Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Fun Girls Night Out - The 2017 Holiday Edition!

Coming to the Oakdale Theater for One Night Only - the Fun Girls Night Out team is partnering with the hilarious Off-Broadway show "Twas a Girls Night Before Christmas, The Musical"

A Clear Vision Productions annual event since 2008, Fun Girls Night Out is a celebration of women, coming together to learn, laugh, eat, drink, shop, and enjoy an evening with girlfriends. This year’s holiday theme promises to be the girls’ event of the year, with added fashion, beauty, health, lifestyle, gift ideas, and entertainment that’s sure to heighten the holiday spirit. 

Appropriately, "Twas A Girls Night Before Christmas, The Musical", brings together a cast of five women whose holiday stories will have you laughing, crying, empathizing, and cheering as they take the audience through what only women can appreciate.  In addition to classic Christmas songs and contemporary hits that will have the audience singing and dancing along, the show is guaranteed to resonate with anyone who has survived the holiday season, from long visits with in-laws to overcrowded malls.

The backdrop for this one-of-a-kind event is the stunning Toyota Oakdale Theater. This all-in-one event venue and theater will make for a convenient and enjoyable experience for all. Event highlights include; shopping, mini-beauty make-overs, great food, photo booth photos, pink carpet paparazzi, psychic readings, signature cocktails, and of course, the Fun Girls Night Out signature Pink SWAG Bag. 

A variety of ticket packages are available for groups and VIP perks, ranging $39-$89. VIP tickets include VIP swag bag, meet & greet with the cast, VIP seating, and many other perks sponsored by Viso Bello Day Spa and Aria Medical Aesthetics.

“I’m thrilled to be able to offer this kick off to the Holiday Season to our Fun Girls Night Out fan base, as well as introduce new attendees to what has become known as the girlfriend event of the year. To think, we’re right back to where we kicked off our Connecticut debut of Fun Girls Night Out 10 years ago,” beams Clear Vision Productions Founder Charlene Chiaro of her over-the-top events throughout Boston, New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester, and Connecticut.

Holiday Girls Night Out is giving back and supporting the Columbus  House by collecting new bath towels and men's and women's socks.  Tis the season for love and laughter – and a Holiday Girls Night Out!

More information and ticket purchase: www.fungirlsnightout.com
Vendor Participation: charlene@aclearvisionproduction.com

Toyota Oakdale Theater
95 S Turnpike Rd
Wallingford, CT 06492

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Cook and the Bear in West Hartford

Social Media Promotion: Sponsored

We finally made it! The Cook and The Bear is one restaurant I had been waiting and waiting to have an opportunity to visit. I loved the origins of this great collaboration between Millwright's chef and owner Tyler Anderson and the talented Jamie McDonald of Bear's Smokehouse. 

The Cook and The Bear - Table Setting
Made on Premise BBQ sauces
served in cute lil' honey bears

The duo first came together at a farm to table dinner, and then paired up in a series of pop up dinners. The sheer popularity of these dinners demanded a permanent pairing, and hence, the inception of "The Cook and The Bear" resulted in a win win!

Small and cozy and located in the heart of West Hartford's popular Blue Back Square, the Cook and the Bear continues to win over the locals and offers up a casual barbecue menu in a fun setting. 

Fresh Pickling Going' On!

Patrons order off a cute clipboard menu that features small bites, salads, sandwiches, snacks, entrees after 5pm, and smoked meats, sides, and combos.

The Cook and the Bear Clipboard Menu
The Cook and the Bear Clipboard Menu

A small but satisfying beer, wine, and cocktail menu is also available that features some fabulous specials!

So many of the cocktails at The Cook and The Bear are made with fresh ingredients. The marinated cherries served in many of the drinks are marinated on premise in bourbon and are incredibly delicious! So good that I thought they were made of chocolate!

