Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vote Yes On Holiday Goodness

Stamford Downtown is merry and bright - don't forget to vote for the best hall decker at the Downtown Special Services District website.  You could win a $100 gift Capital Grille gift card!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shop Local for the Holidays!

 photo from christmasstockimages.com, google images
Guest post by the best friend a girl could have, TK:

Looking for those last few holiday gifts?  Need a hostess gift for your neighbor’s Christmas party? Consider purchasing some gifts made and sold by local merchants.

We recently stopped by Half Full Brewery in Stamford (43 Homestead Ave) to pick up a couple of 64 ounce growlers of their inaugural brew.  This beer is not just a tasteless light beer that happens to be made down the road.  It was light and crisp, with layers of flavor.  Half Full just opened its doors in August 2012.  It is well worth a visit, for sampling or to pick up a few growlers as gifts.  They’re open every Tuesday and Friday from 4-7pm for growler fills and sampling, and every other Saturday for tours, sampling, and growler fills.

If beer isn’t your thing, try a box of chocolates.  Chocopologie, the beloved SoNo institution, officially opened its Stamford location in November. I wrote up a little sumpin' sumpin' about them just yesterday. And don't forget about their downtown chocolate predecessor who's been coating your strawberries for years, Schakolad Chocolate (172 Bedford).

If you’re looking for even more options, SoNo Marketplace (314 Wilson Avenue, South Norwalk) just opened its doors on December 1. This former factory space has been renovated to include rows of rustic stalls, occupied by local craftsman, artisans, and specialty food merchants.  You can buy everything from pickles and olive oil to jewelry and antiques.  SoNo Marketplace will also be hosting culinary demonstrations, weekend feasts, and other family activities.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Chocopologie

photo from  Kirti Poddar, flickr.com
My lovely friend JB and I hadn't caught up in approximately 3,000 years, so we set our sights on a little afternoon out at one of Stamford's newest sweet spots: Chocopologie (213 Main). I'd been to their Norwalk location a few times, and was always impressed.

In Norwalk, they had a great selection of salads and savory fare, but unsurprisingly, it was the truffles, cupcakes and acres of chocolate goodness that really made the grade. I even took a cupcake decorating class and learned how to make a frilly icing flower...so freakin Martha Stewart.

I'm still taking the 101 class at the Stamford location, but so far, it's making me smile. It's a teeny, tiny space, but it packs a lot of lovely punch. There are dramatic glass apothecary jars filled with chocolates as pretty as jewels. There are brownies and cookies galore. I was taken in by the gelato case, and helped myself to a mix of chocolate and hazelnut. Both flavors were delicious. JB snagged a small hot chocolate, which was amazing and could pretty much be cut with a knife. As she rightly said, it tastes like a liquid chocolate bar.

Just as appetizing was the decor. Classic furniture pieces with dramatic flourishes painted in white were upholstered in a unique printed burlap edged in red. There was a box full of Lincoln logs (that my son tried to eat) on a gracious coffee table and pretty candles and artwork displayed all around. Chocopologie managed to convey a wealth of style despite the pinched square footage.

We had an excellent visit (although my about-to-not-be-a-baby-anymore baby kept us on our toes!), and I would definitely come back for more.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Run, Turkey, Run!

photo from Andrea Westmoreland, flickr.com
So did you parade it up with the Lorax and friends?? Seems like that event has gotten exponentially more awesome every year. We loved the Fraggle and the dance teams. Uniondale is always the best marching band, and they didn't disappoint.

Your local Turkey Day fun is far from over.  You can run off those extra giblets at the 12th Annual Shippan Turkey Trot. You have to check out the pictures on the website to see what they've been up to for the past 12 years.  There's skippin sumos, lumbering Lincolns, kickin ketchup bottles, marathoner Mario Brothers and even a bouncing baby turkey.

Come see your neighbors all decked out in their craziest costumes running for a fantastic cause.  Donations go to Shelter for the Homeless, which provides welcoming space for up to 100 people and hot meals every night.

Join in the fun at 280 Ocean Drive East between Shippan and Fairview on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22nd at 9:30am.  The racecourse is just under 2.5 miles and you can see it here. Better be ready to run at 10am because it starts right on time!  Bring canned food or cash/checks to support the Shelter and participate in the race.

Go to the Turkey Trot website above or email tomhynes@gmail.com for more info.
Or take a look at this video I shamelessly ripped off their website:


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sandy Damage in CT

Sandy was awful, up and down the tri-state, no question. New Jersey got it the worst, that seems clear. Parts of New York are still without power, and people are suffering. Still, one thing that bothers me is that nobody seems to be talking about Connecticut.

The big media chains are focused on New Jersey and New York, but a little online searching reveals some horrible devistation in Connecticut. Apparently, Milford was devistated. At least one video I found shows a person's yard filled with boats in Rowayton. I found one NYT video about Stonington, but that one was a rarity.

I don't mean to diminish the suffering of others, but I do wish that the media would recognize that Connecticut wasn't spared, and there are people in need in our backyard too.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Most Exciting Thing Ever!

I knew Chocopologie was opening its doors soon, but I was THRILLED to learn exactly when! CT Bites says they are welcoming us with truffled open arms along with music, champagne and (shockingly) chocolate on November 11th. See CT Bites for more.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Local Fun for Halloween

photo from wwarby, flickr.com
Ok, so between a surprise business trip overseas and a sick baby at home, I've been a Grade A slacker on the blogosphere, but with Halloween tricking and treating its way to my door, I had to make some time. 

