<![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 Mon, 30 Mar 2015 00:29:17 -0400 Mon, 30 Mar 2015 00:29:17 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[15K Race to be Held on CTfastrak Busway]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 23:08:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CTFastrak_Set_to_Launch_1200x675_417117763681.jpg

CTfastrak is giving runners the chance to race on the brand new busway during an upcoming 15K road race in May.

The race will get underway May 3 at the New Britain bus station. The busway, along with roads in Newington, West Hartford and Hartford, will be closed on race day to accommodate runners.

"The pristine, freshly paved CTfastrak roadway provides an optimal surface for road runners and the unique opportunity to enjoy a point-to-point course with convenient transportation to accommodate all participants," said Beth Shluger, executive director and CEO of the Hartford Marathon Foundation, in a statement.

The race will end in Bushnell Park, where participants will return to Union Station for a post-race party and awards.

Registration is now open and will be capped at 1,200 entries. To register for the race, visit www.hartfordmarathon.com.

The Hartford Marathon Foundation joined the Department of Transportation to celebrate the opening of the CTfastrak busway on Friday. Buses will begin running Saturday morning.

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<![CDATA[New Starbucks Frappucino Flavor]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 19:31:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Birthday_Cake_Frappuccino_%283%29.jpg

Get it while it’s… cold?

Starbucks’ popular frappuccino has turned 20 and to honor the beverage's big birthday, the company has debuted a new specialty drink—the Birthday Cake Frappuccino.

The limited-time beverage, a vanilla bean and hazelnut mixture topped with raspberry-infused whipped cream, will be available at Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada from Thursday to Monday.

The iconic drink was first released in the summer of 1995 with coffee and mocha flavors available. The drinks was initially made without whipped cream.

“The first week of launch we were tracking sales, and it was something like 200,000 drinks the first week – when we were hoping for 100,000,” Dan Moore, director of brand management at Starbucks, said in a statement. “The next week it was 400,000 and the next it was 800,000. We had figured it would do well in Southern California – but it sold just as well in Chicago, Vancouver B.C. and Boston. It was huge.”

The drink changed the company’s customer base, giving them a way to bring in people who weren’t typically coffee drinkers.

In 1999, Starbucks released the Caramel Frappuccino, complete with the now-typical “dome lid” for whipped cream.

“At the time, domed lids were radical thinking, so was the idea of adding whipped cream,” said Dina Campion of Starbucks’ Digital Team. “But for our customers it represented a momentary break – an escape in their day.”

In 2002, came the Blended Crème beverage, followed by the Frappuccino Light. By 2010, customers could customize their frappuccinos to be made with milk or soy, various coffee types and their preferred syrups and toppings.

The blended beverages are now available in 66 countries with more than 36,000 different drink combinations.

Other countries have unique flavors like the Coffee Jelly Frappuccino and Red Bean Green Tea Frappuccino in Asia, the Algarrobina Frappuccino in Peru or the chocolate Brigadeiro Frappuccino in Brazil. 



Photo Credit: Starbucks]]>
<![CDATA[Free Italian Ice on First Day of Spring]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 19:25:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ritas+italian+ice+first+day+of+spring.jpg

Winter weather can't shake the celebration of spring, which residents are celebrating with free treats from Rita's Italian Ice.

Hundreds of people have passed through Rita's on New Britain Avenue for a free scoop that seems better suited to six months from now.

But as of 6:45 p.m. Friday, it's officially spring, and Rita's won't let a little snow shake a tradition 23 years strong.

"It's a little cold but the best things in life are free," said customer Sam Bolorin.

Rita's locations around the country, including 11 in Connecticut, are offering free Italian ice until 9 p.m. Find a store near you.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Free Dairy Queen Cones, and More Free Treats]]> Mon, 16 Mar 2015 11:15:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ice-cream-stock-79772399.jpg

Spring is right around the corner, and what tastier way to start it than with ice cream — or Italian ice?

Dairy Queen is giving away free ice cream cones Monday to celebrate its 75th anniversary Monday, just a few days before spring officially begins.

Customers can stop at any participating location to get a small vanilla soft-serve cone with the signature curl on the top. The ice cream chain is also asking for donations for kids at children's hospitals during its free cone day.

Then, on Friday, Rita's Italian Ice will kick off the first day of spring with an Italian ice giveaway — a tradition that has been going on for 23 years.

The company says it gave away more than 1.2 million cups of its Italian ice last year. Click here to find the nearest location.

And next month, Ben & Jerry's will be giving away ice cream on its Free Cone Day on April 14. Find the nearest franchise here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dairy Queen Free Cone Day]]> Mon, 16 Mar 2015 11:41:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/dairyqueenfreeconedaymarch16.jpg

So many intriguing mysteries surround a certain longtime purveyor of cold treats that we hardly know where to begin our story.

1. Does Dairy Queen have an actual throne, castle, and courtiers who wear velvet breeches and play trumpets?

2. How does one get to be known far and wide by just their initials -- in Dairy Queen's case, the snappy and now-iconic "DQ" -- in a world flooded by attention-catching foodstuffs and restaurant choices?

3. What will the founded-in-Illinois company do for its big 75th, which falls in 2015?

We know the answer to that one, as do the people you'll see queuing up at participating Dairy Queens across the land on Monday, March 16. The frozen treat shop, founded in 1940 near Chicago, will celebrate by handing out soft-serve vanilla cones on Free Cone Day at all participating Dairy Queens.

There are more fun things to come during Dairy Queen's diamond anniversary year, but bet Free Cone Day will be mighty popular, especially around Southern California, where a March heat wave is putting ice cream lovers in an ice cream state of mind.

Oh, we jest; true ice cream lovers maintain a permanent second address in that state.

So is there a hashtag for all of this frosty fun? It wouldn't be #2015 if there wasn't: #conewithme is your go-to, social media enjoyers.

Is there a limit on how many cones you can pick up? Of course there is: You may have one. You'd cock an eyebrow at the person leaving with twenty free cones in front of you, wouldn't you? Fairness is best in all things, including Free Cone Day.

And one more mystery we'd like to solve while we're delving into all things DQ: How does the vanilla soft-serve cone get that perfect little twirl on the top? And how does one recreate that in a hairstyle? Asking, of course, for a friend.



Photo Credit: Dairy Queen]]>
<![CDATA[New Haven Preps for St. Patrick's Day Parade]]> Fri, 13 Mar 2015 18:12:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/5PPARADESTILL031315DOUG00000000.jpg

The Saint Patrick's Day parade in New Haven is one of Connecticut's most popular events, one that's changed since police started enforcing the $99 fine for public drinking.

"There are really two events now," explained Win Davis, executive director of the Town Green Special Services District. "On Crown Street, there's a bar event. On Chapel Street, there's the parade."

For years, people looking for restrooms have gone into bars, restaurants and businesses that are open during the parade. One bar owner said it's been a battle between doing business and letting people do their business.

But across the street from his place, there will be portable toilets, two of 83 that the district and business community intend to spread throughout the area.

"I don't think you can ever have enough," Davis said, "but we're really trying to make it much easier for people to do the right thing when they need to relieve themselves."

He said authorities don't let people roll coolers off the trains anymore. He remembers parade-goers once putting a beer keg in a wheelchair and dressing it up as a disabled person, something that couldn't happen today.

But there's still a need for portable toilets.

