Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cake by Franck Opens at Foxwoods Resort Casino

Sponsored: Social Media Promotion

Cake by Franck at Foxwoods

There's a sweet new shop at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut - Cake By Franck!  We recently received an invitation to travel up to Foxwoods to sample some of the amazing delicacies and take part in an info session, where we would learn a bit about the cake decorating process, and have our own mini "Cake Wars" decorating contest with some of the media in attendance!

This cute little shop, located directly across from Cedars Restaurant on the Concourse Level of the Great Cedar Hotel, features everything from American classics like pies and muffins, to a super fun Build Your Own Waffle Bar, to finishing tables where treats are frosted to perfection, 

Cake By Franck
Foxwoods Resort Casino

That's right! Cake by Franck offers delicious baked goods, handmade pastries, decadent chocolates (uh, YUM!!!) and other tempting delicacies. Foxwoods is featuring Cake by Franck, as not only a gourmet specialty shop, but also a neighborhood bakery for the community.

I was so taken with Chef Franck Iglesias! Despite his impressive background, he is as humble as they come, and so appreciative of the opportunity to bring his creative work to Foxwoods.

Meet Franck Iglesias
Cake by Franck

Born in Argenteuil, France, just north of Paris, Franck was raised in the food and restaurant business.  While his mother cooked traditional French specialties at home, his father worked as a restaurant chef. So it was no surprise when Franck decided to attend Andorra Culinary School, where he spent two years learning the basics of French cuisine. After graduation, Franck moved to Perpignan to begin a two year program to study and learn the art of pastry making.  

He honed his skills in restaurants throughout France and Spain, working as both chef and pastry chef, until making the bold move to come to America in 2000. He has worked in prestigious restaurants in Connecticut and New York, and Franck’s creative work has been published in Food & Wine, Gourmet, Art Culinaire and Modern Bride Magazines.

In the winter of 2009 a quest for new challenges brought Franck to Foxwoods Resort Casino and the MGM Grand at Foxwoods where was made the Executive Pastry Chef, overseeing a staff of 40 and servicing 34 food outlets. Finally, in 2016, Foxwoods announced the opening of Cake by Franck!

Here's some of the delicacies that await you at Cake by Franck...

Specialty Cakes
Photo Source: Foxwoods

Delicious cookies and Pastries
Cake by Franck

Cake by Franck
Photo Source: Foxwoods

My Favorites - Macarons
Cake By Franck at Foxwoods

Photo Source: Foxwoods

Candied Apples
Cake by Franck at Foxwoods

In addition, there are pre-made candies, decorations, and meringues that you can purchase to decorate a cake of your own.

Cake by Franck

Cake by Franck

We then moved on to our decorating class, where Franck demonstrated the fine art of the pastry bag for decorating.

Franck Iglesias
Cake by Franck at Foxwoods

Did you know that the angle cuts of the tips determine the frosting shapes?  

Cake by Franck - Cake Decorating Tips

And then I plunged in - decorating a plain white cake into this pastel wonder!

Decorating by Bonnie - Foxwoods Cake Wars
Fun at Fox with Cake by Franck

We also were given the opportunity to send our cake to a recipient to use the NEW service offered by Cake at Franck - Air Franck! 

I thought I'd run a mini contest and select a winner from the New England area to share in some of the cake love! My winner was selected at random from Instagram and Facebook - the winner was Kerri G. on Instagram (@SavvyMommyNYC), a fellow blogger from New York, who publishes Raising Three Savvy Ladies

Air Franck is a new service, where the product purchased is 'flash' freezed on premise and shipped to your recipient. 

Air Franck - And some Competitors Cakes

And I got to bring a cake home to the cowboy - his favorite - a fudgy chocolate cake...again, decorated my ME!

Me and Franck Iglesias
Photo Source: Foxwoods

But in the end, there can be only one winner! Our littlest competitor with her Bunny Cake was dubbed the Cake Wars Winner!

Our Winner!
Decorated "Bunny Cake"

Make sure when you are at Foxwoods - to stop in and treat yourself to a sweet ending at Cake by Franck! They're open til midnight Friday, and Saturday! Go ahead - you deserve it!

