Posts Tagged by new haven

Taste of New Haven Theater District Tour

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We moved to the New Haven area 5 years ago and are still fining new places to eat and enjoy in the Elm City.  One of the best ways we’ve found to explore the city is on a Taste of New Haven tour.  These tours offer a unique look at the city with stops at various shops and restaurants where you sample the food and drink offerings.  The tour guides are incredibly knowledgable about the history of New Haven and its beautiful architecture.  This weekend we took our second tour through the Theater District in Downtown New Haven.  It included wine, chocolate, apizza, local beer, margaritas and a stroll through Yale in the rain…it was a blast!  Come on, I’ll take you along…

We met our tour guide Natalie at Temple Plaza behind the Shubert Theatre at 3pm on Saturday.  There were about 16 people in our group and we all quickly introduced ourselves by sharing our name, where we’re from, what we do and what our favorite food is.  That is a really tough question for me, but I went with pork belly…of course 🙂

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After a brief history of the plaza we were in, we headed off to our first stop which was a wine tasting.  Natalie warned us we were going to have a good time!

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Here we were treated to a tasting of two wines, a von Schleinitz Riesling and a red from Portugal called Agricultura.  The Riesling was too sweet and neither B nor I enjoyed it, but the Agricultura was wonderful!  That is a wine I never would pick up in the store because I know nothing about Portuguese wines, but now I might have a new favorite.  

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We took some time to look around the shop that is filled with unique spirits and has a large local beer section.  We also learned that a wine thief is actually a long glass shaft that is used to sample barrels as they are aging.  I just figured they like to go around stealing wine…

Temple Grill

After a few samples, we headed over to Temple Grill for a bite to eat and a cocktail.  

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Even with a slight drizzle, we were seated outside under umbrellas which was nice.  We were greeted with Sangira and their Waldorf Chicken Salad Wrap with homemade Waffle Fries.  I’m not a big fan of Sangria but this was pretty tasty and not overly sweet.  The wrap was just ok, nothing to get excited about, but the waffle fries were delicious!  I could’ve eaten a bucket of those.

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While we ate, Natalie told us a bit of history about the location and the owner’s great, great, great grandfather who apparently owned a local brewery and became a pioneer by selling his product on Sundays right there in that location.  

Bar

The rain was really starting to come down now so we quickly made our way to the next stop on the tour, Bar.  New Haven is famous for its “apizza” style of pizza, which I have really grown to love over the past few years.  Bar was one place I hadn’t tried yet so I was excited to see what all the hype was about.  

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The restaurant is very unique in that it is housed inside an old parking garage and still has all the exposed brick and metal beams exposed.  The space is massive and we were seated in the Back Room which is actually turned into a nightclub on the weekends.  

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Here we sampled three of their own beers that they brew on premise: Toasted Blonde, AmBAR Ale and Damn Good Stout.  I actually really enjoyed all three of these, but the Damn Good Stout was by far my favorite.  It was actually light for a stout and had interesting coffee and chocolate notes.  

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While we were waiting for our pizza, we learned more about the history of New Haven Apizza and the rivalries between the famous institutions of Frank Pepe’s and Sally’s.  Bar’s pizza is a bit different from the traditional as the crust is thinner and it is not made in a coal fired over, but damn that was some good pizza!

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We were able to sample 3 different pies: a traditional red pie (no cheese), red pie with mozzarella, and Bar’s signature mashed potato and bacon pie.  While the mashed potato pie might sound good in theory, it was way too rich for me.  That’s like heavy carbs on top of carbs.  My favorite was actually the red pie…the sauce was so good that it really didn’t need anything else.  After we ate, Natalie treated us all to a few Fireball shots…FIRE IN THE HOLE!

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By the time we left, the rain was coming down but it was still pretty warm out so B and I actually had a fun time walking around in the rain.  Maybe the shots helped too.  On our way to the next spot, we stopped to look at some of the architecture of the Yale buildings on what I’m assuming is their version of “fraternity row.”  Not only did the Greek letters give it away, but so did the abundance of red solo cups…sigh…

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Chocolat Maya

What’s better to have after some pizza and beer than some chocolate?!  B was super stoked about this next stop  🙂  Chocolat Maya is a boutique chocolate shop, meets cocktail lounge…ok now I was stoked too!  