"I think it's a good idea," said Will Abling, a Cromwell resident who plans to attend the parade Sunday. "That way, people aren't running in these businesses, trying to use the bathroom at the businesses. It makes it a little more convenient for people with kids, families, stuff like that."

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<![CDATA[Raunchy Game Cards Against Humanity Hits the Web With Free App]]> Thu, 12 Mar 2015 12:41:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/51RD-Lha01L._SL1023_.jpg

Oh the humanity! Cards Against Humanity has gone digital.

A new website called CardsAgainstOriginality.com offers a free version of the game on all web browsers on computers and mobile devices, though it wasn't made by the card game's original creators.

The Cards Against Originality app was created by Canadian designer Dawson Whitfield, who used the card game’s Creative Commons license to make a digital version.

Previously, users needed to either purchase the game for $25 from the Cards Against Humanity Website, or download and print their own deck for free (plus the cost of ink and paper). Fans can also purchase desired expansion packs on the game's website, and those cards are also featured in the new app.

"I built it because there were too many times that I wished I had brought my CAH deck. During lunch at work, at the bar, in the car," Whitfield said in an email. "Once I had the idea to build it, I had to build it out of frustration that no one had done it,"

According to Cards Against Humanity's website, the game's content can be used "to make whatever," but the game needs to be given credit and the user can't profit from using its content.

“Cards Against Humanity is available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 license. That means you can use, remix, and share the game for free, but you can’t sell it without our permission. Please do not steal our name or we will smash you,” the game’s website reads.

Cards Against Humanity, described as a “party game for horrible people,” involves a group of players using raunchy and often expletive-filled white cards to answer questions or fill in the blanks of a single black card. The funniest answer is then picked by a fellow player acting as the judge, or “Card Czar.”

Like with the physical deck, you must be in the same room as your friends to play together on the digital version.

Whitfield said the response to his app was better than he expected — the rush to play even created some problems for the new product.

"I didn't expect it to take off like this and my servers couldn't handle the traffic," he told NBCChicago in an email. "I had it on a measly server for my friends and I to play on, which crumbled under the traffic."

Whitefield said he has since moved the game to new servers and the site is back up and running, though it may take time for the change to appear "everywhere around the world." 

Now, with a new name and the same vulgar cards, the (horribly inappropriate) party can begin online. 

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<![CDATA[St. Patrick’s Day Events in Connecticut]]> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 05:57:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/hartford+st+patricks+day+parade.jpg

There are plenty of ways to celebrate the luck of the Irish in Connecticut.

Bridgeport: On Tuesday, March 17 at 12 p.m. Bridgeport will be celebrating its 32nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Join the parade committee and fellow Irishman to celebrate the day of Irish culture and heritage. 

Hartford: The 44th Annual Greater Hartford St. Patrick’s Day Parade was supposed to be held on Saturday, March 14 at 11 a.m., but has been postponed until March 21 because of the threat of inclement weather. 

Hartford: McKinnons Irish Pub in downtown Hartford will open at 5:30 a.m. with a Guinness Irish Breakfast.  Musical act, the Highland Rovers, will be performing their Irish inspired rock to early morning revelers. The bar itself will start serving Guinness at 9am.

St. Patrick’s Day is all about quality time with friends and having fun, so what better way to celebrate than with a pub-crawl! There is no need to be cooped up in one bar all day, so the pub-crawl is the perfect solution. The bar scene in Hartford is one of the best, and will have drink specials until 2 a.m. You can purchase tickets online at PubCrawls.com.

Milford: The St. Patrick's Day parade has been rescheduled to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 21. The parade will step-off from the Wasson Field Parking Lot on Weest Main Street and follow the traditional downtown parade route.  

Milford: The Literacy Center’s annual Leprechaun Leap has been rescheduled from this Sunday, March 21 to Sunday, March 22 at 1 p.m. with registration from noon to 12:45 p.m. at Walnut Beach.

Mystic: On Sunday, March 22 at 1 p.m., the 12th annual Irish Parade will be held in Mystic. The parade begins at the Mystic Seaport, located on Greenmanville Road/Route 27. Come down early for celebration of Celtic & Gaelic customs and traditions. Food and sanitary facilities will be available.

Statewide: Bruegger's will bake green bagels from Saturday, March 14 through Tuesday, March 17 in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Visit Bruegger's online to find a location near you.

West Hartford: McLadden's will be opening at 9am on St Patrick's Day. Kegs & Eggs breakfast menu will be served followed by  Irish favorites for lunch & dinner.

West Haven: Another Pub Crawl will be hosted in West Haven on March 14 and the 17.

Windsor Locks: The Scoil Rince Luimni Irish Dance Academy will perform at Bradley International Airport from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17. The state's newest Irish dance school comprises beginner students through champion-level competitive dancers.

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<![CDATA[Love Peeps? New Milk Line Inspired by Marshmallow Treats ]]> Wed, 11 Mar 2015 09:00:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Peep+Milk+Flavors.jpg

Now you can eat your Peeps and drink them, too.

Prairie Farms, a dairy company in Illinois, has teamed up with the sugary treat maker to deliver Peeps-flavored milk.

The milk comes in three different flavors: Chocolate Marshmallow Milk, Marshmallow Milk and Easter Egg Nog. Both marshmallow milks can be purchased in reduced-fat varieties, and the calories for each milk range from 190 to 250 calories, according to Prairie Farms' website

According to a press release, Peeps is the No. 1 non-chocolate candy brand at Easter. Prairie Farm said that given that fact, “creating a line of flavors that joins the two strong brands was an obvious choice.”

The "PEEP-tastic" milk hits retail outlet shelves in the Midwest this week. But Peep-lovers will have to act fast to get their fix.

“The milk is seasonal for Easter, so depending on the store it should be available until early April,” Rebecca Leinenbach, vice president of marketing and communications for Prairie Farms, told NBC Owned Television Stations.

The Peeps milk closely follows a wider trend of enchanced offerings in the dairy industry. Coca-Cola’s new milk line called Fairlife includes flavored versions and adds 50 percent more natural protein and calcium than regular milk.



Photo Credit: Prairie Farms ]]>
<![CDATA[Top 10 Towns for Families in Connecticut]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:36:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/d1b87808249e433ab8dd3c142789d912.jpg

Consumer advocacy site NerdWallet has released a list of top towns for young families in Connecticut, and Hartford County dominates the top 10.

The study pulls data from the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey and factors in home affordability, growth and prosperity pertaining to average family income, family friendliness and quality of education.

The top 10 rank as follows:

  1. Simsbury: Located just outside of Hartford, this 345-year-old town is known for its high-quality schools and relative affordability. Families can enjoy spending time outside on the 84-mile Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.
  2. Trumbull: Situated in Fairfield County, Trumbull's location allows for an easy commute to New York City, as well as employment opportunities at local companies. Trumbull schools are highly rated.
  3. Kensington: This section of Berlin is known for its affordability and easy access to Hartford, which is less than 15 miles away. Kensington is located on the New Haven-Springfield commuter line, which is set to launch in 2016.
  4. Glastonbury: Residents of Glastonbury have seen an 85 percent increase in average family income since 1999. The town is known for its schools and proximity to Fortune 500 companies such as United Technologies and Aetna. Glastonbury maintains a small-town vibe with events such as the annual Apple Harvest Festival, 40 years strong.
  5. Orange: Despite relatively high living expenses, Orange is home to quality schools. More than a third of families living in Orange have children under the age of 18. The town hosts the annual Orange County Fair, a tradition that began in 1898.
  6. Wethersfield: The second-oldest town in the state is home to a large number of families with young children. The average family income has jumped 89 percent since 1999.
  7. Newington: Families in Newington enjoy a lower cost of living. The town is located just seven miles from Hartford but maintains a strong sense of community with its annual Waterfall Festival, which celebrates a 16-foot natural waterfall in Mill Pond Park.
  8. Winsted: Residents of Winsted enjoy close proximity to Bradley International Airport. The town, which contains "the gateway to the Berkshire Mountains," is located in the northwest hills of Connecticut.
  9. Portland: The smallest of the top 10 towns, Portland is home to just over 5,600 residents. Despite its small size, Portland is rife with history. It was one of the country's most important brownstone suppliers in the 1800s, evidences by quarries that line the downtown section.
  10. North Haven: Located 10 miles from Yale University, North Haven is home to Quinnipiac University's graduate programs. Families can enjoy hiking, rock climbing and horseback riding in nearby Sleeping Giant State Park, which is located in Hamden.

