Code of Armsby

Entering Armsby Abbey for a weekend brunch is like transporting to another world. You’re walking down a desolate stretch of Main Street in Worcester, MA with an eerie breeze, towering brick buildings, and only the lights of the Worcester Palladium blinking in the distance. You then happen upon a storefront and look up at what could be mistaken for a salvaged sign from a military base. Listen – there is a hum just beyond the glass and forged steel door. Open the door, pull back the weighted curtain, and you’re swept away into a new world of flavorful scents, inviting decor, comrades in great food and drink, and an always welcoming staff of hosts, servers, and ‘tenders. Ah, this is where everyone in Worcester has landed!

Armsby only takes reservations on special occasions for parties of 6-20, so you will be waiting if you don’t arrive shortly after their 10am open (yep, you could get caught off guard since this ain’t an 11am/NYC-style open).

I say enjoy your wait with a rare craft beer on tap, a build-your-own-bloody mary, or a craft cocktail. You won’t be anxiously looking over your shoulder wondering if parties are being seated ahead of you. The host takes your number to text you when your table’s ready. We suggest any IPA from Hill Farmstead Brewery, the ‘Green Tea Punch’, or a Bloody with cucumber-infused vodka, mild spice setting, a smokey rim & at least a bacon garnish (you can choose from many).
Armsby drink rail
Armsby bloody

We were told it would be an hour wait, but it ended up being just shy of 30min. We were actually disappointed, since a pre-brunch libation at their ‘standing drink rail’ was perfect for catching up with friends (i.e., we would have waited another 30!). Tip: close-out your tab when your table’s ready because they don’t transfer to tables.

Even with a packed house our server took all the time in the world with us to cover questions about the brunch selections. Their sister establishment is Crust Bakeshop, so make sure to order the ‘Breakfast Slate’. Don’t worry, the brunch entrees aren’t Dennys-sized so you won’t be overstuffing when starting with the Slate. On the Slate, you’ll enjoy rotating, daily baked breads from Crust along with two Farmstead cheeses (i.e., cheese made from milk collected from animals on the same farm where the cheese is produced), local bamboo honey, Carlson Orchard apple slices, cultured butter, seasonal preserves, and amazing, homemade peanut butter. We were psyched that the Slate included the great Bloomsday cheese from Cato Corner Farm out of Colchester, CT.
Armsby cheese board

The Mac ‘n’ Cheese is made from an assortment of Armsby’s Farmstead cheeses and topped with homemade bread crumbs, which gladly were more like bread cubes. The portion wasn’t huge, but there was more packed in there than at first glance.
Armsby mac&cheese2

Their Chorizo Hash is hash-tactic. Like almost everything at Armsby, the chorizo is homemade. It’s then coupled with roasted potatoes, carrots & parsnips hash sweet potato-lime puree, cilantro salsa verde, and topped with a soft-cooked local egg. Tip: order two eggs if you want to double-up!

Hankering for a UK breakfast tradition? Get the Bubbles & Squeaks and savor bacon creamed cabbage with roasted potatoes, chicken & spinach, topped with a crispy fried local egg and pickled onions – oh my! Tip: pair with a German-style pilsner.

Do a side of bacon or two to tie the brunch together. It has a greater than normal salt attack, but that’s just to counter the profoundly sweet outer coating. We don’t care if you already had it in your bloody, you need more!
Armsby plates

Wind down your brunch with Armsby’s ‘Mexican coffee’ – constructed with coffee, RumChata, and chipotle-infused vodka. It hits the spot just right and isn’t spicy (if that was a concern).

Whether you are recovering from a deafening performance at the Palladium from the night before, a weary traveler passing though, a Worcester local looking for a morning escape from it all, or a weekend warrior with Armsby as your sole destination, you will have found the right place to satisfy your palate. Cheers. -The Sweet and Sweaty
Armsby Abbey sign
Armsby full viewArmsby beer

Armsby Abbey
144 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608
@armsbyabbey (Instagram & Twitter)


Our visit to the Whole Harmony Apothecary

Seeking out and supporting local Connecticut small businesses is one of our favorite things to do! We are constantly inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit that drives these small business owners to pursue their passions, and we love it when we can see these passions blossom into successful businesses!  This is why we were so excited to finally make it over to the new Whole Harmony Apothecary in Haddam today.

