Orchard Road Park, Berlin, CT, A Dog Park, Review by Heather Veach

picture taken by Heather Veach

The dog park located on Orchard Road in Berlin, Connecticut is an excellent place to bring dogs.  This particular park was created as a result of a local physician leaving open space to the town of Berlin upon his passing.  Prior to the park being owned by the physician, it was used years ago as a ski area and a farm owned by the Sheer Family.  Most don’t know about this. It is nice to see it being used by the public again as a recreational area.  This dog park was created to not only walk a dog (leashed or unleashed), but also to hike the old trails throughout.  In addition to the trials, there is a small pond that many don’t even know about that the dogs can go for a dip in.  Since my dogs are labs, they found that pond without trouble on our very first visit.

Dog parks in general have many positive advantages for both the dogs and their owners.  For example, dogs are allowed to socialize in a very safe environment.  They can also exercise freely off their leash without their owners worrying about getting hit or encountering people who don’t care for dogs.  There are no cars, skateboards, or bikes to interfere with the dogs.  The area in which the Orchard Road is located is not very populated. There are some houses on the street, but they are not in a close vicinity to the area where the dogs roam free.

There is another dog park in Berlin, Connecticut called Bicentennial Park. That dog park is located at a dead end in a largely populated neighborhood.  Dogs had been roaming out of the park borders into the neighborhood, which upset some townspeople. The Bicentennial Park is now under warning and could possibly be forced to close. Because of the Orchard Road Park’s isolation, it has been able to stay open.

Orchard Road Park also allows the pet owners to socialize with other pet owners who usually have a lot in common and can relate to each other because of their similar likes and dislikes. The park also contains a beautiful garden that is open for the public to plant and grow plants. This garden is in a large fenced in area so that the dogs don’t get into any trouble. There is a good- sized parking lot to park a car while taking a dog for a walk. This is also something that Bicentennial Park does not offer. Bicentennial Park offers only street parking, which could be a hazard for a dog. It is very possible that the dogs could run out onto the street and get hit by a car if the owner is not careful. The Orchard Rd Park provides protection from the road.

The Orchard Road Park is also clean. It is obvious that people care about the environment and clean up after their dogs.  As long as the park remains clean, there shouldn’t be complaints and possibly shutting down the park. When people don’t follow the rules, things tend to get out of hand.

Although the pros far outweigh the cons, there are disadvantages to a dog park no matter how nice of a park it is.  For example, a friendly dog is inclined to run into an aggressive dog.  This of course could lead to a fight and the possibility of a dog getting hurt.  I have to say, this park is usually vacant leaving it completely free for us.  Another disadvantage of dog parks is the possibility of parasites attaching themselves to a dog. But a dog owner needs to realize that dogs can pick up tics anywhere. Just because you are at a dog park, it isn’t guaranteed a dog will come out with tics.  My dogs love to run through the tall grass and thick brush, so they tend to come home with tics. I realize this so when I get home, so I make sure they get checked carefully, and I remove any tics that we find.

Heather with her dogs

Regardless of the few negative things that might happen, we love our dog park and all we have to say to my dogs is, “go for a ride,” and they know exactly where we are going.  Those four little words put a smile on everyone’s face!

Enjoy the walk in the park!  Dog park that is.

 

Facebook’s New Face, Review by Angela Therriault

image: androidpit.com

Over the 5 years that I have had a Facebook account, it has changed its “face” numerous times. It went from a simple site of sharing things with friends to different news feeds and account and privacy settings to top stories and recent stories…. Where to begin?

The new changes to Facebook have created uproar in the media. People with both a Twitter and Facebook account are tweeting how much they hate the new changes to Facebook. But are things really that different? Instead of seeing what everyone has posted, your news feed is now filtered for you, weeding out the useless and less important junk that no one bothers or wants to see. However, with the new changes to the news feed, people have become aggravated that they cannot view their friend’s status because Facebook has shown them what they think is important to them. So instead of scrolling down your page, you need to search your friend if you want to view an unimportant status. But I believe the whole rage over the changes is bogus. Mark Zuckerburg, the creator and owner of Facebook, as well as its engineers are going to change Facebook for the better, and as they see fit. But are these changes becoming too complicated? Many think so.

