Save the Date for Culture Crawl 2010

Save the date!

The same folks that brought you Taste of Hartford are hosting the city’s second annual Culture Crawl to support the arts on Thursday, May 13th. The Greater Hartford Arts Council is the Capital region’s cultural development organization, impressively ranked in the country’s top 10 united arts funds by Americans for the Arts.

The Council is working hard to link up Hartford residents with unique art and entertainment opportunities throughout the city. Culture Crawl connects the local arts scene with popular downtown spots to provide live entertainment along with exclusive food and drink specials all night. Culture Crawlers will enjoy performances from talented artists and musicians and specials provided by City Steam Brewery, dish, Bocca Rossa, The Russell, Vaughan’s and more!

Culture Crawl 2010 is sponsored by the UCONN School of Business and will be hosted by the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Associate Board. Funds from the Culture Crawl will benefit the United Arts Campaign, which supports 150+ Greater Hartford arts and heritage organizations.  

Convenient downtown parking is available, and “crawling” from spot to spot is safe and walkable. I’ll update you on the artists and drink/food specials as soon as I have the info.

So join us on Thursday, May 13, 2010 from 5:30 – 9:30 PM. It’s sure to be a great time.

Tickets: $30/pp or $55/pp with a Let*s GO Arts! membership.

More info here:

Breakfast at Landmark Cafe

Recently, I dragged my appetite (and trusty dining companion Dr. Dolan) to breakfast at the Landmark Cafe in Manchester. Even in my pre-caffeinated stupor, I was impressed and intrigued by this great local find. As far as ambiance goes, Landmark offers cozy seating areas, a warm color scheme and MAGNIFICENT coffee bar with specialty latte and mocha creations like the “Cupid’s Kiss’ (chocolate & cherry), Orange Milano Mocha, Caramel Macadamia nut, and dozens more: take a peek here. There’s no rhyme or reason to the eclectic mix of table patterns, plates, mugs, etc., which gives a fun & funky vibe to the cafe.

The breakfast menu provides an extensive list of traditional favorites and unique twists on staple dishes…like four variations of eggs benedict. I sprung for the Huevos Rancheros, which appeared on the menu’s Landmark Specialty section. Excellent choice, and what a spread!

Here it is: a baked flour tortilla boat filled with refried beans, scrambled eggs, onions, tomatoes, olives, chili (choice of vegetarian or beef) and Jack-cheddar cheese. This remarkable creation was topped with sour cream, guacamole and Landmark’s own Pico de Gallo. I’d order it again in a heartbeat– one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a while. Em (the aforementioned Dr. Dolan) ordered a beautiful egg-white veggie omelet with fresh spinach, grilled eggplant, tomato, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, grilled portobello mushrooms and Swiss cheese.

The ordering process wasn’t easy. I was so torn between the Rancheros & Landmark’s signature Belgian Waffle– for obvious reasons. Think about it. A large old-fashioned, iron-formed waffle served with fresh fruit or with pecans and brown sugar ginger sauce. Exactly. Dilemma of the day, for sure.

I will face this same ordering challenge when I return to Landmark–probably sooner than later. There’s a decent chance I’ll cave and opt for both.

Also- check out the Manchester murals and awesome community bulletin board in the cafe! There’s a lot to do in this town after all.

867 Main Street

Manchester, CT

Prices weren’t bad considering how delicious the food is! Check it out:

Liquid Lounge World Space Party!

It’s that time again!

Tomorrow evening, the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford is holding its monthly Liquid Lounge “geek chic” networking event from 5:30-9:00. The website description is a teensy bit cheesy (space references galore) but I pasted it below anyway.

Liquid Lounge

Liquid Lounge: World Space Party

Thursday, April 8: 5:30 – 9:00 PM

** Liquid Lounge’s World Space Party is one of 108 parties in 39 countries on 6 continents on 1 world celebrating the World Space Party. For more info go to **

Join us as we LAUNCH our fifth Liquid Lounge! This time look for more bars, more entertainment SPACE to explore, and a few new surprises, as well as elements that you’ve come to love.

