Stop 2: Valencia Diners

Last time out, I was annoying and controlling and had everyone fill out a silly questionnaire in an effort for everyone to get to know one another beforehand. See look, it’s right here. I think it was a failure and only served to annoy people into having to do work. They just wanted to eat some dang Portuguese food.

I get that.

So this time, I did no such thing. I put out a call, a bunch of people told me they’ll be away or they just bought a house or they have to work or whatever. Then some other people said they’d join.

Arepa at Valencia Luncheria (from CT Post)

No questionnaires, no obsessing over party size… Letting go. Your boy Steve is all grows up.

In fact, as I write this, I really don’t know how many people will show up. But for purposes of continuity with these Food Tour pages, here is the guest list. There is a rather healthy age spread this time. The younger, southern CT/NY crew ultimately come from a talk I did at Ignite Stamford. I guess a few people liked it enough to come eat some arepas with us.

Feel free to Google each other. I sure as hell did.


The lineup:

Me, Steve Wood: I like to write. No, I really just like to write. Fortunately for me, some people like to read what I write. But really, I think I’d probably do it regardless. Professionally, I write really boring research for the insurance and financial industries. I grew up in Delaware. Fortunately I ended up in Connecticut and met…

Hoang: My partner in crime/wife whom I live with in West Hartford with our two sons. Are we the only parents here? Wow, that’s going to be weirdly refreshing. True story (from before we met) – She, along with her boss at the time, wrote the official nomination to get Philip Johnson’s Glass House its National Historic Landmark status. Took the pictures and everything. So what, you say? Well…

Amy Kundrat: Thinks that’s pretty cool, as she worked with the Glass House preservation folks to help with the transition from what it was to what it is today – which wouldn’t have happened as smoothly as it did if not for the NHL status. Amy works at Yale now, but also moonlights as a writer. Also, she sometimes wears tasteful and elegant jewelry designed by…

Venezuelan Poodle Moth (from Snopes, but it’s real)

Ryan Kundrat: her husband. The jewelry design stuff is, I think, a side business because Ryan’s a graphic designer/consultant or something like that. He and Amy even allowed my son Damian to trounce all over their nice furniture one random day at their house in Bethel which was pretty dangerous… But the Kundrats like danger, as they’ve taken a few long motorcycle (Ducati) trips together. And speaking of bikes…

Martina Fialova: loves riding her motorcycle around New England. I think she’s a Ninja girl, but I forget. Is that a thing? Ninjas vs. Ducatis? I’ve been told that she’s a math genius (not by her) so she can figure out the bill splitting on Saturday. Anyway, she lives in Farmington but spent her first 20 (or so) years in what is now Slovakia. She shares this Eastern European heritage with…

Margaret Honan: who spent her first 8 years in Poland. You could say they share a certain “Solidarity.” Ahem. Margaret lives in Bloomfield and don’t you dare bastardize the name “Margaret” with any of its shorter variants. My grandmom’s name is Margaret and goes by Peg. Let’s bring back “Peg,” starting on Saturday. Peg loves going to new places and trying new things and taking pictures throughout. So she’ll be snapping a few and perhaps picking up some tips from…

Joe Hartwell: who is friends with Amy and who apparently knows how to take good pictures. In Amy’s words, “Joe is an expert in photography and runs a high end photo & art storage biz catering to museums/galleries.” I have no idea if that’s true, but I guess we’ll believe Amy. Wait, did she say “museums?” I guess I’ll have a few things to talk to Joe about as well. Speaking of museums…

Meg Dalton: helps organize the excellent Ingite Stamford events which you should totally go to sometime. Once, they invited some guy who writes some site called Connecticut Museum Quest to speak and word on the street is that he didn’t mumble too badly. My wife wldhvbnamzd. (“would have been amazed.”) Her Twitter bio states that she is a “wannabe cartographer” which makes her cool in my eyes. I have no idea where she lives, but I assume it’s in or very near Stamford. Since I don’t know anyone else on this list, I have to do fake transitions between guests like this one…

Miss Venezuela 2013, Karen Soto (So far, Miss Portugal is winning).

Andrea Banty: “has been a resident of Stamford for about a year. She is a Registered Nurse at Bridgeport Hospital on a cardiac floor, and loves her profession because it gives her an opportunity to promote health. She loves physical fitness (especially with other people), singing, playing the piano, and hanging out with any individual over 90 years old.” I didn’t write that, she did. But as one whose core audience trends towards octogenarians. High Five. Um…

RJ Mercede: “RJ Mercede is a community crusader who grew up in and currently lives in Stamford. When he’s not busy working as a Program Manager at Public Allies Connecticut, he can be found organizing community events like Eat for Equity, which he founded, and Ignite” Wow. Now I feel totally inadequate. Seriously, RJ, that’s pretty impressive. Equally impressive is…

Oh what the heck, I don’t know anything about the others. Meg and RJ met up with a bunch of their friends and we all ate a bunch of Venezuelan beach food.

Good times.

Valencia platter. From this site.

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