Summer Adventures: New England

August 20, 2023

A few weeks ago, I escaped steaming hot, landlocked Kansas City to coastal New England cities (the trip helped the bf knock off states on his quest to travel to all fifty states). We ate our weight in seafood, embarked on a clam chowder crawl and savored the most beautiful summer temperatures and breathtaking oceanside views. 

Number of bowls of clam chowder: 5. Before this trip, I hadn't had a bowl of clam chowder in maybe 15-20 years. I actually didn't realize how much I love this creamy, thick seafood chowder. We sampled a clear broth chowder, which is technically Rhode Island chowder yet we had it in Maine. While the flavors were delicious, we missed the creaminess of New England clam chowder. *Fun fact: every bowl of clam chowder (minus one restaurant that made their own) was served with the same package of New England Original Westminster Bakers Co. oyster crackers
Our Unofficial Rankings of the Chowders we had: 
  1. Gilbert's Chowder House, Portland Maine: 9/10 (the seafood chowder with lobster was also 9/10)
  2. Captain Parker's Pub, Yarmouth, Massachusetts: 8/10
  3. Red 36, Mystic, Connecticut: 7/10
  4. Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, Maine: 6/10, lost points for being brothy and not creamy
  5. Old Ferry Landing, Portsmouth, New Hampshire: 5/10, tasted like canned soup
(the bf has 4 and 5 switched. he couldn't wrap his head around a brothy chowder). 

Number of Lobster Rolls: 2. The highlight of the two was a famous gourmet brown butter lobster roll at Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine. The bun was so soft and pillowy that each bite just melted in your mouth. 10/10. 

Best Meal: A seafood feast at Street and Co. in Portland, Maine (actually all the meals in Portland were beyond amazing). Bluefin tuna and clams with linguine were a true chef's kiss. 

Best Breakfast: Most of my Portland, Maine recommendations came from my favorite food writer, Eric Kim of the NY Times. He even claimed the week we were in Portland that the biscuits from Tandem Coffee will change your life. And the loaded biscuit sandwich did change mine. 

The salty-sweetness of the biscuit sandwiching a tangy, savory yet sweet filling made for a lovely way to start a farewell to our time in Portland. The kimchi cheddar scone was equally as delicious too. 

Number of Ice Cream Stops: 2. We did the quintessential Vermont touristy stop at Ben & Jerry's and sampled a churro ice cream. At the recommendation of a friend, we tried Grape Nut Ice Cream, a speciality of New England, at the Cape Cod Creamery, which tasted just like the cereal and was surprisingly delicious. 

Number of Cupcakes:
1. I can feel my age on vacations now when I cannot eat as much as I used to on past trips. I probably would have been able to consume more cupcakes in the past but I felt satisfied with the one we ate early on our trip. 
We made a pilgrimage to King Arthur Baking Company in Norwich, Vermont, a dream of mine to visit for years. They only had two flavors of cupcakes available at $3.50 each. I snagged a chocolate one and it was everything I had hoped it would be: simple yet so flavorful. The vanilla frosting had a strong vanilla flavor that was so delicious when combined with the chocolatey cake. So delicious. 

Other Adventures: Sampled the sought after Heady Topper beer, tried a New England specialty: stuffed quahog (stuffed quahog clams with bread crumbs, spicy sausage, and veggies) biked around the Back Cove in Portland, Maine, explored the colonial Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and channeled our inner child at Ryan Family Amusements in Newport, Rhode Island. And we ate just about every type of seafood in the New England area. 

King Arthur Baking Company
135 US-5 #135
Norwich, Vermont

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