Four floors of entertainment. DJ Kered spins OUT OF THIS WORLD tunes, dance band Face Value croons to the MOON, and DJ Jay Free puts some hip in our LUNAR hop. ASTRONAUT ice cream, ROCKETS, SKYHIGH stilt walkers and EARTHLY contortionists, plus 150+ hands-on exhibits. One FREE liquid delight for the first 1,000 guests, plus COSMIC liquid (and solid) delights. Our café WILL be open!

$15 at the door, $10 for Science Center Members. Normal parking rates apply. 21+. Official after-party at Crush Lounge (Hartford Marriott).

CrushOFFICIAL AFTER-PARTY: When the party ends at the Science Center, it continues at Crush Lounge, next door at the Hartford Marriott. Starting at 9 PM.

Enjoy! The Science Center is awesome. I’m unable to attend tomorrow’s event but I’ll make it to Liquid Lounge next time around…Or maybe I’ll just come late tomorrow & crash the after party at Crush. That’s always a viable option. :)

Farm-to-Table Feast at Firebox Restaurant

Back in September, I attended a tasting event at Firebox Restaurant in Hartford and couldn’t wait to go back.

Firebox is a phenomenal addition to the Capitol area; I’ll even go so far as to say it’s one of the most unique restaurants in the state. Renowned as a gourmet farm-to-table restaurant, Firebox is committed to using locally grown products in their seasonally inspired recipes—proving their dedication to supporting Connecticut’s farmers while serving contemporary American cuisine. And what’s better than that?

Last week, my sister and I visited Firebox to brighten the dreary gloom of another rainy day. It was truly the perfect choice. From the moment you enter, the restaurant has a rustic, yet elegant ambiance with exposed bricks, dramatic vaulted ceiling, and wood beams in the front bar room—& a fireplace and handmade farm tables in the dining area.

So far so good- aesthetically speaking, at least.

Now, onto the food. Everything on the menu looked predictably incredible so we decided to sample several first course items instead of committing to an entrée apiece. Ashley and I began with a delightful mixed greens salad with blood orange and toasted pistachios complemented by pecorino romano cheese and a champagne vinaigrette. Light, flavorful, and the perfect blend of salt, sweet, and tart.

(note: the above image is only my half portion of the actual appetizer since we opted to share the salad. You’d get more)

Moving on…

Already a tough act to follow? Well, we tried…and followed with the charcuterie plate- a trio of house-made charcuterie comprised of duck pastrami, chicken liver mousse, and citrus coriander cured salmon. Welcome to my adventurous side. Each spread was delectable and served with crispy baguette pieces.

We next enjoyed Prince Edward Island mussels with a smoky local kielbasa, spinach, lager beer and whole grain mustard…pairing kielbasa with mussels is just genius, as far as I’m concerned.

(note: the above image is only half of the actual appetizer –we planned on sharing so the waitress kindly arrived with the app already portioned in 2)

Our meal concluded with the stuffed local calamari, truly the star of the show in my opinion. Crispy calamari stuffed with local kielbasa (again the kielbasa!), and piquillo pepper and onion stuffing—all surrounded by a bed of chickpea, arugula and carrot salad with smoked paprika vinaigrette. Definitely tasted the pepper in this one but loved the medley of flavor.

Unfortunately I was getting too full for dessert by this point…but I’m definitely returning soon to succumb to the lure of the vanilla bean crème brulee…Maybe during one of Firebox’s live music nights- Sunday Bluegrass or Wednesday night Jazz. Stay tuned.

What else:

Prices are a bit higher than average but the fresh, local food is worth every penny. Appetizers are $10-$15 and the entrees hover around $25-$30.

Clearly, my experience was tremendously enjoyable. Any Firebox feedback of your own? Chime in!

539 Broad Street, Hartford, CT


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