Connecticut did not earn its “land of steady habits” nickname for its cuisine.

The birthplace of the hamburger, the hot lobster roll and clam pizza, the Nutmeg State has long been adventurous when it comes to its cuisine. In this feature we look at unique dishes on Connecticut’s culinary frontier. From unusual ingredients (crocodile and invasive sea creatures) to bizarre flavor combinations (doughnut burgers, anyone?), the instantly Instagram-able dishes in this story have in common only their uncommonness. We can’t say these unusual creations will appeal to all tastes, but we can say each was one we’ll never forget.

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The Valley Burger (bacon atop a cheeseburger between two Krispy Kreme donuts) at The Valley Eatery on Main Street in Ansonia.

Valley Burger, The Valley Eatery, Ansonia

Decadent to the Nth degree, a burger patty is seasoned, then topped with American cheese and bacon and popped between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The result is an over-the-top explosion of sweetness and saltiness. You can wash it all down with a Cake Shake, another unusual menu item offered at Valley Eatery featuring a slice of cake blended with milk and ice cream. 203-516-5588, facebook.com/thevalleyeatery

Peanut butter & jelly wings, Dew Drop Inn, Derby 

These are exactly as advertised: chicken wings slathered in peanut butter sauce, with jelly on the side. The wings themselves are large, and nice and tender; the peanut butter and jelly give them a breakfast-food flavor similar to chicken and waffles, but weirder. Other outlandish wing flavors offered at Dew Drop include nacho wings and cream cheese wings. For the timid, there are also standard wing varieties. 203-735-7757, facebook.com/dewdropinnct

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Gimme S’more S’mores Shake at Cream and Sugar Cafe in Bethel

Gimme S’more S’mores Shake, Cream and Sugar Cafe, Bethel

Even Willy Wonka would have second thoughts about eating this towering monster of a shake. The epic milkshake comes loaded with hot fudge, marshmallow fluff (which is toasted along with other marshmallows) and s’mores nestled on top of an ice cream sandwich. It’s one of several over-the-top shakes offered at Cream and Sugar Cafe, which also has party bowls — sundaes for large groups featuring up to 100 scoops of ice cream. 203-628-7349, creamandsugarcafe.com 

Pizza doughnut, West End Bistro, West Haven

Chef and owner Jeff Lamberti was inspired by a dream to create this wild food mash-up. The dish is made with focaccia dough that is stuffed with mozzarella, fontinella and Parmesan cheese and then deep fried. The round hunk of dough is then dipped in tomato sauce sprinkled with your choice of vegetarian or cured-meat toppings, placed in the oven and served warm. 203-691-9223, westendbistro.net

Suicide Burrito, Iguanas Ranas, Middletown

If there’s one unifying feature of our selection of “crazy” eats, it’s that eating them is supposed to be a visceral, intense experience. We are not looking for bland food here. The Suicide Burrito at Iguanas Ranas in Middletown hits all these notes. A chicken or cheese chile relleno, topped with an assortment of the spiciest stuff Iguanas Ranas has to offer: chipotle mayo plus habanero, verde and arbol sauces. The menu warns in bright-red letters how spicy the item is. Prepare yourself. 860-346-8630, iguanasranastaqueriact.com

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The Two-foot Works Dog, Doogies, Newington

Two-foot Works Dog, Doogies, Newington

At 24 inches long and smothered in cheese sauce, chili, peppers and onions, this is a hot dog that requires strategy — both before and during consumption. One or both of your other meals during the day should be skipped. Do not order this on a first date. A fork or spoon will be needed at some point, as will seven or eight napkins. Pace yourself, finish strong, and exit Doogies with your head held high. 860-666-3647, doogieshotdogs.com

Nutella and cream cheese empanada, Valencia Luncheria, Norwalk

This unorthodox melding brings together delectable tastes that one might not willingly choose to put in one dish. Down at Valencia Luncheria in Norwalk, the geniuses there have decided to combine these two beloveds. The chocolatey hazelnut spread Nutella pairs well with cream cheese in the warm pocket of an empanada. The result is pure carbo-chocolate-creamy indulgence. 203-846-8009, valencialuncheria.com

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Flavored cannoli from Russo's Italian Bakery, Enfield

Flavored cannoli, Russo’s Italian Bakery, Enfield

Giovanni and Rosanna Russo may be the owners, but daughter Tina Russo-Pudlo is the Cannoli Queen. She dips, fills and tops countless varieties of cannoli, from strawberry shortcake and tiramisu to cookie dough and Snickers. Fruity Pebbles was the new item during our visit and Cinnamon Toast Crunch was on the horizon. Every one that we sampled (and then had to finish) was fit for royalty. And while her next creation may come from a customer’s suggestion, the crown belongs to her. 860-741-7844, russosbakeryct.com

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Guanciale pizza from Tarry Lodge, New Haven and Westport

Guanciale pizza, Tarry Lodge, New Haven and Westport

Mario Batali has been working his culinary magic on television for two decades. With his Tarry Lodge restaurants, he brought that magic to Connecticut (Westport in 2011, New Haven in 2014). His guanciale pizza combines thin-sliced cured pork jowl, its namesake, with mozzarella, sunny-side-up egg, and black truffles. Not a fan of the “put-an-egg-on-everything” movement? Never fear. You’ll still find yourself dipping the crust in the yolk. Like we said, magic. Bonus tip: Try the blackberry soda. Absolutely phenomenal. 203-672-0765 and 203-571-1038, tarrylodge.com

Alligator tenders, The Landing Zone Grill, Harwinton

Open wide for this dish with roots in the Cajun traditions of the Deep (and swampy) American South. Using alligator meat from Florida, the tenders look like fried fish or chicken, but taste like a cross between calamari and veal. Because alligators are muscular animals, their meat is largely free of fat and might be a bit too chewy for some. At Landing Zone, the alligator meat is tenderized into amphibious meat perfection. 860-485-2733

Kanibaba roll, Miya’s Sushi, New Haven

Miya’s has been recognized as much or more than any other food establishment in Connecticut. The Food Network, The New York Times, even the White House have all chimed in with support and amazement. Chef Bun Lai’s ingenious sushi creations are built out of sustainable seafood-cultivation practices in Long Island Sound, and the Kanibaba roll is a prime example. Potato skin, invasive blue catfish, and the invasive Asian shore crab combine to make a taste that is odd, but deeply interesting and satisfying. Want to get smarter while you eat? Go to Miya’s. Occasional sake bombs are a bonus. 203-777-9760, miyassushi.com

‘Bernice Original’ cheeseburger, Shady Glen, Manchester

One of the weirdest-looking burgers anywhere, the Bernice Original was invented back in 1949. The burger is made with four slices of American cheese that are draped down onto the grill, which melts and crisps them into what looks like a piece of modern sculpture art. The burger and bun are in the center of these cheese “sculptures,” which must be eaten to be truly understood. Original location: 860-649-4245; Manchester Parkade: 860-643-0511

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The LOL Lobster Roll at Abbott's in the Rough in Noank.

LOL hot lobster roll, Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough, Noank

The “crazy” thing about this sandwich isn’t its ingredients, it’s the sheer size of it. The “LOL” stands for “lots of lobster” and the serving size is nothing to laugh out loud about. One full pound of fresh lobster meat is warmed on a giant house-baked bun and drenched in butter. Good luck finishing this. 860-536-7719, abbottslobster.com 

The senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University

Mike Wollschlager, editor and writer for Connecticut Magazine, was born and raised in Bristol and has lived in Farmington, Milford, Shelton and Wallingford. He was previously an assistant sports editor at the New Haven Register.