For the next couple of weeks, Chris and Amy of ayersian will be joining with Sue and Bruce to present a take on the Roadfood Tour of Connecticut, stop by stop. The beginning of each post will be written by whoever is identified in the byline. After that, well, you'll figure it out!
A bunch of us visited the Shady Glen (see the Roadfood.com review) for Roadfood Tour Eve. We'd marvelled over the photos of their amazing burgers with the toasted cheese wings whenever a photo popped up on the front page of Roadfood, but we hadn't realized how truly wonderful the Glen is, in ways that extend well beyond the cheeseburger. To begin with, check out that cheesefurter!
The burger is, of course, equally imposing, although they apparently are now using three slices of cheese, not four, which results in a less architecturally impressive cheese structure: with four slices, the cheese melds into a symmetrical cheese cup. Three slices looks a little sloppy.
We absolutely adore Shady Glen's house-made ice cream. Pictured above is frozen pudding atop Grape-Nuts. While we enjoy pricey, urban, artisan ice cream as much as the next guy, we have to acknowledge that our ice cream preferences lean more towards the simple, ingenuous, old-fashioned country ice creams served at places like this, or made at home, the kind we imagine being whipped up and enjoyed on Andy Taylor's front porch on a warm summer's evening. Shady Glen serves it at just the right temperature too. When it's too cold and stiff, the flavor dulls.
Some of the other ice cream orders: a hot apple sundae topped with something very similar to Polly's Pancake Parlor's Hurricane Sauce (see the Roadfood.com review of Polly's)...
... and a maple walnut sundae over Grape-Nuts ice cream:
Even a glass of root beer is special, hand-mixed from syrup and soda water:
Chris: Amy & I were really excited to visit Shady Glen again with Bruce, Sue, Pete & Dee, and Judy. We used to eat there regularly when we lived nearby but hadn’t been back in a couple of years. The décor strikes me as the epitome of old-timey, especially the yellow-ish lighting that forces me to use a flash for every food photo. The cheesefurter was incredible—I might even like it more than the cheeseburger. They split the weiner and press it on the griddle. I know more than a few hot dog barons out there who say this cooking method dries out the dog, but it works so well with the cheese and bun: the meat is still snappy and still juicy:
My only complaint is the lack of any condiments more exciting than yellow mustard, relish and onions (seriously, would chili really be that hard to make?), but herein lies the charm of the Glen. And the frozen pudding ice cream is the best example of this New England-only flavor: chock full of dried fruit bits, raisins, and rum flavoring, perfect in every way:
Though I still dream about the licorice chip ice cream I had here many years ago (which is still made annually but only during the month of October), this black cherry chocolate chip went above and beyond the call of duty...way beyond:
And the doilies kill me! Take it away, Bruce...
Bruce: This was my first taste of frozen pudding. Chris is right, this is spectacular, much better than it sounds. The waitress warned me that it is rum raisin, which it is not, but that does convey the proper information to those who might imagine that frozen pudding is something like chocolate frozen Jello pudding pop ice cream.