Serendipity on the Road to Toronto

FullSizeRender.jpgphoto credit Owen Daw (our tall and wonderful grandson) Our granddaughter, Haley, is a Paralympics swimmer training for the World Paralympics in 2016. The Toronto Parapan North American Summer Games gave Elliott and me the opportunity to cheer our Haley on her road to Rio. We decided to break up the drive by overnighting in upstate New York, about 4 hours from Toronto. When we arrived at the motel in Victor, NY my heart fell when I saw that it was nestled between Wendy's and Taco Bell and despaired over what Elliott and I could possibly find to eat for dinner. But it was late afternoon and coffee was my first thought so I asked Suri (my iphone voice of wisdom) where the nearest Starbucks was located (the lesser of all coffee possibility evils). To my delight it turned out to be only 1-1/2 miles away in one of the largest malls I've ever encountered. We entered the part of the mall that housed a vast food court with all the usual fast food type of eating possibilities. Starbucks turned out to be located a few steps away from Williams Sonoma, and in a moment of inspiration I went in and asked the manager for a restaurant recommendation, figuring that someone working in this food centric store would be our best bet for good advice. Between assisting paying customers, he graciously made two recommendations, so within short order we found ourselves at Compané Bistrot in nearby Fairport and experienced, to our total amazement, one of the most perfect restaurant dinners we've had in many months! We entered through a very lively and noisy bar but to my vast relief were seated in one of the quiet side rooms were we were offered a small paper bag containing a few slices of ordinary looking and tasting bread. But when we dipped the bread in the accompanying plate of olive oil, graced by a little spot of balsamic vinegar and a dusting of Parmesan, it metamorphosed into ambrosia. I don't remember ever tasting a better olive oil and I have tasted many! I would have been content to have made that our entire dinner, especially accompanied by one of the best sauvignon blancs I've ever tasted: Matua Valley, from Marlborough New Zealand described as fresh fruit aromas of stone fruit lemon zest, and a hint of gooseberry. It was the gooseberry that grabbed my interest and though I'm not sure I detected any of the suggested flavors, it did offer the classic fresh and slightly grassy flavor of the varietal that I adore. We went on to share an appetizer of fried calamari with small pickled cubes of Kalamata olives and cherry peppers, accompanied by both aoli and tomato dipping sauces, The calamari was perfectly cooked and minimally breaded and the garnishes provided just the right amount of added zing. We also shared a main course of lemon shrimp with linguini in a cream sauce--just enough to cloak the pasta, and also containing little cubes of fresh tomatoes. The shrimp were perfectly cooked and the flavor of the entire dish was absolutely fabulous. Elliott and I were both stunned to discover that our fortune had taken the leap from fast food restaurants to this spectacular meal. I used Waze to navigate back to the hotel and it took us through beautiful country roads which was a world away from the highway we had taken to get to the restaurant. What an unexpectedly great start to our vacation. Update: Haley won 1 bronze, 2 silver, and a gold medal!