With all the cute little restaurants that Princeton has to offer, we somehow managed to eat at the same one twice today. Just after I last posted, we went across the street from the hotel to Teresa Caffe, where I had the pasta special (it's a pasta that I can't pronounce the name of, but it looked like rigatoni) and a glass of Merlot (I know, I know—that line from Sideways kept running through my head about how "WE ARE NOT DRINKING MERLOT!", but I had a craving for a glass of red, and the choices were limited). Al drooled a bit over the linguine with clams but decided he wasn't hungry enough to eat it, so he ordered the salad special.
Both dishes were very good, on par with the kind of food I'd expect to get in Napa restaurants. The wine was OK, not stunning; I might have appreciated it more if it was the kind of wine I actually wanted. What I was looking for was a light red, the kind that's more transparent ruby than dense purple. I know I've had a wine like that in recent memory, but god knows what it was. [I know that any wine connoisseurs who happen to be reading this will probably be groaning at my ignorance; if you have any wine suggestions, feel free to comment.] Even better than the pasta, surprisingly, was the dish of olive oil dusted with Teresa's signature rub (apparently also used on their meats) that was served with foccacia, crusty white bread, and chips made from what I assume was day-old sundried tomato bread. It was amazingly tasty on the foccacia, and I dragged some of the white bread through it before dunking the bread in my pasta sauce. Yummy.
Though today was about as hot as yesterday, it was much less humid, so after lunch we modified our midday plan slightly and took a drive instead of holing up in the hotel room. Our first stop was the driving range in Cranbury, where we hit a couple buckets of balls and tried to keep Austen from shrieking (I discovered that letting him play with a club helped, as did the old standby—holding him).
From the driving range we noodled around a bit, taking the long way back to Princeton via a route that passed a Pennsylvania Dutch Farmer's Market. It was similar to the one that used to be in Westminster, Maryland, only a bit smaller, and we arrived just in time to buy two pretzels, some fruit, two jars of pickles for Al and two half-sours from a barrel for me, and an excellent root beer before the place closed. I ate the two pickles on the spot and about a pretzel and a half over the next hour, along with some Haribo raspberries that I bought yesterday at Ricky's Candy, Cones, and Chaos on Nassau Street. Not exactly the most nutritious dinner... but that's basically what it turned out to be, since about fifteen minutes after I finally stopped munching pretzels and raspberries, Al declared that he was hungry. He wasn't able to forget about the linguine with clams and wanted to go across the street to Teresa again.
We did just that, only this time I got the salad, and Al got the pasta (though it was me who got the wine again, this time a peppery Cabernet that also didn't fit my light cherry flavor craving). I had the Insalata Farrauto, a small spinach, granny smith apple, and gorgonzola salad (hold the pine nuts, since I'm allergic to them) which was perfect for my overstuffed-with-sugar-and-starch stomach. I think I would have sliced the apples rather than diced them so that it would be easier to get a little of each flavor on the fork at once, but other than that small criticism, the salad was very good. There was no foccacia in our bread basket at dinner, though there was some sundried tomato bread, so it seems that my assumption about the lunchtime chips was correct. Though I missed the foccacia, I'm secretly glad it was left out, since I don't think I really had room for it anyway (and god knows if it was there, I would have eaten it).
Al's Linguine Vongole, of which I had a small taste, was outstanding—so much so that I'm actually considering eating at Teresa a third time this weekend, before heading home tomorrow. Aside from the red pepper flakes, which were a pleasant surprise, it tasted exactly as Al had hoped it would, so he was very, very happy. Sadly, I have no pictures of super fresh clams on a bed of garlicky al dente noodles to offer; I was busy keeping the Boopster's hands off our plates rather than taking photos of them. (The high chair was not as appealing to him as it was at lunchtime.)
Since it was still early and we were too stuffed to go to bed anyway, we decided to take a walk down Nassau street to investigate some of the other restaurant options (for future reference; obviously, we couldn't eat any more tonight!) and hopefully burn a few calories in the process. Almost every place we passed was packed, every outdoor table filled with diners, interesting-looking plates, and buckets of BYO wine. On the return trip, as we prepared to cross the street in front of Ivy Garden, I had to resist the urge to poke Al in the ribs when we were passed by a gentleman wearing THE PANTS. I was just thinking that his looked like they had marlins on them instead of whales when I heard him say, "gah, I got a spot of duck sauce on my pants." I assume it was his wife who responded, "nobody will notice, dear—they'll just think it's a marlin."