So you're wondering what you can do to pumpkin spice up your season?  Here are a few ideas:

- The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze requires a little bit of a drive, but it's worth it if you have the time. If you can get yourself up to the Hudson Valley, about half an hour away, you'll see over 5,000 jack o'lanterns carved by hand displayed in crazy shapes and configurations.  There are pumpkin skeletons, pumpkin underwater scenes and pumpkin vampires flying overhead. Ok, some of the pumpkins are not-so-much-real-as-fake but the effect is amazing.  The whole landscape just glows with Halloween ghouliness. You can also get seasonal snacks and gifts. Last time we went (not last year - I was too pumpkin shaped myself to enjoy it), we had a blast. It sells out quick, so get those tickets soon! Right this minute there are tickets available for Oct 31 and Nov 4, 9, 10 and 11.

- The Bartlett Arboretum & Garden (151 Brookdale Rd) is hosting its second annual AMAZEing Halloween. Apart from the misspellings, it looks like an excellent event. Underway on October 27-28 from 11am-4pm, it features a Halloween maze, a "Monster Mash" costume parade for kids and pets, an Outdoor Explore Classroom, face painting, magic shows, pumpkin painting, balloon animals and other fun kiddie craziness. It's free with a suggested donation of $5/car. You can also learn more about the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem NY and meet its wolf mascot, Atka (for an additional fee of $6 for adults and $4 for kids; call for tickets to that event: 203-322-6971). 

- Looking for something decidedly less kid friendly and more twisted? A bit outside the season, but creepy enough to carry over, The Avon's (272 Bedford St) Cult Classic "Wake in Fright" is on display Thursday, Nov 29th at 9pm. $6 for members; $8 for students/seniors; $11 for non-members. Apparently the long lost negatives of the 1970s film were found in Pittsburgh, PA just before they were to be destroyed, and the film's been completely restored. The theater describes the movie as follows:

"Alongside MAD MAX and WALKABOUT, WAKE IN FRIGHT is widely acknowledged as one of the seminal films in the development of modern Australian cinema. Directed by Ted Kotcheff (RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD), the film tells the story of a British schoolteacher’s descent into personal demoralization at the hands of drunken, deranged derelicts while stranded in a small town in outback Australia. Virtually unseen in the United States and renowned in its home country after years of neglect, WAKE IN FRIGHT is ripe for rediscovery and returns to cinemas beginning this
Fall.

WAKE IN FRIGHT originally made its debut at Cannes in 1971, where it earned a Palme D’Or nomination. The film made its return to the festival in 2009 courtesy of guest-curator Martin Scorsese, following the completion of a comprehensive restoration. It was there where WAKE IN FRIGHT held the honor of being one of two films to have been shown twice in the history of the festival. The film is lauded for its stark and uncompromising vision by champions such as Roger Ebert who said it is “powerful, genuinely shocking and rather amazing,” and celebrated musician/songwriter/screenwriter Nick Cave, who said the film is “the best and most terrifying film about Australia in existence.”

Monday, September 24, 2012

Guffaw and Order

photo from laffy4k, flickr.com
The Fairfield County Bar Association provides a good way for lawyers in the area to network and learn a thing or two, but it's not all business. They also do some good!

This Thursday, September 27, the Fairfield County Bar Foundation is hosting a comedy night featuring Greenwich's own Jane Condon at Dragonfly (488 Summer Street). 

Proceeds go to local charities dedicated to improving access to justice for those in our community impacted by poverty, abuse and discrimination.

The event gets underway at 7:00pm, and just $50 gets you unlimited wine, beer and comedy goodness.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

So...Much...Going...On...This Weekend!

photo from hodgers, flickr.com
If you're bored this weekend, you're really not trying. There is an obscene amount of cool stuff on this weekend.  Here is a sampling:

- Arts & Crafts on Bedford. This weekend from 11am-8:30pm on Saturday and 11am-6pm on Sunday, Bedford tells traffic to shove it and tells 80 groovy vendors to come on down. I always start thinking ahead to Christmas and get the first thing or two to stick under the tree from these local folks. It means I support artists in my area and get a jump on holiday shopping. Some of my favorite purchases have been hand carved wooden bowls, clever artwork and pretty pottery. Come find a treasure!

- Health and Wellness Event. If you haven't been yet, this weekend is the perfect opportunity to check out Stamford's Chelsea Piers (One Blachley Rd). The Health Wellness & Sports Expo 2012 has 75 exhibits in addition to demos of dance and fitness activities. There will be famous athletes (not too clear who...but still...).  You'll also get to learn about alternative medicine, nutrition, weight loss, kids' health, pets' health and a jillion other things. It's on both Saturday and Sunday from 11am-5pm, and you can come in the door for zero dollars. Donate a little shelf stable food for the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County and you get a raffle for a health-minded prize - or if you forget to bring a can or two, fork over five bucks.

- Hawk Watch Festival & Green Bazaar. Also this weekend from 11am-5pm, the Greenwich Audubon (613 Riversville Rd, Greenwich) hosts its Hawk-a-palooza. It celebrates the annual hawk migration right over your head and features live animal shows, games all about nature, guided hikes, environmental info and green vendors. There's a Birds of Prey show at 1pm and at 3pm plus a rehabilitated bird will be released into the wild at 4pm. There's live music at 12:15 and 2:15 by Nick Marino (on Saturday) and Matt Turk (on Sunday). It's $10 for non-members and $7 for members. There's far too many activities to capture, so click on the link to learn more!

- It's My Park Day. See the latest at Mill River on Saturday from 11am-4pm alongside a big fat collection of kids fun: face painting, crafts, storytelling, pony rides, bounce castles, music and hot air balloon rides. Your kids can help the park powerhouses pick the creatures on the carousel and see how they are made. You'll also get the latest scoop on what's up with park construction.

