<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:50:52 -0400 Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:50:52 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Celebrate National Cheeseburger Day]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 11:28:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/87992859.jpg

It's National Cheeseburger Day! If you are a burger connoisseur, you know there are many places to grab a mouthwatering, juicy cheeseburger in Connecticut.

Here are some of them:

Louis’ Lunch
261-263 Crown Street in New Haven
(203) 562-5507

Ted's Restaurant
1046 Broad Street, Meriden 203-237-6660 and 43 Berlin Road, Cromwell 860-635-8337

Harry's Place in Colchester, a viewer favorite, has been featured in Roadfood for the incredibly juicy burgers. They also call a Harry’s cheeseburger “fast food perfection.”
Harry’s holds the distinct honor of being on the National Register of Historic places.

Max Burger in West Hartford serves up everything from a classic burger, to a gourmet chicken burger or a veggie burger. Trust us, your taste buds will be very, very happy with this food outing. The Inside Out burger is delicious, but check out the full menu, including the specials.
Max Burger
124 LaSalle Road, West Hartford

Plan B Burger Bar is one of those places that you’ll keep going back to, time and time again. They pride themselves on the fresh beef burgers, but you can get just about any kind of burger you can imagine. The New Englander is made with lobster, smoked gouda, caramelized onion, lettuce, tomato and corn spread.

There are several locations in the state:

Plan B Burger Bar: 

120 Hebron Ave., Glastonbury, 860-430-9737
1638 Boston Post Road, Milford, 203-713-8700
4 Railroad St., Simsbury, 860-658-4474
230 Tresser Boulevard, Stamford, 203-964-8353
138 Park Road, West Hartford, 860-231-1199

Prime 16 in New Haven and Orange. In the past, viewers have lauded these burgers. Build your own or pick one of the specialties. You won't find a honey truffle burger on too many menus.

Shady Glen, in Manchester, is another viewer favorite. It's not uncommon for people who've had a Shady Glen cheeseburger to say it's the best -- ever.

Corner Pug, West Hartford. If you’re heading out on national burger day with someone who, for some reason, does not share your burger love, head to the Corner Pug in West Hartford. You can indulge on a blackened Cajun burger or knife and fork Irish nacho burger while your dining partner has salad, steak, mac and cheese or chicken.
These are just some of the best places to go for burgers. There is no way to name them all. Let us know your picks by commenting below.

Lake Zoar Drive-In, 14 Roosevelt Drive (Route 34), Monroe, CT (203) 268-8137

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fondue “Dipping Grill” to Open at Mohegan Sun ]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:10:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/cheesefondue14.jpg

The Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino will soon have another dining option available for guests.
“Sticks and Stones” a fondue “dipping grille” is set to open later this year at the resorts’ “Casino of the Sky.”

According to a news release from Mohegan Sun, the new restaurant “encourages playing with your food while sharing conversation, experimenting with new tastes and enjoying plenty of laughs.”

The motto is “sip, sizzle and dip,” and molecular drinks will be on the menu, like a mojito in a bubble that pops in your mouth, and a drink served in a bowl that’s attached to a lava lamp and surrounded by dry ice. 

The eatery will feature a postmodern industrial theme and hopes to provide guests with a unique, interactive dining experience as they enjoy a modern take on a classic dish.

For more information on “Sticks and Stones” visit their website at http://www.sticksnstonesgrille.com/

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley]]>
<![CDATA[Middletown Dance Team Wins National Championship]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:11:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Cafferys+Dance+and+Gymnastics+School+Edit.jpg

A Connecticut hip hop dance team won That's Entertainment's national dance competition in early August at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Middletown's Caffery's Dance and Gymnastics School earned the high score in the "all-senior group, line and production routines" and had the highest overall score with 299.5 out of a possible 300, according to a letter confirming the title from That's Entertainment Director RoseMary Pontuck.

The team competed as Caffery's Dance Crew and is made up of 16-to19-year-old students from Portland, East Hampton, Middletown and Higganum.

The dance crew did their routine to the song, "Bring Em Out."

"We rocked this dance competition," Kaitlyn Charton, Caffery's dance student, said. "Receiving the highest score of the entire competition was an indescribable feeling!"

The national championship-winning team includes Charton, Vanessa Lastrina, Adrianna Aresco, Lauren Billings, Megan Barnett, Kaitlyn Charton, Calvin Dempsy, Krysten Nye,Desiree Owens, Gina Palmieri, Kaitlyn Tomer, Gabby Varela and Chelsea Winborne. Lindsay Almquist choreographed the routine.

Caffery's dance director Maureen Aresco said that she's never before seen "a whole panel of judges jumped to their feet clapping and cheering" in her career as a dance teacher.

Nationals ran from Aug. 4 to 6. Before that Caffery's won the regional level competition in April in Windsor against about 1,000 competitors.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Caffery's Dance and Gymnastics School ]]>
<![CDATA[2 Chick-fil-A Sites Open in October]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:14:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ChikFilABrookfieldEDIT.jpg

Chick-fil-A will be coming to Wallingford in October and it will be the second one in the state.

The chicken fast food chain, most popular in southern states, opened first in Brookfield, and expects to open at 1098 N. Colony Road in Wallingford on Oct. 30.

On Oct. 9, Chick-fil-a will open at 140 Federal Road in Brookfield. The Brookfield Chick-fil-A will seat 109 people inside, also offering outdoor seating, and patrons can also get take-out orders from the drive-thru. The new location, which is expected to create at least 60 jobs, will also feature free Wi-Fi and an indoor play area that is toddler-friendly.

The first 100 adults to line up for Chick-fil-A on the day of the grand opening will be awarded with one free meal a week for a year in their First 100 celebration. A meal includes a Chick-fil-A sandwich, waffle fries and a medium beverage. More information is available on the Chick-fil-A website. At past First 100 celebrations, patrons have been known to camp out a day in advance with tents and electronics to pass the time.

Consumer Reports readers voted Chick-fil-A's signature chicken sandwich "tastiest chicken sandwich" in 2014.

You can stay up to date on construction progress and grand opening festivities on the Brookfield Chick-fil-A's Facebook page.

<![CDATA[New Restaurant Opening at Mohegan Sun]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:13:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/cheesefondue14.jpg

A new restaurant will open its doors at Mohegan Sun by the end of 2014.

Sticks & Stones, a fondue dipping grille, will be located in the Casino of the Sky in Uncasville and will offer steaks, seafood and locally grown vegetables for dipping in broths, sauces and cheeses.

Dishes will be available for non-fondue style dining as well, according to a release from the restaurant.

The restaurant will seat just under 300 people and will include a cocktail bar, kitchen studio and accommodations for private parties or dinners.

Visit Sticks & Stones online for more information.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley]]>
<![CDATA[North Pole Express Tickets Go on Sale]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 11:11:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Essex+steam+train.jpg

Summer will hang on for another week and a half, but it’s time for parents across Connecticut to start thinking about the holidays. 

Coach tickets for the Essex Steam Train's North Pole Express went on sale at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and more than 2,500 orders were placed in less than 45 minutes. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in December are already sold out, according to a post on the Essex Steam Train Facebook page. 

