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‘Mi Mar Ith’ In Scotland: Three Chimneys Restaurant On Isle Of Skye Makes Food Fit For A Scottish King

September 24, 2013
I am really hoping that's the proper Gaelic translation for "Me Like Eat" up there. Meanwhile, that's a sunset on Skye.

I am really hoping that’s the proper Gaelic translation for “Me Like Eat” up there. Meanwhile, that’s a sunset on Skye.

I can say without any hesitation whatsoever that by far one of the most beautiful places on Earth I have ever been is Isle of Skye, Scotland. It is devastating, haunting, unspoiled, ancient, mystical, remote and wonderful. Read more…

Stepping Into History At Bridges Barbecue Lodge In Shelby, NC

March 25, 2013
Right on the side of the road in Shelby... .

Right on the side of the road in Shelby… .

Our visit to Atlanta and North Carolina was concluding. Although we had eaten at some delicious barbecue spots along the way, including Fat Matt’s in Atlanta and 12 Bones in Asheville, because of the route we had taken (ending in Charlotte) we had had no opportunity to stop at any of the places along North Carolina’s barbecue trail. Obviously, this was unacceptable. Fortunately, Shelby was right on the way to Charlotte from Asheville, and there is a historic barbecue location on the way: Bridges Barbecue. Read more…

At Asheville’s The Admiral, There Be Food Here

March 22, 2013

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While visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, we quickly came to find out that the food served on the Estate – at least the meal we sampled at the Bistro – wasn’t particularly special, though not particularly bad either.
It was enough however to set our minds on leaving the vast Estate and to head back into town to try our luck at what we were told was the most popular restaurant in town, The Admiral.
Getting reservations at the place is impossible – the New York Times and Zagat both favor it – but it is apparently possible to try your luck dining at the bar, which we did. Read more…

Picking Over Asheville’s 12 Bones

March 21, 2013

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After moving on from Atlanta we stayed in Highlands, NC before moving on to Asheville. I should mention we had a wonderful meal in Highlands at Madison’s, a surprisingly formal and fancy gourmet experience. I sampled the chef’s Quail schnitzel(!) with great satisfaction, but more on that another time.
While at Madison’s, the bartender – a serious ‘cue enthusiast – said we were essentially out of luck for truly high quality ‘cue in the area. But when we told him we were going to Asheville, he brightened, saying “There’s good ‘cue there” and pointed us at 12 Bones. The reception folks at our hotel in Asheville were enthusiastic as well, telling us that’s where the president eats when he comes through town. So my hopes were raised. Read more…

Me Like EAtlanta: The Varsity

March 20, 2013

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Our first effort at dining in Atlanta went really well: Fat Matt’s Rib Shack was sensational. The Varsity was recommended to us by a very reliable source, so we set out to try it. I gather it is something of an Atlanta institution, or landmark. I had been told they make THE BEST burgers. Read more…

Me Like EAtlanta: Fat Matt’s Rib Shack

March 18, 2013
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Let me start by saying that I am a fiercely proud New Yorker and therefore am basically ignorant when it comes to authentic Southern barbecue. I just haven’t been raised around the stuff. I would liken my knowledge of authentic ‘cue at this point to someone from Delaware who ate at their local “New York Pizza” joint and therefore thought they might know from a New York slice.
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While on a visit to Atlanta, the word I heard (via my cousin Liz at first) was to try Fat Matt’s Rib Shack. Boy am I glad I took her advice, because they serve by far the best ribs I’ve ever had in my life, so far. Read more…

Costello’s Clam Shack Is Not Quite Abbott’s, But Has An Unexpected Treat

July 28, 2012

Simple. Glorious. Classic. The Hot Lob.

Longtime readers of this blog – and people who know me personally – are well aware of my love for Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough in Noank, Conn. and in particular their utterly winning sandwich, the Hot Lob. Indeed, the first entry in this blog is about the Hot Lob. In an article elsewhere, I characterized the Hot Lob as the best sandwich I’ve ever had, and the best there is, period.

Now as time as worn on, none of my affection for Abbott’s has diminished, nor their stellar Hot Lob, but I have been enough times to realize that it is a place that succeeds because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Hot Lob is amazing – but is it better than a Luke’s Lobster Roll? – I am no longer as certain. Sometimes the answer is definitely yes – when you get a piping hot Hot Lob, as opposed to the lesser and unfortunate Luke Warm Lob. But the place is better, the view is better, the overall atmosphere is better, the sandwich is delicious, the bisque marvelous, etc. etc. etc. Indeed eating a Hot Lob while watching boats tweedle by on even a gray day is marvelous. It is certainly one of my favorite places on Earth and feeds both me and my soul. (N.B. New for the 2012 season is Abbott’s “O.M.G.,” essentially a hot lob with double the meat, some seven ounces, piled into a ridiculous cone between the bun. I did not venture to try it this time).

Abbott’s has a clam shack sister a few hundred feet away – Costello’s – so despite a day’s gluttony at the former (Hot Lob, bisque, corn on the cob, cole slaw, potato chips) – we decided to give it a whirl. Whereas Abbott’s does lobster in the rough and so on, Costello’s does fried clams.

The approach. The tented structure at the end of the dock is Costello’s.

A word about the venue itself. Costello’s is located in a working dockyard. It is further down the same narrow, slow-speed street as Abbott’s. You pull in to a large parking lot and find your spot. Then it is a march down to the edge of a pier, and there, split on two levels, is Costello’s. On the lower level, you order you food. You can also eat at a few picnic tables. Above, there is more seating, under a tent-like roof, with tables and chairs as well as picnic tables.

The view from the upper deck. It is very nice, but not quite as pleasant as the view from Abbott’s.

The view is not as charming as Abbott’s, nor is the place. The view that immediately greets you is more docks and parked boats, as opposed to Abbott’s, where the boats go slowly past on their way out of the harbor. The boats pass Costello’s as well, but not quite as close, and there’s the intervening nautical parking lot and pier to see past. It’s neat, but not as nice.

The menu contains a lot of duplication from Abbott’s! Another source of the Hot Lob!

A pleasant surprise at Costello’s is this: You can get a Hot Lob there! I was well surprised to see that nearly the entire Abbott’s menu is duplicated. So it turns out there is a second place on Earth where you can get them… .

Nonetheless, it was for the clams we came, and so, ordered them. They come in two varieties: strips or whole bellies. Conferring with our teenaged server she suggested, it being my first visit, to get the strips, and, if finding them agreeable, advance to whole bellies another time.

Looking good… .

They were agreeable indeed, very much what you think they are: breaded clam strips. Crunchy but not to the point of having lost all of their clam meat within. Flavorful without being fishy. Crunchy and not greasy. Very pleasant and on balance wonderful clam strips. However, I do not know that they make for destination dining the same way the Hot Lob does. They are delightful for scratching your fried food itch, and I think I rate them better than most clam strips I’ve had, fresher perhaps, but nonetheless it is a deep-fried thing you dip in tartar sauce.

A closer look. It is hard to tell in this photo, but trust me, those fries are skinny (and delicious).

The french fries they are served with, however, really caught my attention. They are cut so narrow and thin to be more like strips than fries. They are utterly wonderful.

On balance it is easy to recommend Costello’s. If you are going all this way, however, the Hot Lob should remain the primary target. Costello’s fried clams are delicious, but mostly if you or one of your party is having a fearsome hankering for fried food. If going with that person, you should get the Hot Lob, and steal some of their fries.

Costello’s Clam Shack

145 Pearl Street
Noank, Conn. 06340
860.572.2779

www.costellosclamshack.com

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