Weighing in on most topics

Donna Christopher is a freelance journalist in Connecticut and New York City and available for work.

Clips and new posts reside here.

She has been a staff writer at Hearst Media The News-Times and reporter/stringer at Hersam-Acorn Newspapers.

Recent content provided for Western CT Health Network and Southwest Regional Mental Health Board and at timesunion.com and isuu.com/timessquare.com

She is also available for proofreading and editing content. Background includes blogging, Twitter, photography, Photoshop and community relations at daily 24/7 newspaper.

Other publications include CT Journal of Light Construction, Fairfield County Kids, Fairfield County Parents, Women's Forum, schvoong.com, Business Digest, Hartford Motherhood Examiner.

Assignments include restaurant reviews, the arts and entertainment, business, health, crime and traffic reports. Have written about Auschwitz survivors, a Jewish chemist who analyzed blood samples of the Shroud of Turin, and a “chicken therapist” who visits a nursing home to cheer up people with dementia. The article, “Poultry in Motion,” ran on the AP wire.

Lighter subjects include psychics and celebrities. Have interviewed Judy’s daughter Lorna Luft, country music legend Larry Gatlin, “Happy Days” TV comedian Cindie Williams, The Temptations' Otis Williams, Joey "Pants" Pantoliano and soap opera hunk Maurice Benard. Reports also include reality show stars on The Bachelorette, The Voice, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

In a series of centenarians interviewed 108-year old great-grandmother who watches daily mass and sings to entertain her family and a Western cowboy who sang and danced at his 104-year old birthday party.

Won four Society of Professional Journalists awards, has stellar editorial client references, and thousands of clips.

17th April 2014

Post

My patch post on Poetic Asian restaurant

Published at Brookfieldpatch.com

Reviewing what’s amusing

http://brookfield.patch.com/groups/amusement-reviews/p/poetic-asian-food-in-westchester

By Donna Christopher

My pad Thai loving daughter first suggested I try the noodles and since then I simply can’t get enough of them.

Lately I ordered it for lunch at Haiku Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar in Cross River, N.Y.

Luckily I was in with a colleague for lunch and the budgetary menu offered noon to 3 p.m. daily meant two of us ate for $20 including tip.

Haiku, where I’ve eaten previously, is a place I’ll suggest when a family or friend is willing to drive up from New York and meet me “half-way.” Well sort of.

I’d guess my coworker drove 20-30 minutes, while my Ridgefield trip took around 15. Cross River for the uninitiated is minutes from Katonah and I-684 Exit 6.

Our meeting was social and lasted about 4 hours – thankfully the establishment is open all day until 9:30 so we never felt rushed.

So if you enjoy Asian and want a suitable meeting spot (White Plains is about 20 minutes away) try Haiku.

Here’s what to expect.

Sushi foremost is from a menu exceeding any expectation, I am confident. And since I’ve eaten only that on previous trips I recommend any special roll on the board the day you go.

Meanwhile, there are dozens of varied dishes, ranging from Chinese, to Japanese to Thai. Some are ordinary, others exotic.

The décor is easy on the eyes, an unobtrusive color scheme mostly of cognac woods punctuated with red lanterns throughout. Soft lighting and background music are part of the experience and servers here too offer efficient, genteel service, nothing showy.

I learned Haiku poetry in 3rd grade and liked writing the short verses, sticking to the “rules” that words painstakingly chosen should evoke nature and the 5 senses. The name works well to describe this restaurant. Food plates are presented in an artsy-earthy way I usually think.

 My noodles, for example, were loosely piled across a pretty platter that included small pyramids sculpted of carrot curls as fine as thread and crushed peanuts generously plentiful as garnishes.

Prior I had enjoyed a small bowl of wonton soup I deem memorable because the tiny dimpled dumpling wrappers were paper thin and the mini meatballs peaked through.

 The lunch met my family/unemployed for now budget with sushi bar options, ranging from $10.95 to $18.95. Less expensive are the Asian lunch dishes that include three rolls for $13.95, inarguably a deal. Also priced nicely, $7.75 to $10.95, are typical Asian fare of chicken with broccoli in brown sauce, Szechuan peppercorn crispy white meat chicken, and prawns and vegetable tempura.

Up next to try would be appetizers, chicken or beef stay, Vietnamese style sashimi wrapped, and yellowtail jalapeno perhaps.

Haiku is at Cross River Shopping Center at the Route 35/121 intersection.