A trip on the North Pole Express is a magical journey for children across Connecticut and beyond. 

If you have not yet had the experience, every coach becomes the stage for a live musical performance of “The Night Before Christmas.”

Children can wear pajamas and spend time with Santa and Mrs. Claus, take part in sing-a-longs and enjoy hot chocolate and sugar cookies.

You can buy tickets online here.

If you are having trouble getting tickets, Essex Steam Train offers some hints for getting coach tickets:

  • Use this link for a list of all available tickets.
  • Change the pulldown menu, preset from 20 per page to 200 per page to see all available tickets on a single page.
  • First Class tickets have a gold colored background, coach tickets have a transparent / white background
  • If you sort by MANUFACTURER (default setting) tickets are sorted by departure date. If you sort by AVAILABILITY you will see the departures with the most tickets first.
  • If you want to quickly see tickets available for a particular date, click on that date in the list along the left side, but you will need to click back out to see other dates.
  • If a particular departure (time/date) does not display, the tickets are sold out. All dates and departures have some tickets available going into this morning's ticket sales.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut

<![CDATA[Norwalk Boat Show to Take to the Waters]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 14:21:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Norwalk+boat+show_fixed.jpg

Norwalk Cove Marina will soon be even more of a boater's paradise as the Progressive Insurance Norwalk Boat Show takes to the waters Sept. 18 to 21.

The event will include a free boat ride on Long Island Sound, an animal adventure show, workshops on boat and motor maintenance and repairs and boating skills and an area to test out "stand up" paddleboards and kayaks with seminars, demos and tours. The new Miss Geico racing boat will also be on display.

Eric Stone will be playing some island-themed songs between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. that Thursday to Sunday.

There are also plenty events for the kids, including face painting, a small lake with paddleboats, a toy boat building and Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer on Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 20-21).

Admission is free for kids 15 and under.

The boat show runs Sept. 18 to 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Paking will be available in the Calf Pasture Parking Lot. People who want to arrive by boat can dock at Norwalk Harbor and take a water taxi to the show docks for $5 per person.

More information on the boat show and purchasing tickets, you can visit boatshownorwalk.com or follow the boat show on Twitter (@NorwalkBoatShow).

Photo Credit: Norwalk Boat Show]]>
<![CDATA[BrewFest Comes to Mohegan Sun in October]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 11:41:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Mohegan+Sun+Brewfest.jpg

If your mouth starts watering over the thought of a good beer, keep your schedule open for the weekend of Oct. 4, reach out to some friends and plan to head to Mohegan Sun.

The 3rd annual Sun BrewFest promises up to 200 of the best beers around and there will be tastings at Mohegan Sun on Saturday, followed by a BrewBrunch on Sunday.

The beer event features craft beers, microbrews, imports, domestic beers and ciders and breweries will be pouring 2-ounce samples in souvenir mini pilsners.

As you sip, live music will be playing inside Mohegan Sun’s Uncas Ballroom.

Tickets to the tasting sessions are $25 each. The first session runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and the second is from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.

The BrewBrunch runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, and beer-infused cocktails will be served. Goose Island beer is the sponsor and is featured in all the recipes.

The other sponsor, Absolut, will help guests create their own signature Bloody Mary.

Tickets to the BrewBrunch are $60.

For more details or to buy tickets, visit the Sun Brewfest Web site.

Photo Credit: Mohegan Sun ]]>
<![CDATA[ Coast Guard Band to Play Tchaikovsky's '1812 Overture' at Concert]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 12:21:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/fort+trumbull+beach.jpg

The United States Coast Guard is tuning their trumpets and warming up the woodwinds for a concert in New London later Sunday afternoon.

The band will perform Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," highlighted by a live canon firing.

The concert is free and starts at 3 p.m. at Fort Trumbull State Park in New London.

<![CDATA[Wicked High, Wicked Fast, Wicked Cyclone]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:37:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/wicked+cyclone1_0.jpg

If you like things that go wicked high and wicked fast, you’ll be excited about the “Wicked Cyclone.”

The roller coaster coming to Six Flags New England will be massive, at 10 stories high, and will have a spine-tingling 109-foot hill.

The 200-degree stall, 55-mile per hour speed and two Zero G rolls will have even thrill-seekers’ adrenaline pumping.

When the Wicked Cyclone opens in 2015, the steel track/wooden structure hybrid roller coaster it will be the first of its kind on the entire East Coast.


Photo Credit: Six Flags New England]]>
<![CDATA[Happy Dog Day!]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:49:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/9ade6151ed3a49cb83eccdd7e4c90c89.jpg We asked for your dog photos and, doggone, did you deliver!]]> <![CDATA[CT Fair Schedule]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 08:06:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Fair-rides-generic.jpg

Summer may be coming to an end, but there is still a lot of family fun to look forward to this fall with autumn fairs and festivals.

Here are some fairs to put on your calendar this fall:

Sept. 11-14

Sept. 19-21

Sept. 25-28

Oct. 3-5

Oct. 4 and 5

Oct. 10-12

Fairs the have already happened.

Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 2014

Sept. 4-8

Comment below if you have information on a fall fair or festival you don't see listed. Send your fair photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA['America's Got Talent' Winner Terry Fator to Appear in Waterbury]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 07:12:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/FADOFINTV082514.jpg America's Got Talent winner and Vegas entertainer Terry Fator joined Kerri-Lee Mayland on NBC Connecticut News Today at 11a.m. on Monday to talk about his upcoming show at the Palace Theater in Waterbury.]]> <![CDATA[Hot Air Balloon Festival Takes Off in Plainville Sunday]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 07:49:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Plainville+Hot+Air+Balloons.jpg

Look up at the skies this weekend in Plainville, and you just might spot a giraffe or a wicked witch.

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Those are just two of nearly thirty hot air balloon designs featured at the Plainville Fire Company Hot Air Balloon Festival underway at Norton Park.

This annual tradition, now in its thirtieth year, draws thousands of spectators from all over New England and New York. It’s all to raise funds for the town’s all-volunteer fire department and the local organizations they support.

“It’s the biggest fundraiser the fire company has right now,” said festival co-chairman and firefighter Phil Brousseau. “And the money goes back to the community in the forms of scholarships.”

The hot air balloons take top billing at the three day event running Friday through Sunday morning, but the festival has also expanded over the years to include live music, fair food and more than 75 craft vendors.

The festival opens at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, with one last balloon flight scheduled for 6 a.m. Admission and parking are free.

For parking information and an event schedule visit http://www.plainvillefireco.com/Balloon_Festival.html

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Infinity Music Hall and Bistro Opens in Hartford]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:09:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/infinity+music+hall.JPG

The curtains opened on Hartford's new Infinity Music Hall and Bistro on Gov. Dannel Malloy, along with other local leaders, joined hall founder and owner Dan Hicks for the red-carpeted ribbon cutting ceremony.

“To some extent I’m pinching myself,” said Malloy.

The 500-seat music hall is set to host 250 music and comedy shows a year and comes combined with a four-star restaurant and bar. The Hartford location is an extension of the Infinity Music Hall and Bistro in Norfolk, which has been in business since 2007. The governor says it's the latest business boost in the thriving Capitol City.