Cake by Franck

350 Trolley Lane Boulevard
Mashantucket, CT 06338
Location: Concourse Level of the Great Cedar Hotel

Sunday through Thursday
11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Friday and Saturday
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.

Disclaimer: I was invited to this event by members of Foxwoods management and marketing team, however, all opinions are my own. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Weekend at Tall Tales Guest House at the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa

Sponsored: Social Media Promotion

Tall Tales Guest House at the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa

Every year around this time the winter doldrums set in.

Here in New England we can't wait for the days to get longer, the air to get warmer, and for spring to peek its sleepy little head out. When an invite rolled in for me to visit the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa in Old Saybrook CT and experience their new Tall Tales Guest House, I said, count me in!

This weekend getaway was just what I needed to get a jump start on spring fever!

Tall Tales Guest House
Saybrook Point Inn Spa and Marina

On a beautiful sunny Friday in early March, we traveled up to Old Saybrook Connecticut for some rest and relaxation! We had a mid-afternoon check in, followed immediately by a tour of the property with general manager, John Lombardo.

Welcome to the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa

The property is comprised of the main Saybrook Point Inn that has over 80 luxury rooms, two guesthouses -  'Three Stories' and 'Tall Tales', a Lighthouse Suite (currently under construction) (and yes, it is an actual lighthouse), South Cove Cottage, and a Marina with over 100 slips.

Left: Three Stories Guest House
Right: Tall Tales Guest House
Saybrook Point Inn and Spa

Lighthouse Suite at Saybrook Point Inn

Lighthouse Suite at the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa

In addition, there is an upscale restaurant, Fresh Salt, and, the ultimate luxury, an on-premise, full service spa, Sanno.

Fresh Salt at the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa

Sanno Spa at the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa

And as if that wasn't enough, they also have an on premise health club complete with a full gym, exercise rooms, and two pools, one indoor, the other outdoor...and the outdoor pool is open year round!

We absolutely loved our room, with its casual and beachy feel. Our room was the Adriaen Block room, with direct water views, and its own private balcony. Rooms at the guest houses and suites in the inn are named after famous New Englanders, and Adrieaen Block has the distinction of naming Block Island, a fun place to visit and a short ferry ride away from Old Saybrook using the nearby New London ferry. (Read about my earlier trip to Block Island HERE).

Comfortable seating in the Adriaen Block guest room
Front water views of Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River

Balcony - Adriaen Block
Tall Tales Guest House
Saybrook Point Inn and Spa

What I loved best about our room was the gorgeous 'great room' right outside our door. Although shared by all the guest house visitors, I could just imagine family vacationers, or girls weekend get togethers utilizing this space. With a large dining table and a comfortable seating area, it's sure to be a hit with guests! There's also a little kitchenette off the room so staff members can also prepare meals and snacks for visitors!

The Great Room - at Tall Tales Guest House
Saybrook Point Inn and Spa

In addition to the "Great Room" on the first floor, there is a billiards room, and a club room, on the upper floors. All public rooms are available to guests of the Tall Tales Guest House.

After our tour I spend a luxurious hour getting pampered at Sanno, Saybrook Point's on premise spa, enjoying a wonderful massage. Also available are facials, wraps, manicures and pedicures and the staff will be  happy to tailor a visit to your needs. A wide array of products are also available.

Sanno Spa Products

Photo Courtesy Saybrook Point Inn and Sanno Spa:

Right after my visit to Sanno we headed over to Fresh Salt for cocktails and dinner. Fresh Salt is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is known throughout Connecticut for serving one of area's best brunches on Sundays.

We were able to sit out on the patio by the fire pit to enjoy some pre-dinner cocktails due to the unseasonably warm evening before returning to Fresh Salt for dinner.

The cowboy and I did our versions of surf and turf - I ordered one of the evening's specials, the Scallops with BACON JAM (!!!) and he had the mouth watering Filet Mignon.

Scallops with Bacon Jam and Quinoa with Roasted Cauliflower
Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point Inn

Filet Mignon
Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point Inn

After dinner we retired to our room for some relaxing time by the in room fireplace before bedding down for the night. We woke up early enough to see an amazing sun rise over Long Island Sound before heading back to Fresh Salt for breakfast.

