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What's to EAT around New Britain?

I have a friend who is moving to New Britain. So we want to know, what's good to eat up there?

I'm talking food of all sorts, bakeries, bars, ice cream parlors, groovy little mom & pops, whatever.

Where do you eat and drink in the area?

What do you eat and drink there?


Summer Beers 2011

It scarred me, Brooklyn Concoction. Had it at Rudy's in New Haven. Was the special. Chalkboard at my end of the bar said it was smoky. I took a sip and made a face. Bartender asked, "Do you hate it?" I said, "I dunno, gimme a while. I gotta get used to it."

Sour taste made me want to scrape my tongue. Once it finally dissipated, I was reluctant to reintroduce it. But I made myself take another sip. Worked my way through about two ounces that way. Put down my glass. Started chatting. Tried to walk away from it. Gal I was with reminded me. "Oh, DON'T forget your beer!"

I flinched.

Noticed chalkboard with specials at other end of the bar on my way out. This one read, "TASTES LIKE LIQUID CHICKEN!"


Feb 06, 2012
PipentaCereal in Beer

How many times is it ok for a restaurant to get it wrong?

This hits the nail on the head. Because it can often feel like a form of aggression. Like HOW DARE YOU CRITICIZE whatever, NOW SHUT UP AND PAY ME. If the service is bad enough, you can walk away feeling like you need a shower, like you've been had.

Sorry to put it so bluntly, but even trite human interactions can manifest the less-than-wholesome aspects of human behavior. When Serge Storms is at the take-out window, then take my word for it, you do NOT want fries with that.

Feb 05, 2012
PipentaCereal in Not About Food

What to expect at a "Tea"

For fifty bucks, offer up some kind of genteel spiked punch, all garnished with elegant orchids on the ice or something.

Find somebody with real talent who can do petits fours or something like that. Have them decorated with floral motifs. But no choked in fondant. Find some genius who can work a pastry tube with the skill and understatement of a Japanese calligrapher. You don't need to have a zillion of them. Most of your sweet offerings can look more understated, but have enough to provide eye candy. No big nasty tacky cakes.

Have some of the sandwiches you offer have upscale ingredients.

Find a chef/caterer who is smart, innovative and ambitious. Folks in all kinds of careers are struggling these days to get a break. If there are going to be guests at this event who might have their own events catered, that could help motivate. Taste before you hire. That research is a reasonable part of your budget and the samplings will be interesting and a bit of fun to compensate for the work your committee will be doing. Above and beyond that good feeling that comes from doing work for a good (this is a good one, right?) cause.

Lots of Luck!

Feb 05, 2012
PipentaCereal in Not About Food

Pear Cider , Perry Suggestions

Not really sure if this belongs in the Beer Board, but not sure where better to ask.

I've become fond of pear cider of late. Been sampling every kind I can find. Recently got some apple ciders and realized, no, I really do prefer the pear. Have yet to find one that I don't like, even the Woodchuck which kind of has a floral note that reminds me of some penny candy of my childhood. But what are the really good ones? Any suggestions are welcome. I will go a samplin'!

Feb 05, 2012
PipentaCereal in Beer

New Call to Regulate Sugar

If you are knowingly profiting from something that is proven to make people sick, then sure, a tax to cover some of the expense to society is reasonable.

And as for our ability to act like proper adults and make wise choices, we all have to stand up against the constant erosion of the relentless brainwashing of advertising. Perhaps the answer might be to ban advertising for sugar-laden products?

But, as the average grocery store is full of foods that seemed designed for an eight year old's taste buds, it seems willfully ignorant and destructive to do nothing but beat your chest and whine about a nanny state all the while shoving twinkies and oreos down your cakehole.

Feb 03, 2012
PipentaCereal in Features

Grasshopper Ice Cream

I call FOUL! Where are the grasshoppers?

Jan 29, 2012
PipentaCereal in Recipes

Meat made of SCIENCE!

Not made of SCIENCE. Made by technology. Not the same thing at all.

Science is a way of trying to understand the world.

If you notice that stomping through the kitchen when you have a cake in the oven flattens your cake. THAT is science.

Recently I smoked some salmon. The man at the fish market told me that the farmed salmon would probably be better for smoking because it was fattier. That was his hypothesis.

I got two pieces, one wild caught, the other farmed. I treated them both the same, brined them the same, smoked them the same. And, sadly, the farmed did turn out better, more succulent than the wild fish. The flavor was good in both. Mind you, I have to repeat the experiment a few more times to be sure.

But it's just as much science to study the wild fish as to grow frankenfish in the lab. Beatrix Potter with her notebooks out in the English Countryside was every bit as much a scientist as Rutherford in his lab!

Visiting Yale Need healthy fast food suggestions

Healthy AND fast food? Can't think of one that fits the bill. More like you'll have to poke around to find specific offerings that work for you.

Mamoun's is fast and affordable. You can't beat their falafel sandwich for price and it strikes me as pretty dang healthy.

