Spot-On Cooking at The Shipwright’s Daughter in Mystic

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MYSTIC — The kitchen was in a groove on a recent Thursday night turning out dish after dish — small and large, across a tightly-woven menu — spot-on. Roast chicken, potatoes, salt, jus, baby lettuce. Roasted maitake mushroom, cashew cream, spicy oil, garlic and ginger chips. A crudo of Stonington scallops. Smoked clam dip and Old Bay chips. It’s the sort of spare, unassuming cooking that reflects confidence in quality ingredients and technique – “convivial cooking,” as the chef David Standridge explained it to me — not cold. The other night he brought his family to eat – and along

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Lyme-area Bakery Turns Out Superlative Focaccia, Sourdough Bread

For quick dinners, lazy weekends, and lunches, at $8 I’m not sure there is a better buy in the lower Connecticut River Valley than the focaccia turned out by Triangle House Bakery. I frankly have to reach back to memories of the bread from Arthur Ave. in the Bronx to recall the last time I’ve enjoyed focaccia this much. Delivered warm to Old Lyme and the immediate area, topped with parsley, shallot, and fontina, served with a simple salad, it’s what you should be having tonight. I expect Jamie Jackson, who opened Triangle House just weeks ago, to be entirely

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Irish Soda Bread… the Quickest of Quick Breads (and One of the Best)

Irish soda bread, like most recipes attributed by Americans to Ireland, has lean bones — in this case just flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. It’s a quick bread of the sort that became popular in the mid-19th century in America with the commercial availability baking soda and when half of all immigrants to the United States came from Ireland, many fleeing the potato famines that cost the lives of perhaps a million people. And like most things American, this austerity is supplemented with modest luxury, here dried fruit and caraway. The dough comes together in a less than 10

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A Better Corned Beef for St. Patrick’s Day

About a dozen days ago I stood across the counter from owner Paul Kozey at Walt’s Food Market in Old Saybrook and asked for a whole flat-cut brisket — the relatively lean portion with the familiar boxy shape separated from the odd-shaped point. Walt’s is a mid-century throwback, a familiar sort of small grocery on the Main Street with the meat counter in the back and groceries up front. A steady traffic of locals buys sandwiches, maybe the best in the area, roasts and prepared food. Kozey stepped into the back and brought out a few choices — none of

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Angel Food Cake — Putting Flour to the Test

Angel food cake – a simple confection of whipped, sweetened, and stabilized egg whites – is one of the easiest sweets to make at home. Perfect served plain with tea, with a coulis or fresh fruit and whipped cream after supper. Happily, for the season it also a Lenten cake, one of few the cakes baked without the use of any fats — neither oil, or butter, or egg yolk. On Thursday, we baked two cakes to taste test a packet of cloth-bolted White Lammas cake flour that had been ground and mailed to us the prior Tuesday. The flour,

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A Consul General’s ‘Pop-Up Diplomacy’ with Connecticut

“Pop-up diplomacy” is what Peter Abbott calls it. A whirlwind week-long series of virtual meetings with Connecticut – the Department of Corrections, the Nature Conservancy, the insurance industry, UConn President Thomas Katsouleas, Deputy Secretary of the State Scott Bates, and Attorney General William Tong. Since Abbott arrived in Boston last September, travel and opportunities to engage in the kind of everyday diplomacy that’s part of his job as British Consul General to New England, have been few and far between. And in a 45-minute call with Geoff Pigman and Gregory Stroud for CT Examiner on Thursday morning, Abbott appeared especially

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Phoebe Noyes Griffin Hosts Wednesday Night Virtual Talk on Connecticut’s Transportation Future

“They’re going to have to do something this year. They cannot avoid this issue. They’ve kicked this can so far down the road, they’ve run out of road,” said Jim Cameron. The “can,” the state’s looming shortfall for funding a long list of transportation necessities, is in part the topic of a virtual talk by Cameron on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. hosted by the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library in Old Lyme. Cameron is no doubt the most vocal advocate (and critic) of commuter rail and transportation in the state of Connecticut – a Hearst columnist and regular contributor to

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Understanding ‘Environmental Justice’