Breakfast Omelette at Fresh Salt
Saybrook Point Inn and Spa

We met up with our travel companions Deb & Brian from the Front Door Project (read Deb's post about the historic aspects of the Inn HERE) and Julie and Matt from Happy Strong Home (read Julie's post about her romantic getaway HERE) before heading out to do some solo shopping and sight seeing.

Our Group of Travel Writers

The cowboy and I meandered around the grounds admiring the carved pilings on the dock and then drove to the center of town to do some shopping in downtown Old Saybrook.

Carved Pilings at the Saybrook Point Inn's Marina

After our excursion we headed back for lunch at Fresh Salt, enjoying a delicious Cobb Salad and a Flatbread Pizza.

Cobb Salad: Lunch
Fresh Salt at the Saybrook Point Inn

Flat Bread Pizza: Lunch
Fresh Salt at the Saybrook Point Inn and Sp

We had such a fun weekend enjoying the Tall Tales Guest House at Saybrook Point Inn and Spa for some relaxing time, great food, and fun. The grounds were absolutely beautiful and I can't wait to return when the weather is warmer and the flowers are all in bloom!

We loved getting 'away from it all' at the Tall Tales Guest House. While it is just across the street from the main inn - it is just far enough away that you have a bit more privacy from the hustle and bustle of the busy hotel and marina.

In fact, we felt like we had rented our own private 'beach cottage' for the weekend!

As the afternoon faded to dusk, we said goodnight to our beautiful guest house, Tall Tales, and promised her we'd be back!

Tall Tales Guesthouse
Saybrook Point Inn and Spa
Thanks to our hosts for an amazing weekend getaway! 

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa

19 Bridge Street
Old Saybrook, Connecticut

Reservations: 860.395.2000

Disclaimer: We were invited to the Saybrook Point Inn by members of the Inn's marketing and management team, however, all views, opinions, and our experiences are our own. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

New Haven Restaurant Week Spring 2016

It's BACK!  New Haven Restaurant Week for Spring 2016

Join in the fun beginning Sunday, April 3 through Friday, April 8, 2016

Twenty-eight of New Haven’s restaurants are featuring $20.16 lunch and $34 dinner prix fixe menus.

Participating restaurants will offer  multi-course, prix fixe menus! Many will include an appetizer, entrée and dessert.

Reservations are highly recommend, so call and reserve now!

Participating Restaurants for #NHVeats: 


Bauli's Panettone Berry Trifle for Easter

Luca Manfe's Panettone Trifle With Red Berries

Here's a great recipe to use for Easter dessert that's not only delicious (AND EASY) but will look perfect on the holiday table!

What would be better than a  bright and colorful Bauli's Panettone Berry Trifle!

Photo Courtesy of  5W Public Relations

To make this already-simple recipe even easier, Celebrity Chef Luca Manfè, winner of Masterchef Season 4 (see bio at end of post) takes you step-by-step in this How-To video! And the entire recipe is found below, courtesy of the great folks at Bauli!

Bauli's Panettone Berry Trifle


 (4 serving)
•1 Panettone
•2 cups of Raspberries
•1 cup of sugar
•4 tbsp Marsala
•1 cup Mascarpone
•2 cups Custard cream
•2 tsp Vanilla extract
•2 cups Fresh cream


Cut the Panettone cake into slices eliminating all of the upper crust. Then cut into cubes and place the cut Panettone in glasses.

Pour the raspberries into a bowl then marinate with lemon juice, 250 ml sugar and 4 tbsp Marsala wine in a saucepan.

 Whisk the 250 ml mascarpone cheese until creamy then gradually add in the 500 ml cream and 2 tsp vanilla extract, stirring constantly to properly combine all the ingredients.

Begin the trifle by placing a layer of cake on the bottom of the cup followed by a layer of berries and a layer of mascarpone cream.
 Finish with whipped cream and add some berries.

Put the trifle in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
After one hour, it will be ready to serve.