Whole Harmony Apothecary

(NOTE:  This photo comes from the Whole Harmony 4 U website)

We first became familiar with Whole Harmony 4 U, makers of hand crafted artisan tea, when we attended the 2014 Open Air Market & Festival at the Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown, CT and have been hooked ever since! And we are certainly not alone! If you have ever attended a farmers market or festival where they are participating, you can confirm, that they always have a line at their booth and few who stop are able to resist their assortment of herbal remedies (possibly due to their simple, yet beautiful packaging)!  Another bonus is the fact that if you stop by their booth in the summer, you will be treated to refreshing beverages like Lavender Lemonade or Goji Berry Raspberry Iced Tea and in the winter, you will be able to sample any number of their hot teas!  And we challenge you to walk away without adding at least one blend to your collection!

In addition to offering amazing products they offer to encourage balance & nourishment (as stated on their website), Whole Harmony 4 U offers a variety of other services which are worth highlighting!

  • They host Plant Medicine Classes where attendees can learn in a hands on environment how to make their own creations such as Craft Herbal Cocktails, Bone Broth, Elderberry Syrup and more!
  • Work with owner and certified herbalist, Stacey Wood, to have your own personalized constitutional blend created (we think this is an awesome gift for any tea lover you know).
  • Unique services for weddings including wedding party favors or special wedding blends.

We couldn’t have been happier when we read the news that Stacey and David would be creating their own retail space, the Whole Harmony Apothecary, which opened in October.  Set in scenic Haddam in a renovated 1850’s home, the apothecary is just what fans of Whole Harmony 4 U products would expect. This beautiful and peaceful space includes:

  • Tea Bar
  • Meditation Library/Reading Room
  • Retail Room
  • Yoga Loft

This is also the location where the Plant Medicine classes are held.

We had a lovely time at the Apothecary today and we did not leave empty handed! We enjoyed tastes of their daily teas: Cut the Sh*# (sugar detox) and Chai Tea (which we both purchased a cup of) and also purchased a number of (belated) holiday gifts, including a gift set which included a jar of the tea of our choice, a tea ball, and a seasonal mug in a festive holiday gift box for only $20 (a great deal in our opinion).

If you are a tea lover yourself, or know someone who is, we urge you to pay a visit to the Whole Harmony Apothecary!

-The Sweet and Sweaty

Whole Harmony Apothecary
1572 Saybrook Road, Haddam, CT 06438
Phone: 860-778-4531
Instagram: @wholeharmony

NOTE:  We will continue to highlight our favorite local establishments and products! If you have a favorite, whether it is a local restaurant, brewery, boutique, or artisan product, if it comes from Connecticut we want to know about it, so please share with us!!!


New Haven-style in Wallingford?

Let’s get one thing straight, we are HUGE fans of New Haven-style pizza in New Haven. Modern being #1, Pepe’s #2, Bar #3, and Sally’s… well, they’ve certainly fallen off of late (now begin the pizza battle royale… we’d love to hear your own crusty comments and cheesy ratings!).

Sometimes though, you just don’t want to deal with parking in New Haven, wait in long pizza lines (especially in the winter), and drink so-so beer with your pizza. A solution for those in the vicinity of Wallingford? Try CHRISTOS.

We had a vegetarian among us so we didn’t indulge in the completeness of their ‘Spud and Bacon Pie’, but it was spupendous with the spuds alone. The garlic-mashed made the difference along with a combination of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. This is exactly what you want in a mashed potato pizza and they give Bar a run for their money with this one. And… yes, the crust was perfectly done. The motto at CHRISTOS is: “It’s not burnt, it’s well done!” Well, there was just enough New Haven crisp and burn, with that New Haven-area-acidic-water-softness in the dough beneath the outer layer.

