Burgers and Hotdogs and Pizza, Oh My!

New Haven – A beacon of traditional cuisine crossed with a lovely touch of bizarre twists that makes it a fun place to try some really different versions of our favorite classics.  During the half marathon weekend Colin and I set out to tackle as many famous (and not-so-famous) New Haven eateries in preparation and recovery for the Fairfield Half Marathon.

Saturday began at Louis’ Lunch.  It lays claim to inventing the hamburger and does things today the same as when they started.  First off, it’s a tiny place.  We got there at noon, right when they open, and there was a line of about 20 people waiting for a hamburger.  It’s not a fast line because everything is made to order.  The only confusing part is they only serve hamburgers, so they should be able to see how many people are in line, and at least have a few extra going.  Anyway, we finally get up to order and there’s no menu, so trying not to look like a noob, I say “I’ll have a hamburger” and she looks at me, gives an exasperated sigh, and asks “tomato, onion, cheese?  Anything to drink?  Here or to go?”  Blast!  She saw right through me.  “Just tomato.  To go.” and I step to the side to pay.  She writes down the order on a sheet of paper with a Sharpie and makes it visible for the chef (this is a 3-person operation: order, pay, cook).  The burgers are cooked in super old-fashioned vertical broilers about 12 at a time.  About 30 minutes after first getting in line I’m holding the paper sack with my burger and we’re off to Colin’s to eat.

The burgers are served on white sandwich bread, just the meat, and in my case, with a single slice of tomato.  And they are thick!  Very juicy and delicious, if not a tad underseasoned.  Colin also got potato salad, which he reported to be a great partner to his “CW” (short for Cheeseburger with the works: cheese (actually a cheese spread), tomato, onion).  The final verdict is it was very good but nothing outrageous.  It was fun to go to such an old place with a different way of doing things.

The rest of the day included grabbing some bananas and bagels for the morning of the race and picked up a bagel sandwich before dinner.  We had a pretty uneventful pasta dinner to get ready for the race.

Then we ran.

To refuel we went to Super Duper Weenie.  It was only 2 miles from the race, but there’s no way you could find it without knowing exactly where it is.  It’s on a back access road near the highway, adding to its allure.  Anyway, we walked in just after 11am to a small counter next to the 9-seat bar.  The menu actually had non-hotdog items, but that would be for the weak.  I got the New Yorker: Sauerkraut, Onion Sauce, Mustard, & Hot Relish.  The hotdogs are split down the middle and cooked on the griddle (while the chef will twiddle his thumbs.  My poetry bone started flaring up there).  Then put into a perfect bun and topped with all the aforementioned garnishes.  Really top notch!  Perfect refuel following the race.  Colin got the New Englander: Sauerkraut, Bacon, Mustard, Sweet Relish & Raw Onion, because who doesn’t need bacon on a hotdog?  We also split some fresh cut fries, you know, to replenish the carbs and potassium.  If you’re ever near exit 24 on I-95 in Connecticut, stop by the Super Duper Weenie.

We then changed up the plan a bit.  As a midafternoon snack we agreed on a fantastically amazing idea to get ice cream.  We walked down to Ashley’s Ice Cream Cafe and I had no choice but to get the coffee oreo ice cream.  There are few things I enjoy more than ice cream, and this reaffirmed everything.  Smooth coffee ice cream laced with large and small bits of real Oreos.  Great idea Brittany!

We wrapped up the weekend of over-the-top eating at Modern Apizza.  As I mentioned in the preview, the site is worth visiting for the music alone.  We sat down without any wait (though it was 5pm and the average age of everyone in there was 70) and scoped out the menu.  Upon a recommendation by a native New Havenite, I went for the plain mozzerella.  The real decision was what size.  It wasn’t much of a decision at all though.  LARGE.  I got through about a third of it and boxed up the rest to go.  The dough was thin but not too crisp, a good chewiness.  It was just a really good cheese pizza.

Looking forward to the leftovers 🙂

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