Visit to Bella’s Café in New Haven, Connecticut
Business recently took me to New Haven, Connecticut for the day. I arrived via Amtrak at 11:30am and grabbed a cab to Bella’s Café located a few miles northwest of downtown New Haven. Bella’s is small, with lunch counter seating for about 8 and table seating for maybe 25. It is also hard to find, hidden in a non-descript commercial block. But definitely worth the search. With limited time I grabbed a seat at the counter. I was handed both lunch and breakfast menus but already knew from my advance work what I was going to order. Bella’s online menu announces: “All burgers are made with ‘grass fed’ Angus beef.” The online menu includes a couple of varied burger preparations, but the in-restaurant menu also listed a gorgonzola cheese burger with sundried tomatoes which quickly caught my eye. I ordered it medium rare sans bun which did not phase the waitress a bit. The burger arrived within five minutes atop a nice bed of fresh arugula.
The burger definitely tasted like quality grass-fed beef. Full of the grass-fed flavor, juicy, not overly lean and not a hint of gaminess. Even though only accompanied with the gorgonzola and sundried tomatoes, I had no urge to reach for the ketchup or other condiment. It came with sweet potato fries which were tasty, although probably not gluten-free and the cooking oil used was unknown. I was short of time and the staff was busy, so I did not ask too many questions. I will gather more intelligence on my next visit to Bella’s.
I had made arrangements for the cab driver to return to Bella’s and then deliver me to my business destination. Bella’s was somewhat out of the way from the train station to my destination and the cab driver was curious why I chose Bella’s. Not sure what his reaction would be, I went ahead and tried to explain my interest in grass-fed beef. I knew he was originally from Nigeria but had been in the U.S. for many years. My expectation was that he had never heard of grass-fed beef. I couldn’t have been more wrong, for a very interesting reason. As I started my explanation, he knowingly smiled and nodded his head. “All beef in Nigeria is grass-fed” he said. He then went on to explain how he noticed very early on how his physical health changed when he would return to Nigeria to visit and then return to the U.S. This led him to eat much more carefully while in the U.S.