“Fifteen hundred [apartment] units being constructed in downtown Hartford. You look right here at Front Street, that operation was vacant three-and-a-half years ago now it’s largely filled,” Malloy said.

Hartford’s Mayor Pedro Segarra was also in attendance fresh from the opening of Naturally Dogs & Cats on Trumbull Street.

“With each opening comes more and more jobs. It creates a better mix for visitors to our community,” said Segarra.

Originally part of the iConnect pop-up program, Naturally Dogs & Cats is the second business that has signed a long-term lease to stay in Hartford. Lauren Varjabedian, who works for the city’s marketing events and cultural affairs division, says that’s the real sign of stability.

“We’ve seen large growth in people who want to grow their business in Hartford so I think we’re definitely on the up-swing,” said Varjabedian.

It is a welcomes change from the longtime lull in business development that plagued both the city and the state.

“With this relationship between state government, local government and the people of Hartford, we really have it booming again,” said Malloy.

<![CDATA[4 Connecticut Colleges Make Best Food List]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:40:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dining-generic-plate-fork.jpg

College students are heading back to school and that’s good news for empty stomachs at four Connecticut colleges and universities.

Daily Meal ranked the 75 best colleges for food in the United States and Yale, Connecticut College, UConn and Wesleyan all made the list.

Wesleyan was number 39 of 75. The Daily Meal highlighted the vegan menu, as well as meal options that include the tandoori chicken with basmati rice and stewed chickpeas. There is also a biweekly Chef’s Table, where the school community takes part in continuing to improve dining options.

UConn comes in at 36th. Its Farm Fresh Market uses produce from two student-run gardens. How much fresher can you get? You can also take part in the Scooby Doo Halloween dinner, a New England clambake and eat at a s’mores bar. If you want to do your own cooking, dining services has a YouTube channel.

Coming in at 34 is Connecticut College, where you can get New England clam chowder and dinners with themes such as the Happy Halloween Celebration, international dinners, and the Festivus (love the Seinfeld reference) in December.

"“We strive to provide the best experience possible,” Ingrid Bushwack, director of Dining Services, said in a statement on the Connecticut College Web site. “It begins the moment diners step through the door and see smiling faces of all our staff, from our cashiers to the cooks creating great food and continues with the people behind the scenes, washing dishes and cleaning up.”

Connecticut College also has Sprout, a 100-percent organic dining program.

Number 20 is Yale, with its impressive menu selection and the dining series, “Reality Bites,” as well as the Sustainable Food Project, which manages two on-campus farms.

How does/did your college’s food rank? Comment on the article and let us know.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Store Opening at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 20:14:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/apple-mac-generic.jpg

Attention, iPhone users and Mac lovers: A new Apple Store will open its doors for the first time at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor this weekend.

The grand opening will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. at 501 Evergreen Walk.

Free T-shirts will be available to the first 1,000 customers, according to an email from the company. Workshops and training sessions will also be open to the public Saturday on a first-come-first-served basis.

The new store will offer Apple products and provide technical support at the Genius Bar.

Apple Stores are also located in West Hartford, New Haven, Danbury, Greenwich and Stamford.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Riverfront Dragon Boat and Asian Festival]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:30:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Dragon+Boat+1+Edited.jpg Scenes from the 14th annual Riverfront Dragon Boat and Asian Festival in Hartford this weekend in photos.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Local Pizza Place is Top Family Friendly Restaurant]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 18:46:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Food+Phillies+2012+Preview+Seasons+Pizza+Generic.jpg

A Manchester pizza place has snagged a spot on the list of top-10 family friendly restaurants in the country.

Randy’s Wooster Street Pizza on Tolland Turnpike in Manchester was among 10 restaurants to make the cut nationwide. It’s part of a competition hosted by U.S. Foods, and the five winners will take home $2,000 each in kitchen equipment and supplies.

The restaurant is the only New England establishment on the list. It’s up against others in Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, California, Colorado, Virginia, Missouri and North Carolina.

Chefs will visit each of the restaurants before Aug. 23 and help pick the final five alongside a panel of judges.

The winners will be announced Sept. 2 and will earn a spread in the winter issue of Food Fanatics Magazine.

Randy’s operates two other locations in Storrs and Berlin.

Photo Credit: NBC10 - Dan Stamm]]>
<![CDATA['Ice Bucket Challenge' Raising Money, Awareness]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 22:33:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/gerry+shirley+ice+bucket+crop.jpg

You may find yourself with goose bumps after watching video after video of friends and family members dumping buckets of ice cold water on themselves.

It’s known as the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” and it’s not exploding on social media just because it’s summer.

The challenge is designed to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, which affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The nerve cells progressively degenerate, which eventually leads to death.

Anyone can participate in the challenge, which started with 29-year-old Pete Frates, of Massachusetts, who has been living with ALS for two years now and has lost his ability to speak, according to NBC News. 

All you have to do is record yourself dumping a bucket of ice water over your head, then post it to social media and challenge the next competitor. If that doesn't sound appealing, you can forgo the icy shower and donate to the ALS Association.

It's become a national phenomenon and NBC Connecticut has even joined in the fun, with anchors Gerry Brooks and Shirley Chan, sports anchor Kevin Nathan, meteorologist Bob Maxon and reporters Amy Parmenter and Abbey Niezgoda taking the icy plunge.

The campaign is working. ALS Association spokesperson Carrie Munk told NBC News that the organization has collected $1.35 million in just the past couple weeks, compared with $22,000 during the same period last year.

In Connecticut, donations have increased by $20,000 since this time last year, according to Jacky Denicola, events coordinator for the local chapter of the ALS Association.

The campaign has not only led to a spike in donations but also a better-informed public and increased participation in walks to raise awareness, according to the Connecticut chapter, which says about 200 people in the state have been diagnosed with ALS.

Other prominent people have taken the challenge, including well-known TV personalities such as "Today" show anchors, Martha Stewart, Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Back to School Tech Gear: 10 Hot Gadgets for Students]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 08:27:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/thumb-tech.jpg From tablet convertibles to smart watches and battery charging phone cases, here's a list of top back to school electronics for the season. ]]> <![CDATA[Back to School Tech: Hot Electronic Gear for Students]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 08:27:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/thumb-tech.jpg

From smart watches to tablet convertibles and a Kindle to download your textbooks, here's what you should know about back to school gear now on the market.

For students going off to college, a laptop computer is a necessity, according to Jordan Crook, a reporter at TechCrunch.

"The best possible computer for a student would be a MacBook Air," Crook said. "It's just the most portable, light-weight thing you can carry around and it's powerful."

However, the latest gear hitting stores this season is an alternative to the everyday laptop — a tablet convertible.

"They call them convertible because they can either be a laptop or a tablet," said Sy Paulson, the general manager of a Manhattan Best Buy.

Tablet convertibles flip to let you "type as comfortably as you would on a traditional laptop."

Paulson recommends the Microsoft Surface, "because it is one of the most powerful and lightweight, and the battery lasts for a very long time."

