<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Thu, 03 Sep 2015 07:00:19 -0400 Thu, 03 Sep 2015 07:00:19 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[McDonald's to Serve Breakfast 24/7]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:08:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mcdonald%27s+breakfast.jpg

McDonald's announced Tuesday its highly anticipated decision to serve breakfast all day at all U.S. locations starting this fall.

According to CNBC, McDonald's franchisees voted to approve all-day breakfast at the fast food chain's 14,300 U.S. restaurants on Tuesday. Starting Oct. 6, patrons can order Egg McMuffins and other breakfast items at any time of the day.

The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company tweeted about the decision Tuesday afternoon using the hashtag #AllDayBreakfast and responding to customers' queries about extending the chain's breakfast hours. McDonald's even responded to a tweet from 2007 that said, "Mcdonalds should serve breakfast 24/7."

McDonald's began testing all-day breakfast in March in the San Diego market. The test was expected to expand to Nashville this summer.

"Serving all-day breakfast is likely the number one request we hear from McDonald's customers," the company told NBC Chicago in a statement in July.

McDonald's breakfast currently ends at 10:30 a.m. in most markets.

The chain has long been the fast-food leader in the mornings, with its popular Sausage Biscuits, Hotcakes and other items pulling in roughly 20 percent of the company's U.S. sales. But McDonald's has faced stiffer competition in recent years, with competitors such as Starbucks and Subway rolling out breakfast sandwiches as well.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CT Fair Schedule]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 22:25:16 -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. 4-7

Sept. 10-13

Sept. 17-20

Sept. 24-27

  • Durham Fair (Sept. 24-27), featuring free Martina McBride concert on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m., free Craig Morgan concert on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m., Confederate Railroad on Sept. 27 at 2 p.m.
  • The Big E (Sept. 18-Oct. 4), featuring free Brett Eldredge concert on Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m., free KANSAS concert on Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m., free concert by Ace Frehley, original lead guitarist of Kiss, on Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2-4

  • Berlin Fair (Oct. 2-4)
  • Harwinton Fair (Oct. 3-4)
  • The Big E (Sept. 18-Oct. 4), featuring free Jana Kramer concert on Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m., free concert by Bridgit Medler, pop singer/songwriter and actress in NBC's "Undateable," DJ Paris Hilton on The Court of Honor Stage on Oct. 4 at 8 p.m.

Oct. 9-11

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[Hot Air Balloons Fill Plainville Sky at Festival]]> Sun, 30 Aug 2015 18:41:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Plainville+hot+air+balloons+1200.jpg

Robert Metz, of Avon, has been coming to the Plainville Hot Air Balloon Festival for 17 years.

“I started about 35 years ago. I took one ride and I was hooked,” he said.

Sunday, he pulled into the Plainville park before the sun was up, rolling out the rigging to his hot air balloon.

Spectators who arrived early caught a glimpse of the crews setting up.

“I just want to see how it all goes together,” Brenda Belanger, of Newington, said.

Though she’s never been up in one, Belanger inked her love of hot air balloons on her leg.

“It’s my dream to go on one,” she explained.

As balloons began to take shape over their baskets, spectators stared at the spectacular sight surrounding them. Balloons rose up from the ground, ready for the weekend's final flight.

“I like to see all the different balloons that are around. It’s just really cool,” said Sarah Ford of Plainville.

Thanks to the good weather they’ve made all four launches this weekend, and seen a record crowd. More than 25,000 people on the first night alone, according to the festival’s sponsor.

“It does keep getting bigger. I think it’s becoming more popular,” said First Lt. Kurt Plourde, a leader on the Plainville volunteer fire department.

While the public could watch the balloons launch for free, sales of food and craft space raised money for the fire department’s scholarship fund. They said it’s their biggest fundraiser of the year.

“This is a perfect weekend. You don’t always get a weekend where you get all the flights in, so this is a great weekend for us,” said Metz.

As the bright balloons colored the Connecticut sky, people looked up in amazement.

“I think it’s a lot of fun to see the little kids, it’s great to see their reaction,” Ford pointed out.

“They were all up in the sky and we even saw them blow up,” five-year-old Reese Naughton of Southington said.”

The little girl seemed mesmerized by the balloons, and she wasn’t the only one. The festival attracted plenty of families.

“We’ve done it at least four or five years in a row. We bring our children out and it’s a great time,” said Reese’s father, Pat.

Soaring high, those flying through the air said the feeling is unmatched.

“You’re up there. You’re free from just about everything. You just float around. You get a totally different perspective on what the world looks like.”

They stayed up for about an hour, and landed where the wind took them. One owner was able to steer his balloon toward the Rock Cats stadium before the team’s final home game in New Britain.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Rock Cats Win Last Home Game in New Britain]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 05:08:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Rocky+the+rock+cat+1200.jpg

These Cats rock! The Rock Cats won their last home game in New Britain Stadium Sunday as its fans and the city of New Britain says goodbye to the team that has long called the stadium home.

After 15 innings, about four hours or so of play, the Rock Cats secured a 7-5 victory for their last career home game in New Britain.

The team had an MLB All-Star playing with them in the game against the Portland Seadogs. Justin Morneau, a former American League MVP, has been on a rehab assignment, playing in New Britain all weekend. He's on loan from the Rock Cats affiliate Major League team, the Colorado Rockies

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart was at the last game at New Britain Stadium. The Double-A minor league team is moving to Hartford next season, which was initially a point of contention in New Britain when the news first broke.

"So long, Rocky," Stewart said in a tweet, including a photo of the Double-A minor league team's beloved mascot, Rocky the Rock Cat waving.

"On behalf of the City of New Britain - THANK YOU TO OUR FANS! YOU ARE #1!" Stewart tweeted.

There's been mixed emotions about the team's move, which also includes a name change to the Hartford Yard Goats.

The team’s general manager, Tim Restall, likened it to reading a book, closing one chapter and beginning another.

The first fans arrived at the stadium at 8 a.m. Sunday morning from Boston.

Joe Secheyco said he's been to minor league games up and down New England.

"I've been to almost every minor league park in New England when it opened and if they close I go there to watch them also,” Secheyco said.

In a message to NBC Connecticut, Stewart said, "it's a bittersweet day." She thanked "all of the loyal New Britain fans who made this stadium what it has become!"

"We hope you'll come back," she said.

Will another team be moving into New Britain's stadium? That remains to be seen.

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings (sic) end...#NB #staytuned," Stewart tweeted before the game, along with a selfie with Rocky.

Did you go to the last Rock Cats home game? Tweet us your photos and videos or send them to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart]]>
<![CDATA[New CT Professional Soccer Team Holds Open Tryouts]]> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 13:32:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Soccer+Header+Generic+Soccer.jpg

A new year-round professional soccer team coming to Hartford is held open tryouts in Farmington on Saturday until noon.