Many agree that Facebook is indeed becoming too complicated. The engineers want to put all that they have created onto one site, but they are not great at putting it in a clarifying manner for the average Facebook user. But, I believe the engineers of Facebook continue to upgrade and change things to keep up with the new technologies and to outdo other websites such as Twitter and Tumblr. Facebook needs to be refreshed because of the ever-present danger that there will be too much information for Facebook to be found useful. With the new changes, Facebook now balances the relevant and irrelevant information for you so that it does not become obsolete.

Another point is the “charging” for a Facebook account. Although we do not pay for a Facebook, it has never been free. Many ads occupy Facebook everyday and that is what helps keep the costs of running the site down. Facebook is known as an ad-supported site, and unless account users want to be charged, it will remain that way.

For Facebook’s 800 million users, these changes could either help or hinder the way users read, process, develop, show and share information on the Internet. But no matter how bad or good the remarks are about the ever-changing Facebook, the engineers are going to continue to renew and do what they do best, keep Facebook alive.

Five Guys Restaurant Review by Jo-Maria Lopez

 

image: downtownphoenix.com

With its vibrant 80′s decor and friendly service, Five Guys is a sure hit if you’re craving a fast meal. Step into this restaurant and you’ll be greeted with the fun red-and-white checkered counters and friendly staff. Five Guys is a fast-food restaurant serving hamburgers, French fries, hot dogs, and sandwiches. With over 625 locations, it is definitely a popular stop for a quick meal, which is understandable considering all of its assets.

Five guys serves freshly made hamburgers, French fries, hot dogs, and sandwiches. The chain stands firmly in not serving frozen foods, which is comforting considering the amount of chemicals that are used to preserve frozen foods in normal restaurants. Although it is simply hot dogs and hamburgers, according to the Five Guys’ website, there are over 200,000 ways to eat a Five Guys’ burger. If that’s not variety, I don’t know what is! All of their vegetables are freshly cut, and you can even see the giant bags of potatoes stacked up behind the counters waiting to be turned into the popular Cajun French fries. As well as being fresh, the portion sizes for the meals are immense considering how much they cost.

The first time I ever went to Five Guys, I took one look at the prices and wanted to leave. Five dollars and thirty-seven cents for a burger seemed completely absurd considering just down the street I could have gotten a cheese burger for a dollar. But once I got my order, I realized just how worthy it was. The burgers are huge, and Five Guys loads the take-out bags with tons of delicious French fries. The meal is enough to fill you up for most of the day, which is why the moderate prices shouldn’t be bothersome.

image: blogs.villagevoice.com

One issue Five Guys does present is eco-friendliness. The food is wrapped in aluminum foil and placed into paper bags. If it were possible, it would be great for them to use eco-friendly materials because after all, they do sell a lot of meals daily. If the chain were eco-friendly, it would improve its image and encourage customers to take on that eco-friendly attitude as well.

When going out to eat, many people are concerned with counting calories. If you’re one of those people, this is definitely not the place for you. A regular burger from Five Guys is packed with 840 calories, and a large order of fries will fill you up with about 570 calories. If Five Guys were a little more conscious about the methods used to cook and just how many calories are in the foods, it would probably be able to draw members from health conscious audiences considering food is tasty and wholesome and the prices are moderate.

Another negative to aspect to the food at Five Guys would be the allergens aspect. The establishment does not have signs or any information on its website about whether or not the foods are gluten free. The restaurants also have a fun peanut station set up for customers to have a quick snack while waiting in line, which can sometimes get extensive considering how very few Five Guys restaurants there are in Connecticut. This peanut station poses a threat to anyone with peanut allergies because there is virtually no way of avoiding it. If Five Guys added an allergen list and made it available so people with allergies could see the ingredients, it would draw a much larger crowd or at least a more knowledgeable one.

The staff at Five Guys is some of the most friendly staff at a fast food restaurant I’ve ever come in contact with. They are more than willing to give you information on how their menu works and what the options are. They are patient and inviting, which is always a plus considering most fast food places are focused on getting you in and out as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, getting in and out of the restaurant in a timely fashion rarely happens. Although there are 14 Five Guys restaurants located in Connecticut, they are quite small in size. On the weekends or around dinnertime, they are the hot spot for meals. For that reason, if you’re going to get a burger at Five Guys, don’t go on a complete empty stomach or you’ll be munching on peanuts for about 15 minutes before getting your order. Fast food isn’t necessarily what you’re going to be getting.