 - Egyptian Festival. Rock like an Egyptian with traditional foods, regional souvenirs, kids' activities and more at St. Peters and St. Andrew Coptic Orthodox Church (132 Glenbrook Rd). It's free admission and open from 11am-8pm both Saturday and Sunday.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"Will Next Be Installed in Stamford"

This was the blessed phrase I read in the "Mileposts" publication this past week.  It's the triple fold pamphlet that the MTA leaves on Metro North seats for commuters to flick onto the floor and trample all over.  Who reads those, you might say?  Me, apparently...

The big fat take away for me appeared under the heading …As Well As Our Real-Time Information…and said that platform signs with real time information about trains will be coming to Stamford!

Here's why this is deeply meaningful. Commuters like me now camp out in the waiting area above the tracks gawking slack jawed at two small monitors with train info. During peak hours, trains might be mere moments apart but take drastically different amounts of time to get your suited seat to work. For example, the 7:22 takes 49 minutes, where as the 7:25 takes 57 minutes.

The monitor says generally what the deal is - but it's entirely possible at at 7:23, you could be stepping on either version of this train.  Generally, as each train approaches, you hear Charlie Brown's teacher grumbling overhead and a hushed, worried whispering of "do you know which train this is??"

What an innovation to have an electronic board overhead that says "hey dummy! this ain't your train." It seems ridiculous that this didn't happen ages ago, but I'll take progress whenever it chugs along. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gene Means Go

photo from the euskadi 11, flickr.com
So if you know Stamford, you know that Gene Wilder is a resident and big time cheerleader for The Avon (272 Bedford St). He regularly appears to show off some of his favorite flicks and offers his fans a good ol' fashioned Q&A.  I've always wanted to go, and I've finally put my credit-card-over-the-phone where my mouth is.

On Wednesday, October 17th starting at 6:30, The Avon will host a reception and a presentation of Stir Crazy.  It's a classic, pairing Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor - and the whole thing is directed by Sidney Poitier. See the description of the movie below (care of The Avon). Mr. Wilder will be there to answer all your burning questions, and his wife Karen will moderate. Tickets are $35 for non-members and $25 for members. Call 203-967-3660 x2 to join me there.

After the excellent audience response to their teaming in SILVER STREAK, Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor reunited for this zany comedy, directed by Sidney Poitier. Wilder and Pryor play a couple of out-of-work numbskulls who take a promotional job that requires them to dress up like gigantic woodpeckers. Unfortunately, a pair of thieves, likewise decked out in woodpecker suits, pull off a bank job not long after Wilder and Pryor make their first public appearance. The boys are arrested and sentenced to 120 years each. After a concerted and hilarious effort to make the best of things “in stir,” Wilder and Pryor break out of jail, hoping to track down the genuine thieves.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Boca Loca(l)

Ok so I admit it, I was really bummed out when Telluride closed its doors...but some time has passed, and I'm ready to love again.  So what's going on behind the wooden panels at 245 Bedford?  They are hard at work building Boca. It's opening in the fall and there will be Mediterranean food on the menu...but I don't know much more than that. Still, it's exciting to think about what's coming down the block!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Few Restaurant Notes

photo from jenny downing, flickr.com
So what do you need, oh Restaurant Patrons of Stamford?  A few things came across my desk that I thought you might find interesting...

Gluten free options? My friend (and former boss) KS had a gluten problem, and it was certainly an eye opener for me.  She had a tough time at restaurants, but in general, she found some good options at Mexican restaurants. Bar Taco - right here in our back yard - offers just those same benefits.  They tell me their menu is 90% gluten free!  Skip out on desserts and quesadillas, and you've got a 100% gluten free experience. If you're looking for the perfect excuse to drop in on Bar Taco, check out their Monday to Friday 5-6:30pm happy hour. They offer five specialty cocktails for just five bucks!  Happy hour is just in Stamford for now but just might creep into other locations too.

Football fun? I don't really speak "football," but the word on various streets is that people who do need just the perfect venue for a fantasy football draft party. Rodizio Grill wants you to know that they are the place to be. Camp out at the bar or snag a private party room for up to 3 hours. TVs on sports channels, Wi-Fi, great food (I can say with confidence) and drink specials - all the ingredients for a sweet draft event.

Burgers with benefits? One of my new favorite additions to our food scene is Station Eats. They have fabulous burgers with all kinds of groovy sauces and toppings. This month, they also have a good cause in mind.  They are raising money for the American Diabetes Association with a specialty healthy veggie burger created by a local tween, Ashley Dunnam. She's and they are raising awareness about the ADA march on October 6th starting at Trinity Catholic High School. If you'd like to walk along, write Andrea Dunnam at adunnam@diabetes.org. They also offer decadent shakes, including this month's red velvet cupcake shake. For a few nickels more, you can get shakes with a little booze!  Station Eats also offers foosball, cornhole, outdoor seating and a darned good time.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It Only Took Seven Years...

Seemingly ages ago, I set up a reminder in Google to alert me when there were news items about Highgrove, the luxury condo complex a stone's throw from our place.

It seemed like a good idea at the time because in 2005, it seemed like only a matter of time before the fancy neighbors would be bringing in the big bucks. I'd like to be in the loop.

I'd long forgotten about the Google alert, so my eyebrows went up through my hairline when I got an alert this evening saying Highgrove would go up for rent starting next month! Wha...!!

I must say, I'm really happy it won't be an empty shell, but it's remarkable to think of how far it's fallen. Back in the day, circa 2006, there was a promotional for the condos - starting at $2.3 million - you could get your own puppy. I remember thinking, that better be a damned fine dog.

