Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mrs Bridges Pantry Woodstock

Finding an authentic British tearoom in Connecticut has become somewhat frustrating, there are just not many choices any more. Woodstock is about an hour ride so given the fact that it is located right next door to the Scranton Shops where we can poke around for antiques made it seem like a good option. 

It was a Thursday and a rainy day at that. I called ahead to see if we would need reservations, they said no but when I got there, they had saved us seats which was very nice of them. I had my heart set on a Cornish Pastie. We got there shortly after 12 and they were already sold out which was very disappointing. I guess I should have reserved one of them as well!!

We had a pretty long wait to put in our order but since we were chatting and enjoying ourselves it really wasn't an issue. What was an issue is that the rest room is across the way adjacent to another shop. Not very convenient and they were not especially nice or clean. 

Mrs Bridges Pantry is very cute inside, not all that girly which is often the case with tearooms and also not very British in spite of the menu which is half English specialties. 

Since I couldn't have a Cornish pasty I went for a curry chicken one, our friend ordered the Farmhouse tea which is a sandwich followed by a scone, I added a scone and tea to my pasty. Al had a steak and mushroom pie. 

First I have to address the crust of my pastie, these are supposed to be flaky and you should be able to hold it in your hand to eat, they are really a hand pie. My crust was nothing less than limp, no way I could ever have picked that up. Might have been the rewarming that did that. The filling however was very tasty indeed. 

Al's little pie was very nice and it came with a small gravy boat with nice bistro gravy. The sandwich which was ham and cheese was crustless and delicious. 

The scones were served warm, I got orange and cranberry and Joe had raisin, they are served with whipped cream and either strawberry jam or lemon curd, we both opted for the jam. 

Tea was also good. Though a refill of our pot was never offered. Usually more water at least is offered. 

Al got the apple crisp and while he loved the custard, he found the apples al dente and overall the dessert was too sweet. 

Luckily, it seemed to have been rather a quiet day and we were allowed to take our time and just sit and enjoy. Our waitress was very friendly and answered all our questions with enthusiasm. 

I would rate our visit as a success and will return, I may not order the same things however, there are plenty of other choices. 

They do have a little store which I'm sorry to say we did not browse. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Portland Catfish Tournament

Portland Riverside Marina’s 14th

Annual Connecticut River Catfish Tournament

Friday, August 19 to Sunday, August 21

Portland Riverside Marina

37 Riverview Street, Portland, CT  06480

(860) 342-1911


(heaviest fish)

1st Prize................$300.00

2nd Prize...............$200.00

3rd Prize...............$150.00



11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
a.m to 6 p.m.

8 a.m. to noon

Sunday’s picnic (noon to 8 p.m.) will feature great

Food, music and all the stories about the ones that got away!


Single - $25.00         Family - $50.00 

Spectator only (includes picnic) - $20.00 per person

Picnic Noon to 7 p.m.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Plan B West Hartford

Part of the B group of Restaurant this Plan B is right on Park Road in West Hartford. There is a small parking lot at the end of the building that the restaurant is in but it is one of three restaurants in the building so I would not plan on finding a spot there. We were able to park on Park Road for free. 

If you are used to the Plan B in Glastonbury, I must say that this one is much smaller however, it has outdoor dining, a small dining room, and the bar area. We opted for the bar area. The menu is the same as at the Glastonbury location. 

I ordered the mini cheeseburgers and traded my fries for a small salad with the lemon thyme dressing, so good. 

Al got a  pretzel burger which has cheddar cheese. They have pink or no pink and rare. He opted for rare and it was just perfect. We had very good service. We were going to the Playhouse on Park and it was less than a half mile down the road so it makes a good combination with a show. 

We are big fans of Plan B which Al insists on calling second choice, lol but it was definitely our first choice today, and a good choice it was. I really love the fresh pickles that they give as a free amuse bouche. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Firebox Hartford

If you haven't tried Firebox in Hartford I have to ask why? It has just jumped into the number one position on my list of favorite places to eat. Kasey and John took us the to celebrate Al's 70th birthday and we were blown away. The food and service were outstanding. 

