When Laura and I went to Kripalu for a little retreat a few years ago, I was amazed at how she put her lunches and dinners together from the buffet. She’d grab a bowl and choose a bit of grain, some protein, plus various greens and veggies, and a shake or two of hot sauce. It looked so much better than my forlorn plate, that I was having what she was having. Since then I’ve fallen for food in bowls, and it seems like the trend has just gotten off the ground around here. One of our favorite places for bowls is The Stand in Branford. While you might think of this spot for heaping platters of smoked and sauced meats, all those fixings taste even better in bowls. I, of course, let Laura do the ordering. First, an abacoa beef bowl: wonderful shreds of spiced meat, served over turmeric barley, with a layer of kale and tomatoes. We topped that one off with some coffee barbecue sauce and WOWEE! A flavor bonanza. I can’t resist shrimp and grits, and the Stand’s version is made even silkier and scrumptious with the addition of a poached egg oozing on top (I could eat this for breakfast). Chunks of spicy andouille sausage swimming in the cheesy grits gave this dish an essential zip. You can pull together bowls from any of the meats (pork, chicken, sausage, or brisket) and add on your favorite two sides, plus a variety of sauces that run from the super piquant to the sweet. This is not for the prissy eater who feeds around the plate, but for someone who is more adventurous and likes a blend of exciting flavors. We love them. Don’t forget the farmstand for heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and corn (and a jar or two of freshly canned tomato sauce). If it’s late enough in the day, head down the block to The Stand’s popular and trendy Tiki hut, Friki Tiki, for all manner of fruity and fun cocktails plus live piano players. 196 S Montowese Street in Branford thestandbranford.com Visit Friki Tiki on FB 3 Linden Ave in Branford Read more on The Stand.