TerraSole – Ridgefield, Connecticut

Terra Sole - Ridgefield CT
TerraSole – Ridgefield CT

Foodgasm Factor 9 :: Broke Factor 10 :: Repeat Factor 10

DH and I have been empty nesters for the past week while The Kid toils away helping the needy.  Last Sunday, we decided to tool around in the Jeep. It was a great day for a ride with the top down. Not MY top, the Jeep’s. Geez, get your head out of the gutter.

We soon found ourselves in Ridgefield and with hungry bellies. After quickly figuring out that Sunday is not a good time to find a place open for lunch, my eyes fell on a cute little place in a strip of other stores, practically sitting in the parking lot. It’s behind Main Street, off one of the side roads, so you will miss it if you aren’t careful.

It looked good enough and it was open. And since we were starving and the only thing in my fridge at home was jelly and leftover sloppy joes from the Sunday prior, we decided to give it a shot.

And besides, there were nice cocktails sitting on the tables that were lined up on the outside patio and the people seemed to be having a good time. That was really good enough for me.

The fact that some of my favorite words in the english language was on their sign – Cheese Winebar – had nothing to do with our decision. That’s a lie. It did. It had a lot to do with it.

TerraSole Ristorante. Their website says they are “Authentic Italian.” And I believe it. I guess I can take that trip to Italy off my bucket list.

Here is what I thought of it…TO DIE FOR.

We were seated on the small outside patio (which was adorable with those cute triangles of cloth hanging above to keep out the sun, shady trees and pretty flowers planted around the perimeter) and greeted by Gary Sinise, not the Gary Sinise, but his twin separated at birth (no kidding, he even had his mannerisms), our server.

We were promptly served oil and bread. My fave combination. I wish they had salt and pepper on the table, that would have been nice. But I was happy nonetheless. After a few minutes, the manager walked over and gave us a sample of lemon and some weird spice infused olive oil. We weren’t fans. It tasted like something I would leave in my drawer to freshen my underwear.

After ordering cocktails – a Cosmo for DH (he always has a Cosmo so get used to it) and I had something like a Cosmo but was a tad bit different (I don’t remember how, it just was, and it was yummy), we took a look at the menu.

The list of cheeses and meats looked delicious, but since DH has a dairy intolerance, I opted out because it seemed like it would be too much for one person to eat alone, but I could be wrong so don’t take my word for it.

But then “Gary” came over and recited the specials. I love raw fish so when he started describing one of the appetizers with the main ingredient being tuna, I made my mind up right there and then. What made me realize I made the right decision is the fact that our server nearly had a foodgasm himself just describing it.

The dish is called Tonno Crudo and he was absolutely correct. It was foodgasm quality.

Tonno Crudo consists of Ahi tuna tartare sitting on a bed of multi-colored cherry tomatoes, fresh avocado and soy sauce. It’s topped with this whole grain stuff that looks like quinoa. The tuna was as fresh as if it was just fished out of the sea and the guacamole was so good, that when I allowed DH to take a taste, he couldn’t have just one bite (the dangers of sharing your food).

The menu had many good choices but after hemming and hawing over it for a little longer than I should have, I opted for the GNOCCHETTI DI CAPRA CON SUGO D’ANATRA. In english (I didn’t even try to pronounce it), it means homemade goat cheese gnocchi, with a duck ragu sauce with wild mushrooms, ricotta and olive oil. I’m not kidding when I say I started to jump up and down in my seat, I was that excited.

When my meal came, it was every bit as good as it looked in print. Even better. The pasta was so fresh and perfectly cooked, and the goat cheese was just enough so I could taste it, but not overwhelming. The duck ragu was freaking delicious. I am no duck connoisseur but I liked it and that was good enough for me, and should be for you too. My mouth is watering describing it right now.

They gave me a pretty hefty portion, so I was able to take some home. I was lucky to be able to revisit the dish two days later. It didn’t taste as good after being warmed up in the microwave, but I wouldn’t imagine it would. I still enjoyed it the second time around.

My meal (bottom) and DH's meal. Taken with my iPhone so I apologize for the quality.
My meal (bottom) and DH’s meal. Taken with my iPhone so I apologize for the quality.

DH ordered SALMONE IN CROSTA DI ERBE ALLO CHAMPAGNE. Again, in english, that’s alaskan salmon cooked in champagne, served with quinoa and local farm veggies. It was really good. I know because I tasted it. Not as good as my meal. I don’t think anything will ever be as good as my meal.

DH seemed satisfied (just so you know, DH is a little picky, so chances are he won’t love a lot, but when he does, you know it’s over the top good). When he doesn’t? It’s still good. I don’t really take too much to heart what he says about food. (Sorry DH, but your usual go-to dish at an italian restaurant is raviolis. Just sayin’.)

