Tag Archives: Foxwoods

What’s “The Best” According To CT Mag

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Courtesy of Connecticut Magazine

It’s that time of year again, and we’re not talking “unofficial end of summer” or “back to school and the regular work grind” time. But rather Connecticut Magazine’s 17th annual “Best Of” issue, the one where editors (with some reader input) rate the best places to eat, play and shop.

If you are in the Hartford area or don’t mind a bit of drive, lucky you! You have lots of “best of” choices to savor.

Let’s start by shopping!

Hartford’s own Stackpole Moore Tryon Tuesdaysstackpole was named best when it came to “Women’s Wear” while Lux Bond & Green, with several locations in the area, was judged “Best Fine Jewelry.”

West Hartford’s Kimberly Boutique was voted “Best Casual Jewelry.”

In the “Fun and Leisure” category, Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in Portland was judged  “Best Action Park” and Crocodile Cove at Lake Compounce in Bristol  “Best Water Park.”

“Best Beer Garden” went to East Side Restaurant in New Britain, with On20 in Hartford named the “Best Draft Cocktail” award. And speaking of drinks, City Steam in Hartford was deemed “Best Happy Hour”  while Vinted in West Hartford was named  “Best Wine Bar.”

Middletown’s Oddfellows Playhouse garnered the “Best Children’s Theater” award with “The Kate” in Old Saybook named best small concert venue. Toyota Oakdale Theater in Wallingford was named “Best Large Concert Venue.”

woodntapIn the “Food and Drink” category, Plan B with locations in West Hartford and beyond was named “Best Burger” and “Sweet Maria’s ” in Waterbury “Best Cake.” Rein’s in Vernon was named “Best Deli” and Dottie’s Diner in Waterbury and Woodbury “Best Doughnuts.” (watch for A La Carte online and in the Courant to read about those award-winning doughnuts and beyond!)

Doogies in Newington was named “Best Hot Dog” and in the “Best Ice Cream” category it was Arethusa Dairyarethusa11 Farm in Litchfield.

Wood ‘n Tap, with several locations including Hartford, was tapped  as having the “Best Nachos”  and Sixpence Pie company with locations in Southington and New Haven named, what else but “Best Pie.”  Bartaco, with several locations including one in West Hartford, grabbed the “Best Tacos” award and as far as “Best Wings,”  it was “J. Timothy’s in Plainville.

The “Best Consignment Furniture” went to Middlebury Consignment with RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison named as “Best Independent Bookstore.”

Over the Moon in Avon won “Best Kids Boutique” and when it came to “Best Toys,” the award went to Kiddly Winks in Canton.

shrineMohegan Sun and Foxwoods split awards in the “Casinos ” category with Foxwoods being named “Best Fine Dining” for its Paragon Restaurant.” Foxwoods Grand Theater was named  “Best Large Entertainment Venue” and its Shrine named  “Best Nightclub”

Mohegan Sun took the “Best Small Entertainment Venue” with its Cabaret Theater and “Best Shopping”  at its The Shops at Mohegan Sun.

For the complete list go here.



“Dice” Coming To Foxwoods

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andrew-dice-clay-main2He’s changed his spots, it seems, that Andrew Dice Clay.

Best known as the very “R” rated and famed stand-up comic, he has received a different kind of  acclaim for his role in the award-winning  Woody Allen drama, “Blue Jasmine.”

He is coming to Foxwoods Friday and  shared both the real and the perceived sides of himself in a generally “PG” dialogue  as he “Spilled the Beans” with Java here.

CT Restaurants Make Wine Spectator Annual Award List

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griswoldConnecticut has been honored as part of  Wine Spectator’sesca newly released 2014 Restaurant Awards list, with several well-known area restaurants making the grade when it comes to their wine selections.

Among the CT restaurants included on the magazine’s list are Capital Grille, Viva Seasonal Trattoria , Max Downtown and the Restaurant On20, all in Hartford; Cava in Southington, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Newington, 2 Hopewell in South Glastonbury, Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in West Hartford, Kensington’s at The Spa at Norwich Inn, David Burke Prime Steakhouse at Foxwoods and Esca in Middletown.

