Category Archives: Yale

Atonement at Sally’s Apizza

Although I do not fast on Yom Kippur, I still believe in having a big meal to finish off a day of reflection. Repenting builds a hearty appetite. Last Saturday, I was in New Haven visiting my brother and celebrating my dad’s birthday and atoning for my sins. For dinner, we decided on Sally’s Apizza. To beat the crowds, we started out for New Haven’s Little Italy at 5:30. Despite best laid plans, we found ourselves at the tail end of a line stretching down the block. Under ideal circumstances, I hate waiting for pizza. Pizza is a food group that comes with a promise: sustenance served fast. Nothing like a punishing wait for pizza after a day of atonement.

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Going Mobile on York St. (Part 1): Ay! Arepa

Zach Bell, Yale University

This year, food carts and trucks have been cropping up all along York Street. From the Ay! Arepa truck at York and Elm, to a halal cart at York and Chapel, students now have more options to grab food on the go instead of shuffling in line at Durfee’s. In this series, I’ll try each of the mobile food stations parked on York. This week, I tried Ay! Arepa.

Ay! Arepa made the news in September after chef Ernesto Garcia, former chef at Ay! Salsa, left his stationary kitchen to open his own mobile business. Leaving Ay! Salsa (owned by his brother Franco Gonzalez), Ernesto brought much of the menu with him, offering a very similar variety of arepas and burritos.

 

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Filed under Restaurants, Reviews, Yale, Zach B.

The Trouble with Tandoor

Zach Bell, Yale University

The diner holds a coveted place in American culture. Open from the earliest hours of morning to past a reasonable man’s bedtime, diners serve casual food for people who just want a place to sit and eat. Joints like the Olivette Diner and Steak and Shake carry strong memories for me of biscuits and late night burgers past.

Walking the streets of New Haven, Connecticut I did not expect to find a steel diner on the corner of Chapel and Howe, street lights glinting off of its polished metal exterior. The interior was polished too, steel, chrome, and mirrors wall to ceiling. For a moment I was transported back to St. Louis, waiting for my chocolate shake and coffee… until I heard the sitar music. The Indian restaurant Tandoor occupies that steel can of a diner, a trailer with samosas that in appearance does justice to the original hotspots of Americana.

Cardomom and curry scented the air and I ordered vegetable tikki, chicken patiya, and tandoori roti in curious bewilderment. I faced a serious case of cognitive dissonance; I should not be eating vegetable tikki in Steak and Shake! I mean, Tandoor! I mean, diner?

The food was fine in itself, nothing special, vegetable paste fried in chickpea batter, pleasantly spicy chicken in a mango derived sauce, tender whole wheat flatbread. The menu, style of food (North Indian), and price range is similar to ninety percent of the Indian restaurants I have eaten in. The only aspect of Tandoor that stands out is the diner factor. They try to serve formal Indian food in a diner! The novelty of the setting amused me, but also prevented me from taking the food seriously. Tandoor takes its food as intensely as every other Indian restaurant in New Haven, but the steel walls speak of a more casual time. The casual diner juxtaposed with formal Indian food evokes a discordant note. Eating in a diner, I don’t want Zaroka’s (another New Haven Indian restaurant) chicken patiya, I want the equivalent of Indian diner food. I want to feel casual, relaxed.

Tandoor fails to use the power of it’s unique decor. Instead it tries to be just like every other Indian restaurant, and succeeds to a certain degree. Yet, I still feel disappointed with Tandoor. Even though the food was just as good as Zaroka or India Palace, Tandoor could be so much more. It could be unique, taking a symbol of American culture and transmuting it into a haven for ultra-casual Indian cuisine. Instead Tandoor takes the beaten path, and as a result, fails to stand out from the crowd.

 

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Filed under Food, New Haven, Restaurants, Reviews, Yale, Zach B.

Pancho Café: A Cajun Fire Gone Cold

Zach Bell, Yale University

After reading a positive Yale Daily News review of Pancho Café, I decided to try the new Mexican-Cajun restaurant for dinner. The Cajun side of the menu intrigued me, as I had never eaten New Haven’s interpretation of Louisiana soul. I ordered guacamole and the creole chicken, to balance Mexican with Cajun.

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Filed under College Life, Food, Restaurants, Reviews, Yale, Zach B.

Joseph Beuys Ate at Hearth

Zach Bell, Yale University

At Hearth, red felt hangings adorn the walls, softening noise and casting the restaurant in warm hues. Hearth transplants hearty Italian cuisine into the modern American kitchen, while trying to preserve the hospitality of the home. Even before I sat down to begin the meal, I noticed the walls. I found the felt curious, since other soundproofing materials would work just as well and more inconspicuously. The felt must have had some purpose beyond the practical.

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Filed under New York City, Restaurants, Reviews, Yale, Zach B.

Chicken Parmesan and the Town-Gown Divide

Zach Bell, Yale University

At Yale, restaurants don’t receive much attention. Sure, a new place will get a write-up in the Yale Daily News and a mention on a blog or two, but the audience is small. Yale Dining functions off of the feature that if a student lives on campus, they have to be on some form of dining plan, and these plans range between three options, unlimited meals, 21 meals a week and 14 meals a week. With such limited options (and limited access to kitchens in housing), there is an incentive to eat in the dining halls (of which there are many) pretty much all the time.

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Filed under College Life, Food, New Haven, Restaurants, Reviews, Yale, Zach B.

Adventurous Eating and Thrill

Zach Bell, Yale University

From the thrill of the first pitch, to a royal flush, to that first instant of free fall, humans revel in the thrill of competition. We love the adrenaline high, that state of fluctuating power borne of our courage and prowess. Most associate thrill-seekers with extreme sports or danger, but with the growing industry of food tourism, some now get their adrenaline hits from food.

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Filed under New Haven, Restaurants, Yale, Zach B.