Fast forward to 2010 and delay after delay, there were at least four lawsuits pending. In 2011, the whole thing went into foreclosure and had a total of zero bidders. I'd nearly given up on it, and figured it was a pretty bookend to our block, but the Stamford Advocate tells me Starwood has since stepped in and there will be a grand opening in the late summer (which sounds about like right now).

Rental prices will be from $4,000 to $9,000 - downright cheap when compared to a multi-million dollar mortgage. The article's positive outlook on rentals in our area made me smile too. Rent, own - whatever - just come sustain downtown fun and games, and I'm happy.

Ok so they don't get a new puppy, but our new neighbors get a pretty nice little corner of the world - and if they bring their pocketbooks along with them - maybe they'll help make it even nicer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Little Review of Bar Q

My fabulous friend, who wishes to remain a mystery, wrote up the following for your enjoyment. I love the okra comments especially. Made me want to check it out! Enjoy:

Unfortunately, I did not pay very close attention to the d├ęcor.  The layout is basically the same as Hula Hanks, with a new bar, furniture, flooring, etc., and without the swings.  Casual and rustic, with no sticky surfaces detected.

The service was prompt, attentive, and pleasant.  Our server answered all of our questions patiently, and even gave us a heads-up that the pulled pork did not come as a standard sandwich with bread, but rather just straight up pulled pork. Much appreciated.

We started with deviled eggs and meatball sliders. The deviled eggs were tangy and smooth with a slice of pickled okra on top. I am pleased to report there was no trace of slime on the okra. These were very good, but not a must-have if there are other items that catch your eye. The meatball sliders had great flavor, but the texture was a little mushy. We were sort of lukewarm on these.

For the next course we ordered the pulled pork, brisket, ribs, and sweet potatoes. The pulled pork was tender and juicy. It was an excellent vehicle for the sauce, which had a nice vinegar kick. The all-day smoked flavor really came through in the brisket, which was thinly sliced and tender. One member of our party thought it was a little dry, but others appreciated the fact that it was not as fatty as your typical Jewish grandma’s brisket.

The ribs were the favorite dish of the night all around: perfectly cooked and falling off the bone.

Finally, the sweet potatoes. While we appreciated that the sweet potatoes were topped with granola and brown sugar rather than marshmallows, one member of our party thought the extra brown sugar rendered them too sweet. The other gladly ate the entire bowl.

Overall, the food was very good. We particularly appreciated the fact that Bar Q offers small plates, priced appropriately. The majority of dishes on the menu were $4-$6. No surprises with a $20 morsel of nothing.

Bar Q seems to be reasonably kid-friendly. The service was fast, pleasant, and attentive. Two thumbs up for Bar Q, and we will be returning.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

President Obama is Coming to Stamford on Monday

Thought you'd like to know in case you (Obama)care.

Meat Your New Neighbor



I was the luckiest duck because I got invited to attend the opening of the newest addition to the local restaurant scene, Plan B Burger Bar. You know that empty spot between P.F. Chang's and the entrance to the mall? That's where they've set up shop. It's an odd sort of corner, but the perfect place to carve out a little piece of burger and bourbon heaven. In the interest of full disclosure, my husband and I got some great grub totally gratis, but I wouldn't say the following if it weren't true. Here's my take!

Opening night was a blast, featuring a red carpet and photographer to beef up (pun intended) the glam factor. We entered through a sleek, modern hallway. The shiny silver bull's head up top was the perfect metaphor for the menu: stick-to-your-ribs traditional fare with a trendy, modern twist. DJ Rachel played a quirky combination of Amy Winehouse and Billy Ocean. There were white roses in Mason jars on the tables, and a gracious appetizer table of meats and cheeses.  

So what else did I see? The furnishings are masculine and elegant in black leather and dark wood. The right side of the restaurant is dominated by a massive and impressive bar with red pendants and "meat hook" light fixtures. To the left, there's upscale (and sort of sexy...) seating under a clever neon (M)EAT sign. The floor is a combination of black and white tile and dark wood. Overhead there is a stamped silver ceiling in most of the space and a beautiful woven bronze colored ceiling over the bar. There is seating up and down the bar area including a little patio out front. 

More importantly, what did I eat? Although dinner was the burger bar equivalent of tapas, we did not go home hungry. One small gripe, which you won't have, was that we didn't have plates and utensils for most of the food. Still, making due with a napkin or two was a small price to pay for an excellent evening. We started out with chicken and waffles. Points to Plan B for something unique!  If someone said to me "I'd really like chicken and waffles" in Stamford, I would have had not one other suggestion. It was fun to eat, served sandwich style, with fried chicken and greens in between thick bready goodness. At the same time, we were served BBQ pork and jalapeno corn bread. The pork was well cooked, if a bit light on the sauce, but the cornbread was a real stunner - yum - moist and drool-inducing. 

One of my favorites was the jalapeno mac n' cheese. Served in charming, tiny, fluted and square shaped cups with itty bitty plastic spoons, it was far too delicate for my complete demolition of it. It was creamy with a kick that woke you up but didn't knock you down, and it came equipped with a crowd favorite: bacon! It coated every nerve ending I brought to the table. 

I felt a similar affection for the grits with corned beef hash and a pint sized fried egg (I'm guessing quail, but with loud music and no menus, it's hard to be sure). The corned beef was flavorful and decadent, the grits were a happy reminder of my Southern roots, and I'd love to duplicate the dish at home for brunch.  

We also sampled thick cut onion rings, delicious little hush puppy-like morsels (fried cheese polenta maybe?) and a scallop that didn't sway me (I've always thought of scallops as seafood flavored bubblegum, but maybe one day I'll be persuaded otherwise). 

