Thursday, September 17, 2009

Some Hidden Gems In New Haven

As many of you know, I moved from NY to CT just a couple of months of ago. There were some growing pains initially, but I've quickly come to have a soft spot for New Haven (the Yale campus area) and its surrounding suburbs. The foodie gems are a little harder to find in this neck of the woods as compared to NYC, but they're there. You just have to dig deep, and I don't mind working hard for my food! So today I thought I'd take you on a tour of some my favorite CT noshing spots.

First on my list will always be Mamoun's Falafel (85 Howe St, New Haven). Folks, I lucked out. If I ever had a complaint about foodie offerings in my part of Long Island, it was that there just weren't enough really good Arab/Lebanese joints. Had to drive at least half an hour to get to a decent middle eastern restaurant there (I'd have done it but you know that's quite a chore for DH - he is willing to drive 15 mins for food, not more!). So when I took my first bite of Mamoun's falafel sandwich at their New Haven location (they have one in NYC but I've never tried that), it was a When-Harry-Met-Sally moment! You know the one I'm talking about - where she fakes a big O in the middle of a restaurant?! No? Have I aged myself again by mentioning it? Oh whatever. Suffice to say, I had bells go off in my head, and just kept moaning "oh baby yes yes YES" the whole time. There was a repeat performance when I dug into their lamb shawarma sandwich as well. This place is located on the Yale campus, and is perfect student food because not only is it cheap ($5 for a filling falafel sandwich and a drink), but it's also open every single day, till around 3am at night. I live about 10 mins away, and I now make it a point to drag DH there every other week.
Crunchy, super-flavorful falafel, smothered with an abundance of tahini and loaded with fresh tomatoes and not too much lettuce, enveloped in a soft, fresh pita - just the way I love it!

Next on my list is Kari Malaysian Restaurant (1451 Whalley Ave, New Haven). For those of you who haven't tried Malaysian food yet, it's somewhere between Thai, Chinese and Indian cuisine. This combo of flavors is palatable to everyone, trust me. And Kari offers a decent variety at very reasonable prices. But to be quite honest with you, I just go there for two reasons. Dear readers, please say hello to my two friends - Roti Canai and Nasi Goreng.
Roti Canai is a flaky indian-style fried bread, paired with a spicy coconut-flavored curry.

Nasi Goreng is the Malay version of fried rice, but with lots of Thai basil and other fragrant spices.

And these were simply called "Golden Sack" - crunchy wonton wrappers filled with chicken & veggies. They were just TOO cute!

And finally, a recent find of mine has been the Kati Roll truck parked outside the Osborn Labs building at Yale. $5 will get you two flaky parathas stuffed with either chicken or lamb, topped off with chopped onions, tomatoes and cilantro, plus a pretty decent hot sauce. Everyday, around lunch time, you'll find many such food trucks parked outside in this area, selling nummies ranging from Indonesian food to Mexican tacos to Indian food of all kinds. I don't know how one is supposed to study after a lunch like this - I just wanted to take a nap! But I guess that's what those huge first-year Economics classes are for; snoozing in the back of the auditorium.

There's a lot more of New Haven that taken a bite of, and I'll keep you posted of everything worthwhile.