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Posted on Friday, July 3, 2015

Close view of a Bolton breast gives some idea of how HOT it is.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Thursday, July 2, 2015 5:21 AM

How to make a great chicken parm sub, or as it's known in Connecticut, chicken parm grinder: When you carve the chicken, don't slice it too thick – it will be too chewy – nor too thin – you want it good and juicy. Add just the right amount of family-secret seasoning when you make the breadcrumbs. Cook the lightly breaded cutlets until those crumbs get brittle crisp at the edge. Use tomato sauce that is bright and fruity, preferably made using grandmother's recipe. Pile the ingredients higher than high on a fresh roll with plenty of ready-to-melt provolone on top and bake it until everything melds together in a dazzling swirl of crunch and chew and spicy Italian savor. That is exactly how it's done at Wethersfield Pizza House – how father and mother and grandfather and daughter and daughter's husband have been doing it for the last 34 years.

Yes, the name of the place is "Pizza House," and the pizzas are alright if you like the bready Sicilian sort of crust that is frighteningly grease-free. But this place is on the good-eats map for sandwiches, available on rolls, as 8-inch "halves" (big enough to sate a very healthy appetite) or 16-inch "wholes" (I will shake the hand of any man or woman who polishes off one of these in a single sitting.) Chicken cutlets are the main attraction; they are grand the way only a natural cook can make them – each a gorgeous ribbon of meat and crust. They are piled into a sandwich four pieces high and topped either in the traditional veal-parm way (sauce and cheese) or American-style with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise.

Once you've savored the chicken a few times and can pull yourself away from it for a change, you might want to move on to such other hot sandwiches as meatballs (made in the kitchen behind the order counter), eggplant Parmesan, fried mozzarella with marinara sauce, and peppers with eggs. Among the cold sandwiches is a humongous Italian special piled with ham, cotto salami, genoa salami, provolone, and a thick layer of peppers and diced tomatoes.

Wethersfield Pizza House has gained a solid reputation among northeast sandwich cognoscenti (it was thanks to an erudite forum discussion about Connecticut grinders that I found my way here), but fame has in no way gone to its head. It is a modest little storefront on a busy commercial boulevard, its uniqueness marked by a window sign that boasts, "Biggest Grinders Around – Home of the Chicken Cutlet."

To place an order you either telephone or walk through the door and step up to the counter, over which is a wall menu for those unfamiliar with the kitchen's repertoire. (I get the feeling that a large percentage of the clientele here are regulars who know exactly what they want to eat; indeed many seem to be such frequent diners that the staff knows what they want, as well!) If you will be dining on premises, find a place at one of a handful of booths and tables covered with easy-wipe vinyl; and if you are planning to take the food out (a popular option) and need to wait for it to be cooked, a bench is set up along one wall where you can either stare at the opposite wall and its Italianate décor or read magazines provided by the management. No meal is over $20, and the half-size subs are under $10.
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Posted on Thursday, July 2, 2015

Our favorite of the cupcakes we tried was the Goodie Goodie, which is chocolate cake with peanut butter cream mousse. Delicious!
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Posted by Michael Stern on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 5:01 AM

It isn't easy for a pizzeria to stand out in Connecticut, where there are so many excellent ones; but Stanziato's of Danbury has earned a huge reputation in the five years since it started wood-firing its creative pies. Just the other day, the mastermind behind it, Matt Stanczak, announced that he has sold the place and will be leaving later in the summer. We wish the new owners well, and we thank Matt for so many memorable meals. Here is the review.

Posted by Michael Stern on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 4:01 AM

Bring a full wallet and a large appetite if you are dining at Moishe's, which is Montreal's high-end steak house. Opened in 1938 and now located upstairs on an inconspicuous block in the old Jewish neighborhood, it is not strictly Jewish. You can start your meal with shrimp cocktail or have a main course of grilled shrimp; but the more typical appetizers are herring in cream sauce and chopped liver; and many folks side their main course with latkes (potato pancakes) or karnatzlech (the little sausages common at local delis).

Steaks, cooked on a charcoal grill that dates back to the 1930s, are the menu's featured attraction. There are many cuts available, including rib steak, sirloin, filet mignon, and T-bone, not to mention sweetbreads and a mixed grill. The one we like best is the bone-in filet mignon. A huge pillow of meat laden with juice, it provides almost no resistance to a knife and offers fuller flavor than most boneless filets. We also like "Moishe's famous Monte Carlo potato," which is the house version of twice-baked.

Dining at Moishe's is a plush experience. Spirits are high at the white-clothed tables in the bright dining room as couples, families, and business comrades partake of a meal that everybody knows is the best that money can buy.
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Roadfood of the Day: Heid's - Liverpool, NY
Posted on Wednesday, July 1, 2015

German Frank (with Chili)

Another variation on the Texas Hot, but with a German frank instead of a White hot, this made for one fine meal!
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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 4:35 AM

Two More Flavors

At Woodside Farm Creamery, ice cream is all about the cows. A small herd of thirty Jerseys is moved to a fresh field every day after their morning milking, giving them plush green grass to eat and allowing previous days' fields of clover, alfalfa, orchard, and rye grasses to flourish again. Each produces four to five gallons daily, which, compared to Holstein production, is scant. But farmer Jim Mitchell asserts that milk from a Jersey cow is more nutritious and better tasting. (Holsteins are the black and white bovines; Jerseys are brown, as exemplified by their most famous good-will ambassador, Elsie.)

Woodside Farm's thick Jersey milk makes magnificent ice cream. As produced in the creamery adjacent to the milking parlor, it is more cream-sweet than sugar-sweet. Low overrun (minimal added air) creates such density that melting makes it more like crème fraiche than spilled milk. The butterfat content is about 15%, varying slightly depending how the cows' grass is growing, placing it high on the richness scale. But unlike many high-butterfat, superpremium brands that can assume such overwhelming intensity after a scoop or two that you feel like you are gagging on spheres of flavored butter, this stuff tastes positively salubrious. Two or three scoops are no problem; if we lived near New Castle County, we'd come for a cone a day.

Woodside Farm is a particularly nice destination because of its al fresco picnic tables and grassy fields to which some customers bring blankets and box lunch for which ice cream is the grand finale. The view from the tables is of cattle grazing. Nothing like an ice cream shop in a strip mall, this place is pure country.
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Posted on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Killer Seafood's Own Version of Fish Tacos

A tuna filet, marinated, then grilled and sliced, served with two flour or corn tortillas, with a special house sauce.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Monday, June 29, 2015 5:58 AM

While imbibing cold-brew coffee drawn from the tap at Stumptown roasters in Seattle's Capitol Hill (Stumptown's HQ is in Portland, Oregon), we tucked into a curious micro-donut, shown here with the dollar to illustrate its size. A first-bite reaction was to call out "State Fair!" This little sinker had the devil-may-care flavor of well-used oil typical of cheap Midway eats. There is no logical culinary justification for loving the brutish little pastry, but maybe it was the yin-yang of its contrast to Stumptown's very elegant coffee that made it so enjoyable. Shown below is a cup of Stumptown cold-brew at the tap.

Posted on Monday, June 29, 2015
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