For more information, call 914-763-9120.

image

image

8th April 2014

Photo

🐰#eggstatic love #Easter time

🐰#eggstatic love #Easter time

Tagged: eggstaticeaster

1st April 2014

Post

Cauliflower pizza?

http://brookfield.patch.com/groups/recipes/p/cauliflower-pizza-nice-for-topping-lovers?ncid=newsltuspatc00000010&yPos=2350

Published in my column: Reviewing what’s amusing, brookfieldpatch.com

I’m a devoted food fan of wheat products in this pecking order: bagels, scones and pizza crust. It’s that simple and simply forever.

Still, I have friends who can’t eat wheat for dietary or digestive reasons so I’ve been wanting to make a tasty pizza that rather than rely on a poor substitute for dough made of corn or rice flour, eliminates the crust altogether.

Today I succeeded. I didn’t originate the idea to make cauliflower pizza; mine turned out better than images of one I’d seen on a blog a few weeks ago.

And while the outcome a family member and I ate a few minutes ago, he calling it “nice” mainly for the savory toppings of sautéed onions, spinach, bacon and garlic, oregano and basil, my sense for dinner is incomplete. Here’s why. I miss scavenging the pizza pan for tossed out blistered edges of someone else’s crust. I love the crust and will miss it every time.

Still this recipe is tasty and a suitable pizza for a “topping lover” or someone who usually tosses crust to cut back calories. Here’s my recipe:

Steam a bag of frozen cauliflower. The key here, I have learned from researching it based on my disdain for the colorless vegetable because of the odor, is steam it once then throw out the water, drain, rinse, and steam again, then drain. The result is the mashed vegetable that only mildly resembles the taste otherwise.

Oil a non-stick baking pan, pour the cauliflower then mash it with a fork to create what looks like pizza dough. Add your toppings. Bake at 400 degrees until the “crust” appears dry and sturdy and the cheese is bubbly.



30th March 2014

Post

Two cancers

http://www.danburyhospital.org/en/News-and-Health-Alerts/2014/March/Two-Cancers-Two-Victories

14th March 2014

Post

Pizza shop praised

http://brookfield.patch.com/groups/amusement-reviews/p/new-degree-of-pizza

12th March 2014

Post

Celebrity interviews

http://www.newstimes.com/default/article/Country-singer-Larry-Gatlin-to-perform-in-New-221486.php

http://www.newstimes.com/default/article/The-Temptations-will-perform-in-Ridgefield-1048379.php

 http://www.newstimes.com/default/article/Lorna-Luft-will-weave-memories-with-Judy-964291.php

 http://www.newstimes.com/default/article/GH-star-Maurice-Benard-bring-stand-up-act-to-1434322.php

http://www.newstimes.com/default/article/Sopranos-actor-to-speak-in-Danbury-against-stigma-118148.php

http://www.ctpost.com/music/article/General-Hospital-star-Jonathan-Jackson-s-band-3347664.php

6th March 2014

Post

Rumors true on Mill Plain

By Donna Christopher

It’s not moody yet an air of sophistication lingers as does a homey feel.

That’s what it’s like to be at Rumors European Café at 22 Mill Plain Road in Danbury. It is next to Mill Plain Diner (I-84, Exit 4 Lake Ave.)

Owners Sabrina and Brian Hebert opened the upscale coffee shop in November and since then I’ve been in twice.

The accessibility is convenient for anyone living or working in and around the city.

Meanwhile, passersby may wish to include a stop at Rumors   - Lake Ave. Exit (Interstate 84) while on their way to mundane medical appointments and routine shopping errands.

My recent coffee stop was to meet a friend who works in Brookfield.

A colleague had suggested Rumors to me a previous Sunday. On that occasion I noted the classy spot is also unassuming. I was hooked.

Lately I went on a frigid Thursday, and my friend and I ordered a pair of lattes, and a couple of sweets.

Mine was a blueberry scone that the barista brought warm to our table. There are also small sofas and soft seating, of course free WiFi and jazzy background music.

The coffee drink, like one enjoyed there previously, was of creamy skim milk blended evenly with fresh bean espresso, a mild tasting bean with no bitterness at all.

Barista Nick Maiorano explained why to me a few days later.

“You can use any beans to make espresso. What makes it espresso is it’s ground finer than drip coffee. The finer ground increases the surface area and extracts more of the flavor and the caffeine. Our house coffee is a blend of the owners’ two favorite beans. It’s a nice, medium roast. Our dark roast is not very bitter for a dark. It is a single origin bean from Costa Rica. They grow really great beans there. The espresso we make is considered a medium to medium, dark roast,” he said by  phone.

