Friday, July 30, 2010

See You Soon!

Well, citizens - it's that time again: vacation! Have a lover-ly week and I'll see you very soon.

(photo from geishaboy500,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Quattro When Again?

So the last time we checked in with our new neighbors at Quattro Pazzi, it was June 26th and opening day was slated for 3 weeks from then. Not so much. However, they have made impressive progress in the space. There is a new sign, tables and chairs, and all the paper covering the windows has been removed. Latest assessment: opening day next week! Hope so!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lewis Black

Not all that long ago, my husband and I drove ridiculously far to see Lewis Black perform his infamous standup. It was tremendous, and now you get to enjoy the same without the commute.

On October 1st, the angriest man in comedy is coming to the Stamford Center for the Arts.

If you don't know him, his comedy is as black as his name and he rattles it out with as much venom as wit. Needless to say, we love him. Tickets are available from $45-55. Buy early - betcha it sells out.

(photo from AMagill,

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bees on Marquees

This Saturday, July 24th, you can learn about nature's fuzzy flying fertilizers at the Audubon Greenwich's Native & Honey Bee Day. It features a live demo and two movies on bees and the cause of their demise, known as colony collapse disorder (CCD).

First, from 11am-4pm, there will be a honey harvesting presentation by the Backyard Beekeepers Association where your participation is welcome and honey will be available for sale while supplies last.

Second, check out a bee double feature from 4-7pm:
- "Vanishing of the Bees"
- "Nicotine Bees"
You can read about the movies on their websites or go to the Audubon Greenwich website for more information.

RSVP to Jeff at 203-869-5272 x239. The cost for the event is $15, which includes admission to the two films and bee-inspired refreshments (like wine made from honey).

(photo from Todd Huffman,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Commuter's Lament

Day is done and traveling home is where adventure starts
In some ways fun - in others not - it's all part of the depart

The people watching is great; second to absolutely none
But evening is when the hairdos and the nerves are all coming undone

I'm scanning the monitor again and again
And it's still not too clear which train is coming when

It's hot and sweaty out on the platform
It's definitely hotter than regular warm

I try to figure out precisely where to stand
But the doors are far away and completely out of hand

Once on board, you never know precisely what you'll see
With any luck, that smell you smell is something other than pee

Once I saw blue liquid squishing on the floor
It oozed itself both back and forth, from seats and door to door

Once there was a pile of barf all covered in newsprint
Hope somebody offered that person a Tic Tac or a mint

Once there was a drunk guy making gestures most obscene
No worries - tomorrow I'll recover with a big dose of caffeine!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bites for Summer Nights

As the Stamford Downtown Events blog lets you know, there is a very cool community event coming up on August 11th called A Grand Summer Night. You can RSVP for the event here.

It's a unique event to help purchase art for the downtown Stamford area. It's also unique because it takes place in two different places. It begins at 5:30 at the University of Connecticut Stamford campus with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, and moves on to one of Stamford's best restaurant offerings.

When you RSVP, you indicate your top four choices among the restaurants - first come, first serve for restaurant options, which include:

- Aria Restaurant
- Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar
- Bennett's Restaurant
- BUtterfield8 Restaurant & Lounge
- The Capital Grille
- Chez Jean-Pierre
- Columbus Park Trattoria
- Emme of Capri
- EOS Greek Cuisine
- Ferrante
- Market Restaurant
- Mitchell's Fish Market
- napa & co.
- Quattro Pazzi
- Telluride

There are raffle prizes, including a 42" plasma TV and two $250 Stamford Town Center Gift Cards. The evening also features a silent auction of items like event tickets, pastries, dinner gift cards, spa treatments, beauty treatments, teeth whitening, golf, family events, jewelry, plants, photography and travel.

Your ticket price of $80 buys you your meal, dessert, coffee, soft drinks, tax and tip (no booze - that's extra!). RSVP by July 29th. Click on the Grand Summer Night link above to learn more.

(photo from,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Big Apple Sunday

Tonight, my husband and I went to the second-to-last day of the Big Apple Circus here in Stamford. We really didn't know what to expect, but we had a great time. You should check it out before it's gone. Remaining shows are only Sunday, July 25th at 12:30pm and 4:30pm.