Overall, Five Guys is a great bang for your buck. It’s got delicious food, a wide variety, moderate prices, and fun friendly service. Just be careful if you’re health conscious or don’t want to wait around. If so, this place may not be for you

Review of Subway by Krystina Mancini

With the economic downfall in the nation, many food chains have striven to keep pace in this harsh economy. Subway is a very well known sandwich industry in the United States and is one of the food chains surviving and prospering from the economy. But just how can a sandwich company prosper? Food, likability, cost, service/cleanliness, and variety are what have made the chain prosper and become one of the most well known companies, with 35,582 restaurants in 99 countries (Subway).

Going into Subway, your eye is attracted to colorful half-white, half-yellow signage. When you walk in, the enthusiastic team and cleanliness of the place are noticeable. The food is one of the main reasons why people go to a Subway. Subway is a fast food restaurant that allows you to select ingredients from the menu board and have the wait staff create your sandwich to your liking. There are many different types of sandwiches, such as veggie delight, B.L.T, meatball, buffalo chicken, and so many more!

There are also numerous varieties of breads, such as wheat, Italian, and honey oat, as well as different types of meats and toppings. Not only does Subway offer sandwiches, but now the chain also has pizza, salads, and soups. The variety of choices is welcoming in a fast-food chain. You can also choose chips, cookies, soda, juice, apple slices, parfaits, and other items to go with your sandwich. Subway also serves breakfast!

Cost plays an important factor when choosing a restaurant. Subway is definitely affordable. The chain runs a deal for a foot-long sub at $5.00, which is affordable in our current economy. The chain always runs special deals! For example, in the month of November, you can buy one six-inch sub and get one free if you buy before 9 am. These special deals are what attract customers to Subway.

Service and cleanliness are major factor when choosing where to eat. When people go to a fast food restaurant, they want to be able to have great service and find the place where clean. If a restaurant is dirty, it is likely that the food and service will not be good. As a fast food restaurant, Subway restaurants are clean. The food is always fresh, and the service is always great!

There is only one downfall to Subway; not everyone likes sandwiches! If you are not a sandwich person, Subways is not the best place, although you find pizza, salads, and soups as options. Subway also has competitors such as Nardelli’s and Italian sandwich places, and other little delis are in competition with Subway. The great deals that Subway offers, the service and cleanliness, the quality and variety of food, and the pricing all help to make Subway a number one choice!

Review of Harry’s Pizza Bishop’s Corner by Summer Distefano

Walking into Harry’s Bishop’s Corner Pizza, I could instantly tell that I was in for an authentic Italian treat. My family and I instantly decided we should try this slice of West Hartford dining. When we arrived, a friendly hostess, who promptly seated us, greeted us with a more than welcoming smile.

weblogs.ctnow.com

Within minutes after being seated our waitress arrived at our table with a cheery smile. She asked us if we had been to Harry’s to which we responded no. After hearing our response she was more than eager to tell us the history of the restaurant, which is an interesting story. The original Harry’s started out in West Hartford Center and was run by Harry, his wife, and an unrelated manager. When Harry and his wife split up, she and the manager got not only the restaurant, but also the name Harry’s Pizza. Harry did not let that stop him from opening up a spot across town called Harry’s Bishop’s Corner Pizza. To this day Harry and his ex wife are still competing to see who can make the best pizza in West Hartford.

After telling the story the waitress took our drink order, leaving us to look over the vast menu. I instantly set my eyes on the classic cheese pizza. I figured it would be an easy way to judge the pizza and it is of course my favorite kind. Everyone can make a cheese pizza, but not everyone can make it taste as good as it looks.

image: harrysbc.com

Our waitress came back to the table and told us about the variety of salad dressings and that the restaurant chefs make dressings from scratch and that the restaurant even sells it by the bottle! I was convinced I needed to try one of these salads and homemade dressings. I settled for their classic house salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, my favorite. She asked us if we had decided on the pizza we wanted, and we all shook our heads in agreement. We told her we wanted a large mozzarella pizza, to which she responded with rave reviews! She told us we had made a good decision, and we would not be disappointed.

