Old Duncan Hotel, New Haven, Conn.




This review is for how The Graduate has restored the Hotel Duncan. My path to work has me pass the hotel almost every day, and I have watched the progress. Bravo to the team for meticulously restoring the beauty and grandeur of the old Hotel Duncan, and with a sense of urgency. It’s amazing (to somebody such as myself from Chicago) how the project has progressed, and I am excited to have the full experience in the updated historic hotel soon. Thank you and bravo The Graduate!


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Mohegan Sun

As a gamer (nerdy 90’s PC gamer, not a “gamblin’ man”) i love the Mohegan Sun. My girlfriend describes it as upscale retail, restaurants and entertainment all contained in a cohesive, artistic experience. I see it as the progression of the “GameWorks arcade” to the next phase of evolution: the indoor world, where one is able to find whatever path, playing, eating, dancing, shopping, to fulfill a unique experience. Bravo to the management and staff for making Mohegan Sun a well-balanced fun experience, yes for gamblers, but way more crucially, EVERYBODY ELSE.  Mohegan Sun has become a true CT experience.

Tom’s Urban

The three of us started our Mohegan Sun day trip with appetizers at Tom’s Urban. This was a good move! The atmosphere was lively and the staff, from host to server, were on point with warm hospitality. Fried pickles were wisely sliced thin, making each bite the perfect balance of crunchy coating and pickly brine (don’t forget the housemade ranch!) Nashville hot wings were big on flavor rather than mouth burn. For us, the star of the show was the prime rib sliders, cheesy, meaty goodness and umami was perfectly portioned for satisfaction.

Bobby’s Burger Palace

I was blown away by the high quality execution on hand at Bobby’s Burger Palace (BBP). The order taker was concise and communicated pinpoint precision re: the burger temps (my girlfriend was happy with her burger cooked perfectly as described.)  The staff set us up with napkins, silverware, our drinks and even checked in in us multiple times. Bravo to the professionalism and teamwork BBP team!  My veggie burger was packed with vegetable flavor (black beans, mushrooms, lentils) and craveably delicious. The Coke machine was amazing for me (crisp Diet, moving on to a sophisticated grape Sprite). My friend and GF loved their frozen cactus pear margarita and boozy ice cream shake, respectively. They loved their burgers too much to share! Always a good sign, as were the obviously hand cut fries. The amazing cheese fries and well-seasoned onion rings will be haunting my fast food craving dreams.

Chris’ Place in Lebanon, CT

With the amazing cats Pinky and Moose.

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Temple Street Garage

I think the Temple Street Garage does not deserve the bad rep. Mayhaps people are scapegoating Temple Street Garage for New Haven’s parking problems. New Haven is an awesome city because of its rich history stretching back hundreds of years. Just as in other historic East Coast cities, like Boston, driving and parking is challenging, with narrow streets (mostly one ways), limited options, and high costs. None of which is the fault of Temple Street Garage. I find the garage to be an architectural gem. Its sweeping concrete curves are a memorable feature in the fabric of New Haven. Furthermore, the Temple Street Garage partners with local venues like Bow Tie Criterion Cinemas and the Union League Cafe to offer validated (reduced price) parking. Ditto for reduced monthly parking rates. This parking garage is convenient to downtown New Haven and the interstate highway, and has memorable architecture. I recommend it!

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Silverlake Ramen

Silverlake Ramen attracts the well behaved daytime hipster with well-prepared delicious food and Japanese-language movie posters of Hollywood films. However they are also wisely weary of overextending their hospitality to what i imagine to be the raucous night-time hipster. There is a sign on the front door reserving the right for management to refuse service to anybody for any reason. As a restaurant hospitality professional myself, I dared not fathom what must have been a truly awful occurrence in the past to warrant the placement of such a sign. But after witnessing how the night-time hipsters trashed Silverlake Ramen’s washrooms, I can begin to imagine. Let me just say the service was on point and the vegan ramen bowl made for an amazing farewell-LA dinner.

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LACMA | Los Angeles County Museum of Art

We visited the buildings and public art of LACMA as a continuation of our afternoon at the La Brea Tar Pits. Who knew modern art would be so enjoyable and appropriate as a rejoinder to prehistoric time travel. From Richard Serra’s elegant “Band” sculpture, the lines of William Periera’s architecture and Bruce Goff’s elegant, sweeping Pavilion for Japanese Art, to the “Urban Light” sculpture by Chris Burden and Michael Heizer’s “Levitating Mass” my brain reached for endless interpretions of the art. Therefore I highly recommend modern art for the brain, on the heels of thinking deeply about human beings’ role in mass extinction and climate change.

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La Brea Tar Pits

I loved it. The rest of my whole life, I am going to recommend the La Brea Tar Pits to anybody visiting Los Angeles. This is an epic narrative that goes to the heart of human beings first steps in the Americas, the unbelievable sites, animals and plants they encountered. The 3D movie, the specimen gallery, the graphics, the tar pits where researchers’ current work is open to the public: there are so many nuanced layers and approaches to education that my mind was kept in a constant state of discovery and wonderment. The museum’s powerful story of climate change’s past consequences is crucial for all Americans, now more than ever. I have long been borderline obsessed with the topic of North America’s last glacial period, and yet nothing prepared me for hands on learning of the prehistoric past in this urban setting. The impact of the experience at La Brea lingers on. Bravo to the team and staff, would give 10 stars if that was possible!

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Berry Bowl

I am not what would be commonly referred to as a, “healthy person.” That is, until I visit my vegan sister in LA!  We had frozen acai bowls for breakfast at Berry Bowl and let me just ask, where has this been my whole life?! I got a strong base of energy for my day from a beautiful bowl of frozen acai (what is it?! it’s like vegan frozen yogurt) with berries, nuts and cacao. It’s like a hyper nutritious vegan froyo breakfast sundae, if that makes sense? Just make sure you have some coffee or a newspaper to distract yourself, otherwise the strong temptation to quickly devour your bowl may result in wicked ice cream headache! Of course that happened to me. 😛

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