Last weekend, G and I headed an hour away for a one-night breather. It was nice to discover we can still have interesting conversations when cut off from computers, television, and our children. We had a great time on the Connecticut shore and ate some fabulously fresh seafood.
We stayed at the Captain Stannard House Country Inn in Westbrook. I knew I would enjoy our stay when, upon entering our room, I spied a plate of rich flourless chocolate brownies. My suspicion that they were homemade was confirmed as I bit into the fudge-like, chocolate-chunk filled goodies (as seen above, G also enjoyed them). A great start.
G and I didn’t want anything fancy for dinner; just good basic seafood. There are several restaurants around the area, so we drove around to check out the three seafood places that were recommended by the innkeeper. The first restaurant had neon beer signs and people a lot younger than we are at the door, the second looked calm and cute, and the third had too many available parking spaces in its lot. We chose the second, Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale, and were not disappointed. If I could have eaten breakfast there, I would have. I had a shrimp and scallop casserole with butter, garlic, and a thin crust of crushed Ritz crackers. Perfectly cooked and delicious, with just enough garlic (too much garlic is a real downer, especially on a romantic weekend). G had a similar dish with just scallops. He also ordered a bowl of clam chowda (that’s how the salty ones say it). It was not the thick creamy goo that many places try to pass off as chowda, but the real deal with more clams than cream or potatoes.
For lunch the next day, we meandered over to Old Saybrook, and even though it was a stormy day, we wanted to eat by the water. We found Dock & Dine, and it was perfect; simple seafood right smack on the water. We both had hot buttered lobster rolls. I have consumed many lobster rolls in my day, most of them in New Hampshire during summer, however, I have never had a hot one. Usually, the summer rolls are cold and filled with lobster mixed with celery and just a bit of real mayo. But it was blustery out, so we lived large and tried something new. I wish I had brought my camera into the restaurant! Just picture the top-split bun, toasted with butter, mounded with warm lobster chunks. Now imagine a squirt of lemon and drizzle of hot butter on the lobster, and that’s what we ate. It was almost illegal.
Aside from the seafood, we had a wonderful breakfast at the inn: Sausage and Apple Quiche. I tend to avoid quiches because of the often chewy and undercooked crust that usually accompanies the egg mixture. However, this was more like a frittata with a thin crust (the cook must have rolled out real pastry instead of using a pre-made pastry shell). Our innkeepers started our delightful breakfast with a pairing of fresh banana and homemade orange bread. Then, we moved on to the main course. This quiche was beautifully plated (again, I should have taken a photo) with a large slice of grilled tomato as a side. We rolled out of the inn that morning fully content and fueled for our adventures.
Sausage and Apple Quiche
- 1 (9 inch) pastry shell
- ½ pound bulk spicy pork sausage (Jones Hot works fine)
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ¾ cup shredded, peeled tart apple
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ cups half and half
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Place foil inside pastry shell, partially fill with uncooked beans or rice. Bake 10 minutes. Remove foil and beans or rice and continue baking 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool.
- Reduce oven to 375°F.
- Crumble sausage into large skillet; add onion. Cook over medium heat until meat is browned and onion is tender. Spoon off and discard pan drippings. (The innkeeper props the skillet handle up, lets the drippings drain to the bottom of the pan, then wipes with paper towels.)
- Add apple, lemon juice, sugar, and red pepper flakes to skillet.
- Cook on medium high stirring constantly, 4 minutes or until apple is just tender and all liquid evaporated. Let cool.
- Spoon sausage mixture into pastry shell; top with cheese. Whisk eggs, half and half, salt, and dash of black pepper into medium bowl and pour over sausage mixture.
- Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until filling is puffed and knife inserted in center comes out clean.
- Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Serves 6.
Here are some photos from our wanderings.