Of course, burgers are the very literal name of the game here. The website touts their good practices: natural beef, no antibiotics, no hormones, certified humane and ground daily onsite. They were kind enough to let us bring our 7 month old along for the big event, and babies at night are sort of a ticking, crying time bomb, so we couldn't stay too long - but we didn't want to leave without sampling a burger. We were not disappointed! The Cuban slider featured mustard brimming with seeds and popping with flavor, and it was cooked to perfection. My husband snagged a second slider - perhaps sesame? hard to say - but whatever it was, it was delish! I wish we'd had more time to soak up the burger bliss, but we got a fantastic preview of what Plan B is all about. 

I was impressed, and my husband was too. Plan B would be a perfect after work or evening venue for drinks with unique and delicious food. I would go for a night out with friends or for a work event. I'd bring my family too - heck, I already did!  Upscale burgers are a welcome trend, and I'm thrilled to see it hit the Stamford mall. Well done (sorry...pun still intended...) Plan B!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Steaming Hot Cup of Info on Your New Coffee Neighbor

photo from maywong_photos, flickr.com   
I was thrilled to get the big fat coffee scoop on Lorca Stamford from the very woman bringing it our way. Here are a few of the tidbits she was kind enough to pass along:

- What's she working on? Perfecting her donut recipe (a thing worth waiting for if I've ever heard of one).

- What's on the menu? The shop will serve lattes, cappuccinos, espresso, cold brewed iced coffees, pour-over single-origin coffees, bulk brewed coffee, teas from Steven Smith, traditional Spanish churros, and chocolate ganache dipping sauces for the churros. So far, she's got hazelnut and dark chocolate on the menu. *drool...*

- But wait! There's more! If that weren't enough, she's contemplating some other amazements that cost me 4,000 calories just to write them: a crema catalana, a s'mores donut, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, a lemon meringue, and a key lime graham donut. Good Lord, woman - you just blew my mind...

- So who is this lover-ly lady, anyway? She oh-so-charmingly describes herself as "a total fat kid who loves to eat bad food and play with recipes" - Amen, sister!

- How will she make my day extra fancy?  Her schmancy lattes/cappuccinos will feature equally fancy designs on top, like hearts, ferns and rosettas.

- What's her shop's style? Modern, Spanish rustic. You'll see Spanish tile, reclaimed wood, handblown glass fixtures and antique metal chairs. Not too many seats: 10-12, but lots of opportunities for taking your goodies along with you.

- When does she open her doors? Hopefully October 1st.

 So come the fall, show our new neighbor some love. I'll be first in line!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Can it be!? New Coffee Shop on Bedford St!

My keen eyed buddy, LP, wrote me to say I should go check it out - there was a new coffee shop en route to Bedford Street!  I was on vacation and busy surviving a cranky baby's reaction to half a billion hours in the car, and proceeded to both celebrate and then immediately forget about it when I got home. 

Luckily, we took a stroll around the block tonight and - all of a sudden the clouds parted and the angels sang - and there it was!!!  It's Lorca Stamford at 125 Bedford and I already love it. 

My new hero's website is adorable but kinda sparse. She explains that she went from architecture to unemployment to a reconnection to Spanish roots and churros/capuccinos. She got her coffee legs at the fabulous and award winning Neat in Darien and now she's coming to make Bedford a little more awesome. You can see some of her progress on her blog.   

She says she's opening her doors in the fall, so I'll be very busy holding my breath until then.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fondue for Fido

photo from jinwesst, flickr.com
OPIN is not just a misspelling of the opposite of closed - it's also the Outreach to Pets In Need. They are an organization devoted to finding homes for homeless animals, and they are having a fundraiser on June 27th from 5-10pm.

Join them at the Melting Pot (14 Grove Street in Darien) to support their good cause.

You gotta make reservations, so call 203-656-4774 to put your name on the list! There's a prix fixe menu with appetizers, salad, entree and dessert for $44.95/person. You can have a veggie option if you ask for it.

Each meal you enjoy is $5 toward helping OPIN's mission. You can also see pictures of animals who need a good home - who knows? Maybe you'll find your next best friend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Weekend Shenanigans

What are you up to this weekend?  No clue?  Lemme help...what about:

- Go see firefighters doing their best Iron Chef impression. It's the Second Annual Fairway Market Firefighters Food Face-Off. It's underway on Saturday, June 16th at noon in the Fairway parking lot (699 Canal Street), and it features a grilling competition between local heroes from Noroton Heights, Darien and Stamford. Go cheer on your favorite and enjoy free samples, music and giveaways.

- Enjoy a fun, outdoor charity event with dad for his big day! Serendipity Magazine is hosting an event called Horsing Around for Charity. On Sunday, June 17th from 1-5:30pm at the Greenwich Polo Club in Greenwich, enjoy great food, experts BBQ (the art of summer!), live music by the Short Bus, microbrews, shopping events and facepainting for kiddies. There's also a competition for the craziest pants - how Father's Day-ish! Tickets are $40 in advance or $45 at the door, but kids 12 and under are gratis! The event supports the efforts of Pegasus Therapeutic Riding, which offers therapeutic riding for children with physical, emotional or cognitive special needs.

- Do some good in the world! This Sunday, June 17th at 9am, get your hands dirty at Rogers International School doing a little landscaping. Bring your weed-whacker, your gardening gloves, your kids and your community spirit to help put a little polish on a local resource. Meet at 9am on school grounds at the flag poles (202 Blachley Road in Stamford). RSVP to Jeff Cordulack of Audubon Greenwich at 203-613-8813 or at jcordulack@audubon.org.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wednesday Warning: Total Eclipse of the Art

So Franklin Street Works, our officially awesome art enclave, has a very cool event on tap for WEDNESDAY (aka tomorrow) night. It's a night o'entrepreneurship called S#!T/Storm (you'll see why) with two special guests:

 - Sam Sagnella, the brains behind EveryTornado.net, a site devoted to tornado education through first hand video.

