SoNo Seaport Seafood is So So Perfect for the Weekend

What to do when you have access to a car on a nice day in NYC:

1) Get the GPS

2) Get in the car

3)Drive to SoNo Seaport Seafood, only 1 hour outside the city, for a delicious seafood lunch on the water.

Sure, there are plenty of great lobster rolls and fish ‘n’ chips in the city, but very few of them have the room to spread out with a beer, some crayons for the kiddies, and a view like this:

20140823_113858 I mean, it’s nothing fancy, but that’s the charm of it. It’s a simple seafood market with an attached tavern that serves the freshest fish possible, in all the ways that you love it; ie, doused in butter and fried whenever possible.  20140823_113903 It’s the ideal place to have lunch with the family, because there is stuff for landlubbers as well as those of us who are more adventurous.  20140823_114838 Seafood bisque

Well, it just about puts clam chowder to shame. Pale pink and studded with tender lobster, tiny shrimp, and buttery pieces of scallop. It’s not as thick as a chowder - it’s a true bisque with a creamy but not super thick texture. There are soft potatoes in there and a slightly spicy backnote of crushed red pepper. However, it isn’t aggressively hot – just well spiced. If you like New England clam chowder, this may be the greatest thing you have ever tasted.  20140823_115232 Hot lobster roll

Until, that is, you try a Connecticut style lobster roll. These things are the best. Though not quite as delectable as the first rate version at Abott’s, this is wonderful. Large pieces of claw and knuckle meat dressed in plenty of clarified butter and served warm inside a toasted, top spit hot dog bun. You can get some of the excellent tartar sauce alongside if you need it, but you won’t need it. This is pure lobster taste. no mayo, no celery, no filler at all to get in the way – just all lobstah, no working for it. The lobster salad roll also looks good, but for the money, this one is where it’s at.
20140823_115245 Fries are generic, but since when are generic fries bad?

SoNo Seaport Seafood is a lovely and delicious weekend afternoon outside of the city. The prices can’t be beat, the service is great, the atmopshere is ideal, and the food…well, I cleaned my plate. Don’t miss the flaky fish and chips, either.

And there is a Ttarget only 7 miles away. So, happy Sunday indeed.

Locali in New Canaan and…a Guilty Pleasure

My sister is starring in Hairspray at Summer Theatre of New Canaan - yes, I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I figure that you might want to see her while she is still in a show where we can all afford tickets. I’m basically sure that Broadway is next.

But while you are in New Canaan, you might want something to eat.

Right in town, I highly recommend Thali or this new place we hit up, Locali. This lovely little restaurant has a breezy patio, friendly servers, and a menu of small and large Italian accented plates. The edamame Milanese, topped with garlicky breadcrumbs and the fried artichokes on punchy anchovy remoulade are both winners. However, if you come here, be sure to get some pizza.

20140720_151951 Hudson gem pizza with beet powder, goat cheese, and figs

Hit of the day, no question. The crust is whisper thin and crispy, with a puffy, airy crust at the edge that has plenty of charred spots. The pizza is covered in tangy goat cheese that is creamy and warm, with spots of sweet, juicy figs. The kicker is the beet powder – it’s so delicate that it has no texture, but it releases a deep, earthy taste that is unmistakably beet-like. This is the most fun twist on beets and goat cheese that I have had in awhile and it’s totally delicious. Sweet, savory, and vegetarian to boot!
20140720_151955 Ratatouille pizza

I mean, dontcha just love summer? That wonderful, tender-crisp crust covered in fresh, sweet tomato sauce (no heavy had with the oregano here, it’s all about the tomatoes), shaved zucchini and summer squash, grilled onions, and other fresh veggies. It’s doubtless made with whatever was fresh at the farmer’s market that morning and there is no way that our pizza is the same as the one that you would get if you ordered it next week  -maybe yours would have corn or zucchini blossoms. This is a garden on a crust. It greatly improved with the addition of some red pepper flakes, but then…what doesn’t?

