This fabulous young woman is Tiffany Jones. Tiff, is a food lover, up and coming in the world of food blogging and social media. She’s got the passion, and the cute tag name; she lives in Connecticut (CT) and her name is Tiffany, so she calls herself CTiff Eat...and that’s exactly what she wants us to do. I met her in line at Trader Joe's a few weeks back while she was working the register. Having worked in the food industry for a good part of my life, and generally loving people, I tend to talk to everyone, and often that talk is revolves around food. So when Tiff started waxing poetic about her boyfriend’s family's Jamaican restaurant in Bridgeport and her second job at my favorite ramen spot, Mecha, and then she told me she had a food blog, well, my heart was full, and I was excited to connect more. Lucky for me, Tiff felt the same way and happily accepted my invitation to chat it up about our mutual love of food and community. Listen in to our interview through the play bar above or on itunes and other podcasting sites.
Tiff talks passionately about her love of her hometown Bridgeport, CT, the great soul food her mom and auntie's cook up and some of her favorite restaurants around the state. She shares about what led her from her Chef Boyardee - canned raviolis loving youth, to being the current food adventurer she is. We bond over our shared use of food as a way to connect with people and learn their stories, and as a tool for celebrating our cities and communities. Both of our home cities, New Haven and Bridgeport are often characterized as dangerous and run-down by the media, and therefore people in wealthy, suburban or rural parts of our highly segregated state.
Most of her food adventures are within the state of Connecticut, but the joy for her is that "you can taste every country of the world here" AND find great comfort food. The folks at Frankie's Diner in Bridgeport have watched Tiff grow up, and she loves that it feels like being welcomed by old friends every time she sits down to eat at this 24 hour classic diner. Digging into food and conversation at Teff restaurant in Stamford, Tiffany learned about the conflicts between Eritrea and Ethiopia and how their shared cuisines serve as a common bond between people. She (and I) love the numerous great Brazilian buffets in Bridgeport such as: Terra Brasilis, Pantanal, and Rancho Pantanal, spots that Tiff's less food-adventurous family are happy to join her at. The combinations of well seasoned meats, greens and starches are familiar enough, the large selection of salads and hot dishes are delicious, and the buffet/pay by weight setup makes it easy to try new things without committing to a whole platter.
Tiff also loves eating out with her dad when he comes to visit from Up-State NY. One of their favorite spots is Hoodoo Brown Texas style BBQ in Ridgefield, as well as Jimmy's at Savin Rock for seafood, right on the waterfront in West Haven. Let's not forget her boy friend's mom's Jamaican take out spot, Mommy's Patties on the Boston Ave in Bridgeport. They serve up excellent oxtail soup, veggie and beef patties and so much more. Like some of the best small local food joints, they don't have a website, or even many yelp reviews/pix. This is a true word-of-mouth great food, that you'll have to go check out for yourself. Scoopers is a little ice cream shop next door, that the family also owns, and Tiff loves the quick Chinese food take out spot Tai Jiang in the same plaza.
In addition to her job at Trader Joe's Tiff works at Mecha Noodle Bar in New Haven, one of my absolute favorite restaurants. She does prep in the kitchen, and you can peek some of their amazing food in the photos below, including their spicy miso ramen and insanely good mushroom dumplings (pix below). Mecha has ramen and Pho, drawing from both Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines, and the owners also have Pho Vietnam restaurant in Danbury with even more adventurous soups like tendon and tripe.
Since we are just getting to know each other, I welcomed Tiff to ask me a few questions as well. She pointed out that I haven't yet told my own story on this site...which I definitely need to do soon! We also dig into her experiences with schools, colorism - being a light-skinned black woman, and her dreams about doing something to help in her community. She's also trying to start a youtube food channel (any video heads out there wanna help her with editing?).
Tiff embodies some values I hold dear: good food, radical love and creative social justice, even if she may not label then that way. She talks to people everywhere and has a strong desire to celebrate them and have some greater impact on her community by doing so. I'm so grateful to be getting to know Tiffany Jones, and I'm looking forward to eating together and scheming up some delicious projects we can do together soon!
To keep up with the food wanderings of CTiff Eat, as well as some of the delicious food she is creating at home, follow CTiff Eat on instagram, and other social medias.