Learn more about the study and see the full list of top 47 towns online.



Photo Credit: Mark L.]]>
<![CDATA[Mohegan Sun Reveals Plans for Earth Hotel]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:24:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mohegan+sun+casino+generic.jpg

Mohegan Sun Casino, already one of the largest entertainment, gaming, dining and resort destinations in the country, will expand further with a second hotel tower in Uncasville.

The casino unveiled plans for the interior and exterior design of a new 400-room Earth Hotel tower were unveiled at a news conference Thursday.

The $120 million project is modeled after the Sky Hotel, which opened in 2002.

The hotel is expected to employ more than 1,000 people with construction and permanent jobs, according to Mohegan Sun.

Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman attended the announcement alongside Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority CEO Mitchell Etess and Mohegan Tribe Chairman Kevin "Red Eagle" Brown.

The hotel is expected to open in 2016.

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<![CDATA[IHOP Celebrates National Pancake Day]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:44:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/national+pancake+day1.jpg

Grab your fork and knife!

Tuesday is National Pancake Day at IHOP. Diners can enjoy a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. In exchange, customers will be asked to consider making a donation to the Children's Miracle Network.

Since starting National Pancake Day 10 years ago, IHOP has raised nearly $16 million for community charities. This year's goal is to raise $3.5 million, according to the IHOP website.

Check here to look up the closest IHOP.

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<![CDATA[Free Pancakes for a Good Cause]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:34:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Oat+Pancakes+Edited.jpg

It’s National Pancake Day and you can get free pancakes at IHOP today for a good cause.

The restaurant is offering customers one free short stack of buttermilk pancakes in the hopes that you’ll pay it forward by making a voluntary donation to their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Shriners Hospital for Children, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or other local charities.

The tradition of Pancake Day dates back several centuries to when the English prepared for fasting during Lent, according to a news release from IHOP, but the IHOP tradition is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The National Pancake Day giveaway runs from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3 to celebrate the “Decade of Giving.”

“It’s both incredible and incredibly gratifying that we are now marking a full decade of National Pancake Day, which has become not only a favorite of guests, but of our franchisees and team members,” Julia Stewart, interim president of International House of Pancakes, LLC, said in a statement. “Little did we dream, ten years ago, that thanks to the generosity of our guests, we would be able to raise $16 million dollars, one short stack at a time, and make a substantial difference in the lives of the children in our local communities!”

There are at least seven IHOP locations in Connecticut. Find the closest one to you here.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Popular Bakery's Recipes Stolen]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:12:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/0227-2015-Cruffin.jpg

Binders containing hundreds of sweet recipes mysteriously disappeared overnight from Mr. Holmes Bakeshop, a three-month-old start-up in San Francisco's Tenderloin that's growing in popularity.

In fact, on a typical weekday 7 a.m. opening, most goods are sold by 11.

Word got out to the shop's loyal following, and customers were worried those famous "cruffins" -- a croissant and muffin hybrid -- were history.

Fortunately, the shop's recipes were all backed up on a computer.

"Some people were calling up through the day, like 'Hey, if they stole the cruffin recipe, are you going to have cruffins tomorrow? Because if not, we might not come!'" said Ry Stephen, a co-owner of the bakery.

Stephen suspects a copycat may be the culprit.

"There's a sense of competitiveness in pastry just like in a sport or in writing," Stephen said.

No equipment or cash were taken from the bakery. While there were no signs of forced entry, the owners insist this was not an inside job.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[FIRST Robotics Teams Compete in 'Recycle Rush' District Qualifiers]]> Sat, 28 Feb 2015 18:19:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/tlmd_recycle_484x363.jpg

The second district event qualifiers for the NE FIRST Robotics Competition kicked off Saturday morning at Wilby High School in Waterbury.

The 34 teams participating in the competition have designed and programmed their robots in less than two months. The two-day event began Saturday, Feb. 28 at 8 a.m. and will run until Sunday, March 1 at 5 p.m. This weekend marks the second of 10 district qualifying events in the region of New England.

This year’s competition is a recycling-themed game, titled “RECYCLE RUSH," involving "two Alliances of three robots each," according to the news release. 

"Robots score points by stacking totes on scoring platforms, capping those stacks with recycling containers, and properly disposing of pool noodles, representing litter," according to a news release.

The next and final New England district qualifying competition will be at Hartford High School on March 28 and 29.

Winners will advance to the NE FIRST New England Championship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts April 9 to 11. Winners at the regional level will move onto the FIRST World Competition April 22 to 25 in St. Louis, Missouri April 22 to 25.

The public is invited to attend at no cost.

The following teams are competing at this weekend's district qualifier:

• Techno-Nuts – Berlin, CT
• Aces High- Windsor Locks, CT
• The CyberKnights- Southington, CT
• GU S Robotics- Meriden CT
• GaelHawks- Shelton, CT
• TechnoTicks- Old Lyme, CT
• Black Magic Robotics- Watertown, CT
• RoboSquad- New Haven, CT
• MachaRams- Cheshire, CT
• Team MAX- Wolcott, CT
• The DiscoTechs- Brookfield, CT
• The Uberbots- Avon, CT
• The Dragons- Hartford, CT
• The Panther Project- Southbury/Middlebury, CT
• Apple Pj, Robotics- Guilford, CT
• Titanium Tomahawks- Glastonbury, CT
• Team Beta- Woodbury, CT
• Cyber Rams- Stamford, CT
• Mechanical Mustangs- Clifton, NJ
• Operation PEACCE- Bristol, CT
• Sim City- Simsbury, CT
The Nuts and Bolts of Fury- Waterbury, CT
• Hard Botties- Bridgeport, CT
• Tech Tigers- Middletown, CT
• Junkyard Battalion- New Britain, CT
• Robot Unicorn Attack- Providence, RI
• Northwestern Robotics Gearheads (“NRG)- Winchester, CT
• Full Metal Falcons Robotics- Middletown, CT
• Barlow RobAutics0 Redding, CT
• Sintian Robotics- Hamden, CT
• Digital Devils Robo- Hamden, CT
• Wirecats- Simsbury, CT
• Valley Regional Robotics- Deep River, CT
 

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<![CDATA[Craft Beer Shop Opens in West Hartford]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:44:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/craft-beer-brewery-generic.jpg

Craft beer aficionados can head to West Hartford this weekend for the grand opening of a store dedicated to quality brew.

