We are going to talk about burgers! Yes, burgers, with or without cheese, broiled, grilled, stuffed however you like them. Why burgers? Recently, I played a gig in Tribeca, (lower Manhattan) NY. The Hors D’oeuvres served that evening included little mini burgers that were so tasty me and the boys in the band put on our best starving artist faces to keep the waiters bringing a fresh supply. Now you may be wondering why that is of any significance, I’ll tell you. The gig was in a very nice loft condo in, of all places, the old meat packing district! Since just about everyone loves a good burger I thought this could be interesting.
Okay before we bite into this endeavor it might be important to note that according to Theodora Fitzgibbon in her book The Food of the Western World – An Encyclopedia of food from North American and Europe: The Hamburg steak (chopped and seasoned meat some say is the predecessor of the modern day hamburger) originated on the German Hamburg-America line boats, which brought emigrants to America in the 1850s. There was at that time a famous Hamburg beef steak which was salted and sometimes slightly smoked, and therefore ideal for keeping on a long sea voyage. As it was hard, it was minced and sometimes stretched with soaked breadcrumbs and chopped onions. It was popular with the passengers, who continued to make Hamburg steaks with fresh meat when they settled in the U.S.
Now the question here is where can we find good burgers in CT and have some fun getting there? As for the fun part I thought keeping the activity vigorous so as to work up an appetite would serve us well. So, let’s start with somewhat of a new comer to this age old tradition of devouring burgers. They are Five Guys Famous Burgers located in Farmington, CT. Now before you jump in the car and run off remember the activities!
Maybe your interests involve an outside activity, check out The Farmington Valley Greenway for a list of outdoor fun activities. Or, if you prefer something a little more cultural, try the Hill-Stead Museum which features Art, History, Architecture, and Historic homes. So after some or all of that you know what you’re supposed to do…it’s time to reward yourself by grabbing one maybe even two of the Five Guys Burgers. According to the folks at Five Guys there are 250,000 ways to have one of their burgers, well here is one, straight no chaser!
Next up, let’s go to Colchester, CT. Yes, Colchester where you can sightsee, fish, bike, hike, go antique shopping do whatever to spend a wonderful day. Did you know that in colonial times a pond was created to provide water for a sawmill, where they turned chestnut, maple, and oak logs into lumber. By the 1870s horses were hauling wagons across a covered bridge over the nearby Salmon River. Today the beautiful area in Colchester is known as Day Pond State Park, and it offers lots of opportunity for exploring. Now once you have worked up that appetite you simply have to stop at Harry’s Place, a real roadside burger stand complete with wooden shutters, park benches, and good juicy two-fisted burgers.
Last and certainly not least, one of my favorite towns New Haven. Maybe you’ve heard of Sleeping Giant State Park? Sleeping Giant State Park (not in New Haven but close enough) gets its name because the two-mile rocky ridge in Hamden, Connecticut looks like a giant man lying on his back. Sleeping Giant State Park is 1,439 acres and offers over 30 miles of hiking trails. So, after a nice walk or hike (whichever you prefer) make your way to this little gem called Louis’ Lunch. It is a very inauspicious little building on Crown Street in New Haven. It serves one of the most barren yet tastiest burgers you could want. By the way, Louis’ Lunch claims the first hamburgers in U.S. history were served right there at Louis’ Lunch sandwich shop in 1895.
But, don’t take my word for it check out this link http://prod.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/es/ct/burger_1 its from the Library of congress.
So there we have it, a few places we can go and get our adventure on, so to speak, and have a great meal as a reward afterwards. If you know of a place serving great food or a fun or adventurous place worth visiting let me know.
Colchester, CT http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=XFA032-028
Harry’s Burgers http://roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=672
New Haven, CT
Louis’ Lunch http://www.louislunch.com/lore.html