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.