Our Sunday mission in Mystic was an ambitious one and by that I don’t mean the number of eating establishments that we wanted to visit but by the hour of day on the clock that dictated our schedule.
Les had read about a great breakfast joint frequented by locals called Kitchen Little on Chowhound, and the chatter was all about the tasty food and long lines because the restaurant is so named not just as a pun but for it’s size. We had cased the joint the day before and it was the size of a chicken coop. The order came down the chain of command: must be up by 7am and arrive at the restaurant at 8am. You might scoff at this but for the lot of us, getting five people with varying waking aptitudes out the door by 8am and on a weekend no less, would be a herculean effort. Thankfully enough, the need for beauty sleep was trumped by the fear of a long line and empty bellies and through fits and starts, we straggled to Kitchen Little at the appointed hour and got ourselves a picturesque seat by the river for an al fresco breakfast.
If the crisp coolness of a fall morning did not wake us up, the food certainly did. They had a scramble called Portuguese Fisherman which featured chorizo, linguiça, and jalapeño that was a hot, spicy mess. The corned beef hash and home fries were awesome, as was the crabmeat and asparagus eggs benedict. We were rolling over in eggstacy (that’s their motto), it was so good we made plans to return again the next morning, once again sacrificing sleep for food.
After breakfast, we headed over to the Mystic Aquarium to hang out with some fish and sea lions. Did you know that one of the differences between sea lions and seals is that you can see the sea lions ears? File that one away for Jeopardy. We also spotted Nemo and friends hanging out in a tank, trying to escape. They are so small and cute!
The other big thing to do in Mystic (besides eat) was the Seaport, which features exhibits about the shipbuilding and marine industries that was once the bedrock of Connecticut’s booming economy. It’s a fun place for kids with various olde tyme shops, a real whaling vessel docked at port and a giant half-finished ship. Part of the whaling vessel display included slabs and slabs of dried salted fish that the sailors reconstituted and ate while at sea. I know they were real because I picked one up and gave it a sniff. You can’t engineer the smell of dried fish for the sake of an exhibit. I wonder if there are visitors who actually sneak a filet into their bags and take it home. Disclaimer: I did not take home any souvenirs!! They were just lying out there in the sun and all the elements for who knows how long and manhandled by curious folks like me. No amount of cooking can erase that history.
Again, Mystic Seaport is mostly a destination for people with kids and people who like ships. I was really interested in seeing one of the old houses that still had the original furniture and other household implements. I had imagined old homes to be small and cramped but the rooms were rather spacious and bright. I could be happy in one of those homes provided they install indoor plumbing. But I digress. The real reason we went to the Seaport was for their Fish and Ships seafood festival which turned out to be really disappointing. There wasn’t much if anything in the way of fish/seafood or even a festival atmosphere so I’m not going to talk about it.
We ended up heading over to downtown and I took a brief stroll down along the river and was caught sight of the drawbridge being opened to allow boats to pass, which was really fascinating. My friends know I’m completely enamored with bridges of any ilk. It also just happened to be trending towards dusk and the sky was clear and the light had that lovely glow of fall that I love so much. Postcard perfect.
Dinner was, surprise, more seafood at a place called Noah’s in Stonington, a town just a breath away from Mystic. The food was great and supposedly the best dish of the night belonged to JN who ordered shortribs, the result being that he had a hard time keeping his wife’s fork away from it. Since he was seated at the far end of the table from, my own fork could not reach so I’ll just have to take Les’ word for it. Save room for dessert because they make it all from scratch and it shows.
So our last night in Mystic ended with another great meal and sweet dreams of good eats the morning to come.