Category Archives: Connecticut

Drunken Strawberries: Easy Liquor Infusion

Connecticut beautiesAs a New England resident, I almost start mourning the local strawberry season the minute it begins. The berries are so good, and the season is so brief. I freeze them for the rest of the year, but it’s just not the same.

Last year, we made ice cream. I think we still have a scoop or two left from that same batch. (Ice cream isn’t a binge food in our house, go figure.) This year, my strawberry preservation project is 21+.

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Watermelon Rose Sangria

935608_10151604416339704_1697042390_nPretty sure I almost forgot my blog password. But you’ll forgive me when you see this recipe.

A few years ago, I was dining at Firebox with one of my sisters-in-food, Amy. She’d made the trip for the summer Taste of Hartford menu, which was some beautiful presentation of seared local fluke and at-their-peak heirloom tomatoes and general fresh goodness. But what stuck with me most from that meal, enjoyed on the patio in glorious July heat, was the night’s sangria specials.

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Frog Hollow Social Club at Firebox, Hartford

fhscmenuDelinquent much? I’m alive and well, just buried in work. I’m coming up on one year of working in dual media markets, which has its share of challenges, but plenty of rewards. Even when the days stretch to the 15 or 16-hour mark.

Monday was one of those. I put in a fullĀ  9 hours in Springfield, stopped home to change quickly and immediately headed to Hartford for the Frog Hollow Social Club gathering at Firebox, which I’d agreed to cover (and shoot) for the Courant. A collaboration between Firebox’s chefs and managers, the unique tasting event – held on a night where the restaurant is normally closed – was worth the extended workday.

Full photo gallery here: Hartford Courant

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Krust Wood-Fired Pizza & Bourbon Bar, Middletown

It’s hard to do pizza in Connecticut, particularly if you’re new to the scene. There’s such a rich history of pizzerias in the Nutmeg State, a series of intense, nationally (internationally?)-known rivalries that eventually became the stuff of Food Network and Travel Channel programs.

So, by doing pizza with bourbon, Kevin Wirtes and Rich Garcia of Krust set themselves apart from the pack. See full article and photo gallery here.


I had a fantastic time getting to know these first-time restaurateurs, who opened their cozy Middletown pizzeria in mid-January to rave reviews. Pizzaiolo Garcia is firing pies in 800-degree wood-fueled heat, and bourbon expert Wirtes answers with more than 150 bottles of brown liquor and a list of cocktails, both classic and inventive. It’s an exciting spot. If you can grab a seat by the bar, it’s even more of an experience, as Wirtes is likely the one to make your drink (and counsel you on selections, should you need assistance or advice.)

The owners met several years ago at The Hartford, and bonded over their shared dream to someday open a restaurant. While many simply daydream in their cubicles, they buckled down and wrote a business plan – and saw it through.

Krust is part of the revitalization of Middletown’s North End, branded as “NoRA” (North of Rapallo Avenue.) They join established businesses Eli Cannon’s Tap Room and O’Rourke’s Diner, along with the booming NoRA Cupcake Company co-owned by longtime Eli’s manager Carrie Carella. Big things are happening in the Forest City. Get down and see for yourself.

Krust is at 686 Main Street in Middletown. It’s open Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sunday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Closed Mondays. Information: 860-358-9816 and

Taste of Hartford Roundup; Korean Food In Chicopee

fireboxsalmonIt’s a question I get rather regularly. “You must eat out all the time, huh?”

You’d be surprised. For one, I pay for all of my meals, so I’d be broke as a joke if I dined out every night. And we do a whole lot of cooking in our household, which is why the kitchen is always a splattered disaster and the fridge is always full of leftovers. But every so often I’ll find myself on a prolonged, multi-day stretch of restaurant visits.

And lucky for you, I’ve got a brand-new iPhone 5. Here’s a waterfall of photos to make you hungry.

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