Eat It, Damn It!

Reviews, raves, slams, and damns.

Category Archives: Connecticut

Plan B Burger

Plan B Storefront
Chi-Chi Fu-Fu (pronounced Shee-Shee Foo-Foo). I don’t know if that’s the correct spelling, but that’s what a former co-worker used to describe fancy places, the kind of place that will serve you Chocolate Asparagus braised with Duck Phartz.

I’m not advocating class warfare. I have nothing against fancy food fusion. Sitting at a place with great ambiance and experiencing a unique culinary creation crafted by a master food artisan is a great way to spend an evening.

…but does a burger need to be fancy?

Blue Cheese Chips
MG and I started off with the Blue Chips ($7.99). The menu lists it as “House Made Potato Chips topped with Tomatoes, Warm Blue Cheese Sauce, Bacon, Red Onion & Jalapenos”. MG is still sans dairy and gluten, so she ate around the cheese and sauce. The chips are great. They are crispy. The blue cheese sauce has a good balance between cream and funk. Flecks and chunks of bacon are dotted throughout the dish, and the jalapenos are freshly sliced, not pickled. I’ll give the scholarly answer and say it was “interesting”. I loved all the individual components, but not sure that I liked them together. Everything is fresh and tasty, but I don’t think blue cheese and chips are a perfect marriage. To be honest, I thought this when ordering the dish. However, I was curious. If you like the combination of blue cheese and crispy potato, definitely order this dish. If you are on the fence, there are other interesting options.

Bacon Cheeseburger with Disco Fries
The star of the show, I got a Bacon Cheeseburger and opted for Disco Fries ($13.78). The disco fries were superb. The fries were crispy and well salted. The gravy had an excellent beefy flavor that was wonderful with the soft, creamy, well-melted cheese that went on top. These fries would make a spectacular drunk snack. If you like disco fries at all, you must order these.

Bacon Cheeseburger Innards
Check out the inside. The cheese is plentiful, but not overwhelming. The bacon is tasty and crisp. The white stuff you see on there is garlic mayo. It’s a great addition if you like mayo, and the garlic flavor is not overpowering. The burger?

Short answer? The burger is good. If you need a burger and you go to Plan B, I don’t believe you will be disappointed. However, I have to add a few thoughts.

When you order a burger you have the option of “Some Pink” and “No Pink”. What was the matter with “Rare”, “Medium”, and “Well Done”? I went with Some Pink. What I got was a burger that was a little closer to medium than rare, but pretty near the rare side in the middle. For some people, that’s great. I usually like my burger a little past medium. Granted, I could have said that, but I just went with their system. Next time, I’ll specify what I want and see what they do, but I think their current system is just messing with a tried and true description system.

The bun is very nice. It holds up well to the loosely packed beef disc. It is not especially soft or crusty, but just nice.

Burger on Grass with Sweet Potato Fires
MG got a Bacon Burger on Grass with Sweet Potato Fries ($14.78). She has had it many times before and really enjoys the dish. She hates that they use iceberg lettuce. For the price, she may have a point. It might be nice if they served it on a few leaves of Romaine with a smattering of Arugula. Nevertheless, she likes this meal.

The sweet potato fries are pretty great. They are crisp and well salted. Thumbs up.

Furry Art
The walls are dotted with what I call “Furry Art”. I don’t know the proper name. It’s not a painting, is it? I mean, it’s not painted.

MG and I got pretty simple dishes. The menu is very extensive. You can get burgers with truffle oil, roasted tomato, jack cheese, pretzel buns, etc…

I’m not going to dismiss Plan B as a fancy-pants burger joint. They make a nice burger. I could nitpick and say that burger could have a better crust or could use more salt, but I think that would be unnecessarily critical. Their burger is good. They have some tasty appetizers and sides. An extensive beer and liquor list is not a bad thing. If you want a quick, fast-food style burger, Plan B is not the spot. They don’t make a life-changing burger, but their offering is very respectable. If you want to sit around, sip a few cocktails and enjoy some slightly higher end bar food, Plan B is ideal. They have a few locations, so see if one near you sparks your interest.