I would go back to Locali in a heartbeat, and quite probably will.

Then, on the way home from the show, you may want to stop somewhere for dinner. Sure, you could get a steamed cheeseburger in Connecticut or maybe try Arthur Avenue in the Bronx…but, why would you, when you could go here:

20140720_195401 Luau salad at The Cheesecake Factory

Why, when I live in one of the greatest eating cities on earth, do I crave the mass produced crap was the only restaurant in town when I was growing up? It’s all generic salt and fat. It’s nothing local or seasonal. I highly doubt that it will ever win a Zagat rating, let alone a Michelin star. However…I just love The Cheesecake Factory. It reminds me of lunches with my aunt, of sliders with my best friend, and of being cool enough to drive myself to the mall. It’s so nostalgic that I can never resist it.

And unlike so many other memories, this one actually lives up to its former self each and every time. 

This salad is sweet and a little sour from the rice wine vinegar in the dressing. It’s thinly sliced chilled chicken, crunchy macadamia nuts, julienned bell peppers, and soft lettuce. And it’s those huge, crispy, fried and bad for you wontons. It’s kitschy, light, and indulgent – “Luau” is a perfectly apt name. I love this salad. All 19,459 calories of it. 
20140720_204724 I mean I didn’t eat this super sweet, brick like cheesecake studded with Oreos and loaded with preservatives. I didn’t eat the peanut butter cup version, either. 

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

Delicious Bites in the Big Apple and Beyond

SO…

There are a few more honeymoon recaps (I know, we kept eating and staying at hotels…it would be worth it to get divorced and remarried JUST to get a second honeymoon!), but before I continue on, I wanted to let you know a few delicious dishes around town that can’t get lost in the vacay mix!

20140622_134029 Lunch buffet at Thali

This Indian restaurant in New Canaan (where my sister is currently starring as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray!) is legit. I would never think to visit this pseudo Asian-fusion looking restaurant – it looks way to chi-chi and wine oriented to have really authentic Indian food – but wow, is it fantastic. The buffet is actually better than most order-from-the-menu Indian restaurants, and even more impressive, this covers food from all over the gigantic country of India. Feather light, made to order dosas filled with fenugreek scented mashed potatoes. Saag with creamy paneer, soft and spicy Manchurian cauliflower, and smoky, garlicky daal. The service is friendly and helpful and the food…once again…is dangerously delicious.

Wear spandex pants. image (5) Red Farm’s udon noodles with short ribs

This meal was embarrassingly disappointing, but the noodles were a bright spot. I would actually go back just for them. The noodles themselves are thick and chewy, with a wonderfully wheaty taste that is balanced by a sweet, salty sauce that is neither too cloying nor too bland. It’s like the greatest Cantonese lo mein of your youth, but with way better noodles and some light notes of cilantro and sweet sugar snap peas. Plus that beef…wow. So tender and mild that it almost seems like Wagyu – this really is “melt in your mouth.” Its an ideal match for the noodles because it doesn’t totally overwhelm the noodles’ natural taste. Totally memorable.

cheesy garlic bread Cheesy garlic bread at Bistro le Steak

This neighborhood joint is a reliable, if slightly overpriced eatery that is just fine if you are in the neighborhood and want a quick, reliable, tasty bite. However, if you want to really indulge in a guilty pleasure, order the cheesy garlic bread. This stuff is just awesome drunk food served in a sober setting. Garlicky, buttery, parsley flecked bread, toasted until it is crunchy and warm. Then, it’s served on a mild, Gorgonzola fondue that is salty and just funky enough to please blue cheese lovers. It’s super indulgent and although I could easily eat this entire plate, you might want to share it as an appetizer. 

Then again, you might not. That would make me like you more. 

Foxy Foxwoods at The Beard House Preview

When you get an invitation to get a sneak peek, you have to take it.

Whether it’s an advance showing of a movie, a preview copy of a book, or a chance to stay at a hotel during the soft opening…who doesn’t want to know something before EVERYONE else does??