The waitress proceeded to take our menus and walked away, leaving us to admire the atmosphere. I looked around at all the tables, which were almost all taken up by hungry patrons. Many families with young children were laughing, smiling, and enjoying their pizza. You could easily tell that this is a very friendly, family oriented, and welcoming place. The atmosphere is irresistible! There were also people lined up waiting for their take out order to be ready. I made a note to myself that my roommates and I should try take out one night!

image: slide-seriousseats.com

Within a few minutes, our waitress arrived with our salads. The dressing was on the side, a nice feature that most restaurants do not do. The salad was packed with flavor, and the fresh vegetables made it a refreshing treat. Within minutes of finishing the salad, our brick oven pizza arrived at the table. The aroma was unbelievable! The pizza was New York style: thin crust with a delightfully fresh tomato sauce. The pizza is easily comparable to Pepe’s Pizza, a Connecticut pizza icon. The only difference is that Pepe’s cooks its pizza a little differently, so the crust is blackened. Harry’s cooks its crust perfectly, so there is not a burnt taste.

Overall, Harry’s Bishop’s Corner pizza is a delightful treat that will not break your budget. We ended up only paying $14.25 for a large pizza, as opposed to $15.50 for a large Pepe’s pizza. In the summer and winter months, Harry’s Bishop’s Corner offers seasonal pizza options for around $22.50. In the summer, it offers a fresh spinach pizza with locally made Italian sausage. When it gets a bit chilly, stop into enjoy the crimini mushrooms and roasted asparagus pizza. The house salad was a fair $6.00, although some may consider that to be a pricey salad, with the amount of fresh vegetables, it is priced just right.

Harry’s Bishops Corner Pizza, although a very desirable place to eat, still has some drawbacks. Since the restaurant is very small inside, it is unable to accommodate large parties. Pizza parties are always a fun birthday party treat; extra seating for large parties is something that Harry’s pizza should work on adding. Another undesirable feature is Harry’s only serves pizza and salad. Many people who go out to eat for pizza like a side of pasta with their meal. Harry’s does not offer that, which may be a downside to those people looking to enjoy something other than pizza.

Overall Harry’s Bishop’s Corner Pizza offers a unique taste of West Hartford. With affordable prices, a friendly environment, and savory pizza, how can you go wrong? Whether you are going on a first date or taking your family out, Harry’s is a great option that should be greatly considered!

Review of No Name Tortilla Grill by Christina Arcidiacono

Going out and enjoying a pleasant meal that you don’t regret is becoming harder and harder to do with the increase in fast food joints and chain restaurants across the state.  Finding a restaurant that has fresh food is hard enough, given many chain restaurants rely on frozen prepared dishes.  When consumers go out for a meal, they want to eat something that is worth their money and doesn’t make them feel like a bucket of grease when walking out.  Therefore, the food has to be high quality without leaving a hole in their pocket!  The food at No Name Tortilla Grill hits one out of the park when it comes to more bang for your buck.

  No Name Tortilla Grill is a small, inviting tortilla restaurant located in Berlin, Connecticut.  The No Name restaurant attracts a vast and diverse range of customers.  With a cozy and friendly atmosphere, all customers feel as if they are at home. Similar tortilla restaurants, like Taco Bell, are geared more towards the late night quick meal and the ‘guys night out.’  It’s uplifting to finally find a restaurant that is welcoming to customers from all necks of the woods.  Whether you feel like having a hefty stuffed burrito, cheesy and stuffed quesadilla, or a mounding fiesta salad bowl, if you are in the mood for southwestern styled food, No Name Tortilla Grill is the place to go.

The wait staff at No Name Tortilla Grill prepare the food right in front of you as you tell them each and every ingredient you want in the order.  Customers are able to see the ingredients that are going into their meal.  Not only do the ingredients look fresh and tasty, but they also taste as if they were freshly picked from a garden.  Being able to see the food ordered getting prepared in front of you insures that you know what is going into your meal.  Restaurants like Taco Bell prepare food in the back kitchen, and when you get your, it doesn’t quite look as good as the picture on the menu board.  No Name Tortilla Grill gives each customer voluptuous and delicious looking food that tastes as if it was prepared by the tortilla master of all of mankind.  With every bite, outrageous flavors take over your taste buds and flavor blasts your palette.   However, there are multiple staff preparing your one dish, which some may perceive as unsanitary.  Nonetheless, there are sanitation laws required by all restaurants.  From the appearance of the staff and the restaurant itself, it seems that the laws are followed at No Name Tortilla Grill.  Each staff member wears gloves when preparing each order, and a health code certificate is posted.   One of the restaurant’s greatest attributes is the quality of food without leaving patrons bankrupt.  Not only is the food tasty, but the portion sizes are also out of this world.

