The Great Restaurant Ramble Reprise 2007

Day Two - Tuesday 3 April

Day Two of the Great Restaurant Ramble 2007 saw us bidding Emily a fond farewell as she scuttled off to another class – I don’t remember my college schedule ever being that hectic. No doubt Emily was delighted to see the back of us – she could once again show her face in her favourite eating establishments without the embarrassment of having to be seen in the company of those of us who were incapable of making a decision never mind her second set of grandparents.

The drive from Middletown to Mystic, Connecticut was pleasant enough and just before we reached our destination there was a scenic overview into which we pulled to grab a glance at the Seaport Museum. As we did so another car with two young ladies also pulled into the lay-by and, as they saw me taking photographs of our tour group they kindly volunteered to take one of the four of us. Sadly, they seemed to be digital camera incompetents as neither seemed capable of pointing the camera in our general direction at the same time as pushing the relevant button. After several failed attempts and much expert tuition, we finally secured a photo of the four of us and were able to proceed on our journey.

The Seaport Museum at Mystic is very interesting and very compact – much renovation work going on along with several tall ships to clamber over and a collection of vintage shops. Naturally, Mom engaged one of the staff in discussion and we were treated to a detailed description of the processes of the whaling trade which was fascinating.

Since it had been at least two hours since breakfast, we naturally felt in need of some refreshment. Fortunately, Dad’s itinerary included the extremely well situated S&P Oyster Company in downtown Mystic ( which overlooks the river and the drawbridge. Unfortunately, the S&P Oyster Company is very well known and somewhat popular – when we arrived we were told it was going to be a twenty minute wait before a table would be available. So, to pass the time, Dad starting telling the delightful young lady who was taking the names the tale of Pete Taylor’s Baseball and Rock and Roll Odyssey (if there are any amongst you who do not know of Pete Taylor’s Baseball and Rock and Roll Odyssey have a look at where you can glean a bit more information and follow his progress once the site is up and truly running). Amazingly, inside of thirty seconds we had a table at the window overlooking the river. Whether this was because the young lady concerned was bored rigid within thirty seconds or because, indeed, a table had just become available and, in spite of having just walked through the door, our name was miraculously at the top of the list I couldn’t possibly speculate. However, I intend to try this strategy out at every available opportunity in the future. (How much success I will have in this country, however, I wouldn’t like to guess).

Having narrowly avoided starvation, we set off down the motorway toward Norwalk, Connecticut and the home of one of Dad’s old school mates, Seward Slagle and his daughter Leigh. How fortuitous was it that we should arrive on Leigh’s yellow Labrador Molly’s eleventh birthday! Although there wasn’t any evidence of cake and ice cream, there was a selection of gift-wrapped presents which Molly proceeded to retrieve from the shopping bag (on instruction, of course) carefully unwrap and then discard as she went to retrieve another present. When Leigh discovered that we also had a Molly she insisted (with Molly’s approval, no doubt) that we should take home two stuffed toys with us to deliver to our Molly – a pig and a chicken, both of which make appropriate noises when squeezed and both of which have been a great hit with our Molly.

This was the one night of the expedition when Dad had not done the investigations regarding dinner arrangements and we were at the complete mercy of Seward and Leigh for our evening repast. Fortunately, our reputation must have preceded us and reservations had been obtained at the River Cat Grill ( in the neighbouring community of Rowayton which provided excellent sustenance. The deep fried spicy calamari was excellent (so excellent that everyone apart from Penny had several helpings from my plate) and the shrimp and saffron risotto was outstanding. (Did I really have some variety of seafood risotto almost everywhere I went?)

After a very pleasantly restful stay we were off the next morning to Hartford, Connecticut and lunch and dinner rendezvous’ with Rob as well as a most informative, enlightening and amusing tour of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Did you know that Mom was the model for one of the displays in the Pop Art exhibition? But which one is the question.

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