B.J. Ryan’s BANC House, Norwalk, CT

B.J. Ryan’s BANC House – BBQ & Crab; 16 River Street, Norwalk, CT

https://www.bjryans.com/bj-ryans-banc-house-bbq-and-crab-norwalk

New England is known for its seafood, and in recent years, it is also becoming known for its traditional-style BBQ. B.J. Ryan’s BANC House (BANC stands for BBQ-and-Crab) is located in downtown Norwalk, CT, in the midst of the busy business district on River Street. They are heading into their eighth year of serving up regional BBQ and crab favorites, along with a large assortment of appetizers, sides and homemade desserts. They also sell their own line of sauces for you to enjoy at home.

I discovered this restaurant while scoping out “Groupons” for a Christmas gift for my hubby, Dave. He loves his BBQ – both eating and smoking his own on our backyard smokers. We decided to head down mid-afternoon on a Saturday for a late lunch/early dinner when it would be less crowded. And it was – when we first arrived we were the only ones in the dining room. Our server was pleasant and described the various dishes for us.

The sunlit dining room.

Starting with appetizers, Dave had to try their Poutine, which is French fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. We added the optional beef brisket to top it off. It was served in a large bowl with lots of gravy and melted cheese. The brisket was tender and had just the right amount of smoky goodness. The gravy wasn’t as thick as we’ve had on other Poutine but still tasted quite good.

The Poutine – French fries, gravy, cheese curds and brisket!

I wanted to try the Giant Nug Crab Cocktail that I had seen on their website. The lump crabmeat was tender and the three sauces were all tasty (Dijonnaise, House-made Cocktail and, especially yummy, the Chipotle Aioli).

Giant Nug Crab Cocktail

While everything on the menu sounded wonderful, we decided on the Smoked Meat Sampler, which supplied an ample offering of all of their smoked treats (St. Louis Ribs, Baby Back Ribs, Lazy Bacon, Beef Brisket, Pulled Port, Pulled Chicken and BANC House Sausage). We added sides of Skillet Cornbread, Mac N Cheese and Beale Street Beans with Pork. The cornbread was served in a small cast iron skillet, giving the edges of the bread a nice crunch. It was served with a side of maple dipping sauce that added a nice sweet touch to the cornbread. The Mac N Cheese was creamy goodness with a blend of several cheeses and a light topping of bread crumbs. I don’t like beans, but Dave thought the pork was the best part.

Mac N Cheese, Beale Street Beans with Pork and Cornbread accompanied the Sampler.

The Sampler Platter – the main event. Everything was nicely smoked – but not too smoky. The flavors of the juicy meats came through in every case. The Baby Back Ribs were the more flavorful of the two styles of ribs, though both were yummy. I had never had Lazy Bacon before – it was leaner than I expected and was almost like a pork jerky, but tender.

The Sampler Platter

While this platter was meant to serve two, it could easily feed four with the sides. We brought home enough food for another full meal. Needless to say, we did not choose any dessert!

Will definitely return to try some of their other menu items. Prices were in line with other BBQ restaurants we’ve visited (the Sampler Platter was $29.95). They do offer a Kids Menu with nine selections at $7.95 each, and a nice selection of salads and sandwiches in addition to entrees. Their “Prohibition Menu” has an extensive selection of cocktails, bourbon and whiskey tastings, wines and more.

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me and Pete the Peacock as we travel and photograph our way across this big beautiful country of ours! We’ll explore our natural resources as well as the creature comforts of good food, a nice place to lay our head at night, and places to explore. We’ll talk to “locals” of the area to get the inside scoop on the best places to go – often off the beaten path.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Lone tree at Walnut Beach, Milford, CT during the last sunrise of 2018.

We ended 2018 with a fabulous sunrise at Walnut Beach in Milford, CT, joining a group of twenty or so other photographers. It was an unusually mild morning for the end of December, with barely a breeze stirring.

Pre-dawn clouds, Walnut Beach, Milford, CT

There were some wonderful rippling clouds in the sky that added drama to the warming colors.

Sun rising next to Charles Island off Walnut Beach, Milford, CT

The sun rose in a fiery ball to the right of Charles Island, just off the coast of Walnut Beach. There is a sandbar that allows you to walk to the Island, however, you need to be very aware of the tide cycles as it is not unusual for people to get stranded on the Island once the tide rolls in.

Waves of clouds after sunrise in Milford, CT

Normally once the sun rises higher in the sky it is difficult to photograph as it is too bright. On this morning the clouds just got better and better with the rising sun. This was taken about 45 minutes after the sun broke the horizon. The ripples in the clouds were quiet dramatic and made for some wonderful images.