New In New Haven

BEER RUN: Best beer distributor in New Haven?

June 16, 2010

Okay, this one is important. Way more important than where to get a stinkin’ pizza.

Where do I go around here to stock up on beer?

When I first moved here, I had to satisfy my curiosity and buy my beer from the grocery store. Because we couldn’t do that in Pa. And yes, I’m that easily amused.

I’ve had a couple good brews on tap around here of course, namely downtown at Bar and Prime 16. But now it’s time to stockpile. What’s good? Tell me.

Obviously, I have SEEN beer distributors around. They aren’t in shortage. But rather than stopping in each random one or picking Google’s mind on the topic – I want you to show me the pulse.

Now, there are two things that can make a beer distributor a GOOD beer distributor.

1. variety. a wide selection from off the beaten path. or basically, a distributor run by people who like beer.

2. deals. places with good deals on good selections.



THEY EXIST: Tastykakes in New Haven

June 9, 2010

EDIT: I should preface this post with the fact that I have not yet experienced New Haven’s infamous “Cupcake Truck“. Based on the salivating expressions of those who have urged me to hunt it down, I am tempted to think Tastykakes are null and void up here when in a nearby radius. Obviously, this truck is on my list of things to do.

One of the first pieces of advice I got when I decided to move from the Philly burbs to New England was: “stock up on Tastykakes.”

Tastykakes, if you don’t know, are right up there on PA’s list of pride and joy things with cheese steaks and Rocky. Followed by Daryl Hall.

So when I saw THIS while strolling down the grocery aisles at Stop & Shop, it was like running into a long lost best friend from the fifth grade who moved away without a trace.

Don't worry, it'll be o-kake. New Haven has Tastykakes.

You thought she was dead and gone, but alas! There she is; for sale in aisle five.

So hear this outsiders- if you’re worried about not satisfying your massive Tastykake hunger when coming to New Haven, do not fear. The Kake is here. And the Kake is good.

Frankly, if it wasn’t for the glaring omission of WaWas and waves along New Haven’s shoreline (both of which I will be ranting about shortly, don’t worry) I’d say New Haven has it all. Having Tastykakes on board though, makes moving to a whole new land way easier to digest. It’s like the icing, if I may be so bold, on the cake.

Blogging about not blogging.

June 8, 2010
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Rest easy folks, I did not become lost, or jaded or anything else in New Haven. Nor did I move into a cabin in the woods to grow a beard and eek out a quiet life in seclusion, waxing intellectual on the faces of Coltrane with groundhogs and mice.

I’m still new and I’m still here.

I’ve just been doing so much here that I haven’t been able to keep up with it all and share it with you. The new life has been going really well, actually. Everyone is great. Everyone has a different opinion about where I should go, what I should do. The folks at work are great, and seem to actually think I know what I’m doing or that I know more than the average joe, which is quite flattering.

Of course, all the riff-raff involved with moving my identity from one state to another has hatched a few stomach ulcers in my belly, but whatever, that’s not a New Haven thing. That’s The Man, making sure he’s keeping his thumb pressed down on my frail little body.

Can you tell it’s been a long week?

Plus I – selfishly – revived my other blog, All My Friends, which now has a feed on the handsome right column of this site. It’s about the other place I live: music. So check that out once in a while if it’s your cup of tea.

And stay tuned here, I got quite a few new things in my garbled head to share.

Hopefully this is the last blog post I write about blogging, er not blogging, for a while.

PHOTOBLOG: First few weeks in New Haven

May 31, 2010

WARM WELCOME: Welcome Street, Fair Haven Heights

Claire's Corner Copia: Downtown's sweetest vegan spot. Thanks for lunch, Ed.

Sally's: Dropped out of line after half hour wait..couldn't miss LOST finale.

THE BEACON: Lighthouse Point

Nothing special. Something about checkered floors and chucks makes me want to take pictures. That's all.

Oh, and hi. I'm Chris. Need a kayak here @ West Haven Boat Ramp.

