For three months, we’ve been living like rabbits, nibbling on fresh fruit and vegetables, adding fresca to the end of every dish. (No, that is not salsa you’re eating. It’s salsa fresca! It’s like salsa, except I made it using the 400 pounds of tomatoes that are still sitting on the counter.)
And it was fun for a while – eating berries for breakfast and chomping purple cauliflower for fun? Why were we eating purple cauliflower? It’s hard to remember what we were thinking back in June. We were just delirious at the thought of no longer wearing shoes.
But for the last few weeks, some of us have been harboring a secret desire for something hearty, something robust, something well, there’s no better word for it something brown. Gravy. Potatoes. Meat.
Comfort food – the stick-to-your-ribs kind of dishes that mom used to cook – makes a comeback in September, both in our kitchens and on restaurant menus. Here are four local items we’re looking forward to getting reacquainted with.
Pot roast, The Trion Tavern
There are no tricks to the pot roast at this New Haven brew pub. When you order the pot roast, you get exactly what you’re expecting: a big hunk of beef that has been covered with slices of onion and cooked slow at a low temperature. That’s it. No secret ingredients or complicated spices.
The real star of the dish is the meat itself – juicy, tender and marbled with just the right amount of fat. Order it with a baked potato and then just glare at the vegetables that come with it. Cost: $11.99.
Sweet potato pie, T8ste Tizzzzz Bar-b-que
Every dish at this small barbecue restaurant at 6807 Elzey St. is made from a family recipe and the sweet potato pie is no exception. Each slice is made by owner Curtis Gregory’s mom, who will turn 81 in November.
Her secret ingredient: A lotta love, Gregory says. Not bad for $2.99 a slice.
Chicken soup, Saigon
Grandma’s chicken soup is known as the No. 27 Chicken Fresh Noodle at this Vietnamese restaurant at 2006 S. Calhoun St.
For about $5, you’re served a deep bowl – about the size of a small serving bowl – filled with salty chicken broth and pieces of chicken breast. On top, Asian noodles cover large chunks of onion, carrot, broccoli and cauliflower. Bring on cold and flu season!
London Fog, Firehouse Tea and Coffee Café
The perfect hot drink for dreary fall days, the London Fog combines Earl Gray tea with steamed milk and vanilla or gingerbread syrup. The result is a spicy, sweet, chai-style drink with just the right amount of caffeine.
The local tea house at 1245 E. State Blvd., runs their tea through an espresso machine, adding strength to the tea so it’s not overshadowed by the milk.
The drink is listed on the menu as a Tea Latte and costs $3.60.