June 29th, 2013

Hartford, CT

I’m thrilled that my friend Christine has moved from DC to Hartford, an easy 2 hour drive away. I had the privilege of being her first house guest last weekend. If anyone has any great restaurant recommendations, I would love to hear them!

Piolin, South End

We had dinner at Piolin, a Peruvian restaurant in the South End of Hartford. It’s a homey restaurant, with everyone greeting you as you walk in. Christine and I shared the arroz with seafood and the mixed grill special. A platter loaded with a mountain of rice topped with calamari, mussels, and shrimp arrived. The rice was reminiscent of paella; it was flavorful and the seafood was tender, not overcooked.

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The mixed grill came out on a sizzling, smoking platter. This was a serious meatpalooza; there was sausage, steak, chicken breast, pork chop and shrimp. The steak and chicken were overcooked, but the shrimp were plump and tender and the sausage was flavorful. The pork chop was mundane. It also came with a plate of white rice, fries and a vegetable medley of broccoli, squash, zucchini and carrots. The fries were standard Sysco fare and the vegetables needed seasoning. They were topped with a creamy sauce that added nothing to the flavor.

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I had a pisco sour and it was excellent. Our waiteress was super friendly. The portions are extremely generous and the prices are affordable. I wouldn’t make it a destination, but a decent choice if you are in the area.


Quaker Diner, West Hartford

I love a good diner, so we tried the Quaker Diner for a quick Sunday breakfast. The diner was built in 1931 and still retains that classic ambiance. There are only a dozen stools and a handful of booths, so I imagine it gets crowded pretty quickly. The waitresses were up to the task; they hustled and bustled around, taking orders and topping off coffee mugs.

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I had the corned beef hash with 2 eggs, toast and home fries ($6) and Christine ordered the 2-2-2 ($6.25) – 2 eggs, 2 French toast or pancakes and 2 bacon or sausage, and home fries. She opted for the pancakes and asked for the special raspberry ones. They were happy to oblige for an extra $2, but it was worth it. The raspberries were sweet and tart and a nice addition to the fluffy pancake. Our eggs were cooked correctly and the home fries were excellent. I thought my corned beef was over-processed and a little mushy, as well as a tad salty. That did not stop me from finishing my plate.

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Good food, fast service and cheap prices. I really do love a good diner. I’m sure we’ll be back.

319 Park Rd
West Hartford, CT 06119
(860) 232-5523