Billings Forge Community Works

I started to write a post about Firebox Restaurant but couldn’t adequately do that without first writing about Billings Forge Community Works, since Firebox is under the umbrella of Billings Forge programs.

 What an awesome organization. The folks at Billings Forge utilize creative approaches to work to revitalize Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood and encourage community building and local participation in development efforts…they support a climate that “values diversity, rewards independence, nourishes creativity and brings people together”…Aaamen.

I encourage you to check out their website. Here’s what they’ve got going on:

  • The Kitchen @ Billings Forge is a wholesale bakery (with bread served at Firebox) which also functions as teaching kitchen with farm-to-table cooking classes.
  • The Garden @ Billings Forge is the creation of a sustainable vegetable garden, which involves the local community in farming the garden and preparing, serving, and eating the food. The food is used in cooking classes at the Kitchen, for sale at the Farmers Market and at Firebox.
  • The Studio @ Billings Forge is a multi-purpose community space that offers classes in movement, music and art, and provides space for community meetings and educational workshops. They’ve also got a relatively new workshop program that provides studio space for 5 artists in a rotating residency program.

And of course, we can’t forget about the award winning Firebox Restaurant…to be raved about in my next post…

Easter Brunch at Black Eyed Sally’s

I’m not in the Hartford area this weekend but wanted to pass along a delicious option for Easter Brunch.

Black Eyed Sally’s is hosting an incredible Southern Buffet style Jazz Brunch on Sunday, April 4th with two available seatings: 10:30-11:00 and 1:30-2:00. Live music will be provided by the New England based Matt DeChamplain Quartet (

Call ahead to reserve a table: 860.278.7427

If that doesn’t convince you…here’s the sample menu of items to be served during Sunday’s brunch:

  • Southern Eggs Benedict
  • Scrambled Eggs / Hash Browns
  • Sausage & Applewood Smoked Bacon
  • Waffles w/ Whipped Crème
  • Carving Station w/Ham & Smoked Rib Eye
  • Southern Fried Chicken
  • Blackened Catfish
  • Mac & Cheese / Collard Greens / Sweet Potatoes
  • Caesar Salad w/ Cornbread Croutons
  • Fresh Fruit / Danish / Dessert Station

Just wow.

$28.95 per person / $9.95 for children 12 & under / 3 years & under – no charge. More details here

350 Asylum St Hartford, CT

The Best of Blog Research

Cupcake blog research was 100% necessary today. I figured I’d written about The Cupcake Brake already so I might as well try one of its creations! Love that yellow truck.

Around 1:30, Beth & I caught up with The Cupcake Brake on Weston Street and joined the (entirely female) line to gaze happily at the menu of daily offerings. 

Beth opted for the Charter Oak Chocolate cupcake with brown sugar buttercream frosting. I chose the Capital: moist vanilla cake with pecans, pineapple, & banana… I also selected the brown sugar buttercream & asked to have the cupcake filled with Boston Cream.

To. Die. For.

I will not even try to describe the cupcake I enjoyed today.

I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Art After Hours @ The Wadsworth

Whatcha doing after work on Thursday?

The Wadsworth Atheneum, America’s oldest public art museum, is open until 8 pm the first Thursday of every month. Here’s what they have going on this time around (took this riiiight off the website):

Noche Caliente is April 1, 5:00-8:00 pm

Art After Hours provides a stimulating setting for mingling with friends after work. Sip a cocktail, enjoy music and other live performances, attend a gallery talk, and even see a classic movie or art film.


Feel the rhythms of Rumba, Mambo, Samba, Bossa Nova and Tango with GOZA Latin Band


Put on your dancing shoes and take a lesson from Rey Bermudez


(Free while supplies last from City Steam Brewery Cafe!)

Receive a taste of Acapulco Gold or the popular Naughty Nurse


Sea Tea Improv amuses the crowd with spicy antics


An award-winning comedy that examines the ironies of love, with stories that involve a young boy, a hostage situation, and a divorced elderly couple caught in a love triangle. (2007)

Galleries & The Museum Shop open til 8

Convenient parking available at the Front Street Garage, off Prospect Street, behind the museum.