I wasn’t a very popular child…I’m sure that somehow plays into this.

Anyway, I had the chance to preview a menu that the chefs at Foxwoods Hotel and Casino will be preparing at the James Beard House next Friday, July 25.

This was a test run for them, so I got to try every single dish that they will be preparing for the James Beard House diners.

Here are a few of my favorites:

goat cheese

Beltane Farm goat cheese croquettes with roasted beets

This local Connecticut goat cheese is now on my short list of favorites.  It has a rich, cakey texture that melts and becomes super creamy inside its crispy sheath. Served with tender beets that are so sweet that they are almost like candy, this is practically a dessert course.

fluke

Raw Stonington summer flounder with citrus chili dredge, apples, and radishes

Be still my heart. One of the most fabulous ceviches I have had in recent memory. The flounder is so soft and sweet it reminds me of a scallop. However, it retains its texture and isn’t at all slimy or mushy. The spicy dredge is hot and tangy with citrus, cooled down by the tiny bits of green apples. This is a must taste!

scallops

 Bombster Fleet scallop crudo with olive oil, Kabuso, and aji amarillo

Okay, so I loved both of the raw fish dishes. So sue me! The chefs here clearly have a way with fresh seafood, knowing how to dress and prepare it so that the flavors shine through and compliment, not compete with, each other. The scallops are juicy and pleasantly sweet. The strips of pepper are fruity and spicy enough to make the lips tingle. Luckily, the bright Kabuso citrus and the slick of rich olive oil temper the heat. This is a phenomenal crudo.

steak

Mishima Wagyu ribeye cap “sunomono” with Connecticut summer harvest and aged maitake demi

When this beef arrived, I inwardly groaned. It was brown all the way through – it was overcooked! Well color me TOTALLY WRONG. This beef was tender, flavorful, and so juicy that it practically melted in my mouth. I think the brown color came from the sunomomo treatment, where it was marinated in a sweet vinegar sauce before being gently cooked. It was robust, and beefy with a sweet-sour edge that is unlike any steak I have ever had. It was totally remarkable! The veggies served alongside were fresh and fragrant, and though the giant hen of the woods mushroom was a bit too smoky for my taste, the demi alongside was rich and flavorful. This dish surprised me on many levels and pleased me on EVERY level.

dessert Feta goat cheese brulee with olive oil sponge, peach sorbet, lemon verbena gel, and Summer couscous

Couscous in dessert? Sure! Studded with dried fruits, it’s almost like a lighter version of rice pudding. The brulee is creamy and dense with a sweet graham cracker-like crust. Th soft sorbet tastes like the very essence of summer and the olive oil soponge cake…oh that sponge. It has the funniest texture and a savory-sweet taste that really plays off of the rest of the components. This is whimsical and inventive – the perfect way to end the meal. 

You should buy a ticket to this dinner. I would – heck, I am  considering doing it – it was that great!

If the preview was this good, I can’t even imagine how fantastic the main event is going to taste.

*Disclaimer: I was invited to this meal free of charge. I was not required to write about my experiences, and my opinions are my own and unbiased.

Super Duper Weenie

There comes a time in every woman’s life when she throws down the tasting menu. She bids farewell to calorie counting and she hits the open road.

This period of bliss won’t last long, but she should enjoy it while she can.

If she is very lucky, she will end up at Super Duper Weenie – no, this is not the beginning of an erotic novel blog post.

Sorry to get your hopes up.

It is the beginning of my favorite hot dog in the Northeast.

Fairfield CT, about 45 minutes north of NYC, has been home to the Super Duper Weenie since 1992. That is when Gary Zemola bought what was then the iconic, hot dog shaped truck. He started to churn out delicious hot dogs with home-made toppings, freshly cut fries, and other all-American fare. After several brushes with fame, Zemola made the move to a permanent home.

Don’t expect waiter service. Just line up, place your order, and grab a seat at the counter or in the adjoining room. Don’t be surprised if it’s Gary himself taking your order – he isn’t just the owner here, he is chef and maitre d’hotel as well.