The concept is outstanding as well. giving jobs and opportunities to the Frog Hollow neighborhood and using locally sourced food, it is a win win proposition. 

You really need to have reservations.A parking lot and valet parking are adjacent to the building but parking is also available on the street, not that I would want to park on the street, there was a rather large group of kids and young teens hanging about and that made me just a little uncomfortable. 

We had early reservations, 6:15 and that was good, it got much busier by the time we left. 

The menu is not huge and on this particular night, there were no specials since there were new adjustments to the menu. The soup of the day was tomato basil and they had a soda of the day and a mixed drink of the day. 

I had checked the menu ahead of time and knew I want to order two appetizers instead of an entree. I ordered the Brussels sprouts and the cheese plate. Al ordered the ribeye steak, John the chicken and Kasey the soup and a salad. 

Our waiter was attentive and was able to guide us through the menu and the drink menu. We had some of their delicious bread to tide us over. 

I have to say, their Brussels sprouts are the best I have ever had anywhere, even my own. The presentation was cute too in a little cast iron pan. I threatened to take it home with me which our waiter found very amusing. 

The cheese plate included four selections, crostini, strawberries, grapes, Marcona almonds, and honey. It was delicious. 

Al's steak was cooked perfectly and those fingerling potatoes cooked in duck fat were to die for!! 

You would think that we would be too full for dessert but you would be wrong. I had heard from Kasey how good their desserts were and I had no intention of missing out on the pleasure. Kasey and John shared a berry short cake, we shared the lime curd. Oh my, the perfect dessert, light and not too sweet with whipped cream and fresh blueberries. With my cappuccino, it was the perfect ending. 

Perfection does not come cheap, Kasey had two of the drinks of the day and they were $13 each. The meal for the four of us ran over $200 without tip. Was it worth it, absolutely, I can't wait to go back there again.  Check out the Firebox menu here

Monday, August 7, 2017

Oklahoma at Goodspeed

The second show of the 2017 season is Oklahoma. If it has been a while since you saw the show or if you have never seen it, you are in for a treat. The music is wonderfully familiar and the dancing and energy are high throughout. 

Samantha Bruce plays a very believable Laurey and Terry Burrel brings Aunt Eller to life. Rhett Gutter has a very nice voice and his Curly charms but for me, Matt Faucher stole the show as a very scary Jud Fry. 

The highlight of the show is the duet between Curly and Laurey of  " People Will Say We're in Love". 

On Sunday, September 24th at 2:00 p.m. they are offering a sensory friendly performance for those who may be on the autism spectrum or if other sensory issues. The environment will be accepting and inclusive. 

If you are looking for a very entertaining night out, I highly recommend heading down to Goodspeed in East Hadden and enjoying "Oklahoma". It will be on until September 27. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Lyman Orchard Sunflower Maze Aug 3-27, 2017

The Sunflower Maze is an incredible experience, with more than 350,000 red and yellow sunflowers surrounding you in a 360-degree environment. Get lost in this 2.5-acre maze as yellow finches and beautiful butterflies fly around.  

Lyman Orchard 
Middlefield CT

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Playhouse on Park

If you are like us and enjoy a good show, I want to introduce you to our newest find, Playhouse on Park in West Hartford. This is a small, non-profit theater that offers live productions. We went there on Sunday, July 30, 2017, for their performance of The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged. If was just as funny and entertaining as I expected, maybe even more so. 

This is a small theater with four rows of seats on three sides of the theater. There is plenty of pitch to the seats so I was able to see easily over the heads of the people in front of me, we were in the back row. 

The quality of the performance was very professional and I was impressed. They do offer a season ticket and there are some excellent shows coming up. One that I particularly want to see is Anne Frank which will be here in October. In January they are offering Steel Magnolias and I have to say I am tempted to delay going to Florida in order to see it. 

They offer water and soft drinks and candy for sale. The rest rooms are very nice and parking on the street was free and easy. I highly recommend that you give Playhouse on Park a try. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Biscotti and Beyond August Schedule

Here is Simonne's August schedule.

