[Tyler] I went to Hartford, Connecticut last week for a conference. I'm back in the store today, and thought I'd share some of my food thoughts from the week.
I ate some great meals while I was in Hartford. Of course, I had to have sushi in the big city, which I did at a great little sushi and sake bar called Koji, located at 19 Asylum Street (yes, Hartford has a street called Asylum). I also ate at the Trumbull Kitchen (150 Trumbull Street). They bill themselves as American Continental -- yawn -- but I would call them an Asian fusion restaurant. If you're ever in Hartford, I'd definitely go to Trumbull Kitchen. Good food, good service, good wine list.
However, the meal that most inspired me to recreate the recipe at home was when some friends took me to Arugula in West Hartford (953 Farmington Avenue). Arugula serves Mediterranean fusion. It started several years ago as a lunch diner, and recently expanded to become a full-service restaurant.
The political landscape of the Mediterranean means that any restaurant billing itself as Mediterranean fusion will necessarily have some French influence (think of Shevek & Mi in Silver City). This was true of Arugula. So, I had the Duck Confit with Truffle Potatoes.
Duck confit is a duck leg preserved in spices and duck fat, and is not at all dry (as duck sometimes is), and Arugula served it with grilled arugula -- what else. However, the thing that truly inspired me was the truffle potatoes.
I often put Casina Rossa Truffle & Salt in our mashed potatoes, and Rob sometimes puts truffle salt in our hash browns. However, I'd never had potatoes quite like Arugula's. They cubed the potatoes very small (maybe eighth- or quarter-inch), and then pan fried them so they were crispy. Then they tossed them in salt and black truffle bits before serving. They were dee-licious, and I really think we can get the same effect with the Casina Rossa Truffle & Salt.
At any rate, we're going to be having duck confit, truffle potatoes, and grilled endive (I don't like arugula) at our house sometime soon. It'll be a quick, easy, and amazingly elegant meal.
Ichiban – Albuquerque, New Mexico
3 days ago