A taste of Westville
Carissa Duhamel – Copy Editor
Starting to get sick of the Student Center and Conn Hall? Are Easy Mac and Ramen noodles just not doing it for you the way they used to? Is your ever-loving mom beginning to question with slight irritation why you’re returning home every weekend just in time for her legendary home-cooked dinners? Don’t worry, you can give your mom and the microwave some space while fulfilling all of your complex culinary cravings by stepping less than a mile off campus. Beginning on nearby Blake Street, the historical Westville neighborhood of New Haven is home to several exceptional restaurants that will leave your stomach in an all-day state of satisfaction.
If Conn’s waffle maker has started to lose the instant charm it had over you upon first discovery, try venturing less than ten minutes on foot down Fitch Street to Lena’s Café and Confections for breakfast. The French bistro opens as early as 8 a.m. on weekdays to produce bundles of fluffy, freshly made baked goods ranging from breads, to bagels, croissants, and pastries, served alongside stacks of golden pancakes and elegant egg omelets. While you’re rubbing your eyes at the unbearable brightness of morning, sit and order one of their caffeinated specialty drinks before browsing the menu. I plopped down with a frothy steaming spiced chai latte last week before being delivered a plate of decadent lemon raspberry French toast, and I certainly didn’t stand up again anytime soon. Topped with an irresistibly light vanilla mousse, the French toast is moist but slightly crisped along the outside and impeccably spiced. After a dish like that, the idea of Conn hall scrambled eggs seems like a faint, tortured memory.
After waddling away from Lena’s across the road to Edgewood Park to simply lay in the sun and digest, wake from a French-toast induced dream to meander up adjacent West Rock Avenue to Deja Brew. Located in a residential section of Westville, the petite café resembles a Victorian tea house with wooden floors and ornamented tables. The adorable restaurant offers an array of salads, sandwiches, and paninis for a slightly lighter alternative to Lena’s delicious, but heavy breakfast. Highlights of the menu include a “Turkey Gobbler” panini, which comes on a pressed rosemary focaccia filled with roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mayo. The café also offers customizable sandwich and salad “cards” that allow customers to build their own meals by simply checking off the ingredients they wish to include. Wash down lunch with a beverage from their full espresso bar or one of their varieties of teas. Finish the entire experience with an indulgent ice cream cone, which they offer in flavors ranging from butterfinger to old fashioned vanilla.
Finally, amble back to the downtown Westville area to compound your stomach with dinner at Delaney’s Restaurant and Taproom. With two dining rooms and an attached wooden bar as well as a full separate 21 and older only tap room, Delaney’s is arguably the focal point of eating and nightlife in Westville. The restaurant features an extensive, conceptual menu headlined with a foodie’s daily philosophy, “There is no love more sincere than the love of food,” followed by pages full of delectable delights like “Shroom n’ Truffle” burgers and “Moules a L’ardennaise” mussels. Gourmet versions of the American staple, macaroni and cheese, are among the most popular items on the menu, so I decided to give the “Hanger Bleu Mac ‘n Cheese” a chance. Generously served in an enormous bowl, the dish’s tiny elbow noodles wade in a pool of creamy bleu cheese sauce topped with tender strips of hanger steak and crumbles of crispy bacon, and it is amazing. The dish is warm and paralyzingly delicious like the classic comfort food should be, and hits every flavor note a decadently sinful dinner should – cheesy, salty, and fatty. Heaven.
After consuming (most) of a meal like that, refreshment with a cool beverage is necessary. Adults at least 21 years old can make a short trip from their tables over to the tap room to attempt to break down their food babies over one of Delaney’s many beers. But don’t go in asking for a Budweiser – the restaurant only offers limited availability, specialty beers that you’ve probably never heard of before from all around the world. With a few recommendations from the bartender, find a bottled or draught that is right for you and the sit back, relax, and socialize with friends within walking distance of campus. Beats another night of powerade and pizza from Conn.