It was absolutely sweltering waiting to get inside, but once we got under the big top, it was easy, breezy and fun. Highlights of the greatest show on our turf include:

- A juggler by the name of Picaso Jr. using Ping Pong paddles and even his mouth to practice his trade.

- The lady on the ribbon (aka, the "aerielist") gorgeously defying death by wrapping fabric around her body above the crowd, releasing her grip and delicately twirling to safety.

- A little girl's dream equestrian performance, featuring horses galloping out of the mist led by a princess look-alike in a flowing gown.

- A giant contraption made up of two floating metal circles with performers walking, jumping and flipping in and around them.

- Crazy talented acrobats in crazy sparkly outfits defying gravity from above (on the trapeze) and below (on the trampoline).

- Tiny men made out of muscle contorted into narrow metal containers and miraculously balanced against each others' bodies in mid-air.

- Shelter puppies made into canine starlets.

Bello the famous and heavily hair producted clown was impressive as well. It wasn't all perfection, of course. We didn't have the popcorn, but we heard depressing and dentist-visit inspiring reviews. Despite the ridiculous heat while waiting to get inside the venue, the $3 bottled water was not kept cold. I found Grandma the Clown a little creepy, but these little setbacks and a small dose of creepitude was a pretty reasonable price to pay for an otherwise captivating two hours under the tent.

(photo from lloydcrew,

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stepping Stones Won't Squash Your Wallet

On Thursday, July 29 from 5-8pm, you can visit Stepping Stones Museum for Children for free. Come out to play for absolutely no pay. The evening is part of the museum's Open Arms initiative, which makes the museum's offerings accessible to everyone.

First County Bank Foundation makes the event possible with a $7,500 grant, so hats off to them. They are also talking part in the evening by offering financial literacy, money and math activities. For more information, click here. You can find Stepping Stones in Mathews Park at 303 West Ave. in Norwalk.

(photo from DieselDemon,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How Not to Pick Up Ladies

My friend KS and I went to the fantabulous movie I profiled on Tuesday, 9500 Liberty. The movie was complex and fascinating, but I can't say the same about our cocktail hour across the street. Ok, the drinks themselves at Telluride were lovely and the bartender charming, but the evening was marred by the saddest excuse for a pickup attempt that I have ever known.

By way of background, both my friend and I are married. The way we communicate that to the world is in this very secret and subtle way: big fat wedding rings. KS and I are in mid-catchup conversation when a man with a face like a hot air balloon and a body to match asks if he can buy us a drink. "Thank you, but we are all set," I say.

He and his budget haircut Indian friend then say "can we sit here?" No problem. I move my purse to the ground so that these guys can randomly sit next to us at the otherwise empty bar. Although I'd moved my purse, they commence aggressive hovering. Then - as if we don't hear them - one guy says to the other "should I proceed?" The other guy responds "proceed!" If that sounds like a conversation one would have before a painful, invasive medical procedure, you're not far off.

The balloon shaped guy asks about the book I am reading. When I begin to answer, he cuts me off to ask another equally inane question. He asks about what we do for a living, and then proceeds to ask questions about said job that demonstrate convincingly that he has no idea what we do for a living.

The next chapter featured a very long dissertation on what he does for a living. I told him with my eyes that we didn't care, but he doesn't speak squinting. After another few minutes of cringe-inducing banter, I explained that my friend and I "enjoyed meeting them but would really appreciate a chance to catch up with one another." In some respects, that did the trick. And yet, someone's butt continued to nudge up against the back of my chair and bump bump bump it for the next half hour - which of course is charming. It was then that my friend leaned over and told me that they too were wearing wedding rings. Extra charming.

So gentlemen, what can we learn from this? I suggest the following tips for picking up ladies:
- Don't be married.
- Don't hit on obviously married ladies.
- When you are planning your sad pickup efforts, you should refrain from talking about them in a way that (1) your targets can hear and (2) reveals that you talk like a Comic-Con devotee.
- If you insist on asking irritating questions you don't really want the answer to, let the woman answer the freaking question.
- If at all possible, don't ask the stupid question.
- Under no circumstances should you ask follow up stupid questions.
- Nobody cares what you do for a living. If they do care, they will ask.
- Don't ask questions that provide conclusive evidence that you are an idiot.
- Pairs of men should feature a minimum of one attractive man. Double wingmen is a recipe for failure.