Plan B Burger Bar
1638 Boston Post Road
Milford, CT 06460
203-713-8700
(Google Map)

Saray Turkish Restaurant

Saray Signage
“What place is that?”
“It’s the spot on the way to Zuppardi’s
“Why would I go that way and not continue to Zuppardi’s?”
I would stop there because MG is cutting down on gluten and dairy. That makes pizza eating kinda’ difficult.

To say Saray is not Zuppardi’s is doing a disservice to Saray. However, getting off the exit ramp, I just couldn’t help but think about Zuppardi’s being a few minutes down the road. I was already setting up an obstacle that Saray would have to overcome.

The dining area is very large and open. MG and I went on a Friday evening, and business was brisk. There were a number of reserved tables, some seating 15 or more.

Complimentary Bread
The complimentary bread was very nice. It went very nicely with our appetizer.

Hummus and Antep Ezme Combo
This is the Hummus and Antep Ezme combo. According to the menu, Antep Ezme is “Onion, Red & Green Peppers, Tomatoes, Walnut and Garlic all made into a delicious dipping paste.” Translated, that means “complex gaggle of flavors that create a memorable mash of savory, hot, and sweet in your happy mouth.” The Hummus was forgettable, the Antep Ezme was sublime. It is a must order.

Carrots and Cuces
As MG is sans gluten, she asked for some cold vegetables to dip into our appetizers. Check out the nice array that the waiter gladly brought out. He gets a big thumbs up.

Yaprak Dolma
I’ve seen stuffed grape leaves with a number of different names. Saray listed theirs as Yaprak Dolma. Whatever, as long as it tasted good… and it did. Balanced between savory and tangy, these little beauties were exactly what I wanted. They did not amaze me, but they certainly did not disappoint.

Chicken Shish Kebab
For the entree, MG selected the Chicken Shish Kebab. I rarely order or eat shish kebab. If done properly, it has a nice, rich, smoky flavor. Done poorly, it’s burnt on the outside and barely cooked inside.

This offering was done properly. Tender and juicy, the chicken retained some of the flavor from the grill. The exterior had the proper amount of resistance without becoming tough or crusty. People that fear spice should not worry with this dish. It was rich in flavor, but only offered a slight bit of tingle to the tongue.

Saray Special Pie
I felt adventurous. I went for the Saray Special Pie. “A thin round crust, dough with Turkish Pastrami, ground beef, Turkish pepperoni and Kashar cheese.” The best way I can sum it up is “Turkish Stromboli”. Nice, but it didn’t make my toes curl. The Turkish Pepperoni is the dominant flavor, and I don’t think it tastes unlike standard Pepperoni.

If you are traveling to Saray on a weekend, I would recommend making a reservation. The service is friendly, but they appear to be a little undermanned. That last sentence will seem a little odd when you walk in and see a plethora of waitstaff, maybe 10 or more. However, while there were constantly people going back and forth from the kitchen, filling water glasses, and bringing out dishes, I don’t think more than three were actually taking orders and delivering cheques. There definitely wasn’t anyone sitting on their hands, but it was a little difficult to get our waiter’s attention. Perhaps they need a better workflow strategy. Maybe it was an off night. Nevertheless, the staff is friendly and helpful once you actually get their attention.

Did Saray make me forget Zuppardi’s? Let’s just say, if I’m in that area and I definitely don’t want pizza, Saray is a nice option.

Saray Turkish Restaurant
770 Campbell Avenue
West Haven, CT 06516
203 937-0707
(Google Map)

Mona Lisa of Newtown

Mona Lisa Menu
“MONA LISAAAA!” I can see Nat King Cole smiling as he sings the song. Imagine what would happen if he or Leonardo Da Vinci got kickbacks every time Mona Lisa was used. Big, big money.