My friend and I talked, and talked, and softly behind our conversation were songs by Sinatra and other jazzy music.

I must admit with the weather in the single digits, and our energy focused on the next snow, ice, then snowfall scenario we were expecting, my mind did drift to wishing Rumor was open later as closing time drew near.

So if you go to Rumors, here’s what to expect. Skones and croissants baked fresh on the premises throughout the day.  The scones from a bakery in Illinois arrive as frozen dough then are baked on site, barista Nick Maiorano said.

Other baked goods, including coffee cake and cookies, are made off premises by area bakers. Croissants are baked fresh at Rumors as well. Other tasty treats include waffle, made to order, and served with fruit, Nutella spread and whipped cream.

Rumors has drawn a medley of regulars since the fall launch.

“We get a lot of our business from business meetings. It’s a more professional setting than other (coffee shops), a little more upscale, but homey too. People say it feels like they’re having a cup of coffee at someone’s house.:  With the westside campus nearby, Western Connecticut State Univerisity students are finding their way in, Maiorano said.

He noted that music played is modern and upbeat on weekends.

Rumors is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 203- 942-2653.

 image

image

6th March 2014

Post

Coins review

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fifty Coins review

Pub-inspired family dining at Fifty Coins

Donna Christopher
Published 05:45 p.m., Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The News-Times
Danbury, Conn.


Family friendly with a “pub-like” appeal, Fifty Coins Restaurant suits friends, couples and groups with kids for a meal any time, thanks to full hours.


The restaurant is adjacent to the Gap, situated in a shared alley way. It has a dining room, bar and outdoor seating where you can watch tourists and locals meander along Ridgefield’s Main Street shopping district.
"It’s hard to find casual," my friend noted after a waitress seated us next to a window and we settled in after a bit of shopping for an early dinner Saturday. We arrived about the same time as a few couples and four groups with kids.

The restaurant is owned by Larry Debany and was named after the family’s racehorse.
 Feeling hungry, I ordered a plate of pot stickers before studying the menu. I was thrilled when the crispy dumplings — containing cabbage and served with chili garlic sauce — were soon brought to the table

By now my friend and I had decided on salads for our meal; there are 14 to choose from. We placed our order and focused on the appetizer.
"They’re tasty," said my friend, adding, "I love the tangy jam sauce."

The restaurant has dark wooden tables and chairs, and a bar that’s open every day until midnight. “It’s a cross between an American pub and a diner,” said my friend.
What suits me particularly is knowing about the restaurant’s continuous serving hours, given my propensity to inconveniently get hungry somewhere between the usual noon lunch and 5 to 7 p.m. dinner times.
I am also attracted to the extensive menu. There are small plates and appetizers. These include boneless Buffalo wings and sirloin tips served with three dipping sauces, and entrees of barbecued baby back ribs and pulled pork.

Among the options is the Fifty Coins burger with Swiss cheese, horseradish mayonnaise, bacon, sauteed mushrooms and onions. There’s also a Tex-Mex burger served with guacamole and cheddar cheese with salsa on the side; a Cajun burger served with blue cheese dressing, roasted red peppers and bacon; and a buffalo burger of ground bison infused with hickory smoke, lettuce and tomato with chipotle mayonnaise on the side.
There are Italian dishes, such as gnocchi, chicken or eggplant Parmesan and calamari fra diavlo over spaghetti, as well as “South of the Border” entrees, such as Cajun tilapia tacos. They come with citrus slaw, French fries and chipotle mayonnaise, and you can also order fajitas, which are tortillas prepared with chicken, steak or shrimp, along with the requisite pepper and onions.

My “Santa Fe” salad falls into that genre and for me was a feast. It was made with two kinds of lettuce, cheddar cheese, black beans, corn, and tortilla strips. But what sets it apart is the substantial portion of Cajun grilled chicken — spicy strips almost completely covering the greens and layered in an attractive, sort of lattice pattern. Competing flavors of tangy cilantro and creamy peppercorn ranch dressing, which, along with the chicken, supplied extra heat and made it very tasty.
My friend ordered the Asian salad mesclun mix, which comes with snow peas, Mandarin oranges and crunchy Asian noodles served with a ginger-cilantro lime vinaigrette. She enjoyed it, she said, and it was too much to finish.

