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.

MÚSICA

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

¡SALSA!

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

CERVEZA

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

Receive a taste of Acapulco Gold or the popular Naughty Nurse

COMEDIA

Sea Tea Improv amuses the crowd with spicy antics

MALDEAMORES 8 PM

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: http://growinggreenevents.com/

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

http://www.alchemyjuicebar.com/

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.

I Brake for Cupcakes

Move out the WAY, New Haven…Cupcake trucks are no longer just a thing of the coast.

Yesterday, I caught word through the Twitter mill that there just might be a new kid on the block. Today I found out that the tweet-based rumors are true indeed! Hartford’s got a new treat truck in town- The Cupcake Brake. This sweet discovery is sure to lure us all into sugary indulgence (& possibly overdose), since we won’t have to wait months & months for New Haven’s mobile bakeshop to grace us with its presence.

Ok, here’s the scoop: Hartford’s truck is similar to its NH counterpart in some ways: the cupcakes are still frosted to order, but the Brake’s embellishments aren’t as glitzy as New Haven’s (so don’t go looking for edible gold & fleur de sol)…instead of fretting over fancy toppings, try one of the Brake’s mouthwatering cupcake fillings: Marshmallow, Chocolate Ganache, Peanut Butter, Boston Crème…ohhh my.

Almost as good as the custom cupcakes are their clever CT inspired names: Plain Twain, Mohegan Mocha, Charter Oak Chocolate, Colony Carrot, Yankee Lemon & more. Keep in mind- different flavors are available on different days.

Check out the website for their schedule, menu, FB/Twitter info & more: http://www.thecupcakebrake.com/

I love everything about Hartford to begin with but THIS just takes the (cup)cake…(har har)…Let me know if you successfully track down the truck before I do!

Natori Sushi

This past weekend, my sister, roommate and I enjoyed lunch at Natori Sushi, one of my favorite Asian restaurants in the area. A family owned eatery since 2001, Natori provides delicious Japanese food ranging from 50+ traditional and specialty sushi rolls to tasty cooked kitchen entrees (for those who shy away from sushi), salads, sashimi, a full appetizer menu and dessert selection (think fried ice cream or fried cheesecake).

Although we opted for take-out to eat our sushi outside picnic-style (soaking up that weekend sun), the restaurant’s interior is lovely & casual with paper lanterns, ample seating areas, and a panoramic photo of cherry blossoms adorning one wall. In all of my Natori experiences, service has been incredibly efficient- however I’m usually there for lunch so the place isn’t packed at all.

A few recommendations if you’re a sushi fan:

Peanut avocado roll

Avocado & crushed peanuts. This unlikely flavor combo is incredible ($4.00)

Ebi Tempura Roll

Shrimp gently fried with cucumber, avocado, spicy sauce & masago ($6.50)

Christmas Roll

Eel, kiwi, avocado & masago ($7.50)

All in all, another fantastic lunch at Natori Sushi. The weekday lunch special is particularly appealing: Choose Any 2 Rolls for $7.95 or Any 3 Rolls for $10.95 (excluding specialty rolls: Served with Miso Soup OR Garden Salad). Even beyond the lunch menu, all of the food is pretty reasonably priced. Take a look at the full menu here: http://natorisushi.net/SU—Sa.html

Natori Sushi

1500 Pleasant Valley Road

Manchester, CT 06040

860-648-2288

Also- Please let me know if you have recommendations for other Japanese restaurants in the area. Know of any in Hartford?