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WOODS ‘N’ WATER: A table beyond compare

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: A table beyond compare


Over the years I have been to many game dinners at various organizations and I can honestly say they were all very good.

These included the Meriden Rod & Gun Club, Wallingford Wishing Well, The Quinnipiac River Watershed Association and, most recently, the Hunter Game Dinner at the Hunter Ambulance Headquarters here in Meriden.

The whole idea of a game dinner is to share the bounty of the wild with those who do not hunt as well as those who do, and the presenters go the limit to make their presentations memorable.

Game dinners are usually presented as fundraisers for the various organizations that put them on and they are a fun way to provide some fine wild game dining as well as making some money for a good cause. The game is usually donated by area hunters who have been successful in the fields and woods.

This year, I had the pleasant experience of attending a game dinner that exceeded just about all the game dinners I have gone to or even presented myself.

This was the Annual Hunter Game Dinner presented by the gang at Hunter’s Ambulance Service. Now, I have attended some of their game dinners in the past, many of them overseen by professional chefs, and they were remarkable presentations and delicious beyond belief.

However, somewhere along the game dinner line the Hunter family decided that they would do the cooking of the wild game, and I and everybody else at this last game dinner were left speechless by the main courses.

For those who have never had the opportunity to attend a Hunter Game Dinner, they go all out in their presentation. They had a tent set up with appetizers and some local brews to sample. The appetizers included chili, escarole/bean soup with venison sausage and a cold antipasto featuring cheese, crackers and meats.

I could have made a meal out of the appetizers, but am glad I did not.

Once you are seated at the dinner, an army of volunteers serves you at your table. There is no having to get up and stand in a buffet line. The food comes out in five courses and the service from the volunteers is excellent.

The first course on the game dinner was a butternut squash ravioli covered in a sage brownbutter sauce accompanied with an Italian-style goose sausage. It received raves from just about all in attendance.

Next on the menu was steelhead trout in a garlic-butter/lemon-caper sauce with a side of wild rice pilaf and a spring mix of greens that defied description, it was that good. I would have to honestly say it was the best freshwater presentation of trout I have ever had, and I love freshwater fish.

OK, so they have wowed me already. What could they do to top what has already been a five-star presentation? It was a whole roasted quail with wild mushrooms and a root vegetable medley with fennel and pearl onions.

The quail was cooked to perfection, which is no easy feat when serving the number of folks in attendance.

Next on the menu was a venison meatloaf drizzled with a spicy (but not too hot) buffalo sauce. This was accompanied with a twice-baked Yukon Gold potato with an asiago blend and green beans and carrots.

And then came a surprise that left me speechless, and that isn’t an easy chore. When asked by the kitchen crew how I liked the meatloaf, I said it was excellent and tasted something like my own recipe. Diane Hunter Kranich and her husband Jim, who headed the kitchen crew, laughed and said, “It should, it’s your recipe. We cut it out of one of your R-J columns and saved it.”

Needless to say, I felt pretty good about that one!

By then, it was time for dessert and this was a topper if there ever was one. A Rocky Mountain brownie sundae with a Colorado carmel drizzle with a twist.

As I said earlier, I have been to many game dinners and they were all excellent, but the Hunter Game Dinner this year hit the very top of the list. The only thing wrong with that is trying to go higher, but the way they did this game dinner, who knows?

To Jim Kranich, the Hunter family and all of the volunteers, I can only say, “Well done, gang, and I can’t wait till next year!”

Quinnipiac River cleanup

It did not just happen that the Quinnipiac River has become a favorite attraction for walkers, paddlers and fishermen. It took many long years by some serious folks like those in the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association (QRWA) who volunteered their time to get those on the river, including many municipalities, to clean up their act.

Today, the Quinnipiac River is much cleaner and once again a river to enjoy trout fishing as well as paddling a canoe or kayak thanks to yet another corps of volunteers who have scheduled next Saturday, May 4, to once again clean up the shorelines of the Quinnipiac River in the Meriden and Wallingford areas.

The QRWA will provide trash bags, gloves, some waders and refreshments. They will also have members on site to guide the event.

Participants are advised to wear weather-appropriate work clothes and boots. Meet at the QRWA Headquarters at 540 Oregon Road in Meriden or at 155 John St. in Wallingford (the Wallingford Sewerage Treatment Plant) at 9 a.m.

Rain date is Saturday, May 11, same time.

Darlin’ Edna

A lot of folks have been wondering why they have not seen any of Edna’s posts on Facebook or the Meriden Dog Park.

Edna has suffered a medical issue: the loss of her sight.

She started to go blind Dec. 29, 2018 and, within a couple of days, she was totally blind.

The doctors could not find any reason for her loss of sight. Miraculously, it seems to be coming back a bit better every day, but she still has a way to go.

Thankfully, there is a new Lions Low Vision Center at Easter Seals on State Street in Meriden sponsored by the Lions Clubs that is helping her tremendously. Please keep her recovery in your thoughts and prayers.

That’s it gang, for now anyway. See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be serving to protect our freedoms. Freedom is not free.