Monthly Archives: December 2012

Feliz Año Nuevo

truffling brushing topolobampo chef 3rdarm

The last two times I went to Barbara&Barbara my bike broke. This time my car broke. My mechanic Andy is garage-less- he took it for the week. I got my haircut. The woman who cut my hair told me there are lots of fresh donuts in LA.

barbara and barbara chicago 3rdarm cat window

I found out Hilary Clinton was hospitalized with a bloodclot in her brain while in the middle of 4 hours playing Quake 2 CTF.

Yakaitis Ponderosa

yakaitis ponderosa ruth ray bull 3rdarm

What a great holiday- I got to spend quality time with my aunt, who I love so much, and Eliot’s family, ditto, and was really hoping to see the Yaks, who I consider my second family. I was sipping green tea by Tuxis Pond when Bull and Ruth called.

egg sandwich yakaitis 3rdarm

They said they were watching Mackie’s 15 month old son Finn. And from them I learned that Ray was working right across the street. And that CT has an aging population. “They keep getting older, and you can never get enough life insurance,” I joked.

raynut and reefer 3rdarm

I got to see Finn for the first time, and Lauren and Mackie. Bull made me an egg sandwich in the style of Mickey’s Oceanic Grill. I gave Ray some peanut butter toffee. Ruth shared with me the peanut butter cookie stash.

Guilford Town Green

guilford food center 3rdarm tommy lee jones

First to review- I am now an honorary member of the village green (digital) preservation society. The Guilford Town Green has been a part of my life for the last eleven years that my aunt has lived in town. I have walked it with her, my grandma Happy (now passed), my sister, cocker spaniel Hannah (passed), and cocker spaniel Roxie (wild dog).

guilford town green christmas tree 2012 3rdarm

I have parked my car there to go for a jog to the marina or for a longer run around Sachem’s Head. It is an attractive space to host the town’s many public events. The Green is Guilford’s heart, informs a sense of place through history, and brings people in town together. They don’t build them like that anymore.


cannoli 3rdarm quattros guilford

For the past eleven years my aunt has lived in Guilford and I have considered Quattro’s out of my price range. I think that was a misunderstanding. Its a good quality Italian restaurant on Guilford’s historic green, with a more accessible menu than I thought. Aunty Judy made xmas eve dinner reservation for the two of us earlybirds- we were seated at 4:30pm.

aunty quattros guilford ct 3rdarm

The owner was dressed in a chef santa suit. The room itself was more elegantly put together with exposed brick and hardwood. After realizing the tapas menu was only served at the bar, I asked and our server graciously made an exception. I really wanted to try some of the small plates my Yelp friend Anne E. has been eating and enjoying. The scallops were great as she said, enhanced by the acidity of mango salsa and rooted by earthy crunchy beets.

zuppa di pesce 3rdarm quattros guilford

My main course was zuppa di pesce. Linguini in white wine sauce loaded with a wealth of seafood- mussels, clams, shrimps, scallops and calamari. My aunt got linguini with clams and white sauce. The pasta and white wine were good partners, never overshadowing the salt of the clams, snap of the shrimp or sweetness of scallop, and leaving me with a memory of garlic. For dessert we split a dark chocolate and peppermint cannoli with vanilla ice cream.

scallops tapas quattros guilford ct 3rdarm

We left as the restaurant filled up with families celebrating the holiday, and window shopped the darkened storefronts on Guilford Green until we got too cold and went home.

Samson Rock

samson rock plaque madison ct 3rdarm

Ray works at Get Wireless Now in Madison. I didn’t know the store existed until I stopped by when he was working. That being said, its good to have an AT&T retailer in town. They have everything needed to set up service, and were able to help my older aunt choose a phone that was easy for her to call, text and email from- two of the three she had never done before. They also have a good selection of iPhone accessories.

samson rock madison ct 3rdarm

The best part of the store is definitely the location- in the plaza behind Main Street between a package store and Stop & Shop. There you will find a pantheon of intriguing outdoor artworks. Its a combo of stores and sculpture park. In addition to that is a town landmark- the Samson Rock, perched precariously on a hill, right next to the store. I was fascinated enough to write down the history of the Samson stone to share:

get wireless now madison ct 3rdarm

“This beautiful landmark, Samson Rock, is a boulder precariously placed on a large outcropping of glacial deposit. As with most wonders of the natural world, there are legends and stories to explain their presence. The local Native Americans of this place in the 17th Century told of a giant, Odziozo, who followed a flock of geese down the glacier covering New England long ago. The giant had just created beautiful Lake Champlain (Petoubouque) and now found himself in the center of Madison, Connecticut. While here, he created Tuxis Pond, Tuxis Island, and Samson Rock.

purple lace up sculpture madison ct

It is a long story, but when the early settlers from Europe chose this beautiful place to live, they wanted to make a legend of their own to explain the boulder. Since Samson was known as the strongest man in the world, according to the Old Testament of the Bible, his name was used as the giant who scooped up the earth, threw it in the Sound, stepping on the rock as he did so. Well it must be true because the giant’s footprint is still on Samson Rock. Odziozo or Samson, whoever created this unusual landmark, did a fine job. Madison is a beautiful place to live and we are fortunate to have legends and folklore about it’s history. Please enjoy and respect Samson Rock.”

canoe sculpture madison ct 3rdarm

Unfortunately someone has vandalized the plaque and it now reads, “Vagina Rock.”