Without spending a fortune, patrons get enough food to fill them and a meal that tastes authentic.  Even so, be careful when bringing kids.  There is not a specific children’s menu, and because the portion sizes are huge, order something that children could eat.  Ordering what appears to be a three-pound burrito for a child probably doesn’t sound like the brightest idea, and would be a waste of money.  However, if the giant burrito is what the child wants, the child has the leftovers to take home. On the other hand, the restaurant does offer orders of one or two tacos that are not so huge.  The tacos could be the perfect size for those with smaller appetites.  As well, children also get the advantage of picking and choosing what they want and don’t want in their orders, which is a plus for those fussy eaters. Yet, keep in mind every meal comes with a heaping side of freshly made, crispy, and not overly salty nacho chips.  A unique feature of No Name Tortilla Grill is that it offers a wide variety of vegetarian friendly meals.  Some of the vegetarian friendly options include vegetarian burritos and salads packed with fresh vegetables (No Name Tortilla Grill, 2011).  This particular attribute widens the range of customers that No Name Tortilla Grill attracts.

Even though places like Taco Bell sell their triple layer nachos for only $.89 (Taco Bell, 2011), the customer is not getting a lot of food, and the little food you do get is quality that dogs don’t even deserve.  When customers order the nachos with meat from No Name Tortilla Grill, they get to choose what you want on them, and the portion is enough for the entire Brady Bunch Family!  The nachos with meat are $7.99, but customers get more than what they pay for (No Name Tortilla Grill, 2011).  Is it worth the extra $7.10? If consumers want food that makes them feel good and is enough to satisfy, then No Name Tortilla Grill makes it worth the splurge.   With genuine and authentic decorations, the restaurant creates a cozy ‘at home’ feel.  Not only is the environment inviting, but the staff is also helpful and pleasing.  However, the restaurant is somewhat dark.  The dim lighting creates a dark and dreary vibe.  Yet, the food and décor arguably make up for this minor flaw.  Corona styled salt and pepper shakers, Choco Taco advertisements, and southwestern styled art stick to the theme well.  Everything seems to flow well, which creates a pleasant environment that allows customers to relax, kick their feet up, and enjoy their experience.  An authentically decorated chalkboard at the point of order also displays monthly specials. Some of the specials include different soups and different flavored chicken wings.  This feature gives the restaurant an exclusive feature that keeps customers interested and coming back.  However, if there’s a unique special that you take a liking too, the specials are limited time only and not permanent to the menu.  The bright side is that you get to experience new flavors each and every time the special changes, without spending a fortune.  It would almost seem foolish to go to a fast food joint for a southwestern meal instead of going to the No Name Tortilla Grill.  No Name Tortilla Grill provides food that’s at the top of the totem pole without the jaw dropping prices.  Not to mention, the quality of the food is unheard of by today’s standards.  No Name Tortilla Grill has scored the touchdown for providing consumers with more bang for their buck!  The ambiance at this restaurant is not only authentic and engaging, but it’s fun, enjoyable, and comfortable for customers from all walks of life.  If it’s impeccable southwestern cuisine you seek, No Name Tortilla Grill is one to tip your sombrero to!

