New York International Auto Show opens Friday March 30th at the Javits Center in NYC

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A fun event for car lovers returns to New York City through Sunday  April 8th, 2018.  The New York International Auto Show returns to the Javits Center .   Hundreds of cars are on display from every major manufacturer.  There are production cars, concept cars as well as interactive exhibits.  There is something for everyone.

Representatives from the manufacturers are on hand to answer questions and to show off the amazing variety of cars on display.   There are many new models which the public will be seeing for the very first time including

  • Bugatti Chiron Sport North American reveal
  • New Toyota Corolla North American reveal
  • Rimac Electric supercar makes it debut!
  • Cadillac XT 4 World Reveal
  • Models revealed at the Geneva Auto Show will also be heading to New York
  • and much more!

There is an entire level  (lower level) of just SUVs, Trucks and Jeeps.  And don’t miss the North Wing where several manufactures have set up there impressive displays.  Fun for everyone and please bring your camera.

Tickets are $17 for adult and $7 for children under 12 years old.   For those of you traveling via Metro North to Grand Central, a new option for getting to the Javits Center makes travel a snap.  From Grand Central take the 7 Train which will now end on at the new Hudson Yards train station on the westside.  This is the first new NYC subway station in decades.  The station is a half block from the Javits Center.


New York International Auto Show

Javits Center

655 West 34th Street NY  NY]

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Bar Zepoli: Classic Italian-American served dishes in an hip upscale atmosphere


I was fortunate to visit Bar Zepoli  a restaurant in downtown Stamford Ct. which combines the comfort of Italian-American dishes but with a modern fine dining approach.  Each dish is hand crafted with the finest ingredients yet stays true to its Italian roots.

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Located in the Marriot Hotel on Broad Street at the corner of Summer Street in the heart of Stamford, Bar Zepoli has a warm yet decidedly upscale feel to its interior decor.   There are three separate spaces, the large two story main dining room and bar, the smaller cozy dining room,  and the upscale private dining room.  Walls are brick and floors are wood and the lighting is subdued.  There are design influences from a traditional Italian-American eatery mixed blended with a more modern urban design motif. You can enter from the street or through the hotel itself.

Our evening was a tasting  of many of the offerings available at Bar Zepoli.    We started with the traditional Nonna’s Meatballs, which was a house blend of beef and veal, and using an undisclosed family recipe, was served in a plum tomato sauce and topped with fresh ricotta and spears of Italian bread  A real comfort food and very hearty.  Eggplant Rollantini followed and was comprised of small rolls of very thin sliced eggplant cutlets that were filled with soft ricotta cheese and grana pardano which is  a hard cheese imported from the Po Valley of Italy.  Very soft and delicious.

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Nonna’s Meatballs

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Crab Cake

Crab Cake is another item on the small plates list and was a nice combo of fresh lump crab meat that was pan fried in butter and served with a Mediterranean remoulade of aioli, capers and clamata olives. I would have enjoyed this dish even more had it been fried in olive oil instead.  Still a very nice small plate to enjoy or share.

Risotto is always a favorite of ours and this dish was very satisfying.  The creamy Arborio risotto ( a rice from the Po Valley of Italy)  is cooked and served with a medley of seafood including shrimp, scallops, octopus, cod and calamari.  One of my favorite dishes of the evening. A classic Italian dish that was well executed.

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Seafood Risotto

The classic Chicken Scarpiello was also sampled as the free range bird was seared and roasted and served with a sauce of peppers, onions, sausage, white wine, and chicken broth and served over creamy polenta.   The blending of traditional Italian ingredients with the comfort of soft warm polenta made for a delicious dish.     Pastas also have a place on the menu and we sampled two including the Pasta al Forno (pasta baked in the oven) and was rigatoni, tossed with a bechamel sauce  ( a French sauce made from flour and milk) with salumi, grana padano cheese and olive oil.   A very nice dish combining both Italian and French culinary influences into a interesting  and tasty pasta offering.

