I was thinking the other day of a favorite restaurant. As is the way of many of my favorite restaurants, this one no longer exists.
When I was 12, my family moved from a small town in Wisconsin to Connecticut. At some point after moving to our new town we discovered the Colonial Inn.
The Colonial Inn, in spite of its name, specialized in Greek and Italian food. (The owners were a couple, one Greek and the other Italian.) It was located on the main street in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, in a white-fronted building. Inside was dark in a cozy way and the wait staff was friendly and helpful. This was where I first ate Greek food and I soon came to love moussaka, pastitsio, and baklava. In fact, the Colonial Inn became one of my family's favorite places to eat.
One of my memories is my dad asking the waiter about a particular wine. We happened to be sitting at a table next to a priest, eating by himself, with a whole bottle of wine. He had left his table for a minute, and our waiter, seeing the wine bottle on the table, said, "Oh, the father won't mind," and poured a taste for my dad.
On another evening, we were ordering dessert. The waiter suggested we might want to try the galaktoboureko because it had just come out of the oven. If you have never had this delicious dessert, it is a vanilla custard between a top and bottom layer of phyllo pastry. This was my first taste of galaktoboureko and I will never forget the experience of the light creamy warm custard and the crispy sweet phyllo. I learned years later that galaktoboureki is supposed to be served cold, but having had it warm, the cold version has never measured up.
A visit to the Colonial Inn also became a test for boyfriends, though we hadn't intended it that way. When my sister's first college boyfriend visited us, my parents sent us off to the Colonial Inn. My brother, sister and I ordered our usual Greek menu items. The boyfriend ordered a ham steak and cheesecake for dessert. He didn't last long.
Alas, the Colonial Inn is no more, but perhaps it's better that way - memories have a way of preserving those special moments without disappointment.