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Small town restaurant + Bad experience = Would you go back?

I am from New Hampshire, so I know exactly what you mean. I live in a more cosmopolitan area now, with very good restaurants and professional service, but I still visit family several times a year and have to deal with different standards.

My advice is to lower your standards and keep it simple. For food, order something simple and hard to screw up. Avoid anything ambitious or ethnic - even a simple pasta dish is too much for some places to handle. You'll likely get mushy pasta in jarred sauce.

For service, I think it helps to remember that wait staff in small-town places are probably working poor people. They probably hold a couple of jobs and had no training. The kitchen staff in such places can be pretty abusive to the wait staff (that was my experience, anyway, having waitressed at tourist restaurants summers in high school and college).

I'd also encourage you to find place you like well enough and become a regular. Get to know the staff and let them know you. They'll treat you better. Even if you just go to the bar once in a while and get a drink and an app, you'll see them warm up to you, once they realize you're not just another tourist or college here-today, gone-tomorrow type.

Sep 18, 2014
shoes in Not About Food
1

Harwhich and Chatham

We were at the Impudent Oyster this past week - excellent food, unexpected pairings of things and very fresh. The place is packed packed packed - make a reservation well in advance.

We had the raw local oyster platter for starters, followed by a bouillibaise and a special etouffee. (Sorry - not spell-checking those).

The service is very professional and we see the same servers there year after year.

Sep 07, 2014
shoes in Southern New England

Iconic CT foods

I remember Steele played Souza marches on his morning show. What a way to wake up!

Nice to see that Steele and shad still get some love.

Aug 25, 2014
shoes in Southern New England

Iconic CT foods

Apropos of something, Slate today published a story titled "United Sweets of America," with an iconic dessert for each state.

Of course, they get Connecticut wrong:

SPICE COOKIES
Connecticut is known as the Nutmeg State not because nutmeg grows there (it doesn’t), but because “its early inhabitants had the reputation of being so ingenious and shrewd that they were able to make and sell wooden nutmegs”—in other words, they were able to pass off fake nutmegs as real ones. It’s a bit of a convoluted origin story, and one that doesn’t speak well of the state’s integrity. But it does make a certain amount of sense: Connecticut’s earliest settlers were Dutch, and the Dutch are big on baking spices. Spice cookies aren’t quite as popular in Connecticut as they are in the Old World, but it’s hard to find fault with the soft, aromatic New England variety.

Does anyone eat spice cookies anymore?

Didn't think so.

So what should it have been?

* Apple cider doughnuts
* Those Portuguese pastries with the custard center
* Some Italian pastry - cannoli, zeppole
* Polish doughnuts
* UConn ice cream

????

Aug 25, 2014
shoes in Southern New England

Iconic CT foods

I have one that I bet no one here other than me has eaten during the past year: Connecticut River shad.

Had it, either the fish or the roe, in the past year?

Bragging rights given!

I buy some every spring at Bud's Fish Market in Branford. Hal gets some old lady to bone the fish for him. Shallow-fry it in a cornmeal crust. Not the best fish, but it's definitely a Connecticut thing.

Aug 25, 2014
shoes in Southern New England

Iconic CT foods

Hm. How about:

Norwalk oysters
Stonington flounder
Apple cider doughnuts (yes, available in many places but the Connecticut ones are ubiquitous year-round)
Oddball pizzas - hot oil pizza (A Stamford thing. I don't get it, but it's a thing) and red potato pizza (a Willimantic thing)

Aug 21, 2014
shoes in Southern New England

Does anyone own a vacuum sealer?

Another vote for the Foodsaver model. Works very well and is worth the investment for the savings you get if you cook or buy in bulk, or if you have a big garden or hunt. You can get a barely used one cheap on eBay or at garage sales or thrift stores.

Most people forget this fact about the bags: you can reuse them. Reuse is not recommended if you bagged raw meat, but any other items are fine. I put the bags inside-out in the dishwasher (I have one of those dishwashers that doesn't have a heat dry setting).

Aug 21, 2014
shoes in Cookware

Anyone seen the watermelon truck guy in New Haven yet this summer?

I never found him but I did get a great watermelon like I describe at Edge of the Woods. Thanks.

Aug 19, 2014
shoes in Southern New England

Montreal breakfast

I've always enjoyed Eggspectation. I've never had a crepe there, but the cade au lait is fabulous. I usually get the Canadian breakfast with the baked beans in homage to my grandmother. It's an English-aligned place, not a French place, so it won't suit if you want the whole French atmosphere.

Aug 14, 2014
shoes in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Leave the gun, take the cannoli...

From "Moonstruck":

"Old man, if you give them dogs another piece of my food, I'm gonna kick you 'til you're dead."

"They say bread is life. And I bake bread, bread, bread. And I sweat and shovel this stinkin' dough in and out of this hot hole in the wall, and I should be so happy! Huh, sweetie?"

"Would anyone like some oatmeal? Yes, Mrs. Castorini, I would love some oatmeal. No, we don't want any oatmeal!"

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Nice dish!

Does anyone know if this works for any kind of squash blossom? I have a bunch of butternut squash blossoms on my vines right now. (I don't grow zucchini.)

Thanks!

Aug 01, 2014
shoes in Home Cooking

Anyone seen the watermelon truck guy in New Haven yet this summer?

Every summer, some guy parks around New Haven with a truck full of watermelons for sale. These are the real deal watermelons - giant seeded elongated ovals of awesomeness.

I've bought from him past years at the Walgreen's parking lot on Whalley Ave. and by the flea market on the Boulevard.

I have not seen him yet this year. Any sightings? Thanks.