When it comes to reading for either long-term or nightly assignments, Crook says you can't go wrong with a Kindle Paperwhite.

"It's a great thing for a student to get if you're going be doing a lot of reading. A lot of textbooks can download onto that,"she said. "It'll keep [them] all in one place."

The Kindle Paperwhite is the newest of the Kindle devices and is designed just for reading. The Kindle Fire also allows for using apps and watching TV shows.

For the tech-savvy student who might want to receive social media notifications without pulling out a smartphone in class, Crook recommends the Pebble Steel Smart Watch. The originator of the smart watch trend, Pebble's newest model, the Pebble Steel, beats out competitors with its iOs and Android compatibility, according to Crook.

Another tech-accessory-turned-fashion-statement is a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.

"If you want a home run back to school purchase idea for any student, you're going to go a long way if you pick up a pair of Beats or Bose noise canceling headphones," Paulson said.

But if a student wants their music to fill the room, Paulson recommends portable audio speakers that are battery powered and play through any device with a bluetooth interface.

Good speakers for a student on a study break could include GV Pulse speakers. "As you play it, it lights up, and if you turn the lights off in your dorm room you can make it look like a night club," Paulson explained.

Bluetooth has also allowed printers to go wireless. "You can stick the printer under the bed or in the closet on top of the mini fridge and print from your tablet or your phone or your computer," he said.


<![CDATA[Head to the Mystic Art Festival This Weekend]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:22:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Mystic+Art+Festival.jpg

Artists will be filling the streets of Mystic this weekend for the 57th annual Mystic Outdoor Arts Festival.

The festival stretches for two miles and attracts thousands of people. http://mysticchamber.org/?sec=event&id=5706

If you are heading to Mystic to buy or just to browse, expect traffic and road closures. You will also have to pay attention to the no parking signs.

Groton Town Police are issuing a temporary no parking order from 4 a.m. on Saturday until 8 p.m. on Sunday and it will affect parts of these streets:

  • West Main Street, from the drawbridge to Bank Street
  • Water Street from West Main Street to New London Road
  • High Street, between New London Road and West Main Street
  • New London Road, between West Main and Latham streets
  • Bank Street
  • Cliff Street, west of Pearl Street
  • Edgecomb Street, extending a portion of the road west from Burrows Street

Traffic restrictions will also be in effect during the show. 

  • Water Street will be closed to vehicles from West Main Street to the Steamboat Wharf parking lot.  
  • Pearl Street will open to northbound traffic only.
  • Gravel Street will be open to southbound traffic only.

Photo Credit: Kristy Chu]]>
<![CDATA[Zoo Gets Fruit From Flipped Truck]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 05:16:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/elephant8.jpg

Talk about not letting roadkill go to waste.

The elephants, giraffes and bears at the Oakland Zoo got to nosh on African jackfruit and bananas Wednesday thanks to a overturned big rig that dumped 60,000 pounds of fruit in Livermore near the Altamont Pass earlier in the week.

"The elephants loved it," Brian Deering, president of the nonprofit F.A.I.R. Foundation, told NBC Bay Area. He masterminded the transfer – taking the lightly squished fruit from the side of Interstate Highway 580 and getting about 15,000 pounds of it to the animals at the zoo.

About 35,000 pounds fed humans at the Alameda County Food Bank, and the rest was too badly bruised to be eaten.

The truck is owned by All Seasons Produce in Oakland, which grows fruit in Mexico. Deering knows the owners, who contacted him after the truck tipped early Monday morning to say they didn't want the food to go to waste. He also knows the owners of Save Tow, who schlepped the tropical fruit to the zoo.

Deering's agency, which has roots in Sunnyvale but now is headquarted in Elk Grove, is a nonprofit that connects families in custody battles with material goods, such as cars, dishwashers, computers and food.

Zoo spokeswoman Nicky Mora said there is enough donated fruit for the elephants and bears to dine on all week.

Photo Credit: Erin Harrison/Oakland Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Shoreline Wine Festival Returns to Connecticut]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:43:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/wine_bottles_generic.jpg

The annual Shoreline Wine Festival will be making its return to Connecticut. The 8th annual event takes place on Aug. 16 and 17.

The festival features vineyards and wineries from across the state, with each offering wine tastings.

Live music and entertainment, tours of the Bishop’s Orchards Winery and several wine seminars given by local experts are some highlights of the festival. Fine food from around the Connecticut area will also be offered at an additional cost.

Wineries participating in this year’s festival include Hopkins Vineyard, Chamard Vineyard, Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Jones Winery, and many others. Entertainment at the event includes The Shiny Lapel trio and Nick Fradiani.

Tickets for the festival are $30 for adults and $10 for designated drivers before August 9. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.shorelinewinefestival.com.

Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[Free Admission at Science Center for Hartford Residents]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:15:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+science+center.jpg

The Connecticut Science Center will once again be partnering with the Hartford Public Library this summer to make science learning available to Hartford residents for free through the month of August.

Sponsored by The Travelers Companies, Inc., residents of Hartford will receive free general admission to Hartford's Science Center throughout the month, according to a release from the Connecticut Science Center. Passes will be available for pickup at any Hartford Public Library branch with proof of residency, such as a driver’s license, library card or recent piece of mail.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said he hoped the program would “connect all of our residents, especially our youth, with the best assets and opportunities that our community has to offer,” according to the release.

The free passes include all-day access to the Science Center's 165 exhibits and displays. Last year's passes attracted more than 3,300 Hartford residents, the release says.

More information is available online.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Vilseskogen]]>
<![CDATA[It’s National Chicken Wing Day]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:43:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Buffalo-Wings-Generic.jpg

National Chicken Wing Day has apparently been a thing since 1977, and it’s a great excuse to dine in or take out from your favorite wing place.

We have several to choose from in Connecticut.

J. Timothy’s Tavern in Plainvillle is offering a free beer glass with any order of wings today in celebration.

Hooters locations are offering all-you-can-eat wings for $12.99 all day long.

Slider’s has "2 Fer Tuesday’s," so you can get two orders of six bone-in wings for the price of one from 8 p.m.to 10 p.m.

If you are in Danbury, head to TK’s and choose from 52 flavors.

Tavern House Grill in Tolland offers a large variety of wings, including bee sting, bourbon, sweet and sour, chipotle, garlic and more.

If you are in New Haven, Fairfield, Milford, Wallingford and Derby, head to Archie Moore’s.

East Side Café in Norwalk serves up buffalo, barbeque, mild, and Asian fusion wings.

Connecticut is also home to several Buffalo Wild Wings locations.

Where is your favorite place for wings in Connecticut?

<![CDATA[Dispatch, Allen Stone and Family Fun at Gathering of the Vibes' Last Day]]> Sat, 02 Aug 2014 16:04:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Gathering+of+the+Vibes1200.jpg

If you grew up in the era of Woodstock or simply love music camping, and the Grateful Dead, Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport may be your jam.

The 19th annual weekend-long music festival kicked off at Seaside Park Thursday, July 31 and runs through Sunday. It's the 10th year Gathering of the Vibes has been at that location, according to the event website.