CHRISTOS has a full menu of speciality pies and toppings to build from along with appealing entrees and moreTip: They offer gluten-free pizza as well.

The beer selection was solid for a pizza restaurant: Ommegang Three Philosophers, Stony Creek’s Cranky IPA, Two Roads Road To Ruin DIPA, and more. I also caught a glimpse of Jefferson’s Bourbon among a surprisingly large selection of wines and spirits.

When you take a break from cooking over the Holidays, grab a pie and some entrees to-go or enjoy in person. We’d love to hear if you believe it lives up to a taste of New Haven, in Wallingford!

Tip: Avoid the booth that’s last in the row against the inner wall, on the way to the bathrooms and the bar area. It seems that with their new construction they ran out of room for that last booth, but still tried to squeeze it in. If you don’t mind your torso being cramped and playing footsie with your dining partners, than go for it!

-The Sweet and Sweaty

552 North Colony Rd, Wallingford, CT 06492


Pears baked in pastry

Very impressive dessert that ‘Cooking without Limits‘ says is easy!

Cooking Without Limits

pear baked in pastry

Yesterday, I tested one of the recipes I want to do for Christmas. Easy to make,  this cozy dessert has plenty of “wow” factor and it looks like a beehive.

This is an elegant dessert and is fancy enough for a dinner party and also can be made ahead.

pear baked in pastry


  • 4 small pears
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 50 ml cognac (optional)
  • 1 small lemon, halved
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 to 8 whole cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg

pear baked in pastry


Peel pears and core pears from bottom, leaving stems intact. 

In a large saucepan, combine the water, sugar, honey, lemon halves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cognac and cloves. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds; add bean and seeds to sugar mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; place pears on their sides in saucepan and poach, uncovered…

View original post 121 more words

Crowning a Pig

Seems strange right? Well… not if you’re taking advantage of a rare WhistlePig Rye Whiskey tasting at 116 Crown in New Haven! 116Crown_pig4Tip: If you’re looking to try rare spirits or save bucks on buying a bottle or single pours, a tasting or tasting/dinner pairing is the way to go. This one was $25 for the three tastings vs. spending $50+ per bottle or possibly $15+ on individual pours. And, in many cases you’ll be hard-pressed to find what you want to taste outside of a tasting anyway!

WhistlePig’s Brand Steward, ‘Farmer Greg’, came by to all tasters privately for a proper walkthrough of the three whiskies on hand:
10 Year 100 Proof,
Old World Triple Finished
The Boss Hog

Greg gave a brief history of WhistlePig including the arduous three years it took to open their own distillery at WhistlePig Farm in Shoreham, VT. -If you didn’t already know (spoiler alert), like many other whiskies, WhistlePig products come from Alberta Distillers in Canada or MGP Distillery in Indiana (whiskey factories that do initial aging). Ignore this because the taste is worth it regardless and they’ll be distilling on premise using farmed rye from their own property soon enough!

Greg, also being one of the whiskey still installers, explained that he made sure he was far offsite during initial ignition in case of any mishaps! (that would have been a major bummer to literally blowup three years of work).

Greg was extremely courteous and spot-on with his descriptions of the three whiskies that definitely did not disappoint:

The 10 Year didn’t have the unwanted heat of a 100 proof rye, instead the heat was inviting. Surprisingly smooth, with some sweetness making it obvious why this has become a heralded rye in the whiskey community.

Old World Triple Finished is the 10/100, but ‘finished’ in wine casks at WhistlePig Farm. What a treat – I love it when distillers take it up a notch and put a product through different barrel stages! Greg explained that the Old Word is cut to 90 proof (i.e., water is added) in order to avoid killing the wine cask finish with alcohol heat. This was such an easy drinker after starting with the 10/100 and it definitely made me wanting more! You could really feel and savor the wine-barrel aging.