Bar Zepoli offers a list of fine craft cocktails, and wines.   If you have room,  there is a nice selection of traditional Italian desserts on the menu.  Chef/owner Tony Greco has brought to Stamford a upscale and hip dining experience while paying homage to the classic Italian-American dishes we know and love.

Bar Zepoli

75 Broad Street  Stamford Ct.     tel. 203.353.3319

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Basso Cafe: a fine eatery blending the best of Mediterranean and Latin American cuisine


A menu that crafts fine Mediterranean dishes and then artfully blends them with the flavors of Latin America is what you will find at Basso Cafe and Wine Bar , a wonderful restaurant just south of New Canaan in Norwalk, Ct.  This eatery located in a renovated 100 year old house has a modern flair that is more akin to a restaurant in Manhattan then Connecticut.  The decor of urban modern with  its walls decorated with original art in the hyper realism style signals that the diner is in for an interesting evening.

We started our meal with a cocktail  and there is a nice selection including  the Apricot Martini made with flying point vodka, la quintine vermouth blanc, apricot balsamic vinegar.  A delicious concoction. We also sampled the Paloma a mix of blanco tequila, red grapefruit juice, fresh grapefruit reduction, and a lime wedge which is evidence of the Latin American influence in the menu.  Very refreshing.

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Apricot Martini, the stars are out at Basso


Appetizers/tapas were up next and there is a wide selection for the diner that can be shared or enjoyed alone.  Again the theme of Mediterranean and Latin American selections were evident and provided many interesting choices.   We enjoyed the  Gnocchi prepared with homemade potato  gnocchi with creamy shitake mushroom sauce drizzled with 36-month old white truffle oil ($12)  The Gnocchi was soft and smooth and melted in your mouth and the truffle oil was a perfect complement to this classic Italian dish.

Latin American influence came in the form of our next dish, the Arepas ($8) and we opted for the vegetarian style preparation  which was  authentic Venezuelan corn cakes filled with refried black beans and  cheese. The dish can also be made with chicken.   Another tasty dish was the Calamari a la Plancha ($12) sauteed calamari on the griddle, olive oil,  garlic & light crushed peppers.  Light and delicious and the calamari was lightly seared to enrich the flavors.

For the main course there are 16 dishes available along with evening specials.  Meat, and fish dishes are dominant with an eggplant dish as the vegetarian option.  It would be nice to see this expanded to include more options.  There are 5 salads to choose from if so decides.   We sampled the Eggplant Parmagiana prepared in the traditional style and was excellent. ($24).


Eggplant Parmigiana

The Sea Scallops($31) was a fantastic choice with lightly seared Maine  sea scallops over creamy polenta with crispy pancetta served with shaved asparagus and truffle vinaigrette.  The contrast between the light crisp of the seared fresh scallops and the soft warm polenta was delightful and a perfect comfort food on a cold winter evening.

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Sea Scallops and Polenta

Our other dish was the Halibut from the evening special menu which served over polenta and accented with a fine port wine sauce.  The freshness of the ingredients was evident with every bite. This might be an item the chef may want to incorporate into the menu.   I was very happy with my selection.

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Halibut with Polenta in a port wine sauce

If you have room for desserts, there are 8 selections from $9-$16 as well as after dinner drinks and dessert wines and coffee and tea.

Basso Cafe is a delightful restaurant and Chef/owner Renato Donzelli has crafted a fine menu of Mediterranean  dishes  with just enough Latin American influence to make the evening one of culinary adventure.  Add a hip  urban Mediterranean  atmosphere and you have a restaurant I know I will be dining at real soon.

Basso Cafe

124 New Canaan Ave (Rt 123)  Norwalk Ct

tel. 203.354.6566

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An Evening of One Acts: a fun evening of short plays at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

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The Ridgefield Theater Barn presents its An Evening of One Acts 2018 until March 31st.  This popular series at the Theater Barn produced by Paulette Layton is a fun filled two plus hours of eight original unpublished short  plays which are separated by 4 short 1 minute vignettes.   This is a unique format that allows writers, directors and actors of all experience showcase their talents on the Theater Barn stage in brief format “acts”, each being no longer than 15 minutes in length.