Former Grateful Dead members Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart will perform with The Disco Biscuits as a headlining act.

On Friday, the lineup includes Slightly Stoopid, John Fogerty, Deep Banana Blackout and EOTO.

Saturday’s lineup includes Vibes veterans Assembly of Wine in the morning; Mystic-based Barefoot Truth in the afternoon and Dumpstaphunk.

You’ll be singing along with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros when they perform “Home,” “40 Day Dream” or “Janglin” on Saturday.

Dispatch and Allen Stone are the headlining closing acts at the festival on Sunday evening, with Dispatch on the Main Stage at 6 p.m. and Allen Stone on the Green Vibes stage at 4:45 p.m.

Sunday also features kid-friendly events on Connecticut Family Day. A School of Rock 2014 AllStars performance featuring American teen musicians is scheduled and kids will have the opportunity to jam with major artists performing on the Main and Green Vibes stages, according to a news release. At 11 a.m., kids can learn about sound mixing with L-ACOUSTICS or listen to Andy "The Music Man, followed by a parade (parents welcome) and World Peace Flag Ceremony at 11:45 a.m.

At noon Sunday, Chris Hubbard, the production manager for the Gathering of the Vibes, will teach teens what it takes to produce a concert. Families can also bring their kids to the Grateful Games Kids Olympics, ride on an 85-foot high Ferris wheel, do family yoga, drum or sing in workshops, have a caricature painted of them, and enjoy face painting and dancing with "life-sized puppets," the news release stated.

Other performers at this year's event include Widespread Panic, John Fogerty, Dispatch, Lotus: Talking Heads Deconstructed, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Umphrey's McGee, moe., Slightly Stoopid, Ziggy Marley, Maceo Parker, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Dumpstaphunk, Allen Stone, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Dark Star Orchestra, Joe Russo's Almost Dead, Leftover Salmon featuring Bill Payne of Little Feat, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Keller Williams' Grateful Grass featuring Jeff Austin and Reed Mathis, Rusted Root, Ryan Montbleau and friends, Stanley Jordan, Strangefolk, Langhorne Slim & The Law, Deep Banana Blackout Dopapod, White Denim, Kung Fu, Assembly of Wine, Bronze Radio Return, Crash, American Babies, Twiddle, Donna The Buffalo, EOTO, Orgone, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Barefoot Truth, Love Canon, The Main Squeeze, Digital Tape Machine, David Gans, the McLovins, The Primate Fiasco, Band Together CT, Funky Dawgz Brass Band, Comic Dust Bunnies, Banooba, Andy The Music Man, The Brummy Brothers and Our Beloved MC Wavy Gravy.

Inspired by the Grateful Dead music culture, the Gathering of the Vibes originates from a tribute music festival to honor Jerry Garcia after he died in 1995, according to the festival website. Bob Kennedy, a fan and local business owner and promoter, organized "Deadhead Heaven - A Gathering of the Tribe" in Garcia's memory at the SUNY Purchase Campus, relocating it to Croton Poin Park in New York two years later and calling it Gathering of the Vibes, the website states.

The Vibes moved to Seaside Park in Bridgeport in 1999, with Bob Weir performing in 2000 as "the first Grateful Dead alumni," according to the website. While Seaside Park went through renovations in 2001, the music festival took place in Red Hook and then Mariaville, both in New York, before returning to Seaside Park in 2007, the website states.

Past Vibes festivals have drawn in globally renowned performers like the Grateful Dead, Gov't Mule, Elvis Costello, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Allman Brothers Band, James Brown, Jane's Addiction, The Black Crowes, John Butler Trio, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Cliff, Primus, George Clinton and P-Funk, Bruce Hornsby, Branford Marsalis, and Damian Marley and Nas, according to the Gathering of the Vibes website.

Single day tickets cost $75, with VIP tickets priced at $50 for kids under 12 and $225 for anyone older.

More information on tickets and scheduled artists is available on the Gathering of the Vibes website.

Photo Credit: Gathering of the Vibes]]>
<![CDATA[Stony Creek Brewery to Open New Site]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:46:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Stony+Creek+Brewery+entrance+low+res1200.jpg

Stony Creek Brewery plans to open a new state-of-the-art facility on the Branford River this winter that will include a huge tasting room, outdoor spaces and Bocce Ball courts. 

The company, which distributes its beer in Connecticut and Rhode Island, has broken ground on the new waterfront site at 5 Indian Neck Avenue.

When construction is done, the 30,000-square foot Stony Creek Brewery will have a 2,500 square-foot tasting room, a “celebration room” that can be rented out and two outdoor decks.

“One of our goals has been to have the brewery built by as many Branford businesses as possible. From the architectural work, to engineering, structural, legal and contracting, we have supported our hometown,” Edward M. Crowley, one of the owners of Stony Creek Brewery, said in a statement.

The company has hired Branford architect Joe Sepot.

Stony Creek brews include (203), (860) and (401) India Pale Ales, along with its (203) Stony Creek
Lager and the brewery plans to expand the beer lineup to include seasonal brews and limited releases.

Food will not be served by the brewery, but Stony Creek will be working with area restaurants for food delivery.

Guests will also be able to bring food for a picnic.

Tours will be available once the new location opens.

Photo Credit: Stony Creek Brewery/Joseph Sepot Architects]]>
<![CDATA[Chick-fil-A Breaks Ground on First Connecticut Restaurant]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 18:51:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ChikFilABrookfieldEDIT.jpg

Chick-fil-A broke ground on its first Connecticut restaurant Tuesday.

The chicken fast food chain, most popular in southern states, plans to open first in Brookfield in September, followed by three other locations in Wallingford, Danbury and Enfield. Currently, the closest locations are in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.

Brookfield officials joined owner Devon Scanlon, of Brookfield, at the 140 Federal Road restaurant site on Tuesday morning to kick off the countdown to the grand opening.

“Chick-fil-A provides the ideal opportunity to own my own business and have a positive impact on my hometown,” Scanlon said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited to bring Chick-fil-A’s freshly prepared food and signature customer service to Connecticut.”

The Brookfield Chick-fil-A will seat 109 people inside, also offering outdoor seating, and patrons can also get take-out orders from the drive-thru. The new location, which is expected to create at least 60 jobs, will also feature free Wi-Fi and an indoor play area that is toddler-friendly.

The first 100 adults to line up for Chick-fil-A on the day of the grand opening will be awarded with one free meal a week for a year in their First 100 celebration. A meal includes a Chick-fil-A sandwich, waffle fries and a medium beverage. More information is available on the Chick-fil-A website. At past First 100 celebrations, patrons have been known to camp out a day in advance with tents and electronics to pass the time.

Scanlon is a Brookfield High School graduate with a bachelor's degree in sports management from Elon University and a master of business administration degree from North Carolina State University. After a career in the hospitality industry, Scanlon decided that opening the first Connecticut Chick-fil-A would by a "good fit for her" after encouragement from her brother-in-law who owns a Tennessee Chick-fil-A, according to a news release.

The Connecticut location will be one of 88 stand-alone locations nationwide. In 2013, many new Chick-fil-A locations reported more than $5 million in annual sales.