An old coworker of MG’s was in town. We were meeting up with her and a few other friends. One of them decided upon Mona Lisa.

Basket of Bread
What you have here is your standard basket of bread. Nothing special, right? Except, what it that stuff at the forefront of the photo? Well, I was told that it was Mona Lisa’s special spread. It is some combination of olives, garlic, oil, and some other spices. Usually, I can’t stand olives, but I really liked this spread. It’s very nice, in small doses, not terribly salty, and possessing a rich complex flavor. It may not be as cool as spreading marrow on toast, but it was definitely worthwhile.

Special Bread Spread
Here’s a closer look at the special blend.

Fried Mozzarella
The Fried Mozzarella was as advertised, a big hunk of fried mozzarella. This was pretty great. The cheese was fresh and not too salty. Though it stretched, it wasn’t too stringy. It wasn’t too hefty or too light. If you a fried cheese fan, definitely order this offering.

Fried Calamari
The Fried Calamari was wonderful, very fresh, very light. Superb! The breading wasn’t too heavy and didn’t retain any of the frying oil. It was the way the dish should be served. Big thumbs up.

What was very interesting was the dipping sauces served alongside the squid. One was the usual marinara sauce. The other was some form of honey based dish. It wasn’t a honey mustard, maybe it wasn’t, I don’t know. They was some honey and something else. I actually preferred it to the marinara. Different, but very complimentary to the calamari.

Fried Cherry Peppers
I got a side of fried cheery peppers with the calamari. They were fried cherry peppers, nothing special. They had some tang and some heat, just what was needed between bits of squidy goodness.

Penne Vodka
One of MG’s friends got the Penne Vodka. I didn’t try it, but she said that it was a usual order whenever she dined at the restaurant.

Chicken Dish
MG got some form of chicken dish. There were plenty of mixed vegetables and a nice smattering of rice on the side. She enjoyed it.

Salmon Dish
I got the salmon dish that was a special. The portion was nice, but the salmon was a little overcooked. The crabmeat atop the fish was not enjoyable at all. The seasoning was nice, but the texture (due to a little to much time on the heat) was off. Perhaps it was just a one off mistake. Considering how good the calamari was, I would give them another shot. Just one though.

Double Chocolate Gelato
The ladies had some Double Chocolate Gelato for dessert. They loved it. I found the mixture of sweet and bittersweet chocolate an unpleasant combination. They liked the mingling of flavors, I thought it was too much for a single dish.

The service is very prompt, and the d├ęcor is lovely. Mona Lisa is a fine place for a night out, whether formal or casual. The calamari is a must-order, but proceed with caution when it comes to fish.

Mona Lisa of Newtown
160 South Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470
203-426-6685
(Google Map)

Puerto Vallarta

Logo on Menu
MG has been going to Puerto Vallarta for a long time. She has taken many people there and was happy to finally bring me by the location in Orange, CT.

Orange CT Location
As you can see from the picture above, this particular outpost has the traditional Tex-Mex look. Though recently built, it looks as though it has been constructed from adobe. We went on a Friday night, and it was around the dinner hour, so plenty of people were beginning to trickle inside. There were some people that were stumbling out after happy hour, seemingly a popular time, but many families were starting to arrive concurrent with us. The weather was pretty mild, so we ended up sitting on the outside deck.

Mango Margarita
MG recommended the drinks very highly. She said that Puerto Vallarta did not skimp on the alcohol. Instead of their standard margarita, I tried a Mango Margarita. MG was correct. They did not skimp on the booze.

Cadillac Margarita
MG opted for the Cadillac Margarita. It’s made from 1800 tequila, triple sec, mix, and a splash of Grand Marnier. It was pretty smooth. Once again, they were not stingy with the liquor.

Complimentary Nachos
The complimentary nachos were pretty good. Thin and crisp, they might have been freshly made, but didn’t taste especially great, but definitely not bad.

Salsa
The salsa was nice, not terribly chunky, and had a bit of kick.

