Thursday, July 29, 2010

Exile on Orange Street

Hans and Mendez started their Orange Street Promenade at Archie Moore's. It is mildly less corny than the Milford spot by the same name and ownership, but that isn't saying much. News Channel 8 consumed the largest television at Archie Moore's almost, for a second, rivaling attention from the wall to wall Coca Cola advertisements. Were these framed posters and tin signs bought in bulk for a discount? Were they found at an estate sale? The answer may never be known. A tiny Miller Light poster in the corner of the bar advertised Happy Hour specials.

Wings were half-price and stated to be the best in Connecticut. They were good, great even (Mendez's opinion), but this post is not to proclaim who serves the best wings in town. Served with fresh blue cheese and celery Hans tried to bribe the cook for the recipe. He would surely make a few bucks off of it at the severely lacking Buffalo Wild Wings. Regulars lined the bar, letting the bloggers know that Archie Moore's means something to these people. For them this is a place to gather, where the grandfatherly bartender knows your drink and favorite baseball team. Archie Moore's serves a good happy hour, nothing more, nothing less. Half-priced wings and decently priced drinks are a virtue no matter where you go.

The bloggers declined more food and drink to return to the Orange Street Promenade, a geographical term coined here to describe gourmet grocers cum take out spots residing in the East Rock section of town. They passed Romeo and Caesar's two blocks from Archie's, but did not go in; heading instead to Nica's, a popular spot which has yet to be experienced. To describe Nica's in one word would be to write 'claustrophobic.' To describe it in two: 'very claustrophobic.'

Three children in the small store seemed like an entire elementary school during recess. The shrieks for candy came at every direction like a fun house. When entering Mendez openly mocked a young woman for wearing headphones. There is no need to be polite when the person being offended cannot hear said remarks. He later realized that the noise reduction technique might be a means of survival for a single soul in this take out shopping jungle. Feeling awkward for milling about, for there was hardly space to move, Hans purchased a brownie. It was fudgy but most likely not baked at Nica's. The usage of M &M's lends to his skepticism. Like Romeo Caesar's, it too has outdoor seating and Italian-American favorites such as eggplant parmigiana and chicken cutlets. The bloggers have agreed to postpone any final judgments of Nica's being that the store was way to crowded to be fully enjoyed for a solid dinning experience, but with the tried and tested Romeo and Caesar's right next door, is there really necessity for a second opinion?

Intrigued by the Romeo and Caesar's connection, they traveled down further to Cafe Romeo. Its a chic, modern looking building with lots of chrome and patio seating. One of the glass walls lifted up exposing the indoors to fresh air. The staff is dressed for the X Games tryouts, backward hat being part of the uniform. The clientele sides with Apple as Macbooks and I-phones were plentiful. Hans and Mendez felt out of place writing in crayon.

Cafe Romeo menu offers sandwiches, salads and pizzas. On this day, or at least during July, pizzas were half price. The fennel sausage pizza description seemed too good to be true. Some of the pre-made pizzas, used for slices, sat on the counter looking like bronze gods. They call your name when your pizza is ready, so Hans lead the man outside to the bloggers table. "Look at you people eating shitty salads and sandwiches while I make gorgeous pizzas" this man said to no one in particular, but Han, struck by the veracity in the speech, took note. The toppings were delicious. House made sausage added an artisan touch, but it was the olives that stole the show. A very nice change of pace to the canned black olives thrown on most pizza pies.

The pizza's crust is given no love at Cafe Romeo. As strange as it sounds, the crust tastes and feels like a graham cracker, no lie or malice intended. Cafe Romeo offers vegan pizza which, surprisingly enough, is tastier than the real thing. Props are due for supplying vegan friends with much loved pizza. If Hans and Mendez gave "thumbs up and thumbs down," Cafe Romeo's pizza would get a "thumbs down" which upsets the bloggers because they love the affiliated Romeo and Caesars pie so much. Take away the old fashioned deli counter and replace it with 'hip' and 'chrome' and the food suffers.

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