(photo from Mike Schmid,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Immigration Frustration

Wednesday night, July 21st at 7:30pm at the Avon, check out a new documentary called 9500 Liberty. It chronicles the debate over immigration through the microcosm of Prince William County, Virginia where the powers that be adopted a law allowing police officers to question anyone they suspected of being an illegal immigrant.

The new law, nearly identical to the one recently passed in Arizona, resulted in a fierce community battle. The controversy is fueled by fear, racial tension and the Internet, and the film highlights the impact of those forces on local government.

After the film, there will be a Q&A with producer Chris Rigopulos and immigration attorney Philip Berns.

(photo from Beverly & Pack,

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kid n' Mel Tormé

The only thing I really know about Mel Tormé is that Mr. Night Court himself, Judge Harry T. Stone (aka, Harry Anderson) was a huge fan. As a mid-80s devotee of Night Court, I vicariously dug Mel as well, and there's good reason to like him.

For example, who the hell else would croon to girls in feather encrusted floor length white gowns on motorcycles? (Note to self, now I know where my dad learned his dance moves.)

His son, Steve March Tormé, is headed our way on Wednesday, July 21st at 6:30pm to perform a tribute to his father as part of the Pops in the Park event. It includes a collection of standards and stories about his legendary dad. Check him out at Columbus Park for a mere five bucks. He'll be singing along with a group called Billy and the Showmen. Who knows what the Showmen will do with Mel, but I'm all in favor of their version of Mustang Sally:

Is CNN Money Calling You a Gold Digger?

CNN Money is a big fan of lists. They bring you lists like "Best Places to Live" and "Best Home Values." As Stamford Downtown Events noted, Stamford made the cut for one of the best places to live, but we made another list too. Stamford is number 24 out of 25 on the list of "Best Places for the Rich and Single." They start out by saying "We're not saying you're a gold digger. But you could follow the money to these 25 affluent cities, where singles are abundant."

No digging for me, thanks, but I thought that was pretty interesting given the comments on an earlier post. In it, I asked where all the single men were in Stamford. One comment I got back was, "They're not hiding under a rock, they're hiding on one. It's very large. The locals call it Manhattan. The vast majority of desirable men living in Stamford are already hitched. It's why we moved out of NYC in the first place." So what's the definition of "vast majority?" I'm not sure it's 69.1%, and yet CNN Money says 30.9% of us are flying solo. Huh.

Gold digging aside, I wonder how those numbers make sense. Are all those single folks women? Are the "vast majority" of the single people undatable? I wrote the first post inspired by a friend who is ridiculously datable (and as a result, wasn't single for long). Which one is Stamford? Region of ringlessness or hideaway of the hitched?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Jazz on Wednesday

If you're looking for a little mid-week musical pick-me-up, head to the Stamford Mall (or more fancily known as the Stamford Town Center).

From 6-9pm every Wednesday until August 25th, you can enjoy regional jazz bands playing on the mall patio.

You can drink and dine in one of the six restaurants right there while you listen. Remaining performances are:

July 21: The American Jazz Quintet
July 28: Stamford Young Artist Jazz Workshop
August 4: The Juicy Grapes
August 11: BC Jazz Quintet
August 18: Encore performance from Richard 'Cookie' Thomas & his trio
August 25: The Joe Sinaguglia Quartet

(photo from Alesist,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pedals and Piggies - TOMORROW

The Stamford Nature Center is doing something special tomorrow night. They are inviting you to bring your kids, your bikes, your helmets and a picnic dinner at 5pm for Bike Nights! You can pedal around the place, see the animals settling in for the evening, and play on the playground.

Once the clock hits 8, you can gather in the Observatory to keep up the after hour family fun with the Astronomy Nights program, including a look through the Center's 22 inch telescope. Kids must bring parents, and the event won't go forward if it rains. Cost for the event is $5. To confirm that the event is on, you can call 203-322-1646 x6599.

If you miss it this time around, there's another on July 30th.

(photo from Christopher Isherwood,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What Pairs Well with Arrogant Bastard?