Tuxis Pond

tuxis pond madison ct 3rdarm

For years, Savvy Tea has been my go-to for a quality cup of tea when I visit the CT shore. When I heard they moved to a new location in downtown Madison, a few storefronts down from Madison Art Cinemas, I was excited to stop by and check out the new digs.

savvy tea gourmet madison ct 3rdarm

Gone is the industrial loft feel, and gone is the kitchen, which was probably not the owners main focus anyway. These are tea people. Housed in a cozy antique building with wooden floors and handsome tin ceilings, Tea Savvy has become much more gezellig, as the Dutch say, meaning warm and inviting.

madison ct 3rdarm

I made small talk over a cup of green, and ended up buying a ball of pu-er marinated in tangerine zest and sweet spices- China’s answer to Mexico’s cafe de olla. I took my cup of tea outside and walked around to the back of the building and enjoyed it by Tuxis Pond.


yale university art gallery aunt judy 3rdarm

The Yale University Art Gallery- what a fantastic museum & free to the public. We walked the .2 miles from Shake Shack post Shack attack and procured a map from the info desk. I didn’t have long before slipping into meat coma-

yale university art gallery 3rdarm

…so we started with the terrific view from the fourth floor sculpture terrace, and then headed down to the modern art on the third floor. Interesting and arresting works across an array of mediums. Recently noted by the travel section of the ny times, a recommendation i definitely second.

Shake Shack

shake shack new haven 3rdarm

I have some unique credentials when it comes to chef-driven sandwich shops- I opened Chef Chris Schlesinger’s All Star Sandwich Bar in Cambridge MA (later sold to the Diamantopoulos brothers) and worked for a year at Chef Rick Bayless’ Xoco in Chicago. And I’m a hot dog elite. I have ingested some tasty combinations of bread and stuff. When I heard Shake Shack opened in New Haven I was so happy and got there on my next visit to my aunts.

shake shack new haven aunt judy 3rdarm

The location on New Haven’s old school Green is great. There’s a lot of foot traffic and that’s excellent outdoor spot to relax post ingestion. Also good for digestion is the Yale University Art Gallery, right up Chapel street and free to the public. Shake Shack is a beautiful restaurant, floor to ceiling windows, open seating around fireplace, tables made of reclaimed wood from Brooklyn bowling alleys. Its a central, comforting place to eat in New Haven, for locals and out of towners.

new haven green aunt judy

When I took my first big bite of my double shack burger and revealed both patties pink in the middle I was blasted with deep beef flavor. The next bite revealed the tangy subtle smoke of the shack sauce. My aunt and I entered a silent, meditative meat bubble. Worth the trip for the burger alone and I recommend going for the hard-hitting punch of the double. The fries were well seasoned, the cheese less rich than whats served in the midwest- pleasantly light.

Pickled To Perfection

yale university art gallery 3rdarm

Shake Shack criticisms- The fair shake was not blended as richly as the concretes of the Midwest, and became somewhat weirdly watery as it melted. Some things are better in the Midwest. Also my aunt and I agreed the coffee flavor was real intense- but if your biggest problem is that your food is too flavorful I reckon you’re doing fine. The staff does not take tips per Danny Meyers’ hospitality. Come on man. We all gotta eat.

yale university art gallery 3rdarm

For the low star yelpers- real food costs money and its worth it. This is a fast food style burger. And while it is appropriate to compare Shake Shack to In N Out, it is not right to compare it to pub burgers. That’s apples to oranges.

yale university art gallery 3rdarm

Rein’s New York Style Deli-Restaurant

reins deli pickled to perfection 3rdarm

Man I have loved Rein’s for pretty much my whole life. When I was little I would just get a bagel and Brown’s soda, followed by a flavored lollipop from the counter. Its where I ate after completing my first marathon- I crushed a reuben with Eliot and Joe.

manatee teeshirt joe 3rdarm

Rein’s catered Eliot’s 30th birthday with sandwiches called “sloppy joes” which are deli meat double deckers marinated overnight and served on a platter with pickles. We had turkey and pastrami sandwiches- so good. Just a bite of the sweet pickle takes me all the way back. Dine in or take home- Reins is the best deli-restaurant.