In June, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters learned that Professional Sports Management Group will be bringing professional soccer to the state and team, Hartford City F.C., will play both indoors and outdoors.

"We know there will be some quality players, and hopefully we'll find some promising surprises among the rest of the pool," head coach Paul Wright, who scouted a lot of the players trying out, said before the tryout. "The open tryout is only one phase in creating our team. The goal is to find a solid group of players to invite back to training with us in September where they'll compete for roster spots alongside our other prospects."

More than 50 athletes pre-registered to tryout and the team expected walk-ons to come the day of, according to a press release from the team. The tryouts began at 10 a.m. at the Farmington Sports Arena and players got there at 9 a.m. to register. Players from Connecticut and Massachusetts colleges and club teams and Major Arena Soccer League and pro league professional players are being considered for the new Hartford team.

Hartford City F.C. has already signed one player, Tom Williams, who is a veteran player in the English league and "is expected to play a leadership role within the club and will take part in the tryout process this weekend," according to a news release from the club. The team announced that on Aug. 12.

The team has signed a deal to play in the Major Arena Soccer League, which will play indoors at the XL Center, starting in November.

The soccer club plans on releasing its schedule in the coming weeks. The XL Center will be the venue for the team's ten home games between Nov. 1, 2015 and Feb. 28, 2016. Hartford City F.C. is already taking season ticket deposits online. You can visit the team's website, http://www.hartfordcityfc.com, for more information.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bathtub Girl Meets Luke Bryan: 'I Love Him']]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 20:42:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Ava_Finley_Luke_Bryan.png

A little girl struggles to say who she loves and her dad couldn't make out the words. 

The two-year-old professed her love to country singer Luke Bryan during bath time. The video of the father-daughter episode went viral, followed by an in person meeting with the superstar. 

As Ava Finley took a bath last year, the toddler began babbling with her dad Jonathan Finley and he started shooting video of her chatter. At first, he didn't know exactly what she was talking about. 

"A little bunny? You look funny?" he asked. 

What the little girl from Calera, Ala. was trying to tell her father was — Luke Bryan! Her pronunciation was a little tough to make out.

"I love him!" she exclaimed.

Ava became a Bryan fan after listening to his music with her aunts. "Play It Again" is her favorite song. 

Ava's mom first shared the video on her personal Facebook page last year. After being nudged by friends, she posted it to Twitter in April of this year and tagged Bryan, who eventually saw the video and retweeted it. His record label got in contact with the Finleys and invited them to a concert and meet-and-greet this year.

"She is really shy around people she doesn’t know. I was kind of afraid she would chicken out," said Ava's mom Adrian Finley. 

Dressed up in her cowboy boots and a white bow, Ava finally met Bryan before his concert in Atlanta on Aug. 23. Upon seeing her, Bryan scooped up Ava and gave her a big hug. He shared the moment on his Facebook page. 

"She was even cuter in person," Bryan wrote.

Photo Credit: Adrian Finley
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<![CDATA[Meat Truck Delivers Big Flavor]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:57:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Meat+Truck.JPG The Meat Truck delivers fantastic food in Connecticut.]]> <![CDATA[New Haven Campaigns to End Hunger]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 11:22:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/grocery-store-cart.jpg

Three nonprofit organizations are working together to "STOP Hunger" as part of Hunger Action Month, which kicks off in September.

Residents can donate $25 to receive discount cards from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Pitkin Plaza at 157 Orange Street.

The cards can then be used to toward discounted purchases at the following locations throughout the month of September:

  • Elm City Market is offering 5 percent off
  • Idiom is offering 20 percent off a handbag
  • G. Café Bakery is offering 15 percent off a purchase
  • Jake’s Wayback Burgers in Orange is offering 15 percent off
  • Trinity Bar and Restaurant is offering 10 percent off

Customers are also encouraged to donate as part of the Pin-Up Campaign, in which the donor's name and amount are written down and posted on the wall of one of the following businesses:

  • Christy’s Irish Pub in New Haven
  • Duffy’s Tavern in Orange
  • Modern Apizza in New Haven
  • Trinity Bar and Restaurant in New Haven
  • Woodbridge Gathering in Woodbridge

Community Soup Kitchen, FISH of Greater New Haven and Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry are behind the initiative. Together, the three organizations feed more than 100,000 people annually.

More information is available online at www.stophungerinnewhaven.org.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nardelli’s Coming to Wallingford, East Hartford]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:49:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/nardellis.jpg

Add two more places to your list of favorite lunch spots. Nardelli’s is opening grinder shops in East Hartford and Wallingford this fall.

Nardelli’s has been filling Connecticut bellies since 1922, when the first shop opened in Waterbury. Since then, nine more locations opened.

The two new restaurants will be opening in the fall -- at 970 North Colony Road in Wallingford, and at 1 Main Street in East Hartford, according to Nardelli’s Web site.

Other Nardelli’s locations:

  • 540 Plank Road (I-84), Waterbury
  • 515 Watertown Avenue, Waterbury
  • 87 Maple Street, Naugatuck
  • Union Square Plaza, 385 Main Street South, Southbury
  • 100 Newtown Road, Danbury
  • 396 Washington Street, Middletown
  • 84 Oxford Road, Oxford
  • 136 Berlin Road (Route 372) Cromwell
  • 405 Queen Street, Southington
  • 896 E Main Street, Meriden

<![CDATA[Connecticut Open Returns to New Haven]]> Sat, 22 Aug 2015 14:28:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+open.jpg

Join NBC Connecticut at the Connecticut Open through Saturday, Aug. 29 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.

The tournament is not only a large-scale sporting event but a way to give back to the community.

With five different competitions and week-long activities, the Connecticut Open is fun for the whole family! Each day of the tournament offers a new attraction, along with top-level tennis.

Some of the best tennis players in the world – including Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Petra Kvitova, and Americans Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe – will compete.

Tournament events include Kids' Day, Military Appreciation Night, UConn Day, Girl Power Night and Family Night, and will feature food trucks, entertainment, live music and other attractions.

For a detailed schedule of events and more information, visit the Connecticut Open's website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cop Dances to Cheer Up Sick Child ]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 06:47:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/173*120/breakdance.PNG

Officer Joe Marte knows how to put a smile on your face.

The San Francisco Police Department officer busted some serious moves to cheer up Colren Guerra, a cancer patient at UC Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco.

Marte's uniform didn't stop him from taking on the break dance challenge, right after Guerra showed off his skills. He came in on his day off to entertain Colten, who's a huge Incredible Hulk fan.

The 5-year-old from Brentwood has a 2.75 inch tumor in his kidney and doctors at UCSF diagnosed him with Stage 4 Neurblastoma Cancer that has spread to his hips, one leg, spine, kidney, some ribs, and shoulders.

Doctors started agressive chemotherapy on Feb. 14 and are hopeful of beating the cancer.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help Colten "Hulk" Guerra and his family with "medical expenses, daily expenses, and just love."

