Though Cactus Rose Restaurant & Tequila Bar is only a teenager in dog years, owners Maria and Katerina Pertesis are no strangers to the restaurant business with more than 40 years experience. The upscale eatery’s cuisine is best summed up as contemporary Southwestern, thanks to Executive Chef Norberto Lucero’s skillful incorporation of Spanish, Mexican, and Southwestern flavors.
A Mexican native, Lucero has fun with his food. One peek at the menu reveals the usual aspects of Latin cuisine: fish tacos, paella dotted with prawns, little-neck clams, mussels, and black-iron skillet fajitas—sizzling with caramelized onions and bell peppers. Yet, for every expected entree, Lucero offers a surprise in the form of baby back ribs in an orange barbecue glaze, skirt steak with an orange chipotle mojo, and tequila chicken—a free-range, chicken stuffed with chorizo and manchego cheese. Like the chicken, all of Lucero’s meats are quality; he serves only wild-caught organic seafood, grass-fed beef, and free-range chicken.
While the menu impresses, it’s only half of Cactus Rose’s appeal. The tequila bar is also a contender, as it’s stocked with 50 varieties of tequila, and bartenders dispense freshly concocted margaritas mulled from fresh squeezed lime juice and fruits. Cactus Rose delivers an inviting atmosphere with rustic wood furnishings and cowhide chairs surrounded by red, orange, and a yellow hand-carved stained-glass mosaic. A warm large outdoor fireplace on the patio keeps patrons toasty during the winter months, and an outdoor patio—bumping with live music—convinces them to temporarily forget their fear of birds’ nests and dine al fresco during the summer.
Kokum takes its name from a berry that's specific to South India, a nod to the regional cuisine that stands out as this restaurant's specialty. The recently opened space may be new, but the cooking traditions are time honored, drawing specific inspiration from India's Kerala region. Favorites include spicy chicken masala kalumbu and vegetarian-friendly theeyal, which features a mix of green bananas, yam, and coconut. Top off your meal with one of the bar's craft cocktails, which include the signature Kokum, a mingling of vermouth, pineapple juice, and lime. The dining room keeps things simple, with exposed light bulbs and natural wood accents alongside paintings of boats with hulls colorful enough to rival the stains on the sauce chef's apron. Kokum is a member of the Fine Indian Dining Group.
Moffly Media's regional publications propagate an array of entertaining and informational content to keep residents of Fairfield County in touch with the best their communities have to offer. Each locally oriented magazine gives subscribers a paginated peek at the most notable people and events in their areas, helping them lay claim to the title of Most Informed Person in their respective bridge groups, chess clubs, or local chapters of the Domino Preservation League.
"When the lights go down and the music turns up, there's this sense of peace that goes throughout the room, and we're just ready," says one student of JoyRide's energetic spin classes. That atmosphere is just what JoyRide Cycling Studio intended—from the club-like lighting to music that often comes from a live rock band, every element of the studio is designed to forge a challenging, blissful workout. And cycling is just the beginning. Although the studio focuses on spinning, they also offer a variety of other classes—including TabataRide, cycling interspersed with 20-second high-intensity interval drills, and SpinSculpt, 35 minutes of spinning and 25 of muscle-sculpting. In addition, other fitness sessions target areas the cycles don't touch—JoyFusion blends Pilates with strength training, JoySculpt grants a full-body workout, and JoyMama features workouts tailored for new mothers.
In more than 1,132 stores worldwide, Edible Arrangements' Fruit Experts arrange pieces of premium fruit in stunning displays for all occasions. Customers can customize their order to suit any occasion, receiving chocolate-dipped fruit such as pineapples, granny-smith apples, and juicy Albion strawberries that, unlike the sodas found in most mummies' crypts, don't contain any preservatives. Fruit Experts can dip fruit in gourmet semisweet or white chocolate. For birthdays and anniversaries, chocolate wielders can personalize bouquets with gifts such as plush teddy bears and mylar balloons.
Black Bear Wines & Spirits takes more than its name from the American black bear. Its staff of wine experts curates a selection of wines and spirits that commands the same majesty as the American black bear, without antagonizing park rangers. Sommeliers introduce visitors to wines from Argentina, Chile, France, and Spain, chosen from among more than 100 varietals in stock. Oenophiles can sample imported wines during weekend classes or browse a selection of imported spirits and unique beers.