On Saturday, Feb. 28, the first Craft Beer Cellar will open in the state of Connecticut and beer lovers will have a wide variety of beer to select from and a knowledgeable staff to pose questions to.

Craft Beer Cellar is located at 1026 Boulevard in West Hartford. The grand opening begins at 10 a.m.

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<![CDATA[What Color Is This Dress? No One Can Agree]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:44:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/the-dress-B-1l26HXAAEJ48-.jpg

Is this dress blue and black… or gold and white? The debate is raging, and no one seems to agree.

BuzzFeed posted the controversial photo Tuesday evening, and already it's gone viral.

The image was originally uploaded by Tumblr user "swiked," who wrote:

"I see it as white and gold. My friend right here sees it as blue and black. I CANT HANDLE THIS"

Another user fired back:

"if that’s not gold my entire life has been a lie"

Others chimed in, all with different perceptions. Admittedly, no one in the newsroom could agree either.

So what color is it really?

The mystery may never be solved.



Photo Credit: Romanoriginals.com
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<![CDATA[KFC to Serve Edible Coffee Cups in U.K.]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 05:29:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/178*120/kfc+edible+coffee+cup+scoff-ee.jpg

Chicken lovers in the United Kingdom have a new treat to try — edible coffee cups that will be served at KFC restaurants in Britain.

A one-of-a-kind cookie, lined with heat-resistant white chocolate and covered with sugar paper, make up the consumable drink holder — known  as "scoff-ee cup," according to a news release from the Kentucky-based poultry chain.

"We have been experimenting with edible packaging to see if it could be a feasible product to bring to market...and thought that if our customers occasionally like to have their cake and eat it, why wouldn't they want [to] have their cup and eat it instead," said Jocelyn Bynoe of KFC.

Colonel Sanders' team partnered with food scientists at The Robin Collective to develop the new product, which was created to celebrate the launch of Seattle's Best Coffee in its restaurants.

"We've infused different cups with a variety of ambient aromas including coconut sun cream, freshly cut grass and wild flowers, said Brandy Wright, a designer at Robin Collective.

French vanilla and mocha are yummy and popular coffee flavors, but we'll have to wait and see how Brits react to java that puts a hint of mowed lawn on the palette.

The item has not yet been added to British stores' menus and a KFC U.K. spokeswoman told NBC they have no date set for the scoff-ee cup's launch.

A stateside KFC spokesman said their are no current plans to bring edible cups to the United States.



Photo Credit: Oliver Dixon/KFC]]>
<![CDATA[Lines Already Forming at New Enfield Chick-fil-A ]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 09:26:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/22515+Chick+Fil+A+Enfield+edited.jpg

It was not all that long ago that you had to head outside the state of Connecticut to get your fill of Chick-fil-A, but a fourth restaurant in the chain is opening in Enfield on Feb. 26.

Eleven people were already lined up at 6 a.m. for a chance to win free meals. The location is participating in the “First 100,” starting on Feb. 25. The "First 100" participants who comply with the official rules will receive a Grand Prize of one Chick-fil-A Meal per week for a year.

Cars and people began lining up at 6 a.m., 24 hours before the grand opening, but must remain onsite until 6 a.m. Thursday morning. If over 100 people show up, a drawing will be conducted to select the winners. Winners will receive a 52 combo meals on a digital card.

Customers are welcome to bring props to make the wait more fun - at past grand opening events the parking lot filled with tents, flat screens, and recliners.              

See the official rules here.

The other Connecticut Chick-fil-A locations are:

  • 156 Federal Rd Brookfield
  • Danbury Fair Mall in Danbury
  • 1098 N Colony Rd Wallingford



Photo Credit: Chick-fil-A]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Chicken Selects Returns]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 11:58:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mcdonalds+chicken+selects.jpg

Watch out, Chicken McNuggets. Soon there will be a new breaded chicken dish in the house.

Oak Brook-based McDonald's announced Wednesday that Chicken Selects will return to menus nationwide next month.

"The Chicken Selects will make a national return in early March and be sold as an order with three pieces. We look forward to bringing back this customer favorite made with chicken tenderloin," Terri Hickey, a McDonald's spokesperson, said.

McDonald's describes Chicken Selects as "crispy strips of all white chicken breast, premium dipping sauces...this is luxury lunching."

The menu item will only be available nationally for a limited time, but markets will have the option to keep them on the menu if they want, Hickey said.

Chicken Selects were first introduced in 1998 and were pulled from the menu in February 2013.

The menu item previously came with a variety of dipping sauces to choose from, including chipotle barbeque, creamy ranch, hot habanero, honey mustard, hot mustard, spicy buffalo, sweet chili, sweet 'n sour, honey and tangy barbeque.

The fast food company's announcement comes just two months after company officials said they were planning on trimming their menus. This decision was prompted by a decline in U.S. sales that many attribute to McDonald's unhealthy image and an increasingly health conscious society.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ansonia Bakery Holds Annual Fat Tuesday Contest]]> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 13:35:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/FATTUESDAY021715.jpg A paczki eating contest has gone on at Eddy's Bakery for 17 years and the Polish treat is always a huge favorite for customers on Fat Tuesday.]]> <![CDATA[Connecticut Magazine Ranks Best Pizza in State]]> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 21:51:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Pepe%27s+Pizza+722.jpg

What's your favorite pizza joint? Connecticut Magazine has compiled a list of the state's top pizza places – and those that will soon have their own slice of history.

There's no numerical system here. Instead, restaurants are ranked in categories: "Legends" are pizza royalty (no surprise that many are located in New Haven) and "Legends in the Making" comprise up-and-coming pizza sensations.

There are also "Beer Bar Pizzas," "Unusual Places" and "Best of the Rest."

Legends

  • Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven
  • Sally's Apizza in New Haven
  • Modern Apizza in New Haven
  • Roseland Apizza in Derby
  • BAR in New Haven

Legends in the Making

  • Colony Grill in Stamford, Fairfield and Milford
  • Da Legna in New Haven
  • Tarry Lodge in New Haven and Westport
  • Bufalina in Guilford

Beer Bar Pizza

  • Fire Engine Pizza Company in Bridgeport
  • Krust Pizza Bar in Middletown
  • Coal House Pizza in Stamford
  • Stanziato's in Danbury
  • Brick + Wood in Fairfield

Unusual Places

  • Nica's Market in New Haven
  • Mozzicato DePasquale Bakery, Pastry Shop & Cafe in Hartford
  • Nauti Dolphin Pizza in Fairfield
  • Vocatura Bakery in Norwich

Get the full scoop at connecticutmagazine.com.



Photo Credit: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Flash Mob Tango's in LAX]]> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 00:45:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Terminal-Tango-021515.JPG

There's probably no other dance that conveys the message of romance and passion better than the tango.

To help spread the love, a group of 40 local dancers took the Argentine tango to a SoCal airport terminal on Sunday.

"Tango is symbolic of Valentine's, of relationships, of love, of passion, of everything that is joy in your life," said dance instructor and event organizer Ilona Glinarsky.  "We wanted to bring a little bit of joy and maybe a little love to a place that seems to be a little dry and a little stressful at times."

Although it was the day after Valentine’s, the group of dancers from Living Tango dance studio in El Segundo put on quite a show in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Men and women dressed in red and black performed the highly improvisational dance.

The first few bars of the song were choreographed, but the rest of the performance was completely improvised, Glinarsky told NBC4.

In addition to a free show, the Living Tango dancers treated travelers to Valentine’s candy.