WhistlePig Boss Hog

The Boss Hog lives up to it’s moniker, but doesn’t leave you feeling like the Dukes after a night in the clink. This 122-proof beast went down very smooth and only gave afterburners – i.e., it didn’t burn the throat, but rather the belly, sips after the fact. I’m saying it: I like it better than Bookers!

There’s just something about the finish overall with these Pigs… I highly recommend and can’t wait to visit the distillery.

-The Sweet and Sweaty

P.S. – Stay tuned for future experiences of 116 Crown’s actual cuisine and craft cocktails.


Smokin’ BBQ

smokin_chrisThe first time we ever experienced Smokin’ With Chris was actually at a wedding rehearsal dinner, and at the end of the night I was embarrassed that we hadn’t previously discovered this gem of a restaurant.

Why embarrassed? Well, I have always complained about how there isn’t enough good BBQ in CT and this place was right under our noses!

It’s like you’re at the friend’s house that owns a smoker, but they actually know how to use it! i.e., there hasn’t been a time where we’ve been to Smokin’ where we haven’t seen Chris, or where the staff haven’t made us feel right at home like friends or family. And, oh man, do they know how to smoke meat!

My latest experience with Chris’ smokin’ lair was meeting longtime friends and past colleagues the other week. I arrived early, so I went straight to the bar area which is separate off of the main room – they always have a killer, craft brew selection.

The ‘tender immediately made me feel welcome and also alerted me to their seriously impressive bourbon list. I guess it’s not surprising, since it is a meat-mecca of an establishment.

I chose the Eagle Rare ($9 for a heavy pour), and they gave me a choice of the stock bottle OR a bottle that they specifically cask ‘smoked’ to give it a new, earthy flavor! (Think High West Whiskey’s ‘Campfire’ – giving you some Scotch smoke, but not enough to offend the bourbon-leaning whiskey drinker).

Once everyone arrived, we nestled into the dining area that Thurs-Sun turns into something more like an Austin, TX backyard BBQ where you’re treated to live music as you dine. Tip: definitely do a Thurs-Sun night for your first experience.

Orders were all over the map, but no one was sharing – it’s just too good! Burnt ends, fried chicken, brisket, spare ribs, baby back ribs, you name it.

I got a half-rack of the baby back ribs with their backed mac & cheese and collard greens (Tip: there was still enough to reserve a small portion for lunch leftovers).

The ribs were a quality cut; melt in your mouthers, and a great balance of that drier, flavorful outer crust with a moist center. I still lathered them with Chris’ homemade sauce, because that’s how I do it! The mac was awesome as well with a nice kick to it (House made cheese sauce blended with chili powder, ancho, chipotle & cayenne peppers and topped with panko bread crumbs). I could not believe how good the collards where… I do like mine with the meat base, but I really liked these lighter, spicier collards (they sauté with onion, crushed red pepper & vinegar… and maybe go lighter on the ham hocks in the process).

Beer pairing: Long Trail’s Limbo IPA (7.6%) and BBC’s Steel Rail (5.3%; Berkshire Brewing Company). The alcohol from the higher-ABV Limbo really brought out the smokiness in the ribs and the Steel Rail was a perfect, light finisher for the mac and collards.

We were all extremely satisfied, and even though they close @9pm on Tues/Wed, we were not rushed out of the joint. It was more like when you’re at a friend’s place on a school night and it’s probably just time to go!

Do yourself a favor this winter and warm-up with Chris and crew at Smokin’ With Chris! (I know, I was REALLY close to busting out a Kriss Kross reference there…)

-The Sweet and Sweaty

Smokin’ With Chris
59 West Center Street, Southington, CT 06489

What’s for dinner?

*Just Served!

What are we having for dinner this week? That’s a discussion that takes place weekly in our house.  In the past this conversation would have led to a complicated menu with lots of dirty dishes, dinners at 9pm, and in the event of a disastrous dish… tears!  These days we take a much simpler approach and ask a few questions:

  • What’s on sale this week?
  • What do we have in the freezer?
  • What yields great leftovers?
  • What’s going to be relatively simple to make?

