Chris Preovolos/The Advocate
If you saw some knucklehead taking a photo of a Whopper with cheese while using his knee to steer a Subaru through a lane merge on Route 9 today, it was probably me. I apologize for endangering your life.
Just who am I trying to kid anyway? A dreadful mass-market cheeseburger, eaten in a moving vehicle between assignments…this is a page from The Real Lunch Break Chronicles.
Welcome to the life of a newspaper photographer.
Today, after shooting a state field hockey championship which resulted in a downright un-American tie, I was running late to another game in Norwalk. Had I more time, I could have stopped at any number of more inspired dispensaries of road food in this part of the state:
SHADY GLEN DAIRY STORE: 840 MIDDLE TURNPIKE EAST, MANCHESTER
Purveyor of one of Esquire Magazine’s 60 Things Worth Shortening Your Life For: a unique cheeseburger that you really have to experience to understand. It involves overlaying four pieces of American cheese in such a way that much of the cheese comes in direct contact with the grill, thus becoming crunchy and generally reminiscent of Cheez-It crackers.
Unsurprising for a place called a ‘dairy store,’ they have really good, thick milkshakes.
SOUTHERNQUE BBQ: 70 POMEROY AVE., MERIDEN
Carolina-style que served from a trailer in a guy’s driveway. Really. It’s kind of awesome.
(OK, it’s only open Thursday-Saturday, so I really couldn’t have gone even if I had the time)
TED’S RESTAURANT: 1044 BROAD ST., MERIDEN
Yeah – I know – I was terrified by the thought of the grey, steamed beef before I tasted one too.
But then I did. And I will be forever indebted to Greenwich Time editor Jim Zebora for introducing me to this place called Ted’s.
(Also closed on Sundays)
O’ROURKE’S DINER: 728 MAIN ST., MIDDLETOWN
I haven’t been here, but it had been on my list of places to go for a while until it burned down.
However, it reopened earlier this year and the Courant recently ran a story you should read here.
I discovered a copy on my desk and later discovered this was an essentially an endorsement from Paul Swan, of the Advocate’s copy desk (who continues to read my blog despite my problems with basic grammar and flagrant violations of AP style).
UPDATE: I mean to check out a couple of places in Hartford for phở. Since I’m only there up there a few times a year, it has not been a task I’ve managed to accomplish. Staff writer Magdalene Perez, who got me fired up about phở after not having it for a few years reports:
“In Hartford, Park Street is THE place to head for cheap, international food options. Just about two blocks off I-84 West, there’s Puerto Rican chicken and rice for under $10 at Aqui Me Quedo, Brazilian Churrascaria at $7 per pound at Brazil Grill, pad thai and Lao dishes at The King and I Thai, and one of the only shops that sells Vietnamese Sandwiches, Hiep Phat Market, for $2.50 a roll.
There’s also more than one place to get pho – a steaming hot Vietnamese soup with thin-sliced beef and noodles, garnished with lime, bean sprouts and fresh thai basil. On Park Street, try Pho 206, $8 a bowl. Don’t forget to get it spicy!
And if you’re more adventurous, venture South of Park Street to Pho Boston, on Shield Street. Here you can enjoy the best Pho ($8.70) in town along with appetizers like a sweet, tangy quail $9.”
While walking back to my apartment from Katie’s Gourmet last week I noticed Plateau, also on Bank St., has phở on their menu, but I haven’t tried it yet. Any other places out there?
This is obviously far from a comprehensive list, but rather a reflection of my limited road food experiences in this part of the state. I welcome any and all recommendations.