Absent official guidelines for this journal, it was unclear whether only meals consumed in the Country House should be recorded. So, when there’s time to write and something interesting, we’ll try to include away-games, too.
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The alarm rang at 4:15 AM. “Do I even like these people?” I mumbled. And then realized that, yes, indeed, I do. So this long-awaited road trip to Massachusetts was not unreasonable, even considering the painful wake-up call.
The wedding that occasioned the trip was lovely and unconventional—exactly like the couple who were celebrating their marriage, right down to the church-supper-style reception in the church hall: simple, hearty, tasty fare: vegetarian chili and brown rice; angel-hair pasta with chicken and a variety of sauces; salad and crudités so fresh they might have been harvested that morning; a beautiful, single-layer, white-frosted chocolate cake; apple-cider donuts; seltzers and juices: a rainbow of flavors served on tables clothed in the same rainbow.
Our route passed through Hartford, where another friend has recently taken a teaching position. Since the Massachusetts festivities would be concluded by early afternoon, the perfect opportunity presented itself (and Siri provided directions) for a visit.
I’ve seen Hartford mostly on foot, having run the Half Marathon there for the past couple of years. During one of those races, I saw a restaurant that looked especially interesting, and meant to try it sometime. I didn’t recognize it by name when our friend suggested dinner there, and was delighted when we pulled into its parking lot last night to meet and I realized we were at that very spot.
Tisane is like three shops in one: a tea-and-coffeehouse, a bar, and a restaurant with a small but eclectic menu. We had a comfortable outdoor table, great conversation, and quite good food. I don’t much care for chicken wings (too much skin and bone, and not enough flesh), but like the “Buffalo” flavors: the Buffalo chicken sandwich was lightly breaded breast meat, a splash of hot sauce and a blue cheese aioli, lettuce, and tomato on a ciabatta roll; served with fries sprinkled with blue cheese. (The traditional celery and carrots were missing, but I had plenty of vegetables at lunch.) She ordered an espresso-rubbed steak and I tried not to drop my jaw at the confirmed tea drinker ordering something that involved coffee. And ate every bite, including the spinach, mushrooms, and garlic mashed potato sides.
When the food is great and the company even better, it is not surprising when the evening stretches a little longer than expected; we left for home at the time we anticipated arriving, but such is life. And life is good.