How cool is this?! Coalhouse Pizza is featuring a five course Beer Dinner with the beer from Stone Brewing Company on July 27th at 7pm.

Click on the image next to this blog post to read the menu. It includes some excellent-sounding beers:

- Stone Pale Ale
- Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
- Stone Vertical Epic Ale
- Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard
- Stone Smoked Porter

They will also welcome a guy named Dennis Flynn from the Stone Brewery to tell you about the beer you'll be sampling and how it got from barley to your belly.

It's a pretty sweet value at $45. For tickets, call 203-977-7700 or email them at

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kids Count

Help teach your kids the value of a nickel with an exhibit called "My Money Matters," co-sponsored by First County Bank and Stepping Stones Museum for Children.

Open on Thursdays and Fridays (July 15, 16, 22 and 23) from 11am-2pm and Saturdays (July 17 and 24) from 9am-noon, the event will be held at the bank's 660 Main Avenue location in Norwalk. It is designed for kids from K-5th grade, and includes educational activities on finance and the significance of money for building a sound future. Smart folks from the museum will be on hand to help keep kids engaged.

If you come, you might just win a $100 savings bond or a family four-pack of passes to Stepping Stones.

(photo from Materials Aart,

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pies for Pets

PAWS needs your help, and it's easy to lend a hand. All you have to do is head out to California Pizza Kitchen on July 14th with this flyer in hand. If you present the flyer - any time on the 14th - 20% of your tab will benefit PAWS. Don't forget the flyer - no good without it!

You can read some prior posts on PAWS here (and acres of links in that one).

California Pizza Kitchen is located on 230 Tresser Boulevard in the Stamford Mall. It's open until 10 and serves a mean Miso Salad.

(photo from Sebastian Mary,

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Life is Just a Bowl of Morellos

The other night, I ventured out to the artist formerly known as Gaia to check out their offerings in the local restaurant scene. What used to be Gaia is now Morello Italian Bistro. Named after an Italian cherry (I had to ask what it meant...), the restaurant reborn is a new take on Italian classics that accounts for the new economy. In other words, they have worked hard to keep the quality high and the prices low.

They are eager to get the word out, so they graciously invited me to ask them a few questions and sample their fare. In the interest of full disclosure, the evening was on their dime, but they want you to know they are conscious of your pocketbook as well. They want to be your favorite after work haunt and upscale casual dinner destination, and I think they have the chops to do it.

The restaurant's executive chef, Mark Medina-Rios, is a young man with a big plan. He's just launched a new summer menu to show off the best of the season. It features local produce and herbs galore. I sampled its Heirloom Caprese Salad with tri-colored tomatoes and a hint of lemon, and I had to steady myself from falling off the chair. The Italian mozzarella with a drizzle of balsamic disintegrated on my tongue, and only by the force of will was I able to refrain from licking the plate.

Other palate pleasers that started off the meal were the Whipped Sheep's Milk Ricotta on grilled crostini and the Porchetta. The crostini was an elegant take on a simple bread and cheese, with a pleasant contrast of textures and a tiny kick of red pepper. Porchetta is roasted, thinly sliced pork, and this one was served with pickled red onion and slivers of parmigiano reggiano. A good warm weather dish, it was savory but razor thin so it imparted all the flavor with a light touch.

I tasted two pasta dishes: the Seafood Chitarra and the Garganelli Bolognese. Chitarra takes its name from the guitar-like stringed wooden frame that helps the noodles take shape. I tried to get the chef to strum a tune when they brought it out to show me (no luck), but I was pretty happy to settle for its primary purpose. The seafood dish was delish, featuring calamari, mussels, clams, shrimp and a generous sprinkling of oregano. Garganelli is a tubed pasta with a textured surface that welcomes little settlements of sauce. The bolognese sauce, one of the restaurant's most popular options, is a vegetarian's nightmare with veal, beef and pork. A warm blanket of familiar Italian flavors, it was hearty without being heavy.

As if all these treats weren't enough, they brought out both the Branzino Caponata and the Lamb Chops. Branzino is a mild, sweet white fish. Served with the skin, which is a small deduction for my personal preference, it picked up the lovely summer vegetable fragrance of the companion peppers, eggplant, zucchini and basil. I fully confess my lamb-related bias, but it was a gorgeous dish served with fava beans, wild onions and something that convinced me that sardines aren't so bad after all.

