There’s a great scene in “The Matchmaker”, by Thornton Wilder, when the two hapless clerks Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker are setting out on a series of adventures in New York City. They decide that they will have a code word for their comings and goings and that if they say to each other the word “pudding”, then they are about to embark on something unknown, fun, adventuresome, intriguing and delightful.The Hubs and I adopted this phrase to be our codeword for something out of the ordinary, most always involving a new restaurant, but sometimes a sea voyage, or a new great bookstore or almost anything.
So last weekend the Hubs and I set off for a pudding in southern Maine and Portsmouth NH. We wound our way up 495N to 95N and up the Maine turnpike into Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. It is a journey we have done countless times. We love the Maine coast, the little villages and beaches and cafes, restaurants and pubs. We would up at lunchtime in Kennebunkport, smack dab in the middle of the Christmas Prelude sponsored by the village vendors, complete with non lethal movie quality snow, Christmas trees with buoys for decorations, a husband/wife drum and fife duo in Revolutionary war dress and a general all around White Christmasey type of feeling. We snooped around for a while and settled somewhat surprisingly with no wait into the Boathouse Hotel and David’s KPT restaurant.
We had a lovely table by the windows, promptly ordered a swell Gruner Veltliner from Austria to swill, and enjoyed a fabulous bowl of Brown Butter Chowder or Brown Buddah Chowdah if you are from Boston.
I’m going to experiment with the recipe, but I can tell you it was the best chowder I have had in my young life. I’ll post the results when I experiment during the holidays and I have some time to fiddle with recipes.
After lunch, we snooped around the shops. There were crowds but everyone was in a good mood, and although it was winter, it was ok to walk around in our winter coats without freezing. After we left the town we drove about a mile down the road to one of my favorite places in the whole world, and of course, it’s a garden center. Snug Harbor Farm is located on Western Ave just outside the village. During the spring and summer there are greenhouses and garden ideas galore. But even in winter, the ducks and chickens and roosters were strolling the grounds to greet us and we ducked into the Barn and Gift Shoppe to see what was new.
Then we drove down Route 1, stopping at Stonewall Kitchen for a jam fix and checked into our hotel in Portsmouth where we watched Navy beat Army for the 13th straight year. Go Navy!
Watch this space for Part 2!