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Jul 23, 2010 03:06 PM

Road food trip...CT

Thinking about a road food trip either this weekend or next within an hour and a half or so of Stamford and at least 45 minutes (which means I likely havent been). What are the must eats? any help is appreciated, thanks!

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  1. Gotta love the road trip. Fancy food? Memorable? Fun? Quirky? Goofy? How important is the drive itself?

    1 Reply
    1. re: steve h.

      Hey Steve,

      The drive isnt as important as the food, but that is a big part of the fun...I guess I am looking for more easy-in-easy-out kinda food...I wanna go into a place, try their best and move on to the next place (if that makes any sense)...I dont really want a sit-down place per say, but i dont mind sitting down...I appreciate everyone's suggestions, but would like to add that i wasnt really looking to pizza as a road food type of food (plus i've been to Pepe's)...sorry if i'm not being that clear, guess i'm not sure what i really want...but i am definitely going to go this any suggestions in addition to all that have already made suggestions is appreciated. thanks

    2. If you head north on I-95, there are a few places you might want to visit.

      For good Szechuan food, head to Lao Sze Chuan in Milford.

      Then keep driving up to New Haven - must try one of the pies at Frank Pepe's or Sally's or Modern. Plus Union League Cafe for French food and Bentara for Malaysian. I also like Soul de Cuba - good Cuban food.

      If you want New Haven street food, then check out all the food trucks that are to be found right outside the hospital but not sure if they are there on weekends, I have only ever gone during weekdays. The NY Times article link below talks about them - the food is excellent!

      A litter further up, past the I-91 interchange in the town of Branford are a load of seafood places. The most famous one is probably Lenny's Indian Head Inn. The unusual name is explained on their website. Some say it is excellent but I wasn't blown away.

      Happy eating!

      76 Orange Street, New Haven, CT 06510

      Union League Cafe
      1032 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06510

      Lenny's Indian Head Inn
      RR 146, Branford, CT 06405

      3 Replies
      1. re: SeoulQueen

        Sally's and Pepe's on Wooster St are overrated, and Modern burns their crust. Try Abate on Wooster, or Dayton Street on the corner of Whalley and Dayton in the Westville section.

        1. re: Bette

          I disagree, all 3 are known for their pies and there is plenty of discussion on CH supporting this. I'm assuming this is the OP's first time to New Haven if he/she decides to go and personally, I'd rather visit the well known places first if only to see what all the fuss was about and decide for myself rather than going to some place no one has heard of. Then on a repeat visit I might branch out to these other less well known spots.

          So I still stand by my pie recommendations for New Haven - Sally's, Pepe's and Modern. I just went to BruBar tonight (also in New Haven) and their mashed potato pie is still delicious. Would recommend to the OP to keep for a subsequent trip if he/she wants to do some more pie tasting in New Haven.

          1. re: Bette

            As a born and bred Apizza eating New Havenite i DISAGREE.

            Sally's is my favorite and not overrated.
            Pepe's is of equal quality, but is over hyped (mostly to do with expansion, franchises, etc. NOT with the original)
            Modern makes a good pie, not as good as the Wooster Street duo, but better fro things loaded witrh toppings such as their bomb. A burn crust can happen with thin crust in ultra hot, ultra busy ovens. How often has this happened to you at Modern, if only once, don't consider it to be the norm. You are always able to send back a pie and say that burnt is unacceptable.
            There is a big differnce between burn crust and some black char marks on the crust.
            Abate is good New haven, Apizza,not great, they are better know for their cooked food, something not available at Sally's or Pepe's.

            Dayton has very good Apizza, but absolutely no ambience. It is finbe if you live in Westville or Woodbridge, don't want to drive all the way to Wooster Square and suffer the deterioration of the travel time home with takeout packed in cardboard boxes.

            I miss the days when Apizza was packe for takeout by wrapping in brown paper and tying with string. it did'nt acquire the cardboard taste.

            If you don't want to go all the way to Wooster St, you'll find a far better New Haven Apizza at Papas in Milford or Julian's on RT 25 in Monroe.

            New Haven Apizza
            2220 Mineral Spring Ave, North Providence, RI 02911

        2. You might want to check out Carol Peck's Good News Cafe in Woodbury. Haven't been myself, but its on my "road trip" list.

          Carol Peck's Good News Cafe
          694 Main St S, Woodbury, CT 06798

          7 Replies
          1. re: jkuhlen

            Re Carol Peck's: now you're talking big-time over-rated!

            1. re: sundeck sue

              Sundeck -- maybe you can share some detail as to why you think it is over-rated so others can actually make an informed decision on whether or not to try it......

