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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Restaurant Review: Star Diner, An Unexpected Gem

Today, Kimberly and I traveled up to Sharon, CT, in the northwest corner of the state, to pick Ian up from summer camp. I've been driving to Sharon for years, first from the New Haven area when I was volunteering as a dean at Silver Lake, leading a conference on clowning, and then just as a camper's dad, driving from New Jersey, but this is the first year that I've made the trip up Rt. 22 from Norwalk. It is a pleasant drive, about two hours each way, past plenty of beautiful scenery.

Going to Silver Lake is always a chance to catch up with friends. When we took Ian up this past Sunday, I found out that Chris Hale, one of my confirmands from when I was at the Naugauck church back in the late '90s is now the "Camp Family Dad," or the manager of the camp's summer staff, while Jillian Dufresne, who was too young to be in that confirmation class, is now one of the deans of Ian's conference. Today, I spent a bit of time with Eric Anderson, who is up as one of the high ropes course facilitators, as well as touching base with the camp's directors, Anne and Tim Hughes, who also happen to be members of my church in Norwalk.

On our way home from Silver Lake, Kimberly, Ian and I stopped at the Sharon Craft Fair, and wandered around for a bit (buying a new turtle for Ian's collection, of course) before continuing to Paley's Farm Market in Amenia, NY. Paley's has become a regular stop on our Sharon trips and we sometimes buy local produce (often fresh peaches) when we're there. Another of our favorite buys is sheep's-milk yogurt from the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company in Chatham, NY. (Kimberly likes the maple flavor and I'm partial to the ginger.) Having purchased our yogurt and some herb and cheese focaccia, we were back on the road toward home.

As luck would have it, we were driving down Route 22 through beautiful "downtown" Wingdale, NY just as we were all starting to think serious thoughts about food. We drove past the Star 22 Diner and made a quick U-turn to come back to the delightful little glass and chrome restaurant that looked like it came straight out of the 1950s.

The Star 22 Diner's menu wasn't nearly as extensive as many of the "big" diners that try to serve every kind of food imaginable (and so rarely do any of it well), but we all found something that appealed to us. Kimberly opted for breakfast -- blueberry pancakes and sausage links -- while Ian went for the chicken fingers and french fries. I ordered the open-faced hot turkey sandwich, with mashed potatoes and veg, which turned out to be carrots. The turkey was actual sliced turkey breast and not a processed turkey roll. The carrots were fresh-cooked and the mashed potatoes had little bits of unmashed potato in them. Some folks might derisively call them "lumps," but I believe that, in moderation, potato bits are just fine and they're also definite proof that the potatoes didn't come from a box. The food was good, of very good quality, was fairly priced and we all left full and happy.

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