Consumer Reports readers voted Chick-fil-A's signature chicken sandwich "tastiest chicken sandwich" in 2014.

You can stay up to date on construction progress and grand opening festivities on the Brookfield Chick-fil-A's Facebook page.

<![CDATA[Free State Parks Weekend in Connecticut]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:42:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Gillette+Castle.jpg

Connecticut residents can take advantage of all the state park system has to offer this weekend.

Gov. Malloy and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection have announced “Free State Parks Weekend” – waiving parking and museum fees across the state.

There are also various special events planned, such as a live reptile show Sunday at Stratton Brook State Park in Simsbury, or nature and crafting programs at the Goodwin Conservation Center in Hampton and the Kellogg Environmental Center/Osborne Homestead Museum in Derby.

The weekend is part of an ongoing celebration of the state parks centennial. In 1913, the state formed a State Park Commission, which purchased its first five acres of land in Westport in 1914. That land would eventually become Sherwood Island State Park.

Many parks will offer a free brochure on the history of the state park system and historic photos of the parks.

Connecticut boasts over 32,000 acres of land across 107 state parks, all of which are participating. Even so, Malloy warned residents to expect a busy weekend.

“Many of our parks have been at or close to capacity on nice weekend days this summer,” he said at a press conference Wednesday. “I would urge residents to find and explore a park off the beaten path so they can take full advantage of this weekend.”

DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee suggested checking out the Connecticut State Parks Twitter feed for real-time information about parking capacity and special activities. He also cautioned residents to plan ahead.

“We do advise, however, that you arrive early if you plan to visit one of our beaches on Long Island Sound or an inland lake, as parking lots at those locations can reach capacity quickly,” he said.

More information about weekend events and tips on the best locations for activities at each park are available online.

Photo Credit: Friends of Gillette Castle]]>
<![CDATA[Supporting Charity is the Home Run in CT TV Softball Tournament]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:57:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NBC+Connecticut+Softball+Team.JPG

NBC Connecticut fielded a team for the 4th annual Connecticut TV Softball Tournament, losing games to FOX CT and WFSB, but having fun in a friendly tournament to raise money for charity. 

NBC Connecticut Sports Director Kevin Nathan, First Alert Meteorologist Monica Cryan, Troubleshooters Len Besthoff and George Colli, reporter Seth Lemon and more NBC Connecticut staff suited up to run the bases against FOX CT, WTNH, and WFSB at Mills Woods Park in Wethersfield. WTNH won the tournament over FOX CT in the championship game.

"We fielded a team, we got jerseys, and it's an absolutely beautiful day," Troubleshooter George Colli said.

NBC Connecticut was nine runs behind FOX CT at one point in the first game.

"Yeah, I don't think there's anything the Troubleshooters can do about this one today," Colli quipped.

However, NBC Connecticut rallied to come within a few points of FOX CT. WFSB won the consolation game.

But in the end, the tournament is about fun and helping raise money for charity more so than the scores.

As for our most valuable player on the field? Dan Clarke, NBC Connecticut's coach, nominated Kevin Nathan from game one.

"Kevin Nathan's made some great plays out in the field for us," Clarke said.

Nathan covered the winter Olympics in Sochi a few months ago. When asked if he would call Saturday's tournament Sochi, Wethersfield, Nathan joked, "Sochi, Wethersfield. The security's equally tight, given the celebrity status of the people out here."

The public was invited to watch and cheer on their Connecticut broadcast news stations and support a good cause.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Avon Performance Honors Victims of Malaysia Flight 17]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:52:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP799795889401.jpg

Avon Summer Theater will be performing the broadway hit RENT this weekend at Avon High School, with a special focus on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

Over 100 scientists and researchers who were on their way to an International AIDS Conference in Australia were killed on the flight, which was shot down over Ukraine earlier this week.

Given the nature of RENT and its ties to HIV/AIDS, the dedication helps to honor the memory of those involved in combatting and studying this deadly disease.

“This was an idea that came from one of the parents of a cast member, and everyone – cast, crew, staff, directors – though it was a wonderful idea,” said Avon Summer Theater Director Doreen Cohn.

Directors of the show made efforts to educate students on the history of AIDS and its effect on society.

“It’s a powerful message,” said cast member Sara Walters. “Learning about [AIDS’] impact at the time the play takes place and how people felt about it has been crucial in understanding the importance of our roles and the importance of the musical, RENT."

The first performance of RENT kicks off Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. Additional performances will be held July 25 and 26, also at 7:30 p.m., and July 27 at 2 p.m.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Danbury Celebrates the Beatles This Weekend]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 20:33:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/106494030.jpg

Danbury will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in the U.S. this weekend.

The two-day event will take place at Ives Concert Park on the Western Connecticut State University campus Saturday and Sunday. Doors open at noon and music will continue until 8 p.m. each day.

This family-friendly music, food and arts festival is celebrating its third year and plan to feature 10 bands both days playing the music of the Beatles. In addition to live music and food, dealers and vendors will be selling Beatles memorabilia.

Tickets are available online and at the door.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Take a Bite – It’s National Hot Dog Day ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:24:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Crif+Dogs+Stock+-+Getty+Images.jpg

There is something about a perfectly grilled hotdog on a summer day and today just happens to be National Hot Dog Day.

Whether you like yours with ketchup, mustard, relish, Coney Island sauce or something else, there are plenty of places to celebrate today.

Head to a hot dog cart near your, or you could really go for it and take the hotdog tour.

(Yes – hot dog tour.) A documentary of the same name came out, featuring Connecticut as a hot dog hotspot.

You might not think of Wayback Burgers as a place for hot dogs, but it is and the first 50 people at participating stores will get a free Wayback dog, which comes with bacon, cheese, onions and Wayback Gold Sauce.


The hot dog documentary features:

  • Blackie’s Hot Dog Stand, 2200 Waterbury Road in Cheshire, home of the famous homemade secret spicy relish recipe.
  • Weiners On Water in East Haddam, which happens to be a hotdog boat.
  • Rawley’s Drive-In, 1886 Post Road, in Fairfield
  • Super Duper Weenie, 306 Black Rock Turnpike, in Fairfield
  • Glenwood Drive-In, 2538 Whitney Ave, in Hamden, where the award-winning hotdogs are just part of the menu.
  • Capitol Lunch, 510 Main St, in New Britain and its famous meat sauce.
  • The Dawg House, 1360 East St., New Britain
  • Bobby’s Place in Niantic
  • Top Dog Hot Dog in Portland
  • Frankies – multiple locations: In 2011, Forbes picked Frankie’s in Waterbury as having one of the 10 best hot dogs in America.
  • Frankies of Watertown Ave, 700 Watertown Ave., Waterbury
  • Frankies of Reidville Drive, 464 Reidville Drive, Waterbury
  • Frankies of Chase Ave., 348 Chase Ave, Waterbury
  • Frankies of Straits Turnpike, 535 Straits Turnpike, Watertown
  • Frankies of Bristol, 1195 Farmington Ave., Bristol
  • Frankies of West Haven, 1151 Orange Ave., West Haven

Man vs. Food has made the trip here and indulged at Woody’s in Hartford for its Deputy Dog, which is covered in pulled pork and cheese, and at Doogies in Newington for the 2-foot-long Doogie dog.