This week, we settled on a few regulars and are planning to try out a few new recipes from the January/February 2011 issue of Cooking Light Magazine!

Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca *just served!


Spinach with Garlic Vinaigrette *just served!


This is on the menu for Monday night so we’ll keep you posted on how it turns out! If anyone else decides to give it a try, we’d love to hear about your results! Of if any of you other home cooks whip up a different tasty dish this week we’d love to know about it!

Tip: For those not familiar with Cooking Light, it is an amazing resource for healthy and delicious recipes! I absolutely love their magazine (obviously since I am still holding onto one from 2011) and their website! I buy their cookbooks and reference their “How To’s” regularly (hey even have a video available for this recipe on their website)!  If you follow them on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram, like we do, you can get recipe inspiration delivered right to you!

-The Sweet and Sweaty

*Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca – just served:

  1. Relatively easy – Few ingredients, but more dishes to wash than expected.
  2. The result actually looked like the picture, which rarely happens!
  3. Chicken – Split decision; A Sweaty thumbs up for the impressive combination of flavors from the sage, prosciutto, lemon, and chicken, but a neutral reaction from Sweet.

*Spinach with Garlic Vinaigrette – just served:

While it was definitely tasty, the raw garlic was too powerful and will surely slap some faces around during conversation in the morning. Basically, The Lost Boys could have used this recipe. A similar recipe comes to mind that normally calls for cooking the sauce/dressing, that helps tame the power of the garlic and red onion. Happy cooking!

*Just Served! – Check out the pic:

Tedeschi Trucks at College Street

What a treat to see Tedeschi Trucks Band at College Street Music Hall in New Haven. First off, here’s to having a brand spanking new 2,000 seat venue in the heart of New Haven, born from the renovation of the old Palace Theater. One of the few remnants we could find from the Palace was on ceiling, directly above the GA section:CollegeStreetMusic

The layout is very easily navigated: coatcheck immediately as you enter, same with the loge and balcony stairways, bathrooms clearly marked, the bar and merch table come next, and the floor and GA sections are straight ahead. Just like an old theater, there are attendants readily available to guide you to your ticket location.

Thankfully unlike an old theater, the bar area was expansive with a multitude of drink choices (mixed, beer on tap, wines, everything). And there were even some drink specials which is rare for concert events.

Also, unlike an old theater or most venues… the bathrooms were extremely clean and had all the modern amenities. What I mean by ‘modern’ is they actually had soap and a way to dry your hands. Try finding that at some of the other dives in CT!Tedeschi_Trucks

Oh yeah, there was a concert! The sound at College Street is updated as well. Even in the GA section directly up front, you weren’t blasted nor at a loss to hear (as the speaker clusters were perfectly placed and sometimes can be beyond the first few rows). And… if you needed to run to the front of the house to get a drink, the sound was throughout. There are even video monitors at the bar while you wait – They’ve got it figured out!

Tedeschi Trucks Band played close to a perfect set with selections from their entire catalog and a few choice covers. With a new album due to drop in January 2016, it could have just been a romp of the new as some bands tend to get tired of the old. Not the case here though as you can see.

Being an 11-piece band, some instruments and performances certainly could have gotten lost in the mix, but with the great sound (from their engineer and College Street) and the band’s dynamics, you could hear all the nuances. They spanned from playing on the lighter, jammier side to knocking through some of the harder blues-rock you’ll hear out there today. Tedeschi’s voice is so strong and Trucks licks are so juicy, they just leave you wanting more, even after clocking in at over 1.5 hours of music.

Tip: The general admission/standing tickets are definitely recommended as you are right up in the action while not being overcrowded. Don’t think squished up front at a Summer festival, but rather the thrill at a near capacity club show where you have room to breath.