At York Street Noodle House, you can opt for some very tasty and reasonable vegetarian options.

Thali Too, behind the Apple store, is vegetarian. They fry. They use ghee. But there are good inexpensive noodle bowls that you can customize.

If you can get yourself down to Chestnut Fine Foods, on State Street, you can glory in some home cooked foods that will be as healthy as your common sense when you order. They do damn good soups and gorgeous breads. If you can't resist the pastry or the cheese, you have only yourself to blame. And you can snag a sunny little table in the window.

There are a whole mess of places in the East Rock area closer to Yale that are grocery stores/delis that do some very nice things. Nico's, for example. A couple of these spots have tables on the sidewalk that are nice when the weather is agreeable. There's also a place that offers middle eastern fare down that way, that I have not tried yet.

I'm sure there are more, but half the fun is poking around. If you are looking for a place to park your laptop and hang out, there are any number of nice coffee bars. I'm partial to Jojo's on Park Street. They do the best latte in town and I adore their ginger lemon tea which they make fresh and is one of those comfort beverages for all manner of ills. Super nice people.

Explore! We have a very high Italian population and our Latin American population is growing every day. The deliciousness just keeps ramping up. And don't listen to the propaganda that tells you how bad New Haven is. The scariest thing here are the Yalies, and they're only bad because they don't look before they cross the street.


Whelk - Westport

Whelk? Really? Are there Busycotypus spp. on the menu?

Indian food - Southern Connecticut Shoreline.....

Thali Too is in New Haven, in the alley behind the Apple store.

It's vegetarian, but don't let that put you off. It has many fans who normally are determined carnivores. While you can get your favorites, they are very creative here and the prices are more than reasonable. It's a pretty place with tall ceilings. Order a Dean's dosa and it is longer than the table. The chefs can work magic with the humble potato.

The owners have other, more upscale, places. But as I'm not exactly rolling in cash, I appreciate a place I can afford to visit on a whim.

The staff are super nice too.


Don't know that you are still wondering, TWELVE YEARS DOWN THE ROAD, but things are looking up now, more than a decade down the old time stream.

Seymour: Riverview BBQ. Seasonal, because you eat out of doors. The location is as gorgeous as can be. There is a large gorgeous patio plaza under towering oaks set on the side of the Housatonic. The food is good. I swoon for the ribs. They also do lobster specials.

Derby: Smoke & Bones. They do it ALL. They do it well. My current favorite is the chicken, of all things. It's a way of indulging myself and being sensible at the same time. Then I undo all the good by having mashed potatoes on the side. I have yet to try the ribs. They do sliders, and it is fun to get one each of pulled pork, beef and chicken.


LOL, this is like Stone Soup. Sure, vodka is flavorless, until you add lemon juice, maraschino and chartreuse, violette and cucumber. Add that to air, and you'll find it has a lot more flavor too!

Jan 27, 2012
PipentaCereal in Recipes

Cask Republic in New Haven?

Food is pretty good. Overall it is a bit swanky for me.

Jewish deli

I have to agree with the criticism of Katz's. Mushy rye bread is just wrong. Overall there is too much salt. I do love the cole slaw. And when it is really cold out I sometimes come in to treat myself to some matzoh ball soup.

They give you free pickles and cole slaw, as an appetizer. For me, this could be a meal in itself. And I wonder if they have upped the salt to keep it from being something you can really pig out on? Eyeballing the customers on any given day, and there seem to be a higher-than typical for the area number of obese people. The servings here are huge. If I get, say, a tongue sandwich, I take off half the meat and bring it home. My where else to get tongue on rye in the area? And that is a treat I enjoy about twice a year. Lately, however, I've been feeding my tongue jones off the taco trucks down by the harbor.

I can forgive many of the sins here, but the ghost of the Westville Bakery looms over they area, and they made the most WONDERFUL rye breads. I can still remember my shock and sorrow when they suddenly closed. I leaned up against the glass of the door and just pined.

Rein's, on the other hand, rocks. Gimme their rye bread, a chocolate egg cream and some half sour pickles and I am a happy gal.

Smoke and Bones - Derby

I was in New Haven last night around six thirty and wanted to bring a friend to S & B, but couldn't remember what hour they closed. We tried calling information, but the operator didn't have the number! Big time screw up at the phone company.

I love just about every thing about Smoke & Bones. The food is very good. I don't usually bother with chicken when I go a BBQin', but it is my favorite thing here. I love the collards, adore the mashed potatoes. And they have one of my all-time favorite beers, Allagash white. I get the chicken as a way of being sensible, health-wise. But I guess I am undermining it with the potatoes. Still, the salads are tasty too.