It’s not exactly a secret that when city, state and federal governments decide where to route an interstate, site a sewage treatment plant, or build a waste incinerator, it’s most often poorer and less politically advantaged neighborhoods that bear the brunt of the projects. That’s in part why the sewage from Old Lyme’s beach communities, which could be pumped a mile or so west to the Connecticut River, will instead be pumped 15 miles east to New London, where it is treated and released in the Thames River. Likewise, garbage collected in Lyme, Old Lyme and Essex – and 48

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Northeast Maglev

Imagine going from New York City to Washington DC in one hour… not by plane, but by maglev.  By comparison, today the same trip from the LaGuardia to DC’s Reagan airport takes about 90 minutes by air (not counting getting to and from the airports) and costs $276 one way.  On Amtrak’s Acela the fastest run, downtown to downtown, is three hours and costs $157.  Or you could take the bus for $30, assuming you have 4 ½ hours to waste. A maglev is a train, of sorts, that floats on a cushion of air, suspended and propelled along a

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An Immigrant from Enfield Aims to Start the Netflix of Celebrations in Berlin… Germany

“Our vision is to become the starting point for celebrations … think of what Netflix is to entertainment,” explained Rachel Wright, CEO and founder of Celbretti, a so-called “lean startup” looking to penetrate the Berlin market for the first time this summer. From there Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich. “As we get going into the spring and summer, I am optimistic that with the rollout of the vaccine, here in Germany, people will be able to celebrate again and we are working to prepare for that.” It’s a quintessential American story – a 34-year-old immigrant quits a corporate job and starts a

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7 Sparkling Wines with Personality for the New Year

You know the feeling when you’ve happened upon a bottle of something momentarily extraordinary, and it seems like you’re the only one to even notice? All around you, laughter and conversation, which is really the point of most evenings after all, not the wine, and you wish you could stop everyone and everything so they would pay attention to what they are drinking. But you don’t, because they won’t. And besides what’s the fun in that? And then the moment (and the wine) is gone. That’s the loneliness of crowds — or at least a wine drinkers’ version of it

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Towns offer Health District ‘Verbal Commitments’ to 10 Percent of Announced Aid

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Ledge Light Director of Health Stephen Mansfield told CT Examiner on Saturday that he had secured a “verbal commitment” from nearly all of the 9 municipalities in southeast Connecticut served by the regional health district to share 10 percent of recent federal funding to be distributed among the municipalities. Gov. Ned Lamont had announced, in a Thursday press conference, that the state’s Office of Policy and Management would distribute the $45.5 million of federal CARES funding within the week. The announcement did not direct funding to health districts. Mansfield said that increased staffing costs, and state subsidies amounting to just

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Clean Water and Affordable Housing — a Problem and a Fix

It’s not zoning, or angry crowds, it’s sewers that may put the kibosh on a plan for 67 units of affordable housing in Old Lyme – part of a 224-unit 11-building residential complex proposed for a 20-acre site on Hatchetts Hill Road. The fact is, it’s nearly impossible to build dense housing of any sort without sewers. You might recall, the proposed Hope Partnership development on Neck Road in Old Lyme would have provided just 37 units of affordable housing on septic and still required a loophole and a subdivide to get around Connecticut’s stringent environmental laws. But here’s the

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Residents Deserve a Vote

There is no rule requiring that the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education win the approval of local residents before committing them to plans for a new multimillion-dollar sports field. The nine-member board could vote on the project as soon as Wednesday. In fact, school Superintendent Ian Neviaser, with the support of the board, has been salting away money for the project – to the tune of $2,107,873 — in an “undesignated” fund for years. Clearly, in the short term at least, the cost of the field is unlikely to explode budgets. But whether this amounts to fiscal prudence or fiscal

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Bits and Pieces

But before I go, a little advice for candidates and would-be candidates next go around…. For campaign materials shared across social media, I really would encourage you to avoid shooting your portraits in portrait mode, and shoot your portraits in landscape mode instead. A horizontal aspect is nearly always better across a variety of social media platforms. But as a rule of thumb, if your materials are roughly twice as wide as tall, you’ll rarely, if ever, lose your head.

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