Thurs     3       Clinton                        4-7
Fri         4       Cromwell                     4-7 
Sat        5       Old Saybrook               9-12:30
Sun       6      Chester                       10-1
Thur    10      Clinton                        4-7
Fri       11      Cromwell                      4-7 
Sat      12      Parmelee Farm             10-1
Sat      12       Old Saybrook               9-12:30
Sun     13      Chester                      10-1
Thurs   17       Clinton                         4-7
Fri       18       Cromwell                      4-7 
Sat      19       Old Saybrook               9-12:30
Sun     20       Chester                         10-1
Thurs  24       Clinton                          4-7
Fri      25       Cromwell                       4-7
Sat     26       Old Saybrook                 9-12:30
Sun    27       Chester                         10-1
Thur   31       Clinton                          4-7

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

2nd Annual David Bordonero Car Show

Weather caused a delay in the 2nd Annual David Bordonero Car Show. It will now take place Friday, July 21 from  5 – 9 p.m. at Saint Mary Church in Portland. Admission is free and allows access to music, food, face painting, door prizes and all types of cars. Categories for the cars include Classic Cars, Classic Trucks, Muscle Cars, Modern Muscle cars, Modified Trucks and Street Rods. 

Special awards will be given for Best of Show, Oldest Vehicle, and People’s Choice. A special car from the private collection of Nascar Driver Joey Logano will also be showcased. Car registration will begin at 3:30 p.m. and the show will be open to the public from 5 – 9 p.m. Funds raised at the event will benefit charities selected by the Knights of Columbus Freestone Council 7, including The Connection.

Waves Restaurant East Hampton

Located in a historic building on East Main Street, Waves is offering a new menu and another opportunity to try a newish restaurant in East Hampton. The former O'Neill's Tavern and Governor's Tavern can still be felt in the vibes of this new incarnation but the food is quite different. 

This was our second visit to Waves. Our first was disappointing and I decided to give it time to settle in before trying it again. Getting a positive review from my niece Marsha, I thought that it was time for us to give them a second try. I am very glad that we did. 

We were the only ones in the restaurant on a Sunday at 2:30. We were told to chose whatever seat we wanted and menus would be brought to us. We went to our favorite booth and took a seat. I was delighted to see that the roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon were still being offered as an appetizer. You can get it in regular and large. The regular was huge and enough to share. So huge in fact that the red pepper hummus appetizer that I ordered had to be packed up and taken home. 

Al ordered the Landluber burger and it was a beauty with bacon, cheese, grilled onions and mushrooms and horseradish sauce. It was cooked perfectly rare, just the way Al likes it. The French fries were very ordinary. 

All in all, it was a very interesting visit, the food and service were excellent and our young server brought us a post card and told us that they have a promotion, if you collect 12 postcards in a year, you get a free meal. I loved the idea of it. 

I would give them a solid 4 out of 5. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Deep River Ancient Muster

TATTOO:  Friday July 14, 2017 starting at 7:00pm at Devitt’s Field
Host Corps: Deep River Junior Ancients

PARADE:  Saturday July 15, 2017 starting at 11:00am.  The parade starts at the corner of Main and Kirtland Streets and proceeds down Main Street to Devitt’s Field.
MUSTER:  Starts immediately following the parade at Devitt’s Field.

Roads close at 10:30am
Parking in several locations along Main Street, Deep River Congregational Church, The Stone House, Deep River Hardware, Deep River Public Library and Route 80

The DRAM is the oldest and largest gathering of fife and drum participants and enthusiasts in the world and has been referred to as “The Granddaddy of All Musters”, and “A Colonial Woodstock”. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

New England Balloon and Food Truck Festival

The 2017 New England Balloon Festival taking place @ the Goshen Fairgrounds, Goshen, CT Friday, July 7th 2-10 p.m, Saturday, July 8th 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday, July 9th 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

The Balloon Festival offers 5 separate balloon launches over 3 days, 2 Balloon Glows (Friday and Saturday Evening @ Sunset) & Tethered Rides throughout the weekend (Purchase of Tickets @ event only, first come, first serve). 

The event will also offer a free, retired, inflated balloon throughout the weekend for kids to jump in the basket! All balloon-related activities are weather dependent and no refunds will be issued.

Take advantage of the discounted full weekend passes currently available. 

