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Entries in West Hartford (53)

Monday
Jan162012

a full house

Maybe the most important things about food and wine are the people next to you at the table and all of the wonderful things that only seem to happen prior to, during, or after the preparation and eating of a meal.  Still kitchenless, Allie and I joined our dear friends Jen and Mike (and their kids, and brother and sister-in-law, and parents) for a weekend of endless plates of delicious food and bottomless glasses of wine.  Friends are the BEST; and spending time with a great big family is indescribably special. 

After standing in Jen's kitchen, jumping outside to pull some steaks off the grill, talking to her brother Andy about how his huge treat for the weekend (pounds and pounds of specialty Italian foods shipped up to Connecticut from New York) wasn't going to arrive in time (argh!), fixing drinks, and opening bottles of wine, I was a part of something we rarely see in our quiet little house down the street where only a puppy joins Allie and me for dinner (if he isn't napping in the other room): a full house.  Children ate pasta with homemade sauce while the adults opened a bottle of easy-drinking Bogle Phantom and dabbled in some gin cocktails and Manhattans on the rocks; we noshed on salami, cheese, and olives...everyone working together......in fact, the porterhouse steaks on Sunday night were truly a team effort: Mike lit the grill and gave the go-ahead that it was hot enough to cook, Andy looked at the steaks while Jen seasoned them and declared the cook time: "4-5 minutes/side and then tent them under foil", Jen put them on the grill, Allie set the timer, I tended them twice and followed Andy's recommendation, Mike came through to take a look..."looking good!"...And, Andy nailed it, they were a perfect medium rare.  I felt like a Harlem Globetrotter.

We opened some wine and talked about it...we opened other wine and didn't talk about it...  Nobody got caught up in the details and yet, it was all the details that made the weekend so delicious...and I'm not really talking about what we ate.

Saturday
Jan072012

a terrific pie at luna pizza

I am not going to talk about how much I love pizza, how often I ate it while living in the City, nor the fact that it was actually a consideration when deciding to move North to Connecticut...yes, I'm serious.  Instead, I've accepted the fact that I now live outside of New York and for the first several years had resigned myself to just skip pizza entirely (for you New Year's Resolution dieters, know that cutting pizza out of your diet is the easiest way to lose weight...well, it was for me years ago but then, you probably don't eat it more than twice a week like I used to...but anyway...)...

Fast forward to my current pizza regimen...I treat myself to pizza on three occasions: 1) Whenever I drive down to New York, it's the very first thing I do (yes, really; in fact, I've been known to double park as soon as I'm over the bridge on my way to a birthday party with friends just for a fix...do I have a problem?  Maybe); 2) When I'm in New Haven at one of the famous places down there (e.g. Pepe's), and 3) at Luna Pizza in West Hartford. 

Luna Pizza is a classy little pizza shop right in the heart of West Hartford Center.  A nice part of the look, feel, flavor (and prices!) at Luna is that this place predated the West Hartford Rennaissance that has brought some wonderful, but rather expensive, businesses to town.  As such, I like visiting Luna for takeout and dine-in whenever I get the chance.  Last night, we decided on eating there (the house is truly a construction site with the kitchen remodel in full swing)...sitting under the antique pressed tin ceiling at one of their well-worn marble top iron tables, I remembered just what a treat a good solid pizza shop can be...especially on a Friday (a tradition in my house growing up).  Allie and I shared their green salad (served with a nice Italian vinaigrette), I had a glass of the Blue Point IPA (a very easy-drinking ale out of Long Island), and Allie, a glass of Mondavi Reserve Pinot Noir...nice with pizza!

For dinner, we ordered a large pie: half "veggie" (a ridiculously generous topping treatment that includes POUNDS of carefully prepared vegetables that each bring a unique texture and flavor to your perfect bite (e.g. the eggplant pieces have been breaded and lightly fried, the fresh spinach steamed, the red peppers roasted, and the onions sauteed))...and half sausage and mushrooms...what a treat!  If you go, order the large because once you start chowing down at Luna Pizza, you won't stop 'til it's gone.