New Haven snowy alley downtown

Hot and Cold

It’s beginning to feel a lot like winter.

Yesterday we got dusted like a fancy old-fashioned dessert (see above). Today’s forecast is in the 20s and teens, feeling lower thanks to wind gusts up to 40 mph. But the worst sets in tonight, when predictions say the base temperature will plunge to zero, with winds between 15 and 25 mph. By Thursday morning, it’s supposed to feel like -20 in some parts of the state.

Point is, it’s cold, and it’s about to be really cold. Here are some heated New Haven-y ideas for keeping warm as winter takes hold:

Fireplaces. Specifically, ones near drinks that go down a little fiery. Southwestern restaurant/tequila bar Geronimo has multiple fireplaces inside to tick your body temperature up. Down the block, Kelly’s has one, and around a couple of corners, so does Union League. Over in East Rock, Oak Haven keeps a fire going, and back the other way in Woodbridge, Wheelers has one in its front-room lounge.

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CitySeed Indoor Winter Market starts January 10

Hot bars. Not the kind of hot bars we just mentioned, but the kind where food waits in warmed trays under glass sneeze guards and gets self-served via big spoons and tongs. Among its many contiguous branches, natural foods grocer Edge of the Woods has a separate room past the registers for its hot bar, which shares the space with a soup station, salad bar and deli counter. The bar, six trays of rotating entrees day-to-day, seems to be all-vegetarian and partly vegan, yet meaty: yesterday’s featured Chik’n Parm and Seitan & Peppers, among others. A mile and a half away, Elm City Market also has a hot bar, where vegetarian options mix and mingle with more customary fare.

Spice levels. Plenty of New Haven restaurants let you clear out your sinuses while you eat. Surprise: one of them is Rudy’s. Offering 17 variously elaborate dipping sauces to accompany its famed frites, among the basics is a mustardy mayonnaise the menu calls Belgian Mayo. Heat things up by opting for the Samurai instead, which spikes the Belgian Mayo with chili pepper. (There’s also a Maple Sriracha option and a Chipotle Ketchup.) If Thai fits your mood, head to Jeera and try a jungle curry. Unlike most Thai curries, the jungle variety doesn’t have coconut milk, so its spices don’t get mellowed out. That’s because, traditionally, folks living deep in the jungle didn’t have coconuts, which would’ve only grown oceanside.

Sunday Sizzle. That’s the name of the steamy 8 p.m. burlesque shows happening every Sunday at The 9th Note. While it won’t be quite as chilly come Sunday, performers’ outfits offer very little protection, so do try to close the front door quickly on the way in or out.

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Frozen Yogurt. Frozen yogurt? On a list of things that’ll keep you warm? Well, that’s just how cold it is outside. Froyo is much warmer than these wind chills; the internet says the ideal serving temperature is about 18 to 22 degrees Fahrenheit, making the stuff creamy, not icy. As concentrated and competitive as New Haven’s frozen dessert spots are—with Ashley’s, Flavors, FroyoWorld, Go Greenly, Mochi (now sold through Jake’s Diggity Dogs), Pure Health and SnoJoy all in the downtown area—it’s fair to expect the soft-serve subset to hit that 18-to-22 range, keeping things silky-smooth.

Libraries. Another curveball, but hear us out. City Hall’s designated the five branches of the New Haven Free Public Library system as “warming centers” during normal operating hours. On the surface, that doesn’t really change anything, since everyone can already walk in at those times. But it is a good reminder that, when it’s this cold out, there’s no shame in ducking inside for a respite while on your way somewhere else. All the better if it happens to be a library, where you can warm up your brain with a good book.

Winter is about to get real, folks. Take care of yourselves.

Written and photographed by Dan Mims.

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