Image from http://www.nonametortilla.com/

References

No Name Tortilla Grill. (2011, March). No Name Tortilla Grill menu. Retrieved from http://www.nonametortilla.com/Menu.html Taco Bell. (2011). Taco Bell: Think outside the bun. Retrieved from http://www.tacobell.com/menuitem/Triple-Layer-Nachos

Review of Zentangle Program at Saint Joseph College by Elizabeth Chan

Zentangle is an art form that is used as a type of art therapy, meditation, and stress management. Its aim is to relax persons making a Zentangle and have them focus on creating repetitive patterns so that intentional works of art are formed. Created by the artist Maria Thomas and the former monk Rick Roberts, Zentangle was formed when Thomas felt the same feeling one would feel in meditation in her art. The zen is from Roberts since he was a monk and the tangle is from Thomas because she is an artist, with both of them together as Zentangle. Generally used with square pieces of paper, pen, and pencil, Zentangle is a simple, delightful activity, and if nothing else, the Zentangle Program held at Saint Joseph College is worthwhile to just attend at least once.

I first heard of Zentangle during the First Year Welcome Weekend that spanned from Friday August 26, 2011 to Sunday August 28, 2011. Meredith Yuhas, who is the director of the Counseling and Wellness Center here at Saint Joseph College and also the host of the Zentangle Program, explained how to do Zentangle and the benefits of using.  My first impression of it then was that I liked Zentangle since it seemed a lot like doodling, being enjoyable to do because both were effortless and kept my mind away from things that would give me pressure and stress.

I learned later on that Zentangle and doodling were not the same as I attended the Zentangle Program on the weekends. The program starts at 10AM and ends at 12PM (You can leave any time you want since it is a voluntary, not a mandatory, activity.) Refreshments from Dunkin’ Donuts such as donuts, munchkins, and coffee are offered. Everything is for free and there is no need to bring any materials since all that is necessary is already provided. You have to RSVP to myuhas@sjc.edu or call 860-231-5366 beforehand so that enough supplies are brought, and you can bring anyone with you (such as your friends from another college or your family), so long as you inform in advance that there is more than one person coming.

The dates for the program are a bit strange though because program does not happen every weekend but on every other weekend: after the Welcome Weekend, the next time it was held was on Saturday October 1, 2011 and then on Saturday October 29, 2011, with the next upcoming one being November 12, 2011. The location was also weird because it was held in a classroom in McDonough for the Welcome Weekend, the Faculty Dining Room on Oct. 1, and then the Bruyette Reception Room on Oct. 29.

The number of people attending is usually between ten to fifteen and of a wide age range, spanning from teenagers to adults. The only downsides to the Zentangle Program besides the constant change of locations, the only way of knowing about it is through online on the SJC collegiate or random fliers at Bruyette and Lynch, and the fact that it happens only on Saturdays (when some people are either not on campus or are commuters) is that it is not for everybody because Zentangle requires for you to stay still and draw for a certain length of time while listening to soft, calming music. Some people are either bored or get twitchy after awhile and find that Zentangle to not be something they need and is a waste of time that could be spent finishing paperwork or chores.

But what is the difference between Zentangle and doodling? You do not need any artistic ability to do either, both are a joy to do, and they help you focus on the things that do not make you stress and worry. The difference though is that doodling is done out of boredom (most notably on the margins in one’s class notes) and mindlessness (most times, the doodles are not what one plans to do) while Zentangle is focused on creating pattern designs and mindfulness (you are purposely drawing something) so that you do not think of anything else.

The Zentangle Program is educational and interesting— teaching people to stay in tune with themselves, be in the present moment, and adopt a non-judgmental approach to oneself so that one learns a way to relax. You cannot fail in making a Zentangle because from the start, you do not know what the result will be. Your creation is not held back by your expectations because that is not the point of Zentangle. And although I know Zentangle is not for everybody, it is worth going to one of the Zentangle Program meetings just to see how it turns out because Zentangle is one way to just kick back and relax.

Starbucks Review by Olivia Quick

Five Stars for Starbucks 

Starbucks, a coffee house chain, has locations all over the United States as well as in many other countries. People either love or hate it. I happen to be one who loves it. Starbucks offers over 100 different drinks or drink combinations, unlike many other coffee shops with basic decaf and caffeinated coffees with few flavors and a couple other drink options. As Dunkin Donuts, the workers and consumers appear rushed and not overly concerned about how customers like your coffee. Starbucks’ employees ask if your drink is okay and if it is not, they will happily make you a new drink to satisfy your taste buds! It is also a very comfortable place to go and get your work done. Get your drink and relax at Starbucks!