Wine Spectator began its program to recognize and honor the world’s best wine lists in 1981. The 3,748 award winners for 2014 represent  50 U.S. states and over 80 other countries and territories.


The complete list of award winners is featured in the Aug 31 issue of the magazine, available on newsstands July 22.


Beach Read Time With Evanovich At Foxwoods

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Top Secret Twenty-OneIt’s that time of  year again, time to enjoy  a good book while you soak in summer sun.

Janet Evanovich has just released #21 in the Stephanie Plum series, Top Secret Twenty One, and it is another thrilling sassy summer read.

Evanovich will be at a special program and book signing at Foxwoods next week but before she comes down from her New Hampshire home she Spilled the Beans with Java here.

Terryville ‘Roo’ Needs Your Vote, Eat Cake With Miley

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terryville_ct[1]And in the “this and that” world of Java land…

Terryville High School, or rather its kangaroo mascot “Roo” needs your votes.

Apparently the high school’s unusual mascot is a finalist in a USA Today online competition featuring “America’s strangest, most interesting and just plain comical mascots.”

“Roo” has already been voted best mascot in the state, beating out some other schools and mascots in the state including the Avon Old Farms Winged Beaver, the Berlin Redcoat and the Kingswood-Oxford Wyvern in West Hartford.

As the state winner, Terryville High’s marsupial is now pitted against the Morse High School Shipbuilder, from Bath, Maine, in the Northeast Region contest. Voting on the regional level ends at 2 p.m. April 17.

If Terryville’s “Roo” wins that contest, it moves on to the national voting round which begins April 18 and continues through April 25.

Last year’s winner was the Centralia, Illinois Orphan.

The athletic department of the winning mascot’s school will receive $2,000.

To vote for the Terryville High School mascot, go to contest.usatodayhss.com.

This is for Miley Cyrus fans.

The controversial singer/performer is coming to Foxwoods Grand Theater on April 25 with her provocative Bangerz Tour and to welcome her and her followers, there are some special deals.

There is the Miley Meet & Greet and Seat Upgrade Contest, which gives concert goers a chance to meet Miley or win a seat upgrade for two by submitting and posting a photo of the Grand Theater stage via Instagram or Twitter. There are also exclusive Miley Cyrus hotel packages like the $899 VIP hotel package including a deluxe room overnight stay at the Fox Tower and two premium seats or the $699 package that includes two standard seats and an overnight stay.

For those of you planning to dine at Foxwoods that night, there will be limited edition desserts at restaurants throughout the property including the “Wrecking Ball” – a hard chocolate ball with a chocolate Miley Cyrus silhouette sitting on top of the ball and of course, two Miley Cyrus inspired cocktails, the Bangerz Martini and The Miley Shooter. Go to foxwoods.com for information

Comedian Engvall Dances His Way To Foxwoods Saturday

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BillEngvall.10-25-12You may remember comedian Bill Engvall as part of the successful “Blue Collar Comedy” concert films, or on “The Jeff Foxworthy show” or as a finalist in last season’s “Dancing With The Stars.” But you will surely remember him. The well-known comic and American Comedy Award winner is coming to MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods on Saturday and he is bringing a lot of laughs with him. Engvall also starred in his own self-titled sitcom on TBS for three seasons and recorded an album, “Here’s Your Sign” which went platinum on Billboard’s Comedy Chart for 15 weeks. Anything but a redneck bumpkin with a shtick, Engvall was smart, motivated, funny and sincere recently when he Spilled the Beans with Java.

Q: The obvious question at this time of the year and given your past performance, are you watching this season’s “Dancing With the Stars” and who are you rooting for?

A: I was actually at the show last night because I wanted to see my little Emma (Slater.) I think she got the shaft dancing with Billy Dee. He shouldn’t have been out there. I give him credit though for going on the show. Honestly, when they called me I thought you danced for an hour or two and you did a show. When I finished up and got eliminated, I figured it all up and realized I spent 13 weeks, 6 hours day, without a day off, practicing. I started the competition with a 35 inch waist and left with a 32 inch waist. I haven’t been that small since college. I’m rooting for Drew Carey because he is a comedian. I don’t think he is getting the scores he deserves. I didn’t. They never give the comedians high scores. They don’t know what to do with us. It is really not a dance competition.