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Not only did we get a chocolate sampling, but we were greeted with a Salted Caramel Martini!  This is Caramel  Vodka and Butterscotch Schnapps with a Salted Caramel Truffle inside.  OH. YES. PLEASE!  The drink was quite sweet, but I surprisingly really enjoyed it!  We will be back for sure.

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Before leaving, B had to get some chocolates for the road.  He grabbed up an assortment of dark chocolate truffles which were perfect for snacking on the rest of the tour.

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Yale Campus

After stuffing our faces and having quite a few cocktails, we took a break and walked around the Yale Campus a bit.  It is like stepping back in time…makes me wish I tried a bit harder in high school so I could’ve had a chance at going there!  I just want to stay in one of those buildings!

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We stopped outside the Yale Center for British Art, a beautiful museum that is free and open to the public.  Then moved on up to the infamous Skull & Bones building.  It’s quite the fortress…

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On our walk we came across a statue of Theodore Dwight Woolsey, president of Yale in the mid-1800s.  Rumor has it that rubbing his foot will bring good luck, which is why you can see that the color on the shoe is quite worn from over 100 years of luck giving.  Also, check out the crazy cobweb veil going on…yikes!  

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On our way to the next location, we stopped to learn about at a few other unique landmarks.  The Taft Hotel, home to one of my favorite spots in New Haven, Ordinary.  Then it was on to a public art project called Square with four circles, which is located in a walkway between Zinc Restaurant and Ann Taylor.  You can see it in the background of this awesome photo of me with a fake goat in a wagon.

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Oaxaca Kitchen

Time for some Mexican food!  Chips, salsa, guacamole and margaritas make the perfect meal…I probably should’ve said that in the beginning intros!  That is just what we had at Oaxaca Kitchen on College Street.  

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The guac was great (however not as good as mine!) and the salsa has a nice zing.  The margaritas had too much lime juice and/or sour mix in them and many people at the table had the same complaint.  We were able to sit next to a different group at this spot, which is part of the fun in these tours…getting to know people!

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Now it was time to move on to our last stop on the tour.  We were actually pretty full at this point and feeling good from the drinks…it’s amazing how fast four hours can go by when you’re having fun.

Kelly’s Gastropub

This was the only stop on the tour that we had actually been to before.  It had been a few years, but the meal wasn’t all that memorable so I didn’t have high hopes for this spot.  

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Yes, that is B photobombing my pic.  We were greeted by the friendly owner, Pat, who gave us a selection of beers to choose from.  I went with the 1687 Brown Ale from local brewery Charter Oak in Norwalk and B chose the Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Ale from North Coast Brewing.  Big fan of both of these beers!  Pat entertained the group with stories of how he came to America from Ireland and how he ended up setting up shop here in New Haven.  Very entertaining indeed…

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While the beer and company were great, the food was a miss.  I actually forgot to take a photo because I was quite unimpressed.  We were given a goat cheese croquette, tuna tartare and caprese on a cracker.  They were like leftover hors d’ouerves they just threw together for us because (as Pat admitted) they forgot we were coming. 

Natalie then brought in some Mochi Ice Cream that she picked up at Jake’s Diggity Dogs next door.  This was my first experience with mochi and I must say, I’m not a fan.  The chewy, gummy texture was kind of gross.  However B enjoyed it and ate mine up.  As if he didn’t have enough chocolate that day!

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Besides the hiccup with the food at the end, the tour overall was fantastic, informative and just fun!  I think these tours are an absolute steal at $55 (+tax & gratuity) when you consider all of the food and drink you get.  Plus the historical information on New Haven is just fascinating.  There are currently nine different tours being offered, including a Pizza and Pints Bike Tour.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?!    If you are in the New Haven area, or even just passing through, I highly recommend one of these tours.  I think the Wooster Square tour is next on my list…gotta check out all that apizza!

 Do you have any local food tours in your area to check out?

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Eat Your Veggies! Robert Treat Farm CSA Week 3

Hey guess what…more greens this week!  Shocker, I know.  However there were some fun surprises and something I’ve never tried before.

With all the lettuce we received last week, I’m sure you can just imagine how many salads we’ve been having.  I actually forgot to make the big salad I was planning for our family barbecue, so I’ve been having salads for lunch every day.  Keira on the other hand decided to get creative with her lettuce by making burger lettuce wraps.  Oh and look at her strawberries topping some vanilla ice cream…YUM!  I’m a little mad she didn’t invite me over 😉  

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I was not quite as creative and just simply braised my kale and other greens in some onions, garlic, stock and a touch of butter.  It was actually quite delicious and I mixed the leftovers with some quinoa and feta for a tasty lunch.

