Left at the Fork

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Category: Connecticut (page 1 of 3)

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Fairfield CT


We love Pepe’s. We really, really love Pepe’s. Bruce’s single favorite food on earth is a Pepe’s white clam pizza. Alright, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s see if we can begin to explain why. Continue reading

Sift Bake Shop, Mystic CT


We had no idea that the owner of Sift, a bakery smack in the center of all the action in Mystic, made a well-publicized appearance on the Food Network earlier this year (we abandoned the channel many, many years ago). Not that it would have made any difference to us either way – we found ourselves in the area at breakfast time and Sift just looked promising. Continue reading

Senator Thomas J. Dodd Memorial Stadium, Norwich CT


Last time we visited, the home team was the Norwich Navigators, the AA club for the San Francisco Giants, and attendance was dismal. Today, the team is the Connecticut Tigers, a short-season single-A farm team for the Detroit Tigers. That’s very low in the baseball pecking order – for many of these kids this is their first professional baseball experience. It’s pretty amazing to watch: feels like the game consists mostly of walks, strikeouts, and misplays. We say misplays rather than errors because the scorers rarely call anything an error. It’s kind of surprising to see guys play the field much like they do in your pickup softball game. Honestly, though, there were a couple of guys on each team that could clearly field their positions well. Continue reading

Checking in at: These Guys Brewing Company, Norwich CT

These Guys Brewing opened in Norwich in late 2015 and have since earned a reputation for their dining, an unusual accomplishment for a brewpub. We weren’t there to eat, however. We enjoyed a Gen Pop (“hazy, cloudy New England style IPA all Mosaic, easy drinking w/ delightful bitterness”) and a Queen B’s Pale Ale (” deep golden American Pale Ale brewed w/ honey malt & 3 hop varietals”), both well-made, amber-to-orange colored brews. Continue reading

Twisters Ice Cream, Mystic CT


Let us tell you a little story: There is a restaurant in Mystic named Kitchen Little. It was a tiny restaurant with a loyal following, located for decades at 135 Greenmanville Avenue. The land on which Kitchen Little sat was owned by the Mystic Seaport. A few years ago, the Seaport decided to sell off some of its real estate holdings, particularly those that had little relation to its core mission. One of those properties was 135 Greenmanville. Kitchen Little had a next door neighbor, also a restaurant, by the name of Sea View Snack Bar. The owners of Sea View purchased 135 Greenmanville from the Seaport and proceeded, according to Kitchen Little’s owner, to triple the rent, forcing Kitchen Little to move. Continue reading

Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough, Noank CT


Before we’d ever been to Maine, lobster, to us, was rich man’s food found in white tablecloth restaurants. The first few times we went to a Maine lobster pound we laughed at the incongruity of the single-serving bag of potato chips that always accompanies the cooked critter. After dozens of lobster-in-the-rough meals (lobster-in-the-rough being the Maine term for ultra-casual lobster restaurants served out-of-doors, usually at picnic tables near the shore) we now find it impossible to enjoy Homaris americanus anywhere south of the New England-New York border, and certainly not anywhere we wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing shorts and sandals. Continue reading

Snotea Caffe, Groton CT


Ice cream, frozen custard, sherbet, Italian ice, water ice, snow cones, sorbet, New Orleans sno-balls, Hawaiian shave ice, Mexican paletas, Filipino halo-halo… we’d thought we pretty much exhausted the lineup of frozen treats available in the U.S. But there’s been a new player on our shores for the last couple of years, and we finally gave it a try: snow, also known as snow ice or shaved snow. In Taiwan, the birthplace of snow ice, it’s called xue hua bing. Continue reading

Gary Bimonte of Pepe’s Pizza in The VIP Lounge

The VIP Lounge is a weekly Boston Globe interview of a usually D-list celebrity with some passing connection to Boston. The same eight travel-themed questions are asked of each interviewee — Aisle or window? Guilty pleasure when traveling? This week the VIP is Gary Bimonte, one of seven grandchildren of Frank Pepe, founder of the greatest pizzeria in the country, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven, CT. There are now eight Pepe’s pizzeria’s in the northeast, the most recent of which opened, very successfully, in Chestnut Hill mall in Boston. Mr. Bimonte is manager of quality control, popping around to the eight restaurants to ensure the pies are up to New Haven standards. Check out his VIP Lounge interview here.

America’s 32 or 33 Best Pizzerias

Thrillist does this once a year — compiles their rundown of America’s top pizzerias — and they’ve just released their fourth edition. The biggest news has to the absence of Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana of New Haven, CT. They did include Sally’s Apizza, Pepe’s down-the-block and up-for-sale rival, on their list, where they note that Pepe’s was dropped because of their continued expansion and resulting inconsistency. Sally’s the only pizzeria in New Haven to make the cut? And only two from the entire state of Connecticut (the best pizza state in the U.S.)? Continue reading

Shad Derby Festival, Windsor CT, May 21st 2016

Each year in Windsor, CT (a little bit north of Hartford) shad (the state fish of Connecticut) swim up the Connecticut and Farmington Rivers to lay their eggs in fresh water (similar to salmon). The people of Windsor observe this biological fact with their own annual event, the springtime Shad Derby Festival. The festival is really a series of sponsored events spread throughout the month of May (this year, from the 1st through the 21st). Some of the events that have already taken place include the Fishing Tournament, the Shad Derby Gala, and the Coronation Ball. Continue reading

Great Fries Are Important, Too

We love top-notch burgers and dogs as much as anyone, and it’s not really going out on a limb to assert that quality French fries, preferably hand-cut from fresh potatoes,  are an equally important factor in the burgers/dogs/fries formula. It’s not that uncommon for food savvy folks to praise the potatoes that come out of McDonald’s fryers, and we’ll concede that they aren’t bad (we don’t find them particularly praise-worthy either) but we’re talking about fried potatoes that can compete in the major leagues, several levels of quality above the fast food chain circuit. Continue reading

?It’s the Most♪Wonderful Time♫Of the Year!