Q: What do you mean it’s not a dance competition?

A: The original concept of the show was that it was supposed to feature people who did not know how to dance and see how the progressed and got better. But it was supposed to be people who never danced. Now you have Olympic gold skaters who dance, and entertainers who have danced. In my mind, it should have been me and Leah (Remini) as the finalists my season. We were both non-dancers who learned how to dance. You look at Val (Chmerkovskiy) and Meryl (Davis) this season. When you have judges saying they are in a class above everyone else, you know it’s not an even playing field. But they won’t win. I didn’t get as far as I did in the competition because of my dancing ability. It was because I was America’s regular guy and had fun doing it but took it seriously.

Q: Do you still dance?

A: I still dance. If the show called me today and said ‘We need you tomorrow,’ I would be there. It was so much fun. I thought dancing was for sissies. But it was harder than most of the things guys do and I would raise my hand in a man meeting and say that. It was the best work I had ever done in my life. I told my son, ‘you need to get in a dance class now. Straight male dancers get women you and I are not allowed to see.’

Q: Seems like your comedy gig has turned out well, and it seems good comics are the ones getting the late night show jobs now. With David Letterman’s announcement about a 2015 retirement, would you have any interest in a nighttime show?

A: I think it would be fun but no one has approached me. It is weird in this business. It’s like they get a weird idea. “Blue Collar Comedy” is what got me out there but it is also a curse because it has branded me. That’s all people see me as, part of “Blue Collar Comedy.”That is one of the other reasons I did “Dancing.” I was not turning my back on “Blue Collar” but wanted to show fans I could do something else. I think there is a tendency in this country to label everything. We get billed as country comics. But if Letterman comes calling, I am there in a heartbeat.

Q: As a comic, who do you most identify with?

A: I think I am a lot like Bill Cosby. I love him. I think he is the reason I try to do my show the way I do. I do it with a sense of you are not really going to just see a comedian, but rather a funny story teller. And that’s Bill. If you just sit there and relax and listen, you will laugh. The show is about stuff we have all done and basically about life. I am not the guy wearing overalls and chewing a piece of grass. I am a husband and father and there’s funny in all of that. When people leave my show want them to think my life is not that bad. Nowadays life is such a downer, I just want to provide some light.

Q: I know you are good friends with another comic, Jeff Foxworthy, and he is now on “Shark Tank,” the business investment reality show. Would you ever do something like that?

A: I shouldn’t say I wouldn’t do a reality show but I wouldn’t do that one. I’m not giving anyone my money; I work too hard for it.

Q: So what reality show would you do?

A: Maybe something like “Duck Dynasty.’ I mean, I think we have become so jaded and so voyeuristic, reality show is the way things are going to go. And reality shows are cheap to produce and you can make a lot of money on the back end of them. “Duck Dynasty’ is not a reality show but a sitcom, I think, and it’s really not that interesting, it’s just shot to make it look interesting.

Q: Something no one knows about you?

A: Probably that I am a gourmet cook and trained myself. My favorite meal to prepare would be grilled venison with asparagus with an olive oil drizzle and Parmesan cheese, a Caesar salad and a good Cabernet.


Tickets for Engvall’s show range from $35 to $60. The show is for mature audiences only. Tickets are available at the Foxwoods Box Office at 1-800-200-2882 or at comixatfoxwoods.com


March Bringing Some Great Weekend Choices Hartford!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]With a (finally) warmer weekend  forecast in the offing, take advantage of some “get out” days this weekend by doing just that.

You can start recovering from a winter of cabin fever be heading over to Avon Old Farms Hotel Thursday for “A Toast to Women, An Evening of Wine & Chocolate Delights.”

The event, celebrating March 8 as “National Women’s Day,” is presented by  Soroptimist International of Farmington Valley and features chocolate creations by several well-known  area restaurants including Apricots, Cavey’s, Grist Mill and Max Downtown.

ginabFeatured guest is author and humorist Gina Barreca, with emcee Debbie Allen Wright. Proceeds will benefit Grace Academy in Hartford, Prudence Crandall Center in New Britain and SIFV sponsored awards that empower women and girls to live their dreams. Information: 860-930-9298.

