Our planned trip hit a snag at the outset with the news that two of our key players were called out of town for a family emergency. Our numbers reduced, we cancelled the van and headed out in the jeep. Our only consolation was that this meant that we would get to do it again at another time with our full crew.
Frank grew up in the New Haven area, and Mary and Gerry, our partners on this journey, had lived in the area for many years, so we were re-visiting old, remembered haunts, rather than discovering new ones.
First stop, Rein’s Deli in Vernon, Ct. Corned beef, pastrami, matzo ball soup. Discussions about the lack of a good deli on the Cape! Well fortified by lunch and vat of pickles in hand, we headed for New Haven,
Even a decadent foodie adventure needs some balance, so our next stop was a visit to the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale. Words really can’t do justice to the structure itself, to say nothing of the magnitude of the towering stacks of books hermetically sealed in glass. Two Guttenburg Bibles are on display. There was also a prayer book owned and annotated by Thomas More during his confinement in the Tower of London before his execution. Amazing, awe inspiring place.
Back to food. We checked into the hotel before heading to Biaghetti’s in West Haven for dinner. We were joined by other friends who have remained in the area. Biaghetti’s is a real neighborhood Italian restaurant. Sinatra as background music, and classic, Old School fare. Perfect.
Day Two of the adventure began in earnest at the Athenian II Diner. We then headed out for a driving tour of old familiar spots. A farmers’ market captured our attention, so broccoli rabe, eggplant, beets, pumpkins were added to the storage area of the jeep. Then it was off to Lamberti’s for sausage. This is not really a store, but a real sausage production center. It’s a family operation. We were helped by the grandson of the original owner.
Next stop: Hummel Bros. for hotdogs. At this point, there’s was a reshuffling of things in the cooler to create more room. Ten pound of sausage and three pounds of hotdogs were being crowded by our leftovers from Biaghetti’s. And we still had stops to make! Apicella’s for bread and Lucibello’s for the world’s best cookies and pastries.
Time for lunch. We had been to Pepe’s a number of times in the past, but had never tried their famous clam pizza, so that was one of our goals for this trip. We ordered a regular pizza as well, so the fact that we weren’t that enthusiastic about the clam pie didn’t matter as much. We were glad to have tried it, but probably wouldn’t choose to have it again.
Ready to head for home with a stop at Venda Ravioli in Providence, RI. for a few more items. Trying to tamp down the desire to buy everything in sight is the hardest part to a visit to Venda Ravioli. Homemade ravioli, an overwhelming selection of cheeses and meats and olives and oils and vinegars. Everything of amazing quality.
Back at home, we divided up the spoils from our adventure. No one wanted dinner!