Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Connecticut Homecoming

I had the chance to travel north to Connecticut this week for a 2 day work trip. I flew into White Plains, NY on Sunday afternoon and visited some old friends of the family that I grew up with.  I was tired after a day of travel and admittedly was not excited about eating at the Marriott where I was staying, but was too lazy to seek dinner elsewhere.

I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at the menu to see a statement that they "proudly serve a large array of local artisan products"... " we believe in all natural products..."  and " we try to embrace the idea of localism."   This isn't your parent's Marriott anymore.  It's nice to see national chains embracing the local movement.   I had a nice meal - grilled Caesar salad with fresh anchovies and a filet of sole with roasted cauliflower and marcona almonds.

On my second night, after an 8 hour IT audit, I went back to my old neighborhood, and parked in front of the house I grew up in and loved for 15 years- it was strange to be back on the old block. As I got out of the car one of the owners was coming out of the house and invited me in for a tour. The house had changed a lot, but little details stood out- the tile floor of the foyer that my mom and I put down in the late 70s still looked good, and my bedroom looked familiar, at least its shape.

I also stopped by one of my favorite neighbors' house, John Dinely, a retired AA pilot, a real salt of the earth guy. We shared a few drinks and many stories about the neighborhood.

I said my goodbyes and headed south to Westport. I had heard that Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich had opened a Connecticut outpost next to the Saugutuck River,  Tarry Lodge.

I sat at the bar that looked over the pizza guy, slinging beautiful discs of dough into a 900 degree wood fired oven.  

I started with a rich Egg Yolk Raviolo, topped with a creamy rich sauce studded with chanterelles and truffle.  One rarely hears Ravioli in their singular form, but the size of this starter made one the perfect number.  It was perfectly cooked, so when a fork broke through the tender pasta, the egg yolk escaped and mixed into the sauce.

With 14 pizzas to choose from, with a combination of toppings ranging from clams and rapini to burrata and artichokes. I decided to stick with my mushroom and egg theme and chose a pizza with guanciale and black truffles with an egg on top.  The saltiness of the guanciale was a nice complement to the earthy truffles. 

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