And speaking of National Women’s Day, Charter Oak Cultural Center will be the venue for the Women Composers Festival  beginning Thursday and continuing through Sunday. Among the performers are Andrew Clearfield and Agosto and the Sylvctforanus Ensemble. Information: womencomposersfestivalhartford.com

On Friday, The Connecticut Forum will present “An Honest Look At Mental Illness,” at a series program at the Bushnell. Moderated by NPR’s John Dankosky, panelist swill include author and psychologist Andrew Solomon, Institute of Living chief of psychiatry Dr. Hank Schwartz and author/bipolar expert Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. Information: ctforum.org


Speaking of art inspired events, you can also head down to Foxwoods on Friday from 8 to 10 p.m. where the resort casino is hosting its “Drunken Palette” at the casino’s new lounge, The Box. A local artist will be on hand to help guests create a one-of-a-kind work of art while enjoying a complimentary glass of wine. The specbjoelial art night continues Fridays through March.  Information: foxwoods.com

And on Saturday, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra will be saluting singer/composer Billy Joel at its POPS concert Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Bushnell. Hartt School director of bands Glen Adsit will conduct the program featuring Michael Cavanaugh and music from other rock ‘n’ roll icons including Elvis Presley, Elton John and Jerry Lee Lewis. Information: hartfordsymphony.org

And finally, we all know it’s tax time. And Hartford is offering some help not only with that but finances in general.

On March 8 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. the City of Hartford, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut and The Village for Families & Children will host Dollars and Sense Day at Hartford Public Library Downtown, 500 Main St. The event is free, open to the public and part of the 2014 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Campaign and MyFreeTaxes. Both services help lower-to-moderate wage earning families work toward financial security.

Bank of America volunteers will provide financial budget coaching, and other volunteers will assist families with benefits screening. Families and children may enjoy guest read-a-loud sessions, complimentary refreshments, several prize drawings, kids’ activities and more.

People will also be able to access the CT Works One-Stop Career Center @HPL, for assistance with employment services such as job searching, resume writing and workshops.

Information: unitedwayinc.org/freetaxrefunds.



Whitney Cummings Coming To Foxwoods Saturday

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Whitney Cummings approved pic 5-22-13 hi resLos Angeles-based comedian, actor, writer and producer, Whitney Cummings is a busy lady. She co-created and co-wrote the CBS comedy, “2 Broke Girls,” with Michael Patrick King, and also wrote, produced and starred in her autobiographical sitcom on NBC, “Whitney.” And on Saturday she will be the headliner at Foxwoods Comix Comedy Club & Bar. Cummings, named one of Variety’s “Top 10 Comics to Watch,” and one of Entertainment Weekly’s “Comedy Stars of Tomorrow”  has also starred in movies and appeared on several tv shows including  E!’s “Chelsea Lately. She has a yen to get back to her stand-up comedy roots and so is coming to entertain in Connecticut, but not before she Spilled the Beans with Java.  

Q: What’s happening at Foxwoods?

A: I don’t think I have been to Foxwoods for two years. I know casino tricks can be tricky but I had so much fun the last time I was here, decided to come back. I have a whole hour of new material and since I haven’t been touring for two years, I have a lot of backed up anger and frustration to work out in my routine.

Q: Like what?

A: I got out of a relationship with a man I was living with and now I am in a new relationship with someone new who has kids and that’s challenging. And very conducive to writing stand-up . And I’ve been through a lot of therapy. The last time I toured I was scared of commitment and had a lot of fear. I was terrified of being in a relationship.  And while I was doing my tv show, people were calling me crazy and that angered me. I have been doing a lot of research on that. Why are we called bitches when we are assertive and guys are called strong.

Q: I know “Whitney” has been cancelled but “2 Girls” will have a new season. How are you finding time for everything?

A: It used to be by not sleeping but now, I think it is important that I have balance in my life. That has become important. In order to write about my life I have to have one so I am taking on less. My focus now is the tour, my boyfriend and trying to have that life.