If you’re new to New Haven, Sovereign Bank hates you.

May 31, 2010
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I didn’t think my first New Haven brawl would be with the bank I’ve been loyal to my entire life. Looks like I need to check myself. Get it? Check.. nevermind.

But the fact of the matter is this. If you’re a Sovereign Bank customer from say, Pennsylvania, and you want to move to New Haven (or any where in New England actually),  guess what? Your account is as good as dog poop to the Sovereign Banks here.

What’s that you say? It’s the same company with the same logo, the same colors, the same everything from where you’re coming from?

I thought the same thing too, but when I called to have my address changed – I was told I needed EVERYTHING changed. Which is hell on earth for me right now, because now I’m scrambling to get all my money in the right places for all the checks I just signed to pay off my rent and bills for moving in.

And 0n a holiday weekend, no less, when transactions take even longer! And I don’t like ending sentences in exclamation points! I’m mad, Sovereign. Real mad.

And after all these years together, you must know I don’t get mad. I mean, you’ve been a part of my life for so many, many years. You know which toothpaste I use. You know where I took all my girlfriends on dates. You’ve met my mother. How could you violate our bond like this?

Though, I must admit the poetic irony of a bank called Sovereign that seems to lack any semblance of it’s own sovereignty is what has been helping me sleep at night.

But it didn’t end with having to close and open new bank accounts. No. That was the easy part. Then, as it turns out, my online banking and telephone banking are locked out because of my opening these different accounts.You have no idea how many times I had to “verify” my identity over the phone this past week.

AND the least they could do is service me the $150 gift card promotion they have going on, where you get a $150 gift card for opening a new account and using your new card 6 times. I opened a new account, and I’ll obviously use it. But noooooo, I’m already a customer of the company so I don’t qualify. Well you know what Sovereign? I’m looking for a new bank to account my money with, and you don’t qualify either. I want a bank that doesn’t discriminate which state I’m from. And this bums me out, because I really dig the whole red thing you got going on. Shouldn’t I be rewarded for wanting to stick with you when moving to New Haven? FAIL.

Which brings me to the real point of this post. New Haveners. What, in your valued opinion, is the best bank around here? A bank with plentiful locations and ATM’s gets major points, another con that made New Haven’s branch of Sovereign super weak.

And for fun, see what others have to say about Sovereign’s suckage. There’s even a Facebook group.


May 26, 2010

Heed this warning.

So far, this site has been about things to do in New Haven. But there are also things you NEVER do in New Haven.

Like ask for ketchup on your burger at Louis’ Lunch. DON’T DO IT.

It’s so serious, I had to type this post’s headline in all caps.

Don’t worry, I was schooled well enough to not commit this atrocity. But I had the wonderfully sick joy of watching someone else make the grave mistake.

And darn, was this guy clueless. He stumbles in stammering drunk on a Saturday and has the audacity to ask the guests, obviously scarfing down burgers, what they recommend here at Louis’.

“It’s my first time here.”

The guys sitting next to me said, “Well, you can try the burger… or the burger.”

So he goes to order a burger, and what does he do? He asks for ketchup. FAIL.

You know that scene in Back to the Future when Biff walks in and sees George McFly at the end of the bar and shouts, “HEY McFLY”? It was like that. The music cuts off, all talking and chatter abruptly stops, and all eyes are on the man asking for ketchup.

Someone at the counter points to the sign that says “don’t ask for ketchup” and new guy goes, “hey cut me a break, it’s my first time.”

At which point, the guy behind the counter who runs Louis’ says that they don’t cut breaks. Learn how to order right. If his father was there and it was busy with a line out to the street, he would have made him go to the back of the line and wouldn’t tell him what he did wrong. “Come back when you learn how to order.”

That said, the historic Louis’ Lunch is more than the birthplace of the hamburger. It’s one of the best burgers you’ll find, served on toast, deliciously lean and juicy beef, cooked medium rare.

My brother.

