Monthly Archives: January 2012

Hartford’s West End Dines Around The ‘Hood

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A Festive Dine (And Drive) Around The West End

The elegant 1912 colonial revival home of Molly Knorr and Mark Drusedum in Hartford was the starting point for the West End Civic Association’s eighth annual Dine Around the West End Saturday night.

More than 200 West End neighbors gathered at the Knorr/Drusedum manor for hors d’oeuvres and cocktails before breaking into 27 smaller groups for dinner. Guests then regrouped at the home of Martha Buttenheim and Pam Minish for dessert and coffee.

“It brings everyone together… and the post-holiday stress is off,” said Knorr about what she likes best about the Dine Around. “You get to meet so many new people when you go to the dinners.”

Guests at the annual progressive dinner, which sold out in 72 hours, included Mayor Pedro Segarra; Irene O’Connor, WFSB, Channel 3 newscaster and her husband, Matt Fleury, president and CEO of the Connecticut Science Center; Sean and Robyn Gallagher; and first-time dinner hosts Jackie Sipples of Cigna and Frank Ruffalo of Abigail’s Grille in Simsbury (their mouthwatering menu featured crab and corn chowder and baked stuffed shrimp with filet mignon).

“The weather Gods are with us this year,” said committee member Eleanor Blake, referring to this year’s “mild” January compared to last year. “People really look forward to this.”

Amy Ellis (


NBC CT Has New Consumer/Investigative Team

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Some more new news at NBC CT, a new, 10-member consumer and investigative team.

This from president and general manager David Doebler:

” The ten-person unit will serve as a viewer advocate concentrating on

everything from consumer complaints to government waste. The new team

will serve as the largest of its kind in the Connecticut market.

Sharon Butterworth, the station’s former Managing Editor, will lead the new

consumer and investigative team.

…Monica Buchanan, a “go-to” general assignment reporter with WVIT since

2007 has transitioned into the investigative role along with reporter Jeff

Stoecker who has been a solid and versatile member of the news team since


NBC Connecticut newcomers Christopher Coffey and Sabina Kuriakose join

the unit as well. Coffey, most recently with the Fox affiliate in Austin, Texas,

brings more than a decade of consumer and investigative experience and

Kuriakose comes to NBC Connecticut from YNN in upstate New York where

she reported throughout New York’s capital region.

Station veterans and Emmy award-winning photojournalists Darryl Vallez and

David Michnowicz will provide energetic images and perspective to the

investigations along with Dan Lee, the station’s world-traveled photojournalist

who has shot video for NBC in China and other locations around the world.

The team’s Associate Producer, Denny Alfonso recently joined NBC

Connecticut with previous experience with CNN en Espanol. The

Colombian-born journalist brings additional language skills and international


Another member of the unit will be announced soon.

“Our new consumer and investigative team, the largest of its kind in our

market, is a commitment to our viewers to serve as their advocate,” said

David Doebler, President and General Manager of NBC Connecticut. “We

will hold individuals, government officials and companies accountable and get

to the root of important issues that affect our viewers and our state.”

Impress Them At Super Bowl Party

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Most of us are dealing with it this week, what to serve or what to bring to a Super Bowl Party.

So you really want to make an impression while others are showing up with chips and dips, pots of chili or purchased wings?

Serious Eats suggests constructing this edible stadium with ingredients including cream cheese, Guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, refried black beans,Queso dip, Chex mix and pretzel rods.

Gives new meaning to to the words “over-achiever.”

For the complete recipe and building instructions, go to

Let The Grand Tasting (And Stripping) Begin

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The 9th annual Mohegan Sun Winefest was mobbed within a couple of hours today, and among the highlights, celebrity chef Robert Irvine’s main stage demonstration that included using a stripped down WFSB  Scot Haney to illustrate cuts of meat.

It was interesting to say the least but the crowd loved it. Of course, by then,  most of them  had sampled hundreds of wines, beers and spirits but were more than happy to get some tips from the celebrity chefs that Saturday alos included  Bobby Flay, the Forgione Family, Tood English and Mary Ann Esposito.

New to “restuaruant row,”  Alforno Restaurant, owned by Linda Giuca and family. Giuca writes a food column for the Courant.

A host of Hartford-area media were among the crowd that wined and dined for most of Saturday afternoon including Renee Dinino from Clear Channel, WFSB meteorologist Mark Dixon NBC Connecticut’s Darren Sweeney.

Tonight, the Celebrity Chef Dine Around.

For more pictures go to

Mohegan Sun WineFest Gets Good Start From Plan B & Co.

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It was those Hartford restaurant guys Al Gamble and Shawn Skehan who got the 9th annual Mohegan Sun WineFest off to a good start Friday night.

The two, of Plan B, Tisane and Half Door fame, orchestrated the opening night Bourbon Tasting that not included specialty drinks and pours of  Makers Mark, Jim Beam, Booker’s and Knob Creek  but also  a bourbon-inspired menu that ranged from tenderloin and turkey to seafood broil, sliders  and  greens and grits with shrimp.

“Bourbon is the All-American spirit,” said Gamble (who,by the way, says he doesn’t gamble), clearly happy with the sold-out crowd that raved about the food and drink.

And there were lots of raves.

“Perfect, absolutely perfect,” was how Jamie Hartnett of Windsor said as she sipped a Maker’s Mark and picked off an appetizer plate that included ham wrapped, bourbon-soaked pears. “We come every year because it is so nice,” she said. “It’s my treat to myself.”

The night was a reunion for Quinnipiac University alumni Eric Wismer, Cole Milausky, Joe Adams, Doug Mantius and Joe McDonald.

“It’s perfect, good scotch , great food, best buddies,” said Milausky.

Special guest at the opening evening was  Bernie Lubbers, Whiskey Professor for Beam Global Spirits and Wine and author of “Bourbon Whiskey Our Native Spirit”. Bernie was named Global Whiskey Ambassador of the Year, 2009 by Whisky Magazine at Whisky Live! in London.

“This is my special  family julep cup,” said Lubbers, showing off the  silver glass  he was using to sip bourbons as he mingled with the crowd.

The WineFest continues Saturday with the Grand Tasting and Celebrity Chef Dine Around.

For more pictures go to




What’s In Malloy’s DAVOS Swag Bag?

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As the powers that be from all over the world crunch numbers and philosophies and ideas at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, there is the other  bright side, the swag bag.

This is what Connecticut can expect Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and company to tote home according to Business Insider:

-a black laptop bag with the expected conference advertising on the side

-a map of the conference center

-a thumb drive

-members and constituents directories

-a program booklet

-a cashmere scarf

-an invitiation to a cocktail party being hosted by Brazil

-a pair of snow cleats 

and a free mailer to send some of the stuff home.

(Photo/Business Insider)


You and Radcliffe At The Movies in NYC?

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Want to be in the same theater as actor Daniel Radcliffe at a private screening of his new thriller, “The Woman In Black?”

Tell WTIC 96.5 FM your favorite ghost story.

Send a story to the station  by Friday at 5 p.m. (  and become eligible to be one of the lucky people to board a limo party bus Monday to New York City where winners will watch the movie with the star.

Oh, and there is one other catch. Winners must wear black to be admitted and do plan to walk the prestigious black carpet into the show.