- Jeff Schram, designer and programmer who of Schram Industries who did some crazy Twitter data gathering experiments on his oh-so-cleverly named PoopStats.com. He's taken on the very important cause of tweeting "#pooping" - which apparently describes the contemporaneous activity of said tweeter - klassi! 

The event features a little talkin, a little lookin and some fancy pants social media-n'.

It's everybody's favorite price - FREE - and gets underway from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at Franklin Street Works on Wednesday, June 13.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Horses are Here!

This morning, beefy guys in neon colors were putting the ponies in place all over town! Hooray! Some are gaudy, some are groovy, but all the sculpture series horses scream summer to me, and it's made me smile. Check them out and be glad for shorts, shades, surf, sand, the soon-to-be arriving Plan B Burger Bar in the mall and all the sunny goodness the next few months have in store.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Garden Paaaarty!

flickr.com, Rob Ellis'
The Bartlett Arboretum is launching its summer concert series again. We went a few times last year, and it was tremendous. The setting is lovely and the music is always good.

For $10 ($6 if you're a member) you can watch a great little concert on the grass. Bring a picnic dinner, a bottle of wine, chairs/blankets, your squirmiest kids (if they're under 12, they're free) and you're all set! The event takes place from 5-7pm every summer Sunday from June 24th to August 12th.

First up, on June 24th, it's Orrin Star who has racked up awards playing banjo and mandolin in a style described as "Arlo Guthrie-meets-Doc Watson." He made enough of an impression that Garrison Keillor invited him to play on A Prairie Home Companion, and a good way's back he was the National Flatpicking Champion. Here he is playing Stars and Stripes Forever on the mandola.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sick!

photo from MarilynJane, flickr.com
So I'm sick...and not just in the head this time. Coughing, sore throat, fun stuff. So I need something to get my mind off my body and get excited about summer. Here's what I've come up with:

- Hope in Motion. This weekend, on Sunday, June 3rd, the annual race is on again. Registration is open now, and you can sign up right here. The event benefits the Bennett Cancer Center at the Stamford Hospital. It starts at Columbus Park, and you can walk it, run it or bike it. Walking or running? It's a 5k. Biking? Your choice of 10, 20 or 50 miles(!). It's a great community event, a lot of fun and a good cause all rolled into one. Besides, my husband looks cute in shorts.

- Horsin' Around Stamford Downtown. For the past five years, Stamford's summer calling card has been set in sculpture. It's always exciting to see what the artists make and learn about the theme of the year.  This time around, it's all about horses. There will be 40 originally designed fiberglass horses all over town on display from June to August. You can check out artists' progress if you pass by what used to be the music store near the downtown Target. You can also attend an opening party for the big event on June 12th. Be sure to RSVP by June 4th.

- Bedford Street Promenade. Starting June 16th, for three Saturdays from 6-midnight, Stamford Downtown is offering the Bedford Street Promenade again. It was so much fun last year. The street is closed to traffic and open to pedestrians. Restaurants up and down the street have extended outdoor dining - places like Bradford's, Brick House, BUtterfield 8, Lola's, Picante, Remo's Tengda, Tigin and the brand new Hudson Grille. The Hudson Grille folks have put up their new sign - I'm excited to check it out!

Alright, I'm off to get better...*cough cough!*

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mavis Staples in Concert

It's not everyone who can say they were proposed to by Bob Dylan, but Mavis Staples can. That's a nice little piece of trivia, but Ms. Staples is a living legend. Mavis Staples was named by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and by VH1 as one of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll.

You can see her in concert in Greenwich on Saturday, May 19th. She and Rob Mathes will appear at Christ Church Greenwich (254 E. Putnam Ave., Greenwich).

You can buy tickets online here (just scroll to the bottom). Rob Mathes, identified by Maya Angelou as one of her favorite African American spiritualists, will join the lineup along with Tawatha Ageewho (who regularly performs with Aretha Franklin).

Tickets are $40. Pretty sweet deal for such an amazing evening!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Cherry Blossom Festival This Weekend

photo from Joe Shlabotnik, flickr.com
My friend TK asked me what was the deal with the Cherry Blossom Festival, so I did a little due diligence and here's what I know:

What is it?
- The event is a collaboration between the Mill River Park folks and Sakura Matsuri, which is the Japan Society of Fairfield County.
- It's not clear to me how far along the project is today, but the plan for the park includes cherry tree walks with over 100 cherry trees.

What events will there be?
- A karate demonstration from 11:30 to 11:50.
- A shamisen performance from 12:00 to 12:20. Shamisen is sort of a three-stringed guitar. You can see it in action in a crazy duel here.
- A Samurai Sword Soul Dance from 12:30-12:50. I don't know what that is, but it sounds like it kicks ass.
- A Taiko Masala drum performance from 1:45 to 2:10. See an example here.
- A kendo demonstration from 2:30-2:50. Kendo is martial arts + swords. What could go wrong?

Throughout the day, you can check out:
- Japanese sake tasting
- Magna & Anime on display
- A tea ceremony
- Kimono dressing
- Origami workshop
- Sumie (Japanese brush painting) workshop
- Dr. Robot demonstration (I have no idea what that is...but I'm dying to learn)
- Water yo-yo (ditto)

When is it?
- The event is on May 5th from 11-3pm

Where is it?
- You can join the party at Mill River Park by entering on Washington Boulevard across from Columbus Park

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bonsai Says I

photo from http://www.geograph.ie
Just in time for Arbor Day Weekend, the Stamford Nature Center is offering up something pretty cool.