Chicken Mole Acapulco
Every Mexican restaurant menu has tacos, burritos, quesedillas, etc… Some places have a mole dish listed. This Purto Vallarta had at least three moles. I was impressed. The dish was called Chicken Mole Acapulco. I suppose this is the dish that most places would considered a standard mole. It was a mixture of chocolate, nuts, chili, and whatever other magical ingredients usually go into a mole.

This would not make a list of my favorite moles of all time, but it was pretty good. It was rich and nutty, without any flavor dominating the sauce. I think it could have used a little more chili. It was very savory, had a nice thick texture, and it is something I could definitely recommend. This chicken was well cooked and tender. Puerto Vallarta cuts the chicken incredibly thin so that it will cook quickly. They don’t skimp on the chicken, but the thin cuts take something away from the dish. It is not possible to get a nice meaty forkful of poultry, and the mole sauce almost overwhelms the chicken due to its width.

The rice is fine, but nothing special. The refried beans are pretty dull.

Carne Asada
MG had the Carne Asada. Like the chicken, the beef is cut very thin and quickly seared. It came out very tender and tasty, but again since the meat is cut so thin, it almost gets overwhelmed by anything that accompanies it on the plate.

Side of Black Beans
MG is not a fan of refried beans, so she asked for a side of black beans. It was a side of black beans, nothing more, nothing less.

There was a mixup when ordering. Puerto Vallarta has a number of different quesedilla dishes on the menu. MG asked about the type of beef in one of them. When she was told, she said, “I’ll have the Carne Asada one.” As evident in the picture above, she ended up getting the Carne Asada platter. The waiter was pleasant when the problem was called to his attention. MG also acknowledged that she may have been unclear. While the waiter was pleasant, he did not appear very ready to replace the dish. I can’t really fault him, since MG was fine with accepting the dish that was brought, but I can’t help but wonder what would have happened had she insisted on a new dish.

Puerto Vallarta is a better than average Mexican restaurant, but not amazing. The drinks are very good, and outdoor seating is plentiful for those that like to pickle outside after work.

Puerto Vallarta
377 Boston Post Road
Orange, CT 06477
203-799-9977
(Google Map)

Pop’s Family Restaurant

Outside Sign
Sunday morning again. Time for breakfast again. “Where to go?” (again.)
“Pop’s.”
“Where the heck is that?”
“Just get in the car.”

Apparently, Pop’s is very popular with the Milford locals as they have a big breakfast crowd. The parking lot is completely packed and there is a large line despite the number of tables. Luckily, our party of four (myself, MG, and two friends) were seated immediately.

Pops Tower
I went with one of the day’s specials, Pop’s Tower ($8.95). The menu describes it as “Homemade Corned Beef Hash layered with grilled mushrooms, three eggs any style and cheese”. I opted for egg whites with cheddar cheese.

The corned beef is pretty good, but there were flecks of potato inside. I found that a little weird. It wasn’t bad, but odd. I’ve never known corned beef hash to be made with potato, but I guess that’s one option.

The home fries were respectable. They were properly cooked and plentiful.

Caramel Apple French Toast
MG got the Caramel Apple French Toast ($7.95). Neither of us were terribly impressed by it, nor were we offended. The toast tasted good, but it could have been cooked a little longer. The topping tasted nice, but had a cloying texture. The dish was alright, but unless you really have a craving for caramel apple french toast, you might do better with something else.

Side of Bacon
Check it out. Another side of bacon as ordered by MG. It was properly cooked.

Buffalo Chicken Salad
Our friends got a Buffalo Chicken Salad. They pronounced it “pretty good”.

Pop’s did not knock my socks off, but they did provide a very respectable breakfast. While not spectacular, I would go to them again. Based on my eggs, toast, and coffee, I think I would do very well with a simple omlette.

Pop’s Family Restaurant
587 New Haven Avenue
Milford, CT 06460
203-876-1210
(Google Map)