Helpful ReplyHot!Connecticut grinders

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leethebard
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/06/18 23:21:22 (permalink)
Uncle Groucho
leethebard
That pizza...looks like they forgot it in the oven....looks awful!! I like charred edges, but not charcoal!


That looks like a 're-'re-heat.
Karl
 


At least!!!
BrianH1983
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/06/22 14:14:20 (permalink)
leethebard
That pizza...looks like they forgot it in the oven....looks awful!! I like charred edges, but not charcoal!




I honestly think it looks pretty good
TnTinCT
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/06/30 08:00:39 (permalink)
I've been meaning to get some pictures of a local place where we found GREAT grinder bread - Joe Pizza in Simsbury (there's one in Canton, CT also). I miss the more substantial sub rolls that you see in NY and NJ - generally here, even with fabulous filling, the shops use more what I would call a "squishy white bread" type of roll, which takes away from the total experience of a great sandwich. It's not terrible, but it becomes more of a vehicle for the contents vs. a critical part of the whole.
I was on the hunt for a good steak and cheese (pictures next time), and tried a grinder from Joe Pizza, nearby to where we live. We've been to Joe's a number of times, they have some decent pizza, great burgers, and other things, but we'd never tried their grinders. We've been missing out all this time.
Tim and I got half grinders  - a chicken parm, and a meatball grinder.  The chicken parm actually comes with sauteed spinach as a regular order (which Tim had them leave off), which I found to be an interesting choice.
 

 

 
I didn't get a cross shot, but it was substantial, cheesy, and delicious - but the bread makes the sandwich. I chose the meatball option, sans peppers.
 

 

 
Again, no good cross photo - I can only claim hunger got the best of me and I stopped taking photos. My only criticism might be the need for more sauce; next time I'll ask for a bowl of their delicious marinara on the side for dipping. This is my new go-to place for a grinder, the bread is substantial - chewy on the outside, light on the inside, but not overly so; I hate it when the insides go shooting out the other end if bread is too tough or chewy. I've tried asking where they get their rolls from, but haven't found anyone to give me a direct answer yet. They only offer a few grinder styles; I've already tried the steak and cheese which I'll get photos of next time, plus an eggplant, sausage and peppers, and italian tuna. No Italian Combo here unfortunately. Totally delicious!
 
post edited by TnTinCT - 2016/06/30 08:01:50
leethebard
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/06/30 09:39:20 (permalink)
I 100% agree with you about the bread...Squishy white bread type rolls are the ruination of a good sub. Now that bread looks fine. 
Ketteract
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/06/30 16:54:50 (permalink)
Notably, the cheese on the grinder seems to be the same shredded mozz that goes on their pizza.  The only other place I've seen that does this is Bantam Pizza out in Litchfield, but I imagine it's a common thing at restaurants that are pizzerias first and grinder shops second.  Which isn't to put down the grinder at all - it looks fantastic, especially the bread!  

 
It's also interesting to see the variations in the meatballs themselves: Joe (whole meatballs), Bantam (thin-sliced), Franklin/Maple/Second Poquonock (thick-sliced).  I think Rosa's in Wallingford does whole meatballs as well.
Ketteract
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/02 08:00:33 (permalink)
Was at the Stop & Shop on the Berlin Turnpike yesterday (the one by Joey Garlic's), saw a stack of grinders in their prepared-foods section, and figured I'd try one out.
 

 

 
For grinder fillings, whole sausage links seem to be more common than sliced sausage - in fact, the only other place I can recall offering sliced is Nardelli's.
 

 
And if you're going to do it that way, your grinder roll had better have a sturdy hinge.
 

 


This sure looked nice, but overall, it tasted like what you'd expect from something made at one of the largest supermarket chains in the northeast. The sausage was salty, but didn't have much character beyond that; the sauce was bland; the veggies and cheese were passable; the bread had a good chew, but also an odd chemical hint - and you know that if you bought one of those loaves standalone, you'd see a huge paragraph of ingredients.
 
It's a lesson I've had to learn over and over at big grocery stores: no matter how visually appealing their in-house foods may be, they're just never that good!
Ketteract
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/08 17:08:17 (permalink)
Endeavoring to make up for my subpar experience at Stop & Shop, today I stopped by the D&D Market on Franklin Avenue in Hartford, and found the best sausage-and-peppers grinder I've had yet.
 
They've been around since 1932. This Hartford Courant article from a couple of years ago describes them as being, "along with Mozzicato's and Carbone's ... a landmark and the last vestiges of the neighborhood's Italian-American community." They and DiBacco's Market had previously been recommended by my former landlord, the elderly Italian gent.
 
