Halibut with brown and white rice risotto.

I LOVE TO EAT. I love seeking out a new restaurant and settling into a delicious meal with hours to spare over great food, wine, and conversation. I especially love doing this with my dear friend Cindy; our high school friendship was cemented late one night when we were 15 and we polished off a pound of pasta with butter and parmesan which Cindy had prepared to perfection. She remains a great cook; I retain a great appetite. Once a year we seek out the most delectable food we can find in whatever city we meet and sit and savor and analyze (we are both virgos, after all), and eat and eat and eat.
Smoked trout tartlet appetizer.

A few years ago we met up in Brattleboro VT and asked to be directed to the best restaurant in town. Someone suggested this “little place up the street.” T.J. BUCKLEY’S. We strolled over in our high heels and soon found ourselves in a deserted neighborhood. No restaurant. The only place that had a door that fronted on the street and looked like a possibility, also looked like an old abandoned dining car. Crack den–or restaurant? We wondered. What the heck. We opened the door — and it was like a portal to another world. Suddenly we were on the Orient Express! Before us lay a long, narrow, candlelit room–all dark wood, white linen, and crystal. Beyond that awaited one of the most delectable meals we’ve ever had.

Years go by. And then, two days ago my producer and good friend Marji–to whom I have never mentioned this restaurant– was taken to this very establishment by friends, and was so struck by it, that she e-mailed me photos. Trust me. She and I never send each other pictures of food. A shock of rocognition and I was sent hurtling back to that intoxicating evening so many years ago.
White cake with chocolate chunks dessert.

Apparently T.J. BUCKLEY’S has been in operation for 27 years under the same chef and owner. The food still tastes as good as it looks. Feast your eyes. Then venture a trip: 132 Elliot Street, Brattleboro VT. (802) 257-4922. You can even get there by train.