Snow falls softly and is encouraged by a gentle but bone chilling breeze. Inside I sit in this warm bright restaurant, market and gathering place. The sweet spicy tang of balsamic vinaigrette awakens my senses while I finish my last bite of flank steak salad with baby spinach, pears, tart strawberries and walnuts. Lasalle Market in Collinsville, CT is the place I most want to be on this day, at this time, of this month, in this weather. I feel so fortunate to be able to spend an hour here at lunchtime. When I moved to Canton, CT (Collinsville is in the southeast corner of the Town of Canton) just over 7 years ago and discovered Lasalle Market I pictured setting up a computer on a snowy day and writing in just this spot.
About the size of and with the feel of a Vermont or NH General Store, Lasalle beckons us all. – Today it has beckoned a gray-haired man and woman couple; a pair of smartly dressed women discussing a possible job opportunity (I only say that as one took notes on the other’s responses while sharing a portfolio); a plaid shirted college student studying for a test…no, no…a serious appearing young teacher correcting papers. Lasalle beckons with its four palatial glass windows overlooking quaint shops and the wine bar restaurant across the street. If you look down the street you will see the Collinsville Axe Factory building now home to an antiques market. The Crown and Hammer Pub sits before it nestled inside an old train depot. If you look across the way you will see a small part of the Farmington Rails to Trails bike and walking trail…just a few steps from the old walking bridge which crosses the Farmington River.
Most importantly Lasalle beckons me. One day last year I set out to go to work on a particularly snowy day only to find the roads really impassable. I have nearly an hour commute to the pediatric office where I work and I wasn’t too far from Lasalle when I realized I better get off the roads for a time before I got stuck or had an accident with my car. Lasalle welcomed me with open arms. Sipping my hazelnut coffee and snacking on a whole grain bagel I took a deep breath. Ah..I thought, I have to do this on a day I don’t have to be anywhere else. I pictured little children all bundled up trudging in all red-faced from a cold afternoon of sledding- the buckles on their boots throwing caution to the wind while their hands rested firmly in their mothers grasp. No place like Lasalle for a cup of hot chocolate before going back out for another ride down a snowy hill.
The blackboard behind the counter is where the menu is written. Alongside the counter is a refrigerated display case with an assortment of salads, Quiche and delectable desserts. I have been on an “eat mostly healthy” diet for over a year. Desserts are not on the diet. But there is a slice of pecan pie in there that beckons me…Let me think it over.
A young college student brought her own lunch to Lasalle- purchasing just a Snapple Ice Tea to drink. She sits reading. No one here minds that she brought her own food. Lasalle is the perfect college dorm lounge. No one minds that I have been here for an hour now sipping my tea and typing away on my computer. Lasalle is the perfect place to people watch and write. I want to work in Collinsville so that I can have lunch every day at Lasalle. I don’t think this is too much to ask?
Talking voices mingle with laughter- a shout of an order to the cook- today a pop station plays on the radio while I keep my eye on the now blowing snow. Roads beginning to become snow-covered. I realize my perfect day, at my perfect place is coming to a close. But I have grocery shopping to do, and a few miles to go before I sit watching the storm by a brightly lit wood fire, inside my four walls, my sanctuary at home in Canton, CT.