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
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
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.
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
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
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
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:
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!
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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!
For us, there is nothing as seasonally evocative — not eggnog, not strawberry shortcake, not ripe fresh-from-the-tree peaches — as cold, crisp, and fragrant fresh-pressed apple cider. The cider presses have been operating for weeks now but the apples that make up the autumn elixir are always changing, depending on what the trees are offering. Right now, cider is at its best. As Cider Hill Farm of Amesbury, Massachusetts says, “October and November ciders pick up the fruitiest, deepest, and most complex flavors.” Continue reading
The 41st annual Milford Oyster Festival, in Connecticut, begins Friday night (known as Oyster Eve) with four events: Party-All-Eve (live music, oysters, beer), Sail-All-Eve (schooner cruises), Ride-All-Eve (carnival rides), and Stroll-All-Eve (sidewalk sale). Saturday’s Food Courts at Fowler Field and Lisman Landing will offer a wide selection, including foot long hot dogs, lobster rolls, crab cakes, corn on the cob, clam chowder, fried clams, fried oysters, fried shrimp, fresh clams, fried dough, crab rolls, and grinders. Continue reading
Eater spoke with Gary Bimonte of Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (originally of New Haven, CT). If you are a pizza fanatic who swears by Pepe’s pies (we are and we do!), it’s required reading. Some key points: the current expansion to eight restaurants was spurred on by the fact that Frank Pepe has seven grandchildren, and one store won’t support seven families. They hope to open a new store every 18 months, reaching a total of 20-30 restaurants in the northeast (not, in our view, the “massive expansion” of the Eater headline, but significant). They’ll focus on college towns, with three to five total in the Boston region.
We like to go to Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough of Noank, CT once each spring, get a giant lobster, and share it. We’ve gone as large as the 5- to 6-pound range, which is A LOT of lobster, probably too much for two hungry lobster lovers. But 18 pounds?! A lobster that large, they say, is probably about 40 years old. It’s quite a sight, and something about a lobster that large seems to make some folks a little sympathetic to its plight (Bruce = sympathy, Sue = dinner time!). Abbott’s, as they do each year, released an 18-pounder into the Long Island Sound on Wednesday. A video of this amazing creature follows: Continue reading