The drinks can get pricey, for example, $3.50 for a tall (small) caramel macchiato. For many people that is expensive, but if you consider all the ingredients put in the drink and how the employees will specialize it and gladly remake it for you if it does not taste right, it is a fair price. I will go a Starbucks any time to buy a drink at any time of the year. In the summer an iced passion fruit iced tea lemonade will make me very happy, or an iced caramel macchiato works if I need some espresso to keep me up. The wintertime brings joy to many customers as Starbucks has many wintery drinks from pumpkin spice lattes to gingerbread and candy cane drinks! There is always a drink for anyone and any occasion.

Food wise, most coffee shops have bagels and donuts, the basics, and the drinks are very fattening. Starbucks has many different types of foods and has updated its menu with healthier options. The company has taken away the high fructose corn syrup and now makes all of the goodies with wheat flour and less sugar. If you are looking for something to help you lessen your calorie intake, the number of calories and ingredients are listed on the menu, unlike at Dunkin Donuts, which does not show how many calories are in the food or drinks. Starbucks also has many different varieties of foods, and for the healthier folks, apples with cheese and crackers or vegetable wraps as well as Naked drinks that are organic and a good source of fruit and vegetables are offered.

Starbucks is a place where many people go when they are not in a rush, and they can sit and relax in comfortable seating and do their work. The atmosphere is warming and calm with comfortable seating and fireplaces at some locations. Many people will go there, grab a drink, relax and connect to the free Wi-Fi to complete their workload. Many classes or companies will have meetings there and get Starbucks catered to them for a decent price. There is always plenty of room for people to sit at most of the Starbucks; very few have limited seating. There is also seating outside for those nice summer days!

Starbucks is very involved with the world around us, supporting and encouraging recycling and being environmentally friendly. All of their cups, napkins, etcetera, are biodegradable and are used from recycled materials. Starbucks always has tip jars, and part of the tips is donated to shelters or to help with other causes. Right now, the chain is selling bracelets to help those who are jobless in the United States as well as giving away pamphlets that go into detail about jobless in America and ways that we reduce those statistics. Starbucks is always involved in the community.

In the past Hurricane Irene that hit Connecticut, especially near the shoreline, the Starbucks of Old Saybrook was one of the only locations on a generator and allowed people to come in and do their work using the Wi-Fi and giving discounts on food and drinks! The store stayed open till all hours of the night and was closed only a couple hours till it opened again at the break of dawn. Working overtime and being on top of everything is what Starbucks employees do best!

Many people complain that the prices are high, but with everything included, the high quality customer care and the many possible drink combinations to fit your needs, Starbucks is a well-rounded comforting coffee shop.

For a not so complimentary review, check out this one: Starbucks The Unfriendly Atmosphere

Footloose Movie Review by Avril Troope

 

 

 

Directed by Craig Brewer, Footloose is a remake based on the 1984 film. The plot centers on five teenagers from Bomont, Utah who died in a recent car accident. In order to protect teenagers, the town council placed a ban on dancing, drinking, and loud music. These regulations are soon challenged by a Ren MacCormick, played by Kenny Wormald, who is a former gymnast, recently moved to the town from Boston, Massachusetts to live with his aunt and uncle after the death of his mother. As the story unfolds, a love connection develops between the preacher’s daughter, played by Dancing with Stars alum Julianne Hough, and MacCormick.

image: reeltimepodcast.com

Initially, I had no interest in seeing the movie due to previous experiences with past remakes, which disappointed me. After seeing trailer after trailer on television my interest in seeing the film began to grow. Shockingly this movie is just like the original. I would rate this film a 4 out of 5 stars since there were no major changes and additions. This film is simply as enjoyable as the original the film, but offers a modern twist with today’s slang, phrases and choreography that allows today’s generation to identify with the situations compared to the original film. Not only does the remake incorporate modern styles, but it also includes scenes from the old film.
Compared to my experience, my friend who also saw the film had never seen the original also enjoyed it. She thought the characters were humorous and the choreography was fantastic. She also enjoyed the flirtatious development between Ren MacCormick and the preacher’s daughter. Overall, she rated the movie a 5 out of 5 stars. As a mature young adult, I would recommend this movie for teenagers, but not for children since it is rated PG-13. The reason for this rating is that the language is not age-appropriate for children under the age of 13, and there are sexual references in dialogue and within the dancing as well.