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Now it’s time to think out of the box for Week 3.  I got 2 interesting items that I need to get creative with.  So here’s what we got…

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Keira took home the Rabe, White Turnips, Spinach and swapped the Red Leaf Lettuce (enough with the lettuce!) for some Napa Cabbage.  I took the Napa Cabbage, Escarole, Garlic Scapes, Strawberries (for B!) and Lettuce Bowl…look at the size of these things!!

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Let’s start with the Lettuce Bowl…this is SUPER cool!  Basically, it’s a mixed bunch of lettuce that we can cut whenever we’re feeling a salad and it will regrow for a second cut. I’m keeping it on my patio table so it is out of the way of any munchers…mainly that giant groundhog that roams around my yard!

Escarole…easy, more white beans and escarole because, well, bacon.  The cabbage and the garlic scapes are wild cards.  First, I have NO idea what to do with Garlic Scapes.  I tried them and it’s basically just a mild garlic, so I’m thinking I will toss it in with whatever I’m cooking in lieu of garlic.  Sounds good, right?

Next, Napa Cabbage.  I used to make a badass fried rice full of napa cabbage, but that was before I found out eggs and peppers were no bueno for my digestive system.  So what to do now?  The farm gave these suggestions…

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The smell of boiled cabbage makes me want to vom, so I think I’ll make some slaw and try some sort of stir fry.  I’m thinking carrots, snow peas and chicken might be a good mix? We will see… 

I’m super excited that the Woodmont Farmers Market will be starting next week.  Keira and I strategically choose our CSA pick up date for Wednesdays for this reason.  I see a lot of seafood from Gambardella’s in my future! 

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So I want to know…what would you do with all that cabbage?!?

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Westville Village Artwalk in New Haven, CT

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Imagine a village set within a city full of shops, bistros and artists.  Now imagine the whole village opens its doors for everyone to enjoy.  Well that is exactly what happened at the Westville Village Artwalk this weekend!

This was my first time attending the festival in Westville, a small village in New Haven, CT, and had a great time learning more about the community.  I started at the top of Whalley Avenue and made my way down to the Artist & Artisan Village.  Two streets were closed off with around 35 or so vendors set up.

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There were so many interesting things to see!  Jewelry, teas, clothing, artwork, soaps…you name it!

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I was happy to see one of my favorite local artists, Tom Ryan, there.  He was showcasing his new skateboard collection and I was happy to once again see my favorite piece, Little Oscar, was still available…one day it will be mine!

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At the end of the market were a few interactive art activities, including a pottery wheel where kids could try to throw a pot!  I used to LOVE making pottery so I watched this for a while.  

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Also there was the Converse “Re-Imagined” exhibit.  33 local artists were given a pair of white Chuck Taylor High-Tops (donated by Converse to the Artwalk) and were given free reign to “reimagine” them.  The pieces were then donated to the silent auction to fun Artwalk.  Cool, right??  Check out some of these pieces…they were pretty rad! 

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Next I headed down to Edgewood Park to check out the kids activities and the band that was playing on the main stage there.  I believe the band playing at the time was Wess Meets West and they were pretty damn good!

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There were TONS of kids activities set up, but the coolest one by far was this bike powered spin art…kids and adults were loving it and it looked like a lot of fun!

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I walked around a bit more and took in some of the street art that was around.  Then I headed to check out some of the artist studios that were open.  

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This was really cool to see where the artists actually create as well as see the work close up.  This studio belonged to Frank Bruckmann, his work is really beautiful!

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On my way back up Whalley Avenue, I popped into a few other shops and galleries along the way.

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In one storefront, there were two very interesting exhibits.  The first was a look at the local transportation system and how it could possibly be improved upon.  People were encouraged to share their ideas and solutions.

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In the same location was the Urban Seed [ ] Ponics Lab, where an aquaponics system was on display showing how food can be more nutritious and sustainable by using fish.  So interesting…  

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Those photos are from a hydroponic set up at one of our favorite restaurants, Caseus, on their roof.  B and I got to tour it last summer when they first installed the system and it is pretty cool!