The staff could not be nicer. Blues is always playing on the sound system. The location had been a big meat locker, then a porn shop, and you can't get more gritty bluesy than that! The building, which seems like it was yanked from next door to Arthur Bryant's and plopped down in Derby. But seriously, valley towns look like the kind of places that should have good BBQ. The logo is the niftiest thing I have ever seen, a flaming pig skull & crossbones, which evokes pirates and bikers and zombies all in one go. I actually bought a hat, I liked it so much. And if that wasn't niftiest enough ambiance, the building is smack dab next to the train tracks and the train has been known to stop there for take out! Beat that!

The fried fish stuff seems pretty good, but I can only eat so much fried fish. I'll leave it to other folks who are all about such things. I do love the idea of a po' boy with a regional spin. And there is a regional spin here. The beans owe more to Boston than to Texas.

The valley is becoming a BBQ destination! What S&B shares with Riverbank, which is up the road in Seymour, is good food, lovely ambiance and really nice people. We're talking about folks who are pouring their hearts and souls into these businesses, and I am all about trying to support them. Ah, don't you love showing community spirit with a napkin tucked under your chin?

And if all of this wasn't reason enough for a field trip, you have Roseland Pizza near by as well. Just don't hit all these destinations on the same day. You'd explode.

Deen - Why did she keep it a secret for three years while deep frying butter?

Wow, Tony got a deal with the pharmaceutical companies to promote antibiotics all. Well golly, I missed that part.


Deen - Why did she keep it a secret for three years while deep frying butter?

Ah, but look how the county data shows the differences between Fairfield and Litchfield compared to the rest of the state. Hartford County, with all the insurance money, isn't doing so bad either. And where people are poorest Wyndham (oh yes, there is rural poverty in CT. Who knew?), they are the fattest.

The folks who get up in arms saying that this is simply a matter of choice, of willpower, are obliterated by the data. Don't you just love science?

Also notice the point at which CT starts plumping up. I'd say it has a lot to do with the economy. People have less money and become more stressed. We can't afford the same food that We were eating before, can't afford to go to the market as often as we did because CT is a car-driving suburban state with crap-all for mass transit. And stressed, we look to comfort themselves with high carb, high fat comfort foods.

Except, as the numbers show us, in Fairfield County where so many of those bankers who got richer than god by raping the rest of us live. They're doing fine.

Stop Bashing Paula Deen

Wow, just wow. This is all quite the chewy morsel, isn't it?

I come down solidly in the Bourdain camp, for every possible reason. He strikes me as brutally honest with himself because first and foremost, he's a writer, and a good one. And his writing is a cannonball off a cliff fearless lunatic in the style of Hunter S. Thompson or even Harlan Ellison. So we, some of us anyway, love him for that. I don't know about his cooking, I've never tasted it. But he holds himself under a magnifying glass for his readers in a way that is every inch the opposite of Deen's schtick.

I can't say a whole lot about Deen's show because I haven't watched but about five minutes of it here and there over the years. I am perfectly capable of baking a cheesecake or throwing sugar and cream cheese into a mixer, thank you very much. She is not instructive. At best, I find her boring. And the whole homey family picture leaves me cold. Her's is a lifestyle I find repellent.

Some will call me elitist. This is a logical loop-de-loop that I almost admire for the audacity of it. I'm an elitist because I am repelled by ostentatious waste. Get your vocabulary straight. I'm not elitist, I'm judgmental. No, I will not support your RIGHT to be a GREEDY PIG.

But she represents this grotesque determination to anesthetize by way of gluttony. Worried about the future? Feed your face? Anxious about your social standing? Have more cake. Freaking out about downsizing at your company? Here's a platter of ribs.

We all have to eat, so why not enjoy it? But how much joy is really in it when you are stressing your body to the point that it develops a diet-based deadly disease?

And it's a pretty normal human thing, to self soothe like that. But on the Food Network it becomes a pathology. Every time I see a clip of Guy Fireball shoving yet another gloppy hunk of ground beef and processed cheese into his face, I can smell fear, and Pepto. Hell, I need Pepto just for watching it.

You know where else I smell fear? When I see people bristle at the public mention of healthy eating. Those folks who get indignant when it is suggested that soda should be taxed because damnit, they have the right to drink it by the bucketful for breakfast and bathe their g'ddamn kids in it. They are like fundies who don't want their kids to even hear that there are other ways of thinking. People who cling so hard to the safety blankets of their routines, that you could probably chase them away by waving some kale at them and telling them it is tasty. WHUTSAHMATTER WIT U, U UNUHMERKIN OR SOMETHING!?!

Diatbetes is frightening and stressful and EXPENSIVE. I would not wish diabetes of any sort on Ms. Deen or anyone.

But no, Mr. Birdsall, we are not going to stop bashing her. She makes a fat living off her celebrity. She won't be treated with the same loathing that, say, Micheal Vick, though she has probably done more harm. On the public judgement scale of celebrity scandal, she falls to the left of, oh, Roman Polansky, but well to the right of Brittany Spears. Perhaps we'll see Ms. Deen checking herself into rehab with a shaved head one of these days. But I rather doubt it.

Jan 19, 2012
PipentaCereal in Features