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<![CDATA[Connecticut Open Returns to New Haven]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 22:22:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+open.jpg

Join NBC Connecticut at the Connecticut Open from Friday, Aug. 21 to Saturday, Aug. 29 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.

The tournament is not only a large-scale sporting event but a way to give back to the community.

With five different competitions and week-long activities, the Connecticut Open is fun for the whole family! Each day of the tournament offers a new attraction, along with top-level tennis.

Some of the best tennis players in the world – including Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Petra Kvitova, and Americans Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe – will compete.

Tournament events include Kids' Day, Military Appreciation Night, UConn Day, Girl Power Night and Family Night, and will feature food trucks, entertainment, live music and other attractions.

For a detailed schedule of events and more information, visit the Connecticut Open's website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rude Restaurant Server on Video]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 17:17:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/11137110_10152876011048299_1762192408383809822_n.jpg

Most Chicagoans know that when you go to the restaurant Ed Debevic’s you shouldn’t expect the nicest servers. In fact, you should prepare for incredibly rude ones.

But it appears that one exceptionally rude server at the restaurant has reached Internet stardom in a viral video posted to social media last week.

According to the video’s caption, a group of people in town for the Younique Convention decided to dine at the “interesting” restaurant, which they knew was known for its rudeness.

In the video, posted on Aug. 10 by LaNetta Limb Maxfield, a server is heard telling the group that she’d likely get fired if she was nice to them and called the patrons cheap.

“You know what grandpa, if I was nice to you, I’d get canned,” she said. “If you want good service, you go somewhere else. I know Hooters is probably more your speed, but you came here on purpose.”

The server is also heard telling a woman who ordered a Diet Coke, “I’d love to get you one, if it’ll shut you up.”

While the scene is a common one at the Chicago staple, the video has since been shared more than 82,600 times and received more than 4.4 million views.

Photo Credit: Ed Debevic's
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<![CDATA[New Haven Restaurant Makes "Time" Best Burger List ]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 18:51:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/175*120/louis+lunch+burger.jpg

There are many, many places to get a good burger in Connecticut, but one local establishment is standing out on a national scale this week.

Time Magazine ranked the 10 best burgers in America and Louis’ Lunch made the list. The New Haven restaurant’s signature burger comes in seventh.

The “Time” article points out something you already know if you live here in Connecticut – that New Haven is the birthplace of the American hamburger.

“Many restaurants claim to be the birthplace of the hamburger. Louis’ Lunch, in New Haven since 1900, is a leading contender,” the article says.

Louis’ Lunch was actually established in 1895, but history was made in 1900 when a man in a hurry rushed into the restaurant and said he wanted something he could eat on the run, according to the Louis’ Lunch web site. So, Louis Lassen gave him ground steak trimmings between two slices of toast, creating the hamburger.

If you go, don’t ask for ketchup. The only acceptable additions to the legendary burger are cheese, tomato and onion.   

Of course, there are many good burger places in the state and these are some of NBC Connecticut viewer's favorites.

Harry's Place at 104 Broadway in Colchester has been featured in Roadfood for its incredibly juicy burgers. They also called 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  here. The Inside Out Burger is delicious, but check out the full menu, including the specials. 

Max Burger has two locations:

  • 124 LaSalle Road, West Hartford, 860-232-3300
  • 684 Bliss Road, Longmeadow, Massachusetts, 413-798-0101

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 imaginable. The New Englander is made with lobster, smoked gouda, caramelized onion, lettuce, tomato and corn spread.

There are several locations in the state:

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

In the past, viewers have lauded the burgers at Prime 16 in New Haven and Orange. 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. 

Ted’s Restaurant serves up the world-famous steamed cheeseburger. The main location is in Meriden, but there is another restaurant in Cromwell. It’s worth a trip just to see how they are made. Like cheese on your burger? You’ll never get more perfectly melted cheese than this.

Ted's operates the following locations:

  • 1046 Broad Street in Meriden
  • 43 Berlin Road, or Route 372, Cromwell
  • The Lockworks, 121 Towne Street in Stamford

At the Corner Pug in West Hartford, you can indulge on a blackened Cajun burger or knife and fork Irish nacho burger, but they also have salad, steak, mac and cheese, chicken and much more.

Harlan Social in Stamford is another viewer suggestion. The Harlan Burger sounds absolutely indulgent, served with cheddar ale sauce and bacon and onion jam.

Photo Credit: Louis Lunch]]>
<![CDATA[Starbucks to Offer Wine, Macaroni and Cheese ]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 08:54:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/starbucks.jpg

Starbucks will now include an "evening menu" in addition to the breakfast and snack options that made it famous.

The menu will feature craft beer, wine, truffle macaroni and cheese and flatbread among other items.

Starbucks said its customers are twice as likely to prefer craft beer. Also, 70 percent of Starbucks customers drink wine as opposed to 30 percent of the general population, according to Mintel Insights for Wine, January 2014 and Mintel Insights for Craft Beer, June 2014.

Starbucks first launched the evening menu in a Seattle location five years ago, and will expand to 70 stores this week.

The menu varies region to region to reflect local tastes and traditions.

Click here to find out which stores will have the evening menu.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/National Geographic]]>
<![CDATA[Motorcycle Mania Revs Up Downtown Middletown]]> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 17:38:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Motorcycle+mania+1200.jpg

The motorcycles are out in Middletown tonight for Motorcycle Mania and thousands of people are expected downtown.

The annual family-friendly event started 10 years ago, with a display of 1,000 bikes. It has grown in the last decade and more than 7,000 bikes around out this year.

Vendors have also been eager to get involved. Seventy vendors wanted to take part this year, filling up each available spot.

There is a lot to do and see for the more than 17,000 people expected to attend. You can enjoy different foods and listen to live music in addition to enjoying the motorcycles.

One of the additions to the event this year is a children’s area.

Motorcycle Mania runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and it’s in memory of Dan Hunter, a founding sponsor of the event.

If you are planning on heading to Middletown, be prepared because Main Street is closed between Dingwall Drive and Court Street.

Today's event benefits Middletown youth programs.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA['Cake Boss' Bakery to Open at Mohegan Sun]]> Tue, 11 Aug 2015 23:26:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/carlos+bake+shop.jpg

Sweet treats are coming to Mohegan Sun.

Carlo's Bakery, of TLC's hit series "Cake Boss," will open its doors at the casino in Uncasville on Saturday, Sept. 12.

Those in search of an Italian pastry or specialty cake will be able to visit the new venue from 7 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Carlo's Bakery at Mohegan Sun will be located in the Winter section of the Casino of the Earth, according to a news release from the casino. It will be the bakery's eleventh location and its first in New England.

"Mohegan Sun is such a cool, all-encompassing destination in Connecticut," Carlo's Bakery owner Buddy Valastro said in a statement Tuesday. "Opening a bakery there just seems like a perfect fit for us as we continue to grow our family business and join communities where our fans and their families can make a day out of their visit if they wanted to."

