Shrimp and Grits at Washington PrimeAnother year of eating well is winding down. Best of all, I’ve been able to share some of the experiences with you. When Marsha and I are eating out or cooking at home, we often feel we’re there on your behalf, gathering impressions and flavors and bringing them to you. It’s a labor of love.

Now is a good time to reflect on some of our most memorable experiences and savor them again. It’s also a good time to look ahead with a few resolutions for the next year.  

We’ve eaten at some wonderful restaurants:



The purpose-driven Bloodroot has some of the most interesting and well- prepared vegan and vegetarian cooking around served with a side of the feminist views of owners Selma Miriam and Noel Furie.  In New York City, we discovered the French/North African cooking at the delightful Claudette.  The hearty barbecue at HooDoo Brown was satisfying on a dark, cold winter’s night.

It’s not easy to be creative with the well-plowed field of American pub menus, but at The Village Tavern in Ridgefield the chef brings a new view to the everyday hamburger and most memorably, served a “Salad in the Tin” that was completely new to me and very entertaining.

Harbor Lights waterside diningBrunch on the water is a great way to spend a summer Sunday. We had a memorable meal along the Saugatuck River at the Rive Bistro in Westport. The brunch at Harbor Lights is equal to the spectacular view. Away from the shore, Washington Prime in SoNo and Peaches Southern Pub in Norwalk were both the sites for impressive brunches.

Once in awhile, Marsha and I like to visit a local cultural attraction with lunch after. Memorable this year were the impressionist paintings of Alfred Sisley at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich followed by a bistro lunch at Méli-Mélo on Greenwich Ave.  Heading the other direction on I-95, a tour of the manageable, boutique-sized galleries at the Fairfield University Art Museum concluded with a lingering lunch at the Parisian-style bistro, Martel.

Set for tea at CaramorIn Westchester County a house and garden tour at Caramoor, the beautiful Renaissance-inspired estate in Katonah, NY, ended with a sumptuous English tea.  Kykuit, the Rockefeller mansion in Sleepy Hollow was definitely worth the trip. Our visit to the forty room mansion, extensive art collection, and beautiful grounds was followed by lunch at Sunset Cove under the Tappan Zee Bridge.

When possible, we went to the source – Ambler Farm in Wilton for maple sugaring and Bar Sugo in Norwalk for a hands on class in meatball making.  At Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens in Westport, Carrie Gilbertie tutored us in growing herbs at home.   Marianne Courville showed us how she makes her

Carrie Gilbertie

Carrie Gilbertie

hand-crafted fruit shrubs and bitters at The Hudson Standard.  A vineyard tour in California’s Santa Lucia Highlands introduced us to Morgan wines.  We travelled out to The Salinas Valley to see where the packaged lettuce is grown, and then headed back to Norwalk to visit Norm Bloom at the Copps Island oyster docks.

There was quite a bit of home cooking experimentation too. Cheese fondue, crisps and crumbles, sangria, pudding, hamburgers, mulled cider, and eggnog all had their turn in our kitchen, creating delicious aromas and opportunities to taste and evaluate.

Taking a dip of FondueThanks for listening while I got a few things off my chest about noisy restaurants, the state of local innkeeping, and the definition of a restaurant in these fluid times.  

Thanks too for coming along with us to the Hudson Valley, Seattle and Portland, the Finger Lakes, California, and (vicariously) Scotland via whisky and food tastings. Sharing the experiences with you broadened our understanding of the food world and the new tastes and trends popping up.  

A few years ago, I published some New Year’s resolutions. I didn’t have much success in following through.  Either they were too ambitious or I was not properly motivated.

So this year, I’m going to be much less specific.  I resolve to honor and support the creative people who bring us wonderful restaurant experiences and the hard working folks who do the heavy lifting. I resolve to appreciate and acknowledge good food and good cooking. And, I resolve to expand my culinary horizons, trying new things and new places. Sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it?

Happy New Year!

The view of Norwalk Harbor at Norm Bloom Oysters