I knew immediately upon walking in that I would be back here.
 

 

 
Arancini and meatballs as big as your fist, stacks of cutlets, housemade sauce, stuffed peppers... everything you need.
 

 
I wanted to buy every damn thing I saw, but I had to stay focused - I was here to try the grinders.
 

 
Reasonable prices. Another Courant article, this one from 2001, extolled the virtues of D&D's sausage and peppers.  My choice was made for me.
 

 
Oh my, yes.
 

 
If the sausage I had at Stop & Shop lacked character... then this had nothing but character.
 

 
Like the sauce, the sausage is housemade, and it looks it. Let's move in for a close-up.
 

 
Coarse, fatty, and spicy but not overly spicy. Expertly made. Delightful.
 

 
The peppers were wonderfully noticeable, adding the complementary flavor and contrasting texture that you would want with sausage. (It's funny how many places treat the peppers as an afterthought. That was not the case here.) The bread was your standard functional Connecticut loaf.
 

 
They had many, many meats and cheeses to pick from at the counter, including a few I'd never heard of before (such as guanciale). Seeing as how they're right the heck in Hartford, I expect I'll get around to trying them all.
 
Now... what should I do tomorrow?
ann peeples
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/08 19:43:55 (permalink)
That place looks awesome!!
leethebard
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/08 19:53:54 (permalink)
Nice looking sandwich. I agree about the peppers.
ScreamingChicken
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/08 21:20:52 (permalink)
Ketteract
Arancini and meatballs as big as your fist, stacks of cutlets, housemade sauce, stuffed peppers... everything you need.

You can only say "everything" if they have lutefisk.
 

Like the sauce, the sausage is housemade, and it looks it. Let's move in for a close-up.  Coarse, fatty, and spicy but not overly spicy. Expertly made. Delightful.

Does D&D offer other styles of sausage sandwiches for those who may not care for peppers?  Or, as Samuel L. Jackson so eloquently stated in the movie Peppers on a Sandwich...
Ketteract
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/09 03:15:27 (permalink)
ScreamingChicken
Ketteract
Arancini and meatballs as big as your fist, stacks of cutlets, housemade sauce, stuffed peppers... everything you need.

You can only say "everything" if they have lutefisk.
 

Like the sauce, the sausage is housemade, and it looks it. Let's move in for a close-up.  Coarse, fatty, and spicy but not overly spicy. Expertly made. Delightful.

Does D&D offer other styles of sausage sandwiches for those who may not care for peppers?  Or, as Samuel L. Jackson so eloquently stated in the movie Peppers on a Sandwich...




Not sure about lutefisk, but I do remember seeing octopus salad!
 
And I observed another patron customizing the heck out of his soppressata grinder, so I'm sure they wouldn't have a problem leaving off the peppers if you so wished.  Funnily enough, my old landlord didn't care for peppers either.  I always thought they went with sausage like cheese on pizza.  (But, then again, the original Pepe's product was a tomato pie with no thick layer of cheese like we're accustomed to!)
Michael Hoffman
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/09 11:14:31 (permalink)
Who eats an apizza with a thick layer of cheese? Sure, a little grated Romano or Parmigiano. But a thick layer?
Ketteract
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/09 11:39:33 (permalink)
Michael Hoffman
Who eats an apizza with a thick layer of cheese? Sure, a little grated Romano or Parmigiano. But a thick layer?


Whenever I've eaten at Pepe's, Sally's, or Modern with other (local) people, they've always ordered a layer of mozzarella. I've been the only one to get the original style with just sauce plus some grated cheese. *shrug*
TnTinCT
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/09 12:00:40 (permalink)
D&D Market is great! They have lots of types of uncooked homemade sausage to stash in your freezer. I'm sad about the bread, you'd think they could get fresh from Mozzicato or some other Italian bakery given their location.
Michael Hoffman
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/09 12:05:39 (permalink)
Ketteract
Michael Hoffman
Who eats an apizza with a thick layer of cheese? Sure, a little grated Romano or Parmigiano. But a thick layer?


Whenever I've eaten at Pepe's, Sally's, or Modern with other (local) people, they've always ordered a layer of mozzarella. I've been the only one to get the original style with just sauce plus some grated cheese. *shrug*

You're the smart one.
Ketteract
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/09 12:13:06 (permalink)
TnTinCT
D&D Market is great! They have lots of types of uncooked homemade sausage to stash in your freezer. I'm sad about the bread, you'd think they could get fresh from Mozzicato or some other Italian bakery given their location.


