in the pants of its art. From January 30th to May 23rd, the Museum will feature an exhibit called Gerberich's Gadgetry: Art that Moves.

Steve Gerberich is a Brooklyn-based artist who makes ordinary objects boogie. If his website videos here and here are any indication of what we can expect, the work is interactive, colorful and marvelously ridiculous.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

All my Single Lad-dies

A little while ago in a charity group meeting, a fellow volunteer said "we should help the neediest part of our community: single women."

In my CT tenure, I've amassed an impressive collection of female friends who are (1) certifiably adorable, (2) undeniably successful, (3) smart, (4) fun and (5) single. With this laundry list of winning qualities, it boggles the mind that there are not men catapulting themselves to their front doors.

Sure these ladies have dated, but these so called dates feature leftover wine, the pining newly divorced and guys getting an advanced degree in douchebagery. Reports from the field suggest that the male equivalent of these ladies is an endangered species. I don't want to believe it - but I'll need some evidence. a public service, which rock are you hiding under, datable single men? I have some matchmaking to do...

(photo from aka Kath,

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Birds on your Bumper

Attorney General Blumenthal released an opinion in October determining that the state diverted over $100,000 from a fund earmarked for a Long Island Sound license plate project to the general fund. That money was restored soon thereafter, but a similar situation involving license plate funds to support local wildlife, animal control and greenways was not resolved.

It's in this climate that the Attorney General has called for the return of those funds, and Audubon CT agrees. The Executive Director and Vice President of Audubon CT, Tom Baptist, explains that:

The monies generated by Connecticut's Wildlife Conservation License Plate are the only source of funding dedicated to nongame wildlife - - animals that are not hunted such as migratory songbirds and shorebirds- - in Connecticut. The Wildlife Plate provides critical match for available federal funds that together support DEP's nongame wildlife programs statewide.

Apparently CT ranks at the bottom of the barrel with respect to investment in wildlife preservation, and the license plate money can help change that statistic.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The City that Works in the Film Industry

Stamford has been ranked #6 among the "10 Best Cities To Live, Work & Make Movies in 2010," according to Movie Maker Magazine. The publication quoted the publication's press release saying that the rankings take into account,

a swarm of factors: Cost of living, employment opportunities, housing costs, crime rates and quality of life, state and city financial incentives, access to talent, size and closeness of the local moviemaking community, ease of shooting (i.e. amount of red tape), local production resources and movie-related vendors, exposure to other moviemakers and film sets, educational opportunities and number of local screening options, including film festivals.

Interesting...a lil' searching around and this list of movies made in Stamford pops up. A few thoughts on it:

-What does it mean when they say "The Office: US Version (2005) (Australia)?"
-I particularly enjoy the fact that there are movie listings from 1910 and 1915.
-My choice for favorite title: "The Horror of Party Beach"

(photo from pedrosimoes7,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's Late...but Haiti Can't Wait....

I can't abstain from much of anything for 8 days, but a little boy in Haiti went 8 days with nothing through sheer force of will. Our little corner of the world is not standing quietly by during Haiti's most dire catastrophe, and the new kid (aka gallery) on the block is lending a hand.

Join the Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery at 96 Bedford Street (just across from Remo's) for "Helping Haiti." Held from 5:30pm to 10:30pm this Thursday the 21st, the event will benefit "Hope for Haiti," an established group devoted to improving the lives of Haiti's citizens for 20 years.

Admission of $25 (cash or check only) gets you entry into a Contemporary Art and Music event featuring a silent auction, wine, cheese, appetizers and "two awesome DJs." Charity and cheese - why would you not go?

Contact Jason Bone, FloorFX at 203-353-9657 or 860-250-0771 for more information.

(photo from United Nations Development Programme,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's Late...

...I'm tired. Wonderful night catching up with my friend JP, but toooooo sleepy to say anything deeply meaningful EXCEPT that I just read that Dave Brubeck is coming to Stamford Center for the Arts on April 29th. Hard to get a whole lot more living legend-y than that! It takes a little scrolling down, but you can get more details here. G'nite!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Got MLK?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" In that spirit, here are some local places where your volunteer efforts would be appreciated:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern CT - a friend of mine volunteers with this group, and she has found the connection with her adopted sister incredibly rewarding over the course of many years

The Junior League of Stamford/Norwalk (a link to my earlier blog post) - their provisional class is underway, and it's easy to get inspired about the good works they do in your backyard (note: no boys allowed)

The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County (a link to my earlier blog post - also here) - food banks often suffer in the post-holiday season when people have packed up the holiday spirit until next year; now is the time that they need you most

Urban League of Southern CT - they are looking for mentors, and they are based here in downtown Stamford

And if you have more money than time, think about giving to Americares, an amazing organization right here in Stamford that is helping (among many, many other things) to help those impacted by the earthquake in Haiti

