Philadelphia was booming with activity this past weekend, and though there were tons of events taking place, family obligations brought me back to my hometown of Waterbury, CT.

Waterbury is a puzzling place, and not at all the best location for a food enthusiast to spend their time.  Home to a variety of chain restaurants, corporate coffee shops, and dive bars, it is hard to find a rough gem in all of the rubble. However, I will recap my food adventures, briefly.

After a previous mishap with Jersey Turnpike rest stops, I decided to pack some snacks for the trip. I scored a great deal on two-for-one blueberries and paid way too much for cherries, and then followed this recipe from Food Junta for granola to keep my stomach full during the trip.

I’ve tried a lot of different granola recipes in the past, and I am pretty opposed to using maple syrup as the binding, so I thought I’d give a new one a try. It came out similar to my other recipes, very loose, but still delicious. I accidentally over-did it with the vanilla extract and the cinnamon, but a little sweetness never hurt anyone. Next time I will use a little more honey, dried cherries as opposed to raisins and cranberries, and I will most likely use some coconut because it give the granola a great texture and great flavor.

Granola and fresh fruit pretty much ended healthy food streak for the weekend. Stu contributed to the car snack stash by bringing along Berger Cookies, supplied by a friend after a recent visit to Baltimore.  Try one. Just one, it will change your life.

berger cookies

Dog days
Amidst the nationally owned franchises in Waterburythat feature menus with burgers, quesadillas, and fried mozzarellas sticks, is a family-owned franchise that is a City-wide staple- Frankie’s Hot Dogs. Although I’ve definitely had a better dog than this one, and they are incredibly over-priced ($3.00  for one dog!), you have to try one. The hot dog stand originated in Waterbury and has expanded to nine locations (including one in Tampa, Florida?) and multiple “Big Frank’s” hot dog and BBQ spots.  This is a dog with a lot of local history.

The 3-Dollar FootLong

The 3-Dollar FootLong

Lotsa Pasta
The main purpose of my visit home was Pasta. And the best kind of pasta to eat is the kind that is for a good cause. My family hosted an All You Can Eat Ziti Dinner with all proceeds to benefit the American Cancer Society, in honor of my mother. It was a huge success. A ton of pasta was consumed, and whatever was leftover was donated to the local soup kitchen. Many celebratory DogFishHead 60 Minute IPA’s were consumed later that evening, unfortunately for me, on an empty stomach. All of that pasta serving left little time for eating. A trip to McDonald’s  (no link necessary) ensued very later on in the evening. Gross,  and I swear, never ever again.

One Last Hurrah
As if I didn’t do enough damage to my intestinal track this weekend, a  farewell breakfast was in order at the Goose and the Gander (no website!) in Thomaston, CT. A short drive from my house, this place has recently become a weekly breakfast stop for my family. We’re even on a first name basis with the owners.  The business is small, completely family owned and operated, a real local establishment. I’ve never been there for lunch or dinner (they have weird hours), but their breakfast is one-of-a-kind. You can find the average pancakes, eggs, waffles, etc. But each week there are five specials that change based on what the cook has available. My favorite is a blackberry stuffed French Toast as well as the Bananas Foster French Toast. This weekend, however I went for the Hungry Man Special (or Hungover Woman, more like) and got a giant Belgian Waffle, two eggs over-easy, hashbrowns and a side of bacon. Everything was cooked to perfection and my hangover was cured in no time!

Always Room for More
Now that I am back in Philadelphia, I have alot to look forward to. Capogiro Gelateria opened on Friday and I can’t wait until it warms up a bit so I can try it out. The Fountain Farmer’s Market opens in Passyunk Square on Wednesday and I will definitely be there. My roomate and I are planning on trying out our charcoal grill for Memorial Day, as long as the weather holds up. It looks like it will be a productive food week!

In the meantime, I’ve got to find some healthier meal plans for the week to make up for grease-intake I had over the weekend. Asparagus, it is!