Dessert included Morello Chocolate Signature, a multi-tiered chocolate orgy that I would have shoved into my purse if there were any chance it would have survived the trip. It was served with a milk gelato - who knew that dairy could be a palate cleanser? I also sampled the Fresh Cherries with pistacchios and a prosecco sorbet that could clearly register on a breathalyzer. If I have one regret in life, it is that it took me so long to know that prosecco and sorbet could live together in harmony. Finally, the Dolce Caramel with pecans and a caramel crisp coated my last nerve end and challenged me to roll myself home.

I count approximately 7,000 other fabulous things to say about Morello, but the most noteworthy are:
- They infuse their own flavored alcohol in-house, including raspberry gin and melon vodka.
- The dishes used to present the food are nearly as eye catching as the meal itself. They pair the plates with the food, including rustic dishes on wooden planks, elegant sauces pooled in modern white ceramic forms, and fluffy desserts on textured glass platters.
- The bar area has been remodeled with bright, cherry (appropriately) lighting and a grand, refined bar.
- Morello features local artwork and photos that profile the history of the space's interesting and dramatic architecture.

General Manager, Jimmy Branigan - who was the perfect host with a personality like a bear hug - wants you all to know that Morello offers:
- Live flamenco music on Thursday nights.
- Happy hour "second drink on the house" specials.
- $20 prix fixe lunch menus.
- $10 children's menus.
- BYO wine with no corking fees on Tuesday evenings.
- A tremendous Sassicaia Wine Dinner on July 19th.

They may seem like a quiet place from the outside, but Morello has a lot going on inside. I will be back soon - hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Circus Party Friday

The circus is kicking off the season with a gala event on Friday, July 9th at 7:30 in Mill River Park. You'll enjoy hors d'oeuvres, dinner, drinks and circus performers in action!

There is a live auction, where you can bid on US Open Tickets, Yankees box seats, a spa weekend for four and gorgeous jewelry. There's also a chance to win $500 at Fairway Market. For tickets, visit

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer is for Kicking Butt and Washing Bumpers

Revolution Fitness, pioneer of the undeniably fabulous Boardroom Brawl has a Youth Boxing Program underway starting today. Just might not be too late to start up (couldn't swear to it...but maybe maybe). It runs from today until August 20th, and is open to ages 12-17. It meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 1:30pm at 860 Canal Street. Pretty affordable for this big a fist full of summer fun: $150. For info, contact

And if you can't sign up your favorite teen, support the program by visiting the program's Fundraising Car Wash from Monday, July 12th to Friday, July 16th from 1-3pm at their 860 Canal St. location. Clean car will run you $10 and a generous spirit.

And if THAT'S not enough for you, join in for the club's Summer Celebration. It features sparring, food and loads of entertainment as only they can bring it: boxing, Muay Thai and MMA. Join in on Friday, July 23 at 6:30pm. Price of admission is $10.

(photo from find eric,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Circus is Here!

The tent is going up right this minute! Check it out at Mill River Park between now and noon today. Take that, lack of summer fun! Event organizers describe the tent like this:

The beautiful, gleaming white tent with glowing yellow stars spiraling over the roof and sides can accommodate more than 1,700 people, but with seats no further than 50 feet from ringside, all audience members have an intimate view of the magic and artistry of the Big Apple Circus, a not-for-profit company offering the world’s finest circus entertainment.

The Big Top is 63 feet high at its peak, with a circumference of 440 feet. Made by Canobbio S.p.a. in Castelnuovo Scrivia, Italy, it is supported by four masts 50 feet tall, from which is suspended a twelve-sided cupola frame with a diameter of 50 feet. Ninety-eight side poles measuring 16 feet high support the periphery of the tent. The 35–person tent crew takes up to eight hours to raise the Big Top before the ring, seating, lighting and sound systems can be installed. The tent is air-conditioned for all–season comfort!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Red, White and Happy 4th to You

Happy Fourth of July, citizens!

My husband and I are off to the land of no internet access, but I'll spend my holiday weekend saluting my favorite neighbors.

Check back Tuesday...

(photo from Beverly & Pack,