Drinks at the Cook and the Bear
Drinks at the Cook and the Bear
(Left) Draft Beer.   (Right) 90s 2.0 Appletini 

Wendy from CT Lifestyles and I shared this fun cocktail found below - the Tom Selleck! It was fruity-juicy, potent, and oh so tasty! And it was served up in a fresh scooped out pineapple. 

Another great thing about their cocktail menu is that there are 'mocktails' available of several of their offerings - for those that want the flavor but not the 'punch'!

After sipping on some cocktails we moved on to our appetizers and starters enjoying everything we sampled! A simply MUST ORDER when you visit are the bacon wrapped dates! 

The Cook and The Bear Grilled Corn
Grilled Corn, parmesan, poblano

The Cook and The Bear Bacon Wrapped Dates
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Chorizo Stuffed - Spiced Yogurt 

The Cook and The Bear Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
Everything Bagel Spice

The Cook and The Bear Pork Rillette and Fried Green Tomatoes
Crispy Pork Rillette - Fried Green Tomato
Sauce Choron

The Cook and The Bear Burnt End Sliders
Burnt End Sliders
Flavors of French Onion Soup 

The Cook and The Bear Chicken Wings
Charcoal Roasted Chicken Wings
Sesame Seeds - Buttermilk Dressing

Believe it or not - after sharing all those starters we found a little bit of room to move on to some smoked meats and proteins. We sampled some delicious thick cut pastrami, chicken, short ribs, and briskets.

The Cook and The Smoked Meats
Chicken-Smoked and Grilled
Smoked Brisket

Did someone say BURGER??? 

The Cook and The Bear Rodeo Burger
The Rodeo Burger
Wagu Beef - Cheesy Sauce - Onion Rings

And accompanying our proteins we ordered an assortment of sides. 

Traditional in their origins, but each had such an interesting twist. Wonderful flavors to add to our meal! Mac and Cheese Gratin, Broccoli Casserole with Rodeo Cheese and Crispy Shallots, Cabbage and Fennel Slaw, and Grits with Fennel Jam. 

Hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to it would be that amazing Broccoli Casserole!

Well, our dinner wouldn't be complete without dessert, and The Cook and The Bear rose to the occasion with some seasonal happy endings! 

Think of flavors like pumpkin pie, and apple spice, and you've got  just a bit of an inkling of what's in store for you at this incredible new barbecue restaurant!

Be sure you visit The Cook and the Bear soon!

The Cook and The Bear

50 Memorial Road
Blue Back Square
West Hartford, CT

DISCLAIMER: We were invited to this sampling by members of The Cook and the bear's management and marketing team, however, all views and opinions are our own.

© Home Place 2017

Thursday, November 2, 2017

New Haven Restaurant Week - Fall 2017

New Haven Restaurant Week for Fall 2017

Fall, food, fun, feast, and prix fixe - it all comes together for one week in the Elm City when New Haven launches their delicious RESTAURANT WEEK!

For one week - participating New Haven Restaurants throw open their doors and offer some amazing deals and menu items! Some for lunch specials, some for dinner specials, some for both! There are some prix fixe specials that you simply must try!

Running Sunday, November 5th through Friday, November 10th - treat yourself to a fab meal during New Haven Restaurant Week at one or more of over thirty participating restaurants!

Participating New Haven Restaurant Week Restaurants:

116 Crown (203) 777-3116 http://www.116crown.com
Adrianna’s  (203) 865-6474 http://www.adrianasnewhaven.com
Atelier Florian  (203) 859-5999 http://atelierflorian.net
Barcelona (203) 848-3000 http://www.barcelonawinebar.com/location/new-haven/
Read about my 2013 Restaurant Week visit to Barcelona HERE
Basta Trattoria (203) 772-1715 http://www.bastatrattoria.com
Caffé Bravo  (203) 772-2728 http://www.caffebravo.com
Caseus Fromagerie Bistro (203) 624-3373 http://caseusnewhaven.com
Cask Republic (475) 238-8335 http://caskrepublic.com 
Read about my 2012 dinner at Stamford's Cask Republic HERE
Christopher Martin’s (203) 776-8835 http://www.christophermartins.com
Read about my 2013 Restaurant Week visit  to Christopher Martin's HERE
Elm City Social (475) 441-7436 https://elmcitysocial.com
Fornarelli’s Ristorante (203) 745-5677 http://fornarellisristorante.com
Goodfellas (203) 785-8722 http://www.goodfellasrestaurant.com
Harvest Wine Bar & Restaurant (203) 777-2500 http://harvestwinebar.com
Read about my 2015 Restaurant Week visit to Harvest HERE
Heirloom (203) 503-3919 http://www.heirloomnewhaven.com
John Davenport’s (203) 974-6858 http://www.johndavenports.com/enews/index.html
L’Orcio (203) 777-6670  https://lorcio.com
Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale  (203) 691-6619 http://ljfishtale.com/page/19694-New-Haven-Lunch-Specials
Mecha Noodle Bar  (203) 691-9671 https://mechanoodlebar.com 
Read about my 2016 visit to Mecha for dinner HERE
Miya’s Sushi (203) 777-9760 http://www.miyassushi.com
New Haven’s Taste of China (203) 745-5872 http://www.tasteofchinaus.com/newhaven/
Olea (203) 780-8925 http://www.oleanewhaven.com
Olives and Oil (203) 891-5870 https://www.olivesandoil.com
Pacifico (203) 772-4002 http://pacificonewhaven.com
Prime 16  (203) 782-1616 http://prime16.com
Roía (203) 200-7045 http://roiarestaurant.com
Shell and Bones (203) 787-3466 http://shellandbones.com/restaurant-week
Read about my 2016 visit to Shell & Bones for Restaurant Week HERE
 Soul de Cuba Cafe  (203) 498-2822 http://souldecuba.com
Tarry Lodge  (203) 672-0765 http://newhaven.tarrylodge.com
Read about my 2017 visit to Tarry Lodge for Restaurant Week HERE
Tre Scalini  (203) 777-3373 http://www.trescalinirestaurant.com
Read about my 2012 visit to Tre Scalini for lunch HERE
Union League Cafe (203) 562-4299 http://unionleaguecafe.com/menu-new/
Make sure if you visit one of the participating restaurants during restaurant week that you tag #NHVeats and #CTRW and follow the hashtags for some looks at some amazing fare!

Fresh Market - Taste of the Holidays

The Fresh Market "Taste of the Holidays" Sampling Event

Photo Source: The Fresh Market
Photo Courtesy The Fresh Market

One of the BEST holidays is almost here! 

Thanksgiving has got to be one of my favorite times of the year! It's all about gorgeous fall weather, family, friends and GREAT FOOD!

I mean, really! Who doesn't love the sweet and savory flavors of the fall holiday season! One of my favorite places to shop for holiday meals is my local Fresh Market store. Lucky for me there's one about10 miles away from me in Guilford CT at the Guilford Commons! Find one near you HERE

The Fresh Market is THE destination for fresh and delicious holiday food! 

Not convinced? 

You can sample a little “Taste of the Holidays” at your local Fresh Market's Sampling Event on Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12 (my birthday!!) from noon to 4 p.m. at ALL of their176 store locations!

The specialty grocer has selected holiday menu items available for sampling to spark meal ideas in advance of the Thanksgiving feast. 

That's right! The Fresh Market invites you to sample their mouthwatering, vegetarian-fed, 100 percent antibiotic-free thanksgiving turkey – never frozen and unmatched in taste and tenderness. 