Viewers also recommend Tomlinson's in Bridgeport. It's located at 140 Noble Avenue, in case you want to try for yourself, or Sonic.

We can also boast that New Haven is home to Hummel Brothers and its many varieties of franks.

If you want to grill your own, try Chef Chris Prosperi's recipe for onions in tomato sauce.

Where is your favorite place to grab a hotdog in Connecticut and what do you top it with?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Michelle Obama Style Guide]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:39:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/MObamaBike.jpg The first lady proves she's first in fashion.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Restaurant Planned for Mohegan Sun Site]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:25:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Arooga+Grill.jpg

A Pennsylvania-based restaurant and sports bar plans to open its first restaurant in New England and broke ground near Mohegan Sun casino on Tuesday.

Arooga’s Grille House and Sports Bar plans to open 15 restaurants in New England and the Uncasville location is expected to start doing business in March 2015.

It will be located at Sandy Desert Road and Route 32.

When construction is finished, Arooga’s will be a 9,000 square-foot restaurant with more than 100 television screens, a collection of sports memorabilia, a three-season dining patio that includes with fire pits, and a tap room with up to 40 domestic and craft beers. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[It’s National Junk Food Day]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:23:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Pez+Candy+Getty+images.jpg

There is a day to celebrate everything and July 21 is National Junk Food Day.

Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer something salty, some snacking favorites are made right here in Connecticut.

Old Lyme is home to Deep River Snacks, with makes mesquite BBQ chips, sweet Maui onion and more. The company also makes popcorn.

If sweet snacks are more your thing, the U.S. headquarters for PEZ is in Orange.

The company still offers the assorted fruit flavors you grew up loving, but it also offers chocolate, cola and sour flavors, including sour green apple, sour blue raspberry, sour pineapple and sour watermelon. 

Thanks for a Greenwich billionaire and his sons, Twinkies are back on the shelves after a hiatus. 

Some might consider chocolate junk food, while others might consider it a crucial food group. Whichever side you are on, you can find good chocolate right here, including at Bridgewater Chocolate, Tschudin Chocolates in Middletown, Knipschildt Chocolatier in NorwalkMunson's in Bolton and many more. The state tourism Web site includes a chocolate trail to follow for a chocolate fix.

Connecticut is also home to several soda companies.

Avery’s Beverages are made in New Britain, Foxon Park Beverages are made in East Haven, Castle Beverages are made in Ansonia and you can find Hosmer Mountain beverages in Willimantic and Manchester.

If you want to indulge, but stay as healthy as possible, you can check out the list of USDA-approved smart snacks on the Connecticut State Department of Education Web site.

What’s your favorite snack food?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ConnectiCon Opens in Hartford]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 18:18:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/181*120/2013Connecticon_66.jpg

Bring on the cosplay. 

The Connecticut Convention Center will become paradise for gamers and comic book lovers this weekend as ConnectiCon returns to Hartford. 

The convention opened Thursday and runs through Sunday, July 13 and features many events from a nerd prom and cosplay masquerade to "League of Legends" competitions and cosplay karaoke.

Alan Oppenheimer, famous for voicing the narrator in"The NeverEnding Story" and several animated characters from cartoons and video games, will reunite with co-star Noah Hathaway, who played young hero Atreju in "The NeverEnding Story. Walter Jones, who played one of the original Power Rangers, will also be there, according to the ConnectiCon website. All three will be available for photos and autographs for a fee. 

Other guests include Diedrich Bader, who played Oswald in "The Drew Carey Show" and Janet Varney (Kora, Nickelodeon's "The Legend of Kora" ), as well as many voice actors like Jennifer Hale, who has voiced characters from Cinderella to Ms. Keane in "The Power Puff Girls," Maurice LaMarche, who voiced chief Quimby in "Inspector Gadget" and the Brain in "Pinky and the Brain, Richard Horvitz, who voiced Daggett in "The Angry Beavers" and Alpha 5 from the original "Mighty Morphin Power Ranger," Rikki Simons (GIR, "Invader ZIM") and Rob Paulsen (Pinky, "Pinky and the Brain"). 

Web cartoonists and comic book artists will also be there for meet and greets.

Various panels featuring industry professionals are scheduled including a "Pinky and the Brain" Q&A, a live art competition and games like the ConnectiCon dating game hosted by "Glee" characters Blaine and Kurt. 

Evening concerts as part of ConnectiCrawl showcase 16 different musical artists at BlackBear Saloon, Burger Baby and Black-Eyed Sally's

More information on guests, prices and events is available on the ConnectiCon website. 

Registration for the convention began Friday at 8 a.m. Only cash is accepted for on-site registration. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Stores Offer Free Slurpees, Sandwiches and Discounted Doughnuts]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 10:25:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/slurpeeEDIT.jpg

Who doesn't like free food?

7-11, Chick-fil-A and Krispy Kreme are offering deals on free snacks, drinks, sandwiches and more. Here are the three you should know about for Friday.

1.Oh Thank Heaven...For Free Slurpees!

Friday is July 11 (or 7-11), and 7-Eleven is giving out free small Slurpees to celebrate. Swing by any 7-Eleven from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. to grab a free drink while supplies last.

But that's not all. If you download the 7-Eleven app you can enjoy new freebies every day until July 19. Some highlights include Twinkies, Big Gulps and M&M's.

(Psst... If you miss 7-Eleven day on Friday you can use your app to get a free Slurpee on the 19th!)

2. Cow Appreciation Day

Love Chick-fil-A's "Eat Mor Chikin" campaign? Now you can be a part of it! Dress like a cow and show up to any Chick-fil-A restaurant on July 11 to receive a free meal.

If you are feeling shy about your love of cows, you can dress in partial cow attire and still receive a free entree.

Don't know where to find a cow costume?

Fear not, Chick-fil-A has you covered.

Download and print off a cow costume here.

3. Happy Birthday Krispy Kreme

Most people celebrate their birthday with cake and ice cream, but Krispy Kreme obviously prefers doughnuts!

The chain turns 77 on July 11, and to celebrate they'll give you a dozen glazed doughnuts for .77 cents with your purchase of any dozen doughnuts.

Photo Credit: 7-Eleven]]>
<![CDATA[15th Annual Renaissance Faire Held This Fall]]> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 18:01:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/renaissance+faire+009_640_480.jpg

During five weekends this fall, the Connecticut Renaissance Faire looks to bring an old-world harvest festival to modern-day New England.

Dodd Stadium in Norwich will play host to the festivities, which will kick off on September 27 and 28. The fair will then continue on throughout every weekend in October, including Columbus Day.

Visitors will be able to indulge on some giant turkey legs, attend a jousting match or two, or try their luck at games of skill, among other attractions.

The event promises a mix of more than 200 knights, royalty, and craftsmen to help create an atmosphere akin to that of the King Henry VIII and Elizabethan eras.