Among entree specials that day were poached salmon with wasabi and yogurt in a wrap, Cape Cod lobster roll, and a dish called Florida Mahi Mahi burger.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our waitress, an exuberant woman with a dazzling smile who stopped by several times to ask us if we were still enjoying our dishes, and once to replenish drinks. I was struck by the attention she and other staff gave to everyone, including a large family next to us whose youngest member received a mouth-watering looking plate of spaghetti with a large meatball on top, prompting my friend to lament, “I wish I could eat like that.”

dchristopher@newstimes.com; 203-731-3347; http://twitter.com/dchristophernt

6th March 2014

Post

Purse blog draws dialogue

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ladies, stop carrying a ‘purse’

Published in The News-Times

http://blog.newstimes.com/offbeat/2009/12/11/651

Ladies, stop carrying a ‘purse’December 11, 2009 at 8:39 am by Donna Christopher

“No problem, Sweetheart,” my husband said when I asked him to carry my camera and glasses in his backpack. We were on the platform waiting for a train to New York on Saturday.
A few weeks ago I had stopped carrying a “purse” on the advice of my chiropractor who has adjusted my back to the point I feel fabulous. Fortunately, Jay carries a backpack for his medicine, nothing more, so it’s light and not a problem. Well, not unless we go out together

With some “withdrawal,” I’d taken this suggestion and feel liberated, really great. The purses I used to carry were actually large bags the size of a briefcase only prettier and containing a week’s worth of stuff I really didn’t need. Women know what I mean. The chiropractor said carrying heavy bags drags down the shoulders and ladies should lose the bags and will feel better.

So that day, carrying nothing but some cash, a credit card and my cell phone, I walked freely through the rain towards Times Square on the way to Rue 57 www.rue57.com where we were meeting family for lunch. We passed through Rockefeller Center and I noticed a vendor with pictures of celebrities. I picked one of Lady Gaga for my daughter, a fan, and handed it to Jay to put in his bag to keep it dry. “No problem,” he said ducking beneath an awning to to unzip his backpack, stuff in the purchase, and re-zip, then we carried on.

At 52nd St. I saw a table of sweaters that were made in Guatemala, you know the kind that are handmade and bulky, perfect to wear in my icy condo in December. After rifling through a pile and spotting a small, a rare find, I handed the lady $35 and the sweater to Jay. He said nothing as he stuffed the cardigan into his bag, only this time seemed to have trouble rezipping though he did. I think his eyes rolled a little, though it was hard to tell ’cause it was pouring.

After lunch, we went outside and took a Subway to midtown to my daughter’s place on 49th. Walking with Jay and my brother on Lexington, I said we needed to pick up wine so we found a shop and I went in myself to get a couple of bottles. I had the man giftwrap them and went back out to meet up with the guys. I handed the bag to Jay.

“It won’t fit,” he said, but not hesitating, he placed the bottles under his coat to keep it from getting wet, and we walked fast towards Jenna’s place.

At the apartment, she said, “Mom, you look great,” and I credited my chiropractor for adjusting my back to the point it feels good as new. I also passed on the advice about not carrying a purse.

Jay heard the conversation and said nothing. I think he rolled his eyes a little. And he smiled.
Posted in General
9 Comments

9 Comments »

1.I have not carried a purse in quite some time. Sometimes, if I need to carry anything, I carry a backpack.
The doctor told me not to carry a purse because of a bad back.
Comment by DianeM — December 11th, 2009 @ 1:22 pm
2.Pretty funny. Was Jay’s back hurting him at the end of this? Glad to hear your back feels good.

Comment by Nick Ingrisani — December 15th, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

3.I am definitely guilty of carrying my entire life in my bag every day. This includes text books, gym clothes, gym sneakers, make up, my wallet, keys, and the list goes on…

I can only imagine how bad this is for my back. Us women who carry this much stuff should get in the habit of throwing on a backpack. If the look of carrying a back pack is a concern, there are tons of cute back packs out there!

Comment by Jenna — December 16th, 2009 @ 9:38 am

4.Women don’t need 99% of the stuff they have in their bags. I haven’t carried a bag in probably 20 years – I have everything I need in a 5″, 3-compartment 2-zippered wallet that fits in my hand and in my coat pocket. Other than my sunglasses, which I can clip onto my shirt, I’m all set.