$7 max for the evening (includes the film) or $3 for the first hour, $2 for each hour after

600 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103

Alchemy Juice Bar & Cafe: Transforming my Cravings from Wings to Wheatgrass

I’ll admit: on any given day, burgers and wings are more likely to pique my interest than cuisine that leans towards the raw, vegan, organic end of the spectrum. This is my natural state- call it my carnivorous instinct. This weekend may have changed all that.

Saturday afternoon shifted my taste buds to value the healthier side of dining. Jenn and I stopped at Alchemy Juice Bar & Café in Hartford for lunch before heading over to the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival at the Expo Center. Alchemy serves up an amazing organic menu with smoothies, squeezed juices, wraps, salads, soups, dessert items and more.  

I loved it immediately. It’s an extremely laid back place and service is snail-pace slow (the upbeat staff makes up for it) but I didn’t mind the wait. For a small eatery, Alchemy has a lot going on, so I poked around for a while: the cafe features an Eco-boutique section, an oxygen bar, and shelves of literature promoting a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Very cool place- one of the few veg-friendly eating establishments that I know of in the area.

Wheat grass shot anyone? Organic smoothie made with Cacao, goji, strawberries, banana, coconut, dates, and berry tea? That’s just one option in a list of dozens of incredible juice/smoothie/tea choices in the Cafe.    

For lunch, I decided on the Alchemy Wrap, which combines warm, sweet yams with black olives, red peppers, ripe avocado and sesame seeds. I didn’t expect such full dimensions of flavor to come from a few simple ingredients- but I was blown away. The olives and yams provided the most delicious blend of salty and sweet, balanced with the smooth avocado– this was topped off by a refreshing order of cold ginger, honey & lemon tea.

My special guest Jenn enjoyed a hummus wrap with veggies, seeds & greens, as well as a very spicy Chakra Rock beverage (Apple, pear, carrot, celery, parsley, ginger, garlic…cayenne pepper optional. She sprung for the pepper).  

So, needless to say, we experienced quite the veggie feast.  Prices can be steep: up to $10 for a smoothie (my wrap was only $8!), so that can be a downside.

Otherwise, Alchemy is truly a gem among marbles when it comes to healthy & delicious dining. The Cafe is part of a Growing Green Co-op, which is a holistic health education and resource center in Hartford with a range of events, music, yoga, films, nutrition & “raw food” classes. Check it:

201 New Britain Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106-3124
(860) 246-5700

Community Wheat Planting in Hartford

Bring on the warm weather! Hartford’s Bread Cycle Works project is hosting an afternoon of wheat planting tomorrow to engage residents in a participatory, community-building artistic action. Everyone’s invited to the Broad Street lot in the Frog Hollow Neighborhood to take part in this exciting Spring rites event.

From a recent Billings Forge press release:

Ted Efremoff, artist-in-residence at The Workshops @ Billings Forge will begin a year-long residency at Billings Forge Community Works with the Bread Cycle Works project. In describing the project, Efremoff says:

“The project will have an educational component that will teach school students visual and performing arts associated with the growing cycle and the ancient way in which people worked together for the greater good of the community. At the completion of this action bread will be shared with the community and a celebratory fiesta will be held.”

Plowing, planting, harvesting, threshing and baking of bread will be done in an ancient way, but using modern recycled objects found in the city. Community participants will assist in all stages of the project.

Another note: Billings Forge Community Works is an incredible organization. Located in the Frog Hollow neighborhood of Hartford, they are a non-profit committed to community revitalization and developing programs that improve the conditions of poverty and quality of life and provide economic redevelopment opportunities. More posts to follow about BFCW…they’re really something unique.

So. Tomorrow. Be There. Plant Wheat. Have Fun.

Saturday, March 27 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm across from 1055 Broad Street, Hartford, CT.

Rain Date: Sunday, March 28.