Be sure to get there early. The place fills up and there is a line by 11:15AM.

Count on at least 2 hot dogs per person. It’s not that they are small…it’s just that they are that good.

New Englander with Sauerkraut, Bacon, Mustard, Sweet Relish & Raw Onion

This is the weenie that every Super Duper Weenie virgin should order. The beef and pork dog is cut open then griddled so that each bite is crisp outside and juicy within. It is topped with tangy sauerkraut, sweet relish, salty bacon and the eye-opening pop of raw onion. Nestled in a squishy potato bun, it isn’t that the toppings are so outrageous, it is that they are so high quality. The hot dogs are locally made with natural casings. The relish is made in house. The toppings are layered so that the hot dog can be eaten with ease, some topping in each bite. The combination of construction and ingredients is precise and deliberate. It is savory, juicy, tangy, and toasty all at once. It is the way that I wish the hot dogs of my youth tasted.

Georgia Red Hot with Spicy Sausage, Sauerkraut, Mustard, Sweet Relish

To know this hot dog is to love it. The flavors are loud and brash, with smoke, garlic, and cayenne pepper hitting your palate the second you take a bite. Juicy and plump, the sausage is buried under kraut and pungent mustard. This could be too smokey or too sour, but the sweet relish tempers that beautifully. It brings a high, fresh note to the hot dog that catapults it to higher status. This might have been my favorite dog, if it hadn’t been for…

Dixie with Homemade Meat Chili and Homemade Cole Slaw

This is the hot dog to end all hot dogs. The pork and beef frank is succulent as ever, but it is crowned by the chili of my dreams. The chili sauce is thin with a bit of heat, the sweetness of caramelized onions, and enough salt to make the chili taste truly beefy, like a char-grilled hamburger. The cabbage coleslaw is dressed in a thick mayonnaise sauce. It is creamy and crunchy, the perfect foil for the peppery chili. This was  improved only by a light application of piquant mustard. I could have eaten a thousand of these.

Cincinnatian with Cincinnati Style Chili, Cheddar Cheese, and Chopped Onions

This Cincinnati style chili is filled with oregano, pepper, and a bit too much cinnamon for my taste. Don’t get me wrong – it was still tasty, especially with shreds of sharp cheddar cheese, but after the Dixie, nothing was really going to thrill me quite the same way.

French Fries

Except, of course, for some truly sensational French fries. Fresh cut and sprinkled with salt and pepper, they are just great french fries: crunchy, with creamy insides and a pleasant oily sheen. The pepper adds a pleasant heat that kicks the whole experience up a level.

The other aspect that really brings this experience to a new level is the service. People here really love what they do. Gary had no idea that I write about food. Lorin a partner, manning the grill, didn’t care why I was taking photos. They didn’t have to walk us through the menu, asking us what our tastes were, selecting the hot dogs for us. They didn’t have to kibbitz with us, joking around like we were old friends. Gary certainly didn’t have to cut us off a piece of his own breakfast, a homemade chicken sausage, just because he thought we would like it (it was, by the way, phenomenal). But…they did. They could tell that we were foodies and were thrilled to have us there. They wanted us to have the best hot dogs of our lives, and they certainly succeeded – I defy you to find a better meal for under $5. Super Duper Weenie isn’t just worth a visit if you are in town. It si worth a special trip. Get the Dixie Dog, an order of fries, and sit yourself down for one incredible meal.

Because there are times when a woman, or even a man, just needs a great weenie.

That’s what she said

Super Duper Weenie on Urbanspoon

Louis Lunch – The First Hamburger in America

I visited the birthplace of the American hamburger.

Louis Lunch, open since 1895, invented the hamburger in 1900 when a patron demanded a quick lunch and Louis Lassen slapped a few steak trimmings between two slices of white bread. Thus, the hamburger was born, and very little has changed since that fateful day.

