Making trouble in Trumbull (and the glorious triumph of discovering a hidden gem)

Ron Zapaca solerna 23, champagne and berry jam, America vermouth, orange, black pepper infused syrup

As travel journalists, we’re trained to hone in on location – is a spot hot? Is it a place people will want to visit? Bring their families? Tell others about?

Location, location, location — it’s everything.

Except sometimes we discover that location is best when it’s not hot. When you discover a fab spot that is maybe up a stairwell, down an alley, through a secret door, it’s even better. Why else would speakeasy culture be so hot right now? We love the forbidden fruit — and making something a little harder to find and being worth the effort? It’s everything.

Finding this special spot makes you, the visitor, feel like an insider. If the food isn’t standout, the allure of the chase may still be exciting, but if it IS? Even better.

As time goes on, these places aren’t so secret anymore, but they remain the discoveries we like to have in our arsenal so we can bring our unknowing friends. And get credit for discovering them.

And I had just that opportunity this past weekend.

I was invited on a quick visit to the Marriott in Trumbull, Connecticut to try out their recently opened restaurant, Parallel Post — and to make it even more fun, was able to bring along my friend Shari with me and make it into a mini girlfriends escape.

It’d been a few years since Shari and I had had the opportunity to travel together and she just celebrated a birthday, so it presented the perfect excuse to make a weekend of it.

Located near the border of Stratford and near the Merritt Parkway, for girls who don’t drive, there was very little to do in the area (we did notice my gym a few blocks away, but that was so not happening this weekend — we had too much cocktailing to do) – so we decided between ourselves to spend about 16 hours straight loitering in the hotel.

While it’s not somewhere one may go for a vacay — as I said, not much going on nearby and a good hour from the Connecticut casinos — it’s great for the business traveler or if you are attending an event in the area — making the internal restaurant a total treat.

You know how when you are traveling for work and sort of resign yourself to a salad or burger by the bar at dinner that night? Because, what else would you expect at a hotel chain restaurant?

TOTALLY other ball of beans here — the food was outstanding. I like that they are a farm to table restaurant and serve sustainable proteins — something that rarely see in a hotel restaurant (especially one in a rural area off a highway).

We started with the potato leek crab soup as an appetizer, and followed up with Clams BLT (Norman Bloom Clams BLT, Smoked Benton’s Bacon, Grilled Romaine, Spicy Tomato Broth) and Fire Roasted Copps Island Oysters, preserved lemon  butter, smoked bacon – then we ordered the Roasted Monkfish with lentils, salsify  root, orange  butter and Grilled Beef Tenderloin with roasted sweet onion gratin, swiss chard, red wine sauce and split and shared both.

(It’s a miracle I’m not 400 pounds, I know.)

That this restaurant was so unique and delicious isn’t what was so surprising -James Beard nominated chef, Dean James Max is at the helm, and he knows a few things about running successful restaurant, I fell in love with his 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale last summer – but that it was inside a hotel is what made it so. (Honestly, it’s one I shouldn’t even know exists, but now that I know it is, if I find myself in that area again – which, with my bizarre life, is sure to happen, I’ll be sure to go there – where I know I can get a good meal and some quality cocktails!)

My friend and I stayed in Trumbull as guests of the hotel and their restaurant, and our stay and meals were all complimentary – however all opinions are, as always, my own.

What do you think?

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