Photo Credit: Joel Cooke ]]>
<![CDATA[True Love, Caught on Camera: Creative Public Proposals Go Viral]]> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 17:41:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ellen+proposal.jpg

In the mood for everlasting love as Valentine's Day approaches? Here's a look at public marriage proposals over the past year that are sure to get the waterworks (of joy) going.

Epic Proposal from 26 Countries, 4 Years in the Making 

"I'm going to marry this girl eventually," is what Jack Hyer says he wrote in his travel journal shortly after his first date with his girlfriend Becca. Over the next four years of the relationship, he filmed himself singing 1980s hit "I'm Gonna Be" as he traveled the world, with clips from places as far as China, Tanzania and Thailand. He used the reel to propose to her, also on camera in a restaurant, and posted the entire feat on YouTube.

Man Chases Love with 5K Proposal

This finish line was extra sweet for one runner who finished the Phillies Charities 5K, when her boyfriend pulled off what the sponsoring baseball team says was the first-ever proposal at the end of the event.

NASA Love

Talk about a lift off! This man taped himself proposing in front of Pad39 A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, which he notes on YouTube was "where we sent Apollo to the moon and Space Shuttles launched." You can't hear the words, but he says he wooed his wife-to-be with,"Some of mankind's greatest journeys started right here - I want to start my next journey with you -- will you marry me?"

On Bended Knee on "Ellen"

Is there any better place to propose than in front of a studio audience with Ellen on hand? There must be dancing after a life changing event like this. 

Sometimes You Have to Say Yes on the Subway

Subway trains can be gross, slow and crowded, but the chance to witness a proposal on board the train is sure to put your commute (and day) on the right track. Robert Waters told Gothamist that he planned to propose to girlfriend Carley Frese on the train, complete with a hired gospel choir, because "wanted to make it a special place for her the way that it is for me." 

A Musical Flash Mob 

The message was clear: "Who cares baby, I think I want to marry you." The groom-to-be surprised his future bride with a dancing flash mob proposal at Tivoli Village in Las Vegas, according to the videographer who captured the special moment.

Wildflower 

After surviving the 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, Bonnie Kate was proposed to by her filmmaker boyfriend inside a movie theater. He told Today.com that he decided to stage the elaborate proposal, complete with a video documenting the ups and downs of their relationship, because he  "had to in some way shine light on the darkness."

 Rose Bowl Proposal Spectacular

This proposal took place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where the couple met years before. But that was far from the only special detail of the event. Her boyfriend surprised his wife-to-be with a scavenger hunt that included pampering, lunch with friends, shopping spree and a meeting of the future in-laws before popping the question, according to the film company that captured the event.

Surprise Scavenger Hunt Engagement 

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel helped stage a proposal by selecting a "random" audience member to go on a scavenger hunt. The woman comes back with Elmo, but this was no joke. The man under the mask was her future husband. 


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Runs Away From Home, Tracks Down Owner With Cancer in Hospital]]> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 07:53:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC_hospitaldog0212001_700x394.jpg A miniature Schnauzer ran away from its Iowa home to track down its owner, who was recovering from cancer in a nearby hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.]]> <![CDATA["Death Star" is Legoland's Latest Mega Addition]]> Thu, 12 Feb 2015 20:51:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Death+Star+Legoland.JPG

Legoland’s latest attraction is made up of more than 500,000 Lego pieces, weighs more than 1,900 pounds and took a crew of construction workers to assemble.

Rest your eyes on the Death Star, the planet-shaped model that’s the latest addition to the LEGO Star Wars Miniland. You can check it out for yourself starting March 5.

Workers used a fork lift to perch the Death Star above the Star Wars display, which was no small task, as the model is 8-feet wide and 13-feet high.

The Death Star is inspired by Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, which featured the famous trench run scene where Luke Skywalker steered his X-wing fighter through the combat zone to destroy the Death Star.

The opening of the Death Star is a precursor to the Star Wars Days even on March 7 and 8, which will include various activities centering Star Wars.

]]>
<![CDATA[NoCal City's Humorous Traffic Signs]]> Thu, 12 Feb 2015 12:45:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/signs2.jpg

A Northern California city is using humor to get drivers to slow down and pedestrians to pay attention.

The City of Hayward has placed traffic signs along a downhill boulevard that read "35 — It's a speed limit, not a suggestion'' and "Heads up! Cross the street, then update Facebook.'' Another sign warns: "Downhill: Use eyes, brakes, brain.''

The Oakland Tribune reports city workers installed the offbeat traffic signs in January along Hayward Boulevard, which is known for cars zipping down from the hills.

City spokesman Frank Holland says authorities hope using humor will get people to do a double-take and be careful on the hill.

A recent survey found speeding was a top concern for residents in the area.



Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
<![CDATA[Guilford Singer-Songwriter Competes on "American Idol"]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 16:24:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/BeachAvenueEDIT.jpg

A singer from a Milford-formed band that recently competed on "America's Got Talent" is in the national spotlight again as he competes for a chance to be the next "American Idol."

Nick Fradiani, of Guilford, vocalist and guitarist in Connecticut band Beach Avenue, has advanced to the third round of Hollywood Week before the panel of celebrity judges.

He said that he was contacted and invited to audition, so he knew he would at the very least get to audition for Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban.

"I felt it was an opportunity I could not pass up," Fradiani said. "....The first audition was very nerve-racking, but I was also really honored and excited at the same time."

Back in July, Fradiani and his band, Beach Avenue made it to the second round of "America's Got Talent" on NBC. Two other band members, Nick Abraham, of Fairfield, and Ryan Zipp, of Hamden performed their original song, "Coming Your Way" with him on the show.

Fradiani is not currently working on any solo material, but he said that if he were to win "American Idol" and record an album, he said he would make music "similar to the music I make with Beach Avenue."

"Touring has always been something I've dreamed of," Fradiani said. "I'd like to tour the whole world!"

Back in Connecticut, Fradiani said that he and Beach Avenue have been writing several songs and doing a lot of demos.

"So we'll have to see what happens," he said.

As for his fate on "American Idol," that remains to be seen. He is in the mix for the final rounds of Hollywood Week, airing Wednesday and Thursday night on Fox.



Photo Credit: Jessie Sawyer/NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Drinks to Warm You Up in Cold Weather]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 15:26:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Drinks_to_Warm_You_Up_in_Cold_Weather_3_1200x675_397380163796.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Film About CT Man Who Played Big Bird Coming Soon]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 14:18:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/162*120/92919835_10.jpg

A documentary about the Woodstock, Connecticut puppeteer behind the characters of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on "Sesame Street" will be released in May, production company Copper Pot Pictures announced Wednesday.

Caroll Spinney, 80, has brought the characters of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch to life since the show launched 45 years ago. The documentary, "I Am Big Bird" tells his story and highlights his career and characters.

"'I Am Big Bird' captures how the love radiating from Caroll has created a worldwide cultural icon and answers why he can't say goodbye to the characters he cherishes," Copper Pot Pictures said in a news release.

He "handpicked a successor," Matt Vogel, "who has waited, quite literally, in the wings, as his understudy for almost 20 years," but "he has held on with no intention of retiring," according to the news release.

"Yielding the Bird would mean saying goodbye to characters that are a true expression of his
soul, characters that he loves and cherishes like his own children," Copper Pot Pictures said.