The Food Truck Festival @ the Balloon Festival this year will be one of the best and most unique experiences of food you will experience at any event in New England. Tired of the same old Fair food? How about eating off The Food Truck voted Rookie of the year in the United States in 2016? We got them. Or Trucks from NYC, Boston, and all throughout New England!!!!! We chose only the best and most unique Trucks to invite for this year's event! We will even have a Kids Food Booth with all food for only three bucks, not breaking the bank and making it affordable for the family :) 40+ trucks invited for 2017.
There are lots of others things going on this weekend so come to Goshen and enjoy. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Biscotti and Beyond July Farmers Market Schedule

Simonne will be at the following locations on the dates and times listed. 

July 2017 

Sat        1       Old Saybrook               9-12:30
Fri         2       Chester                       10-1
Thurs     6       Clinton                        4-7
Fri         7       Cromwell                     4-7 
Sat       8        Parmelee Farm            10-1 
Sat       8       Old Saybrook               9-12:30
Sun      9       Chester                       10-1
Thur    13      Clinton                        4-7
Fri      14        Cromwell                      4-7 
Sat      15       Old Saybrook               9-12:30
Sun    16       Chester                      10-1
Thurs  20       Clinton                         4-7
Fri      21       Cromwell                      4-7 
Sat     22       Old Saybrook               9-12:30
Sun    23       Chester                         10-1
Thurs  27       Clinton                          4-7
Fri      28       Cromwell                       4-7
Sat     29       Old Saybrook                 9-12:30
Sun    30       Chester                         10-1

Monday, June 26, 2017

Music at the Mansion

Music at the Mansion

Wednesdays in July 2017''

Grounds open at 5:30 p.m., Concerts begin at 6:30 p.m.,  Free.

Each Wednesday in July, the Wadsworth Mansion will open at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking, and shows on the Mansion’s back lawn will begin at 6:30 p.m. The concerts are free and open to the public and guests are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs and picnics.

July 5th: Eight to the Bar
July 12th: Doo Wop Deville
July 19th: Locomotion
July 26th: Sugar

Thursday, June 22, 2017

East Hampton Gazebo Summer Concerts

Thursday, this summer, at 6:30 p.m. the gazebo in the East Hampton Village Center will be the site of the Goff House Gazebo Concert Series

June 29 Jake Kulak and the Lowdown
July 13 The Modern riffs
July 20 Plywood Cowboy
July 27 Old Dog New Tricks
Aug 3  Band to be announced.

Bring a picnic supper, blankets, and chairs. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Willimantic Brewing Company

The first thing that you will notice as you approach the Willimantic Brewing Company is what a beautiful building it is in. This 1909 former United States Post Office had been abandoned in 1967. It has found a wonderful new life as the third home of this popular restaurant and it is a perfect pairing. 

We stopped here last Saturday after seeing a show at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre in Storrs. We had planned to eat at Applebees but after waiting 10 minutes in an empty restaurant without even our drink order being taken we walked out and decided to head to Willimantic. We said thank you Applebee's as we walked out after our delicious meal, we had a better meal and fabulous service. 

We opted to eat in the bar, luckily it was early and we could still get a table, you can also eat outside or in the dining room. The quality of the food and service is no secret and the place fills up fast, plan accordingly. 

The menu is eclectic and there certainly is something for everyone. Kasey is taking part in a Paleo challenge and so had restrictions, Al loves his beef and I wanted grilled shrimp, all of us found exactly what we wanted. 

I created my own plate, I had grilled shrimp, a baked potato, and sauteed vegetables. Al had the beef kabob which was served with veggies and mashed potatoes and Kasey had a build your own chicken sandwich which she had without the bread, she picked avocado, wonderful balsamic beer glazed onions, and in place of the fries, she had broccoli. 