Customers can sample the same Italian confections offered at the original Hoboken shop and can also enjoy dessert-only dining from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. as part of the bakery's first-ever Sweet Room.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Meghan Trainor Cancels Tour, Mohegan Sun Date]]> Tue, 11 Aug 2015 13:51:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Meghan+Trainor+Voice.JPG

Meghan Trainor has canceled the rest of her MTrain Tour because of re-aggravated damage to her vocal cord, and that includes the show that was scheduled for Mohegan Sun on Monday, Sept. 7.

“To My Fans – I was being careful and taking precautions, but I have hemorrhaged my vocal cord again. I got bronchitis & have been coughing a lot & that pushed it over the edge. Sadly, I will need to cancel the remainder of my tour and get surgery to finally fix this once and for all. I am devastated, scared and so sorry. I LOVE touring and seeing your beautiful faces every night. I am determined to do what it takes to get better and come back stronger than ever. I love you, and thank you for all of your understanding, love and support,” Trainor said in a statement.

Trainor who is well known for hit songs, including "All About the Bass," "Lips Are Movin'," and "Dear Future Husband," was supposed to perform a Fourth of July concert at Mohegan Sun, but postponed it until September because of the vocal cord hemorrhage.

She sang at the Mix 104.1 Beach House Concert bash in Cape Cod, Mass., Friday, but announced on Tuesday that she wou;d have to cancel the rest of the tour.

People with tickets to the Mohegan Sun show can get a refund through the group they bought them from, according to Mohegan Sun.

Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC
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<![CDATA[Maria, from Sesame Street, Comes to Storrs for Puppetry Festival]]> Fri, 07 Aug 2015 16:18:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-703226_SesameStreet_sm.jpg

It will be all about puppets in Storrs next week for the National Puppetry Festival.

The 2015 National Puppetry Festival at UConn kicks off on Monday and goes all week long. About 8,000 people are expected.

One of the participants is someone you might have grown up watching.

Sonia Manzano, who played Maria on Sesame Street for 44 years, will be the co-host of “Late Night with Eugene O’Neill” at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 14. She recently announced that she is retiring from the show she has starred in for decades.

The show has adult content and is recommended for audiences 16 and older, according to a news release.

Caroll Spinney, best known for his role as Big Bird, will also be a special guest.

The festival itself includes several events that are open to the general public and attendees, as well as people who live and work in the area, should expect traffic delays.

Two construction projects in Mansfield and Storrs will cause early morning and early afternoon traffic delays during the weekday schedule of events. Work on Route 44 will slow eastbound traffic approaching the intersection of Route 44 and Route 195/Storrs Road.

Another construction project on 195/Storrs Road between Route 44 and Storrs Center also will reduce traffic to one lane in some areas for traffic heading south from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during the week.

Visitors to the 2015 National Puppetry Festival should plan extra time when traveling to events.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gathering of the Vibes Returns to Bridgeport]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 22:24:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/HeatAtTheVibes073015.jpg

The Vibes are back in Bridgeport!

Tens of thousands people are descending on Seaside Park for the annual Gathering of the Vibes musical festival.

"It feels like a really fun place for everybody who is involved," said James Dieli, a vendor from Peace Love Taco of Boulder, Colorado.

"It’s super crazy, but it’s like the best experience because it’s a nonstop concert," said Morgan Rakow, another vendor from Rhinebeck, New York.

The four day outdoor festival draws music fans from across the country, ready to spend the next few days taking in in a wide variety of acts, crafts and food vendors. The big concert is now in its 20th year.

"What’s good about Gathering of the vibes is that community feeling," said Dieli.

Given how hot it can get at the festival, hydration of festivalgoers is always a big concern. Organizers have about 7,000 gallons of water or sale and 100,000 pounds of ice on hand.

"We have big huge tractor trailers filled with ice and water and we have distribution on golf carts," said Jennifer Jennings, the event’s hospitality director.

Organizers say if concertgoers can deal with the heat, the annual event is sure to be a hit for all who attend.

"It’s kind of a trip to come back here and see all these people having so much fun. It’s amazing. I love it," said Ryan Wood of Ansonia, a vendor from the Gouda Boys.

Gathering of the Vibes runs through Sunday.

<![CDATA[Brooklyn Pizzeria Is Named Best in America, TripAdvisor Says]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 09:11:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/juliana+pizzeria+handout.jpg

A Brooklyn pizzeria has been named the top joint for a slice in America, according to a TripAdvisor ranking based on the quality and quantity of reviews and opinions from millions of travelers.

Juliana's Pizza, on Old Fulton Street in DUMBO, won top honors from TripAdvisor. Opened in 2012 by legendary Brooklyn pizza maker Patsy Grimaldi, this eatery tantalizes taste buds with its thin crust pizza that is charred to perfection under a coal-fired hearth.

One TripAdvisor reviewer raved, "The main reason why Patsy Grimaldi is an institution is because he does make outstanding pizza! After all these years, the perfect crust, great tomatoes, delicious mozzarella and toppings galore; try them all, you can't go wrong."

Keste, on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, known for its authentic Neapolitan pizza, came in at No. 4 on the top 10 list. John's Pizzeria, also on Bleecker street, came in at No. 10.

Overall, New York City was named the second best city in the country for pizza, behind Chicago.

Here is a list of the top 10 pizza restaurants in country, according to TripAdvisor:

1. Juliana's Pizza -- Brooklyn, New York
2. Pizza Time of St. Augustine -- Saint Augustine, Florida
3. Moose's Tooth Pub and Pizzeria -- Anchorage, Alaska
4. Keste -- New York, New York
5. Tony's Pizza Napoletana -- San Francisco, California
6. Pizzeria Regina -- Boston, Massachusetts
7. Antico Pizza Napoletana -- Atlanta, Georgia
8. Bill's Pizza -- Palm Springs, California
9. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana -- New Haven, Connecticut
10. John's Pizzeria – New York, New York

The TripAdvisor ranking of top U.S. pizza restaurants is based on the quantity and quality of reviews for pizza restaurants, giving more weight to reviews written in the past year. Pizza restaurants were identified as those having a majority of reviews mentioning pizza, a minimum of 500 reviews, and at least 10 percent of reviews mentioning "best pizza."

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Grumpy Dog Earl Challenges Grumpy Cat's Reign]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 00:23:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/My+Name+is+Earl.jpg

The world’s grouchiest feline has some new competition. Meet “Grumpy Dog.”

Earl, a second-generation puggle with a permanent scowl and sulky expression, is challenging Grumpy Cat’s reign over sour-faced pets of the Internet. 

The 5-month-old beagle-pug quickly rose to fame on Reddit, amassing millions of fans across multiple social media platforms and becoming the subject of some hilarious Internet memes.