Also featured at the event will be The Fresh Market’s spiral-sliced honey ham, double-glazed with honey and brown sugar and smoked over hickory hardwood – prepared to conveniently heat and serve at home. You can also savor some of their delicious side dishes during Taste of the Holidays, including The Fresh Market’s signature cranberry relish with just the right balance of sweet and tart. Perfectly spiced pumpkin pie, baked fresh in-store, will end the event on a sweet note – along with other traditional seasonal favorites made simple for the busy holiday season.

It only gets better! Now through Monday, November 20, The Fresh Market is offering holiday meal ordering for a simplified, foolproof Thanksgiving feast. The Fresh Market’s holiday meal ordering program is specially designed for guests who crave delicious, gourmet dishes prepared to perfection, as well as the comfort and convenience of a personalized order ready, reserved and waiting.  Uh-huh! Let The Fresh Market do all the food prep for you!

For those who savor the experience of cooking their Thanksgiving meal from scratch, The Fresh Market offers choices such as fresh turkey, beef tenderloin and lamb that can be purchased and prepared at home according to favorite family recipes. From a deluxe holiday dinner that serves 12-14 to a selection of à la carte items, the 2017 holiday meal ordering program delivers maximum flavor and minimum fuss to satisfy everyone at the Thanksgiving table.

After placing an order online or in-store, you can pick up a holiday spread at your local Fresh Market store by 10 p.m. on Tuesday, November 21 and Wednesday, November 22 and, in all store locations outside of Hingham, MA, by 3 p.m. on Thursday, November 23. 

Orders can be placed at thefreshmarket.com/holiday-meals.

About The Fresh Market, Inc.

Founded in 1982, The Fresh Market, Inc. is a specialty grocery retailer focused on providing fresh, delicious food with friendly service in a warm and inviting atmosphere. From seasonally fresh produce to exceptional quality meat and seafood, signature baked goods and thousands of organic options, The Fresh Market is dedicated to offering its guests the most delicious and inspiring foods available. 
As a destination for weekly shopping and special occasions, The Fresh Market provides a thoughtful product assortment curated for all tastes and culinary preferences. The company operates 176 stores in 24 states across the U.S. 
For more information, please visit www.thefreshmarket.com or follow The Fresh Market on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wine On9 New Haven

One of my favorite events returns this Friday - the fabulous wine crawl through New Haven's Historic 9th District!

Wine On9 New Haven!

On Friday, November 3, Town Green District and The Wine Thief present an evening to remember with Wine On9

Visit the friendly 9th Square merchants & restaurants and sample over a dozen wines selected with the holiday season in mind. Find out how to pair these delicious wines with your favorite holiday meals, or purchase some to bring as a gift to parties. 

What a great opportunity to find your new personal favorite to enjoy all year long!

Free  parking  at  the Temple  St  Garage! 
Raffle Prizes!  

Registration  opens  at  5:45 pm  at  Baobab Tree Studios.

Participating Merchants for Wine On9:

116 Crown | 116 Crown St | New Year’s Eve Party

Artist & Craftsman Supply | 821 Chapel St | Crafting Holiday Fun

Baobab Tree Studios | 71 Orange St | Registration & Holiday Story Recordings

Breathing Room Yoga | 216 Crown St | Essential Holiday Healing

Capture Salon | 100 Crown St | Holiday Pampering

Ciivies | 845 Chapel St | Vintage Cocktail Party

EBM Vintage New Haven | 839 Chapel St | Holiday Table Settings 

EcoWorks | 262 State St | Build a Cork Trivet

Fletcher Cameron Design | 91 Orange St | Christmas in the Kitchen

Fornarelli's Ristorante | 99 Orange St | John’s Special Mulled Thanksgiving Sangria

G Café | 141 Orange St | Bread and Tapas

Make Haven | 266 State St | Laser Cut Snowflake Ornaments

Meat & Co |116 Crown St | Day After Thanksgiving

NHV Pride Center | 84 Orange St | Photo Booth Fabulosity

Reynold's Fine Art Gallery | 96 Orange St | Gift Guide for Art Buyers

The Institute Library | 847 Chapel St | Literary Selections for the Season

The Wine Thief | 181 Crown St | 15% case discount & 10% discount on single bottles of wine from tour, beer & spirits! After the tour ends at 8 pm visit to the enter raffle!

