Weekend Roundup 2/14

by: Sara Bozich
February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers!

We have a bunch of recommendations from you, including how to celebrate at home, a millennial-friendly budget version, and cocktails to attempt. I’m making heart-shaped pasta I bought at Aldi, opening some good wine, and binging the rest of Russian Dolls. We’re actually going out for dinner on Saturday because I a) am a big fat liar, and b) never get to do anything.

Friday is 3rd in the Burg, which is a fun way to celebrate the love for Harrisburg, your friends, and sweetheart. See below for what’s going on.

weekend roundup

What are you doing this weekend?

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Categories: Featured, LivePA, TheBurg

An Evening with Ross Gay and The Book Of Delights at Midtown Scholar

by: Jess Koontz
February 13, 2019

This weekend, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore welcomes nationally acclaimed poet, Ross Gay, back to Harrisburg to present his brand new, genre-defying collection of essays, The Book of Delights.

midtown scholar

Enjoy An Evening with Ross Gay at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Midtown Scholar.

When I spoke to Gay, who has family in Central Pa., he was genuinely thrilled to return to the area.

“I am so excited to read the book with my family and friends in the audience. They are so integral to my thinking and making,” Gay said. ”Not to mention Midtown Scholar is one of the most beautiful, lovely, perfect bookstores on the planet. Every time I’m in town, I go to Midtown and usually leave with a stack of books I just stumbled upon, Little Amps, and the Midtown Theater, where my mom and I usually check out whatever is playing.

About The Book

Not only is Gay a Guggenheim Fellow, but his previous collection of poetry, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, was a National Book Award Finalist and Kingsley Tufts Award Winner. 

His latest work, The Book of Delights, was created over the course of one year. From birthday to birthday, each page captures the small joys, struggles, and intricacies of life that occur on a daily basis and connect us. 

Gay’s reflection on delight delves into the many complexities and even the terrors in his life. This includes living in America as a black man, the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture, and the loss of those he loves. His anecdotes range from a friend’s unabashed use of air quotes and pickup basketball games to the silent nod of acknowledgment between black people and the beauty of the natural world.

U.S. Poet, Laureate Tracy K. Smith gives the book high praise: “This is what poetry feels like when it races beyond the bounds of a poem. Exquisite.”

If You Go

Gay also touched on what guests can expect from his visit to the Midtown Scholar this weekend.

They will hear me read from my brand spanking new book, which I wrote over the course of one year by writing a short essay every day,” explained Gay. “I’ll probably read for about 30-40 minutes from these mostly very short essays. Some are serious, funny, ridiculous, sad, and/or philosophical. However, all of them are about, in some way, something that delighted me.”

As for what Gay hopes readers will take away from The Book of Delights, he focuses on compassion and connection.

“I hope people will trust each other more, and love each other more. I hope people will be more inclined to witness and exalt kindness and tenderness and care when it’s in their midst, which it always is.”

Following a reading from Ross Gay, there will be a book signing. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served.

Categories: Uncategorized

BUZZ: The Cracked Pot Coffee Shop in Mechanicsburg

by: Jess Koontz
February 12, 2019

Sugar, cream, caffeine and lots of love.

the cracked pot

That’s what The Cracked Pot Coffee Shop of Mechanicsburg is serving up these days.

The shop first opened its doors in May 2017. Since then, this faith-based, non-profit/specialty coffee shop has quickly become a favorite on the west shore.

Besides a great menu, what sets The Cracked Pot apart from the rest is its unique program that employs, trains, and mentors youth who are aging, or who have aged, out of the foster care system in Central PA.

Recently, I was able to chat with Owner and Founder, Emily Schmidt, and find out the inspiring story behind how The Cracked Pot found its home in Upper Allen Township.

Coffee Shop Dreams

the cracked pot

“When I was a teenager, I started collecting information and planning my dream of having a coffee shop someday,” said Schmidt. “It was always something I wanted to do. I could have never imagined it would end up being in my hometown across the street from the grocery store I use to shop at with my mom as a little girl!”

Schmidt, a Mechanicsburg native, worked in the food industry and nursing homes before meeting her husband and starting a family. After several years as a stay-at-home mom, she began revisiting her childhood dream of opening a shop. Around the same time, Schmidt and her husband began seriously looking into adoption.

“Both things had been on the back burner for a while,” she said. “Ironically, we started seriously talking about them again at the same time years later.”

During the adoption process, Schmidt said she realized how many children would never find a permanent home.

“It became real to me that this is a group of people that are slipping through the cracks,” she said. “They don’t have people walking with them through those important steps of becoming an adult once they age out of the system. It hit me that the coffee shop could be that! We could hire them and work alongside them to help them reach goals and assist them with setting the foundation for their futures.”

