Coached by former player Ken Gernander, the Whale (formerly the Hartford Wolf Pack) aim to claw their way up the AHL standings with the help of center Kris Newbury's near-omniscient ice vision, right wing Jeremy Williams's smoke-trailed slap shots, and Lee Baldwin's Plexiglass-bending defensive checks. As you watch the two teams lacerate the ice, exploit power plays, and practice kinetic dentistry, you might just see a future NHL superstar emerge from the ranks. The Whale's throngs of cheering families and letter-painted torsos are guaranteed an exhilarating spectacle regardless of which team wins, which is more than can be said for most flying-saucer invasions.
The Stone and Paddle’s California-style thin-crust pizzas acquire their subtle crunch while baking atop a hot stone in a 600-degree oven. Gourmet toppings such as hot sausage, shrimp and artichoke, and spinach and gorgonzola grace the pies, which share table space with flatbread sandwiches that are also stone-baked. Though chefs must return nightly to the steel-encased bunker where they safeguard their secret dough recipe, guests can enjoy a new location in Rocky Hill, linger on the shaded patio at the Vernon location or watch sports on Manchester's flat-screen TVs.
Clean & Green Cleaning Service's roving band of dirt demolishers launches crusades against household grime with earth-friendly products and methods. With up to three hours of cleaning, a hawkeyed maid scans surfaces for accumulating filth, dusting fixtures, vacuuming floors, and carefully polishing chrome busts of Darth Vader. A spritz of natural, nontoxic solutions gussies up kitchen sinks, appliances, and ovens while sanitizing showers and bathtubs. Thorough cobweb removal evicts spiders from the house, forcing them to seek part-time employment as spooky carnival-attraction actors.
BagelC cravings are extinguished morning, noon, and night at Reuben's Delicatessen, with a menu composed of New York–style deli fare. Dine in on slow-cooked baked brisket ($13.95) in between bites of the complimentary kosher pickles at each table, or carry out a Reuben ($11.95) to enjoy over American Gladiator reenactments in your backyard. Other sammiches include a half-pound corned beef ($10.95) or a half-pound pastrami ($10.95), both of which go perfectly with a bowl of matzo-ball soup ($3.95). Or try a custom-made salad ($8.95) for a meal that's not bookended by slices of bread. Wash down dining with a Dr. Brown's Soda ($1.95) before concluding the culinary concerto with the four-piece rugelah ($3.95) or the babka ($4.95).
The Play Escape entertains kids with three stories of ball pits, oversize slides, climbing areas, and other attractions. With all-access admission (up to a $15.90 value), two sprinting younglings can spend the day racing over colorful obstacles and tossing their 20 tokens (a $5 value) into Dance Dance Revolution machines or the 100-point skee-ball holes, which are rumored to grant wishes and federal funding.