This weekend I drove home to Glastonbury. A five day stretch of food, family and friends. This morning I paid for it when my alarm rudely awoke me at 6:30, followed by a haphazard pack job, and a semi traffic-ridden drive back. At least Starbucks gave me a free venti coffee because the rest of their equipment was out of commission. Unfortunately the coffee did nothing considering I had to take a 15 minute power nap in my car at a rest stop, then down an Americano, and still end up falling asleep in two of my classes. Really, Starbucks? Sarah Short (a nutrition professor here) taught me Bucks magically contains the highest caffeine levels of any major coffee chain.
But here are some weekend highlights:
Thursday night, after popping in to visit Gram and Gramps, I surprised my friend Julie at Uconn for her birthday. Not that I am some sort of fantastic birthday present or anything, but I went big and got my cousin in on the surprise to make a massive scene.
She cried. She screamed.
Potentially because she was mad she didn’t clean up for me, and even made me sit in the living room while she made her bed. This is why we’re friends.
The following morning we woke up at 6:30 … in the morning. Then we chatted like fifth grade girls at a slumber party and decided it was more appropriate to go out for breakfast than go back to bed. So we did. I obviously scoured menus online (per usual) and then we agreed on Aero Diner.
Being a Friday morning, Aero wasn’t packed at all. I ordered an egg-white omelet with all sorts of veggies. The home-fries were just the way I like them — big ‘ole chunks of potato rather than that mushy, charred business. And it was so clean in there. The only downside — our table’s jukebox was broken.
I also went to our town’s Apple Fest for the first time in 3 years. Unfortunately, my sister did not buy this hat. And even more unfortunately I left the muddy field with destroyed boots. (Thanks, Dad for surprising me by cleaning and buffing them while I slept like a princess).
But I did purchase this sweater. Deep pockets, 100% wool, entirely too big, so very warm and only 35 bucks.
Had to have it. After questioning the sales man about the price for 10 full minutes (I didn’t believe it could be that low), and making friends with an older couple with matching snow-white hair — who adorably bought matching cream sweaters, I bought it.
Then came the main event. Fair food time. So let me forewarn you that Jillian is far worse than me when it comes to food related decisions. Well admittedly she’s awful at making decisions in general, but I’m too compulsive. If we had a brother maybe he would be the rational one.
Following an extensive perusal of each and every food tent (we did this three or four times), I decided on a falafal pita and J went for a chicken version. Even though I ate nearly the same lunch at the NY state fair a month ago, I somehow landed on this guy again. I guess it’s that good.
And then we had the world’s most important decision to make.
Thankfully we narrowed our choices to a pumpkin doughnut and a red-velvet funnel cake. Since we planned to share, we posted up by the food tents for easily over 20 minutes, walked back and forth and created a verbal pro and con list for each sweet. Then Jillian came up with the genius idea of stalking the funnel cake stand to observe fair-goers’ first bites.
Genius until we realized no one ordered the darn thing. See we decided that pumpkin doughnuts would undoubtedly taste delicious, warm, and autumnal, but we’d never encountered red-velvet funnel cake before. But would we fall in?? (This is one of my gram’s commonly used terms generally employed when trying a new restaurant and fearing the very worst, rather than sticking with a tried and true favorite).
So after we followed a father and his three small children (a few minutes too long) in attempts to see his very first bite and the facial expression that followed, I told Jillian it was time to resort to a civil coin flipping.
So coin flip we did. And we shared a pumpkin doughnut.
It was delicious, warm and autumnal, and we certainly did not “fall in.” The red velvet funnel cake looked like General Tso’s chicken anyway.
The next morning, on our way to check out my Uncle’s new house he’s building, Jillian and I stopped at one of our favorite farm stands, Draghi’s. They make the world’s most fantastic filled cookies. I wanted to buy an array of mustards and dressings and sauces, but I narrowed my selection to this hot sauce.
And to keep up with this weekend’s diner quota, Jillian, my cousin Michael and I hit up O’Rourke’s in Middletown– a miniature, aluminum-sided Irish joint with an outrageously extensive menu. Guy Fieri even visited for an episode of D,D &D. O’Rourke’s on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives
Ain’t it cute? : O’Rourke’s
I swapped half of my pesto omelet with Mike and he split half of his “omelet of my dreams” which featured caramelized onion pesto (so excellent) and plum tomatoes. He subbed Mornay sauce for the standard hollandaise.
I know my hollandaise (only because I had the daunting task of making it in my sophomore year food science class. You wouldn’t believe how terrifying it is to make because the emulsion can break super easily) but I didn’t have a clue what Mornay consisted of. So I looked it up. A classic Mornay uses half Gruyere cheese and half Parmesan plus butter, flour, seasoning and a milk or cream base.
Loved this place and I will definitely have to go back. They even serve a little plate of poppy seed bread and Irish soda bread before your meal arrives. I’ve never been offered bread before breakfast, but I wish more places caught on to this idea.
The wheat bread I had with my omelet even tasted Irish-soda bready. Now I want to make Irish soda bread.
The night before O’Rourke’s Mom, Dad, Jillian and I had dinner at Hanafin’s pub in Glastonbury. We’re all about the Irish spirit, but I’m confused why they played such a plethora of Michael Jackson Hits (but I don’t hate it).
Shock Top pumpkin beer (my new favorite pumpkin brew) and Irish stew over mashed potatoes made a rough day a whole hell of a lot better.
May I mention that my parents sent me back to school with a lifetime supply of salsa? And freshly laundered, folded clothes and bedding – Thanks, Ma!
Even though this weekend consisted of little sleep, and some rough patches, I’m incredibly lucky to have such a strong family. And even though the circumstances could have been better, I’m lucky I got to see some of my cousins (missed you Trev and Kev) and friends, and spend time with my Gramps and draw him horrendous pictures of animals (a horse that resembled a dog, and a cow that looked a lot like a pig with spots).
In closing (I feel this necessary after such a lengthy recap), Dad — I’m not even one bit embarrassed that you have a techno Celine Dion CD in your car. In fact I like it. And thanks for the clothes I stole and brought back to school with me.