What a fun event!  I can’t believe I’ve never attended this before…I’ll definitely be back! Do you have any local art fairs in your town?

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Spring Haven at Trolley Square in New Haven

Friday night I attended a really fun event at Trolley Square in New Haven.  Spring Haven was a collaboration of local Connecticut shops, designers, artisans, and restaurants. There was food, shopping, music and even an aerialist! Connecticut is full of so many talented people and creative small businesses.  This was a great way to see it all in one place.  

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There were about 20 vendors set up showcasing various items, such as jewelry, clothing, soaps, teas and more!  Here are some of them:

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Bi-Cycled bracelets, tie clips and money clips from AnAchronistInc

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Decorated Hula Hoops by Bring the Hoopla

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The cutest little hot dog from Jemmanimals

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Delicious locally grown teas from Whole Harmony

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Bat Bear by Tom Ryan

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LOVE this owl paining by Tom Ryan

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Sandwiches from Meat & Co

Some of the shops and businesses in Trolley Square were open as well like Vintanthromodern Vintage and the CT Capoeira & Dance Center where we got so see some people practicing.

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Outside there were some great local food trucks and a few mobile shops as well.  It was a good mix of stuff, but I was sad that there weren’t any cupcake trucks there 🙁

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This was a really fun event and a great way to spend a Friday night.  I love to support local businesses and see all of the creativity out there!  This was the 3rd event put on by Haven Events and it looks like they are doing them every few months.  Hopefully there will be another one this summer when it’s a little warmer to enjoy the food trucks.  Maybe there will be cupcakes 🙂

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So That’s It???

Friday I left a job after 5 and half years.  I did it with a clear head and no regrets.  It was the best decision for me.  It has caused me a ton of anxiety and honestly I still feel like I have to get up and go to work tomorrow.  This is an exciting new chapter, but I can help but be slightly sad.

I spent my last week cleaning my desk, tying up loose ends and getting as much detail together about upcoming projects as I could.

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I tossed a giant garbage bin full of paper.  I tossed 5 years of work, of my life.  All of my things, reduced to one bag.

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It didn’t seem real until the final few days….basically when the talking stopped.  Everyone was quiet around me, there was a lot of whispering.  I started feeling uncomfortable and I just wanted to leave.  I worked in a small 6 person office which made it even more awkward.  On Thursday, I cried as I said goodbye to my coworker who has been my partner these past 5 years.  She started about a month after me and she will be leaving a week after me.  We shared a brain and many laughs…that was hard.

On my last day, I was at my desk for 2 hours before anyone talked to me and that was another coworker who I’m friendly with.  About an hour later, my manager came over hugged me goodbye and wished me well.  Told me to keep in touch.  It felt genuine, but that’s what you say, right?

It’s no secret that I have had a strained relationship with our CEO ever since she came on board 3 years ago.  We never saw eye to eye and to say she is lacking in integrity is an understatement.  That is what ultimately led to my decision to leave.  You can only work for someone like that for so long before it really begins to take a toll on your own integrity. I’ve always enjoyed the work I’ve done, our Board of Directors and our members.  I would’ve loved to help grow the Association even more, we do great work, but when you see that bad decisions are being made and your work is not being represented appropriately or valued…it’s time to move on.

I’m sure she was happy to see me go.  No one to challenge her anymore, no one to see through her.  This was clear by how I was treated like a stranger in my final days.  Just a goodbye and a wave as I walked out the door.  No thank you, no lunch, no card.  5+ years of hard work and dedication reduced to a smile and a wave.  That was it…  I didn’t expect much, but I couldn’t help but feel horrible as I walked out the door.  I came home and felt sad on a day I should be celebrating my new life.  

But all can be cured with good people, good food and a lot of laughs 🙂  B took me out to our favorite restaurant Caseus where I had the most delicious Stonington scallops followed by lemon cheesecake.  

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Then some good friends came over and we drank a lot of wine and watched funny videos until 3 am.  I even got congratulatory flowers!

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And that’s what life is really about.  Not the people who bring you down, but the people who lift you up.  The experiences that make you smile, make you feel good.  I’m proud of the work that I’ve done, but those last few days really made it clear that I was not meant to be there anymore.  While I’m still a little sad, I know that will all go away next week when I can really focus on me.  On what I want to do.  How lucky am I?  No room for sadness here…good riddance.   

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