Earl’s owner Derek Bloomfield tells Yahoo! News that despite the pooches peeved appearance, he is very friendly and the “most relaxed, content puppy.” 

“The vet said he’s as healthy as any other puppy,” Bloomfield said. “He just looks grumpy because of his underbite, wrinkles, and dark complexion.”

Photo Credit: Derek Bloomfield/Christie Bailey
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<![CDATA[Selfie Sticks Banned at Six Flags Parks Nationwide]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 07:06:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Six+Flags+sign+generic.jpg

Six Flags has joined the growing list of amusement parks across the nation that have banned selfie sticks.

The company implemented the ban Monday at all of its parks across America, according to Katy Enrique, communications manager for Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois.

“We strive to provide the safest possible environment in our parks and these devices pose a safety risk to guests and employees,” Enrique told NBC Chicago in statement.

Enrique did not specify if any incidents involving selfie sticks had taken place, but said the goal is “to prevent such an occurrence.”

“The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority,” she said.

The move comes after news that Disney planned to ban selfie sticks at all four of its theme parks in Orlando along with its water parks and Disney Quest. The company also planned to ban them at Disneyland Resort in California and Disney’s parks in Paris and Hong Kong.

Officials warned that the sticks have become a “growing safety concern.”

The device has already been put on a list of “prohibited items” on Six Flags’ website, alongside monopods and similar devices.

The sticks have been banned at a number of museums, music festivals and sports venues, including Lollapalooza, Comic-Con and the Art Institute of Chicago.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrate National Hot Dog Day ]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 10:36:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Crif+Dogs+Stock+-+Getty+Images.jpg

There is something about a perfectly grilled hot dog 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 hot dog tour.

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

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 hot dogs 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.

If you live in Old Saybrook, head over to the Rabbit Hole Tavern and try a Jack Rabbit Dog. The Symba Dog comes with chipotle ketchup and grilled mac and cheese. They also sell a Ruben Dog, with Swiss cheese, Russian dressing and sauerkraut.

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 hot dog in Connecticut and what do you top it with?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's All-Day Breakfast May Go National: Report ]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:03:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/4707047541.jpg

McDonald’s could soon dish out all-day breakfast nationwide.

The Wall Street Journal, citing an internal memo sent to U.S. franchisees and employees Tuesday, reports that the fast food giant could begin offering breakfast all day later this year.

The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company began testing all-day breakfast in March in its San Diego market. The test was expected to expand to Nashville this summer.

The memo, sent by LeAnn Richards, a franchisee from Arizona who heads a task force studying all-day breakfast, told franchisees to be ready for the potential launch of all-day breakfast as soon as October, WSJ reports.

McDonald’s, however, would only confirm that the company is testing the possibility of all-day breakfast.

“Serving all-day breakfast is likely the number one request we hear from McDonald’s customers,” the company told NBC Chicago in a statement. “We’re testing it out in a few markets to learn more about this possibility. We know your mouth is watering, but there’s no news on this yet.”

McDonald’s breakfast currently ends at 10:30 a.m. in most markets.

McDonald's has long been the fast-food leader in the mornings, with its popular Sausage Biscuits, Hotcakes and other items pulling in roughly 20 percent of the company's U.S. sales. But the chain has faced stiffer competition in recent years, with competitors such as Starbucks and Subway rolling out breakfast sandwiches as well.

McDonald's, which has more than 14,000 U.S. locations, has also said it plans to step up its marketing of breakfast as it faces intensifying competition.

As for extending its breakfast hours, the world's largest hamburger chain is known for treading extremely carefully when discussing any tests or potential changes. Such matters are considered sensitive in large part because they would require the support of the company's network of franchisees.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Massive Slip and Slide Coming to Hartford ]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:05:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/slide-the-city-water-slide.jpg

Summer is heating up and a massive slip and slide is coming to the streets of Hartford!

Yes, you heard it right: a 1,000 foot waterslide will be set up at Bushnell Park between Jewell Street and Capital Avenue on Saturday Aug. 22.

There will be music, food, drinks and, of course, the chance to slide from noon to 5 p.m. Not only is this event a great way to get everyone outside and enjoy the community, is it charitable as well. A portion of the proceeds will go to Hartford Business improvement District.

The Hartford Business Improvement District’s mission is to bring about positive and lasting change by enhancing the economic vitality and quality of life within downtown Hartford. This organization hopes to create a safer, cleaner and overall better environment for Hartford.

So break out your bathing suit and sign up to make memories of the summer! For more information and registration: visit http://www.slidethecity.com/events/hartford/

The slide will also be in Stamford on July 26.


<![CDATA[McDonald's' 'Secret Menu' Not So Secret Anymore]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 14:02:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/167*120/51122973.jpg

The mythical “secret menu” at McDonald’s may not be a myth at all.

According to a McDonald’s manager who conducted a recent Reddit AMA, customers can in fact order secret menu items, but the items really aren’t that secret.

Reddit user OrchidHibiscus, who claims to be a manager at a McDonald’s in Glasgow, Scotland, said McDonald’s didn’t specifically develop a secret menu, but menu items can be customized into “grill orders.”

Customers can add or take out ingredients from current menu items to make them into what they want—including something off a so-called “secret menu.”

"Order one and the workers might not know it by name ... but if you explain what it is, and are willing to pay for all the ingredients, it's just another 'grill order' that we can make up," OrchidHibiscus wrote.

The user referred to rumored secret menu items like the Land, Sea and Air Burger, which is a combination of a Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish and McChicken.

A website called #HackTheMenu claims to have a list of “secret menu items” from McDonald's, including an “All American,” a “Big McChicken,” “Biscuits and Gravy,” and a “Chicken McGriddle.”

McDonald’s addresses the possibility of a secret menu on its website saying, “We have no secret menu – or do we?”

“Actually, our customers are pretty clever when it comes to customizing their orders with our menu items, so you may have seen some of their creations online,” the company wrote. “But we have no official secret menu of our own.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[It's Taste of Hartford Restaurant Week]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 14:09:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/vitos_640_480.jpg

Attention, foodies. If you're looking for a place to dine out the next couple weeks, you may want to check out the capital city.

Taste of Hartford Restaurant Weeks have returned for the summer and run from this week through Aug. 2.

Restaurants that are participating will offer fixed price, multi-course special menus, according to information posted on the Connecticut Restaurant Week website.

The Greater Hartford Arts Council is partnering with CTNow to put on Taste of Hartford Restaurant Week.

To guarantee yourself a seat and avoid the wait, you're advised to make reservations with the participating restaurants in advance.