              1. re: DMW

                We went once a few years ago and never went back because we were so disappointed. Perhaps it's time for another try? What I remember: food w/ a lot of attitude, but not a lot of nuance--trying too hard to be gourmet and ending up cluttered or (what my mother would call) ungepatchked. Crazy that Carole Peck fans compare her to Alice Waters--Alice Waters food is unfussy and inspired--my recollection of Carole Peck's is that it was the opposite.

                1. re: sundeck sue

                  But I can certainly understand how a first bad impression can can be so bitter and so long lasting especially when it is expensive. Quite a few years ago we went to West St Grill to celebrate mt wife's birthday. The portions were miniscule, and when I asked for a third basket of bread, this after appetizers, salads and entrees, the waiter became sarcastic. I never forgat that and retold that tale both here and in zagat comments, etc. What's the expression aboout how many people you'll tell about a good v bad experience. Anyway, earlier we had a guest who wanted to go there for lunch. The food was pretty good and the waiter was very nice.

                  Somebody else mentioned that John's Cafe across from Carole's is so much better. After they got their great Times review we took our in-laws there. This was the most humiliating dining experience we've ever had since were treating. The hostess was snotty. Then they had a special of fish and chips (it is a pubby sort of place). At least three of us ordered that. The fries were literally black; they seemed to have been sent back and refried. The fish was overly caked with batter. We all agreed that the food would have been 100% better up the road at the Charcoal Chef and I do not mean that facetiously. Now recently when I drove by John's at lunch time there seemed to be a few cars there, so maybe in fairness we should give them another try.

                  Charcoal Chef
                  670 Main St N, Woodbury, CT 06798

            2. re: jkuhlen

              Carole Peck's is our favorite restaurant even if we can't afford to eat there as aften as we'd like. Varied menu, great local ingredients, interesting preparations. She's always got great appetizers, entrees and desserts. We will more often go for lunch, and the portions are large enough that you can take part home for later, or you will be so full that you could not even think about eating anything later.

              There are two dining rooms there: the main room is lie an art gallery where they have ongoing exhibits. This room has booths, is where people like to be seen, and tends to be noisier. The other room is decorated with old radios, has a couple of round banqettes, and is quieter. We prefer the latter. They also have some seating in the bar and oudoors under umbrellas.

              1. re: jkuhlen

                I also agree that Carole Peck's is over-rated. I posted a lengthy review of this place some time ago. It was so bad - in so many ways - that I would never consider going there again.

                1. re: shoes

                  Shoes, I think it is unfortunate that your one experience at CP's a few years back was so unpleasant. We go maybe 4 or 5 times a year, probably more for lunch but on occasion for dinner. My favorite appetizer there is the pecan crusted oysters. Her wok seared shrimp is the most popular entree dish there and we've always liked that when we've gotten that. This past winter I got a cassoulet that was just delicious. We've never had dessert because we've never had room. I guess you thought that $150 for a couple seemed egregious, but that's what we expect to spend there at dinner, $150 - $160 for drinks, appetizers, entrees, coffee tax and tip. I will allow that on a busy Saturday night the service can be imperfect, but we've never been unhappy with the food.

              2. I know some of the places are within your 45 minute radius, but I've always wanted to do the great CT hot dog road trip....if I was starting in Stamford, my itinerary would include some of the following hot dog joints that I culled from other threads.

                Driving north on Route 7....

                Chez Lenard in Ridgefield
                JK's in Danbury
                Frankie's in Waterbury
                Blackie's in Cheshire
                Doogie's in Newington
                Woody's in Hartford

                Have a minor heart attack..then continue down I-91 to...

                Guida's in Middlefield
                Glenwood Drive-in in Hamden
                Merritt Canteen in Bridgeport
                Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield
                Rawley's in Fairfield
                Swanky Frank's in Norwalk

                and then you're pretty much back to Stamford. Aside from gas, it wouldn't cost that much either...other than a few years shaved off your life expectancy.

                1. Eats -- by that I think you mean on the run, cheap, memorable bites more than full blown meals: Here's three to add to the mix

                  Stratford -- Knapps Landing, lobster rolls stuffed full with huge buttery meat, pure Ct.
                  Bridgeport -- Bereket Turkish Restaurant -- off the hightway hole in the wall.... kebab wrap.
                  Guilford -- The Place -- woodfired clams

                  Bereket Turkish Restaurant
                  4031 Main St, Bridgeport, CT 06606

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: louuuuu

                    I'll second Bereket, but I was not impressed with the lobster roll at Knapps Landing at all. Instead, I'd recommend Lenny & Joes for a good CT lobster roll experience (2 mins off the highway)

                    Lenny & Joe's
                    Westbrook, CT, Westbrook, CT

                    1. re: Ima Foodie

                      thanks for all the good suggestions guys! and Louuuuu, that is exactly what I mean, just wasnt able to put into words! I'll let you guys know how it goes!