Friday, March 27, 2009

Rant of Devastation/Frustration

Sorry for ranting, but I need to get it off my chest...

Here at Waterbury Foodies, we like to paint a picture of a socially and culturally diverse Waterbury. But every once in a while, things happen that make us curse the very city of our birth, and last night was no exception. Scott was dying for Los Arcos tacos, so we stopped by to see our good friend Paula. We hadn't been in a while, both because we are on diets and because I was in Ecuador. The outside looked a little different, and when we went inside, we realized that Los Arcos was no more, the family was forced to sell the business. No more tacos, no more chats with Paula and the kids, no more mole. The new owners were selling only some groceries, no fresh food. I was so upset that I almost cried. Although I no longer had an appetite, Scott suggested that we go to the Peruvian Corner to cheer me up. Approaching the Peruvian Corner, I noticed unfamiliar colors...A PUERTO RICAN BAKERY?!?! This one was a real shocker. I knew Los Arcos was struggling, but the Peruvian Corner was hands down one of the best restaurants in Waterbury. I WAS DEVASTATED. I know I should be at least thankful that they have been replaced by other cultural food places, but it kills me to see them go. You can argue that the economy is to blame, and it is, in part. But what I will never understand about Waterbury is why places like that fail so miserably, meanwhile there are lines outside of Chili's and The Olive Garden. It actually disgusts me. Do people not appreciate real food and diversity? How could the Olive Garden even EXIST in a city with the largest Italian American population in the state and more Italian restaurants than you can shake a fist at? I cannot for the life of me understand the mentality. Are people afraid to try something new? What is wrong with this city that it falls into the trap of commercialization, chain restaurants, and a billion cell phone stores, all the while letting local businesses suffer? It really makes me ill. And do you know what makes me even more ill? Last night we ended up eating at Brass City Bistro, which is celebrating its one year anniversary. We ordered 1 drink each and two appetizers, and it cost us $50, which is about 6 times what we would have spent at Los Arcos for a much better and more filling dinner. Additionally, Brass City Bistro is not even a bistro, it's horrendously overpriced. The food was decent, but their menu was EXACTLY THE SAME as every other Vasi's/Mario's/Bacco's/Diorio's/Nino's/San Marino's/Gagliardi's/Aldo's of Italy/City Hall Cafe/Ragozzino's/D'Amelio's/Paisano's/La Tavola/Grotto's/Bertucci's/Pizza Castle/Carmen Anthony's. BRANCH OUT, PEOPLE. With minor exceptions and slight variation, these places all have THE SAME MENU. Is no one else's palate sick of it?

Okay, phew, I'm glad I got that out. And BCB, sorry for hating on your restaurant, your food was actually pretty tasty (or what I could afford of it anyway) and your waitstaff was gracious and helpful. You just caught me at the worst possible moment, at the height of my frustration with the Waterbury food scene and commerce culture. Tonight I will dust myself off and try to get excited about Waterbury food again...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Foods of Ecuador!

Ensalada de camarones

Waterbury and its 'burbs are experiencing a recent increase in Ecuadorian immigration, so I thought I would post a few pics from my recent trip to Ecuador, where I did some work in Emergency Medicine. I didn't get to eat out nearly as much as I hoped to, but here are some highlights. I hope to find an Ecuadorian restaurant in CT soon!

Encocado de mariscos

Ceviche mixto con patacones

Ceviche de corvina con patacones


Desayuno criollo (con pescado, huevos, y bolon)

Gaseosa de inca, fresa, y manzana





Bolon de verde

Paradilla mixta (Yes, I ate intestines and kidney!)

Mixed Ecuadorian fruits

Inside a granadilla

Ecuadorian fruits

Cazuela de mariscos

Arroz con camarones y maduros

Cangrejo ajillo

If you can't find Ecuadorian food near you, you can always make your own! I suggest you visit one of my very favorite food blogs, which has loads of great Ecuadorian recipes and mouth-watering photos:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

CT Magazine's Best Restaurants Issue

Ladies and Gentlemen, this year's Connecticut Magazine's "Best Restaurants" issue is on bookshelves. No real surprises this year, I think. Overall excellence winner went to Napa & Co. in Stamford, reflecting the new foodie trend towards local, organic foods, and Runner-up was Union League Cafe in New Haven, an old classic. The Waterbury area was a little less represented than I would like it to be, but isn't that always the case? Our notable winners included:

Statewide Best New Restaurant Winner: La Tavola in Waterbury (Congrats!!!)
Statewide Winner Best Steak Restaurant: Carmen Anthony Steakhouse in Waterbury(no surprise here)

The New Haven County Dining Guide section did feature a few of our other favorites, including New Haven restaurants like Bentara, Bespoke, Caseus, L'Orcio, Miya's Sushi (this year's Valentine's dinner), Pacifico (last year's Valentine's dinner), and Thali. The only other Waterbury restaurant noted was Diorio's (our very first Valentine's dinner, cute, I know). So we are a little disappointed. While we agree that the Waterbury food scene could be better, we think there are restaurants that deserved to make the cut much more than SeƱor Pancho's of Cheshire, which won some award.

So here is the Renee and Scott list of "Waterbury Restaurants that we think Connecticut Magazine should pay more attention to next year":

Drescher's Restaurant (German)
Peruvian Corner Restaurant (Peruvian)
Kumo Japanese Cuisine (Japanese/French)
Lisboa Restaurant (Portuguese)
Frankie's/Big Franks (Hot dogs and BBQ)
Vasi's (Greek/Italian)
Avventura's (Italian Deli and the first place I take my non-Waterbury friends when they visit)
Nardelli's (Grinders)
Anatolia's (Turkish)
Sweet Maria's (Bakery, I know it's not a restaurant, but sometimes dessert can be dinner)

By the way, we just wanted to mention that recently Waterbury has begun to show yet another side of its cultural diversity with the opening of Fattoush Restaurant and Market (an Arabic/Lebanese Restaurant and Market) and Quick Falafel. Scott and I can't wait to get out and try both, and you should too!