We’ll need to give the actual loge or balcony seats a whirl at some point, just to get the full experience (let us know if you already have or do!). We’re looking forward to many more shows at College Street Music Hall and catching Tedeschi Trucks the next time they’re in town.

Tip: try and get to New Haven a couple hours ahead of shows at College Street to grab some cheap, metered parking on the Green and a bite to eat/drink in the area. Make it an entire night!

And… bring ear plugs just in case. It was welcomely louder than your average theatre!

-The Sweet and Sweaty

Happy Hour at Atelier Florian

You don’t need to twist my arm to hit a concert in New Haven, as it normally means that a delicious dinner and cocktails will also be on the agenda… here we come Atelier Florian!

Since we were headed to College Street Music Hall that Friday, we found a sweet parking spot right near the venue on the New Haven Green. Tip: paying on the meter until 9pm in New Haven beats $8 in the garage.

We then walked on down to Atelier Florian which was only a couple blocks away, near the corner of Chapel & Park.

Atelier Florian’s tag is “sophistication in the European tradition, with fabulous sea-to-table dishes and sustainable meats and produce”. Let’s face it though, we really just wanted a new experience at a place with some happy hour pricing (4-6:30pm).

Not having a reservation, we were happy to pony up to the bar. Isn’t the bar where everyone tells you to eat these days for real excitement?

Oyster shooters were a must. Tip: If there’s a raw bar menu, GET a shooter! They could have amped-up the horseradish in their cocktail sauce, but it was still worth it at the half-off happy hour pricing.

The beer selection was solid for a ‘Euro-sea-to-table’ restaurant with representation from Palm, Two Roads, Allagash, and more (the owners also own Rudy’s, so I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise). If you’re into cocktails, there are close to a dozen choices including a signature, gin sage martini that was quite nice (note: tap beer, wine, and ‘Florian’ cocktails were all half-off).Atelier Florian

On to the half-priced apps from which we choose the Crispy Brussels – w/ maple salt, fiore sardo (raw, hard cheese made from whole sheep’s milk), and lemon. Very solid with just the right amount of sweet from the maple. I know they have been all the rage the last few years, but why stop?!Atelier Florian_Brussels

For an entree, I chose the Umami crusted steak burger and my wife the Turkey Sliders, which were both lunch-priced. Not being surrounded by so-called umami  dishes here in CT yet, I had to try this “5th taste”. I didn’t reach a new dimension, but the burger was a delectable mouth full with gruyere, caper aioli, onion jam, tomato on a toasted brioche. No need for details with the Turkey Burger Sliders as they were just so-so.

We’re tempted to give the sea-to-table entrees a try next time around since we only scratched the surface with their meats and produce. I’d still say it’s a recommendation for a pre-show or post-work happy hour. Although, we would love to hear from anyone that’s dug into their dinner menu!

-The Sweet and Sweaty

Atelier Florian
1166 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT



Where did you go last night?!

My wife and I are extremely passionate about experiencing new travel, cuisine, craft beer, craft cocktails, live music, and recorded albums old & new. And, we are frequently asked, “How was that place, that food, that drink, that concert, that band?!”

It’s time to craft our experiences into something easily digestible for everyone to sample: The Sweet and Sweaty

You may not be down with all that we experience, but we’re hoping you’ll give some new things a try along the way. We would also really love to hear your feedback, ideas, and your own reports.

We’re VERY excited about this and we hope you’ll feel the same as the experiences happen. Let’s go!rogue_SF_sampler

P.S. – Why “The Sweet and Sweaty”?
My wife once told me the tale of her favorite wing flavor at her favorite college bar. The wings were not only tangy like a sugary treat, but also a hot, spicy indulgence. Long after the original story was told, we were joking over some beverages that if we ever led a band together, we would need to call it “Sweet & Sweaty” (i.e., she’s extremely nice and caring and I tend to be animated and perspiring). Since I still haven’t taught her how to play bass and I’m busy playing guitar in a cover band, we decided the name should live on with a different purpose – Enjoy!