My brother, who runs track and xc for University of Tennessee, finds more joy in cheeseburgers than about anything else. He’s like Wimpy from Popeye. He’s had many, many burger delights from around the country, but he’s been salivating over Louis’ since we scarfed there Saturday night. One of the best, if not the best, according to him. I’d trust him when he talks meat, cheese and bread.

In fact, after a few other visits to Prime 16 this past week (my brother spent the week in town with me, which is why my blogging practice fell somewhat wayside) – we decided we’re more impressed by New Haven’s burger scene than it’s much more famous pizza scene. Though, we are Philly boys…so we are disgustingly bias, and carnivorous.

Louis’ Lunch is located at 263 Crown Street, downtown New Haven.

My first New Haven pizza: Modern Apizza

May 20, 2010

Your pizza ain't burnt. That'sa tha'way New Haven does apizza.

Not unlike Philly and it’s trademark cheese steaks; I learned pretty quickly that New Haven has no shortage of places for their trademark “apizza.”

Just about everyone here in New Haven has a different joint to point you to – but the holy trinity of legend for New Haven’s pizza scene are the originals: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana on Wooster, Sally’s Apizza on Wooster, and Modern Apizza on State Street. It used to be Pepe’s vs. Sally’s… but Modern has snuck it’s way into the conversation through the years.

And apparently, choosing one or the other is like choosing good or evil. Leno or CoCo. Pepsi or Coke. The Stones or The Beatles. Sox or the Yanks. Cats or dogs… Mass. hysteria.


New Haven likes to eat out

May 19, 2010
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Anybody catch this SOUNDOFF post on last week?

We asked readers a simple request- to name their favorite restaurant. And they did, in droves. 134 responses popped up on that page.

But that’s not the part that astounds me, I knew there were plenty of great places to eat your heart out here in New Haven. What astounds me is how few of these places were actually repeated in those comments.

I nerded out and tallied through every single comment only to find just about every reader gave a shout out to a different place throughout the greater New Haven area. I expected to see a long list of Pepe’s vs. Sally’s. But what I got was variety. In taste, and in options. Again- not surprised by the variety itself; but it’s fascinating to see how proud New Haveners are of their treasured little eateries, and that everyone has a different one.

So if you want a place to go out to eat tonight, why not just take a look at that Soundoff post and pick something new or at random? I’d be shocked if anyone had been to every one of those places.

The best responses though?

“My mother’s house in Hamden got them all beat. The prices are fantastic. “
“The vending machine in the New Haven Register first floor. It’s top notch. “

New Haven is not smoker friendly, and the lasers prove it

May 17, 2010
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When you start talking lasers, it's definitely time to quit.

Saw this on State Street last night, made me laugh.

But also made me think. What’s the smoking scene like here in New Haven?

Here’s what you need to know about where you – and others – can and shouldn’t smoke in public. Looks like you New Haveners were ahead of the non-smoking curve that turned a lot of grapes sour in PA, where I come from, just a few years ago. Although in PA, there are still a few bars where you can torch up.

Should probably note I don’t smoke, nor does it bother me much; but it’s always a good thing to know. Nothing worse than wearing out a nice coat and coming back to your closet drenched in the sweet perfume of nicotine and tar.

In other words, New Haven is not very smoker friendly, because we like our nice coats, and lungs, kept fresh. And we got lasers to take care of those who have a problem with that.

Off topic: New in… Nice?

May 17, 2010

I’m not the only one who’s new somewhere and blogging about it. My little sis, in fact, takes the cake.

Or should I say, ‘takes the gateau’?

She’s spending her summer in Nice, France as part of a pre-med study abroad program (not sure how we share the same genes). And will do some Euro-traveling too.

She’s blogging about the whole experience on her new blog: Notes From Nice.

Check it out, wish her well, etc.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself, kiddo.

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    Who’s the new guy?

    Chris March, a twenty-something music geek packed up his things and moved to New Haven, Ct from suburban Pa to join the online team at the New Haven Register.

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