No, not THAT time of the year — we’re talking about opening day at Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough, in Noank CT. Hot steamers, clear chowder, hot lobster rolls and, best of all, steamed lobsters dunked in melted butter, enjoyed in the bright sunshine at a picnic table by the water, with a six-pack of cold microbrew from Universal Package Store up the street — it all began this past Friday. For those of us who do not live near the lobster shacks along the coast of Maine, Abbott’s is the best way we know of to usher in the spring and summer days. Here’s a look at this year’s opening day:

First Gentleman Candidate Pops into Pepe’s of New Haven

The Clintons are pushing hard for the food savvy vote. Earlier this week, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton joined Stephen Colbert for a meal at New York’s famed Carnegie Deli. Yesterday, her husband and possible future First Gentleman, Bill, showed up at the home of the best pizza on earth, Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana, in New Haven, CT, the city where he and Hillary first met. He shook hands and gabbed, and even got close enough to some Pepe’s pies to appreciate their alluring scent. His current ascetic eating plan, however, apparently wouldn’t allow him to dine, as he departed without a bite. While we admire the former president’s willpower, surely a slice of founder Frank Pepe’s favorite pie, topped with tomatoes but no cheese, would have fit into his vegan diet!

Challah and Matzoh Ball Soup

You probably don’t expect to find superlative challah and matzoh ball soup at a Connecticut diner, but here it is at the Blue Colony in Newtown. The Fairfield Daily Voice is running daily profiles all this week of the five diners that are finalists in their reader poll to determine Fairfield County’s best diner. Today’s look at the Blue Colony also praises the Reuben, giant cookies, and Belgian waffles, as well as the attentive, longtime waitstaff. Voting will run through the 25th.

“Pizza, A Love Story” – Movie About New Haven Pizza Due Out in 2016

Last year we had Deli Man, a movie about Jewish delis, and Famous Nathan, a film about the founding of Nathan’s in Coney Island, NY. In production for release this year is Pizza, A Love Story, which will tell the story of pizza in New Haven, CT, focusing on the big three: Pepe’s, Sally’s, and Modern. We’re excited! Have a look at the first trailer (is that actual footage of Frank Pepe kneading the dough??? Sure looks like him!): Continue reading

More on the Potential Sale of Sally’s Apizza in New Haven CT

Sally’s Apizza of New Haven is for sale, sort of. We wrote a bit about the subject last month because New Haven pizza fascinates us and, although we’ve never dined at Sally’s (we’re Pepe’s white clam fanatics), we recognize that it holds a significance in the story of American pizza almost equal to that of Pepe’s. Well, the Sally’s drama has made it to the pages of The New York Times and, while there’s very little substantive information in the story that we did not already know (save for the fact that a judge has freed Sally’s owners to find a new buyer if they choose), Sally’s current state of affairs is summed up nicely. Continue reading

Vote for Fairfield County CT’s Best Diner

Do you love the 24-hour 2007 diner Elmer’s in Danbury? Or are you a regular at Westport’s Sherwood Diner? Maybe your diner is the 1921 Orem’s of Wilton (one of our favorites)? Or is it the 1973 Blue Colony in Newtown (another favorite of ours)? If you are like 39% of the Fairfield Daily Voice’s poll respondents, your favorite Fairfield diner is the Monroe Diner of Monroe, currently the poll leader. Those five diners are the finalists. If you have an opinion on the subject, head over to the poll website and register your preference. One vote per day is permitted. The Daily Voice will be running profiles of all five diners next week.

Top Burger in Every State

Hubcap burgers at Cotham’s in Arkansas… the original burger on toast at Louis’ Lunch in Connecticut… thin, crisp-edged burgers at The Workingman’s Friend in Indiana…green chile cheeseburgers at the Buckhorn Tavern in New Mexico… these are four of the 51 burgers selected as the best in each state by Business Insider. The selections are apparently a research and compilation job, in which most of the burgers were named in a previous local media poll or competition. Nonetheless, it’s a mouthwatering project to peruse for American burger lovers.

Sally’s Apizza of New Haven CT Being Sold

When discussion turns to the greatest American pizzerias, New Haven, Connecticut, without fail, is part of the mix. In particular, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is often cited (including by us) as the source for the country’s finest pizza. Frank Pepe founded the pizzeria in 1925. In 1938, with Frank’s blessing, his nephew Salvatore Consiglio opened Sally’s Apizza a few doors down Wooster Street. There are many folks who, today, claim that Sally’s pies are superior to Pepe’s. We can’t say as we’ve never been to Sally’s, not out of some wacky sense of loyalty to Pepe’s but because we love Pepe’s so much that we could never bring ourselves to miss a rare opportunity to enjoy a Pepe’s white clam pie while passing through New Haven. Continue reading

Pepe’s Pizza Makes Boston Debut 12/16

It sometimes seemed like it would never really happen, but all doubts have been erased: Pepe’s will be bringing their incomparable New Haven pizza to Boston in two weeks. The Mall at Chestnut Hill opening is scheduled for December 16th. The oven will be identical to the New Haven original but word is there will be new toppings and salads. The char will remain. If it’s a success, there could be further Pepe’s openings in the Boston area. For you first-time Boston visitors, here’s some advice: no matter what else you get, order a white clam pie!

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