Over Labor Day Weekend, the Yams, the Lobsters, and I took a road trip to Mystic, Connecticut for some fun, sun, seafood, and more seafood. Having never set foot in New England, I was more than eager add another state to my Facebook list of “Where I’ve Been”. Being that my friends are my friends, the entire itinerary was built around food, specifically, lobster rolls and clam pizza. In particular, I wanted to increase my reference points for good lobster rolls from the lowly number of 1. That and deep fried everything sounded like an artery clogging fantasy come true.
In between meals, we did so some sightseeing around the Connecticut coast and I fell madly in love with the small New England towns, their lush greenery and quaint, centuries-old colonial style homes contrasting sharply with the golden brush and new tract housing of California. The first stop was Guilford, a town founded in the mid-sixteen hundreds. With so many years of history to glean in a few hours, we opted to cruise our way through town and take a Segway tour from a store that rents and sells costumes. It makes for an odd couple but I suppose if you wanted to dress up as Don Quixote as you segway through town, you could.
Guilford, it seems, has more old houses than a redhead has freckles. Every home had a claim to the past, with a plaque near the front door proclaiming its age. 1867, 1793, 1714, etc., not to be confused with actual numbered street addresses. I wonder if there is a town hierarchy in places like these, the older your house, the more benefits you have. Maybe you get to be Grand Puba at the Elk Lodge or take the role of George Washington in any Revolutionary war re-enactment whilst the rest of the townsfolk play the defeated Loyalists. Or at school, if little Jenny Zuckerman lives in a 1760 house and Abner Appleton lives in a 1832 house, she gets to line up first for lunch on fish stick Tuesdays. And the what about the kid that lives in anything built in the early 1900s. 1909? Give that loser a wedgie.
So after our segway trip, we were starving and headed straight to Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale restaurant in Madison, home of the best lobster roll that Les’ coworker has ever eaten. I could smell the sweet scent of lobster and fried shellfish the moment I got out of the car and that just set us salivate where we proceeded to order an obnoxious amount of food, a scene to be repeated often over the next three days.
The rundown for the first official road trip O’ seafood meal was: Fried clams, fried scallops, hot buttered lobster rolls, fried softshell crab roll, clam chowder (clear broth, very nice and light)…and for the vegetable food group — fries, onion rings, and cole slaw. Perhaps the wedge of lemon I squeezed over the seafood counts as well…I think.
Buttered lobster rolls are tasty but it needs the zing and tang that some celery and mayo would give it. Otherwise, I’d just skip the roll and devour the lobster.
Our next stop was Essex, another small New England coastal town with again, old houses and an idyllic setting. It bills itself as the “Best Small town in America” and I don’t know why but whenever I hear of the best town or best village moniker, I think of the movie Hot Fuzz. There’s got to be something dastardly going on around here. I bet you the grannies in the quilting club are secretly running an extortion ring, demanding protection money from the shopkeepers. Having had our fill of colonial style architecture in Guilford, we just ended up sitting at a local park overlooking a small inlet marina.
Forget the sights, it was all about dinner and we hurried to Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough before they closed for the night. I don’t know why they call it lobster in the rough. Maybe it’s because actually getting a plate of lobster in front of you is a rough experience because you have to drive down small dark streets and past moon lit cemeteries, and just when you think you’re lost, you find a giant gravel parking lot with lights strung up from a small shack by the dock. Or maybe it’s because you wait in a really long line and then sit at the tables outside. But the food was good and if you are suffering from deep fried everything shock, Abbott will bring you relief as everything here steamed. You’re on your own if you drown yourself in butter.
The dinner tally was steamed mussels, clam chowder, lobster bisque, corn, lobster, and lobster roll. The soups were disappointing but the rest of the meal was tasty. Day 1 of the roadtrip was over and I had already consumed more seafood than I had all summer long. The next two days would be taxing. Stay tuned…