We were both full from our lunch so we decided against dessert. But what’s really, really fun about this place is the fact they give each patron a shot of their lemoncello. I have three words for you: De Li Cious. I wanted more. But since I was two glasses of wine and a martini in, I decided I better quit while I was ahead.

Overall, the experience was much, much more than I expected it to be for a place that we just happened upon. If you don’t mind looking out on the parking lot, I would highly recommend sitting outside if the weather permits.

The dining room seemed on the small side, but very cozy and nicely decorated. I can’t wait to go back and share this place with friends. The atmosphere was lively and jolly. The wait staff attentive and the wine good. Although they were a little stingy on the pour. My two glasses of wine probably could have been counted as one. But I can’t argue that it was delicious.

On the downside, it was a bit pricey. Okay, so it was a lot pricey. Our meal (six, yes SIX — don’t judge — drinks, one appetizer and 2 main courses) came to almost $150. With tip, it put us at $180. (The drinks were pricey with the cocktails at $15 each and the wine was probably $12 a glass but I didn’t look at the price of the wine because I didn’t care, I was having too much fun. So the meal without that would not have been as bad.)

We weren’t expecting to pay that much and because I am cheap, I almost had a heart attack right there. But it was worth it and we hadn’t gone on a date in a while. It’s not something that we would do all the time, but definitely worth the trip for a treat and a splurge. I didn’t need to buy groceries this week anyway.

Final verdict? I loved it, so go if you want a great meal with a great atmosphere. Bellissimo.

Mo Choices Coming To a Blog Near You (umm, well, MY blog anyway)

Leftovers from The Cookhouse in New Milford. It was great the first time, even better the second.

I’ve always had this interest in food. As in tasting it, eating it, devouring it. Please don’t be confused with me actually making it. No. I’ll leave that part to the experts.

For someone who loves food so much, it’s funny how I abhor the kitchen. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if it fell off the house and floated out to sea. Just as long as it leaves the fridge behind. I like the fridge.

Anyway, in case you haven’t figured it out, I like food. I mean, I didn’t get my chins and tummies by not liking it. DH calls me a foodie. Which is funny. Because like wine, I know nothing about it.

I’m no culinary expert by any stretch of the imagination (I lost count on all my fingers and toes how many times I’ve had to call my mom or someone to get me out of a cooking pickle. You know, like when I add so much salt to a recipe, I swear the Atlantic is sitting right there on my stovetop — I’m sensing an ocean theme here. Hmm. It’s a good thing I like seafood).

I can’t tell if there is white pepper or vanilla in a sauce (I’m that way with wine too. Please don’t put me to the test because I’ll fail miserably. Just hand me a glass of Cabernet dammit).

I’ve never taken a cooking class in my life. (Unless you count the time I watched a chef cook for me while I got drunk on the wine they served while I took notes on the little recipe sheets that went straight into the trash when I got home because umm, Beef Wellington? Really? What even is that? If I want to cook beef, I’ll shove it in a bun. But, it was good. That’s because I didn’t make it. Get my point?)

I don’t watch the Food Network because I can’t actually eat the food they make or have a desire to make it. But I did watch Julie & Julia. Twice. Does that count?

So why have a page dedicated to restaurant reviews if I don’t really know anything about food? Because I know how to eat it. How to appreciate it. How to savor it. I can tell if something sucks or if it’s the best thing since sliced bread (that’s a really stupid expression, don’t you think?).

I also like to eat different things. I will search the menu at a restaurant for something I’ve never tried before. I’m adventurous that way. I have tried everything from frogs legs to snails (yes frogs legs really do taste like chicken).

Most of the time it works in my favor. There really isn’t much I don’t like or won’t try (except chicken liver, anything veal and raisins. Oh, and caramel. I hate caramel. I know. Weird, right?)

When I see something on the menu that floats my boat, my eyes light up, and I jump up and down in my chair like a little kid getting ready to go for a ride on Magic Mountain. I promise you, the feeling for me is better than Christmas morning. Sometimes, dare I say, even better than sex. I said sometimes.

So, due to DH’s persistence, I have decided to have a page on my Momfeld blog dedicated to reviews of places I’ve eaten at. And I shall call this page “Mo Choices.” (DH came up with that…clever, isn’t it?).

I understand this really pretty much only benefits the local folk, but when I’m out and about traveling for one irish dance competition or another, on a college tour trip or family vacation, I’ll be sure to record my findings there.

So, stay tuned and check it out. I hope it helps you decide where to go next time a date night or girl’s night out is in order.

And if one of my local readers finds something or knows of a place you think I might like, please share! (This does not include Chick-Fil-A because I’ve already tried it and well, does the fact that I have 42 containers of their sauce in the veggie crisper of my fridge say anything?)

Bon appetit, happy eating or whatever!