Join them for The Art of Bonsai April 28, 10am to 5pm and again April 29, 11am to5 pm in the Bendel Mansion's Great Hall.

Those lovely little green works of art will be on display and a group called The Yama Ki Bonsai Society will be on hand to answer questions and explain how it's done. Just pay your way to get in the gate and the rest is free!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

We All Live at The Avon

photo from bredgur, flickr.com
One of our best local resources - if you ask lil' ol' me - is The Avon Theatre. Not only to they bring us the finest in arty farty movies, they also feature quite a few cool and special feature evenings. 

Here are two that caught my eye:

1. An Evening with Frank Langella. On Monday, May 14th starting at 7pm, The Avon is showing the Connecticut premiere of Robot and Frank, an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival and starring Mr. Langella. Frank Langella is one of those actors that I know that I know...but couldn't quite place him until I recalled that he was Nixon in Frost/Nixon. He was tremendous! 

The event features a Q&A with Mr. Langella himself moderated by Joe Meyers, the CT Post's film critic. Tickets come with a copy of his new book, Dropped Names

Pick up a ticket ($25 for members/Carte Blanche and teachers; $35 for everyone else) by calling 203-661-0321 or stop by the box office. 

2. The Beatles' Yellow Submarine. On Thursday, May 24th at 9pm and again on Saturday, May 26th (mid-day, time TBD), The Avon will show the digitally restored the classic 1968 mop top movie. The CD is also being re-released. The animation has been painstakingly restored, frame-by-frame. There will also be a raffle for a T-shirt from Imaginations Smoke Shop in Stamford. Tickets will be free for Carte Blanche, $6 for members, $8 for students/seniors (Thurs show only) and $11 for everybody else.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

New Restaurants!

So, a very special source (aka, my husband) heard from a little ol' birdy that a new restaurant is moving in next to the not-so-old Mexican addition on Bedford, Picante. The new addition is a chain out of White Plains called Hudson Grille. It's moving into 128 Bedford Street, and it looks gorgeous! The interior design from the pictures is a little bit like BUtterfield8. The menu features upscale offerings like Chilled Watermelon Gazpacho and Lobster Cobb Salad (good! because I miss the one they had at Teluride...sad!). You can see what else your belly has in store for dinner here. They also offer a brunch menu, which is SO exciting, since I've been dying for a decent downtown brunch.

Bedford Street will also be welcoming a new place called Boca at 245 Bedford Street. I don't know a thing about it other than the name, but I'm excited to have another eatery popping up in our backyard. If you have any scoop on Boca, let me know and I'll spread the word.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Toast to Good Health

On April 14th from 7:30pm to 10:30pm, join The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in their effort to fight cancer by raising a glass of wine or beer and enjoying some tasty treats. Their event is called Hops & Grapes, Toasts & Tastes, and it will be held at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk (303 West Avenue). There will also be both a live and silent auction. This is their third time hosting this event, and they're hoping to echo their same past success, raising about $50,000. Come help them meet their goal! Tickets are $75 or two for $125. For VIP tickets (that include a deluxe gift bag, raffle ticket and wrist band supporting the cause), tickets run $100 or two for $175.

Prefer to get out into the sunshine? The group is also hosting the Pineapple Classic 5K on May 19th. It includes obstacles, and registration is open now!

 Contact Kristen Angell for more information 203.665.1400 or Kristen.Angell@lls.org.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rodizio Roundup

Streets of Stamford kicked butt in his write up of the excellence that was the pre-grand opening of our newest meat-tacular restaurant, Rodizio Grill, but I'll add my 3.5 cents and say that it was well worth the trip.

The basic concept is that you have this powerful little dowel with a red end and a green end. Turn the green end up, and you are flooded with a table full of meat. Steak, chicken, creatures wrapped in other creatures - delicious (if not kosher). Turn the red end up, and they give you a breather. You can also enjoy appetizers and a very generous salad bar. Their definition of "salad" is something to love - it includes hot dishes, rice, black beans and other deliciousness. Needless to say, you will not leave hungry.

It is fantastic that the giant hole that Houlihan's left has now been filled, and Rodizio is a solid choice. Guests at my table included me, my husband and our newborn - this was his first restaurant experience, and blissfully, everyone survived. Restaurant patrons had no need to fear us - the joint was jumpin and it was too loud to be bothered by babies. Our son was on good behavior too, and although we juggled the baby between the meat flood, we all had a good time. That being said, I think this place is made for a slightly bigger group. The ladies next to us were flirting with the cute waiters, joking, laughing and generally having a fantastic time. The big size of the place, the big size of the helpings, the social nature of how the food is served - it's perfect for a big night out with a boisterous crowd. And fussy babies won't turn heads either - also good to know!

Here Today, Bobby Flay

Celebrity chef, Bobby Flay, was in our backyard today profiling Stamford's newest addition to the culinary scene - on wheels!  It's the MELT Mobile (Veterans Park/Landmark Square - across from Old Town Hall), and it's all about grilled cheese. Stamford Plus has some nice coverage about the new rolling resto. You can also read about it on the Lunchbreak Chronicles and Omnom CT. What I can give you are a few shots from the event today. Above is the MELT truck on the scene and below is Bobby Flay guiding it into a parking spot to get his show on the (virtual) road. 




BE ON TV TONIGHT

I just read a Facebook entry from DSSD saying Bobby Flay will be out in front of Lucky's from 6:30 to 8:30 - free food and maybe 15 minutes of fame! Go check it out!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What are you doing this weekend?

We are doing the most exciting thing imaginable - our taxes. Here are a few ideas that you might find slightly more appealing:

- Rock some tacky green duds at the St. Patrick's Day Parade which starts at noon on Saturday, marching first down North Street and south on Bedford then west on Main. You can see pictures from past events here.

