The Most Difficult and Delicious Section of CTMQ
CTMQ Ethnic Food/Restaurant Tour
Here’s something you may not know: writing about food is very, very difficult. I can’t do it very well at all, but at least I’m friends with a few quality food writers. As I embark on these little food adventures “around the world in Connecticut,” I want to be clear: I’m not good at this.
I know a little bit about food, but not enough to be any sort of knowledgable source about it. I can write about experiences, and that’s what these pages will be about – sometimes more than the food.
Also, I can’t take good pictures of food either. Food photography is ten times harder than food writing. Seriously. It is very easy to make a world class dish look like vomit. The best food bloggers aren’t always the ones who write the best, but oftentimes they are the ones with the best pictures. That is not me.
Furthermore, taking pictures of a meal is just so… gauche. I hate doing it so much I can’t even think of the right words to express my difficulties doing it. I don’t want servers or fellow diners to think that I’m a Yelper or a food blogger. And I don’t want to distract other diners with a flash or a “pose.” I rather enjoy my quiet anonymity.
Oh yeah, I also don’t eat cows or pigs as a general rule. And I can’t just decide to go eat haggis in Clinton on a whim, for a million reasons. And while I’m picking on myself, I’m not really into desserts either.
So what the heck am I doing this stuff for? I’ve held off on revisiting my idea of dining at and writing about some of Connecticut’s most interesting ethnic restaurants for a couple years since I tentatively began the side project. – for all the reasons I’ve mentioned.
I’ve started and stopped a few different food things on CTMQ. But this specific idea should be different – and better. If CTMQ’s mission is to “Destroy the myth that there’s nothing to do in CT,” (and it is) then I think highlighting some of the state’s more unique and often exciting restaurants fits that bill. Better yet, this should be the rare thing on this site wherein I am joined by non-family. Once in a blue moon anyway.
Longtime readers may remember my “World Cup Tour 2006” that was similarly themed. If this turns out to be half as fun as that was, it’ll be worth it.
I started this whole thing in the spring of 2013 by inviting a slew of friends to all meet up at a chosen restaurant and have a lovely evening. I did this three times and it was a blast. But it also wasn’t really “me,” at all. Too much hubris and too many moving parts. So I scrapped that whole plan.
Shout outs to those who participated in those meals though! You now have a little asterisk in your life’s history: “I went to one of the CTMQ dinner things! An idea that fizzled out immediately after it began!” Anyway, after those few gatherings, I decided to continue the idea alone and/or with my family – or with one or two friends maybe. We’ll see how it all turns out.
Seeking help from social media proved worthwhile and I’ve compiled a decent list here. Additional input is always welcome. There’s a bias towards Hartford County. Because I live here. But by all means, please argue your case for additions or substitutes to my list below. The is merely a bunch of suggestions, not definites. (Especially since restaurants open and close so often.)
Around the World in Connecticut:
Portugal: O’Camelo, Hartford, 4/27/2013
Venezuela: Valencia Luncheria, Norwalk, 8/17/2013
Germany: Old Heidelberg, Bethel, 9/29/2013 and East Side Restaurant, New Britain
[That was it with the group get-togethers for me.]
French Canada: Chez Ben, Manchester, Multiple
Jewish Pt. 1: Crown Market, West Hartford, October 2015
Jewish Pt. 2: Rein’s Deli, Vernon, May 2017
Hippie: It’s Only Natural, Middletown
Argentina: Aby’s Bakery, West Hartford, Multiple
Tibet: Tibetan Kitchen, Middletown
South India/Jain: Naatiya Indian Restaurant, Bloomfield
Pakistan: Rasham, South Windsor, June 2017
England: Tea Roses Tea Room, Cromwell, November 2017
Potential Future Trips:
Afghan: Shish Kebab House of Afghanistan, West Hartford
Albanian: Albanian Festival, Waterbury
Austrian: Watch Factory Restaurant, Cheshire
Bosnian: NY-NY Pizza, Hartford
Brazilian: TBD, Danbury
Chinese: Shu, West Hartford
Colombian, Saoco, West Haven
Cuban: Soul de Cuba Cafe, New Haven
Egyptian: Aladdin Halal and Mediterranean Cuisine, Hartford
Ethiopian/Eritrean: Abyssinian, Hartford
Ghanian/West African: Sidibe African Restaurant (Nhyira), East Hartford
Hungarian: Goulash Place, Danbury
Jamaican: People’s Choice, Norwalk
Korean: Seoul Restaurant, New Haven
Lebanese: Hanna’s, Danbury
Mexican: Casa Villa, Stamford
‘Murican: Charcoal Chef
Peruvian: Cora Cora, West Hartford
Puerto Rican:Criollisimo Restaurant, New Britain
Polish: Belvedere, New Britain
Russian: Europe Restaurant, West Hartford
Scottish: Scottish Dave’s Pub, Clinton
Soul Food: Mama Mary’s Soul Food, New Haven
Syrian: Safita, Fairfield
Turkish: Saray Turkish Restaurant, West Haven