Since then, people have flocked to the tiny New Haven eatery, with only a few seats and even fewer menu items. Everyone who went to Yale has certainly eaten there – every politician, actor, and head of state who ever spent undergraduate or graduate years at Yale sat at the lunch counter that you can occupy this very day.

The history is seeping out of the cast-iron hamburger grills, the same ones used since the day the burger was invented. You can practically taste the history the moment that you walk in and smell the hearty aroma of grilled meat.

Don’t expect fries here, and – whatever you do – DON’T expect ketchup. Don’t even ask for it, lest you be forcibly ejected from the premises. This is all about the meat.

Potato Salad

Some of the best deli style potato salad I have ever had. Thick, creamy hunks of potatoes in a mayonnaise dressing with slices of hardboiled egg. Spiced only with salt, pepper, and the slight bite of chives, this is all about the glory of potatoes – textually and tastewise. Rich and a little heavy, it is a fantastic specimen.

Hamburger with everything – cheese, tomato, onion

This is all about the beef. It’s as close as you will get to eating a steak on bread. Louis Lunch uses a custom blend of 5 different cuts of fresh meat, hand rolls the patties daily, then cooks them in those old-fashioned grills. The patty is coarse and lightly salted – it is really just the taste of meat. Buttery, iron-y, almost funky in its meaty heft. This is a power-filled burger that is all about the meat.  Ignore the soft white bread, the strong white onion, and the somewhat mealy tomato – these are just there for show. The cheese, velvety smooth in texture, is also delightfully melty and provides a wonderful counterpart to the bite of the burger.

The burgers are small, they are not highly seasoned, and they are fantastic.

This ain’t the best burger in America. I like my burgers with some condiments and a side of fries.  What it is, is cheap food, courteous service, and undeniably a lifetime experience. I ate at the place where the burger was invented. That’s incredible to me. And it made the burger, good on its own, fantastic.

I can’t recommend this place highly enough. I plan on making the pilgrimage again very soon, and getting 2 burgers this time.

Louis' Lunch on Urbanspoon

Max’s Oyster Bar’s Phenomenal Crab Melt Sandwich

While visiting a college friend in Connecticut, I had the chance to eat lunch there. Now, I have dined in Connecticut before, and I have eaten well! But that was during the summer. Not a whole lot of places to eat outside with a lobster roll in hand when it’s sub 30 F, you know?
That is why we chose to dine at Max’s Oyster Bar in West Hartford.

The interior is upscale but not intimidating – the sort of place you would expect to find well clad suburban moms and young business executives doing a quick lunch.

Baked Oysters with Caramelized Onions, Brioche, Tasso Ham, and Gruyere Cheese

These are oysters Rockefeller for people who think they don’t like oysters. Lightly grilled, which brought out the smoky flavors that complimented the peppery tasso ham. The Gruyere was applied with a heavy hand, its nutty richness soaking up the fresh, salty juices of the oysters. Soft, thick breadcrumbs completed the  dish. This was a hell of a starter. It was rich, but not at all heavy. The oysters worked so well because they weren’t overtly oceanic – just a bright, briny note in the background. Usually I like the oysters to take center stage, but here they sang clearly in the chorus.

Clam Chowder

Traditional in the best sense of the word. Great New England clam chowder needs no improvements, no accompaniments to jazz it up or reinvent it. It needs a buttery base, a creamy mouthfeel, tender potatoes, pleasantly chewy clams, and smoky bacon. Don’t give me any red bell peppers or mango coulis. Gimme a soup so think you could stand a spoon up in it, and that’s my man. This soup wasn’t QUITE thick enough, but the clean clam flavor and perfect seasoning won me over. This is highly recommended.

San Francisco Style Crab Melt with Blue Crab, Dill Aioli, Jack Cheese, and Sourdough Bread
If this sandwich doesn’t scream “hedonism,” then I don’t know what does. Sweet, juicy crab blended with creamy mayonnaise and fresh dill. It was blanketed in a melty, tangy layer of jack cheese that stretched when I pulled the toasty, buttery halves of the sandwich apart. The crab was warmed through just slightly, so it retained the mild taste of cold crab but absorbed some of the bread’s butter and became aromatic and sweet. Though I don’t tend to love crab and cheese, this achieved the impossible – it highlighted the flavor of the crab and the texture of the cheese so each complimented the other without any competition.