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Few Good Things

It's a gross, gray day; my kitty is gone and the situation in Haiti is dire - so I need to find a few sunny things on which to focus. Here's what I've got:

- A new cheap but reasonably attractive hat from the Stamford Mall that matches my (if-I-may-say-so) very attractive scarf
- The weather is getting warmer, which might mean I might not need the hat or the scarf, but that's ok
- The new Whole Foods under construction off Exit 11, a vast improvement over the Howard Johnson's that used to be there
- The Mozart performance by the Stamford Symphony
- Secretly making fun of the most horrible lint trap collection of a coat we had ever seen, worn by a lady at the Stamford Symphony
- Peeking into the new gallery on Bedford and thinking about the other nifty new shops that could fill up the remaining empty storefronts (cheese shop, anyone?)
- The Moth podcasts and a long weekend to catch up on them

Feel free to add others as you see fit...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

You So Klassi!

Tonight we donning some decent duds because we are supporting the local arts by going to see the Stamford Symphony's Breathtaking Mozart.

It's taken us approximately four billion years to get our act together enough to plan it, but I am very glad we are finally taking in some local culture.

Should be a lovely evening - come join us!

(photo from Texasbubba,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Radical Fringe of the Quilting World

Mostly, I just like saying that. It's the phrase that Audubon Greenwich uses to help advertise their new exhibit called "Reflections" that is on display this month and next.

The exhibit includes twenty-nine quilts made by members of the Art Quilt Network. It's a group of about sixty artists, many of whom show their work abroad and have won award and art grants. You can see examples of their creations here.

Check out the exhibit at Kiernan Hall Nature Arts Gallery in the Kimberlin Nature Education Center from 9am to 5pm, Mon-Sat; from noon to 5pm on Sun.

(photo from vetcw3,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Girls Gone Well-Meaning

What do you think of when you hear "The Junior League?" It's not uncommon for people to think of a socialite set, but the Junior League's real mission is charity and they want your help!

The Junior League of Stamford-Norwalk is a diverse group of more than 400 women, all of whom volunteer to make the community better. They devote their time to projects like the Diaper Co-op for needy families and the Building Healthy Families Initiative to combat childhood obesity.

The Junior League of Stamford-Norwalk begins its new member drive (aka, provisional class) next week. Membership is a commitment, but that's the price you pay for doing good. Join up at 748 Post Road in Darien from 7:15 to 9:15pm on the following nights:

* Tuesday, January 19th
* Tuesday, February 9th
* Tuesday, March 9th
* Wednesday, April 14th
* Wednesday, May 5th

For more information, visit the Junior League website, email or call 203-655-4662.

(photo from Photocapy,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rockefeller Tree comes to Stamford

Ok, so it's coming in pieces, but it's destined for a greater purpose. Iveth Bowie and 7 other condo-dwellers will be enjoying the famous Christmas tree in their floor boards or cabinetry because it will help make up a new Habitat for Humanity complex on West Main Street here in our fine city. Read on here and see pictures of her smiling and tearing up a little as the tree moves from American Christmas to American dream.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bridal (Spending) Power

A lovely friend of mine is tying the knot in October, so today, I went along with her to a bridal show at the Holiday Inn on Main Street. What we found was both awfully amazing and amazingly awful.

We were impressed with the perky vendor of festive wedding hairdos. Her small business made a big business marketing impression with comb and brush giveaways and a glossy oversized postcard flier featuring cascading blond curls and flowers.

On the other end of the spectrum, there was a fashion show where buttons and sequins were used in ways that God did not intend. The moderator was in a constant state of explaining how the dresses "hide a variety of sins." That was a tough sell when one of the models was testing the ribbons on her corset top. There were stark white veils worn with tea-stain colored dresses. There were tiaras with giant sales tags still attached. God love 'em, it wasn't pretty.

(photo from kristin_a,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just Cats

If you've notice a little radio silence from SN in the last few days, it's because we had a death in the family that took the wind out of our household sails for a bit. Our cat Ferris passed away on Wednesday night.

He was an affectionate friend for sixteen years and although he ate ribbons and left them in little barf packages by the stairs and once peed in my husband's shoe (where he then put his foot) - we loved him a little more than was healthy. As you know, this blog isn't about me so much as about our fair city, but I thought I'd make a small exception in order to highlight the good care Ferris received at Just Cats.

They diagnosed Ferris' kidney disease early so we could keep him pain free for as long as possible. They also prepared us for what was to come, so that it was not a complete shock when he began to decline rapidly six months later. When I showed up in tears with our buddy's little body, they interpreted my ridiculous sobs and passed a tissue box across the desk. All around good choice if you have a kitty who needs competent medical care.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

HGTV? No Guarantee

When you flicked on the set did you foresee,
That HGTV and Food Network no longer would be,
Ready to teach faux finishes and afternoon tea?