Q: I know you come from a pretty nice family. Were you ever a broke girl?

A: Oh yes! I still am. No matter how much money I make it goes into supporting my family it just seems to drain out of my account. That is one of the reason Patrick and I bonded. We had all these stories about being broke. I really did buy beef jerky to eat. I used to do focus groups to pick up some money or sell my clothes. A lot of the show episodes are based on things that actually happened to me.  I think “2 Broke Girls” is honest and it resonates with people, especially in this economy. The girls have three outfits each and that’s all they wear on the show. I think it feels real and honest. They are modern women not obsessed with getting married and boys. If a man wrote the show, it would be different.

Q: Who are your favorite comics, dead or alive?

A: Richard Pryor, Chelsea Handler, Ellen DeGeneres, George Carlin, although he discouraged me because he was so good, David Attell, Bill Burr. I think Joan Rivers is still the greatest.

Q: Something no one knows about you?

A: If no one knows it, there is a reason. But I guess that I hate thongs. I wear regular, full butted underwear and I don’t care about panty lines. And I never go to gossip sites, none of them. They are addictive and I won’t get anything done. I have them blocked on my computer. I do go to Huffington Post though. There’s no gossip there.

Tickets are $35 to $60 for the 8 p.m. show. Go to foxwoods.com for information.

Summer Wine, Golf, Music This Weekend

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Kick back this weekend and enjoy the fruits of summer… golf, music, wine, food and the luxury of time to enjoy it all.

For some of that kind of action, head to the casinos.

Celebs including “Goose” Gossage, Marcus Allen, Cuba Gooding and David Justice are among more than 30 sports and entertainment stars who will be partying and golfing this weekend in the Ahmad Rashad Celebrity Golf Classic at Mohegan Sun. The weekend includes a pairing party Thursday, a 70s-themed charity concert on Friday and golf on Sunday.

Proceeds from the classic and the  REACH Foundation’s Charity Concert will benefit the Y Achievers and Y Teen Incentive Programs (Y-TIP) at the Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth & Family Center in Hartford.

The tournament also marks the grand reopening of the  Mohegan Sun Country Club at Pautipaug. For more information go to mohegansun.com

On Friday, Foxwoods Resort will host “Taste of the World,” a dine-around billed as a global world experience. Foods from countries including France, China, Brazil, and the United Kingdom will be featured. For ticket information go to foxwoods.com

Also tempt your taste buds Saturday and Sunday at the CT Wine Fest at the Goshen Fairground. The festival features wine tastings, local specialty food samplings and live entertainment. Tickets are $30 the day of the event. Designated drivers tickets are $10. The festival runs from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Information: ctwine.com

Got green? Get your Irish on at the 28th annual Irish Music Festival at the Irish American Home Society in Glastonbury. The event runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday and includes international Irish bands, food, a children’s area and the St. Patrick’s Pipe Band. The festival is open Friday from 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 2 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. Admission is $10, $9 for seniors and free for children 9 and younger. Information: 860-633-9691 or irishmusicfest.com

And what’s summer without ice cream. Today from 5 to 7 p.m. head over to the Mark Twain House & Museum where free ice cream from Shady Glen, UConn Dairy Bar and Royal Ice Cream will be yours for the scooping at its annual Ice Cream Social on the Twain grounds. There will also be discounted tours, a lantern-making workshop with Hartford artist Anne Cubberly,  and entertainment. Information: marktwainhouse.org

Let you weekend seep a bit into next week as well.

Look up in the sky Monday for a vintage thrill and a look at history.

The non-profit  Liberty Foundation is bringing its restored  Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, used in the movie  “Memphis Belle” and a newly restored  Curtis P-40E to Brainard Airport as part of its  “Salute to Veterans” national tour.

The vintage WWII aircraft will be flying over the city that day as a preview to a public program on Aug. 4 and 5 when the public can book a flight as well as  tour the planes. The tour is designed to provide a national  “hands on” history lesson and bring awareness to the efforts of veterans. Information: libertyfoundation.org

And finally, treat yourself with a night out of dining. Taste of Hartford continues through Aug. 5. Take advantage of the $20.12 fixed price special menus at dozens of city restaurants and enjoy.