Max Oyster Bar is a great place to grab a Connecticut lunch, and by that I mean fresh, seafood oriented, and reasonably priced. By NYC standards, it was practically cheap. The service was great, the portions were huge, and they really have a way with fish and cheese. This restaurant single handedly convinced me that Connecticut isn’t just a summer destination.

Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough

Birthdays mean different things to different people. 
They can mean reflection over the year past. 
A time for gifts and celebration over what to come. 
Or if you are me…
Huge plates of freshly killed crustaceans. 
I jest…but not really…
For my birthday, we schlepped to Noank, CT. 
Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough is the best lobster roll in America. 
I mean it.
Why else would all these people be in line?
It isn’t for the casual, bare bones dining room.
It might be for the incredibly serene atmospehere. 
What am I saying…who the hell cares about what it looks like?
Cause the real pull is this. 
The lobster. Caught fresh that morning, or sooner. Filled with creamy, rich tomalley, soft bricks of roe that crush with a burst of brine in between your teeth, and…
lobster.
Rich, tender, meaty but also fresh tasting. So buttery they don’t even need butter.
Of course…a little butter never actually hurt anyone.
Or you can get the lobster roll. 
A quarter pound of lobster meat, served cold mixed with mayo or hot with just melted butter.
The melted butter version is the best.
The way that the butter pools on the soft, sesame seeded bun. The way that the steam invades your mouth, filling it with the clean, breezy scent of the ocean. 
The velvety mouthfeel of hot lobster. 
It is a subtle dish focused on just one flavor.
If you want more variety, try the excellent oysters. Different eeach day, there are often ones from Abbott’s own bed. Small, creamy and mild, they are perfect with a touch of the very horseradish-y cocktail sauce.
Or help yourself to crabcakes – no fillers here. More like solidified crab dip than crab bound with bread, these are creamy, soft and gently crispy on the outside. 
No fries here. Just a mild, sweet, mayonnaise-y slaw and some salty, oily housemade potato chips. 
By the way…when talking about potato chips, salty and oily are positive adjectives. 
And, really, all I have are positive adjectives for Abbott’s. So cheap for what you get: Beautiful scenery, relaxed atmosphere, FANTASTIC food.
Can’t wait till it’s my birthday again.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Mohegan Sun

It was my birthday August 1.
Happy birthday to me!
To celebrate, we went on an eating trip. 
Duh.
The day started with a bagel with cream cheese, lox and onion.
And ended here.
At Frank Pepe’s in the Mohegan Sun Casino.
Now, I have been to the original Frank Pepe’s, but we were hungry after a few hours of gambling in the casino and didn’t want to schlep to New Haven for a clam pie.
*Note – this is not a comparison between pies. This is a review of a stand alone pizza* 
So we went into this outpost, located right off the casino floor.
Casual, with kitschy touches and the same green booths as at the original.
A huge brick pizza oven.
 
And a menu with pies.
The only thing it didn’t have was the long line.
Happy birthday to me!
You can get a pepperoni and sausage pizza here. Or one with peppers and onions. 
But why would you? 
You want the clam pie. 
And not the white one that is on the menu…ask for it with red sauce. They will do it. 
And when it arrives…inhale.
The scent coming up from the pizza will be garlicky, sweet, salty and fresh.
Also…the pizza will be insanely hot. 
You will burn your mouth. 
It’s worth it, I swear.
The crust is thin, lightly charred and slightly floppy in the center, like all Neapolitan pizza crusts are. It finises off with a sturdy end crust, pleasantly charred and in spots, but not tasting bitter or rancid. 
Then there are the toppings.