VOVO Organics | 28 Orange St | All Organic Holiday Gifts

Purchase tickets HERE

And save the date *Friday Dec 1st* for Cookies On9

Here Comes the Third Annual Great Mac and Chili Challenge

Get Ready to Celebrate Comfort Food at Its Finest!

Get ready cuz it's back! 

The 3rd Annual Great Mac & Chili Challenge to be held Sunday Nov. 5th at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. 

“You never know where you might find a great chili or mac n' cheese” say event director Jim Keenan. “For example, you wouldn't expect a great mac n' cheese from a pizza joint, would you? Well you can find an incredible Alfredo Mac recently entered in this year from Pizza Planet in Norwalk”. 

That's just one example as you can find other examples like a great pesto mac n' cheese from the Cast Republic in Norwalk or a spinach and artichoke mac from Killer B also from Norwalk. 

All of the chili entries are just as amazing. From local classic favorites to creative chili entries like a Yankee white bean and seafood chili from Harbor Harvest in Norwalk and a green hatch chili from Geronimo in Fairfield. 

“Your taste buds will be dancing” says Keenan!

This people's choice competition determines who has the best classic chili, creative chili, classic mac and creative mac n' cheese! And everyone who attends will be  given a spoon, ballot and pencil when they arrive. That's right! YOU'LL BE THE JUDGE!

You'll rate each entry on a scale from 7 to 10.5 and the restaurants with the highest rating average in their category will be declared this year's champion. 

“I love how seriously everyone takes this event” said Keenan. “First, they grab a complimentary coffee or tea from the New England Coffee Company or Harney & Sons , then discuss their strategy about whether they start their day with chili or a mac n' cheese. They bring a muffin tin from home to carry their samples. Some break-up and head in different directions and meet in the middle to discuss who they think are the best and compare ballots.. They take their voting seriously as they know it determines who is declared the best”. Keenan says it's great fun and to come early, come hungry and bring your muffin tins! 

Joe's American Bar & Grill from Fairfield along with Pizza Planet from Norwalk recently joined the competition that now includes: Firehouse Grill in Monroe, Hub & Spoke in Blackrock Bridgeport, Little Pub from Wilton, Fairfield, Ridgefield and Greenwich, Prime 16 from Orange, The Blind Rhino from Norwalk, Cask Republic in SoNo, Stamford and New Have, Geronimo of Fairfield and New Haven, Harbor Harvest of Norwalk, Simply Delicious of Norwalk and Westport, Burger Bar & Bistro in Norwalk, Peaches Southern Pub & Juke Joint of Norwalk, Bobby Q 's Cue & Company of Norwalk, Killer B of SoNo and Old Post Tavern of Fairfield. 

Those who attend can add Hummel hot dog “bites” to either their chili or mac n' cheese samples grilled up by the DogTracks food truck. 

To cap all the sampling, attendees can enjoy sweet samples of Farmer's Cow ice cream and milk, or try amazing cookie dough form the CT Cookie Company and grab a sample of those famous NECCO wafers! 

The Great Mac & Chili Challenge 

11AM to 3PM on Sunday Nov. 5, 2017 
Sherwood Island State Park in Westport CT. 
$15 Adults at the door or online HERE
$5 Kids 6-12
Parking:  FREE

For additional information please visit the event website: www.MacAndChiliChallenge.com 

The Great Mac & Chili Challenge is sponsored by: The Farmer's Cow, New England Coffee Company, Hummel Brothers, Cabot Creamery, Connecticut Cookie Company, New England Confectionery Company, Acadia brand water, WEBE 108, Clover, Lowe's, Harney & Son Teas and City Carting & Recycling
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