And that is exactly what Schmidt and her team have set out to do.

Giving Back

the cracked pot

Today, The Cracked Pot sponsors a 9-12 month program in which transitioning foster children can work at the coffee shop.  During this time, they also meet regularly with management, caseworkers, and mentors to ensure they are reaching their personal and professional goals.

“There have been many challenges and successes, but overall, great relationships have been formed,” said Schmidt. “Our employees are successfully reaching their goals. They seem to really like their time at the shop and serving this community.”

Schmidt hopes The Cracked Pot can be a peaceful, friendly, and fresh space that people can come to relax, refill or reconnect.

“We want to be a meeting and workplace for the community. That said, we also want to celebrate and support our community as well.”

the cracked pot

In addition to delicious coffee, all of which is sourced locally from Lancaster’s Passenger Coffee Roasters, The Cracked Pot is home to several support groups that meet on a weekly or monthly basis. This includes a breast cancer caretaker support group and Memory Cafe, a global dementia caretaker support group. They also host an open mic night on the first Friday of each month and space is available to rent for special events.  

“It is so neat to see how The Cracked Pot is impacting others’ lives and relationships.”

Guests can also enjoy a selection of fresh, homemade pastries, quiche, salads, paninis, avocado toast and other goodies for brunch and lunch.

The Cracked Pot is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Closed Sundays.

Follow The Cracked Pot Coffee Shop on Facebook  

Want to get involved? Click Here to Volunteer or Donate 

Categories: Coffee, West Shore

Single or Taken, these Valentine’s Day cocktails are worth making

by: Jimi Werner
February 11, 2019

Sara gave you ideas to do Valentine’s Day from the comfort of your sweats and couch.

I gave you ways to keep the day of love under budget.

But, no matter how you choose to celebrate the 14th of February, there’s probably going to be a few drinks involved.

Wine and beer are all well and good. You’ll NEVER hear us say no to a good glass of either at the end of the night.

However, if you’re looking to make the night feel a bit more special, consider a cocktail.

I’m not just talking about the standard cocktails either. No. I’m talking about some lovey-dovey themed cocktails that I pretend not to be super into, but secretly I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, so I’m kind of into it.

I mean, I watch The Bachelor while drinking Rosé, so yeah, there’s a part of me that’s always going to love stuff like this.

Turn up the love theme by cutting out fruit in the shape of hearts, dip strawberries into chocolate, and go all out.

Or hell, if you’re like me, and don’t have anyone you’re spending the night with, these can be a fun night with a few friends. You can each grab the ingredients to make one of these, sprinkle in a little of your favorite food, play a game, and there’s your night.

Whether your love is well-established, just blossoming, or not there yet, we have a few cocktails that can help make the night.

Berry Bubbly

The drink seems easy enough to pull off. You can make your own simple syrup if you’d like, but you can also go right ahead and buy it from the store. Plus, it doesn’t require any obscure ingredient that you couldn’t use over and over.

Recipe

Directions

Add the first four ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake an strain into a cocktail glass. Then top it off with the sparkling rosé and add the strawberry slices to make it pretty.


Raspberry Love

Bourbon on its own is always an option for me. Usually, it comes down to bourbon or another beer, and the final choice is dependent on how my day went. This bourbon-based cocktail is citrusy and fruity and should be the perfect nightcap. Again, it’s not a challenging drink at all.

Ingredients

Directions

Combine the first two ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, shake, and then pour it all into a tall glass. Top it all off with the soda and fresh raspberries.


Bleeding Heart

Popping a bottle of bubbly is another customary tradition on Valentine’s Day, but you don’t just have to pour it into a flute. In just a couple of swirls, you could spend the rest of the night floating away on the bubbles.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. Ruffino Prosecco, chilled
  • 1/2 oz. blood orange juice
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 1 orange twist

Directions

Combine the first three ingredients into a coupe glass (because you fancy, huh), and swirl them around to mix before garnishing with the orange twist.


Berry Caipiroska

I had to look up with a Caipiroska was, but my first guess that it might be a Caipirhina with vodka was correct. This one does require a little bit more than just mixing the ingredients (you just have to muddle), but it’s still pretty easy to pull off.

BONUS: It’s very similar to the first cocktail, and only requires two additional simple ingredients so you can try out two cocktails if you’re feeling up to it.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz. Belvedere Vodka
  • 1/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 3 fresh raspberries
  • 2 small lime wedges

Directions

Muddle the simple syrup, raspberries, and lime wedges in the bottom of a rocks glass then add in the vodka and a scoop of crushed ice and stir.


What are you drinking this Valentine’s Day?

Categories: Cocktails

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