Huge, fresh clams. You can tell they are fresh at first sight because of the irregular sizes of the chopped clams. Large and small, thick and thin, they are scattered over the crust, melding with the sweet, fresh taste of the tomato sauce and the red pepper flakes you will definitely want to apply. The calms are reminiscent of the sea – salty, fresh, deep tasting. They meld with the heartiness of the flour to create the perfect relationship between topping and crust. And the sauce is the secret agent here. More of a tomato sauce and less of a marinara sauce, it is so purely tomatoes -bright, sweet and filled with that tangy fresh tomatoey taste. Woody oregano brings out the earthiness of the sauce. The pie comes with fresh garlic, but I prefer it without. I like the clams to come through without the sharp bite of garlic.

Clearly, I like a lot of modifications. 
Luckily, the folks at Frank Pepe’s are happy to comply.
Happy birthday to me!

Napa and Company: A Perfect Breakfast in Stamford

Another day, another road trip.
This time, up to Martha’s Vineyard, to research an article. But on the way up…
EATS!
We stopped for breakfast at Napa and Company, a restaurant inside of a Marriott.
There were a couple of things wrong with this situation:
1)It was a little fancy for my tastes
2)It was a hotel restaurant
3)We were in Connecticut and not eating a meal even remotely involved with lobster or Frank Pepe pizza? What kind of a cruel joke WAS this???
BUT…Marmie had been to this place before and swore that it served a fab breakfast.
And my sister said that I was being the Dining Nazi.
She was kind of right…I DID make everyone swear their allegiance to me and my dining plan before we left the apartment.
So, in a desire to be accommodating and less Hitler-like, I let the ladies choose breakfast.
As I walked into the very nice space, I couldn’t help feeling like a road trip fraud.
It was dark and a little swanky.
There was a wall of expensive wines for heaven’s sake! How the heck can I eat fancy and probably soul-less food on a ROAD trip???
Then I tasted the food.
The Napa Breki – 2 Sunny Side-Up Eggs, Charred Tomatoes, Field Mushrooms, Peas, Sugardale Farm Bacon and Sausage.
Wow. There was nothing amazing or different about this breakfast except that it was made perfectly. The eggs were just BARELY set, so they were totally opaque among the whites but still gloriously gooey in the center, without a hard or burned edge among those lovely eggs. The mushrooms were earthy, meaty and woodsy, and the sausage and bacon were sweet, smoky and TOTALLY porky. The peas added a welcome hit of freshness, and played so well off of the rich, creamy eggs. The just burst under my teeth, invading my mouth with their sweet green taste. And the tomatoes. OH THOSE TOMATOES! Less charred, more confited, they were sweet and tart umami bombs. Instead of being chewy or harsh, they were these soft, tomato pillows that were all flavor without any of the sometimes over oily or salty residual tastes that sun dried tomatoes so often have. Really reminded me of summer.
Breakfast Sandwich with Chorizo and Charred Tomato Omelet and Romesco Sauce.
This is your standard breakfast sandwich from your local bodega, if your local bodega was in Spain, and the owner raised his own pigs in the backyard. 
Soft, holey bread that resembled ciabatta but with a more supple crust, cradled a fluffy omelette with garlicky, spicy chorizo and those wonderfully sweet charred tomatoes. The chorizo was zesty, peppery, and dripped fabulously fatty orange oil all over the egg and bread. And the romesco sauce was nutty with almonds, sweet with red peppers and creamy with olive oil. It’s inherent mild flavor was boosted by that flavorful chorizo and the juicy tomatoes.
Pretty much, I could eat this sandwich 3 times a day.
And I am SO glad that I gave up the foodie reins for a meal! In my effort to always eat indigenous and perfectly appropriate food, I sometimes forget that I need to look in the OTHER direction – nicer places can also be unexpectedly delicious, and chain hotels can offer wonderful food at a fabulous value. I would absolutely recommend this place to anyone looking for a well made and unusual breakfast in Stamford.
And…other than that meal…I became the Food Nazi again for the rest of the trip.
So fall in line or get out of the way.
Because these are:
THE QUAHOG CHRONICLES!
Napa & Co. on Urbanspoon