15-Hour Labor Day Food Trip

Sunday, September 3, 2023
At 2:30am, we woke up to ensure we could get to Congdon’s Donuts (restaurant review here) right when they opened at 6am. After a quick bathroom break, we ended up arriving at 6:20am to discover a line of about 30 people and closed doors. Due to the Labor Day Holiday, they were actually opening at 7am.

We waited in line for those 40 minutes, and in the meantime the line behind us grew to probably 100 people. However, once the doors opened, we were in and out within about 20 minutes thanks to the new workflow they had implemented – previously, the cashiers would pack the the donuts in the boxes as you ordered them. Now, they typed your order into the computer and took payment, handing a packing slip to separate donut packers who would call your name once they had finished up boxing your order.

Of course, we got 3 dozen donuts to bring some back home to family, as well as 4 biscuits for a later recipe, and a dozen assorted donut holes, and 2 sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches made on biscuits to eat right then and there.

After thoroughly enjoying those breakfast sandwiches, we went to our usual place to hang out to take a nap in the car and use the public restrooms, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. After a quick nap, and stopping at a little farm stand to buy 2 apples for a bit of freshness to counteract all of the heavy breakfast foods we had, we headed to the Wells Beach Lobster Pound to grab a pound of lobster meat to bring home for a special treat (read on for details – it has to do with those biscuits we mentioned earlier) before getting in a quick round of mini golf.

We typically try to stop at Varano’s for a meal while in Maine, but they recently closed. However, we had heard that their gift certificates were being accepted at a place called Billy’s Chowder House just down the road, and while we didn’t have a gift certificate to use, it seemed like a place we should try, so we headed there for lunch. And man, were we impressed.

We started with a cup of their clam chowder and a Caeser salad, both of which were outstanding (and Erik is a connoisseur of Caeser salads). Erik also gave their spiked raspberry lemonade a try, and it was very tasty and refreshing. For the main meal, Erik ordered a half and half plate with fried shrimp and clams with fries and Kayla got a lobster roll. The coleslaw that came as a side was great – the right balance of sweet and creamy, and a great pairing with the fried seafood. The fry on the shrimp and clams was crispy and light, and didn’t detract from the quality of the fresh seafood. The fries were also crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. The accompanying tartar and cocktail sauce were also great. The lobster roll came with LOTS of lobster and a dressing that was not too heavy so as to let the lobster meat shine through.

Our only complaint is the bread, which we found to be dry and flavorless, but let’s be honest, we weren’t there for the bread.

Large lobster roll with coleslaw in the background and a half and half fried shrimp and clam combo with fries, tartar sauce, and cocktail sauce in the foreground.

From lunch, we headed home, only stopping for a bit at King Arthur Baking in Norwich, VT to pick up some high gluten flour as we are thoroughly addicted to the bagels we learned to make at the King Arthur class we took back in 2021. We tried making them with bread flour as it is significantly less expensive, but they just aren’t the same as with the high gluten flour!

We arrived home around 5pm on the same day we left, making for about a 15 hour trip – about 7 hours of which was driving and 8 hours of which was spending time in Maine. Upon getting home, we set out to make the special recipe with the lobster meat we picked up at Wells Beach Lobster Pound and the cheddar biscuits we got from Congdon’s.

What did we make? A copy cat of the lobster pot pie previously served at Acadame, a restaurant that has since closed. Take a look at our recipe here.

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