Ingredients for the Mascarpone Cream:

 1 cup chilled whipping cream
 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
 1/4 cup sugar
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 1/2 cup milk


 In a stand mixer combine mascarpone, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla in a large metal bowl.
 With an electric mixer on high, beat until the mascarpone cream starts to seize and thicken.
 Turn mixer speed to low and slowly drizzle in milk, beating until well combined.
 Keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

For more great recipes visit

About Luca Manfè

Chef Luca Manfè has been in the restaurant business since he was 16 years old, working in a pub in his small hometown in Northeast Italy. When he turned 21, he started to travel the world, working in Italy, Australia, Florida, and New York.  He had the privilege and honor to work with great chefs, experiencing ingredients and techniques from different cuisines. Ultimately, he landed in New York City, in pursuit of the American dream.  Fast forward ten years, and Luca has certainly achieved what he set out to accomplish. Today, Luca is a successful cookbook author, releasing his first cookbook, "My Italian Kitchen," in May, 2014.  He also runs a small catering company called "Dinner with Luca," and serves as brand ambassador for Italian confectionary company, Bauli. Luca is the first male (and non-American) to win the title of MasterChef USA.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Community Plates 2016 Food for All Showcase

to Showcase 
Fairfield County’s Newest Restaurants and Craft Cocktail Bars 

A Benefit to End Food Insecurity in Fairfield County
Wednesday, May 4, 2016,   
Abigail Kirsch at The Loading Dock, Stamford, CT

Photo Courtesy of MaxExPR

Community Plates, the technology-fueled, direct-transfer food rescue organization dedicated to ending food insecurity in America, is thrilled to present their signature fundraising event, “Food for All”. 

The event highlights Community Plates’ goals for the coming year, celebrates its accomplishments, and pays gratitude to the many volunteers and supporters who share in the desire to put an end to food insecurity in our community.

Food for All, in keeping with Community Plates’ forward thinking and innovative practices, features Fairfield County’s newest restaurants and artisans who have just recently entered onto the local dining scene.

Also included within this unique format are Food for All’s signature craft cocktail bars, which this year will be presented by the mix masters of The Restaurants @ Harbor Point Stamford; Paloma, Sign of the Whale, and Fortina.

 “Since launching in 2011 Community Plates Fairfield County has already picked up and delivered over 8 million meals at a value of over $13 million to local food insecure people. This means over 12 million pounds of food has been kept out of landfill and gone to where it’s needed most. Powered by our proprietary  technology and our innovative hunger relief model,  every bit of this food has been rescued by over 320 volunteer food runners from our area., “ says Kevin Mullins, Executive Director and co-founder of Community Plates, “This event is a double whammy of fun and impact. Last year we were able to rescue and deliver over 1.5 million meals with the funds we raised at the event and we are hoping to make an even larger dent in Fairfield County hunger this year.”

 Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about Community Plates and their software application, the organization’s award-winning web and smartphone enabled interactive food rescue scheduling tool. The technology connects food-service organizations that gather and donate food that would otherwise be wasted; to food runners, who give of their time to pick-up and deliver food donations; to the receiving agencies that ensure donated food gets to those in need throughout the community.

Event Details:

When:     Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 6:30-9 PM

Where:     Abigail Kirsch at The Loading Dock

                375 Fairfield Avenue, Stamford, CT 06902

Price:      Ticket Price: $100 , groups rates available

More Info:

Purchase Tickets:

 Featured Restaurants: (as of 3/16/16)

  • A New Vietnamese Noodle & Breakfast House Matt Storch
  • b.good
  • Blind Rhino
  • Boothbay Lobster Co.
  • Chez Vous
  • Del Frisco's Grille
  • El Segundo
  • Franklin Street Works Café
  • Judy’s Bar & Kitchen
  • Lithos
  • Noir Stamford
  • Old Greenwich Social Club 
  • Tavern 489
  • WUJI
Craft Cocktail Bars:
  • Fortina
  • Paloma
  • Sign of the Whale

About Community Plates

Founded in January 2011, Community Plates is committed to ending American food-insecurity through direct-transfer food rescue. Established as a 501(c)3 non-profit food-rescue platform, Community Plates is focused on transferring healthy, usable foods to where it can help feed those in need. This volunteer-driven, technology fueled process coordinates with restaurants, grocers, bakeries, caterers and other food-service organizations who have foods destined to be thrown away and delivers the food to soup-kitchens, food-pantries and other hunger relief organizations who serve food-insecure individuals and families. Community Plates currently operates in Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Albuquerque, NM; Fairfield County, CT; New Haven, CT; Hartford, CT; New Orleans, LA; with plans to open seven additional sites in 2016.

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