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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New England Favorites

I simply cannot believe February is half over already! This is simply craziness and it seems no matter what I do I can’t seem to catch up on the blog entries, homework, and the never-ending lists of boring things that need to be done.

This post is way overdue. The day after Christmas BD and I traveled up north to a cold and snowy New England for a week. It’s become sort of a tradition for us, and one that we like. It’s nice to get away for the last week of the year, and I always love seeing my family. Some years we travel a lot to nearby cities like Boston and New York, or we take it easy and stay close to home. We had a long list of stuff we wanted to do this year but some reason we only accomplished a couple of them. Not surprisingly 99% of the to do list incorporated food we wanted to eat. I would have had a couple of more places to share with you, but we are really, really horrible at taking pictures. We were gone for over a week and other then the few pictures you see here, we took maybe ten photos. I joke that we need to hire someone to follow us around just so we can capture some priceless memories.

Back to business. The food really is so much better back home then it is in Tampa. Tampa doesn’t have awesome small diners or little family run restaurants the size of a shack that can crank out mad tasty food. Tampa has every chain imaginable – everywhere. I was smart enough to capture a photo of two foods I have blogged about before. And I savored every second of devouring them. I still have the few pounds I put on to prove it.

Beach Donuts
Clinton, CT

This has always been a tiny little establishment with no frills. It has since relocated since I started eating these donuts as a kid and I do think they taste a little bit better in the middle of summer rather than the cold, cold winter. In fact, I woke up at about 7am on my vacation to travel about 20 minutes to go pick up this dozen. We went with our three favorite: Cinnamon Crullers, Glazed, and Lemon filled.

No fancy box or set up - just tasty freshly made donuts.

In the nearly 4 years, BD and I have been dating I must have talked about these donuts a hundred times and he finally got to try one.... actually I think he had three.

Bill’s Seafood
Westbrook, CT

This is one place that BD and I have to go to each time we are in CT. We like bellying up to the bar and enjoying the rustic setting that this place has. This is a place that locals frequent and it is about 50 feet from my grandfather’s dock. When we go we usually split three things that are nearly impossible to get in FL: Rhode Island Clam Chowder, Fried Whole Belly Clams, and Hot Lobster Rolls. This time around we skipped the whole belly clams because we had them earlier in the week.

Rhode Island Clam Chowder is a clear broth clam chowder. (New England has the cream and Manhattan has tomatoes.) I like to think of this style as being much more of a pure clam chowder because it’s almost as if you can taste the ocean in it. And I mean that in a good way! The clam flavor is more prevalent and it has a nice salty finish. Bill’s is right on the mark. I would say it’s in the top five of the best I have had. The potato to calm ratio is about even and the onion and salt pork play nicely in the background. BD fell in love with this chowder the moment he tasted it. Which I think made me fall in love with him a little more.

I actually have a recipe for this that I have wanted to try. Last year for Christmas my Dad got me a couple of New England Cookbooks and there is a recipe in it that looks like it just might be a winner.

While the clam chowder is good, the Pièce de résistance is the Hot Lobster Roll. We’ve made these at home a couple of times, and I have even posted a recipe, BUT it is not the same. And there is one main reason for that: you cannot find New England Style hot dog buns in Florida. And in my opinion they are what make the roll. A NESHDB has no crust on the sides and is split on the top. This allows you to grill the sides a little with butter, much like you would a grilled cheese or patty melt. Other than the bun, all this sandwich consists of is lobster meat and butter. It’s so simple but it really just melts in your mouth.

I can't wait to go back home now.

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