Nutmeg, Pizza, and Girlfriends in Connecticut
My Girlfriendships® fans know that if we’re travelling to a state that was once one of the original 13 colonies, we’re including Revolutionary-War-Independence-type nuggets. Case in point: this week we’re in Connecticut, officially The Constitution State (Want more? Here’s what we shared in Monday’s Let’s Go).
But hey. This is Let’s Eat. Let’s focus on food. How about this? Connecticut is also known as The Nutmeg State (it’ll be worth your time if you click that link to learn why.) Oh! And since some of us here are partial to the basics, we’re grateful to you, Connecticut, for inventing the hamburger.
But now, pizza.
Remember this plot line? Three teenage girls come of age while working at a pizza parlor in the real-life-town of Mystic. What girlfriend has not seen that great “chick flick” (and Julia Roberts in her breakout role), Mystic Pizza?
Oh the laughs, fun, and drama—we can relate, right? Especially at the end when the movie teaches us that there is nothing better than girlfriendships® to get us through life.
Not only is there pizza in Mystic, but there is so much more! In fact, just a couple of blocks from Mystic Pizza is Sail Away Argia where we girlfriends can embark on a day sail or a sunset cruise on the last commercial sailing ship left in Mystic. In fact, one of our My Girlfriendships team members had their wedding on the Argia when sailing out of Mystic. Imagine spending the day or evening sailing around Long Island Sound with our girl crew enjoying canapés and champagne—oh, and a shot of Patron® or two.
Let’s get back to pizza. Just typing those words has us hungering for our favorite White Clam Pizza. So in honor of one of our favorite girlfriend movies and the restaurant it made famous, here’s the recipe.
Ingredients for 4 | Multiply by degree of hunger, divide by number of girlfriends!
- 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 pound refrigerated pizza dough (or your favorite prepared crust such as Boboli)
- All-purpose flour, for kneading
- Cornmeal, for dusting
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
- 2 - 6.5-ounce cans chopped clams, juice drained and reserved
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups baby arugula
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Red pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)
Place a pizza stone or inverted rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Mix the garlic and 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl.
Knead the dough about 6 times on a lightly floured surface. Roll and stretch into a 12-inch round.
Place the dough on a pizza peel, or another inverted baking sheet, dusted with cornmeal.
Brush half of the garlic-oil over the dough. Season with salt.
Scatter the mozzarella and clams over the crust.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the reserved clam juice and the remaining garlic-oil over the top.
Sprinkle with the oregano, parmesan, and salt to taste.
Slip the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone or baking sheet (the cornmeal will help it slide off).
Bake until the crust is light brown, 13 to 15 minutes.
Just before the pizza is done, drizzle the arugula with olive oil and lemon juice.
Remove from oven. Slice the pizza, top each piece with arugula, and season with red pepper flakes, if desired.
Are you in Mystic and looking for a place to gather with girlfriends for a dinner night out? Here is a great option:
- The Mariner | When not making pizza in your place, The Mariner is the go-to restaurant in Mystic, Connecticut. American, Italian, comfort, and classic New England seafood all come together in an iconic coastal location. Owners Jacob Andros and Chef Shaun Golan, “…opened The Mariner as a place for people to come, for people to feel taken care of, people to be comfortable.”
Just steps from the drawbridge, the owners want you to know you’re in Mystic; to know you’re in New England when you’re eating here. Being on the coast, they are definitely a seafood restaurant—a very local seafood restaurant. Everything on the menu is either from the Mystic area, or at least New England. For example, they use Mystic oysters from about two miles up the river. You can’t get much fresher than that.
Then there’s The Mariner’s lobster roll recipe, a hometown legend. Owner Jacob Andros says, “it’s not that difficult to make people happy. If you’re happy, if your staff is happy, if your team is happy, then your guests will be happy. If it’s a couple on a weekend trip, if it’s a group of friends, if it’s younger people, older people, local people, tourists. I think everybody finds something here for them.”
Sounds like the place for our next My Girlfriendships gathering spot!
If you’re girls-weekending in Rowayton, here’s the place for you.
- The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood | “The Restaurant”, as locals call it, has been delighting palettes since 1996. The Restaurant offers traditional seafood such as oysters, chowder, lobsters, and seasonal dishes in an amazing setting on the Five Mile River. The family-run establishment offers upscale dining in a low key atmosphere. It boasts the best waterfront location in the area, and is deeply rooted in the history of Rowayton. The Grilled Line-Caught Swordfish with Black Forbidden Rice, Sweet Plantains, and Mango Habanero Salsa sounds perfect to have while looking out onto the Long Island Sound.
It has an added bonus. Tucked alongside the restaurant, Rowayton Seafood Market resides in an old fishing shack that was once the oldest operating lobster co-op on the Long Island Sound. The owner and his family are avid fishermen and can be found returning to the docks from offshore fishing adventures. Along with Rowayton Seafood Market, they have partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Seafood Watch Program to serve sustainable seafood in an effort to support healthy oceans and promote species regeneration.
Book that girlfriend getaway and let us know what you thought of our recommendations!