Aug 01, 2014
shoes in Southern New England

Interesting Breakfast Place Near U Delaware?

We'd rather visit a good local breakfast place than scarf down mass-produced eggs at the hotel.

Anyplace near U Delaware worth a look? Thanks.

Aug 01, 2014
shoes in Mid-Atlantic

Your Giant American Refrigerator Is Making You Fat And Poor

I can see this might be true for some families. Among relatives and friends, I know a few food hoarder types who are all overweight. These folks don't live in rural areas or have any kind of budgetary issues or farms.

The fridge (and even a second fridge) are stuffed, the cabinets are stuffed, lots of food goes bad. There's candy on the counter, bags of chips in the TV room, snacks in the cars. There's endless variety for eats, and when you have endless variety (including a lot of unhealthy choices) you'll likely overeat.

Jul 31, 2014
shoes in Food Media & News
1

What's your best yard sale or thrift store cookware find?

Home canning supplies - a pressure canner, a water bath canner, jars, rings, tongs, funnels. Checked it all over thoroughly to be sure there were no cracks, warps etc.

Jul 29, 2014
shoes in Cookware

Which gluten free thickener for apricot crisp?

Potato starch works wonderfully to thicken without making that gloppyness you can get from corn starch.

Jul 29, 2014
shoes in Home Cooking
1

Wine Shop in the Midcape Area With Good Inventory After Labor Day

We're headed to Chatham in September and we're debating whether to bring our own wine or chance it with wine shops on the Cape.

In the past, the shops we've tried seemed picked over by Labor Day. I imagine the small shops try to unload as much as they can before the offseason hits and don't order much new inventory until spring.

Can anyone recommend a few reliable shops fall buying? Or should we add wine to our packing list?

Jul 25, 2014
shoes in Southern New England

Traditional Quebec recipes

My French-Canadian relatives make a dish called pot-hellion out of wild game. It's basically a braise of moose, venison or what have you with some salt pork, onion, beans/peas/lentils and molasses/maple syrup.

Jul 25, 2014
shoes in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? July 2014 edition! [OLD]

My husband got me the five-volume Modernist Cooking set by Nathan Myhrvold. What a beautiful and amazing collection! I read the first volume and have a whole new appreciation and perspective on food safety, farming and other basics.

I don't know if I will ever COOK anything from this, though.

Jul 18, 2014
shoes in Home Cooking

What favorite food is such a labor of love, time, technique or even money that rarely make it but when you do…

I buy the frozen stuff. Is there that much of a difference? It's only a tablespoon.

Jul 18, 2014
shoes in Home Cooking

birthday party veue

Coromandel in Stamford is excellent - a bit upscale, very fresh and a big menu.

Jul 18, 2014
shoes in Southern New England

Ideas for place to go for a week with kosher restaurants around, PLEASE!

I never said New Haven offered fine kosher dining! But you could get by nicely for a few days with what's on offer.

I think the area is a nice option - rent a beach house in New Haven or a suburb to get some outdoors time, get groceries in New Haven and enjoy a few simple meals out.

It's certainly an hour from the city. And there's lots to do on a rainy day.

Jul 17, 2014
shoes in Kosher

Ideas for place to go for a week with kosher restaurants around, PLEASE!

There are a few kosher places in New Haven Conn.:

* Claire's Cornercopia in downtown New Haven is kosher vegetarian
* There's a deli called Westville Kosher Market on the western side of town.
* Edge of the Woods market on Whalley Avenue in New Haven has a kosher bakery and hot food buffet (also vegetarian).
* The regular supermarkets and liquor stores carry a large selection of kosher items.

None of these places is a full-service kosher restaurant with liquor licenses and waiter service. But the food is very good.

New Haven itself is a small city with theater, art museums and galleries,music etc. There are lots of pretty beaches around - Hammonasset in nearby Madison is a beautiful state park.

Jul 17, 2014
shoes in Kosher

Fish Market on the Cape

The fishing pier at the Chatham fishermen's coop is very good.

Jul 16, 2014
shoes in Southern New England

looking for a fun dinner for approx 50 business managers

The Norwalk Aquarium hosts corporate events. I've been to a few big ones there. Might be worth a call.

Jul 16, 2014
shoes in Southern New England

What favorite food is such a labor of love, time, technique or even money that rarely make it but when you do…

Kreplach (Jewish wonton soup) for my husband's family, the way the grandmother made it (although I refuse to render chicken fat).

Jul 09, 2014
shoes in Home Cooking

good food in strange places

The tiny airport cafe in Chatham MA on Cape Cod has amazing breakfast and lunch foods - homemade corned beef hash, fantastic omelets, homemade jams made with local fruit.

Jul 07, 2014
shoes in New Jersey

BELGIUM vs USA spots tomorrow along CT shoreline?

There are two Belgian places in New Haven - Rudy's on Chapel Street and Mathis & Mason on Elm Street. Rudy's has TVs, I don't think the other place does, and it may not have a liquor license either.

Also in New Haven, O'Toole's on Orange Street has a plaza set-up with outdoor and indoor viewing of the games. Basic pub food kind of place with a big beer selection.

Jul 01, 2014
shoes in Southern New England

iSO Fried Chicken for take-out in FFCfor improntu get together Saturday afternoon

The City Limits Diner in Stamford (near the Greenwich line) makes excellent fried chicken. They do take-out.

Jun 20, 2014
shoes in Southern New England

Lunch near the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan Conn?

@SteveSCT - yeah - the second I posted "no chain or fast-food" I said to myself, "Duh, it's New Canaan." Thanks for the recs.

Jun 19, 2014
shoes in Southern New England