Here's a list of participated restaurants:

  • Agave Grill, 100 Allyn St., Hartford : (860) 882-1557
  • Bear's Smokehouse, 89 Arch St., Hartford: (860) 724-3100
  • bin228, 228 Pearl St., Hartford: (860) 244-9463
  • Black-Eyed Sally's, 350 Asylum St., Hartford : (860) 278-7427
  • The Capital Grille, 44 Front St., Hartford: (860) 244-0075
  • Carbone's, 588 Franklin Ave., Hartford: (860) 296-9646
  • Casona, 681 Wethersfield Ave., Hartford: (860) 519-5590
  • City Steam Brewery, 942 Main St., Hartford : (860) 525-1600
  • Costa Del Sol, 901 Wethersfield Ave., Hartford : (860) 296-1714
  • Coyote Flaco, 635 New Britain Ave., Hartford: (860) 953-1299
  • Dish, 900 Main St., Hartford: (860) 249-3474
  • Ficara's Restaurant, 577 Franklin Ave., Hartford : (860) 296-3238
  • Firebox, 539 Broad St., Hartford: (860) 246-1222
  • First & Last Tavern, 939 Maple Ave., Hartford: (860) 956-6000
  • Francesco's Ristorante & Lounge, 318 Franklin Ave., Hartford: (860) 296-3024
  • Hot Tomato's, 1 Union Pl., Hartford: (860) 249.5100
  • Infinity Bistro, 32 Front St., Hartford: (860) 560-7757
  • J Restaurant & Bar, 297 Washington St., Hartford: (860) 527-7764
  • La Fonda, 269 Franklin Ave. #1, Hartford: (860) 296-8256
  • Laetus, 253 Asylum St., Hartford: (860) 216-1964
  • Majorca, 2074 Park St. #2, Hartford: (860) 231-1003
  • m&m Bistro, 315 Trumbull St., Hartford: (860) 240-7222
  • Max Downtown, Cityplace II, 185 Asylum St., Hartford: (860) 522-2530
  • NIXS Hartford, 40 Front St., Hartford: (860) 373-9400
  • Nutshell Cafe, 229 White St., Hartford: (860) 956-2836
  • On20, 1 State St., Hartford: (860) 722-5161
  • Peppercorns, 257 Main St., Hartford: (860) 547-1714
  • Salute, 100 Trumbull St., Hartford: (860) 899-1350
  • Sorella, 901 Main St., Hartford: (860) 244-9084
  • Ted's Montana Grill, 35 Front St., Hartford : (860) 692-1167
  • Trumbull Kitchen, 150 Trumbull St., Hartford: (860) 493-7412
  • U.S.S. Chowder Pot IV, 165 Brainard Rd., Hartford: (860) 244-3311
  • Vito's by the Park, 26 Trumbull St.: (860) 244-2200
  • VIVO, 200 Columbus Blvd.:  (860) 760.2333
  • Wood-N-Tap, 99 Sisson Ave., Hartford: (860) 232-8277

Visit  connecticutrestaurantweek.com/restaurant-weeks-ct/taste-of-hartford/ for more information.

Photo Credit: Vito's by the Park]]>
<![CDATA[National Junk Food Day]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 08:10:45 -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.

Deep River is the home of Deep River Snacks, which makes yummy chips in several flavors to satisfy your salt cravings, including Ninja Ginger, mesquite BBQ chips, sweet Maui onion and more. The company also makes popcorn and tortilla chips.

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

The candy maker 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 continue to be a staple in lunchboxes 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 even 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[Connecticut Athletes Head to CrossFit Games In California]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 15:54:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Team_Competes_in_Crossfit_World_Championship_1200x675_487559235765.jpg

The quest of the CrossFit Games is to find the “Fittest On Earth” and athletes from around the world will compete in Carson, California starting on Tuesday.

The elite field of contenders was narrowed down from more than a quarter million athletes to just dozens.

To make it to the competition in Carson, individual athletes had to first qualify and rank among the top of the worldwide Open competition, then finish among the top five in their respective regional competition.

This year, the East Regional competition – including athletes from the Northeast U.S. and Eastern Canada – was moved from the Reebok world headquarters outside Boston to the XL Center in Hartford and CrossFit Milford was the only Connecticut team to make the cut to the games in the team division.

Coach and owner Jason Leydon said the home field advantage helped boost morale among his athletes.

“To turn around and see that energy and to see them all go nuts, it just pushed everybody even more,” Leydon said.

Milford is also sending four athletes in the masters division for athletes who are over 40 years old.

One of them is Elizabeth Warren, a New Haven teacher and mother of three who discovered CrossFit after a knee injury sidelined her from marathon training. It gave her a new arena to compete, and, she said, a healthy example to set for her kids.

“I walked in the gas station the other day and some guy said, ‘Oh, you’re in pretty good shape’ and my daughter said, ‘That’s my mom! That’s my mom,’” Warren said. “She’s proud of being strong. I teach her all the time the importance of being a strong girl and a strong woman.”

And rather than dreading getting older, Warren says CrossFit gave her a reason to embrace it.

“Oh yeah I was waiting, I couldn’t wait to turn 40 ‘cause I knew this is what I wanted to do,” she said. “This was my plan. ‘When I turn 40, I’m going to try out for the Masters. When I make it, I want to go to the Games.’”

Warren and the other CrossFit Milford athletes have been training year-round for an event that’s largely a mystery – the CrossFit Games workouts typically aren’t revealed until right beforehand, meaning athletes need to be prepared for anything.

“That’s the essence of CrossFit -- being ready for everything and anything,” Leydon said.

Events could include Olympic lifting, running, gymnastics, swimming, calisthenics or more.

It’s up to CrossFit Games director Dave Castro to decide and to eventually reveal in the dramatic workout announcements. But as NBC Connecticut’s Heidi Voight learned at the East Regional, he doesn’t give away his secrets easily. She asked Castro for a hint at what was in store for the Games. His answer?

Simply… “CrossFit.”

The CrossFit Games are broadcast on ESPN beginning Tuesday, July 21 through Sunday, July 26. Follow the leaderboard at http://games.crossfit.com/leaderboard.

<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Adorable Pets From Around the U.S. ]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 12:51:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/MurphyBoxerWVIT.jpg Pet owners coast to coast have one thing in common: they love sharing pictures of their furry friends. Here's a look at some cute pets photos shared by NBC Owned TV Station viewers across the country. Help us "Clear the Shelters" on Aug. 15 by adopting a pet of your own to love (and photograph)! ]]> <![CDATA[$125 Caviar Twinkie Sold at SoCal Fair]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 17:10:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/203*120/friedcaviartwinkieoc.jpg

Picture this: An ice cream cone and a swirl of cotton candy and some roasted corn and a turkey leg and a funnel cake, all huddled around some conference table in some office building, madly discussing how their games can be upped in the face of the most buzzed-about edible headed for the 2015 OC Fair.

Hints: The foodstuff involves caviar, and it involves a Twinkie, and... there you have it. It's the Caviar Twinkie, and it shall be available at that famous purveyor of offbeat fair treats, Chicken Charlie's, throughout the Costa Mesa extravaganza.

The month-long OC Fair opens on Friday, July 17. 