The production company describes Spinney as a man who has "pure love" filling his life, from his relationship with his mother, who "handcrafted his first puppets" and "sacrificed her own body to protect Caroll from a savage beating from his father" to finding his true love, Debra after his first wife divorced him because she was "embarrassed" by his puppetry career. He was also very close friends with his boss, Jim Henson.

"The unconditional love that envelops Caroll’s life—and which is captured in the hours of home video culled for I AM BIG BIRD — is the true secret to Big Bird’s popularity," Copper Pot Pictures said.

Big Bird's popularity has faded as new writers explored other characters like Elmo, but Spinney's legacy as the yellow bird is historical in American pop culture, according to the production company.

"He’s dined with heads of state, won Emmys and been named a living legend by the Library of
Congress," Copper Pot Pictures said.

Spinney was also originally supposed to be on the Challenger space shuttle in 1986, but NASA ultimately decided not to go forward with that plan, according to the production company.

"Instead of boarding the shuttle, he watched from the studio as the astronauts, including his
replacement, Christa McAuliffe, perished in the disaster," Copper Pot Pictures said.

The documentary explores Spinney's creative process and what inspired him. It shows Spinney today and videos from his personal library "to illustrate how he became the man that became the Bird," according to the production company. The film also includes footage of Jim Henson with Kermit the Frog and interviews with Jane Henson, Vogel, Frank Oz (Cookie Monster, Bert) and Jerry Nelson (The Count).

And, as the yellow feathers give way to grey hair, it is the man, not the Muppet, who will teach us the greatest lesson of all: how to love unconditionally," Copper Pot Pictures said.

The documentary will be released in early May and will be released on VOD and iTunes May 5. New York theaters will start showing the documentary May 8 before theaters in other cities pick it up, according to the production company.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ben & Jerry's Newest "SNL" Ice Cream: Wayne'Swirled]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 08:12:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/229*120/wayneswirled.jpg

Party time! Excellent!!

Ice cream lovers and "Saturday Night Live" fans, rejoice! Ben & Jerry's has unveiled its final "SNL"-inspired flavor, Wayne'Swirled — a caramel- and fudge-laden homage to sketch comedy's favorite metalheads.

Wayne'Swirled's blend of dark caramel and vanilla ice creams with fudge and caramel swirls is, the creamery says, "an ode to the yin and yang that are Wayne and Garth."

It's currently available only in Ben & Jerry's ice cream shops.

Wayne'Swirled marks the final installment in a line of four flavors marking the landmark NBC sketch comedy show's upcoming 40th anniversary.

Last year, Ben & Jerry's offered up Two Wild & Crazy Pies, a pie-heavy tribute to the classic recurring Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd sketch about two overeager Czech brothers' antics.

Before that came two others: Lazy Sunday, full of cupcakes and frosting, and Gilly's Catastrophic Crunch, with caramel clusters, fudge-covered almonds and a marshmallow swirl.

The three-hour "SNL" 40th Anniversary Special will air live Sunday at 8/7c on NBC.



Photo Credit: Ben & Jerry's]]>
<![CDATA[Hollywood Film "Blue Line" Shooting in Connecticut]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 15:20:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Blue+Line+edited.jpg

A car explodes in front of a snow-covered, colorful nostalgia store in Middletown. If you see that scene unfolding today outside Wild Bill's Nostalgia shop, don't be alarmed. It's only a movie, but a Hollywood action-packed thriller at that with a lot of Connecticut talent.

Actor and producer David Gere helped bring Hollywood to his hometown of Cromwell and the surrounding area as Hollywood producer and former Groton resident Richard Switzer's production company, Switzer Entertainment Group, films "Blue Line" in Connecticut this week.

Directed by Greenwich resident Jacob Cooney, "Blue Line" is a movie "about revenge," telling the story of a "master thief pulling off the heist of a lifetime with a jaded police detective hot on her trail," according to a news release about the film. Cooney, who "recently left Hollywood to bring his writing and directing talents to Connecticut, co-wrote the movie, the release said.

The car explosion was being filmed at Wild Bill's on Tuesday, fresh after the third consecutive Monday snowstorm hit Connecticut.

Professional stunt sequences and car chases are going to be filmed near Golf Club Road in Cromwel.

"It’s exciting to have Hollywood level car chase scenes and fight choreography performed by stunt legends Gary Hymes, Tom McComas and directed by Eric Norris (son of Chuck Norris) who recently finished the final scenes of the Sons of Anarchy series in a local town setting," Los Angeles producer and actor Thyme Lewis ("Days of Our Lives," "American Horror Story," "Sons of Anarchy") said in a statement.

The film stars WWE professional wrestler Kevin Nash ("The Punisher," "The Longest Yard" and "Magic Mike") as Cisco, Tom Sizemore ("Saving Private Ryan, "Black Hawk Down" and "Heat") as Det. Broza and Jordan Ladd ("Never Been Kissed, "Cabin Fever, "Death Proof") as Lindsay Walters. Lewis plays Chris Mack.

Gere, who has credits in various films and television series, including an episode of "Gossip Girl," "Army of the Damned," "A Bet's A Bet" and "Sensory Perception," plays Declan. Partnering with Switzer, Lewis and producer and sales agent Tyler Konney on the project, Gere is the reason it's being filmed in the Cromwell area.

One of his contacts was Cromwell High School classmate and Cromwell Mayor Enzo Faienza.

"I'm so proud of Dave and his desire to go to Hollywood and make his dream come true to bring movie making to our town," Faienza said in a statement."It's a testament to our youth that if you work hard and strive for your goals anything is possible. These are exciting times for Cromwell as Dave is including so many members of our community in process of making this film. It has been a collaborative effort, and a pleasure working with Dave, Thyme, Richard and Jacob. They are true professionals who care about the integrity of the town and making the film work here. I can't wait to see the final product when it is completed."

The Switzer Entertainment Group began filming Jan. 25 and plans on shooting through Feb. 13.

Switzer, who was highlighted on Entertainment Tonight as the "youngest movie producer in history), is getting the community involved, including about 200 Middletown and Cromwell crew members, extras and residents, local officials like Cromwell Police Chief Anthony Salvatore and Fire Chief Stephen Pendel, Cromwell High School and small businesses like Wild Bill's, the Cromwell Dine and Willowbrook Package Store.

More information on the film is available on www.switzerent.com, tayloranddodge.com/home and its IMDB page.



Photo Credit: Tony Gagnon]]>
<![CDATA[“Walking Dead's” Beth Performs at Wolf Den ]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 12:42:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Emily+Kinney+1200.jpg

If you’re a fan of “The Walking Dead,” then you’re probably none too thrilled about what happened to Beth Greene on the show, but you’ll be thrilled to know the woman who portrayed her is heading to Connecticut for a concert and autograph signing.

Emily Kinney, who played Beth, will perform at the Wolf Den on Thursday, Feb. 26, then sign autographs.

Kinney, who often sang on “The Walking Dead,” released her second album, Expired Love, in 2013, which includes seven original songs she wrote. Her first, “Blue Toothbrush,” was released in 2011.

Her show at the Wolf Den starts at 8 p.m. and you must be at least 21 years old to go. After the show, you can meet Kinney during a special Signings & Sightings event.

Participation for the signings and sightings event is on a first-come, first-served basis and Kinney will only be signing the headshots given out at the event in addition to one personal item per guest. There will be no personal photos.

To attend the event, you will need to secure a bracelet. A limited number will be handed out, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the signing stage in The Shops concourse.