Cablevision and Scripps Howard simply can't agree.
The former says the latter wants a 200% higher fee;
The latter says that it has been a true worker bee,

Bringing in big dollars; paid to a lesser degree.
Now viewers are devoid of glee,
Begging for their shows on bended knee.

No "Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee."
No HGTV's "Fun Shui."
Wonder if from Cablevision they will flee?

I guess we'll see...

(photo from schmilblick,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Giant

When I was young, circa 1985, Richmond VA (my home town) built the Diamond - it was the fancy new stadium that would be home to Richmond's farm team for the Atlanta Braves (aka, the Richmond Braves).

It was also home to a giant statue of a Native American man climbing up and out from a wall of the building. He was massive - especially to the kid version of me - with his face and hands stretching 25 feet wide!

Fast forward a few years and Richmond lost its farm team, but gained a new one in the former Norwich Defenders. That team is now the Richmond Flying Squirrels, and the Native American statue needs a new home. What's the big guy's name, you might ask? Apparently - it's Connecticut! So says Richmond's local CBS 6 - I had no idea!

Anyhoo...Connecticut the statue may now be headed to Connecticut the state (see article linked above). I'm looking forward to seeing my old buddy. I'm sure there are well-founded objections to him, but in my defense, that dude is cool! He's a giant, giant guy climbing out of a building!

(photo from haaaley,

Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter Brrrr with Winter Birds

Looking for a little outdoor winter adventure? Join Audubon Greenwich in Stratford this Saturday (January 9th) from 9am-2pm for a coastal birding trip. Your hosts, Brian and Ted, will be surveying sanctuaries at Long Beach/Great Meadows IBA (which means "Important Bird Areas" for the folks - like me - who didn't know).

They will be on the lookout for birds toughing out the winter, such as hawks, owls and water birds. Cleverly, they advise you to dress warmly and bring binoculars. If you forget the binoculars, they'll lend you some. If you forget to dress warmly, you may just be SOL... Call Ted Gilman to register (203-869-5272 x230).

(photo from law_keven,

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Did you see Jesse Jackson?

He was in your backyard, apparently...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Not a Creature was Stirring, Except for Coalhouse

Although the week between Christmas and New Year's is pretty quiet, there was a full house last Tuesday night at Coalhouse Pizza. Coalhouse is the newest addition to Bull's Head Shopping Center on High Ridge Road. I went along with the author of the Streets of Stamford blog and the guys behind the Stamford Pizza Tour, so I was among true pizza connoisseurs. Although my grading system is quite a bit more informal than theirs, I can still cook up an opinion or two.

Altogether, I really enjoyed Coalhouse. The atmosphere was fun and festive, with jazz icons featured on the table and walls. Cigar box guitars hung on the wall over a bustling room full of happy customers. The service was solid. Our table was wet, and our waitress efficiently found and replaced the cracked glass that was the culprit. When I wasn't a huge fan of my first wine selection (one of many by-the-glass offerings), she replaced it with a smile. She even helped me look for a lost pen top (which is still jostling around on the floor somewhere...oh well).

Of course, the main attraction is the pizza. I'm big on sauce, and theirs was savory and fresh. They avoided the cardinal sin of excessive sweetness. We were not particularly adventurous with our topping selection, but the sausage and red peppers were flavorful. The red peppers were left with just enough crunch intact. I'd heard other folks say the crust has been charred black on prior visits, but ours was simply kissed with char - just what you'd want. I quite enjoyed the sprinkling of fresh herbs. I prefer a bit more cheese on my pizza, but reasonable palates could differ.

The menu is impressive, boasting 18 pizza varieties with jazz-themed names and ingredients that are refreshingly outside the norm. For instance, the Minnie the Moocher features "homemade eggplant croutons" and the Lucille features "drizzled white truffle oil." There are small plate selections of veggies, pasta and pork. There are also plenty of alternative entrees, such as salads, ribs and wings.

One more charming and noteworthy addition is the bright neon exterior Take Out window. It's a fun place to dine inside, but nice to know you can take it with you. Either eat in or take out, I'm sure I'll return soon.

(photo from jdn,

Friday, January 1, 2010

Uncrappy New Year!

Well citizens, the "aughts" are for naught, and we're off to another decade. SN can't help but wonder what's in store for our fair city in 2010. Everybody needs a resolution or two, so here is my suggested list of Stamford's:

- I will fill my hole. It's ugly, I know it, and I've been meaning to do it for like 40 years, but stuff just comes up - you know?

- I will have a good mayor. Let's see about this Pavia guy. Hope he's good - if not, I'll think of something else.

- I will really focus on public transportation. I gotta figure out all my train issues - the Metro North cars, the trolley - trains are definitely on the "to do" list.

- I will be awesome.

Ok, that's a good start. Keep me honest, citizens.

(photo from tsuacctnt,