See trailers:

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi1510841369/

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Carmine’s Restaurant Review by Shelika Drummond

The first Carmine’s opened on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and became a trendsetter for Italian dinner houses. The artistically arranged pictures, long dark red curtains, and deep gold brown walls created an antique flavor of the 1920’s to the 1940’s, suggesting the restaurant had “been around for a very long time” (Carmine’s, 2011). The establishment became a booming hit, known for its oversized portions at reasonable prices. Soon, the owner, Artie Cutler, began to invest in more locations and found himself with a multi-international restaurant. Even now, it “is currently one of Broadway’s longest running hits!” (Carmine’s, 2011)
Within 20 years, Carmine’s, a family-oriented Italian restaurant, rooted itself not only in New York, but also Nassau, the Bahamas, New Jersey, Atlantic City, and Washington D.C. Restaurateur Artie Cutler, creator of Carmine’s had a goal in mind, to offer meals ” in the style of an Italian American wedding feast… and serve platters designed for sharing” (Carmine’s, 2011). His goal created the warm, sharing and overall welcoming environment Carmine’s is known for. When a restaurant serves food in large quantities, the quality suffers. Carmine’s is an exception to this rule; each plate deserves at least four stars. The wait staff is not as notable, but still very informative if asked any questions.
Carmine’s serves portions large enough to fill three to four people and provides good quality tasting food. It’s almost like a buffet, but the food is superb. For example, my two young active boy cousins ordered one dish of spaghetti for dinner and just the amount brought a smile to everyone’s face. It was as if you got the largest pot in the house and filled it with spaghetti and sauce twice, before serving it. The large portion makes you give credit to the waiters and waitresses who carry such heavy dishes. My cousins eat so much that I’m sure they could rival the hungry hippos. The capability of the restaurant to fill both of them and have leftovers left me speechless. Thirty-five dollars may be shocking price at first, but when you’re able to see the amount and the impossible being done, it is worth every penny.
Personally, I’m not a fan of Italian restaurants because the pasta dishes are never usually tasty. The sauce is often too light in taste as if not to overpower the pasta that has no taste at all. This happens in Italian restaurants like Olive Garden and Subarro’s. Carmine’s is very different. The taste screams 5 stars, but since there’s no such thing as perfection, it’s bumped down to 4.5. Even though the portions and taste are supreme, visual-wise, the dishes look uncreative. Carmine’s gives a lot of food, but the goal is to attract customers, and pretty plates with creative arrangements of food are a start. For example, their strawberry shortcake is simply a tall pyramid of whip cream with strawberry pieces stuck awkwardly to the sides on a single piece of cake. It looks as if no attempt was made to create a design, but despite the unprofessional look, the homemade whip cream and sweet strawberries are delicious.
Within the bustling streets of New York City, specifically on the Upper West Side, sits the first Carmine’s. Even though the city is known for its continuous stream of people, Carmine’s is bound to be overlooked normally in a shopping district. More so, there’s better chance for people to choose another restaurant because of the numerous famous restaurants in New York City. In the inside, the walls of the restaurant are scaled with tons and tons of portraits of people and places. One can assume the portraits deal with the history of the restaurant, but unless you’ve been eating there since the 20’s, it’s likely you will not know nor care who the people are. The quantity and arrangement of the pictures are creative and their vintage look complements the deep gold painted walls and long red curtains. Overall, the environment is detailed with remnants of the past. It is interesting for history lovers. The restaurant staff also have the menu hung on the walls instead of handing them out. This was troublesome for my parents, who don’t have the best eyesight. As for the service, it is acceptable, but the staff should remember to warn patrons about the huge portions. The forgetfulness becomes a real problem for unknowing couples who become overwhelmed by the servings. It is a mistake made by the staff that can change a pleasant surprise into a troublesome realization.
Overall, Carmine’s is given 4.5 stars and definitely a place worth visiting if you’re with a big group or hoping for leftovers to last a week. Just about every dish except the strawberry shortcake is a large portion. It’s one of the only dishes that serves for one person. Just make sure to grab a handful of mints on the way out.

Work Cited
Carmine’s: NYC’s Legendary Family Style Restaurant. About Carmine’s. 2011. The Alicart Restaurant Group. Web. 8 Nov. 2011

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