The first hour or Act One featured 4 short plays and two one minute vignettes.  Each play has different actors, writers and directors which give the evening a fresh feel.  Most of the plays were comedies which had the opening night audience laughing and applauding.   Subject matter of the plays ranges from a couple debating who is in charge of the Netflix account in “NetFits“, to the crowd pleasing “The Great Thing about Me” where office workers deal with a co-worker who constantly talks about himself and his ambition to be a stand up comedian.

Act two follows the same format with the strongest plays being “My Scale is Lying to Me”, a tale of a woman returning a scale to the store which instead of displaying her weight, gives her messages about her cheating husband which she cannot believe.   “Double Date” directed by Nick Kaye who also stars in the play (also seen on the Barn stage in Educating Rita) is a interesting and very funny story of the multiple personas within all of us, and how they emerge during dating.  This was a favorite of the audience and the story by Albi Gorn was very creative.    “Good Grief” was another highlight of the evening telling the tale of a woman who cannot get past the idea that the man she is dating is an undertaker.  Despite his occupation they find in a funny way that they have much in common.  The evening moves along quickly and is full of laughs.

The Ridgefield Theater Barn is a real local treasure of community theater and offers a platform for the many talented writers, actors, and directors we have in our area.  The Theater is a small intimate venue and you sit cabaret style and guests are encouraged to bring their own dinner and wine to enjoy prior to the show.  The Barn now has a bar with wine, craft beers and a special cocktail for the show.

Tickets are $35 for adults,and $28 for seniors, students and vets.

for tickets and more info>>>

Ridgefield Theater Barn

37 Halpin Lane Ridgefield Ct.     tel.  203.431.9850

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The 39 Steps: the hilarious spy comedy comes to the Music Theatre Of Connecticut in Norwalk

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The hilarious comedy, The 39 Steps is now in production at the Music Theatre Of Connecticut in Norwalk.   The play based on the 1935 spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock was rewritten in 2005 by Patrick Barlow into a comedy based with only 4 actors.  The play has enjoyed a run on Broadway from 2008 to 2010 and then it moved off Broadway.

The play is set in 1930s Britain and follows the fortunes of bachelor Richard Hannay (Gary Lindemann) who decides to go to the theater one night in London where he makes the acquaintance of a beautiful but mysterious woman, Annabella Schmidt (Laura Cable) who says she is being  followed by spies.  The boring life of Richard Hannay is turned upside down when the woman is murdered in his apartment and he is blamed for her death.  Before dying she gives him clues about spies, The 39 Steps , and an address in Scotland.

Hannay is off to Scotland to find the secret of The 39 Steps and to clear his name.  In the interim he is pursued by the police. The police, fellow passengers on the train, and even the spies who chase  him are the all played by two actors (Matt Densky ,and MTC Director and Co Founder Jim Schilling) who provide a dose of madcap comedy to the story has they are constantly changing characters and costumes throughout the performance.  Their ability to move in an out of character and accent was quite effective and very funny.  Laura Cable also takes on more roles after the passing of the mysterious Ms. Schmidt as she takes on the roll of Pamela and later, Margaret the unexpected love interest of Richard Hannay,

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In the tradition of Hitchcock films, the play is full of chase scenes as Richard Hannay escapes to Scotland on his journey to uncover the spy ring and clear his name of murder.  Unlike the suspense of a Hitchcock film, this play is full of crazy comedy which kept the audience laughing all evening.  The evening is just full of wonderful performances by the very talented cast.  The small theater is in the black box style with seating on three sides, which gives the audience a special and intimate experience.  The two hour performance moved along quickly as the audience is caught up in the energy of the production.

The play runs through March 18th, so do not miss this performance.  Tickets run from  $30-$55 with shows on Friday evenings, Saturdays at 4 and 8 Pm and Sunday at 2pm.  Reservations are suggested.

For tickets and more info:

Music Theatre of Connecticut 

MTC  Mainstage

 509 Westport Ave, Norwalk, CT, 06851 

tel. 203-454-3883

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