You must have one to get into the signing line.

For more information on Kinney, visit her Web site, EmilyKinneyMusic.com



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Valentine's Day Events in Connecticut]]> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 18:17:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/candy+hearts+valentines+day+generic+valentines+generic.jpg

February is the month of love, and Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Here are a few fun ways to celebrate with that special someone.

Branford: Spend "A Night in Camelot" at Bill Miller's Castle on East Main Street in Branford. Enjoy dinner, drinks and dancing from 7-11 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $95 per person.

East Haddam: Take a horse-drawn carriage ride at Allegra Farm Horse & Carriage in East Haddam. Call 860-680-5149 to make a reservation.

Goshen: Spend Valentine's Day at Sunset Meadow Vineyards in Goshen for a dinner that includes wine, music and a red rose for your date. Dinner will be held Feb. 13 and 14 at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $120 per couple and $65 per person and must be reserved in advance.

Hartford: The Funny Bone comedy club and restaurant will be offering Valentine’s Day themed shows starting at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14.

Ledyard: Foxwoods Resort & Casino is hosting a romantic evening with R&B artists Ginuwine, RL from Next, Jon B., After 7 and Silk. The event starts at 8 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Grand Theater in Foxwoods Resort & Casino. Ticket prices range from $58-78.

Ledyard: Take a sushi-making class from Red Lantern's Executive Chef Kevin Scott at Foxwoods Resort & Casino. You can enjoy a bottle of sparkling sake while you learn, and receive free passes to Shrine nightclub.

Manchester: What's more romantic than an elegant French dinner? Dine out in the downstairs section of Cavey's on East Center Street in Manchester. The restaurant is open until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

New Haven: Yale Opera will perform Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" at the Shubert Theater in New Haven on Valentine's Day weekend. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Mystic: It's a family affair at Mystic Aquarium on Saturday morning, where guests can enjoy a buffet-style breakfast from 8-9 a.m. at Pancakes with Penguins. The event will feature a visit from African penguins and "Petey the Penguin," the aquarium mascot.

Norwalk: Head over to Total Wines in Norwalk from 2-5 p.m. on Valentine's Day to taste samples of Charter Oak Brews' 1687 Brown Ale, the Royal Charter Pale Ale, Wadsworth's IPA and the newest limited release, a Russian Imperial Stout from the "Charter Series."

Old Lyme: Spend Valentine's Day with British jazz vocalist Sally Night at the Side Door at 85 Lyme Street in Old Lyme. Tickets are $38.50 per person and doors open at 7:30 p.m. Call 860-434-0886 to learn more.

Old Lyme: Bee & Thistle Inn and Lounge in Old Lyme, which boasts to have been voted "most romantic" time and time again, is offering a special overnight package Friday including champagne, chocolates a six-course dinner for two and a gourmet breakfast in the morning. More information is available online.

Portland: Visit the Arrigoni Winery in Portland for an afternoon of wine tasting. Make sure to try the "Chocolate Love" wine! The winery is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and features a heated patio.

Putnam: Head out to Putnam's fifth annual Fire & Ice Festival from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday. Take a romantic carriage ride, marvel at ice sculptures on display and watch fire dancers perform. More information is available online.

Ridgefield: Visit the Ridgefield Playhouse for a night of music, wine and cheese at the Valentine's Day Gala. Grammy-winning trumpeter Chris Botti will take the stage. Tickets range from $110-125 and raffle prizes are included. More information is available online.

Simsbury: Go ice skating with your significant other at the International Skating Center of Connecticut on Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury. The rink is open to the public from 1:30 to 2:40 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Shelton: The Valentine’s Day Plush Monkey Drive, which was started eight years ago by Keith Urban and his fan group, collects and donates stuffed monkeys to underprivileged, and sick children of lower Naugatuck Valley. The plush monkeys are also distributed to children’s charities and non-profit organizations. Learn more on Facebook or through email.

South Windsor: Enjoy a romantic dinner at the picturesque Mill on the River restaurant on Ellington Road in South Windsor. Book reservations in advance by calling 860-289-7929.

Waterbury: Head to the Palace Theater on East Main Street to see the Blue Man Group in concert. Shows run Feb. 13-15 and tickets start at $28 per person. Call 203-346-2000 or visit the Palace Theater online for more information.

Westbrook: Water’s Edge Resort and Spa is offering a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner and overnight package. The overnight package includes deluxe accommodations, entertainment and gourmet meals.

Willimantic: The 11th annual Romantic Willimantic Chocolate Festival will take place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Main Street in Willimantic. Local businesses will offer free chocolate samples and menu samples.

]]>
<![CDATA[Say "I Love You" With Your Smartphone This Valentine's Day]]> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 18:07:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/valentines-chocolate-469002943.jpg

Want to make your Valentine feel extra special? Skip the traditional pharmacy greeting card and instead create a one-of-a-kind Valentine's Day message online. These easy-to-use apps offer fun and unique ways to personalize your message from the comfort of your smartphone.


Video Greeting Creator (A1 Brains Infotech)

Create a video message with a Valentine's Day border (10 frames) and choose music from your own music library to go along with your own personal recorded message. More here.

Postagram (Sincerely Inc.)

Use this free app to make your own photo postcard on your phone and then mail it for 99 cents within the United States and $1.99 outside the U.S. Write your own sweet VDay message and include any photo directly from your iPhone or Android device. The postcard is printed on thick, glossy paper. More here.

 Ink (Sincerely Inc.)

Never miss a holiday or other important date with this app, which allows you to customize free eCards with a choice of 2,000 layouts, photos from Facebook, a personal message and a variety of colors. You can order printed paper cards of your creation, too. The app, available for iPhone, iPad or Android, can be used beyond Valentine's Day, too — just link it to your Facebook to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries and more. More here.

Someecards (Someecards, Inc.)

The witty (and sometimes raunchy) e-cards freqently get laughs and likes on Facebook, and its Valentine's Day collection is no exception. Those who celebrate Single’s Awareness Day might take a liking to these cards as well. Share through email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. More here.

Love Poems (Mario Guenther-Bruns)

If you are lost for words, this free iPhone app has a collection of romantic writings, from Shakespeare to Edgar Allen Poe. Use the self-described "app to fall in love with" to send your love a poem through Facebook, Twitter or via email. More here.


GoodFor Coupons & IOU Cards (SnipSnap)

If you forgot a Valentine's Day gift in the past, this free iPhone app will keep you out of trouble. Choose from designed backgrounds or a photo from your phone and send your significant other an "IOU a 30 minute massage" or a coupon that's "Good for a night on the town." The chronicly late can make sure a gift arrives on time even if you don't for date night. More here.

A Flower Email (Boo Kim)

Can't afford splurging on sending a bouquet of red roses to your lover's door? With this 99-cent app you can send your Valentine some virtual flowers through email. The iPhone app offers hundreds of different e-arrangements. More here.

Cupid Booth (John Temple Group Pty Ltd.)

Love selfies? This one is for you. This free iPhone app lets you take a photo or select one from your phone and dress it up with speech bubbles, hearts, hats, kisses and your own written messages. Text it or share it on social media for your friends to see. More here.

Talking Panda Mime Love Letters (StartApp)

Send an animated panda "Pandamime" to declare his love for your beloved.

This free iPhone app captures your facial expressions and records a message that plays back via a cartoon panda which you can send through email or Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube. More here.