Our waiter was very attentive even though he was busy and the food was delivered perfectly cooked in less time that I could have imagined. Al's beef was cooked perfectly rare and he loved the flavor. My baked potato was also perfectly cooked. The shrimp were delicious. 
I always enjoy finding a new restaurant that I love and the Willimantic Brewing Company certainly fits the bill and I can see us coming here again and again. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Town Wide Tag Sale East Hampton June 17

Get the family together and head to East Hampton on Saturday June 17th for the town wide tag sale. Sponsored by the Chatham Historical Society it is a great way to support their work and also find some great deals. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Strawberry Festival 3rd Congregational Church Middletown

The Third Congregational Church on Miner Street in Middletown will be having their annual Strawberry Festival on Thursday, June 15, 2017, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you have never gone to this festival you are missing the best strawberry shortcake in the world.

I try to never miss getting here to enjoy this special treat. It is the best strawberry shortcake ever!!!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Lyman's Orchard Strawberry Fest

The annual Strawberry Fest on June 17, 2017 kicks off the summer event season, celebrating family fun, Lyman's fresh grown strawberries, and sweet strawberry treats from the Apple Barrel. 

Fun activities include Breakfast on the Deck, Strawberry picking in the orchard, live music, complimentary food tastings and demos, pie eating contests, pony rides, and interactive activities for children throughout the day. Plus, Bruno Bros. will be making their delicious Kettle Corn throughout the event!

Come out and enjoy the enjoy Middlefield's own “dynamic sister duo" and rising country artists Presley and Taylor. Described as “the real deal” and “absolutely brilliant” by radio execs, Presley & Taylor embrace the sound of stone cold country music and traditions, while adding a whimsical charm with their absolute vocals and impeccable harmonies, and song content created with meaning and substance. Presley & Taylor have shared the stage with award-winning entertainers and hit-makers such as Martina McBride, Ashton Shepard, Bucky Covington, Janie Fricke, Sarah Darling, Jamie O’Neal, The Willis Clan Buddy Jewell and Restless Heart. 
CT Historian and Durham resident Diana McCain will be on hand to sign her new fictional novel, Thy Children's Children, which brilliantly traces five generations of the Lyman family throughout the turbulent decades that saw a handful of American colonies transformed into a young nation on the cusp of the industrial revolution.
Macaroni Kid will be here with one of the most classic crafts. Your kids can make cool and colorful necklaces out of different types of macaroni!
And don't miss out on the Pie Eating Contests! Dive face-first into a delicious Lyman Orchards pie to win great prizes!
Check out the Lyman's Orchard website for the full schedule. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cheshire Strawberry Festival and Craft Fair

2017 is the 80th year for this traditional New England festival featuring farm-fresh strawberry shortcake along with grilled foods, handmade crafts, amusements and entertainment that are fun for the entire family.
The event is held on the historic Church Green in the center of downtown Cheshire June 10, 2017,  from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
More than 30 juried crafters and artisans providing wonderfully hand-crafted items of all shapes and sizes. A unique opportunity for you to obtain one-of-a-kind articles for yourself or as gifts.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Connecticut Repertory Nutmeg Summer Series

Why not take advantage of some great theater right here in Connecticut? The three show Nutmeg Summer Series kicked off with "1776" which began on June 1 and runs through June 10. I just saw it this past Saturday and it was outstanding. Terrance Mann is this summer's artistic director and he has done a splendid job of making this period of history both fascinating and at times amusing. 

The Second show is "Noises Off" which runs June 15-25 and the final show is "Newsies"  July 6-16. 

Ticket prices are very reasonable and the quality of the productions rivals anything I have seen in London or New York. You won't be disappointed. Check out their website for times and dates and seats still available. 

I have been a season ticket holder for three seasons and I have never been disappointed. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Connecticut Art Passport

For lovers of art, the Connecticut Art Pass is a passport to 19 fabulous museums across the state all for one price. For about 1/3 of the cost of normal admission, you can see some of the most outstanding art that Connecticut has to offer.

The cost for the pass is $25 and can be purchased online. It is a $90 value. 

You print out the pass and present it at the included museums.

Museums included in the pass are:


Bruce Museum — Greenwich, CT
The Housatonic Museum of Art — Bridgeport, CT


Yale Center for British Art — New Haven, CT
Yale University Art Gallery — New Haven, CT


Mattatuck Museum — Waterbury, CT


Florence Griswold Museum — Old Lyme, CT
Lyman Allyn Art Museum — New London, CT


Hill-Stead Museum — Farmington, CT