Naming the Caviar Twinkie's price isn't much of a guessing game, though, if you know what anniversary the fair is celebrating. The midway-bright, animal-sweet spectacular is turning 125, and the Caviar Twinkie created in its happy honor is... wait for it... ding ding ding, you're right: $125.

All proceeds will be donated to the Children's Hospital of Orange County.

"The finest caviar" shall top the golden-sponge Hostess Brands icon, and judging by early photos, there should be a solid amount of the luxury item. The Twinkie, of course, shall come complete with its creamy middle, so perhaps diners will discover a new taste-combo sensation.

Will sponge-cream-salty be the next flavor trio to storm the gourmet world? Will everyone need to scoop the fish egg delicacy with a just-out-of-the-box snack cake?

You never know how trends start.

If the $125 Caviar Twinkie isn't your bite-worthy bag, Chicken Charlie's is also serving a Totally Fried Peanut Butter Pickle and Deep-Fried Slim Fast.

Deep. Fried. Slim. Fast. 

Part of the fun of the fair is not simply daring your friends to try something and then devouring and then returning for more. Surely there's a branch of high-brow philosophy devoted to the study of enjoying something before, during, and well after?

Philosophers, start with the deep-fried treats of the OC Fair, which get fans theorizing well in advance of the fair and long after the treat's been eaten. (During, maybe not so much, since mouths tend to be full.)

And for the Caviar Twinkie overshadowing classics like ice cream and cotton candy? We don't think the fair's tried-and-true favorites need worry; there's always room for a little more when it comes to memorable fair food.

Photo Credit: Chicken Charlie's]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands of Red Dress Runners Celebrate Women's Fitness]]> Sat, 11 Jul 2015 10:53:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Red+Dress+Run+for+Women+1200.jpg

For the 18th year, the Hartford Marathon Foundation hosted one of its most popular races. The Red Dress Run/Walk for Women attracted more than 1,000 participants to the Elizabeth Park Rose Garden on Saturday in Hartford.

"Today, for me, the most fantastic part is going to be my daughter's first race,” said Sarah Bourdeau, one of the pace runners who said she’d dreamed about bringing her daughter along. “I've been waiting for this day a long time. Just her watching and telling me she wants to be like mommy is special,” said Bourdeau.

Her daughter, Madeline, like many of the children who came to the park, participated in a Kid-K fit run with her mom, before the big race. Her favorite part?

"Running with my mom and she helping me when I run," Madeline said.

The Red Dress Run for Women not only gave mothers and daughters a chance to bond, but also raised money and awareness for charity.

"This race was really important to me because my mom passed away in February from a stroke very unexpectedly. So, we're out here supporting heart research,” said Jessie Gagnon of Manchester.

Her two-year-old daughter Hadley proudly showed off her medal after crossing the finish line of the kids run.

“I just hope this is the start of lifelong fitness and health for her,” added her mother.

Keri Jonas has made the race a tradition with daughter Addison, who's now following in mom's running shoes.

"She's my 12-year-old running partner and she's the best one ever,” said the elder Jonas.

Her daughter was pretty happy that the race was closed to boys.

"Boys do make me more competitive. I love girls because they're kind of underestimated most of the time. But, most of the girls can do anything boys can,” said Addison.

The focus on women is one of the reasons event organizers think the race is so popular, another is the location.

"Our slogan is great races and great places and this speaks volumes to why we use this as our tag line,” said Hartford Marathon Foundation Executive Director Beth Shluger.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Connecticut Vietnam Veterans to Be Honored This Weekend]]> Sat, 11 Jul 2015 09:58:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/0526115+american+flag+generic+usa.jpg

Members of the public are invited to honor New England Vietnam veterans and remember the fallen at a two-day event in East Granby starting today.

Connecticut's Vietnam 50th Celebration Weekend is scheduled for Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12 at the Connecticut Air National Guard Base in East Granby from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“This event is designed to educate a new generation about the Vietnam War and the part it played in the lives of our friends, relatives and neighbors whose stories are the building blocks of American History,” Eileen Hurst, chair of the Vietnam 50th, said in a statement. “It is open to everyone – Vietnam veterans, veterans’ friends or families, and anyone who wants to come recognize the sacrifices made by our veterans.”

Veterans can mingle and reconnect with each other at a special Veterans' Gathering tend.

There will also be static air displays of a B-52, C-130 and other aircrafts like the CH-47 Chinook, UH-60 Blackhawk and F-15 Fighter Jet in Windsor Locks at the New England Air Museum at 36 Perimeter Road, according to a news release about the event.

The public will also be able to view vehicle and aircraft displays, see hands-on demonstrations, look at war memorabilia, take rides on the UH-1D American Huey 369 helicopter, hear nationally renowned speakers and authors address the crowds and enjoy the music of the United States Coast Guard band. The 55-piece ensemble based at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New is the "premier band representing the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security" is on Saturday, July 11 at 1 p.m.

Anyone who signs up to become a member of American Huey 369 for $100 can get a complimentary ride on the helicopter. Huey helicopter rides will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days of the event. Otherwise, rides can be scheduled and paid for on-site at the cost of $100.

People can also view "Voices From Vietnam" and Gold Star Families exhibits, look at photos of veterans killed in action or listed as missing in action and attend programs honoring soldiers who gave "the last full measure of devotion," according to the news release.

Events and activities at the Connecticut Air National Guard base are free with the exception of the helicopter rides. The New England Air Museum offers free admission to veterans and costs $12 for everyone else. $2 from every ticket sold will benefit the Vietnam 50th event.

Shuttles will be available to transport people from UTAS (Hamilton Sundstrand) at 1 Hamilton Rd. South in Windsor Locks because there is no parking available at the Connecticut Air National Guard Base nor the New England Air Business. The public will go through a security checkpoint at the base. More information on parking and security are available on the event website.

Central Connecticut State University Veterans History Project's Vietnam War Commemoration Committee sponsors the event in collaboration with the Connecticut National Guard, Connecticut Department of Veterans' Affairs and the New England Air Museum.

You can contact Eileen Hurst at hursteim@ccsu.edu or call 860-832-2976 for more information, as well as visit the Facebook page for the CCSU Veterans History Project.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Swearing 'Minion' Toys? McDonald's Says No]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 09:23:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/212*120/HappyMeal.png

A minion toy in a McDonald’s Happy Meal has some parents, well, a little unhappy.

The toy, based on the little yellow rascals that first appeared in “Despicable Me,” says three phrases - all of which are a bit hard to decipher. But some parents hear “what the f---" for one of them, and one angry parent posted a video of it to YouTube.

Footage of the allegedly potty-mouthed minion was posted to the video-sharing site Wednesday and some parents think the gibberish sounds a little too similar to a swear word.

“Originally we didn’t think anything of it until my wife was moving it out of the car seat and heard something didn’t quite sound right,” YouTube user Paul Butts said in the video.