- Check out two cool events at the Audubon Center in Greenwich. On Friday there's a Slow Food Potluck and Full Moon Hike from 6:30 to 10pm. If you bring a potluck item for between 4-6 people (local or organic if you can!) and pay ten dollars, you can enjoy a lovely evening of great food and a moonlit hike. RSVP by calling 203-869-5272 x239. On Saturday, there's a Family Bird Watch from 1-2pm. You can see birds that stayed local and those returning from warmer climates as well as help report numbers to the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. RSVP by calling Ted at 203-869-5272 x230.

- Fairway Market (699 Canal St) has a special event on Saturday. Food experts Peter Romano (Produce Director), Steve Jenkins (Cheesemonger), Tony Maltese (Seafood Director), Ray Venezia (Master Butcher), Benny Lanfranco (Master Roaster - aka, coffee!) and other food pros will be sharing their foodie know how and offering samples from 11am-3pm. For example, sweets to sample include cookies such as Chocolate Sea Salt, Dulce de Leche and Apricot. Demos, samples, all sorts of free goodies - what's not to like?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Restaurant Week! Underway NOW!

Warm up with Winter Restaurant Week :-)

Girls Gone Well

photo from rosmary, flickr.com
I'll confess that I've never made my way to the Stamford Jewish Community Center (corner of Newfield Avenue and Vine Road), but there's good reason to change that come March 15.

From 8:30am to 1:15pm and again from 5:30pm to 8:30pm, they are hosting an event called Women Living Healthy in 2012.

It will cost you nada, and includes a full slate of events to put a spring in your Spring. Most of the events require that you sign up in advance (see below), so get on it!




8:30am to 1pm
Health Screenings for a host of health risks: cholesterol, glucose, pulmonary function and cardiac risk. There will also be chair massages and mammograms at the Mobile Wellness Center (call 203.276.5990 for appointments). 
8:30am to 9:15am
Fitness Classes: TRX circuit and meditative yoga. Space is limited and sign-up is required (call 203.322.7900). 
8:30am to 9:15am
First County Bank Lecture: Building the foundation for financial wellbeing. 
9:30am to 10:15am
Fitness Classes: Feldenkrais (I had to look that one up...) and Hip Hop.  Space is limited and sign-up is required (call 203.322.7900).  
9:30am to 10:30am
Stamford Hospital Panel: Women's Health Concerns: Span of Life for Women featuring Daryl Weiland, MD, OBGYN; Fran Ginsberg, MD, OBGYN, fertility and reproductive endocrinology; Donna-Marie Manasseh, MD, breast surgeon. 
10:45am to 11:30am
Fitness Class: The Miracle Ball Method. Space is limited and sign-up is required (call 203.322.7900). 
10:45am to 11:45am
Stamford Hospital Panel: Genetics & Nutrition: Being in-the-Know -- Erin Ash, genetic counselor; Darlene Negbenebor, MD, gastroenterologist; Lynda Mezansky, MS, RD, CDN; and Joseph Feuerstein, MD, director of integrative medicine. 
11:45am to 12:30pm
First County Bank Lecture: maximizing your finances for a healthy future. 
11:45am to 12:30pm 
Fitness Class: Active Yoga. Space is limited and sign-up is required (call 203.322.7900). 
11:45am to 1:15pm 
Food Demo presented by Sugar and Olives
12:30pm to 1:15pm 
Fitness Class: Feldenkrais. Space is limited and sign-up is required (call 203.322.7900). 
5:30pm to 7:30pm 
Health Screenings for cholesterol and glucose. 
5:45pm to 6:30pm 
Fitness Class: Zumba Plus. Space is limited and sign-up is required (call 203.322.7900). 
6:30pm to 7:15pm 
First County Bank Lecture: achieving financial independence; investment strategies for retirement and risk management. 
7:30pm to 8:30pm 
Dale Atkins Lecture: Finding and Sustaining Wellness: It's all about balance -- followed by book signing of "Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life." Event sponsors are First County Bank and Stamford Hospital. 

Event sponsors are First County Bank and Stamford Hospital.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New to me!

Granted, I've been living in a baby-fueled hibernation, but two new additions to the downtown scene jumped out at me in the last few days. You may think this is old news, but if you haven't been cruising around too much (like moi!) you might find my two cents on two new stores interesting.

First after the early death of Houlihan's on the ground floor of Target, that big fat space sat vacant for ages. BUT NOW there are promising signs in the window advertising something called Rodizio Grill. Never heard of it? Me either - but it bills itself as "the" Brazilian Steakhouse. Nice!

Their website proclaims their outspoken Braziliness: "As Ambassadors of Brazil, we welcome you to our home and invite you to celebrate with us the warmth, alegria, and abundance of Rodizio Grill's authentic Brazilian dining experience." It also features waiter types displaying an impressive collection of meat on skewers (somehow that sounds dirty...). Here you'll see a terrible picture of the window, but it gives you the idea. Their website indicates that it's opening March 2012. I'm eager to see if they make that space "the" place to be.

In the Ridgeway Shopping Center (you know, the one with useful stores and a useless parking lot) there's a new storefront called Hand & Stone. It's a massage joint! And not even the skeevy kind!! I'm pretty pumped about this new neighbor. They have some local specials, which you can see here. There's a menu of their services here. It includes old favorites like Swedish and Hot Stone Massages, plus some things I've never heard of - Cranial Sacral? There's a good selection of facials and waxing on more parts than you'd ever want to think about. I'm already planning my day there - spend 45 minutes looking for a parking space, completely stressing myself out in the process and then crushing the knots in my shoulders with hot stones...