New In New Haven

BEER RUN: Best beer distributor in New Haven?

June 16, 2010
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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.

Help?

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PHOTOBLOG: First few weeks in New Haven

May 31, 2010
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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.


DO NOT ASK FOR KETCHUP AT LOUIS’ LUNCH. NOT EVER.

May 26, 2010
15 Comments

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
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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.

(more…)


New Haven likes to eat out

May 19, 2010
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Anybody catch this SOUNDOFF post on NHRegister.com 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.


Vote in NH Register’s ‘Best of Elm City’

May 17, 2010
3 Comments

Convenient. I show up and the New Haven Register decides to hold their first “Best of” readers’ poll.

So what you waiting for? Go vote for your favorite things in the Elm City so other new to New Haven folks know where to go. Voting ends May 26, and every ballot counts – in print or online.

And for voting, you could win a “luxurious night out” on the Register, with limo service from Connecticut Limo, dinner for 2 at the winning “finest restaurant” and 2 VIP seats at Joker’s Wild Comedy Club.


365 things to do in New Haven, or where ever

May 15, 2010
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My job just got a wee easier. There are Facebook support groups for us new to New Haven folks.

Check out: http://www.facebook.com/NewHaven365

They post a new thing to do every day. Heck, you don’t even have to be new. Surely they’ll post a few gems that have gone under you old grunts’ radar.

But even if you don’t give a hoot about New Haven (how dare you); they cover more than 200 other major cities. http://city365.org/cities.html

What you waiting for? Go do something.


Where to get that first New Haven pizza?

May 15, 2010
2 Comments

New York style can screw itself. This is New Haven style.

So New Haven has, like, all these great places for pizza. That’s what everyone keeps telling me. And I’m all for that.

But, where do I start? Where does my first bite into your savory east coast crust HAVE to be?

I’m leaning towards Frank Pepe‘s, but still- I’d like to see if anyone out there feels the need to contend with something else.

Let’s talk etiquette too. Do I say “mootz” if I want mozzarella? Wikipedia says that’s how we New Haven natives say it.  Don’t worry, I won’t make fun of it. In Philly, we don’t say “cheese” either. We say “whiz.”

Gonna grab a bite this weekend, so I’ll post pics and text about the experience later on.


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