It's been awhile.
A million apologies for this 6-week hiatus. It wasn't planned. It wasn't intentional. But sometimes life gets in the way of your food blog. It happens.
Seven weeks ago today, Mays and I landed at Bradley International Airport...feeling a little sleep deprived and weary but excited for the new adventure.
I knew the transition was going to be challenging. Not only from a work standpoint, but from a lifestyle standpoint. Connecticut is nice, but San Francisco it is not. And pretty much every time I told someone where I had moved from, the response was almost always the same. Some variation of a scrunched up nose/raised eyebrow followed by: "WHY??!??"
It is for this reason I came in with fairly low expectations. I'm here for the job opportunity, not the social life. But I can honestly tell you that it's not that bad. I have New York and Boston just a short drive away (and have already visited NYC four times). And while the food options here are vastly limited compared to San Francisco dining, there are definitely some gems to be found. As my friend Kim and I discovered during my apartment-hunting trip, the state motto is "Full of Surprises," and I've definitely been pleasantly surprised since moving here.
The Mill at 2t (for No. 2 Tunxis Road and Tariffville) is one of those surprising hidden gems. It's located in a restored brick mill on the Farmington River.They are open Wednesday-Sunday, featuring a carefully-concocted menu by chef Ryan Jones that changes daily. The seasonal, farm-to-table, locally-sourced approach reminded me of the restaurant style that has become almost expected in San Francisco. The small dining room has just a handful of tables (7 to be exact), and a chef's counter. which is definitely the prime dining spot of choice (Call at 2PM the day of to reserve a spot at the counter). I loved the exposed brick, the lofted ceiling, and chandelier...balancing country with contemporary. Ryan and his wife Kelleanne do an excellent job of making the restaurant feel intimate and cozy...like you are dining in someone's home.
Each meal begins with warm, flakey popovers served with salted butter. Move over Tyler Florence, these are the best popovers I've ever tasted. The dangerous part is they will bring you as many as you want...and each seem to get more warm and delicious the more you eat. I definitely urge you to take them up on seconds, but make sure to save room for the parade of delicious food that awaits!
There is a chef's tasting menu available each night, but each course is decided already, which means everyone gets the same thing. Wanting to try several things, we created our own personal tasting menu by ordering two appetizers and two entrees for sharing. They were kind enough to split our plates for us...so all of the photos you see are actually *half* plates! Needless to say, we were stuffed at the end of the meal and extremely happy with the generous portions.
For starters, we selected the beef cheek agnolotti, which is a filled pasta. It featured local chestnut mushrooms, baby wild leeks, fava beans and shaved romano cheese. We also chose the artichoke and sunchoke soup...which was topped with crispy duck confit and an oven roasted tomato. I really loved both of these dishes...but the duck confit was definitely a lovely addition to the creamy soup. The textures and flavors were excellent and I stopped short of licking my bowl clean.
The entrees followed suit with the popovers and starters. (And again...these plates you are seeing are half portions). My favorite was definitely the venison loin, which was served with a mini sweet potato "lasagna," smashed beets, roasted cipollini onions, sorrel, and marinated black berries. With the sweet potatoes, berries and beets...this was a surprisingly sweeter main dish, but the savory balanced out nicely with the venison and slightly bitter sorrel.
We also ordered the Atlantic striped bass, which was served over a blue crab and tortilla "soup" with cilantro rice, roasted sweet corn and candied jalapeno. I loved the candied jalapeno. (Note to self...I need to learn how to make those). The dish was solid, but probably my least favorite of the night. In retrospect, we should've done two appetizers, a main entree and saved room for dessert.
Instead, we settled for the signature 2t cookies which were served with the check. Basically, they are chocolate-dipped oreos. A perfect bite if you can't fit in dessert (or even if you can). Next time, I'd like to try the brioche donuts...because, if they are even half as good as the popovers they are no doubt amazing.
Overall, it felt like a little slice of San Francisco with Connecticut flavor. I loved this restaurant and will most certainly be back...and I look forward to other surprises Connecticut has to offer!
Update! (9.08.13) I made my return visit to Mill at 2t last weekend when my mom was in town. Another standout meal, and among the stars of the dinner included the fresh crab served over asparagus with a dill hollandaise sauce and brioche toast points (top left), and the salad with creamy burrata and crispy prosciutto (top right). I also loved the salad with poached egg and bacon lardons, which I can rarely resist ordering when a version of it appears on a menu. (See: Gary Danko and Roast). We made sure to save room for the brioche donuts (bottom right), which were HUGE and delicious. They were dusted with powdered sugar and served sitting in a sugary pool of caramel sauce. Mill at 2t is quickly becoming my "go-to" when guests are in town!