Some of us, i.e. Grandpa's wallet and my waistline, are relieved that the Great Restaurant Ramble Reprise 2007 is almost at a conclusion. We have already notified British Airways that we shall need to have two seats each on our flight home and have also taken out an unsecured loan to pay the excess weight charges which will arise this trip.
As some of you will know, Grandpa had created an itinerary of epicurean high spots around New England roughly based around the proximity of grandchildren in college and an old school friend in Connecticut. Much research had been carried out on the net and, as well as the usual good and edifying cultural expeditions, the itinerary was punctuated by a number of outstanding restaurants in which we could enjoy lunch or dinner. After all, traveling with Greg and Penny is hungry work.
The ramble began before we had even begun the actual rambling. We started our culinary expedition at Carpaccio's, a new Italian restaurant in Hanover which came highly recommended by Steph and Hope (http://www.carpacciohanover.com ). Never being one to turn down a good meal whether part of the official Restaurant Ramble itinerary or not, Carpaccio's was indeed elegant and excellent Steph and Hope say that it is a significant step up from the usual fare in Hanover and particularly better than their previous favourite, Wendy's.
We started the Ramble officially with Emily in Middletown who kindly took time out of her busy schedule to accommodate our ingestion needs. Lunch was at the Baker's Brew on Main Street in Middletown, a delightful sandwich and soup place where the choice was, as usual, overwhelming when we arrived the place was deserted; when we finished placing our order there was a queue of starving citizens stretching out to the sidewalk, most of whom were muttering not quite under their breath at the dreadful Brits who were incapable of making a choice given the multitude of options available. Even once you had, in fact, made your choice of sandwich, you then had to choose from rye, wheat or fluffy white bread an absolute nightmare!
Em had to leave for a class before we had quite finished and, as she was leaving, she ran into a couple of friends. Greetings and pleasantries were exchanged and after the formalities of these, one friend asked Em who she had been eating with. Emily pointed over to the table and said that she had been having lunch with her grandparents whereupon the friends looked over and received a collection of somewhat demented smiles and waves from those of us still stuffing our faces. Wow, both sets of grandparents? one of them asked. Fortunately, this caused Emily to burst out laughing as she explained that the other, much, much, younger couple were, in fact, her aunt and uncle although it's easy to see how her friends could have been confused.
During the afternoon we were able to enjoy Emily's guided tour of the hotspots of Wesleyan University which seemed to consist particularly of her favourite site on campus the compost bins at the Longlane Farm which is where the attached was taken, the camera delicately balanced on a rubbish bin to capture the five of us.
Dinner was at the Tuscany Grill on College Street ( http://www.tuscany-grill.com ) which was excellent. It is located in the apparently historic Middlesex Opera House building and had an excellent ambience and very good food. For some reason Grandma became fixated with the Gents restroom which was located just behind our table and directly in her line of vision every time someone entered or exited the facility she had an excellent view and gave us a detailed description of all aspects of both the interior of the facility and the accouterments of all the participants. Regrettably, Em had to leave early (again), this time for a Gospel singing class (what kids can do these days to get college credit!). By this time we were beginning to wonder whether all these classes really existed or whether Em was simply fed up with having to explain that Pen and I were not her other set of grandparents.
After a very pleasant stay in an adjacent motel we joined Em again for a much-needed breakfast at one of the student cafés (where again the complexities of the ordering process and the multitude of options available resulted in the development of a queue several miles into the distance whilst the Brits dithered over their choices. In fact, the lady taking the order became so frustrated by our indecision that when Grandma tried to change her order of pastry her request was steadfastly refused. Fortunately, I was happy to order what she had eventually decided she wanted and eat what she had originally ordered so everything worked out well in the end.) Eventually, well-fed and watered we set off on the road to Mystic Connecticut and the Seaport Museum there. For lunch, naturally.