Monday, January 25, 2010

Sybarites Visit the Provinces ...


Papa Diva's mother often says: "If you're not living in New York City, you are camping out." While this may still be somewhat true, there are places in the provinces where one can dine very well indeed. The "provinces" refer to any area outside the five boroughs of New York City.

We must advise city dwellers that a local guide is essential. In this case, the guide is Diva's brother who lives in a hamlet known as Beacon Falls, in the heart of the valley region of Connecticut. He drives a pick-up truck, burns wood to heat his house and has three dogs. We're still looking for his plaid, flannel shirts. He's well on the way to becoming a full-blown yahoo, and is therefore qualified to sniff out culinary gems in the valley.

One such gem, frequented by our local guide, is Anna Donte's restaurant - located in the Union City section of Naugatuck. On Saturday evening, we ventured out into the provinces to celebrate Papa Diva's birthday at Anna Donte's ... and what a feast it was!

We began with an appetizer of broccoli rabe and sausage ... though, really, it was more of an entree. There was so much leftover that I'm recycling it for dinner tonight! The rabe was tender and sweet; and the sauce, delicious. The platter arrived surrounded by zesty garlic toasts that were just perfect for sopping up that sauce. Yum!

While Anna Donte's offers a full menu of Italian dishes, it seems they are most famous for their homemade ravioli. I can see why. Bathed in a succulent, fresh marinara sauce, these light-as-air ravioli are truly exceptional. The pasta is tender and the ricotta filling so creamy and delicious, each bite is a little bit of heaven. They're also really HUGE. Though they come six to a plate, I could only finish three - but not for lack of trying! I'll recycle the leftovers as well.

I understand that Anna Donte's also offers the ravioli frozen, to take-out and take home. Its probably a good thing that I don't live anywhere near Anna's ... I'd be a frequent customer!

Its funny how sometimes the least likely places offer the most amazing food. Located on a fairly desolate street and fronted with a rather modest exterior, it would be easy to drive right by Anna Donte's and miss the magnificence offered inside. I'm glad we didn't. BIG thanks to my bro for being our guide ... and BIG thanks to Papa Diva for writing my intro paragraphs today! This post is a Diva family affair and I'm grateful to both of you.

For those in the area - Anna Donte's is located at: 384 North Main Street, Naugatuck, CT. 203-729-6783. Reservations recommended, this place fills up. Please note, this restaurant is BYOB. They do offer soft drinks, but feel free to bring your own wine ... we did!

Now, dear readers, you might be wondering if I'll ever cook a meal again. Its been that kind of month here and I'll admit I've not been a frequent visitor to my own kitchen! That's all about to change and I will indeed be cooking this week. Stay tuned.

Bon appetite!

22 comments:

Mo Diva said...

Im not allowed anywhere near homemade ravioli.
Its my weakness.
My grannie makes her own ravi's as she so cutely calls then and whenever she makes them I have to eat one serving and leave because she keeps em coming... oh how i love my italian grannie!!
fabulous dishes you got there!!!!!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Wow, Mo, aren't you lucky to have your grandma's homemade ravioli! I'll bet they're amazing! :)

Heavenly Housewife said...

This is so true, some of the really cool places to eat are like little gems, waiting to be discovered. I know a couple of places that are like little holes in the wall and very missable, but their food is just divine. Cool of you to spotlight this place daaaaahling!
*kisses* HH

Dana McCauley said...

Mmmm- hand made ravioli. I think the provinces sound quite lovely!

pixelgal said...

This is definitely a one-dish kinda place. I've been there before and they do have other great-sounding dishes on their menu but the memory of the ravioli lingers as I enter the restaurant. There's another place in West Haven,CT called Lorenzo's, where I can only order eggplant parm as they are the best of the best! Something to be said for 'camping out'.

stephchows said...

THe least likely are always the best! Great find!!

Astra Libris said...

Diva, thank you so much for your incredibly kind, uplifting comment on my blog... You made my day and brightened my spirits!

Your beautiful Diva family post also brightened my day even more... :-) I can just imagine the gloriousness of those ravioli! :-)

Ca88andra said...

This post makes me want to pack up and fly over there right now! (and I'm still in my pjs...)

Wilma said...

Auntie, It was lovely sitting by my fire with you. I hope you come back very soon. Mommy says thanks for thinking of her and bringing home ravioli for her. She was planning on sharing with Dad, but once she got started, she didn't care. She couldn't give up one bite. By the way, they were just as delcious the next day.

The Duo Dishes said...

There's nothing wrong with a cooking break. It'll make your return even sweeter. Seems like you're still eating and drinking well, no matter what.

Maven said...

Oh you lucky New Yorkers! I adore raviloi - unfortunately, up here in Podunk there aren't a lot of places to get it ;)

Tricia said...

Homemade ravioli, yum!

Megan said...

Can't believe you're writing about a restaurant in my teeny tiny hometown! I think I went there once for breakfast, but I've never tried the ravioli.

5 Star Foodie said...

Oh, homemade ravioli are always my favorite! Yum!

Fresh Local and Best said...

The raviolis sound amazing! It says a lot that you could only finish three, they must have been quite filling.

Charmian @Christie's Corner said...

Darn. I was hoping for the recipe :-)

Sometimes these small places serve the best food. I wish we had such a hidden gem near where I live. Guess I'll have to poke about more to find one.

Katherine Aucoin said...

Wow, ya'll stumbled on quite a find! Any kind of Italina food is my weakness.

If you think your brother lives in hicksville, you ain't seen nuttin' - lol

I'm surrounded by people that "chew" here. Talk about gross!

sophia said...

Cooking or not, I see you're definitely eating well! Wow, I'd love to come visit NY again...homemade ravioli, mmm!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Thanks, all! We had a great time at Anna Donte's and the rav's were really something special. :)

Megan - I had no idea you were from Naugatuck. Small world! Let me know if you have occasion to check this place out. :)

Charmian - sorry no recipe. I'd love to make ravioli myself but haven't done so because I just can't see clear to adding another appliance to my life. I.e. - a pasta maker/roller. Also, I have access to some really, really good homemade ravioli in my market ... so laziness is a factor as well! LOL

Tangled Noodle said...

Happy Belated Birthday to Papa Diva! Sounds like one platter of Anna Donte's ravioli could feed a small army - count me in! For those of us who live even further out than the provinces, hidden gems of restaurants are the only things that help keep one foot in civilization. 8-)

Deb said...

What a small world it is dear diva - you were but a mere drive up the hill to Sharron's house where I ama frequent visitor. I too have sampled the food here (taekout version) and her homemade ravioli are to die for! Don't you just love finding culinary gems in unlikely spots?

BTW Sharron is originally from Beacon Falls as well - her parents still live there.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Deb - wow, it IS a small world! How cool that you know the place. My bro and his wife recently moved to Beacon Falls ... until they did, I'd never heard of it! Say "hi" to Sharon for me! :)