Comment by Secondhand Rose — December 24th, 2009 @ 10:55 pm
5.Since I don’t have little kids anymore I don’t wish to carry anyone’s things. I keep it simple with a small pocketbook containing only the essentials.

Comment by Chris Ingrisani — December 30th, 2009 @ 8:44 pm
6.There’s nothing worse than going out for an evening of barhopping with your single girlfriends and then getting stuck at the table while everyone else is dancing because someone has to watch all the handbags! For pete’s sake, even if you feel you DO have to carry one of those stupid things, at least have the brains to LEAVE IT IN THE CAR TRUNK! You can put your money in one pocket; your license in the other; clip your keys to your belt loop and stick a comb in your back pocket. Get a grip, ladies!


Comment by Secondhand Rose — December 31st, 2009 @ 11:56 am



7.I cannot do without my “mini-suitcase” like purse. Every single thing in there I need. Once, someone cut their finger, and I pulled out a tube of Neosporin.



Comment by Julie — January 29th, 2010 @ 7:16 pm



8.My wifes purse got stolen from her locked car in broad daylight last week. I’m trying to talk to her about even carrying one. Great article, thanks!



Comment by Chiropractor San Diego — March 3rd, 2010 @ 7:24 pm



9.We will bring those only important things.. it is also for our safety.



Comment by Chiropractor — February 8th, 2011 @ 5:23 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

6th March 2014

Post

Athlete needs hands on treatment

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chiropractor applies hands-on pain relief

Chiropractor applies hands-on pain relief

Published 10:22 p.m., Thursday, August 2, 2012
The News-Times
Danbury, Conn.          
  • Chiropractic sports physician Dr. Craig Sollose applies pressure on the neck of John Lasczak, an offensive lineman for Western Connecticut Militia football team and an auto mechanic in Danbury. Lasczak is being treated for heel and neck pain with a myofasical technique called applied resistance technique (ART) to help alleviate pain in various areas of the body. Photo: Carol Kaliff / CT
    Chiropractic sports physician Dr. Craig Sollose applies pressure on the neck of John Lasczak, an offensive lineman for Western Connecticut Militia football team and an auto mechanic in Danbury. Lasczak is being treated for heel and neck pain with a myofasical technique called applied resistance technique (ART) to help alleviate pain in various areas of the body.
    Photo: Carol Kaliff / CT
  •  

Neck and lower back pain led Brewster resident Evelyn Marino to a chiropractor five years ago.
And recently she has developed pain in her left foot. The cause is a neuroma, or a build-up of fatty tissue, between her second and third toe.
Her issues were addressed at Connecticut Center for Healthcare in Brookfield. Marino, 69, sees Dr. Craig Sollose, a certified chiropractic sports physician, and goes for massages, too.
“I want to stay healthy,” she said, lying on a table as Sollose demonstrated a soft tissue treatment called active release technique in which he has recently become certified.
A movement-based massage technique, it treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves, and treats conditions that include headache, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder, knee and elbow pain, he said.
“The one thing these have in common is they are often a result of overused muscles,” Sollose said.
The interview took place during an ART demonstration on a couple of his patients.
“I’m working around the neuroma. It’s fatty tissue surrounding the toe. I’m holding the muscle and applying pressure. This helps to break up scar tissue,” he said, while Marino grimaced only slightly, saying it hurt “a little.” She maintained she’s confident she’ll receive pain relief, as she did for her back and neck.
Going to the chiropractor “keeps me nice and straight. Before I could barely turn my head,” she said, turning to demonstrate her improved range of motion.
Later, Sollose worked on John Lasczak, 30, an auto mechanic in Danbury. Lasczak is also an offensive lineman for the Western Connecticut Militia football team. Sollose is the team’s chiropractor.
“John, he has chronic heel pain. I hold his muscle and find the adhesion and will stretch out his calf,” he said, bending Lasczak’s calf and applying pressure.
“Ever since (having) the technique it feels so much looser,” Lasczak said. He is receiving the therapy every second day.
He also gets ART for neck pain. “We actually stretch and try to break it up with my fingers,” said Sollose, who is also certified in acupuncture.
The practice also has Dr. Monte Marder, on staff and three massage therapists.
Connecticut Center for Integrated Healthcare, 246 Federal Road, Suite C-35. Call 203-740-2739 or visit www.ctcih.com
dchristopher@newstimes.com; 203-731-3347; http://twitter.com/dchristopherNT



Read more: http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Chiropractor-applies-hands-on-pain-relief-3758731.php#ixzz22bQA45bx