One weekend last fall, I set out to
eat my way through the new Bridgeport.
Accompanying me was my father, Robert
A. Gross, a professor of history at the
University of Connecticut and, more
importantly, a Bridgeport native. To him,
Bridgeport isn’t just the city in which he,
his parents and his grandparents had
lived—it is the stultifying prison he had
escaped when he went off to college in
the 1960s. Still, he was willing to return to
his hometown—for pretty much the first
time since his father, our last connection
to the city, died in 1999—that is, if good
food was in the offing.
It’s a Tough Job, But
Someone’s Got to Eat
We began at Taqueria La Michoacana.
Inside was a tidy dining room with a dozen
tables, a TV tuned to a Spanish-language
channel, and, in the corner, a freezer full of
paletas, the Mexican popsicles in tropical
fruit flavors like mamey and guanabana.
We started with a few tacos al pastor,
shards of spicy spit-grilled pork wrapped
Top row, left to right: The author’s
father with a bowl of pozole at
Taqueria La Michoacana; patties at
Mommie’s; the International Farmers
Market; lamb at Terra Brasilis;
tamales at Garibaldi’s.
Middle row: chicarrones, or fried
pork skin, at La Flor de Mexico;
nopales, freshly shorn of their
thorns, at Garibaldi’s; Hungarian
sweet paprika at the Fairfield Meat
Emporium; wild parrot fish; the caldo
de bolas at El Idolo #2.
Bottom row: Indian pickles at Indus
Grocery; tacos al pastor at La
Michoacana; pozole; smoked meats
at the Fairfield Meat Emporium; a
shrine at a Mexican grocery.