 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Connecticut Native Who Stars in American Sniper to Attend Local Screening]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 13:58:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin+lacz+american+sniper.jpg

Kevin Lacz, a retired Navy Seal and Middlefield, Connecticut native, starred alongside Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper,” served as tech consultant for the movie, and will be at special screening in Berlin this weekend in honor of the Chris Kyle Memorial Fund, as well as other veterans projects.

Cooper stars in the movie, which is based on the memoir of Chris Kyle, who served in four tours in Iraq before retiring from the military in 2009. Kyle died in February 2013 after being shot at a shooting range in Texas.

Lacz said he got to know Kyle in 2005. Lacz had just gotten to Seal Team 3 when Kyle was returning from a tour in Fallujah.

Kyle became a mentor and a friend to the new guy on the team. They served together for two tours in Iraq and stayed in touch after returning home.

“American Sniper is a great representation of what went on Chris’ life,” Lacz said.

“You know, it was an honor to go ahead and live those experiences with Chris Kyle. Mark Lee, Ryan Job, and it was a privilege to help tell it. And the story about Chris -- most movies end when they come home – and where Chris is different is he’s a character study, which follows Chris from the early days through his deployments, so you get B-side of what goes on in the personal relationship and also transitioning back.”

“American Sniper” and Kyle’s stories are important story for Americans to know, according to Lacz.

As a veteran, he said he’s always appreciated people thanking him for his service, but there are stories behind every veteran and people are opening up their eyes because of the movie and seeing that, he said.

“It’s really important for us as a nation and also us going forward,” Lacz said.

When it comes working with Bradley Cooper, he said the actor was a natural.

At first, they started doing some basic weaponry and shooting the movie, but Cooper spent hours preparing and exhibited talent, according to his co-star.

“So he’s got talent," Lacz said. "He’s good.”

Cooper was also a nice guy and there could have been no better acting coaches than working alongside Cooper and Clint Eastwood, Lacz said.

Lacz will attend a special screening of “American Sniper” at noon on Saturday at the Berlin Starplex in Kensington. It’s in honor of the Chris Kyle Memorial Fund, the Heroes Project and Connecticut Trees of Honor.

When he’s not starring in hit movies, Lacz works as a physician’s assistant in Florida, and does good work for veterans through the Eagle Fund, which serves active duty military and retirees.

“I’m in a great place. I’m very happy. The service has been great to me, but now I’m able to give back and work with veterans and work with active duty guys in a way that I’d never dreamed of before.”



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA[Dream of Summer at Hartford Boat Show]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 10:36:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/boat+show_722_406.jpg

The coldest weather of the season is here, but it feels like summer at the Connecticut Convention Center, where the boat show is taking place.

The 46th annual Connecticut Marine Trades Association’s Hartford Boat Show is underway and organizers said the event offers something for everyone.

“There’s been a lot of cabin fever because our motto is ‘Welcome to Our Waters’ and we’ve had a lot of white water these days,” Kathleen Burns, executive director of the Connecticut Marine Trades Association, said.

Whether you’re a long-time boater looking for a new ride or someone who is thinking about getting into boating, you’ll find something catered to you.

“We have a full house. We have over 100 exhibitors. They are presenting over 200 different boats of all sizes, from our paddle board industry all the way up major family cruisers,” Burns said.

With lower gas prices, organizers said there’ll be no better time to spend your summer days relaxing on the water.

The show runs through Sunday and if you have one of the NBC Connecticut apps, you’ll save $2 off of admission.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[No Winner for Powerball, Jackpot Rises to $360 Million]]> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 06:32:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/1757444901.jpg

Lottery officials say no jackpot winner was selected in the latest $317 million Powerball drawing.

Sue Dooley is the senior drawing manager for the Multi-State Lottery Association, which oversees Powerball. She says there will be another drawing Saturday after no one matched Wednesday's winning numbers.

Each drawing without a winner rolls the jackpot over and makes it more lucrative. The Powerball website shows the current estimated haul for the next drawing is $360 million.

Until Wednesday's drawing, there had been something of a big-time prize drought, with nearly a year passing since a jackpot above $300 million.

Powerball is played in 43 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The odds of matching all six numbers in the game are 1 in about 175 million.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Auction of Big Mac Special Sauce Draws 5-Figure Bids]]> Wed, 04 Feb 2015 05:02:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mcdonalds+sign+new+1.jpg

A Big Mac may only cost a few dollars at McDonald’s, but when it comes to the fast food chain’s Big Mac Special Sauce, things get pricey fast. 

McDonald’s Australia has apparently decided to auction off the first of 200 bottles of their “legendary” sauce on eBay and bidders are emptying more than just their pockets for a chance to purchase the limited-edition bottle.

“For too long Big Mac Special Sauce has been trapped in a beautiful, delicious burger – now we’ve set it free!” the auction page states. “This bottle is #1 of only 200 being produced worldwide, and they won’t be sold in restaurants.”

By Tuesday morning bids had reached nearly $18,000 with more than seven days left to bid.

As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, 135 bids had been placed for the 500-milliliter bottle, the highest being $23,100 (AU).

The world’s largest hamburger chain said 100 percent of the auction sale price will go to the Australian branch of Ronald McDonald House Charities.


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<![CDATA['Jersey Boys': A Rock Concert Within a Musical ]]> Tue, 03 Feb 2015 15:33:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/2315+Jersey+Boys+edited.jpg

If you've never had the chance to see Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in concert, the next closest thing is coming to the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford.

Jersey Boys has been touring nationally and in Canada since 2011 and it opens at the Oakdale Tuesday, Feb. 3 for a one-week run. The Tony Award-winning musical has also been made into a movie.

"It's the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, so it's kind of his journey in the telling of his life and the Four Seasons," said Miguel Jarquin-Moreland, who stars as Frankie Valli. 

Before the group formed, "they were just four guys from Jersey," according to the Jersey Boys website. In this version, your Four Seasons are Jarquin-Moreland, Matthew Dailey (Tommy Devito), Keith White (Nick Massi) and Drew Seeley (Bob Gaudio).

"Same great show that you can see in any company across the world," said Dailey, who described his character, Tommy as the one who finds the talent, "puts the group together" and is the glue that keeps them together.

Drew Seeley portrays songwriter Bob Gaudio, the last man to join the Four Seasons and White's Nick Massi is the bass player in the group.

"He comes up with all the harmonies too," White said, adding "and he's the best looking."

And the harmonies are what gave Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons their distinctive sound.

As the play follows the story of the iconic all-male band, the "Jersey Boys" of the nationally touring company said it's a musical that appeals to men. It's a play that feels like a concert, according to the actors.

"It's a guys' musical. It's one of the best written musicals ever," Jarquin-Moreland said. "And it's not really a musical. It's like a play with four seats of music. It's one of the most intelligently written pieces in musical theater history and it's just the story of these guys and how they came to be the Four Seasons, one of the greatest groups of all time in American pop culture and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers."

Why go see it?

"It's like a rock concert and it's a great story," Seeley said. "What more can you want?"

The production's website said that the show is not recommended for children because it "contains smoke, gun shots, strobe lights, drug references, sexual situations and profane 'authentic Jersey language.' "

The show runs at the Oakdale through Feb. 8. You can visit the Oakdale's website or the tour's website for more information on the production and tickets are available on Live Nation.

The Toyota Oakdale Theatre is powered by Xfinity, which is affiliated with Comcast. NBC Connecticut is in the NBC Universal family, which Comcast owns.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>