It makes perfect sense that in 2014 comfort food is now as fashionable as Haute Cuisine - perhaps even more so. With the reality of reality TV and the cultural obsession with celebrities being "just like us", it's no wonder that diners gravitate to food that satisfies their appetite as well as their ego.
Southern BBQ has always been a delicacy and personally one of my favorite foods. As a New Yorker, it used to be a passion reserved for when I travelled in the South of the US.. but no longer! NYC is now home to so many great BBQ restaurants, I think any Texan or NOLA resident would be right at home. There are at least two schools of thought when you talk BBQ, Texas or Southern. Both are found right here in NY, and I recently found out - a bit further North!
It's really no surprise the South has gone high style. After all, the sophistication of high society of early Southern America was straight from Europe - with all it's finest details. Of course TV producers have made a fortune in recent years focussing on the less educated or stereotypes of that idea with all these swamp "dynasty" families that are fictional - posing as real life. However, read just one issue of the super trendy Garden & Gun Magazine and you will know - this is not your Grandfathers "Southern Comfort"! (I caught up on reading the latest copy at When Pigs Fly South!).
I spend many weekends in Connecticut, resting and re-charging from the fast pace life that is standard procedure in NYC. Connecticut is home to countless small towns and villages that will charm the pants off any sophisticated traveller. Dating back several hundred years, these towns are at their core - Classic American Style. Think rolling hills and manicured estates, farms, and rustic homes in rural, small town settings. The state is a true melting pot. The rich, the famous, the farmers, the blue collar, white collar, and every collar you can think of call Connecticut home.
A few weeks ago I am so happy to have finally eaten at WHEN PIGS FLY SOUTH in Sharon, Ct. I've driven by for a few years and for some reason had never stopped. After watching them double in size with the recent renovation - I had to stop. Needless to say, I will be stopping by often. With pulled pork or brisket platters and sandwiches you can build an endless combination of meals with sides and sauces. From baked beans to corn pudding, collard greens to pickles - your taste buds won't know what hit them. If you live in or around NYC, it's worth the day trip to eat at When Pigs Fly South. The town of Sharon is charming, and there is plenty to do to fill an afternoon or a weekend. The Tri-Arts Sharon Playhouse is just down the street and they are always staging a production of some show you won't want to miss. (Just driving around and looking at the homes is about the sexiest real estate porn you could ever hope for!) The Sharon Country Inn is also just down the road and newly renovated. You can make Sharon your base and from there explore Lakeville, Salisbury, Falls Village, New Preston, Kent, Millerton NY, Amenia NY, and Millbrook NY - all in one weekend. All of these towns are just a few miles apart and roll right into each other - as the rolling hills do in New England!
Oh.. after the BBQ you might want to walk off some of the calories. There is an excellent running / biking path that stretches for miles between Amenia and Millerton NY - crossing back and forth from NY to Connecticut. It is pedestrian only and full of beautiful wildlife and nature.
Did you reserve the care yet?
*not leaving NYC? Then be sure to hit one of these BBQ restaurants in the city that never sleeps (or stops eating). Each has a different scene - all are fun! Dallas BBQ is notorious for the biggest drinks and plates - pace yourself!