Price points include $17 for general admission, $10 for children 7-15, and free admission for anyone under the age of 6. Parking at the fair is free.

For more information, please visit www.ctfaire.com, or call (860) 478-5954 for directions, discounts, special events, and more.

Photo Credit: Lauren Kesten]]>
<![CDATA[Rhode Island's Ocean House Named Top Resort in U.S.]]> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 11:03:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/Ocean-House-3.jpg

The recently renovated Ocean House hotel in Watch Hill, Rhode Island has been named the top resort hotel in the country and the No. 5 hotel worldwide, according to Travel and Leisure Magazine's 2014 World’s Best Awards.

The Ocean House, which reopened in spring 2010 after years of reconstruction, is the newest hotel ever to receive the top honor in the continental U.S. The hotel ranked No. 10 in 2013.

“We are overjoyed to learn that the Ocean House is receiving the tremendous honor," said Daniel Hostettler, president and group managing director of Ocean House Management, LLC, in a statement. "This accolade is especially rewarding as it is voted on by travelers themselves, and this means that those who have visited our hotel truly see Ocean Hotel as a special place and consider us to be the best in the nation, and even the world.”

The Ocean House was awarded its fourth consecutive AAA Five Diamond rating earlier this year, Rhode Island’s only establishment to receive such recognition.

“Being selected as the best hotel in the continental United States is both gratifying and humbling, as we know the expectations of our guests will rise even higher,” said Hostettler, in the statement. “I am sure our committed team will rise to the occasion and achieve even greater levels of success.”

<![CDATA[6 Celebrity Burger Recipes for July 4th]]> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 08:59:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/burger-466024983.jpg

The Fourth of July is an excuse to barbecue as many burgers as you can. Check out these six recipes from celebrity chefs.

Burger: A Simple Tradition
Chef: Daniel Boulud
Secret Weapon: Fresh Ingredients

French chef and international restaurateur, Daniel Boulud, may hold the key to a “perfect” burger. The all-star chef’s technique is simple: keep it simple. “The most important, of course, is meat. Have a good percentage of fat in your burger but not too much, I would say an ideal is 15-20 percent,” Boulud said.

With no tricks up his sleeves, Boulud buys all fresh ingredients for his burger and only uses salt, pepper and oil to season his meat. While his one-inch thick burgers cook on the grill, the chef preps his lettuce, tomato, onions and bun before assembling the perfect hamburger.

Burger: The Piggy Special
Chef: Gordon Ramsay
Secret Weapon: Bacon

When the "Hell’s Kitchen" host isn’t starting kitchen drama with his contestants, the British chef likes to make some good American sliders — calmly. "I travel all over the world, and I spend a lot of time in the States,” he said. “They know how to make a great slider." 

His trick for making his barbecue pork sliders stand out: mixing cooked and chopped pieces of back bacon into the ground pork before grilling. Every bite is guaranteed to be packed with savory pork flavor.

Burger: Classic with a New Crunch
Chef: Bobby Flay
Secret Weapon: Potato Chips

It may be a privilege to “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” but it’s certainly a challenge to beat his burgers.

Flay suggests making a small indentation in the center of the patties so they don't swell up as they cook, "I just make a little well with my thumb in the middle of the burger and then when the burger cooks it actually comes back to shape, otherwise you're going to have this big sort of hump on the burger," Flay said. He cautions at-home chefs to never press down the burgers on the grill. "That’s when you lose all the juiciness," he said.

Flay likes to add a little crunch to his burger by adding potato chips. He even had the word "Crunchified" copyrighted for his restaurant chain, Bobby's Burger Palace.

Burger: Gourmet Salmon
Chef: Martha Stewart
Secret Weapon: Toasted Brioche Bun


It’s no shock Martha Stewart can cook about anything, even gourmet-style salmon burgers. These salmon burgers are an ideal substitute for meat or for people without a grill on the holiday. Stewart is generous with her seasoning, telling her audience, “Fish is bland, the salmon has a lovely taste, but it is a mild fish, so dressing it up with a little horseradish and lemon zest helps.”

A toasted brioche roll complements the high-scale restaurant tasting salmon patty.

Burger: Turkey with a spicy kick
Chef: Guy Fieri
Secret Weapon: Garlic butter

The "Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives" star is a professional when it comes to burgers. After tasting a countless number of beef burgers across the country, Fieri knows a good substitute when he sees it.

"Little turkey burger, some pablano pepper, now some caramelized onions and peppers right on top that's what I'm talking about, and talk about healthy-- it's a burger!" Fieri said about his spicy turkey burger.

While this turkey burger has a long list of all-star ingredients, a little garlic butter on the buns subtly ties all the flavors together.

Burger: Welsch Wildcard
Chef: Richard Blais
Secret Weapon: Homemade Rarebit

After taking a trip to London, "Top Chef: All-Star" Richard Blais, makes a crazy and complicated burger remix: the Cheese Fondue Welsch Rarebit Burger. Blais makes his patties square because they are served on toast, like traditional rarebit, instead of buns.

 The namesake ingredient, rarebit, is made with a flour base, Dijon mustard, English dried mustard and Guinness beer. “Guinness beer is going to have a lot of malty flavor to it, going to give it a lot of sweetness, a little bit of bitter on the back pallet—that’s the thing about British food it’s really adult, it puts hair on your chest.”

What better way to celebrate America’s Independence from Britain than eating English food?

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Where to Watch Team USA's Tuesday’s World Cup Match]]> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 12:03:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/world-cup-thumb-4510626781.jpg

Team USA will be taking on Belgium in the World Cup match on Tuesday afternoon and there are plenty of places to watch here in Connecticut.   

The Hartford Chapter of American Outlaws, a national group of soccer fans who have united to support the United States National Soccer Teams, has set up three viewing parties. 
If you are going to be in Hartford, head over to Damon’s Tavern, at 310 Prospect Avenue. Damon’s will have usual drink specials for American Outlaws members with a membership card and wrist band. Both will be given out at the American Outlaws table. 
In West Hartford, you can head over to Sliders Grill and Bar, at 176 Newington Road, where you do not need a membership card. There will be a prize raffle and proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. Happy Hour starts at 4 p.m., just as the game begins, with $1 off all draft beers.
Head to City Steam Brewery, at 942 Main Street in Downtown Hartford to watch. City Steam Brewery will have all TVs and audio on for this game, according to American Outlaws. 
The New Haven chapter of the group has also scheduled a viewing party at Anna Liffey's Irish Pub at 17 Whitney Avenue in New Haven at 4 p.m.
While the American Outlaws has planned viewing parties, several bars are doing their own thing. 
You can watch the match at Tilgin Irish Pub, at 175 Bedford Street in Stamford. 
The game begins at 4 p.m. and will be shown on ESPN. 
We want to see how you are showing your U.S. pride. Send your photos to shareit@nbcconnecticcut.com
Know of a World Cup viewing party that is not mentioned here, post below and spread the word. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Buy Heidi Klum's Gorgeous $25M Home]]> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 11:31:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/klum1.jpg Heidi Klum is selling her luxurious Brentwood, California estate for $25 million. See photos.

Photo Credit: Nick Springett]]>