As a West Coast-born and raised adolescent, I always dreamt about the prospect of enjoying Cape Cod summers in Lily Pulitzer outfits, packed with lobster bakes, clam boils, and cocktails by the water. And after watching Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in their gorgeous Connecticut set in Something’s Gotta Give, my heart was set on finding my way to an East Coast beach house as soon as possible.
With more than three years of living in Manhattan under my belt, I’ve fortunately had a fair share of “summering” on the East. Still, it never gets old, and my time at Sonia’s home in Old Black Point this weekend definitely exceeded my expectations. Not only is this little town near New Haven, Connecticut totally undiscovered, it’s also filled with gorgeous, classically gray-paneled homes with white trim and pristinely cut green lawns. But aside from aesthetics, Sonia’s family of experienced chefs and entertainers made the biggest impact on my weekend.
Friday night we arrived late at the spacious and art-lined home of Sonia’s cousin Westy. After hearing about her fun times with Julia Child, I knew that dinner could be nothing less than impressive. Considering the humidity, the thought of eating anything above room temperature was daunting, so Westy prepared an amazing array of salads including a mix of blue and yellow cauliflower, quinoa and lentils, juicy yellow cherry tomatoes and basil, and basic mixed greens. Lightly dressed with vinaigrette, all salads were appropriately simple and refreshing.
The char-grilled swordfish stole the show, however, lusciously basted with its buttery lemon juices and simply seasoned with salt. Swordfish is one of my favorites, but also runs the risk of being incredibly dry. The crispy caramelized skin and “one-side-only-down-on-grill” technique captured all the moisture, turning it into one of the best swordfish steaks I’ve eaten.
Expecting 30 people to dinner for a summer soiree last night, Sonia’s mom made every effort to continue the streak of delicious food. Preparing multiple dishes of oven-roasted chicken, a simple caprese pasta salad, mixed greens, quinoa, and a gorgeously rich mushroom-bechamel lasagna, she had a line-up fit for the President. The swordfish even made another appearance, thanks to leftovers. With the breeze finally kicking in on the porch, a glass of my very-own prepared rose sangria in hand, and a feast of quintessentially summer food (save for the lasagna) before me, I was truly living my adolescent east-coast summer fantasy.
As if it couldn’t get any better, the night finished with frozen, Manhattan-shipped Baked by Melissa cupcakes (quickly defrosted by the heat wave) and the remains of both pitchers of fruit-filled sangria. A head-ache and dry mouth this morning is more than enough to confirm I didn’t fail to thoroughly enjoy a summer’s night on the beach, as one could expect.