The White Horse Country Pub – Marbledale, Connecticut

The White Horse Pub. They gave me more bread, I just ate it all.

Foodgasm Factor 4 :: Broke Factor 4 :: Repeat Factor 6

This wasn’t our first time here. Apparently it was our fourth, although I only remember three. It came highly recommended by a dear friend some time ago.

On this day, we stopped by on our way to a vineyard in Litchfield (Sunset Meadow — I highly recommend it). It was our last full day before The Kid came home from her mission trip so we wanted to get in another date.

The White Horse Country Pub is good. It’s a decent place that seems to be reliable. It sits along this body of water they call a river but looks more like a creek on steroids.

There are two outside patios, one off the restaurant area and one off the bar. The patios sit looking out over the river and is beautiful. The setting is tranquil.

There is a tall wooden wall that separates the diners from the parking lot and busy Rte 202. There are a few of those hot lamp things that keep you warm on cool days/evenings and a string of large bulbs hang from above. It looks like a great place to eat at night.

Inside, the restaurant and pub is rustic. It’s a very quaint and fun atmosphere. The bar in the tavern is large and a big fireplace sits opposite it.

Any time I have gone by this place, the parking lot is full. It doesn’t seem to matter what time of day it is. Good sign, right? Perhaps.

IMG_5132Everything seems to have their logo/name branded/stamped/etched into the sides. Wine glasses, beer mugs, pottery that holds bread. It’s very charming.  Just so you know, they give a generous pour of wine. Almost to the rim.

We were seated outside on the patio off the restaurant next to an older couple. They both had huge buckets of seafood in front of them. I looked and looked on the menu but couldn’t find it. When our server came over (great service, by the way), I pointed to the couple and asked what that was.

The river is behind DH. he suggested I get up and change seats for this photo op but I was too lazy to move.  After all, I had to save my energy for this meal.
The river is behind DH. He suggested I get up and change seats for this photo op but I was too lazy to move. After all, I had to save my energy for this meal.

“Oh, they must be regulars. That meal is only served at dinner, but I’m sure the chef will make it for you.”

It is called the WHITE HORSE SEAFOOD BAKE and it consists of shrimp, clams, mussels, calimari, salmon, corn, onion, potatoes in a white wine sauce. I thought he said something about some kind of licorice liqueur but I didn’t taste it.

It is served in a huge iron pot and a piece of branded pottery containing garlic bread accompanies it. He warned me that it was a lot of food for one person but I figured if two people who are at least 20 years older than I am can do it, so can I.

Ahhh. The excitement mounts.

DH ordered the BLT. A sandwich made of apple smoked bacon, fried tomato, greens and chipotle mayo on a baguette. This is served with a side of french fries.

It took a long time for our order to come. Probably because of my meal, I’m sure. I really don’t mind waiting for a meal as long as the company is good and I have a full glass of wine, to which I had both.

When my food was finally placed in front of me, I thought “this is no problem, there isn’t much food here.” I quickly learned I was mistaken.

It was a damn bottomless pit. It was steaming hot, the heat being held in from the iron pot. I am not a fan of extremely hot food. I had to take a sip of water after each bite. I did burn my tongue. Several times. It was difficult to eat because although they do give you a galvanized steel bucket to put all your shells into, I really could have used a plate to dissect everything.

Everytime I dropped a piece of the seafood into the pot, the liquid would splash up and burn my neck or stain my clothes (even though it was a white wine sauce, there were tomatoes in there). I would highly recommend asking for a bib.

The mussels and clams were steamed almost perfectly. The salmon was thoroughly cooked, which is good for this situation. They could have been a little more generous with the potatoes, but they were so hot anyway, I had a hard time eating them.

After a very long time, so long that DH ordered a cocktail after he was finished with his meal (he thought his sandwich was okay…but remember, Mr. Picky), I was done. I’ll have to remember to take a bite out of everything he orders, so I can pass on my findings. Be patient with me, I’m learning.

I finished the entire pot. And the broth was still steaming. I was full but was I satisfied? Eh. It was okay. I won’t order it again. I had to really work at my meal. I don’t really like to work that hard for a meal, unless it’s lobster. And I wasn’t impressed with the broth it sat in. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t to die for. I did not have a foodgasm.

The wine was average and DH’s cosmo wasn’t that great. It’s a pub though. I’m sure they have a great beer list, but I’m not a beer drinker and DH really doesn’t love beer either so there you have it.

If you go to their site, you will see all of the awards they have won. Lots and lots of awards. An entire page dedicated to their awards. So, you probably really can’t go wrong.

I would go back again because of the atmosphere. The other items on the menu seem like they would be reliable and something you can count on being at least good.

I really want to go back for a burger. Their menu is quite extensive and there is something for everyone. Including the picky eaters in your family.

Also, it’s really quite affordable. I didn’t ask for the price of the seafood bake beforehand, but DH made a comment about how this lunch would probably be more expensive than the last lunch we had ($150? I didn’t agree). We placed bets. I said my meal alone was $25. He thought it would be more than $50. We had three drinks (2 wines, 1 cocktail), no dessert and no appetizer.

The meal was about $56, with tip $67. My crockpot was only $21 (I won). It was a really great value for what I got. Overall, it was pricey for lunch, but that’s not a fair statement because if I ordered the burger, it would have been much more reasonable. Also, it’s probably not necessary to have two glasses of wine at lunch. But we’re talking about me here.

The meal was decent, I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t order it again, it was a lot of work. But, you may feel differently so don’t not get it on my account. That will totally make me feel bad.

Oh and by the way, when new people sat down at the table next to us, they wanted what I was having. Except the server said they can’t make any more and that it’s really for dinner. So, if you want that, go at dinnertime. I got lucky, I guess. Or not. I probably would have been happier with a cheeseburger.

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.