I'm excited to try DiBacco's Market (which is also on Franklin) next weekend. Their Yelp pics show some very attractive grinder bread. Payday is next Thursday too so I expect I'll be in the mood for an Italian food spending spree. I want that baseball-sized arancini so badly!
Ketteract
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/30 07:30:19 (permalink)
Unfortunately, the folks at DiBacco's were on vacation, so I went back to D&D and had just a small Italian combo on a roll.  (Not a "grinder" per se, I guess?  Oh well.)
 

 
Prosciutto, capicola, ham, salami. And, yes, mayo, because I said so.  Everything was nicely proportioned.  A solid, well-constructed, delicious sandwich.
 

 
I'm cheating a bit here because I really made this post to show you D&D's incredible arancini.
 

 
As big as a tennis ball, and filled with risotto-style rice, beef, peas, cheese, and sauce.
 

 
$3 each and a meal in itself.  I went a little crazy afterwards, and bought a lot of their prepared food to sample: meatballs, more arancini, sweet sausage and peppers, chicken cutlets, eggplant cutlets, pepperoni, stuffed bread, housemade sauce.  
post edited by Ketteract - 2016/07/30 07:37:36
ann peeples
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/30 08:17:11 (permalink)
YUM!!!
 
leethebard
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/30 09:05:06 (permalink)
Wow....great looking stuff. Most of the stuff you bought, we make at home. We make great cutlets, gravy and meatballs....but those arancini are delicious-looking. I don't make those. Maybe I should give them a try!
Ketteract
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/07/30 13:42:17 (permalink)
I did look up some recipes for arancini - it looks like a relatively easy thing to make. But who am I kidding? I'll either wait for one of my Italian friends to make it for me, or I'll get D&D's.
TnTinCT
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/08/02 09:41:15 (permalink)
I love arancini! I just started to make my own risotto a couple of years ago, and now I always make a little extra so I can have arancini afterwards. My favorite is a spicy sausage and spinach risotto, then use that with a block of mozzarella in the middle and make the arancini balls. I found I can fry them all,  and then freeze a bunch in smaller packages - they heat up beautifully in the oven and make a great side dish to meals.  Here's the risotto -
 

 
And here's the arancini -
 

 
 
post edited by TnTinCT - 2016/08/02 09:49:11
Michael Hoffman
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/08/02 12:14:47 (permalink)
Nice.
leethebard
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/08/02 12:36:30 (permalink)
TnTinCT
I love arancini! I just started to make my own risotto a couple of years ago, and now I always make a little extra so I can have arancini afterwards. My favorite is a spicy sausage and spinach risotto, then use that with a block of mozzarella in the middle and make the arancini balls. I found I can fry them all,  and then freeze a bunch in smaller packages - they heat up beautifully in the oven and make a great side dish to meals.  Here's the risotto -
 

 
And here's the arancini -
 

 
 


WOW!!!
Ketteract
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Re: Connecticut grinders 2016/08/11 15:41:15 (permalink)
Had a stressful morning, so I wanted comfort food for lunch. What better opportunity to try another grinder joint?
 
Wolcott Hill Giant Grinder is a new place in Wethersfield, and they're clearly trying, at least in some ways. The interior is spacious and well-designed, the menu looks professional, and the service is very friendly. ("Thanks for coming in!" isn't something you usually hear from a longtime fixture.) I wanted to rate them highly, but the actual food experience was lackluster.
 

 

 
It certainly looked like a quality chicken parm, but the magic just wasn't there. They achieve their "Giant" status via two thick cutlets, instead of the Franklin Giant Grinder / Wethersfield Pizza House style of four or five thin ones. Which is fine - Corner in Hamden and Carbone's in Torrington do the same thing - but these left much to be desired. The breading and sauce weren't distinctive at all, and I actually bit into tendon or gristle a few times, something that's never happened to me with all the other chicken cutlets I've had.
 

 
The breading was also extremely soggy and slippery, and yes, you'd expect some wettening from the sauce, but other chicken parms I've had held themselves together better than this. The bread was your usual inconsequential loaf, and unfortunately, the innards weren't good enough for that to be given a pass.
 
They had pizza as well, of course, and I figured why not? No individual slices, but $5 got you a "personal pizza":
 

 

 

 
I know it doesn't look like much, but to be perfectly honest, I enjoyed it more than the grinder.
 
I feel bad for these guys. They seem like they have their heart in the business - wouldn't you have to, in order to even start it up? - but they have a lot of work to do on their actual food, especially if they want to present any kind of challenge to the king of grinders in Wethersfield, the Wethersfield Pizza House, the "Home of the Chicken Cutlet."
 
 
post edited by Ketteract - 2016/08/11 15:45:42
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