“Seriously? Out of a McDonald’s toy?” he asks after tapping the toy and hearing the phrase. 

Butts isn’t the only one whose ears perked up.

Several parents told NBC affiliate WSFA that they could make out a “cuss word” when they heard the toy speak. 

Not every parent heard the word, though, with some saying they could only hear the word after they were told to listen for it. 

Several commenters on YouTube also said they couldn't hear the word. 

McDonald's said in a statement that the sound is a coincidence.

"We’re aware of a very small number of customers who have been in touch regarding this toy, and we regret any confusion or offense to those who may have misinterpreted its sounds. The allegation that this toy is saying anything offensive or profane is not true,” the Oak Brook-based company's spokesperson Lisa McComb told NBC Chicago.

"The Minion Caveman Happy Meal toy includes 3 sounds: ‘para la bukay,’ ‘hahaha,’ and ‘eh eh,'" McComb added. "Our goal at McDonald’s is to serve up food and fun for our valued customers, and we’re glad to have the Minions on board."

"Minions" stars Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm, and follows the evolution of the small, yellow creatures since the beginning of time and the numerous despicable masters they've served. The film hits theaters July 10.

The parent company of Universal Pictures also owns this site.

Photo Credit: YouTube/PaulB
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<![CDATA[Krispy Kreme Celebrates Birthday With 78-Cent Doughnuts]]> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 17:24:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/krispykremedonuts.jpg

Food lovers will be able to take advantage of discount prices this coming weekend. 

On Friday, Krispy Kreme doughnuts will be offering a dozen of its famed glazed doughnuts for $.78 cents when customers buy any other dozen doughnuts at the full price. The promotion is in celebration of the company's 78th birthday. The North Carolina chain was founded in 1937 and now has stores internationally. 

If that doesn't leave sweet tooths satisfied heading into the weekend, 7/11 convenience stores will be holding their annual "Free Slurpee Day" Saturday to mark July 11. 

Chick-fil-A is also joining in on the giveaways, but the chain's offer comes with a catch. Customers can get a free meal on Tuesday, July 14, but only if they dress up as a cow. The 11th annual event will celebrate the company's 20th anniversary of the "Eat Mor Chikin" cow campaign. 

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Iron Chef Zakarian Also Chops Trump]]> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 09:31:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/20150709+Geoffrey+Zakarian.jpg

Another celebrity chef has decided not to open a restaurant in Donald Trump's planned Trump International Hotel, which the real estate magnate is developing in Washington, D.C.'s Old Post Office Pavilion building. 

Geoffrey Zakarian, a restaurateur known for his Food Network appearances, announced late Thursday that he would not open a restaurant planned for the project following the Republican presidential candidate's anti-immigration comments.

"The recent statements surrounding Mexican immigrants by Donald Trump do not in any way align with my personal core values," Zakarian said in a statement. "In light of this, I am unable to move forward with a restaurant in the Trump International Hotel."

The move comes a day after chef José Andrés announced he would not open a restaurant planned for the forthcoming luxury hotel, citing Trump's remarks demeaning illegal Mexican immigrants.

The Iron Chef, who comes from a family of Armenian immigrants, echoed Andres' concerns, noting that his company, Zakarian Hospitality, "employs many immigrants from nations all over the world, and I look forward to continuing this business culture in my future restaurants."

"We are a nation built from immigrants, my family included," Zakarian said.

<![CDATA[George Takei Speaking at ConnectiCon on Sunday]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 13:56:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/takei_640x480.jpg

George Takei will be in Connecticut this weekend as one of the featured speakers at ConnectiCon.

Takei, who best known for his role as Mr. Sulu in Star Trek, should be a big draw for the already-popular convention, which features a wide array of pop culture -- board games, cosplay, sci-fi, comics and more, and brings in people from all over the country.

Takei will be here for a question-and-answer segment from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. on Sunday.

ConnectiCon’s roots began to grow at the University of Hartford. In 2002, a group of friends involved in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Guild decided to start their own convention after taking several trips across the country to attend them.

Others guests include Sarah Lancaster, who played Ellie Bartowski in “Chuck,” Raven Moreau, in “Witches of the East End,” Rachel Meyers, in “Saved by the Bell: The New Class,” Madison Kellner in “Everwood.”

Several actor and actresses from the “Power Rangers” TV shows and films, including David Yost, Karan Ashley, Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy, will also be featured at the convention.

It event, held at the Connecticut Convention Center, as well as the Hartford Marriott Downtown Hartford Hilton, runs from July 9 through 12.

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<![CDATA[IHOP Sells 57-Cent Pancake Short Stacks for 57th Birthday]]> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 08:06:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/national+pancake+day1.jpg

In honor of its 57th birthday, IHOP will sell its buttermilk pancakes for 57 cents a short stack on Tuesday.

The restaurant's short stacks originally cost 60 cents when the chain was founded in 1958.

IHOP has locations in Bloomfield, Newington, Southington, Manchester, Hamden and Orange. Click here for the hours and addresses.

<![CDATA["American Idol" Winner Fradiani Performs for Fans at World Cup]]> Mon, 06 Jul 2015 11:13:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Nick+Fradiani+DD+6+1200.jpg

It was a beautiful life for the U.S. women's soccer team Sunday night as they defeated Japan 5-2 to claim their record third World Cup title at the close of Fourth of July weekend. But the players weren't the only American idols representing the United States in Vancouver.

American Idol winner and Guilford native Nick Fradiani is also living the beautiful life, known for his radio hit song by that name, most recently performing in the FIFA Fan Zone in Vancouver during the World Cup festivities on the Fourth of July, according to his Facebook page. His band, Beach Avenue, including percussionist Ryan Zipp, of Hamden, and guitarist/mandolin player/singer Nick Abraham, of Fairfield, backed him for the show. One of the songs they performed was "Beautiful Life," as seen in this YouTube video posted under the account, Elizabeth Rosalyn The.

Fradiani performed a free, three-song show for World Cup fans in the fan zone that was televised on FOX, the network that airs "American Idol." FOX Sports broadcasted the World Cup tournament.

His song, "Beautiful Life" was Fox Sports' official anthem for World Cup coverage, producing a music video featuring him singing and the U.S. women's soccer team as a promo for the World Cup.

Before Fradiani was crowned American Idol, he and his band gained national recognition for competing on "America's Got Talent," which airs on the NBC network. NBC Connecticut is an NBC-owned station.

Fradiani returned to Connecticut after his "American Idol" win to play some of his first concerts in Hartford at The Russian Lady for 96.5 TIC's Acoustic Cafe and Spotlight Theatres on Front Street, which hosted many watch parties during the run of the season.

Next, Fradiani will travel across the country to perform on the "American Idol" tour from July 7 to Aug. 28. The closest locations to Connecticut the tour stops at are in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire and Maine.

Photo Credit: Jessie Sawyer/NBCConnecticut.com]]>